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||You are on Week 576
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 Six Ends Friday, October 5
|Juli loved working for Chef Bonju. Not only did she get to help in the kitchen, but she also go to explore many places that others could only dream of seeing. Most Neopians only got to visit the front room of Bonju's expansive house, where he did all the cooking. As Bonju's assistant, Juli was able to explore wherever she wanted to.
The house was in the shape of a giant cooking bowl, with a giant skylight covering the entire roof to add to the illusion. Juli loved to play in the large courtyard at the center of the house. There were rocks to sit on, pools to swim in, and trees to climb. The entire house opened up to the courtyard, letting the smells of the outside and the kitchen combine. The only place Bonju didn't let Juli explore was his own personal quarters, in the back of the house.
Though the courtyard was the Mynci's favorite place to be, her close second was in the kitchen. Not the main room, mind you, where the guests did the cooking. No, there were too many explosions and bad smells coming from the guest kitchen. Juli liked being in Bonju's kitchen. That was where the real cooking happened.
Bonju mainly put up with Juli's energy because it was in her Mynci nature. Juli could sometimes be a nuisance in the kitchen, but Bonju let her help on the simpler recipes. She called herself an assistant, but Bonju was always reminding Juli to call herself a sous chef, even if she didn't do much cooking. Juli's favorite job was getting ingredients for Bonju, especially if it meant traveling. Her second favorite job was taste testing.
Today, smells of Tigersquash and cinnamon came wafting down the hall. Even from where Juli sat in the courtyard, she could tell something special was cooking. She quickly jumped to her feet and skipped down the hallway. When she neared the kitchen door, Juli slowed to catch her breath. She reached for the door handle, but jumped back as the door swung out towards her, revealing...
Date: Oct 1st
...someone that she had not seen in a very long time.
The aged Zafara's eyes widened as he saw her standing there, breathless. "Juli?"
Juli's heart was still racing quickly, though now for different reasons, and she didn't answer.
The Zafara looked too delighted to notice. "I've been looking for you. For so long. Dear Fyora, is it really you, Juli?"
"Charles..." Juli didn't have to ask; she would have recognized him anywhere, anytime.
Bonju emerged from the kitchen behind Charles with a mixing bowl in his hands. "Good afternoon, Juli. Your father was very excited to hear that you were here."
Bonju smiled at the young Mynci almost sheepishly, having realized by her expression that perhaps the excitement wasn't especially mutual.
Remembering why she had come dancing down the halls, she peered into the bowl Bonju held, ignoring all else. "What are you making?"
"Ah, I thought a special treat to honor the visit of the father of my fantastic sous chef was in order... this here is the filling for the heavenly, flaky, buttery pastry, and--"
"Oh, you aren't doing that for me!" Charles interrupted with questioning surprise. "Oh, I'm sorry, but I can't stay."
Bonju looked momentarily disappointed while Juli looked greatly relieved, but then Bonju smiled generously and said, "I'm sorry to hear that; it would have been a pleasure to have you for dinner. Do not worry, though. This recipe has been begging to be tested for a very long time and certainly won't go to waste. It's simply a shame that you won't be able to enjoy it with us."
Charles nodded absently before turning back to Juli. "Will it take you very long to pack your things?"
All measure of relief vanished from her face with alarming rapidity. "What? I'm not going anywhere."
"Oh, but I'm afraid you haven't a choice."
Charles slid a slender leaf of paper, folded many times, from a pocket in the front of his clearly worn jacket. The sounds the paper made as it was unfolded sounded somehow ominous as Juli watched with a growing tangle of anxiety in her stomach. Charles held the crisp piece of paper up to her and she leaned closer to read the small words printed on its surface...
Date: Oct 1st
..."I know where you are," the note said. "You thought you could escape from me, but perhaps if I get my vengeance on Juli, I will finally be satisfied. She'll be next."
Juli's blood went cold as she read the note. "What... what is all this?" she said, looking up at Charles. "Who sent this? What are they talking about?"
"It's a very long story," Charles sighed, taking the paper back. "A long time ago I made a powerful enemy, and now it seems like they have found me again. Apparently they're not satisfied with just getting revenge on me. They want to take it out on you as well, and that is the last thing I want. I want you to be safe, Juli."
The Mynci was dumbstruck. "Charles... what?"
The Zafara held up his hand. "There's no time for questions. I've been gone for so long for your own protection, and now I need to take you to a safe place... safer than here."
Juli was horrified. How could something like this have happened? What was all this about? How could her dreams suddenly be shattered like this?
Juli shook her head. "I don't want to go," she said resolutely. "I haven't done anything wrong. I don't want my life to be uprooted because of something like this!"
Charles looked at her with tears in his eyes. "Please! It's not safe for you to be here anymore!"
"I'm an adult. I can make my own choices!" she responded.
Charles sighed. "I really can't force you to go if you don't want."
"Excuse me, monsieur Charles," Bonju said, "but who exactly is after you? I could speak with the Emperor of Shenkuu about providing some protection."
Charles shook his head. "That won't help. Not even the emperor could protect me from..."
Date: Oct 2nd
"...the League of Nox."
"The what?" Bonju asked.
"Followers of the late necromancer, Hubrid Nox," Charles added. "They will stop at nothing to get what they want."
"And what do they want?" Bonju asked.
"Their final goal is, of course, the resurrection of their master," Charles said. "For the time being, though, what they are seeking is... revenge. Against me, and they may well hurt Juli to get to me. That's why we must leave -- they will be coming, I know it!"
"Revenge for what?" Juli asked. "What did you do, father?"
"That doesn't matter now," Charles said, evading her. "We must get out of here now. Running is the only solution."
Bonju nodded, "These followers of Nox must be very ruthless to have you so scared. Juli, I agree with him, you must leave -- even if only for a little while, until this blows over."
"If they are coming here, then you are in danger as well," Juli pointed out. "Still so keen on running?"
Bonju bit his lip.
"I have an idea," he said at last. "We will escape to a place where they could not possibly follow us -- the skies above Neopia!"
He pulled open the shutter to the kitchen, revealing a sight in the distance...
Date: Oct 2nd
...Bonju pointed up to a thick mass of clouds hovering above the highest peaks of the mountains that surrounded Shenkuu. Charles and Juli looked up there in confusion.
"I don't understand," Juli said. "How is hiding up on the mountaintops going to help us? If they are followers of Hubrid Nox, then I'm sure they must have some magical ability. A mountain is not going to keep us safe, and then we would be trapped."
"Not the mountain, the clouds," Bonju replied.
They both looked at him, their confusion no less.
"Up there is a faerie settlement. The magic surrounding it is very strong; so strong, in fact, that it held out during the events of two years ago when all of the faeries were turned to stone. It should be strong enough to keep the League of Nox at bay. The faeries up there will shelter you, if I ask them to. I've got a bit of a bond with them; I was sent up there to do what basically amounts to community service as part of my punishment for pushing Hoban overboard."
Charles looked relieved. "That sounds like a good plan, but we must move fast... they won't be far behind."
Bonju nodded. "I will go speak with Captain Tuan. I'm sure he will ready The Cyodrake’s Gaze and her crew to help you. Juli, you should go pack while I’m gone."
Juli nodded as Bonju hurried out the door. Instead of going to pack, however, she just stood there, dumbfounded. The Mynci rubbed the bridge of her nose; this was insane.
"Would you like help packing?" Charles' voice snapped her back to what she was supposed to be doing.
"No, you stay here," Juli said forcefully.
She went off to her room and hastily shoved her belongings into a knapsack. She fumed the entire while; it was just like her father to show up out of the blue and destroy the life she had begun to build for herself. It was always like that when she was a child. She would settle in somewhere, begin to make friends, begin to be happy, and then her mostly-absent father would suddenly relocate them somewhere faraway.
She returned to the kitchen. Charles wasn't there, so she headed out into the courtyard. He was sitting on a rock, looking into some notebook he had. Juli sat down as far from him as she could, fixing her eyes on the ground. About an hour later, Bonju returned.
"Come, the Captain has agreed to take us. He's put out the call to the crew to assemble. We won't likely leave before sundown, but we should get to the ship and wait there," Bonju explained.
Juli rose, slinging her pack more securely over her shoulder. She followed behind Bonju and Charles as they led the way over numerous bridges and up toward the docks where the flying ships were moored. They reached The Cyodrake's Gaze and walked up the gangplank.
Captain Tuan was there with Hoban. The captain nodded toward them. Charles remained on deck while Juli followed Bonju down to the kitchen. That's where they stayed, cooking various dumplings to help ease the stress of the day.
Right as the sun was beginning to slip over the horizon, The Cyodrake's Gaze departed, taking to the sky. About an hour into the trip, Charles came down to the kitchen.
"Juli, can we talk?" he asked.
Bonju discreetly slipped off into the storeroom. Juli groaned under her breath, annoyed with Bonju for leaving her no choice but to talk to him.
"Unless you want to tell me everything, I have nothing to say to you," Juli told him.
Charles opened his mouth to reply, but before he could, the ship pitched violently to one side. Cookware went flying, the dumplings rolled all over, and both Juli and Charles were knocked off their feet.
"What just--" Juli started.
"All hands on deck! We're under attack!" Tuan shouted...
Date: Oct 3rd
...Juli looked down over the ship's railing, hoping to get a closer look at their attackers; alas, the assailants were as good as masked, their identities obscured by the cloud formations beneath The Gaze.
"Curses!" she remarked as she ran toward Tuan.
"Let me guess -- you can't see who just torpedoed us?" Tuan said in a harsh, yet despondent, tone when the Mynci ran toward him.
"Yes," Juli sighed in agreement.
Hoban ran over. "Captain!" he shouted, his arms flailing wildly; he was not known for his ability to remain calm in any sort of situation.
"What?!?" Tuan roared over the loud, whipping wind now totally around the large vessel due to its sharp and speedy decline in altitude.
"As your companion, I must advise you that this ship is going down as the result of a hull breach. Our engines are shot, and we have to land and repair this argosy."
"Yeah, and?" Tuan inquired, annoyance thick in his voice. Thusfar the navigator had spoken the obvious, a waste of time in a dire situation; the Gnorbu could now tell what had enraged Bonju to the point of pushing the Aisha off during a voyage not long ago.
"As a navigator I must claim that, at your current trajectory, you'll crash into the water," Hoban responded stiffly. "Steer east about 20 degrees and we'll be as close as we can get to the faerie settlement while still being in a position for a landing that won't seriously injure us."
The captain began to turn the wheel, as advised.
Another torpedo then soared through the air very quickly, shooting through the stern and taking out the rudder.
The attack was met by another jolt for the crew on board.
"Well, we're going down quickly," Tuan remarked to Hoban. "Tell the others to brace for impact."
The Aisha ran over to Bonju, Juli, and Charles.
"We're crashing!" Juli screamed, tears beginning to stream down her cheeks.
"Yes," Hoban sadly agreed. "They've knocked out our steering; we're going down, and fast." He then smiled and said, "At least, if we survive our destined watery impact, it's not 20 miles until the faerie settlement."
"Juli," the Mynci's father started, "in case we don't make it... I don't want us perishing with you still holding a grudge against me." He sighed. "Let me start at the beginning of this whole mess..."
Date: Oct 3rd
...Explanations would have to come another time. The ship, as it plunged, grazed the side of one of the many mountain peaks. The crew was tossed all around, many of them so wrapped up in the chaos that they had failed to notice the imminent collision. Juli tumbled; she hit the railing and slid over. The last thing she heard was her father's horrified shout.
Juli groaned, opening her eyes. She had passed out or something. The last thing she remembered was tumbling over the side of the ship. She sprang alert; she had fallen over the ship... there is no way she should have survived a fall like that.
"You're awake, at last," a voice said.
Juli turned to the speaker. It was MAGAX. He looked her over.
"You don't look much like your father, girl. I suppose you have a name?"
"Juli," she told him.
He held out a hand to help her to her feet. She took it, and then looked at their surroundings. They were on a ledge on one of the mountains; she looked over the edge at the river below, the river that The Cyodrake's Gaze must have plunged into.
"Charles and the crew?" she gasped.
"The Cyodrake's Gaze is but a ruin on the riverbed about a mile from here. The crew has suffered a far worse fate -- the League of Nox boarded the vessel and took them captive, along with Charles,” MAGAX explained.
MAGAX came over to her and pulled her pack off her back, none too gently.
"Hey!" Juli snapped.
She was surprised, though; she had forgotten she was wearing her knapsack. It had been in the kitchen with her when the first torpedo had struck the ship; her father had grabbed it up and forced it on her as they hurried up on deck. All of that had seemed so unimportant at that moment.
MAGAX rooted around in it and pulled out a bundle wrapped in cloth.
"That's not mine," Juli said, wondering how it had gotten in there.
MAGAX unwrapped it, revealing a small statue shaped like Hubrid Nox.
"What in Fyora's name is that, and why was it in my pack?" Juli demanded.
"This is a powerful artifact of Hubrid's, a statue of him. Your father stole it from them some time ago, not long after Hubrid's demise. I kept telling him to give it to me for safe keeping, but he was such a fool. He honestly believed he could keep outmaneuvering The League. That is why they were after him, to retrieve it, and to get revenge against him for the theft," MAGAX explained.
"But, why was it in my pack?" Juli asked.
"It seems to have been your father's backup plan. The cloth it is wrapped in is infused with faerie magic; it would block The League from sensing it was there. So long as they didn't search your pack, they would think he didn't have it with him. Charles probably intended to promise to tell them where it was in exchange for setting you free. You would go free, taking the artifact with you, and he would give them a bogus location. By the time they realized he had lied, you would have hopefully reached safety," MAGAX theorized.
"That, or it would have made them really angry when they found it on me, because it would look like I was part of his scheme," Juli replied.
"That is the more likely outcome," MAGAX acceded.
MAGAX wrapped the statue securely again and put it in a pouch on his belt. Without a warning, he scooped up Juli and took flight.
"I'm sure that, by now, The League has figured out that Charles doesn't have it, and probably concluded that it must be on you. We need to get you out of here and to the faeries," MAGAX explained as they flew upward.
The League of Nox was closer than he guessed, though...
Date: Oct 4th
... As they slowly ascended toward the faerie settlement.
It was a rather peaceful day -- the skies were clear, and the temperature was just right. Juli had to shield her eyes from the sun because there wasn't a cloud that could block it.
Suddenly, the brightness of the sun let up and shade was cast over Juli's eyes. A group of figures was now blocking the sun.
"That's odd," Juli thought. "Maybe it's some Unis or something."
The figures grew closer and closer, and Juli soon realized that her first thought was far from correct.
The League of Nox appeared in front of them.
"Get ready for a bumpy ride!" MAGAX yelled.
Suddenly, a torpedo shot at the two. MAGAX swerved to the right and barely avoided it. Two more torpedoes were shot and MAGAX managed to escape those, too.
MAGAX was still holding on to the statue.
"Take it Juli, it'll be safer in your backpack!" MAGAX said harshly. Juli took the statue and shoved it into her bag. She felt extremely sick, since rides had never been her thing.
They continued to zigzag with the League of Nox close behind them. Torpedoes continued being shot at them. Finally, a torpedo made contact.
"My bag!" Juli screamed.
The torpedo hit the bag dead center, sending it whirling toward the ground...
Date: Oct 4th
...The contents of the Mynci's bag scattered through the air as it tumbled to the ground. MAGAX swerved to the left to avoid another torpedo as it shot past with blinding speed. Juli lurched forward, reaching for the statue that was still wrapped in faerie cloth, and she nearly fell down with it.
"Careful!" MAGAX shouted over the sound of the firing torpedoes, even as he flew downward at an alarming speed. The intense wind made Juli squeeze her eyes shut, but the last thing she saw was the cloth-wrapped statue of Hubrid Nox as it slowly shrank in the distance.
"It's going to be lost!" she moaned, her eyes still shut.
The Wocky didn't reply and, instead, flew even faster toward the ground. As his speed increased, Juli felt pressure on her face from the wind, but she couldn't help opening her eyes. MAGAX began to spin as he descended, making it all the more difficult for the Mynci to see. Tears streamed from her stinging eyes and her stomach lurched as she watched the world around her spin at a sickening speed.
She first saw the League of Nox giving chase in the distance -- they were now a good distance behind the two -- then she saw the statue below them, plummeting to the ground above the river that The Cyodrake's Gaze had crashed in.
Though the statue was closer to them than it had been before he sped up, they were nearly to the ground now. Juli squeezed her eyes shut and braced for impact, yet again. She thought tearfully of her father Charles and wondered if, just maybe, he was still alive. She then began to panic as she became aware that she may never have the chance to find out...
Date: Oct 5th
..."MAGAX!" she screamed, the winds roaring around her and muffling her words. "YOU'LL KILL US BOTH!"
MAGAX just kept flying, though. His speed increased, the winds increased, the closeness of the ground rapidly increased...
He then replied dramatically, "NO, IF THIS DOESN'T GO AS PLANNED, I'LL ONLY KILL YOU!"
With that, he let the Mynci go, allowing himself the ability to catch up with the Nox miniature almost instantly. Safely returning it to his belt pouch, he soared back into the skies as fast as he could, catching the screaming Juli not 10 feet above the ground.
Both breathing heavily, they returned to the safety of the ground.
"You almost killed me just for that statue?!?" Juli asserted a few minutes following the scare, after she'd had time to catch her breath. She felt genuinely disgusted by the Wocky.
"No, I was almost certain I would be able to catch you," MAGAX replied. "Even if I didn't, though," he added, "your death would have been quick, while I'm certain your father and the others are still suffering at the hands of the League."
A voice then rang out from behind the two. "Drop it," the unknown assailant stated confidently. The voice sounded dangerous. It sounded feminine.
Juli immediately turned around. Out of the corner of her eye, she noted that MAGAX did not; he remained in a criminal's position.
She then realized that whomever it was had MAGAX locked in a forcefield; they did not want the Wocky to get away.
Why not the same with Juli?
The Mynci realized who it was that was standing in front of her; Fyora, the Faerie Queen.
"Hello, daughter of Charles," the queen said softly to Juli.
"Why are you working for the League?" Juli interrogated, anger deep in her tone. She felt like striking this majestic creature before her, yet knew that, with the Queen's magic, it would do no good. The Mynci stayed still and maintained her position.
Fyora just laughed. "You have it all wrong, dear," she replied. "He," and then she pointed to MAGAX, "is the head of League of Nox."
Juli gasped. "Is that true?"
Fyora then withdrew a part of her spell, allowing the villain to reply, yet still be stuck in place. "Yes," he started.
Sighing, he continued. "I'm the president of the League. That Chia was my friend and mentor, the one that gave me a reason to live. He then gave me a different reason to live; my mission became to destroy him. Ever since his demise, my life's been essentially meaningless. I wanted nothing more than to bring him back. I had this entire thing planned, from your supposed rescue to the torpedo that just hit your bag."
It was then that Fyora walked over to MAGAX and plucked the small statue out of his hands.
"That statue was created and hexed by Jhudora herself," MAGAX said despondently. "I had to pay her a hefty sum to get her to do it."
"Why were you after my father?" Juli questioned, neutrality present in her voice. Though far from contented, she didn't sound super angry.
The Wocky sighed again. "Charles was a very important person in the League. He helped spread the word about us; he was our greatest canvasser... but then he double-crossed us, stole the Nox relic, and has been running from us ever since."
Juli, seeming satisfied enough, turned back toward Fyora. "Is my father okay?" she asked.
The queen smiled. "He, and the others, are fine. My sister faeries at the northern colony managed to break them out, imprisoning many lower level members of the League. Once Charles told them about you and the situation you were in, they contacted me and I arrived to, well, 'save the day.'"
Concealing MAGAX in the forcefield once more, Fyora took him and Juli to the settlement.
"Juli, I'm so, so sorry," Charles started. "Let me start at the beginning--"
"No, Dad," the Mynci interrupted. "I know about everything. I forgive you."
The two smiled and hugged, joyous tears streaming down their faces.
That night, Bonju cooked up a marvelous feast of experimental croissant crepes.
Everyone thought they were delicious. Fyora proposed a toast to Charles, Juli, and everyone else involved.
MAGAX and the others were sent to some prison in Faerieland, allowing all involved to no longer feel threatened by the League.
It was a wonderful evening.
Date: Oct 5th
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