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||You are on Week 520
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 Twenty Ends Friday, August 19
|"So children, I expect you all to come back with the name of every Neopian land memorized," the Usuki Neoschool Teacher droned on. "All right?"
Everyone mumbled yes, but I knew that we wouldn't even spend a millisecond studying. What was the point? It wasn't like we'd ever get to travel to places like Brightvale or Mystery Island. The only land that WE knew about was Usukiland, and it wasn't even a real land, either; it was merely a shop full of Usukis.
"Okay, class is dismissed," our Usuki Neoschool Teacher said, whacking me back to reality and out of my thoughts.
"I don't think I'll remember all of the names," Deluxe Angel Usuki said nervously. "All I remember is Neopia Central and Brightvale... oh, what am I going to do?"
"Oh, give it a rest," Devilish Usuki snapped irritably. "Don't be so perfect all of the time."
Deluxe Angel Usuki, of course, ignored Devilish Usuki, since D.U. was always grumbling at others. "D'you wanna study with me?" Deluxe Angel Usuki asked, turning to me.
"Me? You want to study with ME?" I managed to say after a rather long moment of silence. Deluxe Angel Usuki always picked her study partners very carefully. I was only a plain Explorer Usuki, and sitting down to study for long periods of time was not in my blood. I was restless and fidgeted during class, plus my grades weren't that great, so I was baffled as to why D.A. Usuki wanted to study with me.
"Yes," D.A. Usuki said, nodding her head up and down, looking like an Usuki-size bobblehead. "So... will you?"
I wanted to say no, but knew that would be quite rude of me. Thankfully, Graduate Usuki came to my rescue, chiming into the conversation with, "So, you guys have to memorize all of the lands, eh? Tough assignment. I almost failed it when I was in school."
We all eyed Graduate Usuki enviously, since she had already graduated and we hadn't.
A huge abyss of silence swallowed us up, until Magical Hair Usuki shattered the quietness by saying, "I'm soooo bored! I wish the stupid shopkeeper would just let us go outside and explore for a little bit! It would be so much fun, don'cha think? It gets so stuffy and hot in here during the daytime."
I nodded, glad that someone had finally brought up a subject that we could all agree on. "I know, right! It's so boring in here. I'm an Explorer Usuki, for Fyora's sake! I should be out there, exploring the wilderness instead of cooped up in a stuffy, stupid little shop!" I said the word shop like you might say rainbow dung or dirty socks -- with disgust.
"That's it!" Sloth Usuki cried out, jumping up onto the high shelf so that we could all see him. "We'll run away! Tonight, when the shopkeeper closes up shop and goes home!"
We all cheered, except for a few, like Usuki Neoschool Teacher, Clever Clogs Usuki, Schoolgirl Usuki, and Teenage Usuki.
"Who will lead our quest for freedom?" Sloth Usuki shouted down at us.
A sea of voices started talking at once, until Sloth Usuki held up his hand, immediately silencing us.
"I have decided," he said calmly. He broke out into a wide grin. "We will have several leaders. I, of course, will be one of them. Along with me, I have chosen Usuki Knight, Usuki Musketeer, Usuki Defender, Queen Fyora Usuki Doll, and the three Kings: King Altador, King Hagan, and King Skarl. All eight of us will lead you in a few hours' time, once the shopkeeper has closed Usukiland for the night. Once we escape, we will be...." He paused and leaned forward expectantly.
We smiled and yelled out jubilantly, "FREEEE!!!"
Date: Aug 15th
A plan was swiftly crafted. Once the shopkeeper left, the groups would use the Magical Usuki's hair as a rope to climb down from their shelves. We would then rendezvous in front of the door before making our much-anticipated escape.
I couldn't have been more excited! I was a member of King Skarl Usuki's team, which included Deluxe Angel Usuki, Graduate Usuki, and Clever Clogs Usuki, just to name a few. We would be heading down first.
"Ahh..." I exclaimed, "can't you smell the slow-roasting meat wafting from Hubert's Hotdogs and hear the clanging of metal from the Battle Magic Shop already?"
"I... I don't smell or hear anything," Clever Clogs Usuki said with a whimper as the shopkeeper locked the door and left for the night. "We shouldn't be doing this, you guys. The shopkeeper will be so upset!"
"Don't think of our escape like that, Clever Clogs. Just think of all the adventures we'll go on and everything you'll learn along the way!" I proposed excitedly, and saw that it cheered her up slightly.
"Alright, you blabbering kids. It's time for us to get a move on! Get over here, and if you've got any food then be sure to bring it along!" King Skarl Usuki commanded, rubbing his fat belly with a scowl.
Clever Clogs went down first, holding her clogs in her hands and crying the whole way down. The others in our group went down one by one with no problems, with me being the last to make my descent. I was practically touching the floor when we heard the shopkeeper muttering outside and the key turning in the door...
Date: Aug 15th
Thankfully, the next sound we heard was the metallic jangle of the shopkeeper's keys hitting the ground.
Seizing their brief opportunity, the Usuki Musketeer, Usuki Knight, Usuki Defender, and Super Hero Usuki raced down from their shelves and across the dusty floor. They then pressed themselves against the door firmly, using all of their combined strength to keep it from opening and saving us from being caught in the act of escape.
"Oh dear," the shopkeeper muttered before picking her keys up off the ground and then attempting to open the door. "Great, it seems the door is jammed," the shopkeeper said with a sigh. "I guess I'll have to get someone to fix it in the morning. I'll just have to wait 'til then to get my jacket back, too, I suppose."
We all looked guiltily toward the pink and white hooded coat that hung casually over the arm of the shopkeeper's favourite chair, but soon began throwing each other nervous smiles again as we heard the gravel crunching outside as the shopkeeper walked away into the evening.
"That was close!" growled King Skarl Usuki as everyone crowded around the brave heroes at the door, congratulating them warmly. Suddenly there was a shout from Devilish Usuki, who turned to us with mischief burning in his eyes. "The door!" he exclaimed enthusiastically, "She forgot to lock the door again! We can get out!"
A cheer rose up from everyone as we realised just what that meant; soon we would be outside! I was so excited that I noticed I was trembling; meanwhile, poor Silly Clown Usuki couldn't stop his nose from honking loudly several times, making everyone jump and then laugh nervously.
King Altador Usuki stepped past King Skarl and used his sword to gently pry open an Usuki-sized gap between the door (which opened easily now that there was no weight against it) and the door frame.
A cool breeze twisted its way into the room and we all stood still, inhaling the smells from outside. Nobody seemed to want to be the first to set foot outside of the shop, and a hushed silence fell over us all. After a minute I felt a small push between my shoulders as King Skarl steered me firmly toward the open gap and out the door. I tripped forward but managed to keep my footing, and then there I was... outside. I was the first one through the door, but soon the others followed, crowding together. We were finally free...
Date: Aug 16th
...but the outside was nothing like we'd expected it to be. Despite the hour, there were tons of Neopets flocking the square. Giant red Rukis and green Chias hurried to and from their destination, hardly caring where they were stepping.
Super Hero Usuki and Usuki Defender were almost stepped on, as they were among the first to go out the door, but thanks to Super Hero Usuki's reflexes both of them managed to get out of the way in time before an Elephante foot came down where they'd stood moments before.
Several of the Usukis went back inside, not willing to risk the outdoors anymore. I, however, tightened the straps of my backpack and stood up straight. I was Explorer Usuki, and I would brave this dangerous expedition!
"Keep to the walls!" Sloth Usuki shouted, barely audible above the din. Those who heard him obeyed and told the rest to follow suit. King Skarl Usuki and King Altador Usuki headed the group as we slowly edged our way to the side of the building, and then toward the back.
I had to keep encouraging Clever Clogs Usuki to continue on. To be honest, I was surprised that she was still with our group, as she had been nervous about the expedition to begin with. Despite the scared look on her face she pushed on, and soon enough we made our way to the back.
That was when we saw something none of us had expected, though. Behind the shop, digging around in the trash cans, were three giant Petpets that were now looking at us hungrily...
Date: Aug 16th
Jeran Usuki and the Battle Faerie Usuki rushed forward, brandishing their tiny plastic swords at the three Doglefoxes that were cautiously advancing toward the group.
"Back, you fiends!" Jeran Usuki shouted. "I shall give no quarter! Have at you!"
He jabbed his little pointy sword at the inquisitive snout of one of the Petpets, which recoiled in shock for a moment. The gathered Usukis gave a great cheer of victory before the Doglefox snarled and simply batted the Jeran Usuki aside.
One of the other Doglefoxes had cornered Magical Hair Usuki and grabbed her firmly in his mouth. She screamed so loud that I had to cover my ears, but after a few thoughtful chews the Petpet spat her out, clearly deciding that her fabric didn't taste so good. Magical Hair Usuki was still screaming, though, as a good chunk of her hair had been pulled out. The Doglefox, meanwhile, was moving on to a new target - and that's when I knew that I had to do something.
I reached into my backpack for some of the supplies I had brought along - an Usuki Western Set. Taking the whip, I cracked it at the Doglefoxes. The sound startled them and caught their attention.
"Go!" I shouted to the others. "Quickly!"
The gathered Usukis ran past the Doglefoxes while I gave them cover, and when they were all gone I threw the whip to one side, hoping that the Petpets would follow it.
I dashed madly after my friends, reasiling too late that they had all run directly over an open sewer grate.
I fell into the horrible muck of the sewer that ran under the shop. Beside me I could hear other Usukis coughing and spluttering, while Magical Hair Usuki sobbed that she was now a reject.
Up ahead in the sewer, however, a light had caught the attention of many. It was a tiny burning torch, held by a horrible green creature that looked even uglier than the Little Witch Usuki.
It was Clever Clogs Usuki who spoke up first, instantly recognising the creature in front of us.
"Oh no! Quigukis!"
Date: Aug 17th
At the forefront of the horrible green creatures was Lord Kass Quiguki.
"So, the Usukis have finally come for us! It's as I told you – rally to me!" cried Kass Quiguki.
At once the group of Quigukis beside him pressed themselves thickly to his side with a raucous cry. Pirate Quiguki raised its sword menacingly and, around me, Usukis cringed, although Pirate Captain Usuki brandished his hook in a rather threatening manner, too.
Jeran Usuki didn't falter. "We will defend ourselves down to the last Usuki!" he cried, eliciting an uncertain look from the sludge-covered Usukis that surrounded him.
Fortunately for us, at that moment something large came floating down one of the adjoining sewer tunnels. It was quickly identified as an empty box.
"Get in!" cried Gondolier Usuki, "I can pilot us safely away!"
Our group piled in quickly, although we quickly became indistinguishable from a Pile of Usukis.
"Please keep your hands and arms inside the box at all times. Thank you!" reprimanded Flight Attendant Usuki. Personally, I thought she was a bit out of her element, but there was no time to be picky.
At once Gondolier Usuki began sailing us down the sewer and away from the Quigukis, but they were clever little villains who soon produced their own box! Although we had gained some distance with the element of surprise, the smaller Quiguki box made up for this alarmingly quickly.
They might have even caught us if nothing else had gone wrong. However, as we raced through the sewers with the Quigukis behind us yet steadily gaining, it soon became apparent that the violent misfits were hardly our only problem.
No, the Quigukis weren't even our biggest problem.
"What's that sound?" Reject Magic Hair Usuki asked nervously, playing absently with the remains of her hair.
Within an instant we all went quiet, straining in the smelly sewer to hear what she had heard.
Clever Clogs Usuki, who was fast living up to her name, was the first one to recognize the sound. In retrospect I was quite glad that she had stuck with us. "Waterfall!" she gasped, and to my horror, I realized she was right.
Waterfall – and we were headed right for it!
Date: Aug 17th
I turned to Clever Clogs Usuki in the hopes that she had come up with an idea to get us out of this predicament, but her meticulous thoughts and hard-working mind had been thrown into turmoil by the sheer panic I could tell was coursing through her. Her wide eyes, gaping mouth, and piercing scream said it all.
I quickly looked around me, seeking another option, but my mind was also thrown by the silly (yet not unbelievable) act of Reject Magical Hair Usuki throwing herself overboard. If it wasn't for the quick wits of Jeran Usuki, the reject would have succumbed to the vicious torrents of the waterfall. He grabbed onto the remains of her hair, pulling her back up.
I suddenly saw a piece of metal hanging above us, sticking out of a ledge high above. I could only just make it out, but it was definitely there. I formed a quick but dangerous plan in my head. It might not work, and Reject Magical Hair Usuki would most certainly not be in favour, but her hair was our only escape. She said yes to the plan, albeit with a hint of hesitation in her voice.
Luck was definitely on our side. First of all, the Quigukis' cardboard box had capsized further up, giving us some extra time. Secondly, something in the stream of water had caught on to our cardboard box, holding it in place. I knew it wouldn't be snagged for long, though, so we had to act very fast.
Reject Magical Hair Usuki scrambled on top of the cardboard box, with Jeran Usuki and Battle Faerie Usuki supporting her feet so that she didn't fall in to the water (accidentally this time). She then got the remains of her hair (which was thankfully still very long) in her hands, spun it 'round two times, and then flung it up toward the ledge. Thankfully, it caught in the piece of metal. She tugged at it and reported that it was stuck tight.
One by one, each Usuki climbed up the rope of hair. Jeran Usuki went up first and then pulled Reject Magical Hair Usuki up so that she could dangle her hair down in to the depths of the sewer from the safety of the ledge. Clever Clogs Usuki cried all the way up, just as she had when she was climbing down from the shelf in the safety of the shop. Battle Faerie Usuki went up next, followed by the others until I was alone in the cardboard box.
Suddenly, the box started to move downstream. It was now or never. I jumped off the box and clung on to the rope of hair. I could hear my fellow Usukis egging me on. It was a pleasant sound, and one that drowned out the roar of the waterfall and the coarse voices of the Quiquki gang further up. Soon enough, however, another sound ripped through the sewers. The rope of hair was beginning to tear, leaving me dangling...
Date: Aug 18th
I increased my climbing pace, scrambling up the rope in hopes of getting up before it tore.
I had just made it up to the ledge when the remains of her hair ripped, tumbling into the water.
For a second, there was only the sound of rushing water and the sobs of Clever Clogs Usuki.
"That was close," I said, brushing myself off.
Magical Hair Usuki was now completely bald, making her - in my opinion at least - much uglier than Little Witch Usuki could ever be.
"We should really head back now," Clever Clogs whimpered, wiping off a few tears. "It's getting really late."
After much debate, it was decided that it was best for us to head back. We traveled along the ledge, trying to find a way out of the sewers...
Date: Aug 18th
...Eventually the ledge widened, becoming large enough that we no longer had to progress in dangerous single file. This was, of course, a relief, and we all collectively breathed easier. In our decision to return to the shop there was a sense of obvious joy and light-heartedness, though I couldn't help but wonder if I was ready for this adventure to be over.
"The end of a journey!" Photographer Usuki called out happily, running around and between us, taking pictures with the camera that dangled from his neck. This continued until he got just a touch too close to Usuki Reaper, who then threatened to rip the Photographer Usuki's seams if he didn't back away slowly. Needless to say, that was the end of that.
The mood dampened, however, as we realized that the ledge was beginning to slope downward, at first in a shallow manner and then more steeply, until we were more shuffling down the path than walking.
"At this rate," Usuki Neoschool Teacher said matter-of-factly, "the gravitation force will exceed the normal force and the force of friction, and we will inevitably end up--"
She didn't have to finish. All of a sudden one of the Usukis at the front lost their footing and slipped, clutching at the Usuki behind them, causing a domino effect of Usukis that sent us all yelling and tumbling down the ledge. I pulled at my whip, trying to find a grip with it, but there was nothing. All together, one collective hoard of rolling dolls, we stumbled down the ledge, trying to keep from falling back into the water.
Then, as soon as it had started, it was done. The ledge spat us out onto a path where a few stray Neopets were scuttling to and fro at this late hour, intent on getting home. For a few minutes we all just lay there, gasping and reveling in our luck. Finally I sat up and looked around, suddenly confused. While, of course, it wasn't surprising that it was dark, there was almost something dank about where we were.
There was a tall quasi-roof above us that reminded me more of a cave ceiling than anything else. The lighting was orange, and just a few large leaps away roared a burning fire that, surrounded by Neopets, crackled in the darkness.
"We're in the catacombs!" Clever Clogs Usuki said with a happy clap. "I know the way out! We aren't too far from the shop! Come on!"
My Usuki friends began to gather themselves and walk away, but I hesitated... maybe it was the call of adventure or the regret that it was almost over. Next to the campfire an Eyrie sat, his voice speaking quietly to those around him.
"And that, as they say, is the end," the Eyrie said, his paws upon a tall book upon his lap. There was a small exchange between him and another Neopet before the fire was extinguished and the Neopets began to leave the dying embers. The Eyrie stayed, however, his eyes locked on the glowing embers. His mouth opened and I strained to hear what he was saying.
"The story never ends," he whispered before standing and leaving like the rest. I blinked, trying to understand what I was feeling. I didn't want the adventure to end. This was the best night of my life.
"Explorer Usuki!" King Skarl Usuki called out and I spun around to look at my many companions. They were all looking at me expectantly. I opened my mouth.
"I--" I didn't have a chance to finish before Clever Clogs Usuki cried out.
"Explorer Usuki! Watch out!..."
Date: Aug 19th
"Your tail is on fire!"
I turned in horror to see the fabric of my tail smouldering, set alight by a stray ember from the Eyrie's campfire. Trying madly to pat it out, I circled around, attempting to catch my own tail, but it was no use.
Clever Clogs Usuki rushed forward, grabbing my backpack and ripping it off me. She began rifling through the contents until she located what she was looking for -- an Usuki Beach Accessories set. She held the cool Juppie Juice it contained aloft for a moment before throwing it over my smouldering tail.
"How did you know?" I asked.
"Logical, really," Clever Clogs Usuki chuckled. "You come prepared for every eventuality."
"We really have to get back to the shop," Sloth Usuki said. "It's Usukicon tomorrow, and we all need to be back and in top condition."
Clever Clogs Usuki gasped, pointing at my tail.
"I'm so sorry, Explorer Usuki!" she cried.
My tail was now blackened where the fire had burnt it, and stained from the juice around it.
"You're a reject now, as well," Sloth Usuki said rather bluntly.
"I can't be put on display now..." I considered.
"Can you ever forgive me?" Clever Clogs Usuki asked.
I brightened, thinking about things from a different perspective.
"Forgive you?" I asked, throwing myself at her for a hug. "I should be thanking you! I don't want to go back to that shop, it's so limiting! Now I don't have to go back! I'm free -- just another reject on the city streets. Don't you see? I can go exploring now!"
"You can't go wandering around the city by yourself," King Skarl Usuki said.
"She won't be alone," the voice of Reject Magical Hair Usuki said, suddenly more confident than before.
She moved to stand next to me.
"I'm going with her," she announced. "Perhaps I can find a place that can repair me."
"A real adventure!" I said excitedly, jumping up and down. "You all get back to the shop, and don't worry about us. I promise we'll write."
Gradually, the group of Usukis said their goodbyes to us and marched off toward the Catacombs' entrance.
Once we were alone, Reject Magical Hair Usuki turned to me.
"Well, where are we going?" she asked.
I thought long and hard.
"A lot of toys are made on Terror Mountain during the month of Giving," I considered. "Maybe there will be someone who can repair you there?"
She nodded and, linking arms, we started to make our way out of the Catacombs.
As we passed the little campfire, the words the Eyrie had whispered came to my mind.
"The story never ends."
If anything, the adventure was only just beginning...
Date: Aug 19th
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