The Kacheek Club: Gretta's Revenge - Part One
"Aren't you just the cutest Snowbunny ever?" Gwen the Island Kacheek cooed to her new Snowbunny, Snowy, as she and her mom entered their Neohome in Neopia Central. Snowy wiggled her ears in response.
"Gwen, I'll stop by the Petpet Supplies store tomorrow to purchase a comfy petpet bed for Snowy," said her mom. "Make a makeshift bed for her out of newspaper for the time being."
"Okay, I'll place Snowy in my room before going to get some newspaper outside." Gwen walked into the kitchen and was about to climb upstairs to her room when she noticed a huge pile of notebook paper on the dinner table. "Hmmm... what's this?" With her free paw that wasn't carrying Snowy, she picked up the top piece of paper. Various petpet names starting with the letter 'A' were scribbled on it. "I doubt anybody needs these," she mumbled to herself. "I'll just use the papers for Snowy's bed. Now I don't have to go all the way outside and get the newspaper." Struggling a bit, she managed to hold the pile of papers under one arm, then began walking upstairs.
Twenty minutes later, Gwen came downstairs to the kitchen after arranging Snowy's bed for the fifth time to ensure maximum comfort. She now had a sudden urge to munch on a chocolate chip cookie. "Oh, are you looking for the cookie jar, too?" she asked her little sister, Gretta the Pink Kacheek, who was searching for something under the dinner table. Their mom always hid the cookie jar in a different location each week to try and discourage Gwen and Gretta from eating cookies before dinner.
"No, I'm looking for my petpet notes," exclaimed Gretta urgently. "I put them on the dinner table a couple of minutes ago before going upstairs to grab my Petpet Biology book. I need my notes for the petpet information book I was going to make!" She sighed. "It took me three whole days to copy down the names of all the petpets in Neopia."
"Petpet notes?" Gwen repeated slowly. Suddenly it clicked in her mind. "Oh... uhhh... You see, I think there's been a sort of misunderstanding..." She gulped nervously.
"What kind of misunderstanding?" asked Gretta, narrowing her eyes.
"A misunderstanding kind of misunderstanding," replied Gwen. She hoped that if she stalled long enough, then Gretta would give up on finding the notes, leaving Gwen to go safely upstairs again.
"Just get on with it!" Gretta snapped impatiently. "What'd you do with my notes?!"
"Okay, fine," Gwen said, rolling her eyes. "I assumed that your petpet notes were trash, so I used them to make my Snowbunny's bed."
"I... you... how..." sputtered Gretta.
"Great, I knew you'd forgive me," Gwen said cheerfully, mistaking Gretta's loss for words as an apology.
Gretta was about to correct her when an idea formed in her mind. "Well, that's what sisters do, right?" she said in her sweetest voice.
"Yeah, totally," agreed Gwen, nodding, "Gosh, I wonder where Mom hid the cookie jar this week..." She glanced around the kitchen, then sighed. "Anyway, I guess I'll go check on Snowy." She turned around and began walking to her room.
Gretta's eyes squinted as she watched the Island Kacheek.
"I've been waiting for this trip to happen for years!" squealed Gretta. "And now it's finally happening!" She grinned and adjusted her wide-brimmed velvet adventurer hat. She and her two best friends, Autumn the Purple Korbat and Lily the Plushie Cybunny, were on their way to Mystery Island to earn their Jungle Survival badges to add to their collection. Their Scouts of Neopia leader, Daisy the Brown Uni, was going to accompany them. Gretta, Autumn, and Lily were wearing matching adventurer outfits to celebrate the occasion. They each wore velvet adventurer hats, tan shirts with various pockets sewed on, and khaki shorts.
"Totally!" agreed Autumn. "I've been looking forward to this ever since we visited Mrs. William's house last month to earn our Petpetsitter badges."
"Oh, remember when that Babaa threw up on your new sneakers, Autumn?" said Lily, giggling.
"Yes, I remember," Autumn replied, rolling her eyes.
"Who's ready for Mystery Island?" Daisy walked over to the group and smiled enthusiastically.
"Me!" Gretta's paw flew straight into the air.
"Me, too." Autumn nodded.
"Me, four!" Lily added. Gretta and Autumn exchanged puzzled glances.
"Great! Ambition is an important quality when you're in the Scouts of Neopia," explained Daisy. "I think the ferry should be moving off the dock now..." She glanced down at her lavender wristwatch.
"Wait! Waaait!" A voice could be heard over all of the noise on the ferry.
Gretta, Autumn, and Lily raced over to the edge of the ferry and looked down.
"I don't believe it," muttered Gretta. Gwen, Bridgette, Xana, and Sarina were standing on the dock. Suitcases and duffle bags surrounded them.
"Phew, and you thought we were going to miss the ferry," Gwen said to Xana as the ferry crew pulled out a set of stairs leading to the ferry for the Kacheek Club.
"Um, since when was your sister part of the Scouts of Neopia?" asked Autumn, a confused look on her face.
"She's not," Gretta replied through gritted teeth. The minute the Kacheek Club pulled all their suitcases and bags over to the group, Gretta bombarded Gwen with questions. "Why are you here? Does Mom even know you're on the ferry? Why did you bring suitcases with you?"
"Mom insisted that me and my friends should go with you to Mystery Island," explained Gwen. She glanced around. "Hey, where are all of the other Scouts of Neopia?"
"At home," Lily said, "They were too scared to go to Mystery Island because they didn't want to complete the wilderness challenges to earn their Jungle Survival badges."
"Challenges? Ew, do we have to work or anything?" Bridgette the Faerie Kacheek made a face.
"Since it looks like Gwen, Bridgette, Xana, and Sarina are joining our group, then I suppose I won't need to stick around to help you girls with the challenges," said Daisy. "So I'll just make a reservation in a nearby hotel, and you guys can call me if you get into any sort of trouble while completing the challenges. Oh, by the way, you'll be needing this." She handed Xana a piece of paper.
"'Go fishing on the beach for food', 'make it through the Deserted Tomb in Geraptiku using attached map', and 'get fortunes read by the Island Mystic'," Xana read from the paper. "Are these our challenges or something?"
Daisy nodded, then muttered, "You have obviously never been a Scout of Neopia before."
"I've always wanted to be a Scout of Neopia," said Sarina excitedly, "But my mom thought it was better to let me join the Faerieland Flutter Scouts. She said that I'm better off selling cookies to neighbors instead of doing random things to earn badges."
"Yay! This is going to be so much fun." Lily clapped her paws together.
Gretta was about to interrupt but thought better of it. "Yeeeah, this is going to be fun," she said, smiling mischievously.
"No, no, wait... I think that pole's supposed to go over there," Xana said, her face hidden behind 'Camping Basics: A Guide to Setting Up Your Tent'. Daisy had handed the pamphlets out before going to her hotel.
Gwen, Bridgette, and Sarina groaned and started over on setting up their tent.
"Having a little trouble with your tent?" Gretta smirked. The Kacheek Club looked behind her and saw that Gretta, Autumn, and Lily had managed to set up their tent within minutes.
"How'd you do that?" Sarina asked in a hushed tone.
"Wow, you were right when you said that they didn't have any wilderness skills," Autumn said to Gretta.
"Uh, hello? We're right here, you know," said Bridgette, crossing her arms over her chest and rolling her eyes.
"Ugh, fine, we'll set up your tent for you. Move out of the way." Gretta stepped over the discarded poles of the tent and stationed herself right in front of the pile of canvas. "Okay, Autumn, you take the right side. Lily, go over to the left."
The Kacheek Club stepped back and watched the Scouts of Neopia. A couple minutes later, Gretta and her friends were admiring their work.
"They did it in approximately three-point-four minutes," announced Xana, looking at her wristwatch.
"Well, we didn't earn our Set Up A Tent badges for nothing," Lily said.
"Okay, so the faster we complete these challenges, the sooner we'll be outta here," said Gwen, picking up the paper with their challenges. "Our first challenge is to go to the beach and catch some fish."
"Um, I never learned," whined Bridgette.
"Fishing involves a hook and bait, right?" Sarina asked.
Pretty soon, the Kacheek Club and the Scouts of Neopia were each holding fishing poles and small boxes of bait.
"Ew, I have all this sand in my sandals." Bridgette plopped down on the golden sand and slid off her sandal.
"Oh no, I forgot my bait box," Gretta said, "I'll go back to the tents and get it. Be right back!" She turned around and ran towards their tents.
"Meanwhile, let's start fishing." Gwen attached a small pink shrimp to the end of her hook and threw the line into the ocean.
Five minutes later, Bridgette squealed in excitement. "I caught something! I caught something!" She pulled a fish off of her hook. It squirmed and tossed as Bridgette held it in her paws. "So, like, are we going to cook this or what?" she asked excitedly.
"That's a Rockfish, Bridgette," Xana pointed out, "Only Grarrls and Skeiths can eat that. Unless, of course, you want to end up in the Hospital during our first challenge."
"The Hospital would be an improvement against this place any day," Bridgette said grumpily, tossing the Rockfish back into the ocean.
"Like, what's that thing swimming in the water?" Autumn pointed to something swimming back and forth in the water a few feet from them. The only thing visible was a grayish fin.
"It looks like a Jetsam!" Lily squeaked.
"Wait, I heard that native Jetsams in Mystery Island are supposed to be hostile," Xana said, adjusting her green glasses.
"They probably are," muttered Bridgette, glancing nervously at the gray fin. It was slowly swimming near the group.
"I say we run back to the tents," Autumn suggested, picking up her bait box. "It'll be safe there."
"Back so soon?" Gretta stepped out of her tent as Gwen, Bridgette, Xana, Sarina, Autumn, and Lily walked into the clearing.
"We saw a Jetsam swimming in the water," said Gwen. Then she rolled her eyes. "Of course, you wouldn't know anything about this. In fact, you never even showed up! How long does it take for you to find your bait box?"
"I couldn't find it," replied Gretta casually, shrugging. She had a striped towel draped over her shoulders.
"Why are you all wet?" asked Sarina suspiciously.
"I slipped in a puddle on the way back to the tents," explained Gretta. "Now, can we please move on? I'd really like to get started on the second challenge."
"Okay, our next challenge is to get through the Deserted Tomb," announced Autumn matter-of-factly. "I suggest we split into groups."
"Fine with me," replied Bridgette.
"Here's your map." Lily handed Bridgette a map of the Deserted Tomb.
Bridgette looked at the various squiggles representing the way out of the Deserted Tomb. "Yuck," she mumbled under her breath, then tossed the map over to Xana.
"We'll use the extra map that Daisy gave us," said Gretta. "How about you guys head off to the Deserted Tomb first? Autumn, Lily, and I will stay behind and refill everybody's water bottles. Then we'll catch up with you guys in the tomb."
Gwen, Bridgette, Xana, and Sarina began walking on the path leading to Geraptiku. They walked in silence until they reached the entrance gate to Geraptiku. The sign above them had 'Geraptiku' carved into the stone and was propped up by two wooden poles with skulls at the top. An eerie fog surrounded the ground.
"Ummm... this looks welcoming," Bridgette said sarcastically.
"More like creepy," added Sarina. She and her friends looked at the straw huts as they walked through the city. Skulls were mounted in piles around each door.
"I heard that the Geraptikucans usually have skulls around their house to protect themselves from evil spirits." Xana's voice was barely above a whisper.
"How interesting," muttered Gwen. This place was starting to give her the creeps.
By now, the Kacheek Club had finally reached the Deserted Tomb. They climbed the twenty steps leading up to the entrance.
"I saw something like this in a horror movie on Neovision," Sarina piped up, "The Shoyrus were standing at this exact spot before they got dragged into the tomb by a giant ghost Hissi."
"Is this supposed to help us in some way?" asked Bridgette, glaring at Sarina. "Or are you purposefully trying to scare me?"
"Maybe a little bit of both." Sarina smiled mischieviously, then giggled.
"Well, Gretta, Autumn, and Lily are nowhere in sight," said Gwen, "So I guess we'd better go in without them. Knowing Gretta, she's probably at the Tropical Foods store picking out a snack."
"Okay, they're probably just entering the tomb now," said Gretta. She turned to Autumn. "Do you have the toy arrows?"
"Yup." Autumn smiled proudly and pulled out ten plastic arrows from her backpack.
"Great. Now all we need to do is collect the Lizarks." Gretta walked into their tent and dragged out a red wagon. Two steel petpet cages were placed on it. "Each petpet cage should hold at least four or five Lizarks," Gretta explained to her friends as she walked towards the Rock Pool.
"It's a good thing that there are tons of stray Lizarks around here," said Autumn.
Once they entered the Rock Pool, they could see hundreds of Lizarks scurrying around the rock tiki monuments.
"The only part I didn't think of is how we're going to get some into the cages," Gretta said.
"Oooh, I know what we can do. I know how to talk to petpets," suggested Lily, "I'll handle it from here." She stepped forward and walked cautiously over to a Lizark. She took a deep breath and said, "Kic gurf... bleughorf!" Lily ended her petpet talk with a few loud snorts.
"Is she serious?" Autumn whispered to Gretta.
"Right now, I don't even know." Gretta watched as Lily attempted another try.
Lily skipped over to another Lizark and gave her friends a thumbs-up. She turned back to the petpet and started jumping up and down. "Humununu elipa!" she said over and over again to the bewildered Lizark.
"Um, Lily, come over here for a minute." Gretta gestured to Lily.
"Am I good or what?" Lily said proudly as she hurried over.
"As wonderful as you are with talking to petpets, I think we're going to have to speed the process up a notch," said Gretta. "So I think we're better off if we just try to catch a few and put them into the cages."
"Yeah, that sounds good," Lily agreed. "I must admit that I'm a bit rusty. I haven't talked to a petpet for ages, so that's why the Lizark didn't understand me."
"Right, now I know why it squeaked and ran away," said Autumn while trying to muffle her giggles.
The girls split up in separate directions after the Lizarks. Gretta ran around and around the tiki structures, trying to catch a speedy Lizark with a Peachpa in its mouth. Lily was trying to climb a coconut tree in order to reach a Lizark that was sitting on top of it. Autumn was wrestling a Lizark into a petpet cage. It shrieked and squirmed in protest. Ten minutes later, the girls finally managed to fit nine Lizarks into the two cages.
"Yes!" Gretta high-fived Autumn and Lily. "Next stop: Deserted Tomb."
To be continued...
This story is part of the Kacheek Club collection. Hope you enjoy reading this! :)