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Havering and the Temple of Horrors: Part Three


by numbertwelve

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The face hidden beneath the hood was like nothing Havering had ever seen. He flinched visibly and moved back several steps from the leering monstrosity. “As you can see... our mutant curse... it is a disease... quite fatal... I assure you...” He paused momentarily trying to catch his breath, which came in ragged gasps from between gnarled, cracking lips. “We... we have found a cure... but we mutants do not have the constitution to endure the terrible heats... the heats of the great furnace of Neopia...” He gasped several more times and doubled over as a fit of coughing took hold of his fragile form. When he righted himself, Havering could see the fear clearly visible in his dark, misshapen eyes. “Through the doors at the back of this chamber... there is another... another passage much like the one that brought you here... at its end... you will find... our cure.”

     Havering found that he pitied the poor old creature. He was uncertain what species the horribly disfigured old man might have been, but he had clearly been sick with the mutant curse for a long time; much longer than any of the other mutants who now stood before him.

     He stared at them all, one by one, feeling the pain, sympathizing as he never thought he would. Suddenly, from somewhere deep within his being, rose a sense of purpose that nearly overwhelmed him. For the first time in his life, he knew what he had to do, he knew why he had to do it. For the lives of these many hundreds of Neopians... for all of them, he would venture to the very heart of Neopia!

     His eyes stopped again, lingering over the man who, until moments before, had been faceless. He paused, wondering for but a brief moment if, perhaps, he had gone mad. Then he nodded towards the mutant horde and began to move towards them. They parted and allowed him to walk through their midst, towards the great double doors which stood at the opposite end of the chamber. As he past by each hideously mutated creature, he watched as they bowed their heads before him. He could feel the eyes of the many hundreds of Neopians, every one fixated upon him, blood red, but no longer as horrifying as they had appeared in the darkness. There was a sadness in those eyes, a tangible pain that filled the massive underground chamber, exuding forth from the gathered masses like a formless presence. But Havering could feel the pain, he could see the pain, and he vowed then and there that he would cleanse these poor Neopians of their pain if it was the last thing he ever did.

     As he reached the far side of the chamber and made to push open the massive double doors, he felt a tiny hand reach up and tap him on his side. Turning slowly around he saw the young Kacheek standing before him, offering up the still lit torch. “It... will be dark... in there... you’ll need this...”

     Havering smiled, accepting the gift graciously from his tiny companion. Then, steeling himself, he pushed through the great doors and into the underworld beyond.

     He was surprised with what he saw stretching away before him. Where the temple had been carefully crafted stone, the cavernous tunnel that lay ahead was a naturally formed tunnel deep within the very heart of Neopia. Where the temple had been cold, ominous and gloomy, the caves which lay ahead where luminous and filled with an intense heat that was nearly unbearable. The caverns walls and ceiling were lined with a strange red fungus that seemed to pulsate and glow, defeating the darkness that would have hung thick in the air in their absence.

     Havering turned, one final time to glance back at the twisted faces of the Neopians suffering from the mutant curse. They were hideous, twisted creatures, barely recognizable and yet, the sadness that showed in their pupil-less red eyes renewed his determination. And there, in their midst, stood the tiny Kacheek child, smiling despite the proximity of the monsters that had so frightened him only a short while before. Havering nodded towards the masses one final time, then turned his focus to the task at hand; to the massive caverns which spread out before him like an enormous honeycomb.

     His torch reflected brilliantly off of the red fungus that was so abundant in these subterranean caverns and his progress was swift and uninterrupted. The caverns descended more noticeably into the heart of Neopia, angling downward far more rapidly than had the tunnels above. The heat became overwhelming and Havering found that he was sweating freely, his breathing coming in ragged gasps despite the lack of physical exertion.

     Strange creatures dwelt within the confines of the underground labyrinth, flitting in and out of view, but never truly posing any threat to the Darigan Buzz as he pressed onward determinedly towards his goal. Many hours had passed since he had left the mutant Neopians and he had traversed several miles of underworld tunnels when he suddenly felt his sentient sword flare to life once more. The blade had remained silent since he had entered the caverns, but something had brought it back from its slumber. The sentient blade was in his hands before he had even registered the movement.

     Before him, a massive cavern opened like the maw of some subterranean giant. The red fungus was even more abundant within this chamber, and for a moment it appeared to Havering as if the walls of the cave were bleeding. As he approached the entrance to the great cavern, his eyes scanned quickly from side to side, searching out the source of his sword's excitement. There, at the center of the chamber, a flask sat haphazardly upon the stone floor. It appeared as if it had simply been discarded there, an afterthought, certainly nothing of importance. But the cries of his sentient weapon told him otherwise. The blade could sense the power exuding forth from the flask. And there was something else that caught the sword's attention. Something the blade was trying to warn Havering about.

     A shadow streaking across the ground was the only warning Havering had before the creature attacked from above. Screaming with a horrifying and insatiable fury the beast came at him. It was massive -- nearly twice as large as Havering -- its skin was the same glowing red as the cave fungus and its wings burst forth from its flesh, flapping furiously as it attacked from the air. The creature was, with a bit of imagination, much like a Halloween Nimmo. It shrieked and circled about the huge chambers, lunging at Havering, always wary of the sentient sword, shying away when the blade came to near.

     Havering was in his element now. He and the sword were of one mind and the feelings that coursed through him were like nothing he had ever known. The sword became an extension of his arm, working furiously, perfectly, to fend off the massive winged Nimmo. All the while Havering continued to work his way toward the flask, darting this way and that, moving quickly when the chance presented itself and then turning back to face his assailant. Progress across the great cavern was tedious at best, but Havering was filled with such a sense of determination that the time seemed to pass far more quickly than it actually was. In truth, by the time he reached the center of the chamber, he had been battling the demonic monstrosity for nearly an hour. The creature was slowing visibly, exhausted from remaining in flight for such a long time. Its wings were begin to beat more slowly, weighed down by the overwhelming fatigue and its attacked became less and less frequent.

     Finally, Havering stooped quickly and grabbed the flask with his free hand. Upon doing so, something strange began to happen in the chamber, a great rumbling that seemed to shake the very foundations of Neopia itself. Then, it began.

     A massive rock tumbled from the ceiling, crashing down atop the winged Nimmo and driving the creature to the ground. The creature shrugged off the enormous stone and began to rise again, screaming demonically as it came back to its feet. Havering was already running, fleeing quickly from the cavern as the ceiling began to fall in around him. Luck alone saw him safely through the cavernous underworld, leaving the screams of the winged Nimmo far behind. All around him the walls pulsated with life, the red fungus glowing intensely as if awoken by the cavern's collapse.

     Then he saw the massive double doors. The doors that so many hours ago had granted him access to the terrible subterranean world, a world in which he never wished to find himself again. He leapt forward, taking flight, his wings pumping furiously as he darted this way and that amidst an avalanche of debris. The flask was tucked tightly under his arm, his sword safely in its scabbard. He was free, he was going to make it. Against all odds he was going to escape!

     And then, a massive chunk of falling rocked clipped him heavily and he was spiralling out of control. He slammed forcefully against the floor, somehow keeping the flask from smashing with the force of the impact. He was hurt, he knew that, his body was shuddering visibly from the pain, yet somehow he managed to rise again and stumble towards the door once more. Determination drove him onward. He could hear the cries of the mutant Neopians beyond the great double doors. He could feel their elation. They saw him and knew that he had done what he promised he would. Then he was among them. They were lifting him above their heads. They were cheering and shouting. Havering was at peace. He had found a purpose. He had given his life meaning.

     Havering was lowered back to the ground and the faceless one moved towards him, taking the flask and raising it above his head for all to see. Then to Havering’s surprise, the faceless one smashed the flask against the floor. He nearly cried out as an empty feeling crept through him. Had all his work been for naught?

     From within the flask a strange mist emanated forth. Drifting amongst the disfigured Neopians. They breathed in the mists hungrily, understanding the healing powers that the mists held. Before his eyes the mutations began to reverse. At first it was painful to watch as the many hundreds of Neopians doubled over, bodies twisting as they reverted back to their former selves. He saw the eyes of many of the Neopians and knew that they were at peace. The mutant curse had been lifted. The Temple of Horrors had become the Temple of Healing.

     A tiny figure moved towards him, wading through the masses, smiling from ear to ear, the fear erased from its childlike face. When the Kacheek finally reached Havering, it wrapped its tiny arms around him and wept. Havering knew that the tears were not shed in sadness, but a profound and overwhelming joy. The same joy that he felt in his heart.

     The masses of mutants were slowly becoming normal Neopians once more. They could return to their lives on the surface. And, Havering thought as he moved amongst them, the Kacheek close at his side, he would return to the surface too.

     To a new life. To a new beginning.

The End.

 
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Other Episodes


» Havering and the Temple of Horrors: Part One
» Havering and the Temple of Horrors: Part Two



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