Enough Adventure for One Day: Part Four
“Why is it always us?” groaned Lex as we began to pull harder on our owner’s arms, trying to remove her from Dr. Sloth’s cold, firm, grasp.
“I don’t know,” I breathed, “but keep pulling!”
“I can’t shake him off!” our owner, Shannon exclaimed as she tried to pull herself into the vent, but failing as her long legs were still dangling in the stark room of the Space Station. “I must have kicked Sloth in the face at least five times, but he’s still got a really good grip on me!”
My sister screamed as we were dragged another foot closer to the opening of the vent. I looked over at Jalexis, who was pulling with all of her might. I had a good grip, but my paws were getting a little slippery and the tunnel was made of a slick, shiny material.
“Colfer, if we don’t do this, you know what happens!” Lex called, her pink and yellow paws skidding on the surface. The yellow Acara twitched her horns, blew her fur from her eyes and braced herself.
I knew what would happen if we didn’t save our owner. One mighty pull from the nefarious Dr. Sloth, and all three of us would tumble to the ground. Jalexis and I would immediately be zapped into a mutant Acara and Gelert, and I loved my red fur way too much to give it up that easily. And who knows what would happen to Shan if we were taken away. We’d only been a family for a week, but we were a close family and definitely did not plan on going down without a fight.
I furrowed my brow in determination and gave our owner a giant pull. It must have worked, as Dr. Sloth shouted from down below and Shannon pulled her legs into the vent, shaking horribly.
“He got my shoe!” she exclaimed, and sure enough, one of her pink shoes was missing from her foot, leaving five wiggling toes on her bare foot behind.
And for the first time since we’d gotten to the Space Station, our family had a good laugh. The absurdity of being stuck in the ventilation systems of the Virtupets Space Station with your owner and sister you’ve known for not nearly a fortnight, while your owner wiggled her bare foot around and one of the most evil villains in all of Neopia was standing below us, thwarted by our little family, and clutching a very fashionable and girly shoe. Lex was rolling around in the vent; I was leaning up against the wall, shaking with laughter; and Shannon was giggling and drying her tears at the same time.
“You’re laughing now, but I’ve just dispatched a lot of Grundo workers into the vent system to find you.” Sloth’s sickening voice rang up from the room below.
Okay, maybe we didn’t completely thwart him.
The three of us looked at each other, panicked. In one swift motion, Lex, Shannon and I began running (well, Shannon was kind of crawling, as the vent was only a couple of feet high) down the vent system. We could hear voices echoing through the vents, although we didn’t know exactly how far behind us they were. Lex led the way, steering us in a complicated pattern as she guided us around corners, trying to shake our followers. But the voices were getting louder, and there was no end in sight.
“Lex, drop down into one of the rooms!” I whispered, out of breath from all of the running.
“Are you crazy?” she snapped. “That’s like asking to get caught!”
“Well, it’s easier for us to run in the hallways than creeping around up here!” I protested.
“I agree!” Shannon whispered, rubbing the back of her neck, which was sore from having to bend down to navigate the vents.
Lex turned our little group sharply to the right, as we opened the vent door and jumped.
We stood up, brushing the dust off of us, and had a look around. To our surprise, we were met with the shocked faces of Varren, Charity, and everyone from the holding room!
The Draik ran up to Lex and hugged her as the Shadow Zafara approached me with a giant grin.
“Welcome back, soldier,” Charity said with a salute.
“Who are you guys?” Shannon asked, gazing around the tiny, pet-filled room with curiosity.
“I’m Varren, and this is Charity,” the Draik said.
“Wait... Varren, your owner is Wesley, right?” Shannon asked. “And Charity, you belong to Reilly.”
“Yeah!” exclaimed our friends.
“I thought you’d like to know that I overheard Sloth discussing your owners, and your names fell out of the folder. Your owners are doing just fine, neither of them believed anything Sloth said to them, and eventually he just gave up and let them go,” our owner said, smiling at the good news she got to deliver.
“Now let’s bust out of here!” Lex exclaimed, striking a pose by the door.
“I can reach the handle,” Shannon said, stretching up and grasping the door handle, which was cleverly placed at the very top of the door.
We let the rest of the Neopets exit, and after waking up a particularly sleepy Wocky from the dark corner, Lex, Shannon and I ran out the door.
The hallways were brightly lit, and sirens were going off, sending red flashes streaking across the stark walkway. The conveyor belts were stopped and the Station seemed strangely quiet.
“Maybe everyone just gave up?” suggested Lex.
“Or they’re all in the vents, looking for us,” I added.
We raced down the hallway together, looking for the exit to this crazy place and hoping for a little bit of normalcy to our lives after this incident. We passed a couple of angry-looking mutant pets, and a couple of confused Grundo workers who gave us airy waves as we ran past them. We ran farther and farther, until we suddenly realized we were getting nowhere fast. We still had no idea where we were or how to get out, and we were very tired.
“A... couple... more... turns....” Lex panted as she ran ahead of us. Shan and I sprinted even faster to keep up with her until an amazing sight met our eyes.
We rounded one more corner and saw a corner of a rocket ship.
“The hangar!” Lex whispered.
Somehow we had found our way out.
Shannon lifted Lex into her arms and we ran toward the exit, huge smiles on our faces and hope in our hearts. Suddenly, an all-too-familiar figure stepped into the hallway in front of us.
“Not you again!” groaned Lex.
Dr. Sloth stood between my family and the door, wearing his usual evil smile and holding one hand behind his back, keeping one more surprise from us. On impulse, Lex, Shannon and I spun around and ran the other way, only to be met by a wall of Grundos wearing grins to match Sloth’s.
As you can tell, we were pretty much trapped.
Sloth wielded a small ray gun in the hand behind his back, using his cloak to give it a little polishing, humming absentmindedly.
“This is where the adventure ends for you.” He sneered, blowing lightly on the tip of the laser. “Such a shame, to break up this little family reunion, but I’m ready to acquaint you two with my Mutant Ray.”
He raised his arms and pointed the gun straight at me, laughed maniacally, and pulled the trigger. I braced myself, waiting for the tentacles to sprout, my fur to retreat, and my life to be over.
But I didn’t feel that.
Instead, I felt my owner’s hands grab onto my fur and pull me into the air, out of harm’s way. I opened my eyes and found myself face-to-face with Lex, lifted up in Shannon’s arms. She glared at Sloth even worse than she glared at the Petpets back home.
Before she could say anything, we heard another noise behind us. Turning around, we saw the white Grundo that greeted us at the station and first creeped us out with his knowledge of Dr. Sloth mutating. However, he wasn’t turning green or growing like a mutant Grundo should. Sloth’s ray gun wasn’t Sloth’s ray gun after all, as the Grundo left behind had antennae larger than its body and turned a pale blue.
“YOU STUPID GRUNDO!” Sloth screamed, pushing Shannon aside as he ran to his little army of minions. “CAN YOU DO ANYTHING RIGHT?”
Shannon tightened her grip on us and tiptoed out of the tunnel, the sounds of the crying Baby Grundo and the screaming evil mastermind drowning out the sounds of our giggles. Once we made it back into the hangar, we ran up the rickety stairs to the Space Station to catch the first rocket back to Neopia. We had a big story to tell.
“I want to thank you for what you’ve done for Neopia,” Queen Fyora said. “You were all very brave.”
I bowed and Shannon and Lex curtsied, Lex holding out her pink frilly skirt and Shannon displaying her ruffled white one. I couldn’t believe we were actually here. After we made it back, we immediately spread the news throughout Neopia. Queen Fyora invited our little family to Faerieland that night so we could give her some details.
“If you don’t mind my asking, are the other Neopets okay?” Lex asked.
Fyora smiled. “We provided all of the mutated pets with any morphing potion they wished, and reunited everyone with their owners.”
“That’s good.” Lex sighed. She looked at me and I could tell she was thinking about Varren, Charity and everyone else that was safe and sound.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t find Dr. Sloth anywhere. He escaped, leaving no trace behind him,” Fyora said sadly. “But I’m sure we’ll deal with him sometime soon. I’m sorry to have to cut our visit so short, but I have a few appointments in my Hidden Tower to attend to.”
“Where’s the Hidden Tower?” Lex asked, her eyes wide.
“I’m sure that’s a great discovery for you for another day,” Fyora said with a laugh. “What adventure are you planning to go on now?”
Lex climbed up onto Shannon’s shoulders and I stood next to them, twitching my long ears. I looked up at my owner, who returned a small smile. She turned to address the Queen.
“I think we’ve had enough adventure to last us a lifetime.”
Author's Note: If you're reading this, then I'm published, which is awesome. And if I'm published, I'd like to thank Lex and Colfer. But if you're not reading this, chances are I got rejected and am crying in a corner somewhere.