Hello, fellow Neopians. My name is Alerox the Lupe, and although I bid a good day to you, what I am about to share is not something to be taken lightly. This should not be read aloud, or even mentioned, in the vicinity of small neopets. Those with nauseous stomachs should take care. If you are of faint heart, I suggest you walk away right now -- the details of this grueling account could have you sleeping with the lights on for weeks.
What I am about to disclose is my experience with a place more commonly known to most as the Secret Laboratory. A mysterious and even intriguing name at first; utterly harmless, correct? Wrong.
The dank air within the place was chilly. I felt an icy shiver travel the length of my spine, causing my fur to stand on end and my bones to stiffen. Although my paws padded along silently on the damp floor, occasionally I would hear in the distance a hushed scattering of what sounded like many small limbs, making me picture a massive petpetpet infestation. The light peering through the grime on the windows was dim, a sickly yellow that only served to wistfully remind me of the warm sunshine outdoors.
Though the building itself was rather tiny when I first viewed it from the outside, the interior could have more or less been a maze ready to swallow the next victim up. It appeared to consist of many doors leading to many rooms, all of which most likely opened up to this one endlessly long hallway. I, of course, didn't dare enter into any of these rooms nor even venture close to them. But it just seemed like, from the way the walls were lined with shadowy entryways and doors hanging from torn metal hinges, that whoever created this place wanted you to end up back here.
After a couple minutes of walking cautiously along, I began to slow. I could see a single door at the end of the hallway, simple in its construction but malevolent in purpose. So this must be it. The entrance to a place revered by painted pets, whispered about in fireside tales to frighten children so they'd eat all their vegetables, searched fervently after by owners at marketplaces and the trading post. I didn't want to know what was behind it. I could have gone most of my life happily wondering and picturing some other, more pleasant alternative to what lay behind that door. Yet, forcing back the urge to run away, I paced toward it anyway. My paw gripped the rust coated handle, and as the door opened with a creepy creak, I heard, somewhere ahead, a whispery laugh.
"Ah, another neopet come to test my latest invention. Welcome, welcome. You found your way using the map, yes? Good, good. Quite excellent. Come in, do come in..."
My ears automatically flattened themselves against the base of my skull. Newly emerged from the shadows stood some kind of crazed yellow Scorchio with a tangled mass of gray hair that more or less resembled a patch of dead gray grass that someone had simply left atop his head. He wore a pristine white lab coat, which was the only clean and organized thing I could see anywhere in this room. The walls were covered in a peeling blue paint. Dust coated everything, and suddenly I found it very hard to breathe. A huge machine stood in the corner, haphazardly cobbled together. Wires stuck out from it at odd angles, and every now and then a few dingy looking pieces would emit a couple of orange sparks. A desk with many little computers and other things I can't describe for the evil intent of them sat next to it. A giant ray extended from the machine, pointing to an X at the ground.
I walked inside a little further. The Scorchio was busy arranging things on the desk, typing away at the dusty keyboard, only partially paying attention to me. He was muttering to himself. I stood there listening with my tail drooping, my scared frown clearly evident.
"Now, let's see," he said with a delightful and frightening glee. "Oh, a yellow Lupe. How nice. I suppose we'll try out those new calculations I formulated yesterday, yes, what a fitting subject."
There was a couple seconds of eerie silence before suddenly he whipped around and I jumped, startled. "Stand there!" he all but shouted, grinning wildly as he pointed to the X on the floor.
Let me tell you, it took everything I had not to turn and run right then and there. But Lupes are quite the loyal and brave creatures, you see. I couldn't throw away my honor like that. Although my stomach churned with nervousness, my instincts took over and I stood a little straighter. I had gleaming claws, bright teeth. I could face whatever might happen. Besides, my owner was waiting outside for me, obliviously reading the latest book she had purchased, Lupe Mysteries. How would it look if I bolted out of here to her, begging to leave?
I moved toward the dingy painted X on the ground. Standing right in the middle, I tried to look anywhere else but at the giant ray hovering a few feet above my head. Over by the desk the Scorchio was cackling madly, hitting buttons and flipping switches at random. Despite how I assured myself a minute ago, I couldn't help but wonder, was it too late to turn back?
I heard the powerful humming of the ray starting up, followed by a series of loud beeps, blips and bloops. A piercing light shone in my eyes and illuminated the whole room in a flash of white, blinding me momentarily. I felt electricity in the air make my fur stand even more on end. Above me energy was gathering at the tip of the ray. My knees shook. All I could think was, what had I agreed to?
Okay. I can sense the quailing of your strength and your quivering hands. I'll stop there. Trust me, I had much the same reaction when I first told this tale. To go on would be too much for all of us, anyway. Let me assure you, though, being zapped did not hurt a wink. I left that building with nought but a feeling of increased speed. A good thing, of course, but who knows if the cost was too much?
So, Neopians, this is a warning to you all: to the owners whose pets beg to be zapped into a new or limited edition color, or those eagerly collecting pieces of the map in hopes they might one day find it. Well, don't. That lab is a madhouse, and I hope I shall never have to return to that island again...
Note: Alerox is a bit of an exaggerator. I, her owner Talsy, was there when she came out from the lab and she was perfectly fine. The Scorchio even gave her some pumpkin cookies for cooperating so nicely! So, if you're thinking of using the lab, it's quite all right, go ahead. Don't listen to her. She's just a little angry I picked her to be my lab test-ee.