The History of the Jungle Ruins – Korabric's Tale
It was the first time in many years – possibly hundreds – that I was awake. But the roars of creatures from far below my locked study make my old, dried out eyes open. I tried to move my old, red Buzz wings, and years of dust and dirt from the ceiling of this room fell to the floor. I wondered where that roar had come from. It sounded like a lizard, but they never fought with themselves. Perhaps... perhaps someone was down there, someone... someone other that him... what was his name? Rollay. Yes, the lizard-man. The ruler of the lake. And the person who caused me to lock myself up here.
But it wasn’t that deep in the ground, that roar. No, it wasn’t. Maybe... had someone found a key? Impossible... the pygmy kings... and Rollay... they couldn’t have... they shouldn’t have... they’d be killed. They were too strong, even for me, when I was young. A rattle... a key in a lock. The door in front of me opened. My vision was blurred from years of misuse, but the Lupe’s figure almost blended into the white wall. But the white-furred Lupe’s eyes were yellow, and, as my vision cleared, I could see he looked tired. In his hand was a wand... a wand like the one he made. What was his name? I couldn’t remember.
“Unbelievable! I had never expected anyone to reach me. I’ve been locked up here for ages.” My voice crackled with lack of use. I could see more clearly now. The creature had four legs planted firmly on the ground, and it looked at me with interest.
“Who are you?” it asked, the creature’s voice sounding like a male’s. He looked at me almost demandingly.
“I’m... I’m...” I searched my mind for my name. What was it? “Oh, yes, Korabric. I’m... very sorry. I haven’t even thought of my name for so long... I haven’t been awake in... so long. I haven’t thought of my name since before I went to sleep for the many years... after he... Rollay... after he nearly defeated me.” I paused, lost in thought. “Who and what are you?”
“I have no name. I am a Lupe, and I came here because an elderly green Kiko told me to come here. She said you would be up here.”
“But how did you open my study?” I was bewildered. “The pygmy chiefs – Kreai and Gors – were incredibly powerful. How did you... how did you defeat them? And how... how did you get the key from Rollay?”
“The key? You mean this one?” He lifted a crystal key with jewels glittering all over. “This key opened the door up here. That’s how I got in.”
“But... the other keys... the ones that locked the other tower doors... how did you...”
“The pygmy chiefs, Kreai and Gors, held a key each. Kreai had an old wooden key – it was rotting through. And Gors held a horned key, made of solid silver.”
“Yes. They stole them from me. The pygmies were never intelligent... well, they were, but that was before I slept for the many years I did...”
“What happened that many years ago?” The Lupe showed great interest in his eyes. They sparkled with the want for knowledge. How his eyes had sparkled like that once... before...
“Well... this place... it was once a learning facility. We studied plants and animals of all sorts, far, far away from Neopia City. They lived across waters, the lakes that make this entire area landlocked. We didn’t know that they were such vicious creatures, but by the time we knew, it was too late.
“We began our studies with insects... buzzes, scorpions, things we could find here, or not far from here. But they took no time to research. The only thing that really interested us was the poison of the scorpions. So, we paid for other lands to send us interesting creatures. They sent us a few beasts – a few resembled Myncies, but they were vicious and would often attack us. They also sent us Noils, with thick, fire-orange manes. Swamp Edge City gave us small Wadjets... little did we know that they could grow larger and larger. It was a mistake I shall never forget...
“Anyway... we wanted more. Creatures like us. Which is how we found the Pygmies. They didn’t speak our language, but it didn’t matter. They fought each other for power, to get to be the chief. They were small, and seemingly harmless. They could burn us or give us frostbite with their basic magical powers, but that was it. We recorded everything they did. They formed tribes throughout the gardens – some to the upper gardens, some to a lower garden.
“Still, one can only study so much. So, we brought in warrior Chias to live with them. They waged war on each other, for power of the gardens, but eventually, the Pygmies won. They let the Chias stay if they never took their magic. The Chias told us everything that happened as they slowly learned to speak the Pygmy language. Unfortunately for us, they rarely told the truth... something we didn’t know. But we trusted them.
“At one point during our studies, the creation of a lower level of classrooms was to begin. They found an ancient classroom below... and from there, began to expand it. We explored through the caves, and we eventually found a lake. It held a magical power that we didn’t know existed. It could create. But we never used it for that. Some of the monsters came to drink from the pool. It made them stronger... much too strong...
“Rollay was one of the scientists and studiers at the time. We worked together and studied what happened to monsters at the lake. I didn’t know why, but I sensed something bad happening. Rollay came to the lake almost every hour of the day, and began taking cups of the water back to the Pygmies. He gave them to two in particular, the only two who could speak our language.”
“What were their names?” The Lupe looked at me for an answer.
“Their names were Kreai and Gors. Because of the lake water, they mutated into horrible creatures. Powerful creatures. More powerful than all of their followers combined.
“After many months of studying, I became uninterested in the lake’s powers. Kreai and Gors didn’t attack anyone but weak Pygmies, so all was well. Only Rollay stayed to study the lake. In fact, he never seemed to leave the caves. And when he did, the students told us he looked tired, but yet, somehow alert. They had heard noises... hisses... and one day, when I went to see Rollay, a large lizard of an icy color attacked me. I tried to fend it off, but I retreated back into the classrooms, which they dared not enter.
“‘Everyone must stay out of there!’ I told them, but none would listen. Some were badly injured by the lizard. There were some that were lit on fire; a few were solid ice; and even more could control lightning.
“When Rollay came out of the cave for the last time, I told him he was mad and that he should stop. But he didn’t listen. Instead, he took me into the cave and showed me what he had done.
“A huge orb of magical energy hung above the lake. Rollay put two hands on the orb. ‘In a matter of seconds, I will release many lizards across the caves – so many, that you can never defeat them! You have lost, Korabric. The Pygmies will defeat you, and if they don’t, I will. I, Rollay Scaleback, will turn this place into my kingdom!’ As soon as he finished speaking, the orb began to glow. Rollay began to change shape. His head grew long with sharp teeth. His feet were webbed. His old uniform was ripped to bits. His back, covered in scales, shined in the orb’s light. Lizards surrounded me as they came from the lake.
“‘Finish him,’ he said, ‘and make your creator proud!’ That was... the last I ever heard of him. He must have gained energy from the magical orb. He shared some of his energy with Kreai and Gors, and they grew stronger and sent Pygmies after me.
“I was afraid of being defeated, so I ran from the lizards and told everyone to flee. The only person who refused to leave was the janitor named Pomanna. She didn’t believe in such nonsense.
“Everyone fled to Neopia City except for me. I ran up to the towers, where no monsters lurked. But they followed me still. I was able to lock out the Noils and Wadjets behind one door which had a key, and other monsters behind another door. The final door was the key to my study, and I locked all the lizards out. I sighed, thinking that I had all the keys. Except I had none.
“I assumed that Rollay’s lizards had taken them from my pocket. However, they had taken one only, now that you have told me this. I assume that some of the monsters took the two other keys, probably Pygmies of different tribes. They must have taken them to Kreai and Gors.”
“Rollay said to tell you that he was sorry.” The Lupe moved his head to the side and sighed. “Do you really think he’s sorry?”
I shook me head. “I think he’s sorry... sorry that he tried to get rid of me... and that he was defeated.”
A smile appeared for a second on the Lupe’s face. “Thank you for all you have told me. Maybe you should go help Pomanna.”
“Yes, maybe I should.” My eyes closed right then, as I had been awake for what felt like ages, but was probably less than an hour.
I thought of all of the mistakes I had made, everything that had gone wrong. But now everything could be right again. And I could be a scientist once again. I would be able to study all the new creatures and explore new worlds like it was not so long ago. In my sleep, I smiled, glad that everything would hopefully return to normal.