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||You are on Week 551
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 One Ends Friday, April 13
|The Festival of Neggs was in full swing. For days now, Neopians from all over had been going to visit the booth that Kari the Negg Faerie had set up to get their hints as to the location of the Neggs that she had hidden all over. All those who had found the various other Neggs hidden around were also given prizes.
As the event continued, more Neggs were collected and more prizes were given out to happy and excited Neopians everywhere.
Aside from the Advent Calendar, there was no better time for the Pant Devil.
This was the third day that the Pant Devil had descended upon the Festival of Neggs and made off with someone's copy of The Negg Collection while they were reading it, or someone's Vanilla Negg Cream while they were drinking it. He'd even swiped a few of the mini plastic Neggs from that Yurble who was calling himself the real Negg Faerie.
They could yell and shout and cry after him all they wanted. The Pant Devil just cackled and ran off with their precious items.
Today, though, the Pant Devil was feeling bold. Sure, it was fun to steal the Colourful Charm Bracelets and various jelly beans from the festivalgoers, but that was starting to get old. No, today he was going to go for something big.
The Pant Devil had heard that the Negg Faerie kept rare and special Neggs inside her cart, ones that she didn't give out to anyone, no matter how many Neggs they collected or Negg Tokens they turned in. Today, the Pant Devil was going to find and steal one of those rare Neggs.
It didn't take long for the Pant Devil to find his opportunity to strike. The Negg Faerie had her back to her cart, giving the next day's clue to a Lutari, Hissi, and Draik, all of them painted eventide. Oh, how he would have loved to steal those paint brushes from them, but he had his goal set.
So then, while the Negg Faerie was busy giving that trio of Neopets the clue for today, the Pant Devil rushed into her cart. "It's the Pant Devil!" he heard someone shout, but it was far too late for that. He had already grabbed three Neggs from the back of the cart.
"Somebody stop him!" the Negg Faerie shouted out, but by the time she cried for help he was already done, having quickly run off, laughing the entire time as he escaped with the Neggs.
After several minutes of fleeing, the Pant Devil found a quiet spot in a thicket of trees. Let's see what sort of rare Neggs the Negg Faerie keeps! he thought to himself as he examined the Neggs he had stolen...
Date: Apr 9th
...Pawing through his treasures, the Pant Devil discarded one immediately, but not before the Ferocious Negg managed to bite him. Those Neggs are aptly named, he thought, shaking his injured hand more with injured pride than anything else. That Negg had bigger teeth than some Petpets he'd stolen! While it was valuable enough to be a prize in and of itself that, on any other day, would have made him positively gleeful, it wasn't the star today.
No, the Neggs that had his attention today were unlike any he'd ever seen. Icy Neggs, Blue Neggs, Purple Neggs, Rock Neggs, Cookie Neggs -- he'd stolen more than his fair share of Neggs over the years, and wagered that he was as familiar with them as Kari or her assistant were. But these practically shimmered and hummed in a way that no normal Negg did, nearly pulsing in his hands as if to proclaim what rare treasures they really were. They could have been identical -- both shiny, practically facetted but clearly organic, and heavier than a normal Negg with an earthier scent -- except that they differed in color. Where one was the brilliant blue of the sky after a rainstorm, deeply hued enough to be a gemstone if the tell-tale green stem hadn't given it away, the other was the bright clear yellow of the last golden rays of sunshine before the sun set. They were nearly elemental in their primal beauty -- and clearly deeply magical, more so than any Negg Kari had ever traded to the Neopian public.
Indeed, he had stolen a pair of treasures! He could just imagine that prim Negg Faerie cursing his name at that very moment, and the thought had him cackling wildly. There were days when it was just so good to be him!
And yet... and yet, there was something about this pair of magical artefacts that made his skin itch. The simple pleasure of the challenge of the thefts that made up the weft and weave of his daily life aside, there was very little in Neopia with which he wasn't familiar. He knew the lore, the history, and the value of almost everything before he stole it -- even when it came to things that others didn't think had any value, he knew the sentimental value they held. He knew why that Kougra carried that 100 Neopoint plushie around, which made the satisfaction of stealing it all that much greater -- there was no price one could put on nostalgia and sentiment!
As for these... well, he knew that Kari, the mysterious Negg Faerie, kept secrets. Everyone did. These bothered him, though, because he'd never heard even a whisper of any bauble like them, and that made them a mystery.
The Pant Devil derived satisfaction from a great many things, but mysteries weren't one of them. To take full pleasure in this theft, he would have to know what it was that he had stolen, and there was only one place he could think of that would tell him...
Date: Apr 9th
...and that was the heart of the mystery itself, the source of the conundrum. The Negg-shaped building located in the heart of the Ice Caves, where Neggs were sold, bought, traded, and -- rumor had it -- created.
The Pant Devil stayed away from the Ice Caves for two reasons: one being that he disliked the cold, and the other being that the residents of such chilly locations tended to wear thick coats, which was horribly inconvenient for petty thieves like himself. He figured, though, that it was time to pay the Neggery a visit, if only to figure out the mysteries behind the stolen Neggs.
The Negg Faerie, Kari, wouldn't be there -- he was sure of it, not with the hordes of Neopets all clamoring to her Negg Festival in the hopes of getting a few shiny prizes. He could always ask her assistant, whatever her name was... Zorro or Zara or something equally ridiculous... Zaira! That was it. She could always help him. She may have been a lowly assistant, but surely Kari wouldn't hire an assistant that knew nothing about her trade.
And so, the Pant Devil found himself on the path to the Ice Caves, Neggs in hand. It wasn't long before he arrived in Terror Mountain, and then the Ice Caves, and finally, he could see the Negg-shaped building looming ahead of him...
Date: Apr 10th
...Shuddering slightly at the cold breeze that wafted toward him, the Pant Devil hunched his shoulders inwards to preserve what body warmth he still had.
As he walked up to the front door of the Neggery, the Pant Devil noticed a tiny frozen sign that said, "Out for lunch. Check back in an hour!"
Never being one to wait on others, he looked around, double-checking that no one else was there and then quickly trying to open the door of the Neggery. Just as he expected, the lowly assistant had forgotten to lock the door!
"Those Neopians sure make life as a thief easy for me..." he muttered with a quick shake of his head. Quickly slithering into the building, he gently closed the door behind him. Turning to face the inside of the building, he scanned the perimeter, checking for anything that might help him out. He quickly noticed a tiny notebook sticking out from the pocket of a heavy green jacket with colorful ovals on it. Aha! he thought. That must be Kari's! Smirking joyfully, he walked over and snatched up the notebook, quickly flipping through it.
"Just as I suspected," he exclaimed. If what this notebook claimed was true, then in the lowest floor of the Neggery -- even deeper underground than the Negg factory -- he would find a secret room, which would lead him to the truth about the shimmering Neggs.
Not wasting a second, he quickly went down the stairs to his left, arriving at the basement where the Negg factory was located. As he looked around, the Pant Devil couldn't find the stairs that would lead him to the lowest floor.
Frustrated, he punched his fist into a nearby machine, one that was just in the process of shooting out a Genius Negg. Suddenly, as if by magic, the machine spread open and a trapdoor slid aside, showing a rickety wooden staircase that lead deep into the ground. Grinning as he noticed a tiny button on the machine that he had accidentally pressed, he made his way down the stairs.
When he had finally reached the bottom, the Pant Devil jerked open an unlocked door. He then stopped and stared in awe at the sight before him...
Date: Apr 10th
...The door had opened up into a massive underground cavern. Huge crystal stalactites hung down from the vaulted ceilings like mini-skyscrapers packed tightly together. Opaque, they pulsated with a pale glow that lit up the rest of the room, causing the cave's frozen walls to glitter under the strange lighting.
Puzzled, the Pant Devil scratched behind his horn. "Well, this is unexpected," he muttered to himself as he looked around. Across the chamber, he could make out three separate tunnels that appeared to lead in different directions.
Great. More mysteries.
The Pant Devil was about to take a step forward when, suddenly, a deep, low rumble echoed out from the mouth of one of the tunnels. The noise was loud enough that it reverberated in his chest and then throughout the rest of his body. He stiffened, and then narrowed his blood red eyes in the direction of the tunnels; he couldn't tell which one the sound had come from. "Hello? Who's there?!?" he called out loudly and waited, but there was no answer.
He snorted. "Probably just the wind," the told himself. As if to prove his point, a sudden gust of chilled air swept past him, causing the Pant Devil to shudder and wrap his arms around himself to keep warm. "Should've stolen an Asparagus Scarf or something," he grumbled and made his way toward the tunnel on the right...
Date: Apr 11th
...Walking down the right pathway, the sound of the strange roar reverberated along the tunnel's walls. The sound echoed in front of him, on and on, fading away after a few minutes, signifying how long this passageway really was. After gliding down the long hallway, he could see that the tunnel gave way into a large room, but the strange and beautiful natural lighting of the underground lair seemed to dull out within that room. Finally, after such a long journey, upon reaching the room the Pant Devil could see why.
The beautiful colors of the magical lighting were being muted out by an insurmountable pile of plain brown Neggs. The Pant Devil's eyes widened in the sheer awe of the massive stash. His attempts to actually count the Neggs proved futile. He finally came to the determination that this must be where they take every plain Negg that those silly Neopians trade in for one single Negg token. The dwelling's huge vaulted ceilings barely contained what must've been the hundreds of thousands of Neggs that erupted from every square inch of the room. The Pant Devil sighed.
Staring at the pile for so long, he realized something very odd about the Neggs. They all appeared to be... moving? Gasping softly, the Pant Devil watched as the Neggs wiggled ever-so-slightly, shifting in their places, moving inch by inch, as if part of a giant Negg conga line. Such an odd thing for a mountain of Neggs to be doing, the Pant Devil knew, yet there was another mystery at hand. He scoffed out loud, even going so far as to roll his eyes, knowing now that this was something else he had to discover.
Gliding around the piles of Neggs, The Pant Devil began to attempt the grueling climb. He could see that his vision of the back of the room was blocked by the Neggs, and the reason for their movement might be behind it. One wrong step, though, and his journey would end faster than it had begun. He could see the headlines now:
PANT DEVIL SQUISHED BY GIANT PILE OF NEGGS. NEOPIANS REJOICE!
The Pant Devil smirked; he would never let that happen. As long as Neopians collected things, he had to steal them. That made him invincible, didn't it? Well, at least that was a good mindset to keep as The Pant Devil slowly and carefully picked his way over one small ledge of the pile, to view the strange situation happening behind the cache of Neggs.
What he found was a simple conveyor belt, and one by one -- with some magical assistance, it seemed -- the Neggs were rolling themselves onto it. One end of the conveyor started at the base of the Negg pile and the other end went straight into the wall. The small hole, which was the perfect size for a single plain Negg, emitted bright and dazzling colors of light. The plain Neggs went in and did not come out again.
"They must be going into one of the other tunnels' rooms," The Pant Devil mused out loud, spying no other way out of the room except for the way that he came in. He slowly glided his way down the mountain, being sure not to disturb any of the Neggs on their journey to the conveyor. It was obvious the Negg Faerie was doing something strange with all of those plain Neggs, a mystery that might help The Pant Devil learn more about the treasures he'd nicked earlier.
Slipping back out the room and into the tunnel, he followed his way back to where he began, at the intersection of the three tunnels. Once again, though, as he glided closer to that juncture, an astounding roar rushed through the passageway, accompanied by a blast of hot wind. The sheer force of the wind caused The Pant Devil to tumble over, and from his hands spilled the two beautiful Neggs...
Date: Apr 11th
...The golden Negg, bright as the arches of Altador, rolled away down the tunnel to the left, growing dimmer as it carried further and further away. The blue Negg, as cobalt and fathomless as the depths of Maraqua, tumbled and rolled down the central tunnel. Each Negg had moved as smoothly and deliberately as though they had been travelling along the conveyor belt from the last room he had been in, and the Pant Devil watched them escape from him with quizzical frustration.
Looking from one tunnel to the next, undecided about which Negg to reclaim first, a blast of hot air came rumbling from the left hand side. The Pant Devil decided to leave that mystery unsolved for now. He instead entered the central tunnel and followed it for a frustratingly long while before emerging into a dimly lit cavern.
Like the last room, this one was filled to excess with a large pile of items, seemingly worthless to the Pant Devil's expert senses. The pile remained beneath his inspection, however, because at the top of the mound was perched the beautiful blue Negg. Drawn inexorably toward its curious majesty, the Pant Devil climbed the pile and, when near, reached out a hand to grasp the Negg.
"What?" the Pant Devil roared as he looked down at what lay in his clenched fist: a small charm on a string that bore his exact likeness. Throwing the worthless object over his shoulder, the Pant Devil reached once more for the Negg, and once more, his hand came back grasping one of these small Pant Devil clones. He tried again and again, and although he could see the Negg perched directly in front of him, the Pant Devil could not seem to take a hold of it, but rather repeatedly and robotically, he would instead take one of the small, and apparently mocking, likenesses of himself.
The Pant Devil glided back down the pile of objects, which he now recognised to be a mound of these small effigies, and he roared long and low with an animal frustration. Every fiber of his being was drawn toward the shimmering blue Negg, but he could not reclaim it. He snorted with irritation and turned to exit.
He would turn his attention to the golden Negg...
Date: Apr 12th
...The Pant Devil timidly meandered into the cave that the golden Negg had rolled into; he had an uncanny feeling about these caves.
Inside the lofty tunnel, it was sweltering and steamy. Rather hot, yes, but much better than the freezing Ice Caves that sent a chill through his bones.
The hallway was vast and endless. Every time he took a step, the bright light at the end of the tunnel seemed to grow two steps further away.
Feeling mocked and angry again, the Pant Devil took a deep breath and ran as fast as he possibly could. There was no way he would lose both of his precious Neggs -- they had been such a bother to steal.
He could only manage to run for about a minute; he was soon covered in sweat, and the vast hallway only seemed to grow steamier.
The Pant Devil closed his eyes desperately tried to regain his breath, but he almost jumped out of his blue skin when he saw where he was.
He found himself standing in the lush, warm sun of Mystery Island.
The Pant Devil couldn't believe his eyes! He pinched himself to make sure he wasn't dreaming or hallucinating.
"Wha?!?" The Pant Devil was hopelessly confused.
He closed his eyes again, and when he opened them once more the sunny shores of Mystery Island had been replaced by a chilly breeze and the ominous, ghost-ridden landscape of the Haunted Woods.
"What?!? Where is my Negg?!?" the Pant Devil demanded, but there was no one in sight.
Upon closing his eyes again, the Pant Devil found himself in Altador, then Shenkuu, and finally Roo Island.
"I just want to get back to my Negg!" the Pant Devil screamed, clenching his fists.
Closing his eyes as tight as he could, he felt the warmth of the steamy tunnel again. He'd never been happier to return to the frigid Ice Caves, which he usually despised.
Sadly, though, the Pant Devil seemed only further from the glowing light. Still puzzled by what had happened, the Pant Devil tried to come up with a new plan...
Date: Apr 12th
...But, before he could, a voice came echoing through the Ice Caves. A voice that he knew quite well.
"And then he just zoomed off, taking the Neggs with him!"
Kari said, her footsteps growing louder and louder as she approached. "Anyway, you were saying?"
Another voice, this one slightly higher in pitch, responded. "I was coming back from lunch and the door to the Neggery was open, so I rushed to tell you immediately."
"Strange," the Negg Faerie muttered.
The Pant Devil froze, with all thoughts of the Neggs disappearing instantly. The desire to know about the shimmering Neggs had now been replaced by the need to escape before Kari and Zaira could find him.
"Well, a check of the Negg deposits couldn't hurt," Kari supposed. "We're long overdue for one, anyway."
Get out of here, the Pant Devil thought to himself. The only way out, though, was through the tunnels that he had come through. The tunnels they were now coming through.
He ran the only way he could -- forward. Away from Kari. It would have been the perfect time for one of those magical transportations to happen, but he found himself stuck in the Ice Caves.
He ran, not knowing where the hallway led him...
Date: Apr 13th
...As he drifted almost endlessly forward through the warm mists, he was surprised when they dissolved and he found an end to the seemingly infinite misery; alas, it was a dead end. The Pant Devil stood facing a rock wall. He pounded his fists on it and was met with a deep, solid sound that reverberated all throughout the cave lining.
"It's not even hollow," the devil scowled under his breath. A thought struck him, however. "They were going to check on the Negg deposits," he started, "but isn't that the tunnel on the right?"
Ideas and thoughts rattled inside his vast mind, soon rearranging themselves into conceivable patterns and noticeable shapes. Yes, the Negg deposits were on the right tunnel, his many miniature counterfeits in the center, and the cavern of shape-shifting environments -- the one he was in -- (even though it appeared rather stable and unchanging now) was the one on the left.
"Curses," he uttered as he banged his head on the cave wall. "How could I have been so stupid?" All he had to do was dash into either the center or left cave, hide out there for a few minutes while Kari and her joke of an assistant surveyed the right cave, and run down the path away from the three-way fork as quick as possible thereafter; it was a truly cunning, beautiful plan -- though he feared he no longer had time to utilize it.
Dashing forward through the tunnel once more, he found its opening into the three-cave diverge with no sign of Kari or Zaira. However... a golden gleam -- deep as the warm Altador sun, more irresistible than a light faerie's charm, and of more resilience than the shiniest coins in all of Skarl's kingdom -- caught the Pant Devil's eye just as he was about to exit the cavern.
"My Negg..." he trailed in a whisper as he went to pick it up. Upon doing so, however, a giant net fell upon him.
He struggled, but it was of no use. He was completely enveloped in its nylon squares. He tried gnashing his indescribably sharp teeth around it -- no trap could bear the strength of his bite -- but the string wouldn't even bend. It must have been possessed with magic.
Kari stepped out, her apprentice following. "Good idea, Zaira," the Negg Faerie started. "It did manage to catch that thief."
"Well, I wouldn't have thought of it if you hadn't spotted the Negg in the first place," Zaira responded.
The Pant Devil sighed. Oh, a wondrous plan ruined by my own clumsiness and lack of eyesight, he thought.
Kari and Zaira approached the helpless devil. "So," she started calmly -- much to the Pant Devil's surprise, as he expected her to be possessed of fury -- "I suppose you have many questions."
He nodded vigorously, still in shock that he wasn't being punished.
The Negg Faerie continued, more sternly this time. "These Neggs are my most special creation -- each takes 100 Plain Neggs to produce. They pass along my system of conveyor belts until they are compressed, their powers combined into one wholly remarkable Negg. This Negg gains its color from my shape-shifting cavern; I imagine the cavern as a different Neopian Land, and then bottle its mimicking complexion into the gleaming splendor that is the Negg. Then, the completed Negg rolls and rests atop a pedestal on a mound made of my hexed 'Pant Devil Attractors' -- rather than attract thieves into the area, they are supposed to repel them. I suppose it worked on you, or you would be off with the Negg currently resting there."
"Yes," the Pant Devil started, "I didn't take any of your Neggs because the little objects kept blocking my path..."
Kari smiled. "Good, they do what they're supposed to, then. Now--"
"For your punishment," Zaira interrupted.
Kari shot her a dirty look. "Yes... you are free to go."
"What?!?" both her assistant and the Pant Devil asked, simultaneously, in wide-eyed confusion.
"So long," Kari quickly continued, "as you promise to never tell a soul about this place or the Neggs that you stole, nor ever steal from me again."
"It's a deal," the Pant Devil quickly said as he shot his hand out of one of the holes in the net and shook Kari's.
Immediately, the net was lifted.
"Besides," Kari said to her mischievous counterpart, "the Neggs are worthless both in monetary value and sentimental value. They don't actually do anything, and if you tried selling one you'd immediately gain suspicion as to where you received it. On the other hand, I can easily just make more."
"Er..." he started, "I'll remember that. I'll never take from you again, and..." it hurt him to say it, "...thanks," he finished begrudgingly before he fled the premises down the tunnel from whence he'd entered the place.
Although saddened that he no longer possessed such a Negg, and could never get one again -- he was a being of his word, if nothing else -- he was content that he had at least discovered how they were made and overjoyed to have done so while still escaping with his life.
He found his way back into the Ice Caves, colder but wiser. Actually, just the joy of being free from what could have proved quite disastrous made the biting chill seem less threatening. He would have to go to Mystery Island, relax there... maybe steal some tacky tiki souvenirs.
The Negg Faerie, while telling a crowd of Aishas the next clue to her hunt, reflected on the previous day's events.
My, that was a close call, she thought to herself. And what a sap that thief is, believing my lie that those Neggs had no power whatsoever -- why, they're more powerful and attention-grabbing than any other thing in Neopia.
Plus, by letting the Pant Devil go free, he won't be seeking vengeance against me, or trying to steal another one of those wholly remarkable Neggs.
She admired her craftiness and the potential for her creations -- not even Zaira knew to the full extent the magical capabilities of those Neggs.
Kari chuckled to herself and gave a rather fetching Ogrin the next clue to the hunt...
Date: Apr 13th
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