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Week 513
You are on Week 514
Week 515

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 Five Hundred Fourteen Ends Friday, July 8

It's an average sort of day out in space.

You wake up, stretch, brush your teeth, put on your signature black-and-red cloak, and settle down at the table for a nice big bowl of Asteroid Puffs Cereal.

The latest edition of the Neopian Times has been thoughtfully laid out on the table for you by one of your lowly minions. You pick it up and peruse the list of articles.

You nearly spit out your cereal as you read.

Sloth: Lame Villain, or Lamest Villain?

Why Sloth Couldn't Conquer Neopia: A Study in Failure

Black Cloaks Are SO Passé: A Guide for the Fashionable Villain

Sloth Was the Worst Boss I Ever Had, and I Don't Mean Just His Hygiene: A Mistreated Grundo Tells His Story

In a fit of rage, you crumple the newspaper into a ball and hurl it at the nearest of your Grundo servants.

The unfortunate minion cringes as the paper ball soars over his head, bouncing harmlessly off the wall.

After a brief pause, the Grundo picks up the balled-up newspaper, hands it back to you, and returns to his previous position, adopting a cowering pose.

This time, you actually manage to hit your target. But the small sense of satisfaction this brings you hardly makes up for the sheer lack of respect the population of Neopia seems to have for you.

"I'll show them," you mutter darkly as you rise from your chair, Asteroid Puffs completely forgotten.

Obviously, you could use an update in your PR. Your goal now is clear.

You must utterly destroy the Neopian Times! And once you have brought that newspaper to its knees, you will replace it with your own -- which, of course, will only paint you in the most fearsome, intimidating light.

The brilliance of this plan is immediately apparent to you, as with all your plans. You indulge in a fit of evil laughter.

And then you get down to business...

Author: Cookybananas324
Date: Jul 5th
But yet again, how should you begin? After all, as the supreme ruler of Kreludor (or so you consider yourself to be), how should you begin this task to bring down the mightiest newspaper of the land you wish to crush? You decide to...

A)First prepare yourself a cup of coffee! After all, evil geniuses can't hatch an evil scheme without coffee. (If chosen, continue reading!)

or

B)Head to a business meeting with your head advisers -- evil cannot wait for foolishly ground coffee beans! (If chosen, skip down to the asterisks!)

You snap your green sausage-shaped fingers, and an orange Grundo enters the kitchen, bowing his head in utmost servitude. You don't entirely recognise him, but then again, all Grundos look the same to you anyway.

"What's your name?" you demand.

"Number 3002898787684," the Grundo rattles off, his head bent, his eyes on the ground.

You smile for a moment, in awe of the number of Grundos you currently have in your service.

"Make me a cup of coffee! And make it snappy -- I have evil to attend to!"

"Yes, sir!" And in almost no time -- actually, in only a matter of seven seconds -- the Grundo is standing in front of you with a steamy cup of Azzle Coffee, your favourite!

You snatch the cup from his puny orange hands and take a giant gulp as he watches you expectantly. It's quite tasty, though there is the undertone of something else besides the Azzle fruit. Something that tastes a bit odd. You're about to ask him what it is when you feel a headache coming on, and suddenly it's hard to keep your eyes open.

The last thing you hear before you pass out is the triumphant cry of the Grundo as he announces he is finally free of your tyranny, and the added musical styling of a Twisted Roses CD, which is currently being broadcasted throughout your lair.

DEAD END! I'm sorry. Please go back and choose another option.

* * *

There is no time for coffee! You must head over to a meeting at once and decide how exactly you will take down this blasted newspaper once and for all!

With a swish of your cape, you storm down the hall, pushing past Grundos until you read a large door that reads "Dr. Sloth's Meeting Room -- Beware of His Ultimate Might!"

You slam the door open -- after all, villains do not knock! -- and announce to your PR team your intentions to take over the Neopian Times. As they are all Grundos you have enslaved, they nod their heads quickly in agreement.

"Now," you say, pointing to a map of Neopia plastered on a chalkboard, "their Headquarters are in Neopia Central. I say we infiltrate them with all the power we can muster, catching the artists, writers, and coffee minions off-guard. Then we can--"

But you stop, because you notice one of the Grundos is raising his hand in question...

Author: vanessa1357924680
Date: Jul 5th
You scoff loudly, but continue in your rant. You ignore the Grundo for several minutes before his hand waving appears to be more frantic now, as if his very arm might become unhinged. You decide to...

A) Yell at the Grundo and punish him for attempting to distract and interrupt you while you're in the middle of a devious plan, refusing to let him speak. (If chosen, continue reading!)

or

B) Allow the Grundo to ask his question. The more the Grundos know, the less they'll screw up. It's always the Grundos' fault when your wonderful plans go awry. Always. (If chosen, skip down to asterisks.)

You bark out an insult to the flailing Grundo and tell him to sit still. His eyes are wide, but he concedes and curls his arms around himself. You can see the Grundos to his sides pat him in comfort, all their eyes focused on you. All their strange, slowly widening eyes.

You turn to the chalkboard to write a few more of your master plan's points on the board. When you turn back around toward the Grundos, you can see that the closest to you have pushed their chairs back away from you. You find that odd, yet you continue; this plan is much too good to stop the flow of creativity. You turn to the chalkboard to underline a few words, but upon turning back, you find the room is now empty, and the large door is slowly swinging back toward the threshold after it was so hastily thrown open.

You stand there bewildered for moment before finally feeling this strange creeping feeling along your spine. You're not sure if it's quite fear or excitement from your plan.

It turns out to be a rogue Pyon that must have snuck on with the last delivery of cargo. Oddly enough, you just happen to have a debilitating Pyon allergy. As it sticks you with its venomous tail, you wonder if you should have treated your Grundos a little nicer. Nah.

DEAD END. I'm sorry. Please go back and choose another option.

***

You put on the angriest scowl possible, thrusting your finger at the Grundo and allowing him to ask his probably ridiculous question.

The Grundo stutters softly as he asks, "How will we get inside to catch them off guard?"

You sigh loudly and turn back to your chalkboard to point at a piece of the plan, but you pause. You were so caught up with the plan in general that you didn't think of that small detail. The Neopian Times Headquarters is deep in the Catacombs under Neopia Central. There's no way a clumsy and loud army of Grundos will take anyone by surprise.

Since you're not up to date with every nook and cranny of the ever-changing mainland, you send out a scout. You dress up a rather diligent Grundo in a pleasant-looking suit and teleport him down to Neopia Central. Teleportation would be a rather easy choice, if the paper's Headquarters weren't underground. You never know where the Teleporter might beam you, perhaps right into the dirt-packed ground! You shudder at the thought.

You continue through the brilliant plan with your PR team, smiling as they all mindlessly nod their heads in agreement.

That's when the intercom begins to buzz; the scout is already reporting in. You almost giggle in excitement as you hit the speaker button on the telecommunicator and listen to the report.

The Grundo says...

Author: filter
Date: Jul 6th
"I'm s-s-sorry, s-s-sir!" he stutters, "but I have bad news. I tried to get in and scout, but they were very firm that it should be employees only! What should I do?"

Putting on an impressive grimace, you realise you have to come up with another way to get a scout inside the Neopian Times Headquarters. You decide to...

A) Have the Grundo go undercover and get a job as a Neopian Times staff writer. After all, with the articles they print about you, they'll clearly hire anyone! It will take a little longer, but how else can you get someone on the inside? (If chosen, continue reading.)

or

B) Tell the Grundo he should know what to do and demand he stop being a doofus. After all, Grundos are dull, but you've given him an order! Insolence and insubordination are unforgivable. (If chosen, skip to the asterisks.)

"You fool!" you scoff, incensed. Must you be surrounded by idiots?! "Get a job so you become an employee, obviously!"

There is a moment of stunned silence -- clearly, they are struck speechless at the magnitude of your genius.

"Y-y-yes, boss," the Grundo on the communicator finally stutters and signs off.

Nodding in satisfaction, you dismiss the rest of the PR lackeys. Pleased with the magnitude of your genius and the sheer ingenuity of your plan, you decide you've earned a bubble bath and set forth at once.

Though you don't hear from the undercover minion for several days, you assume this is business as usual. After all, you knew it would take a couple days to get a job. He'd have to write something first, of course, and knowing that dimwit it would take some time.

Seven days after your last orders were given, you wake up and realise you still haven't heard from him, and you're starting to get just slightly nervous. Still pondering the potential implications of a communications blackout from the scout, you head to the kitchen and:

A) Decide to grab some breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day, after all -- everyone should eat breakfast before anything else! (If chosen, continue reading.)

or

B) Decide to grab some coffee. Woe to anyone who crosses your path before you've had your coffee; you are not awake without your caffeine! (If chosen, go back to section two, paragraph four.)

You don't let on as you head to the table for breakfast -- hmmm, Astrocrunch Cereal sounds good today! -- after all, if something went wrong with the plan, it's not your fault anyway. Settling into your chair, you flip open your copy of the Neopian Times to read your favourite comics (the artists, you decide, can stay -- they're pretty funny, and there haven't been any comics about you anyway). When you get to the comics section, you pause in your eating mid-bite; scrawled across your copy are the words:

Chet Flash wuz here.

Beneath the graffiti is a tiny flashing device that began counting down the moment you went to the page. With a pained look on your face, you realise that your minion has either been co-opted or betrayed you. As the timer hits zero, you vaguely regret that you chose Astrocrunch Cereal for breakfast instead of Coco Chips with Astropuffed Marshmallows. Coco Chips isn't nearly as healthy, but you really should have lived up your last meal.

DEAD END! I'm sorry. Please go back and choose another option.

***

"You fool!" you scoff, incensed. "I gave you an order! How are you going to follow it?"

There is a moment of stunned silence -- clearly, your minions have underestimated the depth of service you expect from them. Absolute unfailing obedience is required! Briefly, you ponder another Obedience Device if they can't follow such simple orders and must come to you for every little thing, but your thoughts are interrupted when the scout finally replies.

"W-w-well, sir... we could... we could use the scanning device we developed during your last return attem... uh, last rescheduled return...?" he suggests, hesitantly.

You turn the idea back and forth in your head for a moment as the Grundos await your verdict. Finally, you nod.

"Very well!" you boom out, startling the Grundo at the end of the table into falling out of her chair. Inwardly, you groan. Must you be surrounded by idiots?!

Gesturing curtly, you give orders for the rest of the team to snap to it. Ambling after them, you can't help but be pleased with yourself. It's good to be the boss sometimes.

By the time you arrive in Tech Lab #692 where the device is housed, they're just about ready to fire it up. They look at you expectantly, waiting for your order to go-ahead.

Nodding your head, you grandly give the go-ahead, and the device activates. Fortunately, scanners are a little more precise than transporters, and this one can penetrate all the way down to the Headquarters.

"Sir!" an orange Grundo gasps and beckons you over.

On the screen, you're surprised to see...

Author: agedbeauty
Date: Jul 6th
On the screen was a small fuzzy image of those pathetic hacks who work for the Neopian Times, waving.

You shake your head, this can't be. How could they possibly...?

"Sir," the Grundo says, rather impatiently. "Sir, what are you going to do? I mean I-"

You cut him off, with a single raised eyebrow.

"Do you really want to continue?" you ask, in you most 'shut-up-I-really-can't-be-bothered-to-hear-you voice (you knew those times practising in the mirror would pay off). However, yet again, you are faced with a decision.

Will you:

A) Blunder your way through, pretending you know what you are doing, you do have to seem leader-like after all.(If chosen, continue reading)

Or

B) Ask politely what this pathetic Grundo thinks you should do, I mean, they have helped you in the past. (If chosen, skip to asterisks.)

You wave your hand at the Grundo and tell him it's probably a coincidence; he doesn't look impressed.

"Is your little mind incapable of understanding that it is IMPOSSIBLE for those fools to have located our frequency and purposefully sent an image to us? They'd be giving themselves away!"

You smile to yourself; shouting is so satisfying. However, over your can of Neocola, you see the image on the screen has changed: now the writers are bringing out a small sign, with a message on it.

You can't be sure, but you think it says, "Don't look behind you."

Naturally, you peer over your shoulder and promptly get bashed over the head with a rolled-up copy of the Neopian Times.

DEAD END! Please go back and choose another option.

***

"Well... what do you think then?" you ask, your eyebrow still raised.

At first, the Grundo mumbles, but you cough loudly, and he speaks again, this time so you can hear him.

"Sir, it's obvious that they CAN see us, and I feel we should close this whole project down, you don't want to fai-"

"PREPOSTEROUS," you yell, filled with rage.

You can't stop now, so you ignore him and start to file your green, almost non-existent nails.

"I suggest," you decide to keep talking; it's the only way, you tell yourself, to not look like a fool, "that we create a remote-controlled Weewoo. I mean, they can't deny access to a Weewoo. And, since they know we're on to them, they'll have their guards up for anything Grundo-like."

Around you, you notice a few nods of approval. You feel like this is the most clever thing you have said all year.

"So, you should all get to work. I want..." You ponder. What exactly DO you want?

"I want cameras; I want microphones; I want radar... I want... I want..." This list goes on, as you reel off a whole load of useless junk you want on your future Weewoo.

A few days later, you stroll down to the laboratory you set up and casually walk in, but inside you are ever-so-excited, since you are now here to see the final thing.

"It's beautiful," you say, "but what can it DO?"

A young, nerdy Grundo speaks. "Well, sire, it can write, and it can peck, and it can listen, and it can smile."

"That's it?" You try your best to sound shocked.

"Well, no, of course, it has everything you wanted..."

"Good." You look around for a nice red button, which you can press, and make an evil laugh whilst doing so, but there isn't one.

One of the Grundos sees you doing this and says something that makes you boil with anger.

"We thought that, well, maybe, you wouldn't mind if we help by starting it up," and he moves forward to flick a small switch under the wing of the bird. But thankfully you manage to stop him in time and have already flicked it before he can say, "Not that one!"

But it's too late, you've pressed it, and everything happens at once.

You shut your eyes and hear a loud bang from near you. You squint with one eye, and in front of you, you see...

Author: codswobble
Date: Jul 7th
...a hidden hatch on the Weewoo's back has flipped open and an army of Meepits is pouring from it! Sparks fly as they invade the lab, chewing up everything in their path.

"WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?" you scream, half in rage and half in disbelief.

"Well, you s-see, sir, the Meepits were th-the backup plan. In case our... um, your... ingenious plan was discovered, you could flip that switch to unleash the Meepits to destroy the Neopian Times office, and amidst the chaos, our army of Grundos could rush in and..." The Grundo's hurried explanation fades away as the brightness of your face begins to rival the sun.

You:

A) Order your Grundo minions into the lab with their blasters to eradicate the Meepit infestation. (if chosen, keep reading)

OR

B) Slam the door shut and order that pathetic excuse for a Grundo scientist to fix the Weewoo RIGHT NOW! After all, it was an ingenious plan. It's not your fault that incompetent fool didn't LABEL the switches! Really, do you have to think of everything yourself? (If chosen, skip down to asterisks.)

"FOOLS! Get in here with those ray guns of yours and DO something about these awful creatures! I'm going to have a cup of coffee. Come and get me when you have this under- " *Meepit bitesyourface*

DEAD END! Oh dear! Please go back and choose another option.

***

You slam the door shut tight and call to the Grundo scientist.

"I expect this mess cleaned up and that Weewoo of mine in tiptop shape in one hour!" Upset at this little delay in your evil plan and at being made to wait yet another hour, you decide to go back to the scanner and study your enemy. After all, how complex can they be, sitting in their little chairs, scribbling nonsense with their antiquated quills?

You sit in front of the screen and look closely at the scrawny figures bent intently over their work. Suddenly a piece of paper childishly folded into an aerodynamic shape comes sailing at your screen and bounces off, landing on a shelf below. Laughter ensues, and you angrily decide that you won't wait one more minute to squash them!

But wait! Hold on a sec! What's that? You squint your eyes, you think you can almost read something scrawled on the paper now laying on the shelf. This may be something important! Something crucial to their next move!

"You! Minion number whatever you are! Magnify this image and read to me what it says!" You eagerly rub your hands together, relishing this lucky turn of events. Somehow you just know that this is the key to their downfall! Gosh, does it hurt to be so brilliant?

The Grundo magnifies the image and begins to read...

Author: amethyst_81
Date: Jul 7th
"Submissions for Sloth Appreciation Day: the Hold-over Pile. 10 Ways to Pay Homage to Neopia's Most Adorable Villain. How to Get on Dr. Sloth's Good (er... Bad?) Side. How Lil Frankie Became Dr. Frank Sloth: An Awwwwwwful Story. The Day that Dr. Sloth Lost His Cape. The--"

"Enough! Enough, you brainless minion!" you yell. For your gorgeous green banana-face is slowly flushing with heat. You:

A) Bask in your own glory for a few moments. (If chosen, continue reading.)

or

B) Boil with rage. (If chosen, skip to asterisks.)

Evil plan temporarily forgotten, you allow a burst of maniacal laughter to erupt from your throat. The pathetic Grundo who has just read the contents of the screen to you cowers back in a most satisfactory manner.

"An entire issue dedicated to ME?!" you cackle. "Well, well, those silly writers are learning at last. Of course, many of these submissions will require editing, but this is a... shall we say, an acceptable start. Perhaps I will consider sparing the Neopian Times after all." You rub your fingers together in glee.

The Grundo is looking at you anxiously, one hand on the controls for the screen. "M-master... should I zoom out again? To... you know, continue monitoring the Neopian Times office?"

A) Yell, "Yes, of course, you idiot! How am I supposed to bestow my finest curses on my worshippers if I can't see their faces?!" And the Grundo obediently turns the knobs under the screen, displaying to you the moronic faces of the writers. (If chosen, go back to section five, paragraph eleven.)

or

B) Yell, "Did I ask you for your opinion, you worthless minion?! No?! Well, make yourself useful and listen carefully to my next order!" (If chosen, go back to section two, paragraph eight.)

***

"'ADORABLE'???" you roar. "'LIL FRANKIE'??? Why, those insolent, good-for-nothing, Meepit-loving idiots! I'll show them the true power of Dr. Frank Sloth!"

The Grundo who has just finished reading to you bows abjectly before your rage. You shout for another good ten minutes just for the satisfaction of watching him tremble, and then you give your villainous cloak a most imperious swish. (Your most imperious swish yet, if you're not mistaken. All those hours of practising in front of the mirror have certainly paid off.)

"What are those good-for-nothing engineers of mine DOING?!" you seethe. "Why in my own glorious name are they taking so long to fix that Weewoo? No wonder I haven't taken over Neopia yet, all my minions are such incompetent idiots!!" You'll certainly have a word with your chief Grundo-trainer the next time you have a spare moment.

Shoving aside the still-trembling Grundo, you storm back to Tech Lab #692, but before you can scream through the door, you hear a sound coming from inside.

"Weeeewooooo..."

How do you want the story to end? Choose between A, B, and C to find out!

Author: yoyote
Date: Jul 8th
A) You gape in horror as you peer into the room. Meepits are running rampant throughout the entire room. Various dangerous experiments and weapons have been knocked over and ruined. Your moronic Grundo minions are rushing back and forth trying to grab the revolting Petpets, but for every Grundo there are at least two more Meepits.

"Weeeewoooo!" you hear the piercing shriek from above.

You look up and see the robotic Weewoo soaring sporadically around the room. Every second a Meepit emerges from the hatch and drops to the ground to cause more mayhem.

"Of course, the black hole project!" You realise in both awe and horror.

The project was a recent idea to find a way to store infinite mass in a select space. Therefore there would be an infinite amount of Meepits coming from that Weewoo.

"This has to stop now!" you bark as you enter the room.

No one pays you any heed; they are too busy panicking.

"Did you not hear me?" you boom. "Clean up this mess!"

"So... many... Meepits," sobs a Grundo as he is dragged away into a cloud of pink.

"You, Number 3345354, if you stop this madness, there's a promotion in it for you," you command a Grundo who is having his face chewed on by a Meepit.

He seems more concerned with his own pain that yours, though. How is this possible? All of your minions should be able to solve all of your problems in snap, not matter what their own issues are.

"Do you forget who your master is?" you roar. "I am the most feared figure in all of Neopia! Now, you will fix this slight problem and go back to my evil plan immediately!"

By now the Meepits have taken note of you and are slowly creeping toward you. You turn around to leave, but find that more Meepits are flooding from behind.

"While we're young, please," you snap at your useless minions with just a hint of fear in your voice.

The Meepits have entirely surrounded you now. However, before anything drastic happens, you notice a small slip of parchment drop from the Weewoo's hatch. You snatch it up eagerly hoping for a note stating how to turn off the chaos.

Instead all you see is "Chet Flash Wuz Here."

"Make it stop!" you roar. "This can't be happening, this can't be happening, this can't be happening."

A) If it turns out this was all an elaborate dream, keep reading.

Or

B) If it turns out that this is all just a story in the Neopian Times, also keep reading.

"It sure is a relief that that wasn't real," you remark with a smug grin on your face.

You stretch your feet as a Grundo minion approaches you.

"What crimes await us today?" he chimes loyally.

"I don't feel like a big crime today," you say with a slight shudder. "Besides, what better way is there to attack the writers than with this sad excuse of an ending?" You turn to face forward with a mocking grin and laugh. "The End."

Author: a_greenparrot
Date: Jul 8th
B) Confused but still furious, you storm into the lab. You expect to see your minions busily working on the VirtuWeewoo, as you've decided to call it, but instead you see several Grundos gathered around an actual Weewoo.

You freeze as your rage threatens to explode. "What. Is. That?!" you scream, and your minions -- who had obviously failed to note your reentry into the lab -- all freeze. The intolerable Petpet continues cooing. "Weee... woooooo!" it burbles, rubbing against the nearest Grundo.

"Well, sir... we were rebuilding the robot Weewoo, but we were having trouble... and as we were, well, this little guy was beamed aboard by th..." the Grundo trails off, uncertain as he stares at you.

You stare coldly at him, so furious you don't even move.

"He... uh... he brought a note for you?" he says, holding out a trimly folded piece of paper.

Angrily snatching the sheet of paper, you smooth it open and read it:

Sorry, Dr. Sloth -- you can't beat us! Better luck in your future evil plans.

Beneath the neat handwriting is a tiny Weewoo footprint.

Incensed, you crumple the paper in a ball and throw it at the nearest Grundo. Insolent fools! Seething with rage, you decide that enough is enough -- no more Mr. Nice Sloth! Pondering your options, you decide to:

A) Use the station's laser to blow up the Neopian Times Headquarters. Lasers are the bomb, after all... not literally speaking, of course. (If chosen, continue reading.)

or

B) Use the station's missiles to blow up the Neopian Times Headquarters. Everything is better with missiles! (If chosen, skip to the asterisks.)

You decide that you always loved the delightful hum of a life-ending laser.

"THAT'S IT!" you scream, causing the cowering Grundo beside you to curl up into a miserable little ball of supplication. Any other time, the bid to appease you would have worked, but you're in quite a fury. "Enough of these shenanigans! The Times must go, and it must go now -- FIRE UP THE LASER!"

Immediately, the Grundos remaining in the lab scurry out. Sweeping after them, you head to the war room. Time to get down to business; this annoying little paper will be gone -- now!

Settling into your command chair, you strike a dramatic pose. After all, there's always time to look good. Holding it for a moment to allow everyone to appreciate your greatness and good looks, you finally deign to address your minions.

"Put a close-up of Neopia Central on the viewscreen!" you command, pleased at how authoritative your voice sounds with no effort at all. Some have to learn to command, but clearly it comes naturally for you.

A few beeps later, the city is available for you to glance at. "Focus on the Catacombs -- I want to see the entrance to the Times Headquarters!"

Obligingly, the front door to the Catacombs is on screen a moment later. You nod, pleased, and suspense builds. And builds... and continues building. The Grundos finally look at you expectantly.

But before you can give the order to lock the laser on its target, a Grundo you recognise as being a communications officer runs into the war room.

Panting, he gesticulates wildly, attempting to gain your attention. Nodding curtly, you motion for him to spit his message out.

"Sir, you have a call on the comm! It's your mother!"

You blink, irritated by the distraction, but if there was any force in the Neopian world worse then you, it was the one waiting vigilantly on the comm for you.

You sigh softly but loudly yell, "Blow up the Times!" to your Grundo minions before exiting the war room.

You begrudgingly pick up the phone and listen to your mother rant about how you never call her enough or send her gifts on her birthday. Doesn't she realise you're an evil genius and don't have time for these things?

After a few false promises, she finally hangs up, and you dash back to the war room. To your delight, the screen is filled with smoke and rubble. You practically jump up in happiness.

"The Neopian Times is finally destroyed!" You yell out, patting the head of a nearby Grundo before nodding your head to your minions and exiting the room. You barely even noticed the soft whisperings echoing amongst the Grundos. You couldn't tell what they said, but you were sure they were celebrating right along side you.

"Did he say 'Times'?"

You head down to your bedchambers. All this evil planning gives you a good mental workout, and you can't wait for a long night of sleep. Tomorrow, who knows what kind of devious plan you can come up with next. Maybe you'll go after the Stock Market, that seems nice.

When you wake up in the morning and find your bowl of Astrocrunch Cereal waiting for you, you feel a surge of pride inside as you notice the breakfast table is missing that telltale newspaper. No more terrible articles about you, no more mocking your obviously wonderful self. You have won, what a wonderful day it was.

Unbeknownst to you, just a little way down the hallway, the soft crinkle of paper sounds out. A rather bashful-looking Grundo casts his eyes down on the literary piece in front of him. When this morning's edition of the Neopian Times was delivered, he was smart enough to scoop it up and get it out of your sight. Perhaps if you read it, you would see the headline you definitely did not want to see.

"Neopian Limes destroyed! Smoothie makers worried!"

The Grundo pops open a small closet door and chucks in the paper. It's just the first day of a very long ritual for the Grundo that wakes up before you do and squirrels away your morning paper. Some Grundos do a lot to keep you happy.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have reached the end of this adventure.

***

After a second to think, you decide there's really only one way to go. What day doesn't get better when you blow something up with missiles? Leaving a batch of quivering Grundos behind you, you sweep dramatically out of the lab and head toward the war room.

When you arrive, you startle most of the staff, but that, you decide, is all for the best. Better to keep them on their toes!

"Enough of this nonsense! It's time for the Neopian Times to go, and it's time for it go NOW!" you cry, causing every Grundo in the room to freeze.

Pleased with their reaction, you seat yourself in the command chair. Settling in, you strike a dramatic pose. After all, there's always time to look good. Holding it for a moment to allow everyone to appreciate your greatness and good looks, you finally deign to address your minions.

"Put a close-up of Neopia Central on the viewscreen!" you command, pleased at how authoritative your voice sounds with no effort at all. Some have to learn to command, but clearly it comes naturally for you.

A few beeps later, the city is available for you to glance at. "Focus on the Catacombs -- I want to see the entrance to the Times Headquarters!"

Obligingly, the front door to the Catacombs is on screen a moment later.

"Target the Times with the missiles!" you order, rubbing your fingertips together in anticipation.

"Target acquired and locked, sir!" a minion replies a moment later.

"FIRE ZE MISSILES!" you shout, gleeful with the imminent destruction.

Every Grundo in the room turns to stare at you, and you realise you may have gotten slightly carried away. Just a bit.

"Ahem," you say, clearing your throat. "I mean, launch missiles at target!"

Turning back to their stations, the Grundos immediately set to carrying out your order.

"Firing, sir!" confirms a blue Grundo to your left.

Staring at the Times Headquarters on the viewscreen, you eagerly await news of its destruction.

And continue waiting.

And still continue waiting.

"Well?" you finally say, breaking the silence several minutes later.

The Grundos frown as they read the reports on their station screens. Finally, one brave minion speaks.

"Ehrm... they, uh... well that is to say..." he trails off.

"They... what? Blew up? Were incinerated? Have been wiped off the face of Neopia?" you suggest, impatient.

"...didn't explode," he finishes, flinching.

"THEY WHAT?" you thunder, setting every Grundo in the room quivering.

At that moment, the comm system begins to beep. "Incoming message," says a white Grundo.

"Route it to my quarters," you respond curtly and storm out of the room. This is not your day!

In your quarters, the message is waiting on your personal viewscreen at your desk. It reads:

Sorry, Dr. Sloth. We're missile-proof too. Better luck next time!

You flop into your chair, defeated. The Times has resisted your every effort this week. Melancholy, you decide to:

A) Head to the kitchen and grab a cup of coffee. Maybe you can come up with an alternative if you get some more caffeine in you. (If chosen, go back to section two, paragraph four.)

or

B) Give up. Admit defeat. You. Can't. Beat them. (If chosen, continue reading.)

Slumping your chair, you finally give in to the inevitable. The Times has escaped your wrath. You tried, and failed. You can't blow them up.

...but perhaps you can do something else...

Staring at the message on your screen absently, you begin pondering the way a newspaper works. Hmmm.

Grabbing it off your desk, you twirl your Neverending Fountain Pen through your svelte green fingers. The thoughts and ideas bubble and brew within your dastardly mind.

Grinning wickedly, you begin to write. The words flow freely from your mind to the paper, and you grow more pleased with yourself as the words build and build. You even chuckle at the clever bit of irony of describing your green thumb... oh, if only the readers knew!

A few hours later when you finish, you survey your work, pleased. Rereading it, you smile again, contemplating how to sign your work. Idly nibbling on the back of your pen, you realise you can't just sign it "Dr. Frank Sloth" -- oh no. But... hmmm. Smiling, you elegantly pen a signature across the bottom.

Perfect. Stuffing it in an envelope, you quickly scrawl its destination on the front and set it in your outbox.

Leaning back, you stretch contentedly. No, you may not be able to beat them, but....

A few weeks later, an interesting Neomail arrives:

Dear Flora D. Stockhornt,

Congratulations! Your entry (How To Grow Luscious Lovepetals And Perfect Purple Poppies) has been selected to appear in a future issue of the Neopian Times. A shiny trophy is enclosed. Thank you for contributing to the Neopian Times!

Yours Sincerely, The Neopian Times

Reading it, you smile. If you can't beat them... join them.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have reached the end of this adventure.

The End

Author: agedbeauty & filter
Date: Jul 8th
C) This gives you pause as you were about to fling open the door as loudly as possible, but with a moment's recomposure you fling it open anyway, vociferous expressions of extreme distaste already on the tip of your tongue.

These words are rather extinguished by the sight that greets you.

The robotic Weewoo is perched on the arm of a chair at the head of the workbench -- writing, pecking, listening, and smiling as the technician had promised it could do -- and singing, too. But what is worse than the singing is the fact that your minions are not repairing, nor building, nor adding gadgets of great impressiveness to it, but are PLAYING with it. It seems they have grown quite fond of it.

As each Grundo slowly realises you are here, they stop what they are doing and turn meekly toward you.

This is beyond words.

Beyond words.

You:

A) Control yourself, remembering that you must put up with their dim-wittedness for a moment longer in order for your plan to succeed. You will ask, with great effort at composure, if the robot is ready to carry out the mission, and if it is not, you will send it off anyway as these fools are obviously not doing any work here. (If chosen, continue reading.)

B) SHOUT TO DEMAND WHAT ON KRELUDOR THEY THINK THEY'RE DOING, WASTING YOUR TIME LIKE THIS. (IF CHOSEN, SKIP TO ASTERISKS.)

You take a deep breath. "Well?" you say in a dangerous voice. "Is my Weewoo ready to be sent off to infiltrate the Neopian Times Headquarters?"

The Grundos exchange anxious looks, each hoping the other would answer. One plucks up the courage to stammer, "I'm s-sorry, sir! But there is a small p-problem."

Your icy stare prompts him to gulp and continue. "You see, s-sir, the Weewoo is so... friendly. It is inherently good-natured. It likes us, but it will not carry out any job with evil intentions." The other Grundos bob agreement.

That's it; you lose it, and forget all about putting up with idiocy. "That is UTTER NONSENSE!" you shout in floor-rumbling tones. "This just proves you dimwits are not to be trusted with anything. I will send it off MYSELF."

You reach for the remote on the worktable, completely shutting out your engineers' protests, and press a swift succession of buttons that will order the Weewoo to do everything you wish.

Or not. The Weewoo, which until this point had been watching quietly from its perch, raises its head, its eyes flared. It hops with astonishing speed, reaching you before you can even set down the remote, and too late you see for yourself the effectiveness of a few of the dangerous gadgets you had your minions install in the Petpet.

DEAD END! Please --

-- but I'm so close!

No can do. Please go back and choose another option.

***

"WHAT ON KRELUDOR DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, WASTING MY TIME LIKE THIS?" you holler. The build-up of the day's failures thus far is evident in this yell. "I asked you to build me an EVIL SPY, not a... FRIENDLY PET!"

The Grundos cringe. "Please, master," they squeak. "You'll see why--"

"I HATE waiting," you rage on, oblivious to their weak protest. "I've waited SEVEN DAYS already for this plan to go through! I will be wrinkly by the time you minions have everything ready!"

The Weewoo, which until this point had been watching quietly from its perch, cocks its head at these words, as if what you had said reminded it of something.

Unmindful of this too, you take a step toward the huddled engineers, resolved to demand them destroy the thing.

Now the Weewoo gives an insistent hop and, from its place on the chair, stares interestedly at you in the eye.

It blinks its little red eyes.

It gives another short hop with its little red feet.

It chirps happily.

Something tells you it likes you.

"I want it gone," you insist halfheartedly, but there is no longer conviction in your voice.

"Sir," the Grundos protest, moving protectively toward the robot.

Your heart would be melting, if only you had one. You glare the robot down with pursed lips; you cross your arms, avert your gaze imperiously, tap your green sausage fingers on your villainous black sleeve. Then, with something like a pout, you cave abruptly. "Oh, who am I kidding," you say, still adopting a sour expression that will spare you as much embarrassment as possible.

The Weewoo beeps excitedly, and without knowing exactly why, you extend a hand to allow it to spring onto your arm. Its signalling becomes more adamant, now accompanied by a soft whirring, until at last something like a thin sheet of paper comes sliding out of its back flap. It lands, upside-down, on your arm, followed closely by a succession of no fewer than eight similar transmissions.

"The Neopian Times," you decipher, head turned. "Sloth Appreciation Day Special Issue." You remember you said yourself that it has been a week since that last unfortunate issue.

The Weewoo gives a proud peck for a mission well done and, as if spontaneously exhausted, powers down, still perched on your arm with all nine pages of the latest issue of the Times still poking out from the flap.

You and the Grundos stare at it in unison. After a moment's pause, you clear your throat. "Ahem. About the mission." Your minions turn attentively back to you, awaiting the next orders.

"I still want my own newspaper, but it seems I have been caught in a rare state of tolerance today and am no longer in the mood for villainous deeds. I assure you that this is very temporary. We will resume another day. For now, you will leave me in peace, with this, uh... bird."

The minions hasten to obey, and only when they have gone do you stop to consider all the choices of different paths that you have yet to make, and will no doubt make in due course.

For now, however, you will:

A) Gather the pages of the newspaper to take a quick look and find out that it is, after all, still not up to your standards in the very least. You are quite ready to begin plotting all over again. (If chosen, go back to section 1, paragraph 9.)

B) Consider how you will make a nefarious sidekick out of this sleeping Weewoo yet, but for the present, you will take a rare day off sipping galactic water (not suspicious coffee, mind) and allow the adventure to end. (If chosen, then this means that it is, provisionally,

The End.)

Author: _razcalz_
Date: Jul 8th



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