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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 31st day of Hunting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 80 > Short Stories > The Cheese Caper

The Cheese Caper

by terrabondayle

Also written by t_jones
Untitled Document Author's Note: This wasn't my bright idea. It's my muse's fault (t_jones). Go send him your complaints! ;) My apologies for the bad accents in speech.

Soft clangs and clatters came from the kitchen as Hoofgang _Moozart_ rummaged through the fridge almost desperately. Old dishes of yesterday's surprise came tumbling out, along with half-emptied Neocola bottles and cold soup. Moo's hooves touched something slimy and recoiled with disgust. Finally he sighed and sat back on his haunches, looking at the emptied fridge in front of him.

     "Oh where, oh where, has my Gouda gone?"

     "Where has what gone?"

     _Moozart_'s sister, Black_Silhouette, came into the kitchen curiously; her Halloween Kougra wings brushing the doorway. She looked at the mess around her older brother and raised an eyebrow. He turned his head and saw her standing at the entry of the kitchen.

     "Oh, Sil!" he jumped back to all fours. "Just the Kougra I wanted to see."

     "Do you even know any other Kougras?"

     Moo stopped for a moment in thought, but then decided to ignore the question. "This is serious, Sil. Do we have anymore cheese?"

     "Moo, you're the only one in the family who eats cheese. You know better than I."

     "Oh… well I guess that's true." He started to pace and tried to think when was the last time he had eaten cheese.

     Let me see…I had some cheddar on Monday to go with my Neocrackers…and then I had some Spicy Juppie Cheese with my Tomato Sub…wait, I'll try my secret cheese stash!

     With a sudden laugh, _Moozart_ ran up to his room and closed the door. He shut the curtains and opened the closet door. He reached for the top of the closet board, whose secret compartment was cleverly hidden, and opened it, expecting dozens of cheeses to drop blissfully on his head. He closed his eyes and waited.

     Nothing.

     He waited a little longer.

     Nothing.

     He shook the board but no cheese came tumbling down the hatch. He opened his eyes anxiously, and screamed.

     Upon hearing her brother's distressed cry, Sil burst through the door. "_Moozart_?! What happened, Moo? What's wrong?"

     _Moozart_ saw her and screamed again, hurriedly closing his not-so-secret compartment that was now empty of cheese. "SIL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!" He took a deep breath and then continued slightly less agitated. "Haven't you ever heard of knocking?!"

     "Well, I'm sorry for being concerned by your glass-shattering scream…"

     "Oh, Sil! My cheese is gone! All of it! Even the… the…"

     "Even the cheese in your secret stash?"

     _Moozart_ gasped. "How do you know about that?!"

     The Kougra rolled her eyes. "Really, Moo, did you really think you did a good job in hiding that from us? We could hear your giddy laughter from downstairs and the next we saw you there were cheese crumbs on your face."

     "Oh…? I did not realise it was so obvious," he frowned for a moment and then cried again when his eyes veered back to the empty closet.

     "It's all gone!" he cried into his hooves. "All of it's gone!

     "Oh, come off it Moo. No one would want your cheese," she said irritably. "You probably ate it all, anyway."

     "Humph, well if you don't want to help, then I don't want to listen to you. I am going for a walk. LOOPA! LOOPA! Come! We're going for a walk!"

     The Narwhool bounced down the stairs after the indignant Kau who was grabbing his Jazzmosis hat. They left 70801 Training Square, Mystery Island and headed out around the markets. _Moozart_ stopped at the Tombola, and left with a new bottle of black sand. He was then shuffled by the haiku generator, hearing something about hills coming from inside. He was confused by the odd words but sulked on past the harbour.

     _Moozart_ and his petpet hopped on a boat for the mainland, and they made their way to Meridell. He was hoping to see whether his favourite games had been revived but upon arriving, Moo was gravely disappointed. He could tell just by standing on a hill overlooking the town that things were no better than the last time he had visited.

     "Aww, shucks. Well, I've come this far so I might as well look around." He looked around and saw newly added games, but none interested him.

     "Hey, Moo!" Loopa called out. "Lookit this thing!" Moo turned around to see the Narwhool jumping in the old pit where the Turmaculus had slept. He was jumping around, trying to soften the hard soil.

     "Loopa, I don't think that's a good idea," he said somewhat absentmindedly. "What if the Turmaculus comes back?"

     The energetic Narwhool went from one idea to another without stopping for a second. "Hey, Moo! Where d'ya think that guy's goin'?"

     "What guy?" The Kau turned around to see a blue Techo in peasant clothing heading up a large hill while trying to balance a large box in his arms. _Moozart_ looked closer and saw that the box contents had an interesting yellow colour to them.

     "It's… it's…! After him Loopa! Don't let him get away!" The Kau charged up the hill after the Techo, his Narwhool not far behind. _Moozart_ cried out and tackled the unsuspecting Techo who screamed in terror as he and the Kau rolled down the hill.

     Moo desperately tried to take the large package in which he was sure there was cheese. "MINE!" he roared.

     "What in-"

     "IT'S MINE! GIVE IT TO ME!"

     "Get off of me you crazy Kau!"

     "MII…OUCH!"

     The two fell apart but the Techo was breathless and could not get up to save himself. Loopa raced down to see if Moo was all right. The Kau was sitting back on his hooves groggily, and mumbling incoherent words. Beside him lay two large pieces of rock that until recently had fit one into the other.

     "Ooohhh… I don't feel so good." Behind him came similar moans of pain from the Techo. He suddenly realized he no longer had his box of valuables and began to search frantically for it.

     _Moozart_ was quicker. "Oh, no you don't sir! That cheese is mine!" He staggered over to the box and clutched it tightly, slowly squeezing the contents.

     The Techo blinked, "Cheeze? Zat iz not cheeze! Give zat to me right now before I call the Chia police!" He stood over the Kau and snatched the box out of his hooves. "Sacré bleu! My Fall Fur Bushes! What have you done? I waz zepposed to plant zem in my garden! Now zey are ruined!" He picked out one of the golden bushes from the box and examined the damaged leaves. _Moozart_ slowly digested the information. "You mean… that's not cheese?"

     "Of course not! Zese are for my garden. I must make zomething grow again."

     "So… there's no cheese in there?"

     "Non!"

     "Then bring me to your cheese stash. I know you have one," he eyed the Techo suspiciously. "You've got something secret in that broken booth of yours, Mister…uh…"

     "My name is Gaston," he gave an indignant sniff.

     "Okay, Gaston. Where is your cheese? I would be very grateful if you could share some of that dairy delicacy with me."

     Gaston wrinkled his nose. "After what you have done to me? I do not think zo, Monsieur Kau. But it does not matter, because I have no more cheeze."

     Moo gasped, "You're lying! I know you ar-"

     "Ah, bon. If Monsieur will not believe me, he can come search the remains of my home."

     "Indeed I will!" roared the furious Kau. "I'll find your cheese! You can't hide it from me… or even Loopa!"

     Gaston shook his head but went back up the hill. Moo and Loopa were not far behind.

     The ruins of what was once a great shelf filled with dozens of cheese lay in pieces at _Moozart_'s feet. He searched through the boards frantically but was unable to find the smallest crumb.

     He turned back to Gaston. "You're hiding it somewhere aren't you? It's because I knocked into you back there so you don't want to give me anything, least of all cheese!"

     The Techo sighed, "Monsieur Kau, s'il vous plait. I have no cheeze. Every bit of property waz stolen from me when Darigan came here. All zat iz left are zee wooden boards zat were once walls of my home and business.

     "Oh, how I loved to hold zee competitions everyday and watch zee happy, young Neopets race to zee finish."

     "Er… that's nice," Moo said awkwardly. "But that doesn't help me in my search for cheese."

     "Zat is because I have none!" the Techo screamed.

     "Sure, sure. C'mon Loopa, let's look under that big heap of junk."

     Gaston gritted his teeth in frustration, but decided to leave them to their antics. There was no cheese and he did not care what they did to his ruined home as long as they left when they were finished. No, what mattered was his prized gourmet club trophy that he held tenderly in his hand. He took out a cloth and started to polish its fine surface.

     Meanwhile, Loopa was examining the 'spring' of the old boards and was slapping at them with his tail. "Hey, Moo! What 'bout this one? Doesn't it sound like there's cheese under there?"

     Despite not knowing what cheese sounded like when hit against a board, he took a closer look. "You might be on to something Loopa. Here, give me a hand with this." The two of them grabbed hold of a buried board and tried desperately to yank it open. "Wow, this is a heavy one. Put some muscle into it, buddy!"

     They pulled harder but the board did not budge. "C'mon Loopa! What are you? A petpet, or a… petpet…err, yeah. Just pull!"

     Their muscles strained with tension but finally the board groaned and began to move. _Moozart_ almost giggled with excitement. "We've almost got it! I can almost taste that cheese… come on! Just a little more!" Loopa gasped as he tried to breathe. "I… don't think I can… do…"

     "No, Loopa! For the cheese! Do it for the CHEESE!"

     With one last burst of strength, the two pulled it out with all their might, but were sent flying as it was released. The planks on top of the great heap collapsed and toppled over to the side. The scream of Gaston was heard, but for a different reason.

     "MY TROPHY! You… you…!"

     _Moozart_ sat up and looked over to where the Techo was standing. Loopa was on the ground a few feet away.

     "You ruined my prize trophy!" he began to sob.

     The Kau blinked a few times in confusion. "What?"

     "My trophy… your petpet… he…he…it…" he faltered.

     Moo's gaze shifted to Loopa's direction. Not far from where the petpet lay, he saw a silver shard of metal, and another, and another.

     "Loopa? Are you okay?"

     The petpet hopped over to the Kau, the words 'Gormet Club CHAMPION!' branded into his back from the impact.

     "Wow, Loopa. You're a champion by default."

     As the two pets made pleasantry, Gaston's rage began to build up again. "You… zat was my valued prize!"

     Moo stopped in mid-sentence of a joke. "Sorry…but if you had given me the cheese in the first place this wouldn't have happened. Even now I still don't have any." He frowned.

     Gaston twitched and his face turned red. His mouth worked but no sound came out.

     "Uh… Moo?" Loopa shifted nervously. "I think we better go…"

     They ran but were not quick enough to escape the angry wind that finally erupted from him.

***

Sil turned from the living room as she heard the front door creak open. She saw her brother's ruffled fur and Loopa who did not look any better.

     "What happened you two? Did you find any cheese?"

     Loopa mumbled something inaudible and slumped to the floor. Moo gave an exasperated sigh. "No. We went to Gaston, the old Techo who was in charge of Cheeseroller, but it turns out he's a little tweaked in the head. He insisted there was no cheese, but I think he was just hiding it from us."

     The Kougra raised an eyebrow but did not prod further. "Well I'm sure you could check the stores tomorrow for something."

     Just then the front door opened again and a brown-haired teenager stepped in.

     "T_Jones!"

     "Hey, guys sorry I was out so long. I went out searching for some cheese because I couldn't help but take the last ones from Moo's stash the other day. A whole wheat baguette just isn't the same without some quadruple fudge cheese. Guys? What's wrong?"

     Sil stared wordlessly and slowly backed out of the room.

     "Sil? Hey Moo, do you know what's wrong with Sil? Moo? _Moozart_?"

     He never knew what hit him.

The End


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