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 571
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 Seventy One Ends Friday, August 31
|Angel couldn't care less if there was a hidden city in the sky.
The chocolate-colored Bruce heard talk of it every day when she was bustling around the hotel, wiping down the buffet tables and straightening sheets, but it was easy to tune it all out. Since Faerieland had plummeted to the ground, the Darigan Citadel was as high as you could get. It was the only city in the sky. There was nothing above it. Why couldn't everyone just swallow their daydreams and clam up?
This -- this was the Citadel's uptown. It was the clean part of the land. Condo Darigani was the luxury suite of anyone's dreams. None of the riffraff could afford to go here for vacations, nor was it a destination for business travelers.
It was for the richest of the rich.
Those who came here were living in a reverie. What more could they want?
That day, while Angel made the bed of Armando McTashinshire, whose shoes were studded with fourteen-carat diamonds, she couldn’t help but wonder if it existed after all.
She mundanely went through her routine -- get the laundry, clean the bathroom until it sparkled, replace the towels -- and then she started to fluff the pillow.
A leatherbound journal fell out of the pillowcase. Angel hastily grabbed it... so he thought it'd be safe there? She'd heard him say he had a diary. In fact, since Sir McTashinshire stayed for weeks at a time, she figured it was just a matter of time before she found it.
She eagerly popped open the cover and began to read. After all, snooping was part of her job description.
Well, technically it wasn't, but what's the point in being a hotel girl if you're not going to poke around a little?
Date: Aug 27th
...Gazing around to check that the coast was clear, Angel opened the book to its latest entry, the ink still drying.
Once again my trip to the Citadel has been uneventful. I am to resume my work back in Neopia Central in two days' time, yet I refuse to once again leave empty-handed. There must be something here.
The Bruce glared on, unamused. After all, many of the Condo's guests were incredibly rich, and Angel had come across countless juicy items of scandal and betrayal locked away in the guests' rooms. It would take a proper story to grab her attention.
With an inpatient huff she scraped her hand across the index of the book and turned to the week before. Her brown eyes began to skim the page.
I am to depart to the Condo Darigani once more tomorrow evening. This time I will find it. I am assured of this fact. I have finally been granted a meeting with Lord D--
The door handle shook.
The Bruce slammed the book shut and shoved it into the corner of the room, her brow beginning to dampen in a flustered panic. She'd somehow managed to become a master of prying without ever being caught! With an uncomfortable groan, Angel crammed herself into the nearby cupboard, her cheeks brushing painfully against Armando McTashinshire's collection of studded coats.
Surrounded by darkness, the Bruce's ears raised as she listened to the footsteps outside.
It was Sir McTashinshire's; his voice was seemingly perplexed. Angel listened on as he continued to count aloud, his mind clearly in a deep haze of thought.
"Fifteen hours," he concluded.
The second voice made Angel jump. Its boomingly deep tone pierced her ears. Could it be?
"We depart at once. The trip is short, but the journey is treacherous."
"Yes, sir." Armando replied, his voice beginning to brighten with excitement.
Could it be? No...
Angel's thoughts ran away with her as she listened to the second voice.
Date: Aug 27th
...The Bori listened intently as the duo continued their paces around the small room, a slight rustling of bags implying that they were gathering their supplies.
"All set?" Darigan asked, his gravelly voice sending shivers down Angel's spine.
"All set," the Lenny agreed in response.
With that, the footsteps began to pace away, their loud trumping becoming nothing more than a distant patter. Angel waited for a few moments before releasing herself from the stuffy compartment.
"Someone really aught to clean that thing!" she declared.
Brushing off the dust, the Bori tried her best to contemplate what had just happened. Had Lord Darigan really just been in the Condo Darigini, and where were they off to that was so dangerous?
Her eyes darted to where she had chucked the diary, sighing at the now-empty space. With a curious scowl, she retraced her steps and left the room, stepping into the unusually quiet hallway of the Condo. Lord Darigan and Sir McTashinshire were nowhere to be seen.
I really should leave all this behind and get back to work, she told herself. After all, prying is a nasty habit to get into... but then, what's the point of getting so far and not finding out the juicy secret?!?
With an excited flourish, the Bruce raced toward the reception desk, her tiny neck-bow bouncing lazily with each step. Her mind was beginning to race with all of the strange encounter's possibilities. Could the rumors of the hidden city in the sky be true?
Letting out a tiny squeal, Angel leaped into the reception area. A few Neopets were lazily sorting out their luggage in the seating area, while a couple of agitated Chias were arguing with the receptionist behind the desk.
"No, no, no!" one of them screamed. "We paid for a mint on the pillow, so we expect a mint on the pillow!"
Blocking out the sound of the complaints, Angel's eyes began to dart around the lobby. She was just about to lose hope when she saw Lord Darigan and Sir McTashinshire off in the distance, Darigan's flowing black cape whistling away behind him in the wind. They were headed toward the very edge of the Citadel.
The Bruce wasted no time. With a sprint she began to race toward the Condo's exit. Who knew what secrets she would uncover, what juicy gossip she would have to share with her friends, what rumors of a hidden city she would have to--
A cold hand slapped itself down upon her shoulder.
"And just where do you think you're going?..."
Date: Aug 28th
...Angel froze, and then groaned.
Oh, right. Work.
Turning around sheepishly, she glanced at her boss -- who looked Not Happy. In fact, she'd go so far as to say he looked Not At All Happy -- although, with Darigan Acaras, it could be hard to tell sometimes.
"I, uh... I'm not feeling so well, boss..." she mumbled, nerves making her voice sound breathy and weak.
He scowled. "You weren't feeling well last week, either..."
Ack! I can't get fired -- I need this job! I also can't let Darigan and McTashinshire get too far ahead of me! she thought, desperately wracking her brain for a solution.
"You'd better go to the Hospital and figure out what's wrong; we can't have you getting our guests ill," he finished, scowling even deeper.
Angel just about fell over; she thought her heart might hammer right out of her chest. "Y-y-yessir! I'll, uh, do that right way! Thanks, sir!" she rushed, trying to keep her voice breathy, and then darted away as quickly as she could manage while maintaining her façade.
Once outside Condo Darigani, she sighed. That had been close. Although, if she found what she thought she might... she might not need that job, after all. With a smile, she scurried off in the direction she was pretty sure Lord Darigan and his Lenny accomplice had gone.
As she trudged behind the pair, she had to admit that she'd thought she was in for a bit more excitement. The two didn't even chatter, although, if she were in Lord Darigan's presence, she probably wouldn’t talk much, either. After all, he was a pretty intimidating Korbat.
It hadn't taken long to find them; apparently stealth wasn't on the agenda. McTashinshire's coat gleamed and sparkled, even in the dimness that was pervasive throughout the Citadel; it seemed Lord Darigan himself wasn't immune to having wealth flashed carelessly before him. Still, she took care to keep well back; she wasn’t ready for them to find her yet -- if she ever would be.
Ah, well, she mused, It can't take long... he did mention 15 hours, and his journal said he had to leave tomorrow night for Neopia Central...
15 hours, and yet she could have sworn they wasted at least one of those just walking. At first she had pondered Darigan's lack of accompaniment, but finally decided he must not need guards the way Meridell's King did -- after all, Lord Darigan could defend himself.
As one hour lapsed into two, however, Angel began to grow slightly careless. She hadn't planned this excursion very well -- she hadn't taken her lunch break, and she was definitely not wearing appropriate footwear for an extended walk. Not to mention that Bruces weren't really built for hiking, and her steps were only getting tougher. Slowly, her focus shifted to putting one foot in front of another, over and over, as her feet began to protest their rough treatment.
Fortunately for her feet, though -- and unfortunately for Angel herself -- her journey soon came to an abrupt halt. She'd been paying so much attention to her sore feet that she'd failed to notice Lord Darigan and McTashinshire disappear completely from view...
Date: Aug 28th
..."Did we lose her?"
Lord Darigan glanced behind him. The ungainly Bruce was nowhere to be seen. "I believe so."
McTashinshire looked briefly relieved, and then his expression turned to distinct annoyance. "I am so dreadfully sorry for this, sir. She'll be fired immediately when I return."
It had been hard not to notice the heavy footfalls that had followed them since they'd left Condo Darigani, or the scent of chocolate that had hung in the air wherever they went. Bruces weren't built for stealth any more than Darigan Acaras were built for friendly smiles. Lord Darigan and McTashinshire hadn't spoken to each other since they'd left, out of consideration for the danger that their pursuer would overhear. This journey was the result of years of planning and dreaming, and McTashinshire wasn't about to let it get spoiled by some nosy hotel girl.
Lord Darigan glanced around at the barren mountains around them, checking the shadows for hidden eavesdroppers. All was silent, and the breeze smelled of coolness rather than confections. "This is as safe a place as any," he said. "Tell me more about the findings you discussed earlier."
The Lenny's annoyance disappeared, replaced with a giddy excitement. This was the moment when all of his hard work would pay off, when he would succeed in securing the Lord's support for his investigations and his dreams would finally become a reality. This was his moment to impress Lord Darigan. "I've found it, sir," he said eagerly. "After translating hundreds of old books, I finally found it. The key to making the city appear."
"You're getting ahead of yourself," Lord Darigan said mildly. "As much as I'd like to find this city and exploit its resources to bolster the Citadel's own position, I still haven't seen definitive evidence that it exists. Your findings have been intriguing, but I'll need to know more before I start looking for keys to the city."
McTashinshire felt his heart sink, but he pushed ahead. "Please, sir, give me a chance to explain. You are aware that the faeries provide protection over the Neopets of Meridell and the lands below, correct? There was an air faerie who rescued a certain knight that fell from the Citadel a long while ago. It is an unspoken contract between the faeries and the Neopets of those lands that each will appear to help the other in times of need. Likewise, there is an identical contract between the Darigani and the residents of the hidden city."
Lord Darigan looked distinctly unimpressed. "I would have thought I'd have noticed their helping presence before now, such as sometime during that last war."
"Their help isn't the kind that gets noticed; it happens in small ways, but there have been tales told of Neopets who, in their gravest hour of danger, were whisked away to the hidden city and granted immeasurable gifts and luxury."
"So, how exactly do these tales help us, since neither of us are in danger?"
Angel leaned against a rock, panting. It was no use. They were gone.
She glanced around and found herself looking over the edge of a precipice, into the misty abyss of darkened sky that lay below the floating island. Lord Darigan and McTashinshire had led her straight to the edge of the Citadel.
The Bruce sighed. There was nothing to do but go back. First, though, she'd take off these uncomfortable shoes. She leaned over and began tugging on them, too tired to use careful movements.
Suddenly she leaned too far and lost her balance. She slipped off the rock and rolled along the barren ground, straight over the edge of the cliff.
She was falling...
Date: Aug 29th
...Plummeting through the air, far too quickly for comfort. The fall couldn't have taken more than a few seconds, but to Angel, those seconds felt like an eternity.
She hit the ocean below with a splash.
Water surrounded her, pouring into her eyes and ears, and she moved her flippers in an attempt to swim -- Bruces may not have been known for their stealth, but they weren't that bad in water. Columns of bubbles floated up around her as she pulled her way back up to the surface.
Gasping for air, Angel looked around for land. Surrounding her on every side was water -- was there even an ocean under the Citadel? It had been so long since she'd left it. She couldn't be sure.
Then, in front of her eyes, the shimmering green coastline of Meridell appeared. Almost as if by magic, she realized. Was there some mystical force at play here? Further thought told her that this magic, if it even existed, was clearly on her side, taking the fields and replacing them with water, ensuring her an easier landing. If she had fallen onto the dirt, she evidently would be -- No, she thought, interrupting herself. She couldn't think that way. She climbed ashore, then sat in the grass. Water dripped off of her, but she was safe and alive. That was always a plus.
She was sitting on that shore, waiting to dry off, when, in the distance, she saw two other figures falling through the air.
"That's exactly what I'm saying here," McTashinshire said, leaning in close, as though divulging a great secret. "If we were in danger, they would help us. Therefore, we must put ourselves in danger."
"Isn't that... cheating, though?"
"Theoretically, yes, but the residents of this hidden city don't know that, and what they don't know won't hurt them... or us."
"How are we going to put ourselves in danger?"
The Lenny raised one feathered wing and gestured toward the edge of the Citadel.
"Throw ourselves off the edge?" Lord Darigan asked skeptically.
"There's land under these parts," McTashinshire said. "I think you know what I'm talking about here."
Lord Darigan certainly did have his apprehensions and anxieties regarding this plan, though as a lord it was important that he remain calm at all times and not show any fear.
"Are you sure this will work?" he asked harshly.
"Even if it doesn't, you can fly," McTashinshire said, "and so can I."
That was very true, Lord Darigan had to admit.
"Very well, then," he said, giving a curt nod. "Shall I fall first, or will you?"
"On a count of three," the Lenny said, placing himself at the edge. "One, two, three."
They stepped off the citadel at the same moment and were immediately pulled toward the ground.
Lord Darigan then tilted his head downward to take a look at the ground. The ground which wasn't there, he realized.
"Look," he snarled, pointing at the vast blue expanses of sea beneath them.
The Lenny's eyes widened, shocked and (perhaps) a bit scared. The sea beneath them could mean two things -- either the hidden city did exist and its residents were helping them at this very second, or someone else had come here before them and replaced all of the land with sea.
It also meant that neither of them were in danger. A visit from these city-in-the-sky residents was highly unlikely now, and they would have to find another way to get to them...
Date: Aug 29th
...Lord Darigan was ready to go back up to the Citadel, so he and the Lenny flew back. Perched at the Citadel's edge, they both looked down. There was no land, just water -- wide open seas and no sign of Meridell or Brightville.
Darigan's eyes fixed on McTashinshire. "How are we supposed to find it now?!" he snarled.
The Lenny thought for a moment. Then, his face brightened. "We could jump again, and this time try to act like we're drowning."
Lord Darigan shot him a perplexed look. "Are you sure we won't actually drown?" he asked. "Korbats aren't built for swimming, you know, and neither are Lennies."
McTashinshire looked at him. Darigan's response hadn't changed his giddy mood. "Stop being so fussy," he said, his eyes gleaming with excitement. "With my strong legs I'll be able to paddle us to shore."
Darigan gave the Lenny's suggestion some thought. He wasn't so sure he wanted to do it, but it seemed like their only lead, so he reluctantly agreed.
Once again, they plunged off the edge of Darigan Citadel.
Angel was still trying to comprehend exactly what had happened. She looked up and saw the same two figures falling again. Puzzled, she decided to go take a closer look. When she got to the shore next to where they'd landed, she noticed them struggling.
"Help!" the Lenny screeched. "We're drowning..."
Date: Aug 30th
...Angel gasped and quickly dove in. She wasn't the best swimmer in Neopia, but she knew her way around water. She was sure that she'd at least be able to rescue those two before they drowned.
She got to the Lenny first and reached out to him. "Take my hand!" she said, fearing for their safety.
Instead of taking her hand, however, the Lenny suddenly stopped thrashing and struggling. "We can stop now," he sighed. "It didn't work."
Angel was a bit confused by what was going on when Lord Darigan suddenly popped up out of the water, scaring her at the huge splash that he brought with him.
"I'll be sending you the bill for my cape's dry cleaning..." Darigan growled.
The Lenny looked over toward her, suddenly seemed to come to a realization, and then sighed. "It's her again," he said.
"I thought we'd lost her," Darigan huffed.
"That's what I thought, too," McTashinshire said. "Persistent, aren't you?"
At that moment, Angel grasped that they'd realized she had been following them, and had been trying to get away from her. Now that she had caught up to them, what were they going to do now?
"What's going on here?" Angel asked, genuinely confused.
McTashinshire looked over toward Lord Darigan. "Might as well tell her," he said. "Not like it matters now."
The Lenny nodded, and quickly explained the whole situation -- about how they were trying to act like they were in danger so they could get sent to the city in the sky, and about the riches and treasures that were there.
Angel seemed confused at first as he explained the tale, but she was quick to grasp it. No wonder they had been acting like they were drowning.
"Well," McTashinshire said, "it was a good idea in theory; we just weren't counting on you being here."
Angel felt a bit sheepish that she had ruined their plan by trying to be a good Samaritan. "Well," she said, "let me make it up to you."
Both the Lenny and Lord Darigan looked her over. "How?" the Lenny asked.
"Easy," Angel said. "If that's all it takes, then I've got an idea..."
Date: Aug 30th
..."Meridell is full of dangers. All we've got to do is start walking around out there and we're bound to get knocked on the head with a wheel of cheese or eaten by the Turmaculus!”
Lord Darigan looked skeptical. "If I'm not mistaken, he only eats Petpets."
Angel waved her chocolate flippers. "He might make an exception. Believe me, I've had hotel guests come in while I was cleaning and think that I was what was supposed to be left on their pillow." She began paddling. "Come on, let's get to Meridell and find a good spot to get in harm's way. It's our best bet."
McTashinshire, now desperate to latch onto any chance that might keep his dream alive, immediately began to follow. Lord Darigan heaved a sigh and went after the two of them, though privately he began to think that he should have stayed home with a good book and not bothered coming down to meet the Lenny at all.
Some time later, the three of them dragged themselves up onto the green banks of Meridell, water and chocolate pooling beneath their feet. Angel looked around with a mixture of trepidation and amazement, as she'd never been away from the Citadel before, and the bright blue skies and green plains were a wonder for her to see.
"All right, first things first," Angel said. "Look for rampaging Gallions."
"What about the Turmaculus? You're supposed to go up to the Turmaculus," McTashinshire said.
"I never said I was going to go up to the Turmaculus!"
"I distinctly remember hearing that was the plan. You were going to get eaten by the Turmaculus."
"I am not either! My boss thinks I'm at the hospital right now, and if I don't come back, I just know he's not going to give me any severance pay!"
"Well, the Turmaculus isn't going to eat either of us; we're both as bony and hard as a Darigan Neopet's smile. You are inarguably the most delectable, therefore it's got to be you."
"I changed my mind about this plan. I don't think it'd even work."
The scream made both Angel and McTashinshire jump. Whirling in surprise, they saw a trembling Acara covering her mouth and pointing a finger at Lord Darigan, whose face had gone white as a sheet. Two Grarrls in armor came running across the meadows at a speed that belied their muscular bulk and took hold of Lord Darigan's arms, pinning him firmly between them. Without a word, they began marching him away.
Angel and McTashinshire looked at each other, mouths hanging open. They went chasing after the soldiers, their argument forgotten.
* * *
Surrounded by cold walls of rock, the group stood on a red carpet laid out before the throne, quaking under the baleful gaze of King Skarl.
Actually, only McTashinshire was quaking. Lord Darigan's face was set in grim resignation, the two Grarrls that held him looked solemn, and Angel was so glad they weren't standing in front of the Turmaculus right now that she didn't care what Skarl had in store for them.
"Well, Lord Darigan... we meet again," Skarl rumbled, glaring at the Korbat through narrowed eyes. "Odd seeing you here, considering that one of the conditions of our truce was that you would never again show your face in our lands..."
Date: Aug 31st
...Darigan chewed on his lip nervously and gazed fearfully at the floor. The Korbat was obviously tongue-tied.
Well, I would be too, Angel thought.
The Bruce placed one foot forward, then hesitated, but in the end started toward King Skarl, displaying as much courage as she could muster at the moment.
"I'm here to speak on Lord Darigan's behalf," Angel heard herself utter. What in Neopia was she doing? "It was I who had led Lord Darigan and his acquaintance here. I fooled them into following me to the edge of the Citadel, and I hadn't intended for any of the following events to occur. The ledge gave way beneath us, and we plummeted toward the sea. That's when we had trespassed onto your land, Your Majesty. I hadn't any intentions of rousing conflict between Meridell and the Citadel. I hope that you can forgive me for my foolishness and irresponsibility, as well as Lord Darigan for involuntarily breaking the oath between our two lands."
"Mmm," Skarl drawled. He tapped his fingers thoughtfully on the arm of his throne. He then looked up, having made a decision. "I don't believe a word of it, girl. I may not be King Hagan, but I do have some sense, and I can recognize deceit when I hear it. I do believe, however, that you hadn't intended to bring trouble to Meridell, so Darigan... you are free to go."
Darigan lifted his head and sighed with relief. He turned his head backward and met Angel's gaze. He looked curious, flustered... and grateful.
As Darigan gave his respects to King Skarl and started toward the exit with Angel and McTashinshire at the rear, Skarl called, "Wait!"
All three of the visitors froze, and then turned slowly. Of the three of them, though, McTashinshire looked the most tense.
King Skarl pointed an accusing finger at McTashinshire. "The Lenny stays here."
Darigan stiffened, and raised his eyebrows in utter confoundment. "And why is that, King Skarl?"
"Because," King Skarl growled, "he happens to be Meridell's most dangerous fugitive."
Date: Aug 31st
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!