Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)
If you have any questions about the competition then read our awesome FAQ!
||You are on Week 521
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 One Ends Friday, August 26
|"Draw the curtains," Matilda told her little brother, Kriss. "There's something I want to show you."
Being a doting little brother, the Hissi slithered to the window and pulled the curtains shut. When he turned back, he noticed that Matilda was holding a scroll of some sort in her wing. The Pteri had a mischievous look on her face.
"What are you up to now, Matilda?" he asked. He'd do anything for his naughty sister and she knew it. That was okay, though. Things were never dull with a sister like Matilda and it made the days more fun, especially in a place like the Lost Desert, where fun was hard to come by.
"It's nothing bad! It is exciting, though!" she squealed excitedly. "And no one else is to know, understand?"
"Okay," Kriss replied.
They opened the scroll together. On it was a detailed map of the inside of the Royal Palace of Sakhmet. Every hallway, every room, every secret passage and dungeon cell had been printed on the map, and the rooms had even been named. All except one. Matilda pointed to a long passage at the top of the map. At the end of the winding passage was a room that hadn't been named. The passage itself had the words "TOP SECRET" written along its length.
"Why is it blank, Matilda?" Kriss asked, looking at the small room with interested eyes.
"Because it's a secret room, that's why!" the Pteri exclaimed excitedly. "Not for much longer, though" she added with a cheeky grin.
"What do you mean, Matilda?"
"You and I are going to see what's inside. Look at that passageway. Whatever it leads to is top secret."
Kriss began to worry. He'd love to see what was in there as much as Matilda, but how would they get there? The palace would be heavily guarded, and there would surely be traps along the way to deter intruders. He expressed his concerns to Matilda, who just laughed in his face.
"That's part of the fun!" she said, wildly. "Are you in, or not?"
"What if you fly off and leave me?" he asked. His eyes were teary. Matilda placed a reassuring wing on his shoulder and whispered, "I might be a bit naughty, but do you really think I'd leave my little brother stranded like that?"
It was true. She was a loving sister after all. Besides, she'd never run from trouble. To Matilda, trouble was just another name for fun. The Hissi was still scared that things would go terribly wrong, however.
"Yes, okay, I'm in," the Hissi replied, reluctantly...
Date: Aug 22nd
... By the time they got to Sakhmet, though, Kriss was already having second thoughts. Two Desert Tonu, surveying the crowd below, stood at the foot of the place, their golden sceptres blocking the only entrance inside.
A feathery wing tugged on Kriss's hand, and he was soon being pulled through the crowd to a side alleyway. "This way!" Matilda said. They slipped into the shadows as a merchant's wagon clattered past them on the cobbled street.
"Alright. According to the map, there's a passageway that takes us right to the servants' kitchens inside. There should be a secret entryway somewhere around here..." She pulled out her map again. "Hmm. Start looking around this wall."
Nodding, Kriss began to feel along the brick stone behind him, searching for anything that could be an entrance. His eyes fell upon a dusty Anubis statue hanging on the wall a few feet away from him. He slithered toward it and noticed a crudely drawn symbol etched into the stone. It looked like a sun, but with a diamond drawn in the middle. There was an arrow above this drawing, pointing to the Anubis hanging over it.
"Matilda... what's this?"
"I'll be there in a minute!" she replied. Looking over, he saw her tawny tail feathers sticking out of a large clay pot further down the alleyway.
His curiousity got the better of him. Kriss reached up and felt all around the statue, looking for something -- anything -- that might lead them to the passageway. One of the Anubis's eyes was a gleaming ruby. Without thinking, Kriss...
Date: Aug 22nd
...lifted up his camera and snatched a picture of it. The camera went off with a bright flash that, for a second, bleached the entire dark alley with its white light.
"Kriss!" an annoyed Matilda scolded, emerging from the clay pot holding something in her wing. "Don't draw attention to us! Besides, we need to save that film so we can take pictures of the TOP SECRET room!"
"But Matilda, there's a strange--"
"Have you found the keyhole yet?" Matilda interrupted, hopping up to him. Kriss noticed that the thing in her hand was a key.
"How did you know to find the key in that clay pot?" the Hissi wondered.
"We always hide a spare one in the backyard at our house, don't we?" Matilda reasoned, scouring the brick wall. "Come on Kriss, stop shivering and start searching."
"But Matilda!" Kriss exclaimed. There was something strange about the symbol and he was determined to share it with his sister. "What is this..."
Matilda stared blankly at the bricks for a few seconds, but then--
"Oooh Kriss, you found the keyhole, very good!" the Pteri cried out, pushing the key in her hand into a small crack Kriss hadn't even noticed. He frowned to himself as Matilda set to work in opening the passageway. Wasn't Matilda able to see the symbol for some reason? What did it mean? And where had she found that map, anyhow?
Kriss's mind was so occupied with thoughts that when the dark passageway finally opened with a deep creak into a pitch black tunnel, he almost forgot to be afraid. Almost...
Date: Aug 23rd
"Wow, this is so cool!" Matilda said. Her voice echoed throughout the dark tunnel, sounding like a million Matildas talking at the same time. She eagerly stepped in and began walking forward. Kriss, however, was hesitant. He had a bad feeling about the Anubis symbol, and peering down a pitch black tunnel only made that feeling ten times worse. He swallowed and looked back at the sunny Lost Desert behind him.
"Kriss, are you coming?" Matilda's voice asked from the darkness. Not wanting to be left alone, Kriss slithered as fast as he could into the tunnel and bumped into a pile of feathers.
"Ow!" Matilda exclaimed, rubbing her wing. "Watch where you're going, Kriss!"
"How can I watch where I'm going if I can't even see?" Kriss replied. Before Matilda could answer, though, the door that they'd entered through suddenly slammed shut, plunging them into complete darkness.
"What do we do now?" Kriss wailed, moving closer to his sister for comfort.
"Just... keep moving forward. We'll have to reach the end of this tunnel somehow." Matilda sounded as if she were trying to convince herself as well as Kriss.
For a while, the two of them stumbled forward in the darkness, often tripping over rocks. The walls seemed to be coated in a gooey substance, which Kriss could feel whenever he brushed up against the walls. He shuddered. Why can't the palace's servants keep the secret passageways as clean as the inside? he asked himself.
They plodded on, with Matilda firmly holding onto her brother with her wing, for what seemed like hours. The tunnel stretched on forever, seemingly without an end. Kriss suddenly stopped where he was, his eyes wide and fixated on something ahead of him: it was a glowing symbol, in the shape of a sun, with a diamond in the middle...
Date: Aug 23rd
Matilda was less impressed. "Kriss, why are you stopping? Come on, let's keep going - I want out of this creepy passage."
The young Hissi was transfixed, though. "But Matilda, it's so pretty!" he replied, his voice breathy.
Whereas the symbol carved on the Anubis had been roughly hewn, this one was more polished, smooth and full of artistic flair - yet undeniably the same symbol. On the Anubis the diamond in the middle had been just a crude shape; the diamond carved here was so smooth and mirror-bright that it almost seemed faceted.
"What's so pretty, Kriss? I didn't know you could see better than me in the dark! What do you see?" his sister asked, excitement making her bounce nearby.
He frowned. Dark? It wasn't dark. He flicked a glance her way, momentarily tearing his eyes away from the glowing sun. The symbol on the wall was lighting up the entire corridor, reflecting off the clear ichor oozing down the walls and highlighting trails of wetness on Matilda’s cheeks. "It's not dark," he told her, eyes glued back to the carving.
From the corner of his eye, he saw her pause in the middle of swiping at the wetness on her cheek. "What are you talking about? It's pitch black in here. I can't see a thing," she complained, but her tone was strange. Any other time Kriss would have recognized the uncertainty in it, but he was busy.
"It's not dark," he insisted, reaching out to touch the diamond in the center of the sun. The carving seemed to throb with life under his gentle touch, and a cacophonous rumbling began to fill their ears...
Date: Aug 24th
..."Kriss, what's that?" Matilda called, her head jerking back and forth as if she was searching in vain for the source of the rumble. It was growing by the moment, becoming a thick roar that shook and sloshed the very muck upon which they stood. The Pteri pulled at Kriss's wing with growing desperation, her once-confident features now a mask of fear.
But there was something there, Kriss thought. It was like an echo in the back of his mind, a whisper -- like remembering a dream, a flash he just couldn't quite grasp. He heard his sister call out to him as the roar became recognizable as torrents of raging water. "Please Kriss, come on, we have to go!"
"No," he said calmly, so unlike him. For some reason he could not rightly explain, however, he knew what to do. He could feel Matilda straining to run, but he held her with a strength he didn't know he had. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw a wide river of water coming toward them; a trap set for unwanted intruders.
He knew now. He had done this in a dream, a nightmare that had often stolen sleep. He pressed his wing against the symbol and he felt it push back against him. When he spoke the voice was hardly his own. "By the name of the royal family I, Prince Coltzan of the current reigning family, command you--"
"Kriss!" his sister called, finally seeing the water just before it hit them.
Three things happened at once. Kriss finished speaking, water hit the pair like a runaway market cart, and a bright light engulfed them. Just like that they were gone.
* * *
Kriss was falling for just a fraction of a second before he hit the ground with a loud thump, the sound of his sister dropping echoed only a moment later. For a long moment both of them gasped for air, drenched to the bone but otherwise unharmed atop the large tile floor. Once Kriss had caught his breath he looked over at Matilda next to him. They met eye contact and then burst into ecstatic laughter.
"How did you do that?" the Pteri asked between laughs. Kriss could only shake his head, unable to answer through his laughs, almost unable to breathe. As if he knew. It had been almost by instinct. He couldn't even think through what he had just done.
They finally calmed down enough for Matilda to pull the scroll from her pockets. It was moist but not ruined. He propped himself up on a wing and looked at his sister.
"Where did you find that map, anyhow, Matilda?" There must have been some emotion in his voice because the Pteri looked at him with a mask of regret and uncertainty.
"Well, you see," she started, "there was a loose cupboard in you bedroom and I--"
She didn't finish, her face falling to wide-eyed surprise. Kriss turned to follow her gaze and came eye to clawed foot with a tall servant Lenny. The Lenny was holding a black kettle and wooden spoon, and he did not look happy...
Date: Aug 24th
Kriss gave a low groan that was ignored by his sister, whose interest was fully focused on the Lenny. A cold fear grasped him as he saw the tools in the Lenny's hand. Kriss looked up to his now-smirking sister, in awe of her calmness, and noticed that she was trembling. Her tremors were caused neither by fear nor of the sense of danger that filled the room, however, but rather were rooted in her excitment. The Hissi reached for her as she strode forward, but could not halt her determined steps.
Seeing Matilda determinedly walk toward him, the Lenny took a timid step backwards. Despite being the larger and obviously more powerful creature, the Lenny possessed no desire to use his natural advantages against his confronter.
"What business are you off to attend?" Matilda bluntly questioned with a voice and air of command that Kriss had never before heard.
"I-I-I am doing my duty, miss," the Lenny replied, as a loyal servant would its master.
Matilda stood there, scrutinizing the massive servant, and then again addressed him with the same tone.
"You never fully answered my question. What duty?"
"I-I-I musn't tell," the Lenny stuttered.
"What is your name?" Matilda asked incredulously.
"Camden, huh? Does that name sound familiar to you, Kriss?" Matilda asked, turniing to her innocent brother standing a good distance behind her. Startled by his sudden involvment in the conversation, Kriss stood perplexed and voiceless.
"Yes, I do believe I recognize that," Matilda continued. "Ahh, yes... I remember now -- we were sent to find you and ensure that you were doing as instructed."
Camden seemed confused by her sudden recognition of HIS name. Not accustomed to being remembered, her knowledge of him was a shock that he found pleasing. She continued. "You did well not telling me the purpose of your duties. Things like this must remain top secret."
Kriss stared at his sister in utter amazement of her convincing -- and seemingly successful -- plan to hoodwink the Lenny. Even he had not expected such an act from his mischevious sister. The Hissi found his tensed muscles relaxing and his fear of discovery and capture less pressing in his thoughts.
Meanwhile, Matilda continued to praise Camden for his secrecy about what she herself did not know.
"Yes, well done. I shall write a glowing report detailing your exquisite capabilities and silence under pressure. To be honest, I'm surprised you did not know about the random security checks. I know, it seems a little ridiculous, considering your impressive preformance, but I am only doing as instructed. You know how it is -- whatever the boss says, goes, right?"
By the time Kriss tuned back into the conversation and got over his surprise at his sister's plan, he realized that she and the Lenny were both laughing as they said their goodbyes.
Once the Lenny had disappeared and his delighted whistling had ceased to be heard, Matilda turned to Kriss and sighed.
Kriss simply stared in awe at his sister's continued composure and flawless performance with the servant.
"Some folks are just too gullible... now, let's go before I have to do that again."
Matilda laughed at herself and her own performance, then looked down at Kriss, laying her wing over his shoulders and ushering him down the hall. Continuing down the corridor, the Pteri pulled out the dampened map and directed their path to the Top Secret room. As they turned down the final hallway that led to the door, they were greeted by a wall of fully-armed guards...
Date: Aug 25th
…standing outside a heavily-barred, yet ornately decorated, door.
Matilda quickly pulled her brother back behind the wall, hoping that none of the guards had seen them. They probably hadn't, judging from their lack of reaction, but it was important for them not to have been seen.
"This is it," Matilda whispered excitedly. "We're here."
"What about those guards?" Kriss asked.
The Pteri thought about it for a moment and then said, "We'll have to distract them. They're probably smarter than that servant, and there are so many of them..."
"How are we supposed to do that?"
Matilda thought for a moment, then smiled and said, "I'll leave that up to you. Do whatever it takes to get those guards away from the door."
Kriss gulped. "Okay..."
Those guards are huge, he thought despairingly. How will I ever get them away from the door?
The Hissi looked around, searching for something that could help. He finally caught sight of a pile of old pottery, lying across the corridor. Maybe he could stage an attack, forcing the guards to leave their post...
Kriss took a few pots and smashed them on the floor, creating quite a ruckus. Screaming, he continued throwing pottery until he heard the guards' footsteps running toward him...
Date: Aug 25th
The Hissi dropped the last few pots and darted into the shadow of the large pillars that lined the hallway. He watched the guards turn over the shards of pottery with their heavy boots and grunt among themselves, puzzling over what had transpired. One of them, brighter than the rest, began scouring the hallway. Kriss started to be properly afraid again. If he were caught, he had no idea what would happen to him. Matilda's wing wrapped around his and he felt her tug heavily at him, pulling him around the corner into the empty corridor beyond.
The Pteri put a wing to her beak, indicating that he should be quiet, and the two of them hurried silently to the corner, rounding it quickly and almost colliding with a big stone wall. On the wall was the symbol of the blazing sun and crystal that Kriss had seen twice before, only this one was even more artistic and bright than the one in the tunnel had been. This symbol had a real diamond set in the gilt sun, with ruby dust for its tracery. The entire thing shone so bright that Kriss could hardly keep his eyes open.
Matilda, however, was still perplexed. She stared blankly at the wall and cursed under her breath. "Dead end," she breathed. To make matters worse, they could now hear the soldiers scattering to search further. It wouldn't be long before they were discovered and, likely, imprisoned for life.
"Matilda, can't you see it? It's blinding me," the Hissi whispered to his sister. She shook her head, bewildered.
"Kriss, come on, we have to try to get out of here..."
The Hissi grabbed his sister and hauled her back, turning her to face him and holding her fast.
"There's something funny going on, and I need to know what it is. Three times I've seen that symbol and three times you've failed to notice it. You might've passed over the one on the statue outside, it was pretty small, but the one in the tunnel was bright and clear, and the one right here is intense. Why can I see it and you can't? Why... why..." he paused, his brain working furiously, desperately trying to ignore the clanking of mail shirts against breastplates and the thud of massive boots. "That's it! The map, Matilda, you said you found it in my room, right? I didn't even know it was there, though. Why would I have a map of this palace with all the details and secret places marked out?"
"Kriss, keep your voice down!" Matilda hissed. There was a shout from down the hall and it was clear some guards were running in their direction. In his excitement, Kriss had forgotten to keep his voice down.
"Come," he said, taking his sister's wing once more and guiding her back to the symbol.
"It's a solid--" she began to say, but Kriss had already spoken a command. Two sections of the wall slid slowly apart with a deep grinding sound of ancient sandstone. "--wall," she finished, her mouth agape.
Together, the brother and sister stepped into the secret room as the hidden door slid shut behind them...
Date: Aug 26th
The second the doors closed, a light flickered on.
"What is this place?" Matilda wondered, looking around.
Crates and cases were piled high against each other, some stacked up against the wall, others laying about on the floor. What was curious, though, was how on the side of every box was the same symbol Kriss had seen and Matilda had been unable to see.
Kriss peered into an open box. "Treasure."
"Treasure? That's great! We'll be rich!"
She pulled out a few strands of pearls, a golden ring, and a tiara, which hung over her head lopsidedly.
"We can't take this," said Kriss. "It's not ours."
"Finders keepers, losers weepers," Matilda sang as she looped the pearls around her neck. "It's not our fault they didn't guard the room properly!"
"Matilda, really, I don't think--"
With a small buzzing sound, the lights turned off, leaving them in the dark.
"Great," muttered the Hissi. "We're stuck without a way out."
"We'll find our way out," Matilda said confidently, feeling for the wall. Her movements were accompanied by the jingling of jewelry. "It's not that hard."
Kriss slithered forward, hoping to find a wall but instead bumping into something feathery.
The symbols on the side of the boxes started to glow.
"Sorry," he said, stepping away from Matilda.
"Sorry? What for?"
"I just bumped into you there..."
There was a silence. "No, you didn't..."
"Then what did I..."
A pair of giant, glowing, yellow eyes blinked at him.
Kriss screamed and ran. Matilda, initially confused, caught sight of the same eyes and ran as well, though they both crashed into the walls.
The symbols glowed, brighter and brighter, until Kriss could clearly see who those eyes belonged to.
Someone with a pair of ears. Someone with a large snout. Someone who was holding a pole in one hand, an amulet in the other.
"Oh my..." the Hissi whispered.
"Get us out of here, Kriss!" Matilda shrieked, pounding her wings against the wall. "I'm scared! It's all dark and there are eyes and--"
She couldn't see the glowing symbols.
Kriss turned away from the eyes and placed both hands on the wall, hoping for it to open. A crack formed, growing wider and wider, until it was large enough for both him and Matilda to slip through.
The frightful being, seeing what was going on, rushed after them. The door closed on his nose.
"That was the scariest thing that's ever happened to me," Matilda said, though she hardly sounded scared anymore.
"What's interesting is how you couldn't see those symbols," muttered Kriss. "And that map... it was in my room..."
"The map probably grew to like you and let you see the symbols," Matilda said. "I don't know, and frankly I couldn't care less."
"We wouldn't be alive if I couldn't see them."
"We wouldn't have gotten into this mess if you couldn't see them!"
"Technically, it's your fault for leading us into this..."
"Whatever," muttered the Pteri. "Let's go home now. I think I've had enough adventure to last me a few weeks..."
"Only a few weeks?" Kriss's jaw dropped. "I thought you'd never want to go on another adventure again!"
Matilda laughed, then rolled her eyes. "As if. I think I found this old tablet thing in the basement yesterday, with a bunch of carvings on it. Want to go check it out?"
Date: Aug 26th
IMPORTANT - SUBMISSION POLICY! By
uploading or otherwise submitting any materials to Neopets, you (and your parents) are
automatically granting us permission to use those materials for free in any manner we can think
of forever throughout the universe. These materials must be created ONLY by the person
submitting them - you cannot submit someone else's work. Also, if you're under age 18, ALWAYS
check with your parents before you submit anything to us!