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All Hallows Eve


by shadowcristal

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All Hallows Eve... when anything and everything can happen...

BANG! The stone, having creaked carefully only seconds before, rose up and smashed into the ground. Only its magic prevented it from being broken, and the coffin was laid bare for all eyes to see.

     Of course, no one was really watching, seeing as all the children were busy trick-or-treating and the adults stayed safe in their homes. No eyes lay upon the Blumaroo who stretched a few times and yawned a bit, after 200-some years of deep sleep.

     Count von Roo blinked twice as his eyes adjusted to the not-that-dark darkness which followed dusk. Finally! Finally he was able to come out and stretch his body from that stiff, uncomfortable position he had been sleeping in. Honestly, whomever that had decided that vampires crossed their arms and had their feet bound together while sleeping... Von Roo growled, baring his teeth. They were surprisingly white after a long time in the tomb. Then again, that spell had kept him clean, and a shower wasn't in order.

     On the other hand, he did have to attend to things. He hadn't bounced up just for fun. In fact, if he could just get the pets to obey him like they did... The Count's lips curled into a thin smile that did not go very well with his round and cute-looking body.

     If they could get scared... If they looked into his eyes and believed his sweet words... Von Roo grinned once again, but that satisfaction quickly faded when he saw that part of his cape was falling off. Quickly he swept up the little black and red piece that whirled through the air and attached it to his cape before it could escape.

     Count von Roo looked around and realized to his surprise that there were no scaredy-pets to scare... Confused, he blinked again, as if to see the truth. Unfortunately this only led to the inevitable conclusion... There were no neopets to scare!

     Oh, the horror of it all! Shivering, the Count almost wanted to go back to sleep in his coffin again. It hadn't been all that comfortable, but compared to the nightmare of not having any neopets to scare... Suddenly Von Roo became aware of his surroundings, and almost wanted to bite himself for his stupidity. Of course! There were no neopets in a deep, dark forest...

     Standing there, the Count figured that he had to go in search for the pets... But it wasn't proper of a villain to go around and display himself openly, much less to search for good guys to scare... Von Roo frowned thoughtfully before he decided that he'd do it, despite the humiliation. After all, that stone coffin was clammy and cold from 200-some years of resting.

     Having reached a decision, Count von Roo stepped out of the glade that his coffin rested in and started walking in a random direction. The Blumaroo wasn't sure exactly why he was walking right between the two gnarly old trees, but a prickling feeling down his spine told him that this was the way to go.

     Soon he reached a few small houses. The homes were nicely arranged down a path. How nice, Von Roo thought. All my servants neatly organized.

     Taking a proud stride, Count von Roo walked, no, marched down the street with an air of confidence. 200-some years of resting had done him well. Now he looked older, more dignified, and hopefully he hadn't lost his agility or strength.

     A few children in costumes passed him, and for a sudden second the Count considered to recruit them, but decided against it. After all, there were probably better scary pets waiting for him to be their master, and these were a bit too small. Scrunching his eyes as they slowly left his view, Von Roo noticed that Edna, the Esophagor and the Brain Tree had quite a legacy. Maybe a mini-Brain Tree right beside his coffin wouldn't be that bad...

     The large, homey house in front of him abolished all thought of that. The light revealed that there were no less than eight merry neopets, happily playing game around what seemed like a bowl of candy. Count von Roo soon enough stood in front of the door, wondering which way he would enter the house. It was easiest to knock the door, seeing as he didn't have to resort to horrible methods such as sneaking and popping out of a corner. Besides, sneaking around might make those horrible holes even larger in his torn and worn cape.

     Besides, a proper gentleman knocked the door. Or rung the doorbell, in Von Roo's case. Apprehensively, but excitedly, for he hadn't been around for 200-some years, the Count jabbed his right paw into the bell. A loud ringing noise was enough to shock Von Roo off his feet, and quickly he regained balance. He had acted like a gentleman, but he had to look the part too.

     One of the eight pets that had been playing opened the door, her cheeks rosy and excited. She gave him a small smile, and to his shock, the Count found that she wasn't afraid at all. He grinned a huge, less-confident grin, hoping that this blithe Faerie Acara would get the idea.

     All the Acara said was, "Oh."

     Hearing her utter that small sound, the Count grew a bit confused. Why wasn't this stupid Neopet scared like she ought to be? Why wasn't she scrambling around and screaming in horror? What was he supposed to say now?

     This was certainly a problem. After 200-some years of sleeping uncomfortably in his cold, clammy coffin, he had gotten up and found that he wasn't scary anymore! No, he mustn't give up, he must convince her...

     "I am Count von Roo," the Count said in the creepiest voice he could muster, in lack of anything better to say. Perhaps the Acara didn't know him, but by the looks of her eyes widening she seemed to.

     "Oh," the Faerie Acara said again. "Chrissy! Come over here with the bowl! You'll love this one!" Another neopet, a pretty Cybunny, arrived holding a large blue bowl filled with candy, the very same one he had seen the family playing with.

     "That's a very good costume," the Faerie Acara remarked, smiling at him. When Von Roo bared his teeth again, she didn't seem to get the idea.

     "And a good voice too," Chrissy the Cybunny added with an even larger grin.

     "Go ahead, don't be shy," the Acara said after a long moment of silence. Count von Roo had been glaring at her, but now his eyes shook with confusion. What was this? The pets were offering him candy and not fearing him at all?

     Von Roo took a deep breath and tried again, despite all those stupid misunderstandings. He stared into the Acara's eyes, and they twinkled with unreleased joy and laughter, not the typical fear that he found so enjoyable. After a long moment, in which nothing happened, he turned his attention to the Cybunny. None of them submitted to his steadfast gaze, to the dark, mysterious, evil eyes that had once held hundreds of neopets under his command.

     "Take some candy," Chrissy said, grasping his paw. This was outmost... Count von Roo's jaw dropped in shock as the Cybunny scooped up some candy to put in his paw. How could these little neopets... Weren't they afraid at all?

     The pets' eyes twinkled with mirth as they said goodbye and shut the door, not leaving room for any questions. Confused, Von Roo left the house to continue his walk down the street, this time not so proud.

     How could those pets have resisted his charming eyes? How could they have not been filled by fear? On top of everything... they treated him like a little kid! The Blumaroo looked at the paw that was filled with candy and felt a small surge of gratitude. Of course, they had been nice enough to give him something...

     Unwrapping a Sweet, the Count popped it in his mouth and felt the sweetness overwhelm him. He was no longer confused, thanks to the effects of the candy, and some of his shattered dignity, pride and confidence was restored.

     Walking over to the next house, Von Roo stopped by to knock again. By this time the sweet had melted in his mouth, and he was able to talk again. He was ready try for another victim, and hopefully they wouldn't be so hard to convince as that Faerie Acara...

     Knock, knock.

     The door creaked, like his coffin had done, and the Count found himself staring into the eyes of another Blumaroo, who was painted in a bright, blue color.

     "I am Count von Roo!" Von Roo roared, making sure that he wouldn't do the same mistake as he did the last time. The pet retreated in fear of being yelled at, but stepped forward once the Count was done.

     "Impressive trick-or-treating," the blue Bumaroo grinned, taking out a jar of candy. Why, for Fyora's sake, was everyone offering him candy for? He wasn't some candy-obsessed little kid walking around and begging for it... No, he was Count von Roo, villain extraordinaire, special, evil vampire Blumaroo!

     "Huh?" the pet said after a few moments when Von Roo had not reached forth his paw to take a piece of candy. "But these are the best I've got to offer... " He pointed at the Spyder Bites. "And they go really well together with Halloween, too..."

     "Halloween?" Count von Roo asked, his anger suppressed by curiosity. That word was something both familiar and unfamiliar. It sounded like something he knew... But...

     "All Hallows Eve," the blue Blumaroo said, "Halloween for short."

     "Oh," Von Roo uttered softly before he realized that he sounded exactly like the Acara. Perhaps she had realized something he didn't...

     "I'm surprised," the pet said honestly before taking out a few Spyder Bites. "But you know, you are really good at this. Too bad all the little kiddies have left, or they'd be terrified at the sight of you." The blue Blumaroo pushed the candy into the Count's free paw. "Just watch out for the older groups, they might negg you for looking so real..."

     "Negg?"

     "Oh, that's just a common term for the mean little critters who throw negg at your house if they don't get what they want. You're surprisingly modest, you know?" the pet smiled. "Well, good luck with the trick-or-treating, and hopefully there won't be another visitor to my house!" With that, the blue Blumaroo closed the door and once again Von Roo found himself shut out, not having made any progress.

     Count von Roo looked at his candy-filled paws, confusion returning faster than ever. What was going on? Even though he had held eye contact with the Blumaroo during the chat, the blue Blumaroo didn't seem all that scared... To be honest, that pet looked like he was going to laugh!

     There was only one reason for such behavior... Of course, he had considered it, but his mind had rejected the notion over and over again. But what else would explain their rejection, their free spirit, them not being victims? He... The Count shivered. He just wasn't scary anymore! And finally when he was free from that depressing old coffin, up and ready to scare, he had been thrown into depression once again, doubting his ability to do so...

     Was it even worth the trouble of knocking on another door? Would he encounter the same result? The Count picked up one of his Spyder Bites to chew upon while he pondered. Those nasty pets, he thought, trying to retaliate, not getting scared like they ought to be!

     And what was that trick-or-treating that the blue Blumaroo had talked about? And they all told him that he was very good... Very good... Humph! Count von Roo frowned. He was a villain, an evil creature, far from anything regarded as 'good'. How could they have been so mistaken?

     He rolled his eyes. Pets these days, not even scared... Perhaps he should get a makeover or something... With a sudden pang, the old Blumaroo realized what he was missing. Of course! How could he be scary when he didn't have any fangs! Von Roo touched his teeth sadly, and realized that like part of his cape, the fangs had deteriorated and shrunken down to normal teeth, since he hadn't had a feast in ages.

     Maybe... Maybe there was some way to fix it? Could he use fake fangs? No, the Count thought. Von Roo was way too proud to even think about something as fake fangs, seeing as how they could never replace his real ones. Oh, and the fact that they might break...

     Sighing, Von Roo sat in the gutter like a beggar. What was he doing out here, trying to scare pets that only seemed to want to laugh at him instead of being sound and asleep inside his coffin, uncomfortable but homey?

     A group of scary villains passed by, and someone shouted upon seeing the depressed Blumaroo in the gutter. They all cackled evilly, not the way Edna used to, but a mischievous cackle that could only belong to little children harboring evil in their hearts.

     Soon neggs started to rain upon the Count. When one particular spiky negg hit him right on the head and fell apart, Count von Roo ran for cover. He threw his dignity away as the youngsters disguised as villains cackled, seeing such an old and ridiculous pet trick-or-treating. There was no time for thought as neggs flew through the air and missed their target by inches. Von Roo fled down the street with the evil pets in costume following him, and for the whole duration of the hunt, fear was grasping his heart tightly... To have fellow villains see this... See this atrocious villain behavior, and pelting neggs at him...

     Von Roo shuddered as he rounded a corner and found himself in front of a large but dark house. The house was beautiful but odd with gnarled wooden towers and other oddities that seemed to simply stick out of the house. The Count breathed a sigh of relief when he heard his pursuers stop. Perhaps fear still worked...

     Only by looking at this house, Count von Roo felt his heart pound again. The questions concerning dignity, pride, villain and such fled his mind as he stared at the amazing house that looked as large as a castle. In fact, it wasn't that bad compared to his own castle that stood long forgotten in the Haunted Woods.

     Von Roo tried not to think about that, as the matter already gave him enough regret during his 200-some year sleep. Instead, the Blumaroo determinedly walked up towards the house. The chilling feel was just about right, and the house actually felt faintly familiar. It wasn't like those bright modern homes with their magic faerie lighting, but something else. Old, murky and mysterious...

     Smiling a satisfied smile (without fangs), Von Roo strode forward to the door. Oh no, he wasn't feeling quite confident, but this seemed the right place to start to scare somebody. If there was somebody here.

     The Count knocked on the door, appreciating the taste of the person who had put up the golden, fearsome handle. The door slowly opened to reveal a dark room, full of Spyder webs and old furniture. It seemed as if this place was inspired to fear... A clock chimed far away, signaling that it was midnight.

     Count von Roo entered the house with slow and deliberate steps. As he set his tail on the floor, Von Roo almost felt as if he was home. Slowly his eyes adjusted to the light of the dim, faceless orbs, which clung to the wall in clusters. This wasn't a room - it was a mansion! In front of him he could see an old pet slowly descend from the stairs, holding a near-dying, flickering candle in his hand.

     "Welcome," the pet said, and the Count noticed that the pet was a white Blumaroo.

     "I am Count von Roo," Von Roo declared, rather tired at having to do this every time. Hopefully this old man wouldn't ask him about trick-or-treating or tell him that he was 'good'.

     "Really?" the Blumaroo raised his eyebrows, scrutinizing the Count. After a full five minutes of nothing but staring, the pet acknowledged the fact. "So you really are Count von Roo," he said.

     Von Roo felt a rush of gratitude at the recognition, for he had thought that all stupid pets would be blithe and offer him candy. "Who are you?" he asked, feeling as if he had to say something. Staring into the stranger's eyes, the Count found them rather familiar. But he couldn't exactly place his fingers on what it was... After all, 200-some years is a very long time, even for a simple nap.

     "Barteil A. Chroo," the white Blumaroo replied. "Just call me by my last name, Chroo."

     Suddenly Count von Roo realized who it was. He should've known it, should've recognized that old, wrinkly face, should've seen it by the majestic hold of the candle... "My... The one who sealed me in my coffin?"

     "Precisely," Chroo grinned.

     Von Roo's mind protested against this, that that old pet was even alive... He couldn't have been! The Count made no effort to break his gaze, as he knew he could not overpower Chroo from experience, but rather that Chroo was the one who held his gaze. Then again, as he heard so many times before from those other villains... All Hallows Eve, they had told him, was a night when anything and everything could happen.

     "Mind a chat with an old friend?" Chroo asked after a long moment of silence, in which Von Roo tried to recover from the shock. "It's getting rather lonely around here... None of those pesky little youngsters dared to enter after I had sent one of them into a freshly made coffin." He grinned, revealing a toothless grin, and to Von Roo's surprise, the Count realized that he liked Chroo's wry humor.

     Of course, he hadn't exactly had the time or chance to get acquainted to the pet that had defeated and sealed him away... Maybe this was the chance and the time? It was a very special night, of course, and seeing as he couldn't scare any of those stubborn pets, maybe a break would be good for him...

     "I'd be happy to stay for a cup of tea," Count von Roo replied politely, in which the old white Blumaroo got up to get a good set of china.

     "This is my best set, reserved for fancy guests," Chroo declared as he put the set down and placed a pale, white cup in front of Count von Roo. The Count stared in wonder as the pot filled itself and flew into the air to fill his cup with hot, newly made herbal tea.

     "So, what do you do nowadays?" Von Roo asked dryly, still on his guard. That tea and the whole house astounded him, but he wasn't about to let his old enemy find out. After all, he hadn't exactly decided that he was on friendly terms with this pet...

     "Oh, just walk around and visit some old friends," Chroo said. "And I suppose you're all busy with being a vampire..."

     "My fangs aren't quite as sharp as they used to be," the Count declared sadly. "And all these youngsters are talking about trick-or-treating... And they say that I'm good. GOOD!" Von Roo spat the last word, making sure that the spit didn't land anywhere near the set or his cape.

     "Trick-or-treating, eh?" said the white Blumaroo. "That's a modern new thing, for kids to go around and beg candy... And if they don't get it, sometimes they throw negg at houses. Generally they knock on doors and ask 'Trick or treat?' and then receive some candy."

     Chroo's explanation confused Von Roo a bit at first, but when he had digested the news, the Count realized that a lot more things made sense now. He kept asking some questions, and to his surprise, Chroo kindly explained everything that had been confusing.

     "So this, this Halloween thing..." Count von Roo summarized, "It's when kids dress up in costumes and go around and ask for candy and if they don't get it, there are fatal consequences?"

     "That pretty much sums it up," Chroo said and grinned. "But I'm afraid that they forget what Halloween's all about..."

     "What?" Von Roo asked, though he had half of the answer figured out because of the look on the old Blumaroo's face. Chroo's face was twisted, his wrinkles deeper than before, a wolfish grin appearing on his face and his hands excitedly clutching to the armrests of his chair.

     "For us... It would seem that it is time for you to return to sleep, isn't it?" Chroo whispered softly, just as the clock struck 1 AM. "After all, I guess I ought to do my duty and put you back to sleep. No doubt that you're tired, and there is nothing to gain for a vampire from these independent youngsters."

     "I suppose," Von Roo said amiably, though he would've liked to go around and see more of this interesting, new Neopia. The Count felt a pang of sadness, for the friendly air that had existed just a few minutes ago while discussing those ridiculous little pets and their costumes had now vanished, leaving two tense Blumaroos behind. He was sorry to end that delightful conversation, having almost enjoyed it... Almost thought of Chroo as a friend...

     "If I couldn't..." Count von Roo started, but felt magical energies push him back. "NO!" he roared from instinct, and lunged for Chroo. If he couldn't have one pet, then maybe he'd get this old one... With speed far above the abilities for one so old, Chroo sidestepped his attack and started to recite an incantation.

     "It is time for you to return, and we can have a nice chat next year," Chroo smiled sadly. There was still one detail escaping Von Roo's mind... If only he could grasp it. It had something to do with Chroo... Seeing a layer of grim-faced determination and an icy smile beneath the sad, soft, lined features of Chroo, the Count wondered if he was as friendly as he had thought...

     There was no time left for thought as a strong gust of wind rushed through the mansion, bringing Count von Roo back to his resting place and as a final gesture, the wind pushed him firmly into coffin. The Count knew his energies were being sapped, but still he had some left, and his mind had been reaching some conclusions.

     Grasping his cape for support, Von Roo walked far enough until he could see the graveyard and its tombstones. Right there, at the very edge, stood the name that he wouldn't, couldn't ever forget.

     Barteil A. Chroo. 164 BN.

     This couldn't be true! Feeling his body fail him, Count von Roo once again returned to his tomb, this time being sealed away. The magic overpowered him, lifted the tombstone he had been strong enough resist and slammed it right above him, forcing him to take that uncomfortable position. Filled with regret, Von Roo thought of all the things he could've done... Yet another scheme failed. A fitful sleep settled over him, as a figure watched him sleep.

     "Thank you for lending me courage, grandfather," a female white Blumaroo whispered, holding up a pale charm. "To think that it worked so well..." she smiled. The Blumaroo turned around, her dress fluttering softly in the wind as her mouth whispered the magical words. "All Hallows Eve... when anything and everything can happen..."

The End

 
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