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||You are on Week 564
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 Four Ends Friday, July 13
|"Heads up, Alton!"
The Kacheek looked up from the piles of potatoes he was counting to see a Wocky with a moehawk on a skateboard about to crash into him!
"Eeek!" Alton shrieked and dove out of the way, just as the Wocky crashed into his pile of potatoes, sending the spuds flying every which way. The Wocky ended up falling off his skateboard and rolling a few feet like a wheel of cheese before landing on his back.
"Gnarly!" the Wocky exclaimed, seemingly not even phased by the crash, despite being flat on his back.
"Allister Aries!" Alton shouted out, once all of the flying potatoes had landed. "Watch where you're riding that thing! It's bad enough you make your own potatoes fly!"
The Wocky hopped to his feet and adjusted his sunglasses. "Dude, it's A-Double. You know I don't like being called my name."
"Whatever. A-Double," the Kacheek sighed. It was going to take him hours to gather all of the potatoes from that pile, since they'd been spread across Meri Acres Farm from the crash. He could only hope none of them ended up in the rubbish dump.
"Awww man, that was a totally radical spill!" A-Double said, finding the splintered remains of his skateboard atop another potato pile, several of them mashed from the impact. "Tell me you didn't think that was the sickest spill you ever saw, broski!"
"It was sick, alright," Alton said, still not quite sure about the vocabulary of his Wocky companion. "It made me sick watching my potatoes go flying like that."
"Man, quit being a bummer dude!" the Wocky said. "You need to start being EXTREME!" The Wocky shot a pose like he was jamming out on an air guitar as he said that last line.
Before Alton could try to talk some sense into the Wocky, a very unusual sight appeared over a nearby hill. It was a royal carriage, and it was heading toward them. Alton stopped picking up his split potatoes and watched as the carriage drew closer to them, while A-Double continued to jam on his air guitar.
At first, Alton thought that they were just cutting through Meri Acres Farm on their way elsewhere, but the carriage soon came to a stop right in front of them. The door opened and a blue Techo was sitting within.
"Alton Moughbry and Allister Aries?" the Techo said to them.
"I'm Alton Moughbry," the Kacheek said.
"Dude, my name is A-Double," the Wocky said. The Techo addressing him by his real name had brought an end to his imaginary jam session.
"Yes, he's Allister," Alton said.
"Excellent," the Techo replied. "Both of you, please board immediately. King Skarl wishes to meet with you for some urgent business..."
Date: Jul 9th
..."W-what?" Alton stuttered.
"Just get in the carriage, dude!" A-Double leapt in, neglecting the shattered remains of his skateboard and the mess he'd made of Alton's potatoes. He sat right on the bench next to the prim Techo and looked him up and down. "You need some new clothes, bro. Those are all stuffy-like!"
The Techo looked straight past him and at Alton. "I must insist, sir. King Skarl will not be kept waiting."
"But I have to clean up his mess!" the Kacheek insisted. "These potatoes need to get to market tonight, and with the number that have been ruined," he shot A-Double a pointed glance, "Meri Acres Farm probably won't meet its quota anyway."
"I'm sure His Most Gracious Majesty will excuse the farm's quota, so long as your services are needed.”
"Did you ask him first?"
"Just get in the carriage, man. We're goin' to the castle! Do you know what radical things we can find in the castle? Come on!"
"Your... friend... is right," the Techo said.
Reluctantly, Alton climbed up into the carriage. He took the bench across from A-Double and the Techo, who leaned over and closed the door behind him.
The inside of the carriage was rich with scarlet velvet and embroidered curtains, and it was hard for Alton to drag his eyes away from such wealth. When the carriage began rolling toward Meridell Castle, however, the Techo started to talk again, and he forced himself to pay attention.
"I am Lord Germar," he said, introducing himself with a fluff of pride. "You have been summoned to provide King Skarl with help on a great matter of some, uh, delicacy. Due to the King's desire for secrecy, you will appear disguised in the court. Your disguises are already prepared, and when we get to the castle I will give you your backgrounds. You will pose as courtiers visiting from King Hagan's court. While you are here, you will talk to NO ONE about what you're doing -- except each other, myself, and the King. Understood?"
"Disguises? That's totally rad!"
The Techo glared at A-Double with disdain, convinced that he would never be able to pull off the disguise with any believability, and silence settled in the carriage for a few moments. Finally, as the dirt road gave way to the paved streets around Skarl’s castle, Alton piped up.
"So, what exactly is it that we're here for?"
"Ah, yes. Well, you see, King Skarl believes he has discovered a discrepancy in the contents of his treasury..."
Date: Jul 9th
...A pause followed Germar's words, during which time Alton stared at the Techo with a look of shocked bewilderment and A-Double struggled to piece together what the Techo had meant.
"That is totally not cool, dude. Not cool at all," the Wocky declared after he'd finally worked out what Germar had said.
"But why us?" Alton asked curiously. "We're just simple potato farmers--"
"Watch who you're calling simple, broski. I'm the coolest, raddest, most extreme potato farmer in all of Meridell... no, more like in the entire world!"
Alton gave A-Double a pained look. "Anyway..." he began again, "what help are we in a matter of money?"
"You are the two best mathematicians in the land, except for the King's own treasurer, and he is, um... of no help to us in this matter," Germar replied delicately. "At first, you are merely going to do a recount of the treasury's contents based upon our previous -- accurate -- inventories. If King Skarl is proven correct, then I am sure further instructions will be given."
"I hate to ask this because I think I already know the answer, but why is the King's treasurer unable to help with this matter?" Alton asked.
Before the Techo could answer, A-Double pounded his fist into his palm and answered, "Dude, it's totally an inside job, isn't it?" He turned to stare at Germar.
"Yes, that is what we suspect," the Techo replied uneasily, although his uneasiness appeared to be the result of having to agree with something that A-Double had said. "But not in the manner that you may be thinking. Snargan might be a lot of things, but he is no petty thief. The reason King Skarl did his own inventory in the first place is because we found Snargan unconscious in the treasury. That was a week ago, and he still hasn't awoken."
Even A-Double had a look of concern on his face after that statement.
The carriage began to slow to a halt. Alton looked out the window and saw that they were stopped near a small, inconspicuous gardening shed off the main thoroughfare to the castle. "If you'll step into the shed, gentlemen, I will fit you with your disguises and begin briefing you..."
Date: Jul 10th
..."Bodacious!" A-Double exclaimed in regard to Germar's comment.
The Techo sighed. "Yes, it most certainly is," he uttered with a hint of disdain. "Now, gentlemen, please follow me into the shed."
Lord Germar, the Wocky and the Kacheek following behind him, stepped out of the carriage and walked toward the wooden building with the dilapidated roof; it appeared still and tranquil.
Germar removed a small metal key from his pocket and inserted it into the lock, and upon the opening of its door the shed revealed hats and shirts where there should have been hoes and spades.
"Behold," the Techo started proudly, "the glory of the King's private fitting room. Under the circumstances, however, I've been given access, as well as the clearance needed to allow you to, er... 'liberate' and use some of these items." He smiled sheepishly. "I shall measure you, and then recommend an outfit based on those measurements and your general look. Now, who's first to be fitted?"
Ignoring Germar's instructions, A-Double dove into the pile of clothes strewn randomly about and found a set he liked. "Skater shoes, striped shorts, and a brown leather jacket? Radical!" he uttered as he promptly put them on -- the clothing fit him near-perfectly. "It even matches my mohawk!"
The Techo sighed again. "Alright, fine. And you, Alton?"
After all was done, the Kacheek was wearing leather shoes, a bright red silk shirt and pants, and a bowler hat.
"Alright, now that that's done," Germar said as the three walked out of the shed and back toward the carriage, "we are to head to the castle immediately and meet Skarl. There, you will receive information regarding the King's treasury and what you must do about it. Understood?" The two nodded their heads in agreement as they climbed into the carriage and it started rolling.
"Oh yes," Germar finished as he handed them each a slip of paper. "As this is a very secretive mission, Skarl has arranged for each of you to receive a false name. He has printed them on these papers I have just handed to you."
"I'm 'Alias,'" A-Double said cooly.
"And I'm 'Pseudonym,'" Alton said hesitantly.
"Um, yes," Germar said, a tad uneasily, as the carriage strolled on toward the castle.
The three reached Skarl's castle within a few minutes. Upon their arrival, a guard ran up to the carriage. Germar promptly stepped outside, motioning for the other two to follow.
"Lord Germar, sir," the guard started. "It's urgent news. Snargan has awoken, and he seems to have disappeared. The King, too, is missing."
"Wait," Germar said anxiously. "The King is missing?!?"...
Date: Jul 10th
...The guard shifted in his stance uneasily. "Yes, just about ten minutes ago, actually. He was waiting for your arrival when he told us to go retrieve you. When I went back to ask him something, however, he had vanished," the guard explained.
Germar was already thinking. "Well, he can't have gotten far then. You two, stay here. We're going to find them," the Techo said, looking directly at A-Double and Alton.
The guard was confused. "Who are you two?"
"I-I'm Pseudoman," A-Double said.
Alton nudged him. "You idiot, that's me; and it's Pseudonym," he said in a quick whisper, only to turn and speak to the guard. "Please excuse my... friend. He is easily confused. This is Alias, and I am Pseudonym. We are, well... we were here to see the King."
"Right," Germar said nervously, turning back to the guard. "Well, you two stay here. We are going to search the perimeters of the castle. Don't move. It's much too risky now."
Germar and the guard vanished quickly, leaving the two alone in the large, empty halls.
"Wicked," A-Double said, moving toward a large room.
"Allister! We were told not to go anywhere!" Alton yelled, noticing his friend's disappearance.
A-Double ignored Alton, venturing on past the doors and into the room.
Seeing as he had to keep an eye on him, and also a bit intrigued himself, Alton followed A-Double into the room. This wasn't just any room, though. It was the King's room. The walls were large and polished, and there were extravagant portraits and multiple tables of artifacts.
"We shouldn't be in here," Alton muttered nervously. "It's dangerous. We don't know what's happening!"
"Relax, bro! Look around! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!"
While A-Double was looking at all of the extraordinary objects the king had obtained over the years, something else had caught Alton's attention.
It was a scroll, kicked under a small, dusty table. The King must have wanted to forget about its contents. What could it be?
Alton grabbed the scroll and unrolled it. It was a rather short note that read:
The kingdom will fall. You know what you need to do, now do it. Snargan was your last warning. You must do what you have to do before he wakes up... or else.
"A-Double, could you come over here for a second?"
"Nah bro, you've gotta see this first! It's rad!"
Alton walked over to where A-Double was looking. At first it appeared to be some sort of bookshelf, but what A-Double found it to be was much different.
He tugged at a book and the shelf began to turn, revealing an extremely dark and narrow corridor.
A-Double glanced over at Alton.
"It's time to take that extreme adventure I've been talking to you about..."
Date: Jul 11th
...Alton shook his head. "No way. Not going to happen. Allister, we have to stay here. These aren't random folks we're dealing with; they're the King's men, and they told us to stay -- where are you going? Allister!"
The Kacheek sighed and followed A-Double down the corridor. Thankfully, the Spyder webs and other... unpleasant things that hung from the walls and ceilings had been brushed aside by the exuberant Wocky's passing.
Alton hurried behind him, but by the time he caught up the Wocky had emerged in a room lit by a single, ancient chandelier.
"Did you feel the floor slope down?" A-Double asked.
"No. Why?" Alton answered.
"Well, it looks like we're underground."
Alton examined the room more closely. The walls were earthy and cool, and in the darker corners, the Kacheek thought he could see worms squirming in the dirt. He shivered.
"This place is strange."
In addition to the chandelier and walls of earth, there was a small table -- much like the one Alton had found the scroll under -- and two tunnels leading out of the room. One of them was brighter than the other, leading the Kacheek to believe that it led to the surface, or at least back up into the castle.
"We need to go back," Alton insisted. "And you have to look at this. Allister... A-Double, I think we're in way over our heads here. Wait. Where did all the Spyder webs go?"
"What Spyder webs?"
"The ones you had to walk through on your way down here. They were all over the passage; they should be all over your clothes now."
"I didn't run into any."
It took a minute for Alton to work his way to the truth, that someone else had recently come down the corridor before him.
"A-Double, I think... I think the king ran away."
"That's absurd! Why would a radical dude like the King of ALL OF MERIDELL run away from his own castle?"
"Because of this." The Wocky finally paused long enough to read the note Alton was trying to show him.
"Well, that's not cool. Not at all. So, what? Snargan wakes up earlier than expected, Skarl knows it's too late to do whatever he was supposed to do, and he runs? That's pretty far-fetched, even for me, broski. Skarl's not that kind of dude! I bet, I bet someone framed him! I bet someone just made it LOOK like he was running away."
"Why would you want to make it look like the king ran away?" Alton read the note two more times, just to be sure he knew what it said. "This has to be related to him summoning us somehow. There’s just too much of a coincidence." Mathematicians didn't believe in coincidences.
An answer came, but not from where the Kacheek expected. There was a scuffling sound by the darker of the two tunnels, and a shadow emerged...
"Well, at least you're right on one count. It is no coincidence."
The voice was oddly familiar...
Date: Jul 11th
"Who are you?" Alton asked, his voice shaking in spite of himself. "Show yourself!"
The voice complied, and out of the shadows stepped an Ixi, her brown fur slightly matted and her eyes full of shock.
"Sinsi?" Alton exlaimed.
"Sinsi?!?" A-Double echoed.
Alton couldn't exactly claim a friendly relationship with the Ixi -- the number of potato counters had dropped drastically when she invented Shapeshifter, and he couldn't help but feel a bit of animosity toward her.
"What are you doing here?" Alton said, slightly suspicious.
"Something about a 'discrepancy in the treasury,'" Sinsi replied. "No one cares about that anymore, though..."
"Dude, no offense, but why would they get you to handle treasury business?" A-Double asked tactlessly.
"You might be a mathematician, but I'm into logic puzzles," Sinsi said, a bit defensively. "I can solve any puzzle you give me."
"How'd you get down here, though?"
"Through the same corridor you came through. That Techo brought me here... Germ-something..."
"Germar," A-Double said. "Cool guy with the awesome carriage?"
"That's the one," Sinsi answered.
"What did you mean that it's 'no coincidence,' though?"
"Well," Sinsi said thoughtfully. "Think about it. Snargan somehow gets knocked out in the treasury. There's a sum missing from the treasury. You two... and me... get summoned to the castle once this discrepancy is discovered. Skarl disappears."
"Hold on," Alton said, taking out the scroll he had picked up in the king's room. "Take a look at this."
As Sinsi read, her eyes widened, until she finally let out a gasp.
"My goodness," she breathed.
"What's going on, dude?" A-Double said, looking incredibly confused.
"Assuming all of these things are related, there can only be one solution," Sinsi said. "Think about it -- there's money missing from the treasury. Who's allowed in the treasury?"
"Snargan and the king," Alton said.
"Precisely," said Sinsi. "Judging from this scroll, however, Snargan hasn't exactly been an active participant in whatever's going on. He got knocked unconscious. That leaves--"
"Skarl." It all suddenly made more sense now. "Yeah, I was thinking that maybe... maybe the king ran off! The cobwebs--"
"I was thinking the same thing," Sinsi said, nodding. "The thing is, why would Skarl want to take from his own treasury? Unless he wanted to do something... shady and underhanded, shall we say... he could just take the money. It belongs to him. Also, who's writing him these notes?"
"Whoaaa," A-Double said, holding up both hands. "Hold up! Rewind! If the king was doing something 'shady' with the money, then why would he summon us here to basically catch him in the act?"
"We don't know that it was actually him," Alton said. "We never got word directly from him..."
"Well, there's only one thing we can do," Sinsi declared. She held an arm out toward the tunnels. "After you..."
Date: Jul 12th
...The three descended deeper into the underground corridor, nervously checking over their shoulders every so often. Except for Alton, that is. He was so nervous that he probably would have tripped over his own feet if he'd turned around.
"Why do you think there was a secret passageway down here to begin with? This place is old... how long has Skarl been planning this 'shady' business? I wonder," Sinsi mused while they walked.
"Maybe it was originally for something else. I know for a fact that it would make a gnarly skate path," A-Double suggested, looking around. "Is that a door?"
Indeed it was a door, and it was slightly ajar, too.
"After you..." Sinsi said. Alton raised an eyebrow, he'd heard that before.
"Maybe you should go first," he said.
Sinsi rolled her eyes and swung the door open. They walked inside and doubled over with the scent of rancid meat.
"What's that smell? Is someone keeping Slorgs down here or something? This is nasty!" A-Double began to back toward the door.
"No!" Alton said. "We've found Skarrl."
Meridell's king was tied up in a corner of the dimly lit room. He had a scarf secured over his mouth and an angry expression on his face.
"Should we untie him?" Alton asked. "After all, he might be -- excuse the pun -- 'tied up' in some shady business."
"Well, we can at least move the scarf, so he can tell us his side of the story," Sinsi said, doing so as she spoke, cringing a bit at the King's foul odor.
"Shady business?!?" Skarl roared. "Who told you such a thing? Germar? I knew I couldn't trust someone with 'Germ' in their name... untie me so I can go stop him from robbing the treasury."
"Excuse me?" Alton asked.
"That's right. Germar used a slumber potion on Snargan, changed the currency records, left that note I'm sure you found in an obvious place, tied me up here when I found out, then called in some Neopians to decide that I'm too afraid to rule my own kingdom. Untie me, I'm hungry!" Skarl bellowed.
"Well, now I feel silly," Sinsi said sheepishly.
"Come on, Skarl. Let's go get you some food," Alton said.
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that," a voice announced from the doorway...
Date: Jul 12th
...It was Germar, of course. In his hand was clearly a weapon, but it was one Alton had never seen in rural Meridell before. It was sleek and shiny, and made a noise just sitting in the Techo's hand. He stared at it, the name of it on the tip of his tongue...
"Dude, that's, like... a ray gun!" Alistair blurted out, typically graceless.
A ray gun. That was it! Where had Germar gotten a ray gun in Meridell?
Germar rolled his eyes. "Yes, a ray gun. Now, sit down next to King," the Techo said, and paused, sneering for emphasis on the title, "Skarl."
Alton backed up immediately, without a second thought, and so did Sinsi.
"Radical!" breathed Alistair, still staring at the blaster. "Where did you get one of those, dude?"
Germar smirked. "It's amazing what money can buy, even in this bloated kingdom," he said, sneering again on the word "bloated."
"MY MONEY, you mean!" roared Skarl, snarling furiously in his bonds.
"Your money... the money of your citizens... it's all a little blurry for you, isn't it, my lord," the Techo said, somehow turning "my lord" into a sarcastic insult.
Skarl growled, causing Alton to flinch. Alistair was still mesmerized by the weapon, and had taken a few steps forward.
"Now, back with your friends, Wocky," Germar ordered, gesturing with the blaster.
Visibly disappointed, though apparently un-phased by the rest of the situation, Alistair slunk back. His eyes never left, and he was muttering to himself in a very un-Double-A way.
"That’s better," the Techo said, smiling coldly. Over his shoulder, he gestured for someone to come forward, and two figures stepped forward.
"Tie them up," he ordered. With a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, Alton recognized the guard they had met earlier. Germar wasn't working alone.
In short order, the unlikely trio found themselves bound alongside Skarl. What were they going to do?
"There," Germar told them with satisfaction. "Now Skarl disappears, and so do three strangely suspicious figures that the guards will swear were named Pseudonym, Alias, and Allonym... the kingdom loses its monarch, never to be recovered, and will -- of course -- mourn him greatly as the tragic target of foul play, the victim of three suspiciously stupid villains. Someone strong and capable will step up to rule Meridell, and all ends happily ever after."
Alton bristled at the descriptions, then blinked.
"Allonym?" he asked.
Sinsi cleared her throat beside him. "I knew that word sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it, so didn't question it," she said, chagrinned.
Germar smirked again. "Well, it's been nice chatting with you, but I'm afraid I have a duty to announce the tragedy to all of Meridell. Farewell!"
"Wait, dude," Alistair said suddenly. "There's one thing you forgot..."
Date: Jul 13th
...Germar scoffed at that statement. "Skarl is gone, the money is mine, and you three will disappear. What could I have possibly forgotten?"
"Easy, bro," A-Double said. "You forgot to be EXTREME!"
A-Double could barely reach into his pockets as a result of how he was tied up, but he was able to slowly pull out what he had inside of them. It was a potato. Alton noticed that it was one of the potatoes that the Wocky had spilled earlier in the day.
A-Double then dropped the potato and kicked it toward the Techo. The potato went flying and smacked Germar right in the hand that was holding the ray gun.
Germar cried out in pain from the flying spud and pulled the trigger on reflex before dropping the weapon. A laser beam fired out from the ray gun, striking the ropes holding the three of them together and cutting through them, freeing the prisoners.
"Radical!" A-Double shouted out, jumping up in freedom.
"Seize them!" Germar shouted out, still holding his hand. The pair of guards rushed forward, only to be greeted by another barrage of potatoes from the Wocky's pockets. The spuds crashed against their faces with a splat, causing them to cry out as they were blinded by mashed potatoes.
Sinsi quickly took this moment to run to King Skarl and untie the monarch; meanwhile, Alton saw that Germar was going back for his dropped ray gun.
Something suddenly welled up inside of the Kacheek, something that he didn't know he had within him. "EXTREME!" he squeaked out and charged the Techo, crashing into him just before he'd reclaimed his weapon.
"Oooph!" Germar gasped as the farmer knocked him over, knocking the breath out of him.
"Radical, bro!" A-Double said. "I told you that you needed to be more EXTREME!"
"Alright!" A great gruff voice shouted. "That's enough out of all of you!"
King Skarl was back on his feet and he was holding Germar's ray gun, aiming it at the defeated Techo. "It's over, Germar," Skarl said. "You're going to be spending the rest of your life in the dungeon... but you won't be alone."
King Skarl looked over toward his traitorous guards, who quickly dropped to their knees and raised their hands to surrender.
"No... NO!" Germar shouted out. "I was so close, too! And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for your stupid potatoes!"
"Nah dude," A-Double said. "You failed because you weren't EXTREME!" He shot another pose like he was strumming his air guitar as Germar pounded his fist onto the ground in frustration.
Several hours later, after Germar and the traitorous guards had been locked away in a prison cell, Skarl addressed the three Neopians in his throne room. He had just eaten a large meal, so his spirits and mood were better than normal.
"Now then," King Skarl said. "It will take some time, but we'll track down all the money that Germar stole from the treasury. Snargan will be able to account for all of the missing funds once he wakes up."
"I'm just glad we could be of some assistance," Sinsi said. "That Techo had us all fooled."
"Yes, he did," Skarl snarled, thinking about the treachery that had gone on right under his nose.
"That was one uncool bro." A-Double said, crossing his arms and nodding his head, "Totally not radical."
"Now then," Skarl said, "there was one thing that Germar was right about, however -- I did need to see you two." He pointed toward Alton and A-Double.
Alton's eyes perked up. So King Skarl really did need to see them? What was it about?
"Awesome, dude!" A-Double said. "Whatcha need, broski?"
"What my friend means to say," Alton chimed in, "is how can we help you, Your Highness?"
King Skarl pulled out a piece of parchment. "Apparently," Skarl said, reading off the paper, "Meri Acres Farm isn't reaching its potato quota, and seeing how you've been using them, I'm questioning what exactly you've been doing with my potatoes... this last invoice showed that the last batch had carrots and onions mixed in with it! Just what are you doing over there?"
All the color vanished from Alton's face as he looked over to A-Double, who also had a look of shock on his face. Sinsi, however, seemed slightly amused by the whole situation, as everyone looked directly at the Wocky.
"Gnarly, dude..." A-Double said.
Date: Jul 13th
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