Curses of the Catacombs
Also by simies12
"Corbin? Hey, you comin', bro?"
The blue Ogrin held his chin high in the air. He tried to hide himself in a fearless facade, but to no surprise, Kell could see right through it. He could always tell how his brother really felt.
"Absolutely," Corbin replied. "Absolutely positively. I am coming. Here I go. See? I'm catching up to you. Behold, I have managed to stand by your side. Here it comes, I'm gonna get ahead of you..."
Kell stepped ahead before Corbin could prove how much more worse he actually was at cloaking his fear. "Okay man, I gotcha. Look, I'm not any less spooked by this place as you are." He reached into his backpack, revealing a tattered parchment depicting everything they need to know about the catacombs. "We've been through worse. Remember what Dad always told us?"
"Uh..." Corbin stuttered. "Screaming like a girl leads to embarrassment?"
Kell facepalmed. "It's okay to be scared, just don't let it override the task at hand. But yeah. Screaming like a girl would be considered overriding. Promise not to do that this time, okay?"
Corbin smirked. "So this goes for the both of us?"
"Of course," Kell replied skeptically. "What are you getting at...?"
The Wocky's brother paced back and forth. "Well, seeing as we've never been in these catacombs, we have no idea what we'll be up against. Spyders, cultists, ghost zombies..." He nudged Kell. "Or possibly Batterflies."
Kell proceeded to whack Corbin across the head with the rolled up map.
"Yeah right. Like that's ever gonna happen again." The Wocky crossed his arms. "And didn't you swear you'd never bring up that one time?
Corbin rubbed his head. "One time? What one time? I don't remember any one time. I certainly remember two times though, or possibly three, or maybe even four..."
Kell rolled his eyes. He shoved the map into Corbin's hands, trading it for the lantern. "Here. Figure out how we're supposed to read this thing. The sooner we have an idea of how these catacombs work, the better. Let's get going."
It didn't take too long for the pair to get themselves into danger. Five minutes in, and their feet were scrambling as mysterious cultists shot at them with blasts of magic.
"Dude, I told you busting down the door was a bad idea!" Corbin shouted, trying not to scream as he was told.
"Oh yeah?" Kell retorted, "I suppose you don't know how to play the banjo? Just because I was tuning those blasted singing flowers doesn't make me musically inclined in the least!"
Kell swung his head around. The cultists were hot on their trail. A ball of energy began to form in one of the cultists' hands.
Without hesitation, he shoved his brother in front.
Corbin was tall. He made good use as a barrier. It certainly did not mean that he enjoyed being stunned by ethereal magic, however. He couldn't manage to keep his promise and let out a shrill scream as the glowing energy enveloped him.
The cultists ran off, playing out-of-tune banjos with a dissonant twang.
Despite his previous act of disloyalty, Kell quickly caught Corbin in his arms as his brother fainted from the blast.
Corbin moaned. "Curses..."
Kell's sense of brotherhood didn't last long. He dropped Corbin to the ground and whacked him across the head with the map once again. "Watch your language. No cursing in this family!"
Corbin tried to raise his arms in surrender. "No, man!" He stuttered. "They shot curses at us. Those cultists cursed me or something. Look at the map..."
Kell raised an eyebrow. He unrolled the map, and beside the image of the catacombs was a section entitled curses. It listed several names and icons, such as the Curse of Apathy and the Curse of Meepitude. Somewhere in the middle of the list was an image of a tired eye, labelled Curse of Narcolepsy. He looked back at his brother, who was already curling up and sucking his thumb like a baby. Kell had never actually seen Corbin asleep before, and he was glad that he probably would never have to witness such an odd sight again.
"Dude, you're worse than that other one helping with the flowers!" Kell tried to haul his brother up, but lost grip of the Ogrin's tired body and both of the siblings toppled to the ground.
"Cor needs coffee..." Corbin muttered. Kell quickly regretted not buying extra coffee that was on sale at the Crumpetmongers.
After Kell was dragging his sleeping brother through the catacombs for nearly ten minutes, Corbin's eyes began to flutter open. He started mumbling words too vague to understand, but once he realized that Kell was pulling him along by his hand, he jumped away and came crashing to the ground yet again.
"I see you've discovered a new hobby," Kell teased. "Having fun down there?"
Corbin shot a glare. "Plenty. Anything happen while I was out?"
"Oh certainly," he responded in a heavily sarcastic voice. "These ghosts came blasting their sorcery at us, but I was a grand hero and stuff, and took the blow for you. I'm so brave, aren't I?"
Corbin truly couldn't tell if Kell was being serious or not. His brother was definitely the sarcastic type, but at the moment, the sarcasm was practically dripping from his mouth.
Kell proceeded to put an ear to the door in front of them. Loud bickering and arguing spew through the walls.
"Sweet," Kell cheered, "I've been meaning to use my mediator skills."
Corbin was bewildered. "Since when did you learn to be a mediator?"
"Since I decided to share the kindness of my heart," he cooed, giving Corbin Puppyblew eyes. Corbin wanted to gag.
Kell flung the wooden door open, giving a supposedly warm smile to the inhabitants of the room. Inside was a group of meddling children, fighting over a decapitated Usuki doll.
"Dolls are stupid!" One kid shouted.
"You're stupid!" Cried another.
Kell charged to the children and set a hand on their shoulders. "Children, please," he started with his voice still coated in sarcasm, "there truly is nothing to fight about! The facts are all here! You're all stupid."
Corbin dropped his jaw. He scrambled for the map and studied the list of curses. There, second from the top, was a curse that read Curse of Sarcasm. He facepalmed.
Tears quickly began to flow from the kids' eyes. "Bully!" They cried, shooting blasts of magic. Kell quickly jumped out of the way as the curse zapped Corbin's body. The children ran off, and Kell dashed to his brother who was taking part in his new hobby once again.
"Sorry man," Kell apologized. The Curse of Sarcasm had already rinsed away. "Uh, anything I can do for you?"
Corbin closed his eyes. "Coffee," he moaned, returning to his awkward sleeping pose.
It was now Kell's turn to gag.
Corbin luckily had woken up much faster than the previous Curse of Narcolepsy, to Kell's relief. The pair had run into several more cursed rooms, but couldn't manage to pinpoint what the sorcery had done to them. They also came across a tomb filled with treasure and prizes, and chose to pick up a few weapons for defense during the travel.
It came to a slight surprise that as Kell swung open the next rusted door, angry Meepits awaited their arrival. Their tiny paws began to glow with magic, conjuring up yet another curse made specially for the brothers.
"Alright man, hand me the daggers," Kell demanded, holding out a hand. "These rodents are going down."
Corbin shifted his eyes. He pursed his lips anxiously.
"Dude, what did you with them?"
"...I ate them."
Kell's eyes grew wide. "WHAT?"
"I'm sorry, bro, I'm sorry!" Corbin grabbed the map from his backpack. "I think it was this curse right here!" He pointed to the top of the list. Kell snatched the paper from him and studied the words.
"Curse of Cravings..." He read aloud, and stated at his brother. He appeared to be perfectly healthy, despite the fact that he managed to digest a sharpened pair of Simple Dark Decorative Daggers. "This is just getting weird."
Before the discussion could continue, the group of Meepits began to blast the magic towards the team. Kell flinched, hoping the demonic Petpets would miss.
It was a direct hit, but not for Kell. In a split second, Corbin jumped in the way to take the shot instead. The tiny Meepits scurried away, cackling maniacally in squeaky voices.
Out of all the insanity they had been through, Corbin's action confused Kell most of all. Could it have been another mysterious curse that affected him?
"Whoa man," Kell stuttered in disbelief, "what in Neopia was that for?"
Corbin's eyes were closed, but he certainly wasn't falling asleep. "Didn't want you to get hurt," he muttered, managing to still grin despite the pain he was in. "I don't think I've gotten this one before... I feel fatigued."
Kell didn't waste a second and flipped open the map. At the very bottom of the list of curses read Curse of Fatigue. However, unlike the other curses, this one had fine print written below. Lasts up to twenty-four hours. Do not leave current floor of catacombs until fatigue symptoms have disappeared.
He peered up from the map, shocked to see something he had been waiting to find the entire journey in the catacombs so far: a staircase leading to the next floor. Kell was about to jump for joy until he looked down and was reminded that his brother was still feeling terribly weak.
"Great," he complained, "we might be stuck here for an entire day."
"Not so bad," Corbin spoke nearly at a whisper. "We've got each other, at least."
Although he thought it was cheesy, Kell couldn't help but agree. He couldn't imagine for a second going on a mission without Corbin, even if he did get on his nerves sometimes. "Yeah," he replied. "Suppose we should call it a night?"
"Sounds like a plan," Corbin mumbled.
A good night's sleep sounded perfect to Kell. The two unpacked blankets and pillows, and slipped away into a nice, relaxing rest.
Unfortunately, every wacky situation that Kell encountered that day managed to make its way into his not-so-sweet dreams. Images of kids learning how to eat weapons and Meepits falling asleep beside crazed cultists frolicked in his head.
He should've anticipated that.