Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)
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||You are on Week 488
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 Eight Ends Friday, December 17th
The sea rippled softly, with precise, calm rhythm. Small waves splashed gently across the beach, lapping across the soft sands. All around, there was silence. The Usul's eyes stared across the vast sea, gaping at the majestic statue that seemingly rose out from the depths of the seabed.
There was a rumour that the statue held a secret -- what secret it was, no one knew. But she was determined to find out. She had done everything the myths had said: alone, she had to head to the beach and enclose herself in a circle. and if she waited long enough, the statue would come alive. She had been waiting for over an hour, but the statue did not so much as move a muscle. Perhaps they were right, she thought sadly. Perhaps they all are truly rumours. Just myths. She let her eyes travel up the statue once again, when something made her blink in astonishment. Had the statue just moved?
Rubbing her eyes, she blinked a few more times and looked hard at the statue. Its marble eyes seem to shine in the dying light of the sun.
Perhaps it was just a trick of the light, she realised. Or was it just a figment of her imagination? She let her eyes travel up the statue once more when...
Date: Dec 13th
...the waves, as if holding a grudge against her for the time she'd spent there, reached out across the sand and rock to smash against her figure. As clear water clouded her vision, she just barely made out the figure of the statue, standing loyally in the same place, lack of movement crushing any hope she still had of the rumour being anything more than just that.
It took a while for her mind to even register that she was, luckily, still on land -- not quite as fortunate, however, was the fact that her set-up had been ruined by the slowly growing waters splashing against the shore. The circle she'd set in stone was ruined, her concentration broken, the sky dark with deep purple clouds and the complete lack of light from the sun. How long had the waves stolen her consciousness? An hour?
"Should've known..." the Usul sighed, picking herself up from the sand. Absolutely drenched. All she wanted by this point was to go home and fall asleep after a brief shower to clear the sand from her fur. In her brooding as she stood and looked to the sky with disappointment, she didn't even notice the pearly white and swirled grey feet that quietly approached her from the sands behind...
Date: Dec 13th
Giving a long, wistful parting glance to the storm clouds forming on the horizon and the foamy waves crashing against the far-off crags -- so chaotic, but so beautiful, she thought -- the Usul slowly, reluctantly turned around to head back home. But standing in front of the Usul was that mythical statue, its marble eyes -- the same grey of a stormy sea, the Usul thought -- gleaming and the corners of its lips curved into a smile. The Usul's mouth opened and closed repeatedly, but no words came out.
"Are you real?" the Usul finally said, blushing. She felt embarrassed asking something so silly, but she couldn't be certain that she wasn't hallucinating -- it could be from all of that seawater that she had probably drank, she thought -- or that she was still unconscious and dreaming.
"Of course I'm real," the Peophin statue replied, laughing -- the same sound that windchimes make in a sea breeze, the Usul thought. "What's your name?"
"Trina," the Usul said, still blushing. "Yours?"
"I am Lustra of the Sky and Sea," the Peophin replied melodramatically, theatrically gesturing toward the sky and the sea in turn. "But you can call me Lustra," Lustra continued, laughing. "I know it's a mouthful."
"Okay, but... why are you called Lustra of the Sky and Sea?" Trina asked, brow furrowed. She wished that she could remember more about the legend that they learnt in Neopian literature, but she couldn't recall much of it, only that it was related to the strange wings that the Peophin possessed.
"That's one of my secrets," Lustra answered, winking.
"One of your secrets?" Trina repeated, raising a brow. She had known from local rumours that the Peophin had a secret that no one knew, but she hadn't heard that she had two.
"Yes," Lustra confirmed, nodding.
"Will you please tell me what they are?" Trina asked, nearly begging. She had wanted to know the Peophin's secret -- now secrets, she supposed -- for so long.
"I suppose," Lustra answered slowly, teasingly. "My first secret is" -- she paused melodramatically -- "I can soar high above the clouds and dive far below the waves."
"Really? but... how can you fly and swim?" Trina asked. She knew that the Peophin would understand what she really meant: how can you fly and swim if you're made out of marble?
"That's another one of my secrets," Lustra answered, grinning. "But this one's easier to show than to explain," she continued. "You see" -- she flexed and flapped both wings, causing the marble to begin to crack and split apart -- "I'm not really" -- the marble began breaking off and falling on the cold, damp sand -- "made of marble," she finished, the marble having completely fallen off to reveal a gleaming, golden mane, fur, and feathers...
Date: Dec 14th
For a minute, Trina could only gape in awe as the Peophin fluttered her golden wings, twirling around gracefully. Her mane swished in the sea breeze, as her pearly horn glimmered in the dying light.
"What is your other secret?" Trina asked, almost hesitantly.
Lustra's glance darted toward the horizon, where the sun was steadily sinking.
"You see, I only last as long as the sun's rays shine, and when the sun sets, I am--"
The sun slid beneath the horizon with one flash of light, and by the time Trina could see again, the Peophin was no longer on the beach.
She had remained on the beach for a while longer -- exactly how much longer, Trina didn't know.
Eventually, she came to her senses. The sea was still, the skies were clear, littered with a billion stars. All was well, but Trina knew she must head home, before they started worrying about her.
Lustra... of the seas and skies... The words echoed through her mind with each step she took on the rough path carved out by many others before her, all heading to or coming from the beach.
By the time she arrived at the village, the moon was hanging high in the sky, a sure sign that it was very late indeed. There were still villagers on the street: they were talking loudly. Trina could only catch snatches of their conversation, but it was enough for her.
"The statue... gone..."
"Without her, our village is no longer safe. We'll be attacked before dawn."
The last one came from a Flotsam known by most as Abbi, who was revered and admired beyond belief. Trina's heart sank like a stone upon hearing those words, and she immediately cornered the Flotsam when she waved goodbye to her friends.
"Why will our village no longer be safe?" demanded Trina breathlessly.
"Hasn't anyone told you?" Abbi asked. "The reason why Lustra is in a stone form in the sea is to protect our village even when the sun sets. Normally, she sets with the sun, and then her powers are void, but if she was erected as a statue, then it would hold, even when night arrives." Abbi sighed. "Now, without her, who knows what will befall our village?"
Trina suddenly felt as though she would fall, grabbing onto Abbi to keep her balance. The Flotsam looked surprised, but steadied the Usul and asked, "What's wrong?"
"I made a terrible mistake," Trina blurted out. "I was the one who... I was just trying to see if she really was alive, and she disappeared when the final rays of the sun disappeared."
"Don't you know what a horrible thing that is to do?" Abbi lamented. "Now we're going to get attacked by the Coral Raiders, and it's all because of you!"
Trina tried to apologise. "I'm sorry, I didn't know about this!"
"Now you're going to have to fix this. You made this mess, you clean it up!" said the Flotsam.
"How?" Trina replied, just as hysterically.
"You either wait for the sun to rise, or you find Lustra. The latter is impossible, so you're going to have to wait, it looks like," Abbi shrugged. "Good luck saving us all."
Trina couldn't help but get the impression that Abbi was being sarcastic.
"Who are the Coral Raiders?" she asked.
"They are a group of Flotsam and Jetsam who live at the bottom of the sea. Lustra's magic had kept them at bay for the last thousand years, but now that she's gone, they will surely attack."
They paused, for the bushes had rustled. Whispers... a faint yell.
The attack had begun...
Date: Dec 14th
Dark shapes could be seen rising from the edges of the shrubbery, the moonlight reflecting eerily off the shining, water-flecked skins of the creatures emerging from the sea. More of them could be seen in the distance, walking ominously up from the beach Trina had stood upon only a few hours before.
Her heart jumped into her throat, lodging there painfully like a stone. What had she done?
Suddenly, without any sort of warning, a massive Jetsam emerged, leading a group of his kind behind him. The dark night made his purple skin look even creepier than it would have in the daylight; red eyes didn't help at all.
"Well," he growled, baring menacing-looking teeth, "obviously someone didn't heed the rules of your precious little village." Abbi shot Trina a look, and Trina tried her hardest to disappear.
"Which one of you was it?" the imposing Jetsam grinned humorlessly, scanning the faces of the motionless crowd, all too terrified to say anything for fear of being attacked.
Trina glanced at Abbi; the Flotsam winced as the big Jetsam drew closer to her, sensing leadership about her.
"Was it you?" he breathed. He leaned an inch closer.
And then, on legs that felt more like jelly than actual limbs, Trina stepped forward...
Date: Dec 15th
"I know who it is," she proclaimed with a false bravado. Her voice stayed relatively calm, though she was having a hard time to keep her knees from wobbling.
The Jetsam's head whipped to stare at her as the entire crowd behind gasped collectively. Abbi stared at Trina with her eyes narrowed, wondering if the Usul was about to give herself up, or instead blame it on a helpless villager.
Trina surprised the Flotsam by doing neither. "They realised what they had done and fled this town, afraid of what would come." The Jetsam made his way over to the Usul. Unlike with Abbi, he did not pull close, instead he studied Trina with cold, unyielding, appraising eyes.
"You seem well-informed, why is that?"
"It's because... it's because I--" Trina's voice faltered. How could she keep up the facade now? Once again the Jetsam's face pulled into a terrifying grin.
"Lying, are we?" he said nastily.
A wild plan flashed through Trina's head. It was dangerous, and relied heavily on luck, but it was the only chance her village had. With a look of remorse spreading across her face, Trina hung her head. "No. I don't want to tell you, it seems so wrong, but..." She let out a little sob, and hoped her downturned face would conceal a lack of tears.
Suddenly the Jetsam's casual glance changed; he stiffened and leaned forward. "Listen to me. If you tell me who broke the rule, I promise to take my... friends away, and we won't bother you again."
Trina let another small "sob" escape her, and without looking up at the Jetsam she posed a question. "But why? Why do you care about our rules?"
The Jetsam's eager look slid off his face, replaced by one of suspicion and guarded thoughts. "That's not important. We just need to know who got rid of Lustra. I promise if you tell us, you won't see any of us again."
Trina smiled to herself, knowing she had this Jetsam hooked. However, before she could speak up, Abbi stepped forward. "I know who did it as well. But more importantly, I know where they're hiding."
As the Jetsam swivelled back to look at Abbi, Trina looked up and flashed the Flotsam a warning look, but it was too late: the damage had been done. "Hey you!" the Jetsam called back to Trina. "Come with me. You and this one--" here he prodded Abbi, "--are going to lead me to the traitor. Now!" he snapped.
And so Trina and Abbi set off, with Trina a half-step behind, wondering why Abbi was leading them back to the beach...
Date: Dec 15th
Still hiding her face, Abbi smirked to herself. Her plan did not involve going to the beach, but she was sure she could wriggle her way out of any mess.
The little search party wandered the beach, stepping on shells and sending several Crabula running as they marched. Oblivious to most in the group, the sky began to darken ominously.
Trina leaned close to Abbi and whispered, "What are you doing? Why didn't you just make a name up to get us out of this mess?"
Abbi smiled thoughtfully and whispered, "Well Trina, they do need evidence, don't they?"
"You're going to get us -- "
The Jetsam flung out a fin to stop the two from going further. "Well?" he demanded. "Who is it? Where are they hiding? We've found nothing on this walk. I think you're trying to trick us."
"No trick!" Abbi said, stepping forward. She pointed past the terrifying Jetsam and toward a rocky cliff. "See the cave? That's were Aniger is hiding."
"Aniger?" the Jetsam asked, narrowing his eyes thoughtfully. At her nod, he pushed her and Trina forward with a throaty growl. "You two go first."
Trina and Abbi stepped toward the cave, with Trina visibly shaking. Neither knew what was in the cave, but they were going to find out, whether they liked it or not...
Date: Dec 16th
The hike was grueling; Trina had done it many times in the past, but this time it seemed harder with her pounding heart and guilty conscience.
Gritty sand clung to her feet as she followed Abbi. The sky was now a deep ebony; power seemed to throb in its depths. A cool wind embraced the party as they laboured up the slope that led to the cave, and the big Jetsam's scowl grew darker.
"If there's no one in this cave, you two will regret it," he snapped. His followers growled in agreement.
Abbi, who was visibly shaken, quickened her pace.
As they got closer to the cave, a light seemed to shine from within. Trina narrowed her eyes and strained to see what it was, but it was still too far away for her to tell. Abbi, who was now a few yards ahead, gasped in wonder.
Before Trina could catch up, the Jetsam yelled at her to stop. His voice was twisted with some strong emotion, and Trina turned to look at him in confusion.
"What's in there?" he asked, his crimson eyes wide with... fear? Astonished, Trina simply stared at him. His fellow Jetsam were moving restlessly behind him, their faces taut with anxiety.
"Trina, turns out you didn't do anything wrong," Abbi's voice floated over to them, her tone full of warm joy. Thoroughly bewildered, Trina turned back to the cave and saw...
Date: Dec 17th
Not the real sun, presumably, but a blaze of hot glory too bright to look at all the same, drifting out of the opening in the rock. Trina lifted her head and flared her ears involuntarily, welcoming the heat even as her eyes watered. The light moved out further, and the heat became that of a broiling summer's day, then approaching painful.
"I am Lustra of the Sky and Sea," said the same bell-like voice Trina had heard just before sunset, "and I am free."
The Jetsam backed away, shaking, toward the water. Ripples edged with starlit foam coiled unnaturally around him, and his followers, Jetsam and Flotsam alike, stopped sidling in that direction.
"Long ages have I been caught here," Lustra's voice rang out, and the hot light pulsed, "held in stone by one village, while the Coral Raiders who had caught me off guard and enspelled me continued their predations elsewhere. Children of this village had been among their number, and sealed the enchantment. Your rules were their deception, to trick the only ones who could release me into believing it was their doom."
Abbi lowered her head. "It was my great-grandparents, wasn't it?" the old Flotsam said. "I'm sorry."
"It was." Lustra's voice was gentle, even as it echoed off the rocks and the sand and the water. "It was not your fault." She moved toward Trina, lowered her blazing muzzle, and Trina shut her eyes and waited for her fur to sizzle and singe -- but no, the heat remained bearable. Only just. "And you, young one. You should listen to your elders better. They are not always this far wrong. But glad I am that your curiosity drove you to hear me, this time."
Then she spread her wings and threw her head back, and the Coral Raiders trembled before her, and the villagers who had followed them to see the light shouted for joy.
And out to the east, the sun rose.
Date: Dec 17th
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