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||You are on Week 560
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 Sixty Ends Friday, June 15
A blue fish crashed down on the alarm clock, rousing its wielder from his sleep. The Techo mumbled and moaned for a moment as he started to wake up from the pleasant dreams that he'd been having. Dreams of Yooyuball; the different players, and the games that they would have.
The Altador Cup was the Techo Fanatic's favorite time of year.
He got out of bed and headed to the kitchen to make some breakfast. He already had his day planned. First, he'd head over to watch Team Darigan Citadel's practice session and scream his lungs out. Then, swing by the snack stand and get some slushies before getting back to the stadium in time to watch Team Haunted Woods practice. From there, he'd repeat the process until his goal of watching every single team was compete.
To think, this was just practice week -- he still had to pick a team to support and shout at with all the power that his lungs could muster. Now the only question would be which team to support.
That was the question on the Techo Fanatic's mind as he ate his bowl of Altador Cup-themed cereal. As he was doing so, however, his eyes happened upon the calendar on his wall.
His eyes went even wider and more bloodshot than they normally went while he was cheering from the stands as he looked at the date on the calendar...
Date: Jun 11th
...It was time for his bi-yearly checkup. If there was anything that the Techo Fanatic hated more than the last day of the Altador Cup, it was these visits.
After the previous year's Cup had come to a close, the Techo's throat had been so sore that he'd gone to see his doctor, who concluded that any more yelling on his part could have caused serious vocal cord damage.
The doctor, therefore, insisted that his patient see him twice a year, scheduling him for an appointment the week prior to the tournament's beginning. The Techo Fanatic had hastily scribbled the appointment on his calendar and forgotten all about it until this moment.
Actually, now that he swallowed a particularly large mouthful of cereal, he admitted to himself that his throat had been feeling a bit dry lately. Since he wanted to be in tip top shape for the first game of the season, he reluctantly got dressed and headed toward the hospital instead of his usual route to The Colosseum.
If he hurried he'd still be able to see the end of Darigan's practice, the Techo Fanatic told himself.
He tapped his fingers impatiently as he waited in the doctor’s office, until finally a large yellow Gelert came bounding jovially into the room.
"Ahh, and here's the Altador Cup's number one fan back again. Has it already been a year?" he asked, laughing heartily. "I have your results," the doctor said, holding up a manila envelope.
The Techo Fanatic wished that the doctor would hurry up; his throat was itching to get out on the field... actually, it really was sort of itchy...
"I'm afraid it's not good news, though," the doctor continued. "It seems you’ve come down with a case of..."
Date: Jun 11th
"...Altador Cup Fever," the doctor finished, not smiling. "It's a case that plagues everyone." He then burst out laughing.
The Techo felt his urge to rage rising, to scream his lungs out at the doctor right there, for telling such a terrible joke and prolonging the point until he actually knew what disease plagued him. He didn't, though -- for some reason, his throat wouldn't let him.
The Gelert's demeanor changed quickly, becoming possessed of worry and anxiety. "In actuality, Mr...." he gazed quickly down at his clipboard, "Fanatic, you've contracted a rare throat irritation called Neopoccal. Thankfully it isn't a terrible disease, and with a few weeks of antibiotics and rest you should be ready to scream again in a month."
A month? No, that just wouldn't do. "But Altador Cup XVII will be over by then," the Techo managed scratchily. His hand leapt to his throat almost directly after he had uttered the phrase -- it really did hurt, and the condition seemed to be worsening by the minute.
The doctor frowned. "Well, if you do not take this time off, this may be your last year of screaming for a team."
The Fanatic's eyes widened. He couldn't skip out this year, yet he couldn't let this be his last year, either... "Are there any other options?" he asked with the same scratchy tone.
The Gelert stared toward the ground. A silence filled the room. "Follow me," he said as he led the Techo down a hallway and into a room filled with books. He retrieved one from a shelf, entitled, "Biological Altadorian Remedies."
"In this book," the doctor started, "are solutions to almost every disease known. Herbal solutions. It was originally published 1,000 years ago, around the time Altador went missing -- it was discovered in the Altadorian Archives not a month previous." He flipped it open to a particular page.
"This plant," the doctor continued, pointing to a red flower with yellow stripes and white dots, "will cure Neopoccal. However, records show that it went extinct more than 200 years ago."
The Techo's face fell. He really thought this would be the answer to his throat problem.
"Except," the Gelert said, "in the most secluded, dangerous part of Neopia..."
Date: Jun 12th
The doctor's forehead crinkled into a golden maze for a moment.
"Hmm, well you know what they say about Lutari Island. Not only does it seem to be impossible to track, as it never appears in the same place twice, but since that ceaseless storm encompassed it, it's been uninhabited for years. I guess that settles the matter then, Mr. Fanatic. You'll just have to take this year off to heal the old fashioned way... or, rather, the new fashioned way, with antibiotics and plenty of rest."
When he turned back to face his patient, however, he discovered that he'd been speaking only to some dusty books and his shadow, for the Techo was already gone.
Zipping up his travel pack, the Fantic's hands remained steady. The fingers of a less loyal fan might have trembled with fear and hesitation, but the Techo knew he had to make this journey just as he had to breathe in and out.
Asking him to sit quietly at the Altador Cup was like asking a Koi not to swim, or a faerie not to fly. So then, with a certain heart, he set out for Lutari Island, wherever it may be...
Date: Jun 12th
...The folks down at the Altadorian docks tried not to point and stare when the familiar fanatical blue Techo strolled down the pier, his Altador Cup Backpack bursting with maps and cough drops.
"Sorry -- d'you know where I could find a boat headed to Lutari Island?" the Fanatic asked the first few ship hands he bumped into. Responses varied: raised eyebrows, bewildered headshakes, patronizing glances, and no one knew what the Techo was going on about. After about the tenth person, he opted for a broader approach.
"Ever heard of Lutari Island?" he asked (rather hoarsely by now) a tattered pink Kacheek loading a box of cargo.
The Kacheek grunted. "No clue, li'l guy. If yer wantin' crazy talk, then try Old Shamus at th' end of the wharf." He nodded the direction and staggered off.
The Techo Fanatic took a deep breath (not too deep, though, since everything smelled like old fish), shouldered his backpack, and marched on to the end.
"Er, is there an Old Shamus here?" the Fanatic rasped, nervously eying the rickety dock made more of barnacles and seaweed than splintered wood.
"Old Shamus here," a pirate Lutari called out from his boat. "Where can I take ye, travelin' Techo-guy?"
"Ever heard of Lutari Island?"
A gleam entered Old Shamus' eye. "Lutari Island... aye, land of mists and fables. Been there once -- nearly didn't make it out, thanks to the natives. I suppose I could find it again with the right... ah, incentive. Are ye sure yer up to it, Techo-guy?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look -- can you get me there, help me find a flower for my throat, and then get me back before the opening rounds of Altador Cup XVII?" he asked.
The Lutari seemed unimpressed. "We-ell," he deliberated, palm drifting out and up.
The Techo rubbed at his throat. "Whatever you want, and I'll pay double if you can get me there fast."
Old Shamus grinned, a yellow, glinty, sorely-lacking-in-dental-hygiene grin. "Welcome aboard, Techo-guy."
Oh, Altador Cup! The things I do for you... the Techo Fanatic thought, clinging tightly to the straps of his Altador Cup Backpack as he boarded Old Shamus's creaking dingy...
Date: Jun 13th
...The blue Techo took a seat and held his belongings on his lap with a tight hug. "How long--" his throat dried out and his voice came to a raspy halt, interrupting his question. Taking a deep swallow, the Fanatic tried again. "How long until we arrive on the island?"
Old Shamus jumped off from the dock and into the boat, rocking it violently. Licking his rotting teeth, the Lutari stared at the sun in thought. "Well... hmph, I'd say anythin' from a few hours to a few days. Aye, a few days to a few hours."
The Techo Fanatic grew red as his blood vessels bulged from his temples. "A few days?!?" he asked angrily, his voice ripping through the air like a Werelupe's claws against a chalkboard.
"Relax, Techo-guy," the pirate reassured. "I'll get ye to Lutari Island so ye can do yer flower pickin' and get back before the cup thing."
"You'd better," the Fanatic muttered, choosing his words carefully since he couldn't be sure of how many he had left.
With that, Old Shamus untied the boat from the dock and used his good leg to kick off of the pier. "And we're off!" he proudly announced before taking a seat. The tiny vessel slowly drifted away from the harbor.
"That's it?" the Techo Fanatic growled in a low voice. "No sails?" he continued with increasing intensity. "No motor? Not even a paddle? Nothing more than a lousy push?!?"
"Looky here, Techo-guy," Shamus said with a cackle. Scraping his filthy tongue with his equally-disgusting teeth, the old pirate produced a collection of brown saliva and spit it into the water. "You see?" he explained as he pointed to the floating spew that traveled away with the waves, "To find yer driftin' island, we hafta move with the current. Aye, that's all we need."
The Techo watched as the current pulled and directed the small boat out to sea, slowly gaining in speed, and soon the shore was completely out of view. Accelerating now, the boat seemed to skip across the ocean like a flat stone on the surface of a pond. Miles later, the sky grew dark and rumbled with low tones that warned of a threatening storm. Shamus began to cackle yet again. "Sounds like we'll be gettin' there sooner than I were thinkin'..."
Date: Jun 13th
...The Techo shivered. Not only was the crusty old sailor starting to scare him, but his watch read only about 2 o'clock... and it was getter darker by the minute. Shamus reached down and grabbed a small Florta from the water. The Techo was beginning to wonder if this had been a good idea after all. Shamus looked at the Petpet, sniffed it, then threw it back in the water.
"We're dead close now, kipper," he said, almost in a whisper. "All of the wildlife around the island has a certain kind of scent, and not exactly a nice one either..." The old Lutari reached into the bottom of the boat and brought out a small dirty sandwich, which he then began eating. "Remember, when the boat hits the rocks, duck and jump."
The Techo looked at him in alarm. "Rocks? Jump?" He whimpered, and Shamus just gave him a crusty smile.
"Have fun!" was all the Lutari could say before the boat crashed...
Date: Jun 14th
Suddenly, the Techo Fanatic found himself flying through the air, his belongings clutched fitfully to his chest. He was aware of the rush of air and stingy sea spray, and then a bone-jarring thud. The world faded to black and then, for a long time, he was aware of nothing at all.
"Duck and jump!" he blurted suddenly as he regained consciousness with a start. He gasped, the sound reverberating in his brain like a hive of Springabees.
"Ow!" he cried, as a throbbing pain in his head demanded his attention -- but he was quickly distracted. His voice! Egads, his voice -- it was scratchier than ever, and barely audible. Grimly, he realised his Neopoccal must be getting worse with exertion, and the crash had definitely depleted his strength. Standing up gingerly, he determined he had to find his flower and then get back... fast.
Surveying his surroundings, he felt a momentary wave of dismay. This was Lutari Island all right -- and just like rumours had said, it was an island tormented by one big storm. He could barely see a few feet in front of him for all the rain; how was he ever going to make his way through that jungle to find his flower? He'd need a guide at the very least...
A guide! That reminded him; where was that gnarled old pirate Lutari? Glancing around, he realized Shamus was nowhere to be found, and neither was the boat. He must be waiting in his boat for the Techo to make his way back... but how was he ever supposed to find him? As he mentally took stock of the situation, he realised it was quickly going from bad to worse, but he had no choice but to soldier on. He was here; might as well make the best of it. He had to find his flower -- and then his guide.
Stepping carefully, he made his way from the shoreline to the thick of the jungle. With any luck it would at least be drier in there. Maybe all the leaves formed a bit of a barrier between the jungle floor and the rain?
Of course, he should have realised that luck hadn't been with him in quite a while. As he stepped into the jungle, however, his eyes widened in shock. It was drier, sure, but the sight that greeted him left him even more speechless than he had been before...
Date: Jun 14th
...It was a Yooyuball field!
There was no denying it. If there was anyone in Neopia who could recognize what a Yooyuball field was (aside from the players), it was him. And, considering how poorly some teams did in certain years, he could probably recognize one better than some players.
As surprising as it was, it was right there, right in the middle of the jungle... as if it had been there for ages. Judging by how it had been maintained, it must've often be in use, which meant that not only was the island not deserted, but it had its own Yooyuball team!
Sure enough, as if on cue, a group of five Neopets in full Yooyuball gear made their way out of the forest and onto their field. This had to be Lutari Island's Yooyuball team!
His search for the flower could wait for a few minutes. It looked like he wasn't going to miss a practice game after all! He watched in silence as they moved into an one-three formation.
The entire team was made up of Lutaris. A chocolate Lutari was the left defender. A Maractite Lutari was the center defender. An orange Lutari took his position as the right defender. A fire Lutari was the goalie, and the center forward was the absolute biggest eventide Lutari that he had ever seen! Seriously, he made Volgoth look like Fanetti!
"Alright, team!" the giant eventide Lutari bellowed, apparently their captain. "This is it -- one final practice game before we get off the island and take the Altador Cup by storm!"
The Techo Fanatic couldn't believe it! This would change the Altador Cup for years to come with a new team in the fray! He wanted to jump out and cheer as loudly as he could. In fact, he could feel his body involuntarily start to make those motions. He was going to cheer! He opened his mouth wide and...
Nothing came out.
The Techo Fanatic stopped and tried once more, but it was to no avail. His voice had finally given out. The Neopoccal had muted him.
He couldn't believe it! His voice was gone! He needed that flower, and quickly, before any permanent damage was done! But... the chance to watch a totally new Yooyuball team before anyone else in Neopia was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
That's when he saw it, in the headdress of the giant eventide Lutari's uniform. It was the red flower with yellow stripes and white dots! He had found it! Not only had he found it, but he had found a new Yooyuball team, too!
There was a problem, though. How exactly was he supposed to get it? He had lost his voice, so he couldn't ask for it... and who knows where else it might be found in this jungle?
Suddenly, he had an idea. He knew how he would be able to get that flower...
Date: Jun 15th
...As he observed the players shooting the Yooyuball back and forth with precision and accuracy, his plan played out in his mind. The Techo would wait until such a time that the team had ceased their play and then follow the Eventide Lutari. He would point at the flower, and then his throat, and he hoped that the Lutari might give it to him. If not, he could always steal it... though he really didn't want to. As one of the most well known figures of the Altador Cup, the team would, no doubt, recognize him as the perpetrator.
That's when the chocolate Lutari looked straight at him through the bushes. "Wait, who's that?" she commented as the other Lutaris turned to look.
Had he not kept a camouflaged stance? Apparently he hadn't, and he quickly retreated further into the brush. The Fanatic felt his heart pound, and beads of sweat rolled off his scaly forehead. He tried to remain quiet -- which, he realized seconds later, was really no problem for him.
The Lutaris came forward, setting down their Native-Looking Yooyu before continuing in a direct path toward the Techo.
The Fanatic wanted to move back more, to continue further back to shore, but he ultimately decided against it. Who knew where Shamus had gone, or how many Lutaris were on this island? It seemed a better fate would await him if he just stayed here and confronted the team. He stepped toward the players.
The players traversed toward him. The parties met about a meter from the western sideline. "What is your name, Techo?" the eventide Lutari asked him.
The Techo opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. He tried again to the same effect.
"This Neopet is a mute!" the captain said as she opened up the Techo's mouth and gazed down his throat. At first the Fanatic resisted, but the hands clamping his jaw were too massive and strong, so he gave in. "Ah, Neopoccal," she continued before plucking a petal of the red, yellow-striped, white-dotted flower on her headdress and then shoving it in his mouth.
The Techo immediately felt a warm, soothing sensation running down his tongue, off his taste-buds, and settling down in the furthest crevice of his throat. Like warm milk, or tea, but much more satisfying and delicious...
The euphoric feeling then dissipated, and the Fanatic felt his throat move. He raised his fist in the air and chanted, "I AM THE TECHO FANATIC!" He felt no pain.
The eventide Lutari's eyes widened. "THE Techo Fanatic?"
The Techo nodded.
"My name is Nerissa," she said as she went to shake his hand. "I'm a HUGE fan of yours! You do so much with the games!"
"Thanks," he replied at an almost normal decibel. "Wait, how did you know I had Neopoccal, and what to do about it? For that matter, how do you know about the cup and what I do?"
"Well," she began, "in short: years of careful biology and medical practices, and... well, who doesn't love Yooyuball?" she said with a smile. "As far as the long answer: many years ago a terrible disaster swept Neopia, and the Lutaris of this island decided to isolate themselves from the rest of the world until such time had passed. They developed machines to simulate mist and contraptions to pilot the island wherever they so chose." She then pointed upward.
"Eventually, a satellite was developed and sent into orbit, allowing them to monitor the rest of Neopia and see how they were advancing, and determine if it was safe to return from the shadows. To our relief the disaster was over, but the lands of Neopia were barren in terms of any technology. We've decided to stay hidden until they've caught up and can accept our advancements and intellect." She smiled.
"We've noticed that Yooyuball is quite a popular game now, and so the island's inhabitants have decided that entering and hopefully winning the cup will allow fellow Neopets to see the glory of 'Lutari Island.'"
The Techo frowned. "I hope you're good. There are some pretty big powerhouses in the stands -- Lost Desert, Darigan Citadel, Krawk Island. All of those teams have won past cups."
Nerissa's facial expressions mirrored the Fanatic. Then, she turned and faced her team. "He's right. We'd better sit out this cup and strive for next year's."
Wait, had he just discouraged Lutari Island from entering? No, he couldn't have. "Does that mean you're not going to be playing this year?" The Lutaris nodded their heads. Drat! "Anyway, thanks for curing me," he said, trying to mask his desolation with regard to the team not entering.
"You're welcome. So far, you're the only one who's come all the way out here just for the Neopoccal-curing plant. If you'd like, I can direct you to a field of them. You could pick them and bring the flowers to the 'outside world' and cure others."
"Yes, that would be nice. Do you think you could also show me where my guide and captain is?"
"Oh, you mean Shamus? There were reports on the other side of the island of a pirate Lutari showing up seemingly from nowhere... "
"Yeah, that's him."
"We can definitely figure out where he is."
"Thanks," the Fanatic finished. "Now, let's go pick those flowers."
Date: Jun 15th
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