Revolution Undercloud: Part Four
“An ultranova!” said Larry smugly. “The power from the ultranova will have enough activation energy to fully merge all the magical auras in the potion.” His eyes fell on the bubbling pot in the center of the room. “We’ve been working on this potion for fifteen years. Just imagine, the power of the Cosmics on our side... we’ll become fast- faster than the speed of light, invincible- more invincible than the faerie queen herself, powerful, so powerful that Kreludor will be ours to rule!” he whispered, eyes dilating wildly. “Soon, no one will be able to trifle with us!”
Cheers arose throughout the room and Cipher almost missed his next words- “Beware the dark nova! Its powers are much too intense.” After that, his words were swallowed by his assistants.
The orb went dark and foggy again, and Cipher was acutely aware of Sloth laughing.
“You see, Cipher?” asked Sloth between laughs. “This is their source of power and motivation and inspiration. Without this, their morale would be utterly shattered! Those Lennies, they make it all too easy for us, no?”
Cipher didn’t understand yet. “What?”
Sloth’s eyes glittered and he abruptly stopped laughing. “You,” he pointed at Cipher, “are to sabotage the potion. Not just any sabotage either...” He began pacing back and forth. Finally, he went over to one of the bookshelves and slid a sheaf of papers from where it was crammed between two books.
“I did research on my own right after I saw this scene for the first time, two weeks ago.”
“Wait, say that again. Two weeks ago?! What’s to say that they didn’t add the ultranova and finish the potion?” Cipher reasoned that if he was the Lenny, that’s what he would have done.
A slow, wicked smile crept up on Sloth’s face, and Cipher knew right then that Sloth had something to do with it.
“Let’s just say that right now, they are rather... intensely preoccupied.” The villain seemed very self-satisfied. “I just told a little birdie where they lived.”
“A little birdie?”
“Just the Tyrannian Monster,” Sloth replied dismissively. “Deathly scary to the average Neopet.”
“How long do we have before they either catch on or defeat it?” the little Hissi asked curiously.
“Not long; however, I would say another three days at least. Enough time for our plan to be put into action and the potion’s progress stopped.”
“I see, but you still haven’t told me where I come in.”
“Let me tell you about the research I did first,” Sloth countered. “The potion they are creating is called the Cosmic Enchantment. The term ‘cosmic’ obviously in reference to the fact that the mysterious key ingredient is a nova, something from heavenly origins. What I discovered is that this potion is rather... ravenous. In better words, it’s very hard to mess up the creation of this potion. If you drop in useless, unnecessary, or even dangerous items, the potion’s stability does not change. It figuratively “eats” these things, and causes no change to the overall potion. Only when the correct items are added, does the state of the potion change at all.”
“Okay, if that’s true, we can’t sabotage it. We’re better off with a different strategy.”
“I’m not finished. That’s true if we’re only adding in items that are technically “weaker” than the inherent strength of the potion. The way to mess it up is to add something that would obliterate it, something more powerful than the potion.”
Cipher now understood. “The dark nova.”
“Yes.” Sloth nodded, pleased. “It’s not exactly easy to get either novas, but the goal is to acquire a dark nova, infiltrate the castle, and destroy their 'secret' weapon.”
“Another question,” Cipher said. He was gradually getting over his fear of Sloth. “What does this potion do to Lennies? And will the potion blow up and kill me when I add the dark nova?” he asked suspiciously.
Sloth started to pace again. “The effects of the potion as written in the texts are nothing short of phenomenal. Most Neopets have to train for many years to acquire legendary and ultimate strength, defense, and movement. The Cosmic Enchantment actually magically boosts the body’s magical growth. Magical, but it has several implications for the body. They will be faster, stronger, and harder to get rid of.” His tone was grim. “Much, much harder. Their magical abilities will also exponentially increase and devastating magical blasts may be easily at their disposal.”
“And my second question?”
“And that’s the best thing. The potion will NOT blow up. In fact, when you first put it in, the potion will look as if it has just finished its final stages until completion, and here’s the reason why. An ultranova has less power than that of a dark nova. What the potion does is slowly suck the power from a nova and use it to convert the other magical ingredient’s cores into one big mass of power. This process does not instantly happen, but occurs slowly.” He raised his eyes to Cipher’s. “The potion will begin to draw from the power that the dark nova provides. However, as soon as it has taken all the power that it can, the potion will sour, decompose, and collapse upon itself, destroyed beyond repair. Since this process gets so long, you have the chance to escape without raising alarm or suspicion.”
Cipher realized he had forgotten one very important thing. “Skye,” he said. “What about Skye.”
At this, Sloth shrugged his massive shoulders, obviously disinterested. “If you can escape with the little Shoyru, do so. If not, I will uphold my end in the bargain to release her from the spell after my victory.”
It did not escape Cipher that Sloth had said “my victory,” as well as “after”. He hoped it wouldn’t come to that. He had no guarantee that Sloth would keep his word. In fact, he had the sneaking suspicious that as soon as Sloth got what he wanted, he wouldn’t lift a finger to help him. He was a dangerous and cancerous ally, one Cipher wanted to get rid of as soon as possible.
“Do you have a dark nova ready?”
He watched as a thundercloud descended upon Sloth’s brow.
“No,” he said shortly. “That’s the biggest challenge we have. The most we have is three days. If we don’t get one...” He let his threat hang in the air.
Cipher controlled the urge to gulp. “Can we not buy one?”
“Not that easy,” Sloth said shortly. “They have become rather limited recently, and due to the recent economic downturn and inflation, the price is unbelievable.”
Honestly, Cipher had never thought that the difference between a potential victory and a potential loss would be the issue of money. There seemed to be something fundamentally wrong and unjust about that. Not to mention that Sloth didn’t seem to be the kind of guy who didn’t have enough neopoints. Well, there was a first for everything.
He couldn’t help but feel very nervous. A lot of Sloth’s plan was riding on the young Hissi. In the end, it would not be about Sloth’s scheming, but Cipher’s ability. Cipher would never forgive himself if he messed up the one chance to save Skye. Slowly, an idea formed.
“The meteor,” he suggested. “Novas come from outer space. Most Neopians go to the meteor and poke it with a stick, getting lots of radioactive things. However, I’ve heard of novas also crash landing around that particular site.”
Sloth looked deep in thought, and his fist was constantly opening and clenching. “It’s worth a try,” he said slowly. “But the chances of precious novas lying around are slim to none.”
“Do you have radar or some kind of new technology that could make locating a nova easier?”
“No, unfortunately” was the flat response. “Take today to look. If you can’t find one by morning tomorrow, we’ll just have to break into someone’s gallery and steal one.”
Cipher was totally aghast, but the look on Sloth’s face was totally serious. Cipher reminded himself that this was Sloth they were talking about. Heck, he probably broke into people’s galleries to make a living.
“Then there’s no time to waste,” Cipher said quickly. He also wanted to get away from Sloth as much as possible. “I’ll head over to the site right now. Just... don’t steal anything until I get back, okay?”
It was a useless plea, but Cipher wanted to say it anyway. It made him feel a little better. Without waiting for a response (not that it would have been favorable), the Hissi turned smartly on his tail and exited Sloth’s secret base.
Passing the Grundos again was still intimidating, but now, he just felt sorry for them. They were always stuck between a rock and a hard place. Either it was the Lennies wanting their homeland or it was Sloth exploiting their services. Either way, they weren’t going to get their peaceful life. Maybe Pops had a point when he wanted to keep Cipher away from fighting. Pops. He was suddenly overwhelmed with a bout of homesickness, but with great mental strength, he pushed it aside, exited the building, and took to the skies, scanning the horizon for the burning site of the meteor.
He soon saw the meteor, but as he touched down, he saw that he was not the first one here. Someone blue was idly poking the meteor with a stick.
His scales made a hissing noise as he slithered closer, and suddenly, the Neopet turned around.
Cipher’s heart dropped straight through his stomach. He was looking at the pink, possessed eyes of Skye.
If I said your name, would you know mine, Skye?
To be continued...