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||You are on Week 221
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 Twenty-One Ends April 8th
"Come on, this way," the Eyrie said as he crashed through the damp underbrush of Mystery Island.
"Ergo, are you sure this is the right way?" his red Yurble friend Lukor asked, pushing a large frond out of the way.
The green Eyrie continued trampling through the brush, "Yes. According to the rumours, the entrance is at the very base of Techo Mountain."
"Oh great, a training school at the base of a volcano! What could be better?" Lukor replied, scowling.
"Stop complaining," the Eyrie said, stopping and facing his friend, who had just managed to catch up. "It's an honour to be admitted into this training school. We both only met the qualification yesterday. We're too advanced for the Techo Master's classes now."
Lukor had no choice but to agree. If they wanted further training, they would have to attend the Secret Ninja Training School.
The Yurble looked up, but could only catch glimpses of the mountain towering above them through the dense tropical foliage that surrounded them. "Here! I think I found it!" Ergo shouted.
Lukor ran to the sound of his friend's voice. In a small cave at the base of the mountain, they found what they were looking for. A stone door carved with numerous strange symbols blocked their way. Around the wooden frame, a statue of a Nimmo sat, as if to judge them. "Do you think we have to do something special to make the door open?" Ergo asked, suddenly a bit nervous and uncertain.
At that moment, the eyes of the statue opened, and the stone door slide away. A voice echoed through the cave. "Proceed..."
Author: Is a swift ninja!|
Date: 30th March
..."Er, that was a bit creepy," said Lukor warily, eyeing the Techo statue carefully. He looked at his Eyrie friend, who was already proceeding down the dark, musty hallway with cautious steps.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few traps around here," said Ergo quietly, watching for any sign of movement or danger. Lukor walked backwards behind him, watching the direction from which they had just traveled. "A training school with ninjas has to be carefully guarded."
Out of the corner of his eye, Lukor saw something glisten in the shadows -- but just barely -- and heard a sharp *snap* from somewhere up above.
"LOOK OUT!" the Yurble shouted, tackling Ergo and slamming him into the floor, as a treacherous scythe curving above them sliced the air in two.
"Er... Lukor?" said Ergo, voice beginning to shake. "I don't think this step was supposed to have sunk into the floor like this..."
Both Neopets looked up in horror to see the whirling motions of throwing stars coming right at them from some dark, sinister abyss above. Ergo opened his wings and pushed Lukor far from him, out of range of the throwing stars. There was a loud noise, the *ching* of the throwing stars hitting stone, and a puff of rising smoke from where Ergo had been.
Lukor, shaking madly, crawled over to where the Eyrie had been lying only to find a dark, deep hole. Knowing that Ergo must have disappeared within its depths, he took a deep breath and jumped, only one thought in mind...
It's a secret ninja training school for a reason...
Date: 4th April
...Lukor fell for several moments, each one with greater excitement and anxiety than the last. When he finally touched ground, he instantly realized that he was once again touching stone. He looked around, amazed at his surroundings.
He was in some kind of hallway. Ensconced on the walls were torches that blazed radiantly. In between each set of torches was placed an eerily life-like statue of a ninja, frozen in mid-action. They held weapons unlike anything he had ever seen.
"... Ergo?" the Yurble asked timidly, looking around the darkness. There! Slumped across the paved pathway he was now on was the dark form of his friend and fellow apprentice.
"Ergo--" he began, but was quickly cut off by the same voice that had greeted them into the cave.
"He who is foolish places morals before actions," the voice spoke, chilling Lukor to the bone. He looked around for the source of the voice, but could not see it. He looked down at Ergo, and gasped.
The form of the Eyrie was gone. It had been a decoy! Where was Ergo?
...Wait, what was that noise?
Frightened, the Yurble looked up just in time to duck two large, ornate throwing stars which flew past him at the velocity of a racing Poogle. The two stars whistled into the darkness he had traversed and clanked against the stone walls behind him. Lukor gulped.
"Ergo?" he called out nervously. There was no reply. Since there was nowhere else to go, the Yurble headed forward, proceeding down the stone hallway. He stared at the ground, trying not to look at the horribly realistic statues beside him.
It took several minutes to reach the end of the hallway. Fire leapt from pots filled with oil and guarded a door in which were carved various strange glyphs that Lukor did not recognize. Not knowing what to do, he knocked on the stone door. He received no noise in return.
For a moment, he expected someone to open the door and let him in. Then he remembered that this wasn't just anywhere -- this was the Secret Ninja Training School. The school that taught the elite. Lukor was already spooked, given the circumstances, and looked around for a way out to find his friend. His eyes fell on the door.
The symbols carved into the stone door gleamed at him. Wait... gleamed?
Lukor looked closer. The glyphs were beginning to glow bright, liquid red... like fire. No, like lava. Soon, all of the symbols were glowing like molten rock, and Lukor was mesmerized by their beauty. So, the next message came as a shock.
"Before you cross this earthen door, you must fight the Ninjas Four. If you can pass this test, you will find a place to rest." The voice that spoke it was the same that had warned him about morals.
The flaming pots and torches intensified to the extent that Lukor could clearly see his surroundings. What he realized came as a shock.
The statues in between each set of torches weren't all statues. It was easy to see this, because four of them were charging for him, weapons bared...
Date: 5th April
...Lukor scarcely had a chance to stumble back in amazement before they surrounded him completely. Their drawn swords gleamed redly in the light of the molten rock, and a treacherous light danced in their eyes.
"I must fight the Ninjas Four?" he parroted in shock. "But I don't even have a weapon!"
All four ninjas opened their mouths, and together their voices chorused in a frighteningly synchronized chant: "Eternal suffering and unending woe upon he who strikes an unarmed foe." As if by their command, a single, shining sword rose up from a cluster of rocks. Its hilt was of unblemished gold, but the light of the torches made its surface blaze with crackling bursts of orange and red.
Obediently Lukor reached forward, and as soon as his fingers touched the handle of the weapon, all four ninjas attacked.
The Techo Master had taught him well; the Yurble instinctively brought the blade upward, parrying an otherwise deadly blow, and jumped to his feet as he pushed the blade away. Seeing an opening, he darted between two of the ninjas so that his back was to the cave wall, allowing him sight of all four at once.
The ninjas could only fight him two at a time from this new position without hindering each other in the process. Their glinting blades were a blur of motion, and only the vivid reflections off of the polished edges of the swords lent Lukor any warning where their next attacks might be.
A thick bead of sweat ran down his face, and he could feel the heaviness of his chest as he tried to breathe. The ninjas didn't even seem winded, but fought him with undying ferocity as the unbalanced battle waned.
With a movement faster than a strike of lightning, a blade swished past his guard. Lukor parried it desperately, but only succeeded in knocking it slightly out of line. He felt a razor-hot burst of pain as a cut seared across his upper arm.
Seeing his only chance, he riposted valiantly, not allowing the ninja enemy to bring back the blade. It sailed unobstructed toward his foe, but before it could make contact, all four Ninjas turned to dust.
As Lukor clutched his injured upper arm, panting, the voice boomed through the eerily empty darkness: "You have defeated Ninjas Four -- you may pass through earthen door…"
Date: 5th April
...Lukor swallowed deep gulps of breath, scrambling to sustain balance when the stone floor trembled beneath him. The strange molten symbols began to intensify their glow, haunting the walls with shadows that danced and swayed. Still clutching his battle wound, feeling beads of blood seep through his fingers, he braced himself for whatever danger needed to be wrestled with next. The immense doors slowly began to open, granting him passage within their unknown domain. He glanced around briskly, his heart pounding inside his chest from sheer nervousness.
Was this another challenge? What fate awaited him if he dared to proceed forward?
Keeping the sword close, he cautiously entered the dimly-lit chamber -- the heavy doors instantly slamming behind. Before his eyes had a chance to adjust to the masking darkness, a faint roar echoed and a flame sparked, circling to illuminate the oil torches carved into the wall. The place looked so ancient, allowing Lukor to almost sense the ghosts of history that lingered. In each of the four corners towered more Nimmo statues, their intense gaze focused silently upon him as they kept constant vigil.
A shocking revelation suddenly struck Lukor... what he beheld weren't just statues, they were ninja guards and came to life!
"You have been granted a safe place to rest -- soon will begin your next test."
The same commanding voice thundered from everywhere, yet nowhere at once. He harvested enough courage from previous teachings to hold the sword defensively in front of him, shielding himself from possible harm. The four ninjas were tranquil in their every movement, almost having a greater knowledge of themselves and their environment. They were part of the elite, dedicating their very existence to discovering every solitary secret they could and achieve what was believed impossible. They were the masters of their own destiny -- the kind of noble warriors Lukor always dreamed of becoming when he traveled to study with the Techo Master so long ago.
The two closest to him bowed solemnly in greeting while the two ahead motioned for him to follow. They lead the weary Yurble down a winding passage, the heat from the volcano pulsing through the smoldering air. Lukor's eyes widened in sheer bewilderment when the narrow tunnel soon grew into a vast lounge where ninjas either waited to start the day’s session, or recovered from the rigorous obstacles they had to overcome.
A small cluster isolated from the rest wore robes quite different from the red of the novice and black of the veterans; their white showed that their ranking was yet to be decided by their actions. One of the Nimmos that guided Lukor brought him matching white robes that were meticulously folded in perfect squares, nodding for him to join the others.
Beginning to slip the robes around him, he obeyed their instruction.
Lukor whirled his attention toward one of the newcomers, watching the Eyrie remove his mask with a beaming smile.
"Ergo!" Lukor exclaimed, surprising even himself by the delight of his tone. "I was worried something might have happened to you!"
"I thought I was going to die when those four ninjas attacked," Ergo confessed, showing his friend the wound he bore across his own shoulder. "Looks like we both managed to survive the first round. Lukor, we could be on our way to finally becoming what we were meant to!"
"You'd better hope you have the skill," a Lupe commented beside them, also anticipating the next trial. "If you fail their tests, rumor has it that you won't be able to leave alive. They can't risk us exposing everything we've seen."
Lukor flinched, fearing what would happen if he truly did fail.
The harmonious ring of a gong cut the tension and eagerness shrouding the room, the sea of ninjas parting to clear a path for their Elder. Each lowered themselves to bow gracefully as he walked past, confidence pouring forth from his poise and stride. Lukor and Ergo quickly exchanged looks of intimidation, sensing something big was about to happen.
The Elder paused in front of the newcomers, beckoning them forward to cast judgment and assign their next tasks...
Date: 6th April
...Obediently, the newcomers stepped forth, eager to hear what the Elder had to say.|
Clearing his throat, the Nimmo spoke in a loud, booming voice that echoed across the halls. "Welcome, travelers," he began. "I sincerely apologize for the rude welcoming. However, it is essential that this training school be kept a secret, and in doing so, no one can enter here by mistake."
There were a couple of understanding murmurs within the crowd, then the Elder went on. "On a lighter note, I would like to congratulate you all in making it this far. By defeating the Ninja Four, you have shown great promise. Thus, I take great pleasure in announcing the next stage of the test."
He strolled around for a bit, then signalled one of the guards to come forth. The guard nodded, seizing a pile of charms that were wrapped in a tight bind. Then, unwrapping a bit of string, he handed one to each of the newcomers.
"Hey... mine's red," Ergo declared. He looked over to Lukor, who was fastening a black charm around his neck. The Elder's voice sounded once more.
"What you have just received is not merely a charm. It will be your key to survival, in an elimination match. The objective: obtain a charm of the opposite color, while holding onto your own..."
Both horror and fear registered onto Ergo's face as he heard these words. Not only would the trial cut the number of qualifying ninjas by at least half, it was also a test of friendship.
Lukor, his best friend and faithful companion, was now one of his greatest rivals...
Date: 6th April
..."Begin!" the Nimmo shouted, and the floor around them cracked and shifted. The students found themselves standing on floating chunks of rock over a huge pit of burning, molten lava. "That charm about your neck is all that is keeping your rock aloft. Lose it, and you will not be getting it back." the Nimmo announced. Lukor and Ergo felt a twinge of fear deep in their stomachs, but the pair knew that this could be their last meeting. They shook hands before speeding off toward their opponents.
Drawing the swords they had gained in the first challenge, the contestants looked menacing. The fiery heat of the molten rock below was almost too intense for them to move. The students all sped toward each other at breakneck speed, getting minor burns from the rush of scalding air, but continuing on through it. Lukor was locked in combat with the Lupe, and was weak from loss of blood.
He pushed on, though, and the sheer will to live flowed through him like cool water in the Neopian Sea. He swung his blade, and the Lupe dodged, but only enough to move his body out of the way. The sword's edge cut the string, and the Lupe's pearly white charm fell from his neck. At the same moment that the Lupe's rock fell, so did he. The charm floated in the air for a moment, just long enough for Lukor to catch it.
He had won, and was now able to move on to the next round. As he looked down, however, Lukor saw the Lupe hanging on for dear life from an outcrop of the scorching hot rock. He felt obliged to help, but two Nimmo ninjas carried Lukor away.
Ergo was searching for his opponent, who was apparently very stealthy. Then, almost out of nowhere, a Ruki appeared and struck the Eyrie. The blow left a wound on his wing, which enraged Ergo. He was not a very vain Eyrie, but the damage to his wings made him very angry, since strong, proud wings were a trait in his family. Ergo charged ahead, knocking the Ruki off his rock. He felt he had won, until realizing that the pendant had gone down with his opponent. The Eyrie made a swift dive...
Date: 7th April
...and the next thing Ergo knew, the feathers of his knuckles were charred badly and the skin under them was smarting painfully, but the pendant was his. Blood trickled gently down his powerful wings from where the Ruki had slashed him. He could not help but feel a clench of guilt in his stomach for letting the Ruki fall. The Eyrie could still hear the shriek of terror, still see the look of intense fright from his opponent. He shook the horrible thought from his head. Ergo and Lukor had made it through, and that was all that mattered.
The ground beneath the remaining warriors sealed itself, and they exited through a door. The runes were still glowing, instead now they were a vivid, poisonous green. Inside, the Elder was smiling calmly at them, and he said in a noble, ringing voice, "I am pleased to see so many of you. However, I am afraid the next task will demand much more strength and strategy. Good luck to all of you." With that, the Elder disappeared into the darkness.
Ergo, who had sat down next to Lukor, could feel the Yurble tensing up. The warriors bowed, awaiting their next task. Suddenly, a wall in the stone hall cracked, and as it opened like a pair of doors, the place was filled with an odd green and gold light…
Date: 7th April
...which throbbed as a heartbeat might. The remaining qualifiers waited for the Elder's voice to give instructions, but there was only silence. The doors slammed shut behind them.
Wondering what to do, but alert of their surroundings, Lukor and Ergo warily surveyed the scene. Ergo quickly calculated the strength between them. Lukor looked to be quite light-headed, and had minor gashes and burns littered randomly on his now ragged robes. Looking at himself, Ergo saw that the cut on his wing was shallow, and he had only small injuries on his paws. Lukor was worse off than him, therefore Ergo would have to be their strength. If we have to fight, of course, which is obviously what we have to do, Ergo thought. Right?
All of a sudden they heard the Elder's voice, in the same bold and calm tones as before, though something was different. Lukor gasped. He and the others weren't hearing the Elder's voice. It was being spoken through their minds.
"A ninja must have the ability to sneak, to disappear into shadows, to be invisible. You may think this is impossible, but it is not. Many of you may have the strength and the courage needed to become a ninja, but do not have the gift of silence, of control, of complete trust in their surroundings. For those, I am sorry, but I do not allow second chances.
"In a moment, I will free the Hunters. They have perfect control of all their senses, and the tiniest movement could attract their attention. You cannot fight them -- they are too strong. If you try, you are gone. But once you can outlast the time limit, you will be free to go on and receive training from us.
"For a brief time, you will be able to talk telepathically through your charms to any one Neopet. This might help you, because, as you know, talking out loud will get you eliminated. However, working together, using your surroundings and what you have at hand, thinking with your mind -- this can save you. Good luck to all of you." His voice faded away, and the room darkened slightly.
Quickly, all the remaining warriors found a spot in the shadows. When the last one had found their spot, doors on the other side of the chamber opened. The pulsing light grew more frantic, sending wraith-like shadows spiraling across the room. Lukor heard a hissing growl, and Ergo stifled a gasp as he saw the Hunters emerge...
Date: 8th April
...They were Spyders -- many-eyed monstrosities who were equipped with a pair of razor-sharp claws, and no doubt knew how to use them. Each one was twice as big as him. As they glided around, patroling, he watched the other hopeful trainees out of the corners of his eyes. All of them were trying to hold their breathing, remaining perfectly still.
All save one. A tall Aisha was trembling violently, his eyes fixed on the nearest Hunter’s claws. Ergo inwardly winced and shut his eyes. A high-pitched scream echoed, then silence. He opened them once more; the Aisha had vanished into thin air, and all of the beasts were moving again, acting as though nothing had happened. He glanced at Lukor (still not daring to move his head) who had his eyes closed, and his face blank. Ergo could tell he was losing blood still. Then, a tiny stifled gasp. The light in the cavern shifted strangely, and their shadows started to retreat, leaving three of the twenty or so remaining trainees exposed in the light. Screams. Seventeen left. He glanced as Lukor and realized that his friend’s shadow had started to retreat, while Lukor’s eyes were still closed! He frantically strained to reach Lukor’s mind, to warn him...
Then, his charm flared for a split-second and he felt like an invisible channel had been opened.
“Lukor, your shadow!” he cried mentally. Lukor’s eyes flashed open, and assessed the situation in a flash. He glanced into Ergo’s eyes. For one long moment, time itself seemed to slow, as his old friend looked into his eyes. Then Ergo understood. Lukor had no choice but to step backwards, where his shadow now was. With a fluid, graceful motion, Lukor stepped...
And nothing happened! The Hunters continued prowling. With a shock, Ergo realized that his own shadow was retreating. Now he stood exposed in the light. A Spyder wheeled towards him, and he could see sixteen pairs of eyes flashing at him. Then Lukor’s voice echoed in his mind...
“Like the Techo Master taught us...”
Then Ergo remembered -- the Techo Master had them practice stepping gracefully, telling them it would help someday. With one fluid motion, the Eyrie stepped backwards, silently cloaking himself again in the shadows -- safe! Then he realized that the shadows were retreating in a clockwise motion -- the next trainee’s shadow retreated, and the next, and the next...
Finally, thirteen trainees were left. And the Hunters wheeled around and glided through the door! A voice echoed through the chamber, a real voice, coming from the centre.
“Well done.” The Elder stood there. “Oh, before I forget...” Each of the trainees felt energy pulsing through them. All the cuts, bruises, burns and scrapes they had sustained were instantly healed. And, on each of their chests, the charm they wore had turned to gold, and had a picture of a giant Spyder on it. Then, on the far wall, a pair of doors appeared. The trainees, almost automatically, formed a line two deep, facing the doors. Lukor was beside him, and they exchanged triumphant glances. Three words boomed through the chamber.
“Enter, worthy ones.”
Date: 8th April
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