Lifestyles of the Affluent and Illustrious: Emperor Razul
SOMEWHERE UNDER THE CITY OF QASALA – Helloooooooo Neopia! Birdy Wyndham here, reporting from underneath the city of Qasala! I want to give you a very warm welcome to the revival of LIFESTYLES OF THE AFFLUENT AND ILLUSTRIOUS! Originally a guild project sponsored by the Neopian Times Appreciation Guild (or as its members call it, "NTAG"), it has recently moved on to the Neopian Times Writers' Forum, or NTWF.
Today, I have taken on the mighty task of interviewing someone who has not been seen in Neopia for many years: Emperor Razul.
Emperor Razul was last seen in Year 7, when he tried to take over and destroy Sakhmet, only to be defeated by the power of lov—, uh, I mean his son: Prin—KING Jazan the Fourth. Also of Qasala.
But I wasn't going to let a silly thing like complete and total annihilation stop me from getting my interview.
After searching though many of the great libraries of Neopia, I finally found all the information that I needed to locate and summon the flaming Kyrii of death.
Location was easy: Qasala. Granted, he'd been defeated in Sakhmet, but I figured he (or any part of him) would not be sticking around there after such a humiliating defeat, thank-you very much.
Summoning him, however... Well. That's why I did my research and hired a guide. Being unversed in magic and the like, I needed someone who was. (That someone not being King Jazan. Despite his change for the good, I highly doubt his reaction would be "What's that? You want to summon my dead father from the netherworld just so you can interview him? I see no way in which this could go wrong! Go right ahead!", so an outside source it was. )
Once we reached our location, I helped my guide set the equipment up. Our agreement had been that he would help get everything going, but the final step would be up to me. (He earlier told me in no uncertain terms that he was not going to be around when Razul showed up.) Finally, after much preparation, everything was ready. The yellow Kougra began the incantations, and then, the only thing left to do was throw some little highly-fragile-looking vial into the middle of the odd squiggles and shapes on the floor. After handing me the vial, my guide bid me farewell, and ran from the cavern, leaving me completely alone.
After taking a deep breath, I carefully extended my hand over the middle of the shapes, and then – with utmost caution – hurled the vial to the ground with all my might, smashing it into to hundreds of tiny little pieces.
The effect was immediate.
No sooner had the liquid inside the vial touched the chalk, than large clouds of black billowing smoke began to fill the air. The wind began to howl, and what little sand was on the floor began to swirl. I ducked and hid my face in my arms in an attempt to keep it out. Peeking through them, I could see a figure slowly rising from the smoke, with flames dancing about it. Finally, with a roar that shook the cavern, it stood at its full height, flames crackling.
Emperor Razul, in the flesh. (Or, err... what was left of it, anyway. ...Actually, now that I'd gotten a good look at him in person, he appeared to have a very distinct lack of flesh, and instead sported a flaming skeleton and floaty head of doom.)
"At last..." he said, stretching his arms to the side and looking upwards. "I am RELEASED! Now, to take my revenge upon Sakhmet and my fool of a son..."
He began to walk out of the cavern, and I began to silently count down.
3... 2... 1...
He was pulled to a stop as two magical chains appeared, shackled to his wrists.
"W-what...?" Razul looked at the chains in a mix of rage and confusion. "WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!"
"Y'like it?" I called up to him, sitting cross-legged on the stone floor with my backpack beside me. "Lovely little binding spell, isn't it. I came across it in my journeys across Neopia."
Razul looked at me in disgust. "And I suppose it took you years to find it," he spat, flames crackling.
"Nawh," I said with a dismissive wave of my hand. "I found it a couple days ago, and it took me like, five minutes, once I had the proper book. Indexes are handy like that," I added with a grin.
"Impertinent human," Razul growled. "You shall PAY for your insolence!"
And with that, he detached his head and sent it flying towards me, jaws open wide.
He would have been successful in trying to devour me, too, had it not been for another lovely little binding spell, which this time caused his face to slam into an invisible, near-intangible wall.
"Cute trick," I remarked dryly, taking out my notebook and pen. "If you're done with your temper tantrum, can we get this interview started, please?"
"'Cute'?" Razul growled in disgust. "You dare to refer to me as 'cute'?!"
I shrugged. "Nothing says 'cute' like a blazing demon Kyrii," I reply, completely deadpan. "Now, then, about that interview..."
"Silence, fool," Razul hissed. "I will ask the questions here. Release me at once!"
"That's an order, not a question," I pointed out. "If you can't tell the difference between the two, you probably should just let me take the lead."
(I admit, I probably deserved the firey glare of death that Razul shot me after that.)
"Now, then," I said, flipping to a blank page in my notebook and clicking the end of the pen to a writable position. "First question: Do you regret nearly destroying Sakhmet?"
Razul laughed. (It was creepy. I didn't like it. )
"Regrets? You think that I, Razul the Firey, the greatest sorcerer of all time, would have regrets?"
"So no regrets, then," I said, writing down what he'd said. "Not even getting bested by your own son, whom you called a 'pathetic, love-sick fool'? Like it or not, his love for Nabile is what gave him the edge. Had you not ended up zapping her instead, well. You may have just won."
"SILENCE!" Razul roared, flames blazing around him. "You would be wise not to speak those names in my presence..."
Technically, I'd only spoken one name, but whatever.
"That was nearly nine years ago, you know. How time flies, eh?"
"That long?" Razul murmured, looking contemplative. But then he shook his head. "Pah, what is time to an immortal?"
"Is that what you call it? 'Cause I didn't realize that being in a state of total annihilation counted as immortality – which is what you were in, until I came along. You're welcome, by the way."
Razul glared. "Don't you have more questions to be asking?" he growled.
"Fine, fine..." I grumbled. "Question two: Qasala was destroyed by a sandstorm well over 200 years ago, right? So how could your son, Jazan, be engaged to Princess Amira two centuries before she was even born?"
Razul snorted. "The agreement – and only way to break the curse – was for my pathetic excuse for a son to marry the first-born princess of Sakhmet. That was all."
"...So it wasn't specific to a single royal..." I said, realization growing. "As long as the princess he married was the first-born, the curse would be broken."
"That is what I just said..." Razul sounded sour. I can't imagine why.
"I guess that would mean that Nabile would have to be slightly older than Amira..." I mused. "To be a first-born princess of Sakhmet and all. Or maybe I'm just over thinking all this."
"You don't say?" Razul crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. Obviously, he had no appreciation for those who think out loud.
I scanned my list of questions and picked one at random.
"So tell me," I said. "What is the nether-region to which you were banished like? I'm sure many Neopians are curious."
"That," Razul growled, "is not for you mortals to know."
"Oooh, secrets of the afterlife?" I eagerly scribbled that down, along with a couple of theories. "Fascinating."
"However, if you keep up with your foolish questions, you may yet get to see..."
"And I'd love to take you up on that offer, but alas, it would greatly interfere with my plans to sample every type of cheese in Neopia, so I'm afraid I'll have to pass."
"How unfortunate for me..."
I ignored him and glanced over my list, finding another question.
"Okay, next question. Really, I should have probably asked this one first, but eh. Whatever. How are you today?"
"Terrible," Razul growled. "I was forcibly ripped away from my world, only to be chained here and dragooned into answering inane questions!"
"M'hmm, m'hmm..." I nodded and wrote his response down, ignoring his inflamed attitude. "And favourite vacation spot?"
"Seeing as how I am now spending the majority of my time being in a 'nether-region', as you called it, I hardly have the time for such trivial things as a vacation."
"Huh. Even with being immortal and all? You'd think being able to live forever – plus being undead to boot – one would have plenty of time to cultivate their hobbies, or even create now ones. Ooh, that makes me think of another question! Do you like sports?"
Razul arched an eyebrow. (Or at least I think he did. I was kinda hard to tell with all the flames.)
"Sports?" he inquired.
"Yeah, y'know, like the Altador Cup?"
Razul continued to stare with what I can only describe as a blank look.
That's when I realized it – the Altador Cup hadn't come back until the year after Razul was defeated.
"Soooo no sports then," I said, making a note to next time make sure my timelines are in order before the start of the interview.
Had I been more observant at this point, I may have noticed that the barrier that was keeping him from incinerating me was beginning to weaken, but nooOOOooo... I was too busy scanning my list of questions, deciding what one to ask next. Had I known about the weakening barrier, however, I might have chosen a more... dignified one.
"What," I asked, regarding him shrewdly, "is the airspeed velocity of an unladen Weewoo?"
His eyes narrowed, and I could have sworn the flames surrounding him actually decreased before it happened. Everything grew silent, until finally, Razul spoke, his voice low and chilling.
"I thought I told you," he said icily, "to stop with your foolish questions..."
"Oi," I said. "Don't let my friend hear you calling something Weewoo-related 'foolish', 'cause y'know what she'd do? She'd hunt you down, and—"
And that was about the time the barrier spell completely wore off, leaving me at the complete mercy (or rather, lack of mercy) of Razul, who upon realizing the barrier was completely gone, fired a very large and very deadly fireball at me. With a yelp, I grabbed my backpack and rolled to the side, barely managing to escape incineration.
My notebook, however, having been dropped in my haste to escape, was not so lucky, and was now a smoking pile of ash.
"HEY!" I cried. "What was that for?"
"No. More. Questions..." Razul growled, summoning another fireball.
Gulping, I frantically began to dig though my backpack, looking for something to defend myself with. I finally found what I was looking for, and not a moment too soon. With hardly any time to space, I pulled the Lair Beast Tooth Shield I'd borrowed from my Lupe out of my backpack and cowered behind it. Thankfully, it was able to hold up to Razul's blast (though I'm sure I got a few singed hairs from it).
"Y-y'know..." I managed shakily. "Normally interviewees don't try to kill the one that's interviewing them..."
It appeared that Razul was no longer interested in listening, however, as he launched another fireball at me. Raising the shield in defence, I darted to the side and away from the blast. Holding the shield with one hand, I dug though my backpack with the other, looking for something else to protect me. My hand gripping something promising, I pulled it out and aimed it at Razul, just as he approached.
"S-stay back!" I aimed whatever it was I was holding at him. "I'm warning you..."
Razul, surprisingly, stopped. Upon seeing what I was threatening him with, however, he began to laugh.
"A Selket? You threaten me with a petpet?"
"Oh, it's not a Selket," I said. "Well, okay, it looks like one, but a real Selket couldn't do this!"
And with that, I squoze it, sending a stream of water shooting towards Razul. Upon coming in contact with the liquid, he shrieked and began to back away. Emboldened, I pressed forward, squeezing the Squirty Selket Toy until it was empty.
"Did you really think that could stop me?" he hissed. He seemed to be quite steamed after my attack.
"No," I admitted. "But it did get you to move back over the sigils."
Razul promptly looked down, and then his head snapped back up upon realizing what I was going to do.
"Thanks for your time," I said, "even though you cut our interview short by incinerating my notebook. Which, incidentally, is why I'm rebanishing you."
I plucked a vial of shimmery liquid from a pouch on the side of my backpack, and swirled it around a few times before uncorking it and flinging the contents on him.
The flames surrounding Razul blazed brighter and hotter, then turned an unnatural green. With a roar, Razul lunged forward, seeming determined to take me with him. The binding chains however kept him from it.
"Oh yeah," I called over the roaring wind and flames. "I almost forgot – I got you a place to live!" I pulled out something small and metal from my backpack and flung it into the inferno. Now, instead of vanishing into thin air, Razul was being sucked into the metal contraption.
Finally, Razul was gone, and the wind died down. The only evidence that he'd even been here were the markings on the floor from the summoning, and the burned places on the wall.
Oh, and the slightly-singed Babaa Toaster that sat in the middle of the floor, smoking slightly.
Knowing it would do no good for Razul to escape from his new prison, I took the last few drops from the vial I'd used to banish him, and dripped it onto the floor. A small hole of sorts appeared, and I kicked the toaster into it. The portal closed shortly thereafter.
I shoved the shield, toy, and empty vial back into my backpack, and began to briskly make my way towards the exit. I knew it would behoove me leave Qasala as soon as possible, lest King Jazan and his guards catch on to what I had done.
...Which reminds me. King Jazan, if you're reading this, I sincerely apologize for necromancing your father without first contacting you. I would have asked your permission, but I figured it would have been far harder to get my interview from the Qasalan dungeons, so there you go. No harm done, right?