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||You are on Week 340
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 Forty Ends October 12
Careful not to make the slightest sound, Roodie slithered along the hallway of Roo Castle, glancing around on either side to make sure no one could see him. It was important that he got to the throne room undetected; the success of his entire mission depended upon it.
"Are you sure that we are serving His Majesty the correct soup tonight?"
Roodie flattened himself against the ground as two cooks hurried across the hallway. Still arguing, they disappeared into the castle kitchen, leaving him to breathe a sigh of relief. He was so close now...
Gathering up his strength, the red Blumaroo slid along on all fours, only to bump into... a red Blumaroo.
"Wha- what are you doing?!" he yelped in surprise.
"Me?" the other red Blumaroo cried. "Lorank sent me to the throne room to- I mean, oops!" he corrected, covering his hands with his mouth. "It's none of your business!"
"What?!?" Roodie shouted back. He noticed his tone and quickly lowered his voice. "Lorank can't have sent you. I'M supposed to be his lone operative." He narrowed his eyes. "Unless you tricked him into thinking you were me..."
"I could say the same for you!" the other Blumaroo shot back indignantly. "I'm sure I'M the competent one here."
"I don't have time for this," Roodie snapped impatiently. "I know how we can settle this..."
Author: REAL author... or am I?|
Date: Oct 5th
"No, you don't," the other Blumaroo interrupted. "Obviously Lorank sent me to keep an eye on you, just to make sure you don't mess up. But that's a secret, you weren't supposed to know. You can't be allowed to fail!"
Roodie narrowed his eyes at the other Blumaroo. Something didn't ring true with this explanation, but he decided to go along with it.
"So," Roodie stated, "then you will be able to help me solve the riddle to get through the secret door."
"Ummm... well... of course I can," stammered the other Blumaroo. "I'm very good at riddles."
Humph, thought Roodie. But this mission was too important to stand here arguing with the stranger. He had to get to the throne room and soon. He knew how important success was.
"Fine!" said Roodie. "Follow me, and QUIETLY! If we stand here all day jabbering, we're sure to be discovered."
Roodie took the lead and disappeared into the shadows of the hallway leading to his goal. A few feet away from the entrance, he stopped suddenly. The Blumaroo behind him didn't notice in time and stepped on his tail.
"Ouch!" whispered Roodie angrily. "Are you trying to get us caught? There are guards by the door, and we want to avoid them at all costs!"
"So how do we get in?" asked the the other Blumaroo.
Roodie gestured to a shadowy spot in an alcove behind a statue near the door and tiptoed over, melting into the darkness...
Date: Oct 8th
Out of the corner of his eye, Roodie glimpsed a puzzled expression flit across the Blumaroo's face and smirked. He was obviously an amateur. All evidence pointed to his mediocrity. First, he had let slip that he had been sent to spy on him by Lorank; second, he was an awful liar; and third, he just had no clue at all what was going on. What a fool!
Roodie's smirk vanished when he remembered the fool was his temporary partner.
"What now, genius?" a voice whispered sarcastically in his ear. Roodie nearly jumped but managed to keep his surprise concealed.
"Now, we need a diversion to slip past them," Roodie replied.
The Blumaroo's eyed widened. "If you're planning to use me as bait or something, it's not happening."
"No, you incompetent fool!" Roodie said in a low whisper. Beneath his fur he could feel his face flushing with frustration and was glad for the shadows. A hint of a satisfied smile twitched at the corners of the Blumaroo's mouth. Roodie's suspicions were immediately aroused. Maybe this Blumaroo was not an amateur but a very skilled actor? That would probably be a better explanation. His employer would never hire a fool unless, as he'd stated before, the Blumaroo had tricked Lorank into thinking he was Roodie.
Roodie's head began to throb from all the intense thinking. "Listen, we need to knock down the statue. Preferably at the guards so that they'll be so concerned with their own safety that they won't realise it was a diversion."
"Isn't it a bit... obvious?" the stranger asked uncertainly.
Roodie shrugged. "Desperate times call for desperate measures." Roodie placed a shoulder on the cold stone of the stature and his ally followed suit. "One... two... three!"
A few seconds later they heard a shout. "Look out!"
For the past few years, Roodie's insatiable curiosity and his penchant for going places he wasn't supposed to had developed within him the skill of moving around unseen and unheard. As the statue crashed to the floor, he used those skills to sneak undetected past the confused guards and one step closer to his destination...
Date: Oct 9th
In the hustle and bustle of the busy kitchens, two red Blumaroos sneaking in the side doors went unnoticed. By everyone, that is, except the Chief Chef. The large, intimidating blue Chia collared Roodie as he slunk by.
"Are you two the new apprentices?" she shouted over the clattering and talking of the minor chefs. Helpless in her grasp, Roodie nodded and tried to wriggle away, scowling at the large smirk plastered across the other Blumaroo's face.
"Good!" exclaimed the Chef, tossing two big white aprons their way and releasing Roodie, who rubbed his sore neck furiously. "You can get started now," she instructed, pointing to a teetering pile of dirty dishes. "Now wash!" And with that, she turned back to the preparation of the Royal Soup.
The other Blumaroo looked despairingly at the small mountain of china, then pleadingly at Roodie. Roodie, reaching for a sponge, lowered one eyelid slowly in a conspiratorial wink.
The Blumaroo's eyes widened in surprise.
"You mean," he hissed at Roodie, "this is part of the plan?!"
Roodie's head had been whirling with thoughts since this amazing opportunity had come his way. Would he ever get a more golden chance? Not likely.
"Would you like to hear the plan?" he whispered to the Blumaroo. He thought he saw a slight flicker in the Blumaroo's dark eyes, even as his head bobbed eagerly.
"Here it is," Roodie murmured, passing a slip of parchment to the Blumaroo's hand. The expression on the other's face as he read the note made Roodie even more suspicious.
With a gasp, the Blumaroo stared at Roodie with new eyes.
"But, this says that your mission is to..."
Date: Oct 9th
"...safeguard the King's soup?" the Blumaroo finished, now looking between Roodie and the note. After a few seconds, his eyes lowered in excitement, and he sighed. "Or is this your idea of a joke?"
Roodie glanced over his shoulder, looking around at all the other kitchen staff scurrying around the room. "Of course not, fool. Three nights ago, as you should have been aware, His Majesty received a bad bit of food poisoning and was completely unfit for his kingly duties."
"So, we're here to make sure it doesn't happen again?" the Blumaroo asked, his eyes having lit up again slightly.
"That's right," Roodie responded, now picking up a particularly filthy dish in front of him. "We can't tell anyone else about this, either, because we have no idea who did it. We don't know if there's anyone we can trust at all..."
Roodie momentarily stared at his ally as he finished his words, but immediately turned back toward the dishes. The other Blumaroo also picked up a plate and starting scrubbing it viciously with a soapy hand towel.
"The King only got back to his duties today, so it seems like now is the most likely time for the poisoner to strike again. If he keeps being unfit, then a new temporary king will have to rule in his stead. Plus, the poison takes effect only a few hours after it's digested, so taste testers can't help," Roodie explained. To make things worse, he realised, the poisoner could be anyone, perhaps just hired by the real villain.
Apparently, this information had made the other Blumaroo too excited. He had just snapped a dinner plate clean in half after going at a gruesome stain with too much force, and was now grinning sheepishly at all those who had stopped to glare at him.
Roodie, however, wasn't very concerned with that. He was willing himself not to constantly look over his shoulder at the King's soup, so as not to arouse suspicion. If the poisoner realised who he was, or even just suspected him, all his chances were lost...
Date: Oct 10th
The other Blumaroo was also keeping his eyes intently focused on the dirty plates before him. Amateur, Roodie couldn't help but think with a smirk. Anyone could easily slip the as-of-now unnamed poison into the soup bowl without him ever knowing. Or slipping it into the King's salad. Or bread. Or even the special spiced apple pie whose freshly baked scent wafted to the Blumaroo's nose as it crossed the kitchen. At least Roodie was keeping his eyes open and his senses alert instead of focusing on a grease stain.
But now wasn't the time to be rolling his eyes at the other Blumaroo -- he should, in fact, probably be thanking Fyora for the stupidity of his lookalike. It would be all too easy. It would all be far, far too easy. Just one little tweak in the ingredients, and the health of King Roo would be preserved for ever.
Roodie smiled at that thought. Perhaps all of Roo Island would thank him for being the saviour of their monarch. They'd throw a parade... build a statue in his honour... give him medals and Neopoints and a number of other shiny things...
"Lock you up in prison, maybe?" someone hissed in his ear, jerking Roodie out of his daydreams. It was the red Blumaroo.
"Lock me in prison?" Roodie asked, confusion crinkling his forehead. He'd thought the Blumaroo was an amateur... he'd thought his tracks were far too well-covered...
"Oh -- um -- what? Sorry," he mumbled. "Must have been talking to someone else."
Roodie watched the Blumaroo push his way through the kitchen, frowning. The back of his neck prickled uncomfortably, and the only thing he could think of was, You've been discovered...
Date: Oct 10th
Roodie continued washing his dishes with vigour, while discreetly sending glances sideways at the King's soup and trying to ignore the red Blumaroo. Through his peripheral vision, he surveyed the occupants of the kitchen. These were the key suspects. Forget what the other Blumaroo said. If I'm discovered, he thought, I may as well try my hardest to find the real poisoner as fast as possible.
First, he saw the large body of the Chief Chef. It was possible she could be the culprit... no one would suspect her. The blue Chia was a well-respected master cook and had been in her position for nearly ten years. What motive would she have? Roodie had heard that the Chief Chef was quite good friends with the King. Yet, her giant figure and stern, perfectionist eyes gave her an intimidating, almost frightening look, and Roodie did not feel comfortable crossing her off the list of suspects.
Then there was the sous-chef, a green Flotsam who was obviously intent with minute details. A rising culinary prodigy, the Flotsam had been in the King's kitchen for just a few months now. He was currently bent over the dessert, carefully applying chocolate cream. No one would think anything strange if the Flotsam took a moment to insert a little extra... perhaps the poison would just look like syrup...
Then there were three cooks and two assistants. Roodie did not know much about them. He tried to get a better look at them, but the two assistants stayed away from the bustling main area, cleaning when needed and occasionally leaving to take out the trash. The other cooks also kept their heads down, obviously trying to work their hardest to meet royalty's standards. Roodie didn't notice any fidgeting or anything out of the ordinary yet, but he could not see the three cooks' faces and that sent a nervous feeling over his skin.
Roodie turned to the other red Blumaroo. This is no amateur, he thought, and the thought startled him. He knows a lot, but he isn't willing to share. There was something mysterious about the fellow. It made Roodie feel uneasy, though he couldn't pinpoint exactly why.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, Roodie saw the sous-chef look around warily before extracting a thin vial of green liquid from his pocket. His heartbeat quickened. This could be dangerous, or it could just be a normal ingredient. If he stopped the Flotsam now and he wasn't the real poisoner, the actual culprit could take the moment of chaos to do what he needed unwatched. But if he was the real poisoner, then Roodie had to stop him quietly.
Suddenly, his Blumaroo lookalike was yelling and diving toward the sous-chef, knocking him down and sending the liquid onto the floor, where it oozed into the cracks between the tiles.
If they hadn't been discovered before, they sure were now...
Date: Oct 11th
"Just what do you think you're doing?" screeched the Chief Chef. The blue Chia pounded her feet against the kitchen floor as she made her way toward the other Blumaroo.
Roodie could only groan and hope they didn't notice him. That idiot, surely they had been discovered now...
"The Flotsam!" squeaked the other Blumaroo. "He's trying to poison the King! I saw him extract a vial of some mysterious, green liquid. If that's not poison, then what is?" He was wrestling the squirming sous-chef. The green Flotsam was glaring at the red Blumaroo pinning him to the floor with utter disgust.
"Preposterous!" roared the Flotsam. "I would never do such a thing!"
"You must think we're idiots or something," the Chief Chef continued in a loud, angry voice. "I've worked with Raoul for years, and he would never do such a thing!"
The red Blumaroo faltered and the green Flotsam was able to escape his grasp. "Y-you mean you weren't poisoning him?"
The Flotsam brushed himself off indignantly. "Of course not!"
The red Blumaroo blinked. "Then why did you put that green stuff in the soup?"
"That green stuff is a rare, imported spice from Meridell! It is the most vital ingredient for the soup I was making!"
The red Blumaroo blinked again, defeated, and slowly rose from the floor. "Oh..."
The Chief Chef glared at him. "Poison the King, what utter nonsense!" And she turned away harshly, ordering her fellow chefs to get back to work and prepare dinner.
Roodie breathed a sigh of relief. This had worked out better than he had planned... And amazingly, he had not yet been discovered. But before he could do anything, his blubbering look-alike was talking again.
"But someone is trying to poison the King!"
The Chief Chef snorted. "And how do you know that?"
"I saw him do it."
Instantly, the kitchen became silent. The Chief Chef whirled around, angry eyes wide with a hint of worry. "What? Really?"
The red Blumaroo nodded. "Yup. In fact he's still in the kitchen right now."
"Right there," the red Blumaroo raised an arm and pointed directly at Roodie.
This Roodie had not been expecting at all. "What?" he blinked. "Me? You can't be serious! I would never-"
But the residents of the kitchen would not listen to him. They were advancing toward him slowly, as if he might pounce any second.
The sous-chef shouted, "Get him!"
And then they were on him. There were a few painful seconds of struggle, and Roodie was vaguely reminded of the cliché whirlwind of arms and legs that appeared in various comic strips.
When the struggling stopped, Roodie found his arms pinned behind his back by two assistant cooks.
"Take him to the dungeon," said the Chief Chef.
"No! I didn't poison the King's food! I would never do such a thing!" Roodie protested. But he knew no one would listen to him...
Amid all the chaos, no one noticed the dark gleam creep into the other Blumaroo's eye as he smirked triumphantly. No one noticed him reach into his pocket and withdraw a vial of a mysterious, shadowy substance. No one noticed him reach out and, with a quick flick of his wrist, dump the liquid into the soup. No one noticed at all.
No one, except for Roodie...
Date: Oct 11th
Roodie desperately tried to wriggle out of the two cooks' holds, but to no avail. "No, wait! I can prove I didn't do it!"
The other Blumaroo didn't look nervous at all, like he might be caught, but the Chief Chef stared at Roodie with foreboding eyes for a moment. "All right, then do it quickly."
"I haven't been near the soup at any time! I couldn't have poisoned it!" Roodie blurted out, his forehead now shining with sweat.
The other Blumaroo smirked. "I was the only one watching you; you most certainly were at the soup, and you tried to poison it!"
The Chief Chef glanced at him, then back at Roodie. "Do you have anything to say to that?"
But before Roodie could speak, the other Blumaroo yelled, "You can't trust anything he says, anyway. He's working for Lorank!"
The whole kitchen staff was now looking at the Blumaroo, and Roodie simply gawked at him, mentally pleading for him not to say anything more...
"The King's Treasury Head? What's he got to do with anything?" the sous-chef piped in, the flare in his eyes gone.
The Blumaroo smirked even wider. "A year ago, there was a financial fiasco in the castle, when half of the gold in the King's vault was stolen; everyone suspected Lorank, yet no one could prove that he stole it. Remember?"
Everyone nodded slowly and mumbled to themselves, and the Blumaroo continued, "No one could prove it because he stole the gold for Lorank!"
Now the kitchen staff gasped as the Blumaroo pointed a long, punishing finger at Roodie. "No! I-I--"
"Don't lie, you thief!" the doppelganger shouted maliciously. "You may be a scoundrel, but I've been watching you enough to know that you have a conscience!"
Roodie's head drooped, a tear falling from the tip of his nose. "But... he told me it was on the King's orders... that it was all right... I didn't mean to--"
But now no one was listening to him anymore. Everyone seemed to be in an outrage, yelling for Roodie to be carted off to the dungeons once more. Again he desperately tried to struggle against his captors and pleaded for mercy, but he didn't seem to feel any spirit in himself anymore.
Time was whizzing by now. The two cooks were dragging him through the castle halls, angrily talking to each other about the thief in their hands. But Roodie wasn't really thinking about them, or much of anything else; his mind kept wandering back to that day when Lorank had told him that he needed to get the gold for something the King had said he wanted to purchase, a priceless treasure that would make him happy. Three days had passed before Roodie had realised that he had been tricked, and if he had told the truth, then he would have never seen the light of day again.
But he still couldn't let that other Blumaroo get away with poisoning the King; whether or not Roodie was thrown into prison now for the rest of his life, he had to save the King!
He raised his head once again and said, "If I'm going to jail now, at least let me tell the King about my robbery in person. Please..."
The cooks looked at each other and pondered the situation. "Well, the King would give us quite a reward for bringing the little dirtbag right to him..."
"Yeah. And it would be just what he deserves to witness the King's wrath firsthand..." the other suggested. So they both turned around and started shoving Roodie to the King's Throne Room, the Blumaroo silently contemplating what he was about to do...
Date: Oct 12th
But there was hardly any time to think! Before he knew it, Roodie was being shoved through the ridiculously grand doors of the Throne Room. The bright royal banners waved in his face as he staggered along the red carpet, sandwiched between the Chief Chef and the green Flotsam.
And there upon the throne, with a pile of cushions at his feet, sat King Roo. His pure blue face was turned intently toward the five pretty dice on his table. He did not look up when the cooks approached.
The Chief Chef cleared her throat.
"Your Majesty," boomed the chef. "We have brought you the thief who stole from your treasury last year. Lorank's little helper."
"And that is not all," the sous-chef chimed in, not to be outdone. "Today we caught him trying to poison your food, Your Majesty! He even had the nerve to accuse me of doing it, the rascal!"
"We have a witness who saw him first-hand, Your Majesty," said the Chia chef.
King Roo glanced up from his dice. "Oh? Good work, indeed. Take him to the dungeons, will you? Ah," he added, to a servant who had just entered with a tray, "thank you."
Roodie watched in horror as King Roo dipped a spoon into the deadly liquid and raised it to his lips…
"NO!" he shouted, struggling. "DON'T!"
The spoon paused just under King Roo's chin. "Take him out of my sight, please," said the King tiredly. "You know how I hate seeing convicts protest in my presence."
"But are you not going to reward us, Your Majesty?" asked the green Flotsam brazenly. "It took quite a lot of effort to snare this deceitful young Blumaroo."
"We can discuss rewards after I finish this game," sighed King Roo. "I shall have to appoint a new Treasurer, it appears. Tell the guards to send out an arrest order for Lorank, too, won't you, while you're at it. And now let me drink my soup in peace."
"STOP!" cried Roodie, making a tremendous effort to break out of the cooks' grip. "YOUR SOUP IS POISONED!"
The spoon paused again. "Oh, the lengths to which convicts will go to get their freedom," grumbled King Roo. "Hurry up and get him out of here, you two."
"Your Majesty, you have to listen to me!" roared Roodie, digging his heels into the red carpet as the cooks tried to drag him away. "If I was the one who was trying to poison you, why would I be saving your life now? I don't care if I spend the rest of my life in prison, just DON'T DRINK THAT SOUP! Please! If you don't believe me, call in a poison expert, anything..."
King Roo raised an eyebrow. "This should be amusing," he commented. "I don't see how a few minutes' delay can make any difference. But make sure he doesn't get away," he added to the cooks.
Roodie stood, dazed, as the poison expert was called in. The great white Techo sniffed at the soup, held up a vial of it to the sun, and added testing chemicals to it. The pale amber liquid swirled... and turned a deep blood-red. The Techo turned solemnly to the King and declared, "Your Majesty, this soup is indeed poisoned."
King Roo stood up sharply, his eyes wide as he stared at Roodie. The red Blumaroo met his gaze, terror and relief surging through his veins, unsure of what to do.
"Then who did it?" cried the blue Chia, releasing Roodie's right arm. "Who?"
"B-but this Blumaroo is still responsible for stealing from the treasury!" spluttered the green Flotsam, clenching Roodie's left arm in his fin.
"Looks like I can never play Dice-a-Roo in peace," King Roo complained. "All right then, let's hear your case, young Blumaroo. And in the meantime," he called to his guards, "barricade the kitchen and interview every single Neopet there, you hear?"
Roodie nearly cried with relief. Everything was all right now, he was going to tell his story, and then he would be safe...
Well, there was no parade, statue of honour, medal, or shiny prize for Roodie in the end. The other red Blumaroo, together with Lorank, was arrested and thrown into jail, and there was a big party in the kitchen. Both cooks apologised to Roodie and gave him chocolate cake, but overall there wasn't much of a big fuss.
Roodie did get something, though. Forgiveness. He no longer had to carry around the burden of having stolen for Lorank. He was no longer a gullible fellow who followed orders blindly. And that was a gift that no material prize could ever match.
Date: Oct 12th
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