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Evil Masterminds-- Not So Anonymous?


by extreme_fj0rd

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I stood with my disco Kau, Yotaria, and looked at the meeting place for Evil Masterminds Anonymous. It was a mansion, towering above us on a hill in the Haunted Woods.

      They hadn't done much to conceal where they met. Last week I'd seen the ad in the Neopian Times:

      WORLD DOMINATION PLANS NOT GOING WELL?

      MINIONS JUST DON'T OBEY LIKE THEY USED TO?

      WELL, WE HAVE JUST THE GROUP FOR YOU!

      EVIL MASTERMINDS ANONYMOUS

      It then gave the address, which was of course at an obscure location in the Haunted Woods. Where else?

     I led the way to the gates, Yotaria following closely behind. They creaked open to let us in, then slammed behind us. The winding driveway led to a large pair of wooden double doors. There was a knocker on the door, so I knocked.

      No answer. I knocked again.

      Yotaria pointed out the glowing button that usually denoted a doorbell to one side of the door. I pressed it.

      Nothing happened.

      Finally, after a half hour of alternating knocking and ringing the doorbell, I gave up and yelled, "We have you surrounded! Open up in the name of the Dark Lady Fj0rd and her army of..." My creativity ran out. Yotaria quickly took over, shouting a finish; "Greebles!"

      The doors creaked inwards. Pleased with my idea, I stepped inside. Yotaria followed.

      The inside was a large, high-ceilinged hall. Rows of chairs faced the end of the room opposite us, where a spotlight shone on a podium. Yotaria and I sat in chairs in the middle of the room. While waiting for the meeting to start, we peered around at all the villains, and giggled about them to each other.

      "There's Sloth!" I whispered to Yotaria, but she didn't hear, being too occupied with waving a hoof at Darigan. "And Kass! And there's the Jelly Chia, and the Grundo Spider, and... Lyrian?!" Yotaria and I stared, dumbfounded, at the Sketch Kiko wearing a dark cape that floated above a nearby chair.

      "How'd he get here?" I wondered. "I thought I left him at home, moping about his science project."

      Yotaria shrugged. "I guess you didn't."

      I didn't have time to answer; the meeting was starting.

      A dark shadow moved over to stand behind the podium. Despite the spotlight, it was still simply a mass of darkness. "Hello and welcome to the third Evil Mastermind's Anonymous group meeting. I hope all your plans for world domination are going well?"

      A mutter of assent came from all the villains, particularly from the dark corners. Yotaria and I muttered along with the others, "Yes... perfectly well... if it wasn't for that one Grarrl..."

      "Okay then! Who'd like to start first?" No one raised their hands, but the shadow-being, whatever he, she or it was, didn't seem to mind. "Sloth, how good of you to volunteer."

      Dr. Sloth got up and walked onstage. The shadow walked off. "I'd like to say first," he said, "that my plans for world domination are not crushed, just delayed."

      The crowd cheered.

      "That goody-two-shoes Hannah has pre-empted my plot to rule Neopia," Sloth continued. "She thinks she can do a better job than me. Hah! Let's see how many people think she's a hero-when I transmogrify her!" The crowd cheered again, and he added, "Muahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!"

      "Go Slothy!" someone in the crowd yelled. The rest of the villains picked it up. "Go Slothy! Go Slothy! Go Slothy!"

      Eventually they quieted down. Sloth stepped down, and the next villain walked on.

      Everyone stared.

      It was Hannah. The Usul. Better known as the hero of Hannah and the Pirate Caves.

      She didn't waste time with greetings. "Everyone thinks that I'm the hero of the Pirate Caves, that I'm perfect because I recover the stolen treasure. But you know what?"

      "What?" the mob yelled.

      "I'm not the hero here!" Hannah shouted back. "I'm in league with those pirates. They steal things, and let me find them. Then I sell them, and then the pirates go and steal them back!"

      "Oooo..." the crowd said appreciatively.

      "Yes! Yes! I'm not a hero! I've never been a hero!" Hannah screamed, and the crowd cheered again.

      "Hannah and the pirates! Hannah and the pirates! Hannah and the pirates!"

      Yotaria and I exchanged glances. Let's guess what the crowd would do after the next speaker went up... This was becoming terrifyingly, boringly predictable.

      Hannah left the spotlight, Kass walked up, and it all began again. "I never wanted to be a villain," he said tearfully. "I-I wanted to be a disco star. But Mommy said that I had to help pay the taxes, so off I went to join Darigan's army. And-and then I found that I enjoyed it. So help me Fyora, I loved it! Bullying people about, waving swords in people's faces-when Darigan lost the battle with Meridell, I was disgusted, absolutely disgusted," Kass said, glancing nervously at Darigan sitting across the hall. "I knew I could do better. And I almost-almost did. Except this slimeball came back, and then, well-"

      "Slimeball?!" Darigan stood up. "Slimeball!" he repeated. "Look, Kass, I never wanted to be a villain either. I was an opera star before I was enlisted in the army. And look at me now!" he shrieked. "Dead, resurrected-I'm getting tired of all this! You," Darigan said, pointing at Kass. "Battledome. Midnight tomorrow. I'll be waiting," he said, sneering. With a flip of his cloak, Darigan left.

      "Um... so... anyway..." Kass said nervously, "then the slim-um, Darigan, came back, when he was supposed to be gone, and... and... I'll never get to be a disco star!" He ran from the platform sobbing. The next villain took the stage.

      And the next.

      And the next.

      The meeting dragged on for Yotaria and I, half-asleep in our chairs, which weren't all that comfortable, either.

      There were a few high points, for which we deigned to open our eyes and sit up straight.

      Like the time a Meepit came on stage. In a series of squeaks, whistles, and clicks, most of the audience figured out that the Meepits wanted less juice, actually they hated juice with a passion and now were thinking of demanding cocoa instead, or perhaps borovan, but maybe just plain old mint tea... well, anyway, the Meepits were mad and they were giving a three-day warning for the switch to cocoa and if the pestering owners and pets still gave them juice then there'd be TROUBLE!

      Or at least, I think that's what they said. It was all translated by a Kacheek, who stood as far away from the Meepit as possible. From the gestures the Meepit was making, its speech could've been something far more sinister, but apparently even this was serious enough. I made a note of it, jotting it down on the back of my hand.

      Or the time when a White Weewoo came up. It fluttered around the hall, going, "Weeeeeeeeewwwooooooo.... weeeeewwwwooooooooo...." quite loudly. Eventually someone captured it and carried it off, probably to sell it at a scandalous price, the Weewoo still determinedly saying "Weeeeeewwooooooo!" through the bars of its cage. "Weewoo!" it finished, squawking out this last firmly as it was carried through the doors of the hall.

      The rest of the villains had their turns; they told their stories and were appropriately cheered or booed off the stage.

      Then... "Yotaria and extreme_fj0rd," announced a voice. "Oh, and Lyrian_, too."

      We walked up to the front of the room, Lyrian bobbing along behind us and looking quite pleased about something.

      "Um... hi." I tried a feeble wave. A few of the villains waved back to me. "I'm extreme_fj0rd, and these are my pets, Yotaria and Lyrian_. We kind of... wanted to see your meeting for educational purposes," I said, getting into the idea of it. "It's ever been ever so wonderful. Also, I might be writing this up for the Neopian Times, so..."

      The villains, who had been silent (except for the occasional rude remarks whispered to their neighbors) during my speech before, all jumped up at once. "Neopian Times?" they all exclaimed.

      "....Yes..." I said nervously, backing away. "...Please don't hurt me!"

      "Can I get my name in there?"

      "Mention me in a footnote!"

      "Are you going to quote me? It'd do wonders for my standing in the Evil Masterminds' Association!"

      They crowded up on stage, forcing Yotaria, Lyrian_ and I out the back door. We resorted to a window to peer in at the villains, who apparently hadn't noticed our absence.

      "Tell about my latest plot!" was the last comment I heard as we stood up and trotted off into the darkness.

      "Why were you there?" I remembered to ask Lyrian_.

      "Oh... school field trip, you know..." He looked vague and tired. I waved him off to bed and made a cup of strong tea. It was a few hours before I realized-Neoschools aren't out yet...

The End

Author's Note: Please forgive me for the White Weewoo... it was a joke I tell you... a joke! The Meepits I'm not quite sure about, as they seemed quite busy when I last visited them. Something about exploding suitcases as a new line of Battledome items?

 
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