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Week 498
You are on Week 499
Week 500

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 Ninety Nine Ends Friday, March 18

"This is ridiculous," Aleesha said, wiping slime from her cheeks and the front of her dress. "One of these Mortogs has to be a cursed prince."

"But you've kissed at least two dozen of them," her friend Tilla pointed out, "and they've all exploded in your face. Besides, princes who are turned into Mortogs are just an old story. It's not real."

Aleesha sniffed and reached for another Mortog. "Well, you'll never become a princess with that sort of attitude."

A second later, the Acara was covered in another burst of green Mortog slime. She sighed. "Thirtieth time's the charm, right?"

Tilla snatched the last remaining Mortog away before Aleesha could kiss it. "Think about it, Aleesha, all those stories you've believed haven't turned out to be true. You've never seen the Happiness Faerie; you've never out-run the sun on Mystery Island; and you've never found Jelly World. Just do the best you can with what reality has given you, like everyone else does."

Aleesha's lower lip started to tremble, her big blue eyes filling with tears. "That's easy for you to say, Tilla. You're happy with what you've got. But I need something more. I was destined for something more. Now give me that Mortog."

"I have a better idea," Tilla replied, holding the Mortog out of Aleesha's reach. The Chomby wasn't proud of what she was going to do, but someone had to get through to Aleesha somehow, otherwise the Acara's life would be one long string of disappointments. "I heard of a way to get your fondest wish granted. All you have to do is..."

Author: Aiming for Non-existent Stars
Date: Mar 14th
"...go down the Wishing Well."

"But everybody goes to the Wishing Well," Aleesha said, showing a sudden and unusual grasp of common sense, if not attentive listening skills. "You just throw a payment in and hope. It's really rare to get anything out, and it's not hard."

"So?" Tilla asked, briefly distracted. There were actual documented cases of Neopians getting a wish from the Wishing Well, though it wasn't always quite what they'd asked for. Low success rates did not ordinarily seem to discourage Aleesha. "Kissing Mortogs doesn't exactly have a high success rate."

"So you've got to actually do something, not just toss down your Neopoints and hope! That's not pursuing a dream, it's just -- just gambling."

Tilla absorbed this for a moment. It was true that Aleesha's efforts to be granted her "something more" -- an elaborate if shifting dream of glory, luxury, adventure, and usually a dazzling prince -- tended to involve a great deal of effort. And, in this case, slime. "Well," she said, "you could try working directly toward your goals instead of putting all that work into trying to get a rare magic wish --"

Aleesha's expression was blank. "But that is my goal."

The Chomby sighed. "Anyway, you weren't listening. I didn't say go to the Wishing Well. I said you have to go down it."

"That seems too simple. Why wouldn't everybody do it?"

"Outrunning the sun is simple. Doesn't make it easy. The trick is once you get down there...."

Author: schefflera
Date: Mar 14th
“You don’t know what you’re going to find, or how to get back up again. No one really knows how deep the thing is, and there could be anything waiting at the bottom; riches, princes, slime …” Tilla was about to mention there might also be unspeakable creatures ready to rip any unwelcome visitor limb from limb, but Aleesha interrupted her.

“Princes? Gold?” Her eyes were wide as dubloons. Tilla sighed in exasperation. She loved her friend dearly, but this was just ridiculous.

“I said there might be those things. But there might also be Fyora-knows-what down there. Things that live where the sun doesn’t shine are too dangerous to tangle with, and besides, if it really is a prince you’re after, shouldn’t he be the one dashing hither and thither in search of his true love?”

Aleesha pondered this for a few moments, her brow deeply furrowed, before smiling dreamily. “No,” she announced, quite contentedly. She knew it wouldn’t happen if she didn’t make it, and as much as she wished she were the sole inhabitant of a Draik guarded castle, waiting for rescue and a happily-ever-after, she wanted the happily-ever-after more, and was thus willing to sacrifice the hows somewhat.

“So, can we go to the Wishing Well now?” Aleesha pressed. The Chomby sighed once more, only this time it was the kind of resignation you feel when someone you adore is doing something very stupid and potentially dangerous and you know it’s at least a little bit your fault. Tilla got up and, without a word, beckoned to Aleesha.

“You can’t go down willy-nilly. You’ll need a few things, first.”

***

“Tilla?”

“Mm?”

“What are we doing at the music shop?”

The bell above the door gave a merry jingle as they stepped inside the large shop. Aleesha was tagging close behind her friend, anxious to get a move on, but Tilla wanted to take her time. She rang the little bell that would summon the shopkeeper and turned to Aleesha, who was fidgeting nervously.

“In the stories, every princess or princess-to-be has a few things that are always present. Besides the handsome prince and happy ending, I mean. First there’s the biggest, sparkliest, most frilly dress and the highest heels and best jewelry Neopoints can buy.”

Aleesha blinked.

“Second, there’s always an affinity with nature, and perhaps even a few Petpet companions to help you along.”

Aleesha nodded.

“And lastly,” and here Tilla paused for dramatic effect, “perfectly spontaneous, beautifully choreographed and stunningly creative song and dance numbers.”

Author: sarnfox
Date: Mar 15th
"You may have missed the last time I sang karaoke, Tilla," Aleesha said glumly. "I'm tone deaf."

"Yes, I know," Tilla replied without missing a beat, slightly offending her friend. "That's why we're here."

"Would you mind telling me?" a new voice asked.

Both friends turned to see the Kyrii shopkeeper, who had been standing behind the counter for some time while the two friends had their conversation.

"We need a bard," Tilla told him.

"A bard?" Aleesha questioned.

"Yes, what better way to have musical numbers at the most inopportune times? We're going to hire a bard to follow you about. Do you happen to have any?"

"You know," the Kyrii answered. "On any other day, I'd have said no. But as it happens, my brother is visiting today and he's a bard in Meridell. Larry!"

The shopkeeper's call echoed to the back of the store, and from between the rows of flutes and violins another Kyrii emerged. The lurid pastel outfit and yellow tights he wore clearly identified him as the sort of person who could break into song at the drop of a Neopoint.

"Yes, brother?" the new Kyrii asked.

"These ladies want a bard," the shopkeeper explained.

"Excellent!" Larry cried, jumping forward and producing a lute seemingly out of nowhere. "Anon, fair ladies... may I have the honour of your names?"

Aleesha blushed slightly at being addressed as a lady, "My name is Aleesha, I'm seeking a prince to whisk me away in an overly dramatic fashion. This is my friend Tilla, she's helping me."

Larry paused for a moment as he mulled over the names before launching into a small song.

"There once was a maid named Tilla," he sang. "Her part in this tale is largely filler. Her ward, the lady Aleesha - with a stench about her quite like fish-a..."

"That's quite rude," Aleesha cut him off. "And it's Mortogs, not fish."

The shopkeeper coughed, "I'm afraid that in Meridell, my brother is known as Larry, the Slightly Offensive Bard. Skarl's tried to have him imprisoned twice."

Tilla sighed, "He's all you've got?"

The shopkeeper nodded.

"Very well, Larry," Tilla decided. "We've got a few other stops to make, so follow me."

Author: herdygerdy
Date: Mar 15th
As they left the music shop, a curious pair of eyes were upon the newly formed trio. One end of a Wooden Telescope bore down upon Tilla and Aleesha, the other end pressed up against the eye of a rather confused Darigan Kougra. He glanced next to him at the shadow Draik perched on the edge of the small overlook they were hidden upon.

"You heard them say they were going down the Wishing Well?" he asked his friend.

The Draik nodded. "I was flying overhead, doing my usual rounds, when I heard the Acara and Chomby talking about going down the well to find their prince... or something of the sort."

The Kougra blanched. "What kind of craziness is that?" He glanced back through his telescope toward them. "Now they have a third, a strange little Kyrii with a lute?"

The Draik cleared his throat. "I believe that's a bard."

The Kougra smacked a paw upon his forehead, "They're taking the bard down the well?"

The Draik shook his head. "I believe it might be moral support."

"Well, they're going to need all the support they can get, aren't they? Go stop them, Derek, they can't go down that well," the Kougra commanded.

Derek leapt off the small cliff and glided down on svelte wings toward the little group, landing gracefully in front of the Petpet Shop door just as Aleesha was about to reach for the door handle. She fell back in surprise.

"Uh, excuse me, we were about to go in there," she huffed.

The Draik crossed his arms in front of him as he straightened himself up. "Yes, I understand that. Going to find some Petpet companions for your little adventure?"

Tilla eyed the Draik questioningly. "Yes, how did you know that?"

Derek touched the door lightly, "Well, first off, this is a Petpet Shop, and you were heading to the door." Aleesha stuck out her tongue dejectedly. Derek continued, "And secondly, I overheard you talking about your little undertaking. I'm here to tell you that the idea is ridiculous; you can't just go down the Wishing Well and have all your dreams come true. There's nothing down there for you like that."

Tilla glanced over to her friend and bit her lip, wondering what Aleesha would think as the Draik spoke true words.

Aleesha pushed herself up the stairs to come face to face with Derek. "Of course there's something down there; Tilla wouldn't lie to me!" The Chomby blushed as the Draik's eyes turned to her face; she glanced away as if something interesting were happening in the distance. Derek looked back to Aleesha. "I never said there was nothing down there; it's just not down there for you. No handsome prince is going to be sitting in the coins and muck that have collected down there for so many years, just waiting for some prissy little Acara to come find him."

Aleesha gasped and swung at the Draik. Derek dodged quickly, flapping his wings to take to air. "You've been warned," and with that, the Draik flew up into the air and quickly out of sight.

Aleesha looked back at Tilla with alarm, the Chomby's face contorted in the same emotion. Larry interjected. "The Draik was mean, he smelled like fire. The ladies' plight seems rather dire. Go down the Well and pay the price. I'd personally take the Draik's advice." Tilla huffed and smacked Larry with her satchel.

Aleesha questioned her friend. "Is he right? Is there really nothing down there?"

Tilla shook her head lightly, watching the Acara's face. "I don't know what's down there; it's your choice to find out. He did say SOMETHING was down there, though."

Aleesha nodded in turn. "I am rather curious now what's down there, handsome prince or not. It could always be riches galore! Handsome princes are attracted to riches!" She turned and pulled on the handle of the Petpet Shop, jumping inside. "Let's go!" she yelled at her travelling companions.

As Derek landed back next to him, the Kougra growled, "They're still going to do it, aren't they?"

The Draik nodded, "You can't stop blind ambition."

The Kougra laughed, a guttural sound, in response. "If they try to go down the Well, you know what to do. We can't let them find what we hid down there."

Derek nodded and cracked his knuckles, "On it, boss."

Inside the Petpet Shop...

Author: filter
Date: Mar 16th
...Aleesha was running from one Petpet cage to another in excitement.

"Tilla!" she cried, picking up a tiny blue Spardel. "Let's get this one! Everyone knows that EVERY princess needs a guard Petpet. He'll be perfect!"

"Aleesha... I was thinking of a more practical Petpet, like--" Tilla was interrupted by the chime of the shopkeeper's cash register.

"Thank you! Take good care of him!" the Usul said to Aleesha as she handed her a receipt.

Tilla sighed. "Aleesha..."

"Hey Tilla! This is Sir Camelot, or Camy for short. He'll be my little knight in shining armour!" The Spardel yapped. "Using his awesome strength, Camy will carry out enough gold to buy a castle! And then," Aleesha sighed dreamily, "my prince will come."

"Well, I guess she's already become too attached to return him," said the Chomby. There was a sudden buzz from behind her.

Aleesha giggled. "Look, Tilla!" Tilla turned to find what the source of the noise was.

Larry was playing a merry tune on his lute while a Buzzer hummed along. Tilla gasped. "You, too?"

"Sorry if you don't appreciate my musical talent, but this Buzzer does. And what a fine partner he is, too." Larry retorted. He walked over to the cash register, ready to buy himself a Buzzer partner.

"With me below and you above, we'll play and hum songs of love. And many tales of epic lore, we'll be sure not to bore..." Larry softly sang to his new pet as the Usul shopkeeper counted his change.

"When I'm a princess, I'll buy you a castle right next door!" the Acara said. "And then we'll go shopping and we'll get all the stuff we could ever want! And with all the Neopoints we got from the Well, we'll..."

Tilla groaned. What had she done?

Suddenly, there was a crash from behind and Tilla turned to see...

Author: _tropical_penguin
Date: Mar 16th
...Larry sprawled on the shop floor, one arm tangled in his lute and the other held defensively before him. "Back, you fiendish rogue!" the Kyrii cried as Camy lunged for the Buzzer in his arms. "Stay your attack lest I write unflattering tales of your evil deeds!"

Aleesha wagged a paw at the bard as she gathered the snarling Spardel into an affectionate embrace. "Good Camy! He's just guarding the future Princess, as well he should."

Camy lapped happily at the side of Aleesha's face, but he snapped in Larry's direction as soon as his owner turned her head. The bard's Buzzer quivered in the air and zipped underneath his baggy tunic (much to the Kyrii's discomfort).

Tilla surveyed their hastily assembled party and felt no reassurance. An impulsive Acara, a rabid Spardel, a cowering Buzzer, and an abrasive bard? And she, Tilla, the only one with any semblance of sanity. This was a fool's errand and she knew it, but she also knew Aleesha wouldn't be deterred now. "Let's get on with it, then," she said, unable to mask the pessimism in her voice.

Aleesha was quick to tromp out of the shop and down the lane, her companions in tow. "You're so worrisome, Tilla. What's the worst that could hap--"

"NO!" The Chomby interrupted with a stamp of her heavy foot. "You never ask that question, Aleesha, what's wrong with you?"

"Silly, hopeless, rather vain," came Larry's musical reply, "And once she's crowned: a royal pain!"

This frank assessment was not appreciated by Aleesha, who wouldn't hear a further word or lyric from the insensitive bard. Camy bristled more than usual upon sensing his owner's displeasure, and the Buzzer was a trembling lump in Larry's sleeve somewhere between the shoulder and elbow. All in all, their journey to the nearby Wishing Well could have been more pleasant.

But as they crested the modest hill on which the Well stood, silhouetted in the setting sun, Aleesha forgot all offences, slight or otherwise. She stood before it in her ridiculous poofy gown, her face lit with a wild grin. "We're here," she breathed rapturously. "Oh Tilla! Camy! This is it: the moment all my dreams come true!"

"Now, hold on just a minute," Tilla began as she caught up to her breathless friend. "Before we go diving in, we should--"

"Dreams wait for no one!" Aleesha declared, and with Camy held tightly against her chest, she leapt headfirst into the Well.

"ALEESHA! NO!" Tilla screamed, leaning over the lip of the Well to peer into its unfathomable depths. "Oh Aleesha, can you hear me? Answer me! ALEESHA! Larry, do something!"

Unfortunately, Larry's helpfulness was limited to strumming a new chord on his trusty lute: "Alas, the maid hath plunged so deep and caused her friend such woe. Will the Chomby leave her there, or follow her below...?"

Author: lacieskywalker
Date: Mar 17th
The Buzzer peeked out of Larry's sleeve, only to discover Tilla giving its owner such a furious glare that it plunged immediately back in, scratching his wrist with its tail on the way. He winced and shook his arm, which made things worse.

Tilla raged at the annoying Kyrii, but obviously she did have to go after Aleesha. She'd suggested this, after all, and she should have known Aleesha would run ahead. Or jump ahead. Whatever.

She snarled -- at Larry, Aleesha, herself, the Well, and the universe in general -- and then more directly at Larry. "I'm going in," she said, swiftly untying the bucket from the rope and tying it in a loop around herself instead. "Try to control the winch, okay?"

"The Well is deep! I'll hold the winch. It shall not budge a single inch--"

"ARGH! Put that stupid lute down and listen to me! I want it to budge. I want to go down there, and have the rope come with me, so it can catch me if I fall or help pull me up at the end!"

Larry's fingers stilled, and his face stiffened. "It's not," he said, "a stupid lute."

Tilla stared at him. After everything he'd said -- sung -- to them.... But she did need his help. "I apologize," she said. "It's a lute. It can't be stupid. But I'm going into the Well to try to help my friend, and I'd appreciate it if you'd listen to me."

They got the plan and a system of basic signals sorted out, and the Chomby lowered herself into the narrow darkness of the well, climbing down as best she could. At first she could look for handholds by sight, but she quickly passed beyond the lit area and had to work by feel. Strangely, though, they seemed to be easier to find and more plentiful the farther she went.

She had a few bad moments where the Well was completely dark, and chill damp air rose up from beneath her and chill damp stone brushed her back as she climbed. Her limbs were shaking with effort; she didn't make a habit of climbing, and adrenaline could only do so much. At least the rope was helping to hold her up.

Soon, though, she was distracted by an increase in light. It wasn't sunlight, of course, but she could see the wall in front of her nose again. The pallid golden glow seemed to be coming from beneath her.

Baffled and curious, the Chomby kept going, hoping the rope would hold out. It seemed sturdy, anyway. And surely it should reach all the way down to the water, unless the water table had changed levels....

Her reaching foot touched cold water. She drew it back in shock, then gritted her teeth and continued. In the dim glow, she saw a dark shape with horns, gasped, and reached out.

It was Aleesha. Floating on her back, thank goodness, breathing -- and completely unconscious. Tilla pulled her friend close and peered at her head and neck, trying not to aggravate any injuries. After a moment, the Acara stirred a little and turned her head, then suddenly started thrashing; Tilla wrapped her in a hug to try to warm and calm her, and Aleesha stilled. And then apparently passed out again.

Tilla looked around, realizing that in the narrow confines of the well's higher reaches, Aleesha could hardly have floated horizontally. She could have, with some difficulty, flipped upright to breathe if she'd found water while still conscious -- but not floated full-length on it. The Chomby shuddered at the thought of how close she'd come to losing her friend -- annoying friend, but still -- permanently.

But what was this place? The dim glow, once she looked around, revealed a cave extending like a bulb from the shaft of the Well. The water shimmered with it. She could see heaps of coins below them through the clear water. But up, and around them...

Tilla swallowed hard.

She tugged on the rope three times, the prearranged signal that she wanted to come back up.

Larry should have taken up the slack in response. Nothing happened. He'd been pretty helpful on the way down. Maybe he was playing another song?

Tilla waited a bit (realistically, perhaps half a minute, but it felt longer) and tugged three more times.

With the third, the rope slithered down into the water.

Author: schefflera
Date: Mar 17th
Tilla tried to keep calm. Firstly, she was in the Wishing Well, which was conveniently located in the heart of Neopia Central. Secondly, Larry would have gone to get help --wouldn't he? The Chomby brushed aside her doubts -- quite truthfully, if Larry was standing at the top singing about the falling rope, Tilla wouldn't have been even remotely surprised -- and called, "Larry! Get another rope! Hurry!"

She pressed a finger to Aleesha's wrist, feeling for a pulse. It was there, but the Acara wasn't moving; she was completely out cold.

"Larry?" she yelled again, this time with more desperation. "You up there...?"

***

Derek was flying, catching the wind under his wings and soaring over Neopia Central. Where was the delusional Acara with the psychedelic Kyrii bard? And where was their eccentric friend, the Chomby? He had avoided telling his boss about his failure in convincing them of how crazy their dream was -- the results of that wouldn't have been very pretty.

He glided over the Wishing Well, ignoring the Kyrii holding a lute -- what kind of fool carried around a lute? Didn't he know that a carrying around a lute was pretty much asking for ridicule?

The Draik stopped, in the middle of his flight, almost colliding with a tree. The only kind of fool that carried around a lute was a bard -- a Kyrii bard, who just happened to be travelling with the Princess-wannabe and her friend.

Immediately, Derek dove down toward the Well, missing the bard by an inch.

"Watch it!" Larry cried indignantly, leaping to the side in order to avoid being hit. "Sheesh!"

"You wouldn't happen to know what happened to that Acara and her Chomby friend, would you?" asked Derek. "Did they go down the Well?"

"Well, Aleesha jumped in and Tilla had to save her, if that helps," said Larry. "Hey, wait a second! Does this mean that Tilla's the knight-in-shining-armour? I mean, she saved Aleesha, after all--"

"Tilla's only the knight-in-shining-armour if she manages to actually save Aleesha," Derek pointed out. He assumed that Aleesha was the Acara and Tilla was the Chomby, but assumptions based off of the fact that Aleesha and Acara both started with A weren't necessarily accurate. "So in theory, if you jumped down there and saved both of them, you'd be one!"

"Me?" Larry almost laughed. "I don't save others, I sing and distract them from saving others!" He strummed a chord on his lute and sang, "Looking above, trapped in a well, what can they do? No one can tell. They could be there forever -- ever and eveeeeer!"

"You aren't helping," noted Derek.

Larry raised an eyebrow. "Aren't you supposed to be... going against us?"

"Well, the boss probably won't take too kindly to me when he realises I wasn't able to stop them from getting into the Petpet Shop, so what do I have to lose?"

Their conversation was interrupted by a scream from the inside of the Well.

And the voice most certainly belonged to Tilla.

But then there was another yell, one from behind them. Larry and Derek spun around to see a very angry looking Darigan Kougra, slowly advancing toward them...

Author: chocolate_lover67
Date: Mar 18th
Derek blushed as the Kougra approached them. "They went down the Well, boss."

The Kougra snarled in response, "I can see that." He turned to glare at Larry. "You were sufficiently warned."

Larry's hands fell on his lute; he plucked it up and began to sing timidly. "I bade them not to, but in they jumped. In the Well they both were dumped. Down there, they're stuck, can't you see? Can't the pretty kitty let the Kyrii be?"

The Kougra roared as he leapt, landing on the edge of the Well. He glanced back at Derek, who was reaching for Larry's arm. "Watch him, and don't mess up this time. This shouldn't take long," he said with a grin that was full of teeth and fury. His tail waved behind him as he dove in.

***

Tilla pushed her way through the shallow water to the dry land of the alcove, bumping into an edge, and pushing the rag doll Aleesha upon it before climbing out of the water. Her scream sounded out when she came eye to eye with something watching her from the dim light.

Her voice caught in her throat as she realised they were not alone down there.

For a moment, all she could hear was her own heart feverishly thumping in her chest. Her heartbeat was quickly drowned out by the chattering coming from within a thousand pairs of waking eyes. The Chomby's jaw dropped out of amazement as the caged Meepits started to rouse, all pressing up against the bars of their cells to stare at the new intruders.

The cages were stacked haphazardly throughout the alcove, the dim light coming from small torches on the back wall, casting ominous Meepit shadows about the cavern.

Aleesha moaned, and Tilla jumped to her feet in surprise. "Aleesha, are you ok?!" she spoke quickly but softly, her eyes still on the mass of Meepits. "If we get out of here, we're going to have a talk about your impulsiveness!"

The Acara slowly rubbed her face with her paws before blinking up at her friend. "Tilla? Did you find my prince?"

Tilla huffed. "That's still all you can think about in this situation?!"

Aleesha tried to sit herself upright but fell back down to the ground, as she was still weak from the fall. "What situation..."

With that, a large splash was heard at the entrance to the alcove, and a roar reverberated around the room. The Meepits all suddenly went quiet, their tiny eyes all closing in fear. Tilla's heartbeat rang out again, as did the ragged breathing of Aleesha as they both looked toward the Well.

A wet ball of fur was swimming toward them.

Tilla dragged Aleesha away from the shore, backing up to the first section of Meepit cages. The Meepits behind them curled up into little balls as if trying to hide.

The Kougra leapt up onto the edge of the alcove and shook himself off lightly, gobs of water splashing about the Well walls. He glanced up at the two females in front of him.

"Ladies," he spoke with feigned gentleness. "Did my cohort not warn you about the dangers of coming down this Well?" Tilla nodded solemnly, Aleesha just stared back silently. "Yet, you jumped in anyway," he continued, "all willy-nilly, didn't you? Well, Acara, sorry to say, but our prince is in another castle." The Kougra chortled to himself.

Tilla stammered out. "Who are you? And why Meepits?"

The Kougra bellowed out a laugh. "There is no destructive force on the planet worse then Meepits. With my Meepit army behind me, I can take over Neopia Central, and soon, all of Neopia! You don't need to know my name, for you'll all be calling me Master!"

Tilla blinked a few times, then scoffed lightly, "Who ever heard of a Meepit army?"

The Darigan Kougra spread his wings menacingly and roared at the pair, but suddenly there was another splash from behind them all.

A rather wet and disgruntled looking Kyrii was swimming his way up to the alcove's edge. He threw his lute onto the dry ground and leapt his way up. He stared down at the Kougra. "Your friend is now mine, you're all out of time. Let these girls go, you've got compassion to show."

The Kougra raised a paw at Larry and snarled, lunging for him. Larry grabbed his lute and, as the Kougra neared, smacked the raging feline over the head with it. The Kougra was down for the count.

Aleesha's eyes were wide in amazement and adoration. Tilla was shocked.

Larry smirked and held up his unharmed lute. "Industrial strength. Not such a stupid lute now, huh?"

Tilla shook her head, dumbfounded.

"Our escape is now, I'll show you how. Unless you want to stay with the kitty, but that's not too witty."

Aleesha ran at Larry and gave him a bone-crushing hug. "My hero!" she yelled.

Tilla laughed. "I guess you get to be the knight in shining armour, Larry"

Aleesha interjected, "Or a handsome prince come to rescue me from the evil... Darigan Kougra."

Larry looked proud for a moment until Tilla stated, "It's just the lighting, Larry."

The three took the long climb back up the rope, the other end held by the turncoat Derek. The Draik smiled as he noticed they were missing one Kougra.

Larry patted Derek on the back. "Your boss is trapped, he's not coming back. Those Meepits looked hungry... Wait, what rhymes with hungry?"

Aleesha put her paw over Larry's mouth. "You're ruining the moment here."

Tilla smiled at her friend. "Satisfied now?"

"I guess so," Aleesha answered. "Maybe I don't need a huge castle and lots of sparkly things. But that Kougra was wrong; my prince was actually down the well." Larry gulped as Aleesha eyed him.

Tilla glanced to Derek. "So, why was he always so angry, your boss? Why did he want to take over Neopia?"

Derek laughed and shrugged lightly. "Some sort of name complex; he always wanted to prove his worth, thought he was better than the life he was living."

Tilla grinned as she glanced to Aleesha, then back to the Draik. "What was his name?"

Derek cackled softly as he answered. "Fluffy."

The End

Editor's note: Next week is the 500th Storytelling Contest! If you have any ideas for the beginning, please send them in! Thanks.

Author: filter
Date: Mar 18th



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