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Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)

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Week 960
You are on Week 961
Week 962

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Nine Hundred Sixty One Ends Friday, March 22

There are many who heed the call of space exploration, to seek out what lies beyond the stars, to map out the missing pieces of the cartographer's table, to carve a legend in their name; whether it be for glory, wealth, or even just an explorer's heart beating in their chest.

That did not apply to this one particular Grundo.

No, it was just another day for Darzix, a young Green Grundo who had grown up in Virtupets Station, in comfortable times long after Sloth's defeat. He had a spaceship of his own and a job: to travel to Neopia and obtain supplies for the renowned Grundo Warehouse. It was a very ordinary job.

There were no "space adventures" here-- no Mutant mutinies, no Snailien infestations, no rogue AI takeovers, and he preferred it that way! Who would want to deal with an adult space fungus, anyway? He enjoyed his predictability, his routine in both work and life and never understood why anyone would have a burning desire to put themselves in danger for something like "riches" or "glory". That all said, adventure doesn't necessarily ask for permission before it comes knocking on your airlock door...

Darzix let out a miserable groan as he lifted his head from the control panel of his ship. Flashing red and orange warnings blinked in astoundingly bright lights that caused him to wince. He rubbed his aching head and thought back to moments before. He gathered that he was knocked briefly unconscious by a sudden, violent jolt on one of his ordinary transport trips.

A violent jolt... That's right! He had narrowly dodged some space debris flying straight at him, and it clipped one of his thrusters and sent him off course!

He looked back down at the control panel which read....

Author: kittyko92
Date: Mar 11th
LEFT THRUSTER OFFLINE. EMERGENCY SYSTEM ENGAGED.

Phew. It was going to be OK. This is one of the situations they trained for in pilot school, after all. The emergency system would ensure that with the one remaining thruster, the ship could still dock safely in Neopia.

Of course, he would have to sort out repairs once he landed--a deviation to his routine he didn't look forward to--but it still beat floating around aimlessly in space. Darzix believed he could handle a textbook ship failure with aplomb.

Darzix flicked a couple of controls, and the cabin went quiet, the alarms now silenced. With nothing left to do but wait for autopilot to continue their course, he pondered his situation and his pounding headache. What was the source of that debris? Darzix was not in the least bit curious. In fact, he would rather not know. He much preferred focusing on his routine, and not the anomalous events that disrupted it. But his pilot training taught him that he should monitor for other threats to the ship.

There was a first-aid kit on the ship, he recalled. He moved to the back of the ship to take a tonic for his headache, and as he did so, he opened the window shade to observe his surroundings. What he saw he left him speechless...

Author: spitfyre_momma
Date: Mar 12th
Instead of the familiar expanse of space dotted with distant stars, Darzix saw a series of flashing lights coming from the debris he’d narrowly avoided. The lights pulsed and changed colours, as if they were trying to beckon him to approach. They coaxed him to abandon his job running supplies for the Grundo Warehouse, and explore the debris floating in orbit around Neopia.

But Darzix was a Grundo of habit. One who was content to live out his life following the same routine each week. He wouldn’t be swayed by flashing lights in the galaxy. That would fill what ought to be a mundane life with too much adventure...

The Green Grundo gulped down some of the tonic from his first aid kit to alleviate his headache, and turned to return to the cockpit of his ship. As he made his way through the cargo area, he felt his ship lurch to the side, almost knocking him over. He hurried to the front of the ship and was surprised to see it was slowly moving towards the debris. Lights continued to flicker out in different directions from it. He was also surprised to see that it was not simply mere space debris, but the wreckage of a spacecraft. He was surprised a third time when he looked down at his control panel and saw his autopilot had been overridden.

Instead of the coordinates he had punched in near Neopia Central, was the message, “COME HERE.” Darzix tried to clear the message from the screen multiple times, but it kept popping back up. He even went into the console and turned off the autopilot feature of his ship. He wanted no part in whatever was happening within the wrecked ship, he merely wanted to live his simple life. A new message then popped up on his screen, “HURRY.”

Unable to regain control of his ship, he was no longer able to fly away or signal for help. He sat for a moment contemplating his choices. He could stay in the safety of his ship indefinitely. But for how long, he did not know. “Fine,” he sighed as he grabbed his helmet and made sure to seal it tight against his spacesuit. He exited his ship through the airlock and used the small thrusters on his space suit to guide him to the ruins of the old spacecraft.

As he approached he saw a small airlock open for him to enter. He already regretted leaving his ship, but continued on anyway. Once inside, the door closed behind him and white steam was quickly pumped into the room. His heartbeat quickened as the steam stopped and he heard a loud clunk coming from the door that led into the heart of the ship. As it opened he saw…

Author: sir_serene
Date: Mar 13th
Darzix felt shock flood his system and the distinct dizzying taste of nausea gnawing at the back of his throat. He.. He was having a very hard time understanding what he was looking at. He could recognize the being as a Neopet, another Grundo in fact but...

The figure grunted slightly as they leaned against the door entrance, seemingly hurt but the way their body seemed to almost pulse and shift made figuring out how nearly impossible. They narrowed their eyes slightly towards Darzix and spoke, voice strained and tight. "Quit staring."

Darzix felt himself practically jolt at the order from the being of purple mist and neon outlines. This. Was WAY above his pay-grade, but still, he couldn't help but feel obligated to help. They... Needed help right? Darzix swallowed his unease and took some shaky steps towards the fellow Grundo. (He had to remind himself that this was still a Grundo like him but the thought of what lead to their appearance made his stomach turn-) who in turn nodded and limped their way towards the heart of the ship.

As he followed them, he couldn't help but notice cracks in the ship walls around him. Most of them had been welded over but others seemed to be glowing. He found himself instinctively tightening his spacesuit. The odd Grundo limping on ahead of him sighed.

"...I'm sorry for dragging you into this mess, but I've been drifting out here for-... Honestly I don't even know... You're the first person to have passed close enough to contact for help, so I'm thankful you didn't just bypass my override..."

More and more Darzix was starting to regret not doing exactly that. He just hoped that whatever happened here wouldn't leave him glowing like this strange Grundo who hadn't even introduced themself. He couldn't decide if he was bitter about that, or thankful because it meant he didn't have to share his name either. He barely processed the way the oddity's strained voice continued on.

"... Skipping to the point, this ship is beyond repair and I need to get these weapons to the station if we're going to chase back that overgrown green Chia." That last statement caught Darzix off-guard. He blinked as the thoughts and implication churned in his head. Eventually he spoke, not knowing when he had stopped moving and the odd Grundo had looked back at him with confusion.

"... But, wasn't Dr Sloth was defeated years ago?"

The other Grundo paused and raised a eyebrow that glowed like a tube of neon. "Yeah...? But he's back and personally, I don't want to go back to being one of his experiments..."

Darzix... Wasn't sure what to make of this. He had a feeling he should have memorized his history but even still, there... Was no way... This was impossible wasn't it? Either something horrible had happened without his knowledge or this ship... This Grundo... Had been stranded out here alone for years.

Darzix could do nothing but stand there as he took in this information and struggled to figure out what he should do. The stranger practically bristled.

"Come on! Don't just stand there! I need you to help me move these weapons to your ship!"

After a moment of contemplation, Darzix...

Author: actually_an_octopus
Date: Mar 14th
Put his foot down. If Sloth really was back in action, he needed information before moving forward. Anxiety and confusion welled up inside of him and he couldn’t take it anymore.

“No, I WILL just stand here! I need to know who you are and how you know about Dr. Sloth’s return. I won’t help you until you answer my questions!” the Green Grundo blurted out, leaving an awkward silence in the dilapidated spaceship.

“Well, you don’t have to yell,” the misfit said. “I’m Enar. I used to be a Faerie Grundo. My colour has… changed since Dr. Sloth ran experiments on me. My sparkle turned into a sickening glow, my wings are crippled and twisted, and my body is contorted and weak. I’m sorry. Sometimes I forget that I look like this now…”

“I-I’m sorry,” Darzix said. He felt awful for raising his voice, knowing now what the other Grundo went through. “I’m just a bit baffled by what you’ve said about Dr. Sloth… It’s nice to meet you, Enar. I’m Darzix.”

The pair shook hands.

“It’s incredible to meet you, Darzix. I’m grateful that you answered my message,” Enar said with a crooked smile. “Now, let me inform you about Sloth… Unfortunately, it isn’t good news, but it’s an answer to your questions.”

Enar went on to explain that, before he was an experiment of Dr. Sloth’s, he was one of his most loyal cronies. The previously Faerie Grundo worked himself to the bone, day and night, for the villainous ruler when he was first created. Then, when Dr. Sloth tried to destroy the Grundos of Kreludor, Enar abandoned his leader and fought to stop working for him, but it was no use. Dr. Sloth made Enar into one of his experiments, eventually dumping him on this spacecraft that was meant to self-destruct after its release. Luckily, while the damage was extensive, it did not implode the ship. Enar worked hard to rebuild the communications panel in the ship. He was able to restore both the ability to send local outgoing messages and to connect to Dr. Sloth’s internal messaging system, making him able to see confidential communications. It was through this means that he was able to gather intel on Dr. Sloth’s newest whereabouts.

“So, are we going to move the weapons to your ship or not?” Enar asked after his lengthy explanation.

“Absolutely. Let’s go,” Darzix said, nervously and excitedly agreeing to the most adventurous plan he’s ever participated in…

Author: i_lovee_icecream
Date: Mar 15th
Darzix grunted loudly as he picked up a stack of final cardboard boxes filled to the brim with various blasters and ammo. "So what did you hear on Sloth's internal communication system that has you so worked up?" The Green Grundo panted, struggling with the weight of his heavy haul.

Enar plucked the top box off Darzix's pile to lighten the load before responding. "It's extremely clever and devious," The mutated Grundo warned grimly with a deep sigh. "I overheard that Sloth is planning to tamper with The Secret Lab Ray. Instead of receiving zaps with exciting colour changes or beneficial Battledome statistics, Neopets will have a higher chance of becoming...well, like me."

Enar's eyes brimmed with tears and his shoulders drooped forlornly as he gestured to his contorted wings and scarred skin. "The worst part is, Sloth is well-positioned to get away with this blame-free. Not every zap will be catastrophic so it won't be overly suspicious. But enough will, allowing Sloth to keep experimenting and building his following for whatever he plans next. The Mad Scientist is the perfect scapegoat. That poor, eccentric Scorchio will get blamed for the strange zaps. It's perfectly believable that he could have broken his Lab Ray while tweaking it. The result will be lots of poor Neopets like me who will then be recruited for who knows what kind of dastardly scheme."

Darzix gulped with concern as he set the weapons down. "That is quite a well-thought out plan," he admitted. "But we're only two Grundos strong. And no offense, but your resources are limited," he added, surveying the eclectic, mismatched weapons they had brought over with skepticism.

Enar was not afraid nor intimidated to agree. "You're right of course," he murmured. "We'll need to get back-up for sure. I hate the thought of Sloth continuing his malicious experiments and I won't let what happened to me happen to others. So we don't just need numbers, we need experience. Someone who has a quick and strategic mindset. Someone who has defeated Sloth before. I think we should go see..."

Author: therainbowsheep
Date: Mar 18th
“The Space Faerie!” Darzix blurted out before letting Enar finish. The Space Faerie defeated Dr. Sloth once before, and it was her token that sealed him away during his failed return. This much of history he remembered clearly, and with her power the fight would be over in no time!

“Yeah! That’s what I was… not thinking! Sorry, I mean if we could find her that would be great, but we don’t have the time and resources to search for her right now. I was thinking someone from the Resistance! There must be members still around the station, right?”

Of course Darzix didn’t personally know any of the members, though he had seen some of the more well-known ones at Grundos Cafe before. He thought for a second and said, “When this ship arrives at Virtupets Station let’s go to the Cafe. If no one is there then we’ll ask around. We’ll find someone!”

It wasn’t long before the Station came into sight. Darzix was nervous, and part of him still wished this was just a normal day. He continually reminded himself there wouldn’t be a normal routine to return to if they didn’t stop Dr. Sloth.

When the ship finally landed in the hangar, the unlikely pair made their way toward Grundos Cafe. Darzix pined his hopes on someone being there to help them, or at least point them in the right direction. Enar walked along quietly beside him. He had cloaked himself in an old sheet from the ship, afraid of his strange appearance attracting the unwanted stares of others.

However, as the made their way through the Supply Deck and up to the Recreation Deck, Enar’s eyes lit up in amazement. Forgetting his hesitation, he exclaimed to himself, “Woah! This is the Station! There’s...there’s so much! All my life with Dr. Sloth, the experiment rooms, then that broken ship... This is incredible! What!? What are they doing over there?" Enar momentarily forgot their mission and ran over to watch the Gormball match. Darzix could not help but feel sorry for him, to think his whole world had been so confined up until now.

"Hey, when this is all over let’s play a game of Gormball. It’s easy, I can teach you! And you know, I’ve saved up a lot from my job at the Grundo Warehouse... I never go anywhere so the Neopoints are just sitting in my bank... I can umm get you a Faerie Paintbrush..."

Suddenly Darzix felt a bit embarrassed about everything he was saying. Truthfully, he didn’t have many friends, or well any friends at all. He had kept to his routine all these years: working, eating, sleeping and repeating everything again day after day. He loved his routine and it brought him a simple kind of happiness; however, seeing Enar’s excitement at a game of Gormball stirred something in him. He had taken the peace and comfort of his home for granted up until now. After dealing with Dr. Sloth, he decided he would do more with his life, but the endless possibilities frightened him. He would start small, like a vacation for a few days and then work up from there.

Enar looked at him and smiled, his eyes full of gratitude. "Thank you again for everything… Let’s not forget we still have work to do." The two laughed and regained their focus. Dr. Sloth was still out there and they needed to find help to stop him.

When they entered the popular establishment, Darzix looked around and to his relief saw a Blue Grundo sitting alone in the back. He had his head down and there was an unassuming air about him; still, there was no mistaking him. Right away Darzix recognized the Grundo as the hero Gorix who had saved the station years before. He couldn’t believe his luck, and he also couldn't believe he was about to walk up to this renowned hero and tell him Dr. Sloth was back.

“That Blue Grundo over there is from the Resistance. We need to choose our words carefully.” Instead of discussing what they would say as Darzix hoped, Enar walked straight ahead and breathlessly explained everything that had happened. Working for Dr. Sloth, the experiments, the ship, the Lab Ray - all of it out in a few minutes.

Gorix, though taken aback at first, listened intently to the story. When Enar finished there was a long pause: Gorix stared straight ahead lost in thought, Enar was panting for breath, and Darzix nervously shuffled his feet.

After what seemed liked an eternity, Gorix finally looked up and said…

Author: ningkov1
Date: Mar 19th
“We need to act swiftly,” he began, his voice low but firm. “Dr. Sloth’s return isn’t just a threat to Neopia; it’s a threat to the entire galaxy. We must assemble a team, but not just any team—a group of individuals with unique skills and unwavering courage. We’ll need to reach out to old allies and perhaps forge new ones along the way.”

Darzix nodded, his usual apprehension replaced by a newfound resolve. He knew that his ordinary life was about to change dramatically, but the safety of his home and fellow Neopians was at stake. “I’m with you,” he said, his voice steady. “Let’s start by contacting the Defenders of Neopia. They’ve dealt with threats like this before.”

Enar, still draped in the tattered sheet, looked between the two Grundos, a spark of hope igniting in his eyes. “And I have some contacts that might be useful,” he added, his voice gaining strength. “There are others like me, changed by Sloth’s experiments, who want nothing more than to see him defeated.”

“The Defenders of Neopia? Hahahaha. I don’t know if you’d consider it luck or misfortune, but I heard EVERYTHING you discussed.”

At that moment, Gorix froze in fear. A chill ran down his spine. He turned slowly towards the direction of the voice, and then he realized that the one who had spoken was…

Author: engatti
Date: Mar 20th
Collab with tttxyv

…an unassuming intercom on the Cafe wall.

“Let me assure you that His Grand Majesty, Lord Sloth, will hear of your disobedience!” the voice continued. A staticky peal of laughter poured forth from the intercom. “Resistance is futile!”

Darzix and Enar exchanged looks as the speaker continued to boast of Dr. Sloth’s eminence. “Shall we make our escape?” Gorix whispered. “If we’re quiet, I doubt the boastful one will even know we’ve left.”

Enar nodded, eyes glimmering with hope. “Let’s go.”

At Enar’s response, Gorix nodded to an unassuming hatch in the wall, which opened neatly to reveal a hidden passage through the depths of the Space Station.

'This is NOT what I signed up for,'Darzix thought with a gulp. But before he could protest, Enar was making his way into the neon-lit corridor, leaving the delivery Grundo no choice but to follow into the unknown…

***

“…Shall we follow them, sir?” The voice belonged to Esterhazy, Sloth’s impeccably obedient right-hand Grundo. Obedient, and well-dressed – much like Dr. Sloth, Esterhazy’s idol.

Esterhazy was currently sitting before the space station’s sizable control panel, exultant at having successfully intercepted the rebels’ conversation via the ship’s bidirectional intercom. "I see them escaping right now over the security feeds. They'll be out of camera view soon."

Sloth grinned from behind his tented fingers. “Let them run. We shall commence Phase B of the plan immediately — even their grandest efforts will crumple feebly before the might of Transmogs 2.0.”

Esterhazy swiveled in his seat, keying his credentials into the console. There was a beep as the screen booted up. “I await your command, Your Excellency.”

“Chart our course to the Secret Lab Ray at once,” Sloth commanded. As a means of assuring his underling, he added, “It should be a simple matter of locating the coordinates on our treasure map, so I anticipate you can handle this task.”

Esterhazy’s confidence faded as the console flickered on. “Erm… sir…”

Sloth narrowed his eyes in disgust, as though staring at a salted Slorg. “You do know where this ‘Secret Lab Ray’ is located, yes?”

“Your Grand Vileness… about that…” Esterhazy glanced at the console, where an electronic rendition of a three-by-three map was displayed. Notably, all nine of the map pieces were absent.

“Out with it, Esterhazy!”

“…There appears to be a server error with the Secret Laboratory Map display, sir.”

Dr. Sloth groaned. “Backups, Esterhazy, backups! How many times must I tell you? Back. Up. Everything!” The Grand Overlord of The Known Universe shook his head, palm pressed against his forehead. “Establish a connection to The Shop Wizard,” he commanded at last. “We will simply rebuy the pieces that you have so ineptly lost. After all, our wealth is so vast in its extremity that no price could deter our scheme.”

Even as he smiled and nodded his agreement, Esterhazy released a nervous laugh. “Well, your Vast Intellectualness… the prices are… also quite vast. Not to say that Your Majesty’s coffers are not suitable to the task, not at all, but in the interest of frugality…”

“Cease your yammering.” In a moment, Sloth leaned over the console to inspect Esterhazy’s Shop Wizard query results. There was a long pause at His Great Lordship tabulated the cost of a complete map set. Esterhazy held his breath.

“ESTERHAZY, YOU IMBECILE!” Sloth roared at last.

***

Several hours on Neopia (and a woefully-dented net worth) later, Dr. Sloth and his faithful right-hand Grundo Esterhazy made landfall on the shores to the Secret Lab, sights set on nothing short of Transmogrification 2.0 for all of Neopia.

As the pair stepped out into unfamiliar environs, squinting at the sunlight reflected off the ocean’s rolling waves, Esterhazy spied a well-fortified metal hatch in the distant sand, and pointed it out with much elation. “Your Most Eminent Lordship, that must be the Lab entrance!”

“I have eyes too, Esterhazy!” retorted Sloth, quickening his pace to lead the way before his fallible minion. “I trust we will not have to expend another ludicrous sum for a laser device to cut our way in?”

“Be assured, sir, that I have prepared a range of devices in advance for that purpose.” As he said this, Esterhazy brandished a formidable laser gun with the words, “Cleaving Beam 3000” printed on its side in a red zigzag font. Then, as if realizing what he held in his possession, he fell to a knee and presented the ray to the All-Knowing Commander of Space. “For you, my lord.”

“Of course it’s for me,” Sloth said with a grin, snatching the device from Esterhazy’s clutches. “Thank you for the gift.” The duo proceeded several minutes further down the beach, at long last reaching the Lab entrance. Esterhazy stood to the side as Sloth prepared the Ray gun, looking on with reverence as his master took a wide stance and activated the beam, preparing to enter the Lab.

***

The Mad Scientist was enjoying a bubbling cup of Moltaran tea when the terminus of a laser beam appeared on the other side of the Lab kitchen, searing a hole in the middle of the wall clock he still hadn’t gotten around to setting forward an hour.

“I’ll be zapped where I stand,” the Scorchio muttered, taking another sip. “Looks like a Cleaving Beam 3000.” One of my finer creations, if I don’t say so myself. Though the 5000 model has a certain charm to it as well.

He watched, leaned back in his seat, as the beam moved in a downward arc, searing thrifted wall decorations and photographs he’d taken at the grand opening of his colleague Kooky’s Petpet Lab Ray. Truly a wonderful mind behind that Kookith, he mused, rising from his seat to step nimbly over the traveling laser beam. He gulped down the remainder of his tea, set his “World’s Best Mad Scientist” mug on the counter, and turned to look curiously at the source of the beam, spiraled eyes homing in on the entrance hatch, which now sported a vaguely-circular hole.

“Most excellent, your Indomitable Eminence,” a muffled voice issued from behind the door. “Your laser work is as profound as ever.”

“I appreciate your grovelling, Esterhazy, but now’s not the time,” came another muffled voice, this one deeper and more authoritative. “Do you wish to alert the entire Lab to our presence?”

“Please pardon my insolence, Most Benevolent One, but… I think the laser might have done that for us already.”

“It is no matter,” the deeper voice was saying, until the Mad Scientist pressed a button on the wall to activate the Gravity Nullifier 7000 he’d just had installed, sending the slab of lasered metal hurtling across the room like an arrow.

Thus were Sloth and Esterhazy revealed mid-argument, the latter looking with wide eyes at the disheveled Scorchio before them. “May I help you?” inquired the Mad Scientist, madly.

To that, Sloth elbowed Esterhazy, muttering, “Set the Cleaving Beam to ‘stun’ for me.” After a moment’s fiddling by Esterhazy, Sloth pointed the ray gun at The Mad Scientist. “You can help us… by getting out of the way. I have a planet to conquer.”

***

Gorix, Darzix, and Enar met with the other members of The Resistance in their war room.

"Finally, we have a specimen!" Gorix announced with a wide grin as he took Enar's hand to shake and subsequently throw into the air. The room applauded and Enar felt very self-conscious.

"We've known for a while about Dr. Sloth's 'Transmogs 2.0', from some documents on The Resistance's VirtuLeaks exchange," Cylara commented, her expression neutral. "Sloth's been developing them in secret for a while, since he escaped containment..." The Cybunny trailed.

"Alas," continued Haryt, a Kyrii who seemed to be The Resistance's chief scientist. "We have no idea for what purpose Dr. Sloth has been creating TM2s, but we think it may have to do with making and growing a sleeper army. Nonetheless, part of why we're so unsure is because The Resistance has not before had one we could, ahem, analyze." He grinned, sheepishly yet calculating.

Enar grimaced. "Really? More tests?"

"To understand what you're capable of, and how we can best use that knowledge to stop Dr. Sloth, yes," Gorix interjected swiftly and empathetically. "But also, hopefully, to learn how to reverse you and turn you back to a faerie Grundo." He smiled. "It will not be quite so easy as simply applying a Paintbrush."

Enar felt a bit more relieved, but still wasn't happy about the situation. "And how did you not find another Transmog 2.0 before me?" he asked incredulously. "I've been sending that distress signal for months. I said I had contacts--"

"We, er, think Dr. Sloth has been silently 'eliminating' his experiments..." trailed Kyna, a faerie. She was the Space Faerie's apparent protégé, filling in for Mira while the Space Faerie spent time exploring deep space, searching for trouble, knowledge, and gifts for Kari. "So if you have contacts, great, but don't be surprised if--"

"In all fairness," Darzix interrupted, wanting to spare his transformed new friend the explicit news, "delivery drivers live hyper focused, non-adventurous lives. So it's not surprising none stopped to find you." He offered an awkward chuckle.

Enar had to slightly smile at that.

"We've made contact with The Defenders," an Alien Aisha announced, to general cheers from The Resistance.

Aisheena appeared on the big screen in The Resistance's war room. She explained that Dr. Sloth's heat signature was detected entering Neopia's airspace, but quickly lost as the ship entered cloaking mode.

The mood in the room was tense, until Enar blurted out, "The Lab Ray! He HAS to be going there. I know Dr. Sloth, I've seen some of the encrypted logs... He was planning to set the ray from random Transmogs to ALL Transmogs. He must have moved Phase B of the plan up since my discovery was made known."

"Then there truly ISN'T much time," Aisheena finished, a touch hastily. "Gorix, send your best fighters immediately to the Lab Ray. We'll meet you there. The maps are down due to a server error but we'll send you our saved backup coordinates." She grinned and clapped her paws cutely together. "Always back up everything!"

"Affirmative," Gorix replied with a salute before the communication channel ended.

Enar took a deep breath, mustering his courage, and turned to Haryt. "Run your tests. Dissect me if you have to. Just... Find. An. Antidote. Don't let Sloth build up his army." He gave a resolute expression, and forced a smile.

Haryt grinned, genuinely touched. "To my Lab, then, beautiful creature!"

"And we'll head to the Secret Lab," Gorix finished as he downloaded the coordinates into his ship. "Cylara, Kyra, come along with me." He looked toward Darzix and grinned. "Darzix, are you in, too...?"

How will this story end?

Author: rielcz
Date: Mar 21st
Darzix hesitated. He wasn't a fighter, but seeing Enar's bravery and the weight of the state of affairs, he squared his shoulders. "I'm in" he stated with newfound determination.

Enar braced himself for the unusual machines Haryt had lined up, a hollow feeling tightening his belly. There would be no antidote, it seemed. Just a determined gamble towards a ticking clock.

Meanwhile, at the Secret Lab, the fight raged on. Gorix, Cylara, Kyra, and Darzix, sponsored by way of a contingent of Defenders led by Aisheena, battled Sloth's mutant hordes. Beams of light clashed with metal clangs, the pristine Lab floor plagued by sparking wires and groaning machinery.

"Push them back!" Gorix roared, his voice hoarse. He landed a effective kick on a hulking mutant Krawk, sending it sprawling.

Cylara weaved through the chaos, her ray gun a blur as it disarmed Sloth's robotic minions. "We must reach the control panel!" she yelled, gesturing closer to the valuable console behind which Sloth and Esterhazy cackled maniacally.

Darzix, ever the strategist, surveyed the scene. "We're outnumbered" he stated, his voice desperate. "We need a diversion!"

Suddenly, Enar's voice crackled over their communications channel, strong and determined. "I actually have an concept! But it will require all my consciousness."

Hope surged through Gorix. "Do it!"

Back at the Resistance base, Enar channeled the last vestiges of his Faerie magic. It was a draining maneuvre, fueled by a burning choice to help. With a targeted cry, he overloaded the Resistance's communications network, sending a surge of electro-power specifically targeted towards the Secret Lab's control panel.

The impact changed in an instant. The Lab shuddered, a blinding light engulfing the room. For a horrifying moment, the whole thing went dark.

Then, a wave of power erupted outwards, pulsating thru Virtupets. On the battlefield, the combatants froze in fear, a glance of shock plastered on their faces. A ripple of light washed over them, and... Nothing. Despair flickered across their faces. Had they failed?

But then, a miracle. The mutant capabilities of Sloth's military started to recede. Stray fur receded, scales vanished, robot limbs clattered to the floor. One by one, the Transmog 2.0 victims returned to normal appearances. Cheers erupted from the Defenders' ranks, tears of alleviation streaming down Pets' faces.

The heroes converged in the Lab, cautious but successful. They observed Sloth and Esterhazy fuming, their nefarious plans foiled once again. The Transmog 2.0 gadget lay disabled, its control panel flickering inconsistently.

"What have you done?!" Sloth roared, his voice laced with frustration. "Esterhazy, unhand me! We have to escape and formulate a new plan for domination..."

Esterhazy, relieved to be returned to his original Grundo shape, rolled his eyes. "We'll get you every other growth component, Your Excellency. Though, I daresay, this size does have its advantages. Less conspicuous, you see."

Dr. Sloth, still fuming however substantially smaller thanks to Enar's intervention, glared at his assistant. "Silence, you overgrown bowling pin! We'll have our revenge! This isn't over!" With that, Esterhazy scooped up the disgruntled scientist and made a hasty retreat, their shouts of vengeance fading off into the distance...

The heroes of Neopia stood amidst the wreckage of the Lab, a sigh of relief escaping their lips. They had won, and Enar, susceptible but alive, emerged from the Resistance base to celebrate with them. His sacrifice and his bravery had saved the day and all of Neopia.

The End.

Author: engatti
Date: Mar 22nd



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