At the beginning we got you thinking this was an action story, right? ...
Well as long as you stuck around to get past the less interesting introduction,
you're about to get what you came for! ... In the next couple of chapters Viper
will be entered in the battle tournament of his life... It leads to many parts
of this story if you think about it after you finish reading this tale... Perhaps
if it hadn't started raining one day I would not even be telling you this...
Chapter V-The Battledome Tournament
The maroon office chair rocked back and forth impatiently
though the chief commander still could not be seen. All of the lights in the
office were out, and the many monitors that now showed all of the many hallways
of the building provided the only light. The boss's raspy growl came from the
other side of the chair. He had not heard any news from his hit men and assumed
that his betrayer was still alive.
Three more days, thought the commander
angrily; till your DEADline.
* * *
Viper sighed as he watched two streams of water race each other down the window.
Just as one of them settled on the windowsill the rumble of thunder shook through
the shack, closely followed by the flash of lightning. The bolt resembled the
one that ran down Einstein's face. Yep, you guessed it. It was raining again.
Looking away from the window, Viper slid off the back of the couch and lay down
backwards on it, letting his head and forepaws dangle over the edge. Through
his upside-down vision, he could see Einstein sitting at the island, typing
away on his silver laptop. Raven was at the Giant Omelette, attempting to sneak
more than one piece. Viper knew she wasn't going to succeed but encouraged her
nevertheless. And now, he was bored three-quarters and a half to death.
Without warning, the door slammed as
Raven ran in drenched. Einstein quit typing and Viper nearly slipped off the
couch. To both of their surprise Raven had indeed two pieces of Omelette in
her hand. Viper propped himself upright on the couch and shook himself.
"See," panted Raven, "I did it! I got
"But what about Sabre-X?" asked Einstein.
"You're smart. You should be able to
figure that out." It was true. Since they had 'rescued' him two days before,
she and Viper had found out that he was like a walking encyclopaedia, always
telling them random facts about this and that.
"No, I want a real answer. You didn't
do anything illegal, did you?"
Both Viper and Raven laughed. X24 was
definitely playing dumb. "It's illegal to take more than one piece of Omelette
so yeah, basically I did break the rules a little. But as for Sabre-X, I just
took it while he was badgering someone else, so he didn't notice." Raven threw
an Omelette to Viper and the other to the little Eyrie. "Bon appetite!"
Viper began to nibble the corner of his
Omelette and he suddenly remembered his boredom. Instead of complaining right
away, he decided not to spoil his perfectly good meal and finished it first.
When he was done his last bite, he whined, "I'm bo-ored!"
Raven narrowed her eyes at the mutant.
"You haven't been here a week, and you're already bored?" He innocently nodded
his head and made cute puppy eyes. "Oh, fine! Just let me think here... Oh!
I know what you could do! This afternoon there's a tourney going on at the Battledome;
we could go see if your stats are really that good! Grand prize is thirty K!"
At this, Einstein slammed his laptop
shut and leapt off the stool. "Strategy-man at your service!" shouted the little
Eyrie, rushing to the rotting wooden door.
Viper cocked his head as he went over
to the door. "I thought you hated doing that."
"Nu-uh. I love planning strategies. It's
just the ones that I was planning the strategies for that I hated."
* * *
Fifteen minutes later, they arrived, once again soaked, at the Battledome.
The line to sign up for the tourney was extremely long and Viper and Raven were
thankfully near the front, but they had been there for nearly half an hour.
Einstein was studying a poster on the
opposite wall that showed all of the entrees and their stats. The list was actually
a large plasma screen and every time someone new signed up, his or her name
and stats would appear on the screen, under the proper category, of course.
There were five categories that were divided not by level, but by HP, as there
were so many lab rats in the competition. The first was 25 HP and under; the
second was 26 to 50 HP; the third was 51 to 100 HP; the fourth was 101 to 500
HP, and finally, 501 HP and up. So far, Class One was the-25 HP and under-was
the fullest. But Class One wasn't Viper's problem; it was Class Three that he'd
have to worry about. Einstein counted eleven contestants on the list but a few
minutes later a twelfth was added. At the moment, the strongest pet on the Class
Three list was a red Kougra named DrakenFireXL who had exactly 100 Health Points.
All of his other stats were better than Viper's as well.
Einstein opened his laptop and began
copying the Class Three chart down. Just then Viper's name appeared on the list-lucky
thirteen (NOT!). Not long after a shadow fell across Einstein's electric coat
and silver laptop. He turned around to face his owner and brother. Well, actually,
just his owner. His brother was off a ways away, attempting to sharpen his fairly
dull claws by slashing them against a stone pillar. Raven had managed to scavenge
several Ubikiberry Elixirs and Juicy Elixirs, but that was it, so his claws
and teeth were his only arms.
"Who is Viper's first opponent?" asked
the little Eyrie.
"Blade?" completed the genius Neopet.
Raven nodded. "Okay, Dread Blade... Dread Blade..." muttered the electric Eyrie
as he searched the list. "Okay, got it. She is a blue Jetsam with 62
HP, and her owner is Wall-Climber."
Before Raven could respond to that, the
speakers that lined the domed roof began emitting weird crackling noises. "Will
all contestants please proceed to the stadium? The First Class battles are about
to begin!" shouted an enthusiastic voice that echoed through the room. As soon
as that was said the large mob of people and Neopets began to stampede to the
main Dome. Out of fear that it was going to get trampled, Einstein shoved his
expensive laptop into Raven's black backpack before joining the horde in the
race to get the best seats.
After a bit of pushing and shoving, the
trio managed to snag themselves some excellent seats right at the front. They
settled in and prepared to witness Class One do their stuff. In the First Class
there were thirty- four contestants. The whole thing lasted about an hour and
a half, and in the end, Wingsablaze the fire Eyrie went home victor; second
place went to Miflenoid the blue Elephante; and third went to Argon the glowing
Wocky. After the prizes were handed out, Class Two began their fights. The Second
Class had twenty-eight participants. Even though Class Two had fewer contestants,
the battles were more brutal than Class One, so it lasted about an hour and
a half as well. Gimli the green Techo won the thirty grand; Elven-Warrior the
Christmas Zafara got second prize; and Sirius the shadow Lupe came in third.
Viper gulped and made his way to the
waiting area, as he knew that the Class Three battles were about to begin. Immediately
after he left his front-row seat, an owner jumped into it from three rows back.
His name was Wall-Climber.
The mutant padded over to a computerised
chart on the far wall of the waiting room. There were now sixteen contestants.
The battles were organised to be first-round elimination, meaning that when
you lost your first life it'd be game over for you.
Behind Viper were fourteen of the sixteen
Neopets. They watched as EvilTwin the Halloween Ixi and WolverineX2 the silver
Gelert's names lit up, indicating that the fight had begun. Several minutes
later, skull-and-crossbones appeared on EvilTwin's name. He had lost. Over the
twenty minutes, Celton lost to Jester; Legolas defeated Turmoil-Aisha; DrakenFireXL
just creamed SatansLittleHelper; Aragorn beat Bonjo; and finally, Kar beat Shelly.
Viper took a deep breath and made his
way into the arena. As he did so, he realised that his legs were shaking badly.
He tried to calm himself down and began nervously looking about himself. At
the opposite side of the round arena was Dread Blade, her piercing eyes glaring
right at Viper. Around him the stadium lights blazed brighter than snow on a
sunny day, and there was not one unoccupied seat. Viper gulped. What am I
doing here? I can't even remember how to fight!
Suddenly, he started as he heard a voice
behind him. The tense Lupe spun around towards the door from which he had entered
to room. Beside the door, in the front row of seats, sat Einstein and Raven.
He padded over to the hedge and stood on his hind legs to get a clear view of
Einstein's laptop, which sat open on his lap. Right now there was a slowly rotating,
3-D image of Dread Blade on the screen with a list of stats beside it.
"Nervous?" asked Raven.
"No way! Not at all!" Viper's tone was
just dripping in sarcasm. No, wait! There was so much sarcasm in it that someone
probably could have drowned in the stuff! His owner and brother glared at him,
making him lower his voice to a whisper. "Terrified."
"It's okay, nothing serious can happen
in a Battledome match," assured RavynnWolfe.
Starting to feel slightly embarrassed,
the mutant decided to change the subject. He nudged the laptop with his scarred
muzzle. "Whatcha got?"
"Okay, here's what I've got so far,"
muttered Einstein, making sure that Wall-Climber couldn't overhear. "She uses
a Sinsis Sword. The Sinsis Sword is a single-handed weapon, and Dread Blade
is right handed, er, flippered. So..."
"Attack from the left?" guessed Viper.
"Yep. Now go get 'em, tiger!" Viper nodded,
jumped down from the fence, and faced his opponent.
Dread Blade immediately pulled a sword
out of a scabbard that she wore on her back. Viper snarled and lunged, not at
her, but just to her left. Caught by surprise, the Jetsam had trouble getting
around in time. She swung at him, but it just barely nicked to underside of
his jaw as he leapt at her. The leap hit its target and sent Dread Blade and
the Sinsis Sword flying. They landed about seven feet away with a clank
as the sword hit the cement floor. Viper began padding up to the blue Jetsam
that lay on her back on the floor, but as he neared her, she grabbed the blade
beside her and swung upwards. Luckily, the blade simply hit the metal plate
that bound Viper's injured shoulder and bounced off with an ear-splitting CLANK!
Viper winced as his shoulder exploded with pain but he held his ground. He stood
over Dread Blade whose eyes were strangely clouded.
On Einstein's computer monitor, where
it said 'HP', it now read: 2/62 HP.
Viper took a final look at the Jetsam
before raising a paw and bringing it down on her head. She blacked out immediately.
To be continued...