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||You are on Week 247
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 Forty-Seven Ends October 14
The sun beat down upon the lonely Techo peasant as he struggled with his cart. "Uuurrgghhh!!!" Zobie grunted as he finally managed to push his wheelbarrow, which was piled high with fruit, out of a rut in the road. Panting, he wiped his brow with a rag and continued pushing forward.
It was a hot day, and the last thing the Techo wanted to be doing was pushing a huge cargo of fruit toward the market. He had to sell his crops, though, if he wanted to have enough Neopoints to buy dinner that night. Gritting his teeth, Zobie was about to give the cart another shove when a troop of Brightvale soldiers suddenly marched by, gleaming in their bright, clean armour.
"Make way!" their captain shouted. "Our kingdom is being threatened! Prince Maxwell has been kidnapped! Make way!"
Zobie, who had been staring open-mouthed at the soldiers, ducked to the side of the road and pushed his wheelbarrow out of the way as they charged by. To his dismay, the cart teetered slightly, then tipped over. Tangellas and screlons went spilling everywhere. "Oh no!" he cried, scrambling to pick them up. "Oh no, oh no, oh no!" The Techo was so concerned with picking up the fruit that he did not hear the captain still bellowing orders on the road.
"Spread out!" the captain shouted. "Scouts, leave no corner of the kingdom unturned! We must find the prince!" The soldiers paid no attention to the dirty, ragged peasant by the side of the road, and he in turn took no notice of them. The Techo was reaching for a half-squashed tangella when he bumped into one of the scouts, a young Acara.
"Your Majesty!" she gasped, dropping to one knee. "How did you escape?"
"What?" Zobie asked blankly, his mouth hanging open.
"YOOHOO! I'VE FOUND THE PRINCE!" the Acara yelled and gave a piercing whistle. "Scout Sammie, at your service," she said to Zobie. "You look terrible, but am I ever glad to see you safe and sound, Sire!"...
Author: is not REALLY the real author >_>|
Date: 7th October
..."But --" Zobie began.
"When we found you missing, your Highness, or rather didn't find you, if you see what I mean, we were frantic! King Hagan's all in a dither, even you've never seen him so upset."
"I don't --" Zobie tried.
"We set out at once, of course."
"I think --"
"And it's ever so clever of you," Scout Sammie gushed, interrupting him once again, "to have escaped all on your own! How did you do it?"
"But I'm NOT the prince!" Zobie burst out in something very like a wail, just as an enormous Grarrl in a more elaborate uniform than Sammie's loomed up over them. Zobie flinched away; the Acara and the Grarrl both stared at him. "And my fruit's all getting squashed," he added in distress. "Please, I tried to tell you sooner, but I've never been anything like a prince, you've got to keep looking somewhere else."
Scout Sammie was gazing at him in horror, punctuated by frightened glances up at the Grarrl, evidently her commanding officer. "Captain," she quavered.
The Grarrl studied them both, then leaned down and murmured in a deep but melodic voice, "Your pardon," and took Zobie's face gently between two massive clawed hands.
Zobie stood and trembled as his face was turned this way and that. An enormous and very sharp claw gently wiped away a smudge of sweaty dirt over his birthmark (a spot that looked, if you squinted, like a dancing Tonu) and another that had been partially covering the scar he'd gotten trying to catch his baby brother when the kid fell out of a tree.
"This is the Prince," the Grarrl boomed. Zobie had been expecting to be either punished or released; now he gaped, utterly baffled and speechless. Sammie let out a breath of relief with a whoosh. "But," the Grarrl continued, "he has lost his memory, and must be..."
Date: 10th October
..."returned to Brightvale immediately. And," he added with a fierce look at the surrounding soldiers, "quietly. We can't let anyone know the prince is in such a condition."
Sammie snapped to attention with a salute, as did the other soldiers. "Yes, sir!"
"Come, Your Highness," the Grarrl said with a short bow to Zobie. "We must get you home to your father."
Zobie was still looking around bewilderedly as he was hauled to his feet by the soldiers. He looked despairingly over his shoulder at his toppled cart, the fruit being smashed into the ground by the marching troops, until it was out of sight.
* * * * *
Across the valley in Meridell, another Techo struggled to open his eyes. "Ohhh, my head," he groaned. He lifted one hand to rub at his temple gently, noticing when he did something very unusual.
"What's that doing there?" he muttered, poking at the frayed rope surrounding his wrist. "That can't be normal." He looked down. He was wearing battered rags that had definitely seen better days, so dirty and ripped he couldn't even tell what color they'd been. That didn't seem quite right either, but his head ached fiercely when he tried to pin it down.
"THERE you are!"
The shout made his head hurt even more. The Techo looked up and squinted his eyes in the bright light. Nothing. What was going on?
There was a whoosh of air behind him and he whirled around just in time to see a young Eyrie touching down. "Zobie! I've been looking for you everywhere. Come on, we've got to go!"
Date: 11th October
..."To Brightvale market, of course! What happened to you?" The Eyrie quickly loosened the ropes around the Techo's hands. "Who did this to you?"
The Techo stood up, trying to brush off the dirt and grime from his clothes to no avail. "What is going on?" he wondered, directing the question to no one in particular.
"We've got to go, Zobie," the Eyrie repeated hastily.
The pain was throbbing in the Techo's head. There were go many things wrong. Where was here? How did he get here? And who was this Zobie fellow he was being mistaken for!
"I do not know of this Zobie person that you speak of. I am Prince Maxwell," the prince declared, slightly offended that someone was confusing him with a measly peasant. After a minute of giving time for this new information to sink in to this civilian, he continued. "I demand to know your name, how I got here, and what is going on!"
* * * * *
The main hallway near the castle entrance was so long Zobie couldn't tell if it would ever end. The Techo was surrounded by Brightvale soldiers so there was no way for him to escape. Included in the group guarding him was Scout Sammie just a few paces ahead.
"Does the king want to see me?" Zobie asked nervously.
"Yes he does, but you need to rest first. You have had a hard day, Your Majesty." She gave a small bow which made the Techo blush. "The king will meet you in the library when you are ready."
"O-ok," the Techo stuttered. Sammie enthusiastically showed him to a large, royal room, vigorously shutting the door. Sighing dejectedly Zobie wondered how he was ever going to get out of this mess...
Date: 11th October
...The Techo sat on the bed, gently massaging his head. Everything seemed so confusing. Lying down on the soft mattress, Zobie decided that it was best to get some rest and slowly drifted off into a troubled slumber.
* * * * *
"Come on, Zobie," the Eyrie said nervously. "This is no time for jokes. The market closes in a few hours, and we haven't sold anything at all. Where's your cart?"
"I'm not joking," the prince replied, his eyes gazing defiantly at the civilian in front of him. After a few silent minutes, the Eyrie blinked and turned away.
Alan had been friends with Zobie ever since they were little, and he knew that the Techo standing in front of him wasn't his friend. Zobie was a very shy creature who cared a lot about his friends. This Techo seemed to radiate with power and had no trouble saying what was on his mind. Even though he seemed exactly identical to Zobie on the outside, Alan knew that he wasn't his friend.
"Where is Zobie then?" the Eyrie finally asked.
"How am I supposed to know?" the prince demanded impatiently. "But I do know that something is very wrong. I need you to take me back to the palace so I could set things straight."
"I can't," Alan protested. "The market closes in an hour and I haven't sold a thing yet. And now, Zobie goes missing."
"What is your point?"
"Unlike you, Your Majesty, we have to work to be able to survive, and if things continue like this, I won't be having dinner tonight."
"I am the prince," the Techo said irritably. "If you take me to the palace, I will give you all the food you want. Besides, we might find Zobie at the palace."
"What makes you say that?"
Prince Maxwell shrugged. "Just a hunch."
"All right," the Eyrie replied, lowering himself onto the ground so the Techo could climb on to his back. "Let's go."
* * * * *
Zobie was jolted awake from his sleep as he heard hurried footsteps running outside his door. What was going on? Slowly slipping off the bed, the young Techo cautiously walked over and peered outside of the room.
His eyes widened as he saw...
Date: 12th October
...a dusky, dirty corridor with rushes on the floor and a lone torch burning far too close to thick cobwebs. Zobie had only a few seconds to gape at this before a fierce "HAH!" in his ear accompanied an equally fierce grip on his arm. He found himself yanked from the room and thrown sprawling to the ground. As he looked up, dazed, he saw a grinning Pirate Meerca... and beyond her, the open door. The doorway shimmered; the palatial room beyond it vanished in favor of a low-ceilinged closet as dirty as the hall.
"Hah," said the Meerca again, sounding satisfied. "The portal worked again. They must not have found it the first time. We've got you again, me prince, and you'll not be sneaking off this time without getting us our ransom."
Ignoring Zobie's protests that he wasn't the prince and this was all a mistake, the Meerca shoved him into the closet and shut the door.
A thin shaft of light penetrated a crack in the wood. Zobie and a curious Spyder stared at each other in its glimmer for a moment before Zobie let his head fall back with a groan.
This was even worse than being taken for Prince Maxwell at the palace.
* * * * *
Alan was getting seriously worried. He'd spotted Zobie's cart on the flight in, lying on its side with all the fruit smashed up, and now Prince Maxwell was arguing with the palace guards.
"I am Prince Maxwell. I need to see my father at once."
"But we've got Prince Maxwell in here already."
A long, exasperated sigh. "There seems to be another Techo who looks a great deal like me -- a friend of this Alan fellow's. Let me guess: you've found 'Prince Maxwell' and he was brought in quietly because he's 'amnesiac' and insists he's a peasant named Zobie?"
The guards gave each other uneasy looks. Prince Maxwell rolled his eyes (which was a particularly expressive gesture for a Techo) and seized Alan by the arm, pulling the Eyrie along and striding past the guards.
Alan expected every second to be turned into a pincushion, but instead there was merely a great deal of shouting and running about. Evidently no one wanted to risk sticking a sword into someone so confidently claiming to be Prince Maxwell. Everything seemed to blur together for a while, and Alan was almost sure he'd been presented very quickly to King Hagan and yanked away before he could even bow properly.
"Did you put him in my room?" Prince Maxwell was demanding of a young and frazzled-looking Acara who seemed to be called Scout Sammie.
"Y-yes, Your Majesty. I didn't know -- I really thought -- you look just -- are you sure you didn't just go walking about and recover your memories?"
Prince Maxwell grimaced. "Believe me, if you'd put me in my room, I'd still be asleep! But let's settle this, once and for all."
He strode down the hall and flung open the door to his bedroom...
Date: 12th October
...to find it lacking one peasant Techo. The silken red sheets were slightly mussed, but other than that there was no sign of any creature having been in it for a long while.
"Where is he? Where is the imposter?" exclaimed Maxwell. He stomped his foot slightly.
The crowd that had gathered behind him whipped their heads around the bedroom, searching for said imposter. Alan, meanwhile, was entering the bedchamber seeking out his lost companion underneath the bed and in the closet. "Zobie! Zobie, where are you?"
Prince Maxwell walked up to one of the blank stone walls. "There is a doorway here," he said simply.
Everyone looked in the direction of the solid, apparently door-less wall.
"Erm, Your Majesty, I don't see any d--"
"I saw it, I tell you! It flickered for just an instant, but I saw it!" He crossed his arms and stomped his foot childishly.
Alan, who had no time for the prince's temper tantrums strode up to where he stood and pushed him aside, ignoring the Techo's cry of outrage. He put a hand out and placed on the wall. Almost immediately, a silver door appeared and opened outward, revealing the same musty, cobweb-ridden room that Zobie had come upon not long before.
"Get some torches!" ordered Alan. There was some magic involved in Zobie's disappearance, and he was sure he could discover more from this hidden chamber.
Sammie rushed up behind Alan waving a scrap of parchment.
"The Prince, the Prince! They've kidnapped him again! And they left a ransom note!" she cried.
"I'm right here, Acara."
"Oh. Well then they've kidnapped the other prince."
Rolling his eyes in a way disturbingly like Maxwell, Alan plodded into the corridor with a newly lit torch.
* * * * *
Zobie's gaze followed the blurred figures of his captors, through the crack in the closet door. He didn't know how in the world he was going to escape back through the portal on his own, so he'd decided to listen in on whatever the villains had to say.
"You left the note, Lossy?" growled a pirate Lupe.
"Yus," answered a squinting pirate Aisha.
The Meerca who'd captured Zobie suddenly spoke out. "I gotta hide the transportal ignition key so that spoilt brat carn't get back to his palace."
Zobie pressed his ear against the door.
The Lupe responded, "Well hide it--"
"Ahoy, will you two come an' help me with this bandage?" came a voice. "Tha' thar princey bit me ferociously, he did."
"Comin' Porqs." The Lupe and Aisha left the room, but the Meerca remained, a gleaming silver key held loosely in his grasp...
Date: 13th October
...Zobie's eyes widened. The key was only inches from the crack in the wood. Maybe he could reach it. Gritting his teeth and trying not to make a sound as the splintery wood bit into his long fingers, the Techo worked his hand slowly through the crack. But even as he worked problems popped into his mind. Would his fingers fit back through the crack with the key? If so, could he escape before the Meerca raised the alarm? Would the people at the palace be able to destroy the portal? He was almost there... his fingers touched they key...
"Hey!" the Meerca barked, whirling around and swatting at Zobie's fingers. The young Techo winced in pain and withdrew the offending fingers quickly, his last sliver of hope replaced by a bountiful harvest of slivers in his paw. "Don't ye try any of that, ye hear? Or maybe I'll forget that I'm waitin' for me ransom, and kill ye right now! In fact, I--"
His heart pounding, Zobie withdrew to the far corner of the closet as a metallic noise rang through the air. He could still see his captor through the crack in the wood, but now the Meerca was holding a blade menacingly in his right paw. He seemed to be staring at something, but Zobie could only imagine what.
* * * * *
Alan's skin crawled as he padded through the dark, filthy corridor, the torch throwing an eerie light on the slimy walls. Behind him, Prince Maxwell and Scout Sammie walked silently, quiet for the moment. Somewhere up ahead the Eyrie heard a harsh voice saying, "...I'll forget that I'm waitin' for me ransom, and kill ye right now! In fact, I--"
Suddenly the voice broke off in mid-sentence, and Alan's spine tingled at the sound of a sword being drawn. For a moment he was tempted to go back and at least arm himself. But he knew only too well whom the mysterious voice had been speaking to, and he couldn't leave Zobie. Taking a deep breath, Alan tightened his grip on the torch and prepared to advance...
Date: 13th October
...as Scout Sammie and Prince Maxwell moved in close behind him. Alan put a finger to his beak, signalling for them to remain silent, though he was almost certain that harsh spoken Neopian had been alerted by the light of his torch.
Alan signalled for his two companions to follow and then, in an instant, swung out into the corridor and barrelled headlong into the adjacent room, brandishing his torch like a sword.
The room was dark and nearly empty save for one bedraggled looking pirate Meerca who wielded a wickedly sharp scimitar. A black eye patch covered his right eye and in his left hand he held a set of silver keys.
Alan moved toward the lone Meerca. He was by no means a small Eyrie and his muscles were lean and corded from long hours of work in the fields. The Meerca shrunk away at the site of the stalking Eyrie and then, to Alan's surprise, tossed the keys straight at him.
As the keys clanged to the floor the Meerca bolted around the surprised Eyrie and slid out a door on the opposite side of the room.
Prince Maxwell and Scout Sammie looked nearly as surprised as Alan as the Eyrie stooped to pick up the keys. It was then that he heard whimpering and rushed to a third door, the one which the Meerca had been guarding and fitted a key into the lock.
The door swung outward and Alan peered inside at the huddled form of Zobie, whimpering in the corner. The Eyrie put a single strong hand on the Techo's shoulder and smiled as he met his friends tear stained eyes. "It's good to see you again," he smiled.
There was a clangor from the hall the Meerca had fled to and suddenly the door on the far side of the room burst inward. In her wake stood a massive pirate Lupe, scarred and snarling with two twisted blades in his powerful hands. Behind him a dozen more fierce pirates were filtering into the room.
"Yarr!!! Mates, it looks like we gots visitors! And ye know what we be doin' ta visitors!"
As one, the pirates drew their weapons...
Date: 14th October
...only to be interrupted by a jingling sound.
Everybody, both the pirates and the rescuees, turned around to see Prince Maxwell with a slight smile playing on his face. For a moment, the pirates stood in bewildered silence as they stared from Zobie to Maxwell, completely confused by the resemblance.
"Thar be two of them princes!" the pirate Aisha said in astonishment. They gazed dumbfoundedly from one Techo to the other until their attention was distracted by another jingle from Maxwell's hands.
In both his scaly fists he grasped several bulging, burlap bags, all with fancy gold ribbons keeping them closed.
He placed all on the ground but one. The Techo's fingers slowly untied the bow that kept the insides hidden. Maxwell let the contents rain down onto the dusty corridor floor.
At least one hundred small, golden coins tinkled onto the floor. The pirates' eyes widened with interest. A few had greedy smiles stealing their faces.
"In these bags is the ransom. One thousand hundred dubloon coins, which altogether should equal to one hundred thousand dubloons," the Prince stated with authority, "If you give us Zobie here I shall give you this. If you let us leave safely, I shall give you another hundred." As Maxwell said this, he pulled yet another dubloon-filled bag out of his pocket.
"Arr, we ain't follin' fer yer dirty tricks!" the Lupe said, picking up a golden coin. He pecked it with his finger, squinted at it, flicked it, and even sniffed it. He looked like he had just swallowed something very nasty and was having trouble digesting it.
Finally, after several minutes of inspection, he made a huddling motion to the other pirates. From the circle came sounds of confusion and anger, but greed soon prevailed. They muttered for a bit, and then they broke the circle, all with dirty frowns on their faces.
"Aye, ye can take the blasted Techo, and we be lettin' ye go safely, but we ain't happy 'bout it," the Lupe said unhappily, pulling all of the bags of dubloons towards himself.
Zobie and Alan slapped a hi-five. The Prince resisted, wanting to keep his authority. But that smile was still plastered on his face.
Smiling, the friends walked out of the dirty corridor and back into Maxwell's room. They all felt good to be back in Brightvale.
"Um... did you really pay that many dubloons to free me?" Zobie said shyly.
"Oh, no, I have never owned a dubloon in my life! I noticed it in the same closet you were being held in, and stole it before the pirates came. Apparently, they weren't very clever, so I assume it will take them quite a while to realize what I've done," Maxwell said proudly, his chest out and shoulders back as if he were showing off a shiny badge.
Zobie sighed in relief. If he'd actually cost the prince that many dubloons, he would've felt guilty.
"And they won't be making their way back anytime soon," Scout Sammie piped up. "At least not without this!" She grinned as she dangled the portal's key from her finger.
"Well, I guess it's time to pick some more fruit," Alan said, breaking the comfortable silence that had followed Sammie's small speech.
"Nonsense," Prince Maxwell interrupted. "Zobie here was promised a princely feast, and I believe I owe you one, Alan. You are all my guests of honour tonight! And tomorrow, Techo, I shall more than recompense you for the misfortune of sharing my good looks."
Zobie and Alan looked at each other and grinned. "Thanks, Your Majesty," Zobie said. "As long as I get a name tag!"
Date: 14th October
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