The crave for blood took me over. Bard saw me and cackled. What was UP with this guy? I tried to fight my instincts to dive down and suck every drop of blood out of Speedy and Slip’s bodies. And then I saw Slip’s eyes.
They were huge, as if she were pleading me for a quick death. Well, that got me. I broke free of my craving and dived at Bard-who, unfortunately, saw me coming and went into a fighting stance. But suddenly his whole body went rigid. I took the opportunity. I used my newfound strength to lift my sister and her boyfriend to a ledge up high, then shoved Bard into the acid.
He shrieked and writhed around in pain, but suddenly he stopped and began to speak in that same, far away voice.
“Nice try, heroes. However, I am closer than you might think. You have only delayed your death. I am waiting, children.”
Bard let out a final cackle, the acid bubbled, I flew the others out of a smashed window (that I bet was from Cuddly Lion), and Bard was no more.
As we started to land, I could feel the effects start to wear off, so I quickly landed us before my wings subsided and we all went splat on the ground. I desperately ripped the ropes with my razor-sharp teeth before they went back into my gums, and they were free.
Slip tumbled to the ground, clutching Speedy. But for once, she didn’t keep hugging him. She walked over to me and wrapped her arms around my chest. “Thanks for saving me, bro,” she mumbled into my shirt. I patted her on the back. “That’s what I’m here for, Slip.”
Speedy clapped me on the back. “Thanks, man,” he said, smiling like a maniac. I punched him on the shoulder. He did the same to me. We punched each other till we were black and blue around the shoulders and then stopped as we saw a dark figure swooping down on us.
I panicked. Well, what would you do? Wait for something that was gonna kill us? [Slip says I shouldn’t think like that, but the Icicle family hadn’t exactly been lucky so far.] But I got a surprise as it landed and the parachute fell around it.
It was Nameless.
Slip’s mouth fell open. “N-Nameless?” she asked. “How the heck did you escape?” If only I had known then to trust my judgement.
Ropes conjured all around us and binded us tight. I tried to transform, but the ropes were restraining me. “I wouldn’t,” said Nameless, in a rather deep voice. Then she became to change. Her purple hair became shorter and blacker. Her eyes turned completely black. A long, sharp nose protruded from the center of her face. A cape emerged around her shoulders. A hat popped up on her head. A mask covered her face. It wasn’t a her anymore. This guy seemed so familiar, yet so bizarre and alien that it was giving me vertigo.
Speedy, however, showed no such sickness. He stood up (although it took a while, as his legs were pinned to his chest). He looked the man directly in the eye. “You,” he said with a look of great loathing. The man seemed to be grinning, although I couldn’t tell through his mask. “Speedy, my dear nephew! Is that any way to treat your old uncle?” Speedy didn’t reply. He was seething, and literally shaking with fury. I looked between the two of them, but Slip was the first to speak.
“UNCLE?!” she screamed. The man looked at her. “My, my…better keep the monster-” he chuckled as he said that word- “under control. I am his father’s brother. As a child, I was mutated…I became the Bird Boy.”
He looked bitter, but continued. “My parents left me with this boy’s perfect father. So what to do? Become a loner. I joined the carnival.”
“But they, too, soon left me. I was alone. My former house went up in flames and I was blamed for it. The whole island set on fire and sank into the ocean. This, of course, was when I was an adult, and this boy had already been born. I was chased out.” A fire burned in his eyes, as though he were still cradling this hurt with him. “But I formed my own carnival. I took on an alias. Ringmaster Raven. And now I have to take you to my boss. He’ll want to explain the rest.”
I kinda wished it had been Nameless instead. At least she didn’t try to kill us all the time. Although she has given me a couple good eggs on the skull, she was just a normal teenager. I couldn’t even say that about myself anymore. Come on, I was half vampire!
Raven prodded me in the back. “Get in the jet. I’ll drive. Don’t complain,” came a voice in my head. Unwillingly, I did. So did the others. It was quite roomy, considering that neither SD or Bard were present.
Raven said nothing at all. He occasionally seemed to be having arguments with a voice in his head, but I didn’t really wanna know who it was. As we landed, we were finally on Monster Carnival. Raven lifted a square of the sidewalk. “Get in or you’ll die,” said the same voice. I slipped through and fell through a chute onto a large, rather uncomfortable cement floor. Slip came the same way and I felt her fly into my back, and Speedy landed nearby.
“The Icicles,” said a voice in a turned chair that made my hairs stand up. He turned around, and I realized who it was. It was that masked figure, the one from our dreams. “Whataya want from us?!” I demanded. He chuckled softly. “Why, only to transform you and your parents and friends into monsters so that nothing can stop me from enslaving everyone. I plan on first taking over Poptropica, then advancing onto Earth.” He said the name with a great dislike, as though he were coughing up a hairball.
“I should explain things,” he said. “I arrived at this island young and innocent. My plan was simple-defeat these monsters and leave with another medallion, cameras flashing.” A crazy idea as to who this might be formed inside my head-but no, it couldn’t be him.
“However, Raven talked to me. He admired my skills. We made a deal-he would fake being hypnotized by me, then he would be free to help me accomplish world domination.”
“On the way through, he climbed into the truck where a young carnie was. He hypnotized…Edgar, I believe his name was? He stole the truck. They returned here. After that, I took control of young Edgar and the other carnies. Their minds were addled. They had no further use to me. I disposed of them.”
A maniacal look lit in his eyes. “Raven and I formed this secret cavern, saw you, and thought, ‘Why, this is the perfect opportunity!’ Things were looking up. I have already changed this young man myself.” He waved his hand carelessly towards me. A burst of anger filled me.
Slip looked at him. “I’m still confused,” she said. “Who are you?”
The man put a hand on his chest. “You really haven’t figured it out? I cast a spell on myself to make me 35, as I was a mere child before, but it’s still not that hard to figure out.”
Slip opened her mouth, but I beat her to the chase. “Slip,” I said loudly. “Who’s completed EVERY island? Who’s world-famous?” She looked confused for a second, then it dawned on her. Apparently Speedy too, as they were both gaping at the man.
“That’s right, children,” he said. He gently removed his mask and we saw a roped face.
Cuddly Lion stood there, a triumphant grin on his face.