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Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)

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Week 178
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Week 180

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!

Story One Hundred and Seventy-Nine Ends May 21st

The Mynci gripped the map tightly under his jacket as he ran. The alarms of the museum continued to blare in the night behind him. His lungs burned from the effort, but he kept running; his dark clothes protecting him from the eyes of roused Neopians who stuck their heads out of their window in curiosity. Hanaar dove behind a bush as investigators rushed by, on their way to the scene of the crime.

Dressed entirely in black, and moving carefully in the shadows, Hanaar made his way back to his hideout (in an abandoned building) without notice. Upon pulling a chain above his head, a single, uncovered light bulb lit the room. It swung back and forth, casting strange shadows as the Mynci removed his mask. Hanaar wiped the sweat from his brow, then reached into his jacket to carefully remove the precious map.

His brown, furry fingers carefully unrolled the map, laying it flush against a wooden table under the light. He couldn't help but grin; most maps lead to a treasure, but this map... it was a treasure unto itself. He read the fancy lettering in the upper left hand corner:

Ancient Neopia

Hidden for years in a vault under the museum, Hanaar was the first in quite some time to see what Neopia had once looked like, long, long ago...

Author: Oohh.. how exciting!
Date: 17 May
...The map was an old artifact -- no, not old, ancient. Dust and grime, which had collected over many centuries, lined the old map's myriad of creases. Though the illustrations that had been meant to convey Ancient Neopia were fuzzy and worn, Hanaar could easily see what they stood for as he traced his fingers down the coastline of a grassy peninsula to the southeast.

Hanaar paused and held his breath, straining to hear if the authorities were near. He then exhaled quietly... there'd been no one.

"Okay. Where are you, you little stinker?" Hanaar mumbled, gingerly flipping map over. "That cloaked figure said that it was... AH HAH!"

Hanaar grinned delightedly when he found what he'd been searching for. On the top right-hand corner of the map was a black star, encircled by a ring of fire. Even under this grimy light, the fire glimmered like new gold.

"How peculiar. How VERY peculiar..." Hanaar murmured, straining for a closer look at the insignia. "The cloaked figure said not to rub it, or even touch it... there would be dire consequences, he said. But why?"

Just then, there was a knock at the door.

"Open up! Come out with your hands up!"

Hanaar gasped. In his rush to roll the map back up, it fell to the floor.

"Not comin' out, eh? Break in, men. Tear down this door."

Within seconds, Hanaar heard heavy pounding at his door. NO, NO, NO! he thought, grabbing the map. NOT WHEN I'M SO CLOSE!

What Hanaar hadn't noticed was that his paw had accidentally grazed the black-star insignia. As it had, the map suddenly burst into a great flash of white light, illuminating the dingy old building. Hanaar cried out loud, while squeezing his eyes shut. The map then swallowed him whole, sending Hanaar backward through time, tumbling towards Ancient Neopia itself...

Author: angelfrosting
Date: 17 May

...Hanaar was surrounded by blurs of historical events that had occurred in Neopia, like the Battle of Meridell, the great Tyrannian war, and when Grundos first arrived. The frightened Mynci did not know what to do, as he continued hurtling deeper into the years that had gone by. Suddenly, everything went dark.

* * * * *

Hanaar felt his head spin as he slowly awoke from his slumber. His sight was still a bit fuzzy, but he felt a cool, wet sensation upon his brow. When his eyes focused, he saw a young silver Shoyru before him, with a wet rag in her hands. Her clothes were quite odd to Hanaar; it was as though she were wearing a sort of pink robe-dress. Hanaar had only seen this kind of style before in his history books.

The Shoyru's smile grew wide. "You're awake! Oh, thank the faeries... I thought we had lost you."

"Wh-where am I?" Hanaar asked as he quickly tried to sit up from his bed.

"Please sir, calm yourself," the Shoyru said as she eased him back down. "You are still not fully healed."

Before Hanaar could utter another word, he saw another figure enter the room. It was an aged yellow Acara, draped in a blue hood and carrying a twisted walking stick. He chuckled as he approached the bedside.

"Ah, I see our guest has finally awoken," the Acara said. "Welcome to my home, lad. I am Munku, and this young lady is my apprentice, Romi. I am teaching her the arts of potions and healing."

"Master Munku found you in the plains, not far from the city," Romi added. "You weren't breathing, so he brought you back here."

"Uhh... thank you. I'm Hanaar," he answered, still not having taken his eyes off the rustic scenery. "C-Could one of you please tell me where I am?"

"Why, you are in Neopia, of course," Munku said. "Well, Centralia, to be exact."

Centralia, Hanaar thought. That's what they used to call "Neopia Central" in Ancient Neopia. The Mynci's memories then flooded back to what had happened not more than a few minutes ago. The break-in, the map, the hooded figure... Could all of this truly be happening?

"Hanaar?"

The Mynci was snapped back into reality when Romi had said his name.

"Wha? Oh, yes... sorry." Hanaar felt his cheeks grow red as he still tried to get a grasp on what was happening.

"My, you must be very ill," Munku said before turning to his apprentice. "Romi, please go down and fix us some tea. I have a few things to ask him."

"Yes, Master." Romi bowed and left the room, giving Hanaar one last friendly glance before leaving.

Gently sitting on the bed, Munku turned to Hanaar. "Now then, my boy. Where did you say you were from?"

Just as Hanaar was about to answer, he noticed that the Acara wore a gold ring on his paw. Engraved in the gold was a star within a ring of fire: it was the exact same symbol that had been on the map...

Author: bitsy_dj
Date: 18 May
...The Mynci drew a deep breath, moving his eyes away from the ring and up to Munku's face. He thought discretion might be the best choice in this particular situation; it didn't seem quite right to give away too many details about himself just yet.

"I really can't remember, Munku. I wish that I could tell you," he said. That symbol, the star within a ring of fire, he knew what that symbol meant... how could Munku, who'd seemingly been so friendly, wear such an evil, yet priceless, artifact? It was a question he wasn't sure he wanted answered. However, since he was here, Hanaar decided that he might as well prod... what could be the harm in that?

"Munku, that ring you're wearing -- it seems to make me remember something; could you tell me about it, please?" The Acara looked taken aback, but he recovered from his surprise quickly, looking down at the ring upon his paw.

"I am the keeper of something; this ring marks me as so." Hanaar nodded slowly.

"What exactly is it that you keep?" he asked, paws sweating as he clasped them together.

"Something very, very bad. Maybe it is better that you've forgotten where you came from if this ring jogs your memory. Your life would be much better without this darkness filling it."

At that moment Romi re-entered the room, carrying a tray laden with tea and small snacks that Hanaar failed to recognize. "Here, master..." she said softly, setting the tray down on a small table she'd drawn in front of the two.

Munku picked up a glass from the table, raising it to his lips. "Maybe, Hanaar, it would be better if you were honest about how you came here..." he said softly, raising the glass to his lips. His eyes were serious, and he lifted them to meet Hanaar's gaze slowly. Bit by bit Hanaar's friendly, easy smile disappeared as he realized that something far more serious was going on than he'd thought...

Author: xrunxwxscissorsx
Date: 19 May

...Hanaar felt trapped and vulnerable. Munku's unwavering gaze was beginning to make him nervous and edgy. The Mynci fidgeted in his seat, licked his lips, scratched his palm, and tapped his foot on the floor.

"I-I really don't remember," he insisted, sweat popping out on his brow. Somehow he knew Munku didn't believe him. A horrible thought struck him: could this old Acara read his mind?

Munku gently placed his glass back on the tray. The old Acara leaned forward, until he was only inches away from Hanaar's face. His eyes were grey from age, his lips pressed together forming a thin line. For a second, just a split second, Hanaar could've sworn that he saw a fire burning in the old Acara's eyes. However, before he could register what he thought he had seen, Munku leaned back in his chair and smiled warmly at Hanaar.

"Very well, Hanaar. I'm sure you will... remember... where you came from in time," he said, reaching for one of the strange snacks. "I did not mean to frighten you. It is just, in turbulent times such as these, one must learn to be careful."

Hanaar let out a breath that he didn't even know he'd been holding. Munku didn't seem so threatening anymore. However, there was one thought that still badgered Hanaar. Munku had somehow known that Hanaar was lying about where he came from. While mind reading seemed completely out of the question, Hanaar couldn't help wondering if the ring had something to do with it all.

"I'm sorry for asking," Hanaar said. He wanted to update himself on what exactly was happening to make Munku so cautious. "But what do you mean by turbulent times?"

Munku hesitated. "A great darkness is spreading across the land," he finally answered. Next to him, Romi picked at the hem of her dress. "We do not know what this darkness is, nor where it comes from. However, it has been systematically sucking the very life out of every Neopian citizen for the past three years."

Romi decided to add to the story. "It really sucks the life out of you, leaving nothing but a cold, grey, clammy shell of yourself," she said. "You can't think for yourself anymore once the life has been sucked out of you. Because then... it controls you."

Hanaar gulped. What luck he'd had, landing in a time period that was being plagued by an unknown, life-sucking force. "What does this darkness look like? Why is it here in Neopia?"

Romi looked away. "It looks like a giant black shadow," she said softly, "And Master Munku believes it is searching for something...

Author: danni_dice
Date: 19 May
...something that could destroy all of Neopia."

Hanaar fidgeted uneasily. "W-W-What could possibly destroy all of Neopia?"

Romi looked at his master, then back at Hanaar. "We don't know... it could be anything."

Hanaar looked at Munka. "D-d-do you think that your ring means that you could be the keeper of this terrible thing?"

Munka looked down at his paws. "I'm not sure. I hope not, though... all I want to do is save Neopia."

Hanaar started to stutter. "W-w-well m-maybe your ring means that you could also save Neopia."

Munka smiled slightly at Hanaar. "Perhaps," the Acara said, then frowned. "Do you know something that Romi and I don't?" A gleam appeared in his eye, which seemed to penetrate Hanaar's mind.

Hanaar felt like he was going to explode if he didn't tell someone about the map. However, if he did, then what might happen? What would happen if something slipped out? What if something already had...

Author: number1shortstuff
Date: 19 May

...Hanaar felt beads of perspiration popping out of his brow and slithering down the flat plane of his face. Desperate times calls for desperate measures, he thought, wiping the drop of sweat from his forehead and keeping in mind how precious his time was.

"Munku, do you have a map of Neopia with you?" Hanaar inquired urgently.

The Acara's eyes darted quickly to a finely honed cabinet in a dark corner. "Yes," Munku said with assurance. Romi promptly flew over to the corner and retrieved the map, unrolling the parchment in front of the anxious Acara and Mynci.

"This is the same one I have!" Hanaar exclaimed excitedly.

Munku shook his head with uncertainty. "That is impossible," he said in a hoarse voice. "There is only one of this map in all of Neopia. My grandfather created the map during his time, and we have slowly added to it."

"Even better," Hanaar said animatedly, then turned the map over with shaking hands. On the top, right-hand corner, the exact insignia of a black star inside a luminous ring of fire glimmered on the map -- only, this time, it looked as if the logo had been harshly branded onto the flimsy paper.

"There it is," Hanaar said, pointing at the insignia with widened eyes.

Munku's eyes enlarged, "That was not there before."

He turned to the Acara and Shoyru. "Munku, Romi, this is how I must have came to be here. This is how! I must have grazed my hand over that insignia... and ended up here, in Ancient Neopia." His voice was filled with unbelieving awe.

With a grave face, Hanaar rotated to face Munku. "This must be a sign, Munku." The Acara stared back with a piercing look, equally as grave.

"Neopia has suffered great dilemmas and dire plights," Munku said in a subdued voice. "This, however, has to be by far the worst quandry we've ever been forced to face."

"Master--" Romi started.

Hanaar rolled up the map with trembling hands, knowing not what to say. His insides churned and twisted into unfamiliar knots, and it was only then that he noticed how pitch black and bone-chillingly cold the room had actually gotten.

"We will save Neopia!" the Mynci stated factually. The words felt foreign in his mouth; was he actually sure of this? He was but a single Neopet... how could one simple Mynci make such promising affirmations?

"Master--" Romi started again, and pointed a jutting wing towards the outside of a window. A brooding storm bubbled from far away.

It was a blanketing, dark shadow...

Author: twistedthorns
Date: 20 May
..."Alas, not much time is left," Munku said, eyeing the storm. Plus, we have yet to come up with a way of fighting such a force."

"The ring," Hanaar said, unwilling to accept the idea of defeat. "There must be something the ring can do to help us."

The old Acara sighed. "It would be wise for me to tell you the true power this ring holds." Munku removed the ring from his frail paw. "Romi, take a seat... I should have told you this long ago." Romi, confused but obedient, took a seat on the bed.

"This ring was created by an evil lord many eons ago. My ancestors were able to defeat them back then, but they were not able to destroy him. Instead, they locked away the evil lord's power away in three magic articles. Recently two of those articles were destroyed by his followers; whenever one of the articles is destroyed, he gets a third of his power back. By destroying the articles, the evil lord will be able to resume power," the old Acara sighed.

Romi was shivering, while Hanaar was trying his best to digest all this new information. "There must be a way to stop him." Roni stated.

The aging Acara turned towards the Mynci. "We will need Hanaar's help. If the ring is unreachable by the shadow, the evil lord can never return to full strength... then, maybe we can find a way to defeat him." Munku slowly removed the ring from his finger, then placed it in Hanaar's hand. "Can I trust you with this most important of tasks?"

The Mynci appeared shocked. "B-but that would mean..."

Author: inwekia
Date: 21 May

..."That I would be responsible for all of Neopia, its past AND its future!" Munku gave a sad nod, closing Hanaar's paw around the begemmed ring.

"I feel that you can do it." the Acara said softly.

Hanaar would have expected to feel panic, and fear... yes, an abundance of fear. However, all he felt was a stern sense of resolve.

"Where would the ring be safe?" he said thoughtfully, slipping the holder of Neopia's entire future onto his paw. Suddenly, he got an idea.

Perhaps I could return to my time. Maybe, just maybe, that's the one place I could go where the evil lord won't be able to follow me. I can't think of anywhere else it would be safe! The Mynci's thoughts were racing.

Munku watched him curiously, "Have you got an idea?" he asked.

Hanaar nodded. "It may seem foolish, but my idea is this..." He then carefully explained his idea. Once he'd finished, the Acara jumped to his feet, with the map held firmly in his hand.

"Please, use this map, and take the ring to where you come from -- the dark lord will not be able to touch it there!" he shouted.

Hanaar nodded, taking the map from the kind Acara's grasp and looking down at the very symbol that had brought him here, hoping with all his heart that it would take him back. "I hope this works," he whispered, then looked sadly at the Shoyru and Acara. "Goodbye," he said, then brushed his paw across the symbol.

At that very moment the storm hit their small building, enshrouding it in shadow. Romi gave a shriek, while Munku closed his eyes tightly, as if to wish the creeping shadows away. Slowly, that image began to fade away, though, and Hanaar traveled once again through the history of Neopia.

He was filled with dread, wondering what had happened to innocent Romi and poor, poor Munku. Eventually the spinning Neopia came to a rest and he was deposited, quite unceremoniously, back at his hideout! With a sigh of relief Hanaar looked down at the map, which he held tightly in his paw, and slumped against the table. Sunlight filtered in from the windows, and for now at least, it seemed the worst was over.

* * * * *

Hanaar often wondered what had happened to the brave Acara, Munku, and his apprentice, Romi, after his brief encounter with them. For years he heard nothing, and even though it didn't surprise him, he was still discouraged. Their plan seemed to have worked; Neopia was still in once piece as far as he could tell, but he remained curious about their fates. One day, while walking through the streets, he heard an elderly Uni spinning a tale in the streets.

"His name was Hanaar, a brave and fearless Mynci who saved all of Neopia, or at least that's what I've heard. My great, great, great, GREAT grandfather, whose name was Munku, told me so when I was very young. He just disappeared, taking the ring and map with him... so then, just like that, the great, overpowering shadow was gone also."

With a smile, Hanaar rubbed his paw across the ring he still wore. It seemed as though its previous keeper, the old Acara, had made a wise decision...

The End

Author: xrunxwxscissorsx
Date: 21 May



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