Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 193,319,603 Issue: 683 | 29th day of Hunting, Y17
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Some Things Never Change


by spittingcobra1

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A long time ago...

The Tyrannian Usul pushed the Red Gelert to the parched ground. The Gelert's hands were tied behind his back with vines, and his thick, black hair was falling into his striking vermillion eyes, obscuring his view of the crowd of angry Tyrannians surrounding him.

     A Tyrannian Cybunny stormed over to the Gelert. "Ug ugga! Gug!" the Cybunny yelled, gesturing to the nearly empty riverbed to the south.

     The Gelert groaned, his frustration showing. "I don't know how many times I've said it," the Gelert complained, sitting up, "but I don't speak Tyrannian!"

     Finally realizing the language barrier, the Cybunny called over a particularly scruffy Tyrannian Kacheek to act as a translator. The Kacheek wasn't very good at it though, and his speech came out garbled, and the some of the words were in the wrong order or omitted completely. "The river," the Kacheek said. "Dry up, know you why?"

     "I don't know why your river dried up," the Gelert said, "but I'm telling you, I had nothing to do with it!"

     "Liar!" shouted the Kacheek. "This guy Ugga big liar! Ugga dry up river make!"

     "My name's not Ugga!" the Gelert protested. "I'm Alucard! And for the last time, I didn't dry up your river! It's as hot as the Lost Desert here and it hasn't rained in weeks. That's why it dried up! Read my lips: I. Didn't. Do. It!"

     The crowd started getting really mad. They were shouting curses and threats in Tyrannian, stomping, and baring their teeth. Even the Ariax sitting in the wilting bush at the withered jungle's edge seemed hostile, screeching and flapping its wings. Alucard stood up. "Alright," he said angrily. "If that's how you want it, then that's how you'll have it!" The Gelert ripped through the vines that were holding his wrists, and proceeded to make a mad dash through the crowd, pushing aside anyone who tried to stop him. He took off running as fast as he could through the jungle, and made an easy escape from the mob. Even though the Tyrannians knew the jungle like the backs of their paws, Alucard was just too fast for them. Alucard fled from Tyrannia, vowing never to visit that horrible place again.

     Now...

     Alucard sat in his bed, or rather, in the Casket Table that he had sawed the legs off of (it had always struck Alucard as disappointing how few bedding options there were for vampires in Neopia). It was early morning, and the sun had just begun to rise over Altador. He was nonchalantly reading a book about things that one would be unlikely to see in Neopia, and he had just gotten to the chapter about why Illusen would never engage in polite conversation with Jhudora when his roommate, a Camouflage Lenny, burst through his bedroom door in a flourish of dull brown and dark gray feathers. The lamplight reflected off of the Lenny's plague doctor mask right into Alucard's eyes, making the Gelert drop his book, which fell to the floor and disappeared in a puff of yellow smoke. Alucard glared at the Lenny, showing his fangs. "Doc Lock!" Alucard exclaimed. "Look what you made me do! Now I'll never be able to finish it!"

     Beneath his mask, the Lenny doctor scowled, annoyed by the nickname. "This is more important than some silly book, Alucard," he said. "A Neezles outbreak has just occurred in Tyrannia, and I plan to go there today to see if I can help to resolve this problem."

     Alucard rolled his eyes. "Fine. Go knock yourself out, Evan." He lied down and pulled the lid of the casket shut.

     Not a minute later the lid came back off, and Alucard found himself staring right into the Lenny 's face. "Alucard," Evan said. "I want you to come with me."

     Alucard's eyes widened, bad memories flooding back. "What did you just say?"

     "I want you to come with me to Tyrannia."

     Alucard sat up stiffly, narrowly avoiding poking his eye out with Evan's beak. "Absolutely not," he said decisively.

     "Alucard, I'm not asking, I'm demanding," the Lenny said in an unusually harsh tone. "You are coming with me, and that's final."

     "NO!" Alucard shouted.

     "Alucard," said Evan, exasperated, "I'm trying to help you here."

     "How, Doc Lock? How is going to the place where I was hunted down like vermin going to help? And incidentally, what exactly do I need help with?"

     "Alucard," Evan said, "you stay at home all day, and your only contact with the outside world is fighting in the Battledome and playing deadly dice with Count Von Roo. It isn't healthy. I think that participating in some community service will be good for you."

     Alucard folded his arms. "I don't know, Evan."

     "I heard there's an avatar for it," Evan said. He had made up the part about the avatar, but Alucard didn't need to know that.

     Alucard sighed. "Fine," he said, "but just for the avatar."

     The boat trip was a very long one. While Evan chatted excitedly with the other passengers, who tried very hard to seem interested, Alucard paced nervously across the deck. Normally, the fact that it was daytime would've guaranteed that he would be asleep by now, but there was too much on the Gelert's mind. At the last minute, he'd put on a large hat and sunglasses with sidelights. He'd wanted to cover himself in bandages, too, but Evan had forbidden it, muttering something about an Invisible Paint Brush. So Alucard paced, restless. What if someone saw him? What if someone recognized him and started a riot? Granted, anyone from Tyrannia who recognized him would have to be ancient by now, but Alucard knew Elderly painted Neopets with the memory of an Elephante, and he also knew that such a massive confrontation as had happened the last time he'd been in Tyrannia was not something that was easily forgotten. When the boat ride finally ended, it was late afternoon. Evan and Alucard were the last pets to leave the boat, largely due to the fact that everyone else was so sick of listening to Evan's stories (Evan remained happily unaware of the other passengers' annoyance; he thought that they were eager to explore the rich scenery and fascinating culture of Tyrannia). "Well, Alucard," Evan said, "This is it. Now, let's see, I have the Neezles Jabs, the boat fare, the snacks, the – Alucard, are you listening?"

     Alucard, who had been standing in a daze, suddenly snapped to attention. "Um, r-right. Neezles. Let's get this over with."

     "That's the spirit!" said the Lenny, completely misunderstanding what Alucard had meant. "Time to show Neezles who's boss!"

     The two of them walked to the village. Alucard noticed that the place was looking much better than when he had been there last; the river was full, the jungle green and growing, and the native Tyrannians were chatting peacefully with each other... at least it looked that way. Alucard felt relived that everyone looked so happy. Happy pets are much less likely to form angry mobs.

     "Hello?" Evan said, tapping Alucard's shoulder and completely breaking the vampire's train of thought. "We have work to do, remember?"

     "Right!" Alucard said, hastily following Evan over to a large, spotless white tent that looked quite out of place in the jungle. Entering the tent, the two of them were surrounded by victims of Neezles, their bodies covered in red spots that they couldn't stop scratching.

      A Green Xweetok walked over to Alucard and Evan. "Thank goodness you're here, Doctor," the Xweetok said. "We ran out of Neezles Jabs half an hour ago, and pets just keep pouring in. A real epidemic, this has turned out to be." The Xweetok looked up at Alucard. "Who is this?"

     "This is Alucard," the doctor said. "Alucard, this is Nurse Ivy. She came to help with the effort to rid Tyrannia of Neezles."

     "Right this way," said Nurse Ivy, walking to the first of many cots.

     Lying on the cot was a Tyrannian Kacheek. A very old, wrinkled Tyrannian Kacheek. A very old, wrinkled, particularly scruffy Tyrannian Kacheek. Alucard suddenly realized that, despite how the Kacheek had aged, he recognized the Kacheek.

     The Kacheek's gaze fell onto Alucard. "You," the Kacheek said, his already beady eyes narrowing.

     Alucard was horrified. His fears that he'd had on the boat were coming true. Alucard gently shook the Lenny's wing. "Um, Doc Lock? I really think I should leave."

     "Leave?" Evan asked, puzzled. "We just got here."

     "You," the Kacheek said shakily, pointing at Alucard. "You're the one that made the river run dry all those years ago!"

     Nurse Ivy lifted an eyebrow. "That's funny. Confusion doesn't normally occur in Neezles patients."

     The Kacheek stood up on the cot and shouted something in Tyrannian. All of the other patients suddenly sat up, got out of bed, and started approaching Alucard, the looks on their faces menacing. In that instant, Alucard grabbed the doctor's wing and ran like mad out of the tent, the angry patients close behind. "Alucard," Evan said, trying hard to keep up, "what exactly just happened?"

     Alucard looked at the Lenny, the crazy Lenny that had made him return to Tyrannia in the first place. "Let's just say that some things never change."

The End

 
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