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||You are on Week 332
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 Thirty Two Ends August 10
Mara jumped in and out of the waves, relishing the cool surge of water over her body every time she dove back in. Gathering her strength, the Peophin flew up into the air, water droplets sparkling off her flying mane, and flipped into the waves again.
"You're such a show-off!" her friend Nariel called. The Koi laughed as she swam calmly alongside Mara, watching the Peophin doing twirls in the water.
"It's such a nice day for it!" Mara called back. "Look, the water is so calm! It's a great relief from all the storms we've been having lately."
"The weather has been kind of weird," Nariel replied, stretching out her fins and enjoying the sun-warmed waters near the surface. "I almost thought that last storm was going to demolish my home entirely, but we got lucky. Your home was left pretty much intact too, wasn't it, Mara?"
The Koi glanced around to look at her friend, who had frozen suddenly with a look of worry on her face.
"Mara?" the Koi repeated, more concernedly now.
"Something's wrong," the Peophin said. "Something feels wrong about this current..."
Date: Aug 3rd
...Nariel frowned. To her the water seemed calm. The sky was cloudless and the waves gently crashed against her. Everything seemed fine.
But then again...
Lately, the weather had been out of control. Storm clouds appeared in calm skies. Calm waves became rough and dangerous. Tidal waves crashed against the shores of Mystery Island and Krawk Island. Maelstroms and whirlpools swept the underwater city of Maraqua into panic. The sea was not itself lately. It had become more dangerous, treacherous...but why?
Nariel looked up to the sky and gasped. It was no longer an endless horizon of blue. Dark clouds danced high above her and thunder roared in the distance. The waves became rough and violent and lightning flashes in the dark sky.
“It’s a storm,” Mara whispered, stating the obvious.
“Another one?” cried Nariel, struggling to keep above the raging waters. “But it was so calm a few seconds ago, why are we getting all the storms lately?”
“I don’t know, but we should get out of here before-”
Mara’s panicked cry was cut short as the Peophin was swept away by a rogue wave.
“Mara!” shrieked Nariel as she leapt out of the raging waters, determined to find her friend. She saw Mara being dragged away by the current, a speck of lavender in the sea of darkness.
Nariel breathed a sigh of relief as Mara broke to the surface and began fighting the current. But she also saw something else. Something that didn’t exactly calm her.
“Whirlpool!” Mara’s shriek was barely audible over the roaring wind. The Peophin was being dragged into the swirling void. Nariel screamed as she to was sucked into the maelstrom.
They spun around, unable to control themselves as the water sucked them down. And then, it was over. They disappeared beneath the waves.
But it was far from over.
The whirlpool refused to let them escape. They were prisoners in the vicious current. Everything was a blur as spun violently around. And then...everything stopped.
Mara and Nariel trembled as the gently floated in the water. The roaring of the water, the maelstrom’s ferocious spinning...it had all disappeared. Everything was quiet, and calm. It was as if the storm had finished.
Nariel opened her eyes and gasped. She could see the dark waters above her, accompanied by a bright flash of lightning. The storm wasn’t over, it was still raging around him. And yet they were safe.
They were in the middle of the storm, floating in the clear, calm waters. They were unaffected...and safe. But where were they?
Mara’s eyes fluttered open and she to gasped. “Nariel, what are we doing in old Maraqua?...”
Date: Aug 6th
..."Are you sure?" whispered Nariel, scared.
Mara nodded. "It-it looks like King Kelpbeard's old palace I thin-think. We went on a tour of it on the-the outside a few years ago, re-remember?"
The Koi shivered. "Yeah, I do- but how do we get out of here?"
It looked like they were in a throne room of some sorts, but semi-demolished. The cavernous ceiling was crumbled to one side, and mosaics were cracking. The doors were hung open to reveal a hallway in terrible shape.
"Let's try that hallway," she replied. The two swam out of the room, and found that the hallway went two ways -- left and right.
"I say right," said Mara.
"I say left," Nariel replied. The two stared at each other. "Fine, right it is."
The floor was cracked and crumbled, and the two realized that Captain Scarblade must have been incredibly evil to wreck havoc on such a place.
"Just look- the floors were tiled and everything! There were probably elaborate tapestries here and statues here, too!" cried Mara.
"I don't think he cared about any of that," replied Nariel. "Let's just be careful. They kept us on the outside of this place for a reason."
Continuing along the hallway, the two were aware of a strange sound emitting from a room far up to the left. They sounded like-
"Footsteps?" asked Nariel. "You can't have footsteps underwater!"...
Date: Aug 6th
..."Unless," Mara answered sagely, further displaying her wisdom by dropping her voice to a whisper, "whatever it is is too heavy to float."
Thinking on that, Nariel realized that it did make sense, although what precisely would be down here that would fit that bill was a question she wasn't given time to ponder. Mara's hoof was already at her back, shoving her underneath a slab of flooring that had been jammed into a sloping angle by the violence that had devastated the rest of the room.
"Sshh," the Peophin cautioned. "Those footsteps are coming toward us."
Straining her ears, which were regrettably less sharp than those of her friend, Nariel realized that, once again, Mara was right. They were indeed being approached.
That realization sent the spotted Koi's eyes darting wildly around. Aside from the place where they were hiding, there was no real cover to be had in the long, snaking corridor. If the coming entity was unfriendly, and if they were discovered, they would be given a choice between being cornered here, or fleeing along an open hallway.
Clunk... clunk... The footsteps were near enough now that Nariel began to be able to make guesses about their owner. The repeated impacts, echoing through the broken hallway's flowing reaches, sounded almost like the meeting of stone against stone; but Nariel knew that stone paint brushes had vanished from Neopia long ago. And just as strange as the nature of the footfalls was the agile lightness with which they traversed the hall. Stone or not stone, this was no huge, lumbering creature that was drawing near to them.
Curiosity began to build within the Koi, piling into the scales opposite her fear. And very slowly, those scales began to tip. The urge she felt to poke her head into the open was strong enough to border on the unnatural. Only the presence of Mara prevented Nariel from daring a peek outside of their hiding place; no amount of curiosity was worth putting her closest friend in danger. And so she simply waited, the speed of her pulse accelerating as the footsteps grew still louder.
As it turned out, peeking was unnecessary. The owner of the footsteps moved into their line of vision of its own accord: first a pair of delicate stone-grey feet, then the long, sculpted legs, and then finally an exquisitely proportioned torso topped by a beautiful carven face framed by a frozen tumble of chiseled hair and backed by a pair of flaring, leathery faerie wings...
Date: Aug 7th
...It was all that Nariel could do to suppress her gasp of shock. The elegant faerie stepped within mere inches of the friends' hiding place, her stone feet beating heavily against the cold ground in perfect rhythm, almost mechanical. The only part of the creature that seemed to be out of symmetry was the occasional clink of metal on stone, and as Nariel peered through the water she could see an odd amulet sparkling on the end of a rusty chain around the faerie's neck.
Nariel's awe and curiosity lingered, but the undertone of fear remained as the faerie walked past them down the hallway. Nariel's fins prickled in the gentle current that followed the faerie as she passed, so close that either Neopet could have reached out and touched her. But neither did, and soon she was gone, the echoing footsteps still drifting dully through the water.
Feeling it was safe to speak, Nariel whispered, "I can't believe it."
"Do you know who that is?" whispered Mara, flitting out of their hiding spot and into the empty hallway.
Nariel followed. "The Darkest Faerie," she said in an awed tone, as the stone-on-stone continued to sound from the depths of an unknown passage.
"Her statue," corrected Mara. "That can't really be her, can it?"
"I don't know," said Nariel, remembering the strange necklace. "But there has to be something wrong. Statues don't just get up and walk around."
"She must be the one!" cried Mara in excitement, her voice ringing through the narrow, watery passage. "She must be enchanting the ocean, and making all these storms!"
"Statues can't cast enchantments," said Nariel with a frown. "Can they?"
"I don't know," said Mara, "but who else could it be?"
A resounding thud echoed throughout the hallway, causing Mara and Nariel to whirl around. Neither pet had noticed it when the heavy footsteps had stopped, but both jumped immediately when a stonyy foot stepped into the passage. There was no time to react, for the Darkest Faerie's statue had rounded the corner and was facing the two Neopets with one arm outstretched and a terrifying blank look in her eyes...
Date: Aug 7th
...For Nariel, time seemed to freeze. She could hear the beating of her own heart echoing in her head, drowning out all attempts at thought. Then the Koi’s observant eyes noticed something; the amulet was pulsing, exactly like a heart.
“Get the amulet off her!” she whispered to Mara. “I’ll distract her.”
The Peophin did not look too happy about this, but Nariel had already cupped her fins around her mouth to shut. “Hey! Stone-face!” The statue looked at her with those horrifying blank eyes and swung its arm around towards her.
Mara took advantage of its seeming distraction to flick her tail and swim towards it, wondering exactly why she was doing this. She tried to dart behind the statue, but faster than she could’ve believed possible the petrified arm had swung around and gripped her by the throat.
Mara choked, trying to draw in the oxygen she needed, her legs and tail thrashing the water in an attempt to escape. Nariel, looking horrified, swam to help her friend, but her fins could not budge that powerful stone grip. A black haze was misting Mara’s vision.
There was an odd splintering sound. One of the Peophin’s flailing hooves had smashed into the amulet...
Date: Aug 8th
...The amulet's steady pulsing grew erratic and the water around it started to boil. Crackling sounds could be faintly heard from the amulet. Mara's struggles slowed as the jewel's pulsing quickened. Nariel grew frantic and she futilely pummeled the statue, her fins flying, but to no effect.
Finally, the amulet started to splinter. Nariel grabbed Mara around the waist and with one mighty, adrenaline-fueled tug, she freed Mara from the statue's stony grip.
Nariel moved quickly. As the amulet cracked and pulsed, she whipped her tail out behind her and propelled herself and her friend away from the statue. Only a second after Mara was free, the amulet exploded, sending shards of the jewel everywhere. Nariel and Mara escaped unscathed, and tumbled backwards in the water over the hall's tiled floor.
Nariel and Mara floated near the floor, gasping for breath. Mara's consciousness was returning and Nariel was trembling from the adrenaline and terror she had just endured. Nariel cautiously turned back to where the statue was standing and was relieved to see that it had been reduced to no more than just what it was supposed to be: a lump of chiseled rock. She shuddered, thinking of how close she and her friend had come... Then she sighed and turned back to Mara who was still kicking weakly.
Nariel gently shook Mara. "It's safe now! That statue is inanimate again. Wake up!"
Mara groaned and looked over at the statue. "That was interesting... What was that all about, anyway?"
Then a dark shadow fell over the two friends. Nariel and Mara froze in fear. A long and slender hand grasped Nariel's shoulder...
Date: Aug 8th
...Twisting her neck upwards, Nariel saw that she'd been snagged by a faerie's hands, with long cruel nails and slim unadorned wrists. As her terrified gaze swept upwards with dread, she saw more and more details of the three faeries that had emerged - the long flowing hair that fanned out in the ocean currents, reminiscent of seaweed. Three pale faces, with pointed chins and greedy eyes. Strands of kelp were woven into their ragged clothes, giving the sisters the unmistakable countenance of creatures of the deep. Three malicious smiles, curving up to bare sharp pearly teeth.
Nariel stammered with dread, shuddering at their clammy touch. Everyone in Maraqua knew legends of the Drenched, the voracious faerie trio that so loved to bring about misery. She'd heard all the tales as a child - when the good pirate Garin had raced to defeat the evil Scarblade, his first mate Jacques had been captured by the Drenched. But she never dreamed that they would meet...
Mara groaned, still not fully conscious from her frightening bout with the statue. Woozily, the Peophin pushed herself upright, dizzy vision scanning the dilapidated tiled flooring. Shards of red were littered at her hooves - were those from the pendant?
The faerie sister that gripped the Koi's shoulder gave a malevolent hiss. "You silly girl - how dare you destroy our Mistress's pendant! We need that for her freedom!"
"It is no problem, sister," offered another in a sibilant drawl. She smiled cruelly, gesturing with her long-nailed hands. "It is a simple matter to repair the gemstone."
"No, we need its power! If the Mistress's pendant no longer functions properly, we cannot create the Maelstrom!"
Mara stiffened. "M-maelstrom?!" she sputtered, angry eyes glaring at the aquatic witches. "So you're the ones creating these storms, threatening our homes and families?! What could you possibly gain by making the ocean unsafe to those who live in it?"
Nariel struggled to pull free of the Drenched's clutches, but the faerie's grip proved too powerful. Slumping in defeat, the Koi looked imploringly to her best friend, silent eyes wishing desperately for help.
The faerie trio giggled - a rasping, unpleasant sound, accentuated by glimpses of their eerily sharp teeth. "Why, silly girl, you don't understand! After Scarblade's defeat, we've been in hiding... and no one cares about us anymore!"
"We've received no peace offerings, no random encounters - we've been all but forgotten, and we've become very very bored..."
"And we want more. We want the power and fear that we deserve. Before we controlled small bits of the ocean - now, with the pendant's strength, we can control all of the ocean! And once we create the Maelstrom, a mighty storm to wipe out every coastline..."
"We will use the pendant's magic to restore our Mistress, the Darkest Faerie, to power. And with her status, we will be elevated to our rightful positions in the world!"
Mara and Nariel shuddered. This was far beyond what they could combat - they had no magic, so how could they possible fight against faeries...?! Then suddenly, a thought came to Mara, clear as a bell. The Peophin looked to the laughing Drenched, and quietly asked, "So... all you need to do is to repair this pendant, the one you used to animate the statue?"
"Yes," hissed the faerie sisters. "It's a simple matter, to gather all the pieces. Our magic should be able to repair the jewel easily, which is the only part we need. And from there - eh? What - what are you doing, you foolish child?! Stop - stop that - !!" she began to screech, yanking Nariel into their trio. "We have your friend - don't do - "
Mara scooped up the jewel shards in her hooves, glaring in determination. "If you don't set Nariel free, I'll swallow them. And then you'll never get your chance to destroy our ocean!"...
Date: Aug 9th
..."Mara, NO!" Nariel screamed. "Don't hesitate. Just get rid of them! Saving me isn't worth the entire ocean."
The Peophin froze for a moment, staring at her friend. But Nariel...
Her silent whisper was interrupted by a rasping, hacking cough that sent tingles down her spine and set her teeth on edge. "Noble little fools," one of the faeries hissed, cruel amusement twisting her pallid lips. "What do you think that will achieve? Even if you could force those sharp pieces down your throat, Neopets' bodies are fragile, easily destroyed. It would be easy to retrieve the shards."
And it didn't take a genius to figure out how they would go about doing that. Mara's courage faltered, and a shudder ran through her breath.
"Come now," the faerie crooned, her attempts at a soothing murmur grinding in the Peophin's ears. "This is all beyond your scope. You're just a pair of children. No one will be able to blame you for failing against the three of us."
Those words... soft, gentle words from between the lips of a monster... they sounded almost like an attempt to negotiate. The realization hit Mara like the impact of a white wave smashing itself on the shore. Somewhere behind those chilling eyes' attempt to smile, beneath the false warmth of a drastic step out of character, this faerie was afraid. The only reason why a being such as her would cease to bully and threaten in favor of offering sweet comfort was because she was covering all of her bases... because she really, really didn't want those pieces to be swallowed.
But why? She had just finished telling Mara that her desperate attempt was no good. If the jewel fragments were so easily retrieved, why try so hard to prevent Mara from swallowing them?
It didn't matter. At the moment, the only thing that counted was keeping the Drenched from completing their plan. And that meant doing the one thing she was certain that they didn't want her to do.
Shoving her head downward, Mara crammed the jagged shards into her mouth, and forced them down her throat. Instantly cries erupted from the faeries, in tandem with the silent screams that exploded in her throat as the sharp fragments worked their way down, nearly making her gag.
But she couldn't gag - not now. She had to finish swallowing these pieces, because that was what the Drenched were so afraid of her doing. No matter how sharp they were, no matter how much it hurt, she had to...
But suddenly it didn't hurt anymore. Mara blinked at the suddenness with which the agony faded, her tear-blurred vision flicking confusedly over the frozen-faced faeries and the Koi they still held in their suddenly unmoving grasp. Her flickering eyelashes batted away the tears, and her eyesight cleared to reveal a look of stricken amazement on Nariel's scaly face.
"Mara," Nariel whispered softly, her voice breathless with shock, "what happened to you?"
"You have sealed your fate, is what happened!" the faerie who held Nariel suddenly screeched, flinging the Koi aside. "Sisters, join me! We cannot let her get away with this!"...
Date: Aug 9th
...Mara felt with awe and fear the terrible power that surged through her body. This was what had enabled the statue to live; this was the ultimate strength of the Drenched. And this was what she could use to defeat them!
The faeries lunged at her, and she fought back, striking out at the faeries with her hooves, which had begun to glow with a pulsating red light. Nariel was watching with wide eyes, her mouth open in a small, petrified ‘O’.
“You think you can fight us, you miserable little Peophin?” one of the faeries roared. “That magic you have in your body is ours!”
“If you try to use it, you will become one of us...”
“...we will use you to take over the oceans. All your friends will hate you...”
“I won’t!” cried Nariel, flashing into their midst. Mara saw with terror that she, too, was glowing red. “Whatever you do to my friend, you do to me as well! We’re in this together and we will not let you take away our home!”
The faeries laughed their screechy, soul-wrenching laughter.
“Will you really? Then fight, pathetic creatures!”
“Succumb to the power of our pendant!”
“Go on, silly children, try to fight if you can!”
Mara thought furiously. The faeries were trying to prevent her and Nariel from “getting away”. It seemed that if they stayed and tried to use the power, they would become evil themselves...
...but the power was so strong, so tempting, and the faeries’ voices were so enchanting...
“Nariel!” she screamed, struggling with all her might against the temptation that shook her entire body. “We must go, now, we must break the spell!”
But the Koi’s eyes were red, maniacal. The faeries were laughing.
“It is too late now, child, your friend belongs to us...”
Mara watched in horror, torn between escape and watching her friend fall to evil. She thought her heart would rip with the pain...
And suddenly Nariel was crying, “I won’t listen to your poisonous words! I love the ocean as it is now, and I will not let it fall to you!” She turned her back on the faeries, swam towards Mara, and together they fled.
The floor exploded. The water shook with a scream so horrendous that there was no living voice to describe it. The two friends struck out for home as fast as they could, struggling against an invisible wall. The red power burned them, trying to hold them back, but eventually it relented.
And the pillars, ceiling, everything, lay in a mass of ruins behind them.
Mara and Nariel clung to each other for a long time, sobbing with the shock of their ordeal. It was over, and they were safe. They could hardly believe it.
* * * * *
After a long, arduous journey, Mara and Nariel saw again the corals, the colourful fishes, the great sedate clams that framed their beloved neighbourhood. The storms that had ravaged the seas for a such a long time had calmed, and everywhere there was life and luster.
“Hi there, Mara! Good to see you, Nariel!” their neighbours called in unison.
Home could not have been sweeter.
Date: Aug 10th
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