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Week 582
You are on Week 583
Week 584

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Five Hundred Eighty Three Ends Friday, November 30

Rufus trudged along on his new set of stubby, gray-blue legs and oversized cream-colored paws. He growled silently, humiliated by the fact that he now needed to drag his briefcase along in a wagon behind him just to get it to work.

"Curse that Boochi and his miserable gun..." he grumbled, dripping once again.

Five minutes and three more falls later, Rufus arrived at his place of employment. It wasn't much -- just a small desk job, at which he would sit for eight hours daily and busy himself with paperwork.

He waddled over to the desk, surprised by how tall it now seemed. Just yesterday he'd leaned over the desk to sign in with ease, and now he couldn't even see the top.

"Now how am I supposed to sign in?" he growled, knowing that there was no way to climb up.

Then, he heard her voice.

"Try to have that stack done by tomorrow, Felix. I'll see you at lunch!"

It was Rosa, the secretary and the boss's clear favorite. She was too new to be promoted, but Rufus was sure that she'd rise to the top pretty fast.

"Rosa," he yelled, his voice now squeaky and much more quiet. "Could you help me, please?"

The white Draik turned her head, causing her soft blonde hair to fall into her eyes. She couldn't see anybody, though she was certain that she had been addressed.

"Hello?" she called. "Is someone there? I heard my name--"

She looked over the counter and spotted the wagon, and then the little Lupe.

"And who might you be, little one? Are you lost?"

Rufus shook his head, feeling humiliated when he realized how much his awkwardly large ears must have flopped around.

"It's me, Rufus. I work at desk number twelve."

Rosa started in astonishment.

"Rufus? What happened to you? You're a-a--"

Rufus cut her off.

"A baby Lupe, yes... I'm well aware of that. Now, could you please help me sign in? I can't get up to the desk."

Rosa pursed her lips, knowing that this was a problem.

"Rufus," she began carefully. "I think it would be in both of our best interests to talk to the boss. We'll need to adjust your working conditions to accommodate for your new, er... change."

Rufus groaned inwardly. The boss wasn't going to like this. After all, changes cost money.

"Okay," he agreed, rather unenthusiastically. "I'll go knock on the door."

Two minutes later, he was standing on the chair, glaring his boss in the eyes.

"Fired?!?" he shrieked. "What do you mean fired? I've worked here for years! You can't just fire me for being the victim of an unfortunate event!"

The large green Scorchio grinned and met Rufus's glare.

"Actually, little Lupe, I can."

Author: midnight_star411
Date: Nov 19th
Rufus's mouth gaped open at the sheer unfairness of the situation. Surely four years of dedicated, enthusiastic work counted for something in the professional world?

Well, surely, four years of work counted for something?

"What am I supposed to do now?" he demanded, trying and failing to sound dignified. (It was the new colour making his eyes water!)

The boss shrugged, already turning back to his office where a large stack of papers loomed ominously.

"I'm sure you'll figure something out," he said uninterestedly. "Now, scat! Just because you're currently indisposed doesn't mean the rest of us haven't got work to do. Busy week coming up, busy week... don’t make me call security."

Rufus opened his mouth to complain again, but before the first word passed his lips the door swung shut in his face. Rubbing his nose in indignation, he plodded resignedly over to his desk to gather up his things... and maybe some 'bonus' stationary while he was at it. As he struggled to clamber up to the work surface, a pair of knees appeared at his eye level. He looked up to see Rosa's watering eyes.

"I'm sorry," she choked, patting daintily at her running mascara. "I didn't mean to get you fired."

Rufus wriggled uncomfortably, patting her foot awkwardly. "There, there," he muttered, speaking to her shoes. "I forgive you. I never liked this job, anyway."

Rosa let out a loud wail and threw her arms around him. "Thank you!" she sobbed as he let out a disgruntled yelp and tried to remove himself from her suffocating grip. "I'll make it up to you, I swear."

"No need," Rufus said hurriedly as he finally managed to remove himself from her vice-like grip. "I'll be fine."

"No," she said firmly, reaching into her pockets to pull out a folded piece of paper. "I'm going to help you get revenge." She thrust the paper toward him and he took it cautiously. It couldn't hurt to look...

Author: minnow
Date: Nov 19th
...Rufus glared at the paper, his tiny paws barely able to cling onto the sides. Rosa's handwriting was neat and hung in an effulgent glow.

Daylight Daycare, 354 Meadow Lane.

The Lupe's face straightened as he gazed back up, one eyebrow raised, unamused. "Is this some kind of a joke?"

"No, no!" Rosa insisted, shaking her head so fervently that her light, white hair continuously spun through the air, whipping the other side of her face. "Please, just go... you'll know why when you get there!"

Rufus stood perplexed, determined that he was being made a fool of. Regardless, Rosa had always been a reliable colleague...

He sighed in defeat. "I guess I have nothing else to lose."

"That's a good little boy--" Rosa began, placing her palm firmly over her mouth, her eyes wide in shock.

"Sorry..." she said, slowly removing her hand. "I can't help it when I'm around a..."

"Baby?" Rufus finished, making his way to the door. "Don't worry about it."

The streets of Neopia Central were packed with busy shoppers, the many markets far from retiring. Thankfully, as Rufus approached the nursery, the sound of distant baby wails muffled out the continuous "awws" and "oohs" he was constantly receiving.

The nursery stood at the tip of Meadow Lane, its bright pink rooftop overpowering the rest of the peaceful lane. A small topiary park was situated in front and, as he made his way through, he couldn't help but laugh at the poor caricatures. Fyora looked more like King Skarrl!

Reluctantly, he opened the door and stepped inside, almost tripping over the piles of abandoned toys clumsily strewn over the reception area. The desk was empty, with the sound of children's laughter and cries echoing through the many halls of the building.

"Now, now, play nice!" screamed a voice in the distance, clearly belonging to an overworked employee trying her best to deal with the babies around her. Not that Rufus didn't know the feeling.

Stepping forward, the Lupe clung to the corner and slid around, trying his best to avoid detection as he approached the playpen. Inside, as he had assumed, was an elderly day-care worker trying her best to break up a nasty spat between two of the children. He watched as she picked up the nearby baby Bruce.

"Boochi! Don't make me have to put you in time out..."

Author: icesmith
Date: Nov 20th
...The Bruce blew a raspberry at the Nimmo, who scowled and placed the baby in a pen all by himself, with high transparent walls he had no hope of scaling.

"Now, you stay there until you've had a good long think about what you've done!" the worker declared, marching off at the sound of some other children getting worked up.

Rufus now understood the meaning of Rosa's offer; she was helping him get revenge against Boochi.

Rufus ran toward the pen, tapping on the plastic wall to get the Bruce's attention.

"Boochi," he declared. "So, we meet again."

The Bruce turned and scowled at Rufus. "I don't know you."

"You made me like this!" Rufus shouted. "I've been sacked from my job at Widget Industries because of it!"

"Widget?" Boochi asked. "Then Rosa sent you?"

"Yes," Rufus answered, slightly taken aback. "She told me where I could find you, so I could get my revenge on you."

Boochi let out a childish giggle. "No, she sent you here so you could get revenge on your boss."

"What?"

"See, at play time, I'm sort of a ray gun for hire," Boochi explained. "I can help you bring your boss down to size -- baby size. All you have to do is spring me from day-care. How's about it?"...

Author: herdygerdy
Date: Nov 20th
...Rufus wrinkled his nose at the idea. Help Boochi? The one who had done this to him? He admitted, the thought of seeing that bitter Scorchio in a diaper was a delicious thought... but would it really help him at all? If anything, it would make his boss even more angry at him. No... there had to be another element to this plan.

"You little brat of a Bruce, that may be so, but in the long run it won't help me. I need to get back to normal... or at the very least, no longer teething." Rufus quipped. Boochi stuck his tongue out.

"Well... I do know a guy. It's not perfect, or predictable, but there is a chance it'll change you," Boochi said with a sly grin.

"What... what are you referring to?"

"The Scorchio that runs the Lab Ray. Let me out and I'll take you to him. If you're lucky, you'll be changed to something adult again. In fact, if you become a different Neopet entirely, maybe your boss won't even recognize you and you can get your job back." For an annoying little squirt, the Bruce had a good point.

"Interesting... I suppose it's worth a shot." Rufus had fleeting thoughts of becoming something magnificent, like a royal Lupe. He would be more than happy to take something plain as well, if it meant having a normally proportionate body again. Then, when he towers over his baby boss, then they'll really be even.

"Alright Boochi, you've got yourself a deal. Now I just have to get you out of here." Rufus looked around the room for something to get Boochi free. There were plenty of toys spread throughout the colorful room, but Rufus wasn't so sure any of that would help him. Wait a minute... what was that on the shelf above Boochi's pen?

After a few less-than-agile jumps, Rufus had made it up to the shelf.

"Look out below!" he called, and dumped out a box full of building blocks into the pen. Boochi gasped and covered his head as the plastic blocks came raining down.

"Hey, what do you think you're doing?!?" he snapped.

"Coming up with a way for you to get out! Don't you see? Just make yourself some stairs with those and you'll be out in no time," Rufus said. Grudgingly the Bruce complied, until his rickety staircase was tall enough for him to jump over.

"Good, I got you free," Rufus said. "Now it's your turn. Take me to the Lab Ray..."

Author: draikmastergirl
Date: Nov 21st
The trip to the secret lab was uneventful. Rufus was able to walk about freely, but Boochi needed to stick to the shadows and hide around various corners as they made their trek. After all, they really didn't need the massive panic that would come about from the public seeing Boochi around. He was definitely a Neopian whose reputation preceded him anywhere he went.

That's not to say that Boochi didn't do what he did best along the way. Every few minutes, Rufus heard the all-too-familiar sound of Boochi's ray gun as he zapped some other poor, unfortunate soul into a baby as they made their way there.

"Why do you keep doing that?" Rufus asked.

"Because it's fun!" Boochi replied before zapping an eventide Hissi.

Rufus really couldn't argue with that, as it seemed like Boochi was genuinely enjoying himself, so he just let the discussion drop before the pair found themselves at the entrance to the secret lab.

"Do we knock?" Rufus asked, looking to the baby Bruce.

"Nope!" Boochi said before pushing open the entrance doors.

Almost immediately they were greeted by a very angry Grarrl, who was stomping his way out of the lab. The Grarrl appeared to be wearing a now-tattered ensemble that looked like it would have been a better fit on a Cybunny.

I guess he got a bad zap... Rufus thought before the two of them continued deeper into the lab.

There were all sorts of machines and devices that littered the walls and tables of the area before they found themselves in a room with several monitors and a large, scary-looking ray gun. This must have been the room where the zappings took place.

"Hello?" Rufus asked, not seeing the scientist in the area.

"Just a second!" a strange voice said, coming from somewhere in the room. That was quickly followed by several loud banging noises before the Lab Ray Scientist poked his head out from behind some machinery.

"Are you here for..." the scientist started to say before his eyes narrowed as he glared at them.

"Boochi!" he said with disgust. "I told you to never show your face around here again!"...

Author: dr_tomoe
Date: Nov 21st
...Boochi sneered. "Oh, please. How could you expect me to stay away?"

The scientist was about to say something, but was cut off by the wave of a small pastel flipper. "Considering how much business I bring in from someone's prized lab-only-color Neopet being babyfied, I'd have thought you could show a little gratitude in your reaction."

The Scorchio sighed, putting his hands in his lab coat in defeat, and then started adjusting some machinery on a nearby desk. "So, what is it you want?" he asked.

Boochi gestured toward Rufus. "He'll tell you."

Rufus cleared his throat, feeling self-conscious. "Uhm, well... you see, I was zapped by a certain someone." He paused momentarily, glaring at Boochi, then continued. "As a result, I lost my job. A co-worker of mine, Rosa, offered me a chance to get back at Boochi, except that didn't seem like a good idea. Instead, I chose Boochi's suggestion of coming here to be changed by the lab ray."

The scientist turned around. "So, you think my lab ray will just happen to change you back to a Lupe? What if you end up as something else, something even worse than a baby?"

Rufus gulped sheepishly as the Scorchio looked at him expectantly. "Well, it's worth a shot?"

The scientist cackled loudly, supporting himself on the desk. Rufus turned to Boochi worriedly, and the baby Bruce met his look with an eye-roll.

"Alright, alright... here, let me set up my ray," the scientist finally said, rolling up his sleeves. "This may get messy." As the lab ray charged up in Rufus's direction, an automated voice rang out. "The ray is fired at Rufus..."

Author: astronaautical
Date: Nov 26th
...Rufus couldn't hear the last words of the robotic voice over the peculiar spasms ravaging his body. His vision blurred and heart began to throb with panic. He could feel his legs growing with unnatural speed and adrenaline course through newly-grown veins.

Smoke surrounded him, filling his lungs and blurring the lights. As Rufus's ears began to function again, he could make out the distinct laughing of a baby Neopet and another older pet that was not quite sane.

"My eyes!" Rufus shouted blindly. "My eyes aren't working, help me!"

The laughing grew until it began to echo on the cave walls and tin instruments. Rufus turned his head quickly, falling backward from unexpected momentum. He wasn't a baby anymore, he could feel that, but rather than being concerned by his new form, his worries were about his sudden loss of sight.

"I'm blind!" Rufus echoed, the lack of sympathy from his companions starting to become horribly concerning.

The voice of a baby that could only be Boochi grew as the Bruce approached. "Oh relax, the ray doesn't work that way. It's just the smoke, and well... other stuff."

"What?" Rufus yelled, turning his visionless head trying to place where the baby could be.

"Just follow me," Boochi laughed, grabbing Rufus's paw and leading him like a herd of Kaus. Would this be the day he was dreaming of, when his pathetic baby body transformed into something beautiful?

Rufus was starting to get some vision back, but dim, shapeless clouds still fogged his eyes. Boochi started fanning the air around the confused Neopet and then whirled him around with surprising strength to face a long, cracked mirror.

"No..." Rufus moaned in shock.

The yellow Scorchio slithered up beside them. "I warned you," he hummed, his tail flicking with glee.

"It can't be..." Rufus muttered, filling with disappointment and anger. "I'm… it's... no..."

The Scorchio laughed, spreading his wings in preparation of taking flight. "At least you can fly now."

"Swamp gas Buzzes are all the rage," Boochi chuckled...

Author: nerdy_gerdy
Date: Nov 26th
...The nefarious smell wafted hazily throughout the room and Rufus gagged as he gazed at himself in the mirror. His wings were twitching uncomfortably behind him, dispelling a pungent odor as they splatted swamp goo on the metallic floors below.

With a chuckle the scientist finally spoke, his eyes wide in hilarity. "Come on, get back to the ray and we'll go again."

He waddled peacefully over to the control desk, Boochi in tow, but Rufus merely stayed where he was. His large eyes were focused entirely on the figure before him, his hands squishing awkwardly as he rubbed them together. With a squelch, he turned.

"No," he said, his face finally breaking into a twisted smile. "This might be just what we needed..."

Boochi's brow folded in confusion. "Huh? Swamp gas is never what anyone needs!"

Rufus released a small trill of a laugh as he turned to face the mirror. He was truly disgusting, the unpleasant smell evolving into a pungent green hue that surrounded his every move.

"Maybe Rosa was right all along," he finally spoke, his eyes shifting toward the perplexed duo. "Maybe revenge is just what the boss needs..."

The baby and scientist barely had time to speak before the Buzz had begun to wildly flutter his new wings, wafting over a flume of pungent miasma. With a sudden spring, Rufus had darted out of the door and into the distance, his emerald hue merging calmly into the Neopian sunset.

Boochi shrugged. "I hope he knows what he's doing..."

Author: icesmith
Date: Nov 27th
...Rufus flew through the Neopian streets with only one thing on his mind. The new and peculiar exhilaration of being able to fly, the disgusted sideways looks from passing Neopets, the awful, eye-watering smell... all of these things were secondary to him now.

He arrived at Widget Industries in record time, and his still smoke-ridden eyes scanned the building. His heart gave a stutter of hope when he saw that a window was open. Could it be? He counted, three down, two to the right... he'd been working there long enough to know. The boss' window was open.

Rufus ascended, weaving this way and that to avoid being spotted from the windows. The higher he went, the more excited he became. The boss had never been kind to Rufus. For four years, his work had received nothing but criticism. It was one thing to lose his dignity because of Boochi, but to be shoved aside as if he were worthless -- that was too much. So now, the old Scorchio was going to get what he deserved.

Without warning, Rufus caught a glimpse of himself in one of the office windows. Something happened. He stopped.

He looked at the fumes spiraling around him like fire, his craggy limbs and the repulsive colour of his skin. That wasn't why he stopped, though. He had seen something in his bulging eyes -- perhaps you could describe it as thirst -- whatever it was, it scared him. Was dignity the only thing he had lost?...

Author: brilliance109p
Date: Nov 27th
...No, he had lost another thing: himself. What he saw just then in his own eyes was the thirst to cause someone else pain. He'd seen it in Boochi's eyes as well. What had caused this change in him? It was his boss, how his boss had treated him. He wanted revenge. That was it -- a thirst for revenge. He suddenly wondered why Boochi's eyes showed that same desire.

Rufus was jerked out of his thoughts by a scream coming from inside the building. "AAAAHHHH! What is that thing?!?" He focused on what was on the other side of the glass and, to his surprise, saw Rosa standing there, her eyes wide, watching him in horror.

A Hissi made its way to her side and glared at him, shouting, "Hey, you! You aren't welcome here! Get lost!"

Rufus backed away, startled. That was Falcon, one of his best friends since he had started working there. He'd never seen him look at anyone that way, even that snot covered Usul who'd come in looking for a job the other day. Was it his eyes? Was he really...

The former Lupe whirled around and buzzed off, flying as fast as he could back to the Lab Ray...

Author: peronalodis
Date: Nov 28th
...When he got there, the Scorchio scientist was outside of his lab, banging on the large doors of its entrance.

"Boochi!" Rufus could hear the lab ray scientist shouting. "You scum! Let me back in!"

The wild-eyed Scorchio continued to pound on the entrance to his lab as Rufus came in for a landing behind him. The scientist's angry pounding was suddenly cut off by a hacking and gasping as he caught a whiff of Rufus's new scent.

"What's going on here?" Rufus asked the hacking scientist.

"That... Boochi!" the Scorchio finally gasped after waving away some of the fumes. "Almost as soon as you left, he went wild and started firing that cursed ray gun everywhere! I can't operate my equipment as a baby so I got out of there as quickly as I could, and then he locked me out of my own lab!"

"What?" Rufus said in surprise. "Is there another way in?"

The Scorchio had to stop and think for a moment. "Yes!" he exclaimed. "There's an aerial entrance that leads directly to the lab machine room. It's right..."

Before the scientist could finish, a sound similar to that of grinding gears rang out, giving the impression that something mechanical was opening. Out of the top of the secret lab, the massive lab ray itself began emerging from the complex.

Standing behind the ray and fiddling with a few of the machines that were coming along with it was none other than Boochi.

"Muahahahah!" the diabolical baby Bruce laughed. "Soon my master plan shall be complete, and all of Neopia will be babies!"...

Author: dr_tomoe
Date: Nov 28th
...Boochi paused his laughter as he looked down and saw the swamp gas Buzz standing there. "You? What are you doing back here?" he growled. The surprise was obvious on his face.

Before Rufus could answer -- as if he were going to -- the Scorchio standing next to him raised his fist in the air and shouted, "You stop right now! You don't know what'll happen... my ray isn't built for that sort of thing!"

Boochi smirked and, without a word, lifted up his little babyfication gun and plugged it into the machine. The effect was immediate; a spark lit up the ray and it made a noise similar to that of a baby crying. The ray seemed to fall down partially and it shot, right at Rufus and the scientist.

"AARRGH!" the Scorchio screeched when the ray hit him and he began to shrink. The same happened to Rufus; his vision blurred, and pain exploded throughout his entire body.

Once he was reoriented, Rufus pushed himself back to his feet. He looked down at himself and blinked. He had furry paws again! Yellow ones. Something fell in front of his face and he looked up to find that it was his ear. "Wha--"

"What?!? A Gelert?! I thought you'd turn into a little worm!" Boochi yelled.

Rufus glanced over at the scientist and gasped, finding himself looking at a small, pale, annoyed-looking Bori. "I told you!" the Bori shouted angrily. "My ray is random! It won't do what you want!"

Boochi paused, thinking, then burst out in laughter again. "Hahaha! It doesn't matter, as long as the result is baby!" He turned back to the controls of the machine and frowned. "Oh, drat. I left the magnifier inside."

Rufus and the now Bori watched as he grumbled in annoyance and flipped a switch, causing the whole mechanism to sink back into the lab.

The scientist whirled toward Rufus. "Now's our chance. We can't get in from above, or through the door, but there's a basement." He pointed at the ground next to the lab where a grate lay fastened to the building. "Now that we're this small, I'm sure we can fit through there..."

Author: peronalodis
Date: Nov 29th
...The Gelert's eyes bulged. "You're kidding, right?" Rufus spat.

The miniature lab ray scientist frowned and shrugged. "Have you a better idea?"

"No." Groaning inwardly, Rufus attempted to remove the grate. "It won't budge," he uttered casually, glad that worthy craftsmanship had prevented the need to enter the sewers.

"That's just because you're not me." The Bori walked over to the grate and waved his hand in front of it.

It still failed to open. "Oh, curses," he uttered, "I suppose I'm not really me, either." He then snapped his fingers as another idea hit him. "I've got another idea!"

"What?"

"Just follow me." The Bori ran off somewhere toward the other side of the building, which was now rather menacing-looking from their minute heights.

Rufus followed.

The pair soon found themselves outside a tiny door on the other side.

"Behold!"

"What is it?" Rufus asked.

"The entrance to the Petpet Lab Ray," the scientist announced gloriously. Pressing a button on the side, it opened. "It's made so only Petpets can go through -- the owner presses the button and the Petpet walks on in, awaiting a zap..." He chuckled slightly. "I suppose, though, it's a bit of a security concern -- I failed to take into account that baby Neopets are small enough to enter this way, as well."

It was a tight squeeze, but both of them made it through.

"Alright," the lab ray scientist dictated. "I'm going to go down into the basement and disconnect the power to the main ray. Switch 11, I believe... anyway," he continued,"in the meantime, I want you to go and stop Boochi from turning all of Neopia into random babies. Go and steal his magnifier, or just... keep him busy, until I can manage to shut off the power. The way to the main lab is just left of here."

"Alright," Rufus agreed.

The Bori then disappeared into the shadows beyond the confines of the Petpet Lab.

Rufus left, too.

Shortly thereafter, the Gelert found his way into the main lab. Across the way, with his back facing Rufus, stood the miserable and vile Boochi.

"There's my magnifier!" the Bruce announced. Boochi then turned around and, seeing the Gelert, started rushing toward him.

Rufus was shocked as well, and did the only thing he could think of doing.

Swiftly, he launched himself at the baby Bruce...

Author: rielcz
Date: Nov 29th
...Boochi let out a war cry that did not sound like it was possible for it to be coming from such a small Neopet. The Bruce's yell was one of outrage. Before Rufus landed, Boochi easily dodged the baby Gelert's attack, and Rufus plopped to the ground. Boochi grinned at Rufus, his little beak curved into a wicked sort of smile.

Boochi let out a "Bwahahaaa!" that was both evil and adorable as he scrambled to the place on the lab ray where he had plugged in his little ray gun. Rufus realized what the little pink Bruce was doing and his heart sank. Summoning all of his courage, Rufus let out a loud bark that surprised even him. It had a hint of a whine to it, like a pup's bark, but it got the point across, because Boochi paused where he was.

Before the Bruce could do anything else, Rufus charged at the evil little baby and grabbed the magnifier from his hand. It was a small, shiny metallic piece of equipment that looked very similar in shape to a magnifying glass. It was heavier than it looked -- probably due to the fact that Rufus was still not used to his baby form -- and it almost slipped from his little grasp. He backed up with the device as the Bruce lunged for it with his tiny flipper.

"Give that back now!" Boochi demanded. "Or else!"

"Or else, what?" Rufus asked with a sly smile...

Author: lissiekat10
Date: Nov 30th
..."Or else I'll... I'll..." Boochi struggled to form an appropriate comeback.

"Or else you'll turn me into a baby?" Rufus asked with a sarcastically innocent expression.

The baby Bruce opposite him screamed. "You know very well that I already did that! Now, give it back!"

"Why?"

"So I can carry through with my plan to turn all of Neopia into random babies!" Boochi declared, seething with rage.

Rufus paused. A smirk formed on his lips. "Fine, you can have it back."

Boochi looked stunned. "Er, really?"

"IF," the baby Gelert stressed, "you reveal to me why you want to turn everyone into a child. What've you got against Neopia and its citizens, Boochi?"

At first Boochi looked cross and, closing his eyes, replied with a cool sort of attitude. "I don't have to tell you anything." The Bruce then opened his left eye and observed Rufus staring back at him with a sense of curious disapproval. He released a discontented sigh. "Why do you even want to know?"

Rufus sighed as well. "Remember when I went off to destroy my boss?"

"Yes," Boochi replied. "Did you carry through with it?" His face took on its more characteristically evil look. "Did he get what he deserved?" Though it was apparent he was trying to sound casually menacing, his high, squeaky tone bent the words into something Rosa might have called "cute."

"No, I didn't," Rufus replied. "I saw my reflection off the polished windows at Widget company headquarters."

"So? Why did that stop you?"

"I saw a look in my eyes, a look of fierce determination, a look of maniacal, vicious hatred -- I was possessed by my thirst for destruction, a thirst only quenchable by revenge -- and I realized that I would be no better off than that wretched Schorchio if I went through with my attack. I may have been kicked around and made a fool of -- multiple times -- and lost my dignity in almost every sense of the word... but I retained my morals."

Boochi gazed, forlorn, toward the ground.

"The look I saw in my eyes -- the look of miserable vengeance -- I see mirrored in yours all the time." He paused. "Why?"

"You know, you and I have more in common than you might think."

The Gelert raised an eyebrow, a puzzled look on his face. "Why?" he inquired slowly.

"I, too, once worked at Widget Industries."

Rufus gaped. "What, er, position did you hold?"

"Executive of Shipping and Handling."

"You would have been my supervisor."

Boochi smiled. "Yep. Small world, eh? Does Rosa still work there?"

"You knew Rosa?"

"She's the one that put me into this mess."

"Well, she helped me find you." Rufus then really took in Boochi's reply. "Wait, what? What do you mean, she put you into this mess?"

Boochi smiled. "She knew where I was because she put me there... Rosa led to the incident..." he trailed.

"What incident?"

"The one that turned me into the child you see today. Widget was sent a collection of Hidden Tower merchandise -- hexed by Fyora herself -- and was instructed to ship them out to the clientèle of Neopia Central who'd ordered the items. Well, as head of Shipping and Handling, I surveyed the merchandise to ensure that everything looked in mint condition. Rosa then came in -- she was the new cleaning lady at the time. Well, somehow she managed to bump into me while I held up a Baby Paint Brush, and that was that."

Something struck Rufus as odd. "I thought Rosa was a relatively new employee."

"She's a relatively new secretary," Boochi stressed. "Prior to that, she was a low-level custodian. That's beside the point, however. She took me to the boss, who then promptly fired me. I was so terribly in shock that I accepted, without really thinking, Rosa's offer to put me in daycare. To this day, she's the only one -- well, I guess besides you, now -- that knows my residency."

"So, why didn't you go zap yourself?"

"The Lab Ray didn't exist yet."

"Well, it exists now."

"You didn't let me finish," Boochi said, a tad annoyed. "As soon as I heard about it, I went over. As a matter of fact, I was its first user. The Scorchio that ran it let me use it for free, to 'test it' for him."

"It didn't work?"

The Bruce gritted his teeth. "It failed miserably. Its settings were inverted, according to the scientist, and cemented in my color, making me unable to ever change out of this form."

"So, where'd the ray come from?"

"The Scorchio said that he was developing something else, a 'Baby Zapper Ray,' which -- provided he reversed some kind of polarity device -- could possibly change me back into my previous form. However, he wanted to charge me quite a hefty price for its required destruction and recreation. So, I stole it."

"You couldn't figure out how to do it yourself, though?"

"Exactly. Instead, angry at the world, I sought to 'baby-fy' my old Scorchio boss, the one that had me fired for the place not being 'child-safe.' So, I went there. However, security noted my weapon and had me permanently banned from the premises. Another reason why I was kind of glad to hear that you planned to destroy him."

"So, when you told me you could go and turn the boss into a baby..." Rufus began, glaring at him accusingly.

Boochi smiled mischievously. "Yes, I was lying so that you would free me. Anyway," the Bruce continued, "I decided to take my anger out on others by zapping them into babies. Why? So they could see the world my way, through the eyes of a child, and endure the hardships that arise from being one."

A silence fell over the room.

"I passed the Lab Ray Scientist on the streets about a year later," Boochi continued, breaking it. "He said that it was okay that I kept the gun, because it generated more business for him whenever I changed someone's 'precious' color. I was never to return to his lab, however... which, until today, I didn't."

"And it was a terrible mistake that you did," someone from behind said as Boochi was captured in a small cage.

"What?!?" Boochi exclaimed as he turned around.

It was the Lab Ray Scientist, back in Scorchio form. "While you two conversed, I shut down the power to the main ray and set up my backup ray, which turns Neopets into yellow Scorchio's -- I developed it for me, just in case of an event like this." he cackled. "Now, to take care of you..." he trailed as he carried off a whining Boochi.

"I was just trying to teach the world our hardships, Rufus!" Boochi yelled. "Get them to understand."

Rufus suddenly felt very bad. Somehow, Boochi's intentions were almost... good.

The Gelert suddenly had a bit of an idea.

***

"The ray is fired at Rufus..."

Rufus turned adult-sized. The color red, to be exact. He promptly thanked the Lab Ray Scientist and left the lab.

***

He stormed through the doors of Widget Industries, ignoring security.

Marching up to the boss's room, he barged in. "I want you to rehire me."

"Rufus?" the Schorcio asked. "Well, you were a decent, fairly longtime employee... fine."

"Also, I want you to equip this place with some child-friendly equipment, for anyone else that suffers my fate."

"Rufus, that would cost--"

"This'll pay for it," he said, tossing the expensive magnifier on his boss's desk.

Smiling, he walked through the doors and returned to his cubicle.

It was nice to be back in the building...

The End

Author: rielcz
Date: Nov 30th



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