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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 140 > Short Stories > The Lab Complex

The Lab Complex

by lunagirl52

A brown haired girl stood in front of a shop in a discreet area of Neopia Central, checking a scrap of paper with an address scribbled on it. She looked up and grinned, seeing that she was at the right spot and jammed the paper deep into her jeans pocket and headed towards the shop. A small bell jingled as she pushed the door open, which signaled her arrival. She looked around curiously at the objects lining the shelves, which ranged from a disgusting and vermin infested bowl of lice rice, to a well-made iron Lupe sword in perfect condition. The girl picked up a dusty orb of some sorts and began to rotate it around while examining the object and sneezed, blowing away the dust and causing her to drop it. A frantic attempt caught it before it shattered and the girl placed it back on the shelf. She noted that it was an orb of the Fire Faerie.

     “Can I help you?” a voice asked from behind the girl.

     “I’m looking for a specific piece of the secret lab map,” she said turning around to face the Zafara shopkeeper.

     “We have a few different pieces for sale, follow me and we find the one you need.”

     The girl followed the Zafara to a back room where it pulled out a set of keys and unlocked a cabinet, taking out a stack of maps. The girl sifted through the various pieces of parchment and selected the one she needed turning to the Zafara looking pleased.

     “I’ll take it,” she said.

* * *

“Ridge, get down from there now,” a blue Eyrie said sternly to the Whoot who was clinging to a lamp hanging from the tan colored ceiling.

     To the Whoot stuck it’s tongue out and grimaced.

     “I mean it. Get down here now,” the Eyrie growled, his eyes narrowing dangerously. Torkkin cursed inwardly at the petpet’s impudence. ‘He is asking for it in a big way.’

     A clicking noise from above drew his attention back to the Whoot who was clicking his beak together tauntingly at him. Torkkin was not very pleased for rather apparent reasons and began to beat his large feathered wings, lifting himself off of the floor. The resulting gusts threatened to topple some fragile items and made his efforts cease. Ridge saw this and made a high-pitched warble that sounded suspiciously like a laugh. The Whoot ruffled his brown feathers as he warbled and made them stand up which made him resemble a large ball of fluff in his delight at his owner’s situation. The Eyrie’s hackles stood on end at this humiliation and he was reaching the end of his already frayed patience; what he would give for a ladder.

     “Boo,” a deep and velvety voice said behind Ridge.

     ”Aiieee!” Ridge squealed in surprise as he fell off of the lamp in shock. A ghostly Lupe head had lowered through the ceiling behind him.

     Torkkin dove underneath Ridge and caught the petpet before he hit the floor and held him by the scruff of the neck as he began to struggle. Torkkin looked up at the Lupe and grinned at it in triumph.

     “It’s nice to know that I appear to have some uses around here,” Vrandir said as he dangled a paw through the ceiling.

     “Oh come on, Vrandir, you know you’re useful,” Torkkin said, looking up at the Lupe.

     Vrandir raised an eyebrow.

     “You’re exceedingly good at getting Whoots off of ceiling lamps for one thing,” Torkkin stated.

     Vrandir sighed and phased out and reappeared by Torkkin, the blue flames that surrounded his specter danced over his body softly as he peered at the struggling Whoot.

     “So what exactly do you need him for?” the Lupe asked.

     “He needs a bath,” the Eyrie said eyeing the petpet. “Ridge got into the kitchen and toppled a bag of flour onto himself and I managed to brush most of it off but not all.”

     Torkkin with Vrandir in tow climbed the Neohome’s stairs and made his way down the hall and into the bathroom. The blue tiled room was of decent size with a mismatched set of bathroom appliances. A cloud sink that somehow managed to keep its form, a plain white bathtub, and a spooky toilet that looked like it would bite off the posterior of anyone who dared to sit upon it. The tub was filled with soapy water, that when noticed by Ridge, sent the little creature into a frantic struggle to be free. Just as Torkkin began to drop him into the water, Ridge let out an imploring hoot to his owner.

     “I’m sorry Ridge, I’ll give you a white Weewoo cookie later to make this up to you,” the Eyrie said as he dunked his petpet into the water.

     “I’m back!” a loud voice boomed from downstairs.

     “Sounds like Luna,” Vrandir noted.

     Thumping on the stairs and through the hall told of the owner’s coming. Luna poked her head through the bathroom doorway and grinned.

     “Hi guys,” Luna paused, “why’s Ridge in the tub?” She blinked and then shook her head, “Never mind that. I have some good news.”

     Torkkin looked at Vrandir and then to Ridge, who was sopping wet, before looking back at his owner.

     “And?” he asked.

     “And I bought the last piece I needed for the secret laboratory map!”

     I didn’t know you were even collecting it,” Torkkin said.

     “Hmm, I thought that I had told you. Anyway, I now have the complete set so let’s go!” Luna grabbed her pet by the paw and dragged him down the stairs and out of the house, leaving a wet Ridge, and Vrandir staring after them.

* * *

Torkkin half ran, and was half dragged behind Luna as she sprinted down the streets and turned, glancing occasionally at her map. His blue feathers rippled in waves as the wind streaked over their surface and his long fur whipped about in the breeze. Torkkin looked at Luna who had a look of elation upon her face whenever she looked at her map. Suddenly she came to a halt in front of an old, run down shack with broken windows that had Spyder webs framing them. Luna released her grip on Torkkin’s paw and checked the map.

     “This is the place. Funny, I would have thought that Sloth would have used a more imposing structure for his base of operations,” Luna said as she sized up the shack.

     “Maybe he had some major budget cuts,” Torkkin remarked.

     Luna slowly opened the door to the shack and cringed as the hinges let out a shrill creak. She held it open as Torkkin entered and then let it go with another loud creak. Torkkin looked around at the bare room and turned to his owner with a skeptical look etched on his face.

     “This isn’t much of a laboratory,” he stated.

     “I don’t understand!” Luna cried out in despair and stomped the floor. “It’s supposed to be here!”

     Torkkin was about to comment when the floor began to split and slide apart underneath their feet. The two of them only had time to look at one another as the floor slipped out from underneath them and sent them down into the darkness below. They slid down a strange metallic chute that twisted and turned through the darkness and finally dumped them into an equally dark room with an “oomph!”

     Luna stood up shakily and dusted herself off, “well, as far as I can tell, it’s dark.”

     “I never noticed that,” Torkkin snapped as he pulled off of the floor and began to feel around for a wall when his head hit something hard.

     “Ouch,” he said. “What was that?”

     A faint blue glow began to form around the seams of the room and spread through the walls and grew brighter. The illuminated room had numerous control panels that had even more lights and buttons that covered them that blinked in fluorescent hues. Torkkin looked about and turned his gaze to a white platform in the center of the room with a strange glowing machine hovering above it; the lab ray. A sudden jolt of apprehension flooded through his stomach. ‘Do I really want to do this?’ he thought. ‘What if that thing does something weird to me?’ The Eyrie looked to his owner who was staring at the lights in fascination and excitement. ‘No, I have to do it, for her sake. She looks so happy, how can I take that away from her?’

     “Luna, let’s get this over with,” Torkkin said as he stepped up to the platform.

* * *

Three weeks later, Torkkin at in his room staring out of a window at the young Neopets playing in the street. Over the three weeks he had gone through a lot; at first all the ray did was add on some strength and defense, but after that it had gone downhill. He had come home one day as a green Scorchio and Ridge had hidden from him until he had some coaxing. This hurt Torkkin as he would never admit it, but her wanted the approval of his petpet. Next he had changed gender but soon changed back, and then became a Chomby and went through a few color changes and was now currently pink.

     With every change he felt as if a part of him was torn away and tosses aside, and with every change he felt as if he had lost a part of his identity. Torrkin had fallen into a state of depression and listlessness over the past few days; not even attempting to make any snide remarks at Luna’s mistakes. This caused her a great deal of worry and a feeling of helplessness as she saw her beloved pet sink into a dark abyss. Luna walked down the hall and stopped in front of Torkkin’s door, hand reaching for the doorknob and turned it with a click. The door opened soundlessly as she entered, the room was dark and unkempt as if the occupant no longer cared about its condition and had left it to rot.

     Luna walked silently over to Torkkin and ran her fingertips along one of the ridges that lined his back and sat down next to him.

     “Torkkin, what’s the matter?” she asked. “Won’t you please tell me what’s wrong?”

     Torkkin cast a sidelong glance at his owner and saw the pain and worries in her eyes. Seeing this made him break.

     “Whenever I see my reflection I see a stranger and not myself.” He closed his eyes and whispered, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

     “I know who you are,” Luna said. “You’re Torkkin, my Torkkin. The pet who I’ve loved since I saw you. You’re the one who always keeps me in line and makes me learn from my mistakes, and I make a lot of those. But most of all, you’re my friend.”

     Torkkin smiled weakly but something still bothered him.

     “Luna, may I ask you something?”

     “Go ahead.”

     “Why do you send me to the lab ray?” Torkkin asked.

     “I thought that that’s what this was about,” Luna sighed. “Because you always admired pirates and Darigan, I thought we’d give the ray a whirl until you became either a pirate or Darigan Eyrie.”

     Torkkin realized then that Luna had never had selfish intentions in sending him to the lab ray. She had only wanted to make him happy and never to harm him. He stood up and turned to his owner.

     “So,” he said, “ready to go to the lab ray?”

-The End-

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