Silence filled the air. Something wasn’t right. His war instinct was never wrong. All around him, the world stood still. Yet, at the same time, he could feel something watching him. He looked around. His men were all here, each one not even slightly hurt. No, nothing out of the ordinary, not yet anyway. He looked around once more, trying to find something. Then, he noticed something strange. The air horses were squirming, and seemed to know something he didn’t. Fear was in their eyes. This was not normal behavior for them. Normally, air horses were confident and brave.
The soldiers sensed the general’s tension, and knew better than to question what was going on. After all, Sloth didn’t trust just anyone to lead an air cavalry unit. This guy... he had to be something special. Plus, he had guided them through countless battles, making tactics so amazing, that he had never lost a war, or a fellow warrior – whether it was the lowly drafted peasant, or Sloth himself, he wouldn’t even consider letting them get hurt. His men respected that, and believed with all their hearts that nothing was wrong, and if there was something wrong, everything would be OK.
Finally, one of his men dared to speak. “Colonel Cobb, where are we?” The silence seemed to shatter into a million fragments, and instantly the soldier that spoke willed the words to come back. But of course, they did not.
“How dare you question me!” Colonel Cobb yelled. Around him the world seemed to shake – perhaps because it was. Supersonic waves blasted through the atmosphere, shaking the worlds, defying the laws of reality. He muttered something angry under his breath, then barked his orders, “Men! We’re being ambushed! Stay calm, and cover your ears! I’ll turn them into a pile of sludge in no time!”
He loaded his sludge gun, and waited for the first wave of Neopians to come. Sure enough, they were armed with SSS (Super Sonic Screechers). He had no problem dissolving them into a pile of sludge. He laughed cruelly. This process continued for the next three waves, then things went terribly wrong. The next wave carried a weapon just like the SSS, but there was something different about it. Instead of the typical gold trigger, it seemed to be more of a broccoli green. The overall color was the same, except it had a series of stripes on it, each with a different vegetable colored on it. It was no doubt strange, but Colonel Cobb had more serious problems to worry about – like making sure his men were not harmed by this strange new weapon. He plotted himself in front of the oncoming wave, and was prepared to fight the unknown – and triumph!
After all, he was the conquering air cavalry unit general! Nothing would stop him from completing Sloth’s tasks. He had been promised second in command once Sloth ruled the world – that would never happen unless this fight turned in his favor. This battle – it was a battle for Neopia.
The Neopians began to open fire, each shot missing the confident general. He was almost insulted – was this what type of men the Defenders sent to stop him? A clearly dysfunctional, thrown together group this was! Even their air horses (which the silly people called Unis) seemed to be hardly able to maintain their riders' weight. Perhaps this was the best that they had – he had simply struck fear into their hearts, and they were hardly able to fight.
More shots fired around him, each one missing him by a long shot. He laughed.
“Is this the famous Neopian Air Cavalry unit that has been so feared by Sloth? You people are like untrained slorgs, you can hardly aim, let alone win a war. Leave me be, I have a world to conquer.” And with those words, he reloaded his gun and aimed it at them.
Yet... they were smiling. As if there was some trick that they were playing on him. He pushed the thought aside – this was a typical war tactic. Get inside the enemy’s head – make him think you have all the advantages when you don’t. He was about to fire, but he couldn’t will himself to pull the trigger. He felt he would be making a deadly mistake if he did.
“Yes, this is the Neopian Air Cavalry. Put your weapon down, Gabb!” bellowed a proud Uni that seemed to be leading the unit.
A shiver ran down Cobb’s spine at the mention of his first name. No one was permitted to call him Gabb – no one. His face turned red, and his breaths grew deep. Flames danced in his eyes. He clenched his fists, and then attempted to speak, “My name is Cobb.” Gabb was someone he would never be again. Gabb was a worthless, piece of junk, thrown around Grundo. Not even his own owner wanted him. Cobb... he was something so much better.
A flash of sympathy clouded the Uni’s eyes for half a second as she saw the pain his old name had brought him, then she softly said, “Cobb, you have lost. We weren’t aiming for you.”
Colonel Cobb stood, staring at her in disbelief. He didn’t bother to look behind him at his men, he knew what had become of them. A tear swelled up in his eye, and he whispered, “I’ve failed. I’ve failed you, Sloth. You had almost won this war... and I messed everything up. Forgive me.” He then forced himself to look back at his men. Instantly, his stone heart was torn in two. He turned towards the Uni in outrage. “How could you have done this? They were forced to be in the army... they didn’t deserve this fate! They were good people...” His voice trailed off, “I deserved it. I have raided Neopia so many times, I am no better than you. I’ve turned innocent people into piles of sludge.” He lifted his head so that he made direct eye contact with the Uni. “You’ve turned innocent people into vegetables.” He sighed, and silently dropped his sludge ray.
“I’m sorry you had to lose your men, Cobb, but they are still alive. Vegetables, trees, and plants live on. They can hear you right now, and so can the piles of sludges. They can still feel emotions, live, and breathe. In fact, in five years they will return to their original state, unharmed. Unless of course, they don’t get proper soil, sunlight, and water, then they may not return to their original states. Then they will wither and die – but I expect you’ll take good care of them,” said the Uni.
He nodded, and suddenly joy seeped back into his veins. He realized that no one had died for the battle of Neopia – that eventually everyone would return to their original states. He gathered up all the vegetables scattered across the floor. He then bought a remote farm, and made sure each of the men stayed in shape. He would make sure of that. He planted each of them and watered them daily. He barked orders at each of them – although none of them seemed to get done. There he stayed, watering his men, and making sure they would return strong. He realized that Sloth had caused all of them to be turned into vegetables. Once his men turned back to Grundos, he swore that Sloth would feel his wrath. And so, he raised millions of meepits in addition to the vegetables. One day, his army would rise, and Neopia would be ruled in peace and justice, at least for a while.
(For more info on Colonel Cobb, here’s a link: