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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 31st day of Hunting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 75 > Short Stories > Eair the Labbie

Eair the Labbie

by child_dragon

Un-eairkagh had never been a very serious battler. He'd been content to scrape by with the aid of a blue scorchstone and some occasional stone snowballs. I'd bought him a hand painted scarab and an ancient Eyrie power wand to complete the repertoire, and he was happy for a while. However, when the hand painted scarab was downgraded somewhat, Un-eairkagh reacted in a manner most unlike him.

     "I hate this thing!" he howled, tossing it across the room.

     It struck the wall and stuck in the white drywall. I watched him rant and rave for a few minutes before it struck me what was wrong.

     "You enjoy being able to win Battledome fights, don't you?"

     The striped Eyrie looked at me guiltily.

     "Do you remember the first time I tried to fight? Back during the Sahkmet war?"

     "I do," I said with a sigh, "I nearly died. And so did you, twice. You just wouldn't give up."

     "I know. And now... now it's all changed. I can win! But I'm not as good as I can be. Not as good as Infernus."

     He slumped in the couch and gazed irritably at the hand painted scarab sticking in the wall. I walked over and pried it out, turning it over in my hands.

     "I'll tell you what," I said, "If you promise to work hard, I'll invest in some good Battledome equipment."

     "That's not all I need," he muttered, rolling over and burying his head in a pillow.

     "Then what?"

     "Lab map."

****

I kept my part of the bargain. Un-eairkagh was soon the proud owner of a dark battle duck. He carried it everywhere, making it squeak incessantly. I was about to go insane.

     "I want to try it out!" he hollered one day as we headed for my guild.

     "After I drop off this stuff, all right?"

     I had a stack of announcements to be handed out at the next meeting, mostly about rank upgrades. It was hard work to run a guild with Sabreur, but he did a lot of the work himself. There were only three people in the guild building at the time. I greeted each of them and laid the papers at Sabreur's table. I was about to leave when I caught sight of Un-eairkagh talking to Dralvane; Drake_da_Dragon's baby red Shoyru.

     "You sure?" the Shoyru was saying.

     "Yeah! Yeah! I got a new Battledome item, see?" he replied happily, brandishing the duck.

     "Well, let me ask my owner."

     I quickly stepped in and tapped Drake's shoulder.

     "I believe we have a match being arranged between our pets."

     He looked at my skeptically.

     "You sure? Dralvane won last battle, and that was a long time ago."

     "I'd rather not, but Eair has his heart set on it."

     "Very well then."

     We headed for the Battledome together. It was a plain friendly fight so we stood on the sidelines of an arena within minutes. Un-eairkagh fought hard, I'll give him that. His weaponry performed excellently, but Dralvane's defence and hit points eventually outlasted Un-eairkagh's frenzied attack. Soon enough I was getting out some healing potions and helping my Eyrie gulp them down.

     "Good fight though," Drake commented as Un-eairkagh blearily took stock of his surroundings.

     "Yeah. I guess. I think I need to get Eair some new abilities."

     "Or get him trained up some more."

     "That too."

     Drake and Dralvane waved goodbye and I turned to my Eyrie.

     "So?" I questioned.

     "I need training."

     "And?"

     "Would you please buy me a lab map?"

     I was quiet for a while, regarding his solemn face.

     "I've never really wanted to do this; you could get changed into different pets, colours, or even turned into a girl."

     "So?"

     "So what if you get turned into a mutant Krawk?"

     The Eyrie's face lit up.

     "That would be so cool! Just think about it, I'd have three arms!"

     "Well, that wasn't exactly what I was thinking," I replied, somehow not surprised. "If you really want to, I'll get you the map. We can afford it, barely."

     "Omelettes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner then?"

     "Not quite that bad!" I said with a laugh.

***

It took most of the day to find all the lab map pieces. I was worn out from checking what seemed like every shop my side of Neopia, but Un-eairkagh was not to be deterred.

     "C'mon, c'mon, let's go already!" he whined.

     "Eair, can't it wait until tomorrow?" I asked, collapsing on the couch.

     "Pleeeeeeeease?"

     "Fine. I'm coming."

     The whole family wanted to come along to see Un-eairkagh get labbed for the first time. The family included Terraile the shadowed Shoyru, Lady MoonFall the island Uni, and Aldrai the spotted Zafara. In addition, Sabreur and Infernus volunteered to come along, as Infernus had not yet been zapped that day either.

     "Besides," my brother explained, "the laboratory is impossible to find without a map. Even with one, it's tough."

     I hardly had to consult the map, Sabruer was a wonderful guide. Soon enough we'd found the island upon which the lab rested. My brother had a motor boat he'd converted himself; I'm surprised the thing didn't have weapons bristling off it. It was just a plain wooden boat with an engine.

     "I come here every day," he said, guiding us into a harbour and killing the engine.

     "I know," I replied.

     We climbed off and followed him through the brushy jungle surrounding the mountain. Eventually we reached a small cave, mostly concealed by vines.

     "Through here."

     The tunnel was long, dark, and humid. It started to clear up further down and eventually we could see a sealed metal door at the end.

     "Think you can remember the way here now?"

     "Yes," I replied, "But I don't see why I needed the map. You knew the way perfectly."

     "Go up to the door and try to open it," he said, taking the map from my hand.

     I complied, and the door refused to budge. He handed me the map again.

     "Now try."

     I reached out and as soon as I touched the door, it slid open. The map faded from my hand and vanished. The secret lab was open to me.

     We entered, Sabreur with confidence, me and mine a little more slowly. The yellow Scorchio in a lab coat greeted us.

     "Hello Sabreur. What'd you drag with you today?" he questioned, peering at us quizzically.

     "This is my sister, child_dragon. Sis, this is Doc Zappy."

     "Pleased to meet you," I replied, shaking the Scorchio's hand.

     "All right then. Infernus?"

     My brother's pet nodded and trotted over to stand in a circle in the middle of the room. A massive machine was aimed at the circle. Doc Zappy fiddled with a control panel on one wall.

     "You know this could potentially damage your pet, yada yada, boring disclaimer stuff?" he asked of my brother.

     "Yes. Go ahead."

     Doc Zappy threw a switch and there was a brilliant flash of light. When it faded, I glanced at Infernus. He didn't appear different, but Doc Zappy informed us his movement was up four points.

     "And which fine pet of yours is risking the ray?" he asked of me.

     I glanced over to where Un-eairkagh was pointing to Lady MoonFall with a broad grin.

     "Hey!" she exclaimed, kicking at him.

     He laughed hysterically and bounced over to the circle.

     "I am!" he proclaimed.

     "All right. You know this could potentially have damaging effects on your pet and I'm not responsible?" the yellow Scorchio asked.

     "I do. Go on ahead."

     Doc Zappy pushed a switch and the machine flared with light again. I ran over to Un-eairkagh and looked him over. He just stood there with a disgusted look on his face.

     "Eair?" I asked.

     "And your pet is now a girl!" Zappy proclaimed.

     I heard my pets break out into hysterical fits of laughter behind me.

     "Eair... I'm sorry," I commiserated.

     "No, no, I'll be okay," she said, snapping out of her daze. "Gosh! My voice is a lot higher now!"

     And it was. Un-eairkagh had a rather high pitched voice to begin with, but now it was even worse. He gave me a headache enough already, I could only imagine what'd it'd be like now.

     "Tough luck," Doc Zappy said with a shrug. "Keep coming. You'll get lucky one day and turn back into a guy."

     "All right. Thanks."

     "No problem. See you!" he said, waving to Sabreur.

     "It's happened to me before," Infernus said to Un-eairkagh on the way out. "You'll be fine."

     "I know. And I'm going to be a great battler someday."

     "So I've heard."

     Lady MoonFall pulled me aside for a few moments as Sabreur started the boat engine.

     "Since Eair's a girl now, can we redecorate his room?"

     "And teach him to put on makeup?" Terraile added.

     "Don't they sell green lipstick?" Un-eairkagh asked, butting in on the conversation.

     My two original girls gave her disgusted looks which the Eyrie only returned with a broad grin. She walked off, whistling, and soon enough pulled out her dark battle duck and started playing with it.

     "Actually Kiddo," Terraile said slowly.

     "I don't think we'll have to make fun of him much," MoonFall continued.

     "Cause he... no, she, will probably do it all for us."

     "Yeah. I think so."

The End

Thanks to Patjade for thinking up a name for the lab ray Scorchio in her comics. It's very much preferable to calling him, "the yellow Scorchio in a lab coat" all the time.

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