Far away on a hidden island there exists a rundown laboratory. Run by a sketchy looking Scorchio this lab contains marvels of technology that are unseen by both man and Neopet! Or… At least it was supposed to be. Yet… One day one person made a map… And then another… And next thing you know what was hidden away was something that any Joe Schmoe with a handful of Neopoints and a map could find their way too.
"Uggggh," Calvin groaned as the boat pulled up to the island's dock. He quickly climbed out of the boat and collapsed onto the dock.
"Sea doesn't agree with you huh?" Luke asked as he got off the boat. The second boy was in better condition. He was able to stand on a dock as a red Meerca climbed up onto his shoulders to look around.
"You can say that," Calvin groaned more as he finally climbed to his feet. "I'll stick to solid land any day."
"Come now that's hardly as much fun!" Luke smiled. "Think of all the adventures to be had on the open seas!"
"I'll skip on those…" Calvin looked around at the island covered in dense jungle. "Speaking of adventures… You sure this is the right place? I'm noticing a lack of sciency doodads laying about."
"Sciency?" The Meerca on Luke's shoulders asked. She curled her tail around Luke's torso as she spoke. "You know that's not a word right?"
"Trust me Skye," Luke patted the Meerca. "He knows and he doesn't care."
"Well he should," Skye huffed.
"The lab is hidden in the jungle," Luke decided it wise to just drop the argument and focus on the original question. "So we just have to walk for a bit."
"Oh joy... " Calvin muttered. "Walking through a creepy jungle on an island in the middle of nowhere. What could possibly go wrong?"
"Come on it won't be that bad," Luke smiled.
"Yeah it could be a lot worse!" Skye chittered happily.
"Skye!" Luke gave the Meerca a look. She returned it a cheeky grin.
There was nothing left to do at this point but for the three to press on. The jungle trek proved to be relatively easy though. Due to the amount of people that visited the secret lab these days there was a well worn path leading the way through. The trail was kept in such good condition it was almost just as good a sidewalk leading through the jungle. Soon the three were standing directly before an old building half covered in moss and vines.
"This is the place!" Luke said happily.
"Seriously?" Calvin looked up at it. "Doesn't look like anyone has been here in ages."
"And yet we had that perfectly well maintained trail," Skye spoke as she slid down from Luke's shoulders. The Meerca darted up towards the door and stared at is quizzically. The door then swung open and she leaped backwards fur standing on edge in shock from the sudden movement.
"Welcome welcome!" It was a Scorchio that stood in the doorway. He was covered in yellow scales and had wild gray hair atop his head. He dressed in a tattered lab coat with holes ripped in the back to let his wings through. "I see I have more visitors come in! Come in! It seems everyone wants to test my inventions these days! Well, who am I to refuse such valuable test subjects! In we go!"
"Guys… Are we seriously going in?" Skye asked as she tried to pat her fur down. "I um… Am getting kind of a creepy feeling from this guy."
"Huh? What do you mean?" Luke asked. He looked to the Scorchio who began to wring his hands together while laughing to himself.
"Just a feeling…" Skye replied.
"Look… We've come all this way," Calvin interjected. "Luke and I had to combine out finances just to be able to afford the map… Then you guys got me on a boat where I was sick and miserable for few hours. I don't care if this lab turns out to belong to Dr. Sloth himself. I paid and suffered for this, I'm going in."
"What I think Calvin means…" Luke tried to phrase it more gently. "Is that this is all part of the experience. There's really nothing to worry about."
"Yeah, and that's just what they would say at the start of a horror movie too," Skye muttered. She crawled back up onto Luke's shoulder and curled her tail around him defensively.
"Look it'll be fine!" Luke quickly gave Skye a pat on the head. "I'll be right here with you the entire time, there's nothing to worry about."
"Yes yes nothing to worry! Now come in! Come in!" The Scorchio in the lab coat continued to gesture. "I don't have all day! Never do, too many experiments to run! All in the name of scientific advancement! Of course I'm not sure what that advancement is but whoever accomplished anything in the name of science by thinking about what they were doing!"
"But… Isn't actually thinking about how things work basically all science is?" Skye objected.
"No!" The Scorchio roared. "Science is all about banging rocks together until something cool happens!"
"That doesn't sound correct at all!" Skye protested.
"I dunno, I could kind of see that working," Calvin suggested.
"You would!" Skye shouted.
"Now come on Skye don't be rude," Luke chided. "This lab belongs to the nice Scorchio here so let's just let him do things his way."
"Yes… Yes shame not everyone let's me do things my way…" The Scorchio wringed his hands again. "So many people wanted to be obstructive to my work. That's why I had to bring it all the way out here! Some of those fools called me mad! And worse! Some of them called me slightly insane! Slightly? SLIGHTLY!? I don't do anything by half measures! I refuse to let the scientific community accuse me! ME! Of being only slightly insane!"
"No one else is seeing any red flags in all this?" Skye asked. "I'm seriously the only one? Really?"
"Come now…" Luke gave Skye another pat. "It's just part of the show. Just relax and have fun with it."
"And now everyone can see… My greatest creation of all time! My entire laboratory is built around it! Behold! The Lab Ray!" The Scorpio gestured to a large machine standing in the middle of a cluttered room. The enormous thing looked like an upside down antenna pointing at the floor. Several consoles lined with buttons, levers and knobs were all hooked up to it. It was impossible make sense of how any of them could be used to operate the machine.
"Oh funky," Luke's eyes went wide as he examined the room. "It all looks so complicated."
"That certainly looks impressive," Calvin agreed. "But what does it do?"
"What can't it do?" The Scochio smiled. "It can give your pet superpowers and great strength! Of course! It's not finished yet! But if you don't mind the risk I can let you use it."
"Wait, you mean you want me to zap Skye with it?" Luke asked.
"Nope!" Skye shrunk away from the Scorchio and tried to hide along Luke's back.
"Oh it won't hurt her!" The Scorchio replied. "Probably. Maybe."
"Yeeeeeah, I…" Luke looked at the ray. "I don't think I'm down for that. Sorry. Something like that really needs to be Skye's choice and I don't think she's that interested."
"As annoying as the little furball is…" Calvin shrugged. "I'm inclined to agree. Going all zap happy on her here seems a tad cruel. Ugh and we came all the way here. I don't suppose there's any other inventions here we could lack at?"
"Nope just the Lab Ray!" The Scorcio smiled. "But honestly! I assure you the risks are absolutely minimal! Less than 95% chance of something going wrong."
"Well… Could we use it on something other than Skye?" Luke asked.
"Oh like what?" The Scorchio seemed somewhat interested in the prospect.
"Um uh!" Calvin began to dig through his pockets before finally producing a silver dubloon coin. "I've got this!"
"A dubloon?" Luke asked.
"It's all I have in my pockets!" Calvin explained. "I thought to grab it before we left soon as I heard we were getting on a boat."
"I guess it's better than nothing…" Luke replied.
"You want to use my state of the art Lab Ray on a coin?" The Scorchio asked in disbelief. "A state of the art world changing invention of science and you want to use it to zap a coin?"
"Well can we do it?" Luke asked.
"Sure… Knock yourself out," The Scorchio replied.
"Um okay!" Calvin moved forward and sat the dubloon down beneath the ray. He took a few steps back. As he did the Scorchio quickly moved to sit behind one of the consoles.
"Um…" Skye dropped from Luke's back and took a few steps away. "I'll watch from over here if that's okay." With that Skye ducked her head behind another platform.
"Uh sure…" Luke said as he looked at the ray. "So how do we do this?"
"Just pull the big lever right next to it!" The Scorchio shouted from where he was hiding.
"This one?" Calvin walked over and placed his hand on the lever. He tried to pry on it but found it stuck.
"You know it seems like a design flaw to have the lever that close to the actual ray…" Luke walked over to help Calvin with the ray. Together they were able to pull the lever down. In a moment a beam of light shot out from the tip of the ray and struck the dubloon on the floor. It then bounced off the shiny dubloon before flying straight into Luke!
Suddenly… Luke was gone! His clothes fluttered to the floor with him no longer there. A moment later, a blue furred head poked its head out from beneath his clothes. It was small, and had a long slender body. It was a blue Lutari.
"What… What just happened?" The Lutari spoke with Luke's voice as he looked around the room confused as to why everything was so much bigger.
"HA!" Calvin pointed at Lutari. "Sorry I know I shouldn't laugh! But that's a good look for you!" As he spoke he let go of the lever. It slid back into its original location as the Lab Ray fired off a second time. Once again the beam of light bounced off the dubloon.
This time it was Calvin's turn to disappear as his clothing floated to the floor. Buried beneath it was a creature even smaller than Luke's form. It was a Kougra! But it's light yellow fur and small size indicated it was a Baby Kougra.
"Okay… I admit I may have deserved that." The Kougra spoke with Calvin's voice.
"Maybe just a bit…" Luke replied looking around still trying to process what had happened.
"What… What happened to them?" Skye poked her head out from where she was hiding and peaked. Rather than seeing her owner and her friends she two new Neopets tangled up in the clothing they had been wearing. Her eyes widened as she realized what had transpired.
"Heh, you're looking cute Calvin," Luke smiled a cheeky grin as he struggled out of his old clothes and stood up on his hind legs. The Lutari stood over the Baby Kougra and smile down at him. "It's a good look for you."
"Oh pipe down furball," Calvin rolled his eyes as he struggled to free himself. Unlike Luke he now was only able to stand on all fours. "And why am I smaller than you now!?" The Kougra flailed his paws.
"Personally I think small is kind of fitting for you!" Luke smiled mischievously and lifted grabbed the small Kougra by his scruff. He then lifted Calvin up and held the young Kougra over one shoulder.
"He-hey!" Calvin protested. "Don't just pick me up like that!"
"But you're so small and cute!" Luke stuck his tongue out.
"Beside the point!" Calvin's ears flattened as he squirmed around in Luke's grasp. Eventually he managed to free himself as he gracefully leaped down to the floor and padded away from him. "Well… You've got us in a fine mess now, don't you?"
"I do?" Luke tilted his head. "You're the one who pulled the lever."
"You helped!" Calvin protested.
"Well it was your dubloon," Luke pointed out smugly.
"Which I only had because you decided we needed to take a boat!" Calvin tried.
"But… That doesn't change the fact you're the one who decided to zap it!" Luke answered.
"But but…" Calvin tried to think of some way to deflect the blame. It then occurred to him there was someone else to blame in the room. "But the sciency thingy was his!" Calvin gestured a paw at the Scorchio. "So he's too blame!"
"Now hang on!" The Scorchio came out of his hiding place at that. "The terms and conditions which come printed on the back of all the secret lab maps clearly state that I am not liable for any accidents, injuries or wondrous transformations that occur while on the island! You agreed to the the moment you assembled the map!"
"Huh," Luke walked over and dug through his belongings before he found the map. He flipped it over to look at the backside. "Well what do you know. There it is. Checks out. Legally, we can't blame him for anything."
"Curse you terms of services!" Calvin shouted. "Everyone knows no one reads those! This is the third time in my life they've managed to defeat me!"
"... What were the first two?" The Scorchio asked.
"Well if I recall correctly," Luke explained. "The first time involved him getting indebted to VirtuPets station in the amount of 100,000 NeoPoints. As for the other… It was at this ski lodge-"
"MROWL!" Calvin leapt across the room and quickly threw his forepaws over the Lutari's mouth. "We don't talk about the second one."
"You two are… Very odd," The Scorchio studied the transformed pets carefully.
"We get that a lot." Like shrugged as he freed himself from the Kougra's grasp. "So um… How long does this last?"
"What do you mean?" The Scorchio asked.
"I mean… How long till we change back to normal," Luke clarified.
"Oh…" The Scorchio looked at the Ray then looked at the two former humans. "Why would you ever think it was going to wear off?"
"WAIT WHAT!?" Calvin ran up to the Scorchio. "You mean I'm stuck being this small and adorable forever!? Come on! If that's the case can't I get another zap! Let me at least be something cool like a Darigan Kougra instead!"
"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid we're limited to one zap per person per day," The Scorchio said. "So you really must be leaving now."
"But but but!" Calvin protested as the Scorchio began to usher him, Luke and Skye towards the door. "Can I come back tomorrow then to fix this?"
"Of course!" The Scorchio said. "But oh right, all Neopets must have their owner's permission before they can use the ray."
"But we don't have owners…" Luke started to point out.
"Then no ray for you!" With that the Scorchio shoved all three of them out the lab's door and slammed it behind them.
"Well… I guess that's that…" Luke brushed his fur off and stood up. "Guess that's it for the secret lab."
"That wasn't as scary as I thought it'd be!" Skye smiled and looked at the other two. She slowly began to creep towards Calvin.
"Speak for yourself!" Calvin stuck his tongue out.
"Ahhh come on Calvin, it's not that bad," Luke said. "I mean… I kind of like being like this! My fur is so soft and silky!"
"Well yeah…" Calvin said. "I mean… I'm not… Actually all that upset about being a Kougra…" He looked at the ground. "I just don't think it's entirely fair I had to get so small."
"But that makes you so cute!" Skye shouted as she grabbed the Baby Kougra and lifted up into a hug.
"Gah!" Calvin squirmed but the Meerca held him tight. "See this! This is the problem!"
"The only problem is how adorable you are!" Skye chittered happily as she held the Kougra in place against his will. "I think I really like you more like this."
"Luke! Help! Control your pet!" Calvin squirmed as he tried to get loose.
"Sorry don't think I can," Luke tried to hide his smile at Calvin's predicament. "I don't think I'm legally in charge of her anymore. Would be really weird for another Neopet to keep another right?"
"But! But!" Calvin squirmed, then finally gave up resigning himself to be carried by the Meerca. "How did such a little thing manage to have such a strong grip anyway?"
"Hey I'm bigger than you!" Skye chided.
"Please don't remind me…" Calvin's ears flatted for a moment… But his sour mood seemed to pass quickly. With that the three began their hike back through the forest to the docks they had come in on.
"So… Now what?" Skye asked looking to Luke. "I mean… What do we do now that you two are like that?"
"Hmmmm, I dunno," Luke shrugged. "Guess we're just onto the next adventure. Could always look for another map."
"No more maps!" Calvin pleaded. "At least not any that require us to go to another island! I'd rather not get on a boat again."
"Awww, the kitty doesn't like the water?" Skye asked.
"The water doesn't like me," Calvin whined.
"Technically, we don't know if you'll still get seasick looking like that!" Luke pointed out.
"Oh I guess that's true…" Calvin spoke, but in a tone that suggested he didn't entirely believe it. "Anyway let's go someplace fun next! Like the Haunted Woods!"
"What the Haunted Woods?" Skye flinched at that. "No thank you! I've had enough of spooky places after today!"
"Well this one didn't work out too bad for you did it?" Calvin narrowed his eyes.
"Let's go someplace nicer!" Skye bounced up and down. "Like Brightvale!"
"But Brightvale is boring!" Calvin whined.
"We could go to Krawk Island if you're feeling more adventurous," Luke suggested. "I do rather like the beaches there."
"No! No islands!" Calvin protested. "I am not getting on another boat."
"Okay, fine, fine…" Luke laughed. "It doesn't have to be Krawk Island. We can figure out where we're going later. For now we have to get off this island… Which means it's time to get back on the boat."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Calvin gave a shout… But there was naught to be done. It was the only way off the island.
Soon the boat pulled out from the docks. With that the three were off their way back home. They had no idea where they would head next or what adventures were to come… But it would certainly be from a completely new perspective for at least two of them.