The Battle of the Lucky Coin: Supplemental Text - Part Three
"I now come to the part of my story that you folks will
find the hardest to believe, but the bandages I am wearing now will bring perfect
sense to every word of it. I'm unsure of how long I slept before I had this most
amazing dream, but as I look back on it now, it could not have been overly long.
I slept for weeks perhaps, but certainly not years, for even though I see no remnants
of the fairground rubbish anymore, I recognize this part of the forest as the
part where I came upon that horrible group and their dastardly leader. I suppose
I had my dream not long after they had cleared out and removed all traces of their
presence here. But now I am merely thinking out loud. You must forgive me, my
friends, for talking up a storm. It's been a long time since I've had the chance
to speak. But this is what I remember about the dream.
"I don't recall seeing the figure who came to
me in my sleep, but I'm sure I remember every word of the conversation I had
with her. The first thing she asked me was if I could hear her. 'Who are you?'
I asked, and she introduced herself as the Fountain Faerie of Neopia, and told
me she had entered my conscience by way of faerie magic to help me. I asked
her why a magnificent being had gone through such trouble to help an ordinary
figure such as myself. And this is where I learned the identity of the one who
had put me in this unfortunate little predicament. His name, she told me, was
Dr. Frank Sloth. It so happens that this Sloth fellow is an evil magician who
spreads his dark magic wherever he goes in an attempt to rule over all of these
lands. Now the Fountain Faerie, I learned, is one of several faeries involved
in an eternal struggle with Sloth to undo his dark magic, and free those who
have come under it. Sadly, she went on to tell me, this Dr. Sloth is a tough
character, and is giving the faeries all the trouble their good nature can handle.
So much trouble, in fact, that she was not able to wake me from his spell, for
he had crafted it with his magic so as to render it faerie-proof.
"But there was indeed a glimmer of hope for
me, as Sloth had mentioned before he put me to sleep. According to the Fountain
Faerie, he had underestimated the power of us mortals, so he engraved in my
sleeping place a riddle that would free me if solved by any mortal who happened
to stumble upon it. Of course, he never expected anyone would be clever enough
to actually solve it! Now even though the Fountain Faerie was unable to wake
me herself, she was able to use her magic to wrap me in these mummy's bandages,
which had the special ability to keep me from aging should I have to wait longer
than I hoped to be discovered. Now I still depended on that discovery to be
freed, of course, but at least I was saved from the horrible fate of sleeping
away the rest of my Ruki life. And now, I find myself standing before my most
honorable discoverers, not only awake but alive and not a great deal older!"
With that, the Ruki had completed his tale,
and was treated to frantic applause by Dr. Boolin and Prof. Vinsjin. "Such a
marvellous story!" said Dr. Boolin. "Such a perilous adventure," said the Professor,
"but such a happy ending!"
Brave Bren, who had a look that was unbecoming
of this festive scene, then intercepted his partners' praise. "Good Ruki," he
said, "I'm afraid that my partner is not entirely correct in his claim of a
happy ending. Though you yourself did not age in the course of your sleep, much
has happened in that time, and with regret I must warn you that it is not entirely
good. Your desert home has become a subject of Neopian knowledge, and has opened
its door to many a visitor as of late. Unfortunately, it is now under the influence
of one most unwelcome visitor. Now that I have heard your extraordinary story,
I think I can establish exactly what is happening there. What you came upon
in the woods was Sloth preparing his minions for an invasion of your desert
home. His knowledge of your personal background suggests to me that he had been
planning this invasion for some time. According to rumors I have heard along
my travels, the object of his yearning is the desert's sacred shrine, which
is said to hold a wealth of treasure. I am sure, my friend, that he means to
raid the shrine of its storied contents. There is currently a battle raging
between Sloth's army and you desert brethren in their attempts to liberate the
shrine from such a disrespectful thief. I wish that I were not the one to inform
you of these tidings, especially in light of what should be such a joyous moment
As the Ruki listened to Bren's words, his happy
expression gradually morphed into one of concern, and finally, one of anger.
"Dreadful character!" he exclaimed in a tone that returned the Doctor and Professor
to their timid state. "If only I were aware of all this when I first crossed
his path. Perhaps I could have done something to stop him, or at the very least,
get back to the desert before he did so that I could warn my people of his coming!
But it is too late for that now. Yet I still have time to return and make some
kind of difference in this battle, while gaining a measure of personal revenge
for what that monster did to me."
Bren was unsure of what could possibly be said
to console the unfortunate Ruki. "My friend," he said softly, "is there anything
my partners and I can do to aid you?"
The Ruki managed to produce a smile. "My good
friends and discoverers," he said, "you have done more for me already than you
could possibly imagine. I hoped that we could get to know each other better
in time, but in light of the news you have given me, I must take my leave of
you, for I have urgent business to attend to at home."
After a quick moment of reflection, Bren spoke
again. "Good Ruki," he said, "you should not have to undertake such a dour journey
alone. My partners and I will do whatever we can to aid you and your people
in their fight." Both the Doctor and Professor attempted to speak at this point,
but were elbowed simultaneously by Bren, who knew exactly what they would say.
"Why yes," said the Doctor, "we will surely accompany you on your way."
The Ruki was overcome with gratitude. "We have
not known each other long, but I consider you to be my dearest friends," he
said. "We must go at once for we may not have much time. I only hope that we
will not be too late."
Moving at a pace must faster than his original
trip into the woods, the Ruki and his new friends made their way to the desert.
For the Ruki, it was a sombre return home, for there was much carnage about
his once peaceful homeland. At his insistence, the first place the group visited
was the home of Peopatra. "She is a wise elder," he said, "and will know what
They were greeted warmly by Peopatra at the
door, and were introduced to a fellow whose name was Brucey B. "Brucey is hiding
out here," explained Peopatra," for he happens to possess the one thing that
is preventing Sloth from taking over our sacred shrine."
Once everyone was introduced to each other,
Brucey revealed a splendid gold coin from his pocket, which made the Ruki's
face light up with happiness. "My goodness, Brucey!" he exclaimed. "This coin
is the key to the shrine. It has been missing for so long that its existence
has become a part of our desert lore. I have no idea how you ever came upon
it, but I am thankful that fate has guided you here with it in your grasp, at
the one time we need it."
At this point, Peopatra entered the conversation.
"Due to a number of unfortunate circumstances, Sloth is already aware of his
need for the coin. He knows it is in Brucey's possession right now, and has
been searching for him, which is why I have had to hide him here. Our challenge
is to get Brucey to the shrine undetected so he can return the coin to its rightful
place, thus preserving the shrine and its contents forever, while rendering
it impenetrable to such attacks as the one that is threatening it right now.
The Ruki's story has given me an idea that could allow us to meet this challenge.
Good Ruki, if you can find Sloth and confront him on his crimes against you,
it is distinctly possible that he will forget about Brucey's presence, thus
allowing Brucey undisturbed access to the shrine. You may recall that Sloth
is immune to faerie attacks but not to mortal Neopians' attacks. Should you
wish to confront Sloth under these circumstances, I will provide you with a
concealable weapon, with which you will be able to sting him just long enough
to allow Brucey to accomplish his mission. Sloth is immensely powerful, too
powerful to be mortally wounded by any of our weapons, but it is inevitable
that he will leave the desert should he fail to access the shrine, for there
will be no reason for him to stay."
"Peopatra," replied the proud Ruki, "this is
a challenge I gladly and humbly accept."
The evil Dr. Sloth was not hard to find. He
paced impatiently outside the walls of the shrine, awaiting word from his henchmen
regarding the whereabouts of Brucey B and his coin. When the Ruki arrived on
the scene, Sloth had his back turned to him, but heard the footsteps. "If you
do not have any information about that blasted Bruce," bellowed Sloth, "you
may as well turn around and leave my presence."
The Ruki responded with amused defiance. "I
have good news and bad news for you," he said. "The good news is that I know
exactly where he is at this very moment. The bad news is that you won't be finding
Sloth turned around, and before he had a chance
to voice his displeasure, he realized who it was that had spoken so disrespectfully
to him. "You!" he growled. "I thought I laid your scrawny Ruki bones to rest!"
"Not to rest," replied the Ruki, "only to sleep.
Evidently I have more friends than you bargained for. Attack me if you wish,
but that will do you little good in finding out where Brucey is."
Sloth cackled at the Ruki's dare. "How important
do you think you are, really?" he asked. "I have soldiers all over this desert
looking for him, and he will be found eventually. You, on the other hand, have
been a nuisance to me in the past, and are most certainly a nuisance now. Therefore
your punishment will be all the more harsher this time around."
As Sloth raised his staff to cast another spell
on the Ruki, he was pierced by an arrow on the arm, causing him to drop the
staff, and another arrow on the leg, bringing him to the ground. The arrows
came from a launcher worn on the Ruki's wrist and hidden beneath his cloak of
bandages. The Ruki had kept the bandages on in remembrance of the Fountain Faerie's
assistance, and as a reminder of the dastardly deed that Sloth had committed
in the Haunted Woods. But the grounded Sloth still addressed the Ruki in mocking
tones. "Silly little Ruki," he said, "I have come to admire your audacity. But
your pathetic desert weapons are no match for the magic that protects me."
"Maybe not," replied the Ruki, "but even your
magic cannot reverse time, which is a pity for you, because while you were wasting
your time ridiculing me, Brucey was making his way into the shrine with the
coin you needed to gain entrance. When he comes out, he will shut the door of
the shrine, with the coin and all its treasures in it."
As Sloth returned to his feet, he seemed to
forget about the whole exchange that had just taken place between him and the
Ruki. He merely pushed him out of his way as he limped frantically to the shrine's
entrance, which he hoped was still open should Brucey B in fact be in there.
If the meddling Ruki was in fact telling him the truth, he hoped that he was
not too late to confront Brucey in the shrine.
Neopian history has told us, of course, that
Dr. Sloth was indeed too late. Brucey B had accomplished his task before Sloth
could intercept him, and the desert's sacred shrine was saved from his foul
intentions. A giant celebration followed, with the Ruki, Brucey B, and the Ghoul
Catchers acknowledged as guests of honor. They have since taken their rightful
place in the archives of Neopian lore, and the desert has since played host
to scores of visitors who come to see its historic beauty.