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 550
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 Fifty Ends Friday, April 6
|An ancient and ragged full moon hung in a star-filled sky, lighting the world like a false day. I could see every pebble upon the silver path before me as I walked, carrying a basket of berries. Despite the fact it was doubtful that I would meet anyone on the path this late, I tried to carry myself with a certain pride and dignity. If anyone did see me, I wanted them to be able to see past my exterior. I didn't want them to see a simple green Shoyru in patched and ill-fitting clothing. I wanted them to see a squire in training to be a brave knight of Meridell.
After a few moments, I glanced back at my companion Tummer. The Xweetok was looking around anxiously, talking continuously as he traveled, although I had long ceased listening to his chatter. At first I was happy not to make this trip alone, but Tummer had always annoyed me. We had known each other for years, but I didn't really consider him a friend.
I suppose if I had been completely honest with myself, I would have realized that I was jealous of Tummer. After all, he had been assigned to the great knight Sir Gregory. This legendary warrior was no doubt filled with knowledge and had much to teach a young squire. My knight was Sir Thornbriar, a rotund Skeith known more for his exploits at the dinner table than on the battlefield. In fact, Sir Thornbriar was the reason I was out so late trekking back from Meri Acres. He had heard that Starberries tasted the juiciest if picked during a full moon beneath the stars, and he just had to see if it were true. I paused for a moment as I thought about my situation, allowing Tummer to walk past me. It was then that I noticed the field.
Up until that moment, the night had been eerily still. When I looked at the field, however, the gentlest of breezes began to blow, causing the tall, shimmering grass to roll and sway as I've always imagined the ocean. The road I was following was winding, but I thought the field might offer a straighter and shorter path to the castle, so I started to walk into the tall grass.
"What are you doing, Augustus?" Tummer suddenly hissed in my ear. Apparently he had finally noticed that I wasn't following him.
I frowned but tried to keep my voice calm. "It's a shortcut," I answered.
"But that's Everwinding Meadow," he said.
"I know that!" I snapped, although that was a lie.
"You know the stories," Tummer continued, his blue eyes growing wide, "It's supposed to be haunted or cursed or something. They say it's really easy to get lost or turned around and never find your way out!"
I chuckled condescendingly as I tried to think about how one of our mentors might respond. "If you want to put on the armor of knighthood," I began, "Then you must cast aside the cloak of childhood."
To my ears, my response sounded very mature, but Tummer just looked confused. "What?" he asked.
Shaking my head, I rephrased my words. "You have to quit thinking like a kid if you ever hope to be a knight. Those are just stories. Now, come on. I want to be able to sleep in my own bed before sunrise." Without waiting for a response, I started into the field. After a few moments, Tummer ran up to walk beside me, just as I knew he would.
In silence we traveled, and it was a very quiet night. I was thankful to finally be finished with Tummer's constant talking, but the silence that surrounded us like a veil left me uneasy. Of course, I would never have admitted that to Tummer.
We walked down into a small valley and started up a gentle knoll. I kept telling myself that Meridell Castle would be visible once we reached the top, but I was no longer confident. I couldn't explain it; maybe it was Tummer reminding me of the stories of this place, but I felt as if I had gotten turned around somehow and was lost. Still, we continued on.
We reached the top of the hill, and we both stopped dead in our tracks. Without words we glanced at one another, and I could see my fear reflected in Tummer's eyes...
Date: Apr 2nd
...We were back at Meri Acres Farm!
"What in the world?!?" Tummer asked, dumbfounded, as he nervously stared at the path behind us. "Some shortcut that was... I told you Everwinding Meadow was no good! I bet that place has some sort of weird, creepy magic going on."
The familiar scenery, completely immobile under the pale silver light of the moon, was only troubled by the slow creaking of the farm's sign in the breeze. It seemed to me that it was almost mocking us. I looked around. Not a single soul was to be sighted, just like when we left. My warrior instincts were tingling, however, and I knew something was not right.
Tummer flattened his ears against his head, visibly scared by the situation. "Augustus, we really should stick with the regular path. I mean, it's already too late to get a full night's sleep, so..."
I was starting to get a bit uncomfortable myself. How could we have walked all the way back to the farm? The weather was perfect, the stars were visible, and nothing had blocked our view during our walk through the fields. Tuning Tummer out, as I often did when his meaningless chatter conflicted with my thinking, I started observing my surroundings, like a real knight.
The annoying creaking sound echoing through the empty air directed my attention to the large wooden sign bearing the name of the farm. Squinting to read the old, faded inscription etched across it, I noticed something that made me hesistate between chuckling out of relief or moaning out of disappointment. I settled for an ambivalent sigh.
"Look, Tummer. We didn't mysteriously go back to Meri Acres. According to this sign, we're at another farm, which seems to be called Moon On The Meadow Farm. I've never heard anything about this place... it probably means we're very far from the castle now."
"Aww, bummer..." Tummer whined as he kicked a rock angrily. "Thanks for your shortcuts; they're real nifty."
There was still something off about this place. It was nearly identical to Meri Acres Farm, which explained why we initially thought that we'd walked back in our tracks. Only one thing was a bit different -- the farm seemed worn down and neglected, whereas Meri Acres had a neat look that comes with being cared for everyday. Moon On The Meadow Farm clearly didn’t benefit from such a good treatment -- in some areas, the plants had grown wild and completely taken over, creating chaotic forests of plants. In other spots, the crops looked shriveled up and dead. Yet, the place wasn’t completely abandoned. In the distance, a yellow light shone through the windows of a beat-up wood shack.
An uneasy feeling filled my chest. All I wanted was to go back to the castle, deliver the Starberries to my boorish mentor, and get some sleep. Turning back would be the wisest decision. Prudence is, after all, a knight's best ally.
"Listen, Tummer. I think we should go back," I started, only to be interrupted by Tummer. Impatiently, he grabbed the sleeve of my burlap tunic and started dragging me toward the shack.
"Come on, Augustus!" he implored. "Maybe the owner of this place can give us directions. I wouldn't go back into that Everwinding Meadow for a million Marrows!"
Irritated, I followed the Xweetok to the door of the shack. Up close, it looked like an old ruin; the roof was obviously full of holes, the windows were shattered, and there were cobwebs everywhere.
Tummer knocked on the door eagerly. There was no answer. He knocked again, literally hammering the door with his fist. We finally heard a noise from inside, and the door slowly opened to reveal who was inside the shack...
Date: Apr 2nd
...an old wrinkled Gnorbu, who was standing in the doorframe at the back of the shack.
"Who might you youngsters be?" she wheezed. "And why are you out so late at night?"
"We were wondering how far we are from Meridell Castle," I replied before Tummer could say something stupid and ruin our chances of having the old lady help us.
"Gracious, Meridell Castle! Hear that, Kera? They want to know how far they are from Meridell Castle!"
Tummer glanced at me. He was right, the Everwinding Meadow had not been a good idea.
Kera was a pretty Acara with blond hair who was standing next to the old Gnorbu in the doorway. She laughed.
"You're a whole three days' journey from Meridell Castle, friends," she said.
"But we only left this evening!" I argued.
"The boy lies, that's impossible!" the old woman said, turning to Kera. "The only way that could happen is if they took the Everwinding Meadow!"
Tummer spoke up. "We did go through the Everwinding Meadow. It was all his stupid idea..."
The old Gnorbu laughed a tinkly laugh. "He looks bright to me," she said.
"Ha! So there," I blurted out, glancing at Tummer. This time Kera laughed, as if I were such a silly child. Granted, she seemed to have a few years on me, but still -- she was overreacting.
"It's nearly dawn," the Gnorbu said. "If you're going to Meridell Castle, you'd better get going." She then gestured toward the road.
"But--" Tummer began, at which point I elbowed him.
"Of course, they don't know the way." Kera said. "I'll take them, Myrris," she volunteered, nodding toward me.
"Get a move on... Sir Thornbriar won't be happy if those Starberries are late," the Gnorbu pointed out.
"How did you know that I'm his squire?" I demanded.
"Who else would send his squire tromping through the meadows to gather Starberries in the middle of the night?" she asked. Amusement played on her face.
Within minutes, we had turned onto the road and were making slow progress. Kera then suddenly yanked on my arm, pulling me toward the roadside. After depositing me behind a bush she grabbed Tummer. As soon as she crouched beside us, I asked indignantly, "What's the point of this?"
Kera shushed me and whispered, "Get down and stay low." She then nodded toward the road. I peeked up and immediately wished that I hadn't. On the road, I saw...
Date: Apr 3rd
Three of them. They were sniffing at the road like they were looking for something. My eyes went wide and I quickly ducked down, hoping to be out of sight.
"What are Werelupes doing on the road?" Tummer whispered.
"They get really active around the full moon," Kera whispered back. "It's very unusual for them to be out on the road, though. They must be looking for something."
We stayed hidden by the bush for a few more tense seconds, watching the Werelupes continue to search around. They didn't seem to be moving off the road, though. "What should we do?" I whispered. "They don't look like they're going to move on."
"We don't have a choice," Kera said solemnly, "we're going to have to cut through the Everwinding Meadow again. I've gone through it a few times, and know some of the paths, but it's still very easy to get lost in there. Just follow me and I'll do my best to get us through."
Kera slowly backed up from the bush at the side of the road and very gingerly started to move into the meadow. Tummer very slowly followed her, their eyes never leaving the Werelupes on the road.
After a few seconds I started to get up as well, slowly backing away from the bush while trying not to make any noise, when suddenly a loud snap echoed through the night.
I had stepped on a twig, snapping it.
The three Werelupes in the road looked directly at us and we looked right back at them.
"Run!" Kera shouted, as she and Tummer dashed into the field. I quickly followed suit, running after them and looking past my shoulder to see the three Werelupes now giving chase, following us into the Everwinding Meadow...
Date: Apr 3rd
...I ran as quickly as my little Shoryu legs could carry me. Tummer and I dashed behind Kera, who lead us through turn after turn in the Everwinding Meadow.
Then, suddenly, I tripped over my oversized burlap tunic. As I recovered from the shock, I realized that my foot was stuck between the root of a tree and the ground, and that angry starving Werelupes were inching closer to me.
"Kera! Tummer!" I shouted, but my cries were to no avail. They had run further into the maze.
I could hear the Werelupe's harrowing snarls and footsteps growing closer and closer.
Desperately I felt around the dark ground, looking for something, anything, with which to defend myself. My hands came across a smooth, perfectly spherical object that felt ice cold to the touch.
I knew I needed something to fortify myself, and that this "rock" wasn't the best idea, but I let curiosity get the best of me. I held the object to get a better look, and it emitted a incandescent glow in the moonlight.
The glow of the moonlight on the odd rock was so bright that it burned my eyes, even if I merely glanced at it. Plausibly, it would have the same effect on the Werelupes. When they saw the object's blinding light they flattened their ears and howled ear-piercingly as they quickly scampered away.
A bright smile replaced the once-fearful expression from my face, as I now fancied myself as one of Neopia's legendary knights. "Werelupes are no match for the great knight, Sir Augustus!"
Those wonderful thoughts were soon replaced by fear, however. I was now lost and alone in the big maze. Kera and Tummer had probably realized my absence by now, but I had no idea if they would ever be able to find me. I was stuck under a tree root, lonely and tired as fear gripped my mind.
As I tried to think of a plan, I rolled the odd sphere around in my hand.
"Maybe you're not only useful for defeating Werelupes..."
Date: Apr 4th
...I twisted around and shoved the sphere under the tree's root. It seemed to glow brighter for a moment, and then the root started to wither, like the light was burning it up.
"Yes!" I exclaimed when the tree root had completely fallen away.
I stood up, still holding the sphere, and took in my surroundings. I was in a light-filled clearing, surrounded by tall grass. The tree I had tripped on was dead in the center.
I walked around the clearing, looking for the direction that Tummer and Kera had taken. There was no path leading out, however, just grass.
"Where are they?" I wondered aloud.
"Where you left them -- running," a squeaky voice said.
I whirled around, sphere held high. "Who's there?" I demanded. "Show yourself!"
"Up here, in the tree," the voice giggled.
I looked up and saw a small, purple Meerca bouncing up and down on a high branch. "Who are you?" I asked indignantly. "What are you doing here?"
The Meerca giggled again. "I think the question is: what are YOU doing here?"
"What are you talking about?" I said, annoyed. "I'm looking for my friends."
"Mm hmm," the Meerca said with a grin, amused. "And do you REALLY think of them as friends?"
"Well, not exactly--"
"Then you have no business looking for them."
I could tell she was enjoying this, but I had no time for fun and games. "Look," I said through gritted teeth, "I need to get out of here, so--"
"Oh, why didn't you say so!" the Meerca giggled, and then jumped to the ground in one hop. "I can get you out of here."
She ran around the tree, then poked her head back around into view,"Are you coming?"
I followed cautiously. "Where are you taking me?"
"Out," the Meerca said before disappearing into a large tangle of tree roots.
I leaned forward, trying to see where she had gone. "Wha--AAAHHH!!" I suddenly slipped and fell through the roots. Everything blurred by me. I looked up at the moonlight escaping through the hole I'd just made, as it slowly faded from view...
Date: Apr 4th
I came to a stop with a dull thump that dazed me and had me seeing stars. The stars grew brighter and more dazzling and I soon realised that they were glowing orbs that lay scattered around me on the dirt floor of a large subterranean cavern. I hesitantly reached for one of the spheres but quickly withdrew my hand when I heard a high-pitched giggling behind me.
I spun around in time to spot the Meerca as she said, "It's okay, you can touch them. They're just your Starberries. They're no more harmful in the Underfarm than they were up there." She smiled broadly and gestured vaguely above her head. "They're just... brighter. More useful."
"Underfarm?" I asked. "Where am I? And who are you?"
"I'm not surprised you don't recognise me," the Meerca giggled. "The last time we met, I was an old Gnorbu. Perhaps you heard Kera call me 'Myrris'?"
"I... I don't understand," I stammered. "You were morphed? Painted?"
"I simply travelled to the Tree of Luna. Like you did." The Meerca cackled and added, "Your transformation is truly remarkable, by the way."
"Transformation? I don't... " I began to protest, but as the words were leaving my lips, I realised that I wasn't quite feeling like my normal Shoyru self. I flexed my arms and felt an unknown strength ripple through my biceps. I looked down at what was unmistakably a large and powerful Grarrl body, and as I did so, I had to brush away the golden curls that had fallen into my eyes. Shakily, I asked, "What is this place, this 'Underfarm'?"
"It's a world that appears every twelfth full moon," replied Myrris, her eyes now serious. "You unlocked the doorway in the Tree of Luna with your full-moon-picked Starberries, and now that you're here, you've been transformed into your true, inner self. Just like the Starberries-- here they reveal the starlight trapped in their fleshy containers. Down here, you are a squire no more, but a full and powerful knight. If you choose to stay, you can exercise that potential, and at the end of twelve moons, return to the Overfarm..."
"Stay for twelve moons?" I asked incredulously. "But I can't stay away that long. I can't..."
"But why not?" Myrris interrupted. "Why couldn't you train down here as a full knight instead of going back to feeding and burping old Sir Thornbriar like the oversized baby he is?"
I must admit, her words confused me. Why shouldn't I stay? I thought to myself. "I need time to think about this. I need more information. I need..."
"What you need," the Meerca said with a wicked grin, "is to decide before dawn, which is fast approaching. As soon as the sun rises, the gate will close for twelve moons...."
Date: Apr 5th
...I gulped nervously. "What exactly am I supposed to do down here, anyway?"
"I told you, didn't I?" Myrris replied. "You're supposed to train as a knight. Or choose to leave, and train with Sir-Fatsalot-Thornbriar as a squire."
Train as a knight... or a squire. The answer should have been obvious, but I couldn't help thinking about Tummer, and how he was lost--maybe forever, in the Everwinding Meadow.
"What about Tummer and Kera?" I asked uncertainly.
Myrris bounced up and down on her long Meerca tail. "What about them?"
"Well, they're lost. Don't you think I should go help them?"
The Meerca giggled. "Only if you think you should. But make up your mind quickly, or you'll have no choice."
I sighed, exasperated. I was no closer to coming to an answer than I'd been when I fell through that hole.
I looked around, hoping for something to help me out. The cavern I'd landed in was HUGE. I could see for miles in every direction, and another thing I noticed that I hadn't seen before, was that there were neopets everywhere. Walking around in small groups there were Skeiths, Lupes, Kougras, and more Grarrls. I looked up as a blur of feathers and wings flashed by, and saw Eyries flying everywhere, doing all kinds of acrobatics, and attacking each other with practiced fighting moves.
"Whoa..." I backed up in awe, and found myself hitting a furry wall.
"Hey, watch it!"
I whirled around to find myself facing an annoyed looking blue Xweetok. "Who do think you're messing with? You think just because I'm smaller than you I can't pack a mean punch?"
"I-I'm sorry," I stuttered, surprised at her sudden aggressiveness. "I didn't realize..."
The Xweetok narrowed her eyes at me, confused. "What's wrong with you?"
I blinked. "Wrong? What are you talking about?"
Suddenly, the Xweetok started laughing. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were new."
"Okay..." I said slowly. "Um, I haven't actually decided if I'm going to stay or not."
The Xweetok stopped laughing. "Oh?" she said, suddenly curious. "So, you haven't seen anything yet?"
"Well, no," I replied warily.
The Xweetok grinned. "I'll show you around then. What were you?"
"What were you before you came here?" she explained.
"Oh." I hesitated.
"It's okay," the Xweetok smiled, "we were all something embarrassing once. I used to be an Ixi." She grimaced in embarrassment.
An Ixi? I couldn't imagine this strong looking Xweetok as an Ixi. But then again, how different did I look?
The Xweetok was gazing at me expectantly. "Um, I was a Shoyru." I felt my face get hot as I said it.
"Huh," the Xweetok said, looking me up and down, "you're lucky you found this place. Here you get to train as what you are inside, then when you leave, you stay that way!"...
Date: Apr 5th
I gasped. "You mean... I'm like this forever?" I asked, pointing to my Grarrl body.
She nodded. "Unless you leave before dawn, then you will stay like that."
My eyes widened. I wasn't sure I liked being a Grarrl.
"What?" the Xweetok asked. "Are you afraid? There's no reason to be. It's fun down here."
I looked around. In the dimly lit, gigantic cavern, I saw that the Eyries were fighting over some food. A couple of Xweetoks were talking quietly. Three Grarrls were attacking each other with their claws.
Well. Fun was a bit of an exaggeration.
"Um.... well, I suppose," I said, to keep the Xweetok from being angry again.
She smirked. "Come, there's someone I want you to meet," she said.
We walked over to an old Skeith. He was a strange grayish color, and I realized that he had been painted long ago.
"Targuss," said the Xweetok, "this is..." She looked at me, and I realized she didn't know my name.
"Augustus," I mumbled.
"He doesn't know if he wants to stay or not," said the Xweetok.
"Why wouldn't you?" wheezed the Skeith. "Here you can be what you've always wanted to be."
"I see," I said. I wondered what I wanted to be. A knight, yes, but not a Grarrl.
"A few years back, we had one just like you come to us. Scamp, he was. Wanted to go back up. But when he saw himself, he changed his mind." The Skeith smiled.
"What was he before?" I asked.
The Skeith grimaced, then leaned in. "A JubJub," he whispered. I gasped.
The Xweetok let out a belly laugh. "Yeah, and he got turned into a Xweetok, like me," she said with a smile.
"That must have been a relief," I admitted.
"Yes, and we hear he got a job training to be a knight up there," wheezed the Skeith.
"Why didn't he train down here?" I wanted to know.
"Because he was a troublemaker. You see, once he was a Xweetok, he decided he wanted to leave. But by then the gates were closed, so he spent his time playing pranks and getting out of training." The Skeith shuddered.
"Oh," I said, not quite understanding. "What was his name?"
They looked at each other, then said in unison, "Tummer."
Date: Apr 6th
I was stunned.
"Tum... Tummer?!" I stuttered.
The Xweetok and the Skeith exchanged bewildered glances.
"Do you know him?" the Xweetok asked.
I gulped, afraid to admit that I had been traveling with him, "Uh... uh..."
"Well?" the Skeith demanded.
"Yes, I do know him. But believe me, he is the last person you want to get stuck finding Starberries with! All I heard the whole trip was 'Augustus this' and 'Augustus that.' The coward was even too afraid to enter the Everwinding Meadow with me," I said boldly, hoping I sounded tougher than I felt.
"Sounds just like the little troublemaker," the Xweetok snickered.
"Exactly," the Skeith said, "We need strong, brave, and courageous Neopets like you, Augustus. You shouldn't be force to train with Sir Eats-a-lot. You weren't afraid to enter into the Everwinding Meadow. You deserve to train down here, with others who are just like you."
The Xweetok nodded in agreement. "Join us, Augustus."
I reveled in the Skeith's praise. Maybe he was right, I did deserve to train in the Underfarm and leave as a warrior with honed skills. But again, a part of me still missed being a Shoyru. In my new body, I would never be able to touch the clouds again.
I was hopelessly torn.
"What'll it be, Augustus?" the Skeith asked.
I was ready to say yes to my new training in the Underfarm, but I was stopped by a passing memory of my life as a Shoyru.
I had made the decision to enter the Everwinding Meadow, all on my own. And I defeated the Werelupes without anyone's help. I was a courageous SHOYRU.
I took in a breath of air, and nervously said, "I don't know."
"What?!" The Xweetok's smile quickly turned to surprise. "The choice is easy."
"And you're almost out of time anyway," the Skeith said with a smirk. "It's almost dawn."
My eyes grew wide. "No, I will not train here!"
Suddenly, I was back lying on the ground in the Everwinding Meadow.
"Augustus!" I heard Tummer's familiar voice. "I was so worried! I thought I'd never see you again!"
I was relieved to see my old acquaintance again.
I felt amazing. I, Augustus the Shoyru, had the courage to stand up for what I wanted. I knew that I didn't need to be a Grarrl to be brave; I was brave all along.
"So, what's this about you being a JubJub?" I asked Tummer with a smile.
"Uh..." His face grew redder than a tomato. "It's a long story..."
Date: Apr 6th
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!