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Week 286
You are on Week 287
Week 288

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 Eighty-Seven Ends August 25

The sun’s brilliant rays sparkled on the waves as the royal boat skimmed across the water. Sendora leaned against the starboard railing, squinting as the wind whipped her hair around. Then she rolled her eyes and sat back on the deck.

The Acara had grown up with the same dream as every other emerging diplomat in King Hagan's court -- to be brave and famous like Roberta, who had saved all of Neopia with her quick thinking.

Unfortunately, by the time most aspiring diplomats learned that the duties of a statesman consisted largely of attending boring meetings and personally assisting unpleasant foreigners, it was too late. And yet, Sendora persisted in carrying out her mundane duties until the day she could prove herself. She’d thought that her big break had come when, one day, she was summoned to court for "an important mission."

Some important mission! she thought angrily. Instead of giving her something important to do, King Hagan had directed her attention to a stack of crates.

"These are rare Petpets, including a dozen fire Cobralls and ghost Wadjets," the King had told her importantly. "They are gifts for Princess Amira's birthday, as a symbol of Brightvale's profitable trade with Sakhmet. It is very important that they reach her safely."

And so Sendora found herself not saving Neopia as she had imagined, but rather as a caretaker of Petpets.

With another grumble to herself, the Acara headed below decks to take a look at her oh-so-important cargo.

The crates were open.

For a moment, the Acara could do nothing but stare with an open mouth. That’s when King Hagan's words returned to her mind with full force.

It is very important that they reach her safely...

Author: Cobralls on a Boat
Date: Aug 18th
* * * * *

Princess Amira yawned as the sun sank below the horizon on the edge of the sea. The truth was that trading wasn’t doing well. In fact, a shipment of rare Petpets was one of the only things that could rejuvenate the economy. Her citizens depended on her decisions to feed them. Her mind raced at what she would do when they came. Probably sell them in some distant land where she could make a profit, maybe she’d travel with the cargo: she had always wanted to explore. More of that later. She sighed deeply and watched at the sea searching for the saving ship.

* * * * *

Sendora gasped as she saw the treasures gone. She had messed everything up. Nothing would work out now. She was failure. This was worse than the Haunted Woods thing. And she thought that a thousand Mutant Slime Ghosterwich sandwiches invading Neopia Central was bad. This was worse. Much worse.

No one on board except her knew of the cargo. And she wasn’t supposed to tell them except in an emegency. Was this an emergeny? Quickly she ran up to the captain's quarters.

* * * * *

Sasha hissed at her fellow Fire Cobralls. If they were to pull this off it would take perfect timing. Breaking out of crates was one thing, but hijacking a royal boat was another. Sasha looked at the clock, 10 seconds to show time. She couldn’t wait. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Author: syia
Date: Aug 21st
* * * * *

"Captain!" The very base of the ship seemed to rock back in astonishment as the panicked Acara slammed back the captain's saltwood door, scrambling to accomadate her as she staggered into his corridors. "Captain Tevand!"

Slouched in a plywood armchair that shuddered at holding its own weight, let alone the captain's, a pair of fleece-grey ears twitched grumpily in her general direction, berating her in a language fortunately understood only by their owner. The bolts of his chair squealed and sighed in unison as the captain rose to greet her, or at least to stamp away the salt crusting on his toenails.

When Sendora had first asked the ship's crew about their captain, some looked away - the ones whose manners had not yet been swallowed in a haze of cargoholds and snarrling waters which made up in hostility with what they lacked in comfort, or names. The others (which was most of them) had laughed, their voices harsh with ocean grime, and refused to answer. A Lupe-toothed Bruce, younger and less weatherworn than the others, had later told her that Captain Tevand was harsh on the scalawag that dared to question him. Even worse, he was prone to forgetting-on-purpose exactly which sailor it was he'd intended to punish, therefore unleashing a mass merry tongue-lashing upon the entire crew. Stories claimed that he was the son of the pirate Scarblade himself, or Scarblade's apprentice, or even no one's son at all but the seething waves that had spat him out onto the shore one stormy twilight. His coat, blue underneath, was turned a muddy pewter by its perpetual glaze of salt. All the sailors were agreed on one thing, whatever level their hatred for him; he was a seadog if one there ever was.

"What is it?" the Gelert boomed. The smell of ocean waters, impossibly, was strong in the captain's hold than it'd been as she stood on the deck just beside the waves. "I was in the middle of a very important nail clipping."

Frightened as she was, the Acara couldn't help but take a moment to put what the captain had said through her mind's processing plant. It was rejected as too logical to make sense. "Important... nail clipping?" she repeated.

"All work I do is serious," he told her, the furrows in his face stirring furiously as the crash of the wind caught within the billows outside. "What do you know of seawork, you who've never been dragged under cliffs by an undertow, or sweated algae?"

In another life, Sendora might have thought to take offense, but if those Petpets drowned themselves, she might as well save her supervisor the trouble and hurl herself in the brig. "The cargo!" she spluttered. "It's escaped!"

"What, the Ptolymelons?" the Gelert said distractedly, but she was already pulling him towards the door, her paws skidding on the waterlogged floor boards.

It wouldn't open.

"Why'd you lock the door? Unlock it!" Sendora cried, whirling with her own anxiety. The Gelert looked at her bemusedly as a sea Slorg crawled over his tail.

"I can't lock it," he snapped, and looked unsuitably proud. "I lost the key three and a half years ago, last Tuesday."

The Acara looked first at him, and then for the floor to look for the mind she'd lost. Then how...

Suddenly, a new smell permeated the salt fog of a ship at sea; the warm stink of wet scales. Again she spun to search for the smell, while the Gelert turned mildly, as though he'd been expecting it, and only wondered what had taken so long for it to appear.

In a silence that scared Sendora more than any hiss or battle shriek, flashes of orange and charcoal grey emerged from the woodwork...

Author: missjessiegirl
Date: Aug 21st
...Sendora’s panicked mind raced as the Cobralls poured upward from the floor, like an invading rush of seawater. One slithered through a hole in a wooden plank, while two more emerged from behind a crusty old cabinet. How the Petpets had gotten out of their crates was beyond her imagination, but how on earth had they made it into the Captain’s quarters?! She wondered, with a slightly hysterical bent to her train of thought, whether they had passed through the bilge compartment on their way there. That would explain why they were wet.

Captain Tevand was turned partially away from her, but Sendora could still see his face; he had an admirably stoic expression etched across his features as his hard slate-coloured eyes roved lazily over the half-dozen serpentine Petpets that had begun to circle the pair. The Acara hoped that they couldn’t hear her as she whispered out of the side of her mouth “What are we supposed to do now?”

The Captain didn’t acknowledge her. She twitched his arm in annoyance with one hand. “Say something, will you?! This is your ship!”

“Aye, but you see-” The Gelert drew himself up a bit, his dignity seemingly unimpeded by what he would say next- “I’m deathly afraid of Cobralls.”

Sendora looked back to the floor in dull horror, mouthing to herself, ‘just great’. Now what?

That question would be answered momentarily by the largest Cobrall - Sasha - who had coiled herself around the Acara’s ankle without her notice. She tightened her grip to catch Sendora’s attention, which she did, and very effectively, too; the Neopet screamed and made to shake the Cobrall off of her leg, but Sasha held fast, flaring her crimson hood in disgruntlement. “Quit shaking! Are you trying to get her to bite?” Captain Tevand barked, halting Sendora’s frantic leg-jiggling immediately. No, she definitely didn’t want that. Not even bothering to ask how the Captain had known the Petpet was female, she simply watched, wide-eyed and fearful, as the Cobrall loosened the top of her body and began to... tug.

‘Surprised’ wouldn’t even begin to cover Sendora’s state of mind as Sasha yanked awkwardly at her foot. She was even more taken aback when she looked up, in the direction the Petpet was trying to pull her.

“Th-the Wadjets...”

Amidst the chaos that the Cobralls had caused, neither she nor the Captain had noticed the other six Petpets slipping into the room, their ghostly bodies semi-transparent and similar in colour to the wood of the weathered ship. Now they seemed to be working in unison at unrolling a great sheet of parchment, smoothing it across the floor. “Hey, you lot, stop there! That’s me best map!” yelped the Captain, but as the fire Cobralls fixed him with a look of fierce admonishment, he backed down and added, weakly, “Just... er... be careful with it.”

Sendora was transfixed by the spectacle; she barely registered the fact that Sasha had unwound from around her ankle. The Petpet was now hissing at her fellows and gesturing with her tail, and they almost seemed to nod as Wadjet and Cobrall alike slithered, one by one, onto the map, ringing themselves in what could only be described as a starburst formation around a single spot.

The Acara’s eyes widened as she realized what coordinates the Petpets were “pointing” to...

Author: _vespa
Date: Aug 22nd
..."What the..." the words formed on her lips, but no sound came out as she stared in astonishment and confusement at the spot on the chart, before whirling on the captain, "What kind of map is that?"

The Gelert frowned, before replying "Well, I heard it was a good one, but sometimes it turns nasty."

"Look what it says!" she cried, and yanked the map out from under the Cobralls and shaking it in front of the Gelert's face.

"I can't read it if you don't stop shakin' it," growled the pet.

"Jelly World!" cried the Acara, "You're sailing us to the Lost Desert on probably the most important mission of my life using a map that has Jelly World marked on it! Everyone knows it doesn't exist! And whatsmore," she snapped, holding the map still and jabbing a paw fiercely at where the Lost Desert would be depicted on any normal map, "if mine eyes don't deceive me, I think that says Mystery Island there, don't you? What on earth would compel you to buy this map, and just where exactly are we headed?"

"Why, we're going right where you said," replied Captain Tevand.

"Which is where?"

"On the map! Where do you s'pect it be, lass?" grumbled the Gelert, picking up his toenail clippers and resuming his important work, "Now get gone, I've more important buisness to do."

"This map is faulty!"

"'Course it is! What use have I got for a good one? That's my best map!"

"Oooh," moaned the Acara, slumping to the ground, holding her head in her hands. The captain was crazy, the cargo was loose and burning through the ship, the map was a wreck, they were sailing to goodness knows where, and her dreams were shattered.

"Stop your grovelin', you can pick up some jelly once we get there."

The Acara froze, her hardened gaze slowly turning to stare up at the captain, "What?"

The captain said nothing, but continued to clip his tails.

"Where are you taking us?!?"

"Jelly World, like you said."

"I said the Lost Desert!"

"What 'Lost Desert?' Pish posh and what not! Tha's not a Lost Desert, it's a found one if I've ever seen one. But Jelly World," he looked up from his toe nail clipping, his eyes hard, "Aye, now there's a challenge."

The Acara turned her eyes back to the floor. It all just seemed... hopeless...

Author: lockshensa
Date: Aug 22nd
* * * * *

..."Hopelessly boring."

Amira yawned and turned to the Moehog sitting stiffly in the seat beside the bed. She tapped the worn book the Moehog was reading aloud from.

"Stop reading, Hogel," she said, sitting up with a sigh. "You'll bore me to death, honestly."

Hogel hesitated a moment before closing the book and setting it on his lap, flustered. His wide eyes darted around the room nervously as if he were not really sure of what to do. Amira swung her legs over the side of the bed. Slipping her feet into a pair of newly purchased sandals, she stood and walked over to the window.

She ignored Hogel's stammering about how the advisors had insisted that he read to her.

"V-very rare book," he stammered.

Amira closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. The faint salty air was tangy in her lungs and it played with her hair, tossing it about. She wondered what it was like to have the air blowing in your face on a real boat. She wondered what the ocean looked like when you weren't looking at it from far away.

"-it's a-an artifact, hand crafted, lovely book, your highness-"

Amira spun around and then steadied herself, leaning against the window sill. She closed her eyes and counted to ten before drawing a calming breath and opening them. Hogel blinked at her.

"Hogel, has the shipment of Petpets arrived yet?"

Hogel blinked again.

"Why, no, it hasn't," he said, a confused look dawning on his elderly face. He hurriedly placed the ever-so-rare book onto Amira's bed and fished a clipboard out of the bag beside him. Amira watched him as his brow grew closer and closer to the bridge of his nose, his mouth becoming a smaller and smaller line.

"Well?"

"This says the shipment was due at 3:00 this afternoon," Hogel replied distractedly while trying to weasel his spectacles out of his breast pocket. He placed them on his nose and squinted at the clipboard again. "Oh dear, they're terribly late.."

Amira hopped off the windowsill.

"Let's go find it," she said promptly, walking briskly across the room to fetch her cloak off the hook.

Hogel looked up at her. The spectacles magnified his eyes tenfold. They blinked at her rapidly, his mouth slightly open in surprise.

"Let's go find out what's going on with the shipment, Hogel!" Amira said, beaming. "Come on, I'm so bored-"

"Y-you can't be serious, your highness," spluttered Hogel as Amira tugged the clipboard from his grip.

Amira turned on him and frowned, suddenly looking very grave.

"Hogel, I am giving you an order," she said firmly.

Hogel blinked once more and then closed his eyes with a sigh. Wiping his glasses on his tunic, he stood and sighed deeply as if all of Neopia were upon his very frail shoulders.

"I suppose you have a boat?"

Amira's face fell. Hogel eyed her and then made a noise through his nose.

"The advisors won't like this," he added, taking the clipboard back from her. Amira scowled at him.

"They won't know," she said. "If they ask, I can just tell them you were reading to me."

She paused.

"A really long book," she finished hastily.

Hogel waited expectantly, playing absentmindedly with his small white beard. The clipboard clicked at his side.

Amira looked up suddenly, her brow furrowed. She bit her lip and then pulled on her cloak quickly. Hogel stared at her.

"Come on, Hogel," Amira said, rushing about her room. She opened a drawer and then let out a soft, "Aha!" and pulled out a small brown sack. Something clinked inside it.

"You have a boat?" Hogel asked wearily, eying her as she hastily reclosed the drawer and tucked the bag into her cloak.

Amira brushed past him and opened the door. Sticking her head out, she looked about for a moment.

"Not exactly," she whispered to Hogel over her shoulder, nodding at him to follow. They crept down the hallway, Amira's cloak swishing against the marble floors. "But someone owes me a favor..."

Author: nerdparty
Date: Aug 23rd
* * * * *

Sasha turned to one of her fellow serpents, a hiss on her tongue. "The Acara will make us trouble..."

Her head accomplice, a rather stately Ghost Wadjet known as "Bree" (he refused downright to give such an identifying factor as his name out to the serpent population, especially considering the circumstances), nodded slowly, eyeing the Captain as the Gelert clipped his nails with a dignity that was almost amusing.

"But we seem to have reached an understanding with the Captain," he replied, looking thoughtful.

"Yes..." Sasha stated hesitantly. "Is this really for the best? Is the plan really worth risking? I mean - going off to the ends of the earth to Jelly World? We're not sure it even exists!"

Bree simply stared. "Of course it exists! Are you daft?" Looking insulted, he shuddered and continued on. "Let us not speak of this anymore - onward, for freedom, and for Green Jelly!"

The other Petpets seemed considerably happy with that idea.

* * * * *

Sendora's mind was working furiously, the panic growing on her features. The Captain was a nutter, to say the least, and the Petpets were revolting. This could ruin everything...

Ah, started a mischievous voice in her head. I thought you wanted adventure? Come on, Sendora, a little detour won't hurt anyone...

Angrily, she brushed this thought away and, without any warning, reached into the thick of the snakes and grabbed a certain fire Cobrall right at her throat. Sasha hissed and writhed, attempting to flair her hood as her fellows became extremely agitated, catching hold of Sendora's legs and willing to bite.

"Listen here!" she cried, though she knew it was useless - but she was in panic mode right then, and, of course, you couldn't blame her for her lack of sense. "You'll tell them - tell them to stop! We're going to the Lost Desert, understand? We're going -"

"I thought," the Captain started, irritated, "that I made it right clear to you that we're goin' to Jelly World!"

"We're aren't!" Sendora shot back, almost hysterical. "Understand? We aren't-"

However, she was interrupted by the form of a rather dazed Eyrie bursting through the door...

Author: x_soranelle_x
Date: Aug 23rd
..."C-Captain!" the Eyrie stammered. "We- ah- have a guest, sir!"

"A guest?" Sendora wailed. "How could a guest possibly get onto our ship when we're in the middle of the ocean?!"

"We- er- well the thing is, we aren't."

"WE AREN'T WHAT?!"

"In the middle of the ocean. We seem to have landed on-"

"Jelly World!" Captain Tevand crowed, causing the Eyrie's voice to dart back down his throat in mid-sentence. Leaping up with a vigour that would have sent his nail-clipper clattering to the floor had he not kept a white-knucked hold on it, the Gelert paused for a moment, drew a deep, proud breath of salt-sharpened air that seemed, impossibly enough, to carry a hint of some sweet fruit scent, and then strode toward the door with the pride and dignity of an heir after long exile returning to his own.

"So," he boomed, "where be this guest?"

The words had barely left his mouth when a yellow Blumaroo who appeared to be made entirely out of jelly came barging into the room with a shriek. "Thank goodness!" he bawled. "You've got to help me!"

"With what?" Sendora asked, and Sasha took the opportunity to slip between the Acara's suddenly nerveless fingers.

"The Pterodactyl!" the Blumaroo wailed. "He's coming after me!"

"WHAT?!" Sendora thrust her head out the door, only to be dragged back by the Captain just in time to prevent the head in question from being carried off by the shrieking blur that rushed past the door, its piercing voice threatening to crack the timbers of the hull.

"W-what was that?" Sendora stammered, and Tevand replied with a roar,

"That's a scurvy bandit, that's what it is! I was in the middle of a VERY important nail-clipping AND HE TOOK MY CLIPPERS!"

It was so ridiculous that Sendora was almost tempted to laugh -- at least, until the Captain rushed outside, directing one of his patented tongue-lashings toward the juggernaut of leather, talons and massive spear-head beak that was coming in for another pass...

Author: sarahleeadvent
Date: Aug 23rd
* * * * *

..."Oof!"

Hogel let out a cry of surprise as he was tackled to the ground. Face pressed against the damp floorboards, he heard chaos around him. Shrill shrieking, voices, and a rather gruff sounding bark. The smell of salt filled his nose, tingling uncomfortably.

"Sorry old chap," the voice above him said smoothly. Hogel felt the weight being lifted off of him as the other pet stood and brushed off his coat. Hogel let out a sigh of relief.

Amira ducked as something whizzed by her again. Across the deck on the ship next to hers, she could see what looked like a deranged Gelert, a very upset Acara, and a flock of...

"Petpets!"

Amira gathered up her skirt and began stomping forward. A crew member quickly laid a board between the two ships for her to cross over. Behind her, the two Moehogs quickly got up and followed. Her hair billowed in the wind and her face was angry, her mouth in a very thin line and her brows drawn together tightly.

"You decided to go gallavanting around, did you?" she said angrily upon reaching the surprised crew. "With MY Petpets - I'll have you know, these Petpets are extemely important-"

"Duck!" the Acara shrieked suddenly.

"No, Pteri," countered the Gelert, sending the Acara a dirty look.

The Acara ignored him and hastily yanked Amira down. Amira's face was burried against the Acara's thick fur and above them she heard someone yell, "AHA! I GOT ME MY CLIPPERS!"

"Sendora," the Acara said to Amira, releasing her.

"Amira," she replied shortly, standing and brushing herself off. Her eyes darted between Sendora and the captain sharply.

"I believe you're the captain?" she asked, turning rapidly on the Gelert, who was now trimming his nails, humming to himself.

He looked up, eyebrow raised.

"Of course," he said gruffly. Amira's eyes narrowed.

"So do tell me," she said, advancing on him, "why my shipment is hours late?"

The Gelert blinked at her a moment and then threw his head back, his laughter booming.

"Don't you know where we are?" he asked gleefully, waving his paws out wildly and very nearly hitting Hogel in the face.

Amira opened her mouth to reply and then paused, taking a breath. Behind her, she heard her two Moehog companions sniffing curiously. Now that she thought about it, the air didn't smell salty, it smelt almost...fruity. And that Blumaroo beside the captain, was he made out of-

"Jelly!" The Moehog in the tux stepped forward, beaming. "I say, you've found Jelly World!"

The captain eyed him for a moment and then his lips twitched into something Amira believed to be a smile.

"Yes," he answered gruffly, and then stuck out a paw. "Doing well, 00 Hog?"

"Wonderfully, Tevand," the Moehog replied smoothly.

Sendora stared at them all in confusion. "How exactly do you all know each other?" she asked, voice rising shakily. It had been a very long day and the fruity scent was getting to her head, giving her a headache bigger than a Skeith.

"Well..." 00 Hog grimaced and glanced at Amira. "You see, it's a very long story..."

Author: nerdparty
Date: Aug 24th
..."Do we have time for a long story?" Amira said sharply, a rather agitated expression painted upon her face. Seeing the agent shrug uncomfortably before pulling her down against the floor boards (the Pterodactyl had taken another swoop at her - perhaps out of pure fascination for all the sparkly, non-jelly things on her person) she heard Tevand answer instead.

"Now, I'm the Captain of this here ship, lassie - "

"Princess or Grand Duchess, if you honestly don't mind -"

"Well I hereby do mind!" Tevand boomed, slamming his fist into the floor (they had all found it necessary to duck a moment). "'Cause of the small fact that this is my ship we're standin' on, and I shan't be callin' you Princess or nothin' as we clearly aren't in that Desert of yours now, are we? And I hereby state myself in charge of this here group and thus shall ask you to very much mind your own business and let this chap here go on with his story!"

Sendora was clutching her hair in fists, as though trying to pull it off; panicked, she looked at the astonished Aisha, who, as Hog assisted her to rising, did what she considered the most natural thing in the world. She raised her arm and slapped Tevand, who bared his teeth and carried on to rub his cheek with pride.

00 Hog couldn't help but laugh then and Hogel, rather quietly, added, "You know, Tevand, I think that was completely implied, considering the situation."

Silence. "... Aye, fine. I deserved that." Crossing his arms, he shook his fist at the creature circling his boat and Amira's before scowling pointedly at Amira.

The Princess considered him a moment, before saying, rather crossly, "Alright, Hog, tell the story."

* * * * *

Bree and Sasha huddled behind a barrel, watching the party intently; they recognized, from her desert fashions and the style of ship, that the Aisha was most definitely from their homeland. Bree, who, amid the chaos of the attack of Qasala, had bumped into her once or twice, recognized the face - and her scent - immediately (Wadjets have incredibly fine memories).

"Oh woe!" he wailed, though to our ears it would be a hiss. "So close to the land we seek, but our jailer stands in our way, mighty with her guards - "

"I don't think they're her guards, really," Sasha hissed practically, eying the two Moehogs. "They don't seem to mind her all that much-"

"-readily waiting to fish us out and imprison us again! No Freedom - no jelly! Oh, Sasha, whatever shall we do?!"

"How 'bout we mind the big, flying, creature-eating thing eyin' us up there? It seems decidedly sure that it's going to eat us."

"And then what? To the sands and the palaces, chained to no escape, at the beck and call of Masters and Mistresses -"

"Bree, shut up!" Clearly irritated, Sasha flared her hood and silenced him with a murderous look. Calming slightly, though still clearly upset, the Cobrall eyed the Pterodactyl carefully. "I've got a plan.... But we'll need the Neopets to cooperate.... It'll be tricky - oh, stop your whining, Bree!"...

Author: x_soranelle_x
Date: Aug 25th
..."Now listen, we're going to let ourselves be cau-"

"AHA!" All the Cobralls and Wadjets were startled as a gigantic crate slammed over all of them. "GOTCHA!" Sendora's cry rang faintly through the top.

"That was the quickest plan I've ever seen executed," Bree said wryly. "So this was your brilliant plan? To allow all our hard work go to nothing by giving ourselves up to captivity?"

"I'd like to see you moaning on about Freedom when you're in the stomach of that Pterodactyl," Sasha hissed back. "Although at this rate, I might prefer it."

* * * * *

All heads on deck turned to stare at Sendora as she leaned over a large crate, huffing and puffing. "Your... Majesty," she gasped to Amira. "His Highness King Hagan... of Brightvale... sends his felicitations... on your birthday this month... and presents these Petpets... as a sign of... his regard," she blurted out between gasps.

Amira gaped at her for an instant. Then her face broke into a large smile. "Thank you," she said, her voice adopting a regal tone. "Send King Hagan my thanks, and tell him I wish to commend the brave diplomat he has sent to transport such an important cargo."

"That's the kindest thing anyone's ever said to me! Thanks-"

"Not you, Captain," Amira scowled. "I'm talking to the Acara."

Tevand, who was puffing up with pride, quickly deflated.

"I'll take the cargo myself back to Sakhmet," the Aisha continued, "So you can return to your homeland." She glanced at the sailors throwing colorful blobs of sand at one another. "Write of your travels," she added with a smile.

"I will, your Majesty, thank you," Sendora nodded.

"Don't you want to hear our story?" interrupted 00 Hog, who was starting to suspect at this point that he had nothing whatsoever to do with the unfolding circumstances.

"Yes," Tevand jumped in eagerly. "It includes this dangerous plan we foiled to kidnap the Queen and a mysterious assassin and two hundred jelly Kookiths."

"Another time," Amira said with a careless wave. "If it's really as exciting as you say, I'm sure it'll end up in one of those boring books Hogel reads. Come now, we return to Sakhmet."

* * * * *

"At noon the next morning, we were astonished to find that the ship had crashed into the previously undiscovered world of..."

Sendora stared at her paper, then scribbled it out. Some adventures, perhaps, were never meant to be written. Thoughtfully, she pocketed her manuscript and made her way to the Captain, who was now meticulously grooming one tiny tip of his ear.

"How much longer 'til we hit Brightvale?" she queried.

"Brightvale?" the Captain repeated vaguely. "Don't be silly, my map says Haunted Woods."

With a sinking feeling, Sendora glanced at the map, only to see that where a normal map would've shown Brightvale, this one was clearly marked by a badly-drawn Brain Tree. With a groan, she sank to the floor. Here we go again.

* * * * *

Far away, Amira stood on the deck of 00 Hog's ship, enjoying the wind in her face as the ship skimmed lightly over the water. At this rate, they would be back in Sakhmet soon.

Down below, her precious crates were stacked neatly to the side. To all appearances, they were peaceful and perfectly still.

Then, suddenly, the latch flipped out and the door began to open...

The End

Author: the_indefatigable
Date: Aug 25th



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