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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 30th day of Gathering, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 53 > Short Stories > Magnolia and the Jungle Heist

Magnolia and the Jungle Heist

by peachifruit

"Wow... you can see the Trading Post from here!" Sys-op exclaimed, pointing a video camera in the direction of the Mystery Island attraction. Agent_Magnolia the red Aisha stared nonchalantly outside of the hot air balloon, sparing a short glance at the present filming subject. "And here she is, Magnolia--staring outside the balloon like she couldn't care less about this vacation we've been anticipating so much," Sys-op said, aiming the camera at Magnolia. "What is the matter with you, Mag?"

     "Mm?" Magnolia asked, eyeing Sys-op. "Oh--um, I'm fine, really," she continued. "It's just that I can't help but think about what happened to that Usul back at the beach--"

     "Oh, not that again!" Sys-op cried, turning the camera off. "Mag, I'm sure nothing happened."

     "I doubt it," Magnolia replied. Just yesterday, Magnolia had watched as a red Usul swam through the ocean. All of a sudden, a wave washed over her, and that was the last Magnolia saw of the poor Usul. She didn't know where on the Island she could have been carried off to, or if she was even on the Island anymore. All Magnolia knew was that someone set her up, and she was curious as to who it was.

     "Magnolia, look," Sys-op said, setting the video camera down on the floor of the basket. "I don't know about you, but it's only about two times a year that we get a vacation. I'd think that of all people, you would show some enthusiasm about this one."

     "I'm sorry, Sys, I'm just curious," Magnolia explained. "I really want to find out what happened to her--or if anyone knows that she's missing."

     Sys-op heaved a sigh. "Okay, okay. If you're so much dying to find out what on Neopia happened to that Usul, we'll go back to headquarters and check the missing pet reports." The pink Kadoatie paused. "I worry about you Mag, really. It's just that if you keep putting yourself on cases like this, I don't think you'll ever get a vacation--What the?!"

     Suddenly, there was a loud popping noise. The balloon jerked forward, sending Magnolia and Sys-op to the front of the balloon, barely hanging on to the edge. "What's going on?" Magnolia asked. "Oh, I KNEW that tour guide was lying when he said these balloons were sturdy!"

     "No, it's not that!" Sys-op pointed to the balloon, which air was now escaping from. "We'll crash if we can't patch that up!"

     "Well, don't look at ME!" Magnolia cried. "It's too far away, and plus, I don't have anything to patch the hole up with!"

     "Wh--I thought YOU had the tape!"

     "No, you had it!" Magnolia paused. She soon remembered that she did have the tape, but she'd loosened her grip on it while staring so idly outside the balloon. "No, wait, I DID have it."

     "Where'd it go?" Sys-op asked in a panic as the balloon began to sink. Magnolia merely pointed down. "YOU DROPPED IT?!"

     "Well, I wasn't paying attention."

     "We're doomed." Sys-op huddled in a ball in the corner with her camera.

     "No, if we land slowly enough, we can jump out before the balloon hits the ground!" Magnolia suggested. An object abruptly whizzed by, ultimately separating the balloon from the basket. "Scratch that thought," Magnolia added as the balloon began to plummet towards the rain forest.

Later that Day...

     Magnolia awoke in a tent, observing her new surroundings. The tent was a small one, and she could tell that it was night. Sys-op lay beside her, still unconscious, and there was a winged figure writhing under a blanket on the other side of the tent. Magnolia, intrigued, decided to observe the blanket.

     "U-um...is anyone under there?" she asked. What kind of a question was that? Magnolia thought to herself. To her surprise, the figure shrank away. "Oh, I'm not going to hurt you," she explained. She lifted the blanket up from over the figure. "I mean...it's not like you're--CAMELLA?! What are you doing here?"

     "Magnolia!" the yellow Eyrie replied, standing up. "I should be asking the same question."

     "And where's En Guarde?" Magnolia asked. "Probably hiding under THAT blanket, isn't he?"

     "W-what are you talking about?" Camella queried shakily. "I didn't even notice that there WAS anyone there!" Abruptly, she walked over to the blanket and threw it off, revealing a red Usul and a Cobrall.

     "Ah-HA!" Magnolia cried. "You're that Usul from the beach, aren't you?"

     "The beach?" she asked. "Um...I was at the beach yesterday--swimming, actually."

     "So you were taken captive?" Magnolia asked.

     "This is all over my head," Camella said, looking down at the Usul. "I was just at the Trading Post, and then someone comes over to me with a big watermelon and...that was all I remember. My head hurts, too."

     "So someone beat you over the head with a watermelon and dragged you here?" Magnolia questioned, laughing. "Serves you right!"

     "Watch it, Magnolia," Camella demanded. "I'm just as thrilled about being here as you are."

     "What's all the commotion?" Sys-op asked, sitting up. Suddenly, she jumped back. "MAGNOLIA! What is SHE doing here?"

     "Well, nice to see you, too!" Camella replied facetiously. "

     Wait--where's En Guarde?" Sys-op asked.

     "At home--doing anything he can to save me, no doubt."

Camella's Tower...

     En Guarde rolled over in bed lazily. "I wonder what happened to Camella," he said. There was a long silence. "...Oh, well."

Back at the Tent...

     "Uh-huh. As much as I know, he's on his way now," Camella confidently said.

     "Sure he is," Sys-op muttered sarcastically. "Anyway, who's the Usul--oh, wait, you're the one from the beach!"

     "I suppose so," said the Usul with a smile. "My name is Tiira_Misu, by the way, but you can call me Tiira. This is Esmerelda." Tiira pointed to the Cobrall

     "Tiira and Esmerelda," Magnolia confirmed. "Okay, so how do we get out of here?"

     Camella poked her head out of the tent exit. "Scratch that," she said, quickly jumping back at the sight of two Tonus keeping a vigilant watch outside. "There are guards out there!"

     "Oh!" Tiira_Misu exclaimed. "That's it! The guards left last night at around midnight, but just when I was about to leave, they came back."

     "So we'll need to hurry, then," Sys-op observed. "What time is it now?"

     "Um..." Tiira looked down at her watch. "9:57 PM. We should have time to think up a good plan by then."

Two hours later...

     "You've got to be kidding me," Camella assured, looking down at the group's 'escape plan.' On the ground rest a large blanket with a wreath of leaves around it. "If you expect me to believe that's supposed to be a Tonu--"

     "What? It's the best thing we can find for now!" Magnolia said. "Oh, we can't forget this." She put a small twig underneath the blanket.

     "Ooh, now it's a blanket with leaves and a twig! That's much more convincing, Magnolia," Camella said sardonically.

     "No, let's pretend it's not a twig. It's supposed to be the horn...thingy..." Magnolia explained.

     "Oh, I'm so sorry! The 'horn thingy--'that explains everything!" Camella cried, even more sarcastically.

     "Look, do you want to get out of here or not?" Tiira asked. "The guards will leave any minute now!"

     Camella sighed exasperatingly. "Agent_Magnolia, I hoped I'd never see you again. This is one of the reasons why."

Later...

     "OUCH!" Magnolia whispered harshly. "Tiira_Misu--get off my foot!"

     "What? I'm not stepping on anything!"

     "Camella--"

     "I thought that was a twig!"

     "What twig do you know that's that big?!"

     "Oh, just shut up!"

     "I don't have to shut up if you tell me to."

     "Oh, yes you do!"

     "BOTH of you shut up!" Sys-op cried, interrupting the argument. "Will you two, for once, quit bickering? You'll give us away!"

     "Give us away?!" Camella cried. "Give us away? You don't expect to think that no one will notice that we're THREE pets and TWO petpets under a BLANKET with nothing on it but a BUNCH OF LEAVES AND A TWIG, do you?!"

     "Um--well, we can at least TRY to get out of here. Besides, we're almost out of the camp--" Tiira_Misu was interrupted by a voice.

     "Who's there?"

     "You just HAD to open your big mouth, didn't you?" Camella scolded. Suddenly, a flashlight shone on the group of five.

     "Oh, look at this! It's three pets and two petpets under a blanket with nothing on it but a bunch of leaves and a twig. Is this some sort of tribe ritual or something?" A figure came closer and threw the blanket off.

     "Magnolia?" Natalie asked, disbelieving. "What are you doing here--aren't you on vacation?"

     "Natalie--am I glad to see you!" Magnolia quickly told the story of how the air balloon popped mysteriously and how she had ended up in the jungle. "And who's that?" Magnolia asked, pointing to a yellow Chia who had stood next to Natalie the whole time.

     "Oh--I'm sorry!" he exclaimed. "I'm Taro--um...Natalie is my sister--we work at the Agency together."

"Really? I never saw you around before. Hi, Taro! Uh--I'm Magnolia, and this is Sys-op."

     "And I'm Tiira_Misu!" the Usul added. "This is Esmerelda!"

     "Aww, she's so cute!" Natalie cooed. Suddenly, the group broke out into a friendly discussion.

     "HELLO?!" Camella cried. "I must be traveling with a group of very forgetful people, you know."

     "What is she doing here?" Natalie asked.

     "First of all, I was here on a visit to the Trading Post and got hit with a watermelon. Secondly, when did I just COMPLETELY drop out of the conversation? Third, do ANY of you remember that we're supposed to be traveling SILENTLY?!"

     "Oh, Juppie--I forgot!" Magnolia turned to where the Tonu disguise was, but behind her was an Island Tonu holding the blanket instead.

     "Looking for something?" she asked.

     "Actually, yes," Magnolia replied, pointing to the blanket.

     "Why are we here, anyway?" Camella asked.

     "Well, we were on vacation," said Natalie. "Taro and I were just taking a hike, that's all."

     "Hmm..." The Tonu paused. "Well, the rest of you were brought here under special orders, so if you'll kindly follow me..."

     Magnolia, Sys-op, Natalie, Taro, Camella, Tiira_Misu and Esmerelda followed the Tonu into a small hut. Behind a bamboo desk sat a striped Wocky who smiled as the group was escorted inside.

     "Hello, Magnolia," she said. "Long time, no see, wouldn't you say?"

     "Jeannie?" Magnolia asked. "What is this, 'Return of the Villains' or something? And where's Roger? Oh, I get it--this is 'Return of the Villains Without Their Cohorts'!"

     "No--I fired him! He was never any good anyway. Besides, now that you're finally here, I won't need him." Jeannie pulled the window curtains open. A nearby volcano could be seen.

     "You're not thinking what I think you think I think you're thinking...I think," Magnolia stuttered.

     "Okay, now I REALLY worry about you," Sys-op said.

     "Never mind that!" Jeannie exclaimed. "Anyway, she's right. The pit of that volcano will be your next stop!"

     "W-Why?" Magnolia asked. "I didn't do anything, did I?"

     "Oh yes you did," Jeannie retorted. "See?" She pointed to a large ruby on her desk. "I stole it yesterday, and the last time I tried to make away with something this valuable, Magnolia came to stop me! So, I won't let that happen this time. I knew you'd be intrigued by that Usul's disappearance, so I used her to lure you here."

     "I was just a trap?" Tiira_Misu asked.

     "Precisely--and YOU," Jeannie pointed to Camella. "You've just been stealing the villain spotlight for too long!"

     "But what about us, then?" Taro asked. "We came here by accident!"

     "Hmm...I suppose..."

     "So we can leave, right?"

     "No! You know WAY too much! You're going in the volcano with the rest of them!"

At the Conveniently-Placed Active Volcano...

     "Villain spotlight!" Camella fumed as she was carried up to the volcano. "I've been here entirely TOO long!" Camella's normally bouncy red curls now hung straight to her shoulders. Her long red dress was tattered and torn, and the normally collected expression on her face was replaced with an exasperated frown.

     "At least YOU weren't part of the setup!" Tiira_Misu screamed. "I feel so...so...USED!"

     "At least YOU weren't taken up to a conveniently-placed active volcano just because you were HIKING!" Taro cried.

     The group was carried up to the top of the volcano where Magnolia, looking over the side, noticed that the magma in the volcano was at a considerably low level. She also noticed a small ledge in the volcano wall.

     "Any last words?" Jeannie asked.

     "U-um...no...I suppose," said Sys-op.

     "As I thought. Well, 'Bon Voyage!'" Jeannie pushed all seven into the volcano. Closing her eyes in laughter, she didn't notice that Magnolia had grabbed on to the ledge. Sys-op landed on Magnolia's head, Camella grabbed Magnolia's tail, Taro caught Camella's tail, Natalie caught Taro's foot, Tiira_Misu grabbed Natalie's tail, and Esmerelda, less than a foot away from the pit of magma, was caught by Tiira_Misu. Jeannie, incidentally, didn't notice any of this either. In fact, she walked away from the scene to plan her next heist.

     "Villains are such idiots nowadays," Tiira_Misu muttered.

     "AUGH!" Magnolia cried. "WHY DID I HAVE TO FALL FIRST?!"

     "There has to be some easy way to get out of here," Natalie said. "Let's all try to crawl up at the same time."

     "Okay, on three," Sys-op suggested. "One...two...THREE!"

     "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUGH!"

     "Okay, okay, this isn't working," Camella said, putting the frenzy to a halt. "Tiira_Misu, do you think you can climb up over us to safe ground?"

     "I'll try. Come on, Esmerelda." Tiira_Misu climbed over Natalie, Taro, Camella, and finally Magnolia and out of the volcano.

     "You next, Natalie," Magnolia said.

At the Hut...

     "Ah, I knew I'd be better off without that idiot Roger in my way," Jeannie cried, stroking her ruby. "I should start planning for my next heist--"

     "Drop it, Jeannie!" Magnolia cried, throwing the door open. "You're under arrest for thievery, holding five pets and two petpets against their will, and attempted murder..." she turned to Natalie. "Was that right?"

     "Yes."

     "Not this time, Magnolia!" With that, Jeannie grabbed the ruby, threw open the window and ran outside to a helicopter.

     "Where did THAT come from?" Camella asked, following her.

     All seven in the group attempted to catch up with Jeannie, but only Sys-op caught on to the ladder. She screamed as she was carried several feet into the air by the craft. The hut soon became a small spot, and then seemed invisible amongst the many trees of the jungle.

     Sys-op struggled to climb through the open entrance and confront Jeannie. "What? A stowaway!" she cried.

     "Where'd you put that ruby, Jeannie?" Sys-op asked, looking around.

     "It's right here," Jeannie replied, waving the ruby in her hand.

     "Shouldn't you be paying attention to piloting the helicopter?" Sys-op queried.

     "Oh--right!" She brought both of her hands to the controls. Paying no attention to the ruby, she dropped it, and it rolled to the very edge of the exit. "Oh NO!" she cried, attempting to grab it.

     Sys-op ran towards the ruby and knocked it out of the helicopter and into the ocean. "MY RUBY!" Jeannie ran to the exit and stared down into the sea. "Nooo..." she moaned. Sys-op nudged Jeannie towards the exit and she fell out of the helicopter.

     "AAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!" she cried.

     "'Bon Voyage!'" Sys-op called after her.

     Magnolia and Sys-op never got a real vacation, but they were able to take three more days off of work. (Chief was very reluctant to extend their vacation.) Jeannie would have been taken to jail; however, she's currently stranded out on a desert island in the middle of the ocean, which is punishment enough. Camella returned to her home, and as much as Sys-op wanted her to be, was not taken off to jail. Taro and Magnolia have become great friends, and Tiira_Misu returned safely to her home in Neopia Central.

     "I hate happy endings," Jeannie muttered to a starfish.

The End

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