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||You are on Week 351
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 Fifty One Ends January 11
The dim light and its accompanying rush of cool air was a relief after the relentless heat of the sun outside. Jake stepped through the doorway, lifted his hat, and wiped his brow. His boots kicked up a thin layer of dust, which swirled hesitantly around his ankles before settling back down.
The Kougra blinked a couple of times, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness, before looking around. He had spent weeks roaming the jungle for this rumoured tomb, and now that he had found it, he simply wanted to relax for a moment.
Only a moment, though. Setting his hat back firmly onto his head, Jake lit his torch and held it up. Bits of dusty gold spilled out onto the floor here and there, but the explorer had never been interested in the value of treasure (other than for its historical worth, of course). This was supposed to be the tomb of the ancient great warrior Hektis, as well as the resting place of his legendary sword. Jake drew up an imaginary map in his head and began walking. If his studies of this time period were correct, then the main room was always at the back of the tomb, at the end of a long corridor that veered right and then a long way left.
His footsteps echoed softly against the walls as he made his way there, lifting his torch to inspect the floor and ceiling as he went by. Important ruins like these never came without traps, and he had to know his surroundings in case he needed to make a quick escape.
"Aha!" the Kougra said aloud as his firelight flickered against a large ornate door, covered in detailed carvings. Carefully, he pushed it aside and stepped in.
There, lying on a rudimentary stone table, was a beautiful long sword, its blade still gleaming silver in the light despite the centuries of inactivity...
Author: Jake fangirl|
Date: Dec 28th
Heart pounding with excitement, Jake took a step toward the sword, but something held him back.
This had been too easy.
Usually, the Kougra spent hours, days, even weeks searching for treasures such as this. And he had found the sword in mere minutes. Also, what were the chances the first door he opened would lead him to the treasure he sought? And if Hektis's sword was as amazing as the legends said, why would it be lying in the open like this? Even a newbie treasure hunter would be able to find it this way. It made no sense...
Frowning slightly, Jake cautiously approached the sword. Everyone, great hero or not, usually hid their most prized possessions in the deepest, darkest places, not keep them where the plain eye could see...
Come to think of it, Jake wasn't even sure that the sword was Hektis's. True, it was beautiful, with its slim, polished blade and golden hilt. But it didn't look like the right sword. Hektis's sword was supposed to be great and heavy, adorned with jewels and engravings more lovely than the weapons of today. This one looked too simple. And why wasn't it covered in dust like everything else in the ruins?
Upon closer inspection, Jake discovered that the engravings on the hilt were familiar. Meridellian or something like that... The sword looked rather new, modern.
Perhaps, thought Jake with a start, this sword isn't a relic at all. Maybe it was left here, by someone...
The sound of footsteps outside the door made Jake's heart jump.
And maybe... that someone was still here.
Quickly examining the murky room, Jake ducked behind a crumbling pillar. Although he wasn't sure whether the visitor was dangerous or not, he didn't want to take any chances. He made it just in time, for seconds later, the door burst open and a figure strode in...
Date: Jan 7th
Jake didn't dare to look around the crumbling pillar. He hardly dared to breathe. His past adventures had taught him it was better to be slightly paranoid than dead.
The figure was examining the room, Jake knew. It was listening, too. Jake hoped he hadn't left any footprints in the layers of dust. Even without looking at the figure, he could sense an aura of self-confidence and authority surrounding it. That could either be a very good thing or a very bad thing when it came to exploring tombs. When someone gave off an air of authority, it usually meant they weren't alone.
Jake heard the figure take a few steps around, echoing ominously. He glimpsed a brown leather shoe and quietly shuffled around the pillar until it was out of sight.
"I thought you said he was in here!" a voice hissed.
Jake shuddered at the sound of the voice and came to the conclusion that the air of authority was a very bad thing in this case. The voice was as cold as Terror Mountain in the middle of a snowstorm and dripped with venom.
"H-He was!" stammered a squeaky, nervous voice. Had someone been following him?
The first voice sighed and dropped dangerously low. "Tell me, Casper, if he was in here, would I be asking where he was? Would I be wasting my time here with you?"
The cold voice made a disgusted noise. "We'll check back here in a few hours. Maybe he'll have fallen for the sword by then. We'll check the other traps."
Jake heard more footsteps and then a door slamming shut. Still, he didn't let out his breath. Only after counting slowly to one hundred did he finally decide it was safe. He let out his breath and let his mind whirl freely. They were obviously looking for someone. Looking for him. But why?
Cautiously, he poked his head around the side of the crumbling pillar and saw another face, looking at him with the same shocked expression. It might have been a mirror he was looking at except for the fact that their clothes were different.
They were both so shocked they didn't even cry out. They just stood staring at each other incredulously.
Then realisation dawned on Jake. "They're not after me, are they?" he gasped. "They're after you..."
Date: Jan 8th
"Don't tell them! Please!" the other Kougra loudly whispered. He was quite young but had an air of self-confidence about him. His fur was blue, just like Jake's. They looked so alike, they easily could have been related.
Hundreds of questions were in Jake's head. Who are you? Who are they? Why are they after you? But he could only manage a "Wh-ho...?" before he noticed the sword of Hektis clutched in the mysterious Kougra's paw. The other Kougra wielded the blade with ease, his paws protecting it.
"Hey! Be careful with that!" exclaimed Jake. "I was the one who found it."
"No... I'm so sorry I brought you into this. This artifact is mine. I'm the keeper of Hektis's sword."
"Well, tough luck," said Jake. "I'm pretty sure that's not it. There are Meridellian engravings on it if you look closely."
"Oh no, this IS the sword," the other Kougra replied confidently, and with a flick of his wrist, the light, sharp sword turned into one with a weathered golden hilt and a broken blade. Sure enough, jewels of seemingly endless colours were attached to its hilt and whatever was left of the blade. The young Kougra could barely hold it, so he muttered something under his breath, gathered his strength, and flicked it ever so slightly. It turned immediately back into the new sword.
Jake's eyes were so closely examining the old weapon that when it changed back, he fell over on his tail. More and more questions entered his mind. But this time he forced himself to speak. "Who are you, and who are those Neopets after you?"
"I am Minimus, the last heir of Hektis. Those others are my pursuers. They are after this weapon, not only because of its value but its power. The fools don't understand that it only shows its true, valuable form when I tell it to."
"But why are there Meridellian engravings on it?"
"Illusen enchanted it for me. It is only as powerful as an average sword, but it cannot break."
"Well... what are you doing with it here? Such a treasure belongs in a museum!"
"I'm here to return it to Hektis. I will bury it forever..."
"You can't!" shouted Jake, losing his temper a bit. "We have to preserve it. You cannot let such a precious artifact go to waste--"
But before he could finish, footsteps began ringing in the passageway, heading straight for them...
Date: Jan 8th
Minimus dove behind a stone pillar as the footsteps grew louder.
"That fool Kougra isn't going to keep that sword much longer," chuckled a gleeful yet sinister voice.
"Y-yes, M-master," came the other voice, who Jake recognised as Casper.
"Honestly, why did he want to trash the sword when he could use it to bring his ancestor back from the dead?
"And under his control?" came a third, raspy voice.
Jake's eyes widened, and then he froze as something was pushed into his hand -- a hilt...
"I'm sorry about this," whispered Minimus in Jake's ear, "but it will all work out..." He muttered another word. Suddenly, with a ripple, his blue fur changed colour to match the stone walls of the chamber. A camouflaged paw reached up and snatched the hat from Jake's head. There was a faint wavering in the air, like the air on a hot day, as Hektis's heir darted off into the tomb.
The sword clattered to the ground, slipping loose from Jake's numb fingers, as three Neopets rushed into the room.
Jake was still too stunned at Minimus's sudden betrayal to jump behind a pillar or into an empty casket, and it wouldn't have done much good anyway.
So, instead, he gazed into the faces of his to-be-captors.
The first was a red Kacheek, presumably Casper by the way he trembled, shook, and clung to the second Neopet.
The second was a very burly-looking Lupe. It might have been a Werelupe; after all, its fur was a dull greyish brown, and he looked like he had never seen a comb before. And the Lupe's eyes were green, not gold.
A Werelupe's presence should have been enough to terrify Jake, but he couldn't feel scared of such a trivial matter compared to the last Neopet.
Jake gasped as his eyes raked over the last figure; he knew the third...
Date: Jan 9th
"Hannah the Usul," Jake said, quiet loathing in his voice. "You never could stand being outdone by me, could you? Always have to come out the winner. Well, you've gone too far this time! Take your little friends and get out!"
Hannah looked confused. "Sorry? Do I know you?" Her voice was still rather raspy, but then again, it was very dusty in the tomb. She looked over at the Lupe. "You didn't tell me that the protector of the tomb was insane!"
She thinks I'm Minimus, Jake realised with a start. It should have been obvious what the other Kougra had intended, but all Jake could think about was his apparent betrayal. Okay. That could come in handy... somehow. He reached to adjust his fedora, realised it wasn't there, and settled for glaring at the Werelupe.
"I'll never let you take my ancestor's sword," Jake snarled. Why not play his role a little bit? "En garde!" He lifted the blade. Then he remembered what they had said... something about how he could use the sword to bring Hektis back from the dead and under his control?
"But how?" he muttered, momentarily forgetting his enemies.
"Don't know how to fight, do you boy?" the Lupe asked mockingly. "Why don't you just hand that sword over and we can all forget this ever happened." His eyes glinted with amusement.
Jake felt unexpected rage building up inside him. "This sword is a historical relic! I will not allow some petty grave robber to steal it form the archaeological community!"
"You really are insane," the Lupe said in disbelief, and his voice lowered to a growl. "Hand it over!"
"NO!" Jake sliced the sword through the air, and the most tremendous feeling of well-being flooded through him. The blade felt right in his hand, like it always had been there. "I won't allow it!" Almost without thinking, he twisted it around as Minimus had done, except in the opposite direction.
There was a flash. A cloud of smoke. And, from the direction of the burial chamber, sounds of movement.
"Hektis is back," Jake hissed through clenched teeth. "And he isn't happy..."
Date: Jan 9th
There were a few moments of intense silence as the four of them stood out in the open, waiting for some signal that Hektis really had risen from his grave. The smoke billowed up into the air, listless curls showing no signs of clearing. If anything, the strange smoke was getting thicker, as Jake became more and more blind, unable to see his three enemies.
"Hey you," a familiar voice whispered, raspy because of the gas that was filling the air. "Don't just stand there; now's your chance to escape. It's not like I would've shoved such a valuable sword in your hands if I didn't think you were going to get out of here alive. You're lucky I had a few smoke bombs on me." Jake could barely make out the silhouette of Minimus in front of him. Setting the sword down into a more comfortable position, the explorer advanced.
"But wouldn't it be kind of hard to escape if I had no idea where I was going?" Jake hissed, trying to find his way around the smoke-filled room. "Besides, even if I do get out of here, I doubt I'll be able to find my way out of the tomb itself. The passageways are like mazes, and I only know the structural patterns up to a certain point. Even if I managed to get out of here before the smoke cleared, I wouldn't know where I was, and I would have no idea how to get out."
A bead of sweat ran down Jake's face as he heard another voice echo through the room. "The Kougra speaks the truth!" the Werelupe howled. "I have tuned into my tracking senses and have determined that, indeed, five Neopets tread here instead of four." A gasp sounded near the voice of the Werelupe, which Jake assumed came from Hannah.
"Of course there are five of us in here. M--" Jake started, eager to correct his enemy, but the other Kougra swiftly put his hand over Jake's mouth. The explorer's eyes widened, and he brought the sword up threateningly, trying to squeak out a sound from under Minimus's strong paw.
"What are you doing?" Minimus demanded. "We have to make them think Hektis is here; maybe they'll run away and we'll be able to get out of here!"
"I will finally confront the one whose possession I wish to obtain!" the Werelupe bellowed, and Jake winced. The trio of pets was going to wait out the smokescreen, and Jake was going to be stuck in the open again without Hektis by his side.
"I guess Hektis wasn't awoken," Jake whispered, glancing toward Minimus. The smoke was starting to thin out, and the Kougras could just begin to make out the outlines of the three pets standing across the room.
"Of course not, only I can do that. I've got to hide now," Minimus whispered hurriedly, and he quickly rolled behind a pillar to the right of Jake. The latter sighed, hoping that everything would turn out right now that the first plan had failed. But maybe... maybe if he reacted when the time was right...
Finally, the smoke vanished, and Jake could see all three of them clearly now. Hannah did not look happy -- her hair was blown back and her ears seemed a bit out of order. The Kacheek was shaking harder than ever, and the Werelupe shot an intense glare at Jake, his brow furrowing more when he noticed that Hektis was not, in fact, by his side.
"You lie!" the gruff Neopet screamed. His eyes glinted with vengeance and he took a step forward. "Maybe I mistook a Petpet for the powerful Hektis, but indeed, if there were five here before, only four remain." Revealing sharp teeth, he took another step closer.
Jake breathed slowly. He had to time it right -- otherwise things could turn out horribly wrong.
"Oh, so you want to wait there, do you? Fool. You don't know how to brandish a sword, you're unable to summon Hektis like you claim you can, and yet you still stand here, prepared to defy me. I'm slightly insulted. Do you really think I'm that weak?" The Werelupe took another couple of steps forward. "Maybe I should convince you otherwise." He crouched down, ready to strike.
"Think again!" Jake shouted, and he pivoted so quickly even he didn't know exactly what he was doing. Spotting a patch of blue fur, he flung the sword at the Kougra hiding behind the pillar.
"Fool! Abandoning your weapon? Do you think I'll take pity on you just because you've chosen to surrender this late in the game?" A smug look washed over the Werelupe’s face.
Minimus stepped out from behind the pillar, the sword of Hektis held firmly in his hand. Three jaws dropped and three pairs of eyes widened, as a knowing smile curled upward on Jake's face. "This time Hektis is coming back, and he's not going to be happy..."
Date: Jan 10th
The confusion was obvious in the Werelupe's eyes. "But -- but -- but -- Casper!"
The Kacheek hurried to his side. "Y-yes?"
"You never told me there were two tomb guards, did you?"
"Uh, no sir, no sir. I had no idea, no idea, sir. No idea--"
"Stop your grovelling!" the Werelupe snapped, exposing his sharp claws. Casper instantly shut his mouth. "So. Two of you Minimi -- I suppose that is the plural for "Minimus" -- but in any case, that just means more fun for us."
"Hektis is back!" Minimus screeched in fury. "Ignorant fools, run while you can! While Hektis is still not completely here!"
The Werelupe threw back his head and let out a loud guffaw. "You think you can so easily fool a Werelupe? I have senses beyond yours, Kougra. I know who's here and who isn't."
Jake couldn't help but agree with the Lupe. Hektis wasn't here; Minimus had been wrong. Unless... He squinted in the treacherous lighting, watching Minimus's eyes. He'd been sure they'd been blue earlier, but now they were pitch black, growing darker, with a crimson sheen.
Minimus hadn't summoned Hektis. He'd turned into Hektis.
"Run, you idiots!" Jake snapped, grabbing Hannah's arm and pulling. "I don't care if you guys are cruel and corrupted by greed or whatever, just GET OUT! I don't want anyone to get hurt!"
Hannah stared at Jake curiously, not bothering to wrench her hand free. "You aren't Minimus, are you? Because Minimus never would have let us go... and Minimus knows we aren't the ones corrupted by greed."
Jake pulled harder as Minimus's eyes began to turn redder and glow. A chill wind swept through the room. "Move!"
"...Jake?" Hannah asked in bewilderment. "What are you doing here? Why are you helping that disgusting scum over there?"
Minimus smirked. "Disgusting scum? Really, I'd be more careful around someone with the powers of the great warrior Hektis."
The Werelupe growled at Minimus. "Filth," he snarled. "You don't deserve them."
Minimus shrugged. "You know I already gave my own to certain other factions."
"Like the Darkest Faerie!" Hannah spat.
Jake blinked. "The Darkest Faerie? You were responsible for what happened in Altador? What?"
Minimus scowled, suddenly impatient. "Enough chit-chat," he said. And with that, he sent a blazing inferno down the length of the room...
Date: Jan 10th
Hannah, Jake, the Werelupe, and Casper just barely managed to duck out of the way as the deadly fire grazed along their skin. The flames hit the opposite wall and immediately pulverised it, spraying the four of them with rocks and debris.
Minimus threw back his head and laughed, two more fireballs dancing on his palms. Jake watched in alarm as the Kougra's fur rippled. Gradually, it turned from its original light blue shade to dark brown to black. And then he seemed to swell up until he was looming over them, still laughing in that cruel tone.
Minimus was gone, but Hektis had taken his place.
Hektis pulled back his arm to release the flame from his hand, and as he sent it whizzing across the room, Jake managed to roll out of the way just in time.
"You can run," Hektis growled, a humourless smile still on his face. "But you can never hide."
Jake watched in horror as the fire on his former ally's paw turned from orangy-red to acid green. He drew back his hand for the second time to throw the flame that would surely be the end of them...
And then the room exploded. Jake yelled in alarm as he was thrown upward, a shout not heard by anyone over the sound of detonating rocks. He squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for the impact, but it never came. He landed softly on the ground, not feeling any injury or pain.
"Jake!" He heard his name being hissed, not by a vengeful Hektis, but by Hannah. He opened his eye to see her tugging impatiently at him.
"Hannah? W-what just happened?" Jake asked, quickly springing to his feet. He couldn't see anyone else but the Usul because of the swirling dust of the explosion.
"Hektis can make all the cutesy sparks he wants," Hannah muttered, leading him nimbly over a pile of rubble. "But I have some tricks up my sleeve, too. Come on, before the mighty Hektis gets free of his temporary bonds." She put a sarcastic emphasis on the word 'mighty'.
Jake swallowed hard, still being dragged along by Hannah. "Temporary?"
And from behind them, a horrible ripping noise sounded...
Date: Jan 11th
...followed by a roar, ringing with fury.
Jake grabbed Hannah's arm, dragging the less agile Usul out of the way as a torrent of flames, electric blue this time, engulfed the spot she'd been occupying less than a moment before.
"Fools!" Hektis shouted. His pure black fur, unblemished by stripes or spots, seemed to ripple and waver, and fiery orange patterns wound their way around his pelt, actually moving as they snaked over his fur. He conjured up another fireball, and his ebony eyes gleamed bright crimson.
"Foolish mortals. My own heir understands me even less than that fool Jazan understood Razul. He believed I was a hero, the great legend, nigh a god. He thought that you weak band of Neopets wanted to steal the sword and use it to wreak havoc. He was... misled. There is no good or bad, no right or wrong. Only power. And I intend to seize all I can."
His flickering raven eyes rested on Jake. "You asked a question, fool. And I suppose, since you helped me return from the shadows, I can answer it before I kill you.
"The Darkest Faerie, in my time, was just another fool, one who thought that her entire race of faeries was wrong to seek power. She had... a conscience, I believe. But she had power, dormant but present, that even I would envy."
His eyes glinted red again. "So I showed her the meaning of true power. I revealed to her the truth. And she followed the path I showed her, followed it until she failed. She failed because she was too weak. I will not make that same mistake."
A cruel smile spread across the black Kougra's face, and he drew back his arm. The fireball turned a deep purple.
The Werelupe snarled behind him, and Jake started; he had forgotten that the Lupe was there. There was a clatter of claws on the broken stone as the Werelupe leapt over Hannah, diving straight at Hektis.
Hektis was fast, but he was also large, and he couldn't dodge the attack. He roared in fury as the Werelupe bowled him over, raking its claws into the Kougra's ebony fur. The purple flame went flying into what was left of the ceiling, and that, too, shattered. The sword also fell from the Kougra's paw and clattered to the ground.
Hektis flung the Lupe off of him. With a howl, the Werelupe crashed into the ruins of a statue and slid to the ground in a grey-brown heap.
Hektis locked his blazing eyes on Jake, and before the explorer could blink, the shadow-and-inferno-furred monster had snatched up his sword once more and was on him, pressing three black claws against his throat.
Jake froze as he stared up into Hektis's eyes, knowing what was going to happen and hoping that it would be quick. The villain's eyes glowed redder than ever.
And then they flickered golden.
Hektis froze, and his grip on Jake's throat relaxed slightly. He trembled, and his face was furrowed in a mixture of concentration and agony.
The eyes began to flicker faster, changing from black to pure gold to black again, before finally settling on Minimus's natural eye color. The flame patterns faded as the raven fur began to lighten, slowly at first, and then quicker as black changed to cyan. He began to shrink, the muscles retracting and limbs shortening.
Hektis, now completely Minimus, drew back from Jake, gasping for breath. The sword dropped from his paws and fell to the ground, glittering with a sinister-looking red sheen.
Casper cowered against Hannah as she gave the recovering Kougra a long, hard stare, but when Minimus finally caught his breath, his words were directed at Jake.
"I am... so sorry..." he panted, his eyes desperate for a shred of forgiveness. "I had... no idea..."
Jake laughed; it was a slightly hysterical sound. "So you aren't going to morph into Hektis again?"
Minimus smiled. It did not quite reach his eyes. He paused a few moments before speaking. "No. That's over. The connection between us, which ran through the sword, was broken at a pivotal time in the transformation. He will never possess anyone again."
The solemn Kougra caressed the sword's blade with one white claw. The sword hummed, vibrating violently. The unhealthy red sheen faded, and the main jewel in the hilt, a fiery ruby, popped out, clattering against the stones. A stream of black tar oozed from the opening and dissolved.
Jake sighed with relief. "So this is all over?"
Minimus laughed, a perfectly natural sound, so strange from somebody who'd just been running around throwing flames less than two minutes earlier. He offered the sword to Jake, who looked up, stunned.
"Yes, it is over," he agreed. "So now you can go home and take this treasure to your museum, where it belongs."
Date: Jan 11th
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