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Lever of Doom


by extreme_fj0rd

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The four pets stood and stared at the sign. It read "DO NOT PULL", but at the moment it was "OT PULL", as it was partially covered by another sign. That one bore the legend "Out of Service. Please Come Back Later" and was attached to the wall with three pieces of clear tape.

      One of the pets, a faerie Wocky, smirked. "There you go. Out of service. Now let's go back and meet Fj0rd at Grundo's Cafe before she takes it into her head that we've been petnapped by Sloth."

      Yotaria glared at her brother. "Yrael, just because you don't like exciting things doesn't mean we all do. Don't. Do. Whatever."

      "Oh, the horror," Yrael said, rolling his eyes. "I'm simply quaking in terror before your awful lack of fashion sense."

      The Disco Kau stuck her tongue out at Yrael and turned back to the lever. "Well?" she said. "Do we pull it anyway?"

      "Sure," said a third pet, a Sketch Kiko. "Why not."

      "I don't know..." McCandry trailed off, shrugging as her siblings looked at her. "Who's to say what it could do?"

      "We know what it does," Yotaria informed her younger sister. "It takes a hundred Neopoints from you."

      "Yes, but it's out of order," the trenchcoated Zafara pointed out.

      "True.." The Kau looked back at the lever thoughtfully.

      "Let's just pull the thing!" said the Kiko. He floated forward and yanked the lever down.

      "Lyrian-" all of his siblings started saying.

      A mechanical hand shot out from a panel. Lyrian jumped back, but it was too late; the hand had already snuck its way into the bag of Neopoints he carried. It retracted quickly and quietly into its place; the panel closed behind it.

      Lyrian stuck his own hand into the bag and felt around inside it; then he dumped the contents on the ground. "Four hundred fifty, four hundred sixty," he counted, and bobbed around to look at his siblings. "It only took fifty Neopoints!"

      "Yahoo," said Yrael in a monotonous voice. He yawned expansively. "Let's go tell the Neopian Times or someone."

      "But-it's meant to take a hundred Neopoints!" Yotaria said. "That can't be right!" She plopped down and counted Lyrian's Neopoints; coming up with the same total, she sighed and swept the coins back into the bag.

      "We should go tell someone," Lyrian said. "We should give them the other fifty Neopoints."

      Yotaria nodded. "After all, we thought it'd steal a hundred Neopoints. It's only fair that we go give them the rest."

      "Okay," McCandry said. "Let's go!"

      Lyrian, clutching the sack of Neopoints, floated cautiously down to the next side corridor. "Empty," he reported; Yotaria and McCandry followed stealthily.

      Yrael glanced over his shoulder, back towards Grundo's Cafe, where Fj0rd waited. Then, sighing, he jumped into the air, wings beating, and flew after his siblings.

      "Hello!"

      The Grundo behind the desk shook his head and kept writing. "Doctor Sloth is not in at the moment, may I take a message?"

      "No, we don't want to talk to Dr. Sloth," Yotaria said. "Where do we pay?"

      His head came up. "Pay? Pay what?"

      "Oh, we pulled the Lever of Doom and it only stole fifty Neopoints," the Kau said, pointing to the bag of Neopoints Lyrian was carrying. "So we thought it'd be a good idea to give you the rest."

      The poor Grundo seemed quite confused. "It stole less than it was supposed-I mean, it stole less than you thought it would?"

      "Yes," said Lyrian, bobbing in the air.

      "And you want to... pay the other half?"

      "Precisely!"

      The Grundo blinked, now even more bewildered. "Why don't you just keep the Neopoints?"

      "Oh, that wouldn't be fair at all!" Lyrian said. "We want our money's worth of... of..."

      "Lever-of-Doom-ness!" Yotaria put in.

      "Right," the Kiko said. "Lever-of-Doom-Ness"

      The Grundo nodded slowly. "Um... why don't you just go down that hall there. Third door on the right. It's my boss's office-maybe he'll know where you should go."

      "Okay!" Yotaria said. She trotted off; Lyrian floated after her, and McCandry followed. Yrael shook his head and padded softly down the hall to follow them.

      "You want to.... what?"

      The Grundo's boss-another Grundo-was as confused as the first had been.

      "Get our money's worth from the Lever of Doom," McCandry said brightly.

      "Oh. Um." He glanced around.

      Yrael smirked at the Grundo's discomfort. "Why don't you just tell us who we can go to, and we can go give them the money," he suggested.

      "Or I could just take it," the Grundo offered, obviously meaning to take the money and never tell anyone.

      "No, I don't think that would be a good idea," Yotaria said. "Come on, you guys. Let's go find the right person to give it to."

      McCandry and Lyrian nodded. Yrael gave her a small, ironic salute with one paw, then trooped out after the others. He glanced over his shoulder as he left, to see the Grundo returning to his paperwork.

     "Knock, knock!" Yotaria called. No one answered. She flung the door open wide, striking a pose straight from NeoFu. Behind her, Lyrian made a gun shape with his paws; McCandry did the same on the other side. Yrael stalked into the room and surveyed the situation. A dozen Grundos, scared out of their wits, huddled against their computer terminals.

      "I don't think this is the place," McCandry whispered.

      "Okay, now all you Grundos-just, er, forget we were ever here. Right?"

      "Right," the Grundos chorused.

      Yrael flew out, followed by his siblings.

      Next door. Next room. Same deal.

      "Anyone here the one who empties the NP thing for the Lever of Doom?" Yotaria called. Mutterings, shaking of heads. "Okay!"

      Next room. Next door. Next corridor. Endless brushed-steel hallways, countless doors that made a nice "sloosh" sound when opened.

      "Knock, kno-"

      Yrael dived down and clamped a paw over Yotaria's mouth. A voice echoed from behind the door, and even through the door, it was recognizably Sloth's.

      "I bet he's the one we have to give the NP to," Yotaria whispered. It was muffled by Yrael's paw. She bit him.

      The Wocky yowled with pain.

      The door opened.

      "Well, well," said Dr. Frank Sloth, coming around his desk. "Four little Neopets. How delightful."

      "Er-really, we were just going-it's just that... er..." Yotaria cast about for an answer.

      Yrael reached over and yanked the bag of Neopoints from Lyrian's hand; the Kiko protested loudly, but Yrael simply dug out a fifty-NP coin. He gave the bag back to Lyrian and fluttered over to the Doctor.

      "The Lever of Doom charged us too few Neopoints," he told Sloth; then, turning back to the doorway, "Let's go, guys!"

      They ran, choosing hallways at random. More than a few times they hit dead ends, only to turn again and pick a different one.

      "Grundo's... Cafe..." Yotaria panted. "There!"

      And, indeed, there was Grundo's Cafe. Fj0rd was standing near the entrance.

      "Where were you guys?" she asked indignantly. "I was about to assume you were petnapped by Dr. Sloth!"

      Yotaria shrugged as she slid to a halt. "Just... running around," she said casually.

      Fj0rd sighed. "Well, at least you're here now. We have to go, or we'll miss our flight back to Neopia Central!"

      "More running?" the Kau said, and sighed.

      "Not running, exactly. But we do have to hurry." Fj0rd set off, and they followed. Their path took them past the Lever of Doom; a Grundo was standing by it, taking down the "Out of Order" sign.

      "Just a sec, Fj0rd," McCandry said. Fj0rd turned, and stared as all her pets headed for the Lever.

      "What're you doing?"

      "Taking down the sign," the Grundo said. "It was fixed a bit ago, but we didn't get around to taking this down 'til just now."

      "Oh." Yotaria blinked.

      "When was it fixed?" Lyrian asked, eager to know.

      "Oh, about two hours ago, maybe? It was taking a hundred Neopoints before that, so we had to put up the sign. When it was designed, it was only meant to take fifty," the Grundo said apologetically. "Were you some of the ones who got a hundred taken?"

      Yotaria, McCandry, and Lyrian were at a loss for words.

      "Something like that," said Yrael, and grinned.

The End

All events and characters are fictitious or used fictitiously. Yes, that does mean that you can't sue me because the Lever of Doom just took a hundred NP from you. Sorry.

 
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