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When Darkness Calls


by sir_serene

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“Great evils exist in this world. A multitudinal amount of them, in fact. Among them are many of the names that have been etched into the timeline of Neopian history. Names such as Dr. Frank Sloth, Lord Kass, Captain Scarblade, Galem, Xandra, Jerdana, and many more- all of whom are remembered for their innumerable wicked deeds. Deeds that left irreversible wounds upon our world. Deeds that have shaped our very lives. These names have all been compiled together into a book, so that we might never forget the darkness that has persisted through our lifetimes. This book is known as the Gallery of Evil.

     “The Gallery of Evil isn’t limited to only these great evils. Even the names of, what some might consider, lesser evils have found their way into said hallowed text. Names of beings who continue to wreak havoc upon the denizens of Neopia on a daily basis. Those who the Defenders of Neopia combat in order to maintain peace and order. Names such as Meuka and the lowly Pant Devil.

     “However, unbeknownst to most Neopians the Gallery of Evil is woefully incomplete. Criminally incomplete even. There are still unspeakable, ancient horrors lingering in the shadows around the world, waiting to be discovered. Horrors that could very well set in motion a string of events that lead to a cataclysmic apocalypse scenario. Those aren’t the evils I am referring to. After all, it would require an extreme proficiency in divination, in the least, to even attempt to begin cataloguing such evils. No, there is one entry in particular whose exclusion could only be attributed to arrogance, incompetence, or negligence. Possibly some sickened combination of all three. A name that has not only been kept out of the Gallery of Evil, but isn’t even dared uttered around the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters. The name of a soon-to-be evil ruler of all Neopia, whose powers are beyond comprehension for most mere mortals. The name of a certain Grundo whose sorcery has grown exponentially with each passing year. The name of Overlord Andrys. Me.” The shorter than average blue Grundo waved his arms above his cloaked head to emphasise his point. “Not a terrible person to have as an ally. Wouldn’t you agree?”

     The bored look on Mr. Stinson’s face hadn’t changed. The green Skeith, who was the day time manager of the National Neopian bank stared blankly past Andrys. This perplexed the Grundo, he knew his words had been more than convincing. He had carefully crafted them the night before in order to sway Mr. Stinson to approve his loan. The Skeith was the lynchpin to all of Andrys’s future plans. This had to work. “That still doesn’t explain why the bank should loan you a million Neopoints.” The banker said as he shuffled through the paperwork Andrys submitted. “I’m sorry, I don’t think there is anything that the National Neopian can do for you at this time. That is, unless you wanted to open an account today. Is there anything else?”

     “You shall do as you're told and give me my loan!”

     Again, Andrys failed to recognize any change among the Skeith’s almost wooden expression. “Yeah, even with that, until you bring us a viable business model there’s still nothing we can do for you.”

     “Drat! Foiled yet again.” Andrys hopped from the chair and turned to leave.

     “Have a nice day, sir.”

      “You to-” Andrys caught himself before he finished uttering such appalling words. He wrenched his neck around to glare at Mr. Stinson. “What I mean to say is, you will come to rue, yes rue this day! Let this moment burn into your memories. Let it etch itself into your very soul. For this shall be the last moment of your pitiful life where you weren’t an enemy of the great Overlord Andrys.”

     “Right. Well, have a nice day anyway.”

          

* * * * *

          Andrys felt dejected as he made the long trek home. Not even the lively hustle and bustle of the Neopian Bazaar could brighten his mood. How could he possibly have a nice day? No matter how hard he tried, nobody took him seriously. How many hours, days, years even, had he spent trying to cultivate a level of infamy so that his name would only be spoken in hushed tones or with a hint of lingering fear? Too many, he decided. Even the prospect of his favourite evil pastime, stopping by the Money Tree to donate a Piece of Wool, seemed to lack any lustre. He no longer had it in him.

     “Stop thief! Give that back. It took me years to save up for that,” a voice in the distance shouted.

     The words cut through air and pierced not only Andrys’s ears, but his heart. An act of villainy was afoot, and he was too busy wallowing in self loathing to revel in it. The voice continued to shout obscenities at the would-be thief, with a healthy mixture of pleas to return the prize of their hard work. Andrys’s heart raced as he set off after the voice, and only partially because he was out of shape. The thrill of racing time towards an evil deed had reignited the flame in his heart.

     The voice continued to ring out from the next street over. “I just got that from the Auction House you jerk! Please give back!”

     When Andrys turned the nearest corner the voice grew louder and he saw that it was coming from a young Blumaroo. She chased after the Pant Devil who had the obvious spoils of thievery wrapped in his arms. The two of them were heading straight towards Andrys. The Pant Devil cackled maniacally as he raced away from her. All the while he kept his gaze focused on the young Blumaroo, not noticing he was locked into a collision course with the small Grundo.

     The elation Andrys had felt as he chased towards the promise of witnessing a glorious crime dissipated. Instead, his blood boiled. Not for any misguided remorse for the poor girl, but for the blatant disrespect. The disrespect that the Pant Devil, of all creatures, would choose to commit such crimes in the city of Neopia Central. A place where Andrys felt he had the rightful claim to such villainy. The disrespect of the Defenders of Neopia for always being on alert for a potential Pant Devil thieving spree. Meanwhile, during his last encounter with them, not only had they given Andrys a tour of their headquarters, they’d offered him the chance to join their ranks as a recruit.

     He had to do something. If there were any better time and place for Andrys to make a stand, Andrys couldn’t think of one. He would prove to the world that he was more worthy of fear than the puny Pant Devil. He brandished his wand from underneath his robe, pointed it at the Pant Devil, and shouted, “Halt vile fiend!”

     The Pant Devil came to an abrupt stop. All of Neopia Central had seemed to follow suit. Or at least that is how it felt to Andrys. He held his ground as the Pant Devil’s sized him up. Andrys poured all of his magic into his wand and it was engulfed in an ominous, purple glow. Andrys patiently awaited to see the Pant Devil quivering in fear.

     But he was greeted with laughter.

     “Out of the way, pint-size,” the devilish thief howled.

     “You shall hold your tongue, you odious creature, you.”

     The Pant Devil’s smile vanished and he waved one of his arms. “Listen, I don’t have time to play Defenders of Neopia with some would-be hero. Now scram!”

     “I’m not here to garner any reputation with that flock of fools, you insidious wretch. I am here because of a greater calling. A calling bestowed unto me by the darkness within.”

      “W-what?” The Pant Devil asked, confused.

     “Finally, I caught you,” the young Blumaroo gasped as she made her way next to them. She hunched over, hands on her knees, and continued, “Now, give that back.”

      “Step aside, miss. For it will be me that vanquishes this venomous vermin. For too long have I dreamt of this day. The day when I would finally overwhelm my greatest rival through glorious combat.”

     “What are you talking about?” The Pant Devil asked. “Who even are you?”

     “My name is Rebecca,” the young Blumaroo said dejectedly. “Can I please have my item back?”

     “No you may not,” the Pant Devil sneered. “And I was talking to pipsqueak over here.”

     “It is I, Overlord Andrys. No doubt you’ve heard of me. Feel free to take a moment to grovel at my feet, tremble before my overwhelming sorcery, and weep over your poor misfortune.”

     “Is this some kind of prank?” The Pant Devil turned to Rebecca with a dumbfounded look on his face. “Are you in on this?”

     With a similarly puzzled look, the young Blumaroo shook her head.

     “Don’t look to her for help, you dreadful demon. Words cannot save you now. Now is the time for action. Today I seize the opportunity to do unto you that which you have done unto the denizens of this world for far too long. I shall take that item from you!”

     The Pant Devil threw a hand in the air and looked around. “Where are they? Where are the ones who dared you to do this?”

     Rebecca similarly began to scan the area.

     Andrys knew there wasn’t a moment to lose. The Pant Devil was distracted and would be caught off guard. “Have but a taste of my power!” A purple beam shot out of his wand and blasted the Pant Devil in the face.

     “Ow, that hurts!” The Pant Devil dropped the stolen item and clutched his eye with both hands. His head spun wildly as he howled in agony. His one good eye widened when he saw that a crowd had gathered on the edge of the street. “You know what, if you want it that badly, just take it. I can’t afford to waste any more time playing with you. The Defenders of Neopia will surely be here any minute.” Before Andrys had a chance to retort, the Pant Devil zipped away and moments later he was out of sight.

      “My hero!” Rebecca shouted. She bounced up and down in excitement as the Pant Devil fled the scene.

      Andrys watched her celebration with a wicked smile. He relished the thought that she had mistook him as some sort of saviour. His heart raced as he pictured what her face would look like the moment the truth became all too clear to her. The truth that he had acted only out of selfish reasons. Not only had he proved his evil magics were strong enough to be feared when he defeated the Pant Devil, but he had every intention of keeping the stolen item for himself. It was, afterall, the spoils of his conquest. He chuckled as he bent down and picked up the parcel.

      “It seems today is an unfortunate day for you my dear,” he said. He was so excited his heart skipped a beat, but before he had a chance to finish his statement his nostrils were bombarded with an overwhelming aroma. “Oh, jeez! What in Neopia is that ghastly smell?”

      “That’s the Battle Dung the Pant Devil tried to steal from me.”

      “Battle… Dung?” Andrys looked down to see the bag of dung in his hand. He gagged from the sight of it. From the smell of it. These would not be the spoils of his conquest. In fact, he didn’t want these at all. He was so repulsed that he even questioned the sanity of both Rebecca who had recently purchased it and the Pant Devil who had found it to be worthy of theft.

     The bag fell to the ground as Andrys stumbled away from the scene of his greatest battle. His head was still woozy from the putrid smell of the dung. He waved his hand behind him in hopes that doing so might somehow wash the foul smell from his skin. It took all of his willpower to ensure that he didn’t empty his stomach into the Neopian streets. In that moment he promised not to be bested by the foul smell lingering on his hand. His concentration was so tightly fixated on that one promise to himself that he didn’t notice the cheers of adulation coming from the crowd that had gathered to watch his battle.

          

* * * * *

          After Andrys finished washing his hands thoroughly, twice just to be sure, he started off on his way home. He felt a new spring in his step and a menacing smile sprawled across his face. His battle with the Pant Devil, which he had held for such selfish reasons, was certain to garner a reputation for being a devastatingly devious deed. Dastardly even. He had proven he was a powerful force of dark magic and it was only a matter of time until the tales of this villainy rippled throughout all of Neopia Central. Citizens would cower in fear at the mere mention of his name. Certainly the next time he entered the National Neopian, Mr. Stinson would simply unlock the vault for him to take as many Neopoints as he pleased. No loan required. But first he had to make a quick detour towards the Money Tree. There was a Piece of Wool burning a hole in his pocket.

     The End.

 
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