A Defender's Fear
Malkus Vile was in his headquarters counting his money. The hideous, fat, yellow Skeith grinned a nasty grin as he thought of how much richer he was. Malkus Vile was always getting richer with every crime he planned, and he never got arrested either due to lack of proof or if he went into hiding. He was seldom involved with his crimes aside from planning them; he just let his minions do the work and take the blame.
The Skeith heard a noise and immediately silenced himself to listen. The sound was actually a tune. It was joyful and bouncy, which was giving Malkus Vile a headache. He decided to go outside and see who or what was causing the tune, and then teach them to not irritate one of Neopia’s most notorious criminals. He opened his door and walked out to an alley in Neopia Central. His base was merely a neohome on the edge of Neopia Central; no one ever suspected it.
Malkus Vile noticed that the tune was getting louder and clearer. He walked ominously in the direction of the noise. Eventually, he came to a cloaked figure playing a music box. He was about to tell the stranger to get lost when something shot out of the music box. He was knocked out cold by one of the most cliché clown weapons, the extend-o-glove. Soon a hand reached into his pocket and removed one possession. Then the vicinity filled with the maniacal laughter of Mr. Chuckles.
Invisibelle dodged to the left to avoid a kick from Judge Hog. Her amber hair tumbled in front of her jade eyes, but she shoved it to the side in time to see a punch coming in from Judge Hog. Invisibelle had never liked these training exercises; she found it pointless to practice not using her powers when she knew she would always have the option of disappearing. If she could turn invisible, then she could easily defeat Judge Hog in hand to hand combat. She suspected that the only reason Judge Hog forbade others from using their powers while training was so that he could go undefeated.
The yellow Kau jumped back to avoid another punch from Judge Hog, but found she had made a mistake. Now she was in a bad position for dodging. Judge Hog prepared another punch and Invisibelle blocked. Her forearm was not strong enough to stop Judge Hog’s fist, and as soon as it had made contact, she collapsed to the floor.
Judge Hog held out his hand and pointed out, “You shouldn’t underestimate your opponents.”
Invisibelle sighed to herself. She had realized her mistake, but she did not know what other options she had. She and Judge Hog left the training room and entered the main foyer of the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters. Together they made quite a goofy sight. Judge Hog was tall and muscular, but did not look very threatening in his brightly coloured outfit and cape. Invisibelle was slightly less laughable with her green outfit and yellow fur.
Orig, the strong green Lupe defender, approached Judge Hog and said, “Mr. Chuckles has stuck again.”
A look of irritation crossed Judge Hog’s face as he asked, “Who was it this time?”
“Malkus Vile, “answered Orig, “I think I may have made a connection. I’ll explain in the planning room.”
Judge Hog and Orig headed up the stairs, but stopped as Orig said, “We should probably bring Invisibelle too.”
Invisibelle suddenly became tense; they could not be thinking of using her in this mission. She was quite a fighter and quick thinker, but she had a terrible fear of clowns. She shuddered every time she though of a circus, carnival, or anything else remotely related to clowns. There wasn’t just one aspect that bothered her; it was just clowns in general. How they looked, how they were always smiling insanely, how they guffawed wildly. Evil clowns like Mr. Chuckles were no exceptions.
“What do you want me for?” asked Invisibelle timidly.
“I’ll explain later,” said Orig. “Just come.”
Invisibelle obeyed and followed the heroes up the stairs and to the planning room. Once inside the large room full of maps and photos, Orig began to explain the situation.
“So far Mr. Chuckles has targeted Masila, Galem Darkhand, and most recently Malkus Vile,” started the Lupe, “I have done some research and it turns out that each of these thieves contains a piece of a key. A few years ago Galem Darkhand designed a key that could unlock any door, but he didn’t want anyone to be able to use it except himself. So he made the key into three pieces and trusted one to Masila. Before the two were separated in Terror Mountain, Galem played a game of Kacheekers with Malkus Vile and bet a piece of the key without telling the Skeith what it was. Vile won the match and took the key piece. So each of the pieces were separated, making them useless, until now.”
Invisibelle listened, but wondered why she was needed.
She asked, “What do you need me for?”
“I was just getting to that,” explained Orig. “I suspected Mr. Chuckles earlier and sent the Masked Intruder to investigate. He didn’t return. So, I feel that it would be best to send someone who can’t be seen to stop Mr. Chuckles. His base is full of traps, but being invisible will give you an advantage.”
“But I can’t stand clowns; they freak me out,” said Invisibelle who was trembling with fear.
“I’ll give you some time to think about it,” offered Orig, “but if Mr. Chuckles puts that key to use, he could steal all of Neopia’s valuables.”
Invisibelle was in the lounge of the headquarters worrying about what to do. It seemed like she was the only one who could defeat Mr. Chuckles, but could she bring herself to face him? He was a wimpy villain, but his base full of traps would be troublesome for most heroes.
Eventually, Aisheena noticed Invisibelle fretting. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
Aisheena was a white Aisha with long golden hair. Invisibelle had recently joined the Defenders of Neopia and Aisheena was one of the first friends she made.
“I have to fight Mr. Chuckles,” answered Invisibelle
Aisheena looked disgusted when she asked, “So, Judge Hog thinks that he can give out the easy missions to the women defenders, does he? I thought I set him straight when I had a scuffle with Lady Frostbite.”
“No, it’s not that,” interrupted Invisibelle. “I have a fear of clowns.”
“Oh, I can’t help you there,” said Aisheena apologetically, “but we all fear something; you just have to find your way to face it.”
As vague as Aisheena had been, her advice had made Invisibelle feel more confident. It was just a little, but enough to make her feel that she could take on Mr. Chuckles.
Invisibelle was soaring through the sky as she approached Mr. Chuckles’ lair. It wasn’t hard to miss; a big “deserted” funhouse. It was located several kilometres away from Neopia Central. As the golden Kau came close to the base, she cringed in fear at the clown face doorway. It was so ominous and threatening, she felt like hiding in fear. Still, she remembered what Aisheena had said and gradually made her way to the entrance.
She wondered why it was wide open, but her answer came in a few seconds. Cannons unfolded from the colourful walls and locked onto Invisibelle. Not a second too late, the Kau focussed her mind on making herself disappear. Soon she was as clear as air. She ducked to the side as the cannons fired dangerous pies where she had just been standing.
The pies looked harmless, but Invisibelle knew that anyone who came in contact with them would fall under Mr. Chuckles’ control. She realized why Defenders needed her for this task; any other hero would have been targeted and pied in a matter of seconds.
Invisibelle then faced the fear of the clownish doorway. The goofy smile and bulbous nose were even more frightening up close, but she closed her eyes and darted into the funhouse. As soon as she entered, the mouth of the clown slammed down behind her, locking her in.
Suddenly an irritating voice filled the room saying, “So, you got past the pies, eh? I must say, I’ve never seen you around before. Get it? You’re invisible!”
The voice then proceeded to laugh uncontrollably. Invisibelle shuddered in disgust of the obviously clown voice. She was further annoyed by the pathetic pun; Mr. Chuckles could at least make up a decent joke.
Invisibelle found a trapdoor above her and opened up. As soon as she entered the room above her, a barrage of balloons tumbled over her. She soon realized that the balloons were full of paint. The paint was now preventing her from turning invisible. It the middle of the large room sat Mr. Chuckles. The Pink Kacheek looked so meek as he merely sat peacefully. He wore a white clown mask and had puffy orange hair. He wore the classic clown outfit complete with suspenders.
“Ah, now I can see you some much better.” He giggled insanely. “People always said that I was a colourful fellow. Get it? Colours!”
Invisibelle groaned furiously at his joke. The clown was causing her anxiety again. To make matters worse, the room was brightly coloured with stripes and polka dots. At the top there was no ceiling, only sky. Invisibelle remembered what Aisheena said about facing her fears. She told herself that Mr. Chuckles was incredibly weak.
“I can beat you!” she declared.
Mr. Chuckles only sighed, “I don’t doubt it. It’s a pity you won’t be fighting me.”
Invisibelle was confused at what the Kacheek meant by this.
He continued, “You’ll be fighting him.”
Invisibelle turned to face where Mr. Chuckles was pointing. Standing in the corner was the Masked Intruder, but he looked different. Instead of his usual outfit, the Kougra was wearing a right and white striped suit. His face was painted white with a smile and scarlet cheeks. Green hair sprang out behind his head. He had fallen victim to Mr. Chuckles’ pies; now he was a mindless minion.
“Destroy her!” ordered Mr. Chuckles.
Invisibelle was paralyzed with fear. This clown was a lot more menacing than Mr. Chuckles. He was charging at her now, but Invisibelle couldn’t move. She came to her sense just in time to dodge a punch. She was getting frantic now; all of her training memories washed away.
As she evaded the clown hysterically, the Masked Intruder groaned mindlessly. Invisibelle turned to look behind her and saw that the Masked Intruder was approaching. She gasped as she faced forward again and rammed into a wall. She was trapped now. Suddenly the scene felt familiar as she remembered her earlier training with Judge Hog. She was in a similar position, but now she had a better idea of what to do.
The large, hulking Kougra raised a fist and brought it down. However, before he could make contact, Invisibelle grabbed his wrist. The Masked Intruder was surprised, which was just what Invisibelle wanted. She then used his weight against him and threw his fist to the ground. His body came tumbling after.
“You’ve made a very sad clown,” she heard the angry voice of Mr. Chuckles, then he burst out laughing. “Sad... Clown; get it?”
Invisibelle turned around to face Mr. Chuckles. She was surprised to see that he had three gigantic balloons attached to his back and was floating off through the roofless top. In his hand he held the three pieces of the key.
“Sorry to go so soon, but I’ve got to make a withdrawal.” He laughed uncontrollably.
Invisibelle knew that she had to stop him. She had found her way of facing her fear; to fight it physically. She felt her feet float off the ground as she prepared to take flight. Soon she was zooming to the top of the room. Her hand searched through her yellow utility belt until she found what she was seeking. She was closed to Mr. Chuckles now, so she tossed her tiny boomerang. It whizzed though the air speedily.
“Ha, you missed,” taunted the evil clown.
“Guess again,” said Invisibelle smugly.
What Mr. Chuckle hadn’t realized was that she was aiming for him, she was aiming for the strings of the balloons. In no time the clown was plummeting out of the sky. His fall was broken by the pile of custard pies in front of his base.
Invisibelle darted down after him and removed the key from his dazed hand. She then smashed them on the ground.
“Now, no one can use these keys,” she declared.
Mr. Chuckles looked like he was on the verge of laughing or crying; it was hard to tell with his mask on.
“I wouldn’t get too cracked up about it,” mocked Invisibelle.
Mr. Chuckles turned to her murderously and screamed, “That isn’t funny!”