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||You are on Week 307
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 Three Hundred Seven Ends January 26
Helmo gingerly stretched forward her right foreleg. Despite healing rapidly over the past few weeks, it had been injured for so long that she still half-expected a twinge of pain every time she moved.
The sun gently warmed the field in front of her. It's a good day for practice, at least, she mused. The weather had been frosty the last few days, leaving the field dangerously icy, but that had all melted away with the dawn.
"How's your leg?"
The Peophin turned to see a disco Kiko standing beside her, scanning the field with his eyes.
"It's good. A bit sore, but nothing that a little stretching can't handle."
The Kiko gave her a sideways glance. "Good enough to play a real game on?"
"I think so," Helmo said with a frown. "Why, Ditan? Are we scrimmaging for practice today?"
"Well," he began casually, "I might've invited the Maraquan team over. Nothing much, you understand. Just a friendly practice match."
"Ditan!" the Peophin exclaimed in shock. "You didn't! We're not nearly ready, what with the Cup ending not that long ago! You shouldn't have done this without consulting the rest of us... you know that silly 'aquatic Neopets' rivalry the others have!"
"It's just a little friendly competition," Ditan shrugged. "What could possibly go wrong?..."
Author: Go Krawk Island!|
Date: Jan 19th
"...everything," Helmo said angrily. "Don't you remember that scuffle Relle got in with The Black Hole last year?"
Ditan nodded; he remembered it quite vividly. The spotted Jetsam had nearly broken Elon "The Black Hole" Hughlis' arm after a practice scrimmage before the first round. The vain Maraquan Acara had cried foul and nearly managed to get Team Kiko Lake eliminated from the Cup before it had even started.
"Still," Ditan said carelessly. "I've already extended the invite, they're on their way here now."
"Who's on their way?" a voice from behind them had said. The two turned and confronted a pink Kiko wearing a curious grin. "Are we scrimmaging today?"
Helmo nodded grimly. "Against Maraqua," she said.
The female Kiko's smile soured. "What?!" she said, glaring at Ditan. "You got us into a scrimmage with those fools? We're sworn enemies!"
"All the more reason to crush them," the approaching Jetsam, Relle, said with a toothy grin. Beside him was the final member of the team, "Poke" Cellars.
"C'mon, Meela," Poke, a brown Kiko, urged her with a nudge. "We can do this."
After a moment's thought, the team was in agreement. They had trained constantly, drilled day and night, practiced their passing, scoring, goalkeeping. All but Helmo felt they were ready. She was still frowning.
"I just don't think a scrimmage with them is the best idea right now," she said firmly. "Our goal is the Cup, not beating Maraqua in a silly little practice."
Ditan was angry now. "Where's your team spirit, Helmo? You were like this when we played them the first time, too! If you're not willing to support the team, maybe we'll just bench you!"
The others nodded in irritated support. The Peophin looked from one to the next with her ears pinned back shamefully.
"We might get hurt out there!" she said quietly. "How would you feel if you were injured only a few months before the Cup? That would be horrible! None of you agree with me? This is a bad idea!"
"We agree with you!" a whiny voice from behind the team said, and they came face to face with their opposition, who were wearing looks of contempt on their faces.
"If you babies aren't willing to play, we won't make you," The Black Hole said with a sneer.
Helmo was frowning. There was no way the others could turn down that challenge. "I guess we're going to play," she muttered under her breath...
Date: Jan 22nd
..."Let's do this," Meela said to her team with a smile.
Helmo sighed. She had no choice. "Alright..." She rolled her eyes.
"Positions, everyone!" ordered Ditan, pulling his protective gear on. Then he went to guard the goal. Helmo nervously took her place as left forward, with Relle on her right and the three Kikos behind her. They assembled quicker than the Maraquans, who huddled together and talked in hushed voices. Helmo's ear flickered in annoyance.
Finally, the Maraquan team broke apart and took their positions. The Black Hole was right across from her. He gave her a sardonic smirk and adjusted his sling. Leaning forward so that no one else could hear, Elon said, "So... team is actually organized now, eh? Big step-up from when we last met. Although..." He shot a superior look at Meela, who had been somewhat of a beginner last year. "... She's still on the team... well, all the better, for it's easier for us to crush you now."
Helmo seethed. "It's just a scrimmage."
For some reason, this amused Elon even more. "Yes, yes. Of course."
The circular patch of cleared grass in the middle of the field was covered by a slab of rock which Helmo knew would split aside and a Yooyu would emerge. She stared fixedly at it, ignoring Elon and the other Maraquans.
Just as predicted, the rock divided in two smoothly. Now Elon had stopped grinning and was too waiting in anticipation for the Yooyu. There it was... motionlessly sitting on its rising platform. It was a fire one this time. Helmo sighed in relief; fire ones were easy to handle, though they gave nasty burns sometimes, and Maraquans hated them because they were Neopets of water.
Then the rock slid closed, the Yooyu launched itself into the air and curled into a ball, and the game was on...
Date: Jan 23rd
...With a fiery swoosh, the flaming Yooyu zoomed upward into the sky. Helmo saw Relle dive toward it, followed by Elon. The Peophin curved around the left side of the field, making her way toward the goal.
A glance backwards told her that Relle had snatched the Yooyu in his sling. She continued charging forward, raising her sling in a silent signal to her teammate. The Jetsam launched the Yooyu toward Helmo just as Elon Hughlis reached him. An unseen elbow passed from the Acara to the Jetsam, but Relle had no time to retaliate. He surged down the field as Helmo was assailed by Barit Jowes, the quick Maraquan Techo. Helmo searched for an outlet, but Relle was being heavily covered by Filo Desenz.
"Helmo!" Poke was floating wide open just behind her. The Peophin gave a quick fake toward the goal and then passed the flaming Yooyu back to the brown Kiko. Almost without even looking, Poke whirled the Yooyu to the other side of the field, where Meela was ready. The pink Kiko paused for a moment, drawing in the Maraquan players, then hurled the Yooyu toward Relle.
The Jetsam was faced with no defenders. He launched the Yooyu as hard as he could toward the opposing goal, but the enormous Koi Tonie Plessix was not so easily scored upon. He snatched the Yooyu and threw it all the way across the field.
Elon Hughlis had been creeping up the field alone, leaving the defending to his teammates. Now, he was wide open deep in Kiko Lake's territory. With a nasty smirk, he leapt up into the air, grabbed the Yooyu, and slung it as quickly as he could into the upper corner of the goal.
Ditan seriously regretted inviting Maraqua to the practice game. He valiantly jumped in an effort to stop the Yooyu, but his short size was not enough. The fiery Petpet rocketed into the upper left corner of the net.
"Goal!" shouted the referee, blowing a screeching whistle. Helmo scowled as she retreated back to her position.
Elon passed her with a wink. "Nice try," he mouthed to her as he assumed his starting position.
The Peophin narrowed her eyes, and pressed her ears back against her head. If this slimy Acara thought he could waltz into Kiko Lake's home field and have his way, he had another thing coming...
Date: Jan 23rd
...The rock slab slid open once more, and the Fire Yooyu slipped inside. There was a quick, breathy sound as everyone inhaled sharply, not daring to exhale until the next Yooyu appeared.
The slab closed once more, and on it rested the hunched form of a Yooyu. Helmo saw the spikes protruding from its back and gulped nervously. She hated the Mutant Yooyus; they were, despite their heavy training, quite stubborn and often avoided players.
The referee blew his whistle, and the Yooyu launched into the air and curled up. Relle, Helmo, and Elon all dived for it, but it dodged them and headed straight for the Kiko Lake goal. Ditan, however, was prepared and skillfully scooped up the Petpet with one swift movement. The disco Kiko briefly glanced around at his teammates. As goalkeepers were not allowed to keep the Yooyu for more than 5 seconds, Ditan had to be swift. He winged the Yooyu toward Poke, who was open. Poke whirled about and threw the Yooyu to Relle. Relle avoided Maraquan left forward Jair Tollet and began running toward the goal.
Helmo was suddenly shoved from behind and hit the ground, her breath temporarily knocked out. She glanced up and saw Elon smirking down at her.
The referee blew his whistle frantically. "Foul!" He cried, signaling for a time-out. Relle and the other players stopped moving as the referee called the penalty.
Out of the corner of her eye, Helmo saw something that made her heart stop. While everyone was listening to the referee, Maraquan goalkeeper Tonie Plessix had, without being seen, taken the Mutant Yooyu from Relle's sling and was now whispering to it.
Helmo was a player who had studied the rules of Yooyuball intently and knew them upside-down and backwards. And as far as she knew, speaking to a Yooyu was strictly forbidden...
Date: Jan 24th
"Relle!" the Peophin hissed. The Jetsam gave her a glance and swiftly went around several of the players in the referee huddle. "Look!" Helmo said, jabbing her hoof in the direction of the Koi. Relle looked where she was pointing.
"All I see is a very fat goalkeeper," he reported.
Helmo turned back to see that Tonie was just standing absentmindedly in the goal, nearly filling the whole space, save for the corners. There was no Yooyu in sight.
"But there was...I saw...he was talking to the Mutant Yooyu!"
Relle gave her a hard look. "When the foul was called, I saw the Yooyu hop back into its hole. Are you sure you're feeling okay? Maybe your leg..."
"I'm fine!" Helmo snorted. She knew what she had seen, but she didn't want the team to become worried over her sanity. She would just have to keep an eye out for any more suspicious activity.
The referee explained that Team Kiko Lake would get a free penalty shot against Team Maraqua. Since Elon had obviously hit Helmo on purpose, Kiko Lake would be able to pick their own Yooyu.
"Well, it's either me or Helmo," sighed Relle as the four of them went back to tell Ditan what happened. Goalies were not allowed to leave their nets. "Team vote?"
"I vote for Helmo!" shouted Poke with her usual optimism.
"She's still hurt! I vote for Relle" Meela answered curtly, her voice of reason almost overpowering.
"I guess Ditan will be the deciding vote..." The Peophin shouted out a greeting to the disco Kiko, "Hey, me or Relle?"
"Are you kidding me? Relle, you're great and all, but Helmo is magic with the Yooyuball!"
"Guess that settles it. Faerie Yooyu?" asked the Jetsam with a smile on his face. He really was one of the best teammates Helmo could ask for.
Relle left to fetch the Yooyu while Helmo kicked her forelegs to get them into shape. If she scored, she would tie up the game. She remembered a time when she didn't have to worry about scoring because it just came naturally to her. Now, however, she would have to work hard.
"Team Kiko Lake picks a Mutant Yooyu!" shouted the referee.
"WHAT?" shouted Helmo, spinning to see the spiky Petpet curl up in the middle of the field. Relle was coming back to her. His eyes were wide.
"I don't know what happened! I requested a Faerie Yooyu, I swear!"
The Peophin's eyes narrowed. What was going on here? Even so, she just snorted and went downfield for her penalty shot...
Date: Jan 24th
...She wanted to win, but she wasn't about to make a fuss and look like a poor sport over a casual game, no matter how deadly serious anyone else might be. So she didn't like the Mutant Yooyu... so the referee had gotten it wrong... so maybe Maraqua was cheating. So what?
What I have to focus on, Helmo thought, drawing her mind in, is getting that uncooperative little Petpet past the Maraquan goalkeeper. It was just the three of them, right now. Penalty shots were the simplest part of the game and yet just about the trickiest....
She flexed her no-longer-sore leg as she jogged, watching Tonie rather than the Yooyu.
Which may have been why, when she chose her target and began her shot, she noticed too late and didn't compensate when the Mutant Yooyu lurched toward her with all its considerable strength. Helmo launched it toward the goal, but she felt the impact inside her leg, and her aim was wildly off.
Then the pain hit. The old injury opened up inside her leg, and on top of it was a searing cut from where the Yooyu's spike had caught her wrong. Helmo felt as if small fireworks had gone off in her abused tendons and behind her eyes; she tried to recover, but her leg buckled and folded. Helmo was left struggling alone in the middle of the field, dizzy and ready to weep at the prospect of being in pain and out of play for so long again. She'd been suspicious, but not careful enough; she'd let her team down....
She thought she glimpsed, through her sweat and tears, the Maraquan goalkeeper laughing as she floundered and the Yooyu bounding off in the wrong direction. After that, she saw only concerned expressions....
...Until she glimpsed a glitter of eyes on the Mutant Yooyu right before it took a physically improbable bounce, changed course, and dived past behind the Koi goalkeeper, just brushing his fin. The Koi turned and screeched in rage...
Date: Jan 25th
...And Helmo thought she saw the Yooyu smile as it slipped back into its hole.
Helmo groaned where she lay. Smiling? Her brains must be skewed as well as her leg. Yooyus used in the game were heavily impartial -- it was the result of weeks of training. All of their personal feelings or prejudices concerning the game were to be strictly abandoned.
She could see why.
"Helmo, are you okay?" Relle's voice was breathless; the Jetsam had just run to her side.
She wasn't okay -- not even close. The pain in her leg was excruciating; all of the old scar tissue had been ripped anew, she could feel it, and by the looks of it she wouldn't even be able to play for the Cup this year. "I'll be fine," she replied softly as her teammate helped her up. It might be a lie, but there was no reason to discourage her team during the scrimmage game. It would only distract them from the win.
As Relle helped her to the bench and Ditan ran for ice and wraps, Helmo fought to keep her pain from showing on her face.
"Relle," she said, "I know I'll be warming the bench for the rest of the game, but do me a favor, okay? Watch that Yooyu. It's dangerous."
If Relle still thought Helmo's suspicions silly, at least he had the kindness not to say. "Whatever you say, Helmo," he replied, as Ditan plopped the healing supplies down next to her on the bench. "We've got to go -- timeout's over."
Helmo's stomach did nervous dances as she watched her team gather up. The Yooyu rose from the center slot in a flurry of spines, and Tonie the Maraquan Goalkeeper was glaring at it as if preparing to shoot sparks from his eyes...
Date: Jan 25th
Gingerly rubbing her leg, Helmo kept her eyes on the ball, waiting to see if it did anything else out of the ordinary. Out of the corner of her eye, she glimpsed Elon and turned to face him directly. His face wasn't angry, the way Tonie's was, but rather... well, if Helmo didn't know that the ball had just jumped into the goalie's net, she would have said he looked happy. Before she had time to ponder this, though, the game began.
The Yooyu shot into the air, curling into a spiny little ball. Poke caught it in her sling and threw it to Meela. Meela passed it to Relle, who in turn slung it at the goal. Tonie, the Maraquan Goalkeeper, simply sidestepped, and the Yooyu bounced off his protective gear. It soared through the air, landing right in Elon's outstretched sling.
That's funny, thought Helmo, still gritting her teeth at the dull throbbing in her leg.
Elon brought his sling behind his head and flung it forward. The Mutant Yooyu flew through the air, heading in the direction of one of the Maraquan teammates -- and then suddenly veered off-course, right toward the net.
"It's been tampered with!" Relle cried. "Helmo was right!"
Ditan jumped to catch the Yooyu, but it evaded his grasp and sunk itself into the net.
"Ref!" cried Meela, turning to the referee. "That shouldn't count! That Yooyu obviously has a mind of its own!"
The referee, a hard-faced Shoyru, was silent, thinking it over for a moment. "All right," he said, evidently having reached his decision. "As you know, the score was 5 to 5. Although it is evident that the Yooyu has indeed been tampered with, it was not necessarily the fault of young Elon here. The Maraquan team gets a point -- but the Mutant Yooyu is to be confiscated. As Yooyuball goes to seven points, Kiko Lake still has a chance of winning. In the mean time," he continued, "we'll have a time out."
Helmo's team came traipsing over to the bench she was sitting on. "How's the leg?" asked Meela.
"Oh...all right," lied Helmo. "Just go win that scrimmage for me, will you?"
The team laughed and began to chat amongst themselves. Helmo turned away, looking toward the Maraquan team. They were laughing together as well, but their smiles were cruel, and Elon seemed to be miming something flying through the air. Only Tonie looked unhappy -- his fins were folded, and his lower lip was sticking out.
"Hey, Ditan," whispered Helmo. "Look at the Maraquan team."
Ditan glanced over. "They look happy," he said, shrugging. "I would too, if the Yooyu had changed course suddenly and soared right into the opposing team's net." His expression was bitter.
"I think they're up to something," said Helmo, frowning thoughtfully. What she really wanted was to be able to hear what they were saying, but the Maraquans were too far away. Helmo was in no condition to creep up stealthily and eavesdrop on their conversation, either.
"Hey, Relle," she whispered. "Can you do something for me?"
Date: Jan 26th
"What?" Relle asked curiously.
"Um," Helmo cleared her throat and continued. "Could you, ah, maybe go see what they're talking about?"
"NO!" Relle crossed his arms and looked over at the other team. "Well, they do look a little suspicious. Maybe I could just go listen in for a few seconds..." The Jetsam started across the field toward the other team.
Before he could even get close to the Maraquans, though, something caught Helmo's eye. Something was moving around under Tonie's folded fins. Helmo peered closer, and suddenly, two very familiar glittering eyes peeked out at her from under the Koi's fin.
"They have the Yooyu!" Helmo shouted. "That's cheating!" She gingerly got off the bench and hobbled over to the referee.
"What do you want?" the Shoyru barked at Helmo.
"The Maraquans have the Yooyu!"
"Well then." The referee walked over to the other team and plucked the Yooyu from Tonie's fin. The Mutant Yooyu unfurled in his hands, revealing that it was happily munching on a piece of coral cake. "You're disqualified for bribing the Yooyu! Kiko Lake wins!"
The Maraquans threw down their slings and stormed off the field. Tonie turned and shouted back at the Kiko Lake team, "This isn't over!" As he was leaving, though, Helmo noticed that he was moving as if one of his fins had been hurt.
Maybe he's injured, just like me, she thought, and he was afraid of letting his team down, so he convinced them to cheat. I miss playing, but why play if you don't win honestly?
The throbbing pain in her foreleg seemed to disappear, and Helmo stretched her foreleg and cheered with the rest of her team.
Date: Jan 26th
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