The Rise and Fall of Dr. Boochigald: A Hero's Tale - Part Six
Also by a_greenparrot
Monday, 4th Day of Collecting, Present Day,
Darkness drenched the large, underground room. The only speck of light came from the shimmering fire of a torch on the far right wall, but it was not enough to enlighten the room even a little. It was almost dead silent; the only audible noise was the soft, yet somehow menacing clicking of some sort of creature in the distance, while the only visible movement came from the flickering flame.
Suddenly, somewhere far in the distance, a loud BANG could be heard. Startled by the deafening sound, a figure in the corner jumped and awoke. The creature opened its eyes, but couldn’t see a thing. However, it could feel something warm and soggy poking at its face hungrily. Reaching up with its arms, it pushed some sort of furry creature off of its face. Looking over at the creature, it managed to make out an Antwerph in the darkness, looking disappointed that its meal had been taken from it.
Now that the unwelcome guest had gone, the figure’s face was revealed: a messy, grey beard, big orange eyes, and a purple face. The face was marred by many a scar; its eyes dully lit in a light that signified the things it had seen, experienced. It was Hero.
Slowly, he sat up, struggling to feel his stomach muscles, as they hadn’t been used in a while. Eventually, he managed to sit up completely. Looking at his body, he saw a swarm of Gratlik happily chomping at Hero’s dirty and rugged clothes. He lightly brushed them off and stood up, his legs weakly supporting his body weight.
He attempted to look around him, yet it was too dark to see anything.
“How am I going to find my way through here if I can’t see a thing?” he thought to himself.
Spinning around quickly, he noticed the flaming torch off into the distance. Immediately, he began to walk towards it. However, after not using his legs for so long his knee buckled under his step and he face-planted into the hard, stone floor. Spitting a Gratlik out of his mouth in disgust, he pushed himself back to his feet steadily.
“Okay,” Hero thought to himself, “Slow and steady. One foot at a time.”
He did exactly that, picking up one foot and placing it down carefully, putting pressure on it lightly at first while picking up strength. After five or so paces, he was back up to regular speed, before--
Hero’s right foot did not hit ground; instead, it sailed downwards through the air towards the ground, as did his whole body. He fell a full five metres before landing – face first, once again – flat on the solid ground.
“Oh man,” Hero joked, “who put that there?”
He got up once more, and walked the final few paces – and up several uneven stone steps – to the torch. Hero picked it up and span around, seeing a giant lantern to his right. He used the torch’s fire to light the lantern, which in turn illuminated the room.
Hero’s jaw dropped as the entirety of the room was revealed. An ancient and tribalistic cavern stood before him, the sheer enormity of it making it a spectacle to behold. A majority of the room was empty space; however, the area where Hero had come from was unbelievable. The stairs – which were in a complete circle in the middle of the room – surrounded a five metre tall, rectangular stone obelisk with a flattened surface. Looking it over carefully, Hero realized what it was – it was a sacrificial stone built by some ancient tribe years ago.
“Where—where am I?” Hero asked himself in disbelief.
Suddenly, he felt something land on his head, and a sharp pain hit immediately after. He shook his head violently and looked up to see a retreating Tuceet that had obviously been pecking at his head.
He moved around the room carefully, taking everything in as he looked for an exit. As he reached the opposite side of the room, he noticed a small, circular tunnel – seemingly the only way out of this cavern.
Hero ducked down and looked through the tunnel – surprisingly, it was well lit, as was the room on the other side of it. At this moment, Hero made the split decision to crouch down, and crawl through the tunnel.
As he crawled through the claustrophobic tunnel, he thought about what Boochi had planned for Neopia.
“How can he expect Sloth to be impressed by turning every Neopet in Neopia into babies? Why on earth would he want tha—”
Lost in thought, Hero failed to notice that his already tattered pants had snagged on a fault on the inside of the tunnel, which had ripped a huge hole in the pocket. Hero groaned angrily and continued crawling, but could hear a grinding noise. Looking down at his now ripped pocket, he noticed a silver box barely contained in his pocket, grinding against the wall. It was his VirtuCommunicator.
“Of course!” he thought to himself, “The VirtuCommunicator! I can contact Captain with this. How could I have forgotten?”
He decided to make it through the tunnel, and then attempt to call Captain.
Hero continued to struggle his way through the seemingly never-ending tunnel, feeling as though he was going to pass out from the heavily increasing temperature within the passage. He kept going, however, until he heard a faint beeping sound. He stopped moving and remained silent, trying to hear where it was coming from. Soon after it started, it stopped again, and Hero dismissed it as him hearing things. He looked up and noticed that he was close to the tunnel’s exit, and put his arm out in front of him to continue squirming through...
Suddenly, an arrow of some sort flew out of the right hand side of the wall in front of him and disappeared into another small hole on the left hand side of the wall. Hero let out a shriek of fear and rested in the same spot for a moment, hoping that there was only one arro--
Another shot out similarly, moments after the first.
“Okay, Hero, relax, take a deep breath, and—”
Hero looked down at the rusty and old reflector at his right arm. Using it to block the arrow hole would surely crack it and render his only means of defense useless, but if he didn’t, he would be stuck, and the whole of Neopia would be doomed.
He made his decision. The fate of Neopia rested in his hands, and if he chose to keep a reflector in good condition over the lives of millions of Neopets, his name wouldn’t be very fitting.
He took his opportunity. Immediately after that arrow had fired, he slammed his arm against the hole in the wall and crawled as fast as he possibly could. His head and shoulders cleared the hole, and he stretched his arm backwards while still crawling, to block the hole, when--
Another arrow fired, and he heard it crack his reflector. Unaffected, he continued to quickly wriggle his way through the tunnel, until he reached the end of it. His body hung out over the edge, and he used his arms to push his legs through the remainder of the tunnel, causing him to fall the short distance to the ground.
He lay there for a moment, happy to be finally in some open air, before standing up and going straight for the VirtuCommunicator in his pocket. Pulling out the aerial and holding it to his ear, Hero pressed the talk button.
“Captain! Captain, are you there? It’s Hero!”
He met a large amount of static as his response, before he managed to make out the sounds of somebody replying, in between the crackling of static.
“He--...you? W--...--ought yo—were...”
“Captain, I can’t hear you, you’re breaking up. I’m in some sorta temple; you need to get out of there and find out where Boochi is! I’ll call you once I’m out; I’ll need you to pick me up. Hero, out.”
He didn’t get a response, but hoped that Captain had heard him.
Hero put the VirtuCommunicator back in his pocket, and looked up to survey this new room. It was much smaller than the first room, but still quite large. Moss covered every inch of the walls, and hanging lanterns protruding from the walls illuminated the room. The room was completely empty except for a raised box-like structure in the centre, but highlighted by a giant, golden, circular structure seemingly fixed in the wall in front of him. It glimmered in the flashing light of the shimmering torches. On the surface of the structure was an image of a golden sun, which seemed to have been painted by an ancient tribesman of some sort. Underneath it was a trapezium-shaped structure of the same colour, making some resemblances to a primitive door.
Hero approached the obelisk in the centre and began to dust the structure off. Underneath a thick layer of filth was a wooden crate; the top surface engraved with a symbol similar to that of what was represented on the wall. Hero took a deep breath and used all of his strength to attempt to push it down – however it refused to budge. He tried everything; bashing it with his fists, jumping on it, sitting on it, as well as attempting to set it alight with two sticks (which only resulted in two very fatigued arms) – but, alas, nothing worked. Finally, frustrated, Hero threw his right arm at the box, striking it on the edge with his forearm, and began to turn and walk away. The front of the box flicked up a little, resting on the back edge of it, and then fell back down. Hero stared inquisitively at this strange occurrence, before re-approaching it slowly. He gently laid his two hands on opposite sides of the crate, and yanked up...
... and cursed as the box easily lifted up off the totem.
True to his real personality, Hero immediately saw the humour in it, commenting, “Oh. It lifts up.”
After self-fulfillingly laughing at his own sarcasm, Hero examined what was underneath the box. An intoxicating scent filled his sense before his eyes could observe what was producing it, one of pure bliss. After salivating intensely at the fragrance, he studied the source of it. It was a bizarre cup, possessing more resemblance to a vase – well, at least the generic shape of it. It had two tones of colour, the bottom orange, the top blue, separated by a wavy line that covered the entire circumference. The ‘neck’ of the cup was laced with tribal decorations, and the cup itself was filled with an orange liquid.
“Mmmm... that smell!” drooled Hero.
He recognized it immediately; both by the scent and the look of the vessel it was presented in – Spicy Geraptiku Tea.
“But why is it here? Seems like a weird thing to keep in a place like this... unless it has something to do with that door!”
Hero’s sudden epiphany led him over to the door with the vessel. Once he reached it, he realized, however, that he had no clue what he was doing. He awkwardly set the Tea down in front of the door, and then stood back to the middle of the room and waited.
“Wow,” chuckled Hero, “I must look like a real idiot right now. Standing here, waiting for a door to drink the tea, or so—”
A bone shattering vibration through the ground interrupted his wit. Hero held on to the podium at the centre of the room and looked up at the door. He couldn’t believe his eyes – two circular parts in the centre of the artistic ‘sun’ seemed to be opening, almost like eyes! Once completely open, the vibration through the walls and floor intensified to extreme levels, and the room was filled with a deafening roar, as the whole structure – the ‘door’, ‘sun’ and all – began to move out from the wall. The giant continued to force its way out from the wall, and only when it was completely free did Hero discover just what was going on.
The door wasn’t a door at all. It was a living thing, a petpet. A giant Tekkal, fixed into the wall for many millennia, blocked the entrance to the next room of the tomb.
“What the...?” Hero questioned.
The Tekkal approached the Tea, and bent down above it. The leviathan sniffed the vessel, and that’s where he stayed. He lay down (well, given the circumstances of it, the more appropriate explanation would be ‘body-slammed the ground’) next to it, and continued to take in the electrifying scent, leaving the way out of the room open. Hero took his chance and ran past the creature, which did not stir from its euphoric affair with the Tea, and into the next room.
It took Hero’s eyes a moment to adjust, as there was a seemingly blinding light in this room. As the room came into focus, he was able to see that it was a fairly long hallway – ending in a doorway leading out into bright sunshine, out of the tomb!
Excited that he would finally get out, and that he might also be able to finally enjoy some food, Hero made his way through the hallway hurriedly. About halfway through, though, Hero stood on a pressure pad, and a door to his left immediately slid open. He stood for a moment, worried about what else this curious tomb had in store for him this close to freedom, before approaching the door and peering in.
Hero’s jaw dropped.
“Oh. My. Fyora.”
The room was massive, simply huge – at least three times the size of the room Hero was in when he first arrived at the tomb – but it was not its size that caught Hero’s attention. It was its contents.
Covering almost every inch of the floor was pile after pile of neopoints, each stacked near the height of the ceiling, except a few lower ones near the door. And that was not all - highlighted by a square hole in the ceiling in the centre of the room was a chest, sitting atop a platform with stairs leading up to it.
A little voice echoed inside Hero’s head, “It’s a trap, Hero! A final test before you’re allowed out of this place, a final temptation! Don’t give in, turn around and walk out!”, but Hero was not the type to give up ultimate riches on the risk of life threatening consequences.
He charged up the stairs, not thinking for a moment what could await him, placed his hands on the lid of the chest, and yanked it open. His eyes went wide when he saw what was inside.
A single, small piece of parchment with elaborate cursive writing on it sat at the base of the box. Hero picked it up and read it carefully:
“EUREKA! You have located our treasure, brave soldier!
Actually, no, not really – this is but a distraction while we natives surround you.
Have a great day. :-)”
Hero’s eyes again went wide, and he slowly looked up from the parchment. All he could make out were hundreds – possibly even thousands – of shadowed figures, standing around the room, holding flaming torches.
Hero cleared his throat, declared, “Umm, hi,” and then spun around as quickly as he could and bolted for the door. Running as fast as he possibly could, he rounded the corner towards the exit, ignoring the angry chatter occurring behind him from his pursuers. About halfway to the door, he felt a sharp pain cut across the side of his leg, and watched as more Geraptiku Attack Leaves flew past him, lodging themselves in the wall. Without looking back, Hero kept running, taking no notice of the grates on the floor...
... which were suddenly engulfed by flames from underneath, blocking the door, but two metres from escape. For the first time in this encounter, Hero looked behind him and saw a herd of Island Kyrii, standing menacingly behind him, with sickening grins on their faces.
“I have no choice...” thought Hero.
His mind had been made up.
He backed up a metre or two, and ran at the flames, screaming at the top of his lungs, “You guys are terrible at chasing people!” before attempting to leap over the flames. The next second went in slow motion for Hero, as he leapt only a centimetre over the height of the flickering flames. He could feel the heat protrude from the flames, burning his legs and arms. As he landed, only just beyond the boundaries of the blaze, he forward rolled outside the tomb, getting up quickly and turning left. Seeing a giant boulder conveniently placed next to the entrance, intended to act as a door, he quickly ran behind it and pushed it back into place in front of the entrance.
He breathed a sigh of relief, looking over to his side...
... and noticing smoke coming from (what was left of) his pants.
He let out a girlish scream, and patted down the small fire on his leg.
“Almost got myself attacked by a bunch of angry natives, but I’m still smoooookin’.”
Hero span around, recognizing the voice instantly, to see a tiny Bruce holding a gun – pointed at Captain!
“What can I do you for, this fine evening, Hero?” asked Boochi cockily.
Captain stared blankly into Hero’s eyes, his own eyes watering, “I’m so sorry, Hero...”
To be continued...