Doomsday, with Sprinkles
After so long, the day is finally here. Halloween night. How spectacularly fitting. From now on it will be known as Doomsday night. I throw my head back and laugh.
But as I stand here, gazing with admiration upon the Box, a memory intrudes upon my gloating. A memory of another Halloween. One year ago...
I still remember it extremely clearly. No amount of explosions, of failed experiments and ruined equipment, can ever drive it from my mind. No amount of new inventions, new ideas, new theories, can ever make me forget. Apparently not even today, the day of my dreams, of my deepest desire, can drive it from my head.
Even now as I toil away in my lab at the top of this mountain, I sometimes pause in my efforts; I stare out the windows at the beautiful landscape of molten lava and scorching deserts, prowled by my dear Werelupes, and I think about her.
She is the only thing that could ever distract me from my experiments; she is the only thing that could make my goal of world-domination seem suddenly so inconsequential, though of course that was only temporary. I will not fail again tonight. She drives me crazy still; I should have killed her while I had the chance. It was extremely thoughtless of me not to.
I remember her so well...
Halloween night. As if I cared. It was just another day. Those ridiculous Neopets would be running around begging wearing crude costumes and begging for artificial sugar-based sustenance soon, but I wouldn’t let it bother me. No-one would ever dare brave the lava river or the Werelupes that guarded my fortress. Well, Halloween was usually just another day. This year, it would be just a little more... exciting.
I thought of this and cackled madly; I could not be disturbed this night, even by perspective material for new experiments. No, I was too close to my goal. Tonight, the foolish Neopets who led their foolish lives would be blasted away, and world domination would be mine.
The lamps glowed, lighting my lab to a perfection that almost made me cry. They were one of my best inventions ever.
The Box lay on the table, trailing its wires and smoking faintly. I rubbed my paws together, unable to keep the grin off my face. I was so close.
A sudden banging made me frown, and irritation descended like a cloud over my good mood.
“Randall!” I screamed, flying to the door of my laboratory. “Randall! Whatever that noise is, shut it up now! I’m working!”
“Yes, Master!” came the pained reply, in the whining voice of my assistant. I shuddered; I really, really hated his voice.
“And Randall, get a new voice!” I added in a yell. I harrumphed to myself. Perhaps I could give him some different vocal cords... it was high time I did some work on him, anyway. He was getting inefficient. I needed efficiency to run my lab.
Grumbling, I turned back to the Box, carefully plucking a pair of pliers from the box on my desk. I shoved aside a slew of tiny wires and began to prise open the cage that contained the live pyons. I laughed as I saw the pathetic little creatures struggling against the slippery sides.
The banging came again, and this time it startled me so that I jumped, dropping the pliers. I screamed in frustration, hopping up and down. Whoever had created that noise, they were going to be fed to the Werelupes immediately.
Shaking with anger, I tore across my laboratory, ripping open the door with a bang and emerging into the stone corridor. I looked both ways wildly, trying to find the source of the awful noise. All was cool and dim and utterly silent, lit by the flickering light from the torches in brackets along the walls.
“Randall!” I ground my teeth, yanking my coat tighter around myself. I had completely lost my focus, and I doubted that I could finish the Box tonight anymore. And I’d been so close. Why was I the only intelligent being around here? Why could no-one even begin to comprehend what I could? Idiots, the lot of them.
They were going to pay. Oh, yes, they going to pay. Maybe the Werelupes weren’t bad enough. Maybe the Unnamed Monsters would be more fitting. Oh, yes. The Unnamed Monsters. I smiled grimly. They were a particularly excellent success, if I said so myself.
“Master, Master.” Randall came stumbling into view, dragging something small behind him. I disregarded my enormous red assistant, focusing on what he had with him. It was wearing hideous clothes—something ordinary Neopets called ‘jeans’, and a ‘T-shirt’. It was blue and furry.
“Feed it to the Unnamed Monsters,” I snapped, already turning away. Stupid thing. It had probably somehow managed to get past the Werelupes and over the lava. How, I couldn’t imagine. I was just slightly curious, but I had better things to do.
“What are those?” a high, clear voice asked in a curious tone. I stopped dead in the act of reaching for the handle of my lab door, and slowly turned around again.
The creature Randall had had raised its head, revealing pointed features and wide eyes the colour of machine oil. They were strangely appealing.
“They are evil monsters who will tear you apart,” I told the creature smugly. There. That should wipe the curious expression right off its face.
But it did not. In fact, the thing only looked more interested than ever.
“That’s not very kind, I don’t think, feeding strangers to monsters,” it said, and there was a touch of disapproval in its tone.
I felt a strange stirring inside of me. I blinked. I couldn’t possibly be hungry yet; I had just eaten... something. Randall had brought it less than an hour ago. I shook my head.
“Master,” Randall began, and he patted the creature on its little blue head. I stared at him in complete shock. “Master, do we really have to feed her to the monsters? Really, Master.” And he, too, was reproaching me. I was flabbergasted; I felt I should drop dead right there from the sheer impossibility of it. Randall, being sympathetic? What was it about this little Neopet?
I narrowed my eyes at the creature, which was silent, looking from me to my assistant and back again, her oil-eyes wide and full of curiosity. I felt a little stab where I knew my heart was, and I gasped, clamping a hand over it. I was immediately distracted. Was I about to have a heart attack? I couldn’t. Not when I was so close to taking over the whole world!
“Randall,” I gasped. The creature looked at me, tilting its funny head. Her funny head.
“Are you okay, Mister Mad Scientist?” she asked, sounding a little concerned. I floundered for words, and my heart gave another throb. I was getting a little alarmed now; what was happening to me?!
“Randall, put it down,” I grumbled at last, annoyed. Randall’s terrifying face was wearing an anxious, almost adoring expression. He let go of the blue Neopet, and she stood up, brushing her clothes off. In the dim light of the flames, she was almost tolerable-looking. I was sure she would be downright hideous under the bright glare of my laboratory lights, but she was okay enough here.
“You, little Neopet, come with me.” I turned with finality and yanked open the door to the lab. I heard footsteps behind me, and caught a whiff of something disgustingly flowery, like roses. Ugh. I shuddered, quickly taking a deep breath of the laboratory air.
Ah. The sweet smell of burning antiseptic and raw flesh filled my nose, clearing away the evil fragrance.
“Nice place you’ve got here. Looks exactly right for an evil scientist,” the charmingly adorable voice remarked. I surveyed the creature with disgust. It was funny-shaped, not at all like me—I remembered Randall had once called me a mutant Scorchio. I tried to think what it could possible be, racking my brains for my knowledge of Neopet species. I gave up with a groan.
“What are you?” I grumbled, feeling foolish for asking the question. I felt my cheeks go warm, and was surprised. What was this supposed to mean?
“I’m an Aisha; a blue Aisha,” the Neopet told me cheerfully. She was leaning over my Box.
“No, don’t touch that!” I hurried to her side, shoving her over. She gave me a hurt look. Instead of ripping her to pieces, to my utter and complete shock, I frowned.
“Well, okay, you can look,” I said grudgingly, while the rational part of my brain screamed: what are you doing?! You foolish, idiotic scientist! She might ruin it! Just zap her and call Randall to take away the leftovers!
She examined it with an expression of intense concentration on her face, which was puckered into a frown. I stood next to her, motionless, fighting a mental battle.
Idiot, lackwit! What are you doing?!
Nothing, I huffed in reply. Get out of my head! I’m fine without you.
Ha! Fine is it, fine? Then why is she still alive?
Because she interests me. Now get out!
“You know, this says, ‘World Domination Box’ on the side,” the creature—Aisha—remarked casually.
“Yes, of course.” My tone was brusque. She wasn’t actually as hideous as I’d thought. Her hair was actually quite a pleasing shade, the same as Werelupe blood.
“So, foolish creature”—I cleared my throat—“why are you not out with the rest of your foolish friends, stuffing your face with artificial sugar concoctions and waiting to be annihilated?” I coughed.
“What? You sure talk funny,” she remarked, wrinkling her nose. “And you’re not very nice. I think you should try being a little nicer; all your minions seem kinda afraid.”
“What?!” I gasped, bewildered and hurt that this creature should criticize me, and also vaguely aware that I should probably be tearing her to pieces, but she had already went on,
“I dunno. I got lost. It was pretty dark. And then there was this lava river.” She grew more excited, and I couldn’t believe my ears as she continued, “It was totally awesome! Is it yours? Took me ages to get the attention of those funny-looking Lupes. They look a little stupid, you know,” she added confidentially, widening her eyes at me. “But anyway, eventually they came over and picked me up and took me across—I seriously think you need to invest in a better form of transportation, it was kinda rough—and then your hulking Mynci guy was waiting on the other side, and he dragged me to you,” she finished.
This odd little creature boggled my mind. I had never encountered anything like her. My captives begged, they cringed, they cowered in fear and whispered praises. Why wasn’t she doing any of this?
“Hey, Mister Mad Scientist?”
“Hmmm?” I murmured, distracted.
“Can I have something to drink?”
“Oh.” I paused, momentarily thrown. “Oh, er, spyder juice? Or I have pyon blood,” I offered. It felt very odd to try to be polite, but I did not want this ridiculous little Neopet mocking me again. “That is my assistant’s preferred beverage.”
“Blood?! Mister, don’t you have anything even remotely normal?” she asked in despair. I was affronted.
“I have water,” I told her stiffly. She shrugged.
“Hey, water’s fine by me. It’s good for you. Thanks,” she added pleasantly, and I felt an odd thrill, a little trickle of warmth, run through me. How strange, I thought as I hurried over to the tub where my supply of waterfish lurched around. They all looked up with huge, terrified eyes when they saw me.
Now that’s an appropriate reaction, I thought with no small sense of satisfaction as I snatched a cup off the shelf above and dipped up some water. This weird little Neopet was disconcerting.
“Here.” I walked back to where the creature was now examining my rad-blaster where it sat on its gel pad.
“Niiice,” she sighed appreciatively. I brightened.
“Isn’t it? It’s one of my latest inventions. Works from distances up to six metres.”
“Impressive.” She bobbed her head a little, making her hair bounce, and turned her oil-coloured eyes back on me. “Hey, thanks.” She accepted the water and took a drink without even checking to see whether or not I had poisoned it. I looked at her askance. Good thing I hadn’t added any chlorine.
“What’s that?” I looked where she pointed, and saw a long roll of paper lying on the bench opposite us.
“Oh. Here.” I handed them to her, feeling just slightly gleeful and a little nervous. I’d never shown anyone these plans before. In fact, I’d never shown anyone any of my plans before. My henchmen were all far too stupid to have a hope of understanding anything I did. As was the rest of the world—I was doomed to be so much more intelligent than anyone else.
“World Domination?” The Neopet was frowning as she scanned them. “You’re planning to blast everyone off Neopia?! With your... Doomsday Squad?!”
I blinked at her. “Well, yes, of course.” I didn’t tell her that I’d been, in fact, millimetres away from completing and putting into action my plan tonight, before she’d interrupted me so rudely. I thought of that and groaned. I would never be able to remember what precisely I had been planning to do on the Box tonight.
“Huh. Well, kudos to you, then,” she said, and she sounded a little disgusted. I was taken aback.
“Kudos? What are those?”
“I meant, good luck on your plans to destroy Neopia. I guess someone’s gotta be the evil genius plotting all this stuff.”
“Yes, that is right!” I cried, pleased that she seemed to understand so well. “That is exactly right.” I beamed. Perhaps... perhaps she wasn’t as stupid as the rest of them. Of course, her intellect would still be sadly below mine, but at least she seemed to have a brain. Maybe she would stay. Maybe she would become my next assistant.
I was already making mental notes on what I would have to fix on her—definitely longer arms, hers were pathetically short, and I should give her a better smelling apparatus, though I wouldn’t dream of touching her voice or eyes; they were perfect—when she said,
“You know, I think I’d better be going now. It’s almost dawn! Halloween’s just flown by.” Her eyebrows were raised as she marvelled over this phenomenon. I was immediately horribly disappointed.
“Go?” I looked toward the windows, and sure enough, I could see the sky beginning to turn pink beneath the sulphurous clouds that clustered angrily on the horizon. The night—and my plans to blast the world into flames—were gone.
“Yep.” She set her glass down and flashed me a blindingly brilliant smile that left me feeling just a little dazed. Then she skipped lightly across the lab, dodging the piles of equipment scattered here and there, and reached for the door handle. I watched her go, too stunned to move. “Hey, and do me a favour, will you?” she asked, frowning slightly. “Be a little bit nicer to your henchfolk. They’re looking a little down. Especially Randall; he deserves it. Make him some cupcakes, I think. Pink with sprinkles."
I could not respond, and a second later, she had gone, leaving me standing alone in the middle of my cold, silent laboratory, as outside my window the Werelupes howled and the lava churned, and even the delightful sound of some luckless intruder getting ripped to pieces could not arouse joy inside of me.
I swear my assistant is staring at me; the idiotic thing. I knew I should never have used a Myncii. They don’t react as well to radioactive waves.
“Master,” he croaks in his high-pitched, annoying voice, “Master, are we ready?”
“Of course we are ready,” I snap. Randall is my worst invention yet, I am convinced of this quite firmly now. I glower at him for a moment, then turn back to the Box. It looks up at me, and I can hear it begging to me, as all my inventions do, regarding me as its saviour, its maker and imaginer and creator.
Turn me on, it begs. Turn me on, and let me do my work, oh Most Glorious Master.
Of course, dear one, I think back to it. Of course.
I reach for it, that red button, that one that will complete all my hard, long years of preparation... a face stills me. A memory face. A blue one, with eyes the colour of machine oil.
“Master? Will you press the button now?” Randall’s great face looks anxious.
“Yes.” I almost growl the word. My paw quivers. The moment I’ve been waiting for...
I hesitate one second. Her face flashes in my memory. She lives down there, with all those foolish Neopians.
"Make some cupcakes, will you? Pink, with sprinkles."
I press the button.
Author's Note: For Rikku, who inspired this all unwittingly, and definitely unknowingly. xD Happy Halloween, everyone! ^_^