Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 194,011,715 Issue: 732 | 13th day of Hunting, Y18
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Chaos in the Space Station


by lilawildflower

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      Flower, a red Ixi, dodged wheels of cheese rolling down the Meridell hillside. An overly confidant Gelert waved hello, and tripped over a big rock jutting out of the ground.But Flower barely even saw him. She had fallen asleep under a bush and was nearly trampled by a runaway wheel of licorice cheese.

      A loud bang of the front door being slammed echoed in the eventide Zafaras’ long ears. Looking up from his book, Illusens Ixi, Sparkle saw a tall boy with black hair dragging his inventory bag down the hall behind him. “Hey, Mat. What’s up?”

      “Nothing. Found some stuff for the kitchen. Tell Splat I’ll take her to the Space Station when I’m done.”

      “Hey, Splat! Did you hear that?”

      “Yep!” Splat called from the next room.

      “Why did you name her Splat, anyway?” Sparkle asked. “Wouldn’t Splash have been a better name for a pet painted water?”

      “Not when they slip.” The boy snickered, disappearing into the kitchen.

      Sparkle shrugged and went back to reading. Soon the only sound to be heard was of the clock ticking. Sparkle’s book disappeared in a flash of purple smoke. He choosing another when he had just sat down to read when he heard a loud swish-thump. Looking up he saw Splat, a water Usul, slide across the floor. Soon as she stopped she hopped up, ran a little way, and slid again.

      Suddenly Mat burst out of the kitchen. “I’m done! Come on, Splat, let’s go!”

      “Yay!” Splat shouted, doing flips to the front door before slipping on the floor with a loud splat. With hardly even a pause she hopped up and started jumping in front of the door. “Come on! Lets go!”

      Mat laughed. “See ya later, Sparkle.” He called as they left.

      Sparkle sighed with relief as the door slammed. Finally he could read in peace after Splat spent most of the day driving him crazy. He was on his fourth book when something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He turned just in time to see an upside down soggy old box skitter past his bed room doorway and down the hall.

      Hopping up, Sparkle found the box in the next room. He reached down to pick it up – and jumped as fuzzy, grey arm with tiny, white claws swiped at his foot. Leaning way over Sparkle quickly knocked the box over. To his surprise a grey meowclops lay on the floor with his tail twitching. He stared up at Sparkle with his one eye as if to say ‘Why did you do that?’

      Laughing Sparkle scooped the meowclops up. “Where did you come from?” It happily rubbed his cheek against him, purring for all of two seconds before squirming to be put down. Soon as his paws touched the floor the petpet set off to explore. Tail stiff in the air it ran from one room to the next. It climbed over toys and disappeared under furniture. Once Sparkle reached under his bed, only to be surprised by it pouncing on his tail. Waving the fluffy end in front of the meowclops face they ran around the neohome in a game of chase. But their fun all ended when a buzzer flew in through the window.

      Sparkle hid a snicker, watching the meowclops creep across the floor. His front end crouched as far down as he could manage, his tail high in the air, twitching with excitement. The meowclops pounced – and missed. Sparkle about rolled with laughter watching the petpet pounce and miss the buzzer all around Splats’ room. Until the buzzer landed in the open window.

      Before Sparkle could stop it the meowclops pounced right out of the window and into a toy wagon. By the time Sparkle had climbed out after it, the wagon had already rolled down the hill and across the bridge toward the other end of Roo Island.

      “Stop that wagon!” Sparkle called, chasing after it as fast he could.

      A Blumaroo tried, grabbing at the wagon as it passed him. Instead he tripped over a hole, pushing the wagon faster into the Game Room. It zoomed down the hall past games and players alike. A few pets tried to stop it. Most didn’t even notice. Their eyes were glued to the screen, hands unable to pause for a second. One player had a notebook out and was busy taking notes in between levels.

      Suddenly the hall turned a corner and the wagon crashed into a game with a spray of sparks. A blue Lupe at the game controls stared at the screen in disbelief. “You wrecked my high score!” He howled as the wagons rider jumped out and kept running.

      Sparkle barely managed to call out an apology. He could barely see the petpet now. Turning another corner Sparkle saw the meowclops tail disappear under a bush.

      A passing green Quiggle in a pink gown saw it too. She reached under the bush and carefully picked meowclops up. “Aw! Are you lost, little guy?”

      By this point the meowclops was too frightened. With a sharp his he leaped out of her hands and into a faerie portal. The picture rippled over the Space Station. “Oh, no!” Sparkle groaned. Putting his paws out he passed through the portal after it.

      In the Space Station he all he saw was a yellow Grondo sitting on the floor rubbing his head. “Did you see a meowclops run through here?” He asked him.

      “Yes!” The Grundo glared, pointing down the hall. “He came flying through the portal and landed right on my head! I lost two entire hit points from it!”

      Sparkle sighed and gave him an elixir before running off. Wherever this petpet came from it was full of trouble! Turning yet another corner he spotted Mat looking at Splats paw. Acting fast Sparkle ducked behind a trash bin. Peaking around the side he saw the meowclops hiding under a chair behind them. His ears were flat and his tail curled around his front paws, trying to make himself as small as possible against the wall.

      Mat was looking though his inventory. “How could you get a sprain when you’re made out of water, Splat?”

      “Just because I’m fluid doesn’t mean I’m not solid.” Splat winced. “Is the elixir in there?”

      “No.” Mat pulled out a note. “Something has happened: Passing a Grundo in need you give him a Juicy elixir. He gains seven hit points.” Mat looked around. “What Grundo?” After turning around completely Mat gave up. “We’ll have to stop by the Healing Springs on our way home. Want something from the Café?”

      “Yay!” Splat cheered, doing a limpy hop past Sparkles hiding place.

      “Stop bouncing! That’s how you hurt yourself to begin with.”

      Soon as they were out of sight Sparkle leaped for the chair the meowclops was hiding under – and missed, hitting his head on the seat. Looking up he was just in time to see the petpets’ tail disappear around yet another corner. With a groan he pulled himself up and chased after it again.

      The halls became more crowded as they drew closer to the supply deck. People from all over Neopia pushed and crowded each other. Sparkles feet ached. His voice grew hoarse asking for help. A few pets tried: and either ran into each other or missed completely.

      By now the meowclops’ fur stood on end, its large eye wide with fear. Looking for a quick escape it ran through a door labeled ‘employees only’ next to the Space Petpets shop.

      Taking a deep breath Sparkle went in after it. What he saw surprised him. Cages stacked upon cages of petpets and petpetpets filled half the room. Not just space petpets, but other petpets from all over Neopia stared at Sparkle as he crept past.

      Beyond the cages the room wasn’t very big at all. The last few feet of the wall Sparkle was next to ended in a floor to ceiling window that curved clear around the rear wall. The wall opposite Sparkle was filled with cabinets and control panels. In the middle of the room stood an odd machine. Looking something like the labray, it was painted green and looked a lot scarier. Its tip pointed towards Neopia outside the window.

      Somebody with a deep voice was talking loudly across the room; giving technical orders Sparkle didn’t understand. None of it sounded good. Whoever he was, he was wearing a black cape, and was much taller than the green Grundos busily rushing about to complete their tasks.

      Sparkle finally spotted the meowclops hiding behind a toolbox in one of the upper cabinets, licking in between its toes. Gross! How did it get up there? The eventide Zafara thought as he ducked behind a crate for a closer look. A chair hovered next to the control panel. The meowclops must have jumped up from there. Question was how to get to it without the small Grundos, or their boss, noticing.

      “Hurry up!” The boss was saying. “Lets get this ray operational again! It needs to be working by the time Faerieland comes back into view.”

      Faerieland? Who is this guy? Sparkle slowly peaked over the edge of the crate, trying to catch a glimpse of the boss’ face. Standing on tiptoe Sparkles tail accidentally swept a steel bolt across the floor and into the window. It hit against the glass with a sharp ping.

      The Grundos boss turned toward the sound. “Anyone else hear that?” He demanded, looking around. Sparkle held his breath. With eyes closed and ears perfectly still he let himself blend into the night sky.

      “No, Sir.” One of the Grundos replied. The machine hummed. “We are now operational.”

      “Faerieland will be coming into view in a minute, Sir.” Another Grundo stated.

      Having seen only the crate and a bunch of stars the boss grinned, turning back to them. “Perfect!” Sparkle opened his eyes just in time to see it was Dr. Sloth. “Soon all neopets will become petpets, and faeries into blinking piles of sludge! Muahahaha!”

      Sparkle snuck back behind the petpet cages and slowly edged his way around the room. With everyone else’s eyes glued to the planet, nobody saw him coming up behind them. He hoped he would remain unseen as he edged around the machine. But when meowclops saw Sparkle coming he instantly arched his back and hissed with his whole tail fluffed out.

      Sloth turned toward the sound. “Hey! What are you doing?” He yelled, turning toward the Zafara. Sparkle ducked just as the meowclops sailed out of the cabinet with a horrible yowl right onto Dr. Sloths head. “Ow! Get it off!” He cried, throwing the petpet onto the machine. Without thinking Sparkle jumped after it. The machine groaned under his weight, tipping to point up at the ceiling

      “Where’d he go??” Sloth screamed, inadvertently hitting the button to fire. The ray shot off a ball of light. Which bounced off the metallic ceiling and back onto the machine. The resulting explosion echoed throughout the Space Station. The meowclops was already a rocket out the door with Sparkle close behind him.

      Sloth followed a few seconds later. Smoke billowed around him. His hair singed. Scratches covered one side of his face. If he ever wanted to look frightening it was huge improvement from looking like a green peadackle. “Get them!” He yelled over the fire alarm as he gave chace.

      Confounded petpet! Sparkle thought, dodging lasers from Sloth’s virtublaster 5000. Neopets and owners alike dove for cover as he ran by. Turning the corner under a sign for the recreation deck he hid in the archway to the Hanger.

      Glancing around Sparkle noticed the door across the hall lead to the Space Battledome. Figures. It was too late now. Sloth came to a stop right in front of it. Breathing deeply, he stretched a bit as he looked around.

      Sparkle tried to think. Glancing inside the hanger he found a few games. All had long lines. Several green Grundos emerged from the other hall to the supply deck and began searching the crowd.

      Sloth, meanwhile, was blasting the Splat-a-Sloth game to pieces. “Wherever you are, you’ll regret this!”

      Seizing his chance Sparkle ran for the Grundo Café. If he could just find Mat they could escape and look for the petpet later. Sloth spotted him and began shooting. Sparks flew around from his missed shots. Hopping he had enough speed Sparkle jumped in such a way as to slide across the floor under the Evil Fuzzles From Beyond The Stars viewing window.

      Robot fuzzles of multiple colors flew out the window soon as shot from Sloth’s blaster hit it. Their long fur blew behind them as they hopped forward. Large eyes glowing bright red. Toes curling backwards with each jump. Yips and shouts from mouths big as their heads echoed across the deck. “Yabba, yabba!” They repeated hopping over and around everything in their path.

      Sloth, furious with the swarm blocking his way, began shooting the furry robots heading towards him. Each machine the blaster struck simply fell over, its feet mindlessly trying to jump in place. But the more shots Sloth fired the more the fuzzles were drawn to the blasters power.

      A minute later he panicked. Throwing his hands in the air Sloth ran screaming back down the hall. Dozens of fuzzles following close behind. One red fuzzle jumped high above the rest yelling “Woohoo!” among all the Yabbas rushing through the hall. Soon there were only a few fuzzles here and there hopping around the deck.

      Sparkle sat up next to a wall of the Groudo Café. At first he breathed a sigh of relief. Sloth was gone – but so was the meowclops. What was he going to tell Mat?

      Suddenly Mat came out the café door. “Sparkle? You ok?” He looked relived when the Zafara nodded. “What in Neopia did you do to Sloth?”

      Sparkle poured out the whole story. At first Mat was surprised, but the more he listened the more he couldn’t keep from laughing.

      Suddenly the Space Faerie appeared floating across the deck towards them. She did not look happy. In her arms she held a grey meowclops. “Is this yours?”

      Mat groaned a yes as he took it from her.

      “He has caused extreme chaos throughout the Space Station.” Then she smiled. “But we are grateful Sloth has been foiled. A dimensional paintbrush has been added to your inventory.” With that she vanished.

      Mat stood holding tightly onto the meowclops, staring at where the faerie had been. “Wow. Neither of you want to be dimensional, right?” When both pets shook their heads he grinned. “We’re going to the Auction House!” Then he gave the meowclops to Sparkle. “I was going to sell it, but I think you earned him.”

      “Cool!” Splat exclaimed, dancing next to them. “What are you going to name him?”

      “Chaos seems to be a good fit.” He looked up at Mat. “Could paint him starry?”

      “Sure.” Mat shrugged as he pulled a faerie travel map of Neopia out of his pocket. "Let's see if there’s one for sale at the Auction House.”

      The End.

 
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