There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 123,711,044 Issue: 249 | 21st day of Swimming, Y8
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The Mynci Squad: Part One


by costa_rican_girl

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Mono, an Island Mynci, sat on the green and yellow rug on his living room floor, pondering. It was a Saturday morning, and he had absolutely nothing to do! Mistique, his little sister, was off collecting books, while his younger brother, Star, was battling with friends. His owner, Rose, was shopping at the Marketplace.

      Mono sighed. This evening would be the same. Rose would attend a guild meeting. Mistique would appear at her monthly book club meeting, and Star would sleep over at his battling guild's headquarters. And still Mono would remain at home, with nothing to do. He needed a club to join.

      Sure, he was a part of Rose's guild, but he didn't have very many close friends there. Rose's best friends were all there, but Mono's weren't, with the exception of his very best friend, Pepper, who didn't hang at the guild headquarters much anyway.

      Frustrated, Mono stood up and pulled open the heavy front door. He might as well pay a visit to his best friend.

      Mono had known Pepper since pre-Neoschool. He could still remember how nervous he had been on that first day of school. He had tears in his eyes and had been furiously sucking his thumb. As he made his way down the long hallway, holding Rose's hand with his own sweaty palm, he had noticed a girl sitting in a shadowed corner, crying silently to herself. Mono had peered over at her curiously.

      "What's wrong?" he squeaked at her, forgetting his own troubles.

      The girl-a young spotted Mynci-peeked up at Mono and blinked a few times, causing several tears to slide down her plump cheeks.

      "I d-don't know where to go," she had stuttered, wiping her nose. "I don't know where preschool is!" She sniffled, and a couple more tears fell from her large, fearful eyes.

      Mono let go of Rose's hand and stepped over to the girl.

      "Don't worry," he had told her confidently, "I'll help you find the way. I'm going there, too!" Mono held out his hand and the girl took it gingerly, standing up.

      "I'm Mono."

      "I'm Pepper."

     Mono blinked, the precious memory slipping away as reality once again set in. He jumped down his front steps and began walking to the eastern side of Neopia Central, where Pepper resided.

     Mono, after about five minutes of travel, reached his friend's house and knocked four or five times on the door.

     "Coming!" came a voice from inside-Pepper's voice.

      The door slowly opened and Mono saw Pepper's flawless, pretty face peek out.

      "Mono!" she cried happily, swinging the door all the way open for Mono to enter.

      "Hi," Mono simply replied, proceeding into Pepper's bright, neat house.

      "What's up?" Pepper asked as Mono thumped down on a bean bag chair in the living room.

      "Bored."

      "Ah." Pepper went into the kitchen and poured two glasses of lemonade. She returned and handed Mono one, then began sipping her own. "So... "

      "We need a life," Mono interrupted, gulping down his lemonade. "We're always sitting at home, doing nothing."

      "Speak for yourself," Pepper retorted. "I have plenty of things to do."

      "Oh yeah?" Mono replied, eyeing Pepper, who was now slumped on the couch across from him. "What are your plans for today?"

      "Today? Well, I figured I'd take today off..."

      "Uh huh. And tomorrow?"

      "Um... I thought I might volunteer at the pound..."

      "Okay, and how 'bout Monday?"

      Pepper thought for a moment, scratching her arm.

      "Okay, okay. I see your point. I need a life. You need a life." Pepper took another sip of her lemonade. "But whaddya gonna do? We're already in a guild."

      "True, but there are other clubs and things out there. Neopia's a big place."

      "But what good clubs exist that meet all of our interests?" Pepper inquired. "I like to read, but not enough to join a book club. I enjoy attending Hikalaka concerts, but I don't want to join a Hikalaka fan club."

      "And I like writing for the Neopian Times, but I already belong to a writing club, and we only get together once a month or even less."

      "So what can we do? Obviously we want to join the same club, but we'll need to think of something we're both interested in."

      They both became silent and started wondering what they had in common. For two close friends they were extraordinarily different.

      "Uh..." Mono began quietly. "We... we both like... Um..."

      "Petpets?" Pepper finished lamely. "No, dumb idea."

      Mono nodded with a subtle grin.

      "Hey, I know!" Mono said, jabbing his index finger in the air. "We both love Mystery Island."

      Pepper rolled her eyes.

      "We're already in a guild for that-The Tropical Islanders. Duh!"

      "Oh... Right," Mono replied sheepishly.

      The pair continued their pondering for a few more minutes, occasionally coming up with more lame ideas that were quickly rejected.

      "Well," said Mono, setting down his empty glass on the coffee table, the ice cubes clinking together noisily. "The only thing we seem to really like and have in common is our interest with Mystery Island. What if there were a club with a Geraptiku theme? Or Tombola..."

      Pepper shuddered.

      "Geraptiku? No way. And what would a Tombola club do? Hang out with the Tombola man? That guy gives me the creeps."

      "Then you think of something!"

      Mono stood up from his bean bag chair with a grunt and grabbed his lemonade glass. He began to head toward the kitchen but was intercepted by Pepper, who was holding out her empty glass for him. He took it and began pouring more lemonade.

      "Hm..." Pepper said to herself, rubbing her chin. "Why do we like Mystery Island so much, anyway?" She scratched her head.

      "Oh, of course! It's because we're Myncies. We originated on Mystery Island, so of course we're naturally drawn to it."

      Mono came out and handed Pepper her glass, which contained considerably less liquid than Mono's. Pepper glared at Mono playfully. She took a sip, then suddenly spit it out, completely soaking Mono everywhere above his neck.

      "I'VE GOT IT!" Pepper cried excitedly. "We could have a Mynci club!"

      Mono continued to stand in front of Pepper, frozen with disgust.

      "Ew..." he muttered, vigorously shaking his head, sending drops of lemonade all over the living room.

      Pepper rolled her eyes and quickly grabbed Mono a towel from the kitchen.

      "A Mynci club?" Mono questioned, wiping off his face.

      "Yeah! We're both Myncies, right? I'm sure there are hundreds of other Myncies out there, longing for an excuse to go to Mystery Island... We could make a tree house on the island and meet every week or so to play Mynci Beach Volleyball, go to Hikalaka concerts, eat Zeenana Ice Lollies... It'll be great!"

      "Actually," Mono said thoughtfully, once again taking his place on the bean bag chair, "that's a really good idea. Are you proposing that we are the leaders of the club, instead of just joining a club that already exists?"

      "Yes, unless you can find another Mynci club..."

      "Alright then, let's get started!"

     ***

      Since it was summer and the Myncies were out from school, there was plenty of time during the entirety of the week for planning how the club would work and getting ready for the first meeting, which was to take place the next Saturday. Flyers were made and hung all around Mystery Island-as well as all the other nations of Neopia-that said "THE MYNCI SQUAD" in huge black letters, and then continued on with information about the club.

      The obstacle that was the main problem, however, was the tree house. It was inevitable that the meetings would take place in a tree house, so that only natural tree climbers-namely Myncies-would be able to enter the house, and no one else. It would add to the atmosphere, as Pepper put it. But Mono and Pepper's problem was building one, and finding a proper tree for one. Every morning of that week Mono and Pepper would scour Mystery Island's dense tropical forests for the perfect tree. They didn't want to go too deep into the forest-that might cause someone to get lost. However, they also did not want it right on the edge, where it was visible to public eyes. It was a secret club of sorts, a private club, only open to Myncies. And that's how it would stay, if Pepper had anything to do with it.

      "What if we opened it to all native Mystery Islanders?" Mono had suggested, worried that not enough Myncies would show up.

      Pepper had simply rolled her eyes. "Mono! It's called the Mynci Squad, not the 'all Neopians who originated in Mystery Island Squad.' Duh!"

      Finally Mono and Pepper stopped at the furniture shop in Neopia Central and asked for all their scraps of wood, which turned out to be plenty for a tree house. They hauled it to the tree they had found and left it there, unsure what to do next. Neither of them was very skilled in architecture.

      "Well," Mono said, wiping his brow with the back of his arm. "We could always have our first Mynci Squad activity to be building this thing."

      Pepper nodded.

      "Maybe we'll land with some architect Myncies," she said excitedly.

      "Heh, yeah... "

     Finally Saturday had come. It was time for the first Mynci Squad meeting. Mono and Pepper had stocked up on Zeenana Ice Lollies, Mynci T-shirts, Gingerbread Myncies, Mynci Tail Lollipops, the Mynci Book of World Records, Banans, Vionannas, and Zeenanas. They were fully prepared for whoever would come.

     The first arrival to the tree was a cloud Mynci presumably older than Mono and Pepper with a sweet face and dazzling blue eyes.

     "Hello," she greeted warmly. "I'm Skye. This is the meeting place for the Mynci Squad, right?"

     Pepper shook her hand and steered her to a makeshift bench she and Mono had previously fashioned.

     "Right," she replied. "And you're our first arrival! Welcome to the Mynci Squad!"

     The next arrivals were two Myncies who seemed to be racing each other. They were neck and neck, sprinting through the trees, and they were so blurry Mono couldn't tell what colors they were. They quickly reached the tree and abruptly stopped, panting.

     "I won!" cried the female one, jabbing her fist in the air. "I won by at least a foot!"

     "Ha!" gasped the other one-a male, electric blue Mynci. "My amazing speed must have blown your mind, because I was clearly the winner."

     "Oh yeah?"

     "Yeah!"

     The female one, who was a shadow Mynci, punched the electric blue one in the arm.

     "Whatever," she mumbled, sitting down next to Skye.

     Pepper stared at the pair, in a daze. She never was very good at running.

     "Welcome to the Mynci Squad," Mono greeted them, pointing the electric blue Mynci toward the bench where Skye and the shadow colored girl sat. "What are your names?"

     The shadow colored Mynci raised an arm.

     "Liza," she said simply.

     "Lance," said the other one, plopping himself down next to Liza.

     "Liza and Lance," Mono mumbled, writing down their names on a clipboard. He had already written down Sky's name.

     "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

     All five Myncies jumped and turned in the direction of the shout.

     "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" it came again. It was closer this time.

     "What on Neopia?" Skye wondered quietly.

     "AAAAA-OW!"

     Suddenly, out of the dense maze of tree branches ahead of the group came a plushie Mynci, flying through the air. He landed hard directly in front of Mono, grunting. Mono helped him up, chuckling slightly.

     "Welcome," he said. "What's your name?"

     "Sponge," the Mynci replied, saluting him. "M'name's Sponge."

     Mono raised an eyebrow but Sponge ignored it and took a seat next to Lance.

     Pepper turned to Mono.

     "Do you think any more will come?" she asked quietly. "Or should we just get started?"

     "Well... I dunno. We can start, and if anyone else comes they can just join in."

     "'Kay," Pepper replied, turning back towards the "squad" sitting on the bench. "Okay, Myncies, welcome to the Mynci Squad. If you all know each other's names by now, we'll get started. This is Mono, and my name's Pepper. We're the leaders, so if you have any questions, ask one of us.

     "This first meeting is going to be tough, but it'll definitely pay off once we have a comfortable place to hang out. We have to build our tree house. Does anyone have a clue about architecture?"

     Lance raised his hand.

     "My father is an architect," he said proudly while Liza mocked him. "He is one of the workers who helps construct the Neohomes in Neopia Central, and he has taught me many things about architecture."

     "Great!" Pepper said, beaming. "You can be the lead architect. First-Oh, yes?"

     Liza was now raising an arm, glaring at Lance.

     "My parents run the furniture shop in Neopia Central," she said, continuing to glower at Lance. "So I know all sorts of things about building things."

     Pepper nodded, clearly seeing how much competition there was between these two.

     "Alright, then you can be the second lead architect. You and Lance will run the operation." Pepper wrote something down on her clipboard and was about to begin speaking again, when a piercing scream shot through the humid air, followed by hysterical laughter. Pepper turned abruptly, raising an eyebrow.

     "HAHAHAHAHA! GOT YOU AGAIN!" it was a boy's voice-he was surely teasing someone.

     "UGH, stop that, would you?" this was a shrill female voice, sounding worried. "I always think it's the Pant Devil or Vira or Dr. Sloth or the Spider Grundo or the-"

     "Yeah, yeah, yeah."

     Two more Myncies-a brown one and a speckled one-were strolling through the trees, the speckled one looking terrified, while the brown one looked giddy with glee.

     The brown one stepped forward to face Pepper, bowing dramatically.

     "Hello, milady," he said, straightening out. "My name is Sir Keegan. And who might you be?"

     Pepper laughed, her eyes twinkling.

     "Pepper," she mumbled, blushing slightly.

     Mono glared at Keegan.

     "And who are you?" Mono asked the speckled Mynci, sounding a bit more angry than intended.

     "Bria," she said, sniffing.

     Mono nodded and took the new names down, then showing Bria to the bench.

     "We were just talking about building our tree house," Mono said, still eyeing Keegan every once in a while, who was now entertaining himself with an insect of some sort on his finger.

     "So," Pepper continued for Mono, "Liza and Lance here will show us how to begin."

     Mono and Pepper sat down on the bench and let Liza and Lance conduct the rest of the meeting. They ordered different squad members to nail here or saw there, and finally, after hours of hard work, they stopped to take a break and admire their work.

     Pepper handed out some Zeenana Ice Lollies and Gingerbread Myncies, which everyone ate gratefully. After a few minutes of quiet eating, Liza and Lance approached Mono.

     "The outside is all finished," Liza began.

     "But the inside needs some work," finished Lance.

     "I was going to say that," Liza hissed, staring coldly at Lance, who in turn stuck out his tongue at the shadow Mynci. "So," she continued, turned back to Mono. "Me and Lance were thinking that we could finish the inside this week so that next Saturday we could actually meet inside the house."

     "Wow," Mono muttered to himself, amazed at Liza and Lance's devotion to the club. "That would be absolutely fantastic!" Mono exclaimed excitedly. He could hardly wait for next Saturday.

     The next week seemed to drag on forever. Mono and Pepper continued to make plans for the Mynci Squad, but when they had figured out enough activities for two months of meetings they decided to move on to something else. The problem was, everything seemed to be figured out already! They had treats all lined up, activities all set out, and the tree house was being finished by Liza and Lance. So, instead of a vigorous week of planning and thinking like the previous week, Pepper and Mono were left with boredom.

     "Well," Pepper said, plopping down on Mono's couch on a hot, sunny day, "this club was supposed to keep us occupied and keep us from our boredom... "

     "Ha, guess it didn't do too much for us," Mono replied, chuckling. "But hopefully after Saturday things will be different. I'm really excited for that Mynci Beach Volleyball tournament we have planned!"

     "Yeah, and then helping at the pound," Pepper said, nodding. "That'll be fun!"

     Mono stood up to check his Neomail.

     "This'll be great... If everything goes as planned."

     ***

     On Saturday Mono and Pepper walked to the club tree together, skipping and laughing as they went. They were excited about getting the club activities, and seeing what the inside of the tree house looked like. Mono hoped that Lance and Liza did a good job, but he wasn't worried. They had performed the roles of leading the club in the building of the structure perfectly.

     When the duo arrived at their destination the other Myncies were already there-along with the tree house, which was covered with wet, dripping paint. There was red paint dripping along the roof, royal blue paint oozing from the windows, and bright yellow paint sliding down the nearest wall. Green paint was slithering down the tree trunk, and black paint dripped from the overhang of the roof. It was a horrible sight.

     Liza was leaning against Lance, sobbing a little. She had shadows under her red, puffy eyes, and her face was held in a tight grimace as she covered it with her hands, seeing Mono and Pepper. The other club members were scattered about the forest, looking completely miserable. Keegan was inspecting the tree house, wiping his finger along the trickling paint and sniffing it thoughtfully.

     "What happened?!" Pepper exclaimed, throwing her hands up to her hair. "What's going on?"

     "Someone discovered our tree house," Lance explained, hugging Liza. "And they completely vandalized it."

     "Who would do this?" Mono asked, exasperated. "And why?"

     Liza wiped her nose with the back of her hand, turning away from Lance and facing Mono.

     "Who knows why?" she replied with an unusually nasal-sounding voice due to a bad case of a stuffy nose. "But... I do know who it was. It was the Kougra Crew."

     "The Kougra Crew?" Pepper repeated while raising an eyebrow. "Is that a club?"

     Lance nodded.

     "We saw their symbol on that tree." He pointed at a nearby tree, and indeed there was a symbol messily painted on it. "They're also a Mystery Island-based club, and they were the only species-specific club... Until we came along."

     "I guess they didn't like that," Mono muttered angrily, eyeing the paint sliding down the tree house's wood.

     "W-what do we do?" Skye piped in, her cloud colored head trembling.

     "Well..." Pepper began, running her fingers through her hair in a frustrated manner. "Let's go talk to this club. Where are their headquarters?"

     "In a den south of here," Liza replied immediately. "Stupid cats..." she uttered angrily.

     "Just hold on now," Mono warned, looking right at Liza. "We need to figure out what we're going to say. This club is obviously aggressive. We need to approach them with utmost caution and-"

     "I know!" Liza suddenly exclaimed, an angry fire burning in her eyes. "We'll wait until nighttime, and then destroy their headquarters."

     "Yeah!" cried Sponge, who had been wandering around the nearby trees. "We can get our own paint and ruin their den... or teepee it with toilet paper!"

     "Yeah," giggled Bria the speckled Mynci.

     "No," said Skye with her ever sweet tone. "I don't think that would be the best thing to do. We should talk to them calmly and settle this matter."

     "They destroyed our home, so we'll destroy theirs!" cried Lance, throwing his fist in the air. Many other Myncies also cried out, answering Lance excitedly with shouts of approval.

     "Let's go!" bellowed Keegan.

     "Well... Okay," Pepper replied, gazing at Keegan adoringly.

     Mono realized that due to this harsh bout of mob mentality, there was really nothing he could do. Even Skye was trailing behind the small crowd-although hesitantly. Mono simply sighed and followed suit, dreading whatever upcoming event was to take place.

  To be continued...

Author's Note: Hey guys! This was originally supposed to be a short story, but then it ended up WAY too long, so I made it into three separate parts. I hope you enjoyed the first part! The next parts get a little more dramatic, but hopefully you'll like it just the same. :)

 
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