Come dance with the Wanderers... Circulation: 142,067,714 Issue: 297 | 22nd day of Relaxing, Y9
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How Soup Saved Neopia: Part Two

by tessie_doodle_


“Chef... Sir... Sir, wake up.”

     Gargarox uttered a muffled groan and opened his eyes. He suddenly realized his head had been resting on a piece of Scrambled Eggplant while he slept. Quickly, he straightened and wiped the eggplant off his face.

     Grellor, who had been holding a damp towel, picked up the Scrambled Eggplant and the wiped the table carefully.

     “What do you want, Grellor?” asked Gargarox sleepily, half expecting to be told that something had exploded in his kitchen.

     “I’ve finished cleaning,” said Grellor proudly.

     Gargarox looked around slowly. “So you have,” he said, surprised. The little Grundo had done a very good job; even better than Gargarox had ever done himself. “You can stay in the job. For now.”

     Grellor did a funny little jump. “Thank you, sir! Thank you very much!”

     “Call me Chef.”

     “Oh, yes, sorry, Chef.”

     Gargarox looked around again. He had suddenly come to the realization the station was a lot less crowded than it had been when he fell asleep. “What time is it?”

     Grellor replied with a nervous tug on one ear, “Er... It’s... Well, to tell you the truth, it’s...”

     Gargarox crossed his arms. “Well?”

     “It’s 1 am.”

     Gargarox couldn’t imagine how he’d stayed asleep for that long. “You’re not joking, are you?”

     "No, Chef!” Grellor almost looked offended. “I wouldn’t joke.”

     Gargarox sighed, stood up and stretched. “I’m going to go have a more comfortable night in my bed.”

     As Gargarox walked off to his station residence, he heard Grellor shout after him. “Where am I supposed to sleep? I tried to get a room on the station, but they were all full. And anyway, I don’t have enough Neopoints to pay the rent!”

     Gargarox groaned. “Well, you can’t share my room, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

     “But there’s nowhere else for me to go,” said Grellor. “Can I stay in your room in exchange for something?”

     There was a moment of silence while Gargarox thought it over. His room had been getting pretty messy lately, but every time he thought to clean it he was too tired. “You can stay if you do a bit of tidying up,” said Gargarox. “You can sleep on my Furry Sofa – it’s very comfortable.”

     “That sounds like a deal,” said Grellor happily. “I’ll come once I’ve finished putting away the dishes.”

     “I thought you said you were done cleaning up,” said Gargarox.

     “Well, I nearly was," admitted Grellor. "That’s all that’s left to do.”

     Gargarox nodded and gave Grellor his room number. Then he headed off down corridor #3 to his room.

     Once inside his cozy abode, Gargarox pushed through the clutter and fell into his unmade Grundo Inspired Bed. He was asleep immediately.

     - - - - -

     The next day, Gargarox awoke suddenly to a loud noise. Thinking he was being robbed, Gargarox jumped out of bed and charged out to the living room. “If you take a single th-” he stopped. It was only Grellor.

     Grellor winced. “Sorry, Chef. I was just trying to move this chair to a better spot. I'm supposed to clean in exchange for sleeping here and this chair was in a bad spot.”

     Gargarox sighed. “Try not to wake me up that way again.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. It was almost time to begin making breakfast in the café.

     “There’s a tube of Garthraxian Goo over on the table,” said Grellor. “You can have that for a quick breakfast if you want.”

     “Thanks,” said Gargarox. “Come on, let’s go get started. We have to make a lot of things before the café opens.” He grabbed the tube of goo, a favorite snack of his, and started toward the door.

     Grellor abandoned his cleaning job and followed his boss out of the room.

     The two Grundos looked around the station as they walked toward the café. For some reason, there were just a few tourists there. And, oddly, there were small groups of Neopets outside every shop, whispering to each other and looking around nervously every few seconds.

     Grellor cocked his head. “What’s going on?”

     “I have no idea...” Gargarox listened carefully to a conversation being held between a Lupe and an Elephante.

     “So the rumors are true? He’s really coming back to the station?”

     “I didn’t say he was coming back for sure. It’s just that I heard some Lenny saw a spaceship through his telescope...”

     “We can’t stay here if he’s really coming! He’ll try to enlist us in his army – and you know how bad it is.”

     “But we can’t go back to Neopia! I mean, isn’t Neopia his target? He wants to turn everyone into mutants or something.”

     Judging by what the Lupe and Elephante were saying, someone was coming back. Someone that sounded like Sloth. Who else wanted to turn every Neopian into a mutant?

     Grellor had obviously been listening in as well, because he ran over to the Lupe and Elephante and said, “Sloth’s coming back to the station?”

     The Elephante nodded. “Everyone’s been talking about it. Someone thinks they saw his spaceship, and another Neopet said that the Space Faerie has gone missing.”

     The Lupe joined in. “And of course we all know that Sloth and the Space Faerie are great enemies.”

     Grellor looked confused. “How do we know the Space Faerie is missing? Doesn’t she live far away, out in space somewhere where no Neopians have ever been before?”

     “Well, yes,” said the Lupe, “but a bunch of maintenance workers and station cleaners said they saw the faerie zooming toward the station, going as fast as she could, and then she just vanished! In thin air!”

     “More like thin space,” corrected the Elephante.

     “Yeah. So anyway, something’s going on.” The Lupe looked around as if to make sure Sloth was not aboard.

     Gargarox, who had been watching from a distance, suddenly came over. “So that’s why there aren’t any tourists here.”

     “Exactly,” said the Elephante. “The only tourists that are here are the adventurous ones. They came to be in the action.”

     “Why are you two on the station?” asked Grellor.

     “We’ve been here for a few months,” said the Lupe proudly. “We’re training to be station repairers.”

     “Well, good luck with that,” said Gargarox. Then he remembered that he was supposed to be making breakfast in the café. “Come on, Grellor; we have to get going.”

     Grellor and Gargarox hurried off and were soon in the kitchen. Straight away they got to work making Glowing Pretzels, Scrambled Eggplant, Savoury Grundo Veggieballs, Toroidoughnuts and Orange Rambus, all of which were popular among the station-goers for breakfast.

     Both Grundos were happy that nothing went wrong that morning; no one spilled any batter or broke any dishes, and the breakfast crowd was much smaller than the day before.

     Grellor looked around the nearly empty café and said, “It isn’t usually this slow in the morning, is it?”

     “No, no. Usually it’s packed at breakfast time. Full with tourists starting the day early and station workers having their breakfast break.”

     “Oh.” Grellor sliced an Orange Rambus carefully into paper-thin pieces and arranged the pieces on a plate. He took the plate to the counter and called, “Side of sliced Orange Rabmus!”

     A sleepy-looking Techo in a maintenance worker’s uniform shuffled over, took his plate and went back to his table.

     Grellor turned to Gargarox. “So, do you think it’s true?”

     “What do you mean?” asked Gargarox as he carefully squeezed some glowing goo onto a hot pretzel.

     “You know, about Sloth coming back and the Space Faerie disappearing and all that.”

     “I don’t know what to think,” said Gargarox in an unsure tone. “I didn’t actually see anything myself, but if so many Neopians are saying that it’s true, maybe it is.”

     Just as Grellor was handing a plate of Savoury Grundo Meatballs to a grumpy Wocky, the station jerked slightly. Everyone looked around with alarm. Spaceships weren’t supposed to hit the station that hard when they docked. And anyway, the next scheduled space bus wasn’t supposed to come for another half hour.

     Neopets ran to the station portholes and looked out to see what was happening. A terrified Kacheek yelled, “It’s him! Sloth! He’s come back to the station!”

     There was a moment of silence while this information sunk in. Then, all at the same time, everyone panicked. Neopets yelled, calling to each other, while others ran around the station as they search for places to hide.

     There was a hiss as the doors of Docking Room #2 opened. Out stepped a grinning, very confident-looking Dr. Frank Sloth. Behind him was his army of Sloth clones and mutant Grundos, awaiting the command to attack.

     Sloth laughed a hideous, unmistakably evil laugh. In his booming voice he said, “Prepare to lose, weak Neopets!” Then, Sloth pressed a button on his boots and zoomed into the air – he was wearing a pair of rocket boots. He turned to his army. “Take over the station. Let no Neopet stand in your way!”

     Immediately, the army surged forward into the station.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» How Soup Saved Neopia: Part One
» How Soup Saved Neopia: Part Three
» How Soup Saved Neopia: Part Four

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