Ylana Skyfire Saves Halloween
Ylana Skyfire stalked down the streets of Neopia Central, blaster at the ready. "That stupid Alien Aisha is going to pay for making me come all the way to this backwater planet," the lanky blue Acara grumbled under her breath. "Especially because everyone seems to have gone mad. Well, madder than usual."
She’d heard stories about how strange a place Neopia was - filled with magic and happy families and faeries who sent Neopets on fetch quests – but something seemed even more off this chilly autumn night. For some reason, the inhabitants of this world had decided to carve ghoulish faces into orange gourds and then place flames inside, and use them as decorations outside their houses. And everyone wore a disguise. Children shrieked and laughed as they ran from door to door, clutching pails and pillowcases with their parents close at hand.
Ylana pinched the bridge of her nose. Of all the places Farlax V could have chosen to run, why here?
Finally she could take the nonsense no longer. She grabbed the shoulder of a passing green Lupe, stopping him in his tracks. "Hey," she said. "Have you seen an Alien Aisha around here? My sensors indicate he should be in the vicinity."
The portly Lupe, who wore cardboard armour and a long grey wig, looked her up and down for a moment. "Whoa, epic costume!" he said. "You look just like Ylana Skyfire!"
Ylana gritted her teeth. "I am Ylana Skyfire."
"Yeah, and I’m King Altador, bruh!" the Lupe said, pointing proudly to his armour. "And I’ve seen like five Alien Aishas already tonight. It’s a pretty popular costume choice this year."
"You’d know Farlax V if you saw him," Ylana said. "He’s one of the galaxy’s most notorious criminals, infamous for multiple attempts at planetary takeover right under Dr. Sloth’s nose. He escaped from a Virtupets prison world and they hired me to bring him back."
"Niiiice backstory!" the Lupe said. "Which comic series did you get that from? The Adventures of Ylana Skyfire? #32 comes out next week! So pumped!" he squealed.
"What in all the galaxy is going on?" Ylana asked. "You’re acting like fools."
"It’s Halloween, man!" the Lupe said. "Only the best part of the whole month of Collecting!" He held up a sagging pillowcase. "Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more trick-or-treating to do. You’re never too old!" he barked as he ran to the nearest doorstep, tail wagging as he stood eagerly behind a group of children.
Ylana just stared at him for a moment. Then she shook her head and kept going.
By the time she reached the next street she began to hear screams. She was about ready to write it off as part of this ridiculous "Halloween" thing as well, until she saw the laser blasts. Then she started running.
"Oh, it’s horrible!" a teenage Xweetok dressed like Sakhmetian royalty wailed, her golden jewelry jangling as she stumbled toward Ylana. "Some weirdo dressed like an Alien Aisha’s taken over the haunted house! He’s spouting something about world domination and how they’ll never catch him… but most importantly he stole everyone’s candy!" Collapsing at the Acara’s feet, the Xweetok grabbed Ylana’s long scarf like a lifeline. "Halloween is ruined!"
Ylana coolly removed the Xweetok’s hands from her scarf, eyelids lowered. "Guess I’ve found my target," she said as she stepped away.
"Oh, someone do something!" the Xweetok cried.
"I am doing something!" Ylana snapped as she sprinted away.
When the Xweetok mentioned something about a haunted house, Ylana was expecting a decrepit ruin, but instead the laser blasts came – and everyone was running - from a warehouse that had been garishly decorated with orange and black streamers and balloons. A banner that said "Haunted House of Fun!" drooped sadly to one side.
Suddenly a familiar figure in a space helmet emerged on the rooftop. "Foolish Neopians!" Farlax V cackled. "Your pathetic festivities were all too easy to ruin! And your candy was delicious!"
"Hold it right there, slimebrain!" Ylana said, leveling her blaster at him. A breeze picked up, making her scarf trail behind her dramatically.
Farlax froze. "Ylana Skyfire! How did you find me?!"
"The laser blasts and screaming civilians always give you away," Ylana said.
"Hmm, fair point," Farlax said. "But you won’t stop me this time! Because I have harnessed the power of… black-and-orange peanut butter candies!" From behind him rose an enormous blaster cannon. The barrel glowed, and then the terrible weapon shot down a rain of generic, ubiquitous confections. "Nobody likes those!" he roared with glee.
"Grooooossss!" wailed the Xweetok from earlier, who had returned for some unfathomable reason. "Couldn’t it at least have been Neodrops? At least those come in multiple flavours!" She batted the unwanted candies away from herself frantically.
Ylana rolled her eyes. "I guess that means you’re not coming quietly," she said to Farlax, ignoring the candy bouncing off of her armour and helmet as she trained her blaster on him.
The Alien Aisha recoiled. "I don’t understand! Why isn’t it affecting you?!"
"Because it’s candy, you dolt," Ylana said. She squeezed the trigger.
A ray of stun energy burst from the weapon and hit Farlax square in the chest. He let out a few incomprehensible syllables as he lost control of his body and his feet fell out from beneath him.
With a sigh of relief that all of this was finally over, Ylana holstered her blaster and got out the net-shooter.
"Dude!" the Lupe dressed like King Altador said. "You saved Halloween!"
"Hooray," Ylana muttered. "Now stand aside, I’m trying to do my job—"
"Three cheers for Ylana Skyfire!" the Lupe said to the crowd that had gathered around them. He thrust his fist in the air and the other Neopets followed suit. "Ylana! Ylana!" they chanted.
"Ylana’s our hero!" the Xweetok said.
For a moment Ylana lowered the net-shooter and looked around at her new fans. Perhaps, she thought, being a hero would be rather nice. It did feel good to have an adoring crowd surrounding her. Maybe heroes got paid a lot.
"Mith Thkyfire!" said a tiny Techo girl in a sparkly purple Fyora dress. "You thaved uth all!" Her two front teeth were missing and she spat slobber with every sentence. With a squeak of joy, the girl clung to Ylana’s leg, getting her sticky, chocolatey hands all over the bounty hunter’s armour.
Ylana cringed and wriggled out of the girl’s grip. Never mind—being a hero was not for her. She couldn’t take any more of this sappy cutesy do-gooder stuff. "Yes, well," she said, "no one else was making the attempt for some reason," she said rather passive-aggressively.
Her sights turned back to Farlax, who was beginning to stir. Clutching the net-shooter in both hands to steady her aim, she fired. A net that fizzled with energy unfurled in midair and wrapped itself around the Alien Aisha, further stunning him. Ylana stowed the weapon and dashed into the warehouse to try to get to the roof.
"Ylana, wait!" the Lupe said. "Come back! Neopia Central needs a hero like you!"
"You need some brains!" Ylana called over her shoulder.
"And just like that, she’s gone," the Xweetok sighed. "What a brave soul. We’ll never forget you, Ylana Skyfire! Or how you saved Halloween!"
Ylana, meanwhile, made a mental note to stay as far away from Neopia as possible from now on.