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||You are on Week 525
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 Five Ends Friday, September 23
|There it was, the last piece of unhealthy food left in my entire Neohome. I'd checked and double checked every cupboard, every corner, every bag, and the fridge multiple times. My mouth watered at the scent of the Caramel Skeith Cookie that sat in the center of the plate before me. I closed my eyes as I licked my lips and pulled the plate slightly closer. This was it. The last sweet I was allowing myself before the contest started.
Megan hadn't believed me when I said I was really going to stick to it this time, and who could blame her? The last time I had tried to give up sweets I gave in less than 24 hours later, and the time before that... well, let's just say that I couldn't resist the chocolate cake at my sister's birthday party.
I sighed, wanting to savor the moment. This cookie would be, had to be, my last - and I wasn't going to give in this time. Slowly, I curved one hand and then the other on either side of the baked delight. I took a long, deep breath before bringing the cookie to my lips and let out an equally long sigh as I enjoyed the first bite. I was really going to miss these flavours, and it was going to be difficult to swap them for the hard taste of vegetables and fruit. It isn't that I don't like fruit and vegetables, but they just don't have the same feeling to them.
It wasn't long before the plate lay empty before me, save a few tiny crumbs. I pushed my chair away from the table, stood, and collected the plate. As I headed to the kitchen, I forced myself to remember why I was doing this - why I was giving up my favourite foods. It had been a difficult choice, sure, but it was one I had had to make. The words of the dentist still rang in my ears: stop eating sweets, or face the loss of all your teeth.
And what could possibly be worse than a Skeith without teeth? A Skeith Beauty Contest champion without teeth, perhaps...
Date: Sep 19th
There was a knock at the front door. I hesitated in the kitchen, knowing who was standing out there. With a sigh I flounced out into the hallway, knowing that I couldn't keep her waiting forever.
"Took you long enough, Petra!" the Kau chirped, her sunny island hide buried beneath bags and bags of groceries. This was Megan, my best friend in the whole world. She was loyal and sweet -- everything I could want in a friend, except for one little annoying character trait... she was a health nut.
"Hey Megan, how was the market today?" I asked, scooping up the bulk of her shopping and trying to remain optimistic at the sight of all the organic produce.
"They didn't have the Mega Wheatgrass Fruit Smoothie or the Tofu Salad on my shopping list," she grumbled, trotting into my kitchen and beginning to pack things into my sadly empty pantry. I knew that, without her help shopping, I would surely end up bringing home a candy bar... or a bag of marshmallows... or any of the other sweets I loved.
"Hm... bummer," I mumbled after a moment, trying to sound disappointed. She pursed her lips at me, seeing right through my facade.
"Come on, get excited Petra! I get to move in with you now, so that we can eat meals together and keep you on your diet. You'll feel so much more energetic without all that processed sugar in you, and your dentist will thank me!"
I had to give Megan credit; she did have my best interest at heart. Suddenly, though, it was all starting to feel so... permanent. I could never have candy again. In my entire life. Ever.
"Hey, maybe they're selling that grass-wheat drink at the Slushie Shop in Happy Valley. I think I'll go check it out for you -- be back by dinner time!"
As I hurried out the front door, however, away from Megan's scrutinizing stare, I knew that wasn't where I was heading...
Date: Sep 19th
...I found myself, of all places, in front of an Alien Vending Machine, with a few Nerkmids burning a hole in my pocket. Yep, they'd been a birthday present from Megan; an attempt to try and encourage a combo of both adventurous and potentially healthy eating.
Hesitating, but then feeling my empty Skeith tummy rumble, I stuck in a Nerkmid and held my breath.
A few seconds later, out tumbled a gigantic... ice cream sundae! It was covered in bit of chocolate, with caramel, rainbow sprinkles, neon red cherries, and whipped cream.
I eyed it with hesitation. I was ever so hungry... yet didn't want to lose my teeth. "Well," I said aloud to myself, "these vending machines are quite mysterious. Who's to say the ice cream isn't really soy yogurt, right?"...
Date: Sep 20th
That thought was all the push I really needed. I took the sundae from the vending machine and pulled the cold metal spoon out of the ice cream it was stuck in. I examined the frosty treat. It had one scoop of chocolate, one scoop of strawberry, and one scoop of vanilla. All three scoops were shiny and delicious-looking.
I stuck the spoon into the chocolate scoop and was just about to take a bite when a pair of hooves suddenly snatched the bowl and spoon from my hands. It was Megan, staring at me in disapproval.
"What are you doing?" she asked me. "I leave you for one second and you're already eating this again!" she said, stabbing the spoon into the scoop of vanilla for emphasis.
"Look, I'm sorry," I said, a little annoyed. "I didn't pick what the vending machine was going to give me, and I was kinda hungry." Then, to my embarrassment, my stomach grumbled.
She suddenly looked at me with an excited light in her eyes. "Well, why didn't you say so!" She put down the sundae bowl, grabbed me by the hand, and started pulling me across the Plaza. This was Megan. Her random mood changes never failed to surprise me.
"Where are we going?" I asked. "Oh, and you can stop dragging me now!"
The island Kau let go of my hand and we slowed to a brisk walk, which I was fine with. "We're going for the first meal of your diet!" she said, sounding delighted.
We entered the Bazaar, and for a heart-stopping second I thought Megan was headed for the Chocolate Factory or the Bakery, perhaps even the Smoothie Shop. That was when I saw the shape of the Health Food Shop that Megan was striding toward. I followed her through the doors, taking a last depressed glance at the tall towers of the Chocolate Factory before going in...
Date: Sep 20th
"Good afternoon, Quinton!" Megan cheerfully greeted the Health Food Shop's shopkeeper as she skipped to the first display counter and picked up a ghastly looking vegetable. She held it up to her nose and inhaled deeply. Looking delighted, she exhaled, "Ahh... there is nothing better than fresh Organic Chia Wort Root!"
The green Quiggle looked up from his busy work and gasped. "Megan! Back so soon?"
Megan placed the wort root into her shopping bag and hopped over to the next display counter. "I'm just picking up a few things," she replied, then grabbed a turnip and sniffed it before setting it down and grabbing another.
Quinton left his position behind the register and walked over toward us. "This is your third time here today, Megan. Now, I know they say there is no such thing as too much of a good thing, but--"
"Oh no," Megan quickly interrupted, "It's not for me!" Megan stepped to the side to introduce me. "This is my good friend Petra. She's giving up sweets and I'm trying to get her started on a healthier diet."
The Quiggle looked pleased, "It's always nice to see a young one with an interest in eating healthier. You know I always say we eat to live, not live to eat..."
I stood there awkwardly and watched as my friend and the shopkeeper made small talk on the importance of a healthy diet, but my attention soon drifted to the window, where I could see the Chocolate Factory in full view. I spotted a young Kacheek leaving the store with a bag full of Blueberry Neodrops... my favorite. Oh, I would give anything for just a taste! My mouth began to water as I imagined the sweet fruity candies dancing on my taste buds.
"...Isn't that right, Petra?" I was snapped out of my daydream at the sound of my name and noticed Quinton the Quiggle looking up at me, expecting an answer.
I whipped a stream of drool off my chin and replied, "Do you sell anything... sweet?"...
Date: Sep 21st
...Quinton chuckled knowingly, despite Megan's sigh of exasperation. I know she was getting so passionate about the health food because she genuinely wanted to share this part of her life with me, but the more she pushed, the less I wanted to comply. Perhaps stubbornness is a Skeith quality, but she was certainly bull-headed herself...
"Well, Miss Petra, you will be pleased to hear that not all of our stock is raw vegetables," the Quiggle shopkeeper said gently, placing his webbed hand on my shoulder. "Carobchip Cherry Trail Mix, Berry Topped Frozen Yogurt, and Dried Chokato all make for tasty snacks. Fruit is naturally sweet, and carob is a healthy substitute for chocolate."
I felt a slight rumble in my stomach at the mention of chocolate, thinking longingly about the ice cream sundae that Megan had abandoned outside.
"I can help you schedule a meal plan, you know. If you don't mind my asking, how much weight are you aiming to lose?"
I shook off his hand with a snort, frowning. How dare he make that assumption! "This isn't about weight. I'm a healthy size for a Skeith. This is about my teeth; the dentist said I had to give up sugar because it's rotting my mouth!"
There was a moment of surprised silence, in which Megan cast a concerned look toward me and Quinton shuffled apologetically. I already felt embarrassed for snapping at him, but it was the truth. I was a Beauty Contest champion, after all. My wide girth, small wings, and snub nose were all perfect examples of my species, and as such, I had a display case of gold trophies to prove it. Conventional beauty meant nothing to me, so why should I suffer through bland, tasteless health food alternatives when I had done so well on the real thing?
"Megan... thanks for trying so hard, but I don't think I can live happily this way." I lumbered toward the exit, but Megan blocked my path, Kau tail lashing in agitation.
"Petra, listen to yourself! What about the contest? Don't give up so easily; it hasn't even been one day!"
"I know, I'm a failure. You don't have to remind me. Maybe I'll just get dentures."
Quinton the Quiggle stood awkwardly near the counter, trying not to eavesdrop on the very personal conversation. He cleared his throat, however, and offered one piece of advice.
"Girls, there may be one other option you haven't considered. How much do you know about the Tooth Faerie?"...
Date: Sep 21st
As it happened, I knew very little about the Tooth Faerie. She'd once given me some Neopoints for trading in my milk teeth when I was a small child, but that was some years ago. I didn't even know where she lived or what to expect when I were to meet her. I was hoping Quinton knew the answers. I looked at him desperately.
"Do you know where we can find her?" I asked.
"She lives right here in Neopia Central," the Quiggle replied in a tone that made him sound remarkably like a Neoschool teacher, "in a small house just next to the Chocolate Factory."
So that was where she lived. I was slightly taken aback by how blind I had been before as I strode into the Chocolate Factory day after day, barely noticing the buildings that stood nearby. If anything, that in itself was a wake up call for me.
"What should I expect from her?"
The Quiggle looked at me with a perplexed expression etched into his face. He shrugged his shoulders and then said, "I've never had problems with my teeth, so I'm afraid I wouldn't know. I do know that she will be able to help you, though."
"Thank you very much, Quinton!" Megan beamed. She then turned to me and said, "I've heard good stories about the Tooth Faerie. She will sort you out."
Megan trotted out of the Health Food Shop, shouting a cheerful goodbye to Quinton as she left through the door. I thanked the Quiggle and took off after her. It appeared that Megan was more enthusiastic about visiting the faerie than I was. In fact, I was feeling quite apprehensive. As a Skeith, I was very stubborn and reluctant to change. All I really wanted to do was scoff a huge Hot Fudge Sundae and just hope that my teeth didn't rot any time soon.
Delicious, tempting aromas wafted out of the door of the Chocolate Factory as I walked past it, making my mouth water and my taste buds tingle. I was just about to give in to my urges when Megan took hold of my arm and dragged me toward the Tooth Faerie's house. It showed how persistent the Kau was. I was a Skeith, yet she pulled me along with ease.
"That's strange," Megan mused as we stood outside the entrance. "Why is the door open?"
The door was slightly ajar. No one left their doors open in Neopia Central, since t was a sure way to entice thieves to take their pick of your precious belongings. I was suddenly overcome by a sense of unease but I tried to force it away and, rather than waiting anxiously at the door, entered the house. The Tooth Faerie wasn't there.
"Hello?" I asked as I scanned an empty living room / office combo. "Is anyone here?"
An unusually heavy quietness greeted my ears. All I could hear were the low, barely audible sounds of people milling about outside, the muffled clattering of a trash can and someone whistling. Something wasn't right. Along with my stubbornness, I had also been bestowed with a high degree of intuition. I knew when something was "off."
"Well, this is a bit weird," Megan said, breaking the silence. She began tapping her left fore-hoof nervously on the floor, which only heightened my senses. "Faeries never leave their houses like this. Ever. Not without a note."
I looked around. It was a comfortable place, with blue comfy couches and clean-looking furniture. In front of me was a desk. It was littered with papers and diagrams of teeth. Glimmering Neopoint coins sat in a clear jar at the side of the faerie's office chair. On a pile of documents was a hastily written letter.
"I've found the letter, Megan," I told her. I suddenly didn't feel quite as nervous, but then I picked the letter up and started to read it...
Date: Sep 22nd
It was simple and to the point.
To whom it may concern:
We have her. If you value your teeth, be at the location listed on the back of this letter at the exact date and time. Don't be late.
There was an illegible scribble at the bottom that she presumed was a signature.
"Megan, I think there's a problem," I muttered, displaying my knack for understatement.
My friend trotted over to read the short letter and gasped. Quickly, she gently twisted my wrist to read the back of the letter, and gasped again.
"Petra, that's clear across town! We have to go!" she yelped and then started dragging me out the door, still holding my wrist. She was quite strong when she was determined!
"Wait!" I cried, my brain still reeling from the contents of the letter, "We need to get help!"
"We can't – the letter says 5pm!" she replied, steadfastly ignoring my attempts to stop her.
As she dragged me forward, I glanced at the tooth-shaped clock that helpfully adorned the wall, and the reason for her haste became clear. We had no idea how long the letter had been sitting there, but in the end it didn't matter anymore. It was 4:45pm.
Though I had never seen myself as the hero type, it didn't matter. Megan was right – there wasn't time to get help. We had to go.
And so, the race across Neopia Central began as we headed toward the location specified in a messy scrawl across the back of the letter. At least twice, I nearly barreled into an innocent bystander whose only crime was being in front of my massive Skeith body as Megan and I ran throughout the city. Though I avoided the collision each time, it was a close call, and many angry yelps followed us as we bolted toward our destination.
As we ran, it occurred to me that I hadn't actually read where we were going – but Megan had, and that had to be good enough, because I was fast running out of breath to do anything but keep sprinting along behind my friend.
At any moment, I half-expected to hear an ominous bell tower chime out the time, but that was a silly, though, because there are no bell towers in Neopia Central. I didn't wonder if we would be in time, however – as we ran, I thought less and less of anything but running. It was taking all of my breath and concentration, not to mention all of my willpower to ignore the muscle cramps building in my legs. It was, then, with great surprise when I skidded to a stop, bumping into Megan as I did so. Since I didn't know where we were headed, I hadn't known where to stop.
As soon as I did, though, my stomach rumbled immediately. The odors in the air... sweet, with a hint of doughy goodness... it was like my belly had taken on a mind of its own. My stomach knew where we had run before my mind did. The Bakery... how was I ever going to help Megan when all I wanted to do was go eat all of the yummy pastries I could smell?
Date: Sep 22nd
I sniffed the air, taking in the delectable scent of pastries, fresh from the oven. I had to choose, now, between my teeth and the food. To save my teeth… or to eat something I liked?
I shook the thoughts out of my head. My teeth. I would save my teeth.
"Are you sure this is correct?" I asked.
Megan squinted at the illegible letters on the back of the note, as though wondering whether or not she'd read it wrong. The Kau finally said, "It's what the letter said. The Bakery, at five!"
"There's no one here, though!" I said. I looked through the doors and into the Bakery. The lights were off, giving the place a lonely, abandoned, feeling. "You think they lied to us?"
Megan said nothing, but I knew what she was thinking. I pressed all my weight against the doors, but they remained shut. Even when Megan pushed with me, they still wouldn't open. We stood there, trying to find a plan, for a few minutes, neither of us coming up with anything good.
"The windows," she said suddenly. "We can climb through the windows!"
I stared. There was no way I could fit through such tiny windows... I was a Skeith, for crying out loud!
"I can't," I said.
Megan seemed to have gotten the message. "Right. How about... we can't break down the doors... we can't get through the windows..."
"What are we going to do, knock?" I asked, sarcastically.
"Hey!" Her face brightened immediately. "That's not a bad idea!"
"Seriously? I was being sarcastic, you know..."
She didn't hear me, though. Megan was too busy knocking -- pounding, more like -- on the doors to the Bakery, and to my surprise, they actually opened...
Date: Sep 23rd
The creaky double doors opened, and I was perplexed to see none other than Quinton the Quiggle! "Good evening, ladies," he said.
I took a cautious step back and pulled on Megan’s clothing so she would come with me. "Quinton," I asked suspiciously, "what is going on here? Are you behind this?"
Megan batted my hands away, dislodging my grasp from her shirt. She looked at me, and then made her way over toward where the Quiggle was standing in the doorway.
"I'm so sorry it has to be this way, Petra. I can't believe I'm putting you in this position, but I just didn't know what else to do," she said, eyes begging for forgiveness.
"Please, will someone just explain what is going on?!? Megan, what do you have to do with this, exactly?" I asked, completely perplexed.
"I know I don't have any right to ask this, but would you just trust me?" she asked.
Quinton shifted his weight uncomfortably. "I can assure you that we only have your best interests at heart, Petra," he said.
I paused for a moment, staring down at my hands. I still didn’t have the slightest inkling about what was going on, but Megan was my very best friend in all of Neopia, and she would never do anything to intentionally harm me. The Quiggle also seemed like a decent enough Neopet, so what harm could come from following them into the Chocolate Factory and finding out what this mess was about once and for all?
Decision made, I snapped my head up and looked Megan straight in the eye. "Let's get going, then. It's getting chilly out here. Lead the way."
They looked at each other and nodded. "It's just right through here," Quinton said as he turned around and beckoned us to follow him.
As soon as I stepped over the threshold, the scent of sweet chocolate assailed my senses. My mouth started to water and my gaze darted through the dimly lit Chocolate Factory, trying to spy the delicious confections.
No, Petra, this is not the time! Now would be the perfect moment to start trying to exercise a little self-restraint, I thought, chastising myself.
We walked on through the factory until we made it to another set of chocolate-colored double doors. Petra and Quinton stopped dead in their tracks and turned around to face me. "You have to face this alone, Petra. We can't come with you."
I took a step forward, hands shaking as I grasped the knob. Somehow I knew that whatever was to come was going to be difficult, and I steeled myself as best as I could for what was waiting for me beyond the door. I looked back at Megan, and she smiled in encouragement. That gave me the courage I needed to push open the door.
All before me were long banquet tables, lined with richly-colored red linens. My heart nearly skipped a beat as I saw what lay atop them. Platters upon platters of sumptuous desserts were waiting for me.
It was like a dream come true! All day I had been craving sweets, and all day I had been denied. I skipped over to a small table with plates, napkins, and forks, grabbing one of each. Walking along the length of the tables, I filled up my plate, taking one each of the choicest-looking desserts.
Once I had filled up six plates' worth of goodies, I sat down to devour them as fast as I could.
I had barely bitten into my first cream puff when a thought slammed into me...
What was I doing? Hadn't I only today resolved myself to eating better and maintaining healthier teeth? I was a Beauty Contest champion, and I was better than this!
I shoved the plates away in disgust. I couldn't even look at them anymore. I was beyond frustrated with myself and my lack of willpower. My shoulders started to sag with the weight of my disappointment, and I dropped my elbows onto the table covering my face with my hands.
I heard a sharp ping toward the center of the room, and then a feminine voice addressed me. "Petra, don't be so sad. I couldn't be more proud of you!" she said.
I looked through my fingers and saw a strange-looking faerie with blue hair, gossamer wings, and purple boots. What was most striking about her, however, was her brilliant white smile. She beamed it at me, and my mood started to lift.
"Are you the tooth faerie?" I asked, knowing for sure that she was.
"Of course I am! Do you know of any other faeries this stylish? No, I didn't think so!" she said, teeth sparkling.
"Well, what are you doing here?" I asked.
"I was testing you, Petra. Your friend Megan came to me, very concerned about the health of your teeth. She had run into your dentist in Neopia Central and he accidentally let slip that your pearly whites weren't going to be quite so pearly if you continued on your current course. She brought you here so I could test you to see if you were worthy of my help. I wasn't just going to waste my time if you were going to scarf down all the sweets after you'd promised yourself that you'd start eating better. You did a wonderful job, though, and I couldn’t be happier," she explained.
"So you can help me not crave sweets anymore?" I asked.
"I think you're already well on your way. Look around you; you resisted an entire room full of the most delicious treats in Neopia. That's quite the feat! I have to tell you, though, that you don't have to deprive yourself all the time. Sweets in moderation are fine, and as long as you brush at least twice a day and remember to floss, your teeth with be healthy and happy."
I rushed around the dressing room in a panic. I couldn't find my beautiful shoes! It had taken me forever to find just the ones that matched my gown, and now I'd gone and lost them. I looked under the chair, in the wardrobe, behind the door... nothing! Megan walked into the room, carrying my heels delicately in her hooves.
"Petra, quit fooling around! Here, put these on and make it quick, you're going out next," she informed me.
I bounded over and plucked them from her hands, then gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. I shoved the shoes onto my feet and then scooted out the door, onto the stage and into the bright spotlight. My smile sparkled as it never had before.
Date: Sep 23rd
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