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||You are on Week 486
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 Eighty Six Ends Friday, December 3
The Blumaroo blinked awake, reflexively reaching for his glasses. Someone was calling.
"Ari!" the voice said again. He pushed himself into a sitting position and glanced at the clock. Seven o' clock, the hands said. He had slept three hours. The need to beat Battlefield Legends drove him to disregard simple matters such as sleep.
The doorbell rang. "Ari!" the voice called again, slightly more urgently. An Aisha burst into the room.
"What, Abigail?" He swung his legs off the bed and stood up.
"Someone has been ringing the doorbell for the last hour, once every five minutes like clockwork, but... that's not what the problem is."
Worry was clear in the young Aisha's expression. AAA recognised it and became fully awake. Whatever it was, it would be a good challenge to prove himself against, and as Neopia's one and only Games Master, he was always looking for a new challenge.
"Just look out the front window." The blue Aisha walked out of the room, leading her still-sleepy brother down the hall to the front of the house.
"There," she pointed. AAA blinked a few times, ensuring it was real. It was.
Outside their front door was a landscape seen only in a game...
Editor's Note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., this Storytelling Contest will last two weeks. Thanks!
Date: Nov 22nd
For a moment, AAA could only stare in silence as his eyes drank in the scene that stretched before him. The grass in his front yard, which had only been mildly overgrown the night before, was now trimmed nearly to the ground and was unmistakenly sectioned in squares of various shades of green. The trees that grew at the end of the walkway were now twisted and bare of leaves. Stern faces stared out at him from the bark and two branches crossed near the trunk like angry arms. What was most upsetting was the sky. Instead of the calm, blue expanse that he was expecting, the sky was dark and appeared to be crisscrossed with white lines. Something was very wrong here.
"What's happening?" Abigail asked, her voice trembling slightly.
Before her brother could answer, the doorbell rang, the sound echoing and hissing about the room. "I think we're about to find out," AAA answered, his voice far calmer then he truly felt. Almost casually, he made his way to the front door and threw it open.
The Blumaroo wasn't sure what he was expecting. Perhaps a tall, cloaked figure, or something malevolent as if it crawled up from a nightmare, but a delicate faerie Xweetok was the furthest thing from what he imagined. She was smiling sweetly, but there was something darker hidden in her innocent expression.
"And who are you?" AAA asked almost sullenly.
"I am the true Games Master," the stranger said, overly dramatic. She waved her arms around, but the effect was more comical than impressive. "And I'm here to truly take that title."
"How do you plan on doing that?" AAA questioned, leaning casually against the doorframe. He was still nervous, but he wasn't going to show it.
She smiled dangerously. "A simple game," she answered "but one with the highest stakes. The rules are simple, and you can do whatever you want. Still, I will be the victor."
AAA yawned. He didn't want to admit that he was still thrown off balance by this strange game world. "So, how do we play?"
The Xweetok's smile grew and curled about her face. "You'll find out soon enough," she answered mysteriously as she produced a pair of dice from nowhere and threw them into the air...
Date: Nov 22nd
The ivory dice twisted in the air as if suspended by time. As they clattered to the floor AAA jumped, unnerved by the hollow echoing they emitted as they rolled to a stop. AAA looked down warily to see what the dice had landed on only to realise they were blank squares. "What does this mean?" he asked, pointing to them.
"You must play, as I said, for the highest stakes. This means playing for what you care most..." The faerie Xweetok fluttered her gossamer wings, the sound like silk.
"My title? The Games Master?" AAA felt worry dawning on him as the Xweetok coyly shook her head regarding the blank dice.
"Look at them and tell me what you see. They will show you what matters the most..." Another flurry of wings and the Xweetok giggled furiously.
AAA looked down at the dice once more and focused intently. Suddenly the creamy surface took on a colour that developed slowly as though just having life breathed into them. Before his unbelieving eyes appeared an image of Abigail. "No! Not my little sister!" he shouted as the dice shrank back, recoiling into emptiness once more.
"Yes. The way is set and now you must follow. Do you dare defend your title when your loved one is at stake?"
It seemed the faerie Xweetok knew how to defeat AAA before the game had even begun. AAA looked back and forth between his little sister, her ears tucked forward, defensively cowering behind him, to the smug Xweetok before him, glowering and smirking.
"My decision is...."
Date: Nov 23rd
AAA paused, torn. He was the Games Master! His pride tugged at him forcefully, but the despair that losing his sister would bring tore his heart in two. He forced out the words that he knew were right. "I won't play you."
"Not confident enough?" The Xweetok smirked. "I knew it. No one can beat me, after all. I am THE Games Master, no matter what kind of nonsense you may claim."
AAA shrugged, trying as hard as he could to be indifferent. "My sister is more important than any silly title." Not quite so silly, but compared to family...
"If you win, you won't lose her," the Xweetok pointed out in a sickly honeyed voice.
Yes, he could win, AAA thought. And yet... even the risk...
"I'll do it!" Two pairs of eyes turned in shock. For it had not been AAA's but Abigail's voice, daring and confident and defiant. "I'll challenge you! But on one condition."
"Abigail, don't!" AAA cried. His sister was good at gaming, it was true, but she was nowhere close to the skill level a master needed.
Beside him, the Xweetok sneered. "You? You have no titles, nothing I could possibly want. Unless..." She paused tantalisingly. "Unless... you would like to play for your brother's title...?" she suggested and smiled. "But he could not possibly agree to that."
"No." Abigail smiled too. "Something even better." At this, the Xweetok narrowed her eyes.
"I am an average gamer, but..." Abigail paused here to let the words sink in. The Xweetok regarded her with suspicious eyes as Abigail smiled sweetly. "But in a game of chance, I may still win. That is my condition."
"Chance doesn't exist in a game," the Xweetok laughed. "But the prize? What will you wager in this game?"
Abigail paid no heed to the Xweetok's question and instead headed straight for a dusty corner of the room. There were stacks of old board games piled up. They had been retired long ago, but Abigail loved the old board games that she had grown up with, and she had saved them all. Slowly, carefully, she pulled out the most worn and plain of the boxes.
It was a faded box that was coloured like the deep, sickly purple of the sky outside, but the box did not give out the same queasy feeling. Rather, when one looked at it, it gave out a comfortable feeling, as if one were sitting in front of a fire on a snowy night.
Abigail placed the box in the middle of the room and gestured for the Xweetok to join her. AAA stared at his sister in shock. She had never before been so confident, so... masterful.
Finally, Abigail looked up at the Xweetok. "If I win, I want your dice. But if you win... you may have this game."
The Xweetok narrowed her eyes. "You know who I am? What I want?"
Abigail laughed. "Of course. If you had only wanted the title of Games Master, you needn't have come all the way here for it. There are more flamboyant ways of snatching that title, after all." Having said that, Abigail slowly lifted the lid of the old, weathered box to reveal...
Date: Nov 23rd
...a tiny, scalloped shell.
"What is that supposed to be?" the Xweetok asked, half-curious, half-contemptuous.
Abigail stared at her as though she was crazy.
"You don't you know? That shell is worth more than any gaming title in Neopia, and I know for a fact that this is what you're after..."
Still unconvinced, the Xweetok insisted, "It's a silly shell."
"You'll think differently once the day is done. Now, shall we start?"
The Xweetok narrowed her eyes at Abigail's challenge.
"Absolutely. Now why don't I explain the rules to you?"
The Aisha prepared herself for a terrible, torturous, treacherous set of rules, and was in for a surprise when the faerie Xweetok merely said, "You have to make your way from this starting point to that tree, in the distance."
"That's it? That's not a game, that's a race. And what about the rules?" A million questions needed answering, and before she could play, the Aisha needed to know what was legitimate and what was not in this game.
"That's absolutely it," confirmed the Xweetok.
"But we can't play a game with no rules! That would be too easy!" insisted Abigail.
"Not so," said the Xweetok cryptically. "That makes things harder. There are no restrictions, no limits to what you can and cannot do..."
"You," the Xweetok turned to AAA, "will be keeping score."
"This is a race," the Blumaroo said. "You don't need scores in a race."
"This is most certainly not a race," replied the Xweetok. "You'll see in just a moment."
AAA suddenly found himself holding a board, on which was written a chart, one column marked A, for Abigail, and one marked P, likely for the faerie Xweetok. They lined up by the starting mark and waited for AAA's yell to tell them of the game's start.
But he never said go. Even if he had, Abigail never heard him, for the second the game started, she found herself pushed into the mud as her opponent streaked off toward the distance...
There were no restrictions in this game. Anything was legal.
She pulled herself up and ran over to the nearest tree, searching for something she could throw at the Xweetok, who was drawing farther and farther away. There were no stones lying at the roots, but a branch, perfectly straight and polished.
Of course. This was a game, after all.
She picked it up and waved it in the air several times. From the tip shot a jet of blue-green light, hitting the Xweetok's running figure. The faerie Xweetok fell to the ground, but rose again, determined to avenge herself...
Date: Nov 24th
Abigail hastily scooped some dirt up and pointed her new magic wand at it. "Harden!" she shouted. A film of steel coated the clump of dirt. "Enlarge," she said hastily, and held up her makeshift shield just in time to block the thunder that was now coming down right where she stood.
AAA was trembling, praying that nothing bad would happen to his little sister. Suddenly the clipboard he was holding started to vibrate, and he watched at two tally marks appeared under Abigail's column, while one appeared under the column marked P. With a start he realised he was supposed to be keeping score. Two points for Abigail... the Blumaroo guessed that Abigail had scored once by hitting the faerie Xweetok, and once by successfully dodging her attack. This mysterious P, whoever she might be, scored one by pushing Abigail into the mud. AAA turned his eyes back to the twisted race unfolding before him.
Abigail had caught up the faerie Xweetok, who was now flinging snowballs at Abigail. Abigail responded by scooping one off the ground, quickly molding it into something, and throwing it on the ground.
The two figures both froze in their tracks, and everyone watched in awe as the field shifted into one whose path was clearly marked. Boxed squares led a twisted and turning path to the tree far in the distance, and there were several breaks where you had to choose your path.
"What did you do?" the faerie Xweetok snarled.
"I made a pair of dice," said Abigail simply. AAA, who had come running up to meet them, looked and saw that there was indeed a pair of dice where Abigail had thrown the sculpted snow.
"Now we can only move the amount that we roll. These boxes indicate space we move. This has become a game of chance, and I have a better shot of winning," she continued.
The faerie Xweetok snarled, but swiftly walked over to a tree, pulling of several leaves and a branch. Muttering under her breath, the leaves transformed into a deck of cards. "Board games involve cards too. And," she said, while waving the branch. "Now each step you land on has a command, a challenge." Abigail looked down to find that there was indeed writing beneath her feet.
Abigail took the dice and rolled them: a four and a three. "Seven!" she called out, carefully counting the number of spaces. The writing below became bigger, and Abigail read aloud her challenge....
Date: Nov 29th
"Tell the truth."
AAA furrowed his brow.
"What does that mean?" Abigail complained. "Is that even a challenge at all? Watch. My name is Abigail."
The question below Abigail faded into the tiny script it once was. The Aisha threw up her hands in confusion. "What was that?"
Even the Xweetok was confused, though she struggled to hide it. AAA was the only one who had figured it out.
"My sister made it a game of chance," he called out. "Any additions to the game must follow the same rules that were made before."
The Xweetok was calm and collected. "No matter. I'll see you fail by the end of the day, and you will still lose."
Abigail glared at her opponent. "It's your turn."
The Xweetok snatched up the dice, casting them away from her. They landed on a two and a five.
"Today's my lucky day," she taunted. The Xweetok approached the same square as Abigail and stepped confidently within its borders.
"I am a faerie Xweetok," she announced preemptively.
Suddenly, the square began to glow. Abigail looked down and gasped. What magnified below them wasn't a challenge.
It was a picture...
Date: Nov 29th
The glowing colours swirled and mixed in a rainbow of watery hues, displaying all of the shades of blue and green that make up the tropical seas; cerulean, azure, teal, and aquamarine roiled around like waves breaking on the balmy shores of Mystery Island. As Abigail watched in fascination, these colours coalesced into a brief image: that of a beautiful sapphire-coloured, double-golden-horned Peophin with a long and wavy mane of turquoise hair that flowed out from her regal brow like luxuriating sea creatures adrift on the surf. The picture flashed and then faded out, returning as script once more.
"Tell the truth or lose a turn," Abigail read on the square beneath her feet. The Aisha raised her eyes to meet the Xweetok's and asked, "What was that? Who are you?"
"I believe I was given an option," the Xweetok sniffed. "I will opt to lose a turn."
Abigail turned her attention to her brother and found her usually mouthy sibling to be at a loss for words. Embarrassed to be caught gaping and speechless, the Blumaroo blinked and removed his glasses and pretended to inspect them. With a faint tut-tutting, AAA began to unwind the grimy white tape that held the two halves of his glasses together. Turning his back to better focus on his repair job, AAA called over his shoulder, "You get a point for telling the truth, Abby, while your opponent loses a point as well as her turn. The score is three to none. It's your turn, Abby."
The Aisha shrugged and picked up the dice, and with a blow on them for luck, released them with a flourish. "A three and a six. Nine." Abigail picked up the dice before proceeding and then carefully counted off each square as she moved. After nine paces, she arrived at a fork in the path. Looking ahead, she could see that the path on the left was shorter but the one on the right had more squares with faint script on them, more opportunities for chance to come into play. And she was feeling lucky.
"I'm going again since you lose a turn," Abigail said. The Xweetok nodded curtly, doing a poor job of suppressing her impatience.
With another blow for luck, the Aisha cast the dice and read, "One and one. Hissi eyes." Abigail took two steps along the right-hand path and landed on a pale blue square. As soon as she stepped on it, a misty fog began to rise and then swirl around the Aisha, who spun and waved her arms to try and see beyond its opaque veil. Just as she was beginning to panic, Abigail was surprised when the mist cleared suddenly and she found herself standing face to face with her Xweetok opponent. Looking around, they could see they were no longer in the yard: not only were the house and trees gone, but so was AAA.
"Where are we?" Abigail barely managed to squeak out as she peered around at the unfamiliar landscape. She could make out lights flashing in the distance and the faint sound of organ music, notes that sounded strained and off-key to her sensitive ears.
The Xweetok picked up a stick, and with a wave of her furry fingers, transformed it into a wooden bat and replied, "Don't you see? You've unlocked a minigame." Narrowing her eyes in a menacing and mocking manner, she added, "And it's no longer a contest of chance. This is my game now."
"What game is that?" Abigail demanded as she tried to keep the Xweetok in view while scanning the area for clues.
"You still don't see? We're going to play a game of..."
Date: Nov 30th
The sloping green hills, the blue skies, the grove of trees in the distance... they were in Meridell, home to one of the greatest racing games in the world, one that did not rely on one's speed or strength, but more on their instincts and agility. While Abigail's speed and strength were somewhere lacking, she undoubtedly had both instinct and agility.
As they lined up with their cheeses in their hands, the Xweetok insisted on going first, tossing aside her bat, which hit a tree somewhere to the side.
The cheese rolled down the hill, out of control, as the Xweetok chased it. Abigail's spirits sank when she saw that the Xweetok was quick and agile, which in Cheeseroller was a deadly combination. She would have been brilliant at almost any sport were it not for the fact that near the end of the race she was slowing, losing her energy and getting tired. Abigail made a mental note to land on more game tiles, if only to find a game that involved long-distance running, one that would make P realise just whom she was dealing with...
"Forty-eight seconds, a new record!" yelled the Cheeseroller Techo. "You certainly do have a talent for this game, Miss..."
"Oh... you can call me... Palia."
"Isn't that the name of the Yoo--"
"Yes, it is, but that's beside the point. Wait a second. How do you know about the Altador Cup?" P asked scornfully.
"You're forgetting that Meridell has its own Yooyuball team, and this is our year!"
Before he could go into a long-winded explanation about sports, Palia scurried away, where she was immediately confronted by Abigail.
"You can't go around stealing identities!" whispered the Aisha frantically. "That's illegal, and the Defenders of Neopia could come and take you away for that!"
The Xweetok shrugged. "How do you know I'm not Palia?"
"The image said so. You were supposed to tell the truth, and you lied. The image told the real truth, and in truth, you're a Peophin."
An awkward silence: the Xweetok -- if she was a Xweetok after all -- was speechless.
They were saved by the Techo, yelling for Abigail to get on with it, he had other customers! The Aisha made her way back up the hill, where her cheese was waiting, and rolled it down the hill.
They crashed into branches, rocks, got trapped in ditches, all slowing her down, while the Xweetok laughed and laughed. Feeling even more flustered, Abigail tripped over her cheese, wasting several seconds of precious time.
"Seventy-two seconds," announced the Techo sadly.
As Abigail fumed, the Xweetok was beside herself with glee. Before their very eyes, the swirling mist once again enveloped them and they were back on the board game. The dice were in the Xweetok's hand now -- Abigail couldn't bring herself to call her Palia, or even P, for the possibility of identity theft still lurked around -- and she tossed them carelessly on the ground, revealing a four and a six. She moved ahead ten spaces, landing on another pale blue square, just a few away from where Abigail was standing.
"Let me guess," said Abigail wryly. "Another minigame?"
"Absolutely," said the Xweetok, "and it's another game I will crush you in."
"And what would that be?"
"This is a game not in the Games Room, but made purely for the sake of this competition."
"Again I ask: What would that be?"
The Xweetok spared a few seconds giving Abigail a dirty look.
"It's something I like to call, 'Siyana's Game'..."
Date: Nov 30th
As the Xweetok spoke, a thick, impenetrable fog settled around the two Neopets, surrounding them on all sides and preventing them from seeing anything. But it soon lifted, revealing that they were standing in a field of wheat beneath a starless night sky.
As Abigail gazed around, she realised that the field of wheat more closely resembled a labyrinth than a farmer's crop and stood still, confused. But the Xweetok seemed to have expected this and took off down one of the four dirt paths through the field without a word of explanation.
"Wait!" Abigail's voice sounded rather loud in the unnaturally silent night and she inwardly cringed. "Tell me how to play!"
"It's simple, so simple that even you'd be able to figure it out!"
"Give me a hint!"
"... the village!" The Xweetok's voice was so low that Abigail had to strain to hear them and she could only make out the last two words.
What's that mean? Abigail wondered, taking off down a random path.
As Abigail ran, she went through everything that she knew about Siyana: she was one of the twelve founders of the City of Altador, a light faerie, called the 'First to Rise', had saved a village of farmers...
That's it! Abigail thought, coming across a fork in the path and taking the left one. We're in a farmer's wheat crop and the Xweetok said something about 'the village'. I have to find that village of farmers and somehow save them from something...
As Abigail took another turn, she thought back to the story about Siyana that they had learnt in Neoschool a year ago: the light faerie had woken the villagers with a burst of light, enabling them to fight off a group of bandits.
I have to save the villagers from the bandits with a burst of light! Abigail thought, nearing the end of the path and of the field of wheat.
However, there was a sudden burst of light followed by an equally sudden shroud of fog.
"It looks as if I won again," the Xweetok said, tossing the pair of dice to the Aisha.
"Congratulations," Abigail replied sarcastically, easily catching the dice and throwing them in the air. The dice fell with a clatter, and the Aisha peered down to see how many spaces she could advance: two. She advanced accordingly and drew a card from the deck.
With a sinking heart, Abigail realised that she'd have to...
Date: Dec 1st
She was immediately greeted by the fleeting impression of her taking a leaf out of the Xweetok's book and playing Palia's card: no matter what happened, force your way through.
Then her head cleared, and she was able to think of a more plausible plan.
They were drawing closer and closer to the finish line, about halfway or two-thirds, and the Xweetok was drawing close, the score being three to two in Abigail's favour. Undoubtedly she was an above-average gamer.
To cheat... it was impossible to cheat in a game with no rules and only the most meagre of boundaries. To cheat... she couldn't just destroy all forms of boundaries as well, making it purely a game of who could think of better ways to decimate the other...
Or could she?
That technically wasn't cheating, but it was as close as it could get. She tossed aside the card and with one deft, fluid hand gesture, the board game was seemingly overturned, the cards flying everywhere, the tiles broken and battered. The game was destroyed -- for now.
She could hear P's screams, but she paid no attention to them. She could hear her brother's clipboard, vibrating as the score changed to become four-two, but she paid no attention. If she could overcome these challenges, she obviously could overcome the others. She was so close now -- she couldn't turn back!
The Xweetok evidently thought the same, and with another motion, the board was restored, the tiles in perfect condition, the cards stacked up in a neat pile. The Xweetok rolled: five and six. With glee, she advanced eleven spaces, putting her closer and closer to the goal.
She landed on a pink tile, one that no one had landed on as of yet. From the card deck she drew, but instead of a challenge card, she found another kind, one that contained a picture of a pair of blue wings -- Air Faerie Wings.
"Psellia has thought you worthy of taking a few extra steps. Advance three tiles, and remember, the blessings of the air faeries are with you," she read, the joy mounting. Abigail watched in anguish as the Xweetok moved ahead another three steps, placing her even closer to the finish line.
Abigail, after tossing the dice, landed on the same square the Xweetok had just seconds ago, the pink one, and she quickly snatched a card from the deck and read it...
Date: Dec 1st
"Sacrifice" was printed at the top of the card in big, bold letters. Abigail gasped and continued to read.
"At any point in game play, the player holding this card can choose to sacrifice three points earned. If the sacrifice is made, all other players must give up something of importance."
Abigail stared at the card in her hand for a moment. If she spent three of her points, that would put her below the Xweetok -- er, Peophin... whatever it was. The game was close to being ended, really close, and she didn't know if she had the opportunity to earn her points back.
On the other hand, she had lots of options to put herself ahead. Something of importance could be anything -- a hidden powerplay card, a turn, or giving up a skill needed for a minigame. Or it could be something else, something close to home. With squares like tell the truth and games that weren't games at all -- just moments in history, and a Xweetok who wasn't a Xweetok...
Who was P? Was the game trying to show her? If so, Abigail decided, she was going to need this card to figure it out.
Abigail looked at the remaining space between her and the finish line.
"Well?" P huffed impatiently.
"I would not like to play my card at this time," Abigail said finally. With that, the card shrunk down to practically nothing, disappearing into space while it waited for Abigail to use it.
"Your roll," Abigail said.
"Right." P shook the dice in her hand before tossing them in the air. When they clattered down, she looked at the numbers.
"One and three," P read aloud. "Four spaces."
Abigail and AAA watched together as P hopped from one space to the next, gracefully landing on a bright blue square. It glowed like the squares before it had done, with writing getting larger under P's feet.
"Oh," P said with a frown.
"What?" AAA called.
Without reading the letters on the space, the Xweetok turned away.
"I am opting to lose another turn," she said.
Abigail shrugged her shoulders and picked up the dice. It was time to roll again...
Date: Dec 2nd
With each turn the Xweetok sacrificed, Abigail grew more curious. The confident Neopet, if she was a Neopet, had appeared at their door and challenged the Games Master. Yet now she risked losing the game in order to keep a secret.
Abigail knew it was her destiny to find out.
She cast the dice, letting them clatter on the square. A two and a four.
Abigail took strides across the six spaces, ending one spot behind her opponent. Hope grew in her mind that she might be able to win. P would be skipped, and Abigail would gain the lead. It was possible.
The square emitted a rosy light. This was another pink square. Shimmering words enlarged beneath her. She followed their instructions and drew a card.
"The Game Master has summoned you to an audience. Proceed forward five squares unhindered."
Abigail nearly laughed. Her brother would be royally irked if he read this card. Another claim to the throne of Games Master. But then she realised the lack of an 's'. It wasn't a gamer who had called her. It was the true master of this game: the game itself.
She stepped forward, brushing past the Xweetok and gaining a four-square lead. Luck had led her closer to the win.
A sentence magnified once again, and Abigail faltered before she understood why. It was her audience. But it was only one order.
"Play the card..."
Date: Dec 2nd
A voice whispered in her ear repeating the order her square commanded -- casual and clearly amused by mere mortals claiming to master the games themselves.
"Play the card..."
Abigail faltered again, and a vague feeling that the Game Master was toying with them clouded her thoughts.
The overactive imagination of an above-average gamer kicked in, and soon Abigail was almost bent double under the weight of all the decisions and consequences and possibilities that could result from the mere playing of a single card.
Could she still win?
Was winning going to solve anything?
Why was it so important that P keep her identity cloaked?
What was this mortal affair to the Game Master?
She realised that in a game with no rules she did not have to follow the command, but her thoughts continuously wandered back to it. Meanwhile, her Xweetok-disguised opponent smirked from four squares back, relishing Abigail's unconscious display of despair.
Straightening, Abigail regained a semblance of self-control: enough to look over her shoulder at her brother. This action was more for comfort than anything else, as Abigail knew that whilst he was involved in the game, AAA could not possibly know what was happening over half a field away. When Abigail saw AAA glance at the scores he held, when she saw a frown crease his brow and his lips mouth something the young, blue Aisha had to rub her eyes.
"Play the card..."
This Games Master was seriously keen on destroying P's anonymity.
Abigail faced the tree, the finish line, now only a few squares away, and this time she did not let the risks of playing the card cripple her. Her voice called out clear and confident and without thought.
"Play the card..."
Abigail heard the voice echo around the game field. Laughter bounced off the surrounding trees and dark, brooding sky. The Game Master was evidently pleased with the outcome of her audience.
AAA's clipboard shimmered -- three points disappeared from Abigail's score, and confusion crossed his face.
P watched as her options rapidly disappeared and she began to...
Date: Dec 3rd
...shimmer and shine, writhing and shrieking, as she slowly shrank...
"Look what you've done to me!" she called, falling to the ground.
"I'm sorry, but I had to!" protested Abigail.
The Xweetok was the size of a Kadoatie now.
For once, the Xweetok had no form of insult. She was weak, and as she continued shrinking, Abigail thought suddenly of what it was that she wanted...
Suddenly, with a final flash of light, the Xweetok was gone. It was as though she had never existed, while Abigail and AAA stayed on the board, mesmerised by the past events.
Lying on the ground was the last remnant of P, the faerie Xweetok: the tiny, scalloped shell.
The landscape had returned to its normal appearance --almost. Abigail noted that the squares of different coloured green were still there, but the trees were restored to their leafy foliage. The sky was its normal blue. But something wasn't right.
"Ari," she said cautiously. "What happened to... her?"
"She's gone," replied her brother shortly.
There was a moment of silence.
"Abigail, if I may see the shell?"
The Aisha handed over the shell she had taken off the ground after P's disappearance. Her brother turned it over several times in his palm, and a voice spoke from inside.
"For winning my challenge, I will answer any three questions you desire."
It was P's voice.
Abigail and Aristotle exchanged glances, wondering what they should ask.
AAA spoke up, "Who are you, really?"
The voice was etheral, but they nevertheless heard her hesitate, debating on what to say.
"I am a Peophin," she at last admitted.
She felt something rise from her shoulders. From her perch inside the shell, the Xweetok -- in reality, the Peophin -- heaved a sigh of relief.
Outside, the Aisha and Blumaroo thought about what to ask next. Abigail was the one to use their second question.
"Why did you choose a faerie Xweetok?" she asked.
"I..." She stopped mid-sentence and hung her head, although neither of the siblings were able to see her. "It was just a disguise."
"What I meant was, why did you pass yourself as Palia Alback? Why not... Say, Fenny Vail? Why not Prytariel?"
The Peophin could have taken that as the third question, but decided against it.
"It was partly an act of revenge," she confessed. "We used to be good friends, but this all disappeared when she became a Yooyuballer."
Revenge... always, it was revenge.
"I have the last question."
Abigail turned to stare at AAA.
"Will you come out of there?"
The Peophin smiled to herself.
"I think I will."
Date: Dec 3rd
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