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Unlikely Events


by regle_de_tous

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The Neopian sun shone bright over the Lost Desert, bringing the vast desert illumination and the promise of life. Rays of light reached through the land indiscriminately, bringing the dawn to Sakhmet, Qasala, and indeed, the whole world.

     All was the same, untouched by the ravages of time, until a shape appeared in the far reaches of the desert, a mere black speck, silhouetted against the sun. It was unclear as to what this shape actually was, until it began making its way towards Sakhmet at a rather fast pace.

     Even when it came within plain view of Sakhmet and its inhabitants, the neopets paid the strange apparition no heed. After all, new visitors came to Sakhmet every day, and what could be so special about this one? How little they knew.

     However, even if they had looked, they would not have seen anything- the strange figure's form was quite completely obscured by a brown cloak, dusty and careworn. It made its way through the gates interrupted, and wove its way through the crowded market stalls of the city, making an obvious beeline for the Palace.

     As it made its way up the ornate steps of the Palace, the cloak slipped out of place slightly, revealing a furry black paw for a moment, until the paw's owner covered itself once more. Having reached the Palace doors, the stranger received the customary interrogation from the Palace Guards.

     One asked, 'What is your purpose in the Palace?'

     The figure remained silent, radiating mystique.

     The other, thinking the stranger to be dumb, waved a hand in front of the obscured face and said, 'Hello? You're going to have to tell us what you're doing here.'

     Still no answer. By this time, the guards were getting annoyed, so the first jabbed the stranger with more force than necessary in the shoulder with his pike.

     The reaction was instant- a black paw whipped out from underneath the cloak, grasped the pike, and grappled it out of the guard's hand, before discarding it to the side.

     The guards were quite stunned by this display of hostile strength, but repeated firmly in unison, 'What is your purpose here, stranger?'

     This time the figure answered in a deep voice, male, and slightly rough from obviously not having been used in a long time, 'I require a meeting with Princess Amira.'

     The guards had to stifle their laughter at this outrageous comment. Eventually, one managed to gasp, 'But Princess Amira does not see just anybody, much less the likes of you!'

     The stranger was silent again for a time, before he said forcefully, 'I WILL see her immediately.'

     The guards flatly refused this request, although it was more of a command than a request, anyway.

     The stranger frowned, though nobody could see the expression, before holding both his paws out and saying, 'Very well. Remember that it was you who asked for this, and not I.'

     As soon as he had spoken, two black orbs, both radiating power, manifested, resting perfectly on his paws. These he hurled, one at each of the guards, sending them flying in opposite directions. Once he'd checked that they were out cold, he entered the palace with the air of one who lived there.

     Now safely inside the palace, he slipped into an alcove and pulled out some sort of old, frayed parchment. Black lines criss-crossed the page, intersecting frequently, and if one inspected the page closer, they would see small text, written in a strange language. It was, undoubtedly, a copy of the blueprints to the palace, if not the original version.

     Having studied the map thoroughly, the stranger tucked it back into his clothing, before moving quickly and quietly to a statue of the late King Coltzan. He looked up into the noble features of the dead king before lifting a paw and pressing the statue's nose. A low buzzing, grinding sound filled his ears and he clamped his paws to where his ears would be underneath the cloak.

     When he looked up, there was a passageway looming before him, both inviting him in and forbidding him entry at the same time. Gulping, the stranger unfurled his map and consulted it. Once sure that this was the best way to get where he wanted to go, he cautiously entered the passageway, unseen eyes squeezed shut with nervous anticipation. One foot crossed the passageway threshold, and nothing bad happened. Relieved immensely, the stranger released a breath he hadn't even known he was holding, before jogging briskly, if that was possible, down the tunnel.

     He'd been jogging for a while when a tiny square of light became visible. How ironic, 'light at the end of the tunnel'? Chuckling softly, he exited the corridor, glad to be rid of the musky smell that had been pervading his nostrils for so long. Unfortunately for him, the dust still remained, putting him at risk of a sneeze, which might jeopardize the whole mission.

     Just his luck that he DID sneeze. It was a mighty one too, causing his eyes to water. When he looked up, blinking blearily, his eyes met the form of another neopet's intricately embroidered slippers. His eyes traveled upwards, until they saw the kind face of the very one he wanted to meet, Princess Amira, although, at present, she wasn't looking extremely kind.

     She said in a sharp voice, very different from her normally soft one, 'What are you doing in my private apartments and how did you get here?'

     The stranger rolled his eyes, though thankfully, she couldn't see them, before saying, 'I needed to meet with you... and I took the secret passageway.'

     She blinked confusedly and said, 'Why didn't you just ask the guards for a meeting?'

     'I did, but, as you can see, I had to resort to more drastic measures,' was his short reply.

     The Princess frowned, nonplussed, before saying abruptly, 'Well, you're here now, and I suppose I shall give you your meeting. But first, remove your cloak. Don't you know that it is rude to be hidden from the eyes of the Princess?' in a matter-of-fact voice.

     In fact, the stranger DID know this, but he said nothing but, 'I cannot remove my cloak.'

     The Princess laughed cynically, and said, 'And why is that?'

     'Because... uhh... I... am... ugly?' was his slightly less than convincing reply.

     'Take it off... NOW. That's an order.'

     He bit back a sharp, unpleasant retort, before sighing, 'As you wish,' and reaching up to unfasten the cloak. It fell to his feet unheeded.

     Standing there, looking, or rather, frowning down at the Princess, was a young Shadow Lupe. He said, 'Now, will you attend to business with me?'

     The Princess, looking slightly alarmed, said, 'Uhh... what? Oh, yes,' before offering a seat to him.

     He took the seat, ignoring protocol and sitting down before her.

     Biting back her indignant reprimand, the Princess said, 'Now, before you tell me why you're here, you must tell me your name.'

     The stranger looked hesitant, but said clearly, 'My name is Rothicklishus of the Haunted Woods.'

     The Princess looked quizzically at Rothicklishus and asked, 'Is... Roththickmush your... real name?'

     Rothicklishus made a sound that was halfway between a sigh and a snort and said, 'It's Rothicklishus, and yes, it IS my real name. If you can't manage it, just call me Roth.'

     The Princess, immensely relieved at the abbreviation, said, 'Very well... Roth... tell me why you're here.'

     Roth frowned and said, 'You're in danger, to be blunt.'

     The Princess tried not to laugh, but said, 'And how would a neopet who lives in the Haunted Woods know if the Princess of Sakhmet is in danger?'

     'Trust me, word gets around when you're in the... uhh... same line of business as I am.'

     'And what kind of business would this be?'

     'Let me put it this way- I've arranged certain... uhh... operations of questionable legality before.'

     The Princess smirked and said, 'Outlaw?'

     'It can be called that, yes.'

     'Very well, now tell me, what am I in danger of?' said the Princess nonchalantly, making her way over to the sideboard and pouring herself a goblet of ummagine juice.

     Roth fiddled nervously for a moment, before saying slowly, and deliberately, 'Uhh... you probably won't believe this, but... a giant cheese.'

     The Princess snorted into her juice in a most unladylike manner, before saying, 'Giant cheese? Let me get this straight... I'm going to be attacked... by... giant cheese?'

     Roth nodded fervently.

     The Princess frowned, saying, 'You've got to be joking. How was the cheese... uhh... brought to life, anyway?'

     Roth said, 'Well, the giant cheese started out as a mere spicy juppie cheese, but it was smuggled into the Secret Laboratory by some rogue Uni. When the Uni went under the zap, so did the cheese. The Uni was transformed into a Faerie Uni, pretty as can be, or at least, that's how the story goes, and well... the cheese-'

     The Princess smiled and said, 'Became animated, and giant?'

     Roth smiled, relieved, and said, 'Yes!'

     Amira laughed and replied, 'I don't believe you!'

     Roth's smile faded and was replaced by a petulant scowl. He raised a paw and said, 'Fine. Don't believe me. I shall watch on as you are smothered by the giant cheese's smooshiness, and then, most likely, be smooshed myself.'

     Amira laughed again. Really, if this Roth Lupe wasn't so dense, and crazy, he might be quite good company.

     Roth did not seem to like being made fun of, so he stood and said, 'Just you wait. You've had your chance.' Before picking up his cloak and making a defiant exit through the secret tunnel. At least, it would have been a defiant exit... if he'd exited. Instead, he ran into the wall where, when he'd come in, there'd been a tunnel. He sat up, one paw on his head, and muttered, 'Ow.'

     Amira had the good grace not to laugh, but said instead, 'Stay awhile, and we shall discuss whatever there is to discuss,' in an authoritative voice.

     Still dazed and confused, Roth agreed to stay.

     Amira asked, 'What would you like to drink? I have ummagine juice, tchea fruit juice, bagguss juice... oh, and for some reason, some imported super spicy borovan.'

     Roth said, 'Super spicy borovan, thanks,' and after Amira had poured him the drink, he sat back contentedly.

A good hour later

     Roth had just finished his borovan, and Amira had made her way through her fifth glass of ummagine juice, when an almighty thump rocked the palace. Amira dropped her goblet, causing it to smash on her tiled floor.

     Roth moaned. 'What now?'

     The same moment he said those words, one of the guards he'd knocked out earlier came in, clutching at his chest and gasping for air. He looked up, saw Roth, and nearly fell unconscious again, but instead managed to say, 'Princess, I thought I'd let you know- a... giant cheese is approaching the city.'

     Amira gasped and looked at Roth, who, despite the severity of the situation, had a smug smirk on his face.

     She turned back to the guard and said, 'Oh... well, every guard to his station. We MUST defeat this cheese.'

     The guard bowed and hurried off, muttering incomprehensibly under his breath.

     Roth said, 'I hate to say this, I really do, but... I told you so.'

     Amira, irked immensely, snapped, 'Oh, just get a weapon and prepare to defend me.'

     Roth said, 'And why would I be defending YOU? I'd much rather save myself.' But nonetheless, he picked up an assortment of Cobrall Daggers, tucked them into his clothes, and said, 'See if I don't destroy it.'

On the Sakhmet Battlements

     Roth had a paw pressed to his brow, and was scanning the land feverishly. At present, the cheese was approaching at a rate of 18 miles an hour, if his calculations were correct. A smell foreign to Sakhmet pervaded the nostrils, or in some cases, sensory glands, of every neopet present. It was the unmistakable reek of spicy juppie cheese.

     Roth turned around and barked, in an unusually authoritative voice, 'Archers! Take your positions!'

     The confused archers did as they were told, and the sounds of thirty odd bows being strung were heard. Amira herself was one of the archers.

     Roth raised an arm, and the archers prepared to shoot. He lowered the arm in one swift movement, and thirty arrows flew, striking the cheese squarely. It slowed down a little bit, but was otherwise unaffected, the only difference to it being that now it resembled a walking, or rolling, pincushion.

     Roth groaned in anguish, and said, 'More arrows!' and another rain of arrows flew, having the same affect on the cheese as before. Roth contributed to the ammunition, calling upon small amounts of power and hurling them at the cheese. It was no use, though, and Roth knew it.

     He cried out, 'Bring me some rope!' and, of course, his order was followed. Having tested the strength of the rope, he attached it to one of the battlements, and began scaling down the wall.

     Amira looked on, horrified. He was scaling the walls of Sakhmet! Not only was it sacrilege, he'd probably fall and be dashed to death on... well... sand.

     But, somehow, Roth made it down the battlements, despite the fact that he lacked opposable thumbs, and after pausing to dust himself off, gave a savage war cry and rushed towards the cheese.

     The cheese stopped, and, despite the fact that it didn't have eyes, looked towards Roth, before making a squeaking sound that was very much like laughter.

     Roth ran to the base of the cheese and started pushing against it, grunting and straining, all to no avail.

     Amira looked down at the situation and called out, 'We have to help him!' before rushing down the steps, far more sensible than scaling the walls when one is in a skirt, and rushed out across the open sand to help Roth. The whole army of Sakhmet followed, and within moments they were all grunting and heaving. Under their combined force, the cheese began rolling back the way it had come, and as it picked up momentum, began melting slightly, leaving a sticky trail of spicy juppie cheese as it went.

     Eventually, it rolled into the nearby river, much to the relief of the citizens of Sakhmet, who gathered around the princess and made sure she was alright, as all doting subjects did.

     Roth, however, started walking through the ankle deep trail of cheese, before stopping at the river and looking down at the remnants of the cheese.

     Amira looked over at him, alone, despite the celebration, and decided to go and see what, if anything, was wrong. She joined him by his side, and said, 'Why aren't you celebrating? You're a hero.'

     Roth merely shrugged and said, 'I rolled a cheese into a river. What's so heroic about that?'

     Amira smiled and said, 'A lot... Roth... are you going to stay in Sakhmet?'

     Roth shook his head and said, 'I have to return to the Haunted Woods, where I belong.'

     'And what will you do there?' was her slightly saddened reply.

     'I don't know yet,' was his abrupt, and nonchalant answer.

     Amira looked at Roth and realized that he meant, indeed, to return to the Haunted Woods. She whispered, 'We'll always remember you, Roththickmush.'

     Roth grinned and said, 'It's Rothicklishus. Remember that.'

     He turned away from her and looked into the sun, which gave life to everything, before taking a deep breath and walking into the horizon, fading until he became the same miniscule black speck he'd been when he'd come.

The End... or is it?

 
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