History of the Vampire: Part Two
The Krawk’s eyes almost seemed to pin Lessee into place. Their bright golden glow was hypnotic.
“I was hoping this would create a Halloween-like appearance. Yet still, I have found no takers.”
Venue wondered why. Halloween was his favorite holiday – what fantastic costume did it have to offer?
He felt a tug on his arm. “Ven, I don’t like this,” Lessee muttered quietly, although he was sure the Krawk could hear. “I don’t trust him. We should go.”
“And pass on a rare opportunity like this?” Venue replied incredulously. Lessee didn’t like the way the Krawk’s eyes narrowed in pleasure when he said that. “This color is something brand new, something that has never been thought of before!”
“And probably for good reason, Venue,” she paused, and whispered, “and who could his boss be? Certainly not someone pleasant.”
“Oh, he’s not pleasant, not at all,” the Krawk replied. He had definitely heard them. “He will be especially angry if I don’t give him a verdict tonight. Now.”
“I’ll do it,” Venue announced, stepping away from Lessee.
“What?! NO! Venue, you can’t!” Lessee tugged desperately on his arm, pulling him back in the direction of their homes.
“Splendid!” the Krawk clapped his hands. “Right this, way, young man. I have a special place set up for the test – away from prying eyes.” He looked pointedly at Lessee, his eyes filled with undisguised triumph.
Venue stepped towards the Krawk, and the stranger flashed his cape through the air. The pair disappeared behind the fabric, and then vanished.
The clearing was empty. It was as if neither of them had existed in the first place.
“VEN!” Lessee yelled. There was no response.
Tears in her eyes, the yellow Blumaroo girl dashed down the path towards her Neohome, knowing very well that she may never see her friend again.
A Green Skeith sat at the long conference desk, tapping his fingers with increasing frequency on the rotting wood.
Where was that incompetent excuse for a Krawk? He was supposed to be here at twelve o’ clock sharp.
The light flickered above his head, suggesting that the bulb, yet again, needed to be changed. He growled, scratching his claws through the cratered surface of the table.
“Uh, sir?” a meek looking Purple Kacheek with a pair of square glasses piped.
“What?” the Skeith rumbled.
“I suggest you don’t do that, sir. This old building is so run down that there is no replacement available, Mr. Vile.”
“Whatever. Pathetic, abandoned factory or not, we will not be staying here long. Krawley just needs to get here for his little petition, then we can leave.”
Why his temporary employee was always late was beyond him. Krawley had better get his tail down here, and fast. No matter how devious he was, the notorious Malkus Vile had no desire to stay in one place for too long – made it faster for the Defenders to catch up with him.
“He’s here!” a tiny Orange Kyrii ran in shouting. One ear was bent, and his mane was ruffled into an extreme case of frizziness. A shackle was cuffed around his ankle, keeping him bound to the decaying wall. Obviously an unwilling servant of Malkus Vile.
“About time,” a Red Ogrin with a scar the size and shape of a dagger blade muttered.
Malkus narrowed his eyes. Krawley was twenty minutes late. His idea had better be worthwhile.
A Blue Krawk walked casually into the room, followed by the rest of Vile’s followers. The pets convened into their predetermined seats around the dusty, dirty conference table. Krawley’s face was set in an impudent gloat, and already this angered Malkus.
“Hellloooo, Mr. Malkus. I see you waited up for me. How nice.”
Malkus growled. “You are late, Krawley. Tell me your ‘brilliant idea’ so we can get it over with and leave.”
“And so I can get paid,” Krawley added.
“After you show us your product,” Vile replied venomously.
“Of course, Malkus. One problem, though – I don’t actually have the product.”
Murmured shock and growls echoed through the tiny room. Vile’s face bulged and turned so red that Krawley imagined steam spewing from his ears. “THEN WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR CAUSING ALL THIS CONFUSION, AND WASTING MY VALUABLE TIME?!” he exploded.
The Kyrii could’ve sworn that he saw tiny fragments of plaster shower from the ceiling, and he cringed against the wall. When Malkus grew angry, he was like a tidal wave; unavoidable, and unstoppable. The small pet desperately hoped that Malkus would not strap him to a dartboard again.
Krawley remained cool and calm. “No, I do not have it. However, I do have the results of the product.”
Krawley turned towards the door. “Wheel him in, please.”
“‘Him’?” Vile repeated, finally interested, but still steaming mad.
“Yes, I have invented a new color of Neopet. Their temperament more... mischievous. However, he is just a prototype, the first attempt. I thought you would like to know about my... experimentations.”
A large, black steel cage rolled unsteadily into the room. Draped over top was a black cloth - deep Babaa wool by the looks of it. When the wheels underneath hit a bump in the floor, the cage tipped, and the creature inside hissed.
Vile’s eyes glinted with interest. This new direction towards riches was intriguing. A new pet? Krawley had outdone himself. But was it real, or a sham?
At that moment, Krawley decided the moment for the big reveal had come. “Take off the drape,” he ordered.
The tiny Orange Kyrii sprang from his dejected wallowing on the floor. Racing forward, he whipped the cloth off the cage.
The effect was instantaneous.
Whatever lay inside sprang back and hissed, raising its wing to shield its red eyes. Or was it a wing? Upon closer examination, Malkus determined that it was some sort of cape, merely shaped like a Korbat's wing and pitch-black.
With a gasp, all eyes turned to what appeared to be a Blumaroo. The monster was a pale orange, with a pointed black stripe running from its forehead down to its twisting tail. Tiny white fangs curved from under its lip, and Vile could tell they were they sharp as razors despite their small size. Its orange ears bent abruptly into crimson arrows.
“Hmmm... not bad, Krawley,” the Skeith admitted. “I’m impressed. But what exactly is it?”
Krawley ran his forked tongue over his incisors with pleasure on his face. The expression was enough to chill anyone’s heart. “This former Green Blumaroo is now a more interesting color of mine own invention. Certainly one that will be very, very popular.” Krawley paused to take a breath, relishing the moment. “He is now Halloween.”
Hushed silence. A distant Werelupe howl filled the noiseless room.
The Orange Kyrii, eyes wide as saucers, mumbled “B-but how is that possible?”
Malkus arose from his chair and waddled over to the steel cage. The Blumaroo growled in contempt. “Who cares?” Malkus asked rhetorically, his eyes glittering as he envisioned heaps of neopoints. “With this new Paint Brush, we’ll make billions overnight!”
Krawley coughed into his gloved hand, which he then held out politely. “Speaking of which, now that I have petitioned and gained your approval, I will take my payment as promised. If you please.”
Malkus mumbled morosely to himself, then reached into his pocket and pulled out the sack of neopoints he had been keeping handy for Krawley, should he pull through.
Krawley took the points, and then smiled. “Thank you for your business, sir.” Then he vanished in a miniscule puff of purple smoke.
The little Orange Kyrii, whose name was Thomas, watched in horror as Malkus stood before the Halloween Blumaroo, pondering stupidly just what the Neopet was supposed to look like.
The brute may not be able to tell, but it was obvious to Thomas – the Blumaroo, whoever he was, was a vampire. The fangs were proof, such obvious proof.
Trembling, the Kyrii hid his face as the obese Skeith walked away from the cage, still questioning Krawley’s method of transformation.
‘Psssst,’ a low voice hissed.
Startled, Thomas almost leapt straight into the air.
‘Be quiet, you idiot!’ the voice whispered again. ‘Do you want to get his attention?’
Questioningly, the servant glanced around, and his eyes stopped on the caged Blumaroo. It was staring right at him, his red eyes piercing. With a squeak, Thomas flinched backward. “Wh-what do you want with me?” he asked meekly.
‘What do I want with you?’ the Blumaroo asked, chuckling coldly. ‘Nothing. I am merely asking for your help.’
Immediately suspicious, Thomas sat upright. “You want my help.” It was not a question.
‘Free me from this loathsome prison, Kyrii, and I will give you, in return, freedom from your oppressors. Then you can return to your home and everything is hunky-dory once more.’
Thomas said nothing. The offer was tempting. To leave Malkus Vile was like a faerie descending from the clouds and granting him immortality for the Battledome.
To be continued...