Adventures in Facial Hair
The yellow Cybunny struggled, her delicate arms far too weak to break the bonds holding her in place. She could already feel the vibration in the ground as the stagecoach rattled closer.
“Someone, please save me!” she screamed, still thrashing.
Of course, she knew it was futile. There was only one person around for miles, and saving her was the last thing on his mind.
The green Nimmo in question cackled insanely next to the track.
“It is quite useless, Miss Constance,” he laughed, twirling his thin waxed moustache between his fingers. “The Meridell mail coach stops for no one!”
He straightened his top hat and allowed his black cape to billow in a slightly dastardly fashion.
The Cybunny continued to struggle to no avail as the rumbling of the mail coach came closer still. She finally closed her eyes, resigning herself to her fate.
Then, without any warning, she was lifted up, the bonds holding her to the ground easily breaking away. She opened her eyes to the sight of a muscle bound Kougra holding her tightly in her arms as the Meridell coach rattled by behind them.
“Thank you!” Miss Constance gasped.
Below the Kougra’s bushy moustache, he smiled back.
“Never fear, Neopian!” the Kougra bellowed. “I shall deal with this contemptuous villain!”
“What!?” the Nimmo across the street shouted. “Captain Mustachio!? What are you doing here? No one can stop my plans!”
Carefully, the Kougra eased Miss Constance out of his arms and struck a dashing pose.
“Not today, Baron Von Naughtiness!” he proclaimed. “The Defenders of Neopia are here to put an end to your schemes!”
The Nimmo backed away, twirling his moustache.
“You’ve not seen the last of me!” he spat. “All Neopia will bow before the might of the Evil Moustache League!”
He wrapped his cape around him, and threw a small device to the floor which promptly spewed out a great deal of smoke. When it cleared, the Nimmo was gone.
Well, to put it more exactly, the Nimmo was running away into the distance.
Miss Constance breathed a sigh of relief.
“I can’t thank you enough, kind sir,” she told the Kougra. “If it wasn’t for you, I would surely be dead.”
“No need for thanks, Neopian,” the Kougra replied. “It is my job.”
“You’re a Defender of Neopia then?” she asked. “What did he call you, Captain Pistachio?”
“Mustachio. Captain Mustachio,” he quickly corrected her. “But enough about me, what about you? What interest does Baron Von Naughtiness have in you?”
“Who?” Constance frowned. “Oh! That Nimmo? Is that his name...? Seems a bit of a silly name, doesn’t it? Anyway, he kidnapped me off the streets of Neopia Central. Told me I had to tell him all my secrets or else.”
“Or else what?” Mustachio asked.
“That’s what I said,” Constance replied. “So he tied me to the road.”
“Hmm...” Mustachio thought aloud, pacing away from Constance. “Von Naughtiness is a criminal mastermind; he clearly has some interest in you... what do you do for a living?”
“Me? I work for the National Neopian,” Constance supplied.
“The National Neopian!?” Mustachio boomed. “Frolicking Facial Hair!”
Miss Constance backed away from the Kougra slightly, as a niggling feeling in her mind told her that this superhero was perhaps a few hair follicles short of a full beard.
“Listen, I’m very grateful you helped me out, really I am, but I have to be getting back home,” Constance explained. “My Petpet needs feeding.”
“No!” Mustachio boomed again, grabbing her firmly by the arm. “This is a matter of national security, Miss! You must come with me, and help me put a stop to Von Naughtiness’s plans!”
Constance sighed. It was going to be one of those days.
“Come with you to where?” she asked.
“To the Moustache Cave!”
“You failed!” the shrill voice echoed around the chamber, causing several of the gathered Neopets to cringe.
“I didn’t fail!” the Nimmo sneered. “It was simply a set back.”
“Yes, a set back from success to failure,” the elegant Ruki continued, moving closer into the circle of light to show off her small, finely styled moustache.
“Don’t talk to me about failure!” the Nimmo spat back. “Wasn’t it you, the Moustached Lady, who was captured by the Defenders only last week while finishing her death ray?”
“I escaped, Baron Von Naughtiness,” she replied acidly.
“So did I,” he said smugly.
“What does it matter?” a new voice asked, belonging to a Quiggle with a long droopy moustache. “Without the information from the bank teller, we cannot finish our plans.”
“We don’t need her information, Dr. Fu,” Von Naughtiness replied. “We have this.”
He held up a small rectangle of plastic.
“Her security card,” Von Naughtiness added. “With it, we can access the vaults of the National Neopian.”
“It may have escaped your attention,” the Quiggle pointed out, “but it has a picture of the Cybunny on it.”
“For now,” Von Naughtiness cackled, before shouting, “Snood!”
A Halloween Wocky with a small, wet looking moustache appeared by the Nimmo’s side.
“Yes, master?” he asked humbly.
“Take this down to the lab,” Von Naughtiness instructed. “We have some modifications to make.”
“The Moustache Cave?” Constance asked sceptically.
“Yes,” Captain Mustachio replied proudly. “Impressive, isn’t it?”
Constance eyed him carefully, “It’s a shed.”
Constance was beginning to have doubts about the validity of Mustachio’s claims. He said he had used his supernatural abilities of flight to find her, but upon Constance suggesting that he fly them back to the city, he had declined, citing power drains from cosmic rays. They had walked back, and Constance’s feet were now aching.
However, he had not brought them to the Defenders of Neopia headquarters. Instead, he had led her a few hundred metres away, to a slightly larger than average garden shed.
“Correction,” Mustachio added with pride. “It is a slightly larger than average shed.”
He tapped the side of his nose as if that was confidential information.
Without giving Constance further chance to ask questions, he marched forwards and opened the door for her.
For one fleeting moment, Constance thought that perhaps it was a cunning disguise, and that the shed actually housed a thriving hi-tech nerve centre. This was quickly dispelled when she walked inside to discover that it was, just as it appeared, a shed.
Four other Neopets were sat on stools inside, dealing with pieces of technology that would have been considered out of date fifty years ago in the city.
“I thought you were part of the Defenders of Neopia?” Constance asked as Mustachio closed the door behind him.
“We are,” he replied. “We’re a... special branch.”
“How special?” she persisted.
“We deal with Moustache-related crime,” Mustachio told her.
“There’s a lot of that, is there?” Constance enquired.
“More than you’d think,” Mustachio explained. “Especially since the Evil Moustache League turned up. That’s the organisation of criminals that Baron Von Naughtiness belongs to. They are our nemesises ... es. Anyway, let me introduce you to the team.”
The four Neopets looked up from their work.
Mustachio pointed at a nearby Poogle. “This is The Tash, fastest moustache-wearing superhero on the planet, the Tonu next to him is The Amazing Moustache, stronger than an earthquake, and the Lenny over there is Herr Lip, a master of invention and technology.”
Constance craned to see a Skeith sitting at the back of the shed looking glumly at the wall.
“What about him?” she asked.
“That’s Clive. We don’t talk to him,” Mustachio replied, leaning in to whisper, “He’s got a beard.”
Constance did indeed notice that whilst everyone in the room had moustaches, Clive had a large bushy beard.
“So...” Constance began; talking slowly to make sure she understood the absurdity of what she was saying. “You fight moustache-related crimes?”
“Yes, we’re perfectly suited to, you see,” Mustachio explained, “Because the moustaches give us our powers.”
Constance smiled weakly, “Do they really? And this League of Evil Moustaches... they have evil super powers?”
“Of course not!” Tash the Poogle laughed. “That’d be ridiculous!”
“No, they’re all just regular evil geniuses that like moustaches,” Mustachio explained. “Anyway, that’s more than enough of this; Baron Von Naughtiness is up to something!”
The gathered Defenders paid close attention as Captain Mustachio explained his confrontation with Von Naughtiness and Constance’s relation to the National Neopian Bank.
“Clearly, the League is planning to steal money from the bank,” Mustachio concluded. “We must stop them!”
The other Defenders nodded in agreement.
“Good, to the Moustachmobile!” Mustachio proclaimed, sticking a finger in the air dramatically.
“Wait a minute,” Constance butted in. “Shouldn’t you call the rest of the Defenders of Neopia? Surely the more of you there are, the better?”
Mustachio glanced nervously at his other team members before replying, “Err... no, you see, like I said, this is a highly specialised unit. We’re best suited to dealing with the League. Trust us, we’re professionals.”
This temporarily silenced Constance.
“Good,” Mustachio smiled, thrusting his finger in the air again. “Now, to the Moustachmobile!”
“It’s a carriage,” Constance observed with accuracy. “Just a normal carriage. No special modifications, nothing.”
The standard Whinny-pulled vehicle stood before them, a rather unimpressive sight.
“Correction,” Mustachio added. “It is a carriage with go faster stripes down the outside.”
Constance nodded as she noticed the two crudely painted red lines down either side of it.
“Do you actually have a budget from the Defenders?” Constance questioned as everyone climbed inside.
“Now is not the time for conversation!” Mustachio boomed. “Neopia is in peril!”
Constance groaned and got inside.
The National Neopian was dark, the bank tellers having closed up for the night and gone home. A lone security guard sat at the front desk, drifting in an out of consciousness and snoring quite loudly.
Four figures made their way silently through the foyer, towards the door that led to the vaults. The Nimmo, the Wocky, the Ruki and the Quiggle laughed mockingly to themselves as the guard snoozed away.
“Snood!” Von Naughtiness hissed. “The modified ID card!”
The Wocky shuffled forwards and produced the thin rectangle of plastic. Where once there had been a picture of Constance, someone had drawn a face with a pen.
“Truly, a masterful modification!” Von Naughtiness declared, swiping the card through the barcode reader near the door that in fact paid no attention to the picture.
The large door made a brief whirring sound, before opening inwards, allowing them access.
“At last!” the elegant Ruki declared as they made their way inside. “All the riches of the National Neopian are now ours! We have finally beaten the Defenders of Neopia! Evil reigns supreme!”
“Not today, evil doer!” a voice boomed from behind them.
The door to the vaults slammed shut, trapping them inside, while Captain Mustachio emerged from the shadows with the rest of his team.
“You’re all under arrest!” he proclaimed.
“We won’t go down without a fight!” Von Naughtiness snarled.
The evil Neopets leapt forwards.
“Quick, Tash! Use your super speed to contain them!” Mustachio ordered.
The Poogle ran forwards, circling the advancing Neopets and stopping them in their tracks, more out of confusion than anything else – as he ran at a completely normal speed.
“Now, Herr Lip, create an immobilising device while the Amazing Moustache and I use out abilities to subdue them!” Mustachio ordered.
As the Kougra and Tonu lumbered forward and began wildly slapping at the evil Neopets, Herr Lip, the Lenny, got out a plunger and ran forwards screaming.
Clive meanwhile lumbered in haphazardly. The Skeith collided with the chaotic group, sending them all sprawling across the floor, pulling at each other’s facial hair.
Constance stood away from them in shock for a moment.
“Stop this!” she shouted eventually.
The brawl continued.
“I said stop it!!” she screamed at the top of her voice.
Gradually, the fight on the floor came to a stop, with everyone staring up at her.
“What are you doing?” she demanded.
“Fighting evil!” Mustachio proclaimed.
“You don’t have any special abilities!” she shouted at them. “And this...”
She leaned down and picked up her ID card that had fallen from Von Naughtiness’s hands during the fight.
“...This isn’t an evil scheme!” she continued. “Drawing a smiley face on an ID card isn’t evil! It’s just mildly annoying! You didn’t even use permanent ink; I can just wipe it right off! You’re not really super villains, are you? And you’re not really members of the Defenders of Neopia!”
“...No,” Mustachio admitted.
“Then who are you!?” Constance demanded.
“We’re... a group of moustache enthusiasts,” he explained. “We take it in turns to be the good guys and the bad guys.”
“Moustache enthusiasts?” Constance questioned. “What on the five seas has that got to do with fighting crime?”
“Well, we used to just meet up and talk about how great moustaches are... but that got a little boring,” Mustachio told her. “Then Jack... that is, Baron Von Naughtiness, suggested this... it’s all got a bit out of hand, I suppose.”
“A bit out of hand!?” Constance shouted. “You tied me down in the path of a mail carriage!”
“We were never going to let any harm come to you!” Von Naughtiness protested.
“And this!?” Constance continued. “Breaking into a bank!?”
“We weren’t going to steal anything!” Mustachio insisted.
“We’re sorry,” Von Naughtiness told her.
“Well... well, good!” Constance said, faltering slightly in her anger. “And you are to all stop doing this immediately!”
“We will,” Mustachio agreed.
Gradually, the super villains and heroes helped each other to their feet. Constance unlocked the vault door for them and they silently left the bank, avoiding waking the security guard.
Outside, both heroes and villains climbed inside the Moustachmobile.
“I never want to see any of you again!” Constance threatened.
Mustachio nodded solemnly. He grabbed the reins on the front of the carriage and his face brightened slightly.
“And so,” he began, “Neopia was once again saved by-”
“No!” Constance shouted. “Stop it! No more! It ends now!”
Mustachio deflated slightly, before urging the Whinnies on into the night.
Constance stood on the steps of the National Neopian for a few moments before letting out a deep breath. She straightened out her dress, and made her way off in the opposite direction.
She had to get home; her Petpet needed feeding.