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||You are on Week 198
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 Ninety-Eight Ends October 8th
"My lord! My lord!" the blue Draik guard shouted, as he burst through the doors of King Skarl’s Royal chambers.
Skarl looked up from the giant turkey leg he’d been chewing on. "What is it?"
"My lord, everyone's—" The guard fell flat on his face and lay still.
"Medic!" Skarl shouted toward an adjoining chamber, and his faithful Yurble doctor, Dr. Quagmire, immediately entered the room. The Yurble knelt by the fallen guard and listened for a heartbeat.
"My lord! My lord!" another Draik guard shouted, bursting through the doors, nearly tripping over his fallen comrade. "Oh my, it's spreading!" the guard squeaked as he looked down at the other Draik.
"Speak up! What news do you bring?" Skarl shouted, noticeably irritated.
The green Draik jumped at being addressed, and quickly told King Skarl the problem. "It's happening all over the kingdom, m'lord! The locals are dropping faster than flies at the Meridell dump!"
"What?!?" Skarl gasped, then turned towards Dr. Quagmire.
The Yurble stood up. "My prognoziz iz that he'z zuffering from extreme boredom, m'lord."
King Skarl reeled backwards. He'd always known that counting potatoes could only keep the populace entertained for a limited time, but this? "Are you saying that a plague of boredom has swept across my kingdom, leaving everyone lifeless?!" he asked, falling back onto his throne in shock.
"Actually, it iz not zo bad...
"This is terrible! What can we do?" Skarl shouted.
"Erm... find some entertainment?" the green Draik guard offered meekly.
"That zoundz like a good idea. My king, where zhall we find thiz entertainment?"
Pushing himself to his feet, King Skarl stuck out his arm and bellowed. "Bring me Sinsi! She’s the only one in this kingdom who can save us from the threat of boredom!"
The guard bowed, then quickly ran out the castle doors. His search for Sinsi, the clever Ixi game designer, had begun...
Author: Very Bored Potato|
Date: 1st October
...The Draik ran out of the castle, then leapt and took off in flight. For the moment, the sickness of boredom that had been upon him all morning had eased, and his mind was clear and alert. He had a task to do now, and boredom was not an issue.
The guard swooped around, skimming the tops of huts and trees. Everywhere, peasants littered the ground, knocked out. Farmers lay senseless, drooping over the counters of their vegetable stands. The Draik shook his head sadly. Almost no one seemed to be awake.
Soon, he came to the edge of the woods. Fluttering in the air for a moment, the Draik looked around at his surroundings. A small distance away, some movement caught his eye, and he pivoted his head to stare at it. Sure enough, a lone brown Ixi was sitting by the edge of the woods: Sinsi!
The Draik guard excitedly flew over and landed beside her. She was sitting on the grass, humming and pushing around small Shapeshifter pieces with her hoof. The Ixi looked up at her visitor and smiled widely.
"Why hello, sir!" she cried in her high-pitched, youthful voice. "Would you like to play an exciting game of Shapeshifter?" Sinsi asked, grinning invitingly while her left ear twitched.
"Sinsi, there's no time!" the guard said. "My name is Aru, and I'm an official guard of the castle. An epidemic is sweeping the kingdom -- everyone is bored!"
Sinsi snickered. "Of course they're bored. It's Meridell, after all... what do you expect?"
"You don't get it," Aru replied, shaking his head. "This is extreme boredom. It makes you feel sick and slow, as if your brain was turning into mush. Neopets all over Meridell are simply falling over from it!"
Sinsi raised an eyebrow. "Well, I was wondering where all my customers had gotten to," she muttered, swishing her small tail back and forth. "That's terrible! The land needs entertainment -- some sort of game besides rolling cheese or picking berries!"
"There are few game designers in all of Skarl's lands as great as you, Sinsi," Aru acknowledged with a bow. "Is there anything you could create that would cure the land of this plague?"
Sinsi thought for a moment, her eyes closed in concentration. Aru stood close at hand, nervously pawing the ground with his foot. Suddenly, the Ixi snapped open her eyes and clapped her hooves together.
"I've got a plan!" she shouted, leaping to her feet. "However, I'm going to need..."
Date: 4th October
"...a flight up to the Darigan Citadel!"
Aru gaped at her. "WHAT?!? The Darigan Citadel? I don't think having another war is quite the kind of excitement we need!"
"Well, that's good," Sinsi replied, her tail twitching, "because that isn't what I've got in mind."
"But they're... they're..."
"Not our enemies anymore," Sinsi said firmly, "even if they still don't like us very much."
Aru flapped his wings in agitation and wrung his front paws. "Sinsi, I'm supposed to take you back to King Skarl, though."
"Oh, I see," the Ixi said. "Well, we can go there first."
They headed towards the king, to find that Skarl himself was on the verge of succumbing to the malaise, in spite of his worries. He was stumbling around the table, munching on things to keep himself awake; Sinsi and Aru charged into the courtroom just as he wobbled, sank down, and absently started gnawing on a table-leg.
Sinsi looked around, dashed over to a gong, and gave it a good kick with her hind legs. "You won't want to do that, Your Majesty," she said pleasantly. "The table will fall on you."
Skarl looked around, awakened again by the gong, then got up hastily. "Er, yes, thank you. Well, Sinsi! What shall we do about this plague of *yawn* boredom?"
The Ixi smothered a snicker. "I have an idea, Sire, and I think it will do some other good as well. Will you give permission for Aru here to take me for a visit to the Darigan Citadel?"
Skarl stared at her. "Whatever do you think you'll find there? We don't want to invite another invasion!"
"They're already here, you know," she pointed out, "and they've got to find things to do up there as well, don't they? I have heard their dungeon warden has some sort of board game -- which, actually, I've been wanting to try... but never mind. If potatoes, poker, archery, Mortogs, Whack-a-Kass, and even MY game Shapeshifter still can't rouse Meridell, it's time to ask for outside help! I have an idea, but it requires their assistance. Besides," she added thoughtfully, "I bet it will improve relations... you know, show them we're willing to make up beyond trading food for gizmos."
Skarl hemmed and hawed, making it clear that he didn't really like the idea, but at last he gave permission. Then, a very nervous Draik airlifted a slightly less nervous Ixi up onto the dark crags of the Citadel.
"Head straight for that window," Sinsi instructed Aru, pointing towards the tallest tower.
"Shouldn't we go in the door?!?"
"We can knock on the ledge."
Expecting every moment to be fired upon, Aru obediently flew to the window ledge. They didn't exactly get to knock, however; he couldn't cling to the ledge with his paws full of Sinsi, and the Ixi’s hooves weren't suited for knocking, either. Sinsi ended up pitching through the window and landing hard on the stone floor.
She scrambled up to see Lord Darigan staring at them both.
Lord Darigan was an excellent fighter in his own right, and therefore not terribly worried about the possibility that the new arrivals were assassins. The thought did cross his mind that there might be more of them, however, so he left his desk and crossed hastily to the window, allowing him to peer out of it. All else seemed quiet.
Well, this was a very unorthodox sort of embassy, but a single anxious Draik and a single sprawling Ixi didn't seem that threatening. Darigan turned again to face them, folding his arms, while noting that they looked a bit puzzled by his own lunge for the window.
"What," he asked slowly, "is the meaning of this?"
Sinsi got to her feet. "Lord Darigan," she gasped. "I'm Sinsi, and this is Aru." She went on, trying to recover her self-possession. "This is an emergency..."
Date: 5th October
…"Sinsi?" Darigan asked, interrupting hesitantly. He paused, thinking carefully. "Sinsi... why is that name familiar?"
Aru gave a short, wobbling bow. "Lord Darigan, Sinsi is the designer of the game Shapeshifter," he explained.
Darigan glanced up. "I remember you now! The little Usul who took care of me made a rather crude version of your game to keep me entertained during my slow recovery!" he said with a smile, an expression that was rather out of place on his thin, withered face. "Thank you, Sinsi. Your game saved me from collapsing of sheer boredom!" he chuckled dryly, expecting his uninvited guests to join in his amusement, but their faces remained worried and nervous.
"Sir, that's the problem. We need the warden who invented..." Sinsi hesitated, struggling to remember the name. "Blockade? Building Block?"
"Cellblock?" Darigan asked.
She beamed, nodding vigorously.
"Why do you require Vex?"
The brown Ixi bit her lip, terrified now that it had come to this. "Well, our population is suffering from extreme boredom. It has become so bad that they are collapsing where they stand. I require Vex to assist me in relieving this boredom!"
Darigan gestured towards Aru. "What about him?" he asked.
"I am merely transport, Lord Darigan," Aru said, automatically bowing once more.
Darigan's face showed no emotion as he looked at them steadily. Sinsi stared back, wondering if he would help…
Date: 5th October
…"In the interest of the peace," Darigan said slowly, "I can hardly refuse. However, I cannot guarantee that Vex would be willing to help. After all, he has a mind of his own."
"Well, could you summon him for us, Lord Darigan?" Sinsi asked.
Darigan smiled. "He is already on his way," he answered. Aru and Sinsi scarcely had time to glance at each other before there was a knock on the door. "In fact, unless I am mistaken, he has already arrived. Enter!"
The door opened, and Master Vex sidled in. He was smaller than Sinsi had imagined, and he had a vivid scar over one eye. "Yes, my Lord?" he drawled in a voice that was as slippery as oil.
"It seems the King of Meridell wants your help, Vex," Darigan answered. "These are his... ambassadors." He indicated Aru and Sinsi with a sweeping gesture. They smiled hopefully.
"Well?" Vex snapped.
"Master Vex," Sinsi began. "The people of Meridell have been hit by a wave of boredom. I've come to ask for your help in creating a game to cure this."
"And who are you?" he sneered.
"I'm Sinsi, creator of Shapeshifter."
He sniffed. "You want me to make a game for you?"
"Well, not just you," Aru interjected, trying to be helpful. "We just wanted you to... you know… collaborate, as it were."
"I do not collaborate with upstart Ixis and foolish Draiks. Perhaps I would consider such an arrangement with someone who was my intellectual equal, but I've yet to encounter him. Or her," he added with a snicker towards Sinsi.
"I've got twice as much intellect as you'll ever have!" Sinsi snapped.
"Is that so? Then what is the name of a castle whose inhabitant would be called 'Heat Devil'?" Master Vex asked.
"Castle of Eliv Thade," Sinsi answered quickly.
Aru watched speechlessly as they fired questions and answers back and forth. It was like watching a game of Deckball. "I understand!" he interjected excitedly. "Heat Devil is an anagram of Eliv Thade!"
Sinsi rolled her eyes. "Aru, keep up," she said sarcastically. "Oh, and to answer to your question, Master Vex, Robert Flotsam passed away twenty years ago."
"Very well!" Vex exclaimed. "You've proved your point. I agree to collaborate with you. However, I ask for a small price..."
Aru's heart sank. They had nothing to offer the wily warden.
"I'm very partial to marrows, and it's difficult to get hold of them here," Vex pleaded. "Perhaps..."
"Vex, if you help us, we'll give you a whole marrow patch," Sinsi promised recklessly.
"Then I consent..."
Date: 6th October
"...to help you discover a game that withstands even the worst boredom," Vex said, grinning wickedly. Thoughts were already churning in his head.
Sinsi frowned. "Games aren't found, Master Vex," she told the other game master. "They are made."
He shrugged. "Either way. I like to say discover, instead of invent."
Aru shifted from one claw to the other. "Who cares what you call it?" the Draik guard blurted out. "Just find a game, or invent one, and save Meridell!"
Sinsi looked at the brilliant designer who had invented Cellblock. "He's right," she said.
Vex nodded, and they went into a separate room to devise their game. Minutes ticked by, as Darigan and Aru became more and more anxious. Soon, Darigan had gone back to his paperwork, leaving the Draik to wait the minutes out.
It seemed like years had passed before Sinsi and Vex finally came out of the room, both wearing looks of triumph.
"Well?!?" Aru demanded, jumping out of his seat so quickly that one might think he had just sat on a bed of Jetsam teeth. "Did you make the game?"
Sinsi grinned. "Oh yes. Yes, we did," she answered. "It is very clever, if I do say so myself. We have made it harder than all the other puzzles put together in Neopia."
Vex's smile faded a little. "There is one problem, you see. In order to complete it, we have to…"
Date: 6th October
"...get materials from both the Darigan Citadel and Meridell. See, we use an assortment of vegetables in the game, and there are certainly none of those here. However, we also use quite a bit of machinery -- particularly wind-up toys -- and you and I both know there's none to be found in Meridell."
Aru's interest was piqued. What game could they have possibly come up with that involved vegetables and wind-up toys?
Seeing that Aru had no reply, Vex cleared his throat disdainfully and continued. "Yes, I imagine it would be quite plausible for our two rulers to agree to a trade, but the peasants... well, they haven't quite forgotten the past yet. I fear they will refuse to play something that we had a part in," the warden said condescendingly. Clearly, he didn't think the Draik was very bright.
"Then we need to bind our two nations together!" Lord Darigan finished, standing up from behind his desk. "This is just what we've needed all along -- something to bring us together. All of our efforts are finally paying off."
Vex cocked an eyebrow. Judging from the look on his face, it wasn't like Lord Darigan to get this excited.
"Sinsi, Aru, take this to your king," Darigan ordered, quickly scribbling on a piece of parchment.
"Yes, sir!" Sinsi said, gleefully jumping onto Aru's back as he accepted the scroll from Lord Darigan.
"And take this," Vex added, handing the jubilant Ixi another scroll. "You know what it is."
"Our plans!" Sinsi replied, more seriously. "Trust me, Master Vex, they will be safe with me!"
"You must hurry!" Lord Darigan reminded them, sitting back down.
With a nod, Aru jumped into the air and took off, feeling just a bit more hopeful than before...
Date: 7th October
..."Hurry! Faster!" Sinsi cried as Aru shot forward. "We don't have all day... stop moving like a sleepy Slorg!" Amused with her use of alliteration, Sinsi quieted down and stopped hitting Aru’s wings.
Finally, to the relief of both of them, the pair landed in front of the castle. Due to the boredom plague, the paths were quite empty. In fact, there wasn't a single soul in sight. Sinsi dashed through the castle, with Aru following just behind her. Running at breakneck speed, the overenthusiastic Ixi took less than a minute to plow her way through the double doors of Skarl's Royal Chambers.
"Skarl! Hello, Your Highness!" Sinsi shouted, her voice echoing through the silent room.
King Skarl was slouched over a table, attempting to keep awake by reading a large, thick book. "Wha--?" he asked, his head raising slightly.
Sinsi trotted over to the table and grabbed the book from under Skarl's hands. "Hmmm... a history book. No wonder you Neopets are so bored around here!" she commented. Ignoring Skarl's glare, the Ixi put the scrolls that they brought where his book had been. "Master Vex and I came up with this game," she said proudly, opening one of the scrolls.
Skarl's eyes widened. "This is good!" he exclaimed. "I think this is the best game I’ve ever seen! This might even be better than some of the jokes I've heard in my time! I really like most of those jokes, you know," he added confidentially. "Just have to keep up the act and all that."
Sinsi rolled her eyes and opened the other scroll.
Skarl's eyes scanned the page. He then looked up and shouted...
Date: 7th October
..."WHAT?!? There are vegetables and wind-up toys in this?!?"
"Well, yes," Sinsi said a little shyly.
"You and I know perfectly well that there are no wind-up toys in Meridell," Skarl said imploringly.
"Yes, I know," Sinsi said, getting some of her confidence back, "but that's a problem we hope to fix. If you look at the rest of the game, I think you will find it quite satisfactory."
"It's the best game ever made," Skarl said, looking quite happy with the plans. He quickly wrote something on a piece of parchment and handed it to Sinsi. "Take this scroll back to Darigan right away," he ordered.
"Come on, Aru! We need to get there right away! Let's go!" Sinsi shouted, too excited to wait.
"Could you please calm down?" Aru complained. "It's hard to fly when you're jumping up and down on my back."
"I'm sorry, and I'll try to stop. No promises, though… I'm just too excited," Sinsi explained.
When the Ixi and the Draik arrived at the Darigan Citadel once more, they saw Lord Darigan sitting on the edge of his chair, waiting for them.
"We bring you a message from King Skarl," Aru said, sounding quite professional.
"Thank you," Darigan replied. He read through the scroll quickly, then clapped his hands together and said, "I am going on a short visit to Meridell. We can talk over the final plans of the game there."
Sinsi looked very pleased and excited. Aru, on the other hand, looked a little sad and embarrassed.
"What's wrong?" Sinsi asked. "They are going to talk things over about the game. Most likely, the game will be put into action soon, and boredom shall be in Meridell no more!"
"I know, I know... but I cannot carry both you and Lord Darigan on my back at once."
"Not to worry," Darigan interrupted. "I can get there myself. You only have to carry Sinsi."
"Oh good," Aru said, sighing with relief.
"Well, let's get going then," Sinsi said quickly. She could barely control her excitement.
When the three arrived in Meridell, they found Skarl...
Date: 8th October
...nearly comatose from boredom. The history book he had been reading lay open in his lap. Scribbles had been drawn on the pages in an attempt to find some amusement.
"King Skarl! Are you all right?" Aru cried.
"Oh, yes, Aru..." King Skarl muttered, but he looked far from being all right. The boredom plague was affecting him badly.
"We must get started on the game!" Sinsi said eagerly to the bored king.
Darigan also looked bored. He kept clicking his tongue as he waited for Skarl to respond. "Are we going to get this over with or not?" Darigan finally said impatiently. "Time is ticking..."
"Oh, right! That's what I was going to do," Skarl said, letting a blob of drool escape.
"Well, we need the wind-up toys. Darigan can supply us with them..." Sinsi began.
"I have them," Darigan said. "How about the vegetables?"
"They're in the patches, of course," Aru piped up. "This year's harvest is an excellent one, I must say..."
"All right, we're going to need to get started right away," Sinsi said. "Meridell is growing weaker by the moment. We must introduce this brilliant game to them immediately."
"Of course," Skarl said, his eyelids drooping. "Let's go."
Sinsi took it upon herself to gather all the vegetables she'd need for the game. After persuading a bored farmer to give her some, she quickly returned to Aru, Skarl, and Darigan.
"Did you get them?" Aru asked eagerly.
"Oh, you bet I did!" Sinsi said with a grin. "Now let's gather the locals. They're going to want to see this..."
All of Meridell was soon roused and gathered for a festival, where Sinsi introduced the game. At first, most of the Neopets looked deathly bored, but as time went on, their attention was captured. They were caught under the spell of the complex game, which combined the genius of Sinsi and Vex into one masterwork, with the vegetables and wind-up toys providing a uniquely interesting aspect.
Several games of "Shapeblock" were played delightfully. The Neopets were merry and cheery, and they did not show a single trace of boredom. Even Skarl was released from his boredom, as he watched the proceedings smiling and laughing. This was not common, for King Skarl had not laughed in a long time.
Darigan left the festival rather early, for he said he had some "errands" to run. Though he seemed cold and aloof, Meridell thanked him and held him as a "guest of honor," along with Master Vex, Sinsi, and Aru. As Meridell honored the lord of the Darigan Citadel, a rare smile crossed his face.
"Hail to Lord Darigan! Hail to Lord Darigan and his assistant Master Vex! Hail! Hail! Hail!" the Meridellians cried.
The festival went on for a week. No one could remember a time that had been as happy and cheery. It was so wondrous, in fact, that it was decided that a Festival of Excitement should be held every year. No year was ever as exciting as this one, though.
Not only was Meridell ensured a good week of cheeriness and excitement, but the citizens were now securely at peace with Darigan and his followers. They even came up with a saying for it: "With every dung pile comes a Nerkmid."
And with every vegetable comes a wind-up toy.
Date: 8th October
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