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||You are on Week 580
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 Eighty Ends Friday, November 2
|A howling gust of wind echoed off the stone walls of the old tower. Dark, bare trees nearby rustled in the wind. Beneath them, three chatting Neopets dressed in paper costumes and sheets walked down the narrow pathway, happily sharing their trick-or-treating adventures.
"I can't believe I got five Chocolate Gobstoppers," the Usul said gleefully, rummaging through her candy bag as she walked. Her companions, a ghostly sheet and a miniature Dr. Sloth, began examining their candy bags as well.
"Well, I told you the Haunted Fairgrounds give away good stuff tonight," the orange Grarrl said underneath his sheet. "I'm just glad old Bart gave candy instead of apples."
They recounted the exciting events at the Fairgrounds, which had bustled with life that evening in honor of Halloween. Hundreds of tourists had arrived from outside the Haunted Woods vicinity. Half of them didn't understand the games were rigged. It had been amusing to watch the wealthy folks from Altador attempt the Cork Gun Gallery.
"It's getting awfully late, guys," said the small Chia behind his Dr. Sloth mask. "I promised I'd be back home before midnight."
"Just one more stop, Nate," the Usul replied, taking the lead. "Everyone knows you're supposed to visit..." -- her voice dropped to a whisper -- "...her tower on Halloween."
The Usul rolled her eyes and pointed toward the distance. Not far from them stood a lone, stone tower. The full moon illuminated the tower's edges, giving it an eerie glow.
"But... but, isn't that?" The Dr. Sloth mask began shaking slightly.
"Edna's Tower," the Grarrl finished nervously. He swallowed, then added bravely, "I'm not scared, of course. But, um, what are we supposed to do again, exactly?"
"It's a tradition for Neopets to ring the doorbell of the tower and then run away," the Usul explained.
"Doesn't that bother Edna?" Nate asked.
"Yes, Captain Oblivious. That's the point."
The Grarrl took off his sheet and gazed nervously at the looming tower. "Of course, she's not really inside, right?" he asked with a small laugh.
"Nobody knows, Gareth."
The three Neopets had stopped walking. They were only a hundred meters away from the base of the tower now, and could see the ornate green door. A branch from a nearby tree snapped. Nate and Gareth jumped, startled.
"It's okay if you go home now," the Usul said with a hint of smugness. "Not everyone is brave enough. I know I am, because I'm not a scaredy-Meowclops."
Gareth crossed his arms and growled, "Who are you calling a scaredy-Meowclops? I'm up for ringing the doorbell."
Nate looked behind them. They were the only ones on the path. Walking back alone didn't appeal to him. "I--I'm up for it, too," he managed to squeak.
A grin grew on the Usul's face. "Okay then, on the count of three..."
Date: Oct 29th
"One..." the Usul said, a mischievous grin on her face. "Two..."
Before she could get to three, however, the green door to Edna's tower suddenly sprung open!
"Eeek!" the Usul shrieked out, while the Gareth and Nate jumped back a step.
Standing in the doorway was Edna herself, the Zafara looking extremely displeased as she looked around. Before the three of them could move or hide, Edna caught sight of them.
"You three!" she shouted. "Where in Neopia have you been? I sent you out ages ago, and now I find you dressed in some weird attire? What do you think you're doing?!?"
Nate blinked a few times behind his mask. "What do you think she's talking about Jen?" the Chia asked.
Gareth gulped. "I think..." he said, "that she thinks we agreed to help her find ingredients?"
"Don't play dumb!" Edna suddenly shouted, having caught what Nate said. "You know for a fact that I sent the three of you out to find ingredients for my spell hours ago! You'd better have them with you!"
The witch then caught sight of the candy bags that they were carrying. With a quick wave of her paw, Edna said a few words that none of them could understand, but then, seconds later, their candy bags suddenly vanished and reappeared in the clutches of the witch!
"Hey!" Jen shouted out. "Those are ours!"
"Alright, let's see here..." she muttered to herself, ignoring the protesting Usul. "Chocolate Gobstoppers, a Gummy Dice package, a milk chocolate bar..."
Edna grumbled a bit as she dug through the candy bags, not finding whatever it was that she was looking for, turning next to Gareth's candy bag. She rummaged for only a moment before her eyes lit up.
"And a Blue Toothbrush!" she exclaimed, pulling the toothbrush out of the candy bag. "Perfect! You managed to find all of the ingredients!"
"Wait, what?" Gareth said in surprise, both at having Edna's ingredients and at finding out that someone had given him a toothbrush instead of candy.
"I'll just be taking these..." Edna said, gathering their candy bags. "As for your reward..."
The witch clapped once and Jen, Gareth, and Nate suddenly had a handful of Peanut Butter Spiders!
"Eeek!" Jen shrieked out again, dropping them onto the ground.
"I guess you three weren't so useless, after all!" Edna said. "Now, leave me be! I have a spell to finish!"
With that said, Edna returned inside her tower and the large door slammed shut, leaving the three confused Neopets outside, wondering what had just happened.
After a moment, Jen got a determined look on her face. "She just took all of our candy!" she said.
"You're the one who said we should come here in the first place!" Gareth shot back.
"Jen! Gareth! Please!" Nate added. "We should be glad that she didn't turn us into a Blechy, or worse... a Meepit!"
Jen just huffed and took several forceful steps toward Edna's tower.
"What are you doing Jen?" Nate asked, fearing the answer.
"I'm getting my candy back!" Jen replied sharply. "Witch or not..."
Date: Oct 29th
...Jen could hear both of her friends gasp, and she didn't have to turn around to know they were looking at her with a mixture of shock and fear. Little did they know that this wasn't the first time her candy had been stolen in such a manner, but she wasn't going to let it happen to her again. A bit of her bravado faded as she reached the green door and slowly opened it. Peeking inside, she saw no sign of Edna, so she stepped into the foyer and carefully shut the door behind her.
Not much had changed in Edna's tower. The high stone ceiling and walls were laminated by webs and dust. From every corner, Spyders watched her process with their many glowing eyes, but would scurry into the shadows when she drew near. The foyer led into a long hallway. Doors lined the hall, but Jen's attention was drawn to the larger room at the end of the hallway. It had an open archway and light was spilling out from that room. She could hear Edna talking to herself as Jen moved stealthily closer. She made it to the archway and hid in the corner where it met the wall. Peeking out, she looked into the room.
A huge cauldron dominated the room as a noxious smelling mixture bubbled and smoked. Edna was reading aloud to herself from a large book as she tossed ingredients into the cauldron. Their bags of candy lay to one side, and Jen saw she had already thrown in some of what they had gathered. It was too late to save all the candy, but she still might be able to retrieve some of it if she could find a way to distract Edna for a bit.
Edna's familiar, a raggedy Meowclops, was curled up on the floor, but suddenly it raised its head and let out a terrifying hiss. Jen jumped back into the corner, fearful she had been discovered, but the moment she turned she realized that she hadn't been the one to draw the Meowclops' attention.
Nate was standing in the hall, and he seemed to be frozen in place with fear. They briefly made eye contact, and she was very surprised to see the small Chia. She had expected Gareth to follow her, although he was nowhere to be seen at the moment, but Nate had always been such a cautious and fearful individual.
"I see we're not alone," Edna said suddenly. "I know why you are here. You've come to see if I need any more assistance, so you can earn more rewards." She cackled loudly, but to Jen's relief the witch didn't sound mad or upset. "Come on in, because I do need a bit of help."
Nate risked one quick glance at Jen before walking forward, and the Usul realized that Edna still didn't know about her. With a surprising bravery, the young Chia walked into the room with Edna and, after a few minutes, Jen risked peeking around the corner again to see what was happening.
Edna was stirring the mixture with a large spoon as she smiled darkly down at Nate. "I don't need any more ingredients," she said, "but I do need to test this potion. Open wide."
"I don't know," Nate began, but Edna took his open mouth as his agreement. She shoved the spoon inside and Nate coughed as he unwillingly swallowed the potion...
Date: Oct 30th
...Jen gasped as Nate's skin began to glow, then lighten from red into a bright orange. His back stooped and his body rounded out, shrinking in height and growing in girth. His hair rose and stiffened, becoming a dark brown stem. For a moment, Jen thought he might be turning into a Halloween JubJub or Kiko, but then his arms melted into his body and his eyes closed; he then thumped to the ground, inanimate. Jen was left staring at the biggest pumpkin she had ever seen.
"Oh, fiddlesticks," Edna muttered. "That wasn't supposed to happen."
Jen was seized by fury and, without thinking, she leapt out of her hiding place. "How could you?" she demanded. Her anger blazed up from within her, smothering any fear she might have normally felt. "First you steal our candy, and then you turn my friend into a pumpkin?!? You really are a mean old witch, aren't you! Turn him back right away, or I'll-- I'll--"
"Hmph," Edna said, turning back to the cauldron and squinting at it. "Calm down, child. I would never test a potion that I wasn't certain I could reverse on a living being. I would have morphed him right back into a Chia after, you know. After all, a little fright never did anyone harm on Halloween night -- especially not children who ring my doorbell all night to bother me." She glared over her shoulder at Jen, who felt a sliver of guilt in her stomach.
"I see where I went wrong, though," Edna went on. "Too much Grulb. I should be able to change him back, however... if you help me get the ingredients I need for the antidote. The only troublesome thing is that I'll need them all before midnight."
"Why?" Jen asked.
Edna shrugged. "It's just a property of pumpkins. If you transform something into or from a pumpkin, it has to be transformed back before midnight of the same night, or else bad things happen... "
Date: Oct 30th
..."Bad things?" Jen questioned, her eyes diverting toward the pumpkin. Who would have guessed that Nate could make such a fine fruit?
"Oh, never mind about that," Edna said, brushing her off as she paced toward the nearby bookshelf, a myriad of colours clustered upon the tidy shelves. Her finger trailed along the dusty container as her eyes scanned the book desperately in search for the right recipe. With a hasty swish she grasped a dingy lilac scroll and opened it up, a fine mist of dust floating upward as she blew against the paper.
"Well," Jen asked, "what exactly do you need?"
The witch's brow began to fold. Her eyes scanned the paper as she groaned.
"It's going to be harder than I thought," she said, walking feverishly toward the Usul. "I'm going to need two grams of melted Techo claw, three Roast Tentacles, around five Jellied Eyeballs..."
The Usul raised an eyebrow. "Easy, Spooky Foods stocks all of these aplenty!"
"Hmph!" the Zafara exclaimed, her lips twisting into a nasty scowl. "Let me finish! Yes, yes, you're right, all of them are fairly simple... except for the last ingredient."
Jen stood still as the witch stepped toward her, whispering tentatively in her ear.
"Essence of the Spirit of Slumber..."
Date: Oct 31st
...Jen let out a gasp. "Why is that an ingredient?" she wondered aloud. "More importantly, where am I to find it?"
The last anyone had heard of the Spirit of Slumber, he had been responsible for many of the problems that had plagued Neovia a few years prior.
Edna shrugged. "I don't make up the potions, I just brew them. As for where you would find such a thing, go ask that sorry excuse for a witch Sophie. I'll keep an eye on your pumpkin while you're gone."
Jen shivered as she made the trek to the shack deep in the woods where Sophie was known to make her home. She was alone, as she had been unable to find Gareth on her way out of the tower or on her trip to the Spooky Foods shop. It's strange that I didn't run into him at all. Ugh! I can't believe he ditched us.
Even Nate had been worried enough to follow her -- little terrified Nate.
She would worry about Gareth's cowardice later, though, for now she had to focus on saving her friend-turned-pumpkin.
Tentatively, the Usul knocked upon the door of the swamp witch's shack. After a few moments and some hissing by Sophie's own Meowclops familiar, the door opened and the green Ixi peered down at Jen. Jen did her best to return the gaze.
"I don't normally get trick-or-treaters, and I don't give out candy, so what do you want?" she snapped.
"Edna sent me here. She... she turned my friend into a pumpkin and said you could help me get the last ingredient I need to turn him back," Jen explained.
Sophie sighed. "That hag is getting too old to think straight. Fine, fine, what is it that you need?"
"Essence of the Spirit of Slumber."
Sophie's eyes widened in shock. She glanced furtively around. "You'd better come inside," she said in a low voice.
"Why?" Jen asked, sincerely hoping that whatever this was would not take longer than the limited time she had left before midnight.
"There's something you need to know about the item you seek. Something that I've been keeping as a secret, and for good reason..."
Date: Oct 31st
...The witch walked inside, her hooves clenched together tightly as she paced.
"What in Neopia have you been eating?" Jen murmured as she walked inside the dingy shack, clumsily trying her best to close the heavy oak door behind her.
It was surprisingly larger than the tower, the latter consisting entirely or narrow staircases and hallways. The shack consisted of four rooms, and an aroma of finely ground herbs wafted hazily from the cauldron in the center, which was resting carefully among a collection of twigs and branches.
As Jen approached, she was hissed away by a dark Meowclops.
"Silence, Minxy!" Sophie ordered, hurling a candy eyeball toward the angered Petpet. She gazed out of a small window, the night growing darker by the second.
"So... this secret?" Jen questioned, silently moving away from the tempered Meowclops, who was curling comfortably upon the matted rug.
Sophie's gaze did not leave the window. "You have heard of Jubart Igig -- I'm sorry, the Spirit of Slumber and his endeavors, have you not?"
"Of course," the Usul replied, trying her best to remember her schooling. "He has helped cure Neovia of many curses over the years. He's kind of a hero!"
"Pfft," Sophie exhaled loudly. "A hero... maybe when he was alive..."
The clouds covering the moon had parted, leaving the Ixi witch engulfed in a dazzling myriad of moonlight, the light twinkles shining throughout the cabin. She turned to face Jen, her expression void.
"After his passing the Spirit of Slumber could not find rest... his soul had been trailing Neopia for many years, growing wearier and angrier by the day. He has helped lift Neovia of many curses, yes, but his soul is not as pure as many are led to believe. When we had awoken him to help cure Neovia once more, I could tell that he wasn't as willing as we'd had hoped... I had to do something to make him help us, to help the woods!"
"What did you do?" Jen questioned, not liking where this tale was headed.
"I had to take away part of his soul... I had to try and strip away as much evil as I could. It took a while, but I managed to collect enough for him to decide to help us."
"And that soul... that evil you collected... that's the essence that I need..." Jen said with a frown. "But where did you put it?"
"That's the tricky part... I believe that I left it in the hands of--"
Bang, bang, bang...
The duo jumped, turning hastily toward the door. Someone was outside...
Date: Nov 1st
..."Open the door," Sophie commanded.
"Why won't you?" Jen argued.
The Ixi raised her staff. "I'm going to stand armed and ready, just in case this potential intruder proves troublesome for the both of us."
"Okay," the Usul concluded as she inched toward the door.
The knocking came again.
Gingerly, Jen touched the doorknob. Even more carefully, she opened it, just slightly... and, standing on the other side of the doorway, was a small, shriveled Grarrl.
"Gareth?" Jen inquired furiously.
"Er, hey," he replied. "I decided to sum up my courage and talk to Edna. She said you went to Sophie's."
"That I did," the Usul said, her anger lessening slightly. "You're such a coward, Gareth."
"Hey, I came all the way here, didn't I?" the Grarrl responded with a semi-sarcastic smile.
"Fine," Jen said. "I guess you're braver than I thought." She smiled.
"Anyway," the Usul continued, turning toward Sophie, "this is my friend, Gareth." She then realized that the witch was still holding up her staff. "You can put down your weapon, you know--"
"Oh no I can't," she snapped. "The spirit of this Grarrl is familiar, and until I determine the exact location he occupies in my brain I shan't let him into my home unguarded."
"But he's one of my friends--"
"Hush, girl," Sophie interrupted, "or I'll turn you into a Blechy." Slowly, she inched backward toward her potion cabinet and retrieved a bottle filled with blue liquid.
She immediately threw the bottle at the intruder, causing it to shatter and soak the Grarrl.
"What did you do that for?" Jen asked quickly and anxiously, but then she looked at her supposed friend.
He'd begun to change -- transform -- into something else. "You were wise to question my sudden appearance..."
Date: Nov 1st
...Jen gasped and backed away from the thing that used to be her friend. Gareth had changed into... the Spirit of Slumber!
"W-Wha..." Jen stuttered.
The now Lupe before her laughed. "Well, this is quite amazing. I haven't been able to change from that silly Grarrl form by myself at all! But you, Sophie, you know things I don't. I don't think I ever got to thank you for extracting everything good in me."
Sophie snarled. "Tell me, Jubart. How long have you been inhabiting that child?"
"Oh, about two years now. His will is strong: I have only been able to emerge on Halloween night." The Spirit of Slumber gave them a toothy grin. "But now that you've transformed me, I can take full control!"
Jen finally found her voice. "W-What have you done to Gareth?!?"
The Lupe turned to her and cocked his head. "Hmm, I sense that you need me for something. A potion, correct? That so-called witch, Edna, turned your other friend into a pumpkin. Well, I hope he makes a good pie."
With that, the Spirit of Slumber turned and ran out the open door, but not before Sophie could give him a good zap from her staff...
Date: Nov 2nd
...The flash of green essence surrounded the escaping spectral, and the Spirit fell to his knees in agony. "Accursed thou!" he wailed as he collapsed.
Jen's eyes widened. Quickly, she glanced back toward the witch. "What did you to Gareth?!?" the Usul reiterated.
"Whatever you call him, that being there is not your friend," Sophie said as she pointed to the fallen Gelert upon her wooden floor.
"He was... Jubart? The Spirit of Slumber?" Jen asked, rubbing her eyes in disbelief.
"Well, yes and no," Sophie continued. "There are really two Jubarts -- a good one and an evil one. As I said earlier, Mr. Igig was originally reluctant to help us, prompting me to remove some of his soul's evil. There then became two Jubarts. The evil one originally tried to attack us, but I managed to transform it into a Grarrl the likes of which could only be re-transformed into the evil spirit using the liquid I just cast upon him." She then smiled mischievously.
"So, Gareth was evil the entire time?" Jen asked.
"It seems so," Sophie agreed.
"Nate and I have been friends for years, and then Gareth showed up about... a month ago, asking if he could join us. We were okay with it... why did he pick us?" the Usul asked tentatively.
"Luck of the draw," the witch uttered with a shrug. "He was probably searching for someone to give him an excuse to return here."
"What?" Jen asked. She didn't quite understand.
"If a random Grarrl shows up at my doorstep, of course I'm going to realize it's him," the Ixi replied with a smirk. "If he shows up with someone that supposedly knows him as somebody else, however, then I'm going to be more inclined to let him in."
"You still saw right through his disguise, though."
"I'm a clever Neopet," Sophie responded with a smile of self-satisfaction.
"Why'd he wait till Halloween?"
"He's a spectral -- Halloween is the day when their power is at its maximum."
There was a pause.
"So, what do we do with him now?" Jen asked.
Sophie shot another ray of energy from her staff, and he turned into a pile of rubble. "Go ahead, extract some essence," she said with a smug smile as the witch handed her an empty bottle.
Jen bent down and filled up the bottle with the soot of her former friend. A tear rolled down her cheek -- while this creature may have been evil, it had been her friend for a while. Alas...
"Well, I guess I'll be off now," Jen concluded.
"Happy Halloween, young one," Sophie ended. "Now, return to Edna."
The Usul did as told.
"So, this will really work?" Jen asked the Zafara witch.
"Most definitely," Edna replied as she stirred a small bit of the ash Essence of the Spirit of Slumber into her mixture at about 11:58pm. "Done," she finished.
Navigating toward the giant pumpkin, she dribbled the potion all over Nate...
Suddenly his roots retracted, his orange color receded, and the form of a Chia slowly became visible.
"Nate!" Jen shouted as she ran up and hugged her companion. "You're okay!"
"What happened?" Nate asked slowly, his head throbbing.
"You were turned into a pumpkin, but that's over now," Edna said. Walking back to her desk, she retrieved three small pieces of candy. "I kind of wasted your Halloween, and you did give me the oh-so-important essence, so I suppose I can allow you each a treat. Give the third one to your Grarrl friend."
"Er, thanks," Nate said, still kind of confused as he looked at the tiny piece of chocolate.
"Wait," Jen began, "why was the essence 'oh-so-important?'"
"I've needed it too, in the past, but could not get a hold of it. Many other things have I irreversibly turned into a pumpkin because of my lack of the Spirit's evil essence." She looked sadly toward the ground.
"Oh, okay," Jen said, content.
"NOW GET OUT!" Edna shouted at the pair.
They promptly scrambled away.
Outside the tower, Nate asked where Gareth was.
"That's a long story," Jen said as the two walked away. She then commenced the telling of the tale.
Meanwhile, inside, Edna cackled. "Foolish ones," she uttered as she held up the bottle. "They've brought me one of the most important potion ingredients in the world; I could have resolved his pumpkin issue without the essence's aid, but, having sent that Usul to get it for me, I now possess it..."
She laughed to herself and continued stirring the magical liquid brewing in her heavy cauldron...
Date: Nov 3rd
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