That Clever Little Korbat
There's one thing I never quite understood about the Darigan
Citadel. And it wasn't why it floated, it was why they kept Barallus under such
tight guard. Now, when I look back, I don't think I really ever wanted to know…
"Come on, go already!" Vex exclaimed, impatiently.
Luweeq sat, deep in thought. He was playing Cellblock,
against a Master Vex who grew more impatient by the second. Luweeq made his
move, and Vex sighed.
"You win. Here's you're 3000 Neopoints."
Suddenly, from down the hall, three taps echoed
out. I was awoken suddenly, and not too happily. I had been dozing away, leaning
on the far wall. The dungeons were dark and humid. Perfect for sleeping. Even
the faint odor of who-knows-what didn't bother me.
"Don't slam those pieces down to hard, Luweeq!"
"It wasn't me, Glory, I swear," he said sheepishly.
Vex sighed once more.
"No, it wasn't him. The game is over, Luweeq
beat me. That was Clop, he's hungry again. Don't worry."
Vex turned away from the game board and towards
his two sleeping guards.
"Haskol! Galgarrath! What do I pay you for?"
"You don't pay-" Galgarrath had slapped his hand
over Haskol's mouth. Vex was easy to anger, and Haskol's stupidity wasn't about
to cost Galgarrath his pay.
"I do pay you," Vex replied, "but you," he said,
looking at Haskol, "Forget to pick up your paycheck every week. What you forget
is your problem."
I looked at Vex. "Clop is our next opponent,
how about Luweeq and I go down and give him the food?"
Vex sighed, something he seemed to like to do.
"Very well, go ahead. Haskol! Galgarrath! Take
these two down with Clop's food, and bring all three back when he's done eating."
Galgarrath motioned for us to come, and we started
off behind them. The first cell was Number Five's on the left. At the moment,
he was banging his stick against the wall furiously and shouting something about
Luweeq laughed. "Jelly World! Ha! That cracks
Not to far down the hall from Number Five was
the next cell, the one that held The Yellow Knight. The knight was dozing softly
in a corner of his cell, chained up as usual. Directly across from his cell
was Squire Meekel, who also sat sleeping.
"I guess there isn't much else to do in prison,"
I said to Luweeq, noting the dozing pair.
The last two cells belonged to Clop and Barallus.
Haskol opened Clop's cell and threw in a bowl of goopy brown mush. Clop ate
this quickly and stepped out of the cell, following us back.
Luweeq sat down opposite Clop and started their
game. I resumed my spot on the far wall and watched them quietly. The match
didn't take too long, Clop wasn't anything compared to Vex, and Luweeq won quickly.
Haskol led Clop down the hall. You could hear the sound of the lock turning
and Clop being locked in. What happened next I can only assume, but we could
hear a cry of surprise and heavy plodded steps from the hallway accompanied
by random shouts from both Haskol and the prisoners.
Haskol made his way back down and caught his
"Barallus… has… escaped!" he exclaimed, collapsing
to the ground.
Vex jumped up and gasped.
"Barallus? Argh! Lord Darigan is going to kill
me! Galgarrath, go check his cell."
He turned to me.
"You went down to get Clop, did you see Barallus
at that time?"
I tried my hardest to think back, but I had just
woken up at the time, so my memory was still hazy. Before I could respond, Luweeq
"No, sir. I looked at his cell when we went to
get Clop, and I wondered why it was empty. I just assumed he was playing against
At this point, Galgarrath came running back.
He was shaking his head.
"I couldn't find anything sir, I don't see how
he got out. His chains are still locked up. The only thing there is his straight
jacket on the ground."
Vex growled and mumbled something about a puny
little Korbat under his breath. He turned to Luweeq and me again, staring with
a powerful intensity.
"Not a word from either of you! If Darigan gets
word of this, he'll have my head! Come with me!"
We followed obediently, not wanting to be the
subject of Vex's short temper. We passed Number Five, who was still banging
the walls with his stick, and who still managed to get a chuckle out of Luweeq
about Jelly World. We passed Meekel and The Yellow Knight, both no longer sleeping.
I assumed that Haskol had woken them up with his screaming.
We came finally to the last two cells, Clop's
and Barallus's. Clop was lying peacefully on the ground, staring at Barallus's
cell. Vex pulled out a ring of keys and flipped though a few, finally finding
the one he wanted. He unlocked Barallus's cell and searched the walls. He felt
along but found nothing. He sat down in one corner and looked at Clop.
Meanwhile, Luweeq had been staring at the Moehog
sitting peacefully in his cell. Luweeq raised a claw and piped up.
"Um, Master Vex, sir, if Barallus was missing
when we came to get Clop, wouldn't he have seen Barallus escape?"
"He might have, but I don't see the use in asking
Clop, he's as dumb as a doorknob. If you really want to, you can."
"So Clop, did you see Barallus escape?"
Clop got up and banged his hoof on the ground
"You see? He doesn't know anything."
Meekel piped up from down the hall.
"Yes he does, Master Vex, one stomp means yes."
Vex jumped up, another thing I noticed he enjoyed
"What? Stomps mean something other than I'm hungry?"
"Yes. One means yes, Two means No, Three means
I'm hungry, and we're not sure what the rest mean," Meekel exclaimed.
Vex thought for a moment, I could see his forehead
strained in thought.
I decided it was my turn to help.
"So we've just got to ask Clop some 'yes or no'
questions," I said, "It's not that complicated. All we've got to do is come
up with some ideas of how he escaped."
At this point, The Yellow Knight spoke up.
"I heard some chains rattling, and then I heard
Barallus mumble under his breath, followed by some strange grinding noises.
There was a pause, and then the grinding resumed, followed by the rattling again,
and then it was silent."
Vex was puzzled, and so was I, but Luweeq seemed
to have an idea. He leaned over to Clop, and asked him, "Hey Clop, did you see
how he got out?"
Clop stomped once.
Luweeq took a good look at the cell. He tried
to squeeze through the bars, and through the window. He tried to push random
blocks along the walls. He lifted and looked at the straight jacket on the floor.
"Did he dig out through the floor?"
Clop stomped twice.
"Did he squeeze out through the bars?"
Clop stomped twice.
"Did he push out a block from the wall?"
Clop stomped twice.
Luweeq was stumped, as were the rest of us.
"He's just a puny little Korbat, all he can do
is fly," said Haskol with a snort.
"Yea, I said, it's not like he could fly out,
there's a ceiling to the cell."
Haskol snorted in agreement.
Luweeq didn't find this so funny. He started
looking at the ceiling of Barallus's cell. I couldn't see anything special,
just some chains hanging from the ceiling that ended in a clamp which usually
went around Barallus's midsection.
Luweeq stared hard and long at the clamp, particularly
at the top of the clamp.
Luweeq turned to Master Vex.
"Why was Barallus under such tight security?"
Vex shrugged. "I don't know. Lord Darigan never
told me, he just told me to keep Barallus locked up tight, so I did.
Luweeq turned back to Clop.
"I've got one last question for ya, buddy. Did
Barallus escape through the ceiling?"
Clop stomped once.
Luweeq jumped up.
"Ha! I knew it!"
Vex had a puzzled expression on his face. I didn't
quite understand t either.
"What do you mean Luweeq?" I asked him, "It's
not like Barallus could have flown through the ceiling."
I was still confused.
"Then how did he get out?"
Luweeq pointed to the chain hanging from the
I didn't get it.
Luweeq went over to Galgarrath, and told him
something I couldn't hear. Galgarrath entered Barallus's cell, and looked up.
He reached for the top of the chain, which he easily reached, being an enormous
Grarrl. He unscrewed the chain, and t made an unusual rattling noise followed
by an even stranger grinding noise. He let go and the chain fell to the ground.
Above him was a hole that led to the outside.
"I knew that Korbat was smarter than he looked."
Luweeq sighed as well.
"He could be anywhere by now."
Vex shook his head.
"He can't leave the citadel, none of the prisoners
can. They've all got special collars on them, and when they reach the edge of
the citadel, they get zapped. But Barallus knows that. He wouldn't be stupid
enough to try to fly away."
I spoke up after all of this.
"Then he's probably trying to get the collar
Vex face suddenly went pale, and he gulped.
"There's only one way to get it off. There's
a special key that takes off the collar. Only two people have one: Lord Darigan,
"Does Barallus know this?" I asked.
"He might," Vex said, becoming increasingly
jittery, "I've talked about it before, and he might have overheard."
"So we've got to pay them a visit."
"No, I'm not allowed to leave the jail, if either
Morguss or Darigan found out, well, you know."
Vex drew a line across his neck with his finger
and stuck his tongue out.
"You have to go, you and Luweeq. I can send
Galgarrrath or Haskol with you, but they'll me more hassle than help. You two
will have to be the ones to go."
I wasn't so delighted at this proposition, but
I understood that if we didn't go, Luweeq wouldn't be able to play Cellblock,
and well, that was my main source of income.
"Very well, Luweeq and I will go."
And with that, we exited the dungeon and entered
the vast expanse of the Darigan Floating Citadel.
It was a fairly cold day, and the wind howled
as it passed the scattered buildings of the floating citadel. We walked along
the path from the dungeons to the castle slowly but surely. Somehow, Luweeq
never tired of the citadel. No matter how many times we came, he always seemed
to be excited. I'm sure he would have had me paint him Darigan instead of Tyrannian
if I could afford it. He hopped along, pointing at the toyshop and such, bouncing
We made our way to the gates of the castle,
which had been left open, and made our way in. The stone walls were dark, and
the damp corridors were badly lit with sconces lining the walls. We had been
told that both Morguss and Darigan resided on the top floor, so we made our
way up the stairs to the top floor. We decided to try Morguss first, considering
her less dangerous than Lord Darigan was.
We walked along the corridor and to a large
chamber filled with bubbling vials and bookcases filled with books upon books.
Morguss was sitting in one corner on a rocking chair, looking out the window.
She looked over, and was taken aback to see us.
Now, I had never seen Morguss before. I had
heard of her before, and seen a sketch of her in the Gallery of Evil, but I
never knew she was so ugly. It took me all the strength I could muster to keep
"Who are you?" she exclaimed, reaching blindly
for a potion on the table. She held it our warily.
We approached slowly, and tried to calm her.
"I am Glory, and this is Luweeq," I said, bowing
to her, "We've come from Master Vex with urgent news."
"Urgent? Ha. You're intruders, aren't you! Intruders!"
"No, no, I said, trying not to alarm her further.
Barallus has escaped, and we're here to ask if he has gotten your key for the
"How do you know about the collars? Intruders!"
"Please, please, just make sure your key is
safe, and we'll be on our way."
"The key is safe, intruder, I've got it here
in my pocket."
She produced the key.
"Now be on your way, as you said."
At this point I could feel Luweeq tugging on
my shirt. He was pointing to the window. I looked, and saw the crazy little
Korbat, the collar still on him, hovering right outside. He flew up, and as
he did, I saw a faint shimmer, and he was gone.
I turned back to Morguss and smiled.
"Very well. We'll go. Just keep the key safe."
We exited the room, and headed back down the
hallway, and sat down on the stairs. Luweeq sighed.
"I don't want to go see Lord Darigan," he cried.
A deep voice echoed from behind us.
"Well why ever not?"
Luweeq turned around slowly, quivering.
"L…l…lo…" Luweeq stammered
"Lord Darigan," I spit out.
"Yes, I see my reputation proceeds me. Now,
what are two travelers such as yourselves doing in my citadel."
I stood up. My heart was beating out of my chest.
"Well, sir, Master Vex sent us. Barallus has
Darigan stooped for a moment. I assumed he was
thinking the situation over. I decided to explain further.
"He still has the collar on, I saw him, and
Morguss has her key safe and sound. Do you have yours sir?"
"Ha. I see Vex has informed you of the details.
Very well, follow me."
He led us into a chamber down another corridor
to his chambers. He sat down in front of a large fireplace and bid us to do
the same. He opened a drawer in his desk, and rummaged through some papers.
He had a fairly surprised look on his face.
"My key is gone. The clever little thing. You
said you say him, yes?"
"Ye- Yes, sir, when we went to Morguss's chambers,
I saw him fly up towards the roof through her window."
Darigan sighed a titanic sigh, and frowned.
He got up, and bade us to follow. He led us back to the staircase and felt along
the wall. Finding what he was looking for, he pushed a stone in, and the wall
slid back, revealing another staircase.
We did as we were told and soon emerged at the
top of the citadel. The winds were so strong that I nearly got blown down when
I first emerged. Sure enough, the clever little, crazy, puny Korbat was sitting
on the roof, trying to unlock his collar. He saw us as we came up, and laughed.
Such a laugh I will never forget, the laugh of someone who is beyond insane,
far beyond insane, and it pierced me.
He flew up, holding he key, and let out a screech.
I was forced to cover my ears from this screech; it shook the very foundations
of the citadel. Luweeq didn't cover his ears, and he looked at me funny when
I did. I didn't understand it. I looked at Darigan. He didn't hear it either.
But Darigan was laughing at me. I was sure that they both felt the shaking of
the castle, but it was apparent they didn't. I took a good look at the Korbat.
His mouth wasn't moving when he shrieked. But I could hear it. And then it came
His shrieks must only affect humans. I didn't
quite understand why, but in Neopia, so many things didn't make sense. People
used paintbrushes to paint pets, so why couldn't a pet have some special power?
His shrieks were getting to me. I tried my best
to stand up, but I couldn't. I fell down, and my head started to hurt. I blacked
I woke up, according to Luweeq, three days later.
He told me that Barallus had been captured. He couldn't really describe it well
because his explanations usually involved more jumping and arm waving than actually
explaining, so I gave it up. I knew Vex, Morguss, and Darigan wouldn't want
to talk about it, so I left them alone. That's what you get for asking too many
questions. But now, I've got a new question: How did Darigan find out about
Barallus's power if he can't hear it…