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Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)

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Week 440
You are on Week 441
Week 442

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 Forty One Ends Friday, December 18

"Well, that's that," Charlotte said with a despairing sigh as she stopped short in the middle of the bustling Neopian Plaza. "The Day of Giving is officially ruined."

Her friend Lucas, who had taken a few steps without realising that Charlotte had stopped walking, turned around to give the Wocky a quizzical stare. "What do you mean? The Day of Giving isn't for over a week; how could it be ruined already?" The Scorchio grinned cheekily. "Usually it's ruined at the Day of Giving dinner when you burn everything."

Charlotte didn't even respond to her friend's teasing, if she'd heard him at all. She was too busy staring despondently at the tiny bag of Neopoints in her right paw and the long shopping list in her left paw. "It's just impossible," she murmured. "I can't afford anything. And all my friends will think I hate them because I can't give them gifts, and my Neohome will be sad and undecorated, and there won't be any Day of Giving dinner, and... and..." The Wocky's lower lip quivered as she tried to hold back her tears.

"Hey, hey, don't worry," Lucas said, patting Charlotte's shoulder. "You don't have to get me anything. Plus, you still have about 11 days to figure something out. You can do it."

"Eleven days! That's practically tomorrow!" Hot tears overflowed the Wocky's eyes and spilled down her green cheeks. "I'm sorry, Lucas. I -- I have to go."

Without waiting for the Scorchio's reply, Charlotte spun on her heel and hurried away, her head bowed, still staring at the small bag of Neopoints clutched in her paw.

Soon, the Wocky became dimly aware that the hustle and bustle of Neopia Central had died down, and she finally looked up, blinking. Somehow, she'd wandered into a deserted area of town, where the wind howled down empty alleyways. Finally alone, she collapsed against the side of a building and burst into tears.

She wasn't sure how long she wept, but Charlotte was finally roused from her self-pity when the wind sent a sheet of ragged paper tumbling against her foot. The Wocky wiped her eyes on her sleeve and bent down to pick up the paper. She smoothed out the page and read:

The Breadmaster, the Coffee Cave, and the Chocolate Factory proudly present the First Annual Borovan Cook-off! Whether it's cake, candy, or cappuccino, we want to taste your best Borovan recipe! The winner will receive a 50,000 NP prize!

Charlotte's heart leapt as she read the flyer. "Maybe the Day of Giving won't be ruined after all..."

Author: Master Cookie Decorator
Date: Dec 14th
Suddenly filled with determination and the slightest glimmer of hope, Charlotte stood, clutching the paper in her paw and silently thanked the frosty winds for bringing this paper to her.

Now she only had to find her way out of this lonely stretch of town and figure out what she was going to cook! It was that simple! It was -- The little Wocky's heart fell with a thud. She was a dreadful cook. Everyone knows that. Especially Lucas, she thought, remembering his teasing remarks. Last time she'd burned everything so badly that it looked like they were celebrating a holiday in Moltara.

She couldn't win this cook-off. Not even if Chef Bonju himself helped her! She threw herself down again, resting mournfully against a cold, uncomfortable stoop. She'd cried all of her tears, and now all that was left was a sort of exhausted sulking that she pulled off with a little tweaked pout and sad eyes.

It was those eyes that drew in a tall, rather ragged-looking passerby. The stranger was thin beneath the dirty cloak, and Charlotte caught a glimpse of his Lenny legs before he revealed his face to her as he stepped forward.

"I don't mean to interrupt a good sulk..." he began, his voice lilting and cheerful, in sharp contrast to his poorly cared-for clothing. "But why so sad? It's almost the Day of Giving! Why, even I'm happy!" he crowed, gingerly lowering himself onto the cold pavement stones next to her.

Charlotte sighed. "But that's just it. I have no money to buy gifts for my friends. And the only chance I have to earn any Neopoints is by winning the First Annual Borovan Cook-off. But I'm a horrible cook. I'm just going to give up," she lamented, surprised at how open she was.

To her surprise the Lenny winked. "But my dear! It isn't always the skill of the chef that wins a cook-off like this. Sometimes it's the ingredients," he said knowingly, smiling slyly at Charlotte.

"Very special ingredients at that! But you're in luck! I know just where to find them. But it's going to be rather costly. And I'm not talking about money..."

Author: anastasiette
Date: Dec 14th
"Charlotte!" came the bellowing call of her Scorchio friend Lucas.

"I need to go," the Lenny gasped, suddenly very anxious.

"But... but you didn't-" the Wocky didn't get a chance to finish; with rapid speed the mysterious stranger had departed.

Lucas skipped into the scene with a grin on his face.

"Hey Charlotte, I know you're upset, but I think I have an idea," he started.

His friend stared at him blankly for a few seconds before snarling, "Way to go, doofus, you just ruined my one chance at having a happy Day of Giving!"

"Whoa, whoa what did I do?" asked the Scorchio nonchalantly.

Charlotte shoved the notice under his face and declared, "This was my opportunity to fix everything. I know what you're gonna say, 'But Charlotte, you can't cook,' well that doesn't matter 'cause I had everything figured out and then you showed up and now I'm hopeless!"

"Charlotte, calm down," Lucas said, losing his teasing nature. "I don't see why you can't still compete in this cooking... thing."

"You don't understand!" yelled the Wocky while stomping her foot. "There was a kind fellow who was going to help me win, but you scared him away."

"Hold on. You're telling me that a total stranger was going to help you for no reason?" Lucas asked skeptically.

Charlotte reflected for a brief second before she responded, "Well, he did say something about a cost... but I'm sure it would have been worth it."

"I don't know Charlotte," Lucas sighed, "In my experience mysterious strangers aren't the type to trust for random help, and this guy sounds pretty suspicious to me."

"Well, you're not the one who has the weight of saving the Day of Giving on your shoulders," countered Charlotte, "I'm going to do what I have to do find that Lenny. And this time STAY OUT OF IT!!!"

With those furious words she departed rapidly after her unusual benefactor...

Author: a_purplepossum
Date: Dec 15th
Charlotte raced through Neopia Central, past the overhanging branches of the Money Tree and around the line of Neopians waiting for their turn at the Wishing Well. Every time she had the sinking feeling that she'd lost the Lenny, the Wocky caught sight of the edge of a ragged coat, or a flash of brown tailfeathers, which spurred her on to run faster.

She finally caught up with him behind the rattling, thumping, whirring, beeping edifice of the Alien Aisha Vending Machine. "Hey!" she said. "Hey, Mister Lenny!"

The Lenny stopped and looked around. "Are you alone?" he asked. "That Scorchio isn't with you, is he?"

"No," Charlotte said, and then her brow furrowed. "Why does it matter?"

"Oh, it doesn't," the Lenny said soothingly. "Only... my special ingredients are not for just anyone. They are a precious secret, and only those who are worthy may use them, but they guarantee success in any culinary endeavor. You see, they are the special secret herbs and spices used by Chef Bonju, halfway around Neopia in Shenkuu."

"Really?" Charlotte asked, wide-eyed.

"Yes," the Lenny said, hunkering down and spreading his wings in storytelling mode. "You see, Chef Bonju became a brilliant chef by traveling far and wide, collecting piquant peppers from Mystery Island and the rarest mushrooms from beneath the deep snows of Terror Mountain, delicate flowering herbs from Faerieland and sweet fresh vegetables from Meridell. As for the very best and finest of his findings, he saved, dried, and ground them into powder. I was lucky enough to come into possession of some of his secret spices..." The Lenny dipped a wing into his jacket and withdrew a fragrant pouch. "But, as I said, they are only for those that are worthy..."

"Am I worthy?" Charlotte asked breathlessly.

"That depends," the Lenny said. "In order to prove yourself, you must do three things. First..."

Author: barnowl42
Date: Dec 15th
"...you must understand that behind each of these tasks lies a reason. It is in the best interests of both of us that you succeed. Do not hesitate, and do not question -- doubt is the only thing able to topple your chances at winning the cook-off."

Although Charlotte nodded to indicate she understood well, her mind was fogged with a mist of nervousness and anticipation. Such preoccupation left little room for comprehension beyond the surface, and half the Lenny's words simply tumbled past her ear.

"Good," the cloaked figure said smoothly, beak twitching at the hint of a smile. His voice was a golden thread spun with every effort of charm, persuasion, and the hope a desperate Wocky wanted to hear and would reach blindly for. "Then listen well, Charlotte...

"You see, long ago, the Bounty Hunter Balthazar captured and bottled a companion of mine, a faerie. I was devastated by this, and I swore to do everything to find her and to set her free. Over the years, I released every bottled faerie I could get my feathers on. I earned their gratitude, of course, but it was fruitless work, for none of them turned out to be the one I sought. But it was not all in vain, because while I did this, I learned bits and pieces from the faeries I set free, and many of them told me the same thing: that all captured faeries eventually reach the hands of the mysterious Alien Aishas..."

"Alien Aishas," Charlotte repeated slowly. "You don't mean..."

"I do," said the Lenny. "All captured faeries eventually wind up here, in this very Vending Machine." He cast a long look at the piece of colourful machinery before them, at the flashing sign, the quivering dials.

"Find her, Charlotte. Find her, release her, and have her tell you her name. Those are your three tasks, and after you successfully carry them out, you will be deemed worthy of Bonju's secret spice -- which will in turn guarantee your triumph at the First Annual Borovan Cook-off. Do we have an agreement?"

The Wocky pivoted to face the Alien Aisha Vending Machine, resolve set in her eyes.

"We do."

***

That was it.

Lucas could not allow himself to sit idling a second longer, not while his friend was running off after a hooded stranger. He would save the annoyance for later.

Charlotte's sudden anger and the importance with which she held the Day of Giving both struck him by surprise. They had always managed fine without parties or fancy gifts... why should this year be any different?

The Scorchio sighed. While a wonderful companion, Charlotte had always been marked by clumsiness and a rather gullible personality. He knew he had to look for her before things took an unexpected turn, but where to start?

And that was when he saw...

Author: _razcalz_
Date: Dec 16th
...Charlotte at the Alien Vending Machine. Watching his friend with weary eyes from the bench on which he sat, Lucas absorbed her every movement. At first he had been eager to run straight over to his friend, but now something told him he should hold off and watch a little.

His curiosity deepened when he saw Charlotte insert something in the Vending Machine, for he knew that she could never afford the Nerkmids required to activate it.

"Where did she get that..." the Scorchio murmured at he got up from his seat and slowly wandered over to his friend.

***

"Are you sure it's OK for me to take these, I mean, they're worth so much!" Charlotte exclaimed, taking the bag of variously coloured Nerkmids from the cloaked Lenny. "What makes you think I won't just run off and sell them instead?"

"You radiate an aura of purity, I trust you," the Lenny replied, ignoring Charlotte's questioning expression.

The Wocky had absolutely no idea what this stranger meant by an 'aura', but his tone of voice told her it was something good.

"Why don't you just put these into the machine yourself?" Charlotte asked, taking a Nerkmid from the bag.

"I'm not able... but that story can be woven later. Please, free the faerie!" The Lenny's pleading eyes convinced Charlotte that she could trust him as he seemed to trust her, and she sighed.

"OK, I'll do it."

"I promise, Bonjou's secret spices are worth much more than those Nerkmids..." he muttered, suddenly noticing Lucas watching them from a bench nearby. "Listen, when you've found her you can find me in the place we first met; I've got to go."

Before Charlotte could say that she didn't know how she got to their original meeting place, the Lenny had disappeared. She turned, facing the vending machine as she lifted the Nerkmid.

"Now, this goes in here..." she muttered, placing the Nerkmid by the hole but hesitating.

I could buy such excellent gifts for everyone with these, they're worth so much more than 50,000 NP... she thought, the sun glinting on the golden surface of the Nerkmid in her paw. But he trusts me... oh, what should I do?

Conflicted, Charlotte stood by the machine for a whole minute, tossing various thoughts through her mind. She regretted sending Lucas away earlier; he was always her word of reason in situations like this. Her Scorchio best friend always knew the perfect things to say.

I wish Lucas were here... Charlotte thought, feeling tears pricking the corners of her eyes once more.

A hand touched Charlotte on the shoulder, and she whipped around to see...

Author: sadinei
Date: Dec 16th
...the very Scorchio she had been thinking of.

"Lucas!" she said, relieved. "Look, I'm really sorry for yelling at you before, but I don't know what to do. The Lenny wants me to put these Nerkmids in the machine so I can find his friend, and if I do then I could win the cooking contest, but they're worth so many Neopoints, and if I just sold them instead I'd be able to have the most perfect Day of Giving ever." She ran out of breath and looked at Lucas hopefully.

He blinked a few times. "Charlotte, is this the Lenny you were talking about before? The one who randomly offered to help you?"

"Of course he is. Maybe I could just sell one, and use the rest. That would still be plenty of Neopoints. But I know he wanted me to use them all, and what if the very last one is the one that works? I don't know what to do," she said again.

"Whoa, Charlotte, back up a little." Lucas was not at all pleased with the way his friend seemed to be set on believing anything this Lenny said. "Actually, back up a lot. How in Neopia is putting Nerkmids in the Alien Aisha Vending Machine going to help you find his friend?"

"Oh, she's a faerie. She got bottled by Balthazar and sent to this Machine."

"So why can't he just get her out himself, if he has the Nerkmids? Did you even ask him that?"

"Of course I did." The Wocky rolled her eyes. "I'm not a complete idiot."

Lucas threw out his wings in exasperation. "And he said...?"

"That he couldn't. I'm not sure why. But that's not what's important! What matters is finding his faerie friend so he'll give me Bonju's special spices and I can win the cooking contest."

The Scorchio dropped his head in his hands. Soon, he thought, he was just going to give up trying to understand what was going on. "Special spices..."

"Yes, and they're not for just anyone. He said I couldn't buy them with Neopoints. But if I do this, I'll be proven worthy." Charlotte faced the Vending Machine determinedly, and raised a Nerkmid to its slot.

Lucas put out a hand to stop her. "If they're so special and you can't buy them, how'd he get them in the first place?"

A new voice, unfamiliar, came from behind the two friends. "He stole them..."

Author: sikki_lo
Date: Dec 17th
Charlotte turned slowly, a little scared to see who the voice belonged too. She closed her eyes, turning 180 degrees, keeping her eyes closed, and asked in a tentative voice, "Who are you?"

She heard the Neopet chuckle. "I, my friend, am a detective. I belong to the Defenders Of Neopia."

Charlotte opened her eyes to see a Chia in a suit. He was just shorter than Charlotte and looked nothing like the actual Defenders Of Neopia that she read about in comic books.

Before Charlotte could utter a single word of defence, Lucas said, "How do I know you're with the Defenders Of Neopia?!"

Lucas spoke in an angry voice that disturbed Charlotte. He never spoke to anyone like that. Not even the meanest bully in Neoschool. She didn't think he would even speak to an actual criminal with that much anger.

"Well, Lucas, you can believe me because I have a badge," the Chia said, pointing to a badge pinned to his suit.

Lucas snorted in disbelief. "I could whip up a better badge than that. It's obviously not real."

The Chia ignored Lucas's comment and turned to Charlotte instead. "You see, that Lenny is on the Defenders Of Neopia's top most wanted list. He has stolen before, and he stole Bonju's secret spices, which are worth millions."

"If they're worth millions, why doesn't he just sell them instead of giving them to me?"

"If only it were that simple. You see, the faerie he is asking you to release is actually...."

Author: spirit_wolf589
Date: Dec 17th
"...not a faerie at all. It is an instruction manual that shows how to combine certain items to create the ultimate weapon. That Lenny, whose only known name is 'Dr. R', and his accomplices have been trying to steal it for a long time. With it, he could easily take over all of Neopia. Well, if he wishes." Before Charlotte could ask what the Chia meant by that last line, she was cut off by a fuming Scorchio.

"How do we know what you say is true? You could easily be a criminal, and he could be the good guy! And even if what you say is true, how would these Nerkmids get the special paper? If this manual is so important, why would you let it get into the Alien Aisha Vending Machine?" Lucas huffed.

Charlotte was just about to berate Lucas for being so rude, but stopped when she realised he brought up good points. Charlotte turned to look at the Chia, who merely smiled.

"All good points, my friends!" he said, trying to come off more cordial. "How can I prove that Dr. R is the 'bad guy'?" he mused. "Aha! Let me see one of those Nerkmids, please."

Charlotte looked at Lucas, wondering if it was smart to give such a valuable item to a stranger. Lucas nodded slowly. Charlotte gave the Chia a Nerkmid.

"Here we go!" he said, after a moment of studying it. "Do you see these tiny ridges along the edge of the Nerkmid?" Charlotte leaned in close and found that there were indeed unusual ridges on the Nerkmid. "That's because these Nerkmids are fake! They each have a certain set of ridges or divots in them. When you put every Nerkmid in the machine, it releases a special chamber that lets the manual come down. We put it there for safe-keeping, and is only to be used in times of great need. However, over time our agents were ambushed and the Nerkmids were stolen by Dr. R's own agents. However, even though he had all the Nerkmids, there is one final key to getting the paper. Only someone with an aura of purity can put the Nerkmids in the right order."

Charlotte was startled. There it was again, the aura of purity! Charlotte sensed that this was important, and didn't want to remain ignorant any longer. "Sir," she began. Lucas looked annoyed. "What is this 'aura' of purity?"

The Chia looked shocked. "Dr. R didn't tell you?"

Charlotte shook her head.

"Well," he began...

Author: mstaylorlautner
Date: Dec 18th
"...an aura, in a physical sense, is described as the light that surrounds someone. In a psychological sense, an aura is a distinctive quality or character of someone. Therefore, an aura of purity simply refers to someone who is 'pure'."

As the Chia finished, Charlotte found herself looking around herself. She could see no coloured lights there, so she instantly knew that the Chia wanted her to see the aura in the psychological sense.

"So... this aura of purity. Sir, I hate to pester you but you've only detailed the aura part," Charlotte said. "What exactly does the pure part refer to?"

Lucas sighed, kicking up some dust. "Why are you even listening to this guy, Charlotte? We should just leave."

"No," Charlotte responded firmly. "I want to do this."

The Chia smiled heartily at Charlotte, before returning to his explanation.

"An aura of purity, for this task at least, is someone who is pure of heart." The Chia's statement was followed by blank expressions from both the Wocky and the Scorchio, and he was forced to explain further. "Someone who is pure of heart betters themselves only so they can better the lives of others."

Lucas glanced at his friend and he could see Charlotte's face drop.

"That can't be me, then," she sighed, placing the bag of Nerkmids on the ground. "I've been trying all day to get those spices all day just so I could win some Neopoints."

"Ah," the Chia replied, "but what did you want those Neopoints for?"

Charlotte looked up at the Chia. "So I could... buy better presents for my family and friends this Day of Giving."

The Chia nodded. "Yes, to buy better presents for others, not yourself."

"You're right!" Charlotte exclaimed, a smile returning to her face. "But do you really think I can do it? Get the manual?"

Again the Chia nodded. "You are pure of heart, I would believe in you, should we need the manual."

"But you said you're from the Defenders of Neopia. If you are, then surely someone within the Defenders would be 'pure of heart'." Lucas took a deep breath before continuing. "After all, you all better yourselves in order to better your taking out baddies."

"Alas, no one within the Defenders is pure of heart," the Chia said, his face forlorn. "Another part of being pure of heart is never resorting to violence, and that is something our job requires of us."

Charlotte imagined the Chia taking out a bad guy like the Ghost Lupe and the mere thought of it seemed impossible. This guy was puny!

"I saw that look in your eyes, Charlotte, and I assure you that size is often unimportant."

Charlotte gasped. Had this Chia really been able to read all of that by simply looking at her eyes?

"Nonetheless, do you believe my story now?"

With a glance at her friend, Charlotte nodded. Less convinced, Lucas followed the Wocky's lead and also nodded.

"Good," the Chia said, reaching for the bag of Nerkmids. "Now, Charlotte, it has come to a time when the Vending Machine is no longer the ideal place for the manual to be hidden. Will you help the Defenders of Neopia keep is safe by freeing it?"

Charlotte took a deep breath. "I will."

"Charlotte, you don't have to do this, we could just walk away now..." Lucas whispered into his friend's ear, but she shook her head.

"They believe in me, Lucas! Not even I believe in me a lot of the time."

Lucas sighed. "Well, if you've got to do it, the least I can do is stand by your side."

Charlotte looked at her friend, and a huge smile spread over her face. She could feel tears pricking at her eyes again, but this time they were tears of happiness, not sorrow.

"Thank you, you're a great friend!"

The Scorchio smiled back at his friend. "You're an even better friend."

Slowly Charlotte turned back to the Chia. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be."

Placing the Nerkmid Charlotte had initially handed him on the ground, the Chia turned over the entire bag and tipped all of the contents on the ground. Charlotte quickly counted that there were five Nerkmids in total. The bag had seemed so much heavier, like there had been a lot more. She took a deep breath before bending down and picking up the Nerkmid her hand was drawn to.

As she stood back up, Charlotte gasped. Everyone in Neopia Central had a very faint, but still visible, shimmery light around them. She hadn't seen this last time she touched the Nerkmids!

"Why am I seeing this now...?" she murmured, as her paw once again rose to the Vending Machine's slot.

With a steady paw, she placed the Nerkmid in the hole and waited for something to happen. The Alien Vending Machine made its usual clicking and whirring, but no prize came out. Charlotte glanced at the Chia.

"You're doing fine, keep going."

Charlotte felt her paw gravitate to a green Nerkmid next, and as she picked it up the lights around everyone grew stronger.

"Are these... auras?" Charlotte asked, her gaze travelling around her surroundings. Some auras were bright hues of blue, yellow, and green while others were slightly muddied. Lucas's aura was a bold, cobalt blue while the Defender Chia's aura was a dark, almost brown, green.

"You really are the right pet, if you see our auras," the Chia said confidently. "The ability to see the consequences of our actions by viewing our auras is something only the pure of heart have."

Charlotte placed the second Nerkmid and soon after the third and fourth Nerkmids into the machine, and again it clicked and whirred without releasing a prize. Charlotte bent over slowly as she reached for the final Nerkmid, the first one she had pulled from the bag what seemed like hours ago now. It was the brightest gold of all of them, and as she touched it the auras around her became so dazzling bright that Charlotte felt the need to close her eyes for a moment.

As she opened them again, Charlotte was shocked to see an aura darker than all of them fast approaching the Vending Machine. The aura was such a deep, dark black void that Charlotte struggled for a moment to identify the pet at the centre of the aura. It was Dr. R... and he was flying!

"Quick!" the Chia shouted, pushing Charlotte toward the opening of the machine. "We need to keep the manual safe!"

The Chia moved away from Charlotte and Lucas, his hands forward as he readied himself to attack the villain. From a pocket Charlotte hadn't noticed, Lucas pulled out a Rainbow Gun. She shot a questioning glance at her friend and he merely shrugged.

"I always like to be prepared, in case someone challenges me to a Battledome showdown. Now protect the manual!"

Charlotte turned back to the machine, ignoring the shrieks of battle coming from mere metres away. She could feel the tension of every pet in Neopia Central as it came to her in waves from their auras, and she fought the urge to run and hide.

I've got to do this! she encouraged herself as she lifted the final Nerkmid.

Charlotte could feel the machine respond to the Nerkmid's presence, a kind of beating emanating from the great chunk of metal. Slowly but surely she placed the Nerkmid in the slot. The machine clicked and whirred once more as it received the final object, and it spluttered as it fought to release its precious bounty.

Suddenly a capsule shot out from the prize hole and Charlotte barely caught it in her paws. She turned slowly to the battle and saw both the Chia and Lucas knocked to the ground. Dr. R stood over them ominously and it was then that he turned his gaze to Charlotte.

"The manual, if you please."

The Lenny approached slowly and Charlotte shook in fear. With nothing but the capsule in her paws to try and protect herself with, she quickly opened it with deft hands and pulled out the contents. There was a tattered old book... and that was it. Exclaiming in terror, Charlotte noticed something on the ground beside her. Stuffing the manual into her pocket, Charlotte bent down to pick up Lucas's Rainbow Gun. Dr. R's putrid void of an aura was slowly fading along with the auras of everyone else as the Lenny approached her.

"If you use that gun, you will no longer be pure of heart." Dr. R sneered.

"I... I have to do this! I have to protect this book," Charlotte pointed the gun directly at her opponent, but felt her finger quiver as she reached for the trigger. Come on, Charlotte, you have to do this!

Dr. R was only a metre or so away now, and Charlotte knew she had to stop him before he reached her. Closing her eyes, her entire body quivering, she pulled the trigger. A rainbow beam of light, much larger than those usually released from a Rainbow Gun, pelted the Lenny to the ground. He let out a screech as he fell in a crumpled heap, unable to move. Charlotte opened her eyes to find Dr. R on the ground and she dropped the Rainbow Gun in shock.

This isn't what I thought I'd be doing when I woke up this morning... all I wanted to was my Day of Giving gift shopping!

Charlotte fell to her knees, tears flowing down her face as she watched the Chia get up and place handcuffs on the evil Lenny. She could no longer see anyone's aura, and for that she was grateful. As she closed her eyes in an attempt to block out everything, Charlotte felt a gentle hand on her back.

"You protected the manual, even though you didn't have to," Lucas whispered, draping his arm over her shoulders. "You should have seen the rainbow blast -- it was unlike anything I've ever seen! The light seemed to come from everyone around you, all different colours..."

Charlotte looked up at her friend, opening her eyes.

"I'm sorry, Lucas..." she whispered, pulling her friend close. "I've missed the Borovan competition, and now I can't afford presents."

***

Everyone was gathered around the Money Tree, the hustle and bustle of gift shopping momentarily halted as a special ceremony began. The crowd hushed as a Wocky was brought to the front, a Scorchio beside her. They were led by a small Chia to Judge Hog, who bowed before them.

"Charlotte," the Moehog's voice boomed. "We are here to thank you for your service to the Defenders."

The crowd cheered, most of them having witnessed the conflict between Charlotte and Dr. R.

"As a thank you, we are awarding you with this medal," Judge Hog handed the medallion to the Chia and he draped it over Charlotte's neck. "And we also award you with this bag of 100,000 NP!"

Charlotte gasped, tears of happiness falling from her eyes as the bag was handed to her.

"I don't know what to say; I've never seen this much money before!"

Judge Hog and the Chia smiled at the Wocky.

"Don't say anything, just let us say thank you."

Charlotte took Lucas's hand in her paw as the Defenders beamed down at them.

"Thank you, and have a great Day of Giving."

The End

Author: sadinei
Date: Dec 18th



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