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||You are on Week 537
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 Thirty Seven Ends Friday, January 6
|I've always loved New Year's Eve; if you must know, it's my favorite holiday.
I guess it has to do with a number of things. First of all is that finally, after a month of craziness, the hustle and bustle of Christmas has finally toned down. Don't get me wrong; gifts and all are great! My wallet is always a little on the light side after a hectic shopping spree, however, and I usually spend all of Christmas afternoon sleeping off the exhaustion with a bit of Borovan.
Secondly is the weather. There's nothing I love more than nose-nipping, finger-stinging, cheek-blushing winter air doused with a healthy helping of residual snow on the ground. Plus, the skies are usually so clear and inky black that you can stare up into the darkness and trace the constellations with utmost precision.
Reason Number Three? The parties -- who doesn't like staying up 'til midnight, counting down those last few seconds while drinking sparkling cider with your friends and family and blowing obnoxiously into noise-makers?
My utmost favorite thing about New Year's, though, is the fireworks, the ones that are blasted from the top of Terror Mountain and light up the whole sky. I'd often gather with my friends and watch the bursts of fire and sparks of silver, gold, red, and blue, reminiscing on the past year and thinking of the future.
I always thought that whoever had the job of setting them off had to be the happiest, most jolly, friendliest Neopian alive. After all, who doesn't like fireworks? Therefore, anyone who set them off year after year on New Year's had to have some sort of cheery, holiday disposition.
Unfortunately, after meeting that particular Neopian and eventually finding myself strapped to the largest firework of them all just minutes before the big countdown, I realized that maybe he wasn't the friendliest Chomby after all...
But now I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning...
Date: Jan 3rd
"Let's go, Kate!" I shouted, pulling on my boots. It was the day after the Day of Giving, and we HAD to visit the Advent Calendar. It was getting dark, and I definitely wasn't going to miss out on a single day this year.
"Coming, coming. My hair is going to be ruined, you know!" Kate muttered, swishing her tail. As far as Tonu go, Kate was one of the more fashion-conscious ones out there.
"Are you going to melt?" I taunted, sticking my tongue out. "A little rain won't kill you." At least, that's what we had learned in school. It hadn't rained on Terror Mountain since, well, forever! I wasn't going to let that stop me, though.
"Ergh. Well, let's get this over with!" she said. We pulled up our hoods as we headed outside. I stopped for a moment to take in the scene -- it looked as if the sky itself was crying. Heavy droplets plip-plopped on the snow, dissolving it on contact. Our neighbors were hastily setting up tarps over their igloos. Probably to protect them from the rain, I thought.
I got lost in the moment for a bit, not noticing the red Chomby running down the street with a cart full of... explosives? "Look out!" Kate shrieked from across the street. I turned to run a second too late...
Date: Jan 3rd
...Of course I didn't make it in time. With a loud bang the red Chomby ran flat into me, causing us both to crash and fall on the muddy road, the contents of his wooden cart flying all over the place.
A little dazed and confused, I stared up at the dark gray sky, feeling the rain pouring down my cheeks.
"Teenie, are you alright?" Kate yelled as she ran to me. She reached to help me up, careful not to get mud on her new jacket.
"I... I think so," I said, getting up on slightly shaky legs.
As I looked around, I noticed the big red Chomby lying on the ground by a huge block of ice a few feet away from us. He had an ugly-looking cut above his left eye and was getting soaked lying in the heavy rain.
I ran over and shook him gently. After a few moments the Chomby opened his eyes and stared at me with a wild expression.
"Who are you?" he blurted out. He then got up on his feet, not without some trouble.
With Kate's help I explained what had happened.
The Chomby looked around at the explosives scattered all over the road and got a blank look in his eyes.
"Fireworks..." he said. "Why was I running down the street with a cart full of fireworks?" He looked at me and seemed to want an explanation for that as well.
"I don't really know, mister... what's your name, by the way?" I asked him.
"Um, I'm not sure, but I'm sure my name is Tengan," he said and gave us a big smile.
Kate and I looked at each other with wide eyes. Clearly there was something wrong with this guy.
I introduced myself and Kate, then offered to help picking up the fireworks from the ground. Tengan happily accepted and began picking up the fireworks, throwing them carelessly into the cart.
"Eww, I'm getting all muddy," Kate complained and gave me an angry stare.
"It'll only take a second, and then we can go to the Advent Calendar as we'd planned," I said with an apologetic look.
When the cart was finally fully-loaded, Tengan came up to us with his big grin and said, "So, girls... where do you want the fireworks?"
"What?" I blurted out. "The fireworks are yours, not ours."
"They are?" the big Chomby said and looked very sad. "What am I going to do with them, then?"
I looked at Kate and said, "I think we have to help him, Kate."
My friend gave me a funny look, as if I were the crazy one, and not Tengan.
"Fine," she finally said and grabbed the big wooden cart...
Date: Jan 4th
..., yanking it so impatiently into alignment with the road that she nearly tipped it over again. "These have to be the New Year's fireworks, don't they?"
"Do they?" Tengan asked politely.
Kate pinched the tip of her horn, which she insisted was a technique from Shenkuu for preventing or curing headaches. "It's the twenty-sixth day of the month of Celebrating," she said, making a futile effort to brush raindrops out of her hair. "There are always fireworks on New Year's Eve. I don't know what else these would be for."
I regarded the fireworks -- with mud sliding gradually off them in the rain -- in dismay. "I hope they'll still go off. Do you think they'll be all right, Tengan?"
"I'm sure they will," he said rather vaguely, smiling again, and then looked anxious. "Where do they belong, though?"
"At the top of Terror Mountain," I said, as kindly as I could. "Let's go."
Kate looked up at the summit and groaned. "Teenie, couldn't we hit the Advent Calendar first? Maybe they'll be giving out umbrellas."
I bit my lip. "Shouldn't we get these up there before dark? It'll be really hard to climb at night."
Tengan gazed upward. "It must be a difficult climb as it is," he said. "Are the fireworks stored at the peak?"
I frowned. "I don't know. We don't normally have anything to do with them; we just watch." My stomach flipped and sank. If I'd made the person who normally set off the fireworks lose his memory, would there not be any at all this year? Had I ruined everything?
Kate sighed. "Look, the rain's getting worse. Why don't we get all of this under cover?" She looked toward the Ice Caves...
Date: Jan 4th
That sounded like a good idea. "Are you sure about the Ice Caves, though?" I asked Kate, noticing where she was looking. "It doesn't seem safe."
"What's the worst that can happen?" Kate asked. "The Snowager is hibernating, and even then we wouldn't be going into his cave. We just need to get them out of the rain and that's the closest place we can get to, seeing as Tengan doesn't know where they go."
"Do they go in the Ice Caves?" Tengan asked.
"They will until the rain stops, at least," Kate said. "Hurry, before they get even wetter."
I didn't have any other suggestions, and it looked like Tengan was just going to go with whatever plan we came up with. So, with that being the final plan, we made a rush to the Ice Caves to get out of the rain.
It was a lot colder inside the caves than it was on the outside, but at least we were out of the rain. "Okay," Kate said, "We need to find a place to store these so we can get to the Advent Calendar. Is there a safe place we can put them around here?"
It seemed like no one had an answer to that, until I was hit with a sudden burst of inspiration. "Kari the Negg Faerie," I said suddenly, "She's lived here a while. Maybe she knows what to do with them? Even if she doesn't, maybe she would know who would need to take them, or at least where they need to go."
"That sounds like a plan to me!" Kate said. "Come on, let's go to the Neggery before it gets too late."
The three of us made our way through the Ice Caves before eventually making our way to the Neggery. Once we were there, I knocked on the door three times and waited for an answer...
Date: Jan 5th
...Groggily, Kari the Negg Faerie opened her door. Shivering from the sudden onslaught of chill, she asked, "What is it you need? My afternoon nap isn't quite over."
As she looked the three of us over, her eyes landed on Tengan. "Tengan, what are you doing here? Where are the fireworks that I saw Peyla give you?"
Kate stepped in at this point. "Kari, we're helping Tengan get the fireworks to... wherever they need to go. They're currently stored in the Ice Caves. Perhaps you know where they're supposed to be placed for the New Year's celebration?"
Kari shook her head. "No, I'm sorry I don't." Glancing at Tengan again, she said, "All I know is that they're usually taken to the top of Terror Mountain by Peyla. She's been doing it for years."
I looked over at Kate. The same frustration was present on her face as well. I asked the question that was on both of our minds. "Is there anything you can tell us about who we can drop the fireworks off to? We need to get home, you see. Would Peyla be at the peak?"
The Negg Faerie shrugged. "Possibly. I'm not even sure why she isn't taking the fireworks up herself and preparing them for the celebration."
Peering over our shoulders and out to the street behind us, she said, "You should try taking them up to the top of the mountain anyway. I've heard the owner of the Shop of Mystery has some sort of involvement with the fireworks around this time of year."
Her eyes widened. The three of us facing Kari turned and watched a Darigan Skeith walk up to the Neggery with his arms full of Fish Neggs. The faerie positively squealed. "Well, I must be going! Good luck with the fireworks, kids!"
I winced as the door shut loudly in our faces. "Well, I guess that we first head to the Advent Calendar and then up to the top of mountain," I said slowly.
The three of us turned and rushed to the Advent Calendar. Kate sighed as she picked up her Miniature Gingerbread City and Grarrl Repellant. "No umbrellas," she muttered.
I dipped my own gifts and pocket-money into my bag and headed our group toward the Ice Caves. Kate asked, "Tengan, why did Peyla give you the fireworks cart? Why didn't you tell us about her?" He frowned, contemplating our questions...
Date: Jan 5th
After an interminably long moment, he sighed. "I know I don't know, you know?" he asked, somewhat plaintive.
I blinked, trying to understand his sentence, before shrugging and giving up. Whether he had been strange before we had literally run into each other or not, we weren't going to get a straight answer out of him tonight.
If I had expected to enjoy a momentous, significant occasion or exciting event along the way, however, I would have been disappointed. The trek was cold, but when is something on Terror Mountain anything else? We chatted amongst ourselves -- Tengan giving strange, confused answers much of the time -- but we said nothing of significance.
Even dropping the fireworks off at the top wasn’t momentous. With as long as we took progressing to this point, something spectacular or wonderful should have happened -- but like the trek up the mountain, once we finally made the decision, it was notable only for its lack of anything notable.
"Well," I said awkwardly once we arrived at the top, "Guess this is it."
Tengan nodded, a happy smile on his face. "It isn’t it, is it!" he agreed.
Kate looked confused and opened her mouth to protest, but I silenced her with a glance. "Glad we could help Tengan -- we've gotta go home now. See you around!" I told him with a smile, and then grabbed Kate to leave.
We waived to Tengan and headed home.
And so, that was that. Good deed done, the heroes (us!) went home and lived happily ever after.
Or, at least, it should have been that way. I suppose, though, that if it was then I wouldn't be here telling you about how I was strapped to this lit bit of fireworks.
But honestly, it felt like that at first. As the days crept by until New Year's Eve we totally forgot our little adventure with Tengan, lost in the excitement of Lord Faerigan Plushies and Baby Ogrin Rattles.
In fact, by the point we'd gone to the Advent Calendar for the last time and collected our Scalding Soup and Scourgies Covered Ixi Plushie, it was fair to say that we had totally forgotten Tengan even existed.
"Eww!" Kate exclaimed when she saw the diseased plush toy, at which point I promptly chased her around with mine.
"Love me, Kate! I just want to be friendsssss!" I cried in a falsetto voice from behind my plushie, grinning the whole time.
"Stop it, Teenie!" she yelped, swatting at me, but not dissuading me in the slightest.
As I chased her in circles, life seemed pleasant and perfect, as if I had never known anything else. I then ran into something very large, very warm, and very solid -- and found myself flat on my back in the snow. Distantly, I heard Kate gasp and ask if I was all right, but it had a funny, far-off quality to it, as if I were hearing her through blocks of ice or gallons of water.
Slowly, Kate's voice receded. The world seemed to go comfortably dark and fuzzy, and my eyelids started to feel heavy. I felt as if I were rocking, very steadily, like I was in a large, uncomfortable hammock, or as if I were being carried, and then, it didn't feel as if anything at all was happening...
When my eyes opened again, the first thing I saw was Tengan's beaming face.
"Oh good, you're still sleeping awake!" he declared jovially, and I became aware of my aching, pounding head. I couldn’t help but wince as I blinked up at him.
I tried to sit up -- and that was when I realized I was tightly bound. Noticing my movements, Tengan helpfully explained. "I tied you up free to the fireworks, so you wouldn't miss them!" he explained with a grin that scared me just slightly. Where before he had seemed lost and a little helpless, he now seemed frightening.
"How close are we to midnight?" I burst out in a panic, and his grin grew.
"Only twenty minutes left gone until midnight!" he exclaimed, pleased.
"Tengan, untie me please! I can't stay here!" I ordered, trying to sound calm, but my voice cracked, making me sound even younger than I was.
His grin crumbled and he stared at me for a moment, perplexed. His grin then widened again, and he simply said, "Nope!"
Before I could beg and plead, he left.
I was now alone, head throbbing and internal clock counting down. I had always loved New Years Eve, so in a way, it was fitting...
Date: Jan 6th
…but when I looked at it another way, the entire thing was messed up. What sort of weirdo would tie someone to a firework, setting them up for such a terrible end? Tengan had seemed nice enough when I first met him -- so why had he done this to me?
I struggled, trying to get out. I knew it would be a difficult task, seeing as my arms were tied to my side, and I found out soon enough that Tengan made up for his lack of lucid thinking with a strange ability to tie good knots: try as I might, I remained firmly tied to the firework. I had to get out. I searched myself for something sharp to cut the ropes with, but a quick check of my pockets showed that I carried nothing on me.
"Kate!" I shouted. "Someone! Anyone! Help!"
The trees behind me rustled, but other than that, I received no response.
I sighed. I was all alone on the top of Terror Mountain, strapped to a firework set to go off in twenty -- by now, it was probably only fifteen -- minutes, with no way out. What had I done to deserve such a fate? How had this all happened? Why?
Then, all of a sudden, I heard voices.
I strained my ears to hear better. Had someone come to rescue me?
The voice came from behind me, in the trees. I found myself -- and the firework -- knocked to the ground as Kate came running toward us. Behind her was a Gnorbu in a thick ski jacket, looking absolutely terrified.
"What's going on here?" the Gnorbu demanded as she and Kate pulled me back up to a standing position and started to undo the knots tying me to the firework. "Who did this?"
"Tengan," I replied. The ropes around me gave away and I fell in the snow, my joints stiff from being tied up for so long.
"This is Peyla," Kate said, gesturing to the Gnorbu. "I found out where she lived and told her what had happened."
"Tengan?" Peyla sighed, shaking her head. "I never would've expected..."
"What do you mean?" Kate and I asked in unison.
"I'd heard rumors about his... 'instability,' but he'd always seemed like a perfectly nice guy to me..."
We walked away from the fireworks, heading down the mountain.
"Come on," Kate said. "The fireworks display is starting in a few minutes."
"You can go on," I laughed. "I don't want to see another firework ever again..."
Date: Jan 6th
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