Revolution Undercloud: Part Eight
Skye was staring up at her captors venomously. "Larry can rot for all I care! You and your stupid, disgusting magic can rot, too!"
"Shut up, girl," the Lenny snarled callously. "You know nothing of our magic."
Skye launched herself at the Lenny, who backed up just in time. There was a loud jingle, and the chain that kept Skye trapped was stretched taut. She looked absolutely furious.
"As you wish, little lady," the other Lenny sniggered. "How else will you see Larry?"
Cipher made himself stay very still. He wanted nothing more than to jump out of his hiding spot and knock the Lennies senseless, but he knew, for Skye's sake, that he had to wait for the Lennies to perform the unlocking spell.
Just as he thought that, the Lenny mumbled under his breath, and blew out a stream of air from between his lips. With a soft tinkle, the chains vanished.
This was his chance.
With a ferocity he never knew he possessed, he rammed bodily into the two Lennies, the Dark Nova in tow.
"Cipher!?" Cipher risked a look at her. She looked shell-shocked.
"Get away, Skye!" One of the Lennies had rolled free of the fray and was now inching toward the exit door. Growling, Skye pounced on him, effectively knocking him out with a well-placed (and well-practised) kick.
The Lenny that Cipher was battling was more difficult to defeat. With more strength than Cipher thought the willowy bird possessed, the Lenny threw Cipher off of him.
"And who do we have here?" he asked with a jaunty, uncaring tone. He looked far too at ease for someone who had just been ambushed. Cipher got the feeling that this Lenny was highly confident with his own battle skills.
Skittering around in the air anxiously, the Nova merely looked on, as if waiting for instruction.
The Lenny looked up, saw the Nova, and all colour drained from his face.
"The Dark Nova..." his voice trembled. His stance shifted, into something far more deadly. He whispered another spell under his breath. His feathers, once soft-looking and downy, turned to what looked like muted steel. Brandishing them experimentally a few times, he advanced upon the two Neopets.
Fear spiked as Cipher retreated a few steps, keeping a close eye on the slicing appendages.
"You know about the potion," he said. It was a fact, a statement, and both of them knew it.
Skye slid fluidly in front of Cipher. "I'll take him," she said grimly. "He won't get the best of me this time."
"I'll fight too," Cipher insisted. "The whole point of me coming here was to save you!"
"How touching," the Lenny drawled. Without another word, he struck.
Skye moved faster than Cipher. With a sudden flap of her wings, a sharp blast of air buffeted the Lenny. He held his bladed wings above his head, and the blast carved around him, only cutting off a few unprotected feathers.
Retaliating quickly, he aimed a swift slash at Skye. She dodged narrowly. The two fought as if Cipher wasn't even there. Feeling useless, Cipher looked about for something to throw, use, or tip over -- anything to help out Skye!
He could tell that the Nova wanted to join the battle. He couldn't let that happen -- if a Nova was used in battle, it would vanish after one use.
Spying a heavy tent pole, he rushed over. It would have to do. As well as he could manage, he joined the fight.
It didn't last very long after that. The Lenny, no matter how skilled he was, had enormous difficulty fighting the two winged creatures. Magic spells became useless when Cipher entered the fight. In a matter of minutes, the Lenny was trussed up like a turkey and stuffed into a box.
"Thanks for staying," Skye said, smiling broadly. Cipher really missed her.
"Let's go stop Larry now," he said, smiling back. "Is the potion room in the centre of this spiral?"
"Yep, it is. It's a horrid room --make sure to hold your breath. The smell is enough to knock you out."
"Okay," Cipher replied. "We have to destroy it with this Dark Nova."
He started out the door.
She seemed to pause. "Why do you want to destroy the potion?"
"Because Sloth told me--"
"Sloth?! You've gotten tangled up with Sloth?" Skye's blue eyes were wide open.
"Listen to me, Skye. This potion will make the Lennies so strong that--"
She interrupted again. "And why are we stopping that? I mean, sure they might have been a little mean to us, but I'm safe now! Plus, the potion is to fight Sloth with. Sloth. They're fighting against Neopia's evilest villain!"
"It's not just about Sloth, Skye. It's about the Grundos. The Lennies will use their magic to wipe out the Grundos. That's why I'm helping Sloth, just this one time." He didn't mention to her that it was also part of the deal that he and Sloth made. Cipher's participation in the plan (in other words, a way for Cipher to save Skye) in exchange for the destruction of the potion. Cipher figured that Skye wouldn't like that.
She wouldn't drop the subject. "Okay, so both sides are evil. What does that mean for us?"
"It means we do our part and get out of the fight as soon as possible. Then we could... tell Fyora or something." The conversation between the two Lennies played over in his mind.
Skye scowled, and Cipher could tell that she really didn't like what was going on. "When are we going to tell her? Shouldn't we tell her now? Before we give ourselves the chance to get blown up?"
Cipher nodded. "Fine. How do you suppose we can give her a message?"
She grinned a little, but it was still sort of sour. "Like this." In a quick motion, Skye had summoned her little Petpet, a Kazeriu. They were renowned for their magical talents, and teleporting was one of them. "We'll tell her about the Lennies... should we ask for some sort of back-up? Yes, we should." Scribbling a note with the paper and pen that was slung around the Kazeriu's lithe body, she signed it with a flourish, and sent the Petpet on his way.
With a grim look on her normally perky face, Skye led the way to the potion room. They managed to get there without any further incidents with roaming Lennies. Upon reaching the door, Skye cast a furtive look around before slipping inside like a pale ghost.
Cipher followed afterward, and the sight he had prepared to see wasn't this. From his memory, he remembered the blue walls and hissing noises of the potion room with lots of Lennies scurrying about.
However, this room was dimly lit, heavily shelved with potions, and wasn't the room in Cipher's memory.
Skye crossed her arms proudly. "This is it, right? Er..." she glanced doubtfully at the nearest shelf, where as many as a hundred potion bottles glistened. "I suppose now it's a matter of finding the right potion?"
"Skye -- this isn't the potion room."
"What do you mean this isn't the potion room?" Her voice had a panicky edge to it. "We don't have time to waste!" She approached the nearest shelf to examine the potions more closely.
"Cipher," she whispered urgently. "These are morphing potions. Lenny Morphing Potions."
"By Sloth--" Skye glared at him for his slip, but he continued. "What do Lennies need Lenny Morphing Potions for?"
"Let's find out..." Skye muttered. With fluid grace that Cipher could only envy in the natural fighter, Skye fluttered off the ground to cast an inquisitive eye over the labels on the potions.
"Pirate Lenny Morphing Potion," she called. Cipher hovered over her shoulder and looked as well. There was something strange about the morphing potion, although Cipher wasn't quite sure what.
"The potion's colouring isn't quite right," murmured Skye. "It's blacker than the proper shade of pirate grey." Now that Skye had pointed it out, Cipher admitted that it really was a much inkier potion than he'd first perceived.
"They're all like that," he announced after looking around. And it was true. Swirling ominously in some of the lighter morphing potions, a tendril of dark substance was clearly visible.
"You know what I think?" Cipher looked over at her. She had a thoughtful look as she turned the potion over and over in the palm of her hand. "I think this is a good thing. These potions can give us better disguises than almost anything else. We'll fit right in with the rest of the Lennies." Her eyes sought confirmation in his own.
His response was automatic. "No!" He shoved the potion back on the shelf. He did it so roughly, the entire shelf rattled dangerously, surprising even himself. He didn't know why, but the thought of drinking the potion make his hair curl, even though Skye had a proper point.
"And why not?" she demanded.
"Just... no," he finished lamely. "You know. Hissi instincts."
Her eyes narrowed at him, but she didn't argue. "All right, wise one. What do you suggest we do?"
"We don't need disguises. We'll... just charge through and throw in the Nova. Plain and simple, yes?"
She rolled her eyes, but a slight grin tugged at her lips. "Snorkle-headed dunderhead."
He grinned back, but before he got a chance to speak, the door behind them was smashed open. Without time to even blink or scream, Skye had his arm in her grasp and was dragging him out of view behind a shelf.
Quickly suppressing his gasping breath, Cipher shot Skye a grateful look. Settling more securely, they peered through the rows of potions to see who had come.
To Cipher's shock, Larry himself stood there.
But something was wrong. Larry was breathing laboriously, in short panicky breaths.
With jerky movements, he lunged at the potion shelves, blindly knocking some over in a tremendous clatter before his winged hands finally grasped one.
Fumbling with the stopper for a while, he brought the potion to his trembling beak.
Right before a single drop touched his tongue, Cipher saw something that made no sense whatsoever.
Larry's colouring wavered slightly, turning almost acid green, almost like he was transforming... then the potion was swallowed, his breathing eased, and he was now flushed with a new pirate coat.
Skye tugged at his arm urgently, and he turned to see her stunned eyes.
"Did you see what I saw, Skye?"
To be continued...