Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 124,888,518 Issue: 252 | 11th day of Hiding, Y8
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Pages of a Lost Past: Part Eight


by sibertiger9

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Part Eight - Lost is Found

The small yellow Kacheek followed just far enough behind so that she wouldn't be seen or heard. The robots which were carrying her sister had gone down one of the many tunnel entrances found in the main cave area. The tunnel they chose eventually opened into a staging room. The small Kacheek assumed that it was the room where they prepared all of their victims before they did... well, whatever it was they did to their victims.

     The robots set the Kacheek-sicle down on a metal platform surrounded by heat lamps. The small yellow Kacheek tried to sneak closer to get a better look, but she accidently kicked some small pebbles. The noise caught the attention of the cloaked figure, but the Kacheek fell back into the shadows of the tunnel just before he turned around. He slowly pulled down his hood revealing his strange green head and evil red eyes. The Kacheek could almost feel his eyes piercing into her very soul and she did her best to repress the cold shiver making its way up her spine.

     Seconds later the cloaked figure turned back around and ordered the robots to follow him into the next room. She waited until she was sure all of them were out of sight and sound before she ran up to her sister. Water droplets were already forming over the ice but it would still be quite a while before her sister would be free of her icicle prison. So the Kacheek decided it would be in her best interest to continue to follow the cloaked figure for now and find out exactly what he was up to.

     She soundlessly entered the adjacent room, which was MUCH larger than the first. Nothing, not even a robot was spotted in the room. The only thing here was the most complicated piece of machinery the Kacheek had ever seen. It looked similar to the lab ray; however, at this point in time the lab ray didn't even exist, or at least, no one knew about it yet, so the Kacheek never would have made the comparison. She didn't even want to thing about what kind of damage it could do, and more specifically, if this "lab ray" was what they would subject her sister to... she shook the horrible images from her mind when she heard voices coming from the next room. Carefully she snuck into the next room, crouching as low to the ground as she could.

     The cloaked figure was in this room, which seemed to be his office. He stood in front of a large screen situated on one of the walls of the room, and he was talking to someone on the screen who was apparently very important. Behind him stood a large table with dozens of papers strewn all over it. The Kacheek dove under the table quickly so she could get closer to the screen without being seen.

     "I assure you, General, everything is going to plan. I just have this one last creature and a few other minor details to deal with and then I shall be ready to attack," said the cloaked figure.

     "Just what exactly is your plan this time, Dr. Sloth? You've failed to enlighten me," replied the creature on the screen.

     "Oh, I can't tell you yet, but I promise you, you'll be pleased with the results," and he put his hands together in that evil genius sort of way.

     The way the cloaked figure spoke caused another cold shiver to run up the Kacheek's spine.

     "Just don't mess this planet up like you did the last one, or you can forget that promotion, Doctor. General Suroth out."

     The screen went blank. The cloak figure grumbled under his breath as he left the room. The Kacheek however sat there with her mouth open.

     "That guy's a doctor?" she whispered to herself. "Oh, never mind that!" She checked once more to make sure the coast was clear before she scrambled out from underneath the table. The papers sitting on top of the table she soon realized were the "doctor's" plans for the destruction of Neopia. As she shuffled through the papers she came across the blueprints for the giant machine she saw in the other room:

     Effects of Machine include: mutation, extreme size adjustment, and the destabilization of mental health.

     'So that's why all those Neopets in there are so huge!' she thought to herself. Then a dark cloud began growing over her head.

     'He plans on destroying our planet, and he's going to use our very people to do it... including my sister. I should go back to the town and get help... but... by the time I get back it'll be too late for my sister! Ooh, what am I going to do?!' she lamented, and put her face in her paws.

     "There's one more thing I forgot to mention, Doc... wha... wait a minute, who are you?!"

     While the Kacheek was sinking into the severity of the situation, she never noticed the screen on the wall flicker back on. She turned around to face the screen in pure horror.

     "Sloth... SLOTH!" the person on the screen began yelling. "Get back in here! Some creature is running wild in your office!"

     The Kacheek bolted out of the room, knocking over a chair and some papers in the process. She ran through the lab room and continued back to the room where her sister was thawing. Even though she was now two rooms away she could still hear the yelling from the person on the screen, but she ignored it for the moment and checked on her sister. A lot more of the ice had melted but she still wasn't free of the ice. Only a paw and part of her face had emerged from the ice.

     'I can't wait for the ice to melt, by then it'll be too late,' she thought. A muffled cry broke her thoughts. Startled, she looked around the room but saw nothing. She looked slowly back around suddenly wondering, hoping really, if it was her sister that had made the noise. The little yellow paw emerging from the ice was moving just slightly.

     "Laquilla!" she almost shouted, then she held her breath as she listened to see if anyone had heard her. Two rooms away the man on the screen was still screaming for someone's attention. The Kacheek let out her breath and turned her attention back to her sister. As her sister was becoming more and more aware of where she was and what was going on, she struggled more to break free of the ice. Of course it was no use. The older sister leaned in and whispered, "Shh, don't make any noise. I'll get you out of here, don't worry."

     With that, Laquilla stopped struggling, and her sister began trying to pry off chunks of ice. However, with the ice steadily melting under the warmth of the heat lamps, it was too slick to hold on to. At this rate, it would be faster to just help melt the ice with her breath. But that would still take too long.

     "Don't worry, I'll be right back," the older sister whispered again. She scrambled back into the lab room thinking there could be something in there she might be able to use. Behind the machinery were some large metal cabinets. The Kacheek quickly darted to the back of the room where they stood and hastily began pulling open doors with such force that one of them hit the side of one of the work tables, knocking something off of it. It hit the floor with a loud metallic clunk. It turned out to be a large wrench. "That'll work," she said to herself. She picked up the wrench, which was much heavier than she thought, and headed back to her sister.

     "I promise not to hurt you," she told her sister before pulling the wrench back and swinging it at the block of ice with all her might. The force of hitting the large block of ice with the wrench sent the Kacheek off balance, but she quickly regained it. Once her brain had stopped rattling from the reverberation, she checked the damage she had made. There was a medium size crack where she had hit it, and a few small chips of ice had fallen and were now melted on the platform. The Kacheek readied herself and whacked the block of ice again. A slightly bigger chunk of ice had fallen off this time. But she didn't give up. She continued to dutifully chip away at the ice despite the fact that at any moment someone would find them. Especially since warnings were still being shouted two rooms away.

     "Ruffle!" Laquilla gasped when her mouth finally became free of ice. "I knew you'd come to get me!"

     "Shh," Ruffle whispered. "You have to keep quiet until I get you out of here."

     Laquilla nodded and didn't say another word. By this time the block of ice was riddled with cracks and surrounded by a puddle of water which was now dripping off the platform onto the dirt floor of the cave. It was just as Ruffle was about to land one last hit on the ice that something in the environment changed and made her stop. There was now more than one voice coming from two rooms away. Ruffle instantly realized that this meant she had been found out. She turned to her sister and they exchanged glances.

     "Ruffle," Laquilla whined anxiously. It was now or never, thought Ruffle. Either she frees her sister and they get away, or they are both done for. Ruffle took the wrench in her paws and thrust it forcefully into one of the cracks in the ice and pried off a large chunk of it. It hit the metal platform with a clunk. It was enough for Laquilla to free her arm.

     "Laquilla, you gotta help me by pushing on the ice from the inside," Ruffle said in a hurried whisper.

     "But I can't," she whined. "I can hardly feel anything."

     "You have to try, Laquilla," Ruffle said more firmly. "If you want to get out of here, you have to try!"

     Ruffle continued working on another crack in the ice, and with help from Laquilla, she was able to pick off a very big chunk of ice. Laquilla was now free from the waist up. Ruffle dropped the wrench onto the now muddy cave floor and grabbed each of Laquilla's arms.

     "I'm gonna pull you out at the count of three, okay? 1... 2... 3!" said Ruffle. With a sound like a suction cup Laquilla was finally pulled free of the ice and both sisters tumbled into the mud. A second later Ruffle was back on her feet, as the voices from two rooms away were suddenly growing closer. She was about to grab her sister and run when she stopped and ran for the platform instead.

     "What are you doing," asked Laquilla.

     "I'm going to block their way," her sister replied. Ruffle started pushing the metal platform toward the doorway. Normally it would have been quite difficult, but since most of the ground had now been turned to mud it slid easily. With a little more effort she was able to jam it part way into the doorway. She turned, grabbed Laquilla in one paw, the wrench in the other, and darted down the tunnel that led to the central cave. Just as she did so she could hear the cloaked figure and his robot minions crash into the platform. This encouraged Ruffle to run faster; however, something was slowing her down.

     "Come on Laquilla, we have to run!"

     "I can't... my legs are still too numb... I can't move them," she replied. So Ruffle put Laquilla's arm around her neck and half carried, half dragged her sister through the tunnel. More furious yelling came from behind them and echoed down the tunnel. From the sound of it they were having more problems getting over the obstacle Ruffle put in their way than she thought they would. A minute later the sisters had exited the tunnel. They laid eyes once more on those poor mutilated Neopets, trapped in their frozen pods, and Ruffle remembered the plans for Neopia's destruction. No, it wouldn't happen, not if she could help it, she thought to herself. She immediately made for the control panel, her sister in tow.

     "Laquilla, do you know anything about how the control panel works?"

     Laquilla struggled to remember, but she felt like her very brain was frozen.

     "N-no, I don't know how it works."

     "Then what about them," she said, pointing the wrench at the giant frozen Neopets. "Do you know anything about them?" Ruffle's voice was serious but hurried. She knew that any second now the cloaked figure, or Dr. Sloth, as she had heard him called, would be here. Again her sister struggled to remember. Meanwhile Ruffle began hitting buttons on the control panel.

     "They... he... he said, something... he said they still don't listen..."

     "What do you mean they don't listen?" she shouted, all the while watching the tunnel. She could vaguely see the silhouettes of the deranged Dr. Sloth and his robots. "Come on Laquilla! Tell me!"

     ... every time Ruffle tried something on the control panel, it would give a loud harsh beep, and said ACCESS DENIED on the small screen at the top. But she continued to try the buttons hoping something good would happen...

     "They still don't listen... because... "

     "Laquilla!!!" Dr. Sloth had just entered the main cave, and began shouting orders. Other robots came out from other tunnels and made bee lines for the two Kacheeks.

     "THEY DON'T LISTEN BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT UNDER HIS CONTROL!"

     'If they're still not under his control, they'll turn on him for sure..." Ruffle thought. The robots were almost upon them as was Dr. Sloth. Ruffle quickly took the wrench she was holding in both hands and held it high over her head.

     "No... wait, what are you doing?" she heard Dr. Sloth say.

     "You won't destroy us!!!" she shouted and swung the wrench down hard into the center of the control panel. Sparks flew from it and Laquilla used an arm to block her face.

     "NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" Dr. Sloth screamed. An array of different beeps, buzzes, and alarms went off all around the cave and in the adjoined rooms. And all of the giant pods opened, just as Laquilla's had earlier, and from each one of them came the same icy cold mist.

     Without warning a loud crack rang throughout the cave and everything and everyone stopped and looked around. Ruffle, for a split second, was scared part of the cliff was coming loose and would cause a cave in. There was another crack, and Ruffle could feel Laquilla tugging on her leg. She looked down at her sister and saw that she was pointing up with a wide-eyed look of fear on her face. Ruffle looked up as well. The giant fire Grarrl in the pod closest to them was moving, and the loud cracking noises came from the ice that he was breaking free of. There was another loud crack and a huge chunk of ice fell to the ground right next to the two Kacheeks.

     Dr. Sloth seemed to be frozen himself. He watched in pure horror as his experiment broke free of its cage. Ruffle dragged her sister back away from the pods, and they ended up falling into the small stream of water that formed the moat in the center of the cave. Finally a large clawed reptilian hand grabbed hold of the lid of its pod and pulled it down. Metal screeched and whined as the lid was pulled from its hinges, and then out stepped the single largest Grarrl Neopia had ever seen. He shook the remnants of ice from his skin causing a hail storm for everyone below.

     The Grarrl looked down at the two small Kacheeks who looked scared out of their wits and then over to Dr. Sloth.

     "YOU!" The Grarrl bellowed so loud that the cave shook. Presently Dr. Sloth looked like he could make good use of a restroom. The color began draining from his face as the Grarrl took two steps towards him.

     "I'M GOING TO SMASH YOU!" he told Dr. Sloth, pointing a claw in his face. Dr. Sloth began stuttering incoherently, but before he could say anything understandable the ground began to shake followed by more loud cracking. Within minutes the remaining frozen Neopets had broken free of their capsules and had joined the Grarrl in a face off with the Doctor. Now there were nine mutinous Neopets out to get him. To enhance his previous threat the Grarrl leaned down and let out a bone rattling roar. Dr. Sloth's response was too faint. He fell to the ground, pale as a ghost, and at once all of the robots came to his aid and carried him down one of the many tunnels.

     The Grarrl and the other Neopets carefully turned around to face the two small Kacheeks. In a much more polite and quiet tone the Grarrl asked: "Were you the one who freed us?"

     At a loss for words, Ruffle nodded her head furiously. The Grarrl smiled at her.

     "Then we must thank you," he said.

     "Yes, thank you," the other Neopets chorused.

     "Not only have you rescued us," continued the Grarrl, "you've saved our planet from a horrible fate. Now our job is to destroy the machine that Dr. Sloth was using, and all of the blueprints, so that he may never do these horrible things to anyone ever again."

     "But... what about you guys, don't you want to be returned to normal?" piped up Laquilla.

     "Unfortunately," said a large Mutant Buzz, "I do not think that is possible. I've seen the instructions for the machine, and I don't believe it has the ability to reverse the effects. Besides, Dr. Sloth had no reason to reverse the effects, not for what he was planing to do."

     Ruffle and Laquilla looked up at them all sympathetically.

     "But where will you all live? What will happen to you?" Ruffle asked.

     "Don't worry about us," said a giant Pteri in a sweet voice. "There's still plenty of uninhabited places in Neopia. We'll find some place to live."

     "Being stuck like this may be more a blessing than a curse," the Grarrl spoke again. "All of us can become guardians of Neopia and help to protect it from any future threats."

     The two sisters seemed satisfied with these answers. But they were suddenly very tired, and both of them yawned.

     "It must be close to morning," Ruffle said afterwards.

     "Both of you must be extremely tired. And as a thank you for freeing us, we will take you home," said the Pteri.

     "That's great, but how are you gonna get out of the cave? The tunnel is too small for any of you to fit through," Ruffle pointed out.

     "That's easily fixed," smiled the Grarrl. A minute later the Grarrl and the rest of the Neopets had burst through the wall of the cave and into the canyon, and now the Pteri was flying the Kacheeks up out of the canyon and back home.

     "Don't worry," the Pteri reminded them. "We'll take care of Dr. Sloth."

     ~2 Weeks Later~

     "Ruffle, can you come here a minute!"

     "Yeah, Dad, just a second."

     Ruffle jogged out to the living room where her dad was waiting for her. A couple of weeks had passed since she had rescued her sister from Dr. Sloth, and the excitement of it all was starting to die down, for which she was glad. 'One more free cupcake,' she thought, 'and I can honestly say I will never eat sugar again.'

     "Yes?" she said once she was standing in front of her father.

     "Ruffle, I just wanted you to know how proud I am. What you did may have been insane, and could have gotten you killed, but you saved your sister, and from the sounds of it possibly the whole world... "

     "Yeah, yeah, I know," she said, then thought, 'I've only heard it a thousand times now.'

     "Well, now that you've shown how responsible you can be, I think you deserve these more than ever."

     "Huh?"

     Her father held out his paws and in them was a small box with holes, along with Spotted Paint Brush.

     "Both of them are for me," she asked. Her father nodded. Ruffle couldn't believe it. She had wanted a Spotted Paint Brush for so long, and to think her father spent so much money on her. But... "What's in the box?"

     "Why don't you look and see for yourself," said her father. Ruffle carefully opened the box and peered inside. Sitting at the bottom of the box was a small three-eyed white mouse, wearing green overalls, and in its tiny little paws it held a small orange umbrella.

     "It's called a Psimouse. It comes from the Haunted Woods. I was told they're a bit difficult to handle, but I thought it would be perfect for you."

     Ruffle carefully picked the Psimouse out of the box. It snarled at Ruffle, and its eyes began to glow red, but Ruffle merely smiled at the Psimouse when it did this... and the Psimouse smiled back...

     * * *

     Both Laquilla and I were standing in the wreckage of the laboratory. However, contrary to my spontaneous flashbacks, there was no machine in the room. Just a few busted up, rusted metal cabinets.

     "Whatever happened to them?"

     "Whatever happened to who?" asked Laquilla.

     "The Grarrl... and the other giant Neopets," I said quietly. I still felt a bit dazed by all that had happened. Laquilla stared at me in awe for a moment before answering.

     "Uh... well, they destroyed the place like they said they would, obviously. I don't know what they did to that creepy Dr. Sloth guy..."

     "Whatever they did, it didn't work," I said.

     "Huh?"

     "Never mind, I'll tell you later. Continue."

     "Well, after that they left... except for the Tuskaninny! During the rainy season he comes and lives in the canyon. He helps out with the fishing. That's one of the reasons the town has been doing so well the past few years."

     I smiled. It was the first time I had felt truly happy in a very long time.

     "Come on, Laquilla, let's go home. I think I've found everything I need."

     * * *

     "Wow, that's... incredible," said TigerLily. We were all sitting in the kitchen, seated around the island counter sipping tea and I had just finished telling everyone my story of how I rescued my sister and the other Neopets. All of them were quite shocked, most likely because my story probably told the first ever sighting of Dr. Sloth.

     "Dang..." said Sibertiger9, "but whatever happened to the machine/lab ray thing? You said it wasn't in the cave at all."

     "Actually, I have no idea," I replied. I turned to Laquilla. "Do you know what happened to it?"

     She shook her head. "I don't know what happened to it either. All I know is that the Grarrl and the others said they would take care of it. Hey! Rainy season is coming soon, and then Jimmy will be here. I could ask him what they did with it."

     "Who's Jimmy?"

     "The Tuskaninny. The one I told you that helps us with the fishing." Laquilla smiled.

     "Hello! Is anybody home?"

     Everyone stopped and looked around confused.

     "Dad's home!" Laquilla shouted, and she ran out into the living room.

     So I finally met my father, who worked as one of the traders for the town. I introduced him to my Mystery Island family and my friends. Then I repeated the entire story that I had just told everyone else. I also got the chance to meet Laquilla's pet Doglefox, which just happened to be about the size of a Skeith:

     "Whoa, what happened to him?" asked Amarenthela, Kasey's yellow Shoyru.

     "One day after Dad came home from trading, Peaches got into Dad's cart. He ate something called a... oh, what was it... it was a Supersize Plus. Apparently there are some side effect when a petpet uses it," replied Laquilla. "He's been stuck like that ever since. Now he helps Dad by pulling the cart."

     I suddenly realized that Peaches was the strange creature that Kachie and I were hiding from on the way here, and I laughed at the irony.

     The rest of the day was spent exchanging stories. Laquilla and my biological family told me stories from my childhood, and me and my Mystery Island family told them all about our life on the island, the Gadsgadsbogen festival, and our dining room table that has a tendency to try and eat us. We stayed for one more night, and in the morning we left for home. Or should I say, my Mystery Island home. I was starting to become attached to Laquilla and to the old life that I was only beginning to remember. Laquilla begged me to stay, and it was so hard to tell her I had to leave. As much as I would have liked to stay and go rock climbing and fishing, my life wasn't here anymore. The island was home now and the Battledome was my life.

     "Promise you'll at least come back and visit," Laquilla said before I left.

     "Of course I promise," I told her. "I can't forget you twice," I laughed.

     My mother packed us plenty of food and water for the trip back. On the journey home I had a long conversation with Kachie about how she seemed to know everything I didn't, and why she was in some of the pictures that hung in the hall in Laquilla's home. Because as far as I could remember I never got Kachie until I came to live with Sibertiger9. But then both the flashbacks I had and the journal told me that my father gave me a pet Psimouse as well. Well, from what Kachie told me, it so happens that she's the same Psimouse that my father brought me. Somehow we got separated (and I lost my memory), before I came to live with Sibertiger9. It was a miracle that we managed to find each other again. As far as how I came to live with Sibertiger9, I'm still not sure. Perhaps I'll figure it out one day.

     Back at Mystery Island life went back to normal. I read the entire journal and learned about what my life was like in the village of A Long Way. Just as Laquilla said, I gave the town its name and it seems my inspiration for naming the town what I did was because we lived a very long way from the next town. And the little reject rainbow Techo plushie now sits on my bed along with my Evil Fuzzles.

     ~1 Month Later~

     "Ruffle! Mail!" Sibertiger9 shouted from down the hall. I ran out to where she was and collected my mail from her.

     "Who's it from," I asked, wondering who it was that would send me a letter.

     "I dunno," she mumbled as she sorted out the rest of the mail.

     I looked at the return address. It said 'A Long Way'. 'Laquilla,' I thought. I opened the envelope and read the letter.

     Dear Ruffle,

     Thanks for those books on the history of Dr. Sloth. I had no idea he did all that stuff; then again we live in the middle of nowhere so we don't really hear the latest news. Oh, by the way, I asked Jimmy about what they did with the machine. They said they gave it to some crazy old Scorchio on a deserted island. For all they know he's using it to cook food or something.

     Mom said she expects you to come visit during the holidays. She also said your adoptive family is welcome to come too. See you then. Don't forget to write me back.

     Your sister,

      Laquilla

     Kachie had been sitting on my shoulder and reading along with me. At the mention of the crazy old Scorchio we exchanged glances.

     "No way," I whispered, "that thing is the Lab Ray?!"

The End

Thanks to Kaseycw for the use of her and her pets Safaraze and Amaranthela in my story, and for proofreading it. Thanks to Lalabok for the use of her four Kacheeks, BokCheek, BokLoff, Brai_niak, and CheekBok, in my story and sorry I took so long to finish writing it.

Some of the characters in the story are fictional. Any resemblance in name, form, or personality to real live Neopets is purely coincidence. No Neopets were harmed in the making of this story.

 
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Other Episodes


» Pages of a Lost Past: Part One
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Two
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Three
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Four
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Five
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Six
» Pages of a Lost Past: Part Seven



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