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

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Week 209
You are on Week 210
Week 211

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 Ten Ends January 21st

"Our next item up for auction is this old chest, which is left over from an estate sale. It has no current owner, so proceeds will go to charity." the Scorchio auctioneer announced, banging his gavel. "The bidding starts at one thousand Neopoints. Do I have any bids?" The Scorchio pointed to an old Elephante who tapped his right ear. "I have two thousand! Do I have three?" the Scorchio pointed at a Nimmo, who tapped his nose. "I have three... do I have four?" Again he pointed at the Elephante. "I have four! Do I have five?"...

Markus and his little sister, Seri, walked by, not paying much attention to the current auction. Markus, a Kougra with blue lightning stripes across his back, was here to pick up some codestones for training and, as always, his little sister had tagged along. The tiny Aisha, still little more than a baby, gripped some fur from his tail in her mouth so that she wouldn't get lost. It was fine as long as she kept walking, but invariably Sari would stop to look at something, and Markus would wince as she accidentally pulled on his tail’s fur.

"Ouch!" the Kougra cried, for what had to be at least the fifth time that day. "Seri, I told you that, if you were gonna hang on to my tail, then don't—"

"PWETTY!!" was all that the baby Aisha shouted before releasing his tail, then zooming off across the auction house.

"AHH!!" Markus cried, chasing after her. If she were to get lost here, then he’d certainly be in big trouble when he got home. The speedy Kougra was gaining on her, until the little Aisha decided to take a shortcut through the ongoing auction, running underneath the feet of other Neopets who jumped up in surprise.

"Eight thousand!" the Scorchio cried as a Kau jumped up. "Nine thousand! Ten! Eleven!" the Scorchio shouted as, one by one, the entire row with the baby Aisha charging through it jumped up. Angry shouts arose at the mistaken bids.

Horrified, Markus threw his hands up and began screaming at his sister.

"SOLD! TWENTY THOUSAND Neopoints to the electric Kougra on the left!"

Markus turned and looked, horror struck, at the auctioneer... who was pointing right at him.

* * * * *

"I can't believe you cost me twenty thousand Neopoints, Seri!" Markus moaned, walking back from the Auction House dragging the heavy chest.

"Yay!" his sister exclaimed, beaming.

"There had better be something in here that’s worth a whole lot," Markus warned her. Seri just beamed at her brother again, then latched onto his tail for the long walk home...

Author: Loves her big bwother!
Date: 7th January
..."Somehow I knew you were gonna do that," the Kougra sighed as he tugged at the chest's slightly corroded handles, his sister following close behind.

Dragging the chest was harder work than it seemed. The thing seemed to weigh a ton, as if it were filled to the brim with a hoard of dubloons -- or at least it sounded that way, since the contents of the chest jingled every so often. As if hauling a heavy chest halfway across Neopia Central to his Neohome wasn't bad enough, the Kougra's little sister (still dutifully tagging along) insisted on stopping every time she heard the chest clink.

"Seri," Markus said through gritted teeth as he felt the painful tug on his tail for at least the tenth time that day, "could you please let go of my tail? It’s starting to--"

"Funny box," Seri squealed in delight, hearing the tinkle that came from the chest. The electric Kougra sighed, then bent down to eye level with the smiling baby Aisha.

"Look, Seri, if you let me carry this thing back in peace, then I promise to let you open it first," Markus said slowly, hoping that his sister would understand.

"Okay!" the little Aisha exclaimed, her blissful expression not changing in the least. Markus took that as a sign that she understood and stood upright.

"Now, I’ll just take the chest and -- OW! Seri!" the Kougra cried. He looked down to see that Seri had once again taken hold of his blue tail, looking up at him with an innocent expression.

"Wet's go," she said, her voice muffled through Markus' coarse fur.

Markus rolled his eyes and turned yet again to take up the chest’s handle. At least things can't get any worse, he thought wryly, giving the handle a sharp tug. There was suddenly a loud snapping sound, and Markus found himself staring aghast at the rusted piece of metal (which had once been the chest's handle) lying in his paw.

"Wet's go, Mawkus," Seri insisted, punctuating her comment with a sharp tug of Markus' tail. The Kougra winced again, dropping the pitted handle. With a resigned shrug, he put both paws on one side of the chest and started pushing it down the road.

"At least I’m getting some training," Markus grunted, heaving at the chest with all his strength. Seri only smiled as she skipped behind her brother...

Author: scarrift
Date: 10th January
...It didn't take long to get to their Neohome, but to Markus, it seemed like he couldn't get home fast enough. He took a few minutes to push the extremely heavy chest through the front door. Once in the living room, the Kougra collapsed on the floor next to the old wooden trunk.

"Open!" Seri squealed, returning to the living room and finding her brother sprawled on the floor. "Open now!" she yipped, pouncing on him.

"Gah!" the Kougra yelled, surprised at the sudden weight. "What do they put in baby food these days? You're pretty heavy!" he said, grinning. Seri giggled, making her brother's grin wider.

"Alright, we'd better open this thing and see what we got for our Neopoints!" Markus said, setting Seri down and standing up.

"Yay! Open!" Seri exclaimed loudly for such a tiny Aisha, running in circles around the chest like a Poogle racer.

Markus blinked in confusion. "Wait a minute..." he said, slowly walking around the box. "How am I supposed to get it open? There's no lock..."

Seri stopped her prancing for a moment. "No open?" she inquired, her small ears drooping.

"Don't worry, li'l sis. Maybe it's a magic chest!" the blue Kougra said, patting her head. "We'll find a way to open it…"

Author: youkos_lil_fox
Date: 11th January
...Nearly two hours later, Markus was sitting on an old armchair, staring at the chest like it was some Battledome opponent. He had shoved and tugged, hit and whacked every inch of the box, but it showed no signs of opening.

Seri was lying on a big couch, trying to keep a feather that she had found up in the air. She huffed and puffed at it, watching as it repeatedly floated back into the air. After a few more minutes of Seri huffing and Markus staring, the little Aisha sat up on the couch. The feather landed gently on her head.

"Markus?" Seri asked. "No open? No open at all?"

"Yeah," Markus sighed. The Kougra was becoming more and more frustrated. It was just a silly old chest -- why couldn't he open it?

Seri hopped delicately off the couch and approached the chest.

"Looky!" she said, pointing at the top of the box. Markus looked at where her paw was gesturing. There, an engraving of a wispy feather surrounded by leaves had been carefully carved out of the wood.

"Feather!" the little Aisha exclaimed. She snatched the feather from atop her head and slammed it down onto the engraving. The box began to vibrate. Seri giggled at this.

"Look out!" Markus cried, leaping over to his sister and jerking her out of the way just in time. The once attached lid of the box flew off and came crashing back down towards the floor.

"Box go boom," Seri stated after a moment of silence. The two of them walked cautiously over to the chest and peered inside...

Author: tiki_girl
Date: 11th January
...to find that the box was empty!

"Well, that solves that mystery," Markus groaned. "All that pain for nothing!" The Kougra wandered into the kitchen, deciding that after all that hard work, he had at least earned himself some lunch.

"Bwoat!" Markus heard his baby sister shouting. "I sailing!"

He popped his head 'round the door to see his little sister sitting in the box with a huge grin on her face.

"Look Mawkus!" she yelled. "I piwate!" Excitedly, Seri began to rock from side to side, mimicking a sailing boat. Markus smiled to himself. Even if it wasn't worth the 20,000 Neopoints he had spent on it, the chest would make a great toy for his baby sister.

Back in the kitchen, Markus began making a lunch for himself and his sister. "Seri," he shouted, reaching into the cupboard. "Do you want strawberry-flavoured food today?"

There was no reply.

Odd, he thought, she doesn't normally ignore me.

Markus dashed into the room where Seri had been playing. There was no sign of her anywhere; even if she was hiding from him, she was NEVER this quiet.

A lump formed in Markus' throat. He inched his way over to the mysterious box he had brought home and peered into the bottom of it to find...

Author: fortheloveofyurbles
Date: 12th January
...nothing. The chest was empty, and Seri was nowhere in sight.

After he had searched the entire Neohome several times, Markus was in a panic. How could Seri have just disappeared? She couldn’t have had enough time to leave the house--

That chest.

He never should have taken that chest home. It had only brought them trouble, and it had been so much work to drag it all the way to the house, since it was so heavy...

...wait. Heavy?

Markus jumped up and circled around to the side of the trunk, then placed his front paws against it and shoved as hard as he could, moving it only a few inches. It still weighed a ton, but how? It was empty, after all, and no normal wooden box of that size could be so heavy unless it contained something big, or a LOT of smaller somethings. Probably metal. Come to think of it, hadn’t he heard a few muffled jinglings earlier when the box had moved, like the sound of coins or bells? Yet there had been nothing at all in it; Markus was sure of it. He stepped back once more and eyed the chest from several feet away, appearing to be deep in thought. "What if I... no, that’s silly!" the Kougra said to himself. He shook his head, but after a moment or two he frowned, then shrugged in despair. "Well, I’ve tried everything else... so I guess it’s worth a shot."

***

Markus felt very foolish.

When Seri had sat inside the box to play pirate, she had fit inside easily because of her small size; Markus himself, however, was quite a bit bigger than his little sister. As it was, he found that sitting inside the box was more difficult than it looked, and eventually he had to sit on his tail with his legs scrunched up against the wooden sides of the chest.

"All right, you," the Kougra addressed the box, whapping a paw against its side. "Show me where Seri is." Once he realized that he was speaking to an inanimate object, he felt even sillier than he had before, but his grim expression didn’t falter for a moment.

He waited. After almost a minute, he imagined that he felt a strange shudder pass through the wood at his sides -- and then the world around him began to fade...

Author: _vespa
Date: 12th January
...He would have liked for the change in scenery to have been something more peaceful, or at least more mysterious. Perhaps a nice heavy, dampening of air, a trilling of jungle sounds accompanied by the thick scent of thousands of tropical flowers trying to outdo one another. Yes, that would’ve been lovely.

As it were, the ancient, dry wood of the chest that he stood on was replaced by an equally ancient and equally dry wood surface, albeit the boards were larger.

Plus, it was tilting at a near forty-five degree angle.

"C-cripes!" Markus’s limbs flailed and he sank his claws into the deck of the... what? He couldn't be sure, since he'd just opened his eyes and was already half-blinded by the sun, which was shining brightly in his face. How was that possible? He'd have to be nearly facing straight upwards, yet he was as flat against the wood as he could be...

All of a sudden, it hit him... he must be flying.

"Hold on there, lad," a rough voice commanded. "We'll steady 'er out soon enough!' The voice came from behind him, but he wasn't about to turn around. Markus was quite happy where he was, sprawled with his paws akimbo and the world spinning, spinning around... around his head...

Before it all went black, he saw above him a fluttering sail. Emblazoned across it, in cracking black paint, was a very familiar design—a feather; an exact, painted replica of the carving he’d seen on the chest...

"Looks like ye haven’t got yer air-legs yet, mate!" the voice continued with a guffaw.

The electric Kougra hadn't heard, though. He'd already fainted.

* * * * *

Markus was dimly aware, as he awoke, that he was lying on something soft, something slightly unstable and rocking gently...

"Mawkus?"

He was up in a flurry of bed sheets. "Seri!" His little blue sister was sitting by the bed, staring back at him in that curiously squinted manner that all Aishas do. Markus immediately scooped her up in both oversized paws, hugging her to his furry chest. "You're okay!"

"Mawkus, they's piwates!"

Markus' eyes opened, and he very slowly drew away to look Seri in the face. "Pirates...?" he asked, and as his voice trailed off, he raised his gaze to the room around him. It was wooden, with round porthole-style windows on either side of the room. It was tucked full of maps and strange brass devices he could only begin to imagine the uses of...

"No, piwates! Like... like fwying."

"You mean pilots?" he sputtered as the realization hit him. "F-flying? But this is a ship!" Markus drew away, feeling nearly more befuddled and confused now than he had been when Seri had first disappeared.

"Yeah! Fwying ship!"...

Author: kyuukon
Date: 13th January
...Markus' head reeled with the thought. A flying ship! Who would have ever thought that dumb chest would get him and his sister into so much trouble? Seri had gotten them into the situation innocently enough, but now it was his responsibility to get them home.

"Piwates like fwying, Mawkus! Seri likes fwying, too!"

"Seri, are you okay?" Markus was worried that, perhaps, getting his sister to leave was going to be something of a problem.

"Seri likes fwying Mawkus!" With that, she bounced out of his arms and around the room giggling.

Markus had his hands full enough with Seri most of the time, even without trying to figure out who the flying pirates were. However, he knew those same pirates were the only chance he had of getting Seri and himself home. Markus scooped up his sister again and headed towards the door. The door was heavy and took all of Markus's strength to open it without letting go of Seri. Once he'd opened the door, the sunlight was near blinding once more. He paused to let his eyes adjust, and soon realized they were indeed surrounded by bright blue sky. The ship was full of busy pirates, and it didn't take Markus long to figure out who was in charge.

A tall female Lupe was standing in the center of the deck, shouting orders at the crew's various members. "You there, get that ground tackle stowed away! You... hurry up and bring that loose line in a fathom! Get that hatch to the galley closed!"

Markus walked towards the commanding Lupe, hoping that she would have some answers for him. Before reaching her, however, the Lupe turned and saw Markus and Seri, then waved them on over. "Come on, lad! You gave us a right scare, you did. The little one about had a right good fit till we settled her down for a nap with ya."

"Thanks again, captain...?"

"Gradella is my name lad, but you can call me captain Grady... and don't be forgettin' the 'captain'! And, what might yours be?"

"Thanks, Captain Grady. My name is Markus, and this is my little sister, Seri. Could you tell us how to get home from here?"

"Absolutely! All you have to do is…"

Editor's Note: Because baby Aishas and flying pirate ships are cool, this story will continue until January 21st!

Author: quintessence318
Date: 13th January
"... Help me find the chest that you came in, lad," Captain Grady said simply. Markus raised an eyebrow.

"Err, isn’t it around here somewhere?" the Kougra inquired, a perplexed look spreading over his face. "I mean, I did appear on your ship Grady--"

"Captain Grady," the female Lupe chimed in, indignantly.

"Sorry; Captain Grady," Markus said, correcting himself. "Anyway, as I was saying, shouldn't--"

Captain Grady raised one paw and cut the Kougra off, shaking her head like an adult would to an adult would at an errant child who was acting too big for their shoes.

"The treasure of Featherwind isn’t fool enough to simply show itself to anyone," she explained exasperatedly. "You'd think that everyone would know that you're supposed to look for treasure, and not the other way 'round."

Markus was about to open his mouth in protest when Seri gave an excited squeak.

"Fwying fishies!" the baby Aisha said excitedly, jumping up and down upon the wooden planking. All heads, Markus' included, turned to face the direction that Seri was gesturing towards. A large black shape loomed into view from behind some pinkish clouds, and now seemed to be heading towards them, fast. Markus squinted, and could also make out a lighter shape near it, as well.

"That be no fish," Captain Grady growled uncertainly. No sooner as she had spoken, a cry arose from the crow’s nest.

"Captain, the Dark Jetsam be headin' our way!" the lookout screamed, one of his bulbous eyes still stuck to the looking glass. "There also be a beast of a Walein behind them, about 10 clicks out portside."

"Arr! How could I have let those scallywags blindside me?" Captain Grady snarled. She swept around and pointed to her crew. "Battle stations, crew! Get those sails down! Charge the weapons! If it’s a fight they want, we'll take it to 'em!"

She then twirled around to face Markus, her paws moving towards the cutlass that was strapped to her waist. "Go below deck, lad, and take yer sister with ye."

"Wait!" the electric Kougra said anxiously. "What's the Dark Jetsam?" The Lupe fixed him with a severe glare.

"If ye really be wantin' to know that badly, the Dark Jetsam be a ship filled with a ragged bunch of scoundrels. Vicious pirates who steal and pillage. They always be hunting for the treasure of Featherwind..."

Author: scarrift
Date: 14th January
"But..."

"No buts, lad!" the Lupe cried. She shouted a few orders to her crew, then turned back to the Kougra. "We can continue this 'ere conversation when we don't have a load of scallywag thieves on our tails. Now get below deck before I have to force ye to!"

Markus took this as his cue to leave. He didn't want to push this topic any further at the moment. Plus, he had to admit that he was terrified of the idea of pirates attacking. He scooped up Seri in his paws, much to her discontent, and headed back to the cabin.

"Noo! Mawkus! I play piwates!"

"I don't think this is a game, Seri. I'll play pirates with you another time," Markus answered.

"Pwomise?"

"Promise."

Once below deck, Markus took Seri over to the cot.

"Here, now take a nap, and when you wake up we can play pirates, ok?"

"Ok!" the little Aisha replied before curling up and dozing off.

Markus paced back and forth between the door and the cot, deep in thought. What did the Captain mean "They always be hunting for the treasure of Featherwind…"? As far as he knew, the box that had brought them here in the first place was empty. There was no treasure. And how did that box end up at an auction? Why was it so heavy when it was completely empty? Markus could have sworn he heard jingling and clanking. Was he going crazy? Maybe this was all a dream. Yeah… a dream… that had to be… no. No, Seri had heard it, too. We can't both be crazy. GAH! This is all so confusing!

CRASH!

Markus was drawn out of his thoughts just in time to hear a crash shake the entire ship...

Author: airguitarist222
Date: 17th January
..."Another broadside, lads! Swab those cannons smartly now!" Grady's voice came clearly over the apparent chaos outside the cabin. Seri had tumbled out of the cot, bawling, and Markus rushed to her aid.

"It's all right, Seri," he began, but he was cut off by another rolling crash and thrown off his feet by the ship's lurch. He was just about to get up when a heavy thud sounded, reverberating throughout the ship's timbers, which groaned and creaked in protest.

The baby Aisha crept up to her brother and hid behind him.

"No cannons," Seri said fearfully. Markus could only agree. The thud was nothing like the crash of the cannons.

"Dark Jetsam alongside, Cap'n!" a husky voice shouted.

Just seconds after that, another voice shouted, "Boarders away!"

Markus heard the patter of feet and the clash of metal on metal. Growing more frightened by the moment, he ran to the cabin door, but it slammed open before he could reach it, revealing...

Author: neverwind
Date: 17th January
...Captain Grady.

She looked frightened. Even in the dim light of the lower deck area, Markus could see sweat shining on her brow. "How bad is it?" the Kougra asked in a trembling voice, clutching Seri tightly to him.

"I'm afraid the scroundrels are boarding our ship, lad," the Captain revealed. "If ye want to be safe, ye'll have to hide in a better place than here."

"Where should we go?" Markus asked, dazed. Everything was happening so quickly!

"I don't have time ter show ye, lad. Just keep climbin' down. Ye'll find somewhere eventually." With that, the Captain drew her cutlass and turned, closing the door behind her.

Seri gave her brother a worried look, and Markus could only return it. "Let's go, I guess," he told her.

Picking her up, he carried her down and deeper down, farther into the darkness of the ship. The crashes of the battle above grew fainter, but the creaks and groans of the air against the hull rose in volume.

Finally the Kougra reached a small crewroom, where only a single round window lit the area, revealing an unmade cot and a dish with food still encrusting it. "Hide here," Markus said, setting his sister near the cot. There was such a tiny space underneath that no one would consider looking, but it was still big enough to fit the baby Aisha.

"You?" his sister asked before squirming completely below it.

Markus paused, thinking. There was nowhere for him to hide. "I guess I have only one choice," he said firmly. "I am going to..."

Author: laurelinden
Date: 18th January
..."have to go up and help fight. They obviously need as much help as they can get, and there's nowhere safe for me to go." He nodded his head as if to convince himself that this was the right thing to do.

"Bwother go fight piwates?" Seri asked, her voice muffled from underneath the cot. Markus saw two small yet wide eyes peek out.

"Yep, I have to, Seri. Promise me you'll stay here. If you do, I'll play pirates with you when we get back home!" IF we get back home, he added in his head.

"Okee! Pwomise!" Seri cried, thrilled at the thought of being a pirate. Her eyes disappeared, and Markus knew she was safely under the cot.

With wobbly feet and a heart beating a mile a minute, Markus slowly made his way to the lower deck area where he and his sister had been hiding not five minutes before.

His fingers trembling, Markus slowly grabbed the doorknob, opening the door and climbing the stairs even more slowly than before to the main deck of the ship.

As he drew closer and closer to the top, shouts could be heard, along with the heavy clanking of metal against metal. Upon walking up the last step, Markus peeked over and saw...

Author: pink_guitar_freak
Date: 18th January
...Captain Grady's entire crew engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the invaders from the Dark Jetsam. Markus could only gawk for a long while, his mind reeling from the ringing of clashing steel, the shouts and curses of the battling pirates, the boom of the cannons, and the rocking of the ship itself. This can't be happening, Markus thought numbly. Not even two hours ago, Seri and I were at the Auction House...

Markus' ears perked up, and his eyes went wide when he spotted Captain Grady in the fray. She appeared to be in a fierce cutlass battle with a grizzled brown Lenny that appeared to have a beak made of metal, the tip of it sharpened into a wicked hook. The two clashed cutlasses several times, and then both jumped back, circling and sizing one another up. Incidentally, they were close enough for Markus to hear what was being said between the pair.

"You get your filthy, scumbucket scallywags offa my ship, Razor, or you'll soon be feeling the steely kiss of me blade," Captain Grady growled.

The Lenny grinned and leveled his own cutlass at the female Lupe. "I think ye best look around ye, Madam Gradella," Razor chuckled. "My cannons have torn irreparable holes in yer hull, my mates have boarded yer ship, and we outnumber ye three ta one. I think, in the best interest of yer crew and beloved boat, ye lay down yer arms and surrender whatever booty ye be carrying."

Captain Grady only spat disdainfully and raised her cutlass in retaliation. "The day yer filthy feathers touch my well-deserved gains is the day that it snows in the Lost Desert, matey," the Lupe barked.

Razor's grin disappeared quickly from his metallic beak, and he lunged his blade at Captain Grady. She deftly moved to the side and parried his thrust. The brown Lenny stumbled slightly, muttering under his breath. As he regained his footing and turned again to face his foe, though, his eye seemed to be caught by something else. His unnerving smile returned, and he murmured to himself, "Well, well. What have we here..."

Author: del_somebody
Date: 19th January
...Markus looked to his left and right, hoping that the Lenny was eyeing someone other than himself. No such luck.

Beneath the eerie gaze of the beady eyes, Markus felt himself shrinking. Frantically he groped behind him, reaching for the doorknob. Could he escape down into safety? The knob was cool and reassuring in his paw.

Then the Kougra realized what would happen if were he to flee. The Lenny would follow him down into the darkness, and the farther he ran, the closer he would be leading the metal-beaked pirate to his baby sister.

No, he had to stand his ground. He had to fight back.

A menacingly as he could, Markus unsheathed a single, pointed claw, smiling with satisfaction as it glinted in the sunlight. Doing his best imitation of Captain Grady, he growled, "Ye've messed with the wrong pirate, lad."

"Lad?" Razor parroted, looking mock-offended. "Ye be the lad, boy. And me cutlass will teach ye ne'er ter forget."

Raising the cutlass, the brown Lenny took a step forward.

"Leave him alone!" Captain Grady cried, body-slamming the bird with all of her formidable weight. "Lupes eat scrawny bird-brains like ye fer dinner!"

As the two continued their struggle, Markus snuck to the rail. Sure enough, the Dark Jetsam was roped to their side, tied with the professional knots of sailors. There would be no getting them undone.

Experimentally, Markus drew his claw across one of the ropes, but it was much too thick. It would take him hours to cut it off this way. Besides, it would leave them stranded in a wounded ship with the enemy all over them. If only they could somehow get to safety and leave the enemy here!

A low Wooooo! interrupted his thoughts. Glancing over toward the sound, Markus' mouth opened in a gape of horror. Careening toward them on a tide of air was the Walein that the crew had spotted before. It was coming fast, and heading straight toward their ship...

Author: laurelinden
Date: 19th January
...Markus thought quickly. There must be a way out of this, he thought. He glanced at the Walein over the railing, desperately trying to come up with a solution, like the characters he had read about in his adventure books, who always found some ingenious way to save themselves. If only he were as smart as they...

But what was he thinking?!? There was no time to daydream. Markus was fearfully watching the pirates out of the corner of his eye when a plan suddenly popped into his head.

He hurried over to the bow of the ship, standing right in front of the Walein’s path. Searching his mind, he scraped up as much information in his head as he could from the book about Petpets of the Rock Pool and let out a shrill, piercing whistle.

Hopes growing, Markus watched as the Walein slowed. Then, gathering all of his energy, the Kougra jumped and sent himself flying in a gigantic bound towards the Walein, landing heavily on its nose.

***

Two little eyes peeked out from underneath the cot. Then out came two tiny paws, a head, and two baby Aisha ears, which picked up muffled shouting from above.

A small voice squeaked, "Mawkus?"

Seri squeezed out from underneath the cot and looked around. She was scared. Markus had never deserted her before, and he promised he'd be back. On legs just as shaky as her brother's had been, she began to climb the stairs up to the deck.

***

"Stay calm!" Markus shouted to Captain Grady from atop the huge Walein. He figured she'd understood when she shouted to the rest of the crew. "And stand your ground!" he added.

Captain Grady turned around, and her eyes widened upon seeing the enormous Petpet sailing straight at her with its mouth open, but she did not move. Instead she let the Walein fly right into her. When it passed, the captain was gone.

"Good boy!" Razor cackled. "Eat 'em up!" The Walein let out a loud moan-like sound, though it was impossible to tell what emotion it was. Razor's pirates began to cheer as the gigantic Walein began to sweep up each and every crewmember of Grady's ship into his mouth. Markus smiled to himself. His plan to whisk the crew to safety was working...

Author: thekinkajou
Date: 20th January
...until, with horror, he realized that there was one flaw: Seri. His little baby sister, who depended on him, was still waiting at the very bottom of the ship.

The Walein was slowly gulping up each crew member, and before long, it would probably speed away from the ship... without Seri.

"Seri!" Markus cried, feeling fear like never before. "What am I going to do?"

Then, in perfect timing like never before, Markus saw his little sister's head pop out of the door. "Mawkus?" he heard her cry.

"Seri! Run over here!" Markus cried, trying to somehow steer the Walein over to the edge of the ship, where Seri jumped up onto the rail.

The Walein, though, had a mind of its own. It was going for the crew only, and was totally concentrated. It circled, then swam toward the direction of the rail, but Markus knew that it was going to go right past it.

"Seri!" he yelled, waving his arms to get his little sister's attention, all the while holding on for dear life to the Walein. "You're going to have to jump! When it swims by you, jump!"

All the while, Razor and his crew were watching gleefully as the Walein was gobbling up Captain Grady's crew. However, when Razor heard Markus shout instructions to his sister, he began to see the plan.

"Wait! Crew!" the Lenny shouted, drawing his sword. "They be tryin' to fool us!" Pointing his sword in Seri's direction, he shouted, "Get tha' little Aisha! I'll bet she be connected to the Featherwind chest!" His whole crew jeered and charged toward Seri.

The Walein was also approaching, but Markus didn't know who was going to get there first...

Author: pink_guitar_freak
Date: 20th January
...However, it looked like the pirates had the advantage.

"Seri!" Markus cried desperately. "Run!"

The baby Aisha nodded vigorously and started to bound around with no obvious destination. The Kougra gasped as several Krawks started in her direction -- her leaping around in circles wasn't helping at all.

He knew he had to do something and fast! The Krawks were getting closer, and Seri still wasn't making any headway in her attempt to run away.

Markus watched in utter terror as they were almost upon his clueless sister.

All the while, his brotherly instinct had been building up. His anxiousness and eagerness to save Seri was becoming more immense, and in a final act of love, he jumped once again to the ship, just barely making it.

By then, the crew inside of the giant Walein's mouth had figured out Markus' idea. "I knew that lad was a sly one!" Captain Grady said to her fellow pirates in the dark.

But the pirates of the Dark Jetsam had already grabbed Seri by the time Markus reached her. Razor grinned smugly and held a cutlass to the little Neopet's throat.

"You've cost me a lot of trouble, laddie, makin' me lose ol' Grady and the lot," Razor said angrily. "But I do have this small one! The two of ye are goin' to bring me that treasure."

Markus froze, not knowing what to do.

"What's it gonna be, boy?" the Lenny captain said with another smirk. "Yer sister or that chest..."

Author: operationanime
Date: 21st January
..."Neither," the electric Kougra replied confidently, although the certainty in his voice did not appear within his heart. A part of Markus wanted to stand up to Razor and show him who was boss -- yet the other part wanted to scurry away and hide. The only thing Markus was sure of right now was that he had to save his sister, whether he got slashed in two or not.

"Yer a brave one, aren't ye?" the Lenny chuckled. He stepped forward to Markus and said, "Yer courage ain't gonna save ye here."

"Mawkus! Piwates winning!" Seri wailed. "No fun losing!"

Markus sighed. His baby sister just didn't get that they were in a crisis right now. He wasn't even sure if they were going to make it home alive.

"Ha! The game ain't over yet, missy. Still a round to go... yer right, it ain't fun losin' is it?" Razor laughed evilly.

"You'd better learn how to then," Markus taunted.

"I think I have time to spare," Razor said offhandly. "But ye, lad... ye and yer sister better be ready to say buh-bye..."

Markus realized he could no longer rely on stalling. He had to take action -- now. He had no time to spare. It was now or never.

"AIEEE!" Markus screamed in a high-pitched voice. The Lenny captain, as Markus had hoped he would, jerked his head 'round to see what the Kougra was screaming at. In the split-second when Razor was looking away, Markus seized the cutlass from him and grabbed his sister. He was just about to make his way off the ship when Razor was able to recollect his senses...

"What, lad? Did ye really think ye could escape from me? Did ye really think there was one millionth a possibility that ye'd make it out of here alive?" Razor bared his yellow teeth. Just staring at the Lenny's teeth was sickening to Markus.

Razor snatched the cutlass back from Markus and said, "Ye and yer sister better be ready to reveal yer secrets... I know ye know something that I'd like to know..."

"I don't know anything," Markus answered truthfully. There were so many questions bottled up inside Markus' brain that he wanted to get answered... How did he get here? What was the treasure of Featherwind? Why was the chest so heavy when it was empty? How did he get messed up in this whole adventure?

Razor aimed the sword at Markus and Seri; it came closer and closer to the two... the siblings were now teetering on the edge of the ship, hoping for a sign -- any sign -- that would show them an escape. From below, Markus could still see the Walein, bringing the crew of Captain Grady to safety. You can do this, Markus encouraged himself. You can do this.

All of a sudden, Markus remembered a saying he had read from a book. What goes around, comes around. Trouble weaves in; the only way to get out is to leave the way you got in. It's a round world.

Struggling hard to think, Markus tried to remember how he got here. All he could remember was that he somehow flew in through the chest. From the sky...

Taking hold of his sister's hand, the electric Kougra, dived out of the ship, into... into who knows where? Through a flurry of clouds and blue sky, Markus and Seri drifted through the endless yonder.

It was blissful in a way. They could feel the soft clouds driving through them. For awhile, all Markus and Seri could do was just sink away into the skies...

PLUNK! Where were the clouds? Where was the sun? Where was the blue sky? Markus and Seri found themselves squished into a gold treasure chest.

Seri hopped out and danced around playfully. There were no ships, no Waleins, no evil pirates -- just an average NeoHome. Had it all been a dream? Then, Markus saw a couple of shiny dubloons, scattered around the chest. He stared at them in awe while his sister mischievously jumped around them.

"Piwates! Seri go play piwates!"

Markus climbed out of the chest and shook his head. "No piwates today, Seri. Markus needs to sleep... badly."

Seeing the disheartened look in his baby sister's eyes, Markus' stern face broke into a wide smile. "Actually, I think I do have time for one last pirate game tonight!"

The End

Author: aquarius_star_401
Date: 21st January



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