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Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)

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Week 586
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Week 588

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 Seven Ends Friday, January 4

"Could you tell us about the monster that lives in the lake?"

A few of the spectators giggled and rolled their eyes at the question, but after a few moments of joking everyone was eagerly awaiting an answer.

The tour guide looked up from his clipboard and examined the small crowd. "Who asked that?" the red Techo wondered, speaking into a tiny microphone.

Everyone on the glass-bottom boat fell silent. Shifty eyes danced from left to right, but nobody took responsibility. In the back row, a striped Lenny looked down at her little brother, a yellow Pteri, with a warning glare. Don't you dare.

"Well, it's actually a very good question," the guide went on. "The monster of the lake is a long-lasting legend about a great beast that protected the lake and its residents from danger. For years, the monster of the lake was celebrated and thought of as a blessing to the Kikos. That is... until the disappearances started."

"Disappearances?" the curious Pteri asked.

"Shush, Nico!" the Lenny hissed at her brother.

"Yes," the Techo replied with a chilling simplicity. "An increasing number of tourists have come up missing lately, and they were all last seen on the lake. There is a 24-hour volunteer search team looking for them, but there hasn't been any luck yet."

"Have you ever seen the monster while on a tour?" a tiny white Kougra asked, glancing toward Nico to show that he shared an interest in the subject.

The tour guide Techo laughed. "Of course not. The monster is just a myth. There have been no confirmed sightings of the monster, and there never will be."

Nico chimed in. "But the missing tourists--"

"Nico!" the Lenny hissed yet again. "Stop it. You're embarrassing me!"

The sunny Pteri bowed his head and apologized. "Sorry, Callista."

"Now, if you'll look below," the guide continued with his script, "you'll see last year's Coral Garden winner, chosen by Mayor Fuff. This year's winner will be chosen in a few days, when--"

"Hey, psst!" the white Kougra whispered to the Pteri who hung his head in shame. "Nico, is it?"

Nico looked up at the Kougra and smiled. "Yes."

"Well, my name is--"

"Ahem," Callista interrupted, giving the two an annoyed look and motioning toward the tour guide as to hint that she couldn't hear.

Taking the hint, Nico stood up and made his way over to the Kougra so they could talk together quietly. As he made his way across the transparent bottom, though, there was a deep rumbling noise. Panic quickly rose as the boat began to vibrate and sway with waves that swelled violently in all directions. Beneath the boat, the lake floor split open, engulfing the award-winning garden in a brief exposure of molten lava that quickly cooled and hardened. The rumbling stopped and the waters slowly began to calm.

Petrified, and feathers in a muddled mess, Callista shrieked a question of her own. "What was that?!?"

Author: potential_ruler
Date: Jan 2nd
...The tour guide waved a hand casually and rolled his eyes with a smirk. "Oh, don't worry about that! The winning garden is only displayed for three hundred and sixty days. The Coral Garden Committee need to clear the area and prepare for a new winner -- this is the quickest way. I probably should have warned you! Anyway, if you look to the left..."

Most of the tourists had steadied themselves again and, satisfied with their guide's reaction, they all peered to their left at a beautiful park, listening to the history of the location. Nico and the Kougra edged back from the crowds.

"I'm Fran," the Kougra whispered, this time succeeding in introducing himself.

"Many winners of the Poetry Contest claim to have been influenced in this park..." the Techo continued loudly.

"This thing can't be a myth, can it?" Nico muttered.

"The monster in the lake, and the disappearances? It does sound quite suspicious," Fran replied.

"We'll be making a quick stop at the park so you can have a look round," the guide announced. Nico noticed they were quite close to the shore now. "Fifteen minutes, everyone!"

"We could have a look around. You know, to see if we can find anything?" Nico suggested in hushed tones to his new friend.

"Won't your sister notice?" Fran replied while nodding toward the crowds, but Callista was too engaged with their surroundings.

"We'll sneak back before the time's up. Come on..."

Author: epicgiggle
Date: Jan 2nd
...As soon as the boat touched the shore, Nico and Fran hopped off to sneak away from the crowds that rushed toward the park. Among them, Nico noticed with relief, was Callista, nodding eagerly to a speech that their tour guide was giving. Something about a rare flower or tree, probably...

"Let's go, let's go!" Fran implored, urging him back toward the lake. Nico felt the ground squishing wet beneath his feet as they made their way around the shore, leaving a trail of squashed cattails in their wake.

"What are we looking for, exactly?" Fran asked, stepping around a soggy old boot.

"Something that could explain those tourist disappearances. Something that might have something to do with a lake monster. Something suspicious..." Nico paused, nudging at the boot with a foot. "Do you think this could be evidence?"

"That our monster wears boots?" Fran asked, raising an eyebrow.

"No! Maybe one of the tourists dropped it." Nico gazed out at the lake hopefully, scanning for any signs of large monster life. Its surface remained smooth as glass, however, not a ripple in sight... and the clock was ticking fast.

Fran sighed and leaned against an enormous tree, unwrapping a stick of rock candy. "If there is a monster, it probably sleeps during the day. Isn't that what monsters do?" he asked, crunching the candy as he spoke.

However, he then noticed that the Pteri wasn't paying attention to his words. Instead, he was staring at something intensely -- and as Fran followed his friend's gaze, his own eyes widened...

Author: autotune
Date: Jan 3rd
...Across the lake from where they were standing, two figures -- Jetsams, from the shape of them -- were emerging from the water, covered head to tail in strange-looking suits. They seemed to be struggling to bring something ashore: a large, and evidently very heavy, sack.

The friends observed quietly as the Jetsams pulled, pushed, and shoved the sack onto the shore. Then, unable to lift it, they dragged it along the ground and into one of the caves on the cliff range opposite them.

The whole scene gave Nico and Fran inexplicable chills.

Nico broke the silence first, speaking in a hushed tone. "What do you suppose is in the sack?"

"I am sure it is none of our business!" came a very loud reply. Nico and Fran jumped in fright, and then whirled around to see that their tour guide had followed their trail. The Techo looked rather cross with them, but whether it was for wandering off or for having seen the mysterious Jetsams, they couldn't be sure.

After a glance at the cliffs, however, their tour guide's expression seemed to readjust quickly. The Techo chuckled, then said, "What I mean to say is, it's a busy time for the Coral Garden Committee, what with only having a few days to ready the seabed... best to just leave them to their work."

"Is that who they were?" Fran queried. "The Coral Garden Committee?"

"Oh yes! Yes, you see... the suits help them breathe underwater while they clear away all that hardened lava we saw from the boat... but we really ought to get back now, I think, yes..." the guide continued to mumble distractedly, ushering the young Kougra and Pteri back toward the park.

"Strange place for a committee to meet, though," Nico whispered to Fran. "A cliff-side cave?"

"Yeah, and why in Neopia would Jetsams need suits to breathe underwater, anyway?" Fran replied. "It doesn't make much sense."

"Also, just what was in that sack?!?"

The questions had to wait, however, as they rejoined their tour group.

"We'd better meet up with your sister, I think," Fran suggested, and Nico moved forward to look for her.

"Callista?"

"Onto the boat, everyone!" the tour guide called around cheerfully. "We'll be heading to the north end of the lake now, where we'll be able to see..."

Nico drowned him out, however. "Callista!" he called again. Fran was searching, too, but the Lenny was nowhere to be found.

Callista was missing...

Author: leaflunch
Date: Jan 3rd
Nico grew frantic, being shuffled and shoved along with Fran as the tourists advanced toward the boat.

"Callista! Callista!" Nico called, desperately searching the group and the park beyond, hoping he had only missed her and that she was really there. She wasn't.

The guide herded them all onto the boat and closed the gate behind him.

"Sir, wait! My sister isn't on the boat," Nico said quickly.

The Techo shrugged and grinned. "I guess she'll have to catch the next one. We've got to get moving; I have a schedule to keep," he said as he made his way to the front.

Nico watched from the back of the boat as they pulled away from the shore feeling hopeless. Fran rested a hand on his shoulder.

"We can catch a ride on the next tour boat to come back. I'll help you find her. Don't worry, I'm sure she's fine.

"You don't think she was the one in the sack do you?" Nico asked, sounding a little haunted.

"I'm not sure," Fran answered, "but we'll find her..."

Author: trista_22
Date: Jan 4th
...Nico slumped, despondent, against one of the sides of the boat. Fran shrugged and mirrored his new acquaintance.

"You know that just sitting here isn't going to solve anything," Fran stated, an odd sense of authority present in his voice.

"Yeah," the Pteri adjacent him responded. "We can't really do much until we get back to shore, though, can we?"

Fran then got up. "What?" he asked, with a sarcastic kind of smile on his face. "Of course we can! Remember all of those questions we wanted to ask the tour guide?"

Nico sat up. A grin slowly came to his face. "Oh yeah!" he said, and then rose to his feet.

The two young boys trudged toward the rest of the tour group, where the Techo was spitting some kind of fact about water composition.

"Drat!" Nico stressed in a voice hardly above a whisper. "He's occupied."

In response, Fran merely smiled mischievously. "This may be a greater opportunity than any 'Question Time,'" the Kougra replied.

Fran then started walking toward the guide's quarters, motioning for Nico to follow. He wasn't sure exactly where it was, but figured it couldn't be too hard to locate...

***

"Guide's Room," the Kougra said, reading the name plate on the door.

Fran stepped into the cluttered room first. "Wow!" the Kougra proclaimed with a smile as he took in the vastness of the guide's room. His smile then waned as he realized the area was mostly filled with junk.

Nico followed his friend into the quarters and navigated toward what appeared to be a desk. The Pteri examined a few scattered pieces of paper that sat on it before grinning malevolently. "I think we have ourselves a clue," he said to his friend. "Come here!"

Fran walked over to Nico, who read the handwriting on the paper -- it appeared to be a piece of stationary. By the end, he was gaping. "According to this, the guide--"

"Simon," Nico interrupted. The letterhead had specifically said, "From the mind of Simon the Techo, Glass Bottom Boat Tour Guide."

"Yes," Fran continued, not irritated in the slightest by the Pteri's interruption. "Simon here is... trying to win the Coral Garden Decorating Award!"

"Seems so," Nico respondent gravely. His demeanor then changed to be a bit more peppy. "I never would have imagined him to be a decorator!"

"Also, he's somehow in cahoots with the Jetsams!" Fran said, but then frowned. "I'm not entirely sure how, though. Plus, what's this about the rock wall?"

"Either way," Nico stated with a harsh look on his face, "something is definitely up."

"Up?" a voice asked from behind them.

The two youngsters spun around to see Simon.

"There you two are... trespassing in my quarters, eh?" the Techo said, resentment thick in his voice. He marched up to them as they huddled in fear. "We docked 20 minutes ago. I was looking for you two everywhere... shame, I guess you'll end up as the next Neopets to disappear..." He tried to snatch them, but they quickly ran around him.

A chase ensued, with the Techo stalking them all around the ship until the lads outran him and jumped off.

"Ah," Simon said as he nonchalantly waved his hand. "They'll never solve the whole puzzle."

The Techo then left the ship himself. He told the crowd that he was off to take a quick bathroom break before returning.

Instead, he walked toward the Jetsams' Cave. He had some business he had to attend to...

***

Meanwhile, the boys had found their way into the office of Mayor Fuff, a Kiko who opened his arms to all the young Neopians! After all, they were the paying tourists of tomorrow!

This pair seemed more rambunctious than usual, however...

"And that's why you have to follow us to the cave where we saw those two Jetsams dragging that sack!" Nico finished.

Fran handed him the piece of stationary. "Here, read this!"

Fuff took a glance at it and his eyebrows immediately rose. "Why, that Techo in the letterhead is my Head of Tourism..." he trailed.

The mayor then sighed. "Alright," he said with a slight smile. "Lets go and see that cave."

Nico and Fran shared a high five.

***

The three arrived just in time to see Simon leaving.

The Techo saw his boss and immediately attempted to conceal his identity. He wasn't exactly sure how he'd pull it off... maybe he'd take off his hat, or pull it down more, to shield his eyes?

"Simon!" the mayor called out to him.

Curses, Simon thought. I've been spotted.

"Simon!" the two children shouted in unison. They smirked at him.

The Techo sighed. There was no use running now. He walked toward the three.

"Yes?" Simon inquired.

"Please step into this cave with us," the mayor said in a harsh tone.

Sighing, Simon followed them in.

Inside was... rock. There appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary... but that didn't deter Nico and Fran! They explored for a bit and found a loose rock in the cave lining. Upon pressing it, the back of the cave opened, revealing that the back was just a wall that concealed the more draconian things inside.

The two smiled at each other. This explained the rock-thing in the letter, they both thought to each other and themselves.

Inside was a network of Jetsams, with what appeared to be the King Jetsam sitting atop a giant throne at the back. Against the left-hand wall sat a myriad of decorating supplies, and against the right-hand wall was a giant prison.

Nico immediately recognized his sister.

Fuff immediately recognized the winner of last year's decorating contest.

The mayor pulled out a Wocky's Choice-brand Wocky-Tocky and called down to the main office. "I'm going to need every officer to come down to the small cave in section X-19."

***

In the end, Simon and the Jetsams were behind bars and the prisoners had been released. Most still waited around, however, to see the outcome -- undoubtedly, the perpetrators would receive whatever harsh penalties they most-certainly deserved.

"So," Fuff interrogated harshly, "what happened here?" He turned and faced Simon. "What's this about you wanting to win the Decorating Contest?"

"Well," the Techo started in defeat, "it wasn't me. It was the head Jetsam. I was just helping him. He had a plan to rid the undersea of all the previous winners or likely candidates for this year's Decorating Trophy, and I -- as the tour guide -- knew where these Neopians lived."

He turned and faced the youngsters. "So, what you saw in the bag before wasn't your sister, Pteri, but rather one of the impressive decorators down there."

Fuff sighed. "Oh, but why'd you risk your position in the tour industry to help them? Were they threatening you?"

A Jetsam took over this question. "Uh, no sir. We had a trade-thing goin' on, man. Ya see, there was a buncha tourists who... well, would enter this cave while 'sploring, and we had to imprison' 'em. We arranged a deal, right, with Simon, that he could use these 'disappearances' and blame them on the lake monster to, y'know, boost tourism."

Simon sighed. "It's true. I needed something to boost tourism and fast -- folks were coming on these tours less and less frequently -- so I decided to... turn the lake monster into an evil-doer and create this whole story with them." He pointed at the Jetsams, and then looked back down at Nico. "Your sister was one of the cave trespassers."

"But," Fran piped in, "why were the Jetsams wearing those strange-looking suits?"

"That's our team-clothing," the head Jetsam responded in a deep and melancholy tone. "Just like an Altador Cup team has a uniform, right?" He kind of laughed at the end.

Fuff frowned. "Well," he began, addressing the crowd, "it's time for you all to scatter while I try to find a punishment for these three." He then sent them all off.

"Well, that was certainly interesting," Callista said to the two young boys.

"Yes," Nico said. "You know, there's still another day left on this vacation-tour, and... well, I doubt we'll have a tour guide tomorrow. Can I spend the day with Fran?"

Callista smiled. "Sure."

The two lads beamed at each other.

***

Nico and Fran sat atop a low-hanging cliff on one side of the lake.

"I still wish we would have seen that monster," Nico said with a sigh.

That's when there was a large rumbling sound... and a giant serpent-like thing leapt gracefully from the water, shrouded in droplets of mist!

Nico and Fran were stupefied.

As soon as it had come, however, it was gone... and it seemed to have left behind some kind of bottle on the cliff.

Fran reached for the bottle and uncorked it. There was a message inside, which he read aloud:

"Dear Nico and Fran,
Thank you for clearing my name. I really am a good 'monster,' as you call me -- unlike what the rumors that nasty tour guide was spreading about me revealed. So, have a wonderful life, and may you be eternally blessed by the spirit of Kiko Lake!"

The two boys smiled at one another, and then gave each other a big hug.

This really was the greatest vacation either of them had ever had...

The End

Author: rielcz
Date: Jan 4th



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