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Maybe Not the National Neopian

by ppcrn


The bank rose above them, looking more like some rich Quiggle's house made of stone than a bank, except that there was something unquestionably odd about the place… It took only a moment to register the oddity in order to discover what it was. The doors were quite normal, brown with golden hinges, windows cutting a square in the top half. The only strange thing was that there were six of them, all in the row, with but two inches in between.

     "What the—?!"

     Randysnap the disco Kacheek covered the mouth of his cohort with a decidedly groovy paw. His companion, Rudyalice the brown Kyrii, sighed but said nothing, instead smirking a bit derisively into Rand's paw. It was difficult to rob banks when one was as psychedelically painted as Randysnap, hence the employment of Rudyalice, feisty but trustworthy. Her nondescript appearance had been a big plus. They had met upon finding that they had simultaneous plans to rob the Meridell Moneywell, and battling it out over a round of Poker. Each had cheated, of course, both coming up with an all-Queen Royal Flush, and had since become lifelong partners. No bank was safe from these rising stars of the Neopian crime scene, or so both loved to think. They dreamed in Neopoints and relished the adrenaline that came with making their big bucks.

     Randysnap, once a handsome blue Kacheek, before he had become the lively shades he was today, was a rebel thief of Galem Darkhand. His ambition was too great to accept even the handsome security that being a top thief of Darkhand offered. It may have been true that Galem was in the dictionary under the word "underhanded," but Randysnap had continual hopes of being in that very same book under the word "rich."

     Not that he had a rotten heart, of course. Rudyalice had taken a liking to him instantly. Well, almost instantly. Formerly a friend of Capara, Rudyalice had never been able to accept that her comrade was a better Cheat player than she, and had thus gone off to make her living through swindling of a different sort. The robbery job at the Moneywell had been her first, but she was a natural, possessing that very same charm and wily intelligence that made Capara a star Cheater. Had Rudyalice been asked to pick a word within the dictionary under which to appear, she would naturally have chosen "perfect." Well, that or "cheater."

     After having skipped about Neopia for several months, making a slight name for themselves, the team arrived at last at the infamous National Neopian. It was the hardest bank in the world to rip off, and many criminals had faltered in trying, never to rise again to their previous glory. Quietly they surveyed the area, doing a bit of studying and plotting for the next day. Rudyalice was often impatient to get on with the filching, but Randysnap would have no such hastiness get him put out of the business—for good.

     When finally Randysnap removed his paw, Rudyalice suggested they dine at the Food Shop next door while surveying the bank. Begrudgingly Randysnap noticed the rumble of his stomach, and agreed. Not noticing any second glances he received for being one of the privileged few to have come into contact with a disco paint brush, Randysnap sipped his Neocola through a purple straw while Rudyalice happily gossiped about the people entering the bank in hushed tones.

     "Ohh, look at that Usul walking in. She's pretty, isn't she?"

     "She's no Hannah," remarked Randysnap candidly, fondly recalling the clockwork Hannah toy he had received as a birthday gift not long ago. Kanrik had given it to him, oddly enough, just before leaving on a mission that would directly involve Hannah. How it would involve her was unknown to Rand; the plots of the thieves were rarely known even to their fellow crooks.

     Rudyalice, of course, did not detect the note of nostalgia in his voice. "Always so negative, gee whiz."

     "Who says 'gee whiz'?"

     "Who gets painted brown?! I do, Rand, now look at that eye. See? The Usul, her left eye, it looks black. Punchbag Bob, you s'pose?" Smirking, she took a bite out of her green apple, thereby turning it into a Bitten Green Apple. Eyeing his plate with distaste, she added, "I don't see how you can eat real cheese cheesecake; really, I can't."

     Silencing her with a raised paw, he nodded towards the bank. "Looky there. A yellow Bruce in a flowered muumuu…" The two stared in silence before breaking out into not-so-nondescript laughter. When finally their humor had made itself heard, they continued to observe the customers. A yellow Blumaroo carrying a scrumptious sack of Neopoints, a yellow Shoyru with a modest gold coin, a red Scorchio with a mask…

     "Oi, Rand," Rudyalice muttered, voice shaky with disbelief.

     "Yeah, I see," he replied gruffly, his own eyes as wide as those of the Kyrii's. The Scorchio in question had his picture plastered neatly all about the area, in the form of wanted signs.

     "And they're letting him stroll right on in there?!" demanded Rudyalice fiercely. "Is this some sort of joke?!"

     A nearby Jetsam smirked at them with the familiarity of a local, and motioned with a yellow flipper. "New security system, mates. Just ye watch."

     They did so in silence, Rand's fork poised in front of his mouth, real cheese cheesecake forgotten for the moment. It slid off the fork and landed back on his plate dejectedly. A minute passed. Two. Finally the door through which the Scorchio had entered opened again, and they saw the red figure step forward to make his way out, sacks of Neopoints in hand. Just when it seemed the strange bank was going to let the robber leave as easily as he had entered, six bars shot down before the doorway, trapping him inside.

     "Can't he just run out through another door?" Rudyalice murmured in disbelief. But he was not seen again. They continued gazing at the door a full five minutes before they believed it.

     Exchanging a wary glance, the two criminals turned back to their plates, suddenly less hungry than before. The yellow Jetsam grunted knowingly and turned back to his own table to clear his tray before leaving the two alone without another word.

     Staring down at a particularly orange—or was it yellow?—piece of cheese, Rand looked back up. "It's a suicide mission, Rudyalice." She said nothing, eyes dark, staring eastward. Distractedly Rand noted that this was the direction from which they had come. From Meridell, to be precise. "I hear Meridell Moneywell has a chubby new Skeith of a security guard."

     "Do you?" Rudyalice smiled a smile that could not mask her fear of the capture that had just taken place, and nodded a bit too earnestly. "Right-o, well, want to swing by the Money Tree before we head east?"

     "Good idea." Glancing at the sun, he added, "Let's go now."

     They headed off too quickly to appear casual, the sound of clanging metal bars ringing in flowery and brown ears alike. The Money Tree loomed enticingly ahead, and they would not be returning to that National Neopian anytime soon—if ever.

     Behind them, six matching doors swung open and shut to customers, open and shut, open and shut, in a disturbing pattern that would stay in their memories for a very long time.

The End

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