Horace and the Vengeance of the Vampires
The alarm clock's shrill chime echoed throughout the apartment. A massive fist slammed into the clock, deadening the sound and crushing the clock.
"Morning already?" a deep, gruff voice rumbled from under the covers. The blanket fell back, and a seven-foot-tall, very muscular Bori emerged. His skin was stitched from the pelts of many red, yellow, blue and green Boris, and two bolts stuck from his carapace.
"Horace?" a female voice called out from beyond the door. "Breakfast is ready. We have to get the lab prepped for today!"
"I'll be right there, Leilani," Horace called back. He shuffled to his closet and grabbed his extra-large lab coat, which he pulled on along with the goggles draped on the hat rack. Then, he opened the door and exited the apartment. A faerie Acara, also wearing a lab coat and goggles, stood outside with a cup of coffee in one paw and a muffin in the other.
Horace gave the Acara a nod and a grunt, and then went off to the main room of the lab. A kitchen table with cups of coffee, donuts, muffins and three kinds of cereal was in the center of the room, surrounded by chairs and lab equipment. Sitting at the table was a Tyrannian Moehog wearing a lab coat and goggles and eating a raisin muffin.
"Horace! Leilani!" The Moehog smiled.
"Good morning, Doc Zappy," said Horace, sort of cheerfully. He sat down at the table, grabbed a bowl and a donut, and poured himself some Ne-Os. Leilani, the Acara, sat down and grabbed a blueberry muffin. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
"Who could that be?" asked Doc Zappy, and stood up. The door slid open automatically and revealed a Halloween Gelert. The Gelert was tall and strikingly handsome, with gleaming white teeth and pale blue eyes. His black hair was combed back into a ponytail, and he wore a gray shirt emblazoned with a fanged skull underneath a black leather jacket, along with a studded belt, dark gray jeans, and knee-high leather boots.
"Who are you?" Doc Zappy asked.
"Varakoff," replied the Gelert in a honey-smooth Haunted Woods accent. "Vincent Varakoff, if you wish for my full name."
"What is your business here, Vincent?" asked Doc Zappy.
The Gelert handed the Moehog a sack of Neopoints about as big as his head.
"A little advance," Vincent replied. "So we can verify you do not wish to have anything to do with our allies. Is that right?" His eyes seemed to pierce Horace as he said this.
"What could he possibly mean?" whispered Leilani to Horace.
"I do not take bribes from strangers and I know naught about your allies, whoever they may be," Doc Zappy growled.
"I believe your assistant the Bori knows a bit about them, having fought them before." Vincent smiled.
Horace gulped. Surely Vincent couldn't be talking about the Werelupes he had fought so long ago!
"Not the Werelupes?" Doc Zappy gulped. "They are your allies?"
"Indeed," Vincent replied smoothly. Unless Horace's eyes were tricking him, Vincent's skin was beginning to emit thin wisps of smoke. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I must leave. My kind cannot stay here long."
Suddenly, Vincent disappeared in a whirl of black and gray.
"What was that all about?" Leilani asked. "Who's this Vincent fellow?"
"I do not know," Doc Zappy sighed, "nor what he meant by his allies the Werelupes."
The gnarled, twisted poplars of the Haunted Woods loomed over Vincent's head like many grabbing hands. The Gelert sniffed the air, and then disappeared into the trees. He ran effortlessly through the undergrowth as if he were nothing more than a shadow. Finally, he came to a grove inhabited with what appeared to be gigantic Korbats with black, leathery wings furled around their bodies.
"He has come back," a soft voice murmured from one of the leathery bundles. The bundle unfurled, revealing a Halloween Kougra wearing a black cloak over a bare, muscled chest and shiny, black leather pants. His pale blue eyes scrutinized Vincent curiously, and he bared his long white fangs.
"I have, Randall," Vincent replied. The other bundles began to stir, unfolding to reveal other cloaked Neopets - a Halloween Grarrl, white Grundo, Christmas Krawk and the smallest, a grey Korbat. All were dressed like Randall-black cloaks over bare chests and leather pants.
"What did they say?" hissed the Krawk.
"I do not know," Vincent replied. "The Moehog was particularly adamant about not wanting me there. He did not know my business."
"Did you get his hair?" the grey Korbat squeaked. "I could sense what he was thinking!"
"I could not, Dusty," Vincent sighed. "The sun was beginning to hurt." He pointed with one claw to a small burn on his neck.
"Perhaps I should look at that," rasped the Grundo. His short, stubby fangs glowed in the moonlight.
"No need, Ferdinand," replied the Gelert. "It will go away under the moonlight."
"You should go back with us," the gravelly voice of the Grarrl said. "We will be your moral support, and perhaps he would give you a better response with us persuading him."
"I say we declare war," growled Vincent.
There was uproar from the other pets. The Grarrl had to scream out before the others would be quiet.
"You are taking this too rashly, Vincent!" The Grarrl waved his claws in frustration.
"I can make my own choices, Reginald!" snarled Vincent. "I do not need you bossing me around!"
"You are only a hundred years old!" Reginald replied angrily. "You are still a youngling!"
"So?" roared Vincent. His skin rippled as his muscles contracted and tensed. He prepared to spring at Reginald and attack.
"Vincent, calm down!" Ferdinand hissed. "Let's think this through."
Vincent's muscles loosened up.
"Very well," he grumbled. "What do you say?"
"I say we bring the Werelupes with us. If that old Moehog and his assistants aren't persuaded by those guys, I don't know what'd work."
Vincent looked at the Kougra. "Randall, fetch the Werelupe King's finest minions. We're going to need the best backup possible."
"Yes, Vincent," said Randall, and vanished into the trees.
"What could Vincent have possibly meant by his allies the Werelupes?" Doc Zappy was muttering.
"You've been asking yourself that for an hour now," groaned Leilani. "Can't you think of something else?"
"No," Doc Zappy replied. "If this has anything to do with the Werelupes Horace fought, that could only mean one thing..."
Someone banged on the door, and the door slid open. Into the lab stepped Vincent, accompanied by several other Neopets, including a few very large, muscular and intimidating Lupes colored shadow, brown, spotted and grey. One of them, colored a deep muddy brown-black, towered over the others, and he had glowing red eyes and glossy, curved brown horns like sword blades.
"What do they want?" Horace asked. His stomach lurched with recognition when he saw the horned Lupe. He stood up and walked over to Vincent and his troupe.
"Greetings," Vincent said to the patchwork Bori. "Greet my friends, as well. Reginald, the Grarrl. Ferdinand, the Grundo. Manfred, the Krawk. Dusty, the Korbat. And Randall, the Kougra. Have you thought more about our little request to stay away from the Werelupes?"
"Too much," Leilani moaned, rubbing her forehead.
"I don't know what you meant by that, but it didn't sound good," Doc Zappy said, coming over to Horace. "Tell us what you mean!"
"It was a simple request, really," Reginald said. "Stay away from the Werelupes. We don't want what happened when your Bori friend attacked Ranzok here." He gestured to the horned Lupe, who snarled threateningly.
"Ranzok," Horace growled. "So that is your name."
"Wait a second," Doc Zappy called out. He began muttering things to himself, and suddenly, his eyes widened with fear.
"You are... you are..." he said, his body shivering.
"Spit it out, mortal," hissed Ferdinand.
"Vampires!" cried Doc Zappy, then emitted a noise like a squelch and ran off.
"How long did it take him to figure that out, I wonder," Dusty mused.
"No matter," Randall smiled, baring his shiny teeth. "We'll eat them anyway."
"Now, hang on here!" Horace growled, and stepped forth. However, Ranzok's massive fist pushed him back.
"Not so fast," he growled. "You leave the vampires alone. They are hungry for you, as am I."
Out of the corner of his eye, Horace saw Leilani get up and try to creep away. However, Vincent also saw this, and faster than Horace's eyes could comprehend, he zipped over to her in a blur of black and gray. The next moment, Leilani was clasped in Vincent's arms, his fangs inches from her neck.
"Help!" Leilani cried, but was silenced by Vincent tightening his grip.
"Not now, Vincent," Manfred said. "We save the tastiest morsels for last."
"To toughen up our jaws, we attack the stronger ones first!" stated the spotted Lupe. He jumped clear over the heads of the other monsters, his fangs bared and his claws out, and slammed into Horace.
"Aaagh!" Horace roared. He punched the Lupe right in the snout, and the creature flew back and knocked down the vampires like bowling pins.
"That does it!" the grey and shadow Lupes roared. The spotted Lupe scrambled to his feet.
"Is there a full moon tonight?" the brown Lupe asked. "I can feel the full moon's energy rippling through my veins."
"I believe so," said Dusty, and the Lupes began to transform. Their skin bubbled and shifted rapidly, and within seconds, they had changed completely. Now, they were twice their size and looked three times as cruel, with even wilder-looking eyes, sharper fangs, and claws like knives. Their muscles had the appearance of shimmering, with their rapid movement in the Werelupes' arms, legs and bodies. Their pelts were darker and muddier-looking, even the shadow Lupe's, whose pelt was now pitch-black.
The spotted Werelupe roared a roar louder and more terrifying than anything Horace had ever heard before. He jumped forward again, and slashed his massive claws at Horace. The Bori rolled backwards and stood up, then charged at the spotted Werelupe. Again, he punched him in the snout, but it didn't seem to do as much damage.
"Get back, you wretched beasts!" Doc Zappy's voice cried. He came running into the room, his eyes red with fury and his nostrils flaring like bellows. He charged at the Werelupes, but the grey one swiped one paw and sent him crashing into the table.
Ranzok roared and pounded his chest with his fists. He ran forward, along with the other Werelupes, and suddenly Horace was overwhelmed by snapping jaws, slashing claws, and hot breath on his face.
"You cannot defeat us on your own!" roared Ranzok.
I'm doomed, thought Horace.
Leilani watched in horror as the Werelupes overwhelmed Horace. Vincent still gripped her tightly, making her have no chance of escape.
"You aren't escaping, my pretty," hissed Vincent. "Your friend's actions will not go unpunished."
The Acara's blue eyes widened in horror as she heard Ranzok's paw connect with Horace's flesh. She struggled against Vincent's grasp, but the vampire was extremely strong. She watched Doc Zappy clamber to his feet, and when he saw Leilani, his nostrils flared.
"Drop her, Vincent," growled the Moehog.
"Never," snarled Vincent.
"You don't want me to do what I'm about to do," Doc Zappy said threateningly.
"What are you going to do?" Vincent taunted. "Nothing you can do will hurt me."
Doc Zappy said nothing, but ran down the hall and disappeared.
"That's right!" Vincent cried. "Run, you little coward! Run from me and my immortal power!"
Leilani thrashed and struggled more, but Vincent's grip tightened.
Whatever Doc Zappy is doing, I hope it will help, she thought.
"Vampires!" ordered Vincent. "Attack the Bori!"
The other vampires leaped forward and began to tear, bite and punch at Horace, who roared in agony. A patchwork fist shot out of the pile and socked a Werelupe straight in the chest. It didn't seem to hurt him, though.
"You will not defeat us!" Ferdinand hissed.
Just then, Doc Zappy came tearing back into the room, something gleaming and silver in his hoof.
"What is that?" Leilani asked. Doc Zappy replied by holding it up and letting it catch the light that streamed from a small gap in a curtain. It was a silver disc about the size of a hundred-doubloon coin emblazoned with a hand holding a planet with comets circling in a ring around the hand. It was a sacred symbol-the symbol of Mora Lac, the benevolent Neopian space Great Ruler.
"NO!" Vincent screeched, and his eyes turned red and slit-pupiled, filling with hatred and supernatural rage. He bared his teeth and dropped Leilani, who crawled away as Vincent screamed and shrank away from the sacred symbol.
"Stay away from Leilani!" ordered Doc Zappy.
Vincent couldn't yell out a coherent response-the only noise he made was his ear-splitting yowl. He slunk against the wall and kept screaming, and Doc Zappy turned the sacred symbol towards the other vampires.
"Look at me!" yelled Doc Zappy.
"Don't listen to him!" cried Vincent in a terrified voice. His breathing was heavy, and his eyes were still red and slit-pupiled. "He's got a sacred symbol!"
Doc Zappy yelled in anger and threw the sacred symbol as hard as he could at the mob of monsters. It bounced off the back of a Werelupe, and the Werelupe yowled and dissolved into smoke.
"Silver destroys Werelupes," Leilani said to herself. She had a sudden idea, so she ran for the kitchen of the laboratory.
Horace struggled to escape the pile of monsters on top of him. He was scratched up pretty badly, and stuffing was leaking from his wounds. Despite being a lab-created life form, he was still panicking about what would become of him-would he be a were-Bori, or a vampire? What if he became a were-Bori-vampire?
Suddenly, the sacred symbol had hit the spotted Werelupe, and the monster had dissolved. A few seconds later, the other monsters began to mutter among themselves worriedly and back away. The sacred symbol lay on the floor a few feet away, and as soon as the Krawk vampire saw it, he began to scream and shrink away from it.
"Manfred!" Randall cried. His eye fell on the sacred symbol, and his eyes turned red and slit-pupiled as he screamed and cowered in fear, enveloping himself in his wings. Horace took this as an opportunity to grab the nearest Werelupe by the arm and fling him as hard as he could. The monster went flying into a wall, creating a large, Werelupe-shaped indentation in the wall.
"You dare harm my brethren?" roared Ranzok. He seized Horace by his arm and lifted him as if he were a sack of potatoes. "Shame on you!"
At that moment, Leilani came running into the room, carrying a silver sword.
"Thank goodness I like to go flea-market shopping!" she cried. "They have all sorts of weapons there!"
She charged at the brown Werelupe, who whimpered in fear at the sight of the silver blade. Leilani slashed at the Werelupe, and despite his jumping back, left a large cut that leaked black smoke. Within seconds, the Werelupe had dissolved into nothingness. Then, Leilani went for the grey Werelupe, who snarled and hissed when he saw the silver.
Horace struggled against Ranzok's grip, but the Werelupe was just too strong.
If it weren't for all these cuts, I could fight him off, Horace thought.
By this time, the other vampires had seen the sacred symbol and were screaming and cowering in fear of it. Dusty was sobbing uncontrollably, even though no tears were leaking from his eyes. However, Vincent was not looking at the sacred symbol-he'd closed his eyes tightly and was now using his sense of smell to navigate the lab.
"Where are you, Acara?" he hissed softly. Leilani didn't hear him-she was too busy attacking the spotted Werelupe. The shadow Werelupe - the one Horace threw at the wall-was getting up and galloping over, snorting and snarling angrily.
"Leilani, look out!" Horace shouted as he saw Vincent creeping closer to the Acara.
"For what?" Leilani asked. She stabbed the spotted Werelupe and he dissolved.
Vincent's arms wrapped around Leilani, and she dropped the sword and screamed.
"I have you now," Vincent said, his voice dangerously raspy. Suddenly, in a whirl of black and gray, Vincent and Leilani were gone. The other vampires, despite still cowering in fear from the sacred symbol, managed to disappear in whirls of black and gray as well. Ranzok dropped Horace on his rear and galloped out the door, followed closely by the shadow Werelupe.
"What just happened?" Doc Zappy asked as Horace scrambled to his feet. "Did Vincent get Leilani?" He saw Horace's many wounds, and Leilani was forgotten. "Sweet Fyora, Horace, are you okay?"
"I hope so," Horace replied. "Will I become a lycanthrope, or a vampire, or both?"
"Since you are an inorganic, lab-created life form, I doubt anything will happen," Doc Zappy said. "But we aren't taking any chances." He picked up the sacred symbol and pointed it at Horace, then began to mutter something under his breath.
The symbol glowed blue, and suddenly Horace was enveloped in blue light. He could feel his strength returning, and when the light cleared, all his wounds had healed.
"That should do it," Doc Zappy said, pocketing the symbol. "Now, where could Leilani and the monsters have possibly gone?"
"The Haunted Woods, I presume," suggested Horace. "How will we get there? The lab is many miles away from there."
Doc Zappy pondered this. Then, he had an idea.
"The Eyrie Taxi," he said. "I know a couple of friends who work for the Eyrie Taxi service. If I Neomail them our situation, I'm sure they'll help us." With that, he went off towards his office to use the Neomailing machine.
In the small grove in the Haunted Woods, the vampires and two remaining Werelupes were huddled around Leilani. She was tied up with shadowy rope and struggling wildly.
"You won't get away with this!" she growled. "If you eat me, Horace and Doc Zappy will defeat all of you with wooden stakes, sunlight, silver and sacred symbols!"
Dusty and the shadow Werelupe shuddered, but the other monsters looked unfazed.
"There is no sunlight in the Haunted Woods," Ferdinand said cruelly. "How could he defeat us with sunlight here?"
"He'll find a way," Leilani replied.
"I doubt it," muttered Manfred.
A strange sound-like flapping, feathery wings-filled the air. Leilani looked up and saw two Eyries-one much larger than the other-flying towards them. Both had riders, one large and bulky, the other smaller and skinnier.
"Scram!" Ranzok hissed, and scooped Leilani up in one arm. He ran out of the grove, the vampires and Werelupe following closely.
"Horace? Doc Zappy?" Leilani murmured hopefully. Ranzok seemed to know where he was going, for nothing slowed him down as he ran through the trees. Finally, they came to another grove, this one littered with bramble bushes and other thorny plants. They didn't seem to bother the vampires and Werelupes, though, and Ranzok was careful to not put Leilani down in a bramble bush.
"Did we lose them?" asked Dusty. Vincent sniffed the air.
"I can smell them," he growled. "Randall, Dusty, attack plan C."
Randall and Dusty nodded, and then took off into the air. In the distance, Leilani could see the two Eyries bearing riders, and Randall and Dusty flying to meet them. When the vampires and Eyries intercepted, an aerial brawl broke out.
The smaller figure held something silvery up, and it glinted in the moonlight. Randall and Dusty screeched in fury and flew back to the ground, their eyes red and slit-pupiled.
"It's the Moehog and Bori!" Randall yelped. "The Moehog has his sacred symbol!"
"Horace! Doc Zappy!" cried Leilani.
"RAAAARGH!" bellowed Vincent. "Ranzok! You and I will confront those two mortals when they land. They cannot survive!"
"Yes, Vincent!" replied Ranzok. Within moments, the two Eyries touched down in the grove without landing on the spiky plants, and Leilani could see their chocolate-brown coats and fierce eyes. Doc Zappy and Horace dismounted and stepped forth to confront the monsters.
"Give Leilani back," ordered Doc Zappy. He had the sacred symbol in his hand, ready to show it at a moment's notice.
"RRROOOOR!" bellowed Ranzok, and leaped forward to attack Horace. The Bori seized the Werelupe by the horns and slammed him to the ground. Vincent ran forth to attack Doc Zappy, but the Moehog held up the sacred symbol and sent him retreating.
"Never underestimate the power of an object sacred to the most powerful deity of all!" Doc Zappy roared. He lifted the sacred symbol to the sky, and it shone bright blue. "Mora Lac, I summon your power to smite evil!"
Thunder rolled across the sky, and the sacred symbol glowed even brighter. It rose into the air and began emitting rays of blue light.
"THE SUN!" Reginald yowled, and dissolved into ashes. The other vampires screeched and tried to flee, but most dissolved. Vincent, Randall and Dusty managed to dive into the trees, out of range of the sacred symbol, and vanished without a trace.
"AAARRROOO!" howled Ranzok and the shadow Werelupe, and Ranzok wrenched himself free of Horace's grip. The Werelupes tried to run, but a forked bolt of blue lightning zapped them both, and they dissolved into smoke. The sacred symbol stopped glowing and fell to the ground.
"Those three vampires got away," growled Doc Zappy. "But I hope they cannot do much harm without their troupe."
Horace rushed over to where Leilani was tied up and grabbed the ropes. With all his strength, he tore them, and they ripped apart like paper. He scooped Leilani up into his arms and toted her over to the larger brown Eyrie.
"Come on, Leilani," said Horace. "Let's get you home."
Leilani sighed sleepily as Horace placed her on the Eyrie's back and climbed on himself. Doc Zappy climbed onto the back of his Eyrie, and both Eyries took off into the night, disappearing moments later.
Many miles away, at the edge of the black poplar forest, Vincent, Randall and Dusty growled angrily as they watched Horace, Leilani and Doc Zappy escape.
"They will not succeed next time," snarled Vincent. "Never in a thousand years..."