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||You are on Week 354
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 Four Ends February 1
The mountains of Shenkuu rushed by in a green blur as Cassile steered her board along the rapids. The only sound filling her ears was the crash of the waterfalls as they thundered down around her. She always loved these early morning rides, before the rest of Shenkuu had risen. They were the only time she could shoot down the rapids unnoticed by others, all her concentration fixed on the jumps, the tricks, the speed.
I wonder where Bowe is? she thought. He was supposed to meet me for practice this morning. Oh well, late as usual.
As she was navigating her way through the churning water around one of Shenkuu's many bridges, Cassile heard a splash, sharp and sudden against the dull roar of the falls. It must be Bowe, she thought, and turned her board back upstream. Upriver, just under the last waterfall, she could see the shape of someone standing on a riverboard.
"It's about time!" she called out to the figure, which was still hidden in the mist. "I thought you'd never..." Cassile trailed off as she realised that the Neopet she'd thought was Bowe was hurtling toward her at an unbelievable speed. The burly Techo may have been a daredevil, but he wasn't crazy!
"Hey, watch it!" the Lupe yelled and pushed off again, heading down the rapids. All her muscles tensed, she crouched on her board, willing it to go faster. Why hadn't she put on her Speed Beads that morning?
Out of the corner of her eye, Cassile saw the other surfer's riverboard edging into view. She forced herself to look up to see who her pursuer was.
"No, it can't be..."
Author: River Rider|
Date: Jan 28th
The other surfer was Cassile.
The other Lupe had the same white fur as Cassile, the same clothing, even the same riverboard!
Only one detail was different -- the wicked smirk on the impostor's face.
"Who are you?" Cassile yelled at her double.
The other Lupe laughed. "I'm you... or at least, I will be once you're out of the way!"
"Why are you doing this?!"
"Now, it wouldn't be any fun if I just went and told you the whole plan, now would it?"
The impostor was gaining by the second. In a few moments, she would overtake Cassile.
There was barely any time to think, and Cassile acted on pure instinct. Just as the other Lupe steered next to her, Cassile threw herself into the raging waters.
The water was shockingly cold, and Cassile barely managed to suppress a gasp. With powerful strokes, the Lupe paddled away from her double.
When she could hold her breath no longer, she burst from the surface of the water and inhaled deeply. Treading water, she looked around. Her double was nowhere to be seen.
As she looked ahead, she realised that she was about to go over a huge waterfall. With her board, that wouldn't usually be too much of a problem. But Cassile had abandoned her riverboard.
She couldn't fight the current. It was far too strong. The Lupe took a deep breath and prepared to go over the waterfall...
Date: Jan 28th
The Lupe closed her eyes and felt her stomach float into the back of her throat as she began to drop, caught up in the torrents of the raging waterfall. She winced in anticipation of the impact, which was sure to be painful or maybe even deadly, that awaited her at the bottom.
Here it was... any second now. The bottom had to be coming, and now her pounding heart had joined her stomach in the tingling sensation in her throat. Only... she wasn't moving. Water was pouring around her and over her, but she wasn't falling anymore. It took her a moment to realise that the pressure she felt around her middle wasn't the forceful current but someone's forearm.
Cassile unscrewed her eyes slowly and looked up, shivering with shock and cold. Next to her, balanced on the corner of a ledge and clutching onto a branch that was growing out of the rock for support was Bowe, the normally well-tanned and carefree Techo, looking serious and pale.
"B-B-Bowe!" she stuttered, smiling shakily in relief. "I guess you came to practice after all."
"It's a good thing I showed up too," he said quietly, pulling her closer to him and moving away from the edge of the ledge where he had caught her. "I really think I still deserve an explanation for what you said to me earlier, though."
Cassile looked at him blankly, unsure what he was talking about. "What do you mean? I didn't talk to you earlier."
"Of course you did!" he said sharply. "Unless you have an evil twin or something!"
"I think that might actually be the case, Bowe."
He looked at her dumbstruck. "You can't be serious?"
"Yeah... I am," she sighed and recounted to him everything that had happened.
"There's someone who wants to take your place?" He looked at her, realisation dawning in his face. "So that's why you -- or I guess not you but that copy of you -- said those things to me earlier."
"What things exactly?" the Lupe asked, looking strained. "Tell me what she said; it could be an important clue about what she's trying to do and why."
"Well," the Techo began, "she told me..."
Date: Jan 29th
"...'you're next.'" Bowe hesitated for a second, uncertain about what happened next. "And then she just kind of disappeared. I think I know what she meant by that now."
"Huh, that's funny," Cassile said, frowning at her word choice because this was anything but funny. "She disappeared after I threw myself off my board, too." She scanned the water below for her board but found no sign of it. She sighed sadly.
"She must think you're out of the way then," Bowe pondered aloud, and the dreamy look in his eyes disappeared as he turned his attention back to his friend. "In which case we can't let her know you're not."
"What?" Cassile shook her head, spraying water droplets everywhere in an attempt to dry herself off a little.
"Don't you see?" The Techo grinned. Colour returned to his face. He was having one of his brainstorms. "This gives us an advantage! You may be able to figure out what she's up to without worrying she'll sneak up behind you and hit you over the head with her board!" He turned away from the ledge and began to walk down the path along the river, still explaining animatedly. Cassile stared after her friend in wonderment and began to follow.
"Your point?" Cassile inquired.
"Think of this as a race," Bowe continued. "I'm neck and neck with your double. She seems pretty confident. But what she doesn't know is that I've got a few tricks up my sleeve that will guarantee my victory. That's you." The Techo poked Cassile on the shoulder. "We can win together and put a stop to the Neopet's wicked plans!"
Cassile was doubtful but didn't want to burst her friend's bubble. She changed the subject, and the two chatted the rest of the way down, Bowe pleased with his idea and Cassile trying to forget what had just happened.
Meanwhile, a figure blacker than the midnight sky landed lightly on the ledge. It was shapeless with gleaming yellow eyes, but strangest of all, it had no shadow. One could even say that it was a shadow.
It closed its eyes, muttering something under its breath. Faintly at first, the conversation between the two friends came to its ears.
She must think... The creature willed the conversation to speed up. Don't you see?... Your point?... Put a stop to the Neopet's wicked plans!
The shadow opened its yellow eyes and the voices faded. Instead of being angered, it seemed to find what they'd said amusing. It let out a cold, harsh laugh. "That's what you think," it said to them, even though they were well out of earshot. "You have no idea what you're getting into."
With that, the shadow began to twist and writhe, slowly taking on a shape and at the same time beginning to fill with colour...
Date: Jan 29th
"Hey, Bowe?" Cassile asked, lightly jabbing her friend with her elbow. "D'you know who that might be, over there?" She reached out an arm, pointing at a flash of bright green just downstream.
Bowe shrugged, his bewildered look just screaming, "No clue."
"I'm going to go check, if that's all right with you?" Cassile asked. Her previously drenched clothing was only damp now, and the sun was streaming down.
The Techo frowned. "I think I should go," he said. "We have no idea what -- who -- that is. And whoever or whatever it might be, we can't let them or it know you're alive."
Cassile stuck out her tongue. "That's no fun."
Bowe grinned in response, grabbing his riverboard. "Safety first," he cautioned, leaping into the waves, Cassile's glare burning into his back.
The shadow (now in Gnorbu form) smiled as the red and brown figure streaked closer. Just a little further, she thought to herself. A little closer... now.
"P -- p -- princess!" Bowe gasped, leaning sharply back on his board, coming to a wet stop. He narrowly avoided colliding with a petite green Gnorbu, a shining grappling hook glinting at her side.
The shadow -- the Gnorbu -- rolled her eyes. "That'd be me," she answered icily, eyes sweeping across the Techo's face. Her next move had to be perfect, careful. The plan depended on this one moment, and so it had to be carried out with surgical precision.
Bowe took in a breath, about to say something more. Hands darting out quickly, the shadow heaved against the Techo's weight. He was harder to budge than he looked, and a good deal faster as well. His arm snapped out, catching the disguised shadow in the stomach. The slap of water on water echoed down the mountain, and a spray of water went up.
Subtle, the shadow thought to herself sarcastically, her shape beginning to distort again. She looked down at herself and grimaced. And wet.
And all she could do now was wait.
Cassile, waiting ever-so-impatiently at the edge of the river, leapt to her feet at the sound of the splash. Was Bowe in trouble? She followed the path of the water up until it tumbled over the rocks, and then, with barely a moment's hesitation, began clambering down the rocky face.
"Bowe!" Cassile cried, clearing the last few feet with a jump. "Oh, Bowe, thank Fyora you're all right! When I heard the splash..."
The Techo grinned. "Stop freaking. Everything's fine."
Cassile frowned a little, but her relief outweighed her disappointment. "Well, okay then. So, are you going to tell me what your brilliant plan for my double is?"
Bowe nodded. "Okay, let's go."
Cassile completely missed the momentary gleam of yellow in her friend's eyes...
Date: Jan 30th
The shadow couldn't help but feel less than comfortable in this new form. Bowe had been wet, so of course she was now, too, even more so than before. She knew that the water could distort her appearance, enough to cause suspicion.
But this had gone better than expected: Cassile was practically willing to give herself up!
"You see," Bowe said, shaking off the water, "your double probably just wants to take your place in a race or something. There's no other logical conclusion."
Some things don't need to be logical, the shadow couldn't help but mentally laugh.
"What do you mean?" Cassile asked, not following whatsoever. Had Bowe banged his head on a rock or something?
"Think about it!" Bowe said enthusiastically. "She may just want to take the credit for your riding."
Cassile shrugged. "That explains nothing, though. Why go to all of the trouble? And how would we stop her?"
Bowe ground his teeth, not sure how to answer the first question. He decided to ignore it. "You know the big waterfall? Halfway through the course?"
Cassile nodded -- she'd gone over that thousands of times. Its size was nothing compared to the one she had nearly gone over earlier.
"We should go there. From there we can see the rest of the course, and she would have to go over it to get to the bottom, if she's stopped somewhere."
The Lupe bit her tongue. What was Bowe going on about? She decided to trust her friend. "Sure, Bowe, whatever. As long as you know what you're doing..."
As the duo continued toward the waterfall, the shadow nearly cackled with glee.
After the short walk, they stopped and paused to admire the roar of the waterfall and its crashing waves. Bowe, meanwhile, positioned himself perfectly.
Something was wrong, that much Cassile could tell. But what? It was just her and Bowe up there.
"See anything?" she asked, looking over the course. From here, the end of it could just barely be seen, far below.
"No," Bowe said softly and turned to face Cassile. He moved his feet apart, just enough for Cassile to notice, and his hands went into a wrestling pose.
As he did, it finally clicked in Cassile's mind what was wrong with Bowe.
He didn't have a shadow.
"Bowe!" she yelled, just as he lunged for her. She darted off to the side, the waterfall at her back. He nearly fell into the raging torrent but managed to hold onto the edge of the cliff.
What should I do? Cassile thought quickly, keeping the same amount of distance between herself and Bowe, circling each other.
When she saw the flat, straight piece of wood at her feet, a wild and crazy thought came into her head.
"You want me off the cliff?" she shouted. "All right!"
With a mighty yell, she placed the board underneath her and jumped from the side of the waterfall...
Date: Jan 30th
As Cassile glided over the edge, Bowe snarled and swiped at the back of her makeshift riverboard.
As he did, he lost his grip on the edge of the cliff and began to fall. But before he could hit the water at the bottom, he made a second attempt at grabbing Cassile's board. And it worked.
As soon as Cassile felt the extra weight on her board, she glanced behind her, alarmed. It was Bowe! No, not Bowe. His normally friendly eyes swirled and filled with a gleaming yellow instead. What was this thing?
Even as they fell, the creature began to claw its way closer to Cassile, a menacing smirk on its face. Cassile grew ever more concerned. She couldn't land properly, not with all the extra weight on the board. She had to get it off before she reached the bottom of the waterfall.
Trying her best to keep her balance, Cassile began to kick at the creature. But to her horror, it only inched nearer, shrugging off her kicks.
Now the thing was close enough to reach Cassile with ease. It swung at the back of her legs, once, twice, and then it grabbed onto one of her legs. It pulled on it, trying to knock her off the board.
Cassile couldn't hold on much longer, she was slipping. But just as she felt herself toppling, the grip on her leg suddenly vanished. She quickly regained her balance. As she glanced behind her, her mouth fell open in amazement.
The creature was fading, shattering into a thousand fragments as it scraped along the waterfall. It seemed as if the water had a negative effect on it, breaking the thing into pieces as it splashed. Finally, it gave a cry as Bowe's face shattered with the rest of the body, fading into the waterfall's spray.
With a splash, the Lupe and her board hit the water. She wiped the sweat off her brow and glanced around her. The creature was nowhere to be seen. So was it over?
Slowly, Cassile drifted with the current for several silent moments with only the roar of the waterfall behind her. She wanted to make sure that the thing would not come back. When she was satisfied, she took off.
Suddenly Cassile remembered something. Bowe! Was he OK? Would she find him in time? She gritted her teeth and pushed on.
Finally she arrived at the site where she had seen the green figure and heard the splash earlier, and hopped onto the rocks. What she saw there made her stagger backward...
Date: Jan 31st
"Oh no! Bowe!" she shrieked. Her makeshift board hit the water with a splash, and she quickly manoeuvred to a cluster of rocks. "Bowe, Bowe, can you hear me?"
The colossal Techo, collapsed limply on the rocks, seemed to stir. Cassile leaned closer. "Bowe?"
Bowe's eyes remained closed. He was probably just knocked out... and wet... he'd probably catch a cold soon, like this.
Looping her arms around his, Cassile yanked. She gasped as her arms, straining, nearly popped right out of their sockets. But she was resolute. This was Bowe, for Fyora's sake! She had to try.
Cassile tugged harder. The Techo came free, splashing back down into the water. At the very least, it managed to jar him back to life. He yelled, arms waving wildly. Knowing he'd be swept away without a board, she reached out a hand and pulled again.
"Thanks," Bowe muttered weakly in his heap on the slab of wood. Cassile nodded and edged them toward the riverbank.
"We both have doubles."
Silence hung in the air as Cassile helped Bowe stagger up onto a patch of grass, far from the river's edge.
"No, we don't," Bowe said finally. "It's all one Neopet or thing or something. The green flash? The youngest princess of Shenkuu -- or rather, her double. She attacked me, and so I guess then she took on my appearance, like she did you."
Cassile thought over this piece of information, troubled. "But why?"
Bowe shrugged. "Royal feud? Opponent riverboarder? You know you're better than everyone else, so naturally they'd want to get rid of you." The Lupe flushed and opened her mouth in an attempt to argue, then nodded slightly. It was hard to disagree with.
"So what do we do now? The old rules are out the window. It knows I'm alive, and it knows you're helping me. I mean, it may be dead, because it sort of dissolved in the water, but it might just be another trick. I don't know. But we can't trust anyone."
The shadow creature watched Cassile and Bowe from behind a bush, wearing a half-smile. Cassile was right to doubt its non-existence, but wrong not to trust anyone. For now.
Soon, the shadow thought, shooting Cassile one last glance before scampering away. We will meet again soon, little sister...
Date: Jan 31st
After all, time didn't really matter anymore, did it? The shadow had all the time in the world now.
You always outshone me, the creature thought bitterly. Cassile this, Cassile that. Never a thought for Rellekka, her useless, underdog older sister. Ha! Look at me now!
For now she was powerful. And smart, and athletic, and all the qualities she'd have sold her soul for during her childhood, just so her parents would notice her. Now she could be anything.
Of course, that might have been the asking price -- her soul.
But she had been willing. The Three had come to her, and she surrendered to them without a thought. And they had given her everything she'd ever wanted. She'd never had a moment's regret.
There was one last thing she wanted, though: admiration. And if she could just get Cassile out of the picture and take her place, she'd finally get it.
With a devious smile, Rellekka muttered another word under her breath, and yet again, her form began to distort...
"So, what do we do now?" Bowe asked Cassile. "I'm feeling a little waterlogged at the moment."
"I... I'm not sure," Cassile answered. "I noticed something, though; you can tell who's a double or not. I think they're enchanted. For some reason, they don't have shadows."
"Hmmm." Bowe frowned. "This seems pretty strange. Who has this sort of power and this much determination to hurt you?" he mused aloud.
"Smart place to start," drawled a voice behind the pair. "I can certainly see the brains behind this outfit. Of course, you were never a smart one, Cassile. Just a water-lover."
Cassile whipped around, quickly followed by Bowe. Behind them stood a shadow Lupe, her eyes a piercing yellow, her stance lithe, and her fur smooth and glossy. Bowe looked befuddled, but Cassile's eyes widened in recognition, and she was momentarily lost for words.
It was Rellekka's true form. At least, it was what used to be her true form... before the Three had taken over.
"I don't know why Mother and Father always made such a fuss about you," Rellekka continued. "But it doesn't matter. I have nothing more to say to you."
And with that, her fur started to melt back into the shadows. Then the shadow seemed to rise up, doubling in size, and becoming...
Date: Feb 1st
Cassile searched her vocabulary for a word to suit what her sister had become. A few words came to mind instantly. She was huge. She was vile. She was impossible. She was a creature from a nightmare. She was nothing in particular, yet everything at the same time. They could see no traces of the Lupe she had once been, only a deformed thing with wings that only faintly resembled a Draik, a Shoyru, or a Scorchio.
The monster -- Cassile's sister -- breathed in deeply and looked down at her victims, a cruel grin spreading over her face. She would relish this moment. After all, this is what she had striven to do for as long as she could remember. She looked at the Techo distastefully. Bowe, of course, knew who she really was so she'd have to rid herself of him as well, as much as she wanted to avoid it.
The two friends backed away, struck with terror and awe. They looked around them. Rellekka was blocking the water. They would not be able to take refuge there. That made the only possible escape up. And even as they thought it, the same idea came to their minds. They looked at each other and nodded in unison. They knew what they had to do. Wasn't this the race Bowe had made an extended metaphor of earlier?
They turned around and fled, as the shadow charged them. "You may run, Cassile." Rellekka laughed. "But you'll never escape. You'll tire out and that is when I will make my move. I haven't come all this way and given up everything just to lose. This is one victory, I assure you that will not be yours." The shadow followed after them at a slower pace, perfectly confident.
They ignored the deep, guttural threats coming from the shadow's mouth. It didn't take long for them to reach their destination. They slowed down as they approached the ledge. This was where everything had started and ironically, Cassile thought, this was where it was going to end.
If everything went as it was supposed to, anyway.
"Bowe..." Cassile started but just then, Rellekka appeared in front of them, the cruel smirk still on her face.
"Miss me?" the shadow cackled maniacally.
Cassile said nothing. She just stood there with a determined expression on her pale face. But she'd soon wipe it off. Soon all that she would be able to feel would be fear. And through all her careful planning, Rellekka had missed one major detail...
The shadow sauntered forward, her shape writhing slightly. The shadows she was made of swirled, anticipating what she was about to do. She had used all her magic to make herself this shape. She hadn't had enough left for colour.
Cassile trembled against her will. It was the strangest sensation to be shadowed by someone who had no shadow and still not be able to see the sun.
Closer Rellekka came, victory was so close...
...only to be pulled far from her reach as Cassile leapt out of the way of her lunge, and an spray of water came from nowhere. Her appearance dissolved until she was naught but an ordinary shadow Lupe once again, and she twisted around to grab hold of the edge of the ledge just in time. How had this happened? She had been so close! She'd failed The Three. She knew it.
Rellekka struggled to get up but found she was suddenly weak and exhausted. She looked up and saw her sister looking down at her sorrowfully. They were different. As different as their colours, as anyone could see. But they were still sisters. Still sisters...
Cassile extended a hand to her sister wordlessly. There was nothing to be said. The simple gesture said it all: Will you forgive me for what I have done to you? For what I've made you become?
Bowe suddenly appeared next to Cassile. He was wet. And finally Rellekka understood. He had tossed the water on her. Any thought of acceptance was cleared from the shadow Lupe's mind. A sudden fury welled up in Rellekka's chest, and with a snarl, she swiped at Cassile's paw, her claws unsheathed. At the same time, her remaining paw holding onto the edge of the ledge slipped.
"No!" Cassile cried as her sister fell. But there was nothing she could do. She watched until the black shape splashed into the water below. Bowe put a comforting arm around the white Lupe, and they turned away from the ledge.
Cassile leaned against her riverboard a few days later. She had found it, scratched and beaten up by the current, but still in one piece. She'd shined and polished it until it looked brand- new again.
Bowe had surprised her by being early for their morning run. She smiled now as she watched Bowe do a complicated set of flips off a waterfall yelling, "Yeehaw!"
Cassile took one last glance at the cut on the pad of her paw. Her sister had managed to nick it when she'd swiped at her. She sighed sadly and lowered her paw. It would be a scar. It would remind her of that disastrous day for the rest of her life. Suddenly, Cassile felt on the verge of tears.
Sometimes, she thought, you have to remember the bad times to really enjoy the good.
And with that, she placed the riverboard under her feet and jumped into the water, following the best friend anyone could wish for with a loud whoop of joy.
Date: Feb 1st
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