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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 18th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 80 > Continuing Series > The Next Guardians: Part Three

The Next Guardians: Part Three

by horsegirl4231

Untitled Document

Chapter 5: The Universal Gateway

The news echoed on every TV station on every TV in every NeoHome.

     "The Faerie Queen was attacked last night after an important meeting concerning the legendary Universal Gateways," said the announcer. "It's unknown who the fiend is - officials point to Hubrid Nox. But it is certain Neopia is entering a time of turmoil."

     WraithX watched the TV sadly. Lacey and her pets were attempting to fix breakfast in the kitchen on this grey, cloudy day. It was all they could do but fall into despair. If something was powerful enough to catch Fyora off guard... What would Neopia's fate be?

     All of a sudden, Lacey realized the time.

     "Oh no!" she said, sighing. "I have to go... Curse the Real World..." she said, laughing. It was the only joke they could fit in right about now...

     Lacey took her Magic Key from around her neck. She threw it at nothing but air, and it stayed there - stuck in nothing; ripples in the air moving away from the Key like ripples in a pond when a stone is thrown. Lacey looked back at her pets, and smiled. She walked through the Gateway, and disappeared. The Key was gone - back around her neck on the other side of the Worlds.

     But not everything was going as smoothly as that family that morning. Someone was laughing, and plotting his plan.

     The day in Neopia was dull and worrisome. There was even unrest in the Real World, where Neopians secretly mourned for the times of trouble that must lie ahead. But one thing was sure - Neopia could never be found out.

     It was nearly night-time. The sounds of a laughing maniac pierced the air of the streets that no one walked. A machine, set at the top of a mountainous area in a place that no one could enter, was roaring to life. A hand set the stone... the Universal Gateway stone... into the machine. Suddenly, the stone glowed with a blue light, and glowed very brightly.

     And everywhere, both in Neopia and in the Real World, the stones in the Neopians' Magic Keys glowed blue as well - instead of the usual red.

     A ripple in the air was sent through Neopia - if only for a moment as it traveled through the streets. Soon, it would find the exact place it wanted to stay - a place Fyora could never find.

     Airiea, Arrowtak, KitaiMyou, Lilly, Tylali and WraithX all went outside. It was dark, yes, but they couldn't stay in the house the entire day. They sat on the yard, sighing and trying to keep from worrying.

     "Everything will be fine," WraithX assured his new-found friends. "Better than you realize."

     "I hope!" said Tylali, wiping a tear away from her eye. "It would be terrible if something happened to Neopia... or to the Real World, even! No matter what Fyora says. I'm sure it isn't as bad as she claims!"

     The ripple, unexpected to everyone, suddenly turned down Rainbow Lane, the street of the pets' NeoHome. Without realizing it, the ripple swallowed up all six of the pets. And they began blinking... Blinking in the Real World.

     Arrowtak felt the ground underneath him. It was a road, sort of like the ones in Neopia; but it was cold and hard as stone. Lights were strung in the sky up and down the street, sort of like the ones in Neopia. The lights were different, however. They weren't run by Faerie Magic, like the ones in the Neopet world. These lights were colder, and felt different on your skin. It was so very impersonal, that whole scene.

     Kita gasped. "Look!" she shouted. Coming at them, from both directions, were pairs of lights. Tylali screamed in horror, and rocketed into the sky in reflex. Airiea and Lilly, in instinct as well, flew up with her. But Arrowtak, Kita, and Wraith were left on the pavement.

     The light-eyed monsters flew at them. The three leaped and moved away from them, but the creatures' cries echoed in their ears. The monsters were yelling, and the noise was deafening.

     "What the heck is this?!" shouted Arrowtak, instantly.

     "The Real World!" Wraith gasped.

     Airiea and Lilly swooped down, and Arrowtak leaped onto Airiea's back; and Kita was picked up by Lilly. WraithX leaped as high as he could into a nearby tree, and climbed to the top almost instantly.

     "This is not good!" shouted Airiea, over the noise of the monsters; and now the people, screaming in terror.

     "How did we get here?!" yelled Lilly, gliding over to where Wraith was.

     "Something is wrong..." said WraithX, sadly. "Terribly wrong."

     Lacey walked past her TV. The news was on, and the reporters were shouting in fear and with the excitement of a breaking story. For a moment, Lacey didn't pay attention... Until she saw a snapshot six creatures that looked far too familiar.

     "Monsters were discovered on the corner of Main and Avenue," said the reporter, seeming to not believe it. "It's unknown whether they are aliens, mutations, or a secret government project!"

     Lacey dropped the remote in horror. How on earth... How on Neopia?!

     She made sure she had her Magic Key, and ran out the door. She didn't stop to grab her bike, or to climb into the car. All she had on her mind was to get to her pets, and to get to them fast. Luckily, according to the news broadcast, they were nearby.

     The pets ran as fast as they could at the side of the road. The grass was different, the air was different... This wasn't the amazing world they had expected. This place was worn, unhappy, and wrong. It was just wrong... It wasn't like Neopia in the least.

     "Stay where you are!" shouted a human, his voice amplified. A bunch of monsters had parked where the pets where. They were nearly the same, except these monsters had red and blue lights swirling and flashing.

     "We don't want any trouble!" shouted Tylali. "We just want to get home!"

     WraithX quickly covered her mouth.

     "Sssshhh!" he said. "Speak nothing!"

     But the police officers were shocked. The thing talked... If they hadn't had their guns ready, they did now.

     "No!" shouted a familiar voice to the pets. She ran over, blocking most of them from view from the police.

     "Lacey!" said Arrowtak, feeling relieved now.

     "Don't shoot! They're innocent!" their owner gasped.

     "What the heck are you doing, girl?!" shouted one of the officers. "Get out of the way! They're dangerous!"

     "No, they're not!" she cried.

     "Then... what are they?" said another officer, acting a bit more compassionate.

     "Something that shouldn't be here..." said Lacey. She grabbed her Key from around her neck. She made a swipe in the air, and another ripple was opened.

     "Go!" she screamed.

     "It's not a Universal Gateway!" shouted Kita back. "We can't-"

     "Just GO!" said Lacey. She pushed them through, and ran in sync after them.

     "What the heck?!" screamed a bunch of the officers, as the seven of them disappeared thorough the air.

     "What the heck were you guys doing there?!" Lacey shouted, her heart still pounding.

     "We don't know!" explained Lilly.

     "Something strange has happened..." said Wraith, quietly. "And I don't think it's good, either..."

     Lacey gasped and fell into a chair in their NeoHome.

     "Well, I need you guys to stay here... Don't leave, and lock the doors and windows."

     All of the pets stared. "What?!" the shouted in unison.

     "I'm sorry, but until this is over..." Lacey said, opening the gate as she spoke.

     She went through the gate once more, not knowing what to think.

     "But how did we manage to get through?" asked Kita to Wraith. "The Keys... Have they been granted the power to open Universal Gateways?"

     "It sure seems that way," said Wraith.

Chapter 6: Flight to Nowhere

Lacey woke up, her alarm ringing. And at the same time on the other side of the worlds, her pets were getting up as well. Lacey made sure she still had her Magic Key. But before she could leave the house, something else on the news caught her eye.

     "Something extremely strange has appeared once again!" the news announcer shouted. "Police officers are unable to detain it. It is currently on the corner of..."

     Lacey stared at the screen. The shaking view of what was going on made her heart stop. Before she could hear the entire story, she was flying out the window, and once again, running to the place. Although she didn't know exactly where it was, something in her heart guided her.

     When she reached where the chaos was happening, she realized everyone was standing around one very high place - it was like some sort of stage. People of all ages were watching the thing that was standing on top of the "stage" - a crushed building - and listening in horror.

     And Lacey tried not to yell; it was Dr. Sloth.

     "I, humans!" the putrid creature roared, "Am Dr. Frank Sloth! I have come here from Neopia - a world that will soon be mine! But first, I am to conquer your own world... Don't be afraid, for I am an excellent ruler. And also, I'm afraid, you'll have no chance to fight me. So sorry."

     Mutant Grundos were standing around Sloth, protecting him. Behind him was some sort of machine - giant in size that sat where a skyscraper had once stayed. Behind it was a ripple in the sky... But it was closely guarded by the Grundo's, too.

     Lacey's mind reeled. 'Why isn't the army doing something about this?!' she thought. 'Sloth can't possibly overtake the earth!' But no one said anything. All the people were staring at the laser guns in Sloth's and the Grundos' hands.

     "Aren't they beautiful?" Dr. Sloth asked, looking at his gun. "They have many different settings... One is simply destroy. You know that well enough, considering you all destroy yourselves, I believe," he chuckled. "But there is a mutation setting... You see my slaves here?" he asked the crowd. "They were once cute and defiant... Oh yes!" said Dr. Sloth, turning a knob.

     "Now... I want all the Neopians here right now to show themselves to me. I promise I won't hurt you if you speak up now."

     No one spoke. Lacey didn't dare look around for anyone as scared as she was. But why wasn't the military doing anything? Didn't they understand this was dangerous?

     "No one can help you," said Dr. Sloth, grinning. "I've already overtaken your world headquarters..." he said. "My troops were sent out last night, when the Gateway was first opened! What have I been doing since my last plan, you ask? Why, expanding my army, and completing my plans!"

     Something clicked in Lacey's mind. Of course, the Universal Gateway! That was how her pets had gotten to the Real World! So Sloth had opened it to take over her world? She guessed he must have thought that if he could get the Real World first, Neopia would fall to him easier.

     "C'mon!" he said. "Don't make me have to send in ALL my troops now!"

     Lacey didn't move.

     "Oh well..." said Sloth. "Maybe you need a show, then?"

     Suddenly, above their heads, the sky was ripped open. The enormous machine let loose a blue-colored laser, and it split the sky. On the other side looked like the sky of Neopia. And now... pouring from it... was more and more ships... of Dr. Sloth's armies.

     Lacey gasped, like so many other people around her. But what set her apart in that moment from the rest of the crowd was that she knew what Sloth was capable of. The rest of the crowd was blissfully naive.

     "Well..." said Sloth. "Time's up. I'll just have to find you myself!" He clicked a button near the side of the setting dial. Suddenly, the edge of the ray gun lit up. But nothing happened.

     Or did it? Lacey looked down, horrified. Her Magic Key was glowing with the same familiar blue light.

     And, not too far away, were a few others' Keys.

     Sloth grinned. "Now, run away to Neopia! Tell your friends that Dr. Sloth is your conqueror, finally!" But he stopped short. He saw Lacey, and glared at her.

     "You!" he said.

     Lacey was taken aback. She hadn't ever met Sloth! How did he know her?!

     He pointed his gun at her. In instinct, she ran. She could hear the laser hit the ground where she had been a moment before. Taking her Key, she opened up a small gateway, and managed to roll through it.

     She closed it behind her. She was on the floor of her NeoHome. Her pets ran over to her.

     "What happened?!" they asked, panicked.

     "Dr. Sloth has overtaken the Real World..." Lacey said breathlessly.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Next Guardians

The Next Guardians: Part Two

The Next Guardians: Part Four

The Next Guardians: Part Five

The Next Guardians: Part Six

The Next Guardians: Part Seven

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