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||You are on Week 355
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 Five Ends February 8
"Hey, Hinsay! Look at this!" Vehn called to his Lenny friend, running a few steps along the rough trail to catch up. "I found this brooch in the pocket of a coat I was trying on at Prigpants & Swolthy, and Mr. Prigpants said I could keep it!"
The Lenny cast a glance at the piece of jewellery glittering in Vehn's paw and went back to reading his book. "Wouldn't that be better suited for a royal Cybunny than a camouflage Usul, Vehn?"
Vehn shrugged. "I guess. But look how pretty and sparkly it is!" He held it up in the air, letting the jewel at the brooch's centre catch the dim sunlight.
Hinsay sighed. "You're like a Snowickle when it comes to shiny things. There's more to life than baubles, Vehn."
"Like books, you mean? What are you reading about this time anyway?" the Usul asked, still flipping his new brooch around in his paw. He didn't have to wear it; he could give it to his mum or...
"I'm reading about that old mansion that used to be on the outskirts of Neovia -- Mistfall Grange. Legend has it that the old Nimmo who lived there had owned a mine before moving to his manor, and some historians think that he hid all his riches there."
"Ha! See, you like shiny things just as much as I do!" Vehn said, laughing and running his paw over the huge, gleaming green jewel on the brooch. It moved a little under his touch.
"I'm interested in it for the history, Vehn. Besides, we can't find it. Mistfall Grange disappeared years before Neovia fell under the curse."
Vehn wasn't listening to Hinsay, though. He jiggled the stone with his paw... and then he was swallowed by blackness, as if he had been snatched out of time itself. When there was light again, he found himself in the once grand library of a dilapidated mansion.
"I wish Hinsay could see this..." he murmured, swallowing hard. The Usul glanced around the room, looking for any sign of his friend. What caught his eye, though, was not Hinsay's colourful plumage, but a dusty portrait of a stately Nimmo with an inscription that read: "Gregory Olden, owner of Mistfall Grange..."
Author: "Oooh, shiny!"|
Date: Feb 4th
...Vehn stared at the picture frozen, his mouth slightly agape. The brooch slipped out of his paw and landed with a soft clack on the floor, breaking the stifling dusty silence of the old library. The sound made the Usul jump. Shaking his head in an attempt to regain his senses he reached down to scoop up the brooch again.
“What am I supposed to do now?” he muttered quietly to himself. “I don’t even know how to get out of this library... it’s practically a maze!”
On closer inspection the library did indeed look like a maze. Shelves twisted and turned in every which way, opening some paths and blocking others. Books appeared to be organized in a way where only the person who put them there could have known the odd pattern. Vehn was at the back wall and he could see two large staircases of either side of him; the way, however, was barred by bookcases. After a moment he sighed loudly in frustration and began to make his way through the mess of books.
After what felt like hours he found himself back where he had started from again, the old Nimmo's portrait almost taunting him now, the eyebrows raised in a critical manner. Vehn bit his lip in aggravation, his breath coming in quick gasps as a result of his long and pointless walk around the library.
“Why is there no way out!?!” he cried out, eyeing the portrait of Gregory Olden with distaste. “You crazy old frog! Who makes a library you can’t enter or exit?!?”
In his anger Vehn took the brooch he had been carrying the whole time and threw it viciously at the Nimmo's face. It hit with a clicking sound and didn’t bounce back off, fastening itself onto the lapel of the portrait's shirt. Vehn stared at it in surprise; he was even more shocked when he heard a rumbling sound and the portrait slid slowly out of position, revealing a passageway through the wall.
“Great,” the Usul laughed at himself. “I wander all around and the exit was right at the beginning. Ugh... I even had the key with me.”
He prepared to enter the opening then paused for a moment. After some thought he walked up to the portrait and tugged the brooch off. He waited on edge for a moment; when portrait didn’t move back to its original position, Vehn took one last look around and stepped into the inky darkness of the passage that lay before him...
Date: Feb 4th
Almost immediately, he regretted having entered the dank passage. The reasonable part of his mind insisted that it was necessary if he ever wanted to get out of this place, but the irrational part felt it necessary to remind him of all the creepy-crawly beasties that could very well be lurking around any corner.
Clutching the brooch tightly in one paw, the Usul pushed aside his fears and continued padding down the passage. He nearly let out a scream of fright when he felt something tugging at one of his ears, but his voice caught in his throat. Then he realised that it was only a cobweb that had clung to his fur for a free ride.
Laughing nervously, Vehn reached up to brush the web away. There was nothing to be afraid of in there! It was just an old creepy house, that was all, full of books and dust and Spyder's webs. Those things couldn't hurt him... right?
Soon his eyes became accustomed to the lack of light, and he found it much easier to manoeuvre through the hidden passage. It was pretty straight-forward, and after a few minutes of travel, he had picked up the pace.
It was only a matter of minutes before the hall came to an abrupt stop.
"What...?" Vehn exclaimed aloud, staring at the wall before him. No, there must have been some sort of mistake. Had he missed a turn? The Usul took a moment to peer back over his shoulder curiously, before he remembered the library. The portrait had been a door to a hidden passage... maybe this "wall" was another door!
Turning back to face it, he put the brooch between his teeth to free up his hands and began to feel along the wall in an investigative manner. Eventually, his fingers managed to unclog a few dusty slits, and light began to shine into the passage through small cracks. It took him a short while to figure out that they weren't cracks exactly, but small spaces between books.
He was looking out from behind a book shelf!
Beginning to poke at the books experimentally, nudging them in their places, Vehn finally managed to push the right one. It tumbled off its shelf to the floor with a loud bang that made him jump a little. Before he could scold himself for shoving it too hard, the case began turning at an angle; it was now sideways, leaving two openings on either side.
Stepping out of the dark passage and into the parlour, Vehn moved over to pick the book up, but froze in his tracks.
Why was this room lit? That meant that there had to be someone else in this old house... something besides books and dust and Spyder's webs.
It was at this moment that Vehn became aware of light footsteps approaching from the door to the left of the parlour.
Somewhat panicked now, he abandoned the book and dove for cover beneath the long wooden table that decorated the centre of the parlour room.
Ears flattening back against his head, he crouched down and watched the door with wide eyes as the doorknob began to turn...
Date: Feb 5th
The door swung silently inward, and an ancient-looking Neopet walked in, bent over and leaning heavily on a cane. He was wearing a black and white tuxedo that looked equally old and wrinkled. It took Vehn a few moments to recognise him as a Gnorbu.
Vehn leaned forward as quietly as he could, hoping the Gnorbu would not hear or see him. He was lucky, though; the old Neopet seemed to be quite oblivious. In fact, he was muttering vaguely to himself as he closed the door to the parlour again.
"And he said to lock up the passage for good, yes, he did, but he doesn't have the key..."
The Usul felt a sharp pain in his palm. Looking down in surprise, he noticed he had been gripping the brooch so hard that the sharp edge was biting into his hand. He hastily loosened his grip and refocused on the Gnorbu, who was shuffling around, looking wary. His eyes raked over the bookshelf, completely out of position with a book shoved out. For one heart-stopping moment, Vehn thought the Gnorbu would be suspicious or look for the source of the messed-up shelf. But the Gnorbu simply disregarded this.
"Oh, I must have left the door to the passage open again," he mumbled to himself. Taking slow steps over to the shelf, he roughly shoved it closed. Vehn heard an ominous thunk and a click and swallowed hard. Now he was trapped in this room and wouldn't be able to slip back out undetected as he'd been hoping.
He heard footsteps for the second time, coming from behind the door. These footfalls were coming faster than the Gnorbu's slow steps, and within seconds, the door opened again.
This time, a strict-looking Nimmo walked in, and Vehn had to clamp both hands over his mouth to stifle a gasp. He recognised that stately posture... but no... it couldn't be...
"Mr. Olden," the Gnorbu said in his hoarse voice, sinking into a bow.
"Lowell," the Nimmo acknowledged with a grave nod. "Did you shut the door to the passage?" His eyes flickered to the bookshelf.
"No, sir, I do not have the key!" Lowell wheezed apologetically. "The last time, I had given it to you, sir."
Gregory Olden's expression hardened. He swooped down and picked up the book that the Usul had abandoned moments before. "Who was our last visitor?" he demanded of Lowell.
"That would be Mr. Prigpants, sir, here to deliver your new robes!" Lowell answered carefully. "He is the only one who still knows of Mistfall Grange's existence," he added.
Mr. Olden exhaled sharply and gazed at the book he held lightly between his fingers. "Yes," he said in a quiet voice. "But not even Mr. Prigpants knows our greatest secret..."
Date: Feb 5th
Vehn's ears pricked up, and his heartbeat raced. What secret? What forbidden information was he about to learn?
But he was mostly just disappointed with Lowell's response.
"Well, yes, I don't think he'll ever figure out what those two brooches are for," the elderly Gnorbu panted.
Mr. Olden reached for the front of his suit and gently removed another brooch. Vehn had to stifle another gasp. This one was identical to the one Vehn now had, only the gem was a striking violet. The Nimmo fondly caressed the amulet. Was it just Vehn's eyes, or did he seem a little less aged?
"Well, it's the other one that opens this passage," Mr. Olden sighed, letting the amulet drop, his eyes flickering back up to the Gnorbu's face. "You did not give that particular key to me. I would be much obliged if you found it. Now."
"Yes, sir," the servant wheezed, turning around and making for the door.
Vehn shivered, clutching the brooch more tightly. He could only imagine what would happen if Mr. Olden found out that he had been eavesdropping.
I wish I was home, back with Hinsay, he thought despondently.
For a second, he could have sworn the brooch grew hotter under his fingertips, but then it cooled again.
And then he heard Lowell's raspy shout from down the hallway, and it was not for him.
"What are you doing here..."
Date: Feb 6th
Vehn turned sharply at the Gnorbu's exclamation. He was not the only one who did so. Standing before him, blocking his view of the Gnorbu, was something -- or someone -- else. It moved backward, colliding with Vehn.
The Usul fought to keep from crying out, but a startled squawk rent the air. Obviously, it was a someone.
"What the-- ?"
Recognition flashed through Vehn's mind. "Hinsay?" he queried.
"Vehn? Vehn, is that you? Where are we?" Hinsay responded.
Lowell was beginning to move down the hallway toward them. Vehn grabbed Hinsay's wing and began to pull him away. It was pointless, as they were trapped, but somehow he sensed their situation would be worse if Lowell dragged them in front of Mr. Olden.
"Mistfall Grange -- no time to explain," the Usul said. "Come on!" They began to sprint down the hallway.
"Do you still have the amulet, Vehn?" Hinsay asked suddenly.
"Of course," Vehn replied. "Why?"
Hinsay acted as if he hadn't heard Vehn's question. "Does Mr. Olden, by any chance, have a matching one?"
"Yeah... how did you know?"
"Oh, this is worse than I feared. Vehn, you must not let him get a hold of the second one! I figured out why Mistfall Grange disappeared. Those amulets control, respectively, time and space..."
Date: Feb 6th
"So what will happen if he gets my key?" Vehn panted, bewildered, as he and Hinsay hurtled on.
"In here, quick," hissed Hinsay, whirling him into a depression in the wall of the dark, musty passage. They could hear the hesitation of their pursuer's footsteps somewhere. Mr. Olden could be nearby, or faraway... the tunnel distorted sound.
"Don't you understand," Hinsay breathed into Vehn's ear. "Time and space are everything that make up Neopia. Yours is the key that controls space -- with it, you can wish yourself to anywhere you want. Olden's key can take him to any moment in history or in the future. Both of you are limited without the other key. If he has both, imagine the power he will have -- he will be able to control the whole of Neopia! He will be able to alter history, teleport to important places, then escape back into the future..."
"Then we must go!" squeaked Vehn. "What are you waiting for? I have only to clutch my key and wish ourselves back home."
"But," whispered Hinsay urgently, "don't you think we should get the other key? To prevent Mr. Olden from changing the fabric of time? Just think, he could split up your grandparents, and then you would never be born! This guy is up to no good, Vehn! He hurt so many people just to create this secret place where he can hide and make up his plans. And then there's the story of what he did to his servant..."
The footsteps were starting up again now.
"No," whimpered Vehn. "I don't want to know about Mr. Olden. I don't want to face him. We've got to go home. We've got to get away from this place."
"Vehn!" cried Hinsay. "Stay with me! We have a villain to fight!"
But Vehn's paw was already slipping from his grasp. In the next second, he wasn't there anymore. Hinsay found himself alone in the dark, listening to approaching footsteps. Unable to stop himself, he slipped out of his hiding place and went on running toward the exit. The footsteps behind him quickened, echoing madly throughout the passage.
And then there was light, and he crashed into Lowell...
Date: Feb 7th
The Gnorbu, although incredibly old, was by no means weak. No, Mr. Olden had too much magic under his control for that. And so Lowell, or rather, Mr. Olden, dropped his pretences. Before Hinsay had a chance to blink, the Gnorbu had him in a grip that suited a Skeith wrestler much better than an elderly, wheezing servant.
Hinsay gasped for breath, his eyes bulging. He could barely breathe. He managed to turn his head slightly; Lowell's eyes were now like scarlet pools, completely glazed over with red. He didn't even have pupils anymore.
Hinsay, although pinned against Lowell's chest, managed to shiver as a colder presence entered the room.
It was Mr. Olden, of course. There was no mistaking that stately posture, the black velvet garb, the cold apathy on his unnaturally calm face, the icy aura he seemed to emit...
The Nimmo looked completely unshaken by the fact that his secret abode had been discovered. In one hand he held a glowing red sphere, and Hinsay recognised it, shuddering again. This artifact was dark magic. Very dark. He'd known that Mr. Olden had possessed it all along, but it wasn't reassuring, being in the same room as it.
His first words were directed at Lowell. "I see, Lowell, that you somehow managed to misplace my key in a spot that you didn't even go to. Congratulations."
Lowell just stared blankly at him, completely under his thrall.
Mr. Olden smirked, and his gaze passed onto Hinsay. The Lenny averted his eyes instantly, with yet another shiver. The moment of eye contact had filled his veins with ice.
"I see that you happen to have one of my... possessions," the Nimmo stated, in that same coldly emotionless voice.
"I don't," Hinsay mumbled, quite truthfully.
"You lie," hissed Mr. Olden.
The Nimmo's icy voice filled him with despair. If only he could stop listening to it. Closing his eyes, Hinsay tried to shut out his current predicament and remember what he knew.
Lowell would not react quickly, and he only knew as much as Mr. Olden did. And when he wasn't under Mr. Olden's power, he was just another elderly Gnorbu. If Hinsay could only break out of this iron grip, he could escape somewhere.
Where would he go? If Mr. Olden had amassed as large a collection of artifacts as the book had said, he was bound to have something useful for escaping lying around somewhere.
But how could he manage to escape? Vehn was gone, and he had to be realistic -- he was a Lenny, and sterotypically he spent almost all of his time reading. Lennies were not known for physical strength.
Mr. Olden was still talking, but Hinsay wasn't listening at all now.
Hinsay shut his eyes, as if it would make the dilemma before him would vanish. But Mr. Olden still leered behind his eyes, him and his glittering violet brooch...
The Lenny's eyes flew open. The brooch! That was the key!
If he could only somehow reach it, he could turn back time and keep Vehn from leaving him alone, stranded in a place that shouldn't exist. But even if he did reach the amulet, what then? Could he manage to control it? Unless his beloved books lied, powerful magic was averse to being tamed on a whim. How would he use it?
I'll think about that later, he told himself. What he was about to attempt to do was impossible. Insane. But he would do it.
And with that reckless thought, locking his eyes on the sparkling purple brooch, the Lenny broke free of Lowell's grip and lunged for the jewel...
Date: Feb 7th
...only to be pushed against the wall as Lowell regained his strength. Mr. Olden was smirking at him. Perhaps it was just Hinsay's imagination, but he could've sworn he saw a glint of scarlet in the Nimmo's dark, dark eyes...
"You thought you could overtake me?" Mr. Olden laughed; his voice was harsh and cruel as it echoed along the dusty walls. "You fool..." He raised his hand high above his head, taunting Hinsay with the glittering violet brooch that sparkled mysteriously in his palm. "As long as I have this jewel in my possession, I can do more than just travel through time. I have total control over it. I can change anything, make anything happen, all with just a flicker of a finger. And-" He leaned forward to smirk at Hinsay, who growled as the Nimmo's foul, hot breath drifted across his face. "-I can see the future. I know what your next act will be before you even make a decision. There is no way you can defeat me."
Hinsay opened his mouth to shout an answer, but Lowell pushed his head closer to the wall, and Hinsay felt his words being crushed out of him.
Darkness flickered in Mr. Olden's eyes. "Now, I will let you go... on one condition. You must give me the other brooch."
"Never!" cried Hinsay. "And besides, I don't even have it."
Mr. Olden howled in anger. "Lies! You must have it! How else could you have gotten here? Give me the brooch!"
"I can't! I'm telling the truth!"
Mr. Olden looked as if he were about to hit Hinsay, but a sudden wave of calm seemed to cross his face. He had the look of someone who knew something nobody else did. Hinsay didn't like seeing a look like that on the face of someone such as Mr. Olden, he didn't like it at all...
The Nimmo looked down upon him, a malicious gleam in his eyes. "I know why you want the brooches..."
Hinsay's eyes widened. "What? But how could you-"
"Along with the power to see the future," Mr. Olden interrupted, "I can also see events of the present. And," his voice lowered in a dramatic manner and Hinsay struggled to hear him, "the past." His voice was barely a whisper now. "I know why you want them. I can help you, you know..."
Hinsay was silent for a moment, contemplating what Mr. Olden just said. He closed his eyes. Liera... Could he-- could he help her?
"I can make her live again..."
A dark glimmer of hope pulsed through Hinsay's body. Perhaps... perhaps he would be able to help her. It was true what Mr. Olden said, he did want the brooches. Ever since he first heard the stories about them, he wanted them. With their power in his hand, he just might be able to bring his sister back...
"All you have to do is give me the second brooch..."
"No!" The words escaped Hinsay's lips before he could stop him. But the instant they left him, he felt the shadowy hope leave him. He couldn't trust Mr. Olden. He was evil, tainted. He had seen it himself. He couldn't let the Nimmo have control of the brooches anymore. They had to be destroyed. Nothing could bring Liera back. He had to accept it, as much as it pained him.
Through a thin veil of tears, Hinsay shifted his gaze to the gleaming purple brooch. Mr. Olden had stopped him last time. But maybe, just maybe, he'd be able to grab it...
Mr. Olden glared at him scathingly. "Quit lying! I know you have it! Give it to me! Now!"
Hinsay snarled back, "I'm telling you, I don't have it. If you can see the present like you claimed, you'd have realised that by now! I don't have it, Vehn does-"
Hinsay regretted the words instantly. Mr. Olden's eyes widened slightly. "Vehn, eh?" He grinned viciously. "Guess we'll have to-" he raised his hand, the brooch gleamed, "bring him here..."
"No!" But Hinsay saw that none of his protests would change the evil Nimmo's mind. The brooch was shining brightly, pulsing with purple light that enveloped the room. Hinsay's vision was a blur, everything seemed weird and disoriented. A sound like a river or the roaring of the wind deafened him. Hinsay knew they were going backward, spinning through time.
Suddenly, everything stopped. The violet faded, the rushing sound stopped. Mouth hanging open, Hinsay opened his eyes to see himself and Vehn, in the exact positions they were moments before Hinsay was captured. As strange as it was seeing himself, Hinsay knew he had to act quickly.
"No," Vehn was whimpering. "I don't want to know about Mr. Olden. We've got to get away from this place."
"Vehn!" cried the other Hinsay. "Stay with me! We have a villain to fight!"
Light was slowly twinkling around the brooch in Vehn's hand. Hinsay knew now was the moment. Any more hesitation, and all would be lost. He shoved Lowell aside with power that was sheer adrenaline and lunged toward Vehn.
The Usul's eyes widened. "What the-?"
Hinsay's hand clamped around the brooch, and he swirled to face Mr. Olden, ignoring the disbelief plastered on Vehn's face. His past form seemed to have mysteriously disappeared... but he had no time to ponder that.
He then turned and attacked Mr. Olden, grabbing the brooch in the Nimmo's hand with a single swipe. It was surprisingly easy to take.
Smirking, Hinsay got up and faced his nemesis. He held the two brooches in his wings. "The tables have turned, Mr. Olden," and with that final cry, he threw the twin brooches to the ground...
Date: Feb 8th
...where the jewels shattered as though they were made of glass.
"No!" Mr. Olden cried, falling to his knees and clutching frantically at the shards. He began to age before Hinsay's eyes. The time brooch had allowed him to unnaturally prolong his life, but now that its power had been released from his control, he could no longer cheat death.
"You don't know what you've done..." Mr. Olden rasped with his final breath before he and Lowell both disappeared.
Hinsay looked around. The walls seemed to move, undulating in random, nauseating patterns. Objects from around the room disappeared and reappeared in new places.
The brooches no longer held the power they had before. Yet the power had to go somewhere...
The room was no longer recognisable. All colours of the spectrum flashed and spun in hypnotic patterns around Hinsay and Vehn.
Space and time had fallen into chaos.
Vehn held his newest grandchild on his knee...
Hinsay burst out of his egg, taking his first look at the sun...
Vehn was in the ocean, whipped about on storm-tossed waves, trying desperately to keep his head above water...
Hinsay hovered above Faerieland, but something was horribly wrong -- it was in ruins...
No! thought the Lenny. This is all wrong!
Hinsay and Vehn flashed through different locations and times, faster and faster until everything became a blur.
Both Neopets had the same desperate thought:
I wish this had never happened...
Suddenly, they found themselves back in Neovia, just outside Prigpants & Swolthy.
The Usul and the Lenny looked around them. Everything was as it had been before their adventure, right down to the brooch clutched in Vehn's hand.
Yet, upon further inspection, it turned out that something had changed: the brooch's jewel was gone. Only the setting remained.
"Is it over?" Vehn asked.
"I hope so," Hinsay replied, with an uneasy glance at the brooch.
"I... I think I'll throw this away," Vehn said with an equally uneasy glance.
"Yeah. Good idea."
They set off together for home. The terror of the experience waned with each passing moment.
But they both knew that they would never completely forget their adventure.
Date: Feb 8th
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