Day of the 500
Also by master_blaster_aki
Neopia Central ─ Neopian Times HQ
“Hey, boss. It’s just about ready. Just putting the finishing touches on the Editorial. It’s going to be epic, sir!” The little red Shoyru waved a piece of paper at his boss across the room.
“Excellent! This is going to be the greatest thing to ever hit Neopia! Have you sent the news out yet?”
“Ah, jeez, I almost forgot. The system’s been a bit dodgy lately. Hope they get it!”
** Paging Neopia... Paging all the worlds of Neopia... The latest ─ Neopian ─ the 500... Get ready, all the worlds ─ prepare... Enormous, gigantic, huge ─ never seen before... Gather together ─ tell your armies ─ the 500 is coming! **
Listening to the crackling broadcast, Sabre-X gasped in horror. He turned and ran until his legs felt like jelly. He ran from the Village through the Jungle, and over the Plateau until he reached the Town Hall.
“Council! We have an emergency!” he managed to choke out before collapsing in a pile on the cold stone floor.
“Ugg?” Grarrg asked, helping him back onto his feet.
“There’s something coming! The 500! Tyrannia is under threat!”
“What is it? The 500. I’ve not heard of it,” Tekel mused thoughtfully, uncorking one of his potion bottles and sniffing it experimentally.
“No idea. Maybe there are 500 of them. Maybe they’ve destroyed 500 civilisations. We have to ready the armies!”
“We have no armies, Sabre. They’re all off playing Keno! No, we have to take drastic action,” Kyruggi said, sliding off the rock she had been sitting on. “We need the Pterodactyl.”
“WHAT?!” Plesio gasped, his eyes wide with horror. “Go into the Lair of the Beast?”
“It’s the only way. We can use him. The 500 won’t want to attack us if we have him flying in our skies.”
“If he stays in our skies! What if he flies away to Faerieland or something? The Faeries will kill us!”
“I have made the decision, Plesio. We’re going into the Lair.”
One hour later the Council of Elders watched as the Pterodactyl burst from his prison and into the skies. He snorted fire and the village went up in flames.
“I didn’t know he could do that. Did you know he could do that, Myncha?” Tekel asked, as the Beast flew off into the distance.
“Nope. But I do know that the Faeries are going to kill us.”
“But... Meridell has been living in peace for so many years! The armies are scattered, it will take too long to gather them. Whatever can we do??” King Skarl put his head in his hands and moaned.
“Well, your Royalness, there is one thing we can do.” The King’s advisor nervously shuffled his feet.
“Mmm?” Skarl looked up hopefully.
“We could join forces with... uh, Brightvale, sire. We would be twice as strong, and can protect ourselves from the 500.”
“BRIGHTVALE?!” King Skarl looked horrified. “But that means... my brother. I’ll have to ask my brother for help. No! I won’t, I will not, I refuse. No way,” he shook his head vehemently.
“Sire, we will fall if we stand alone.”
“Nonsense. Get me Illusen, and Sinsi, and Kayla and anyone else you can find. I want potions and weapons and guards and magic! We are Meridellians! We will fight! I want an army to make Hagan weep.”
“With respect, sire, this is much bigger than the feud between you and your brother. They are coming, sire. The 500 are coming.”
“Get me Kayla. I want a potion powerful enough to blow up Brightvale. Er, I mean the 500.”
“It’s as you requested, your Kingship. But on such short notice, I cannot tell you its exact properties. Some of the ingredients needed much more time to ─”
“─Get on with it, Kayla.”
“Right. Sorry, sir. This potion is more explosive than a Clockwork Yooyu who ate a firecracker for breakfast. One touch and it will blow up a castle.” Kayla beamed at the King proudly.
“Excellent! Where is it?”
“Uh... I left it... in... the castle,” Kayla looked horrified as Skarl's face fell.
King Skarl sighed and turned to his potion-maker.
“Better grab your hat, Kayla. We’re going to Brightvale.”
“Right, gather round, villains. Stop talking; we have a ─ listen, this is very ─ SHUT UP, YOU VILE SNIVELLING MONSTERS, AND LISTEN TO ME!!!” The occupants of the room all turned and stared at the Chia at the top of the stairs. He regained his composure and smiled winningly at them. “I appreciate you all being here on such short notice. As you are well aware, we have a ─ MEUKA, STOP SNEEZING ON MY NEW CARPET! Sorry, what was I talking about?”
“The 500, I believe,” Vira said primly, examining her reflection in a small mirror in her hand.
“Right! The 500.” Hubrid Nox continued his speech. “They are a threat against our society! Our status. We are villains, are we not? They challenge our right as resident fear-bringers. We are the evil that lurks in the Woods. The shadows that move in the night. The screams lost on the wind. Are we going to let them ruin our reputations??”
There was a roar of approval from the villains at the bottom of the stairs.
“We’ll fight them and destroy all five hundred of them!” Balthazar growled, gnashing his teeth in excitement.
“We’ll eat them all!” cried the Monocerous, stomping his hooves and snorting flames.
“We’ll turn them all into Mortogs!” Edna cackled, waving her wand and accidently poking Count Von Roo in the eye. He retaliated by shoving the nearest villain ─ Eliv Thade ─ into her. The patchwork Kacheek howled in pain as his body connected with the floor.
Enraged, he launched himself at the Count, who nimbly dodged him and he ended up sitting on the Pant Devil’s lap.
** One hour later **
Exhausted, beaten, broken, bitten, angry, tired, sleeping, snivelling, snoring, sighing.
These were what the dashing villains of Neopia were, curled up and snoozing on the floor of Hubrid Nox’s newly re-carpeted castle, while the rest of the world readied themselves against the approaching 500.
Taelia the Snow Faerie and the Snowager were having tea in his cave when Mika the Chia came rushing in.
“Taelia! I’m so glad I found you. Hey, Snowy.” He nodded at the great snow worm before continuing. “You must come quickly, we’re under attack!”
“Attack?! By whom?” The Snow Faerie leapt to her feet, sending her cup of tea flying.
“The 500! We heard it from Tyrannia. They’ve destroyed five hundred civilisations, and they’re coming here! We have to do something!”
“But we haven’t got any sort of army!” Taelia turned to the Snowager. “What can we do to protect ourselves?”
“If we cannot flee, and if we cannot fight, there is only one option left for us Mountaineers. We hide,” he said wisely, bowing his great head.
“Where? If they have already reached Tyrannia, surely we’re next.”
“I have an idea. It might just work. If it doesn’t, Terror Mountain will be forever doomed.”
“There is no choice. We must protect ourselves,” Mika said gravely.
“Right. We need to get everyone from the top of the Mountain and Happy Valley into the Ice Caves,” the Snowager said.
“Right. Then what?”
“We make an avalanche and snow ourselves in.”
“WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY??! We’ll all be killed!”
“Quite possibly. But if we get the dimensions just right, we shall be sealed in the Caves forever. Nothing will be able to get in.”
“Yeah, and nothing can get out, either!”
The Snowager flicked his tongue out, tasting the frosty winter air.
“Or we wait, sipping our tea, for the 500 to come for us.”
“You’d better go get the Negg Faerie, Mika. We’re going to need to stock up.”
“King Kelpbeard! King Kelpbeard! I have just received the news from the surface-dwellers!” Swordmaster Talek swam up to the royal Koi who was relaxing on his throne.
“Your Majesty, there is an invasion. An enemy known only as the 500 have attacked Neopia. Next they will invade our underwater cities. We must do something.”
“Ready your armies, Talek! Does this feel like déjà vu to you?” Kelpbeard adjusted his crown thoughtfully.
“Uh, I’m embarrassed to report, sir; we have no armies at hand.”
“What, none of them?”
“They went to Mystery Island for Gadsgads, sir. They booked it months ago.”
“So we’re here, in Maraqua, with an unknown foe ready to strike, with no army, and all our warriors are drinking punch out of coconuts on Mystery Island. That’s what you’re telling me?”
“Well... yes, I suppose when you put it like that.”
“I see. Well, there is only one thing we can do, Talek. Come with me.” Kelpbeard slid off his throne gracefully and floated calmly across the room. Frowning, Talek followed him, gripping his sword tightly.
The King swam almost lazily for a while until he reached his destination.
“Uh, with respect, sir, what in the name of seashells are you doing?”
“We’re going to release the Slug Monster, Swordmaster Talek. He will protect our waters.”
“THE SLUG MONSTER?! ARE YOU INSANE? You can’t release him, he’ll go mental. He’ll eat everything! And what if he leaves Maraqua? What if he swims to Krawk Island or something? Oh no, sir, you mustn’t!”
“Steady on, Swordmaster. I have complete faith in him.”
“KING KELPBEARD NO!!” Talek yelled after him as the King descended over the edge and swam down into the Ruins. “Come back!”
The ground rumbled. The water rippled. The seaweed quivered.
The Slug Monster was free.
Swordmaster Talek hovered over the Ruins, trying to see through the murky water. He slumped with relief when King Kelpbeard resurfaced, beaming.
“All in order, Talek? Sluggy will protect our waters. No one will invade Maraqua, five hundred of them or five million. Everything’s going to be just ─”
“─LOOK OUT!!” Talek burst forward and shoved the King out of the way of the incoming Slug Monster. It swivelled around to snarl at them before turning and swimming away.
“We need to catch him, your Majesty! If he escapes into Neopia─”
“─Or, we can just move out of the way of that whirlpool he’s just created.”
“Yep. Big one. Right there.”
Swordmaster Talek looked at King Kelpbeard. King Kelpbeard looked back at him. A few seconds passed before the severity of the situation hit them.
The Faeries were STILL rebuilding after the plot and didn’t even hear about the 500.
Kreludor and the Space Station
“I don’t like you as much as you don’t like me, Frank, but this is bigger than us. The fate of Neopia rests upon us.” The Space Faerie grimaced at the thought of joining forces with... him.
“Surely there’s another way?” Sloth looked aghast.
They were standing outside the Mining Corp on Kreludor, frowning at each other.
“If the 500 destroy Neopia, neither of us will have a purpose. You won’t be able to try to take over the worlds and I won’t be able to stop you each time.”
“I suppose you’re right. But I’m not happy about this. And if you tell anyone I’ll ─”
“─ I know, I know, you’ll turn me into a mutant Grundo. Now think! What can we do?”
“Whatever we do, it can’t be as bad as blowing up the Space Station. I cannot believe you did that,” Sloth glared at her.
“ME?” Her eyes widened impossibly and she shrieked. “Me?? You were the one who decided the best way to ward off the 500 was to ready all the lasers. Really, Frank? Did you really think that would end well?”
“Miscalculated.” Sloth shrugged nonchalantly. “So they’ll send me the bill. They can build a new one.”
“That’s not the point. Tyrannia’s on fire. Terror Mountain’s snowed in. Meridell’s castle’s been blown up. Maraqua’s battling a whirlpool, there’s been no contact from the Haunted Woods at all and there are two untamed beasts somewhere down there and we need to find them. And did I mention the 500 are coming?” The Space Faerie threw up her hands in exasperation. “This is a bit bigger than your bank account, Frank.”
“What are the 500, anyway?” Sloth wondered, ignoring her rant.
“I don’t know, okay? But we need ─ hey, wait a minute. Yes! That’s it!” The Space Faerie snapped her fingers and grinned. “I’ve got it! I know how to defeat them.”
“We can use the Robots from the Mining Corp. They’re the best army in the whole of Neopia! They can’t die, they’re strong, they have lasers, and we have heaps of them. The 500 wouldn’t stand a chance!”
“That is quite delicious, I must agree. But how will we get them to fight? They’re only programmed to work in the Mines.” Sloth looked thoughtful, turning around and peering into the Mines.
“I think their control room is in the Mines. If we can sneak past them, we can change their instructions.” The Space Faerie suddenly looked worried. “But you’re not going to use this for world domination after we’ve defeated the 500, are you, Frank?”
“Would I ever do such a hideous thing?”
“I’m not going to answer that. Well, you didn’t about this from me, okay? At least keep that bit to yourself.”
“Sure, sure.” Sloth waved her away with a swish of his cape.
“Right. Let’s do this.”
They managed to get into the Mining Corp, and for that they were very proud of themselves. Being responsible for blowing up the Mining Corp, however, they weren’t so proud of.
“Hey, Frank? Let’s never join forces again, okay?”
“Agreed. It’s only worse for Neopia when we do.”
“So... I’m going to go to the Defenders and see if they can help.”
“Right. I’m going to go use this newfound knowledge of the Robots in my latest plan for world domination. Oh, I mean donate some flowers to the Money Tree.”
Neopia Central ─ Neopian Times HQ
The red Shoyru sat at his desk at the Neopian Times office, mystified by the reports coming in from around the worlds. What was going on?
He pulled out the memo he had sent out and re-read it.
** Paging Neopia. Paging all the worlds of Neopia. Happy day! The latest issue of the Neopian Times is the 500th Issue! Get ready; all the worlds had better prepare for this one. It’s going to be amazing, it’s going to be enormous, gigantic, huge. Half the things the worlds have never seen before! Gather together, tell your friends, tell your enemies, even tell your armies ─the 500th issue is coming! **
The Shoyru frowned.
It looked alright to him.