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||You are on Week 201
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 Two Hundred and One Ends October 29th
"No, no… go right."
"No, your other right!"
"We already went that way!"
"Are you sure?"
"Um... not really," the blue Uni said with a sigh, drooping her head and wings. Her yellow Kacheek friend, Meribelle, was sitting on her back, trying in vain to look over the hedges surrounding them.
"Hey Nataya,” Meribelle said, “you know we could just fly out of here to reach the end of Queen Fyora's hedge maze..."
The Uni stamped her foot. "That would be cheating!"
"Hehe… okay, okay. We'll do it the right way." the Kacheek agreed. "Now, um… where were we?"
"I do believe we were arguing whether to go left or right..." the Uni said, looking each direction in turn.
"Well, you peer around the left corner, and I'll look around the right, and we'll go the direction that looks most promising," the Kacheek suggested, sliding off her friend's back.
The Uni nodded, then went to look around the corner. Meanwhile, Meribelle explored the route on the right. "I don't see anything this way, Nataya. Do you see anything?"
Author: Dance Dragon, Dance|
Date: 22nd October
"...er, well... I see another fork in the path. Right or left?" Nataya sighed.
Meribelle groaned miserably. "What?!?" the Kacheek asked. "That's what I saw, too! That means we'll have to choose between left, then left... or left, then right... or right, then right... or right, then left... is that right?"
"No, it's left I think..."
Meribelle stomped her foot on the ground impatiently. "That isn't what I meant, and you know it!" she muttered to herself, then said firmly, "I think we should cheat."
"We can't get the prize if we cheat!" the Uni grumbled.
"We can't get out of this maze if we don't cheat!" the Kacheek argued, stomping her foot again. "Also... I'm hungry!"
Nataya, however, was gazing into the distance, no longer listening to Meribelle's rant.
"...Stuck in this maze for hours... didn't even bring any lunch... and you're not even listening, are you?!?" the Kacheek cried.
"What?" Nataya asked, then (without waiting for a response) she murmured, "I could be certain I heard something..."
"Oh, you and your hearing. You're always hearing something," Meribelle said dismissively. "It was probably my stomach rumbling!"
"No, no, I'm really certain this time!" the Uni said indignantly. "Just listen a moment!"
Meribelle stopped the tirade and pricked her ears. Her expression rapidly changed from skeptical to completely astonished.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Do you know what that sounds like?" she whispered.
The Uni pawed the ground and flicked her mane, equally surprised. "Yes, it sounds just like a..."
Date: 25th October
"...faerie!" Nataya said, sounding quite confused. She bit her lip.
"But... it can't be! Faeries aren't supposed to be in here. That would be cheating!" Meribelle groaned, slumping to the ground dejectedly. "Can you please just fly us out of here? I've been starving, and now I'm thirsty, too!"
Nataya shook her head, trying not to be impatient with her friend. "Come on, let's go left then," she said. "That's where the noise is coming from... maybe it's a sign!"
"Maybe it's a sign," Meribelle mimicked in a mouthy voice. "I think my growling stomach is enough of a sign to get out of here. Besides, if it's just a faerie, then that's nothing special. After all, there are tons of them around here anyway..."
"I know, silly, but what if it's a bottled faerie?" Nataya continued, turning through the maze. To a bystander, it would have appeared that she was moving along aimlessly, but the Uni had a pattern to her movement. Two rights, then a left… two rights, then another left.
Meribelle was still murmuring to herself along the path, thinking her friend was listening. "...Could get a disease, you know? If I don't eat my apple a day, I could catch it! I take that saying to heart, the one that says... erm... how does it go again?"
Meanwhile, Nataya was having troubles of her own. Meribelle hadn't seen her friend trip over a tree root, and now the Uni was struggling to stand up. Unfortunately, the very absent-minded Kacheek fell tail over paws onto Nataya.
"Ow! What are you doing on the ground?" Meribelle asked, annoyed. "I was just about to get it, and now I forgot. An apple a day, and... and... oh! You made me forget!"
"Oh, be quiet," Nataya said, frowning. "Now, how could that tree root be there? There isn't a tree for miles!"
Meribelle finally gave up in exasperation. She threw her paws in the air and stomped off down the maze, heedless of where her feet were going. Before Nataya could warn her, it was too late.
"Oh," Meribelle cried in sudden realization. "An apple a day keeps the doctor awaaaaay!"
In an instant, the Kacheek was sprawled on the ground, having tripped over another tree root.
"Wait a minute! That wasn't there before..." Nataya said, raising her eyebrows in confusion once more.
Meribelle, however, was preoccupied with something else. She pointed to the end of the pathway. "Look..."
Date: 26th October
...A dark faerie with golden eyes and long purple hair appeared at the end of the pathway, sitting on another tree root that had suddenly materialized from the ground. With wide eyes, Nataya and Meribelle gawked at her until she started to speak.
"I have been watching you walk haphazardly through this maze. Surely, you realize that I can help you through," the faerie said smoothly.
"That would be cheating, though! If we'd wanted to cheat, we could do it on our own!" Nataya reasoned.
"Of course you could, but you also know that you would be caught, which is precisely why you haven't done it," the faerie said, flashing her amber eyes.
At this, Nataya bit her lip. It was as if this faerie had read her mind.
Meribelle noticed her friend's sudden change of expression. "What exactly are you trying to get at?" the Kacheek asked the faerie.
"Well, if you'd like, I have a proposition that you may want to consider," the faerie continued.
"I would like to know the name of the faerie we're making a pact with before this goes any further," Meribelle said obstinately.
"Why, of course. They call me Oscura," the faerie said with a smirk.
"Hold on a moment!" Nataya said, trying to get their attention. "What do you want from us?"
"It's really quite simple. In exchange for guiding you two through this labyrinth," Oscura said, gesturing at the maze, "I want you to help set me free."
"Set you free?" Nataya and Meribelle reiterated simultaneously.
"As you can see, I am bound to the corridors of this maze," the faerie stated, while standing up to show the roots that were twisted up her legs. "Until someone can lift this curse from me, I will stay here."
"If that's the case, then how are you going to be able to guide us through the maze?" Nataya asked.
"These roots can be used for more than tripping wandering Neopets. With them, I can travel underground and see the fastest route to the exit -- not to mention I've been here long enough to memorize every turn and corner of these walls. So, do we have a deal?"…
Date: 26th October
…"Well, what do we have to do in order to set you free?" Nataya said, answering the faerie's question with one of her own.
"I'll tell you all in good time, my dears, all in good time... I will see you safely out of this maze first. Now, do we have a deal?" Oscura asked, starting to tap her foot impatiently up and down.
Nataya was wary of the faerie, but it seemed Meribelle had made up her mind.
"Yes, we will help set you free!" the Kacheek said, adding as an undertone to Nataya, "It can't be that bad..."
"Done!" the faerie exclaimed before Nataya could protest. "Follow the roots; they will guide you safely." Oscura vanished, and in her place was a single root. It quavered for a minute, then charged ahead. Meribelle and Nataya whirled around and sprinted after it.
"I told you this would pay off!" Meribelle laughed happily, apparently forgetting her hunger for the moment. Nataya still had a nagging feeling about the whole business, but she continued to follow the root, which was now zigzagging its way through the rest of the maze.
After a few minutes, the root vanished. In front of them was the passage leading out.
"We made it!" Meribelle sighed sweetly, walking forward. Right before they stepped out of the maze, the root popped up one last time with a note attached. It read:
My friends, I have given you what you sought. Now it is my turn. To set me free, you must...
Date: 27th October
...take the prize Queen Fyora will give you -- not the Neopoints, but the item -- and bring it to the heart of the maze tonight. My roots will guide you again.
The root twisted around, presenting them with the other side of the note:
I have offered this bargain before, and each time, the Neopets I've helped have reneged. Perhaps they thought it was acceptable to betray me because I am a dark faerie, and safe because I am trapped. I will not mention to you what happened to them, but I hope you will be more honorable.
Meribelle and Nataya looked at each other and gulped. "I wonder what happened to them," Nataya said uneasily.
"Everybody who's won before seems to still be fine, to my knowledge," Meribelle said with a shrug. "Anyway, you didn't want to go back on the deal, did you?"
"Well, no... but even with a guide, it's not exactly going to be easy getting back into the maze!" Nataya argued. "How do you know that everybody else betrayed her on purpose?"
"Um…" Meribelle said with a frown. "Well, we'll deal with that when we get to it. Let's get out of here and get some lunch, huh?"
"I still wish you hadn't agreed so fast," Nataya said unhappily, as Meribelle gave the root a ginger pat and stepped past. "What if there's a reason she's trapped in there?"
"Then Queen Fyora should have warned us that there was a dangerous faerie roaming the maze," Meribelle said, rolling her eyes as Nataya followed her down the passage. "Maybe she's part of the game, and we were supposed to get her help."
"Oh, sure --"
They both hushed as they emerged from the maze to the sight and sound of applause. A gleeful earth faerie guided them over to a table full of food, and Meribelle fell on it hungrily.
"You know the other thing that worries me?" Nataya said in a low voice to her friend. "No matter what Oscura's doing in the maze, Queen Fyora has to know she's there…"
Date: 27th October
…"Maybe she does," Meribelle said around a mouthful of gummi worms, spraying wriggling bits of the candy everywhere. "Stop being such a worrywart, Nataya. Everything will be fine."
Nataya sat and watched as her Kacheek friend gobbled down everything in sight. Something just didn't feel right. Oscura had seemed truthful enough, but dark faeries weren't to be trusted.
Meribelle threw a piece of bacon and brocolli omelette at Nataya, startling the Uni out of her thoughts as the food bounced off her forehead.
The Kacheek grinned cheerfully at her irritated friend. "Come on, Nataya, lighten up. We won, didn't we? We should be celebrating this victory." She laughed loudly and continued to eat like she had just endured a ten-season famine.
Nataya tried to laugh with her friend, but all that came out was a hoarse, strangled noise. She felt sick to her stomach, and asked if she could be excused from the feast.
Meribelle waved her away impatiently, annoyed at the Uni's sullen attitude. In her opinion, any victory at all should be celebrated happily.
Nataya quickly hurried away from the main group, dashing towards the maze as fast as her hooves could carry her. She needed to talk to Oscura -- she had to tell the faerie that they couldn't carry out her request.
When Nataya reached the maze, though, she found the exit blocked off by enormous roots, twisting and crawling like large worms. Somewhere from within the maze, Nataya heard cackling laughter.
Feeling a cold chill run down her spine, Nataya turned and fled, but since she wasn't looking where she was going, the Uni crashed right into...
Date: 28th October
…Queen Fyora herself.
"I just wanted to congratulate you on successfully making it though the maze," the Queen said, smiling warmly. "For your success, I shall give you this reward." Fyora held out a small, glowing gem.
Nataya gulped. She could feel herself reaching out to grasp the prize, but she was screaming inside. Her head was telling her to confess -- to not accept the prize, and to beg the Queen for protection from the dark faerie she had met in the maze.
"One thing, though," Fyora continued. "This gem is extremely rare and very powerful. Should it get into the wrong hands, it could spell disaster, as its power could be harnessed for evil rather than good. That is why we created this maze -- to test which Neopians were honest enough not to cheat and intelligent enough to execute an almost impossible maze. Only then would we be able to tell who could gain possession of the gems."
Nataya froze. She wanted to say something; at this point, the Uni was sure that the Queen had to know what was going on... Maybe this is a test, she thought. The Uni then remembered what Oscura had said regarding those who had betrayed her:
Perhaps they thought it was acceptable to betray me because I am a dark faerie, and safe because I am trapped. I will not mention to you what happened to them...
Nataya felt torn -- torn between what she should do and what she really wanted to do. Oh, if only I hadn't cheated! she thought to herself. Before she knew what she was doing, Nataya reached forward and held the gem between her hooves. She looked at it, swirling with bright colours and letting off a magnificent glow.
That was it. Nataya had decided. She knew what she had to...
Date: 28th October
Once the glowing gem had touched the tips of her hooves, the Uni shoved it back in haste, looking glumly at the rough dirt of the maze. Should she tell the truth? If she did, she would betray Meribelle. After all, the Kacheek was celebrating this honor. Meribelle didn't care; she just wanted to win... she always had. If they continued this lie, though, both Nataya and Meribelle could face terrible consequences. There was a moment of silence, and then Nataya looked up at Fyora's smiling face.
She had to do it.
"Most honorable Queen," the Uni started, "it makes me somber to say that my trusted friend Meribelle and I have cheated." Nataya stopped, expecting to hear at least a gasp of some kind. She heard nothing, though, so she continued on reluctantly. "We were selfish, and Meribelle got hungry, and..." Nataya's words began to roll off her tongue rapidly. Before she could stop the words from flowing out, she had told the Queen the whole story.
The Uni paused, then started speaking again, this time even more quickly. At last, Queen Fyora put up a hand to silence her. Nataya looked up and saw a pleased look cross the Queen's face. What did I do that was so funny? Nataya wondered in puzzlement. " Ummmm..." the Uni began, but Fyora put up a strict hand again. They stared at each other for another moment. The queen smiled and handed the jewel back to her yet again.
Nataya looked up, startled. "But I thought… I..." her voice trailed off.
Fyora said calmly, "You have chosen the correct path. You will erase wrong and write down the right."
Nataya smiled for a moment, then frowned. "What about Meribelle?" she asked Fyora. "And Oscura?" she added, suddenly remembering the evil dark faerie who wasn't to be trusted.
Fyora frowned slightly. "I'm sorry to say that your friend has not been honest, and cannot keep this prize. However, she will help you in your next task, which requires you to use this gem."
Nataya looked up in puzzlement. "What do I have to do?" she asked.
The faerie smiled at the mention of this. "It concerns your friend Oscura…"
Date: 29th October
"I've been waiting quite some time for the right Neopet…" Queen Fyora continued.
"I don't understand," Nataya said, looking up at her with a confused expression.
Queen Fyora simply smiled again. "You will," she said softly. "Take your friend Meribelle and return to the heart of the maze, just as Oscura told you to do."
"What should I do when I get there?" Nataya asked.
"You will know when the time is right," Queen Fyora said, vanishing into the air.
Nataya frowned. What was that supposed to mean? She had little time to ponder this, though. It was getting dark, and Oscura would think they had betrayed her if they didn’t get going soon.
"There you are, Nataya," Meribelle said joyfully, walking up while eating an apple. "I haven't seen you in a while. What's that?" she asked, pointing towards the gem Nataya was cradling.
Nataya didn't answer. "Come on," she said. "We need to find Oscura."
Meribelle stared at her curiously, but followed. "So what is it?" the Kacheek asked again when they reached the maze entrance.
"Queen Fyora's gift," Nataya said, looking around. "How will we get back to the center?"
"There," Meribelle said, pointing at a root that had just appeared. She and Nataya followed it as it sped through the maze.
"She needs to find an easier way to travel," Meribelle complained. "My feet hurt. Don't you wish that stupid root could just carry us to the center?"
Nataya nodded absentmindedly. They had reached the center of the maze. Oscura was waiting for them with a smile on her face. "You have chosen well not to deceive me," she said.
"Get to the point," Meribelle said. "I'm hungry. Just tell us how to set you free."
"Give me the gem," Oscura said, holding out her hand.
Both Neopets hesitated.
Oscura's eyes flashed dangerously. "We made a deal," she said. "Do not betray me, or you will end up like the others."
"Why are you locked in here?" Nataya asked suddenly.
Oscura looked over at her. "I was cursed by another who sought my power," she said simply.
Nataya frowned. The gem in her hand started glowing, and Nataya suddenly knew that Oscura was lying. "You're lying," she stated, looking up at the dark faerie. "I'm not going to give it to you."
Oscura's pretty features twisted in fury. "Give it to me," she cried, lunging forward.
Nataya closed her eyes, waiting for the impact, but it never came. She opened her eyes just in time to see Meribelle jump straight into Oscura's path, flinging them both to the side. Oscura got up slowly and glared with great fury at Meribelle, who wasn't moving.
"Meribelle," Nataya called. There was no answer.
"You shouldn't concern yourself with her," Oscura said. "You're the one in immediate danger. I'll finish that annoying Kacheek off later."
Nataya turned to the faerie, her eyes blazing. "Nobody hurts my friends," she said. Without thinking, the Uni held out the gem. There was a flash of blinding light, then silence. She blinked her eyes slowly. Where Oscura had once stood, there was now a large flowering tree.
The Uni disregarded it and ran over to her friend. "Meribelle," she said softly, shaking the Kacheek slightly. Meribelle groaned.
"She will be fine."
"Queen Fyora," Nataya said, turning quickly to see the Queen smiling down at her.
"You have done well," Queen Fyora said. "I shall have your friend taken care of in my castle." She waved her hand, and Meribelle disappeared.
"What happened?" Nataya asked, looking over at the beautiful tree. Its presence somehow made the maze feel much warmer and less scary.
"You found the key to using the gem's ultimate power," Queen Fyora said. "When you and your friend showed true loyalty to each other, the gem reacted. That is why I chose you and your friend to get rid of Oscura forever. Your friendship is one of the purest I have ever seen." She gestured towards the tree. "See for yourself. Your friendship created this."
Nataya looked back at the tree. It was beautiful.
Sure, there were times when Meribelle did things she shouldn't, but Nataya wouldn't have it any other way.
Date: 29th October
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