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The Source of All Evil


by turquoisephoenix

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"Listen up! One and all! There's a story that must be heard, a tale that needs to reach the ears of the populace!"

     A yellow Lupe, one that was already rich in years, stood on top of a tree stump in the Haunted Woods so that even his frail frame could tower over the heads of his listeners. Even though his fur retained a creamy yellow hue, his ears had turned gray in age. He had already grown a beard in his old age, and his frame was so bent that he had to lean on a large wooden stick in order to keep upright.

     However, even in his elderly state, he still knew how to draw up an audience. His tail swished underneath his worn out brown cloak he wore over his body as he paused in his speech, letting himself draw up a bigger crowd. Eager little Neopians pressing up against one another to get a better glance at the owner of the stentorian voice.

     "Now, you must wonder to yourselves, fellow citizens of the Haunted Woods. How did these woods become so haunted? How did all this darkness descend upon this spot? How did the hearts and minds of the people living here become tainted, filled with hate and greed?" The Lupe shouted, gesturing with his hands to the Neopets spread before him.

     "Well, I'll tell you the culprits, the little demons that twist and mutate these lands. They are..." He paused for dramatic effect. The Neopets around him held their breaths as they waited for the answer.

     "The Meepits!"

     He said it with a mighty flourish of his arms, flinging his walking stick high above his head. Even so, however, this did not impress some of his listeners. Upon hearing who was the topic of discussion, several members of the audience began to grumble to themselves and walk away from the stump and the Lupe standing on top of it.

     This didn't seem to daunt the Lupe one bit. He began his speech again, rubbing his hands together in vigor. Now that he presented the main topic of his speech, he had to provide the counter argument. It was the best way to get eager Neopians to listen. "Now now, you may be wondering, how could such cute and cuddly little critters be the source of the Haunted Woods' evil? They're but harmless petpets; they have no concept of good or evil!"

     At this point, some of the Neopets began to nod and mutter to themselves in agreement. One Mutant Kacheek even mentioned that his sister had a Meepit, and nothing seemed to be wrong with it. Some more Neopets left, satisfied with the rhetorical answer. At that moment, the Lupe jumped off of the stump and pointed his walking stick to the dwindling crowd in front of him.

     "That is where you'd be wrong! You'd be wrong to doubt my words!"

     The exclamation proved, to some more members of the crowd, that the Lupe was thoroughly out of his mind. The group of Neopets that had once eagerly gathered around his stump were now but a few younger minds who saw this more as entertainment than a speech to be listened to.

     The Lupe had to change tactics if he was going to inform the Neopets living in the area. He had to share this information with everyone, to warn everyone on the impeding danger, the threat that was going to poison all of Neopia. The canine briskly trotted towards a young female Usul in the remaining audience.

     "Young lady, give me an example of evil in the Haunted Woods," he said, giving her stomach a poke with his walking stick. The Usul hesitated at suddenly being the focus of attention in the informal speech that the Lupe was giving, so he elaborated on his question. "Go on, name any evil person or thing. It can be anyone. Go ahead."

     "Eliv Thade?" she said hesitantly. Her eyes roamed the surrounding area for an exit, and when the Lupe started up his speech again and left her alone, she darted away from the small crowd and away from the crazy speaker.

     "Yes, yes. Eliv Thade," the Lupe continued as if the Usul was still there. "Well, I bet I can tell you who wrote the very puzzle that caused him to go insane! Yes, my friends, Meepits wrote that puzzle!" More Neopets began to walk away, leaving the Lupe with just a few stragglers. The few that remained looked uneasily to each other and shuffled their feet in the dry dirt. No one found this crazy speech as a source of entertainment anymore.

     "Another example!" the Lupe cried just as eagerly as he did when he had a full crowd.

     "The Coconut Shy," a Pirate Kougra growled, his pocket still painfully empty.

     "Ah, yes. The so-called rigged stand of the Deserted Fairground. The one with the Quiggle, is it not?" The old Lupe started up again, pacing around in the dirt with his walking stick held out before him to keep himself steady. More Neopets began to leave in this little pause, but he didn't notice at all. "He really gets help from the Meepits! The Meepits run that entire place! Do you want to know why the Deserted Fairground is deserted in the first place? The Meepits drove everyone off!"

     At that point in time, it was safe to say that no one was listening to the Lupe anymore. His entire crowd had disappeared, dissipated like the morning fog on a crisp summer day. Anyone who passed the Lupe now no longer lent an ear to his ramblings now that he had unmasked himself as a rambling crazy rather than a speaker of the truth. The only sign that he ever had a crowd were the multiple footprints in the dirt around the stump, ghostly images of his listeners that lingered by his side.

     But the Lupe kept talking. The way he ranted was like a giant snowball rolling down a hill in Terror Mountain in the way that as it gained more momentum and size, more people sought to avoid it altogether. As he paced in his spot, he was completely unaware of how much darker his part of the Haunted Woods was, and how the shadows seemed to glitter with the eyes of something malevolent watching him...

     "Do you know who told the Kyrii to suggest to Meridell that they steal Darigan's magic orb in the past? Meepits!"

     A mist started to form around the Lupe's feet, but in the throes of his speech, he didn't notice. In his younger years, he would've stopped himself and run to safer ground, but the sands of time had diluted his once rich senses and his emotions had full reign now. He had made it his life's work to tell everyone about his discovery, to inform all of Neopia of the evil.

     "Jhudora's Cloud is reinforced by the evil of the Meepits. Meepits are the ones that track down the Neopets with the richest pockets and then send the Pant Devil to do the damage!"

     More eyes began to appear in the darkness and the light of the moonlight began to reflect on millions of glittering fangs...

     "Dr. Sloth's ideas come from Meepits! The Meepits are the source of all evil!"

     The old Lupe sat down on the tree trunk, his energy expended from his rigorous speech. Somehow, he felt that he did the world a bit of good by telling that speech, no matter how few people actually bothered to listen. Everyone had to know; it was a simple fact to digest. Now all he had to do was to travel to other parts of Neopia and repeat the same speech. Then, everyone would know and Neopia would be free of all evil. With that thought in his mind, he rubbed his forehead with his wrinkled old paw and scanned the area around him with his wasted old eyes.

     "...No," he whispered, his breath caught in his throat.

     There was a large crowd of Meepits surrounding him. Everywhere he looked, there were Meepits. There were Meepits on the ground, Meepits perched in the nearby trees, Meepits right by his feet. There were Christmas Meepits, Faerie Meepits, Ghost Meepits, and Meepits that made him shudder. He felt himself grow dizzy just by looking into the sheer mass of the creatures in attempts at counting a few of them. There had to be thousands of them, and they were all staring at him.

     The Lupe didn't have time to protect himself as the creatures all leapt at him in a giant mass of teeth, eyes, and fur and the world as he knew it faded into darkness...

     -----------------

     "Oh, I'm so sorry. Five game pieces in a row. You lose."

     Barallus responded to Master Vex's statement by squealing loudly and swinging to and fro from the spot in the ceiling that he was latched onto. The prison warden growled in irritation at this show and flicked a stray Cellblock piece with his index finger. Darigan Citadel was one prisoner too few, and the purple Mynci was incredibly bored. He had played game after game with the other inmates (and sometimes Galgarrath), but he was still bored. Would it kill Lord Darigan to arrest some poor crone off the streets and deposit him in the cells so that he could have someone else to entertain him?

     "Master Vex, we have another prisoner."

     Sweeter words could not have existed at that point in time. At the sound of Galgarrath's voice, the Mynci leapt up from his chair in the agility commonly found in his species. But then, to maintain an air of dignity, he paced quietly over to the large red Grarrl, his armor gleaming underneath the torches. He feigned an expression of disinterest.

     "Oh, really. Who is it this time? Did someone steal another loaf of bread from the marketplace, or did this person say the word 'Meridell' at the wrong time?" Master Vex said with false boredom. He had a reputation to keep, and squealing like his less-dignified cousins in Mystery Island wasn't going to help maintain that dignity.

     "Actually, much more interesting than that," Galgarrath grumbled, rubbing his claws together. His voice echoed off the dungeon walls and mingled with the screams of the prisoners in the various cells. He gestured to the two Darigan Bori guards behind him, and they harshly shoved their prisoner forward.

     "We found him patrolling the streets just this morning. He's obviously out of his mind, the way he goes on about a world that doesn't exist," the large Grarrl explained with an amused tone to his voice.

     "JELLY WORLD!" the Lupe cried, throwing his hands up in the air. Galgarrath had to dodge as the Lupe swung his walking stick around like a baton. Master Vex was immediately interested. Clearly a game with a madman such as this would add a slice of variety to his game of Cellblock. Barallus was two coconuts short of a Coconut Shy as well, but at least he didn't believe in nonexistent worlds.

     "You got yourself quite a catch there, Galgarrath. It's a good thing this madman will be locked away! Do you have a name for him?" Master Vex asked, rubbing his chin in thought.

     "We haven't been able to get a name from him, and no one on the Citadel is related to him," Galgarrath answered. He shrugged his massive shoulders. "The crazy old fool has no family and no friends."

     "MEEPITS!" the Lupe prisoner interjected, adding his own two neopoints into the conversation.

     "Fine, fine. He shall remain nameless." Master Vex ended the conversation with the wave of his gloved hand. The sooner the prisoner was contained, the sooner he could get to teaching the old Lupe Cellblock. Even the most insane of his prisoners would catch on to the gist of the game after a few sessions. Before long, he will have another victim in his never-ending games.

     The Darigan Bori paused, both of them looking at Master Vex. They still clutched the prisoner in their claws, but they didn't know which cell to place him. Immediately, they received the perfect answer from one of their higher-ranking officers.

     "Put him in Cell Five."

     -----------

     Number Five, as everyone else in the dungeon soon came to know him, huddled in the corner of his cell, his walking stick clutched tightly to his chest. He had finally learned how to play Cellblock, and now he was better than all of the other prisoners in the dungeon. The Lupe muttered crazily to himself as he started to bang on the wall with his stick. Something at the back of his mind told him to alert everyone around him of the source of all evil. He stopped in mid-swing and pondered. What was the source of all evil?

     It started with an M. Marbles. Maraqua. Meercas. Meep..

     Jelly World.

     Satisfied with his answer, the now insane Lupe began to alert what little of the world he had left of the source of all evil. Sadly, he was unaware that he had already lost all chance of ever succeeding in his goals, twisted to forever mix up the true evil with something that did not exist...

The End

 
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