Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 192,836,860 Issue: 664 | 10th day of Collecting, Y16
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by stararan


There was no doubt that Grarrls had a ferocious reputation that went back as far as anyone could remember - the very beginning. This story is a closely guarded secret among the strongest Grarrls, but they felt that it was finally time for the truth to be told.

      Two thousand years ago, what would become Neopia was little more than a massive muddy swamp beside an endlessly monotonous plain. Thick, purple clouds swirled about filled with toxic gasses. One day a visitor by the name of Dr. Frank Sloth arrived. "Finally! Somewhere I can experiment to my heart's delight without any interruptions." He built his laboratory underground and began his mysteriously evil experiments on his own.

      Every now and then, he would emerge from his laboratory to collect samples, he would always do so while wearing a breathing mask of his own design. On this particular day, he was fascinated with the purple clouds ... he wished to determine whether or not they were capable of being turned to evil. While he was trying to figure out how to collect a sample of the clouds - a beam of light burst through them and landed on the rock just in front of him. The clouds seemed to shrink away from the light and soon they began to dissipate. Wherever the light touched, the surface was transformed. Grasses, trees, bushes, and flowers all began to grow at an amazing rate.

      Sensing the goodness in the light, he tried to flee from it so that he would not also be transformed. While the light causes him searing pain - he was otherwise intact. Once he returned to the safety of his laboratory, he watched the cameras record the destruction of his experiments by the light. Angered by this setback, he resolved to leave the planet. That was until the life-form detectors began to sound their alarm. In the centuries he had studied this planet, he had never once seen anything living that he did not create ... then again, the possibility of a new subject to experiment upon was too good to pass up.

      He stared intently at the screens to look for this life-form ... finally he saw movement in one of them. There was a small yellow dragon flying among the trees just above the river below. It sneezed, causing a nearby tree to catch fire. As far as dragons went, he'd say it was bulky. Then the next screen to his left caught his eye - a small green creature that had huge feet and no arms was running around in circles in a field. The third screen showed yet another creature - this one was red, with small weak arms but powerful legs, a thick tail, and sharp pointed teeth. It let out a fierce roar and proceeded to wander off beyond the camera's view.

      Sloth let out an evil laugh as he imagined the evil versions of the Scorchio, JubJub, and Grarrl (as they would later be known.) The first would be a flying fire-breather that torched the trees and set the forests afire. The second would be made into a stomping machine, breaking down everything in his path. The third seemed to need only encouragement to set itself at the top of the food chain. Do they even eat? Sloth asked himself. These things were worth finding out.

      The newly created creatures had no reason to suspect that Sloth bore them any ill will when they first met him, after all, they were only a few hours old and all their experience told them that everything about Neopia, the trees, the rivers, the flowers, the very air, was wonderful, so their logic told them that Sloth too was wonderful in his own way. Wonderful at being evil, but they had no way of knowing that. Sloth rounded all of them up in cages with little trouble and whistled his favorite tune as he returned to his laboratory.

      "What are you called?" Sloth asked the first one, setting the Scorchio's cage on his steel experimentation table.

      "Scorchio, I think," the Scorchio said.

      "Where are you from?" Sloth continued.

      "I think I'm supposed to be from the volcanoes, but I haven't seen any around here. Do you know where they are?" the Scorchio answered.

      "No," Sloth answered, setting aside the Scorchio's cage and moving the JubJub's cage to the table. The tiny green creature was somehow soundly asleep. Sloth was less than gentle about setting down the cage and seemed to wake up the JubJub. He wrote that down. "What are you called?" he asked.

      "I'm a JubJub!" it squeaked back.

      "Where are you from?" Sloth asked.

      "Over there ... in the field. Fields are great for running in!" it said enthusiastically in a high voice.

      Sloth decided that it was an annoying creature and decided to look at the last cage. Its occupant had been attempting to eat himself free of the bars ... and probably would have succeeded if given the opportunity. Sloth transferred it into a smooth, tall, clear, beaker so that he couldn't escape so quickly or easily.

      "What are you called and where are you from?" Sloth asked.

      "I'm a Grarrl from the plains by the jungle to the north," it said, looking around his environment. "You're not like us, are you?" it asked.

      "No. I'm not. I came here on my own, a long time ago. I didn't just appear out of nowhere," Sloth answered.

      "You're not like us," the Grarrl said again, emphasizing us as if there was another meaning to the sentence.

      Sloth dismissed this sentence as the ramblings of a newly-created life-form and decided to continue his experiment. First he recorded the creature's height, weight, description, and then he rated them for their likelihood of being turned to evil. His results for the JubJub was terribly depressing. He ended up setting the creature free outside just to be rid of its happy-go-lucky attitude. As for the Scorchio and Grarrl - he was torn as to which one to try to turn first. Dragons make great evil servants; it would certainly up his prestige at the annual Mad Science Expo to terrify and burn everyone to a crisp with his own personal evil Scorchio. But then again, dragons had to be smart and any intelligent creature would object to certain treatments. He might turn on him once he was done with the others. The Grarrl, on the other hand, was built for terror; all that as needed was a simple change in demeanor and stature.

      Evil laughter carried on well into the early morning as Sloth gloated to himself about his latest success - he had taken a small, pitiful creature and turned into a Giant Red Grarrl with an earth-shattering roar. Now all that was left was to alter it's demeanor - but Sloth never got the chance. The Giant Red Grarrl was stronger that it looked and broke free from the restraints meant to hold it down to the table. He stormed to the laboratory, smashing equipment and freeing the Scorchio to fly out of the laboratory for the first time in weeks.

      "Be warned, Sloth! You're not like us - you're pure evil. I'll use this new strength you've given me to defend my friends from you! I'll fight you at every turn. One day all that is good will repay you for what you've done and you'll wish you'd been nicer," the Giant Red Grarrl warned Sloth before disappearing into the woods.

      "Blah, blah, blah," the villain said to himself as he looked through his lab for anything salvageable. "I guess it's back to the drawing board."

The End

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