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||You are on Week 572
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 Two Ends Friday, September 7
|"Alright!" the Gelert said, pulling the thermometer from the Zafara's mouth. "You're in perfect health! Just remember to get plenty of exercise and eat healthy. Don't just fill up on snacks!"
"Thanks, Doctor Allister!" the Zafara said, hopping off the examination table.
"I'll see you again in six months!" Doctor Allister said, waving at the patient as he left the examination room.
"Now, let's see..." the Gelert said, looking down at his clipboard. He scanned it for a couple of minutes, checking a few various boxes and writing some notes about the latest checkup he had just given.
Dr. Allister nodded to himself as he worked, and once he was finished, signed a few things on the paper to remind himself of what he had gone through.
Once he was done, the Gelert opened the door to the main area. "Miss Suzanna, send in the next patient, please," he asked the receptionist.
The Ixi looked up from her desk. "That was the last appointment for the day, sir," she said.
"Oh!" Dr. Allister said, genuinely surprised by that development. "I guess Neopia is getting healthier. That's always a good thing. Maybe I can take this opportunity to catch up on some of that paperwork that's piling up in my office?"
Dr. Allister laughed a bit at his poor joke before his receptionist spoke up again. "That was your last appointment, sir," she said. "You do, however, have a walk-in patient in the other room."
"Oh," Dr. Allister said. "Well, please send them in."
The Ixi squirmed nervously in her chair. "It's... kind of a special case, sir," she said. "It's probably best if you see him yourself."
Dr. Allister blinked a bit, but then just shrugged his shoulders and headed for the other waiting room. I wonder what sort of special case it is... he thought to himself.
Well, it was his job as a doctor to see that all his patients got the best care that they could, and that he treated them all with the utmost personal respect.
"Hello!" he said as he walked into the other room. "I'm Doctor Allister, what seems to be..."
The Gelert's voice trailed when he realized what exactly his receptionist had meant by a special case as he looked to the patient with surprise.
Date: Sep 4th
...Allister asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yes, Doctor Allister, it is me," the Koi said slowly, "I've come because I heard you are the best at what you do. You did invent Step Out Shoes, right?"
"No, I--" Allister began, but King Kelpbeard continued like he hadn't heard the Gelert.
"You see, Maraqua faces a great crisis," he continued.
"Again?" Doctor Allister asked before he could stop himself.
King Kelpbeard glared at him but kept talking.
"If there was a way that I could fight it without help from the surface, then rest assured that I would do so. However, it IS a surface problem, so I daresay you should shoulder at least some of the responsibility for fixing it. Besides, Caylis and Isca aren't seeing anything, so we are out of ideas..."
Allister waited fro King Kelpbeard to continue while his imagination dredged up awful tragedies for Maraqua. Did someone try to bob for apples in the sea, and therefore give all of the Maraquans Blurred Vision? Maybe Maraqua's visitors couldn't breath properly, so they were getting sick. Allister could tell by the look on Suzanna'a face that she was thinking similar thoughts. What could have brought King Kelpbeard to Doctor Allister's office?
King Kelpbeard sighed, and then looked around the main area quickly. He frowned at Suzanna and began to look like he wouldn't speak for a moment, but then he reticently returned his gaze to Allister.
"The drains under the Rainbow Pool are leaking into Maraqua, and all of the Maraquans are starting to mutate..."
Date: Sep 4th
..."This wouldn't be a problem anywhere else," Kelpbeard added. "I'm sure Meridell wouldn't complain for an instant if their poverty-stricken locals were suddenly painted faerie, pirate, or even swamp gas. But in Maraqua... we need our gills to breath underwater, doctor. I have my army working overtime handing out magical talismans that stem the problem, but we are reaching breaking point. We need help."
"Of course," Allister replied, understanding the importance of the problem. "I don't really see how I can help, though -- magical paint brushes aren't a medical issue. Surely you will need the help of the Defenders of Neopia to seal the drains, or the sewer cleaners? Not a doctor, of all people."
"I have contacted the Defenders, of course," Kelpbeard answered, seeming slightly offended that Allister would even doubt that had been his first port of call. "They are working on redirecting the drains to an empty stretch of ocean near Moltara. That won't help the Maraquans who have already been changed, however. I need you to cure them, doctor. That is what hospitals are for, is it not? Curing those in need?"
"Well, yes," Allister conceded. "I'm a doctor, though, not a wizard!"
"Nonsense!" Kelpbeard laughed. "You don't need to be so modest, doctor. After all, you invented Step Out Shoes. They are magical, so I'm sure your abilities will do just fine."
"Well, I--" Allister again tried to explain, but Kelpbeard cut over him just as he had done the first time.
"The magic in the talismans that is currently allowing my afflicted subjects to breathe will not last forever, doctor. Time is not on your side, so please work quickly. Now, if you will excuse me, my scales dry out when I am away from water for too long. I should be going."
With that, the King swept out of the room -- at least, as best as a Koi can sweep anywhere while on land.
"I can't do this!" Allister cried, turning to Suzanna.
"Why ever not?" she asked. "He's right about the magical shoes."
"No!" Allister replied. "He's not..."
Date: Sep 5th
"He's not?" Suzanna gasped. "But everyone thinks--"
"Everyone thinks wrong, okay?" Allister said, hanging his head in shame. "Someone else invented it."
"So you just let everyone think it was you?" the outraged receptionist cried.
"I'm not proud of it," Allister protested.
"Well, you're still stuck with this problem, and you're going to have to find a cure," Suzanna said bluntly, shifting papers on her desk.
"I don't know the first thing about inventing medicines! I'm a doctor, not some crazy... pharmacist!"
"Figure it out," Suzanna said.
"What am I supposed to do, though?" Allister groaned, throwing himself onto one of the waiting area couches.
"I don't know much about medicine, but have you tried getting a sample of Rainbow Fountain water? I'm pretty sure you need to know what it is you're curing before you can create anything..."
Date: Sep 5th
...The doctor's eyes lit up. "Suzie, you're a genius."
The Ixi beamed. "Er, thanks," she replied awkwardly, then stiffened and added, "but don't call me 'Suzie.'"
"Fine," Allister agreed. "Alas, there's only one thing wrong with that plan..." he trailed.
"I can't go."
"Why ever not?" Suzanna uttered with a mix of concern and disgust. "Kelpbeard came to you for help; do you want the citizens of Maraqua to perish?"
"Well, no. Not as such, but--"
"But what?" the Ixi interrupted in a demanding, yet not harsh, tone.
"Because the Rainbow Fountain Faerie's the one who created Step Out Shoes," he responded, his voice taking on a forlorn quality. "It was her magic that created the remedy, and I stole the idea from her. I've been profiting off of the product ever since." He bowed his head in shame.
Suzanna gaped. "You mean..." she tried processing the data and formulating a response, "...that you stole something from the faeries and got away with it?"
"From the Rainbow Fountain Faerie, yes," he said sadly. "She knows I did it, but at the same time she won't do anything about it -- she's got a life and reputation to maintain atop the fountain of magic water. If she left, Neopians from all over would steal samples in her absence, with no one to guard the flow," he sighed. "So," the Gelert finished, "there's really no way I can go back."
A thought then struck him. "You could go, however, Miss Suzanna! You're entirely capable of following through with your plan!"
The Ixi was slightly taken aback. "Er, me?"...
Date: Sep 6th
..."What if she asks why I need it?"
Allister stopped for a second to think. "Well, you could tell her that you want to paint yourself a new color..."
"I can't lie to her! She's a faerie! What if she finds out?!?" Suzanna cried angrily.
"Come on, Suzanna. Please do it for me... I mean, for King Kelpbeard... I mean, for Maraqua! Do it for them!" the Doctor implored.
"Alright, alright. I'll go." Suzanna grabbed her purse and headed for Faerieland. She hadn't been there since it had fallen to the ground.
Things sure look different around here! Suzanna thought to herself while approching the Rainbow Fountain, which didn't seem like it was being guarded by the faerie at the moment.
"I knew you'd come here," a mysterious voice said from the bottom of the fountain.
"W-who's there? How do you know?"
The Fountain Faerie gracefully emerged from the fountain, sending colorful splashes of water cascading around her. "Oh, I have my ways of finding things out..."
Date: Sep 6th
"Especially when they involve someone I've had my eye on for a very long time, ever since he stole something from me."
Suzanna went pale. What could she say? The faerie knew everything.
"I'm sorry!" the Ixi blurted. "I didn't know anything about it! I don't approve! I apologize on his behalf! If there's anything I can do--"
The Rainbow Fountain Faerie hushed her with a look, one that was smiling and gentle and brought a wave of relief washing over Suzanna. It was a look that told her that no matter how much Allister had transgressed, the faerie bore no anger or malice toward either of them. "I know why you are here, of course," she said, her voice soft and musical. "King Kelpbeard has been to see the doctor about the drains, I am certain."
"You know about the problem with the drains?"
"Of course. I was the one who opened them."
Suzanna gaped. "You did this on purpose? Why?"
"To teach a lesson," the faerie said with a smile. "Anyone who builds themselves high on an illusory foundation will one day fall when the truth is revealed. It's time for Allister to take responsibility for what he has done."
"But he can't!" Suzanna cried. "His reputation would be ruined! He may have done something foolish once, but he's still a good doctor. I'd hate to see his career destroyed over a single mistake!"
"Had I not been a faerie, perhaps I could have also had a chance of being a doctor. Is it worse to take away a reputation that was wrongfully gained, or to take away a promising career before it has even begun? Don't worry, though; even after admitting to his mistake, Allister will be able to win his way back into the public's good graces by singlehandedly curing Maraqua's entire population."
"But how can he do that? He cures ordinary illnesses, not anything like this!"
The faerie smiled. "I'll give you a hint, but he'll have to figure out the rest on his own."
* * *
"I would have thought that the inventor of Step Out Shoes would have come up with a cure by now."
Allister lay on his desk with his head buried in his arms, trying to ignore the enormous Koi looking over his shoulder. "For some reason I'm having difficulty concentrating, Your Majesty."
"There's no time to lose, doctor. More of my subjects fall victim every minute! If you could just take on a more productive attitude, you'd solve this in no time. Think, how did you come up with the idea for the Step Out Shoes?"
"I didn't, all right?" the Gelert blurted out, slamming his paws on his desk. His ears drooped; his tail hung. That was it... the secret was out. "I didn't invent them," he said, staring at his desk. "I'm a fraud. I don't know how to cure your subjects, Your Majesty. I'm sorry."
"What? But --" King Kelpbeard was too shocked to speak. Allister could sense all of his hopes crumbling, and the weight of his disappointment seemed like it would crush the Gelert.
The door suddenly slammed open, and an Ixi bounded into the room.
"Suzie!" Allister cried, wildly grateful for the distraction.
"Doctor Allister!" Suzanna cried, too excited to complain about the nickname. "I think I know how we can make a cure..."
Date: Sep 7th
..."Excellent!" the doctor exclaimed, the news a gleeful arrival in the otherwise desolate atmosphere of tension between himself and the King.
Perhaps I should have picked this Ixi to develop a cure, Kelpbeard thought as he surveyed the young receptionist. "Please elucidate," the Koi said.
"Well," Suzanna started, facing the king, "the procedure certainly cannot be carried out without the help of our great Allister." She then smiled regally.
The physician gulped. "Alright," the Gelert interjected. "I can probably be of some use..."
"I'll reveal the remaining details later," Miss Suzanna said, then turned and walked out of the waiting room door and into the hospital's hallway, motioning for the doctor to follow.
Allister followed, and the two were soon in a quiet, confined area where they could privately converse.
"Look, Allister," Suzanna began, "the Fountain Faerie is quite aware of the fact you stole her Step Out Shoes. However, she is willing to forgive you and grant you the knowledge necessary to formulate an antidote--"
"That's wonderful!" the doctor interrupted, his eyes wide.
"But," Suzanna continued, a tad irritated over the interruption, "she wants you to go before the press and declare yourself to be a fraud, revealing that she was the one that created the remedy."
"But, my reputation will be ruined!" he breathed, clearly stressed and discontented. "I've built a good deal of my practice around my supposed creation of the footwear."
"All she wants is recognition. The reason why she has decided to help you cure the Maraquans is so that you can get your life back on track following the unavoidable damage to your career," she explained, then smiled nervously.
Seeing the apprehension on her companion's face, she added, "The Fountain Faerie is good. Trust her, and me."
"Fine, I'll hold a press conference," he responded, a tad forlorn, after a few minutes of contemplating. If his reputation had to be sacrificed (at least, temporarily) to restore the lives of thousands, then so be it.
"Fellow Neopians," Allister proclaimed from outside the hospital, before the members of the press that had gathered for his statement. "It is my duty to inform you all that I... I am a fraud."
He bowed his head dramatically in shame, much to surprise of the reporters before him. "I did not create my most well-known cure, Step Out Shoes, despite what I may claim. That said, I did create a few things..."
The Gelert smiled, but realized he had drifted from his thesis. "Regardless, Step Out Shoes were created by the illustrious Fountain Faerie herself, a master of both magic and medical knowledge."
"I would now like to read a prepared statement that she has given me to read to you. 'It is true that I was the one who created the shoes. Do not let that impact your view of Dr. Allister, however. Think of all the other cures that have become available due to his diagnoses: Medicinal Soap, Extra Thick Goggles, Ultra Rubber Gloves.'"
The crowd murmured amongst themselves.
He resumed reading from the paper before him. "I've decided to forgive Allister, and he's decided to allow me to help him continue his research." He looked up from the piece of paper he was holding, and then nodded, signifying to the press that that was the end of the faerie's statement.
"Um, yes," the Gelert said, smiling. "I have invited her join the hospital's board -- even though she will remain at her fountain -- for the purpose of, uh, reviewing cures and aiding in their development."
The reporters seemed to agree with how things had transpired and applauded the doctor.
Dr. Allister, Suzanna beside him, sat in a small boat floating directly above the depths of the underwater city of Maraqua.
"Do you think this will work?" he asked his receptionist.
"Definitely," she replied. "She wouldn't kid around, not with the dire situation down there. Did I tell you she was the one who loosened her pipes?"
"Yes. But, she apparently closed them after the conference. We just had to cure the changed ones." He held up the foot-long capsule that he and the Fountain Faerie had developed as a cure.
"Well, here goes nothing," he said, hoping, as he dropped the capsule into the ocean. It sank below the visual depths. "It's done," the Gelert uttered as he sat back and relaxed.
"Yep. You did a noble thing. It looks like you figured it out."
"The Fountain Faerie told me to give you the hint, 'apologize, and all will be well.' You had to 'figure the rest out on your own,' however. You had to actually agree to the conference, and everything... and you did that." She smiled.
"The Fountain Faerie is one smart Neopian."
With the pull of a switch, the boat roared back toward the shore.
Date: Sep 7th
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