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Things change in life, sometimes quicker than we could have imagined possible.
A random choice, a moment's hesitation, and a chance encounter can all change
the course of our entire existence. I don't know why things happen the way they
do. I suppose no one in Neopia really does understand.
End of Prologue
Location: Sabreur's Lab
Time: 12:23 PM NST
"Is it ready yet?" Infernus asked, peering cautiously
over my shoulder as I bent over the lab bench.
"Not quite," I replied, looking up from my work
to glance around the lab. My lab is the largest room in my house, and is where
I spend most of my free time. Half-finished projects cover the various tables
like metallic insects. Boxes of circuits and parts sit on metal shelves against
one wall, while sets of chemical vials and beakers sit in half-open cabinets.
The walls are made of thick, blast resistant materials. There are two doors,
one leading into the supply closet and one leading into the hallway. Both are
solidly built. Fire extinguishers are mounted anywhere that's convenient, and
close inspection would show that they've all been used fairly often. A few scorch
marks show the locations of past experiments.
I turned back to my work, thankful that Infernus
was watching. He is a great partner in the lab, due to his intelligence and
fire-resistant scales. I carefully screwed in the last circuit on my current
project, then welded the casing shut. "It's done!" I cried triumphantly, holding
the sphere-shaped object aloft.
At first glance, the thing I held in my hands
didn't look like anything special - just a simple firebomb. Firebombs are interesting
weapons, and they are one of the first Battledome weapons Infernus and I tried.
Unfortunately, they are terribly weak, barely putting out enough flame to turn
bread into toast, let alone be effective in a fight.
This firebomb was a bit special, however. It
was slightly larger, for starters. Extra connections had been added to charge
it with electrical power. The fuel inside had been removed and replaced with
a formula of my own devising. The outer plating was covered in solar panels,
so it constantly drank in power. I didn't know if it would work on not, but
it sure looked fearsome. My less-than-secret goal is to turn Infernus into a
Battledome champion. This device, the Improved Firebomb, could go a long ways
towards fulfilling that goal.
"Um, you might want to turn the arming switch
to the off position," Infernus commented.
"Oh, yeah. Oops," I said, hurriedly flicking
the switch off. I plugged the Improved Firebomb into the nearest wall outlet
just as the phone mounted on the far wall rang. I ran to pick it up. Kiddo's
voice spoke on the other end of the line.
"Hey Sabreur. Forgetting something?"
"What about meeting for lunch?"
"Oh yeah, that! No, I didn't forget. Meeting
at your house at noon, right Child_Dragon?"
"Okay good. I was worried you were busy in your
lab and had forgotten. Especially since we were supposed to meet half an hour
"Uhhh...." I stalled, trying to think up a suitable
response. Kiddo's laughter came over the line.
"Lemme guess, you were just about to finish
a new project, right?"
"Yeah," I replied, feeling myself blush again.
"Don't worry. I planned on you being late. Just
hurry over here, okay?"
"Alright," I replied, picking up the Improved
Firebomb from its resting place. "I'll be right over."
Location: Neopia Central:
At the Restaurant
Time: 12:55 PM NST
Kiddo had picked her restaurant well. The soup
dishes were superb, and the weather was nice enough for us to sit outside at
one of the many outdoor tables. We ate and chatted about school, friends, and
life in general. Infernus' soup had been a little too cold for his liking, so
he had calmly blasted it with his fiery breath until he was satisfied. Unfortunately,
he didn't give us any warning so Kiddo and Un-Eairkagh nearly fell out of their
seats. We also had some trouble getting Un-Eairkagh to actually eat his food,
since he kept trying to catapult vegetables with his spoon.
After a while, Kiddo turned to me with a question.
"What were you working on in your lab, anyway?"
"This," I smiled, taking the Improved Firebomb
out of my jeans pocket. I knew my sister would ask that question sooner or later.
"What's it do?" Un-Eairkagh asked, turning away
from the napkin he'd been trying to fold into a ninja star.
"I'm not sure if it works, but it's supposed
to blow stuff up," I replied, ready to explain in full detail all of the scientific
Kiddo gave me a blank look. "Doesn't everything
you make do that?" she asked innocently.
"Hey, take that back!" I laughed. I was trying
to think up a suitable retort when a massive green Skeith walked up and grabbed
the Improved Firebomb right off the table.
"Nice toy," he commented, casually tossing it
in the air and catching it. "Mind if I play with it for awhile?" He grinned,
and I noted with a sinking heart just how sharp his teeth were. Infernus and
I slowly got up from our seats. Kiddo looked carefully at all of us, and then
whispered something to Un-Eairkagh that I couldn't make out.
"That's not a toy," I replied, trying to keep
my voice level. "Please give it back."
"Why?" the Skeith asked, still grinning. Something
kept tugging at my mind, something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Suddenly
it hit me. Infernus and I had spent a lot of time in the Battledome. We had
played against many opponents, sometimes winning, sometimes losing. A week earlier,
Infernus had fought against a Skeith - the same Skeith that now stood holding
my latest creation in a clawed hand. The Skeith had been obviously stronger
than Infernus, but he hadn't been as skilled or well equipped and had lost the
Battledome fight. But now Infernus was without his equipment, and his skill
with a blade was useless in a straight brawl.
"What do you want?" I said, feeling the edges
of panic creeping into my voice. Kiddo was still watching, but Un-Eairkagh was
nowhere to be seen. Infernus had slowly moved to the side of the Skeith, his
eyes locked on the firebomb.
"What do I want... Hmm... Let me think a bit..."
The Skeith was obviously enjoying this. "How about.... THIS!"
Without warning he lashed out with a massive
fist, catching me in the chest and knocking me backwards over a chair. Infernus
sprang with a furious roar, crashing into the Skeith's side. The surprised Skeith
stayed upright, but lost his grip on the firebomb, which rolled to Kiddo's feet.
Infernus clung hard to the Skeith's right arm, digging his claws in painfully.
He inhaled deeply, and then bathed the Skeith in flames from his mouth. The
Skeith laughed, his thick scales repelling the fiery attack. Flexing his massively
muscled arms, he flung Infernus aside and turned to face him. I quickly got
to my feet, and pulled the saber from its sheath on my back.
"Hey ugly!" I taunted, "Over here!" The Skeith
turned away from my neopet as Infernus sprung to his feet. I ran forward, blade
ready. The Skeith slammed a massive fist towards my face, but I ducked under
the blow and drove my sword at his chest... only to watch in dismay as the Skeith's
thick scales deflected the blow. The Skeith lashed its thick tail at my face.
I raised my blade in a parry, but the strength of the attack still knocked me
staggering backwards. Infernus took advantage of the Skeith's distraction to
spring onto its back, trying to force the larger neopet into a headlock.
"Get off!" the Skeith growled, trying to reach
Infernus with his arms. Infernus said nothing, but evaded the Skeith's grasp,
pummelling the Skeith with his free hand.
"Sabreur!" I turned towards the sound. It was
Kiddo holding the Improved Firebomb.
"Here!" she shouted, tossing the firebomb underhanded
towards me. I dropped my sword, and grabbed the firebomb out of midair. Kiddo
turned to watch the Skeith, obviously wishing she had a weapon to help out.
I turned towards the fight and gasped in horror.
While I had been busy catching the firebomb,
the Skeith had grabbed one of Infernus' wings and now had him pinned cruelly
against a wall. One huge arm held him in place, while the other was raised,
ready to deliver a massive punch.
"Wait!" I yelled, frantic. The Skeith turned.
He had taken a beating, and was breathing heavy. He wasn't grinning anymore.
"What?" he growled, his voice low and dangerous.
"You want this!?" I shouted, holding the firebomb
aloft. "It took me weeks to figure out how to build it. You want it, it's yours."
Police sirens wailed, obviously heading our way.
"Just take it and go!" I shouted, "And leave
Infernus alone!" The Skeith seemed about to pummel Infernus anyway, but as the
sirens came closer he appeared to think better of it. He lowered Infernus from
the wall, still holding him by a wing. He raised his other hand and motioned
for me to hand over the firebomb.
"Catch!" I shouted, intentionally flinging the
firebomb at the Skeith's face with all of my might. Surprised, the Skeith dropped
Infernus and raised both hands to catch the firebomb. The firebomb struck the
Skeith's hands, bounced, and hit the floor. The Skeith bent over to pick it
up. At which point Kiddo knocked over a table and all of us dove behind it.
There was a bang like the end of the world. Fire
and light washed around the edges of the (thankfully solid) table we hid behind.
Dust and debris swept by like water around a rock. When it finally stopped,
echoes of the bang reached us from several blocks away. I stood up, looking
cautiously over the edge of the table.
The Skeith was still standing, a shocked expression
etched onto his face. His green scales had been scorched black, and a charred
outline of him was plastered on the brick wall behind him. Without a word, he
toppled backwards with a thud, unconscious.
"Looks like Un-Eairkagh got the police like
I asked," came a voice from my right. My ears were ringing, so it took me awhile
to realize it was Kiddo who had spoken. From around a corner, several vehicles
with sirens blaring swerved into view. Infernus rubbed his sore wing, then looked
calmly at the vehicles as uniformed officers got out and started our way.
"I think," he muttered, "we have some explaining
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