The Super Secret Club: New Neighbour
In the garden of number forty eight, Rainbow Lane, Neopia Central, stands a tree house. But this is not just any treehouse. This treehouse is the headquarters of the Super Secret Club. It's Super (of course) and Secret (naturally) and the Club risk their lives on difficult, dangerous missions, like retrieving the ball that fell into Mrs-Jenkins-Next-Door's garden, and taming the wild Warf that somehow managed to crawl through the hedge. There's no mission too big, no task too terrifying. They will work tirelessly to ensure that justice prevails in the garden. Until nap time, that is.
Right now, the door to the Super Secret Treehouse swings open, and in come a Tyrannian Skeith and a Camouflage Techo. Their names are Taros and Vyla. Taros is holding a huge sack on his shoulder.
"Got all of them, sir," he says confidently, thrusting the sack towards a beanbag, which seems to have an appetite for tiny pets.
A turquoise antenna quirks upwards from the apparently carnivorous beanbag, revealing, in fact, that it was unfairly accused of snacking on their miniscule leader, who is presently racing towards the sack, pink eyes gleaming with excitement. This is Alleluyae, also known as Al, the self-appointed leader of the Super Secret Club.
"Did you count 'em?" he demands, settling himself quite comfortably on the wooden floor.
"Twice," Vyla assures him.
"Oh, goody!" the baby Grundo squeaks with excitement, a buck-toothed grin on his face. He unravels the drawstring with surprising dexterity considering his stubby fingers, and plunges a tiny hand into the sack. It resurfaces a few moments later, clutching an enormous pile of cookies. "Yummy yummy." Al murmurs to himself, and then turns to the rubber duck he's clutching "Look, Ducky! Lotsa cookies, just for me."
Vyla and Taros smile to each other, glad that their tiny boss has been appeased. Now, they decide, is the time to break the important news.
"Er, sir...." Taros begins, sitting down in the beanbag that Al has recently vacated. He figures that sitting down would help soften the blow. Hopefully.
Al pauses in devouring the mound of cookies that surround him and surveys the Tyrannian Skeith carefully.
"Have you seen all that furniture being carried in next door? There's a Tiger Sofa, and a nice Cream Rug, and a Green Fluffy Dice, and..."
"Get on with it," Vyla hisses out of the corner of her mouth, but disguises it as a cough, hoping Al will be distracted by the enormous haul of cookies that are now decorating the floor, and his face.
"Oh... er..." Taros falters. "Yeah, so we think that we might have some new neighbours."
"Neighbours?" Al echoes. "What'cha mean?"
"You know Mrs Jenkins?" Vyla comes to Taros' rescue. "Who lives next door?"
Al sticks out his tongue. "Mean Ole' Mrs Jenkins, who gives me icky raisin cookies?"
"Yeah, her. Well, since the house on the other side of us was empty, a new family have decided to move in. "
Al chews a cookie thoughtfully with all four of his teeth. "Hope they ain't stinky grownups," he murmurs darkly. "Mrs Jenkins an' her seventeen Wockies is mean enough."
Neither Vyla nor Taros correct his grammar. "Maybe they won't be. Who knows, they might even have another baby for you to play wi-"
"No!" Al shouts over the top of her. "I don't wanna have a dumb baby bein' messy and noisy an' ruinin' the Super Secret Club!"
Taros considers pointing out that Al himself is a baby, but decides against it.
"An'... an' what if Mama meets the new baby, and 'ecides she likes it better than me?" Al has started to cry. Proper tears, not the usual fake crying that babies use when they're crying for the sake of it.
"She wouldn't do that. You're her pet."
"Yeah, but...." Al sniffles loudly, which is odd, since he has no visible nose. "A whole lotta people don't like Grundos. They dump 'em in the Pound all the time."
"Sir, your Mama is a self-confessed Grundo fanatic, remember?" Taros puts in helpfully. "You'd think she'd choose any other type of pet over you? Come here."
The Skeith bends down and slowly lifts his tiny friend into his arms, ignoring the runny nose that is now being wiped over his scales.
"How about we make it our next secret mission to go and investigate these new neighbours of ours? Then you'll know whether they're nice or not."
Al blows his nose (or lack of) once more onto Taros' chest, and then slowly nods. "We gotta write it down on the secret mission board," he reminds the Skeith
"Already on it." Vyla holds up a thick red marker and then walks over to a corkboard on the far wall, filled with all sorts of interesting things: clippings from the Neopian Times, Trading Cards, the Club Rules. The Techo writes their current objective on a blank piece of paper, using capital letters so that their leader will be able to read it.
Al wriggles free of the Skeith's grasp, and stands in front of the corkboard, puffing out his chest. "Super Secret Club," he announces in an important-sounding voice. "Our mission is to find out if our new neighbours are meanies, or if they're gonna be nice to us and give me cookies. Proper chocolate chip ones, o'course," he adds, after a moment's hesitation. "Let's get goin!"
Hidden in the shade of the towering tree in which the Super Secret Club have their meetings are a collection of bicycles. Well, more like two bicycles, and a tricycle. Presently, the Super Secret Club mount their trusty vehicles. Al makes sure that Ducky is safely in the special carrier his mama made for him. The three Super Secret Club members fasten their helmets firmly onto their heads, even though they were only going next door. The last thing anyone wanted to do was to spend the rest of the day at the Hospital.
"Roll out!" Al giggles, ringing the bell attached to his handlebar.
Vyla and Taros pedal slowly, mindful that their leader would not be able to keep up were they to suddenly speed up. Al's antennae are pushed back against the wind, despite the slow speed at which they're travelling.
It only takes a couple of minutes to reach the new neighbour's house. It's certainly obvious which one it is; The pavement is a veritable obstacle course of furniture, which will make a frontal approach near impossible. The trio park their bikes inconspicuously beside the hedge, attempting the usual back up plan.
Vyla fills her typical role of scouting for a side entrance. This worked before, when the Super Secret Club's mission was to get their ball back after it had landed in Mrs Jenkins' garden, and they needed to get in and out whilst avoiding each of the seventeen Wockies that populated the old house. It was lucky, really, that Vyla was Camouflage, or the three of them would have quite possibly become dinner.
The Techo beckons the remaining club members over with a swift flick of her tail, and within moments, they are congregated beneath a row of low bushes. Taros has to squat a bit in order to conceal himself entirely.
"Lift me up," Al commands in a shout-whisper. "I wanna see!"
Vyla does as she's ordered and lifts him carefully onto her shoulders so that the tiny Grundo may inspect his new neighbours.
"Ooh, they've got a swing. We ain't got one of those. I should ask Mama to put one up," he murmurs, more to himself than anyone.
"See any people? Or pets?" Taros prompts from his position on the ground.
"Nuh-uh." Al frowns. "Just a whole lotta nothin'."
"Wait," Vyla hisses. "Do you hear that?"
"What?" Taros replies. "I don't hear anything."
"It sounded like... growling."
"Growlin'?" Al whispers. "That don't sound good."
Even as he speaks, the growling grows louder, as if whatever is in next door's garden is coming closer to their hiding place.
Suddenly, the unmistakeable shape of a Werhond races towards them, attempting to claw its way through the bushes. The Super Secret Club let out assorted cries of terror, and turn to race away from the savage Petpet.
"Ducky!" Al suddenly shouts, still perched on Vyla's shoulders "I dropped Ducky!"
They cast another hesitant glance over the bushes, and find to their dismay that Ducky is between the Werhond's jaws, and is in the process of being well and truly mauled.
Al screams, a truly awful sound that may well reverberate through the whole of Neopia. He scrambles down from Vyla's shoulders, and heads straight from the bushes. It's clear that he intends to get Ducky back.
"No!" The Techo holds her tiny leader back. "I don't want you to get hurt!"
Al struggles against her hold, tears streaming down his face. Neither of them notice Taros until he has trampled his way through the bushes, and is squaring up to the vicious Petpet.
"What are you DOING?" Vyla screeches to him, forgetting entirely that they are supposed to be being quiet.
Taros lunges towards the Werhond, but the Petpet is too quick, and he lands on the ground with a loud thud. He rolls onto all fours, launching himself once more. This time, he lands above the Werhond, effectively trapping it. The creature emits several more loud growls, and the Secret Club watch astounded as the Skeith is scratched and bitten, but shows no sign of feeling pain.
After a long struggle, Taros manages to prise the Werhond's jaws open, retrieving the precious yellow toy. It's covered in saliva, and has several chunks taken out of it, but it is still most definitely Ducky.
Taros struggles upwards, dusts himself off, and passes Ducky over to Al. The leader of the Super Secret Club clutches the duck to his chest.
The Skeith tramples through the bushes to rejoin his fellow club members. Al immediately races over to envelope him in the largest hug he can manage. It is a heart-warming scene, except for the fact that the new neighbour chooses that moment to step out of her house to find her bushes thoroughly crushed. The Super Secret Club decide that now would be the best time to get back to their headquarters. Today has been quite the adventure.