The Path to Freedom: Part Six
Sampson felt his heart beat faster as he read the rest of
Clara, a Neopian Times reporter and Neopian
Superstar, made an announcement in front of one hundred thousand Neopians in
Neopia Central yesterday.
"I would like to say that with me as ruler
of Neopia, I will make life better!" said Clara at yesterday's speech. She also
promised to get rid of Sloth, Jhudora, Darigan, and all the other evils in Neopia.
She also promised to lower prices on petpets
and neohomes, and anything concerning her.
While we were not able to interview Clara
herself, we were able to interview her two pets, Jefferson and Mindy.
NT: Are you proud of your owner?
Mindy: Of course! Why wouldn't we be?
NT: What else has Clara planned to do, other
than the things she mentioned?
Mindy: Like Jefferson said, we don't know.
She hasn't told us. But we know that it's going to be good! (smiles)
NT: One last question: What happened to the
other pets, Sampson and Julie?
Jefferson: Oh, those little... ! Let me at
Mindy: We are not allowed to discuss them,
other than saying that they will be in the hall of evils soon!
(cont. p. 7, column 3)
Sampson gasped. As he scanned the rest of the
article, he saw that everyone was supporting Clara's speech. It took him a while
to digest what he had just read. Then he looked up.
"Clara's putting us in the hall of evils!" he
said angrily. "I can't believe it! And she's going to be Ruler of Neopia!"
Julie looked at him, eyes wide. "What can we
do?" she whispered.
Sampson looked at her determinedly. "We can
stop her!" he said, fire blazing in his eyes.
The Free Flyers flew to Neopia Central. All
over the city were posters announcing Clara's run for ruler of Neopia. And with
no candidates other than her, it would be an easy win.
Shops in the market place had filled their windows
with a bunch of 'authentic' Clara merchandise. Clara bobble-heads, Clara books,
Clara cakes... the list went on and on.
Unis Clothing had put everything in the bargain
section, so that they could stock all their Clara-themed clothes. The 'Hottest
Trends' rack no longer had pleated skirts and tank tops hanging from it, but
Clara T-shirts and jeans with 'Clara' stitched on one of the back pockets.
The music store now only sold pianos, the only
instrument Clara could play, and the chocolate factory sold Clara-shaped white,
milk and dark chocolate.
The only books in stock at the book shop were
Clara biographies, and Neolodge a special Clara-offer, making all the rooms
half price, and were renaming the fanciest hotel, 'Clara's suites'.
The game room had come out with twenty Clara-themed
games, like Clara slots and Clara poker, The Clara Adventure Game and many others.
Sampson shuddered. The whole society revolved
around Clara now! How could that be?
Julie also looked stunned. "How... why... I can't
believe... " she stuttered.
Fayil looked a little spooked as well. Even
though she had never known Clara, she had heard tales from Sampson and Julie.
The others were just like Fayil.
The Free Flyers came out of the shops and onto
Soup Alley. Every house had a sign on its lawn supporting Clara. One house even
had a big blow up Clara like you usually saw at Christmas!
Suddenly, Sampson noticed that there was no
noise. Nothing. Nothing was moving, either, except for the Free Flyers and a
small leaf on the wind.
"This street is temporarily deserted," he announced.
Maybe Clara was giving another speech?
The Free Flyers continued up the street and
up some other streets, too, only to find that they were all in the same condition.
This puzzled Sampson. Why would everyone in
Neopia be away somewhere? Come to think of it, he thought, the shops and the
marketplace were as deserted as this.
As the Free Flyers exited the suburbs of Neopia
Central, they could hear a loud voice coming from a nearby park behind a row
As the Free Flyers emerged from the trees, they
could see a huge stage set up in front of them. Hundreds of thousands of Neopians
were crowded in the small park. And on the stage was no other than Dr. Sloth!
Sampson watched, mouth wide open as Dr. Sloth
explained something about 'Neopia being a better place.' He was knocked into
sense when he saw the banner above the stage. It had a big picture of Sloth,
and it read 'Dr. Sloth; Prime Candidate for Ruler of Neopia!'
The other Free Flyers were staring in equal
disbelief. Jacoblee had her hands clenched in fists, her knuckles white, while
Fayil and Julie looked as if they had seen a ghost. Sword and Darlene just stood
"I will be a great ruler," pronounced Sloth.
"With me as your leader, your lives will be better!"
Sloth ended his speech. A roar from the crowd
erupted. Sampson noticed, however, that no Grundos were letting out even a whisper.
Soon, the park was deserted. Sloth had left
in a rocket, and everyone had gone back home. Sampson turned to the Free Flyers.
"Sloth has always wanted to take over Neopia,"
he said. "And with Clara running for Ruler, he must have grabbed the chance."
Julie nodded in agreement. "Clara's doing even
more harm!" she said icily.
"It won't be long until other evils, like Jhudora
and the Pant Devil, start running as well," said Sword. Everyone agreed.
"If we stop Clara, than maybe the campaigning
will stop, too," suggested Fayil.
The other Free Flyers liked this idea. They
all decided to spend the night in the marketplace, than they would make their
way to Sampson and Julie's former neohome.
The Free Flyers made their way to the marketplace.
Already, shopkeepers were putting Sloth signs in the windows, supporting his
campaign. Some Clara posters were already being replaced.
"This is bad," whispered Julie to Sampson. "If
we don't stop this, either Clara or Sloth will be Ruler, and that would be bad."
Sampson nodded gravely. "You're right," he said.
"If we don't stop this, the outcome will be bad either way."
Jacoblee spoke up. "I think that we should stay
the night near the north end of the marketplace. That way, Clara won't find
Sampson agreed. "I know a good place," he said.
Sampson led the Free Flyers towards the back
of the marketplace, near to a tiny store called 'Charity'. Soon they got to
the little shop, and entered.
It had been very long since Sampson had last
been here. The rainbow Kacheek shopkeeper looked up, and broke into a smile
as she saw Sampson. "Hello, dear!" she said. "Nice to see you again! And you
brought your friends!"
Sampson returned the smile.
"Are you here to buy something?" asked the rainbow
"No, thank you," replied Sampson. "Actually,
I was wondering if you had a place for us to sleep the night."
"Oh, yes, we do!" said the Kacheek. "Follow
Sampson squeezed past the counter, following
the Kacheek, the Free Flyers behind him.
They entered the back of the shop. It looked
like storage, for items that could never be sold. There were many rows of shelves,
all packed and squeezed together so that the area in between two shelves was
only wide enough for a pet.
"Right here," said the Kacheek. "Anywhere in
the storage area. At nine o'clock I'll come and turn the lights off."
Sampson bowed his head. "Thank you," he said.
The Kacheek left, leaving the Free Flyers alone.
They all moved to the back of the storage room. It was quite cramped, but cozy.
Sampson was glad that the floor was carpet, not concrete.
Julie was the first to get to sleep, and Sword
followed soon after. Darlene went to sleep, than Fayil, leaving Jacoblee and
"I remember when I lived with Clara," said Sampson.
Jacoblee just sat there, intently listening.
"I remember when I was her first pet," he continued.
"She would not like it one bit. She hated taking care of one. Than she created
Julie. Julie was her pride. I was an experiment. I knew she felt like abandoning
me a few times. But she didn't, or else no one would like her. Than she created
Jefferson, and she was really impressed at how he fought. Than she adopted Mindy.
And Mindy was the most beautiful and had an angelic voice. I had no special
abilities. So she ignored me."
Jacoblee looked at him. "That's sad," she whispered.
"Now I know why you want to get back at her. But how about we get some sleep.
We have a big day tomorrow." At that, Jacoblee fell down, and started snoring.
Sampson looked at his friends. They were so
special to him. He knew that they back him up tomorrow, no matter what happened.
On that nice thought, Sampson fell into a deep sleep.
Sampson woke up to someone gently shaking him.
He opened his eyes and saw Julie standing over him.
"Time to go," she said. Beside her was Sword,
who was trying to wake up Darlene.
Soon, the Free Flyers were all awake. They plodded
out of the shop, thanking the Kacheek as they left.
The Free Flyers headed towards Clara's house.
After about fifteen minutes, they made it there. Sampson turned to the Free
"Since I have taken the position as leader of
the Free Flyers," he began, "I think that it is only necessary to have an assistant
leader. That is why I am appointing Jacoblee assistant leader, or AL. She has
shown leadership skills, and if anything happens to me while we're in there,
she will be leader."
Jacoblee's jaw dropped. "Really?" she said.
Sampson smiled. "Really."
The Free Flyers made their way around to the
back of the house, to use the back door since they were more unlikely to be
seen that way. Sampson opened the door, and looked back at his Free Flyers.
If Clara captured him, than he would probably not see his friends again. He
looked at Julie, his sister who had been with him the whole way; Fayil, the
beautiful and loyal faerie Kougra; Jacoblee, the grumpy earth faerie who he
had come to like, also his AL; Sword, the Eyrie with one of the hardest lives,
and was able to escape it; and Darlene, the newest member, the one who served
as a shopkeeper for many months. If he was captured, he would miss them all.
Sampson quietly opened the door. Once that he
saw that the coast was clear, he beckoned the others inside. It feels weird
being here again, he thought, and he knew Julie was thinking the same thing.
Sampson led the Free Flyers up the stairs. He
made his way to Clara's room.
Sampson counted to three in his head, and burst
open the door. There was Clara, standing tall, and cackling. And right beside
her, tied up, were Jefferson and Mindy.
Then Clara caught sight of Sampson and hid Free
Flyers. "YOU!" she bellowed. Then she turned to Julie. "AND YOU!" she screeched.
Jefferson and Mindy looked up. "Sampson? Julie?"
said Jefferson groggily.
"Help us!" pleaded Mindy. "She's got us trapped!"
Then the royal Aisha burst into tears.
Clara lunged at Sampson, but Sampson jumped
out of the way just in time. Instead, she fell onto Jacoblee, making them both
fall to the ground.
As Clara looked at Jacoblee, more loathing and
anger burned in her eyes than ever. "YOU!" she screamed, and suddenly, she started
to transform. Purple wings came out of her back, and her skin and hair turned
purple. Her pupils turned green, and her dress changed. Clara was really Jhudora.
"ILLUSEN!" screamed Jhudora. Jacoblee got out
of the way of a spell Jhudora fired at her. Fayil, Julie and Sword jumped on
Jhudora's back, but Jhudora pushed them off. Darlene and Sampson went in for
another attack. But they too got pushed off.
Jacoblee got up and ran as fast as she could
down the hall, her footsteps echoing on the floor. Jhudora raced after her,
shooting green jets of light as she went.
Sampson and Darlene got off the ground, closely
followed by Julie. Behind her Sword and Fayil ran as fast as they could.
At the end of the hall, Jhudora had cornered
Jacoblee. She was cackling. "Now I have you!" she said gleefully, and she closed
the window behind Jacoblee.
"NO!" cried Sampson and Julie, and they lunged
at Jhudora. Jacoblee crawled out of the way as Sampson, Julie and Jhudora broke
through the window and started falling.
Fayil was the first to creep to the broken window.
Suddenly, Sampson and Julie appeared, carrying Jhudora with them. Jhudora struggled,
and finally managed to get out of the grip of the two Free Flyers. Then she
flew off in the direction of her cloud.
Sampson and the Free Flyers had a celebration
that night. They had found out that Jefferson and Mindy had been under a spell,
but it had broke five minutes before the Free Flyers had come. The campaign
for Ruler of Neopia was called off, and Sloth had gone back into space.
Jefferson and Mindy went to the pound. "We're
going to get adopted," they said. "Sampson, Julie, will you come with us?"
"No thank you," said Sampson. "We lead a new
life now. We don't want an owner. We're Free Flyers."
Mindy nodded. "Very well. Until we meet again,
goodbye." Then Jefferson and Mindy went into the pound.
A few hours later, the stars came out. Sampson
announced that they would be leaving. He flew at the front of the group, with
his Free Flyers close behind him.
My life is perfect now, he thought. Absolutely