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A Louched Tale


by mantiszero

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The vibrant green liquid ran through the series of tubes placed upon the elegant wooden desk, sloshing and sliding majestically until it reached its destination – the empty potion bottle clutched firmly in the gloved hand of a Halloween Ruki. With great care, the Ruki crossed slowly to the potion table and placed the bottle down, watching intently as small bubbles rose from the base of the mixture then broke through the surface and emerged as jade-tinted puffs of steam.

     The Ruki waited with great patience for this process to stop before he delicately placed his clenched fist over the bottle and dropped in a mysterious ingredient. An ingredient so full of mystery that only the scientist himself could tell you what it was, and he probably wouldn’t, even if you asked him nicely. He paused. The Ruki had clearly expected something to happen, yet the potion remained stagnant. No bubbles, no puffs of steam, nothing. The Ruki swept up the bottle in his right hand, frustrated that another day's worth of experimenting had come to nothing.

     It would seem this frustration was exactly what the potion needed; the Ruki could only stop in awe as the potion began to swirl and spiral in his hand. His instincts told him it was safer to put the bottle down, but the scientist was captivated by the chemistry of the gorgeous green liquid. As before, the reaction fizzled out and the liquid settled and returned to a normal state, except now it was clouded over. The potion seemed to be denser and stronger. The potion seemed to be complete.

     Louched, a relatively low-key alchemist from a relatively low-key spot in the Haunted Woods known as Neovia, had just completed his finest creation. However, this was no ordinary “miracle potion”. While a few years ago Neovia had been going wild for a potion that claimed to give its townsfolk whatever they wanted in life, Louched had no desire to earn things the easy way. Nor did he wish to create potions that would improve a Neopet's health or aid them in battle, like those made by Kauvara or Kayla. Louched had a very different goal in mind.

     A goal that was not actually all that rare and was somewhat of a disappointment coming from a Halloween painted scientist – he wanted fame, and more importantly fortune. The big Neopoints are not in Healing Potions, and surprisingly not even in the highly priced Morphing Potions. No, the money is actually in the drinks industry. The Ruki wanted to create a drink to rival the big brands, something that was more exciting than Neocola but was less disgusting than Achyfi. The Ruki felt he had finally achieved this ambition and was virtually sitting on a Neopoint jackpot... except this glorious concoction would prove a little hard to sell.

     Scientists had been getting a bad reputation in Neovia ever since the incident with Mr Krawley, and thanks to his use of Hissi Oil, it was alchemists such as Louched that received the worst of it. There were countless occasions where the Ruki had simply paid a visit to Prigpants & Swolthy to have his lab coat tailored and ended up being chased through the darkest regions of the Haunted Woods by an angry mob. If Louched was going to make a success of his wonderful creation, he would need to look far beyond the dimly lit streets of Neovia, he needed to aim for a place where the lights shone much brighter – space!

     ***

     With technology more than slightly far behind in Neovia, it proved more than difficult to get in contact with the Virtupets Space Station. Even then, Louched had to deal with an alarming amount of automated robots who did not seem to understand what the scientist wanted at all. Louched managed to speak to many of the shopkeepers in the Space Station but understandably none of them wanted to stock his creation.

     He had tried to sell the drink to the Space petpet shop owner on that basis that it was the same colour as a Blobagus or a Globilol. The owner refused, claiming it was not hygienic to stock drinks and petpets in the same shop, even if they were all robots. Louched had no better luck with the Space Weaponry or Space Armour shopkeepers. Taking refreshments into the Battledome was not something either of these Grundos seemed to approve of.

     Eventually Louched managed to get in touch with the owner of the notorious Grundos Café - Gargarox Isafuhlarg. While this Mutant Grundo had a reputation of being quite mean and ill tempered, Louched was pleasantly surprised that Gargarox appeared to be well mannered and polite, though apparently the chef had recently won a Gormball tournament, which may have helped his mood.

     Of course this made the eventual rejection from Gargarox even harder to take for the Halloween Ruki. It turned out that Louched’s idea of selling his magnificent green drink in small vials was very similar to an idea Gargarox had already come up with years ago. Garthroxian Goo - a very thick, filling and overpriced drink that had not proved too popular with visitors to the Space Station. Louched was consoled by the notion that great minds think alike; after all, Gargarox was a huge successful despite his Goo not being a big seller... and Louched’s drink was miles better, after all.

     ***

     Louched was determined not to let this setback put him in a bad mood, quietly making his way through Neovia into Prigpants & Swolthy, where he bought the finest clothes he could afford without being seen by any potential mobs. Louched took a long walk all the way to the Deserted Fairground, where he approached the Bruce that ran the Spooky Food cart. Louched inspected the goods on display – Chilled Eyeball Custard, Slime Sundae, Octornapie, Jellied Eyeballs. The Ruki began to wonder if this was such a good idea when the Bruce noticed the shimmering vial of green liquid in his hand. Louched explained his idea and the mere mention of a successful drinks franchise was enough to get the Bruce interested. There was just one problem – it didn’t sound disgusting enough.

     There was of course that one small detail Louched would never tell anybody, the secret ingredient. It might have been disgusting, but nobody could ever know for sure. All Louched had to do was convince the Bruce that it was the most disgusting secret ingredient he could think of; however, after seeing the items of so-called food on display before him, this took a lot more imagination than the scientist anticipated.

     Together the pair made a deal; they would sell the drink that would now be known as “Wormy Juice” in honour of its status as a Spooky Food. Just then, Louched noticed a Plushie Kiko over at the Coconut Shy. Such a strange sight in the Haunted Woods could only be a sign. The game was obviously rigged and it was not long before the Kiko had lost all of her Neopoints. The Kiko looked incredibly upset as she passed by the Spooky Food cart. Out of a combination of kindness and keen business sense, Louched offered the Kiko a free sample of the Spooky Food shop’s newest venture.

     To the young Neopet’s surprise, the drink was very refreshing, not at all disgusting like the other food on sale at the cart. The Kiko promised to tell all her friends about this fabulous elixir. Young Neopets telling others about the drink would help somewhat, but Louched knew if he wanted to compete with Neocola or Achyfi, he had to get noticed, and in the fairground setting it was only fitting that he create a song to catch the visitors' attention.

     “It’s green, green, gorgeous green, the strangest drink you’ve ever seen!”

     “It’s powerful!”

     “It’s colourful!”

     “It’s absolutely wonderful!”

     “Wormy Juice! Hahaha! Wormy Juice!”

     Wormy Juice began to sell out as fast as the Spooky Food shop could restock it. The drink was a huge success! For a short time, it seemed that nothing could stop Wormy Juice from becoming Neopia’s number one refreshment...

     ***

     What would have otherwise been another good day at the Spooky Food stall became more of a typical gloomy day in the Haunted Woods as two representatives of the PPL approached Louched in midsong. For some reason, they had been given reason to believe the creation of Wormy Juice was harmful to petpets. Louched was more puzzled by this than a Lenny Conundrum. The name did not even suggest any mild cruelty; after all worms are not petpets and have been used in many dishes before.

     The PPL claimed that they were tipped off by an anonymous source (that they were only allowed to refer to as “Chef G.I”) that the drink contained traces of Wormoeba, which is often found on petpets, providing them with enough circumstantial evidence to halt production of the drink. It did not take an alchemist to figure out who the PPL’s informant was, but Louched could do nothing about it and was sadly forced out of business.

     With Wormy Juice only available for a couple of weeks, most of Neopia never even heard news of its release, though the ones that did would tell you that if was definitely more exciting than Neocola and less disgusting than Achyfi... though none of them have ever tried Garthroxian Goo.

     A toast to Wormy Juice – the greatest drink Neopia never had.

The End

 
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