The Villain Within
Dr. Sloth enjoys spreading ugliness where he goes. He makes people feel bad, he makes them sad, so that he can get them to do what he says. Dr. Sloth is a bad man, but he is not the villain in this story, as the villain in this story is the villain within. Once upon a time, while on his way to drop some transmogrification potions over Neopia as rewards to his followers and reminders to his enemies that he was still in charge, Dr. Sloth dropped a transmogrification potion on a young boy Kacheek...
Binklu opened his gluey eyes slowly to the morning sun and his faerie Gruslen, Fitz, whizzing around his horn.
"What, Fritz?" he said angrily, reluctantly getting up and closing the curtains, returning the room in the neolodge to darkness.
"How long are we going to be doing this? I'm bored. It's so sad all the time; it can't be making you feel better!"
"I don't want to feel better. Have you seen me? I'm a mutant. I can barely even remember before I was mutated. I used to have skin, now I just have this tough muscle. I still can't believe my owner would do this to me, completely out of the blue... how could she betray me like that?"
Fritz knew the angle of the conversation and didn't feel like he could feel any more down than he already did. All he wanted was for Binklu to see that being mutated didn't make him a mutant; it just changed his appearance.
Binklu would not listen, though. He never would.
Fritz thought back to before he was zapped by that crazy scientist with all the cans into a faerie Gruslen. It was weird; it was like he had all his memories from before, but couldn't remember what his 'shell' at the time was. That was how Fritz saw the appearance of a neopet; useful for recognizing people, but it didn't tell you much about the inside. He'd heard some things about Jeran...
Something Fritz did remember was a little assembly robopetpet he had been friends with before he met Binklu. A little girl Gio who liked to call herself Hug, as she saw herself as someone whose job it was to keep the workplace happy and bright. Fritz almost laughed at the thought of watching Hug work on cheering up Binklu, but then the idea suddenly didn't seem so silly. Fritz was desperate; Binklu had spent ages almost alone in a dark room wallowing in all the sadness Dr. Sloth had caused all those years ago, and blaming it on his owner who had no idea why or where Binklu had run off to. Fritz made a snap decision, opened the curtain a fraction, and flew outside.
Fritz was lucky to find that Hug was still a Gio, and still worked on the Virtupets Space Station. Hug's life had changed somewhat; Hug now worked with a robot Uni named Dewth. She was proud, confident, and happily humming in strange computerised tune as Hug and her owner mined. Fritz had never much liked Virtupets Station, as Dr. Sloth's base, but he knew that Hug and Dewth would be neutral if not anti-Sloth. The robots were surprisingly anti-Sloth, in fact.
When Hug recognized Fritz, they hugged and talked about things, and Dewth got everyone some Neocola. As Dewth went back for a second round, Fritz and Hug chatted and planned, thinking about how to help Binklu. When Dewth came back, she interrupted loudly, which Fritz could already tell was unlike her.
"A-HERHERHEHEM-uh..." she paused, "this fell out of the machine when I ordered us some Neocola."
No extra explanation was needed.
"Hey, Binklu! BINKLU!" Fritz zoomed up to the window of their room at the Neolodge. He'd been gone more than a day, but he was sure his news would make up for that. "HEY, Binklu, come on!"
Binklu was not answering at the window. The window was closed and locked... and that's when Fritz panicked. Where could Binklu have gone? Would he be coming back? Fritz, Hug and Dewth entered the lobby of the Neolodge, and Fritz enquired about their room.
"Mister Binklu signed out around four hours ago, and booked travel to the Virtupets Space Station. He seemed pretty angry, and was demanding we arrange everything a lot quicker than is normal. Would you like to arrange travel to the Space Station too?" said the lady Kougra at the front desk.
"Yes, please! And I hate to sound like my friend from before, but I have a feeling he's about to fight the wrong fight, so if we could get there ASAP, that would be really helpful!" shrieked Fritz.
The trio were on their way to the space station in quite a comfy little pod. It was much nicer than flying there and back the first time, thought Fritz. Hug was hugging Dewth as they caught some sleep on the journal and snored robotic snores. Fritz found it strangely comforting and also found himself drifting off into a peaceful sleep....
Binklu was staggering around the space station demanding to see Dr. Sloth, demanding that Dr. Sloth face him and explain how he could give the potion to Binklu's owner all those years ago. Binklu did not see his owner from back then standing just a little way away, adopting a Grundo. She watched curiously for a while before she recognized Binklu, even though he looked completely different, and dropped all of the papers she was holding to run across.
"Binklu! Binklu?! Really, Binklu? You're here?" she muttered incoherently as she hit the side of Binklu, who reared away.
"You made me disgusting," he said simply, turning away as if to leave the Space Station.
"Excuse me, young man!" said his owner sharply, "now you hang on a minute! I did no such thing. You go to play some Tug-o-War one day and I never see you again. I had no idea where you had gone or why! All of this because you felt a bit *ugly*?"
Binklu simply looked blank and confused. "But if you didn't, then who....?"
*BOOMING VOICE* "THAT WOULD BE ME. I DROPPED A POTION AND COULDN'T BE BOTHERED CLEARING UP MY MESS. HAHAHA, GET OFF MY STATION."
"Well, I guess that answers that, then, eh?" said Binklu's owner, rubbing his nose. "If you want to change, you know I can change you into something else? I think you're just fine, you're still who you always were, you just look a bit different on the outside."
"BINKLU, YOU FREAK!" came a furious, high pitched, angry faerie noise. "We just had to redirect this silly pod, I thought you were about to try to take on Dr. Sloth single-handed like an *idiot*, and you wouldn't believe the t-"
"Fritz, please. My owner - and your new owner - is here. This is her. It turns out she never made me ugly, and she never even thought I was ugly!"
Fritz took in the appearance of the owner, and the happiness in her face at finding Binklu. He approved.
"I've still got a couple of things for you. First, Hug is going to cheer you up, because it's what she does. Then, Dewth is going to sing to you and let you get a good rest, and then... well... you'll never guess what we found for you?!" Fritz was clearly buzzing with excitement now, he clearly couldn't hold it in anymore....
Dewth brought forward a Krawk Transmogrification Potion and presented it to Binklu and his owner. "You don't have to use it, but we thought you could sell it and become whatever you want. Except old-style art, of course!" *badumtiss*
The Villain = misplaced anger. Thanks to the stars, Dewth and Binklu.