Superhero Paint Brush
Lepus Cleck, how he hated the name. I mean, what kind of Zafara has a name like ‘Lepus Cleck’? None, except him. Lepus, the blue Zafara, stared miserably down at his comics, wishing he too, was a superhero. The Defenders of Neopia were so heroic. Judge Hog, Danger Buzz, Captain K, and more, all incredibly brave and fierce and wise. Not like him. The most amazing thing he had ever done was save a Kadoatie from a tree. A five foot high tree. Soooo heroic, he thought sarcastically.
If only he could be a superhero too. He would be, um, well, he hadn’t thought of a name yet. What if there was a Superhero Paint Brush? he thought. He would do anything to get it. He would be known all over Neopia! The girls would swoon in his presence, as the boys who always picked on him would stare jealously at this masked hero. He’d strangle Sloth, kick Kass, battle Balthazar, capture Captain Scarblade, tackle the Three, and more! But he could only daydream. Everything was a simple fantasy in his mind.
Lepus sat alone on his bed, his second-story room cluttered with comics. He lay down and stared at the ceiling, able to do nothing to fulfill his dream. His eyes slowly closed, his breathing became slower, deeper. He had fallen asleep.
Lepus woke with a start! He smiled, the grin spreading across his face slowly as realization dawned on him. He finally had an idea! Surely the Rainbow Fountain Faerie never came up with all the Paint Brushes herself. Some of them must have been suggestions. Perhaps, she might even be willing to take another suggestion. A suggestion for a Superhero Paint Brush!
He could imagine it now. The paint brush handle would be an emerald green, the paint on the brush a deep blue. Attached to the handle would be a crimson cape, always fluttering in some invisible breeze, the dark red announcing the courage of the superhero to be painted by it.
Lepus just had to ask! The Fountain Faerie didn’t have to grant his request, so there would be no harm done if he asked. He raced out of his room, down the stairs, and out the front door. He was glad that his family lived in Neopia Central!
Lepus ran down streets and sidewalks and finally arrived panting for breath at the Rainbow Fountain. He bent over, hands on knees, gasping for breath. When he could breathe normally again, he straightened up, put his arms at his sides, and walked in a dignified manner up to the fountain. Strange, he thought, there aren’t any gigantic lines of Neopians waiting to be painted. How queer. Still, he sidled up and stood in front of the fountain, his foot tapping as he waited for the Fountain Faerie to appear. Seconds ticked into minutes, which turned into hours.
Lepus had had it. “Excuse me!” he called into the now darkened fountain, glancing around all over, even to the night sky where stars twinkled and glimmered in silent radiance. “Ahem, er, I’d like to speak to the Rainbow Fountain Faerie. I have a request for her.”
Nothing. His voice echoed among the empty streets, sending a red Meepit scurrying from where it had been digging around. He stood on tip paw and gazed around the pool. Where could she be? Lepus sighed. Maybe tomorrow she would be here.
Lepus walked home, thinking all the while. That was very strange. I didn’t think the Rainbow Fountain Faerie ever left the Rainbow Pool at all. Something just isn’t right.
Lepus came to his Neohome and snuck upstairs to his room, taking with him a copy of the Neopian Times from three days age that he had found on the doorstep. He unfolded it and gasped at the front page headline.
THE RAINBOW FOUNTAIN FAERIE HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED!
Lepus read on, completely baffled at this strange turn of events. He learned that she had been kidnapped by Doctor Sloth and taken to an unknown location. Why? No one knew. The Defenders of Neopia had been working on the case since it was discovered at 10:00 am NST three days back, but without any leads they could do nothing.
Lepus thought. He thought long and hard, then suddenly leaped to the floor and rummaged quickly through his comics. Here it was. Attack of Sloth: Issue 11. “No, no, ah -ha! Here it is!” Lepus had quickly flipped through the pages until he came to the part he sought. He read the note at the bottom of the page.
‘Sloth retreated to an incredibly secret hideout. His very first underground lair, the lair he had lived in when Neopia was young. Of course, we now know where it is ever since the Defenders of Neopia defeated him there. It is located between Neopia Central and the Haunted Woods. To find it, you have to walk straight down the path to the fork-off into Kiko Lake. Then you must turn to your right and search for it. *Sloth has not used this cave in years. It would be an ideal hideout if ever he needed it again.’
“That’s it! No one would remember that he used his lair as a hideout before! With everyone having forgotten it happened, it would be an ingenious idea!” Lepus cried out. “But should I tell the Defenders of Neopia, or can I prove myself as a superhero? Maybe the Rainbow Fountain Faerie will make a Superhero Paint Brush if I save her!” Lepus dashed about the room, putting together a superhero costume. He put on his Volcano Run II shoes, a red blanket for a cape, and a green bandanna with eye slits for his mask. Lepus was also sure to put on his lucky Gormball Necklace. He had always worn ever since he won it in the Gormball Championship Tournament.
Lepus set out and began his march to Sloth’s secret lair. He carried a walking stick, which he planned to use as a staff for a weapon if he needed one. Around midday he stopped, after having marched since midnight. He was tired, but determined. He had packed a little food, and he picnicked as he went over his plans in his head.
Lepus soon packed up and went on his march again. He stopped at the fork in the road, one path leading to Kiko Lake, the other to the Haunted Woods. Lepus went right, off the path into the forest. He trod lightly through the forest, trying to be silent. After searching for ages, Lepus sat down on a rock, prepared to give up. To his surprise, the rock moved and slid aside to reveal a hidden entrance! The lair of Sloth!
Quietly, Lepus walked down the steps and into the lair! It wasn’t much. It was only one big room, and there weren’t any Grundos on guard because Sloth didn’t want anything to betray his position. In the corner closest to Lepus on his right, there was a cage with the Rainbow Fountain Faerie in it.
“Hehehe, I have plans for you, Faerie!” Dr. Sloth cackled evilly, not even bothering to look around from the ray gun he was working on. He could not see Lepus, so he had no idea that a blue Zafara was getting ready to free his prisoner. “You see, Faerie, I need your power. With it, I can fuel my slave ray. My slave ray will zap all the Neopians and make them slaves to my power! Mhuahahahahahaaa! Then, I alone will rule all of Neopia!”
Lepus crept quietly to the Fountain Faerie’s cage. “Shhh,” he whispered. “I’m here to help. Don’t make a sound. How do I open the cage?”
The Fountain Faerie looked up, her kind face creasing in a smile. Wordlessly, she pointed to a button panel just out of her reach on the wall. Lepus stretched out tentatively and pressed the button. The cage rose, but it creaked, squeaked, and groaned as it was hauled up.
Sloth whirled around to see a Zafara escaping with his prisoner! “What’s this? An intruder! You will curse the day you were born before I’m done with you! Get back here, I say! I will get you, thieving scum! Nothing will save you!” He grabbed the closest thing nearby: an old pirate sword he’d been using for some weird experiment.
Lepus dragged the Rainbow Faerie as fast as he could to the entrance of the lair, knowing she was weak from lack of water. He reached the entrance and shoved her out. He could see Sloth coming up the stairs, sword held at the ready.
A change came over Lepus. Suddenly he had gone from a kid chasing dreams to a real live hero, preparing to sacrifice his life for others.
“Go,” Lepus grunted. “Get going. I’ll hold him off as long as I can with my staff. I’m a Neopian nobody, but everyone in Neopia needs you. Come to me, Sloth! You’ll find that I’m not so easy to catch and kill as a defenseless water faerie!”
The Rainbow Fountain Faerie stared helplessly as her savior stood, staff at the ready, prepared to die for her sake. She called out in a piercing voice, “Defenders of Neopia! Defenders of Neopia! Come to my aid!” She repeated the call over and over.
Lepus was hard-pressed. Sloth came at him like a battering ram, hacking and slashing with the sword. He parried each throw with his staff, put he was on the defensive. Sloth was doing all attacks imaginable! Lepus took a step backwards, seeking to avoid the blade that kept looking for a small gap or opening to get in for the kill. Suddenly, Sloth feinted a downward sweep, bringing the handle up and down again to crash against the Zafara’s head. Lepus staggered backwards and fell heavily. Sloth stood over him, sword raised for the final blow. The Rainbow Fountain Faerie was screaming for help, but mainly out of terror. She normally would have used her magic to help fight, but she couldn’t do anything in the weakened state that she was in, due to the fact that she had not touched water in three days.
Suddenly, the Defenders of Neopia arrived! Judge Hog and Lightning Lenny came swooping to help in classic superhero fashion! The tall, strong Moehog battered through with his strength, standing out in his red and yellow suit. Lightning Lenny followed up in his silver, black, and light blue suit. Bash, pow, whack! Dr. Sloth didn’t stand a chance. The melee lasted for only a brief lapse of time.
Lepus groggily raised his head, his vision clearing to reveal Judge Hog and Lightning Lenny standing over him, with Dr. Sloth tied up in the background. The Rainbow Fountain Faerie stood worriedly over him, wringing her hands in apprehension.
“You okay, kid?” the leader of the Defenders of Neopia asked Lepus.
Lepus croaked, “I think.”
Judge Hog and Lightning Lenny laughed heartily. “Good, good,” Lightning Lenny said.
“Kid, that was something,” Judge Hog boomed. “A little Zafara like you was tackling Dr. Sloth himself. Incredible!”
“I’ll say!” Lightning Lenny exclaimed. “I didn’t defeat a baddie like Sloth until after I joined the Defenders of Neopia!”
The Rainbow Fountain Faerie came up and stuck out her hand. “Thank you, young Zafara. I owe you my life. What compelled you to come to my aid, and how did you know where Sloth was keeping me?”
Lepus smiled. “Well, I wanted to ask you something, but you weren’t there. I saw the headline of the Neopian Times, and I dug through my comics. It had the exact location of this hideout recorded in it! I thought that if I saved you, you’d grant my request.”
Judge Hog laughed. “Determined little feller, aren’t you?”
“What is your request, um...? Goodness! We don’t even know your name!” the Rainbow Fountain Faerie asked.
“Lepus. My name is Lepus Cleck. It’s a horrible name. Anyway, my request was, er, well, can you make a Superhero Paint Brush?”
Lightning Lenny and Judge Hog laughed. Lightning Lenny said through chuckles, “Hahaha, you mean you did all that for, hohoho, a, hehehe, Superhero Paint Brush?”
“Hohoho, kid, you ARE a superhero! What do you need a Paint Brush for? Hahaha!” Judge Hog questioned.
Lepus stared at the chortling duo. “Wh-what? I’m a superhero? B-but how?”
“I don’t think you would need any paint brush from me, Lepus. Your bravery and courage you showed today showed no bounds. Not to mention, I think you have the costume down,” the Faerie said.
“What, this raggedy old thing? It couldn’t possibly be a costume!”
Lightning Lenny smiled down at the kid, both Defenders having caught their breath. “Listen, Lepus, it works just fine as a costume. Grand, it looks grand! What are you thinking about, Judge Hog?”
“Hmm, what?” Judge Hog had been staring intensely at Lepus. “Oh, I was thinking that the kid will need a superhero name.”
“You mean I’m going to be a superhero? I’ll get to join the Defenders of Neopia?”
“Hold steady, kid! Hear Judge Hog out!”
“Okay, yes, you would make a valuable member of the team. But you need a name! We can't have Neopians knowing who you really are.”
Three pairs of eyes swiveled in the Rainbow Fountain Faerie’s direction.
“You take his last name and add starr! Cleckstarr!”
“It could work,” Judge Hog said doubtfully.
“I like it!” Lepus piped up. “But can I really join the Defenders of Neopia?”
“Yep!” Lightning Lenny answered. “You can be Cleckstarr the Brave!”
“Come with us, we’ll show you!” Judge Hog beckoned Lepus. Lepus followed Judge Hog, Lightning Lenny, and the Rainbow Fountain Faerie to Neopia Central. They stopped in front of the famed building, the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters!
“Here we are! Come on in, Cleckstarr, we’ll show you around!” Lightning Lenny and Judge Hog both escorted Lepus in. Lepus, alias Cleckstarr, gazed around in wonder. He didn’t get that Superhero Paint Brush, but he didn’t care. Lepus was living his dreams. He was Cleckstarr the Brave!
I'd like to thank Ratluvr1, because she came up with the plot. I wrote the story myself, but she made the main idea.