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||You are on Week 380
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 Eighty Ends Friday, August 15
The horde of mutant Meepits advanced on Iatho, their sharp teeth gleaming in the firelight. Everywhere the Quiggle looked, he saw hundreds of bulging yellow eyes. Then, suddenly, the Petpets surrounded him, grabbing hold of his arms and legs...
"Aletia, lunch is ready! Come downstairs!"
The Xweetok dropped her pencil indignantly and shouted over her shoulder. "In a minute, Mum, I just want to finish this panel!"
"Your comic can wait, lunch can't."
Aletia sighed. "Fine, I'm coming." She covered the drawing she'd been working on with a sheet of paper and went downstairs.
Her older brother Iatho was already at the table, wolfing down all the best sandwiches as fast as he could, one in each hand. Aletia glared at the plate in front of her -- Doughnutfruit Sandwich again. "Can't I have a Tangella Sandwich instead?"
Iatho smirked at her. "I've got the last one here," he said, waving the sandwich in his right hand toward her.
"Can I please have it, Iatho?"
The Quiggle grinned and took a huge bite of the sandwich, leaving orange streaks of tangella on his cheeks. "Sure, here you go."
Aletia gave her brother a look that she hoped would put the fear of Dr. Sloth into him, but he just laughed. "I wish you would get attacked by a pack of mutant Meepits," she said coldly. "I'm not hungry anymore." The Xweetok shoved her plate away and stomped back upstairs.
"He's going to end up looking like the Quiggle version of the Turmaculus if he keeps eating like that," Aletia muttered under her breath as she sat down at her desk and uncovered the comic panel she'd been working on. When she pushed the paper aside, though, there was only a blank page beneath it, rather than the one with the drawing of Iatho and the Meepits.
"That's weird..." Aletia rifled through all the papers on her desk, but the drawing was nowhere to be found. "That sneaky Quiggle! I bet he took it!" She was about to go back downstairs and demand that Iatho give her drawing back when she heard their mother scream.
"Help! Aletia! Help! Meepits... your brother... he's gone..."
Author: Sibling Rivalry!|
Date: Aug 11th
"But how?" gasped Aletia, racing downstairs. "What happened? Just two moments ago he was..."
Her mother was leaning awkwardly on a chair, heaving with frantic sobs. "Those Meepits," she whispered. "They just came in and, and," and without finishing her sentence, she collapsed in a pale heap.
Aletia paced to the door, where she saw a small trail of footprints, barely visible, leading out into the distance. She followed them a little way into the garden, then turned, and paced back. She pulled her mother onto the carpet, placed a blanket over her, paced out with the footprints again, then paced back, and grabbed the table nervously.
It couldn't be possible. It was just a drawing! She had to be dreaming!
But the cold dampness on her face was real. Her mother's limp body was real. And her brother's absence was real.
Taking a huge effort to gather her nerves together, the Xweetok fired off a Neomail, begging a doctor to come immediately. Then she wet a towel, cleaned her mother;s face, and hovered desperately for several more precious seconds before she finally made up her mind. She left a note for the doctor, made a few last attempts to make her mother comfortable, and whirled away.
Her mother was suffering from shock -- it was temporary and she would recover. But Iatho, he might be in real danger.
It was all her fault. Or was it really...? Hadn't Iatho been the one to give her that pen, that pen he'd bought at some strange market fair?
She floated back to her drawing table in a daze, looking at the pen. Could she...? No. The pen had caused too much trouble already. There was no knowing what further damage she would do by attempting another drawing.
But she couldn't help pocketing the pen, along with a roll of paper, as she started out the door.
Now think, she commanded herself. Where would the Meepits take the young Quiggle?
And the familiar image formed itself in her mind, the image she'd traced with her own hand: the image of a dark circle of trees, throbbing with eerie firelight...
Date: Aug 11th
And of course, in her agitation-driven comic, there had been no escape possible.
Aletia wanted to smack herself on the forehead. She'd drawn that entire series to deal with her complete and utter annoyance with her older sibling, using them to channel her wish that he'd go off and disappear. It seemed like a sick, sick joke that she was getting her wish now.
How could I have ever been so cruel? He's my brother!
The Xweetok clenched her fists. Well, she was going to get him out of it. And maybe he wouldn't be so petty when she saved him.
Yeah, right, her negative half said sarcastically.
Her thoughts drifted to the strange, seemingly magical -- or cursed -- pen in her pocket. She forced herself to focus. Yes, perhaps she'd not allowed for any escape. But she could always draw one in, right?
She shuddered. Using the pen again was the last thing she wanted to do.
If that's what it takes to save him, that's what I'll do. If not for him, for Mother...
It couldn't be so bad. She could draw in a superhero, a Defender. Maybe Judge Hog or Lightning Lenny would help her, or some new amazingly powerful hero to join her cause. What could go wrong?
Besides everything? her pessimistic side cut in again wryly. You have no idea how this pen works.
Shut up, her optimistic side said in a very pointed, non-optimistic fashion.
She sighed. She didn't have to draw anything yet. She could just go see where her brother was, and try to work something out from there.
Aletia glanced at her pale, unconscious mother once more. The doctor would arrive any minute now.
With only a second's more hesitation, Aletia stepped out of her Neohome and into the pages of a comic book.
Unconsciously, she knew where to look. Where her inspiration had come from. Behind her house was a forest, a wood that she had never completely seen all of due to sheer size. She'd been told scary stories about it before, when she was younger.
Scary stories. She rolled her eyes as she made her way through the trees that grew thicker with every step. Did she need any more trouble?
Well, they probably weren't true. Not like the real problem that she was chasing after...
There was a sudden rustling, a scuffling in the trees behind her.
Nothing else supernatural can be happening, she told herself, trying to flatten the fur instinctively rising up on her neck. It's probably just a Petpet, or a hunting Lupe. You only drew one comic with that strange p--
Because that hadn't been the first one she'd drawn.
The other one had just been more of a doodle, an offhand sketch. Something that she wouldn't have noticed if it had disappeared.
Slowly, the Xweetok turned around...
Date: Aug 11th
She had already known who would stand there, despite every inch of her body hoping with frenzied desperation that she was mistaken...
But it was no mistake. That one sketch, a mere scribble, an etching of a dark character the Xweetok only knew from stories and pictures. She had sketched the rough little picture in a frenzy of annoyance; Iatho had been taunting her mercilessly, and a cloud of vicious anger had hung over Aletia like a curse, bringing her to draw the most horrifying creature she knew of.
But her art had not done Ilere justice.
Why didn't I draw Judge Hog BEFORE I ran out into the wilderness?
Slowly the Xweetok stared at the vision before her. Emerald tresses entangled with ebony in a tumbling, wild cascade that seemed to move even as the faerie stood motionless. Each strand of hair seemed almost serpentine, as if at any second it might twist viciously and hiss in her direction. The form was slender and sweeping, the gaze as dark as the most haunted corners of the malachite woods, their enigmatic arrogance matched only by the smirk that played upon the faerie's lips.
Trembling violently, the Xweetok slowly closed her fist around that strange pen, deep within her pocket. Why, oh why hadn't she merely drawn the Money Tree handing her over something of great value? The situation would have been much more pleasant at this stage. Was this some strange reminder that allowing herself to dwell in resentment and anger only led to bad things? Shouldn't Iatho too, be punished?
Like being carried off by a swam of rampaging Meepits wasn't punishment enough?
"Lady Ilere..." Even as she spoke, the Xweetok felt foolish. This creature's reputation was enshrouded by mystery, even her part in that infamous tale of woe that had befallen Neovia had been unclear; none knew where Ilere's loyalties lay, besides herself.
The faerie turned that dark emerald gaze toward the diminutive Neopet before her, arrogant smirk widening slowly.
"You. What did you do?"
Aletia stepped back a little, almost stumbling on a few mossy stones. Did Ilere know that none of this was real?
"I drew a comic, with a strange pen..." The Xweetok's words were almost stuttered, mumbled softly and awkwardly as Ilere's smile twisted in a most unappealing way.
"A comic? You think this is a comic?"
The Xweetok nodded softly. Of course it was a comic! She knew her own artwork. Yet the expression on the earth faerie's face left her frightened.
"This may have started as a comic, Xweetok..." Ilere's tones were low and full of veiled menace. "But the line between art and reality is now utterly blurred. The danger is now very, very real..."
Terrified, the petite Xweetok gazed up, just as Ilere lifted her hand...
Date: Aug 12th
...or what should have been a hand.
Instead, the material of her cloak seemed to blur, mixing into the dark trees behind her. Five small, spindly sketch marks protruded out of the blurred sleeve, forming the most rudimentary of hands.
Aletia had never finished the sketch.
"Do you see?" Ilere demanded.
Aletia nodded slowly. Her art had changed Ilere; she wasn't just creating new things like a group of Meepits -- she was also changing things that already were.
"You didn't finish me, did you?" Ilere asked, lowering her sketched arm out of sight.
"No," Aletia replied, swallowing deeply.
"Foolish girl," Ilere snarled, her tone suddenly changing. "I am incomplete now, I am powerless!"
"I didn't know!" Aletia shouted in desperation. "Just tell me what to do! Tell me how to fix it!"
The faerie seemed to calm herself. In her partially drawn state, her personality seemed even more erratic.
"The pen," Ilere told her. "Use the pen."
Aletia nodded quickly. She understood what Ilere wanted her to do. She knelt down on the grass, unrolling the paper and setting to work on her new drawing. This time, she took special care to make the picture of Ilere look as detailed as possible.
When she was finished, she sat back proudly and looked up at the earth faerie expectantly.
"What now?" she asked.
She was given her answer almost immediately, as the paper in front of her crumpled and creased. Slowly, it began to grow bigger and take shape. The paper figure soon towered over Aletia, paper wings unfolding on its back. Like ink, colour spread across it, reaching every corner. Ilere stood before the Xweetok once more. Her wings twitched in the night air.
There was one problem.
The original sketch version of Ilere was still in the clearing...
Date: Aug 12th
Worried, Aletia glanced back and forth between the two versions of the infamous earth faerie, uncertain what to do. Had she merely thought the old version would fade away once a new one was drawn? How foolish she had been! Old artwork didn't vanish until you burned, ripped, or erased it. Examining the end of the strange pen, the Xweetok was forced to admit there would be no simple deletion of her previous etchings.
The two Ileres studied each other with wary suspicion, striking the Xweetok almost as amusing that the faerie was so paranoid and guarded that she didn't even trust herself.
"I suppose it didn't occur to you to merely drag out the old sketch and complete my hand." The first Ilere's tones were full of bitter disdain.
"Why should she correct imperfection when the chance to improve and redefine lay before her?" The second Ilere tossed long, dark tresses, a smug smile playing upon those full lips.
Aletia bit her lip nervously. She didn't need to be caught in the midst of an argument between the two versions; her brother was still out there with those rampaging Meepits. She didn't have eternity to settle this debate.
"I need your help!"
The Xweetok's soft plea went unheard as the two Ileres argued back and forth about the merit of their individual existence, forcing Aletia to speak a little louder.
"I said I need your help!"
Again, her words were ignored. The two were standing face to face like some strange mirror image, as if Ilere were merely arguing with her reflection, which in all fairness, she may as well have.
I always had Iatho to argue with. He may have been a pest, but at least he was someone...
The Xweetok was surprised to find herself hit with an intense pang of loneliness and pity. Even as she grieved and fretted about her brother's absence, a small wave of sorrow was roused for Ilere, who couldn't even find anyone besides herself to argue with. What a lonely, sad existence. Her pity, however, was tainted by her useless attempts to gain the attention of the two versions arguing and hissing before her.
"HELP ME NOW OR I'LL DRAW YOU BOTH WITH EIGHT LEGS!"
This seemed to work, both versions of Ilere fell silent and wore identical expressions of sulky resentment upon their features.
"You want us to lead you to the Meepits." The assumption, an obvious one at that was drawn by the first version.
"Yes," Aletia whispered softly. "I need to find where the Meepits dwell. In my comic I sketched them near a mossy hollow, dancing in the moonlight."
The second version of Ilere released a derisive snort, causing Aletia to shoot her a rather angry look that was met with a mere laugh of contempt.
"I don't think you'll need us to lead you there, child."
"Of course I do. Why wouldn't I?"
Ilere smirked slowly, glancing to her mirror image duplicate.
"Think about your comic, Xweetok. Remember where you drew the Meepit dwelling?"
Slowly, the Xweetok's eyes widened in horror...
Date: Aug 13th
"The Haunted Woods," she whispered.
"And where do you think we are?"
"The Haunted Woods?" Aletia frowned in confusion. "The Haunted Woods are behind my house?"
"Well, no," the first version of Ilere said. "In reality as it should be, it's not. But in your blasted comic strip, which you had to drag me into with half a hand, yes, it is."
"'The line between art and reality is now utterly blurred,'" the second Ilere quoted herself. "Whatever you draw with that pen, it's going to become real."
The Xweetok shrugged. Old news.
Ilere shrugged back. "The point is, you are already where you want to be. Your, uh, brother should be somewhere..." She tapped her chin with a manicured finger and turned to her half-handed self. "Where is he, again?"
Version one bit on her thumbnail. "Should be --"
"-- Right here," Aletia murmured to herself. "See, there's that tree, right there. With the moss." The Xweetok ran a trembling paw along the rough bark. "I can't believe I didn't notice that before. But it's dark now, so I guess the resemblance was easier to see. The sun didn't hang around for long, did it? It couldn't have been much more than an hour ago, when I went down to eat lunch." She bit her lip, clearly disturbed at how quickly the time was rolling by.
Both Ileres looked up. A roll of soft clouds drifted to the left, and a quarter of the moon glowed, its light filtering through the canopy in bits and pieces.
"And there's the moonlight," Aletia said. "It's exactly how I drew it. Even the way that cloud is shaped..." She shook her head in disbelief. It was all really there. "Everything's like it should be... but not the Meepits. And the bonfire, that's missing too. But if everything I draw is real, then shouldn't they be here?"
"They are," the first Ilere said. "But they're just --"
"-- Hiding," Ilere Two said. "Being sneaky. Waiting to attack."
"I wanted to finish my sentence," Ilere grumbled. "Stuck-up, prissy, I-think-I'm-so-much-better-than-you spoilsport."
Aletia shook her head. "No, that's not right. I didn't draw us in the middle of their meeting, though. Something's off. We can't be here."
"Why not? Even though what you draw becomes real, reality can still make a few additions." Both Ileres smirked, proud of their reasoning.
"Nuh-uh, there's got to be --" The Xweetok stopped and frowned. "Shoot," she mumbled. "I don't believe it."
"It's not the pen," she mumbled. "The pen isn't magic."
"What do you mean, Xweetok?"
"It's --" Aletia paused, not quite sure how to put it. "It's not the pen making all of these things become real. I don't see how, but it's not. Because I did the scene where Iatho gets kidnapped in pencil..."
Date: Aug 13th
Both Ileres gasped. "It can't be!" Ilere One said, a frightened look on her face.
"No, not her!" Ilere Two gasped.
"Could she?" Ilere One said.
"Maybe," Ilere Two said thoughtfully.
"What are you two talking about?" Aletia demanded furiously. She had a right to know what was going on. Especially when she was being talked about in such a fearful tone.
"The Daydreamer," they both murmured fearfully.
"The Daydreamer?" Aletia wondered aloud. "What's that?"
"The Daydreamer," Ilere One said slowly, "is the one who can turn drawings to life with her very own thoughts."
"The one who poses a danger to everyone in Neopia," Ilere Two said, her voice thick with horror. "The one who can make things from her own imagination."
Aletia laughed. The two Ileres looked at her sharply. "Do you think this is some sort of joke, child?" Ilere One said, her voice laced with anger.
"This is serious and not meant to be taken lightly," Ilere Two said, her voice filled with as much menace as her twin.
"But seriously," Aletia said, "you think I'm this--this Daydreamer? I mean, I've drawn other comics before. And suddenly I'm this Daydreamer because I made one thing come true? Come on," the young Xweetok scoffed, "get real."
"We are real," Ilere One said angrily. "This has only been put into play because of that pen"--she sneered the word--"has put it into your subconscious mind that it is strange, triggering the Daydreamer within you."
"Yeah, right," Aletia scoffed again. "I'm the Daydreamer."
"This is not meant to be taken lightly," Ilere Two said. "Until the one who is believes, she cannot rein in what she has created."
And with that, they vanished into the dark woods of the Haunted Forest, leaving behind lingering doubt.
Yeah, right. I'm this Daydreamer.
But their explanation did sort of make sense. But, on the other hand, she didn't want to use that cursed pen again.
"Well," Aletia said slowly, "it wouldn't hurt to try."
With that, she put her pen down to the paper...
Date: Aug 14th
...but hesitated. What should she draw? What if it comes to life and is evil?
She pushed the thought out of her head. She wasn't who they said she was. The drawing wouldn't come to life.
She started out slow, not sure of what she would draw. She just drew a few lines. But soon, an idea entered her head, and she went with it.
"To save Iatho," she said to herself over and over again.
Her determination doubled her skill, pushing her hand to the limit. She drew, amazed at how well it was coming together.
Quickly, lines joined, forming shapes, angles, and curves. A torso appeared, then legs and arms.
Aletia paused before continuing and looked at the being she was about to create. The one being that would be able to help her. Help her save Iatho, help her understand this.
Aletia finally started again, letting the pen flow softly across the page. The face started to appear.
A smile played across the Xweetok's face, and a nostalgic look glazed her eyes. Her hand slowed, then stopped.
Aletia thought of how her brother had given her the pen, a gift, and all the nice things he had done for her.
For a moment, the reason she had put him in this mess disappeared.
Eventually, her eyes refocused, and she glanced at how far she had left to go.
The only thing left to draw were the facial features, and Aletia did this with ease.
She drew the comforting smile, the kind expression, and the look in the eyes that could reveal the deepest secrets of the universe.
Finished, she thought about what the faeries had said.
"Until the one who is believes, she cannot rein in what she has created," she said to herself.
Thoughts of saving her brother filled her mind, pushing out everything else.
"I do believe," she said. "The power isn't in the pen, it's in me."
And it worked.
She looked up, transfixed as her drawing came to life...
Date: Aug 14th
A third faerie emerged in the clearing, although not another Ilere copy (Aletia had decided that two of them were enough). No, she had picked someone different entirely. Someone who she was sure had magical power enough to right the wrongs the so-called Daydreamer had brought on.
The faerie, kind but powerful and clad in pink, was none other than Fyora. Hey, thinking up powerful heroes on a whim was harder than it looked. Her artistic nightmare could use a cliché ending if it meant everything went back to normal.
Even the two Ileres sank into identical bows when the Queen appeared. Wow, she's good, the Xweetok thought, impressed. The Ileres seemed arrogant and unruly. Yet here they were admitting the utmost respect to the Queen of the Faeries.
Aletia realised that she should have done the same and made to drop to a bow as well, but Fyora raised one -- whole -- hand. "Stop," she commanded in a mellifluous voice that carried an air of practised authority. "Your gestures of respect are kind, but we are wasting time. I sense magic has been used here and in great quantities." Fyora turned to the Ileres, clearly noting that there were two of them. "How did this come to be?"
"Well, this Xweetok drew a sketch of me," Ilere One began, "but she forgot to finish it. So, she drew a second copy without realising a second copy would appear. Apparently, she also drew her brother being kidnapped by Meepits in the Haunted Woods."
"There is strong evidence pointing toward her being the Daydreamer," the second Ilere added. Fyora nodded coolly.
"I-I must be the Daydreamer if I summoned you here by drawing you, right?" Aletia put in nervously. Not many pets had the chance to speak to Fyora in a situation like this. The Xweetok was not sure what to say.
"That is true," Fyora admitted. "But what possessed you to draw the things you did?"
"I... didn't know I was the Daydreamer then. I drew the comic because I was mad at my brother, and the second Ilere to fix the first. And I drew you because I thought you could help put things right," Aletia added softly. Fyora gazed her, sympathy apparent in her eyes.
"I can help, but much of this lies in your paws. There is only so much my magic can do, whereas yours is, essentially, boundless. I will do all that I can to help, but you must provide the bulk of the power. I will be here to guide you, though," the Queen stated.
"Okay," Aletia responded. "What shall I do first?" She looked at the Ileres and felt a pang of sympathy, though Iatho was still on her mind.
"We can solve the immediate problem of the Ileres. We may be able to use Ilere's magic to help with the Meepit problem," Fyora told her. "I will be able to use my powers to summon the two drawings. You must erase one of the Ileres."
The second Ilere piped up. "I volunteer. It was sort of an accident you made me. That Ilere is the original. All you need to do is fix her hand." Aletia nodded, shocked at the quick agreement of the faerie. With that, Fyora made the two drawings float into Aletia's paw, as well as a pencil. The hasty sketch and the intricate drawing. She felt a stab of sorrow as she set the eraser to the page.
"Goodbye then," the Xweetok said.
"It's not goodbye," the second Ilere replied practically. "I'll still exist. I am that Ilere, after all." With the faerie's determination, Aletia erased the entire page, not looking up until every speck was gone. So was the second Ilere. Pulling the original sketch of Ilere forward, she drew a perfect replica hand. Ilere flexed the fingers.
"It'll do," she replied, though there was a touch of warmth. Aletia knew that was all the thanks she could expect from the earth faerie.
"Now, we have to find the Meepits and Iatho," Fyora instructed. "You drew them here, correct?" Aletia nodded. "Well, as it stands, they should be here. But you drew the picture before we showed up. So it fits that they might have hidden somewhere." The words of Ilere -- well, both Ileres, at the time -- came back in the voice of the Faerie Queen.
"We were just pointing that out before we realised that the Xweetok might be the Daydreamer," Ilere pointed out smugly, echoing Aletia's thoughts. Fyora nodded.
"I can help find them. It's best if you don't try to draw them. We could end up with a second set, which would fix nothing." The Queen raised her hand, and an orb of translucent pink magic emerged around it. The light radiated outward and illuminated the forest. A squeaking came from a large -- conspicuously so -- clump of bushes a little way off. The faeries and Xweetok strode toward it.
The Meepits attacked. There were droves of them, but as it was, they were only Petpets. Ilere and Fyora were able to dispose of most of them with their magic while Aletia cowered, unable (and unwilling) to do anything. Eventually, the glade was filled with the bodies of unconscious Meepits. Fyora swept her hand over them and they all looked asleep. "They are normal Petpets. They will wander through the woods and eventually be picked up by Neopets. All traces of their malign is gone." Aletia was shocked at the magnitude of the spell. Fyora wasn't the queen for nothing!
But her thoughts were broken by a confused gasp. Iatho! The Quiggle was staring up at Fyora and Ilere, eyes hazy and confused, but otherwise he looked unharmed. Thank Fyora, Aletia breathed, realising how literal the phrase was.
Fyora gazed at Iatho with pity. She raised her hand and murmured something. His breathing became regular, and he was soon recognisable as asleep. "There. He should not have to deal with more today."
"Will he remember any of this?" Aletia murmured, glancing at her sleeping brother.
"Parts of it," Fyora replied. "If he asks, just tell him it was my doing. There is no point in starting an uproar by describing your involvement."
Aletia nodded, seeing the truth in it. "Okay."
"Now," Fyora began, "I have to ask of you a very serious favor."
"A-anything. I mean, it's the least I can do after all the help you've given."
Fyora smiled slightly. "Use your powers wisely from now on."
Aletia stormed to her room. Iatho was still annoying! He was under the impression Fyora had rescued him -- which was partly true, but Aletia had helped! Instead of being thanked, she was treated with the same teasing as usual. Irately, she gripped her pencil and scribbled furiously on the paper before her. Angry lines thickened and thinned sporadically, but the general picture was still viewable. With a smirk, she placed it down and let her mind solidify the image.
Now to see if it worked. She tiptoed from her room and pushed Iatho's door open slightly. He was sitting on his bed, entirely absorbed in a book entitled 'Proper Neopian Etiquette'. Hopefully that would teach him his lesson. If it doesn't, nothing will, the Xweetok thought as she slipped back out of the room.
Hey, she hadn't hurt anyone -- even drawn Iatho and his room with intricate detail -- and no one had said she had to give up her powers entirely.
Date: Aug 15th
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