Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 179,262,770 Issue: 440 | 23rd day of Eating, Y12
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Horace


by ezel68

--------

"Is it done, master?"

     "Nearly, Kooks."

     The Scorchio was screwing bolts into the shell of something. Kooks did not know what it was, because a white cloth covered the operating table.

     "Master, what exactly are you making?"

     "It's a secret, Kooks."

     "But I'm your assistant! Your petpet! And you won't tell me?"

     "Kooks, I said it's a secret. Now will you be a gentle-Kookith and fetch me the lightning rods?"

     Kooks grumbled something the mad scientist couldn't hear and tore open a ratty cardboard box. Packaged in Styrofoam packing peanuts were six long, metal poles. Kooks picked them up and handed them to the mad scientist, who was flipping switches on a gigantic control panel.

     "I have the lightning rods," Kooks said, plunking the metal sticks on top of the cloth-covered lump. Two of the lightning rods fell off the lump, and the cloth came with it. What Kooks saw made him gasp in horror--a beastly Bori, seven feet tall, stitched together from red, yellow, green and blue Bori hides. Two large bolts had been screwed into a piece of the Bori's carapace.

     "M-Master!" cried Kooks, and bounded into the Scorchio's arms.

     "Kooksie! There's nothing to be afraid of!" The mad scientist ruffled Kooks's gray hair and set him on the floor. "That's only the body of the monster I'm bringing to life! He has strength that rivals with Chiazilla's, an intelligence that matches a supercomputer's, and a bulk that would make even Balthazar himself back off!"

     "Why do you need a monster like this?" Kooks looked up at the ceiling, where the massive lab ray hung, crackling with red energy.

     "Those pets will ever be sorry they messed with me the first day they came to the lab ray! They teased me, called me a freak, demanded free zaps... but that won't happen any more! I'm closing the lab ray!"

     "WHAT?!"

     "Yes! I will have this monster track down all the zapped pets and bring them to me. They will be zapped back into what they used to be and then he will destroy the lab ray--forever! Kooks, put up the lightning rods!"

     "Master, you can't do this!"

     "Oh, yes, I can! Put up the lightning rods!"

     Kooks did what his master told him. He put the six lightning rods in their spots in the table and screwed them in place. The Scorchio threw open the window and a huge bolt of lightning soared through and hit the lab ray. The ball crackled angrily with white energy.

     "Now throw the switch!"

     Kooks threw the switch, and the lab ray crackled even more furiously before firing a white beam at the first lightning rod. The beam spread like a Spyder web across the other lightning rods. The rods glowed with a blue light, and lightning flew in through the windows and hit the lifeless monster. While the lab ray shot multiple beams at the lightning rods, the metal sticks were dropping their energy on the beast's body.

     "MUAHAHAHA!" screamed the lab ray scientist, watching in glee as lightning flew everywhere. Kooks covered his bloodshot eyes with his paw and kept the other on the switch.

     "Turn it off, Kooks! TURN IT OFF!"

     Kooks threw the switch quickly, and the lightning crackled out. Smoke was rising from the monster, who was laying on the operating table, looking very lifeless.

     "It worked! Kooks! It worked!" The Scorchio was happier than a Neopet who had just received a Fire, Fire, Your Pants on Fire Paint Brush from Jacko the Phantom Painter.

     "GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" something roared.

     "My baby!" the Scorchio cried, enveloping the beast in a death grip.

     "GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!" The Bori monster threw the scientist off him and bounded from the table.

     "Bad Patchwork Bori!" shouted the mad scientist.

     "You named that thing?!" Kooks looked at the creature, who was drooling green gunk all over the newly polished floor.

     "Rrrrrrrr...." the Patchwork Bori growled.

     "Yes! I had the name in mind before I made him. Come here, Patchwork Bori, I won't hurt you..."

     The ugly monster slobbered all over the floor and scratched at his ear.

     "Euwww..." Kooks poked the green mess, which felt like Slorg slime.

     "ROOOOAR!" the monster suddenly bellowed, jumping through the open window.

     "Catch him!" the Scorchio yelled, leaping to his feet and running to the window, but he slipped on the monster's saliva and landed on his back. There was a loud pop as the scientist's ankle twisted. "Kooks... get that thing..." The Scorchio groaned and shut his eyes. Kooks jumped out the window and galloped on his short Kookith legs, but the hideous monster had disappeared.

     "He won't get far..." The Kookith chuckled to himself as he started running back to the laboratory.

      * * * * *

     Hank was a member of the Eyrie Taxi company. He'd been on the job longer than anybody else, and had seen all sorts of bizarre customers. But when he saw a seven-foot-tall monster sewed together from Bori hides with bolts in its carapace,

     the orange Eyrie raised his eyebrow.

     "Dude, what do you want?"

     "RRRRRRR!" The monstrous Bori climbed on Hank's back, who buckled under its weight.

     "Ow! Geez, what have you eaten lately? Ultimate Burgers?"

     "RRRRRR!" the Patchwork Bori replied, kicking Hank's flank. The Eyrie reluctantly spread his feathered wings and took off with some difficulty, due to the monster's great size and weight. One hour later, Hank was starting to slow down.

     "Oi! I haven't carried this much since Balthazar rode on me with a full bag of bottled faeries! My back won't hold up!" The Eyrie folded his wings back up and started falling out of the sky.

     "GRRROWWLLL!" the Patchwork Bori sprang from Hank's backside and crashed in a bare, black tree. Hank crash-landed on the ground, staggered up, and limped away into the forest.

     "Ai! That's it! I'm retiring from the Eyrie Taxi! You were enough!" Hank shouted.

     "RRRRRRR!" The Bori climbed down from the tree and looked around at his environment. The trees were black and bare, and tombstones jutted from the ground every four feet. Ghosts floated through the forest, and Werelupes howled from the depths of the bare forest. The Patchwork Bori got down on all fours and started walking amongst the dead trees and tombstones and emerged into a busy-looking square. A blue lump with a face was moaning for food, and green smoke poured out of the windows of a crumbling tower. Young pets walked into a building with a gray paintbrush over the door. Ghosts that floated from tombstones were vaporized by a flying Wocky with a glowing axe. The monster's supercomputer brain went through its data and suddenly he realized where he was.

     The Haunted Woods.

      * * * * *

     Now the Bori was partly excited and partly creeped out by being in the spookiest place in Neopia. Of course there was the scratchcard booth in the Deserted Fairground and the Brain Tree. But there were the ghosts and the creepy inhabitants of this haunted forest. Zombies and Werelupes roamed the fairground and central woods, hunting for stray pets. The Patchwork Bori heard excited howling as ominous shapes snuck up behind him.

     "RRRRRRRR!" The monster wheeled around and saw a pack of ugly, hairy Werelupes with yellow fangs and red eyes. Baby Werhonds clopped on their hooves underneath the bigger Werelupes. One Werelupe, obviously the alpha, was standing on his hind legs, with glossy brown, curved horns the size of Pirate Captain Cutlass blades jutting from his head.

     "RRRRR! GRRRR! RARRRR!" barked the excited Werelupes as they advanced on the Patchwork Bori.

     "ROOOOOOAR!" bellowed the Bori, and swung his arm as thick as a tree branch. The entire front row of Werelupes and Werhonds were swept aside like toy blocks.

     "GRRRRAARRR!" roared the alpha Werelupe, and pounced on the patchwork monster. But the Patchwork Bori was much too intelligent to be devoured by a creature with gigantic horns and fish breath.

     "RAAAAWWRR!" the Bori snarled and threw the alpha Werelupe off his body. He started running as fast as his patchwork legs could carry him, past the blue blob and the Brain Tree. He tore through a wrought-iron gate into the Deserted Fairground. The Werelupe vaulted the gateway and crashed into the Spooky Food cart. Spooky food was scattered all over the ground.

     "Get off my cart! Look what you've done!" yelled the cartkeeper, but the Werelupe ignored him.

     "GRRRRR!" The Patchwork Bori scooped up as many Toffee Classics as he could and threw them at the Werelupe. Three of them went down the mutated Lupe's throat.

     "GAAAAKK!" choked the Werelupe, clawing at his throat. The Toffee Classics were very sugary things. Too many at once could make you sick, and it was clear that this Werelupe hated the candy. The Bori took this as an advantage and threw Clawmatoes and a Skeith Juice Cocktail into the Werelupe's maw, and the hairy monster gagged appropriately.

     "ROOOARRR!" The patchwork beast threw Baked Intesteens, Candy Corn Classics, and Chilled Eyeball Custards at the Werelupe, who gagged and started coughing up partly chewed food.

     "Help meeeee!" screamed the Spooky Foods cartkeeper, ducking behind his ruined cart as the Patchwork Bori advanced on him, snarling angrily. The Werelupe leaped into the air and came down on top of the patchwork beast's head. Both monsters crashed to the ground and started fighting tooth and nail.

     "Get away from my cart! Fight somewhere else!" With that, the cartkeeper hurled a Spooky Shake at the fighters. Pumpkin pure√® dripped off their fur, but they kept brawling. Suddenly, the Patchwork Bori lifted the alpha Werelupe by the horns and stuffed him into the Spooky Foods cart.

     "GRRRRR! GRRRRRR! GRRRRRR!" The cart shook violently, but the Bori beast pounded down the flap and trapped the ugly Werelupe inside. The Bori galloped away on his massive paws, snuffling and growling. Orange milkshake dripped off his fur, and it was getting sticky and dry. In front of him was the roller coaster that was still in operation, but very broken down.

     "RAAAAAAWWWRR!" the Bori bellowed, and he started climbing up the support structure of the old roller coaster.

     "Hey! Get down from there!" shouted the ride's operator. He waved his fancy cane at the monster, but the beast wasn't listening. The monster climbed higher and higher until he reached the very top. He roared triumphantly, but just then there was a loud chugging noise as a roller coaster car crashed into the Bori at a hundred miles an hour. The creature screamed in agony as he fell down, down, down... and CRASH! The monster's vision went fuzzy. There were people yelling and a young Faerie Acara with a lantern over him, shouting for help.

     Then everything went black.

      * * * * *

     When the Patchwork Bori awoke, he was in an unfamiliar room on a tattered bed with a glass of green liquid next to him. The young Acara was stroking his head and saying things to him.

     "It's okay, you aren't badly hurt. Just a bump, and that's all..."

     "Uhhhh?" groaned the Bori, slowly getting up. He was way too big for the bed, so it sagged under his weight.

     "You fell a long way. I thought you were dead. We all thought you were dead."

     "What's going on?" the monster growled. He suddenly clamped his paw over his mouth in shock. He'd said his first actual words. "Who are you?"

     "My name is Leilani. What is your name?"

     "I-I don't have one," the Patchwork Bori replied. "My creator just called me the Patchwork Bori."

     "Oh, that won't do," Leilani said. "You must have a proper name. How about... Horace?"

     "Horace?" the Bori growled. "That's... a good name. I like it." Suddenly, there was a loud noise and the door crashed down. Standing in the doorway were two familiar figures--a Scorchio and a Kookith.

     "Horace? What's all this about Horace? My creation's name is the Patchwork Bori!"

     "Not anymore," Horace growled. He got up and advanced towards the scientist.

     "Patchwork Bori! You've said your first words!"

     "They aren't my first," snarled Horace. Leilani nodded.

     "Well, that doesn't matter. I'm here to take you back to the lab. If you be a good monster, I'll take you back without hurting you."

     "Leave him alone!" shouted Leilani, but the Kookith clasped handcuffs on the Acara's wrists.

     "You're coming too," the scientist chuckled evilly.

     "NO!" bellowed Horace, and bounded forward. He balled his fist and threw an uppercut at the scientist. It caught him square in the jaw.

     "Oww!" cried the Scorchio, but he recovered and pulled a small red device from his coat pocket. Leilani recognized it at once.

     "A Pocket Lab Ray!" she gasped.

     "Yes! This is a Pocket Lab Ray! You're a smart Acara. But that does not matter. This little device can take away your intelligence--or zap you into a hideous mutant. But I won't use it on you. I'll use it on that infernal beast that ran away from my lab!"

     "Not Horace!" cried Leilani.

     "Yes, Horace!" cackled the evil scientist, and fired the Pocket Lab Ray at the large Bori. But at the last second, Leilani shoved Horace out of the way and the beam hit an oil lamp instead. The lamp shuddered and burst into flames, and something small emerged from the fire. Horace's brain went through its data and he suddenly knew what it was.

     "A Moltenore!" he shouted as the flaming petpet hissed angrily from the burning lamp. It launched itself through the air like a fiery comet and soared around the room, catching everything it touched on fire. Flames were erupting everywhere, and the lab ray scientist laughed evilly.

     "We'll come back later and enjoy baked Acara and fried monster! In the meantime, try not to run away!" With that, he and Kooks ran away from the flaming shed.

     "What are we gonna do?" screamed Leilani.

     "Get out of here!" Horace shouted. With that, he grabbed Leilani's paw and leaped out a window with a mighty CRASH! as the glass shattered. Just then, two figures started running towards them. Horace balled his fists again as the lab ray scientist and Kooks galloped into view.

     "Take THAT!" Horace yelled and threw a corkscrew punch at the scientist. The Pocket Lab Ray clattered from the Scorchio's claws, and Horace scooped it up faster than you could say "zap". He flicked the 'on' switch and aimed the device at the scientist and the Kookith.

     "Please! No!" cried the Scorchio.

     "Too late," Horace snarled, and fired a beam at the scientist Scorchio and Kooks. There was a flash of lightning, and when the smoke cleared, a very angry green Uni and a furious Babyca were standing in the place of the scientist and his petpet.

     "AAARGH! What have you done to me?!" roared the Uni.

     "Aiiieee! I'm a BABYCA!" bellowed the pink petpet. Horace said nothing, but charged at the Uni.

     "YOU'LL PAY FOR THIS!" bellowed the Uni, and he rushed at Horace.

     "NO!" wailed Leilani, and hurled herself into the Uni's path. Suddenly, a howl pierced the air, and everyone stopped and turned around.

     "It can't be... no..." Horace gasped.

     "AROOOOO!!" A huge shadowy form emerged from the darkness. Horace recognized at once the gigantic horns and massive body.

     "You," he snarled.

     You foolish Bori, the Werelupe said in Horace's mind. Do you really think you can stop those fools on your own?

     "Leave us alone," growled Horace. "This is not your fight."

     It is now, chuckled the Werelupe. He clapped his paws twice and two gigantic black Werhonds with blue eyes and hooves like quicksilver emerged from the forest.

     My little friends will take care of this immediately, said the alpha. Seize them, Mildred and Matty!

     "We're dead," gulped Leilani.

     "No, we're not," Horace said. Mildred snorted, and white-hot flames erupted from her nose.

     "Okay. I take that back. We are dead." Horace stared at the fire-breathing five-foot Werhonds, who were now slowly advancing towards him. Just then, a beam of green light shot out of nowhere, and Matty turned the color pink.

     "RAAAR!" the pink Werhond snarled. The green beam hit Matty again and she turned into a tiny, fuzzy little Werhond cub. Mildred was shocked, but barely had time to belch out a fireball when the green beam transformed her into a chocolate Werhond.

     "Leilani?" Horace said, turning around. The Faerie Acara was holding the Pocket Lab Ray in her paws, aiming at the alpha Werelupe.

     "Your puny toys are no match against me," sneered the Werelupe. He charged angrily at Leilani, snorting and bellowing.

     "Nooo!" Horace cried, and shoved Leilani out of the way as the Werelupe bulldozed past, straight into a massive poplar.

     "OWWW!!" roared the alpha as he tried desperately to yank his horns loose. But he did not succeed.

     "We did it!" Horace cheered. But there was a loud sound like snapping wood as the Werelupe broke the tree in half with his hands the size of catcher's mitts.

     "RUN!!" Horace bellowed. He threw himself at the Werelupe, who swung the broken tree like a baseball bat at him. Horace dodged the tree and body-slammed the monster.

     "OOOOOOF!" grunted the Werelupe, dropping the tree. The Werelupe threw Horace off of him and put his paw on his chest.

     Any last words? snarled the alpha.

     "LEAVE HIM ALONE!" bellowed the lab ray scientist. He snatched the Pocket Lab Ray out of Leilani's paws and fired it at himself. When the smoke cleared, a Tyrannian Moehog stood in the place of the green Uni.

     "What the-" Leilani said. The lab ray scientist charged at the Werelupe, tusks gleaming, eyes red, nostrils flaring.

     NOOOO! roared the Werelupe, and leaped off of Horace just as the Moehog bulldozed into the alpha. Horace threw a well-aimed corkscrew at the Werelupe's snout, who started to howl angrily and ran off into the trees.

     "That took care of him," chuckled Leilani.

     "I don't think he'll ever bother us again," said the lab ray scientist. "But... I don't think I can run the lab ray with hooves, you know."

     "You mean you're going to still let pets use the lab ray?" Kooks said in astonishment.

     "Of course," replied the lab ray scientist. "But I'm not going to run it anymore--Horace is going to!"

     "What?!" Horace said.

     "I know it may come to you ask a shock," said the lab ray scientist, "but I'm getting old, and I'm tired of throwing switches and staring into bright flashing lights all day. I think it's time that I retire, and you will take over."

     "What about me?" asked Leilani.

     "You can be my assistant," Horace told her.

     "Really?" she gasped.

     "Cross my heart," Horace said.

     "Yippee!" Leilani squeaked, and hugged Horace so hard she just about squeezed the wind out of him.

     "Ooof!" Horace puffed. Leilani let go, wearing a smile so big it almost stretched off of her face.

     "Thanks, Horace. This means a lot to me," she said.

     "You're welcome," said Horace.

     "Come on," the lab ray scientist said. "Let's go home." And arm in arm, all four pets walked out of the deserted fairground.

     Like friends.

     Like family.

The End

 
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