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||You are on Week 581
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 One Ends Friday, November 9
|Count Dreusling calmly sipped his espresso. Ah, so refreshing... and caffeinated, too!
A knock on the door disturbed his peaceful reverie. "Come in!" he called.
A shadow Techo crept into the study. "Masssster, there issss a sssstranger waiting for you at the door," he said. His face was uneasy.
The count raised his eyebrow. It was common knowledge that he was not to be disturbed on Saturdays. Why, only a fool would fancy the very notion. "Thank you, Johann," he said to the Techo, smiling. "I shall see him promptly."
Dreusling set down his coffee mug and, after putting on his cloak, strode to the door of his study. Johann followed suit, and the two walked down a flight of stairs and proceeded into the foyer. A haggard Scorchio stood at the entrance. He did not look particularly malicious, and when he saw the two Neopets he took off his top hat and bowed.
Dreusling glared at the visitor. "To what do I owe the pleasure, sir?" he said. "Today is Saturday. You do realize the mess you are in right now, don't you, Mr.--"
"Renghast. Lord Renghast," the Scorchio said as he curled his goatee. "I have important business with both of you," he said, tilting his head toward Johann, "although, I believe somebody here is already rather acquainted with what I have to say." He grinned. "However, perhaps we could move to a more... suitable location before I begin?"
The count paused and closed his eyes for a moment, pondering the situation. Renghast! The name sounded familiar. Where could he have heard that name before?
He soon reopened his eyes. He was staring at the face of the same ashen Scorchio, still wearing that devilish grin upon his face. Dreusling felt something eerie was at work, but he nevertheless nodded toward Johann, who led the group to a table in the dinning room.
"Ah, yes! Let us begin business," Lord Renghast said, sitting down. He procured a small black suitcase from the inner folds of his cloak and set it on the table. "Now, I understand I am speaking to Count Dreusling IV of Westshire and his, erm, butler Johann. Am I correct?"
"Heh, I guesssss you could call me that, a butler. But yesss, 'tissss true," the Techo said. His face lightened slightly.
Lord Renghast nodded. "As I have said, I have some very important business to attend to with you." A glint of red suddenly flashed through his eyes, but quickly dissipated. "There are many secrets hidden deep within the mines of Cogham, as you probably know," he continued, "and our business concerns a very... important secret, which I need you to procure."
Dreusling raised his eyebrow. "Secret?" he whispered.
The Scorchio laughed and clicked open the suitcase...
Date: Nov 5th
...Within its dark compartments sat a single stone, its crystalline shell omitting a violet hue... a gentle mist oozing silently from within. As Dreusling reached toward it, a soft chill embraced his palm, the mist becoming thicker by the second. With slight hesitation, the count retrieved the stone from the suitcase and raised it close to his spectacles, his eyes narrowing as he examined its gentle breeze.
"What is this?" he asked, questioning the Scorchio.
Lord Renghast grinned. "Beautiful, isn't it? Moltarite. A very powerful form of Moltarite."
"Moltarite, eh?" Dreusling continued to examine the hard structure, his spectacles steaming over from its cooling mist. "I've never seen one up close..."
"Ah, you probably have sir. Moltarite is commonplace around the mines... but this, this is something special. All Moltarite starts out as powerful as this, but the heat of the mines drains out the mist with such ferocity that a regular piece of Moltarite would turn into a pebble after only a day or two. But this piece -- yes, this piece seems to be immune. It retains its powers."
Dreusling placed the stone back in the suitcase, his brow folding over in confusion. "Powers? What kind of powers?"
The Scorchio smirked as he shut the suitcase, a gentle click emerging from the tiny lock as it closed. "Well, like I said, to find a piece of Moltarite this powerful is rare. Little research has been done into its properties, and that's where you come in..."
The Count sighed as he wiped his spectacles. "And you want me to fund this research, correct?"
Lord Renghast nodded. "I am sorry to be so forthcoming, sir, but if we were to extract the powerful mist that settles within, who knows how much our mines could benefit? This could be a major step forward for the economy."
Dreusling rose from his chair and approached the nearby window. The city of Moltara was gleaming in the distance, the mechanical humming of its mines audible even from a considerable distance. As the biggest patron of the mines, the Count had helped the mining industry tenfold, the benefits for the city bustling even further by the day.
The economy was running slow, however. The mines had been running low on workers, and any financial gain was a step in the right direction.
"Johann, take Lord Renghast down to the treasury."
The butler nodded. "Yesss sssir..."
"Thank you," the Scorchio said as he followed the Techo out of the door. "Your kindness will not be forgotten."
The duo stepped out and closed the door, smirking wildly toward each other as they made their way down to the treasury.
Date: Nov 5th
They spoke little as they walked down the dark stone hallway, but once they had entered the treasury, their excitement over the success of this swindle lead to uproarious laughter. "Johann" straightened his posture, and dropped the characteristic hiss of the Techo he was impersonating, as they began to load their pockets with all the loot they desired, neopoints and dubloons clinking merrily.
In the study of the Count, however, something strange was going on. The mist from the Moltarite continued to thicken, and formed a dark spiral mist in the center of the room. The Count stared, hypnotized, as a voice began to issue from somewhere deep within.
"WHO HAS STIRRED ME FROM MY SLUMBER?" it said, in a strange, echoing tone.
"Slumber?" Count Dreusling repeated. "Well, then you'll want something to help wake you up. Care for an espresso?" The hypnotic effect was fading fast.
"OH, YES PLEASE," said the entity within the smoke. A tendril of chill miasma reached out to the cup the Count offered. "I'VE BEEN STUCK IN THERE FOR YEARS. IT GOT SO BORING, YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW."
"So, I take it Moltarite doesn't usually contain mysterious smoke entities. It's a good thing my treasury has so many traps installed." Dreusling returned to his chair and sank into it. "So, what's your real story?"
Date: Nov 6th
"I'M AFRAID IT IS SO LONG EVEN I HAVE FORGOTTEN MANY OF THE DETAILS." The voice echoed with weariness. "I REMEMBER A TIME WHEN I WAS LIKE YOU."
"Like me? Witty, rich, and with plenty of enemies?" Dreusling snorted in amusement.
"NO. I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS SOLID. A YOUNG... KYRII I THINK. SOMEONE... BETRAYED ME. YES, THAT'S RIGHT. THEY LOCKED ME WITHIN FOR... I HAVE LOST COUNT OF THE YEARS." The voice seemed sorrowful now.
"Was it that Renghast fellow who did it? He did seem awfully... awful."
"NO... NO, IT WAS SOMEONE MUCH OLDER..."
Speaking of Renghast, the Scorchio and the imposter were becoming weighed down by their heavy haul of neopoints. It would seem to them that all was well and had gone according to plan.
"Dreusling is a fool. This was too easy!" "Johann" grinned.
"Yes, he hardly needed to persuaded! Come, my friend. We musn't be greedy," Renghast said with as straight a face as he could muster before bursting into laughter. His friend joined in, but admitted that they could only carry so much. They turned towards the Treasury door. It was carved ornately, with two jade gruslens guarding each side. Renghast stepped towards the door, but found that it was locked.
"What in the... did Dreusling hear us?" he wondered. Just then, the jade eyes of the gruslens glimmered. Their snarled mouths slowly closed as life began to seep into them...
Date: Nov 6th
"What in Neopia..."
The duo moved back, pacing carefully as to not drop any of their new wares. With a slow, painful creak, the heads of the Gruslens began to turn, their eyes beginning to omit a faint hue of red that was getting progressively deeper by the second.
With a jump, the Gruslens began to speak, their voices COMBINED in perfect unison. "You... must... help us..."
Their voice was pained, a sense of sorrow lingering among the words. Gazing suspiciously at each other, the thieves stepped forward, their hands secured tightly upon the bags of stolen Neopoints.
"W-What do you want?" the Techo stuttered, his brow folding over in confusion.
"He... has been awakened..." the statues replied, the ferocity in their eyes beginning to burn uncontrollably.
"Awakened? Who?" Lord Renghast questioned in the direction of the two monotonous faces.
There was a slight pause, in which the duo could sense the sudden heat in the air, the atmospheric tension beginning to swell up inside them both. When the statues spoke once again, it took them by surprise -- both of them helplessly dropping a couple coins from their loosened grips.
The name struck a bell inside them both. Senior Ferali... the old proprietor of the Moltaran Mines? He'd been a cruel, heartless Kyrii who worked the miners endlessly. It was years before their time, but Renghast had heard the tales surrounding his sudden and mysterious disappearance. According to legend, he'd been swallowed by the magma itself.
"Senior Farali?" the Techo recalled, reminiscing as well. "But... he disappeared years ago."
"Well, he's back..." the stones said as they churned, their heads pointing toward the ceiling. There was a distant mumbling coming from Count Dreusling's living quarters. Was he no longer alone? "And... we need... to banish him... once more..."
Date: Nov 7th
..."But who are you?" the Techo asked the animate statues.
"We... were the ones... to encase him... in... Moltarite... originally," the leftmost one stuttered gravely.
"Why, though?" Renghast asked with a sort of vengeful curiosity. "Also, why was I not made aware of this sooner?"
"You... found... him... deep... in... the mines," the rightmost Gruslen uttered. "He... was transformed... into the most... abundant... mineral... we found."
"And then I found it, took it to be possessed by magic--"
"It was... possessed by magic... our magic," the left Gruslen interrupted Renghast.
"Okay," the Lord continued. "Well, I found the Moltarite and used it as a tactic to rob the wealthy."
"Don't forget my vital part of the plansssss," the supposed Johann piped in. "Getting the rich foolssssss to ac-ssss-cept me asssss a butler and gain their trusssst."
"Sure," Renghast agreed lackadaisically.
"Well..." the rightmost Grulsen continued, his eyes burning with such a fiery red intensity that it seemed as though he could melt himself into a rocky sludge at any time, "we... had to make... that deranged Kyrii... disappear."
"He was... just too careless... with the important... mines," the leftmost statue finished.
The rightmost one picked up the conversation. "We devised... the spell... to be rid of him..."
"To turn... him into... inanimate stone..."
"But in doing so... we had to turn..."
"Ourselves into stone," the two finished in chorus.
Renghast thought he had the details sorted, but wanted to be absolutely sure. "So, you're the ones who had him cased into the Moltarite?"
"Yes," said the left one.
"So, now that he's back, you want me to find a way to recapture him?"
"Precisely," the right one said.
"Well, how do you suppose I do that?" Renghast asked, his tone a mixture of confusion and annoyance.
Again, they answered in unison. "We will perform the spells. You will find a way to free us from the stone..."
Date: Nov 7th
"Free you from the stone?" Johann asked. "How are we supposed to do that?"
"There is only..." the right Gruslen began to say.
"To free us from..." the one on the left continued.
"Our stone tomb," they said together.
"Yes, yes, get on with it!" Renghast said, his neck starting to hurt from looking between the two stone statues as they spoke like that.
"To be... freed... we must be... covered in... liquid gold," the right Gruslen said.
"But not just... any gold," the left one chimed in.
"The gold of... melted Neopoints," they said together, again giving Renghast an annoying crick in his neck from looking between the two of them before his eyes went wide at what they said.
"Wait, just how many melted Neopoints are we talking about?" Renghast asked. "These things don't grow on trees you know!"
"About... a million," the left Gruslen said.
"A million!" Johann shouted. "That's pretty much everything in Dreusling's vault! There will be nothing left for us!"
"If... Farali is... freed..." the right Gruslen started.
"There... will be... nothing," the left one continued.
"Left... for you... anyway," they finished in unison.
"They're right, you know," Renghast said. "As much as I hate to admit it, if that Kyrii does come back, there will be a lot less riches for us to get our hands on, and while losing a million might hurt, it would be worth it to make sure we're rid of him."
"So, what should we do?" Johann said.
"I'll head back into the vault and start melting down Count Dreusling's Neopoints," Renghast said. "After all, I am a Scorchio, and my natural fire should be enough to melt the coins. You stay here and distract him if he shows up."
"It's such a shame that we're going to lose out on all that money, though," Johann said wistfully. "I really thought we were going to hit it big with this heist."
"There's always the next one," Renghast said before heading back into Count Dreusling's vault, leaving Johann alone with the statues.
Not a moment later, Dreusling's voice was suddenly heard. "Ah, Johann. I've been looking for you..."
Date: Nov 8th
...Johann immediately adopted his previous speech pattern. "Yessss, masssster. What issss it you dessssire?" the Techo said, turning around.
"You'll never believe who's upstairs!" Dreusling continued emphatically, a broad smile on his face and excitement in his actions. "Where's Renghast?"
"Er, in the treassssury," his supposed servant revealed. "But, I don't think it'ssssss wissssse for you to enter right now."
"He issss very bussssy calculating. That'sssss, uh, why he ssssent me out here." He smiled nervously.
The count, ignoring the Techo's warning, stepped past him and entered his room of wealth. Johann followed.
"Renghast, do you know who's upstairs?" Dreusling reiterated to his guest.
"Er, who?" Renghast inquired, feigning innocence.
"Some mystical being, who formed from the Moltarite!" the count replied. "He says he used to be a Kyrii, and I'm guessing that--" he then stopped mid-sentence as he took in the situation around him. "Wait," he started tentatively, "in what sort of activity are you engaging down here?" He looked cross.
"Er..." Renghast fumbled.
"Well," Johann piped in, "I wassss sssssshowing Renghasssst the treassssury, asssss you commanded, ssssir."
"But, why does he have sacks of partially-charred Neopoints?" Dreusling asked.
"Well," Renghast started, not totally knowing where he was going, "those statues, guarding the entrance over there, talked to me--"
"They talked to you?" the count inquired with a smirk. He sounded just a tad annoyed, as though he believed the Scorchio to be wasting his time.
"Moltarite apparently talked to you," Renghast rebutted.
Nodding, Dreusling agreed his story sounded just as foolish. "Fine, continue."
"Well, they told me that the mystical being upstairs is Senior Ferali, the terrible former head of the mines--"
"I know," Dreusling suddenly interrupted.
"You know?" Renghast responded, practically gagging. "How?"
"Because I am Senior Ferali," the entity announced. "It was Ferali whose essence overthrew this old rich fool's spirit and now inhabits his body, and it will be Ferali that destroys those statues over there, and now you, I suppose, as you also know, now, of my whereabouts."
"Okay," Renghast said as he slowly backed away from the Ferali in Dreusling's body. He glanced at Johann, who backed away as well. Each had a giant sack of NP in his hand.
"Where are you going, you two?" Ferali asked them. The duo were now outside the treasury, looking at him. He thought he might as well walk out, too, if he were to destroy them...
However, that's when Renghast slammed the treasury door in the entity's face.
Quickly, he breathed more fire upon and subsequently melted all of the Neopoints he and Johann had brought out, hoping the total would equal a million.
"Hurry up, put it on the Gruslens!" Renghast commanded Johann, who promptly did as told. "Ferali could break free from the treasury at any second!"
The Techo's scaly and tough skin made him mostly immune to the intense heat of the melted loot. He picked up a handful and then threw it on the statue, and kept on doing so until both were covered...
Mists started forming around the statues. "Finally..."
Date: Nov 8th
..."We are free of the rock," the cloud on the left proclaimed.
"Indeed," the mist on the right agreed. "We need bodies to inhabit, though -- much like Ferali required the physical essence of the count."
"Err," Renghast started, "I... guess you could use us."
"Yesssss," Johann continued. "We releasssed you, now you may fight for ussss, capture Sssssenior Ferali onc-sss-e more."
"Are you absolutely sure?" the entity on the left inquired.
The door to the treasury then broke open, revealing a very perturbed Dreusling, bent on revenge.
His face, the way he walked, and the general ominous essence about him incited fear in the two thieves.
"Definitely," Renghast hurriedly yelled, apprehension clearly in his voice and his eyes wide.
The two mystical mists respectively entered the bodies of Johann, on the left, and Renghast, on the right.
Instantly, their general demeanor changed.
"Oh, Horaldo, it feels excellent not to be confined to the realm of the statue," Johann said in a speech pattern not his own.
"Agreed, Tyronne," Renghast said. "There's no time to focus on such trivial matters, however -- the time has come to confront such an evil force as this Ferali."
"So, I'm evil now?" Ferali asked.
"You've always been," Tyronne stated. "Which is why we shall commence destroying you."
The two sorcerers approached Ferali, their hands ablaze with a lit fire of magic. "Are you prepared to be destroyed?"
"Wait!" Ferali yelled at the two. "If you destroy me, you also destroy this innocent Neopet that I am currently inhabiting. Would that not go against your morals?"
The bodies of Renghast and Johann turned and faced each other. After a brief discussion, they resumed speaking to Ferali.
"We suppose it would," Tyronne answered.
"Therefore, we've decided this; would you let the chase continue, say, spectral to spectral? Without inhabiting the bodies of other Neopians?" Horaldo continued.
"Supposing I would, how could I then achieve my ultimate re-takeover of the mines?"
"If we were to vanquish you now, you would not be able to do so, either."
There was a pause. "Fine, you two win, but I'm not done. Do you know how many spell casters can reanimate a spectral?" Laughing, he disappeared. Regular light returned to Dreusling's eyes.
The same thing happened with Renghast and Johann, as their spiritual inhabitants left, as well.
"What happened?" Dreusling inquired.
"You were possessed by the ghost of Senior Ferali," Johann responded.
"What happened to your lisp?" the Count asked, concern on his face.
"Er, look..." Renghast began. "I'll just level with you... after all that just happened, with Ferali, and what became of him... I don't think I want to be in the crime business after all."
"Crime business?" Dreusling asked, an eyebrow raised.
"Johann and I are a criminal pair, preying on the wealthy by feeding them false information and getting them to invest -- with us -- under untrue pretenses."
Dreusling burst out in laughter. "I figured as much. This Techo shows up out of the blue, asking for a job, and then you come two days later. That being said, this was really the most excitement I've had in a while, and I wanted to see where it would go."
"You knew? And you're not mad at us?" Johann asked.
"Not really -- but you did melt all of my money, I see, for some reason."
"To save you from Ferali, who had taken over your physical essence," the Schorchio said. "Though, I'm still not sure why the essences left our bodies. Regardless, whatever happened to the Moltarite?"
"I'm not sure," Dreusling responded. "I remember it being there, and then there being mist, but nothing else past that point until now."
So, there was some form of amnesia then, Renghast concluded. He wondered what he might have forgot... "Did you know you had talking, possessed Grulsen statues down here?"
"No," Dreusling answered. "I bought them at a mine auction, after Ferali went missing."
Another question solved.
"Anyway," the Count continued, "you two say you want to get 'out of the crime business.' I could pay you to serve under me -- a nice, honest wage."
"But, I thought I burned 'all of your money.'"
The count laughed again. "My, Renghast, you've got a lot to learn."
The three walked away from the treasury, with Dreusling laughing heartily...
Date: Nov 10th
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