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||You are on Week 414
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 Fourteen Ends Friday, May 15
"HUNGGRRYYY!!!" the Esophagor groaned, its red stare seeming to bore into Jiroh's very soul. The ground beneath the Techo's feet shook, as much from the Esophagor's booming moans as its movements. Jiroh's knees trembled as he realised that his pockets were empty -- he'd failed the Esophagor's quest.
But once risen, the Esophagor always eats, and now it was drawing nearer to Jiroh. His stomach felt like a block of ice, slowly sliding down to his feet. He tried to run but couldn't. The Esophagor loomed over him, its mouth gaping open. Jiroh cringed and squeezed his eyes shut, expecting to be devoured at any second...
...but then, instead of swallowing him whole, the Esophagor licked his cheek. Yes, there was a definite slurping noise and wetness on his face.
Jiroh slowly opened his eyes... to find his Doglefox, Jandi, sitting on his chest, happily lapping at his cheek. He sighed with relief.
"It was just a dream." Smiling, the Techo picked up the little Doglefox and hugged her. "Thanks for waking me, Jandi."
The Doglefox squirmed delightedly in his arms. As she wriggled, something white hooked onto her collar caught Jiroh's eye.
"What's that?" Jandi licked his hand as he carefully tugged the white object (which turned out to be a folded-up piece of paper) from her collar.
Jiroh set the Doglefox down and unfolded the paper. "Where did you find this?" he muttered. He cast his eyes quickly over the page. Just as it had in his nightmare, the Techo felt his stomach seem to turn to ice as he read.
"Jandi, where have you been?" he asked, though he knew he wouldn't get an answer. The little Doglefox merely wagged her tail and let out a few excited barks before settling down at his feet. Jiroh blinked his eyes, shook his head as if to clear it, and read the piece of paper again. On it, scrawled in purple ink, was the message...
Author: It's Not a Shopping List|
Date: May 11th
Please help me! I was having the most wonderful dream: I was visiting with Fyora and we were having a lovely tea party -- oh, you wouldn't believe the piles of Chocolate Eartharoles and Raspberry Faerie Crepes that the Queen provides -- when all of a sudden everything went fuzzy. When I could see clearly again, I was in a cold, dark forest and Fyora was gone and the nice warm tea was gone and everything. I was so scared that I wanted to run away, but my legs felt like they were trees too, like they were rooted into the ground, but I was too afraid to look at my feet and see if it was true. Earlier, I had been able to fly right up to Faerieland, even without wings, but now I was stuck.
All of a sudden, the Esophagor was standing right in front of me. Oh, it was horrible, Jiroh! He said that you promised to feed him, but before you did, you just disappeared from right in front of his eyes. Where did you go, Jiroh? He told me that he's very hungry. He told me that if you don't come back and feed him he's going to eat whatever is closest, and Jiroh, right now the closest thing is me!
After the Esophagor told me all of this, Jandi came running out of the woods, and I decided to write you this letter and give it to her. I only hope she can get it to you in time.
You MUST help me, Jiroh!
Jiroh blinked his eyes even harder, still not comprehending what he was reading. To him, the writing looked like his little sister's, right down to the little hearts over the Is, but what did it mean? How could Swaren have known what he was dreaming about when she wrote him this note? Deciding that he needed to clear up the mystery, Jiroh jumped off of his bed and walked across his bedroom floor, heading for his sister's room.
When he reached her doorway, he was surprised to hear her snoring heavily, but decided that she must be exaggerating the sound to trick him into thinking she was still asleep. He approached her bed, where Swaren lay with her eyes tightly closed, her body rising and falling to the rhythm of her heavy breathing.
He reached out a tentative hand and gently shook the Acara, saying, "Swaren, you can quit your faking. I got your note."
When she didn't reply, he shook her a little more roughly and insisted, "Come on, Swaren, it's a great trick already. How did you know about my dream?"
As she remained silent, Jiroh picked up her favourite toy and threatened knowingly, "Well then, I guess if you're asleep you won't mind if I let Jandi play with your Fyora Plushie."
When she continued to sleep, the Techo turned to face his Doglefox and said, "No way she'd pretend to sleep through that. Could it be true? Is Swaren in danger? Where did that letter come from?" As he was not expecting any answers, Jiroh was not surprised when his pet just tilted her head to the side inquisitively and continued her happy panting.
Looking at his sister's desk and the loose sheets of paper on it, inspiration struck Jiroh, and he felt the icy fear in his stomach begin to slowly retreat. Turning to Jandi once more, he said, "Let's just hope you can get back to her again."
Jiroh picked up a pen and wrote…
Date: May 11th
How did you know about my dream? I was dreaming of the Esophagor, and just like in your dream, I didn't have anything for him! You said in your letter you were in the Haunted Woods, but you're here at home, sleeping...
No. It didn't sound right; it was too frantic, and the part about Swaren staying put at home sounded... well, odd, even if she was indeed staying put in her bed. After all, there could be more to the situation than meets the eye.
Jiroh frowned and crumpled up the paper, tossing it into the small, floral bin beside Swaren's desk. Jandi jumped up, but her attempt at catching it was futile.
The Techo grabbed another piece of paper and started again, searching for the right words.
I got your letter. Don't worry, I'll help you -- once I figure out how. I don't know how you knew about my dream, or why you're worrying so much about your dream, or why you sent Jandi instead of coming to me, but... yeah. I'm coming!
After signing his name, he frowned; this letter seemed wronger than the last one he wrote, and he wanted to add "I hope" after the last two words in it. But it was the best he could come up with, and hopefully he could find answers to this strange conundrum.
Jiroh stood up, letter in hand. If his sister could not be woken up by conventional means, he would have to use a somewhat more unconventional means to deliver his message.
"All right, Jandi, you know what to do. Take this to Swaren." He tucked the folded note into her collar as the Doglefox kept still. When he was done, she bounded over to Swaren's bed and leapt up onto it.
"I already tried waking her up," he said.
But Jandi didn't attempt to rouse the Acara. Instead, she curled up beside Swaren and went to sleep.
Before Jiroh could complain and rant that this was no time for his pet to sleep, he noticed something happening with the note still clinging to her collar.
Was the paper...shrinking...?
Date: May 12th
Jiroh witnessed what few have ever witnessed before or since: in the letter's shrinkage and eventual dissolution, he witnessed a bending of the fabric of reality. The disappearance of the piece of paper marked a passage from the here and now to a distant dreamscape -- one that was, by all appearances, currently inhabited by his sister.
And the Doglefox was a conduit.
"Incredible," breathed Jiroh, who ran up to the bed and brushed the Doglefox's collar with his fingertips to assure himself that he had not been imagining things.
Jiroh backed up and assumed the typically Techo pose of three fingers meditatively pressed together as he began to muse. He looked remarkably like the Techo operator of the Buzzer Game as he did so -- eyes focused on everything and nothing at once, mouth drawn in an inexpressive line, mind working to consider options, parallels, possibilities.
"I should not have had those Beany Burpers for lunch," he finally muttered to himself. "They don't sit well in my stomach and they always give me nightmares."
But, as Jiroh was aware, his gastrointestinal health was currently the least of his worries -- indeed, there was someone else's intestines he had to be worried about, and those were the Esophagor's. Specifically, he needed to somehow ensure that his own sister did not come to inhabit the Esophagor's intestines, because the Esophagor was currently threatening to eat her.
In a dream.
Suddenly, Jandi twitched. On her collar was a new piece of paper, a new missive from the foggy land of Swaren's dream, come to haunt Jiroh in his reality. Jandi awoke fully, and wagged her tail slowly as Jiroh plucked the paper up and unfolded it gingerly. In it were the words:
I sent Jandi because she's the one who came to me. If there was a more practical method of communicating with you than attaching letters to Doglefoxes as they metaphysically cross liminal spaces, believe me, I would be making use of them.
I'm scared, Jiroh. You need to come, and you better have the Esophagor's quest items when you do. He wants a pumpkin slice and a gummy rat -- and FAST.
P.S. The Esophagor suffers from acute halitosis.
"This isn't good," mutterd Jiroh.
The Techo hop-skipped to the kitchen, where he turned the cupboards inside out until he had found a mouldy old gummy rat and a mushy pumpkin slice.
Then he made his way back to Swaren's side, where he held the two quest items over his sleeping sister and felt faintly ridiculous.
Should he tie these to Jandi's collar? Or should he try to fall asleep himself while clutching the items, and hope that he could make like Jandi and float off into dreamland to rejoin his sister? Time was of the essence, and Jiroh had no idea which was the surer method...
Date: May 12th
The Techo licked his lips uncertainly. He remembered the shadows of his own dream. The Esophagor had struck him as anything but happy as he had confronted the quivering Techo. He had failed the quest. That generally didn't put the Esophagor in a very good mood. No, he could get rather nasty, as he was amply showing here.
But the giant, sludgelike monster had no reason to dislike Jiroh's sister, did he? Yes, the Esophagor wanted to eat her, but that was just because Jiroh had failed his quest. No, it would be a lot safer if he just let Jandi take them to Swaren and let her hand the Esophagor the items.
"Here, Jandi," he murmured, placing the pair of items on her collar. "Go, take them to her."
The Doglefox barked at him and didn't move.
Jiroh frowned. "Look, I can give you a treat later."
Jandi gave him a pretty meaningful stare for a Petpet.
The Beany Burpers lodged in the Techo's stomach squirmed uncomfortably. Or maybe it was his own imagination. Still, his imagination was currently having a lot more purchase than it ordinarily should have.
"So I do have to fall asleep again."
The Doglefox gave another bark, this one seeming a lot less demanding and more satisfied.
He rubbed his head. "Well, I guess it was my dream. But I have a bad feeling about this..."
Dazed, he removed the two Spooky Foods from Jandi's collar and clutched them to his chest, feeling rather dim.
He slowly made his way over to his sister's writing chair, sitting down and clasping his suddenly aching head in his hands.
"So how do you fall asleep when you've got this much on your mind?" he mused aloud.
The answer revealed itself to him a heartbeat; not very long at all...
The dream he had so narrowly escaped seemed eager to reclaim him. It clutched at his mind greedily, shrouding his head in swathes of fog and mist, where reality faded and gave way to imagination and magic.
Before he knew it, Jiroh was standing in a dark, misty glade.
A Gummy Rat and a Pumpkin Slice were cradled against his chest, looking somewhat more fresher and vibrant than they had in drab reality. He looked around -- trees encompassed him, their trunks steel blue in the full moon's light. The leaves were a communal black veil adorning the treetops. Something howled in the distance.
He was back in the Haunted Woods, all right.
Even Jandi was at his feet, wagging her tail and looking utterly pleased with herself.
He let out a sigh -- relief mingled with dread. And then Jiroh looked up as the dread part stamped out his flare of relief entirely.
Because the Esophagor -- and Swaren -- were nowhere to be seen...
Date: May 13th
"Oh, come on."
Not only did he have to face up against a ravenous and irritated Esophagor, he had to trek all the way through the Haunted Woods to get there.
Who knew what horrors awaited him in the depths of the dream-Woods? What dread monsters dwelled within the nooks and crannies of his subconscious mind?
"Hello. Would you like a Chocolate Eartharole?"
The sudden voice nearly caused Jiroh to leap out of his scales. Turning to the source of the voice, he saw a Faerie Queen Doll proffering up the aforementioned treat.
"It's quite tasty," said the doll.
"Um... no, thanks," said the Techo.
"You sure? All right, then. I'll bet you're looking for Swaren. I was looking for her, too. She left the party so suddenly, I got worried."
"...um, she never mentioned that you were a doll."
"Well, I wasn't at the time. But dreams are kind of funny like that. It's probably some sort of symbolic something-or-other going on. Anyway, that doesn't really matter, now does it? We need to find Swaren."
The Faerie Queen Doll whistled, and Jandi came trotting up, sniffing curiously at the Eartharole.
"I don't think this is very good for Doglefoxes, but I promise I'll find something nice for you later if you'll hold still for me a moment." The Doglefox gave a happy yip, then held as still as she ever did (which, given that she was a very energetic Petpet, was not all that still at all). The doll swung up onto Jandi's back, holding onto the Doglefox's collar. "Sniff her out for us, all right?"
Jandi barked twice, lifted her muzzle and sniffed the air, then, barking once more, set off at a run. Holding on to the Gummy Rat and Pumpkin Slice, Jiroh ran after his Petpet and her rider.
He was very, very grateful for the light of the full moon -- it was hard enough plunging through the dark forest with a Doglefox as a guide.
Suddenly, Jandi came to a halt.
"What's wrong, girl?" Jiroh asked. The Doglefox simply whimpered in response, then started to shake herself, dislodging the Faerie Queen Doll.
"Oof! What was that for?" the doll asked. Jandi looked back at Jiroh and the doll apologetically, then, leaping into the air, disappeared from the Woods completely.
"Jandi! Come back!" Jiroh called, knowing even as he did so that the Petpet couldn't hear him.
Why had his faithful Petpet abandoned him in the middle of these nightmarish woods?
"The Doglefox is smarter than you," came a hissing voice from the darkness. "You shouldn't have come here.
"You see, we all like Swaren very much. We'd like her to stay with us forever, and we're not about to let you steal her away..."
Date: May 13th
Jiroh whirled around. Standing between two bushes, only visible because he was carrying a lantern, was a Kacheek. But this Kacheek was unlike anybody the Techo had ever seen. He remembered the species as beautiful and joyful pets. The mutant Kacheek stared at him with red glowing eyes, his sharp teeth gleaming menacingly in the light of the pumpkin lantern. Jiroh gulped as he saw the top of the head, wondering if he was really looking at the gyri and sulci of the Kacheek's brain.
The Faerie Queen Doll squeaked once and disappeared behind Jiroh's back.
"Who are you?" whispered the Techo, his mouth suddenly gone dry.
The Kacheek looked at him for a long while, as if wondering whether or not to trust the strangers with this piece of information. "My name is Albert," he finally answered. "And unfortunately, I cannot allow you to finish your quest and give the food to the Esophagor."
"But my sister-"
"That's all well and good, but unfortunately, we do not have time to argue with you. We need to go and find Swaren," the Faerie Queen Doll interrupted Jiroh. When she stepped out from behind his back to glare at Albert, she seemed to have grown in size. "This is not even your dream, so we're free to do what we want and right now, we want to find Swaren and take her back with us."
The Kacheek laughed bitterly. "No, this is not my dream, but my nightmare. I'm trapped in here just like you. Do you think I like running around like this?" He motioned at his head, the lantern swinging as he did so. Shadows danced at the movement. "It was a spell cast by the Esophagor and he's the only one who can undo it -- but only if I please him."
Jiroh peeked over the shoulder of the Faerie Queen Doll, who had grown as tall as him by now. Maybe it was his subconscious telling him that he needed to hide, or some other deeper meaning that he would never understand. In any case, he did not have much time to ponder the doll's mysterious growth. Swaren was waiting for him.
"This sounds awful and I'm really sorry for you, but we really need to go now. And I don't see what this has to do with my sister."
Albert's eyes glowed brighter for a moment. "It has everything to do with her. You see, I think the Esophagor has taken a likening to her. I've never seen him in a mood as fabulous as right now. If I bring him the food he asked for, I feel that I have a real chance of being turned back to normal." He narrowed his eyes and stepped closer to Jiroh and the Faerie Queen Doll. "I would have to be very stupid to let the two of you take Swaren away..."
Date: May 14th
"Look," the Faerie Queen Doll began. "If I had my sceptre on me right now, you'd get such a bashing on the head. It's especially good for bashing, and all kinds of hitting actions." It seemed that the doll had stopped growing now, as she stood behind Jiroh, a little above his height.
Jiroh couldn't help but think of how much Swaren would have loved having a doll of that size. It would have been perfect for her.
"I hate purple," Albert said, raising his top lip in disgust at the large doll.
"Purple!?" the Faerie Queen Doll questioned in horror. "As if I'd dress in a colour as pedestrian as purple. No, I'd consider myself to be more amethyst, or perhaps lavender. But never purple."
Jiroh, who had been listening to the colour debate, finally snapped. He lunged forward and seized the lamp from the unsuspecting Kacheek.
"You give that back," Albert screeched. Jiroh had hoped to have maybe dashed past the mutant, but the best he could do was grab the lamp -- hopefully it would be useful in their search for the Esophagor.
"Sorry, I need that to find the Esophagor and save Swaren," the Techo said with a shrug.
"Well, I need it to interrogate and blind unsuspecting Neopets," Albert replied. He dove forward to try to steal the lamp back, and that was all it took for Jiroh. With the Kacheek's momentary loss of balance as he missed the handle of the lamp, Jiroh leapt forward and set off down the pathway that Albert had been standing in front of.
Bare scaly feet slapped the hard ground. He could hear the flapping wings of the Faerie Queen Doll slashing through the air and the echoing footfalls of Albert too.
It didn't take long before Jiroh could hear more than footsteps and faerie wings. He could hear a groaning -- a very distinctive groaning. He knew he was nearing the monster that had stolen his sister.
It grew louder with every surge forward. Nothing of the mutant Kacheek who was avidly following him to stop them from reaching Swaren entered his mind. Not even that strange amethyst Faerie Queen Doll played a large part in his thoughts. All that was coursing through his head was Swaren. He would save her, regardless of the costs. With every step he called out to Swaren in his mind.
However, his abstraction was soon broken by a groan, much louder than the ones before. Jiroh stopped dead in his tracks. He could see a dark figure protruding out from the ground in front of him.
"Run, Jiroh, that uncouth Kacheek is coming," the Faerie Queen Doll said breathlessly as she stopped just behind him. "When they make dolls, they never tell you how difficult it is to run. There really should be a warning label about that somewhere."
"Got you! Now you won't get away," Albert announced proudly. He grabbed hold of Jiroh's arm to make sure that he wouldn't be able to run off again.
But the Techo had his eyes on other things. He was terrified to shine the light on that mound ahead of him. What if he was too late? What if the Esophagor had already eaten Swaren, and the groaning was some sort of indigestion (similar to the noises Jiroh's stomach had made after eating that Beany Burper)?
Either way, he needed to find out. He lifted his arm quickly -- like ripping off a plaster -- to shine the light of the lamp ahead of them.
Just as Jiroh had presumed, the Esophagor was just ahead of them. As the light shone on him, his gaze turned to the unlikely group.
Jiroh was horrified. The monster's beady red pupils glared at him like some kind of laser from the Space Station. Its open mouth was like an endless void, a jet-black abyss of nothingness.
Jiroh didn't want to know what being forced into that felt like, and he hoped that Swaren hadn't either.
Albert too seemed to cower, as the Esophagor boomed "HUNGGRRYYY!!!…"
Date: May 14th
The trio of them seemed to freeze in shock. Jiroh's jaw locked in place.
"WAAAAANNNNNT FOOOOOOOOOD," the great sludgy mound bellowed. "WHYYYYYY HAS ALLLBERRT NOT FOUUUNNDDDD AAAANYYYYY FOOOOOOOD?"
"You can have her!" the Kacheek squealed, frantically gesturing to the bright, oversized Faerie Queen Doll behind him.
"Hey, what are you doing?" the doll retorted indignantly. "You can't just serve the Faerie Queen to the Esophagor! Who'd keep the hall of records straightened then? Before you knew it, the Fountain Faerie would be offering to paint pets robot and ice, too. It'd be chaos, admit it."
"I DO NOTTT WANNNTTT A DOOOLLLLL. II WAAANTT A PUUMMMMPKIIN SLLII--"
The Techo struggled to find his tongue.
"YOOUUUUUU." Those terrible red eyes were turned on him, boring holes into his brain. "YOOOUUUU ARRREE THE ONNNEEE THAAATTT FAAAIILLED MYYY QUEESSTTT."
Jiroh remembered with a wave of relief that his violently trembling hands were clutching the Pumpkin Slice and Gummy Rat the Esophagor wanted, even though they were both a little crushed from his nervous grip.
"Here, I have your food!" he cried, sounding much more like a squeak. "Take it!"
"YOOUUUUU FAAAIILLL... OHHHH, WHHHYYYY BOOTTHHERRR?" The monster jiggled around a little, then leaned toward Jiroh with alarming speed. The Techo recoiled, then tossed the food toward the gaping maw, his action bordering on panicky.
Rather deftly, the slimy beast caught both items. "MMMMMMMMMM." The Esophagor bounced a little more, then looked up. "STTIIIILLLL HUUNNNNGRRY. YOOOOUUU HAAVVE COMMMPLEETED YOUUR QUEESTT. ITT WAAS LAATE, SO THERRE ISS NO PRIIZE. ALBERRT, BRIING ME A CLAAWMATOEE."
The mutant Kacheek visibly sagged.
"Must I still toil? I brought you her..."
"I NEEED A SERRVAANTT. HUNNGGRRRYYY!"
The Esophagor shifted to the side to look at something almost reverently, and then Jiroh could see it too.
Swaren seemed to be... asleep. Her head sagged down to her light pink chest, even as she stood upright. The rhythmic rise and fall of her chest was relieving proof of life, though. Asleep in a dream? Jiroh didn't have time to appreciate the irony.
Her feet were trapped on the ground. Evil-looking roots snaked from the detritus, tightly twined around her feet.
The Techo shuddered. Albert had once been a gardener, hadn't he? No doubt he had used those to keep her there...
Why was she asleep? Somehow, it seemed unnatural, wrong. What was going on, what other magics were at play?
But closer movement drew his wandering eyes back forth and his mind to clarity.
Nibbling frantically at those thick roots was the small, bobbing shape of a Doglefox.
Jiroh almost called for her, but something made him keep his mouth shut. And not in a good way.
"But I've worked here for ages," Albert protested. "And I know somebody who wouldn't escape. Somebody who owes you for failing... and wouldn't want to leave anyway."
If a giant mound of bluish sludge could ever look intrigued, the Esophagor did.
It swayed for a few seconds.
"WHHHAAAATT DOOO YOOUUU MEEANN?"
"You have his sister, and he won't leave her," Albert replied smoothly, his stuttering voice suddenly silky. "Take the Techo..."
Date: May 15th
"THAAT IS TRUUE," the Esophagor said contemplatively. Jiroh felt his stomach plummet. The beast was going to keep him here forever with Swaren as a hostage, and there was nothing he could do about it. All the hard work he had done trying to escape Albert and rescue Swaren had been for nothing after all! "III CAAN KEEEP MY FRIEEEND AAAAND MY SERRVAANNT." Albert smirked.
Jiroh's eyes flickered to where Jandi was nibbling silently but deftly at the roots holding Swaren in place. Hopefully she would finish soon. If Swaren were free, perhaps he and the Faerie Queen Doll could come up with a plan to escape. He felt a bit bad about abandoning Albert, but the Kacheek had caused Jiroh enough grief for him to not dwell on it too much.
"You can't keep Jiroh and Swaren here!" the Faerie Queen Doll shouted. "If I had my sceptre, you would be in big trouble!"
Albert's eyes gleamed menacingly. "Be quiet. The Esophagor can have you too, for all I care. Listen, Mr. Esophagor," he said, his voice turning silky again, "haven't I been a faithful servant? I've worked off my debt to you. On the other hand, this Techo here..." He gestured to Jiroh and trailed off, but his implied point echoed ominously around the clearing.
"VERRYY WELL," the Esophagor boomed. Jiroh and the Faerie Queen Doll gasped. "I WILL RELEEASE YOOU FROM YOUUUR DUUTY TOO MEEE IN EXCHAANGE FOR THE TECHOO."
Albert cackled madly but was cut short as Jandi leapt at him, barking angrily. "Agh, get off!" he cried. Jiroh stared at Swaren, who was picking herself up groggily. It was now or never. Jiroh sprinted toward his sister and grabbed her before the Esophagor could move -- being so large did have its downfalls after all. He turned and ran away, ignoring the cries of the Esophagor and whistling for Jandi to follow. The Faerie Queen Doll was fluttering madly at his side.
"Your Doglefox did well," she panted. "Now all you need to do is get back to your world."
"What's happening, Jiroh?" Swaren asked sleepily. "All I remember is... falling asleep... after the Esophagor said... said... that we'd be friends... forever."
"Well, you're coming back with me. I got the quest items and rescued you," murmured Jiroh soothingly, slowing his pace some. "You're safe now." A furry something collided with his leg. Startled, Jiroh turned around, but it was only Jandi. Jiroh knelt next to her.
"Take us home, girl," he asked her. "I don't know how, though..." Jandi jumped onto his knees and put her paws on Swaren and Jiroh's arms. She seemed to be giving them a sort of clue. "Grab ahold of Jandi's collar, everyone. That's how we got the notes here. Maybe that's how we get back." Jiroh, Swaren, and even the Faerie Queen Doll grabbed the collar. Jiroh felt the Haunted Woods dissolve around him as his eyes slipped shut. After a few moments, he opened them again. He, Swaren, and Jandi were all lying on the bed, and there was a Faerie Queen Doll lying on top of them.
Swaren got up and stretched. "I hope I never have a nightmare like that again."
"Me too," Jiroh agreed. "I'm just glad it's over." Jandi barked. Then she spun around on the spot and fell asleep. Jiroh and Swaren laughed and walked out of the room, leaving her to sleep. After the door was closed, though, Jandi became very still, as she had done before. A small, white something was materialising, just behind her collar. It was a folded piece of paper...
Date: May 15th
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