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Week 409
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Week 411

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 Four Hundred Ten Ends Friday, April 17

It was a dark and...

"No, it's been done," Samitu muttered and scribbled out the line with her pen. "Come on, Samitu, think. Everything rests on this first line... and the line after that... and the line after that..." With a little sob, the Lupe dropped her head into her paws.

"Hey, Samitu, what's wrong?" her little brother, Avory, asked. He craned his neck to look over her shoulder at the page on the desk. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing, leave me alone."

"Are you writing something? Like a story?"

Samitu's paw tightened around her pen until she expected it to snap. If she could just get one story published in the Neopian Times, she knew she would be well on her way to becoming Neopia's greatest author. Alstaf himself would sing her praises. More importantly, she could finally leave her tiny, sleepy town on the outskirts of Brightvale and head for the bustling city life of Neopia Central. "No, I'm not writing anything."

Avory shrugged and plopped down on her bed, picking up Samitu's Modern Lupe Magazine and flipping through it. Grinding her teeth, Samitu tried to ignore the little Cybunny and went back to staring at her paper. Inspiration had to strike some time, didn't it?

It was the best of...

"Samitu! Samitu!"

The Lupe's writing ended in a jagged slash of ink across the page as her paw jerked. "What?!"

"Do you think there really is a Jelly World? And if there is, do you think you can eat the buildings there?"

"Don't talk to me anymore."

Avory tossed the magazine aside and stood up. "You don't have to be so grouchy about it. It's not like you've written anything yet anyway. But, if you do write something, you're going to send it to the Neopian Times, right?" The Cybunny dug around in his pocket and finally produced a crumpled piece of paper that he tried in vain to smooth out with his paw. "Could you send this when you send yours? It's something I wrote, and who knows? They might accept it."

Samitu took the page with a trembling paw. Avory grinned at her and left the room. With wide eyes, the Lupe stared down at the paper in her paw. It read...

Author: It is a truth universally... argh!
Date: Apr 13th
...I've been to Jelly World. It really exists, just a hop, skip, and a mysterious portal away.

Typical clichéd, cheesy beginning, Samitu thought, rolling her eyes. Though it did sound better than anything she could come up with at the moment -- but that was just because she had writer's block. Yes. Of course. Ahem.

She continued reading.

It's not that cheerful world everyone imagines it is, though, where breakfast is a bite off the door, lunch is a pillow, and dinner is a handful of jelly pavement. And those neon colours -- green, yellow, pink, orange -- are totally overblown by popular myth. The real Jelly World is a world on the brink of famine and disaster. I know. I've been there.

For some reason, the Lupe felt tiny chills roll up her arms. It all sounded so . "Avory..." Samitu called out. "Avory, get your little fluffy tail over here right now!"

"I gave back your copy of Modern Lupe Magazine!" Avory yelled back from down the hall.

"No, duh, you did. I wanna talk to you about that story you gave me."

Within moments, the Cybunny was standing inside Samitu's room.

"What, what, what about it?" he asked eagerly.

"Uh, well," Samitu said, clearing her throat. "This story, it's not real, is it? Like, this is just all your imagination, not an actual true event, right?"

Avory blinked. "Um... well... y'see..."

"I'm just asking," Samitu said, reluctantly adding on, "because it's, eh, realistic."

Avory's smile seemed strained. "Er, thanks, I think. Is that all you wanted to say?"

Narrowing her eyes, the Lupe scrutinised her brother. That was definitely the 'the Warf did it' face he put on whenever he was lying. "Yeah," she said slowly. "Yeah. That's it."

Avory nodded and turned to leave, picking up the Modern Lupe Magazine again as he went out.

Samitu scanned through the rest of her brother's story, frowning. It wasn't fair! Her brother couldn't have cared less about the Neopian Times, and yet he was the one with the sharp plot.

The Lupe put down the crinkled paper and stared at her smooth, mostly blank one. Think, Samitu, think... oh, this is hopeless. She dropped her pen and marched out of her room, slamming her door for extra emphasis on her frustration.

Watch out world, here comes a Lupe with writer's block.

She had been planning to pace up and down the hall until some brilliant story popped into her head, but stopped halfway through her first round. From the cracks in the doorframe, Samitu saw a bluish light shining inside her brother's room. Probably some fancy new toy. Then again, probably not.

After some hesitation (about two seconds' worth), Samitu turned the handle and opened the door...

Author: mithril_mithrandir
Date: Apr 13th
...and, for a moment, could think of nothing to say.

Not that this was unusual. Lately, words of all sorts had been ignoring her -- spoken or written, it mattered not; every sentence escaped her grasp, every elusive fragment drifted away before she could grasp it. But, unlike all the nights she'd spent staring at a blank piece of paper, this time her speechlessness lasted only a moment before she found her voice.

It was a pity that, when she found it, it didn't seem to have anything particularly eloquent to say. "What in Neopia is that?!" she shrieked, and then coughed and massaged her throat. When the heroines in all the Neopian Times stories she'd read shrieked, the author always neglected to mention how painful it was.

"It's a portal," said Avory, as though a portal was a perfectly normal thing to have in a bedroom, as normal as the tawdry M*YNCI posters that festooned the walls and the crumpled clothes that were, rather less decoratively, strewn across the floor.

"Um," said Samitu, speechless again. Then again, what was she supposed to say to something like this? "That... that'd be a mysterious, enigmatic portal, would it?"

Avory shrugged, looking uncomfortable. "If 'enigmatic' means 'kind of blue and wobbly,' yeah..."

The portal hovered in the middle of the room. It looked like... well, what every narrative bone in Samitu's body said that a portal should look like. It was gaping most certainly, and cast a sepulchral blue light over the room, seeming all the stranger in such mundane surroundings. It was like... like a disc, a swirling disc of clouds and stars, the picture changing too fast for each individual scene to be glimpsed for more than an instant. It was, indeed, kind of blue and wobbly.

"Mysterious indeed," said Samitu, because it seemed like an eloquent, suave, literary kind of thing to say. Then, because her mind was yet again empty of eloquent, suave, literary things to say, and because Avory was looking at her oddly, she added, "Can I have my magazine back, please?"

He stuck his tongue out at her. "Nuh-uh. I can look after it fine."

"Don't be absurd," she snapped. "You always get chewing gum on the pages, and you crumple the corners. And you have an enigmatic blue portal in your room!"

"What's that got to do with your magazine?"

"Well, it shows that you're... untrustworthy..." she quavered. "Look, I'm your big sister, all right? Just give it back, stupid!" The conversation was mundane and familiar, almost identical to a hundred dozen other arguments they'd had, and the normality helped her adjust herself to the situation enough to be able to ask, "Where does it lead? To Jelly World?"

"Don't be absurd!" he snapped back at her, seeming rather proud of the word. "Everyone knows Jelly World doesn't exist!"

The portal resolved itself, for a moment, into an image of wobbling buildings on transparent streets. But something was wrong -- everything looked... melted, and there was a volcano on the horizon, looking far more ominous than any volcano had a right to look.

But it could've been Jelly World, if such a place existed. Avory stepped forward in front of the portal to hide it, though his small tuft-furred frame did little to conceal it. He grinned unconvincingly.

"Avory--"

He stuck his tongue out at her, and, clutching the magazine, gave a little hop, a skip...

...and was gone.

Samitu gaped at the space where Avory wasn't. Then she mustered enough of her voice to croak, "You are in so much trouble, mister!"

And, seeing no alternatives, she walked forward after him, into the portal...

Author: wicked_summer
Date: Apr 14th
The moment that Samitu stepped into the portal, she was overwhelmed by what can only be described as a queer blue and wobbly version of synaesthesia: she felt blue. She smelled wobbly.

And she was floating.

Umm...

Where exactly Samitu was, she was not sure: she seemed to be suspended in a state which could only be described as one that was between dimensions, between the real (i.e. Avory's room) and the fictitious-slash-improbable (i.e. transcendental, enigmatic blue portals of Enduring Mystery). Supporting the fact that she was suspended between the real and the fictional was the fact that, one second ago, Samitu had been having a perfectly normal fight with Avory in a perfectly mundane bedroom on a devastatingly average day, whereas now she was engulfed by blue wobbliness that was slowly dissolving to reveal...

More wobbliness. Wobbliness in the form of buildings -- buildings of mightily unsound architecture that were slouching in oppressive heat as if depressed. Wobbliness in the form of streets -- or rather, a gooey mess that squelched between toes most unappetisingly. Wobbliness in the form of her little brother, who was looking pink, translucent, and quivery, though whether the quivering was due to nerves or the substance he was made of, Samitu could not say...

Wobbliness in the form of herself. Samitu let out a string of incoherent shouts in the vein of what-the-Feepit-and-what-the-Meepit-is-going-on, accompanied by a healthy dose of exclamation and question marks. Because, as it happened, that strange synaesthetic experience that Samitu had undergone when entering the portal, where she had thought she felt blue and smelled wobbly, was not some temporary mindbend brought about by mysterious portals.

Samitu was a quivery, transparent, gelatinous dessert.

The horror of this descended upon her like white Weewoos descend on landmark issues of Neopian Times. That is to say, very scarily, and very mightily.

Plus, she was made of blue raspberry. Which was totally her least favourite flavour.

"Avory!!" shouted Samitu in the terrifying way that older sisters have. "You have a lot of explaining to do..."

But Avory was gone, his jelly tail-tuft jiggling away behind him as he loped away from his sister through ankle-deep half-melted jelly.

"We have to help them, Samitu -- we have to!"

In an effort to both corner her brother and scold him soundly, and to discover who this "them" was that needed helping, Samitu launched herself in pursuit of her little brother, slipping and sliding on the mushy street on boneless, springy legs...

Author: larkspurlane
Date: Apr 14th
She slipped and slid on the mushy street on boneless, springy legs.

Now that's a great opening line, Samitu thought as she dragged herself along on formerly powerful paws, the paws of a stealthy hunter now reduced to four gelatinous blobs that could find no purchase on the quivering road beneath them. When I catch up to Avory, the first thing I need to do is start writing this down. I'd knock wood for saying this, if there was any wood around here, but I believe the writer's block is gone. First stop home, next stop, the Neopian Times!

Samitu squinted against the strange effect the sun had as it refracted through the half-melted buildings all around her -- even the light seemed to bend and wobble, a sensation that registered more on her ears than on her eyes, the light sounding like an out-of-tune saxophone slowly, inexpertly, adlibbing to the greatest hits of Jazzmosis. When she covered her ears, the light effects ceased, and she was able to see (to hear?) her brother enter a building up ahead, a building that looked ready to collapse under the weight of its decomposition.

"Avory, no!" she attempted to warn, but whether he didn't hear her or chose to ignore her (the option she believed to be true), Samitu found herself following her brother into the precarious building.

Avory stood in the middle of the room, a triumphant grin on his clear, pink face. "We have to help them," he exclaimed again, waving the Modern Lupe Magazine insistently in his big sister's face. "It's all right here, Sami."

"What are you talking about Avory? And for the last time, give me back my magazine." Samitu lunged toward the Cybunny, but he was smaller and quicker and used to his big sister's tactics, so he easily hopped away in time.

"Just a second, Sami, please let me explain. Promise not to get mad if I tell you something?"

The Lupe narrowed her eyes suspiciously, but with a sigh gave a grudging nod of her head.

"Well," Avory continued. "Remember how you told me not to chew gum while reading your magazine? And remember what you said would happen if I did?"

Samitu snorted angrily through her nostrils as she anticipated what was coming, but silently allowed her brother to continue.

"Well, heh heh, I did get gum on the pages and they did stick together, just like you said would happen, but when I tried to get the pages apart I noticed something amazing!" Avory approached his fuming sister with her magazine opened to where several pages were bent and folded and stuck together.

At first, she could only see that her magazine was ruined, right in the middle of a tantalising tell-all about Balthazar, her secret hero, an article she was saving to read, and she flashed her teeth at her little brother in a way he knew from long practice meant that he was to proceed very carefully. But he continued to smile and jabbed at the words that the jumbled up pages spelled out:

To whomever may find this, we need your--
--help. Our town is suffering from a--
--the mountains. Come quickly. Bring--
--at high noon. Signed,

Although much of the message was garbled and missing, Samitu gasped with recognition and slowly raised her astonished gaze to meet Avory's dancing eyes.

"See, Sami? We need to help them."

"But... but... Goldrun is fictional, Avory, it's a joke."

"You said the same thing about Jelly World, sis, yet here we are." Avory bounced up and down with excitement, and Samitu felt her knees go weak as the floor beneath her started to rock like a ship at sea.

The Lupe looked around at the oozing walls of the building she and her brother were in as she tried to sort out this new information. This sure doesn't look like the Jelly World I expected. Could this be Goldrun? Isn't that fictional? Isn't Jelly World? Just as Samitu thought that her mind would melt like the world she was now in, a voice behind her caught her attention.

The voice seemed at first just a flavour on her tongue, like chocolate chip vanilla ice cream, sweet and creamy studded with bittersweet punctuation, but Samitu soon made sense of what she was experiencing. She turned to face the spotted Kau who had just entered through the front door.

"Thank y'all for coming," the Kau said in greeting. "We sure could use some help."

"You... you... you're..." Samitu stammered but couldn't get the name to come.

"I'm Sheriff Ellie," the Kau responded. "Welcome to Goldrun..."

Author: mamasimios
Date: Apr 15th
"Thanks, Sheriff!" Avory said, smiling brightly as he hopped up and down in place excitedly, sending little wobbly spasms up and down his pink body.

"But... but..." Samitu stammered, her limbs starting to wiggle as the absurdity of the situation hit home.

"But what?" the Kau inquired kindly, looking down at the quivering Lupe.

"Wasn't Goldrun just a joke? A trick that a group of, ah, cunning Neopian Times writers just conjured up for April Fools'?"

Ellie snorted softly. "Yup, they got awful close there to lettin' all a' Neopia know what exists on the other side by just makin' it up randomly. No, I sent that message there myself. We really did need help. 'Cept nobody believed it because it was April Fools' Day."

The other side? Samitu wondered just what other worlds Neopia wasn't so aware of.

"But I thought it was supposed to be a more... sandy world. With Kauboys and gold mines and saloons... you know, less jelly?

"Well, y'see, that's the problem. It was. Mighty fine place, too. But jus' recently, Jelly World conquered Goldrun."

Samitu blinked.

"It's part a' Jelly World that everythin' in it gets turned into jelly," Ellie explained. "That includes us. I'm the sheriff a' this town, so I didn't get affected none, but everyone and everythin' else, from the grass to the buildings to yerselves, got jellified."

"Jelly World... conquered you?" the Lupe mouthed in disbelief.

"Yup, they like spreadin' their confections everywhere. They like lookin' at more sugar n' wobbliness all over the place. And it'd be all fine and mighty, too -- the townsfolk said it's not all that bad in itself, bein' made a' dessert."

Avory glanced around at the drooping roof over his head. "Except..."

The sheriff nodded. "Except it's real hot here in Goldrun. Always has been. And the jelly's startin' to melt. Not just startin', no, it's full-blown dripping all over the place now. Everyone's melting. Jelly World's pets pulled out of here a few days ago -- they didn't like the heat much. But everything's still made a' jelly, and we've got nowhere to turn. Once we're fully melted, we're gone, and there's no savin' anyone."

Samitu could only stare. Oh, yes, she needed inspiration, but this was almost too much for the now cobalt and translucent Lupe to bear. Goldrun really existed, but apparently Jelly World (which also apparently existed) was warlike and turned the other world into more jelly, and now everyone was melting?

Added to that, it really was hot. She wasn't sure if she'd rather be here right now, or trapped in her room grappling with writer's block. Either way, the heat did make it a lot more difficult to think clearly.

"And Jelly World won't lift the spell?" Avory asked.

"Nope," Ellie said. "They can't. It's not how it works. The key to lifting it lies somewhere in Goldrun, but there's another thing -- it has t'be done by somebody from your half of Neopia, and quickly..."

Author: dianacat777
Date: Apr 15th
"We'll do it!" shouted Avory enthusiastically. "We can lift the spell for you! Just tell us where to start."

"Now hold on," admonished Samitu, putting a wobbly paw on her brother's equally wobbly shoulder. "I don't think we should dive right into this. How do we know we can trust this Ellie character? No offence," she quickly added, glancing to Ellie, who nodded in recognition. "Besides, this sounds like it could be dangerous."

Avory looked up at Samitu pleadingly. "But we have to help these pets! Besides, we have to find the cure for ourselves too. Do you want to spend the rest of your life as blue jelly?"

Samitu considered this. She wasn't as compelled to help out the pets of Goldrun as her brother was, but the thought of living as a jelly pet forever... she wasn't even sure if she could hold a quill with these wobbly paws she now possessed. And so, for a slightly more selfish, but still valid, reason, Samitu agreed to help.

"We'll do it," the Lupe told Ellie. The sheriff grinned broadly, as did Avory.

"Well, thank you kindly!" exclaimed Ellie, her white teeth flashing into a grin almost as shiny as the badge she wore on her fringed leather jacket.

"Where do we start looking for this cure?" asked Avory, hopping up and down with excitement, causing the building they were in to jiggle even more disturbingly. Samitu put a paw on his head none too gently to stop his bouncing. Avory glared at her.

"To tell ya the truth," said Ellie, "I'm not right sure. But we do have some clues. While the curse was just startin' ta take hold, I took a gander through some of the oldest books in our town library. I found a book that referred to the curse of the jelly an' such. I started readin' the pertainin' passage, an' it said..."

Ellie seemed to go into a trance as she recited the following words. Her eyes lit up with a green, otherworldly light, and all traces of her accent vanished. It was as if she were merely a vessel speaking words that had been written ages before.

"Past the Weewoos' nesting place,
There lies a canyon: earthen gash.
From there, the rising sun you'll face,
And find the statue of Chet Flash.
Weave a circle 'round it thrice
And say to it the password true.
If your words are all precise,
The curse of jelly shall be through."

The light went out of Ellie's eyes and she returned to normal. "Phew!" she exclaimed. "That must've been some right powerful magic. Anyway, that's all the book said. Before I could read any further, the pages turned ta jelly in my hands and I wasn't able to read no more. I reckon you'll have ta figure out the password yerselves."

Avory and Samitu looked crushed. "How can we figure it out?" asked Samitu. "The poem said all the words have to be precise. And where do the Weewoos nest? And who's Chet Flash?"

Ellie sighed. "I don't rightly know. I wish I could help ya more, but I've got plenty 'a scared townsfolk what to tend to. Really, we ain't seen confusion this bad since the Faerie Wars were fought here."

Samitu considered saying something in protest to this, but then thought better of it. After all, who's to say the Faerie Wars didn't happen? she thought. "And I suppose Neoschools are real too?" she said aloud.

Ellie snorted in laughter. "Naw, that one was really just a joke. But I'd best be goin'. Thank ya kindly again fer helping us!" and with that, she unsteadily exited the wobbling building.

The two siblings stood in silence for a few moments. Avory was the first to speak. "Well, what do we do now?"

"I suppose we find the Weewoos' nesting place," replied Samitu. "But I haven't seen a single Weewoo since we got here."

"There's one!" exclaimed Avory, pointing out the door. Samitu looked in disbelief, but, sure enough, a white jelly Weewoo was perching on the fence directly outside the building.

If this were one of my stories, we'd at least have to search for it a bit, thought Samitu. Finding it this suddenly is hardly realistic. And what flavour is white jelly anyway? Coconut?

But before Samitu could ponder any further, the Weewoo took flight. "Let's follow it!" shouted Avory, immediately bounding after it. Samitu sighed and followed...

Author: rosabellk
Date: Apr 16th
The Weewoo was surprisingly accommodating, making sure not to fly too fast for the Lupe and Cybunny to follow and stopping on occasion, looking back to make sure the two Neopets didn't fall too far behind.

It made sense, now that Samitu thought about it -- she didn't suppose that the Weewoo enjoyed being turned into jelly any more than she did.

The Petpet led them out of the jellified town and up a hill on the outskirts of Goldrun, where it perched itself on a rock.

"Weewoo," it said, sounding most satisfied with itself.

Samitu and Avory saw a great flock of Weewoos, all pure white (perhaps it was vanilla jelly... did that even exist?), gathered on the hill. Myriad sets of little black eyes were fixed upon the two Neopets.

"Thanks!" said Avory to the Weewoo guide, who responded with a soft "Woo."

"So, past here there should be a canyon." Samitu squinted. "There it is! It'll be quite a walk -- we'd better hurry..."

"Wait!" the Cybunny cried. "Look, that Weewoo's got something."

The Weewoo clutched a scrap of old newspaper in its beak. Fluttering over to Avory, it presented the scrap, which the Cybunny took.

"It says, 'Chet Flash was here.' Do you think that might be the password?"

"Maybe." Samitu wasn't quite convinced. Everything was going entirely too well for her liking, and she couldn't fight the nagging sensation that she was missing something important...

"I guess we should head over to the canyon, then," she said, her voice uncertain.

The trip to the canyon was also troubling in its lack of difficulty. The trek took a bit more than half an hour, and the sun blazed overhead, but just as the two began to get thirsty, they came across a little spring flowing with what tasted like liquefied Thornberry jelly.

Fortunately, it was much cooler in the shade of the canyon, and there, rising up from the canyon floor, stood a tall statue.

"Wow," said Avory.

"I really wasn't expecting that Chet Flash guy to look like that," said Samitu.

"I know. I guess he does look kind of flashy, though."

"True... come on. Let's 'weave a circle 'round it thrice.'"

The canyon was eerily silent save for the echoing footsteps of the siblings.

"One..." murmured Samitu under her breath.

"Two...

"Three. Done."

Taking a deep breath, Samitu and Avory said in unison:

"Chet Flash was here."

Was it just Samitu, or did the ground tremble slightly under her paws?

She stood there, looking up at the statue, and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

"I think maybe we have the wrong password," said Avory.

"Yeah." Samitu gritted her teeth. Their one lead had come to nothing, and now Samitu had no idea where to look next. Why had the Weewoo even given them that scrap of newspaper anyway?

Samitu sucked in a slow breath as an idea struck her.

"Avory... I think I know how to find the password..."

Author: cookybananas324
Date: Apr 16th
The Lupe paced in a slow circle, her hunting instincts taking over as she stalked her elusive quarry -- the idea that would save Goldrun from Jelly World's devastating attack. As she turned and contemplated, Samitu reran some important facts in her mind. First, Jelly World exists, but is unlike the rumours. We arrive here, and our senses are jumbled -- I can 'feel' colours, 'hear' the sunlight, and 'taste' the sounds -- but it doesn't last. Then it turns out this is actually Goldrun, another supposed myth, and we discover that the Faerie Wars really happened. And that 'Chet Flash was here'! Weewoos, leading the way and providing clues, and refreshing streams appear when we need them to. There's only one explanation.

Samitu stopped her circling and approached her brother. "Avory," she said carefully, "when we save Jelly World, how do you think we'll get back home?"

The Cybunny, who had spent the last several minutes tossing rocks against the canyon wall, stopped in mid-throw to consider his sister's question. "Well, I suppose the portal will just appear for us to walk through."

No sooner had he said the words than a blue and wobbly swirling disc of cloudy images, switching too fast to perceive distinctly, appeared behind Avory, hanging enticingly, impossibly, in thin air. The Cybunny spun on one clear, pink foot and exclaimed, "How absurd!"

Samitu chuckled softly to herself and answered, "No, not absurd at all. In fact, that's the least absurd thing that's happened all day." The Lupe cocked her head as she looked at her little brother, as though appraising him for the first time. She was just about to explain her theory to him when a stronger tremor shook the ground beneath her wobbly, boneless legs, and as she shuddered to the ground, a creaking noise behind her forced her to crane her head around to discover its source: the enormous statue of Chet Flash was teetering and threatening to fall.

"Come on, Sami," said a panicked Avory as he pulled at her front leg, "let's get through the portal. I don't want to be here anymore."

"No, wait!" Samitu replied as she leapt unsteadily to her feet and herded her little brother far away from the statue's base. "Avory, I don't understand the how or why of this, but I believe all of this is in your imagination. That you have created this world, based on ideas you've seen in Neopian Times stories, and you have a responsibility to save it. The residents of Goldrun are relying on you."

The Cybunny's jaw dropped, and for once, he appeared to be at a loss for words. When his voice finally returned to him, it was in a stunned whisper that sounded hoarse and hollow to his ears. "Mysterious indeed." He then added in a stronger voice more his own, "You're the one with the imagination, Sami, you're the writer. You save them."

The Lupe shook her head sadly and replied, "I'm a hack, Avory. I can't even come up with an opening line, but you, you wrote that amazing story about Jelly World, and here it is, come to life and attacking other mythical realms." She chuckled some more and added, "Only you would imagine this place to be so sticky and slimy."

As Avory was about to protest further, another tremor shook the floor of the canyon, sending a shower of rocks and dust from its walls onto their heads -- heads that conveniently acted as bouncy shields, an experience which was non-injurious yet unpleasant nonetheless.

"If you're right, Sami, if none of this is real, why don't we just go home then?"

"This might be from your imagination, Avory, but I have a feeling that Goldrun and its residents are every bit as real as you and me. As the author of their fate, you have a responsibility to resolve it for them."

Avory looked nervously around him, longingly staring at the quivering portal, but puffed himself up with resolve as she met his big sister's encouraging eyes. "So, what do I do?"

"Well, Avory, how do you want this story to end?..."

Author: mamasimios
Date: Apr 17th
Avory's large Cybunny ears flopped thoughtfully. "Well, it'd be nice if everything somehow just became all right again," he said. "If we told Chet Flash to wake up, and he did, and cast a magic spell to save Goldrun. But that would be too disjointed, wouldn't it?"

Samitu felt a smile tug at the corners of her mouth. So she wasn't alone in her writer's block after all. "Make the password really interesting," she said. "And don't forget everything else you've established, the descriptions of the Weewoos, the jelly, and Sheriff Ellie..."

"Why don't you do it, Sami?"

The Lupe felt tempted. Very tempted. Such a long time of stuck ideas, awkward sentences that went nowhere. It would be wonderful to write something that actually stood a chance of getting published, at last. But... "No, it's your story," she said. "You've developed all these locations and characters. My place here is as a reader and adviser. There are only a few more paragraphs to write. You can do it, Avory."

The warmth swirled across the landscape. The jelly ground was soft, patient. The stream bubbled and gurgled. Weewoos cooed sweetly in the distance... and the great statue of Chet Flash stood there, glittering. Samitu knew that her brother was taking care to experience the world once more, before he made the changes.

"Let's walk three times around Chet Flash," said the little Cybunny after a while. "I think I know the password now. It's very simple, after all!"

Round they went.

And round once more.

And a final time.

Avory raised his head to the sun, and said with a naughty grin, "Caution: Quills may be sharp."

The statue leapt up screaming, fled across the landscape in a splendid arc of light, and in its wake, stretches of Goldrun were restored. Condensing spectacularly out of the jelly, solid shapes of inns and shops appeared. "Chet Flash was here" flashed on certain walls. And Weewoos fluttered overhead, cooing, dropping papers and feathers.

There came a pattering down the rapidly drying street. Sheriff Ellie came forward, beaming, "Ah, thank you, we're not meltin' anymore..."

"That wasn't my best work," said Avory, pulling his sister toward the portal. "But I can always try editing later, right?"

"All right, back to the real world we go."

Everything disappeared in a whoosh of colour. When Samitu tumbled onto her bedroom floor, the lingering taste of jelly was sweet in her mouth. "Whew, what a crazy story that was!" she said, and both she and Avory burst out laughing.

***

A few weeks later, Avory's story was published in the Neopian Times. "My First Great Adventure," it announced somewhat shyly, and at the bottom, after paragraphs of careful, imaginative writing, there were the words: "I couldn't have done this without my big sister, Samitu. Thank you so much for your help and encouragement."

And, sitting at the dining room table with the paper on her lap, Samitu smiled. Sure, it wasn't her glory, but she had been with her little brother through it all. Perhaps by helping him, she could develop her own skills. Perhaps her own name would appear under a headline, one day.

She ran her claw appreciatively along the pen that Avory had given her. The adventure would remain in her heart always, whenever she felt frustrated or stuck or resentful. Yes, she would remember, and with this pen she would write great things.

"Well, here comes Chapter One!" she thought, and smoothly put pen to paper.

The End

Author: yoyote
Date: Apr 17th



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