The most fantastic thing in the universe! Circulation: 191,125,202 Issue: 597 | 31st day of Hunting, Y15
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Defender of Neopia - A Krawk in Lupe Clothing: Part One

by kinokiro


Month of Eating, Y14. Somewhere deep within the Haunted Woods our story begins...

"It's nearly complete," a shadowy figure croaked, while holding a glass bottled filled with a purplish liquid. "All I need now is something to test it on."

      Meanwhile back in Neopia Central...

      It was a beautifully sunny day in Neopia Central. Business was bustling and Neopets were dashing all over as they rushed to find the last of the plastic Neggs that Kari, The Negg Faerie, had hidden for the annual Negg Festival. The smell of Hubert's vast variety of hotdogs filled the springtime air.

      "I found one!" a blue Aisha exclaimed excitedly. She ran back to Kari wearing a big grin.

      The Negg Festival was a sign that spring was upon Neopia. It was also a time where training schools graduated their most accomplished and deserving students.

      Keenomarci had been training very hard with the Defenders of Neopia. She trained with Lightning Lenny and sparred with Aisheena to hone her skills. It was induction day for the Defenders of Neopia.

      She rolled out of bed and gazed out the window as she watched the young Neopets rushing to find the next hidden Negg. She smiled gently and began to prepare for her big day.

      Keenomarci had undergone a few changes since her last adventure four years ago. She had been painted Royal and had picked out a costume. She had also discovered some new abilities and after spending some time training with faeries in Faerieland, she discovered that she was able to unleash a powerful scream. This led her to pick her Defender name: 'Kyshriek'.

      She had designed her costume to be flexible and protect her identity. She wore black boots and donned her flame resistant black tunic with red trimming. She had sewn together a hood from the same material as that of her tunic; it felt snug against her face as she pulled it over her head. Her mane was able to flow freely thanks to an extra hole she left in the back of her mask.

      As she stood looking in the mirror, it finally struck her: She was a Defender of Neopia, the greatest heroic force Neopia had ever seen. The leather in her gloves creaked as she balled her paws into fists and practised her hero poses.

      "I am Kyshriek!" she exclaimed. Her shout cracked the mirror slightly. "I guess I should tone that down a bit."

      There came a light knocking on the door.

      A familiar voice came from behind the door. "Are you almost ready?"

      Dressed in her Defender gear Kyshriek stepped towards the door awkwardly. She was still getting a feel for her new clothing. She opened the door gently. She was greeted by the bright smile of Aisheena.

      "There you are," Aisheena said enthusiastically. "You look wonderful!"

      Kyshriek blushed under her mask. "Thank you," she cheerfully replied. "That really does mean a lot coming from you, Aisheena."

      Aisheena was the first and one of the few female Defenders of Neopia. Kyshriek had always idolized her when she was just a young blue Kyrii. Now she had earned the rank of Defender and she'd at last get to fight alongside her childhood hero.

      The two super-heroines walked towards the lobby of Defender Headquarters and talked briefly about the past few years of training.

      "I'm really impressed with how far you have come along," Aisheena said. She was glowing with pride.

      "I had great teachers. Between you, Lightning Lenny and Judge Hog I have been able to train myself beyond what I thought I could achieve," Kyshriek replied.

      "I've never seen anyone defeat Mammoth in an arm-wrestling match before. It was quite impressive," Aisheena said.

      Kyshriek chuckled slightly. "Oh, that? I am certain he let me win. You know, to boost my confidence," she reasoned.

      Aisheena shook her head and smiled. "No, he's fiercely competitive. He trained non-stop for a week after that loss," she replied.

      They both laughed.

      "I'm happy that I stuck with my training," Kyshriek reminisced. She stopped a moment, feeling a sharp pain in the back of her head and deep sense of foreboding.

      "Is something wrong?" Aisheena spoke with concern in her voice. She noticed Kyshriek wincing.

      "No. It's nothing," Kyshriek replied. She shook her head as the pain went away. "I must just be nervous."

      They continued down the hall. Aisheena was wearing a look of concern, but said nothing.

      They arrived in the grand hall, decorated in gold and blue to celebrate Graduation Day and the Negg Festival. Beautiful shimmering silk banners hung from the high ceiling. They glistened as the mid-day Neopian sun shone through the stained glass windows. The hall, split by a brilliant red carpet, led to a wooden podium near the front on a stage. Nearly every inch of the polished marble that made up the walls and floors was sparkling with sunlight.

      Kyshriek gasped. "It is so beautiful," she said softly.

      "I love being in here at this time of day," Aisheena said. She sighed softly as her smile returned to her face. "This is the perfect time of year. The sunlight just makes the entire room glow."

      Judge Hog walked up behind the two heroes.

      "It is why we choose this day to honour and promote those who have shown they are worthy. This room signifies the shining accomplishments of our most accomplished members. It is only fitting that the room should shine as they do," he said. He placed a hand on Kyshriek's shoulder with a firm grip.

      "Judge Hog!" Kyshriek exclaimed. She was not expecting Judge Hog to be there already.

      "I apologize if I startled you. Are you ready for your induction?" he asked. His heavy voice resonated in the grand hall.

      Judge Hog motioned towards the wooden podium. Kyshriek walked towards the podium nervously. As she walked past the rows of seats, she noticed rows and rows of Neopets staring at her with silent admiration. As she arrived at the podium, she saw a familiar face in the front row. Ginny the blue Acara, whom she had helped get her bike back all those years ago, was watching intently. Kyshriek nodded and waved towards her as Ginny beamed with excitement.

      She stood in front of the crowd that had gathered and felt anxious. She had been waiting the moment for several years. She grasped the microphone and took a deep breath.

      "Neopia –" Kyshriek began to speak, her words cut short by a loud explosion that came from the Neopian Plaza.

      The loud boom sent a panic throughout the crowd that had gathered in the Grand Hall. Judge Hog and Aisheena, who had been proudly observing the proceedings, looked around the room sharply as they tried to regain their bearings.

      A loud cracking noise came from inside the hall. Kyshriek looked around before looking up to see that there was a large portion of the roof that was about to collapse. Judge Hog and Aisheena were preoccupied with ensuring that all the Neopets were evacuating in an orderly manner. Ginny found herself snagged on an upturned bench. She struggled to free herself but was unaware of the massive chunk of marble that would soon be hurtling towards her.

      As the piece of roof began to crumble loose and fall, Kyshriek tossed the podium aside and dashed towards Ginny just as the massive chunk of marble reached them. Ginny quivered in fear as she opened one eye slowly. Through a large cloud of marble dust, she saw the silhouette of Kyshriek. Her legs were trembling as she held up the large piece of marble.

      "Get to safety, Ginny!" she shouted.

      Ginny was stunned for a moment but managed to unhook herself from the snag and she ran out the door.

      Kyshriek grunted and let out a massive shout as she tossed the marble aside, which crushed the remains of the stage she had been standing on. She caught her breath and surveyed the area. The room had become unstable with the remaining marble crumbling around her. She attempted to run towards Judge Hog and she could see he was trying to say something but the sound of chaos was overwhelming.

      A shower of marble rock blocked the main entrance, forcing Aisheena and Judge Hog to retreat and seemingly trapping Kyshriek inside.

      Kyshriek looked around the room as it began to cave in around her and noticed that some of the debris had formed a ramp towards one of the stained glass windows. She ran as hard as she could across the crumbling debris and adeptly dodged the falling rock. She shrieked loudly as she leapt towards the stained glass; the force she put behind her yell shattered the stained glass outward as she flew through the now empty windowpane with ease.

      She hit the ground and rolled several feet. Kyshriek quickly gathered herself and leapt to her feet, watching as the room she had been standing in moments before crumbled to the ground. She let out a sigh between gasps for breath.

      "Thank goodness everyone made it out," she thought aloud.

      There were still yells and noises coming from the other side of the pile of rubble that used to be part of Defender Headquarters. Kyshriek made her way to the group of heroes that had gathered at the Hero Fountain, in front of Defender HQ.

      "Lightning, I need you to contact Fyora. See if she can spare any water faeries to help with the fires." Judge Hog spoke sternly. He was giving orders and the Defenders were rushing off to their assignments.

      "...Right away, Judge Hog!" Lightning Lenny exclaimed. He saluted as he rushed off towards Faerieland.

      Kyshriek walked up behind Judge Hog. "Reporting in," she said.

      He raised a brow and spun around to see the new hero behind him.

      "Ah, it is good to see you made it out!" he exclaimed. "I was worried we had lost our newest hero before she could be inducted. It would seem as though somebody was trying to send us a message."

      "Sending us a message, sir?" Kyshriek asked. She had a puzzled look on her face.

      Judge Hog nodded. He seemed concerned.

      "It would seem as though they have left us something behind," he said gravely.

      "Is it a clue?" she asked.

      "You could say that," he replied. He revealed a cracked faerie bottle. "Perhaps it is a calling card."

      "Balthazar was behind this?" she responded with surprise. "Why would he attack Defender Headquarters? What would he have to gain?"

      Judge Hog shook his head.

      "I don't know. I've got a few heroes investigating," he replied. Pausing for a moment, he looked at Kyshriek. "Actually you may be better suited for this."

      "Yes sir, what is my mission?" she responded.

      "I need you to go to the Haunted Woods. Check out Balthazar's grove and visit Neovia. We've got a couple of people in Neovia that may give us an idea of why Balthazar would have tried this, so be sure to speak with them," Judge Hog said sternly.

      "Of course, right away sir!" she agreed and rushed off towards the Haunted Woods with a reinforced sense of purpose; she could feel passion burning inside her. "You'll pay for this, Balthazar!"

To be continued...

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