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Week 456
You are on Week 457
Week 458

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 Fifty Seven Ends Friday, April 23rd

"Shouldn't we start to head back?" Megyn asked, looking nervously at the darkness gathering on the eastern horizon. "We're still a long way from shore, and it's starting to get dark."

Her brother Jak ignored her, keeping his eyes fixed on the restlessly shifting water around them. The mellow orange light of late afternoon danced upon the water's surface, but other than that Megyn couldn't see what was holding Jak's interest so much.

"That old Krawk at the harbour won't like if we run his boat aground because we're trying to sail in the dark, you know?" the Xweetok said, craning her neck to try to read the expression on her brother's face. Nothing. In fact, the Usul had his scarf wrapped over his mouth and nose, leaving only his intent eyes visible over the yarn.

"You're looking pretty intense, Jak," she said and nudged him with her paw. "You're hideous out of them, though. Get it? 'Pretty intense'... 'pretty in tents'?" The sound of her forced laughter was submerged by the slap of the waves against the side of their boat.

"Fine, Jak. If you won't turn us around and head for home, I'll do it myself... somehow." Megyn crawled over to the tiller in the stern of the little sailboat and tried to steer the vessel back toward Krawk Island.

A strong paw suddenly gripped hers, holding her hand away from the tiller. She looked up, startled, into the dark, glaring eyes of her younger brother.

"Jak, let go of me! I'm taking us home. This was the biggest waste of time ever!"

"No," was all Jak said, his paw remaining steady on Megyn's.

The Xweetok swallowed hard. "Why not?"

Jak glanced away then, staring out over the water again, his eyes darting back and forth as if scanning the horizon for something. "I have to find her, Megyn. This is the only way."

"Who? What?"

Still gripping his sister's paw, Jak reached down with his other paw and picked up a rusty pry bar.

"Jak..." Megyn swallowed hard, trying to keep her voice from trembling. Jak was never quite normal at the best of times, but now he was acting downright bizarre. "Jak, what are you doing?"

"She only comes to sailors who are in trouble, Megyn. If we want Venuquin to come, we have to be in danger."

Before Megyn could even process what he'd said, Jak swung the pry bar against the bottom of the boat, splintering the old wood. Water began rushing in...

Editor's Note: This week's Storytelling beginning was written from an idea submitted by bitsy_dj. Keep sending in your ideas for Storytelling beginnings, and they might just appear in an upcoming contest!

Author: Next you'll be looking for the Tooth Faerie! Oh wait...
Date: Apr 19th
Acting on instinct alone, Megyn had a bucket in her hand before she even felt the first splash of the cold, salty water reach her bare toes through her sandals. Pushing her brother aside roughly, the Xweetok began to bail out the small sailboat, despairing that she wouldn't be able to keep up with the rising water level.

"What are you talking about?" Megyn demanded, her panicky voice rising to a screech. "Who is this Venuquin and why are you looking for her?"

Jak dropped the pry bar with a thud into the bottom of the boat and sat down hard upon the thwart. Drooping his head disconsolately into his palms, the Usul began to repeat in a whisper muffled by the scarf he still had wound around his mouth, "What have I done? What have I done?"

Trying ever harder to bail out the rushing water, Megyn yelled, "You want to know what you've done? You've done a pretty good job of wrecking this boat. I don't even want to know what the Krawk at the harbour is going to say about this hole. We need to stop the water. Find me something to patch the hole with... now!"

The Xweetok's tone appeared to snap Jak out of his stupor and he raised his head to reply, "I can't do that, Megyn. Not yet anyway." Looking out across the wake that trailed out from behind the small craft, the Usul's eyes narrowed in contemplation. "We need to be in danger if I have any hope of finding Venuquin. It's the only way."

Pausing to catch her breath, Megyn turned to face her brother. "Are you saying that finding this Venuquin is the only reason we came out here today?" Taking a menacing step toward him, she waved her bucket wildly above her head and continued, "Are you saying that right from the moment you asked me if I felt up to a little sailing trip, maybe look for some buried treasure along the way, you mean that this whole time you were lying to me? This whole time you were looking for some Venuquin character? That you would put our lives in danger to find her? I need some answers."

Suddenly sensing that the water had risen above her ankles, Megyn turned back to resume her bailing, the cold of the ocean water numbing her feet and making her stumble clumsily. As the water sloshed around her shivering legs, the Xweetok kicked up the picnic blanket they had used at lunch time, and dragged its sodden mass over to the hole her brother had made, trying desperately to plug it up. Once satisfied that no more water was coming in, Megyn paused in her bailing to grab the tiller and reset their course for shore.

As soon as his sister's back was turned, Jak picked up the pry bar once more and swung it haphazardly at the mast and riggings, splintering off dried shards of woods and tearing a large hole in the boat's one sail.

"Jak!" Megyn screamed. "What are you doing?"

The Usul shook his head despondently and said, "Megyn, I've done a terrible thing."

"I can see that, Jak. I can see the terrible things you've done."

"No, you don't understand," Jak insisted, shaking his head vehemently. "I've done something terrible, and only Venuquin can help me now. Maybe you'll understand if I show you."

Taking a deep and bracing breath, the Usul grasped the loose end of the scarf that obscured his face and began to unwind it in a slow and deliberate motion, revealing...

Author: mamasimios
Date: Apr 19th
...a folded piece of parchment, which had been carefully tucked between Jak's scarf and furry neck. The Usul took the parchment, yellowed and tattered, into his slightly trembling paws, holding it out to Megyn as cautiously as one would hold an injured Babaa.

Raising his blue eyes to meet his sister's confused green gaze, Jak whispered, "I wasn't lying to you when I mentioned looking for a little buried treasure. Megyn, this is a treasure map. And I need Venuquin the Guide to help me because I--"

"Wait a second," Megyn interrupted, her tone becoming increasingly furious. She snatched the map from his paw. "Are you trying to tell me that you were going to sink our boat just to get some guide to lead you to a way to get rich quick?!?"

Jak looked annoyed. "You didn't let me finish. Yesterday at The Golden Dubloon, I stole that map from one of the other patrons. That was when I invited you on this sailing expedition, thinking we could try to find the treasure and keep it for ourselves, but..." The Usul's voice trailed off. "But the map isn't ours. We don't have the right to use it, so I need to get this map back to that pirate somehow."

Megyn sat in quiet for a minute, staring down at the folded parchment on her lap. What in the name of Fyora had caused her brother to steal this? More importantly, why did Jak seem so desperate to return it now?

"Now do you see why I need Venuquin, Meg? She knows these waters well enough to lead lost sailors home; she can help us find the map's owner so we can give it back... before it's too late."

"There's something you're still not telling me, isn't there?" Megyn said. "Why is it so important to get the map back to its previous owner? Tell me, Jak. Why was it such terrible thing for you to steal that map?"

"Open up the map, Megyn."

She unfolded the tattered piece of parchment. The fur on the Xweetok's neck prickled as she read aloud the spidery handwriting at the top:

"This map is the property of Captain Scarblade..."

Author: funkiechunkymunkie
Date: Apr 20th
A wave of terror passed over the Xweetok, and it was a few moments before she found her voice again. "You stole Scarblade's map?" she hissed at him.

"I didn't know it was his at the time," Jak replied urgently. "But I'm sure he knows by now that I have it, Meg, and he'll find us... you know what he's capable of. That's why I need Venuquin."

"I'm not letting you put our lives in danger for this," she scolded. "We'll find another way."

"Don't you see?" he cried at her, his urgency rising. "There is no other way. It's better to return the map than to have him hunt us down. He already knows who we are, and now I've dragged you into this mess, too."

With a defiant glare, Megyn turned the boat around. "First, you're going to help me turn this boat back around, then explain to the Krawk why his boat is ruined, and THEN we can figure something out."

Jak's shoulders sagged as he let out a sigh of defeat. "You're right, Megyn," he admitted. "And that's why I'm sorry."

She turned around at his oddly worded response to see him holding the pry bar high above his head. Jak swung it down with all his strength, and his final attempt brought the pry bar well through the bottom of the boat.

Megyn had barely enough time to shout his name before the icy water came gurgling in through the bottom of the boat. As she stumbled back, her tail became caught on a jagged edge of the hole, and she felt herself being dragged beneath the surface of the water.

She sucked in a startled gasp of air as she went down, catching a glimpse of Jak's expression. His eyes widened in regret and terror, and he shouted something that she couldn't hear over the pounding of her own heart.

She felt as if she had been sucked into a whirlpool. The world spun around her as she frantically tried to rise to the surface. Kicking fiercely, she resisted against the urge to suck in a breath.

Something heavy slammed into her chest just then, knocking the remaining air out of her lungs. Black dots danced before her eyes. She couldn't tell which way the surface was, and the frigid water sucked all the energy out of her. She relaxed as the numbness started to take over. The water was so very cold...

Author: sylviau
Date: Apr 20th
Above her, Jak clung to the ruptured remains of their boat, looking around desperately for any sign of the approaching ghost ship.

"Where are you, Lady Venuquin? Please hurry!" he urged silently, but as moments passed and he too began to slowly sink with the rotting planks of wood, he began to regret destroying the once humble little vessel.

By deluding himself not only had he destroyed the property of another but he had endangered both himself and, most importantly, his sister who was completely blameless in his covetous quest for opulence.

But it was too late now; he could feel the icy chill of the water creeping insidiously up his back as the sea prepared to receive his body and Megyn, poor Megyn, was nowhere to be seen.

Saltwater gushed into his mouth and Jak spluttered, for a moment releasing his grip on the board he was clutching. As he fell with an almighty crash into the churning ocean, he let out one last desperate scream of "Venuquin!"

The cold quickly surrounded him, crushing and heavy, a slice of ice as it squeezed the air from his lungs. He gasped sharply and prepared himself for the suffocation that would soon come, but as the last of the air was forced from his open mouth he found himself... breathing.

His eyes, previously squeezed shut, now flew open and glanced around nervously, attempting to form shape and sense of the surroundings. As the water cleared, Jak found himself staring down at several decaying planks nailed haphazardly together. It was a deck.

"Welcome to the Lady Venuquin."

The sodden Usul stood up abruptly at this voice, knocking himself off balance and slamming his chin against the putrid deck as he fell. He then sat up slowly, rubbing his chin, and turned to face the origin of the voice.

He watched as a Shoyru walked toward him. He was a young fellow, dressed in the rugged attire of the sea, yet there was an air of wisdom and age about him, an aura that could only be obtained through the constant wearying of the waves and an unconditional love for the open waters.

"Welcome, boy, to the Lady Venuquin," the Shoyru said, offering him a hand.

Jak blinked for a moment, uncertain. Could the Lady Venuquin really be here on this strange ship?

He shook the doubts from his mind. Whether the legendary Peophin he had been searching frantically for was here on this ship was of no importance at this moment; what he needed to do now was to save his sister.

"Thank you for the welcome," replied Jak, taking the Shoyru's hand. "I know I've just arrived, but please, we must save my sister."

But the Shoyru had a grave expression on his face. "Young lad, you have already made your request to find Captain Scarblade, you cannot make another."

"But--!"

He held up a hand to Jak. "I want nothing more than to help you, young Usul, but the sacrifice has already been made; you cannot take back your request now." Seeing the confused expression on Jak's face, the Shoyru continued. "This ship was once the centre of a great evil; she was consumed and destroyed by the greed of her captain and now will condone greed no more. The Lady Venuquin will come to the aid of any in need but in return she must receive a sacrifice."

He turned to stare out across the sea and following his line of sight, Jak's face froze in horror as he saw the seemingly lifeless body of his sister floating on the water...

Author: 00baies_love00
Date: Apr 21st
***
Waves lapped steadily against poor Megyn's body. The Xweetok was luckily floating on her back, allowing her unconscious breathing to continue. She was slowly coming around, the rhythmic beating of much more sluggish waves a new feeling compared to the battering of stronger waves further out. The Xweetok's eyes fluttered open, and startled she splashed her way to a standing position. Her head throbbed in pain, her throat felt raw, and her clothes were torn in several places.

"Where am I?" she murmured groggily.

Megyn could only try to guess at her current location, for as she looked around her gaze could only travel a mere two metres in any direction before it was met with a thick white fog. In the two metres she could see was nothing but water. This water was shallow, lapping now against Megyn's ankles. Slowly she stepped forward, and as she did so she realised that her left ankle was sprained. Pain shot up her leg, and Megyn gritted her teeth to stop herself crying out. Even out here, apparently alone, she would not show signs of weakness. The Xweetok took each step gingerly, having no idea which direction she was going in.

"Jak, when I find you again..." Megyn cursed her brother under her breath. This was entirely his fault!

***

"Megyn!" Jak cried, throwing himself against the railing of the Lady Venuquin. "Megyn! I won't let you die!"

Jak could see the body of his sister floating ominously on the waves; he wasn't to know that it was actually an illusion and that his sister was, by now, many kilometres away. His heart throbbed painfully as he could do nothing but watch the waves.

"I can't let you do this," he cried, turning to the Shoyru. "I don't want this; I don't want Megyn to... to..."

A tear began to make its way down Jak's already sodden face.

"I'm sorry, but I already told you. Lady Venuquin takes a sacrifice and in return gives you your heart's desire. At the time of the sacrifice, your heart desired to find Captain Scarblade. We cannot undo what has already been done, and we cannot support the greed of one's easily changed heart. Though..." the Shoyru trailed off, placing a hand on the Usul's shoulder. "I'm not sure why you bothered to steal that map if you're just going to return it without having used it."

"I'm not so sure myself," murmured Jak, his face contorted in pain for his sister. "I really wanted to try the treasure, I did, but for some reason when we finally got out to sea..."

The Shoyru nodded. "I understand, now."

"So..." Jak whispered as he wiped his face with a paw. "I guess my sacrifice was... poor Megyn..."

"I never said that," said the Shoyru. "Your sacrifice was your bond as brother and sister..."

Author: sadinei
Date: Apr 21st
Jak could barely speak. It was like his mind had been drained of all words and only dumbstruck silence filled his mouth.

"Our... bond?" he finally managed to mutter. "You mean... Megyn's no longer... we're not..."

"The family blood that ran through your veins no longer connects you," said the Shoyru. "You are not her brother and Megyn is not your sister. The sibling bond no longer exists."

A heavy weight came upon Jak's shoulders as he slumped to the deck. He and Megyn were no longer siblings? Was that even possible? What about their parents? Surely that would prove they were still brother and sister.

He immediately thought of all the memories he and his sister had shared in the past. Playing make-believe in the backyard, racing to Hubert's Hot Dog stand for lunch, sharing toys and stories and secrets. If what the Shoyru said was true, then these images were not memories, but figments of his imagination.

And for what? A wrinkly piece of paper that belonged to a murderous pirate? Not to mention, a wild Gobbler chase for a mystical Peophin that was actually a magical ship. What a fool he was. He always dreamed of finding his fame and fortune through a heart-stopping adventure, just like his heroes Gavin and Hannah. The map and Venuquin was the only way to achieve that dream.

He got what he wanted, but he'd lost what he needed.

"Megyn... she is safe, right?" he sniffed, looking at the Shoyru through teary eyes. "She's not drowned or hurt, is she? Just tell me she's OK!"

The Shoyru placed a comforting hand on Jak's shoulder. "Do not worry yourself sick over the Xweetok's fate. The Lady Venuquin has done the deed and what has happened is now in the past. Now, we must look to the future. The pain will go away, I promise."

Jak slowly removed his scarf and fiddled with it between his fingers. A kind Xweetok had made it for him for his birthday... a Xweetok he'd once called his sister.

"But...I'm all alone now."

"You are not, friend," said the Shoyru brightly as he helped Jak to his feet. "The Lady Venuquin is not done granting your request. I, along with the rest of the crew, will not rest until we help you find the treasure you seek. Now, let's take a look at this map."

***

Lock him in a room filled with Meepits? Too scary.

Turn him over to Jhudora? Too drastic.

Tie him to a rock and fling him in Kiko Lake? Mom wouldn't approve of that.

Force him to be your loyal servant for a whole year and make him do your every bidding? Perfect!

Megyn groaned as she tried to ease the weight off her bad ankle. Even the ideas of what she'd do to Jak once she finally got her paws on him couldn't distract her from the pain. She had no idea where she was or, more so, where she was going. The fog made everything look the same. There wasn't even a piece of driftwood to use as a makeshift crutch or a rock to sit on.

Since she clearly was getting nowhere fast (or as fast as one could go on a sprained ankle), she decided to take a breather and plopped down in the shallow waters.

"I'm lost..." she mumbled to herself, then raised her voice. "Ya hear that, Venuquin? I'm LOST. You gonna help me now? Oh, that's right, you won't. Because you don't exist! I actually let my dork of a brother talk me into a renting a stupid boat and sailing out in the middle of nowhere just so we could find you. I never even found out what you were! Or what you were supposed to be! And you know why that is? Because I'm LOST! LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST!!!"

Megyn slammed her fist into the water each time she shouted, venting out her frustration the best she could. She didn't care how she looked. She was tired and sore and had no idea where she...

"If you are lost, small one, then I will guide you."

Megyn gasped and looked around. Such a mystical, lilting voice. Where could it have come from? Or had she not only lost her way, but her mind as well?

Then she looked in front of her and the fog slowly parted away to reveal a large, smooth rock. Perched upon that rock was the most beautiful Peophin the Xweetok had ever seen. She had glistening purple skin with a flowing sea-green mane that danced in the wind. Her hoofs sparkled a lovely golden hue, matching the delicate gold chain around her neck. Her eyes were as blue as the ocean waves and they held a comforting kindness that instantly set Megyn at ease.

What truly left Megyn awestruck was that this was unlike any Peopin she had ever seen before. This was because she had two beautiful golden horns that strongly resembled those of Unis. One horn was on her forehead and the other on her muzzle. She had to be the only one of her kind.

"Greetings, young Xweetok," said the Peophin. "I am Venuquin, Mother of All Peophins. And I bring grim news of your brother, Jak..."

Author: bitsy_dj
Date: Apr 22nd
"...He has been captured by an enemy."

"Wha-- what do you mean?" As angry as Megyn was at Jak, she still cared for him, of course. He was her brother after all.

"When your brother tried to get me to come, he attracted the attention of a ship called The Lady Venuquin."

"The Lady Venuquin? But wouldn't that be your ship?"

The majestic Peophin shook her head sadly. "An evil Shoyru made the boat to trick wayward travellers into thinking it was my boat. He pretends to grant them a wish, but at the price of a sacrifice. I'm afraid that he has Jak. He told Jak he will lead him to the treasure."

Venuquin's lilting voice, along with the heavy words she spoke, made Megyn's head spin. When she could finally organise her jumbled thoughts, she asked, "What was the sacrifice?"

Venuquin had been helping sailors out of peril since the beginning of time. She had seen many sorrows in her time, but even she could hardly bear to look the young Xweetok in the eyes as she said, "Your bond as siblings."

Megyn quickly stood up in protest, then hastily sat down again as her ankle sent pain shooting up her leg. "But that's impossible. No one can 'take away' the bond siblings have. I still know Jak is my brother. I have all the memories of our childhood. How can someone take that away?"

"The Shoyru, whose name is Hacoda, has created an illusion that has tricked your brother into thinking that you are no longer related. Jak believes that he will never see you again, or if he does you won't recognise him. He believes that all your memories are now just part of his imagination. It's as though your entire life together has been erased."

"Why? Why would someone do something so awful?" Megyn whispered, horrified.

"Hacoda's only goal is to gain the treasure on the map. He steals from every one of his passengers. He also makes the 'sacrifice' something they can hardly bear to live without, so when he gets what he desires, whoever he stole from is too emotionally weak to fight him."

"So what will happen to Jak?"

Venuquin stared out into the fog before looking back at the Xweetok. "Hacoda will most likely get the treasure, then dump Jak overboard."

"We have to help him!" Megyn said, standing and limping forward. "Take me to Jak!"

Venuquin looked at Megyn softly. "Young one, you're not going anywhere with that ankle."

"My ankle is of no importance compared to Jak's life. If I can do anything to help my brother, I will." There was fiery passion burning in Megyn's eyes. "Whatever Jak may think, we're still brother and sister. I will never let him down."

Venuquin stared silently at her. "Okay," she relented, "you can come. But first we must do something about your ankle..."

Author: mstaylorlautner
Date: Apr 22nd
With Venuquin's gentle touch, she wrapped Megyn's leg with seaweed to create a temporary splint.

"It's the best I could do under the current circumstances," she said with apologetic eyes.

Megyn limped to her feet, this time without even a wince. "It feels great! Now where can we find Jak?"

"Climb onto my back," Venuquin said, arching at an angle so as to allow Megym manoeuvre aboard.

"Hold on," the Peophin demanded. "We have no time to lose."

Megyn tightened her grip as Venuquin took off determinedly through the water at surprising speed.

***

"It must be on that island," Jak said only half-enthusiastically, pointing to a small peninsula of land that had suddenly appeared through the fog.

He was no expert at reading maps, so he looked at the Shoyru to confirm his statement.

The other was busy bending over the piece of parchment, and then he shook his head. "See, the X is not on the island, but on the coral reef that surrounds it. I'm betting the chest is underwater."

As they approached nearer to the onset of land, they noticed even the water near shore was quite deep.

"I'll check it out first," the Shoyru said hastily, climbing on the railing of the ship. "You know, to make sure it's safe."

He dived down, barely making a splash as he hit the water, disappearing momentarily into the ocean's icy depths. Jak almost began to worry, when he saw the Shoyru's head bob back above the surface.

"Did you find it?" the Usul asked.

"No, but there's a cave down there," the Shoyru replied, climbing back aboard the ship. "I bet you anything, the treasure must be inside. The hole is too small for me to fit through, but perfect for a little one like yourself."

"Me?" Jak stuttered. "I can't... no."

"Why not?"

"I can't swim," Jak confessed. "I can't hold my breath very long either."

"Don't worry," the Shoyru comforted him. "It's not very far down, and there will be an air pocket once you get inside. Here--"

He grabbed a handful of rope off the deck and tied it around Jak's waist. "Find the treasure, give the rope a tug, and I'll pull you and the chest out."

Jak sighed but nodded. "I'll try."

He climbed awkwardly on the railing, looked back once to the Shoyru, who gave him a thumb's up of reassurance. Jak took the biggest breath he could and plunged into the icy water.

He saw the opening to the cave the Shoyru had indicated and swam toward it, kicking and flailing his arms. He was barely able to squeeze through the opening in the rocks.

The Shoyru was right. When Jak broke the surface, he found himself in a small cavern, the only light provided by a small hole in the top of the ceiling of rock.

He climbed onto the sandy bank encompassing the wall, and his eyes fell on a small brown chest half-buried in the sand.

Laughing in excitement, he approached the chest, intending to take a peek, but an ornately decorated lock prevented him from seeing inside.

"Ah well, at least I found it," he said to himself. "Megyn would--" But he cut himself off feeling the lump in his throat form.

He tied the remaining bit of rope around the chest, took another deep breath, gave the rope a hard tug, and felt the drag on his belly as the Shoyru pulled him back to the surface.

"You found it!" was the first thing he cried as Jak scaled up the side of the ship. "Here, hand it to me," he said.

Jak felt the relief of the heavy chest being carried away by the Shoyru and heard the plunk as the Shoyru set the chest down on the wooden planks of the deck.

"How about a hand up?" Jak asked.

The Shoyru's face appeared over the railing, staring down as Jak clung to the rope bobbing just below the surface.

"Our agreement is done, I'm afraid. We helped you find the treasure, and now you've served your purpose on The Lady Venuquin."

"What?" Jak cried. "What are you saying?"

The Shoyru, instead of answering, pulled out a small knife from his pocket, and before Jak could protest, he severed line, sending Jak splashing back down to the water below...

Author: xx_neomania
Date: Apr 23rd
Jak managed to take a single breath before the icy water consumed him yet again. He desperately flapped his arms and legs.

Megyn, Jak thought, I'm so sorry.

Suddenly Jak felt himself being whisked up into the air. He saw a flash of purple and felt something smooth beneath his failing paws.

"Stop moving about, you bonehead!" a voice snapped.

"Megyn?" he gasped. He wiped his eyes and looked into the familiar face of his sister. "Megyn!" he flung his arms around her. "Megyn, I messed up. I-I gave this map to the Shoyru and-and he said we weren't siblings, and then- then..." Jak trailed off, his chest heaving.

"Shush," Megyn said sternly, but her eyes were softened with love. "I know everything. Venuquin told me."

It was then that Jak noticed exactly how he and his sister were staying aloft. They were gliding atop a beautiful purple Peophin. She turned her head and Jak was awestruck by her grace.

"I am Venuquin," she said, dipping her head in greeting. "We are going back to The Lady Venuquin to put a stop to Hacoda's evil plans once and for all."

"Hacoda?"

"The Shoyru," Megyn answered. "He tricks Neopets into thinking that they made a sacrifice in return for a request, then snatches the request from them."

"So, we're still siblings?" Jak asked wondrously.

Megyn nodded happily. She turned around, scanning the horizon for The Lady Venuquin. "Listen, Jak. Venuquin and I have a plan. When we find Hacoda, you and I are going to go aboard and distract him. Meanwhile, Venuquin is going to secretly put holes in the ship, so it will never get another unlucky passenger."

"But what are we supposed to do against Hacoda?"

"Use your bond as siblings," Venuquin replied. "I can't describe how, but if you let your bond become clear, all will be OK." If it was anyone else, Jak would've been doubtful at these mysterious words, but he trusted the Peophin.

Finally Venuquin spotted the ship. "All right," she whispered, "now's the time." Megyn and Jak silently slipped off her back and grabbed onto the roping that criss-crossed the ship. One hand at a time, the two pulled themselves aboard.

Hacoda's back was luckily to the siblings, as he was busy trying to pick the lock on the chest. "Come on, you stupid lock, budge!"

"I think we can help with that," Jak said coldly. Hacoda gasped as he whirled around.

"But how?"

"We had the help of Ve-"

"A friend," Megyn hastily interjected. If Jak told Hacoda that the real Venuquin had helped them, Hacoda might catch the Peophin. "Now why don't you hand over the treasure chest? It is rightfully ours."

Hacoda ignored her and instead looked at Jak. "Why does she care? She's not your sibling anymore."

"Oh yes, she is." Jak said, putting his arm around her shoulder. "No matter what tricks you try to play, you can never destroy the bond that runs between us. We will always remain in each other's hearts."

When those words were spoken, Megyn and Jak were suddenly bathed in an eerie blue glow. Hacoda tried to run back, and instead tripped over the chest. As the pair advanced the glow got brighter and brighter.

Megyn reached her paw out and touched Hacoda. As he became encased in the same glow, the air was filled with his shriek. "Wha-what did I do?" Megyn asked aloud, more speaking to herself. She withdrew her paw and stared at it warily.

"You filled him with good," came the reply. Venuquin was swimming in the waters below. "The bond between you was so strong that it took a physical form. All the evil on this boat will now be replaced with love, thanks to the closeness you two share. Hacoda will have to go through a painful transformation. It's not easy to go from a life of such evil to a life of good."

"So... does this mean you won't destroy the ship?" Jak asked.

"Yes, I'll keep it intact. With a good crew to run it, they can aid me in helping lost seafarers. You two have made my job a lot easier." Venuquin smiled a brilliant smile at them.

Jak and Megyn looked at each other. After embracing in a fierce hug, Megyn turned back to Venuquin. "Can you take us home now? I have to make my brother my servant for a year."

Jak groaned, but in his eyes jubilation shone. He knew that he and his sister were brought so close by this disastrous trip.

***

After Jak had given the chest to Scarblade, he was let off the hook for stealing the map. Jak actually did the pirate a favour by retrieving the chest for him.

The old Krawk at the harbour, however, wasn't so pleased that one of his boats was destroyed. After a bit of shouting and foot-stomping, Jak offered to work for the Krawk to pay off his debt, and the Krawk agreed.

Soon enough life returned to normal. Well, almost normal. Jak and Megyn knew that their experience had made them closer than any siblings out there, and to Megyn that was almost as good as a year of servitude from her brother. Almost.

THE END

Author: mstaylorlautner
Date: Apr 23rd



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