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||You are on Week 376
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 Seventy Six Ends Friday, July 18
Keeler shifted his weight on the pile of rubbish where he sat, sending streams of old apple cores and empty tin cans rolling down. He'd been sitting there on the same mountain of trash for the last week, waiting, just staring off into space like a gargoyle on a castle made of garbage. In fact, he'd been there so long that the infamous Meridell Rubbish Dump smell didn't even seem that bad to him anymore.
"Hey, kid!" shouted the Kacheek who guarded the Rubbish Dump from the bottom of the trash pile. Keeler had never figured out why rubbish needed guarding, but maybe the Kacheek was in charge of keeping all the garbage in neat piles. If that was the case, he wasn't doing a very good job. "Kid, you've been up there a week now. Are you ever going to tell me just what you're doing? You can't be here for the ambience!"
The young Kyrii frowned. He knew that putting his goal into words would make him seem foolish. Then again, what could be more foolish than sitting in the Meridell Rubbish Dump for a week? Keeler sighed and called back, "I'm waiting for the Dung Faerie to appear. She's never been seen by Neopian eyes, so I want to be the first."
The blue Kacheek laughed, slapping his knee and doubling over with mirth. Keeler rolled his eyes and waited for the Kacheek to regain control of himself. Finally, the Kacheek stood up straight, wiped away a tear of laughter, and said, "Good luck, kid. Nobody's ever seen the Dung Faerie. You'd be better off trying to find Jelly World."
With that, he walked off among the stacks of rubbish, still chuckling to himself. Keeler folded his arms across his chest and settled back on his garbage perch sulkily. He'd show that Kacheek; he would be the first Neopian to set eyes on the elusive Dung Faerie.
Suddenly, a strange rustling sound came from the precarious pile of trash next to the one Keeler was sitting on. The Kyrii scrambled to grab his binoculars and zeroed in on the garbage mound. There, among the rotten cheese and mouldy bread, was...
Author: The smell's not bad if you never inhale.|
Date: Jul 14th
...a pile of jelly.
Keeler sighed and put his binoculars down. A false alarm. As usual. Even though he was solidly determined to see the Dung Faerie up close and for real, well... after a week of sitting here and smelling the garbage... he had to admit, however grudgingly, that she probably wouldn't be coming.
Maybe the Kacheek -- and just about all of the rest of Neopia -- was right. He had to face it: seeing the Dung Faerie was impossible, the odds right there next to those of talking dessert and soggy deserts. One in about forty kajillion, or whatever that number was.
Keeler cast one last futilely hopeful look around him, not expecting much. The pile next to him rustled again, but it was probably just some hungry Symol or something, snacking on that jelly. He didn't bother checking it out, because for the first time in 168 hours, his binoculars were shoved safe in their carrying case. And he was sliding through the slimy remains of all of Meridell's half-eaten lunches, anyhow.
"Finally come to your senses, huh?" the dump guardian said, brandishing his pitchfork at the Kyrii in farewell. Or, at least, Keeler hoped it was in farewell. Those prongs looked sharp. And painful. And did he mention they looked sharp?
He landed on the ground with a bump, something green splooshing onto his shirt. He really didn't want to know what -- but it did smell a bit like a lime slushie. Er, well, a somewhat rotten lime slushie, actually. But there were worse things the green stuff could have been, including --
"Mutant jelly!" Keeler yelped, backing away from the piece of partially decomposed food formerly called a lime slushie. The jelly had been heated so much by the sun that it had more or less liquefied into the puddle of green, which then had the misfortune of being splatted on to a certain Kyrii and then mistakenly identified as a melted half-frozen drink.
"Mutant jelly!" Keeler screamed again as the jelly gathered itself up, clearly about to teach this rude, loud, ignorant Kyrii exactly why jelly wasn't to be messed with. Large chunks of... it... drifted eerily together, forming a great big shimmering blob that floated lazily in the air.
And then, the thing spoke...
Date: Jul 14th
"Do I honestly look like a mutant jelly to you?
Keeler stiffened, his fur standing on end. "What did you say?"
The jelly-like thing sighed, floating back a little. "I said, do I honestly look like a mutant jelly to you?"
"No." Keeler frowned, rubbing his brow. Had the week spent at the dump made him go mad? Or had the Meridellian heat gone to his head? "I mean, you're talking."
"And?" the blob said loftily, speaking as if that was the most obvious fact in the world.
"Jelly doesn't talk," the Kyrii responded rather stupidly. He glanced aside; the dump guardian was nowhere to be seen. Well, at least there were no witnesses to his probable madness. "It doesn't float, either."
"Well," the thing said, tilting its head (if it could be called a head; a part of it just leaned to the side, splooshing a little, but it achieved the desired effect), "that's the whole point. I'm not a mutant jelly."
"Err, then what are you?"
"A dire mutant jelly."
"Isn't that the same thing?" Keeler pointed out sceptically, deciding to put the fact that he was talking to a jelly aside. Everyone thought he was crazy anyway.
"Of course not," the dire mutant jelly huffed. "Have you ever played Neoquest before? There are plains Lupes and dire Lupes. And not only do the dire Lupes drop different stuff, but they're level four. The other ones are only level two. I saw this kid playing Neoquest once and--"
"Is that even relevant?" Keeler raised an eyebrow, cutting the jelly off.
The jelly appeared to look away. "Maybe not," it admitted. "But seriously, Kyrii -- what are you doing here, anyway? I've seen you around here all week. Some Neopets come here a lot, but I've never seen one just sit here."
The Kyrii turned away. He heaved a dramatic sigh; he'd been laughed at enough times as he explained his plan to sight a never-before-seen faerie. "I... I'm looking for the Dung Faerie." And then, indignantly, as he predicted his received reply, "I know she exists! Where else would all the dung come from?"
"Well then, kid, you're just in luck."
Keeler froze, whirling around, startled at the lack of scepticism in the response. Then again, he was talking to a rather articulate dire mutant jelly. "In luck?"
The blob chortled. "Of course. I know exactly where she lives; it's where I live, too. The Dung Faerie lives on the other side. You know, of reality. And the entrance to parallel reality -- nonreality, actually -- is right here at the Rubbish Dump..."
Date: Jul 14th
Keeler almost squealed in delight. It was all coming true! He'd known that the Dung Faerie existed all along, despite the scornful laughter from his friends. And he'd held on to his conviction, strongly enough to squat in a stinking dump for days. It was going to pay off at last. The Dung Faerie was real, real, re...
Wait a second.
"Did you say she lived in non-reality?" he asked, his binoculars slipping a little lower on his chest.
"Yep." The dire mutant jelly swayed cheerfully in the putrid light.
"Um... what does that mean?"
"Exactly what you think it means." The jelly almost seemed to smile as it curved languidly over him. "The world of the Dung Faerie is real only when it is believed in. And belief is as wobbly as I am.”
"So what will happen to me if I go there?" asked Keeler.
"You've just got to believe in yourself, that's all," said the mutant jelly, oozing slightly. "But I'm curious. Why in Neopia do you want to see the Dung Faerie? She isn't the most savoury sight -- or should I say, smell?"
Keeler felt a familiar rage rush up within him, but he stilled himself -- the jelly's attitude was not cruel or mocking. In fact, it seemed to sympathise with him, to an extent. "All I want," said the Kyrii, rather sulkily, "is not to be treated like a piece of trash. Nobody ever respects me -- they all say that I'm a fool to believe in childish things and to try out wild ideas. So I wanted to be the first Neopet to see the Queen of Trash, to show everyone in Neopia that I can actually be right for once, even if it means toiling days through mounds of stinking garbage."
"Even if it means going where nobody's gone before?" the jelly asked. It was a challenge, but asked in a curious, somewhat friendly manner.
Keeler took a deep breath, and then clamped his mouth against the cough that threatened to rise from his heaving stomach. "Yes," he gasped at last.
"Very well then," said the jelly, its glossy bulk trembling, as it swiftly and stickily engulfed the young Kyrii...
Date: Jul 15th
Keeler opened his mouth to scream and instantly regretted it.
His maw was instantly filled with an assortment of tastes and textures that simply cannot be recaptured in mere words, courtesy of being absorbed into the... unpredictable bulk of a sentient, articulate dire mutant jelly.
The unfortunate Kyrii choked, attempting to spit out the incorrigible sensation in his mouth. It tasted somewhat like a combination of very strong fish and nail polish, and had the texture of mashed lima beans and diamonds. However, the oddly flavoured jelly stuck stubbornly to the roof of his mouth like peanut butter, and it almost seemed a little numbing. Or maybe he couldn't spit it out because there was no room for it to go.
If he'd thought the Rubbish Dump was a rather unpleasant sensical overload, well... he'd outdone himself.
His eyes were shut tightly. Behind the lids, he saw a vast expanse of brown, which seemed to somehow... separate... into other colours. It was the only word for it. Brown was pulled apart into green, purple, and orange, which further deteriorated into blue, yellow, and red. Like everything was being reduced to its components... and then rearranged into new, nonexistent colours, strobing behind his eyes in pulsating streaks and flashes that made no sense.
And then the bizarre taste left his mouth. And the scream that had been delayed for a million hours, or maybe a split second, finally poured from his throat. Because he was falling, faster than sunlight slices through the air. Falling, and flying upward, and then jolting to a halt --
Keeler blinked, opening his eyes to light. Or something like it.
The rather helpful mutant jelly was gone. And so was the Rubbish Dump. No, he was standing on a plane of something like jelly, while a waterfall of chocolate-coated asparagus and peaches cascaded down into a cardboard river with an odd accompanying noise that was somehow both squelching and beeping. Something like a sentient marshmallow skittered past him on six spiderlike legs, clicking like long fingers typing on a Virtupets keyboard. Trees twisted up around him. Or maybe they weren't trees, because trees weren't vivid pink, sky blue (or what he remembered as sky blue, because the sky here certainly wasn't blue), or formed from shiny metallic steel?
His nose was similarly overcome by an array of scents that he could barely recognise, but certainly not make sense of.
And Keeler realised, with a feeling of unease, that there was one thing missing from the nonsensical picture of both sight and scent.
Yes, it had its jelly. And its asparagus, and marshmallows. Number Five would be ecstatic.
But there was no dung...
Date: Jul 15th
A sinking feeling settled over the Kyrii, making his stomach feel as if it had dropped below his knees, a sensation only previously felt during his week guarding the dump, when he had accidentally placed his hands in what he had suspected at the time were the remnants of the Meridell Castle breakfast hour.
Had his wobbling gelatinous guide lied to him? Was this some strange trick to send him plummeting into a realm of absurd colours, shapes and sights? Had he perhaps swallowed a little more of the foul jelly than he had first thought and the aftertaste was playing havoc with his mind?
There was only one way to find out.
The Kyrii tentatively stepped forward, careful to avoid a marshmallow as it scuttled by. The last thing he needed right now was an army of grieving confectionary chasing him in revenge for stepping on their friend.
The Kyrii called out feebly, half-hoping the scurrying marshmallow would stop and hold an in-depth conversation with him; it wasn't utterly bizarre, considering his earlier chat with a hovering jelly. The tiny white blob, however, went along its merry way, soon vanishing over a nearby blue and pink spotted rock. Frustrated beyond belief, the Kyrii lifted a foot to kick the offending rock and vent some anger, when a voice spoke up.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Frantic, Keeler glanced around. The voice had seemed a little high-pitched, though not unpleasant.
"Who said that?"
With a slow, strange groan, the offending rock that only seconds ago had been about to be used like a Yooyuball uncurled itself and stood up, balanced easily on spindly legs. At any other time a rock possessing sturdier legs than his own might have fazed Keeler, but right now nothing was surprising to him.
"I said that. And while I appreciate your frustration, I do prefer if I'm not kicked."
The Kyrii muttered a rambling apology. What else could he possibly do?
The strange, multi-coloured rock shook a little from side to side, almost as if dismissing the murmured babbling.
"No, no. Don't worry. It happens to the best of us. But I've not seen a creature as strange-looking as you here before."
Keeler felt a small rush of indignation. Strange? The walking, spotted rock was calling HIM strange?
"I'm a Kyrii. I was brought here by a dire jelly, whom I met while guarding a pile of rubbish."
"Jim," the rock stated firmly, leaving Keeler confused. He was about to protest that he wasn't Jim at all, when the rock apparently realised his confusion.
"Jim is the jelly you met. Nice fellow. Why were you sitting around a rubbish dump?"
The Kyrii took a deep breath and related the now almost repetitive tale of his search for the elusive Dung Faerie as the spotted rock listened. Keeler assumed it was listening, anyway. It tilted itself to the side a little, although it didn't seem to possess any ears. As the Kyrii finished his story, the rock straightened up.
"So you're after the Dung Faerie. That's easy enough."
Keller sighed in relief. The hovering jelly hadn't betrayed him. He didn't even stop to consider how absurd the fact that he was even HAVING that thought seemed.
"So she's around here?"
The rock bobbed itself around in a manner that the Kyrii could only assume meant yes.
"Where is she, then?"
The rock tilted back a little, as if gazing up at him.
"She's at our dump."
The Kyrii blinked slowly. He supposed it wasn't utterly unlikely that this absurd realm possessed a place to deposit its rubbish. What kind of rubbish did such a place have, anyway?
"Can you take me there?"
The rock gave a wobbly nod and set off, skipping on spindly legs at a rather alarming pace, leaving the Kyrii to scurry after him. They followed a strange, spiraling indigo pathway, passing a fountain of berries that spilled from a massive table lamp, then rounding a corner.
But the sight that greeted them certainly wasn't what the Kyrii had expected...
Date: Jul 16th
He should've expected it. After all, this was opposite land, non-reality. Filled with talking rocks and magenta trees and cardboard waterfalls, for crying out loud!
If he'd been expecting to see a pile of stinky, rotting trash he was sourly disappointed. There wasn't a spot of rubbish in site. The dump was.... well... there was no other word to describe it.
Beautiful. And completely and utterly strange.
It was like a castle, sort of. More like the castles you built out of colourful blocks when you were a child, except a thousand times more elaborate and exquisite. Iridescent turrets spun high off into the sky (or whatever it was called here). The rainbow bricks of the castle walls created criss-crossing, hypnotising patterns, except there was no sequence to the colours. The walls were uneven, each one at a different height, neither of them looking like they were a part of a single structure. Flags whipped in the wind, changing colour from turquoise to orange every time they flapped.
Keeler blinked. He stared at the castle and then blinked again.
It was just... too much. All the colour and all the shapes. He thought he saw a tower shaped like a dragon, but then he blinked and it was gone.
"Oh, this is nothing," the rock said cheerfully. "You should see the latrines."
Keeler ripped his eyes away from the mess of vibrant colours, fearing he would go blind if he stared at it too long. "This is your dump?"
"Um, yes. What else is a dump supposed to look like?"
"But where's the trash?!" Keeler cried hysterically.
"Tr-ash?" The rock pronounced it as if it were a foreign word, stretching it into two syllables.
"Yes. You know! Rubbish, garbage, litter, and junk!" Keeler waved his arms frantically.
The rock stared at him, confused. Well, if rocks could stare and look confused it would probably be something like that.
Keeler sighed. "Never mind."
He turned his attention back to the rainbow palace, no matter how much it made his eyes hurt. This land was strange... no, that was an understatement. It was oddly, curiously, bizarrely, weirdly, bafflingly, inexplicably, questionably, freakishly, unnaturally, eccentrically zany quirky peculiar. Times one thousand. No, one hundred million. Yes, that seemed more accurate.
"So... The Dung Faerie. She's inside... that?" There wasn't really another way to describe it.
The rock started laughing. It was a strange, gravelly sound. "No, of course not, silly," it chuckled. "Why would any one go inside something?" Once it finally regained its composure, it added. "She's behind it."
"Oh." Keeler looked at the castle again. "That seems easy enough."
"Yup," the rock said. "Well, good luck!" He turned to leave.
"You mean you're leaving?" Keeler was slightly shocked by the disappointment that flooded through him. As absurd as it sounded (but he had become used to the fact that all his thoughts would be absurd here) he liked the rock's company.
The rock gave its strange little... rock nod. "This is as far as I go. Good luck..."
The rock seemed to stare at him. "Keeler? Now that's a strange name..."
"Oh really? What's yours?"
Keeler blinked. A rock called Gooey? What was next? A mud puddle with the name Fiery? But then again, the mud puddles were probably filled with flames anyway, knowing this place.
"Well, goodbye," Keeler said awkwardly. He wasn't sure how to say farewell to a rock.
"Hello," Gooey called and began skipping down the path. It paused and turned to face him (or maybe that was his back. How were you supposed to tell with rocks?) and spoke one last time. "One more thing, beware the mangoes."
"I will!" Keeler nodded.
But Keeler never got the chance to ask what would be dangerous about mangoes, for the rock was already skipping out of sight and around the corner, gone, leaving Keeler no choice but to face his journey to the back of the expansive colourful castle, where the Dung Faerie was waiting for him....
Date: Jul 16th
Keeler stared at the dump of nonreality. It was pretty, filled with sparkly lights and shiny towers and enough swirly colours to keep a mad artist satisfied for centuries, but there was one flaw to its perfection.
It was huge.
Though huge, the Kyrii thought as he stared hard at the castle-like thing, was probably an understatement. No, it was the understatement -- of maybe the millennium. Between its gargantuan size and the shifting, blending, neon colours, Keeler's eyes felt like they were about to pop right out of their sockets, with the little springs behind them and everything.
Well, what do you know -- there was a loud boing and a snap, and then two eyeballs plopped out of their sockets and dangled halfway to the glistening fuchsia-coloured dirt. It would have been macabre if it hadn't been, well, hilarious at the same time.
"This is impossible," Keeler groaned, standing in front of the dump like some defunct mannequin. "Next thing you know --" But he cut off that thought quickly, before his jaw ended up on the ground too.
He heard a chuckle off to his left, but then again, it might have been his right. Who knew what the directions were called here?
"You've gotten yourself into quite a radish there, haven't you?" a voice said. It sounded kind of... gooey. Not Gooey, but gooey.
Keeler blinked, or at least he tried to. "Who's that?" he asked. Though 'what's that' might have been more accurate. The mud puddle at his feet burbled.
"You're a... puddle of some sort, right?" the Kyrii asked, and then groaned. "Please tell me your name isn't Fiery."
The puddle gasped, sounding insulted. "Absolutely not! Who ever heard of such a dumb name? I'm Ognam -- Billy Ognam Joe Jr. the Third, actually, but it's a lot easier just to say Ognam."
Jim, Gooey, Billy Ognam Joe Jr. the Third -- nonreality had such weird names. "Um, then, Ognam, could you help me out of the pickle I'm in?"
"You're not in a latrine," Ognam observed.
Keeler frowned and tried again. "Radish?"
"Right you are. That's easy. Just say 'pop!' But you've got to say it loudly."
"You outlanders must have busted voice boxes or something," the mud puddle noted with displeasure.
"POP!" Keeler shouted, determined to show him who had the busted voice box, and POP! his eyes went. Right back into their normal positions.
"You see?" Ognam giggled. Bubbled. Whatever.
Keeler blinked, glad enough to have his eyes back to ignore the pun. "Um, yeah. Listen, Ognam, um, could you help me get to the other side of the dump? See, I really want to go see the Dung Faerie, and --"
Ognam let out one or two bubbles. It looked like he was hesitating, but then came the enthusiastic reply of, "Ooh, yes! Of course there's a shortcut."
Keeler's feet sighed in relief. "Can you show me where it is?"
The mud puddle cackled. "Show you? Absolutely." It shifted a few inches over, and then when it was right beneath his feet, opened up, swallowing Keeler.
He really should have known better. Because, wasn't it obvious? Ognam was the reverse spelling of mango...
Date: Jul 17th
...a thought that didn't occur to him until he woke up, only to find himself tied up by ropes of... was that licorice? And surrounded by mangoes. Lots and lots of mangoes. And Ogman, the sneaky mud puddle that was not fiery, was nowhere to be seen.
When Keeler's eyes fluttered open, he saw that he was in some sort of cave. If caves could be made out of orange peels, that is. Torches lined the walls, giving the orange cave an eerie, flickering light. That changed colour. Because the flames weren't flames at all, but rather miniature fireworks that exploded into different coloured sparks with a resounding boom. Unfortunately, this meant that the "cave" was plunged into darkness every few minutes before another firework exploded. Keeler would've thought they were pretty, in a way, if only there wasn't a suffocating aura of danger that hung in the air.
Because every where he looked, he saw mangoes. On the cliffs, on the ground, some even hanging in the air. And these were not your happy, yummy fruity mangoes. Oh no. These mangoes looked quite... dangerous.
They held tiny little spears that looked like pencils and shields that were erasers. They seemed to be wearing some sort of armour. Although Keeler wasn't sure how protective it was, since it appeared to be made out of cheese. The mangoes all seemed to be glaring at him, if fruit could glare, that is. And they were chanting. Their voices (how they had the ability to talk, he had no idea) echoed against the walls of the orange peel cave, and accompanied by the occasional bang of the fireworks, created a sound that was quite deafening. It must've been some kind of war cry, and it would've been quite frightening, except for the vocabulary they had chosen.
"Flower sunshine rainbow daisy!" the mangoes screamed. "Ice cream!"
The frantic chanting continued, growing louder and louder until it stopped. The cave was filled with silence, and all the mangoes turned to stare at Keeler. How they could stare without eyes, he had no idea. The silence would've been impressive, but it was broken by a resounding BANG! as another firework exploded.
That was when a single mango stepped forward. Keeler immediately imagined that this mango was the leader, judging by the chocolate stains on his cheddar armour. (At least, he hoped that was chocolate.)
"GIANT FUZZY THING!" the mango roared. Keeler had a feeling it meant him. "You have come to our kingdom uninvited. What do you have to say for yourself?"
"Um," Keeler began.
"SILENCE, GIANT FUZZY THING! You will speak only if I give you permission."
"But you just did-- "
With an angry cry, the mango hurled his pencil spear at Keeler. The tip hit him square in the jaw.
The Kyrii flinched. "Ow?"
The cave erupted in shouts. "He survived the pen!" "He is unharmed!" "He's invisible!" The last cry provoked many others and the mangoes chanted, "Invisible! Invisible! Invisible!" Keeler had a feeling they meant "invincible."
The chief mango raised his hand and the mangoes stopped their chanting. He turned to Keeler and bowed deeply. "Oh great and giant fuzzy thing! You have survived our greatest and most powerful weapon! What is your secret?"
Keeler was at a loss for words. Just a few seconds ago, the mangoes looked like they wanted to kill him, and now they looked (again, he wasn't sure how mangoes could "look") as if he were some kind of god.
He realised they were awaiting his answer. "Um, it's just a pencil."
A gasp sounded through the cave. "Blasphemy!" the mangoes cried. "Pen! Pen! Pen!"
The mango chieftain looked outraged once again. Definitely suffering from anger management issues. "You dare compare our noblest and greatest weapon to a..." he snorted, "...pencil?"
"But that's what it is - "
"SILENCE!" The leader roared. "You must learn to hold your tongue! Or you shall suffer 1,000 year of happiness!"
"Oh no! Happinessssss! Happiiiiiinessssss!" From the way the mangoes shrieked and withered, Keeler had a feeling that this "happiness" wasn't a good thing.
"But what can you do to me?" Keeler shouted. "You're fruit!"
Out of all the things he could've said, this was definitely the worst. He never knew mangoes could possess such rage.
"How dare you put us in league with the carrots and cabbages?!" the mango chief roared. "We are vegetables!"
"Vegetables! Vegetables! Warrior vegetables!"
"You shall be happy!" the mango leader cried, charging at him, obviously forgetting he had lost his "pen."
Keeler shook his head. "This is ridiculous." He had wasted too much time here. He needed to find the Dung Faerie.
Keeler stood up. The mangoes watched in amazement as the licorice ropes that bound him snapped and broke. His timing was perfect. The second the licorice ripped apart, one of the fireworks exploded, shocking the mangoes into yet another eerie silence. It would've been perfectly intimidating, if Keeler's head had not banged into the ceiling. Which, as it turned out, was quite hard, considering it was made out of orange peels.
They stared at him with their unseen eyes. Keeler stared back. They stared. Keeler stared back. They stared... and so on and so on for a long time until the chief mango dropped into a bow, the entire legion of mangoes following suit.
"Oh great and mighty fuzzy one!" it shouted.
"Fuzzy one! Fuzzy ooooooone!"
"You have honoured us with your presence and we have-- "
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Keeler snapped, irritated. These mangoes were starting to ignore him. "Just tell me how to get out of here."
The mango was silent. Something changed then. And judging by the shiver that rolled down Keeler's spine, it was not a good thing.
If the mango had a face, if the mango had expressions, Keeler would be certain it would be smiling in an evil, vicious, malicious manner, probably even chuckling a few "Muahahahaha"s.
"Oh great and mighty fuzzy one," it called. Its little voice seemed mocking now. "We will show you the way out of our cave, but in return you must promise us one thing."
"And what would that be?" Keeler suddenly felt quite cold.
"You must destroy our one and only playmate."
Playmate? Why would they want to destroy their-- Oh.
Realisation hit Keeler like a cold wave. This was opposite land, non-reality world. Playmate could only mean one thing.
"And who would that be?"
Silly, foolish Keeler. There was only one answer. Who else could it possibly be?
The mango's voice was dripping with malice and spite. "Why, the Dung Faerie, of course..."
Date: Jul 17th
Keeler felt an intense headache coming on that had nothing to do with the earlier impact of his skull against the orange peel rooftop of the cave. This was beyond absurd. He had accepted that a hovering jelly had brought him into this bizarre non-reality; he hadn't questioned the fact that a castle was a dump and a rock had legs.
But now he was being asked to destroy the one thing he had set out to find?
Angrily, the Kyrii towered above the vast rows of mango soldiers, frustration and exasperation written plainly across his face.
"I will NOT do the bidding of a group of over-hyped creatures who would do better in a salad than the armed forces!"
Of course, this hadn't been the correct time to voice his anger -- several of the mangoes lifted their pencil spears in a manner that Keeler suspected was supposed to be menacing yet came across more like they were about to request he pose while they sketched.
"Fine. I'll destroy the Dung Faerie. But you need to take me to her."
Did he have any intention of going to war with the Dung Faerie? Not in the slightest. But it would get him out of this cave and away from the deranged pack of mangoes. It had to be a better option than staying here.
Satisfied, the head mango bowed its head a little, though its head did seem to consist of its entire body.
"The great fuzzy one will vanquish our playmate!"
Tiny, squealing cheers erupted, several hundred of the mangoes dropping toward the ground, bowing, Keeler supposed. Cries of reverence and adoration rose up, the words impossible to make any sense of. Keeler was halfway through trying to work out what the tiny crowd was saying when, without warning, the group began to swarm toward the back of the cave. Tiny pencils being jabbed into the Kyrii's ankles led him to believe he was being urged to follow the crowd.
The mango masses wound their way through a strange, twisted tunnel, the walls of which seemed to glisten and move, slowly shuddering with crimson light as the group marched past.
Strawberry Jam? Why was he even surprised?
Something seemed to be shimmering ahead. The closer Keeler marched (tactfully ignoring the pencils being jabbed into his ankles the entire time), the more it seemed to glow and gleam, until a few final steps released the procession from the underground and they stepped into the sunlight. By Keeler's calculations it was now the middle of the night, so naturally he accepted that the sun was beaming away.
Oh, for crying out loud... I'm starting to understand this place. That isn't a good sign.
They had emerged on what the Kyrii suspected was the other side of the non-reality dump. A few feet away the shimmering walls of kaleidoscopic colour gleamed merrily, causing the process of allowing one's eyes to adjust to the sunlight to be all the more difficult.
But it wasn't the shimmering castle that made Keeler stop and stare. It was the strange shack in front of him. For all the colour and brilliance this realm possessed, the shack seemed bland, almost not worthy of being noticed at all. Its walls were a shabby collage of various scraps of wood. The one strange feature seemed to be the utter lack of a door, causing Keeler to stare foolishly.
"What is it?"
The mangoes seemed to shiver as a group, bouncing back a little in anticipation.
"Ah. The Dung Faerie's house." Keeler drew this conclusion as he circled the shack, seeking some door, window... anything to explain how he was meant to enter.
After walking around the structure eight times, from nowhere a small gap appeared in the wood. Keeler was contemplating poking the gap with the nearest thing (there were plenty of pencils at hand, after all.) when a voice rang out. Strange, sweet and oddly low.
"Get out of here, you foolish vegetables!"
At this signal the massive army of mangoes released a series of petrified squeals and rushed back from where they had come.
"What about the vanquishing?" Keeler yelled, confused.
"THE DUNG FAERIE WILL BANISH US ALL!" The reply was screeched as the mangoes hurled themselves back down the nearby tunnel, leaving Keeler alone with only the strange chuckling from within the shack to keep him company.
Was this it? Was he about to meet the faerie he had gone through so much to find? Bravely the Kyrii stepped forward.
"I don't want to bother you, Dung Faerie... my name is Keeler, I'm a Kyrii. I just want to talk."
There was a strange shuffling within the shack, a moment's silence, then that sweet voice again was heard.
"You wish to see me."
Keeler nodded awkwardly.
"Kyrii..." Keeler took a moment to enjoy being called by his proper species. It beat being known as the "great fuzzy one." "If you were to see me, I would cease to be a non-reality in the minds of those within your realm. I would be a confirmed being."
The Kyrii nodded slowly as the voice continued.
"Because of this, my world would be revealed. Is Neopia ready to have this plane released upon it?"
Keeler's mind seemed to spin. Before his eyes, visions of hovering jelly, manic mangos, talking rocks, and strange, opposite words swam. He hadn't dealt very well with this non-reality. How would the entire of Neopia possibly cope? With a miserable sigh, the Kyrii felt disappointment drape over him.
"You fear this journey was in vain." The voice, to its credit, seemed to drip with sympathy.
"I suppose so." What else could he say? A story he had no proof of, that no one would believe, was worthless. He hadn't even seen the faerie.
"Take heart, young Kyrii. Those who doubt you wouldn't have believed you anyway. But there are those out there who long for tales such as this. They don't need to see evidence, because the story alone is enough to light an imagination."
Keeler smiled ruefully. Perhaps he had a future writing. Or at Meepit Oaks.
"I need you to close your eyes and think of the dump, friend." The words were soft, but not a request. This was an order.
Regretfully, the Kyrii did so, clamping his eyes shut and thinking longingly of the realm he had left behind and the bath that by this stage he so badly needed. He didn't need to convince anyone of what he had seen. He knew the truth and for now, that was enough. After all, hadn't he told Jim he wished to go where no one had gone before?
He had sure accomplished that!
The world seemed to spin and turn, sending the Kyrii hurtling back into reality to land at the dump he had left behind, narrowly avoiding planting his face in a pile of discarded cereal.
In the realm of nonsense he had vacated, a soft chuckle came from the shack as the sweet voice again was emitted.
"A Kyrii... no one will ever believe I met one!"
Date: Jul 18th
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