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Week 424
You are on Week 425
Week 426

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 Twenty-Five Ends Friday, August 14

"The branches are hanging over my fence, so I say that whatever apples fall on my side of the fence are mine!" Adur shouted, turning so his meddling Meerca neighbour Danine couldn't snatch away the apples he'd collected.

"But you were in my garden when you picked up those apples! That makes you a trespasser and a thief!" the young Meerca cried.

"Honestly, if you can't even share a few measly apples..." The Ogrin let the fruit drop to the ground.

Danine fell to her knees to gather them. When she looked up again, she saw Adur standing over her, holding a saw, his eyes gleaming maliciously.

"...maybe I'll just do a little pruning," he finished with a grin.

"NO!" Danine yelled, hopping to her feet and placing herself between the saw and the apple tree. "Wait, let's think this through. Let's, um, let's go ask King Hagan what he thinks!"

Adur frowned, but he lowered the saw. "Fine. He's wise, so he should rule in my favour."

***

The two squabbling neighbors walked briskly into Brightvale, still glaring at each other at intervals. It was a beautiful summer day, and eventually they softened and fell into companionable conversation. As they strolled along Brightvale's streets, though, they realised that something was amiss.

"Isn't that Brightvale Glaziers?" Danine asked pointing at the modest building covered in sparkling coloured glass. Instead of the usual rhythmic tapping of the Draik glazier at work, though, the Meerca and the Ogrin heard the crash of breaking glass, followed by what sounded like giggles.

The neighbours looked at each other and shrugged. "Maybe the Soup Faerie's face came out lopsided and he had to start over," Adur suggested.

Nearer to the Wheel of Knowledge, they heard more mysterious noises. This time there was a rhythmic tapping, but it turned out to be the sound of the Wheel hitting the Draik who ran it on the head. Instead of moving out of the way, though, he just stood there, saying, "Ow, ow, ow!"

Danine gently led him away from the Wheel. The Draik just blinked at her with a glazed look in his eyes. The Meerca glanced at her Ogrin neighbour and said, "I think we have more to tell King Hagan than just our apple-sharing woes."

At the castle gates, Adur and Danine walked right past the guards, who seemed more interested in poking their thumbs with their swords and seeming surprised when they bled or looking at their own reflections in each other's armour than in guarding. In the great throne room of King Hagan, though, the two were met with the most disturbing surprise of all...

Author: Dumbening isn't a word... or is it?
Date: Aug 10th
The Skeith King was sitting on the floor of his throne room holding what was unmistakeably a picture book upside down and giving it a childishly contemplative stare. He did not seem to notice their entrance. There was no one else in the room. Danine and Adur simply stood dumbfounded as Hagan sat there with his book, finally throwing it down and screaming petulantly, "I can't read these words!"

"Umm... Your Majesty?" Danine began. The Skeith looked up at them.

"Who are you?" he demanded. "Are you here to help me decipher the impossible words of this book?" Danine gaped. All logic seemed to have been shattered in Brightvale as easily as the glazier's stained glass window had been. But why had she and Adur been spared?

Danine was about to answer that no, they were not in this throne room to read to him, but Adur cut her off just as she opened her mouth, "Yes, we are. We can help you decipher the impossible words." The Meerca gave her Ogrin companion a meaningful look that he did not return.

"Fantastic," Hagan cried. He got to his feet with surprising agility and handed over the book. It was Pop-Up Skeith. "Let's start with page one..." Danine let her mind wander as Adur patiently spoke words along the lines of "the" and "red" to King Hagan, the latter of whom responded with appreciative oohs and aahs. Once he even exclaimed, "You are one smart cookie, my friend!"

As Danine stood there, listening to her neighbour educate the once intelligent Skeith King, she saw what was indisputably a shadow moving behind a tapestry. The figure knew enough to keep hidden, so Danine could only assume that the spell of stupidity over the kingdom had passed over this pet as well. But who were they?

Chancing a glance at Adur, who seemed as absorbed in the book as Hagan, the Meerca slipped over to the tapestry the shadow had disappeared behind and, after taking a deep breath, pulled it aside...

Author: hawthorneharlyn
Date: Aug 10th
There was nothing there. The only thing that met the Meerca's intent gaze was a slab of very normal-looking stone wall. Danine furrowed her eyebrows in thought; she'd seen something there, she knew she had. Still rectangular tapestries didn't cast lumpy moving shadows.

A large wail brought her back to the present, and she turned around to see what the awful racket was about. She saw Hagan huffily banging his fists on the ground, large salty tears streaking down his face as he yelled at a now very stunned and frightened-looking Adur.

"Read me more words!" he screamed at the top of his lungs; evidently Adur had finished recounting the exciting tale in Pop-Up Skeith, and Hagan was all too eager to hear more. "The lady before read me lots of words off a pretty scroll! I want to be read more words!"

Adur began to stutter out an answer to his howling king, but it was Danine's turn to cut him off before he got a chance to speak. "Of course we'll read you more pretty words!" she said in a sugary cheery voice that definitely did not reflect her mood; she shot warning glances at Adur as she spoke -- he was staring at her open-mouthed in shock. "You need to do something for me first, though; you're a smart boy who can remember things, right? Tell me all about the lady who read you the words off the pretty scroll."

King Hagan screwed up his face as he thought hard; it almost looked as if pondering had become painful for him to do. "Ummmmm..."

As Hagan thought Adur was sending dirty glances back at Danine; the Ogrin didn't look happy at all, and it soon became apparent why when he whispered to his Meerca companion crossly. "He's our King! Why are you treating him like a toddler?!"

Danine raised her eyebrows at the Ogrin in disbelief. "I'm treating him like a toddler because he's acting like one! You can't just do whatever he asks right now Adur! Something's terribly wrong here, and it looks like we're the only ones left to fix it!"

Adur rolled his eyes. "Don't you think you're being --"

But whatever Adur thought Danine was being was drowned out by a cry of joy from the Skeith king who began to babble happily at Danine. "I remember! I remember! The lady had four ears! Two were all big and bouncy and two were smaller --"

"An Aisha?" Danine asked. That was the only pet that seemed to somewhat fit the childish description.

Hagan didn't answer her, he just chattered on. "She sounded like little bells when she walked and she pulled out a pretty scroll and-and-and..." he trailed off for a second before speaking again, more slowly this time; the pained thinking expression was back on his face, "...my head became... like air... all fluffy and... then after all her pretty words... she walked by me laughing... and pressed a button on the big shiny chair."

Danine and Adur looked at each other, both of them somewhat horrorstruck that their liege couldn't remember the word "throne." Danine stepped forward, up the steps to the glimmering throne that Hagan usually sat upon. She began to study the inlay on the arms and found what she was looking for. There was a piece shaped like a large opened book that looked as if it could be pushed in, so that was exactly what Danine did -- she pressed the book inward, and a click echoed throughout the entire room.

After a second a grinding sound followed it, as if two slabs of stone were grating against one and other. The Meerca was almost positive about what that meant; she bolted back down to the tapestry and flung it aside for a second time. The blank wall was no longer there; a long shadowy corridor stretched out before her now beckoning her into the depths of the castle. She turned around and motioned for Adur to come over. As she did, she noted that Hagan had picked up the pop-up book again and had forgotten her earlier promise to read to him.

Adur walked over to her and stared at the passage as if it were a portal to another world. "You're not going in there alone, are you?"

"Don't be stupid!" she said, rolling her eyes. "You're going with me, of course..."

Author: scarletspindle
Date: Aug 10th
Adur gaped at his neighbour, dumbfounded. "I just wanted to get it in your head that those apples belong to me! And now we're going down some secret corridor to nowhere?!"

"That's right," Danine said, her sense of adventure revealing itself on her smiling face. "Let's go."

"Yes! Yes! Let's go!" Hagan jumped up and down clapping excitedly. When he landed, the floor rumbled and began to crack. Adur went over and stopped him.

"Look, I know every castle has its secret rooms and hallways and such," Adur began to rationalise. "But they're kept secret for a very good reason! Who knows what could be down there?"

"Probably the answer to what's happening around here. Come on, let's go!" Danine urged.

She walked only a few steps into the dark corridor before she disappeared from view completely. Hagan stumbled forward to follow, but Adur held him back.

"No, sire. You're Brightvale's king, you must stay out of harm's way," Adur said, blocking his way to the aisle.

"But I don't wanna be king!" Hagan sulked, pouting his lower lip. "I wanna see what's in there!"

Adur was about to reply, but was interrupted by Danine's voice. "Wow!" she cried in amazement. "This is great." Then there was a metallic CLANG (not unlike the Draik's hammer at Brightvale Glaziers), which frightened Hagan. He wrapped his arms around Adur for protection, nearly choking him.

Then a tiny circle of green light appeared from somewhere in the darkness. Adur pushed Hagan away and, despite himself, approached the entryway. The tiny circle of light turned into a powerful beam, like a laser. Adur followed the beam and saw it led out the window to...

"Hey Adur, look at this!" Danine ran out holding a fancy piece of scroll.

Hagan squealed dramatically. "That's the scroll the lady with four ears read to me!" Adur continued to be transfixed by the beam of light.

Danine smiled at Hagan and unfurled the scroll. Hagan sat cross-legged in front of Danine, paws in lap and looking up intently.

She began to read: "A pox upon Brightvale shall occur, the year their team is absent. The only cure is to find the golden fruit and b... huh, the scroll is ripped here." But she'd read enough. She walked around Hagan and over to her neighbour, who was staring out the window at the beautiful countryside.

"Adur, look! It really is a curse!" Danine shrilled. "And we can fix it, but where can we find a golden piece of fruit...?"

"How about there?" Adur piped up. He pointed to where the green beam of light stopped. Danine saw and gasped.

In the distance, they could see the apple tree leaning over Adur's fence...

Author: matjake44_3
Date: Aug 11th
Danine squealed with ecstatic delight, clasping her tiny Meerca hands together and gloating, "And just think, since the golden fruit comes from my apple tree any reward will be mine to collect, won't it?" Remembering her fruit-pilfering neighbour standing behind her, Danine turned and presented a self-satisfactory smile that irked him to the roots of the fine brush of hair that crowned his noble head.

Adur narrowed his eyes, and shaking the torn scroll in his hand said, "Now, wait a minute..." Before he could finish, however, Danine had started running toward the secret passageway once more, calling over her shoulder, "To the victor the spoils, my friend!"

The Ogrin turned to the King, who was busily shaping his fingers in the beam of green light, throwing monstrous shadow puppets of Spyders and Mallards over the sleepy thatched roofs of his subjects below the castle window, an event that was causing no small degree of panic in the streets outside the palace walls.

"Your Highness," Adur interrupted, gently taking the Skeith's hands away from their frightening work. "You must stop Danine. It could be very dangerous to disturb the golden apple before we find the rest of this scroll, before we learn the rest of the spell, and before we discover who this mysterious Aisha was who put the curse on the Kingdom."

Hagan yawned and plopped himself on the floor in a very non-regal manner. "I need my nap now. You can read me more stories."

"You don't understand," Adur implored, "only the King can order the palace gates closed, and we need them closed right now!"

The Skeith laid his head down and began trying to catch the motes that drifted through the beam of light in front of his nose. "I don't want to be King. It hurts my brain. You be King if it's so important."

"What? That's ridiculous. That's..." Adur's eyes grew wide as he contemplated what Hagan was saying. King Adur? Why not? Only until this crisis has passed, of course. And perhaps until certain... property disputes... are handled satisfactorily. Why not, indeed?

***

Danine ran as fast as she could out of the throne room and through the entrance and then the courtyard of the palace. The fine sunny day was interrupted by fast-moving, black shadows that seemed to blot out the sun's warmth and light in waves and threw the Neopians around her into blind panic as they watched the sky and screamed and ran for cover. Had the Meerca taken the time to stop and look at these dark clouds she may have been impressed by the enormous Petpet forms they appeared to take, but as she felt a need to reach her home as quickly as possible, and as she assumed the Neopians around her had lost the sense to distinguish the horrifying from the perfectly natural, she kept her head low to see and avoid the hysterical crowds.

The concentration she was applying to running this shifting obstacle course prevented her from noticing when a cloaked form, a cloak whose hood displayed the unmistakable impressions of four ears within its cover, when this cloaked form eased itself away from the shadows of the castle wall and insinuated itself directly in the Meerca's path. Just as this cloaked figure had raised its voluminous sleeves, producing a polished wooden stick in one inky paw, at just this moment a great trumpeting rang throughout the courtyard.

This did catch Danine's attention: for whereas any citizen of Brightvale was justly impressed and awed by the sudden blast of the King's trumpeters, a sound that could stir the heart and humble the mind with its timbre and clarity, the cacophony and din that now echoed off the castle walls tore and clawed at the ears of all in attendance. The Meerca turned to face the King and his retinue and watched as the trumpeters, those formerly noble, artistic souls, who now attempted to blow into every hole and along every surface of their fine, brass instruments, those, that it, who were not trying to steady their trumpets upon their outstretched hands and heads.

At the moment that the Meerca turned, the cloaked figure retreated into the shadows, hissing low and menacingly. And at that same moment, the King's retinue parted, revealing an Ogrin in the baggy vestments that once covered a much larger Skeith. This Ogrin now raised an arm regally (needing his free hand to shift the oversized crown back to the top of his noble head from which it kept slipping), raising an arm, he declared, "Close the palace gates! And as for this Meerca..."

Author: mamasimios
Date: Aug 11th
"...lock her up in the castle and don't let her out of your sight!"

Adur watched gleefully as a gaggle of guards seized Danine and dragged her struggling back toward the castle. When left to their own devices, the guards simply stood around stupidly, but upon hearing an order from Adur, they moved with surprising efficiency.

He ran a hand down the silken green robes that fell loosely over his shoulders. He had to admit, mouthing the demand and watching as his neighbour was put in her place had made him feel... alarmingly powerful. He shook his head, casting away the thought and focused once more on the task at hand.

He needed to inspect the tree. After all, that's where the beam of light pointed. And now that he had his pesky neighbour out of the way, he might finally solve the mystery honourably. And then all of Brightvale would exalt him, show him glory and respect, bow down to him in prais-- Whoa! Where did that come from? Adur thought.

No, he simply wanted to help his King like any good citizen would do. But after hearing the Meerca mention a reward, he couldn't quite shake the thought from his mind.

***

For having the minds of children, those Draiks sure were strong, Danine mused as she sat in a large stone chamber, glaring morbidly at the chain-linked wooden door separating her from freedom.

She huffed furiously as she pictured for the hundredth time the image of her Ogrin neighbour, clad in the King's garments, ordering her to be locked away like some kind of villain. It was not the fact so much that he had disrespected the office of the King, but perhaps more the fact he had thought of it before she did.

How dare he? she sulked. It was HER tree after all, he had no right to even think about touching it. Now she was stuck here and he was going to take credit for HER glory. It was, after all, she who had found the secret passage, who had dared to enter, and who had found the scroll.

The scroll! She remembered she had tucked it into her pocket so she could run more easily. She retrieved it now, looking over it excitingly, but her face fell a moment later.

"What's the use?" she muttered angrily out loud, her voice echoing off the chamber walls. "I'll never get out of here!"

"Maybe I could help you with that," a voice said.

Danine shrieked as a cloaked shadow emerged from the darkened corner to her left. The draped figure raised a hand and lowered its hood, making Danine gasp...

Author: xx_neomania
Date: Aug 12th
"You," was all that Danine could manage to mutter, as she stared at the Aisha standing elegantly before her. Apart from that one monosyllabic word, she was speechless.

The Aisha smirked back at Danine, and began tapping her feet in irritation after a while. "Yes, me. Now do you mind snapping out of this blank stare you've got going on?"

Danine shook her head, as if she really had been hypnotised, which was a possibility considering just who was standing in front of her. "I'm sorry. But, you're the Court Dancer."

The Aisha nodded. "I am," she stated. The dancer stepped backward, into the light of a small barred window, so that Danine could get a good look at her. The dark blue cloak was wrapped around most of her figure. The brown hair flowed smoothly across her face and cloak, held back from her face by the small headband at the top of her forehead. Just as King Hagan had mentioned, two regular ears poked out from the hair, and two longer, larger ones reached up and bent over ending in big arrowhead-like ears. But there was something else that Danine noticed more than anything else -- her eyes. The Court Dancers eyes glistened, even in the dimmed light. Their azure blue seemed to envelope the room and caught everything in its serenity.

"Well then, now the formalities are out of the way, are you ready to get out of here?" the Aisha asked finally.

Danine stuttered a few meaningless sounds, before managing to make out a sentence. "Why did you curse Brightvale and its residents?" she blurted out.

The Court Dancer gasped. "Why, whatever do you mean?"

"King Hagan told us that you read a scroll, and now everybody has turned stupid."

"That's ridiculous. Why would I do such a thing? I work for Darigan Citadel, so Meridell are our rivals. If anything, I'd want Brightvale to be fighting fit so that they could weaken Meridell," the Aisha said with a shrug.

Danine had to admit, that was quite a convincing story. And something about the dancer, especially her eyes, made Danine want to believe it was true. "Well, that sounds plausible. Hagan was acting very childish when he told me about the scroll, so he probably got his facts mixed up."

"Yes, that's what it was. I was only trying to help."

Danine smiled. It looked like she'd finally found somebody that she could trust -- with beautiful eyes too. "If only I could find the other half of that scroll," she muttered.

The Court Dancer piqued with interest at the word of the scroll, and she couldn't help but smirk at the Meerca. "You have the scroll?"

Danine nodded in reply. "Only half of it. The rest must have been ripped off."

The Dancer stuffed a paw into the cloak's pocket and stroked the remaining half of the scroll that was hidden in there. "That should be handy then. Now, I think it's time we got out of here. We can't waste any time, what with that fool of an Ogrin trying to run the kingdom. No doubt he's interested in the curse too."

Danine silently agreed to that. Adur was probably on his way to the golden apple tree right now. A tree that was planted in her garden. If that annoying neighbour was in her garden again, he'd be in trouble. Maybe she could get the Court Dancer to teach him a lesson. "How are we going to get out though? We're locked in."

"Not when you have the key," the Aisha replied, pushing the scroll piece to the bottom of her pocket, and taking out a set on keys instead. "So let's go and save Brightvale."

***

"This little Snorkle went to market," Hagan muttered as he sat on the floor of the throne room, poking his feet and giggling as a result.

He'd soon got bored with the secret passageway in the room, and the pop-up book, and was left to his own devices to find something else to occupy his time.

With Adur wearing his clothes, Hagan was forced to wear his back-up clothes. They looked exactly the same as his regal ones, except for one problem -- they were considerably smaller. There had never been a crisis like this one before, so Hagan had never thought to update his back-up clothes. Now he was forced to wear them, and they were less than comfortable.

But of course, he had other things to worry about -- like which Snorkle came next. "This little Snorkle went to..." he trailed off, biting his lip lightly, as if trying to figure out a puzzling conundrum.

It was then that his glance settled on a line of breadcrumbs that led out of the throne room. He clapped his hands together excitedly. "Oh hooray, an adventure."

With that, the former King of Brightvale began to crawl along the floor on his paws and knees, poking the breadcrumbs into his mouth as he went along.

"I wonder where this leads..."

Author: jayo289
Date: Aug 12th
***

Danine followed the Aisha down the corridor, watching as she slowly dropped small pieces of bread on the smoothly tiled floor. She looked behind to see a large, green figure poking at the crumbs some distance away, and a tickle of unease filled her heart. Should she really be listening to the Court Dancer, of all pets? For all she knew, she was better off listening to her traitorous neighbor, who was probably off, happily picking the apples from her tree.

The Aisha pushed open a large door, and beckoned her to go through it with her delicate, brown paw. Danine rushed through, trying to shove all thought of suspicions to the back of her head.

... but what if the Court Dancer had lied?

"Now we wait," stated the Aisha, propping the door open and setting the rest of the bread in a spot in the centre of the floor. She grabbed Danine's paw, and dragged her behind a statue of the third King of Brightvale, which happened to be King Hagan himself.

"What are we going to do when we find him?" asked Danine.

"We're going to take him to the tree, of course," said the Aisha condescendingly, as if even Danine should've gotten that thought through her head. "If we cure the King of Brightvale, the rest of the kingdom should be cured at the same time, much like it was when the curse was spoken."

"How did you know that?" Danine asked.

"Simple. I was lurking around at the time that the--"

The door slammed against the wall, and the pair of pets behind the statue jumped, nearly revealing their hidden location. They sighed with relief when they saw it was nobody but the ex-King Hagan following the trail.

"Hooray!" he said, spotting the bread in the middle of the floor. "I've found the treasure!"

He made a little squeak of surprise when he saw Danine and the Court Dancer making their way toward him.

"Your Majesty, you need to come with us," said the Court Dancer.

"But I don't wanna."

"We have candy."

A grin split the great Skeith's face. However, before he could voice the enthusiasm he showed, and before the other pets could do anything else, the door banged against the wall once again.

Don't they know it's already propped open? thought Danine.

Her face grew pale, however, when several guards trooped in, and from their midst a disgruntled-looking Ogrin stumbled out. He held one of Danine's bright, golden apples in his paw, and when he saw her, he stopped.

The Meerca wasn't even thinking about how they'd been caught at the moment. All she was doing was staring at the apple. For instead of being perfectly round and glistening like they had been this morning, they were shrivelled as if somebody had sucked all the fruit from inside...

Author: shadow_sabre_
Date: Aug 13th
"Oh my," Danine gasped, reaching out for the fruit and taking it from Adur, who was just as shocked as she was. Holding it up to the light, she realised her suspicions were right -- it was as if someone had taken all the fruit from inside, leaving a simple hollow golden husk.

"I'm glad I found you," Adur said. "When we got up to the tree, all the fruit inside all the apples was gone."

"This is horrible," Danine whispered, forgetting how mad she was at him. "How are we supposed to save Brightvale now?"

"I know," he replied worriedly. "Without the fruit we can't perform the second part of the spell. Which reminds me -- did you find the rest of the scroll?"

"Yeah, we--" Danine turned around, only to find that the Court Dancer was gone, leaving not a trace.

***

The Court Dancer hurredly snuck through the streets of Brightvale, being careful not to be seen. It was easy to sneak away from the little gathering inside the castle, but she knew that in a few moments they would notice and come after her. But she needed to get to the tree so she could perform the last part of the spell on the scroll, which was in her pocket.

It wasn't long before she was in Danine's backyard, standing in front of the tree. Taking out the first part of the scroll that she had taken from Danine, she read:

"A pox upon Brightvale shall occur, the year their team is absent. The only cure is to find the golden fruit and b..."

She took out the second part of the scroll, which was more weathered and ancient than the other.

"...egin to liquefy it. To cure the afflicted, one must drink the liquid of the golden fruit. Then all will be restored to as it once was."

The Aisha smirked. As if she would save Brightvale. Rubbing away the bottom, which was covered in dust, she continued:

"To make permanent, one must pour the liquefied golden fruit into the soil from whence it came. Then all will remain permanent for all eternity."

She then took out a small vial of cinnamon-coloured liquid and began to uncork it...

Author: newmoon653
Date: Aug 13th
***

"We have to go after her!" Danine cried.

"But we don't know where she went," Adur protested.

"No." Danine covered her face for a moment in despair, then suddenly raised it. "Wait. Yes. I bet she went back to the tree."

"But all the fruit's gone!"

"I know! But do you have any better idea?"

"Um... no." Adur scratched his head. "Well, I guess if it's the only idea we've got, we'd better hurry."

They started to race off, but Danine jerked and slammed to the ground as something caught her long Meerca tail. She looked back, trying to catch her breath, and found King Hagan grinning at her. "I want to come too!"

"Okay," she said. "Okay, please do, but you've got to run on your own. Don't pull my tail."

"Can I pull his tail?" Hagan asked hopefully, pointing to Adur.

Tempting. Danine ground her teeth. "No. It's not nice. Just follow us, okay? You can... um... you can hold my hand."

Hagan happily seized the smaller Meerca's paw, and they set off. Their progress was more than a little strange, as a Skeith's lumbering gait could be deceptively fast, but only looked like it involved a lot of irregular motion when you didn't compare it to the bouncing, springing, coil-and-release motion of a Meerca. They spent a lot of time falling over.

And yet still, somehow, they reached Danine's yard just as the Court Dancer pulled the cork free from the vial.

"SYRUP!" Hagan cried, letting go of Danine and lunging forward.

The Court Dancer's jaw dropped, and she let go of the vial.

Hagan flipped onto his back and skidded on it along the ground, his too-small clothes tugged by the dirt and his small wings fluttering, and came to a halt at the Court Dancer's feet, his mouth wide open.

The vial fell into it.

Skeith jaws snapped shut. There was a small crunch, then a swallow.

Danine and Adur held their breaths.

Awareness came back into Hagan's eyes, and he sat up, looking around in confusion and pressing a hand to his forehead. Then he focused on the Aisha next to him and bellowed, "SIEZE HER!"

Danine and Adur each automatically grabbed an arm.

Hagan eyed them both, taking in the clothing Adur had "borrowed" from him and the glare he and Danine exchanged. Then he looked up at the apple tree with its shrivelled fruit. Then he spotted the scroll the Aisha had dropped in her shock and picked it up to read it.

"Well," he said. "The two of you must, I think, be rewarded... despite some unfortunate moments along the way. I will pay you for your apples, Danine, since I seem to have just eaten all of them." He let out a discreet burp. "Now, what were the two of you coming to see me about?"

Danine and Adur exchanged another look, swallowing hard as they realised that Hagan must remember all their antics while he'd had the mind of a child. "N-nothing," Adur said slowly.

Danine nodded. "It doesn't matter now. Nothing at all."

The End

Author: schefflera
Date: Aug 14th



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