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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 11th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 94 > Short Stories > Magnolia and the Caves

Magnolia and the Caves

by peachifruit

"En Guarde, I'm exhausted!"

     En Guarde the green Krawk spared his accompaniment a short glance, and then turned away. "It was your idea to come all the way out to town to do grocery shopping, Camella. Don't start complaining to me about it. Besides, we've still got quite the way to go before we get home."

     Camella the yellow Eyrie moaned discontentedly, "We've been walking for hours! And I can't bear to carry these bags anymore!" she shrieked, holding up two large bags full of groceries. "Uhh, I can't believe we went all the way out to town for this."

     "Like I said," En Guarde began, "this was your idea."

     "Well..." Camella broke off for a second, staring into space nonchalantly. The blisteringly hot Mystery Island sun, even in the jungle, only made her grocery shopping seem worse when added onto her fatigue. She felt as if she couldn't bear to travel all the way home at a time like this. Suddenly, an idea struck. "Hey! I've got a plan."

     "Words usually preceding disaster."

     "Don't get cute with me. I didn't ask your opinion." Camella paused. "Oh, yes! Why don't we try taking a shortcut? Our tower is straight down this path, and then to the left and up and to the right. So wouldn't it take less time to just cut through the jungle and wind up on the road again? That'd take off... like... an hour of walking!"

     "I normally don't comment on the lack of logic in your plans, but now I think I'm left with no other choice," En Guarde murmured coolly. "Don't you think there's a reason the path doesn't cut straight through the forest? There are all sorts of tribes off the road just waiting to poke you with spears and throw you off the sides of cliffs for trespassing. I don't know about you, but I'd certainly like to stay away from that, thank you very much."

     "En Guarde. I do not remember asking for your opinion." Camella looked straight ahead. The road bent towards the left. "Well, there's the jungle! Let's go right on through!"

     Before En Guarde could object, Camella had grabbed him by the arm and dragged him off the road and into the jungle. The trip was undisturbed for the most part, and Camella attempted to reassure En Guarde that her decision was the right one.

     "See? I told you this was a good idea!" Camella exclaimed. "There aren't any dangers here. I mean... I've been around Mystery Island once or twice, and all the island tribes I've met around here are mostly... friend... ly..."

     Camella blinked nervously as her arm was poked with a spear. She dropped her groceries and glanced to her side at a short red Miamouse brandishing the weapon threateningly. A group of red Miamouse stood around the scene. "Oh, yeah! That's LOVELY. JUUUUST LOVELY."

     "Friendly?" asked En Guarde. "What have you gotten us into now?"

     "WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN US INTO?!" Camella shrieked, her tone of voice rising in both rage and terror. "But--this..." she murmured, glancing down at the Miamouse threatening her with a spear. "This is a tribe of Miamice. A tribe of MIAMICE. Since when did rodents with spears become threatening? I've seen worse in m--Ah! AH-HA! En Guarde! This is my perfect opportunity! I can name myself queen and RULE THIS COLONY WITH AN IRON FIST!" Camella exclaimed, laughing with slight bravado. En Guarde groaned. "Members of this humble Miamouse tribe! I AM YOUR LEADER! You will build me a castle and give me all of your life savings! And I shall RULE YOU ALL!"

     Camella paused, seeing the Miamice squeak in confusion towards one another. "En Guarde, please don't tell me they didn't understand a word of what I just said."

     "They didn't understand a word of what you just said."

     "UGH!" Camella fumed, falling to the ground in defeat. "A perfect opportunity... wasted. HOW LONG SHALL I BE BEATEN WITH THE HAMMER OF INCOMPREHENSIBILITY?" She pretended to cry dramatically, throwing her arm over her eyes and beak.

     Suddenly, a short green Miamouse came forth from the crowd. "You have both been trespassing on the land set aside for our tribe," she noted. "What are your names?"

     "What's it to ya?" Camella inquired indignantly, standing up.

     "Well," said the Miamouse. "My name is Mika. I'm the only one in this tribe who understands English, so whatever you say to them is pretty useless. I like to think of myself as a bit of a leader of this tribe."

     "Beaten by a MOUSE," Camella moaned.

     "Anyway, trespassers are still trespassers. We've had a ton of them lately. One of them was this weird-looking Aisha who apparently had a serious problem with authority." Mika shook her head. "But anyway, now that you've been caught red... er... clawed, you must face the consequences... and be taken to... THE CAVES!"

     The Miamice gasped, and even though they could not understand her, knew the seriousness of her words. "Oh, come ON!" Camella shrieked.

     "What are the caves?" questioned En Guarde.

     "Only the worst fate imaginable!" cried Mika. "First, prisoners are taken through the dark caves north of the village, and then they are taken up the mountain pass and thrown off the side of the cliff!" The Miamice gasped again.

     "Ooohhh, I'm scared," Camella muttered.

     "Well, these spears are kind of sharp," En Guarde noted. "It'd be nice to remain on their good side for now."

     "I suppose you're right," Camella murmured. "Fine. I'll stay on their good side... for the time being. BUT THEN I SHALL RULE THEM WITH AN IRON FIST!" Camella cackled loudly, throwing her head back in satisfaction.

Meanwhile...

     "I thought that boat was headed for HOME, not another part of the island!"

     Sys-op the pink Kadoatie frowned, glancing out the window of the tiny locked hut. "Well, that's what you get for listening to that coco native."

     "It was the same guy who's always at the dock, right?" Magnolia inquired. "I mean, it's not like I was SUPPOSED to know that guy would lead us to some foreign port near a Miamouse tribe!"

     "Well, at least I had a GOOD reason to be here," said Ichi_Deru the Faerie Meerca. "I just got side-tracked on an expedition, that's all. You'd think the REST of you would learn to read the signs."

     "Like the sign that said 'STAY ON THE ROAD'?" asked Nanna the Cirrus. "But noooo, you had to CUT THROUGH THE JUNGLE!"

     "Hey, I wasn't asking for YOUR two Neopoints!"

     "Well, looks like about all of us did something stupid to land us here," said Tiira_Misu the rainbow Usul nonchalantly from the back of the hut. "We just need to think up a way to get out of here before they take us to those 'Caves' they mention--"

     A the voice of a crowd advancing was heard.

     "GET YOUR LITTLE DIRTY PAWS OFF OF ME, YOU WORTHLESS RODENT!"

     The door was flung open. Outside lay a strange scene. Camella attempted desperately to kick the spear-brandishing Miamice off of her legs while they tried to usher her through the village. "This is nice and all," she began, "but if you don't mind, I'd LIKE to get home, or at the very least, get my GROCERIES back."

     "You came here of your own accord!" Mika exclaimed. "Where are the other priso--oh, there we are."

     Magnolia poked her head out of the hut entrance. "What's going on out here?" she inquired gingerly. "Because, you know, if this opening-the-door thing means we can go home, that'd be great."

     "YOU shut up!" Mika exclaimed. "You and your little friends were the first people trespassing here! Did you start a TREND, or something?" She paused as the rest of the "prisoners" left the hut: Sys-op, Tiira_Misu, Esmerelda the Cobrall, Ichi_Deru, Nanna, Chaska the air/water Faerie, Peach the white Cybunny, Natalie the blue Aisha, Taro the yellow Chia, Charlie the rainbow Acara and Gabrielle the starry Kyrii.

     "That's--one... five... ten... twelve people? How do you FIT everyone IN there?" Camella inquired. "We're not going to be shoved in there next, are we?"

     "Oh, I wouldn't say that," said Mika. "You're ALL headed for... the CAVES!" The Miamice gasped again.

     "How many times is this going to happen?" Peach asked.

     "Well, let's be off, then!" Mika exclaimed, disregarding this comment. "The sooner we go to THE CAVES, the sooner we can throw you to your dooms, you filthy, red-handed trespassers." She trotted off, the crowd of Miamice dragging the prisoners along with them.

     "This don't sound very good," Gabrielle commented. "I mean, I don't know about the rest of ya's, but I was just takin' a good old stroll down the road near my house when these little Miamice came out o' nowhere. It's just not right."

     "It doesn't look like complaining will help any, unfortunately," Charlie murmured. "I mean, as crazy as it may sound, I think these Miamice are quite serious about these 'Caves'."

     "The only reason I moved to this island was peace and quiet!" Taro exclaimed. "And since then, I've been kidnapped by island tribes twice in less than a year!"

     "Like YOU can complain!" Camella cried. "I've been living here all my life! Wanna know how many times I've been kidnapped?"

     "If that WAS the case," said Natalie, "Wouldn't you learn by now to stay out of these parts of the jungle?"

     "WATCH IT, I'm WARNING you--!"

     "Hey, now," said Chaska. "Let's try not to argue. That's not getting us anywhere."

     "You're right," said Magnolia. "Besides, we should be a lot more concerned with trying to--"

     "AH-HA!" Mika suddenly exclaimed. "We're HERE!"

     "It was that short a stroll?" Tiira_Misu inquired. The Caves turned out to be ordinary, everyday caves with a round, hollowed-out entrance.

     "Tha's all?" Gabrielle asked, disappointed. "I was expectin' some big extravagant thingy."

     "Tell me about it," Sys-op murmured. "It's just a regular, ordinary cave."

     "It is NOT!" Mika exclaimed as the prisoners were ushered inside by the group of Miamice. "We're at THE CAVES! Can't you tell the difference?"

     "Not... particularly," En Guarde muttered, once inside The Caves. "How far from here until the mountain pass?"

     "Not long, don't worry," Mika replied. "We haven't got that long to go."

Ten Minutes Later...

     "How long have we been walking? When do we get there? Why are we going here again? How long is this going to take? Is being thrown of this cliff thingy gonna hur--"

     "Camella, would you kindly SHUT UP?" Sys-op inquired indignantly. "When we're there, you'll know!"

     "I'll SHUT UP when I'm GOOD AND READY, thank you VERY much!"

     "Well, why don't you GET r--?"

     Suddenly, the ground began to shake. A few small rocks, and then a boulder fell from the ceiling. The ground in front of them cracked and split, leaving a large gap in the middle of the hallway.

     "W-what's going on here?" Peach inquired, the ground still shaking violently.

     "Like any of US know!" Camella exclaimed, clinging to a rock formation nearby.

     The shaking stopped as suddenly as it had begun, and the group looked around confusedly. "Well," Ichi_Deru began, "I think I know what caused all of that. It's the whole reason I came here in the first place. There's a volcano a little while away from here--actually dangerously close for the tribe that lives here. Its eruption was predicted for today."

     "What?" Mika asked confusedly. "That volcano hasn't erupted in centuries! Why start now?"

     "I KNOW, isn't that GREAT?" Ichi_Deru replied, taking a camera out of her bag. "I could have gotten WONDERFUL footage!"

     The group moaned in exasperation. "Is that ALL you care about right now?" Charlie questioned hysterically. "A volcano?!"

     "Yes. Why, is that a crime?"

     "Never mind."

     "Well, the point is that we're trapped," Magnolia concluded. "Now, how did we all happen to get into this situation? I know Sys-op, Chaska and I were trying to get home, but the native at the dock apparently doesn't know how to say 'Neopia Central'."

     "I live here!" Camella squealed, clinging onto the rock formation. "I thought I'd take a shortcut home... and..."

     "Another of Camella's brilliant plans," En Guarde murmured.

     "Hey, YOU shut up!"

     "Island petpet expedition," Tiira_Misu explained. "And guess what species I was sent here to study?"

     "I was visiting my grandmother," said Peach. "But I read the map the wrong way."

     "I already told you why I'm here," Ichi_Deru replied. "And I think Taro, Natalie, Gabrielle and Charlie all live here on the island too."

     "That's right," Natalie told them.

     "Hey, look," said Mika. "We've never been in a situation like this--and I mean never. So, we'll make you a deal. You get us out of here, and we'll skip the punishment thing and let you all go home. How's that sound?"

     "I say that sounds g--"

     "AHEM!" Camella exclaimed, cutting Magnolia off and pulling her aside. "Look, this might sound good, but I certainly don't know HOW we're going to get out of here ourselves! And there's always the possibility that that tribe could just forget the deal we made and throw us off the mountainside anyway!"

     "Well, you have a good point," said Magnolia. "But as much as I'd like to agree with you, I have to say that's a little far-fetched. Those poor defenseless Miamice? I don't think so!"

     "See, there's your problem right there," Camella interrupted. "'Ooh, I'm Magnolia! I'm going to assume that everyone in this world is lollipops and sunshine and not even CONSIDER the possibility that we could get killed because I'm trying too hard to be such a good person! Tee-hee-hee-hee!' We can't help everybody, Magnolia. Those Miamice are going to have to get out themselves."

     Magnolia frowned, visibly annoyed by that last comment. "Well, if you're so serious about that 'every-pet-for-himself' mentality, I'd advise you find your own way out."

     Camella blinked confusedly as Magnolia turned to leave. "Oh, FINE! But if I'm right, I'll just laugh in your face and say 'I TOLD you so!' LAUGH! LAUGH, I SAY!"

     "Are you going or not?" Magnolia inquired impatiently.

Later...

"My legs... are killing me..."

     "Oh, are you THAT tired?" Sys-op inquired. "Camella, we've only been walking about thirty minutes."

     "Really?" Camella murmured. "I thought it'd been longer than that."

     "However long it's been," Tiira_Misu began, "I'm about ready to go home. I've learned enough about Miamice that if I see another one again in my lifetime, it'll be too soon."

     "Oooh, isn't this scary?" asked Peach, holding up one of the Miamice in her arms.

     "That's not funny--I'm serious!" Tiira_Misu cried.

     "Now, what's that up ahead?" Magnolia inquired, pointing to a mine cart and track just ahead of the group.

     "Ooh, I know!" Mika exclaimed. "You just cross the track across the gap on the mine cart."

     "And?"

     "And that's it! Ta-da!"

     "That looks easy," said Charlie. "But we can't fit everyone in that mi--"

     The ground began to shake again. The rock around the mine cart tracks cracked, as did the walls around them.

     "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!" asked Camella. "Why would you pick THIS spot, of ALL spots, to lead to your little CLIFFSIDE?"

     "It's the only way to get to the mountain pass!" Mika exclaimed. "How else do we deal with trespassers?"

     "I don't think there's much time for that," Ichi_Deru frantically interrupted. "This place looks like it'll COLLAPSE at any second!"

     "Well, off to the mine cart!" said Natalie. "We should go in pairs across, just in case the tracks were to fall down that gap. They don't look too stable."

     "Are you serious?" Camella inquired indignantly. "If we go in groups of however many will fit in the mine carts, we'll get across faster and get out of here faster!"

     "Sorry to say, Natalie," Magnolia began, "But I think I'm going to have to go with Camella on this one. If it falls, it'll probably fall no matter how many people are in it."

     "Well... I suppose you are right," said Natalie. "Okay, fine."

     Having decided that five people would fit into the cart, groups of three Miamice and two Neopets crossed the gap as quickly as they could. Twenty-five of the twenty-eight in the group, (including the tribe,) were able to cross the tracks safely, but when Camella and En Guarde led Mika across, the tracks broke.

     One side of the tracks was still attached to the other side of the gap, and the group was able to hold onto it for a while. "That's what you get for eating so many of those Faerie Queen burritos, En Guarde."

     "Oh. You know how I just love those Faerie Queen burritos."

     Magnolia held her paw over the tracks. "I'll pull you up if you can reach my arm. Can you?"

     "With ONE hand? NO way!" Camella protested, clinging onto the tracks which were gradually breaking on the other side as well. "I'll stay right here, thank you!"

     A part of the tracks snapped, shifting the entire structure downwards. "That thing's going to break, you know," said Magnolia pointedly. "Unless you WANT to fall--"

     "--Oh, fine! Fine!" Camella caught Magnolia's arm reluctantly. "You talk me into the WORST things!" she squealed as she made her way up.

     Once Mika and En Guarde had made it up safely as well, the group of Neopets and Miamice ran towards the exit of the caves, where the mountain pass could be seen. The mine cart tracks fell into the gap as they left.

     "Oh, YAY! You can see the volcano from here!" Ichi_Deru cried, taking a few shots with her camera. She sighed dreamily. "Hi, bliss. I'm Ichi_Deru."

     "Oh, we don't have TIME for that!" Peach exclaimed, hoisting her by her tail and dragging her away. "Honestly..."

At the Village...

Mika frowned, her disappointment clearly visible. "So, you kept up with your end of the deal, it seems. I suppose we can't throw you off the side of the mountain, like we promised."

     "That's a relief," Magnolia replied.

     "But! Not only did you help us out of there just now, but you also taught the tribe a very valuable lesson!" Mika exclaimed. "I doubt they really need me anymore, as I think they can take care of themselves after that stunning display of heroism!"

     "Heroism," Charlie laughed.

     "So it's on that note that we part ways. I'll leave this village, and you'll all go home, and we'll be happy again!" Mika cried. "Isn't that great?"

     "Oh, no you don't!" Camella protested. "You're not going ANYWHERE. I'll take you home with me. After all of this trouble, you can rest assured I'll be keeping a close eye on you."

     "You mean as a pet or something?" Mika inquired. "Er... I'm not too fond of that id--"

     "Come on, Mika! Let's go home!" Camella cried, picking the Miamouse up and taking her off with her. "I'll be seeing you all later. En Guarde, get over here."

     "Hey, wait, one more thing before you go!" Magnolia called after Camella. She turned around curiously.

     "What?"

     "I so told you so!"

The End


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