A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 180,456,195 Issue: 449 | 25th day of Relaxing, Y12
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Revolution Undercloud: Part Six

by tealnova_dragon


Cipher got the sense of drowning. A wave of loss seemed to overcome him for a moment before his Hissi common sense hit him broadside.

     But without really thinking, he launched himself at her, scrabbling for the ultranova. In all his plans and calculations, he had never thought that there would have been two ultranovas in the sack. Ultranovas were still very rare, although less than dark ones. Goodness, what were the chances?

     She stumbled, surprise making her eyes widen. A split second later, however, her eyes narrowed, and darkened to swirls of dark magenta. Swiftly, so expertly that he almost didn’t see it; she slipped inside his defenses and socked him straight in the chest.

     It didn’t have any real power behind it, but he had to fall back.

     Skye’s eyes were cold and hard, nothing like the kind Shoyru he had once known, and Cipher was at an utter loss at what to do. This wasn’t a fight that he could win.

     So feeling like a coward, he turned to the skies. A quick look over his shoulder showed that Skye wasn’t following. Instead, she was cooing over the ultranova with a sickeningly sweet voice.

     Cipher felt his resolve hardening. He would follow Sloth’s plan, and he would make it work. Those Lennies wouldn’t know what hit them!

     He soon returned to Sloth’s base with the dark nova. The villain had been more than surprised, and had actually made plans to invade someone’s gallery. But he didn’t take the gift horse by the mouth and switched gears to the planned fight.

     “I’ve armed each Grundo with this.” He held up a pair of mechanical wings. “As well as this.” In his other hand was what seemed to be a mirror like shield. “As well as their standard blasters and bombs. They are well enough equipped to defend against magical attacks and respond in kind with their technology. We will attack at dawn- the most strategic time. Any questions?”

     “No,” Cipher answered.

     “Excellent,” Sloth said briskly. “For the rest of today- I want to prepare you.” He led Cipher into the same room from earlier- the one with the orb. This time, however, he walked over to one of the bookshelves, removed a book, stepped back, and watched as the bookshelf shifted and moved aside to reveal a doorway. “Come on.”

     Cipher stepped inside to find nothing but a crystal clear pool of water. “What’s this?”

     Sloth as usual, examined it critically. “This is my imitation of the Rainbow Pool. Every now and then I want my Grundos to look nice. It was too much of a hassle to visit Neopia Central, so I created this.” Without warning, Sloth shoved him into the pool.

     Cipher yelled as the cold water rose above his head, but it only came out as a gurgle. Infuriated, he furiously tried to swim out, but his movements were stopped when Sloth held him under. Unable to move, he could only be livid silently. He knew what Sloth was doing: Painting him another color.

     ‘If this pool can turn me into a mutant,’ Cipher thought to himself, ‘I’m going to hurt something. Preferably Sloth.’ The water turned murky black for a moment, almost inky.

     Then it was over and Sloth hoisted him out. Checking himself over, Cipher was sort of relived to not be a mutant, but in fact, painted a nice shade of shadow.

     Sloth also looked him over and grunted in approval. “This will help you lurk around their Undercloud. The room you saw earlier may have been bright blue, but the rest of the hallways are dark and usually not lighted. It also enables you to hide the dark nova on your person.”

     As he said so, Sloth fished the dark nova out of his pocked and with a quick command, made it leap onto Cipher, hide among the feathers of his wings, and latch on tight.

     Experimentally, Cipher flapped his wings a couple times. Good, he almost couldn’t feel it. He just hoped it wouldn’t fall off during the chaos of the fight.

     As if sensing his lingering doubt, Sloth laughed. “It won’t fall off. Trust it.” He swept out of the room and then proceeded to show Cipher the “guest room”. Cipher was of the opinion that Sloth didn’t entertain guests very often.

     Cipher didn’t really care about the room- since tomorrow, everything would be set in motion. He fell asleep feeling homesick and lost.

     The next day, Cipher woke to a Grundo shaking him away. Attempting to clear his groggy mind, he sat up. The Grundo pointed to the “nightstand”, which had a tray of breakfast, and backed out of the room.

     Wincing as his bones protested, Cipher dragged himself to his feet. He hadn’t slept well at all. Nightmares of failing his part of the plan had plagued him all night. With a sigh, he gulped down a glass of water, nibbled on an omelette, and slowly freshened up. Just as he finished, Sloth himself waltzed into the room.

     He too was given a shield and a blaster. After all, the Lennies weren’t to know that they wanted to be captured.

     “I hope you’re ready.”

     “I am.”

     “You don’t look it.” Sloth pointed to the bags under his eyes.

     “I will be.”

     “You better be.”

     Cipher didn’t say anything back.

     They went to the foyer of the base, where the Grundo army bristled with weapons and other sharp objects.

     Taking his place at the front, Sloth turned to face his army. “You know your orders. Attack any Lenny in sight. Leave the Shoyru be. Retreat after exactly fifteen minutes. Any Grundo who fails in these assignments will be terminated. Am I clear?”

     There was a collective yell of, “Yes!” Cipher shuddered at the way their brainwashed eyes blinked- there was no soul behind them. Cipher swore that as soon as he saved Skye, he would save the Grundos too.

     “Then fly!”

     At the order, the Grundos leaped into the air, soared through the hole in the ceiling, and set on the course for Faerieland. Cipher took off after them, hypersensitive to the slight weight on his left wing.

     From the sky, the Undercloud looked exactly as the name suggested. Like Jhudora’s cloud, it was a sinister dark purple, complete with electrical static. It hugged the lower cloud levels, on the outskirts of Faerieland itself.

     As they converged upon the Undercloud, the Hissi detected a faint shift in the air.

     Sloth, who flew alongside him, grinned. “Those are the wards. They’ll be out here any minute. They know we’re here.”

     The sun had barely risen, so it bathed the clouds in a pretty golden light. Cipher could see with crystal clear clarity just what Sloth meant. Like a bush that housed a hive of angry hornets, the Undercloud bristled, and out of it, poured a stream of angry Lennies They were a stark contrast to the Grundos- who were decked out in metal. They instead were wearing robes and brandishing wands instead of blasters.

     They were both very loud. Shrill battle cries came from both sides, causing Cipher’s head to throb. Growls, hisses, and other snarls showed the shining animosity against the other.

     The sky was filled. Wherever Cipher looked, a battle-ready warrior snarled.

     To Cipher, it was an ugly scene. There was nothing glorious or exciting about it. It just filled him with dread and disgust. Was this what his Pops did? No wonder he didn’t want this for Cipher.

     The anticipation at fighting made him feel like scum, but he hardened his resolve. For Skye. Skye, Skye, Skye.

     He noticed the starry-robed Larry slide to the front of the flock, as did Sloth in front of his Grundos. At once, it was silent. Flags on both sides rippled in the breeze as their respective leaders stared the other down.

     “Sloth,” Larry acknowledged.

     “Larry,” Sloth sneered in kind.

     Cipher now drowned out their pre-battle conversation. For over Larry’s shoulder, he spied Skye. That dratted pink had almost enveloped her iris, and she glided on the breeze like a hawkish predator. All her Skye mannerisms were gone. To his eye, she seemed like an efficient soldier. Something she had always wanted to be, but not like this. The heavy pink in her eyes almost made him cry. The spell was stronger than before.

     He sucked in a deep breath and prepared himself as the conversation got heated. And just like that, all chaos broke loose.

     The noise was back at a thunderous roar, the air around him crackled and moved, and the tides of the war rushed against each other. It was all very fast paced and furious.

     Clashes were heard as metal struck wood, colorful bolts of energy rebounded from the mirror shield, and soldiers, from both sides of the battle were already falling to the doom.

     He watched in horror as a Grundo’s mechanical wings were clipped by a shot of green magic. Having nothing to keep him in the air, he simply fell.

     He looked up, and coming at him was a creature with pink eyes. They were staring straight at him- she was zooming at him at twenty miles per hour- the same tackle she would playfully execute on him what seems like a lifetime ago.

     This time, there was obviously nothing friendly in her eyes.

     Those pink orbs were locked on his and promised a grim reality.

     I wish you were fighting with me, not against me, Skye.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Revolution Undercloud: Part One
» Revolution Undercloud: Part Two
» Revolution Undercloud: Part Three
» Revolution Undercloud: Part Four
» Revolution Undercloud: Part Five
» Revolution Undercloud: Part Seven

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