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||You are on Week 685
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Six Hundred Eighty Five Ends Friday, December 19
|Some Neopians think that the Day of Giving and its assorted celebrations are most popular in Terror Mountain. Sure, Neopia Central and Brightvale all get in on the holiday cheer, but when most people think of the holiday season, they think of the Winter Starlight Festival, held on Terror Mountain.
Of course, it is quite popular there, but what very few seem to realize, is that the season is very popular in quite an unexpected place.
The Haunted Woods.
Now, you may think that the land most closely associated with Halloween would have nothing to do with the Day of Giving, but that would be inaccurate. No, the residents of this most spooky land love the holiday. In their minds, it's delightfully spooky.
After all, the cheer is often called the Spirit of the Day of Giving. Not to mention, there was the classic Day of Giving tale about the old miser who was visited by ghosts. To them, the Day of Giving is just as spooky and haunted as Halloween, and the residents of the woods celebrate as...
"Are you still reading that old journal?"
Nero nearly fell out of his seat as his brother Axl looked into the basement of their Neovian home.
"I thought I asked you to help me with these decorations!"
"Sorry, Axl," Nero said, tucking the journal into his belt. There was a nearby box of decorations for the Day of Giving that he quickly gathered up and brought to the top of the stairs, which Axl soon took from him.
"We're almost done," Axl said. "Then you can go back to reading."
"Sorry," Nero replied. "It's just rather interesting. It was getting into the history of the ghosts and spirits of the holiday and their connection to the Haunted Woods."
"There are ghosts all over the woods," Axl said, putting up a few of the Day of Giving decorations on their fireplace mantle. "We saw a few just last week, and the Almost Abandoned Attic is down the street."
"I know that," Nero said, "but more about the holiday ones, instead of regular ghosts."
"I don't think there's anything regular about being a ghost," Axl replied.
"You know what I mean." Nero sighed in mock frustration. "It just seemed interesting, you know? Maybe the Day of Giving is more haunted than people think. Maybe it should be celebrated here instead of Terror Mountain."
"Yeah, sure," Axl said. "And while we're talking about impossible things, maybe the ghost of Hubrid Nox will rise from the floorboards and tell us that he needs our help with his holiday plans with MAGAX."
"Actually..." A sudden voice came from behind them. "It's more than just MAGAX..."
Date: Dec 15th
Axl and Nero turned around to gasp in amazement in seeing Eliv Thade floating up to them.
"E--Eliv Th--Thade?" Nero gulped.
"That is correct, Nero, and I've been listening to your theories all night," replied the ghostly Eliv.
"You've been haunting us?" Axl asked while trying to hide behind Nero.
The Kacheek laughed deeply. "Don't be ridiculous, I have much better things to do than haunt you two. However, I do like to take a nightly stroll through the Haunted Woods every now and then. This is how I came across your home and heard you talking."
Nero was fascinated but also frightened at the same time by the thought of the infamous Eliv Thade being interested in what he had to say.
"So, you agree with me on the Day of Giving and how it should be celebrated here?" asked Nero in hopes Eliv was only there to help and not harm them.
"Oh yes, yes indeed; in fact, I have a lot of history on the Day of Giving back in my mansion. If you wanted to come join me there?" Eliv Thade replied with a polite tone.
Nero and Axl looked at each other again and wondered how good of an idea it was to follow a known villain back to his lair...
Date: Dec 15th
...The brothers thought about this for a second. It was either stay home and hang decorations or take off on an adventure to Eliv Thade's mansion and its history of the Day of Giving. Nero turned to his brother with a pleading look on his face. Axl scrunched up his face as though deep in thought about this.
"Alright, alright. As long as, once we're done there, we go straight back to decorating! No more procrastination!" So then, with the journal safely tucked in his belt, Nero excitedly led the way out of their house and toward the mansion of Eliv Thade.
"So... uh, you said you have some history about the Day of Giving?" Axl nervously inquired. He had a feeling that something was a bit odd about this whole thing. As they walked down the cobbled path, the brothers' footsteps were unusually loud compared to the light swishing of the floating ghost. This made things all the more eerie.
"Ah. Yessss. I do. That, however, will have to wait till we are there..." His voice had a light, airy tone to it that sent slight chills down their spine, as if someone had poured ice water down their backs.
"I wonder what kind of history... I just want to know how the Day of Giving used to be celebrated and what changed all of that..." Nero thought aloud as to drown out the impending silence.
Before they reached the mansion, Eliv Thade stopped in his tracks -- or what would have been his tracks if he weren't a ghost...
Date: Dec 16th
...The ghostly figure floated before them in silence for a moment or two, then turned to look at the brothers with a creepy grin on his face.
"Nearly there now..." he hissed, drifting a little closer, "but why don't we make this night a bit more... interesting!"
With an eerie cackle, the ghost of Eliv Thade clapped his hands, and the brothers found themselves marching toward the mansion as if pushed by invisible hands. The doorway loomed, dark and menacing, while candles flickered spookily in the windows around it.
"If you want to hear the secrets I've gathered, then you'll need to make your way to the Library," Thade's voice boomed out from behind them, though they could no longer see the Kacheek's ghost. "It shouldn't be too difficult for two intrepid Day of Giving historians such as yourselves..."
His laughter rose and faded again. Nero and Axl found themselves staring at an ornately-carved doorknocker in the shape of an Eyrie's head. They nervously looked at one another.
"You knock," Axl said, pushing Nero forward.
"Uh... okay..." Nero stammered, reaching for the knocker.
Just before his paw touched the metal, the Eyrie's beak opened wide in a yawn and its eyes snapped open, glowing fiercely red.
"Before you enter, listen well
To this riddle I must tell:
In the Advent Calendar of Year Fourteen,
On Day Ten, a ghost who glowed green
Was surprised with a gift-wrapped box
From a long-time foe, and his name was..."
The brothers looked at one another and nodded.
"Nox!" they chorused to finish the rhyme.
The Eyrie grinned at them, and then the door slowly creaked open...
Date: Dec 16th
...to reveal the inside of the mansion, whose hallways were dusty from years of neglect. The colors were all dark and dreary.
Nero walked in first. Axl was hesitant to follow him, but he eventually went in when his brother grabbed his wrist and pulled him through. As they went on, the siblings felt as if the paintings hanging on the wall were watching them.
"Are these paintings watching us or is it just me?" Axl asked.
"I truthfully don't know," Nero replied.
Soon enough, they appeared to have reached the library. Thankfully there were no paintings in sight. Nero began to open the library doors. For a minute, fear left them. It came back quickly, though, because in the library, there was...
Date: Dec 17th
...Eliv Thade, who was lurking in a dark corner of the library, his ghostly eyes trained on the two brothers.
"It took you long enough," Thade growled menacingly.
The brothers stepped hurriedly through the doorway, hastened by Thade's surly attitude.
Nero and Axl surveyed the cavernous room with its seemingly endless rows of dusty old tomes, in silent awe, until Axl finally broke the silence.
"There have to be thousands of books in here!" Axl groaned in dismay. "This is going to take forever! Where are we even supposed to start?"
Nero, his eyes wide in fascination, was grinning broadly, a sharp contrast to his brother's long face. "Yeah, isn't it wonderful?" he breathed. "This is amazing! Imagine how much we can learn from these books!"
"Yeah, I know," Axl grumbled, "but we really need to get those decorations finished today!" He looked worried (and more than a little frustrated) with the situation.
"We'd better get to it, then!" Nero said cheerfully, his demeanor quite out of place in the gloomy library. "I wonder where we should start?" Nero rubbed his hands together in eager anticipation, always ready to delve into a good book.
The two brothers jumped as they heard a ghostly chuckle somewhere off to their right, where Eliv Thade had rematerialized. "Might I suggest starting with these?" He gestured toward a group of large volumes that were particularly tattered, which were located on a shelf a few rows above eye level.
Axl eyed the shelf warily, but Nero bravely marched up to the shelf, stood on his tiptoes, and stretched his fingertips toward an especially large brown book with faded gold script on the spine. He was too short to reach it, however. "Axl, come give me a boost!" Nero called to his brother.
Nero's brother came to stand next to him and held out his hands, lacing his fingers together to provide a step for Nero. Nero climbed up and grabbed the book off the shelf. Suddenly, the two brothers heard a loud groaning sound that filled the entire room...
Date: Dec 17th
...As if in slow motion, the aged wooden shelf began to tip toward the brothers, releasing a loud groan as it moved. The deep, haunting laughter of Eliv Thade echoed throughout the library and his voice soon followed.
"It's fascinating how quickly you two chose to trust me! It seems as though all your troubles were for naught..." Laughter followed again.
The two boys were held in place by fear; they could only watch the shelf fall faster and faster toward them. Nero's hand became limp and the book it held fell, open, onto the ground. Axl, too, found that he was incapable of holding his brother up anymore, and so both fell backward, eyes clenched shut, directly on top of the book.
Nero could hear the rustle of pages and cringed at how they had probably destroyed the old book, but their falling didn't stop. They kept tumbling, down and further down, and when they found the courage to open their eyes, all the brothers could see was darkness.
Finally, after what seemed like hours of plunging into nothingness, Nero and Axl landed hard on a dirt road. They were back outside in the Haunted Woods, but there was something... off about the Neopets who hurried around them.
"When is the last time Neopets wore clothes like this?"
"I... I'm not sure when, exactly, but it was a long, long time ago..."
Date: Dec 18th
... Nero pondered, then asked, "Maybe in the gladiator era?"
They both looked at each other, then around where they stood. They had mysteriously appeared in a dense forest, but nothing was recognisable.
"That would explain the clothes." Axl looked down at himself. "EWW! I'm wearing a skirt!" he cried in dismay.
"It's not a skirt, it's a 'cingulum.' Traditional wear for this era." Nero looked around. "Also, I'm pretty sure we're lost."
They both searched their surroundings, hoping to find anything that was familiar. Their eyes scraped the area until all hope was lost. Nero sighed.
"Hey, where did Eliv go? He got us here. He could probably get us home." Axl's eyes held a glimmer of light in the gloomy forest. "Besides, we need to get home before it's too late for the decorations."
"I dunno about finding Eliv... I don't think he'd let us escape that easily. It doesn't seem like he ch--"
Nero was cut short when a...
Date: Dec 18th
...Large Skeith in traditional gladiator-era clothing came up to the two brothers and said (rather, shouted), "You two! Why are you just standing there? You know what we have to be doing!"
Axel, confused, replied. "What do you mean, sir? I have no clue what it is we should be doing."
The Skeith, clearly frustrated, replied irritably, "Young ones never remember anything. You have to begin the evening patrol. After that, we all gather for the annual celebration feast."
Axel looked at Nero with a questioning look. Nero told the Skeith, "Yes, sir. Our apologies."
Nero grabbed his brother's arm and led him away from the Skeith. After they were out of earshot, Nero began to explain. "Back in the age of gladiators, they would celebrate a special day: the day that they defeated their enemies. They have a tradition that two kids patrol the area. Once they come back, a feast is enjoyed. It's kind of like the Day of Giving celebration... minus the patrolling and annihilating part."
Axel put his hand to his face. "How do we get out of here?"
Before Nero replied, a certain evil Kacheek rose from the ground.
"If you want to escape, make no mistake. Only one way to go, a path to take. If you choose the right one, on the left-right-left. Choose the wrong one and stuck you will be, forever in this era, only you, not me."
Eliv left. Axel was all too confused about this when Nero shouted, "I've got it. We have to..."
Date: Dec 19th
Axl just glared at his brother. "Wha?"
Nero grinned. "Think," he started, "Thade wants us to answer his puzzle. Yet, at the same time, any answer we could possibly come up with will be wrong. He has this place arranged like that."
Axl nodded slowly. "So... you're saying we just wait here for this universe to collapse around us and become 'normal'?"
"Thade might be a ghost, but he doesn't have infinite reserves of magic to keep this simulation in existence or to keep us here. Eventually it will collapse -- we just have to stay safe and out of the way until it does."
"Trust me, I've read books on this subject!" Nero grinned.
His brother rolled his eyes and begrudgingly accepted the proposal. "This sounds stupid, but fine."
Nero grinned. "We may as well go to that feast in the process."
So then, they went and ate and had a grand time. After it was done, Thade showed up. "Have you two an answer?" The Kacheek just grinned at the brothers, who said nothing. "Hurry." More nothing. Thade began to grow exasperated. "Now." Nothing. "NOOOWW!!!"
That's when the entire place went black.
The brothers woke in the Castle of Eliv Thade, but the puzzle-master was nowhere to be found.
"Time to go home, Nero."
"Thade talked about the Day of Giving, though, and how it was in the Haunted Woods, and--"
"It was all a trap, but for what purpose who really knows."
There was an awkward pause.
"Nero?" Axl asked, breaking it.
"Let's go home and finish decorating. There's also a feast to prepare... the Day of Giving might not be in the Haunted Woods, but at least we can pretend like it is."
Nero grinned and, taking his brother's hand, walked with Axl back home.
Somewhere in the distance Nox was having one superb Day of Giving shindig.
Date: Dec 19th
What happens next? (write the next paragraph of the story!)
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