The Travels of a Would-Be Knight: The FFN - Part Two
Xin sighed, bored out of his mind. He and Spring had already shown Schlomo The Blumaroo's Gaze. Schlomo had said he loved it, and then he and Spring had somehow gotten into a conversation about TNT plots and how they hadn't come out with a major one in a long time. Xin had no idea what they were talking about, so he just stood there waiting impatiently for them to finish.
When it became clear they weren't going to anytime soon, Xin left, deciding he'd do something on his own. He'd had fun on his own, before Spring came along; why shouldn't he have fun on his own now? He was wondering what to do when something fell on his head.
Xin started to panic, then thought, Oh, it's probably just a ginormous, hairy spyder, and relaxed--until he remembered ginormous, hairy spyders terrified him. Before he could resume panicking, though, the thing on his head fell to the floor and he saw that it was just a small brown sack with a letter attached. The envelope was addressed to a Xinsarqusay.
Curious, Xin opened the envelope and read the letter, which said in crude handwriting:
"We've got your Elbuort friend. If you want him to live, you will do exactly what we say."
"WHAT?!" cried Xin. He read on:
"Sneak out of the base and come to the (*Author's Note: location deleted*) Building by seven o'clock this evening. Tell no one.
Agent of the Meepit Federation of Neopia, forever may they reign!"
By this point, Xin had turned a rather interesting shade of green. He opened the sack and saw a pair of Lupe Hero Wrist Guards: proof that the meepits really did have Roxias.
Xin did what he always did in a crisis: he freaked out. He ran around in circles, wringing his hands, pulling his antennas, and waving his arms in the air and screaming. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, they got Roxias! The meepits got Roxias! How did they do that?! Oh no, this is bad, bad, bad! What am I gonna do? WHAT AM I GONNA DO?! I guess I gotta do what the note says, and go to the (*location deleted*) Building... but then the meepits'll get the chip, and use it to conquer Neopia! I can't let meepits take over Neopia, Roxias would kill me! But if I don't do what the note says, they'll kill Roxias...
Xin dropped to his knees and sobbed brokenly. "WHY?! WHY MUST THE UNIVERSE BE SO CRUEL?!"
"I take it Roxias talked to you, then," said Scout dryly. Xin jumped about five feet in the air, and whirled around to see Scout standing a few feet away. "Sc-Scout, y-you scared me!"
"Sorry, I have that effect on people. You do seem to be handling the news rather well, though. I figured you'd try to make a run for it," said Scout. Xin stared at her blankly. "News?"
"You know, that you're going to have to have surgery. Roxias did tell you, right?"
For a moment Xin was lost for words. Then, an idea struck him, and he said, "Yeah, Roxias told me. I freaked out, but then Roxias said that... that it's for my own good, and I need to learn to conquer my fear. So I'm getting all the freaking out out of my system now. Maybe I should do it in my room, though, so I don't disrespect anyone."
"You mean disrupt?"
"Yeah, that too. Well, see you in a few minutes," said Xin cheerfully, and ran off, leaving a stunned Scout behind him.
As soon as he reached his room, he ran over to his suitcase and began digging through it. "C'mon, screwdriver, screwdriver, screwdriver..."
He finally found it: a screwdriver with a red handle, which he'd taken from the Space Station when Roxias, Scout, and Grandpa rescued him. "Yes!"
He ran over to the heating duct, unscrewed the lid, and crawled into the vent. It would take him thirty minutes, but he'd eventually--mostly due to sheer luck--find a way out of HQ via the ventilation system.
Scout sauntered through the HQ hallways, sipping on a jumbleberry slushie. She let out a sigh of contentment. Spring was too busy chatting with Schlomo to cause any mischief, Xin was in his room, there'd been no emergencies or disasters the entire afternoon... it was a good day.
BAM! BAM! BAM! "SOMEONE, HELP! GET ME OUT OF HERE!"
Aaand, the good day's done. "Danger Magnet?" cried Scout, running over to the door she'd just walked by, which was shaking as someone inside the room hit and kicked it. "Roxias, is that you?"
"It was a meepit! They lured me in here and ambushed me! They took my wrist guards!" came Roxias' voice from the other side of the door.
"Why would..." began Scout. Her eyes widened with horror as realization dawned. "Borovan! They're tricking Xin into believing they've got you so he'll go to them! That's why he was freaking out earlier!"
"When was this?" demanded Roxias.
"About thirty minutes ago! He'll have made it out of HQ right about now! Stand back, Elbuort!"
"HI-YA!" Scout shouted, dropkicking the door. The door split in two and fell to the ground, revealing the room and a rather shocked Roxias, who had barely gotten out of the way in time.
"You couldn't have picked the lock?" he questioned.
"No time! Come on!" retorted Scout, grabbing his arm and yanking him along as she ran.
"Two Double-O, you've gotta let us out!" Scout shouted when she and Roxias reached HQ's entrance. "Xin's gone AWOL! He might already be in the meepits' clutches!"
"What?" asked Agent Two Double-O, who happened to be on guard duty. "Don't be ridiculous, there's no way a child could get out of this base without..."
"Guys, I went into Xin's room to ask him if he wanted to play Kacheek Seek, and the vent was open and there was a note from the meepits on his bed! The meepits've got--Roxias?!" cried Spring, skidding to a halt and staring at Roxias in disbelief. "You're not kidnapped?!"
"No, but Xin might be if we don't hurry! You've got to let us out!" Roxias added, turning to Two Double-O. The meepit bit his lip, then nodded. "Fine, but I'm going with you." He punched something into a keypad, and the entrance's doors slid open.
"He's going to the (*location deleted*) Building! If we hurry, we can..." began Spring as she ran out the entrance. Roxias reached out and grabbed her by her hood, and picked her up so she couldn't run.
"You're not coming. It's too dangerous," he said firmly, setting the human on the ground. Spring stared at him like he'd sprouted three heads. "What?! But Xin's my friend, too! And besides, I saved you guys last time you were in trouble, remember?"
"Yes, but these meepits are even more dangerous than Count von Roo, and I'm not going to let you get hurt!" retorted Roxias. "Stay where it's safe!"
Spring pouted, but didn't try to argue as Roxias, Scout, and Agent Two Double-O left. However, as soon as they were gone and the doors closed again, Spring smirked and muttered, "Stay where it's safe? He said he wouldn't let me get hurt, so technically if I'm around him, I'm where it's safe!"
The (*location deleted*) Building had once been the home of a booming business, but was now a mere abandoned shell. The windows that weren't boarded up were shattered, the paint was peeling off, and the whole place sagged as though it had given up on life. It looks so sad, Xin thought sympathetically. Poor building. I wish I could cheer it up.
He took a deep breath, and walked up to the front door. He hesitated for a moment, then knocked. "Hello? Meepits? It's Xin; I'm here, like the note, um, told me to be. Um, hello?"
Just when Xin was beginning to think he had the wrong address, the doorstep beneath him slid away and he found himself sliding through a long, tube-like tunnel. "AAAAAHHHHHH! ROXIAAAS! SCOOOUT!"
PLUNK! Xin landed facedown on a large wooden desk. As he sat up, rubbing his nose, he felt a prickle on the back of his neck and looked to his left to see a horde of meepits staring at him. "AAAHHHHH!"
"Oh, for goodness' sake don't scream. It's not like anyone will hear you," drawled a pink meepit with crazy white hair and a mustache, who was sitting to Xin's right in a rolling chair. "So, you're the Grundo who's cost us so much time?"
"M-m-my name is Xin," whimpered the eight-year-old Grundo, then set his jaw and tried to look brave. "And I've done what you told me to, so let Roxias go!"
The meepit Overlord laughed, and the others laughed with him.
"Oh, you sweet, innocent, stupid little neopet. We never had Roxias; it was a mere trick to lure you here," chuckled the mustached meepit, wiping tears of mirth from his eyes. Xin went green. "Huh?"
"Take him to Dr. Schadenfraude," the Overlord said, nodding at his minions.
Xin fought as hard as he could, but there were too many meepits; all too soon, he'd been tied up and was being dragged, screaming, out of the Overlord's office.
"So the meepits' main headquarters is in the (*location deleted*) Building? Who'd've thought?" whispered Scout as she, Roxias, and Agent Two Double-O crawled through the MFN headquarters' ventilation system.
"No one, which is the whole point," Agent Two Double-O whispered back. He paused at an opening, looked through it, and nodded in satisfaction. "Here's our stop."
He pulled out what looked like an ordinary pen... until he clicked it and a red beam shot out of it and cut through the vent. The meepit cut out a circle large enough for a neopet to go through, then leaped through the hole. Roxias and Scout looked at each other, stunned.
"I have got to get one of those," whispered Scout, and dropped through the hole, Roxias following after her.
They landed in the middle of a dark hallway. Agent Two Double-O beckoned them close, then whispered, "If they've already got him, they'll be taking him to Dr. Schadenfraude. This is the quickest route. Stay close, and do as I do."
The neopets nodded, and the trio proceeded through a series of corridors, as silent as a Kougra stalking its prey. Once or twice they came close to being discovered by passing meepits, but they managed to go undetected until they reached what appeared to be some sort of operating room.
Scout had to hold Roxias back when they saw little Xin strapped to a metal table at the center of the room. The poor little Grundo was wide awake, and clearly scared out of his mind; even with a gag muffling him, they could hear his screams from their hiding place.
"They didn't even knock him out?" whispered Roxias, furious.
"Dr. Schadenfraude wouldn't; he loves causing as much pain as possible to his 'patients'. It gives him some sort of sick pleasure," replied Agent Two Double-O.
Speaking of whom, a particularly ugly mutant Grundo wearing a white labcoat was approaching Xin.
"Doctor's log: Seven P.M. NST, operated on a patient. Name: Xinsarqusay. Species: Grundo, white. Age: Approximately eight years. Purpose of operation: to remove computer chip from digestive system. Oh, do stop fussing, Grundo," added the meepit cheerfully as Xin began struggling more than ever before. "These straps are impossible to break; believe me, neopets far, far stronger than you have tried. Now, be a good little boy and wait there while I go sharpen my knife."
Xin's eyes went so wide, the onlookers were afraid they'd pop out of his head. He started banging his head against the table and screaming at the top of his lungs, on the edge of hysteria. Dr. Schadenfraude chuckled, and walked over to a grinding stone, where he picked up a steak knife twice his size and began sharpening it. Agent Two Double-O had to hold both Roxias and Scout back this time.
"Why are we letting that monster torment him?!" demanded Roxias, glaring at Two Double-O.
"Because if we attack now, he'll sound the alarm! We've got to wait until he's entirely distracted!" the pink meepit hissed back.
Dr. Schadenfraude had finished sharpening his knife, and was walking back towards Xin. "Now, I would say this won't hurt a bit, but of course it will. Don't worry, though, you're helping a great cause, really. Would you like to know why?"
Xin, who had closed his eyes and was turning his head as far away from the meepit as possible, shook his head rapidly.
"Good, I'll tell you. See, this computer chip was originally an experiment Dr. Sloth was working on, but after his last, ah, unfortunate defeat a while back, we managed to obtain it and perfect it. Once we have this chip, we will be able to use it to control all the electronics in the world, from toasters to robots--even Robot neopets! Neopians will be forced to comply with our demands! Meepits will finally truly rule Neopia!" cried the mutant meepit, cackling maniacally. He cleared his throat and smoothed out his coat. "Ah, yes. Well, now that you know, on with the surgery!"
He climbed onto a stool so that he loomed over Xin, and raised the knife...
And got a goofy grin on his face, dropped the knife, muttered something about lasagna, and passed out. Fortunately he fell facedown; otherwise the dart sticking out of his back would have made him very uncomfortable when he woke up.
"Knockout darts? Where do I sign up?" whispered Scout as she, Roxias, and Agent Two Double-O ran over to Xin, Agent Two Double-O stuffing a small dart gun back into his pocket.
"Xin, it's us!" whispered Roxias. Xin didn't respond. Roxias shook him, "Xin! Xin!"
"No use; he's passed out. And I don't blame him," said Scout as she unstrapped the little Grundo. She scooped him up and stared down at him sympathetically. "Poor baby, he's going to have nightmares for weeks."
"We'd best start moving," warned Agent Two Double-O.
"Right," nodded Scout and Roxias, and they followed the pink meepit out of the room, Scout cradling Xin like a baby.
They were almost out the building when a loud siren started sounding, an intercom blared "INTRUDERS IN CORRIDOR 1-A, INTRUDERS IN CORRIDOR 1-A!", and scores of meepits came out of nowhere and surrounded them.
"Too late! We've been spotted!" whispered Agent Two Double-O.
"No, really? I hadn't noticed!" hissed Scout sarcastically.
The sea of meepits parted to allow the Overlord to walk up to the captives.
"Ah, the traitor and the Grundo's little friends. How nice of you to join us," he drawled, looking them over.
"Who're you calling little? Xin's easily five times bigger than you, pipsqueak!" snapped Scout. The mustached meepit glowered at her. "Lila Capernaum. I remember you. You won't be so sassy by the time we're done with you... my pretty."
"Okay, calling me 'my pretty' just because you know it'll get under my skin is a totally immature move! You're supposed to INTIMIDATE your victims, not irritate them! Irritate them, and they may snap from anger and recklessly attack you!" snapped Scout.
"We're about to be devoured by meepits, and you're giving their Overlord a lecture on proper villain decorum?" asked Roxias, staring at the Zafara in disbelief. "Why? Just... why?"
"Well, why aren't you giving him the lecture? Aren't you all Mr. Manners?" questioned the Zafara. "Remember dinner, when you were all 'Ooh, Scout, slurping your noodles is a big no-no!'?" The Zafara used a deep, somewhat stupid-sounding voice for her imitation of Roxias.
"First of all, I don't talk like that. Second, yes, manners matter, but I don't see why you're giving the meepit Overlord a lecture on them when he's about to sic his hordes on us!"
"Stalling. Duh. Don't they teach you about stalling in Squire Training 101?"
"How is lecturing him going to stall things?!"
"Maybe because it'll cause you to get into a big, rather stupid argument with me, and the meepits will be too busy watching us have at it to attack!"
"Okay, point taken, but what, exactly, are you stalling for? It's not like anyone's coming to rescue us; all you're doing is prolonging the inevitable!"
"Wanna bet? I'll bet you 5,000 neopoints that a bunch of FFN agents come bursting through that door in ten seconds!"
"Considering if you're wrong I still won't get 5,000 neopoints, I won't take it!"
"Fine, be negative, Mr. Manners-Matter-But-Not-For-Meepits! Heh, tongue twister..."
"Enough of this senseless prattle! Attack!" the Overlord ordered his meepits. They shouted out war cries, and charged towards the intruders...
"Two, one," Scout muttered. The instant Scout said "one", the exit door burst open and Spring and Grandpa Hansuke came shooting into the room on The Blumaroo's Gaze, Grandpa Hansuke knocking out all the meepits he passed with a frying pan. "Hahaha, take THAT, you poor excuse for would-be conquerors!"
"Okay, not exactly what I expected, but it'll do," muttered Scout, grinning.
"Spring! What...?" sputtered Roxias, shocked, as Spring came to a halt in front of him.
"No time to explain! Get on the broomstick!" the human barked. Roxias picked up Agent Two Double-O, and he and Scout leaped onto the broomstick. As soon as they were on, Spring turned the broomstick around and shot off for the exit. The meepits swarmed, trying to catch them, but the Gaze was too fast, and they'd been taken by surprise; soon the Gaze's passengers were soaring high above Neopia Central. Xin was sandwiched between Scout and Roxias so he wouldn't fall off, and Agent Two Double-O was in Roxias' left pocket.
"Spring, I told you to--" began Roxias once his tongue was working again.
"Stay where it's safe. And since Grandpa Hansuke's a great fighter, the Gaze is superquick, and you promised you'd never let anything hurt me, I was perfectly safe!" replied Spring, looking back at him with a devilish grin.
"She's got you there," said Scout, and Roxias could practically hear her smirk.
"By the way, you two did great with the whole 'keeping cool at all times' thing. Were you two just stalling, or were you really arguing?" Spring added curiously.
"A bit of both," replied Scout, shrugging. "I figured somebody would conveniently burst in just in the nick of time to rescue us. That's how it always goes."
"Yeah, Neopia's fairly predictable that way," agreed Roxias. "Alright, Spring, we'd best get back to FFN before the meepits cut us off."
Scout paced back and forth in the FFN hospital wing's waiting room, an irritated scowl on her face. "Ugh, what is taking so sassafrassin' long?! Shouldn't they be done by now?!"
"Calm down, Scout. Getting yourself all worked up won't help anything," said Roxias, who was sitting on a couch with Grandpa Hansuke and a dozing Spring, who was slumped against his left shoulder. Agent Two Double-O sat on Spring's lap.
"Calm?! I am completely calm! I am the embodiment of Calm right now, Roxias Elbuort! But if they don't give me some news about Xin in the next thirty seconds, I'm going to EXPLODE!" ranted Scout, her voice getting louder with every word until she was screaming at the top of her lungs.
Just then one of the nurses, a pink Gelert, entered the room. "Is this Xinsarqusay's family?"
"In a manner of speaking," replied Roxias, standing up (startling Spring awake in the process). "What's the news?"
"The surgery was a success. The chip's been removed, and is on its way to Schlomo to be destroyed. We're going to keep Xin in the hospital overnight just to be safe, but he'll be just fine," grinned the Gelert.
Everyone whooped and exchanged hugs and high-fives.
"So we can get out of here tomorrow?" Roxias asked eagerly.
"Yes. No more being hostages," replied Agent Two Double-O. "But there is a catch: none of you can tell anyone about this place. Neopia can't know that the feepits have a military base right under Neopia Central. You have to swear absolute secrecy."
"What about my brother, though? He keep saying nothing interesting's gonna happen to me on this pilgrimage; this'd blow his mind!" piped up Spring.
"No. You can't tell anyone, not even your most trusted confidants. Do you swear?" the meepit asked, looking at each person sternly. Roxias nodded, "I swear."
"I swear," echoed Scout.
"I promise," said Grandpa Hansuke. Everyone looked expectantly at Spring.
"Okay, okay, I promise. I won't say anything about this place or my time here, not a single word," said Spring, solemnly saluting. "Scout's honor."
What no one else realized was that while Spring had promised she wouldn't say anything, she hadn't promised not to write anything about the FFN. And, knowing that Roxias' owner, Jaylie, kept her password written down in (*location deleted*), Spring got hold of her password and hacked into Jaylie's account, and submitted the story she'd written about the FFN to the Neopian Times.
Well, I'm about to submit it, anyway. I don't know if it'll make it in or not, but if it does, thanks for reading, random Neopians I will probably never meet, and hi, Mom, and no, Sai, I did NOT make this story up! Oh, and by the way, right before we left HQ I came up with a new name for Agent Two Double-O: Bill. Bill's now a blue miamouse, and is living very happily as an FFN agent. Uh-oh, Roxias is heading my way, I'd better submit this before he sees me! Man, if this DOES make it into the Times, Roxias, Scout, Grandpa, and Bill are gonna be SO mad! Oh, well, I'll just fly away on The Blumaroo's Gaze, and hide a couple of weeks till they get over it...
Agent Double-O One out!