If you are reading this, then it is too late. There is nothing you can do. Leave! Leave while you still can! I've made a terrible, terrible mistake, but there is no need for you to get yourself caught up in this. I can hear him searching for me. Oh why did I ever think this was a good idea?
I do not have much time, so I will keep this brief. Catherine, if you have forgotten - or, dear reader if you are in fact NOT Catherine - then I suppose the time for secrecy is long since over. I should start from the beginning. My name is Stone, and yesterday, I tried to take over Neopia...
Date: Jul 24th
After ten long years of blood, sweat, and tears, I unveiled my creation! You are well aware of my affinity for creation - when we were kids, I figured out how to imbue life into the carcass of any carbon skeleton. Hodge podges of hamburgers, vegetables, fishes, or leftover dinner I could bring to life using my developed technique.
Well, after creating many harmless petpets and petpetpets from our scraps, I got to thinking. With this power, I could imbue life into a chimeric giant! The terror he would instill upon all the leaders of Neopia would ensure my influence would span the world.
That was ten years ago. Based on my personal fear of Lupes, I fashioned a monstrous form. Red, watery eyes, rotting smile, towering form.
I was so excited over the prospects of world domination that this horrendous monster was in my eyes a genial baby. I labored over every hair, pursuing perfection.
And yesterday, all my dreams were realized. Every atom in place, I brought my monster to life. O the horror! The moment I finished, I saw my monster for the first time. The lupe, blinking its yellow, jaundiced eyes, made me scream in terror.
I realized - I cannot control my own creation. I rushed out my laboratory, too panicked to confront the lupe.
A few hours later, I calmed down. I went back to the room. Maybe I could hide it in isolated hut on Kreludor, far from the gaze of mainland Neopia.
The room was empty. It has escaped! All today I've been having fevered delusions, vivid visions of him stalking me...
Dear Catherine, our close relation would make you a target as well. Please, while he is preoccupied with me, flee to safety...
Date: Jul 24th
Thank you for remaining my friend for all of these years, Catherine. I will miss you dearly. Please remember me always.
Catherine closed the message on her computer screen. She had not seen Stone in years, and this was the set of circumstances in which she regained contact with him?
They had been childhood friends, inseparable for years. Catherine had watched Stone's skills for creation grow before her very eyes. They had often spent their evenings gathering spare scraps to use for his future projects. But as they grew older, Stone had developed a greater and greater obsession in creation, and secured a job as laboratory scientist. Pursuing his passion, he had left their hometown in a rural area of Neovia, leaving Catherine behind.
Catherine had not spoken to him in twenty years.
She could not help but wonder why Stone had contacted her, of everyone he must know. For that reason, though, she must be related to this situation in some way. Or that Stone was relying on her, somehow, to fix this mess.
"Stone, why did you involve me in this?" Catherine muttered aloud as she quickly packed up sack of essentials and started on her way to his laboratory...
Date: Jul 24th
A low rumble of thunder echoed from outside the moment Catherine opened the door. It was an unusual time of year for a storm, but she chalked it up to the ever-present threat of Neopian Warming. Swollen clouds had turned the sky prematurely dark this evening.
Catherine trotted through the woods at a decent speed, concerned only with covering as much ground possible before the rain began to fall. She moved without fear or trepidation, having traveled this same path dozens of times in their youth.
It was minutes before the thunder came again, and when it did, Catherine felt the hair on the back of her neck prickle. Not from electricity - the lightning was too far away, for now - but with a sense of alarm. That rumble was the only sound she'd heard for half a mile. Not one crunched leaf, not a screeching batterfly, not even a psimouse made a peep.
Catherine stopped in her tracks and held her breath. Skeletal trees surrounded her on all sides, save for the opening in front of her, which led so deep into the woods that the darkness seemed to swallow the path whole. She strained her ears, and somewhere behind her the silence was broken...
Date: Jul 25th
with another loud crash of thunder.
Catherine decided to ignore the storm and move faster to get to Stone's laboratory. She began to run but, was careful on her journey, she stayed in the shadows. She was not fully aware of what was going on, or how she was involved, but she knew it was very bad. Catherine did not want anyone to see her, just in case.
After several hours, Catherine finally made it to stones laboratory. Everything was so familiar, she used to spend so much time here with him. Catherine typed in an all familiar code 04-22, the day they became friends.
The door to the laboratory swung open and Catherine gasped when she saw the sight that awaited her. All of Stones work was thrown everywhere, the entire place was trashed. It looked like a tornado had flown through the laboratory.
"Stone!" Catherine called out, but there was no answer.
Catherine turned to leave when she noticed a piece of paper laying on an overturned table. She went over and grabbed the paper. Catherine gasped when she realized that it was...
Date: Jul 25th
... actually an intricate map of The Haunted Woods, so crinkled and yellowed with age as if someone used the page for many years and travels. Despite the material it was printed on, the ink was very black and pristine, with a shiny tinge that gave a mystical feel to the map itself.
The first thing that caught Catherine's eyes were the gnarled branches of an ancient and distinguished tree located dead center of the map.
"That must be The Brain Tree." Catherine thought to herself as she turned the page about to catch the different angles and glimmering details of decrepit tombstones and eerie landmarks of The Haunted Woods so painfully etched onto the paper.
"But what business would Stone have with the likes of the majestic Brain Trees who is forever seeking answers itself? And what would this have to do with his creation?"
So many questions swirled through Catherine's mind, she didn't seem to take any notice to the sinister shadow creeping up behind her.
Date: Jul 25th
Instead of a horrible beast, it was her friend, Stone.
“Catherine!” He yelped, rushing over to her. “What are you doing here? I told you to rush to safety!”
“What if that, that, monster, got you?” He began to check her. “Are you hurt? Did you trip?”
Catherine stepped away from the Chia. “I’m fine!” She said. “I’m worried about you!”
“Catherine, there’s not much time, you must go and get to safety,” He begged. “Please, go, Catherine.”
“I don’t want to leave you here for some Lupe to eat you,” The kacheek said. “You’re my best friend!”
“I must stay here and find a way to stop that thing,” He said. “I’ll be fine.”
“Not without me, we’re in this together!”
“This is no time for arguing!”
Suddenly a horrid screech resounded in the air, and the two friends stopped dead.
Date: Jul 26th
"Was that him?" Asked Catherine with a look of terror in her eyes.
"Yes," replied Stone, "we must hurry and get out of here."
Before Catherine could respond, another horrid screech broke the silence. This time it sounded closer, and more angry.
"Come on," Stone said, grabbing Catherine and heading for the front door. "We have to leave-NOW!"
When stone opened the front door, he stopped dead in his tracks.
Standing no more than 20 feet away was the beast, and he was staring right at Catherine and Stone...
Date: Jul 26th
Stone quickly pulled the heavy wooden door shut again and slammed the bolt home just as the terrifying creature slammed into the massive door.
"This way!" cried Stone frantically as he turned to flee. He grabbed Catherine's wrist and dragged her down a dimly lit corridor, heading away from the deafening thumping at the door.
Catherine allowed herself to be dragged along while her mind raced through possible solutions. How could this monster be stopped? Overhead, the thunder roared, and flashes of lightning caused shadows to dance around the dimly lit corridor.
Stone led Catherine into a small room off the corridor. He shut the door and bolted it once they were both safely inside. Stone began checking for other entry points, when suddenly the lights flickered. The pair gasped in surprise, but the electricity stayed on, and Stone continued his check of the perimeter.
The flickering lights had drawn Catherine's attention upward, and she stared intently at the light fixture for a minute, then turned her gaze to the window, where she could see the lightning flashing. As she looked out the window, the beginnings of an outlandish plan began to form in her head...
Date: Jul 26th