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||You are on Week 597
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 Ninety Seven Ends Friday, March 15
|Citra muttered, hugging her pillow over her head. The sun had just barely peeked over the horizon when the clash of sword and shield rang out across Tyrannia. Wearily, Citra lifted the pillow and she eyed her alarm clock. It wasn't due to ring for another hour. She sighed audibly and, hearing the soft clatter of someone bustling around the house, irritably yelled out.
"Mooooooooom, they're doing it again!"
A few moments later, her door creaked open, and her mother, Sedena, lumbered inside. She softly patted Citra's head, peering out the window at the large obelisk in the distance. The strange tower brought nothing but irritability to the inhabitants of Tyrannia. The place had been rather peaceful lately, but now... this.
"I know, dear," Sedena cooed. "Hopefully it won't go on too much longer. Soon enough, those brutes and thieves and wizards and whatever other strange sorts out there will find what they're looking for and be on their way."
Citra huffed, once more hugging the pillow over her head.
"What are they even fighting for? What's in that stupid obelisk?" Citra questioned.
Sedena shook her head, her long Chomby neck craning once more to glance out the window.
"No one knows, my darling, no one knows."
Citra chuckled to herself.
"I hope it's a tower full of hungry Meepits!" Citra cackled out loud.
Sedena giggled and pat her daughter's head once more before heading back out to the kitchen. Citra finally sat up and looked out the window. The dust was kicking up from the fray. The sun glinted off steel weapons, catching her eye even across the distance.
Citra muttered, "If only I could find out what's in that tower, then they would all stop and go home right now, and I could get some sleep."
The idea merely started as a personal joke, but it quickly gained momentum inside Citra's mind. No one knew what was in the obelisk, but if they did, and got it, everyone would stop fighting and go home. Maybe a little Chomby was the right Neopet for just such a job?
Citra packed a small satchel with her adventuring supplies, gave a quick hug to her mom, and stated that she would be back later that evening. As she stepped out of her Neohome, she gulped. She at least hoped she'd come back home.
The edges of the battle weren't very far away, for the scale of the whole escapade had grown exponentially. It wasn't very long until Citra had her first encounter with...
Date: Mar 11th
...the warriors themselves.
"En garde!" shouted an angry-looking Mynci with a pointy brown hat. He waved his wand menacingly at Citra's bag, and a loud CROAK erupted from one of the pockets.
"My Neocola!" Citra cried. Where there had once been a fizzy surprise was now a bug-eyed blue Mortog.
"Aha! Do you admit defeat, young Chomby?" the Mynci gloated, "Or have you not yet learned your lesson?"
"I'm not a fighter!" Citra retorted at the wizard with the immaculately-groomed facial hair. "I just want the fighting to stop so that I can get some sleep. It's worse than when Jazzmosis plays an all-night jam session!" She had seen the wizard's kind among the first to enter the fray, jumping around and slinging potions. He wasn't as scary as most of the battlers, so what did she have to lose by talking to him? "I'm going to show everyone that whatever's in that hunk of rock isn't worth fighting over."
"The fight won't end until the mystery of the obelisk is unraveled!" her assailant proclaimed. "And I, Lorrin the Powerful, will be your guide on this journey." He bowed deeply, losing his hat in the process.
"Excellent!" Citra said with a giggle. Lorrin, Citra, and their new Mortog companion set off toward the mysterious tower, completely unaware that they would soon...
Date: Mar 11th
...be accosted by a much more formidable foe.
"So, why exactly are you all here?" Citra asked her new travelling companion.
Lorrin puffed out his chest. "The Order of the Red Erism is here to unravel the mysteries of this obelisk! This ancient relic certainly holds many magical secrets. Our purpose is noble, unlike the rest of the thieves and vagabonds clamoring for control of the obelisk."
"Uh-huh," the Chomby responded, struggling not to roll her eyes. "And the Red Erism is okay with befriending random Neopets on the battlefield and marching ahead straight into the heart of the obelisk?"
Lorrin looked a bit sheepish. "Well, you seemed nice enough and, well..." He ducked his head, slipping under an errant spell. "I'm not the greatest of fighters, but I will be!" he added hastily. "The secrets of the arcane will reveal themselves to me, and surely, what lies in the obelisk will be a wondrous boon!"
"I'm sure it will," Citra said with a smile, actually meaning it. Racket-causer or not, Lorrin seemed like a nice guy.
"But in the meantime," thundered a booming voice, "you're easy pickings."
Lorrin and Citra jolted. Towering above them was the biggest Poogle either of them had ever seen -- indeed, if a giant wall of muscle and stone could be called a Poogle.
Citra blanched, but her Mynci companion stepped forward bravely.
"Stand aside, in the name of science!" Lorrin commanded.
"Croak!" the Mortog agreed.
The Poogle chuckled and cracked his knuckles. "Have at it, then..."
Date: Mar 12th
...The Poogle's attack was over before it began. Just as he raised his club to attack, a blue blur connected with the weapon and yanked it away. The Poogle wore a look of bewilderment.
"It seems there is more honor among thieves than among Neopia's finest warriors," the Ixi currently flipping the club over in his hand said disdainfully.
"I've got other weapons, you little rat, and I'm not afraid to use them!" the Poogle snarled, thoroughly distracted by the thief's appearance.
"By all means, then... use them," the Ixi said, pulling out a dagger. "I could use some entertainment."
He caught Citra's eye and nodded his head imperceptibly. The Chomby had enough sense to grab Lorrin's arm and hurriedly walk away from the battle.
"I could have taken him. A bully like that has no right to the obelisk. These are exactly the sort of Neopians from whom the Order of the Red Erisim is trying to save the obelisk!" Lorrin snapped as they walked away, finding a path well clear of the fighting.
"I just want whoever's the quietest to get the obelisk," Citra said. "Everyone else can go home."
"Now, I wonder what gives you the right to decide who is worthy or unworthy of claiming the obelisk?" an amused voice behind the pair asked. Citra and Lorrin both turned around simultaneously to see...
Date: Mar 12th
...a tall red Bori wearing a pointed hat and delicate, embroidered robes. Lorrin let out a very loud and extremely dramatic gasp, looking as though he might faint.
"I-it's... oh my goodness... I'm..."
Even Citra, who had known the Mynci for all of five minutes, could tell that he held this Bori in high regard.
"It's Rasala the Bright," he whispered excitedly in Citra's ear. "The greatest mage to ever walk in Tyrannia... she's the one that's going to lead us to victory!"
"It will be difficult to achieve victory if our warriors are fooling around with Mortogs," Rasala remarked drily, glancing at the Neocola-turned-Mortog that sat croaking in Citra's pockets.
Lorrin immediately turned a shade of bright red and looked down at the ground, muttering something about practicing his attack magic.
"So, what brings you here?" the Bori asked, turning her attention to Citra.
"I'm here to ask you all to please fight a little bit quieter," Citra said. "I haven't slept a full night since the fighting started, and I can barely leave my house without getting singed by a fireball..."
"Indeed," Rasala sighed. "It seems that this fighting has gone on long enough, but the end is nowhere near sight..."
"How so?" Lorrin blurted out, having recovered, somewhat, from his awe.
"You see," the mage said, turning to face the obelisk, "We've received word from one of our field agents that the obelisk is more dangerous than we previously thought..."
Date: Mar 13th
..."I was only joking when I wished that it was full of hungry Meepits!" Citra said.
"Even more dangerous than that," Rasala said, "although, if you value your face, you should never joke about hungry Meepits."
"Even I know that one," Lorrin said.
The Mortog ribbited in agreement as well.
"Okay! No Meepits!" Citra said. "What exactly is so dangerous about it?"
"You haven't felt it, have you?" Rasala said. "Our field agents have all reported that the battles don't seem to be showing any sign of stopping because no one seems to be able to stop."
"So then, just stop!" Citra said.
"We can't. I just said that!" Rasala retorted.
"What do you mean you can't?" Citra asked.
"Okay, maybe I should explain this better," the leader of the Order said. "You've seen how everyone seems to be fighting, like even Lorrin here. He was part of our first wave. Why then, after the other factions sent out their stronger soldiers, have the first fighters remained out here?"
"Because you still need my help?" Lorrin asked.
"Because we seem to be incapable of pulling them back," she replied. "None of us from any side can pull our weaker members off of the battlefield. There's some sort of barrier keeping anyone who's fighting from leaving! We're stuck here!"
"What!" Citra said.
"Anyone who's thrown a punch or a fireball or anything on this battlefield can't leave! I came down here myself, not only to try and help my side, but to also see if I could break whatever spell is holding us here. I can't even get close to the obelisk, though."
"So, what should we do?" Lorrin asked. "I have a family! I don't want to be stuck in Tyrannia!"
"I don't want you to be stuck here, either!" Citra said.
"There's only one thing I can think of..." the mage said. "Whatever this spell or curse is, it only seems to be affecting those who have fought. That means someone who is unaligned and hasn't battled yet isn't caught in it's grasp."
The leader of the Order looked over to Citra. "It appears that it's up to you," she said. "You're the only one now who can get to the obelisk and stop all of this..."
Date: Mar 13th
...Citra blinked, waiting for the punch line. There had to be one, hadn't there? Her? Get to the obelisk, with the hungry Meepits and all? Alright... Meepits aside, she was just Citra. Just an average Chomby. How was plain old Citra going to do anything Rasala the Bright couldn't?
"Citra, you're going to be a hero!" Lorrin exclaimed excitedly.
"I..." Citra tried, opening her mouth and then closing it again. A hero? She didn't feel like one. Weren't heroes all brave and noble and fearsome? She didn't feel like any of that. She was Citra, just Citra.
"You can't?" Rasala asked gently.
Citra shook her head.
Nerves. It was normal. Citra was a civilian; asking so much of her was unreasonable, but there wasn't any other way.
"I knew it," Rasala sighed.
"You knew it?" Citra asked.
"I knew that I couldn't count on some careless brat who just blundered her way across a battlefield. I mean, what was I thinking?"
"M-my lady, pardon me for saying so, but--" Lorrin cut himself off as Rasala turned away from Citra and winked at him deliberately.
"You're absolutely right. Impeccable judge of character, my lady. Citra is, most definitely, too reckless and impulsive to cure us of this wretched spell."
"Excuse me?" Citra asked.
"Well, you said so yourself. You can't," Lorrin said.
"For the record, I had the good sense to pull you out of danger when that Poogle came at us. That was me, Citra, not you."
"Granted, you have a good head upon your shoulders, but then, you still lack the courage to take on the obelisk, young Chomby," Rasala said with a shrug.
"Courage? I stepped foot onto this battleground, even with all the clashing swords and the flying fireballs. That was me; that was Citra."
Rasala hid a smile as the riled Chomby went on.
"Going into the obelisk and finding out what's there was why I came here in the first place, and I'm not going to stop until I've done just that. Also, while I'm at it, I'll get rid of the curse and free all the battlers from this war zone, too. Just watch me."
"We'll do more than just watch you, Citra. We're here to help you," Rasala said.
There was the sound of clapping, and the three of them froze.
"Bravo! Bravo! Now, why wasn't I invited to this party?"
Citra turned around and saw...
Date: Mar 14th
...the Poogle that had attacked them just minutes before. Citra gulped -- not out of fear for the Poogle, but rather, of the Skeith that trailed after him.
"Buster," he snapped. "Stop that."
Immediately, the Poogle -- or rather, the wall of stone and muscle in a vaguely Poogle-esque shape -- shrank back and galloped off into the distance.
The Skeith wasn't half as tall as the Poogle, but Citra recognized him easily -- Commander Flint, the feared leader of the Brute Squad. His skills in battle were common knowledge, but so, Citra remembered, were his ruthless and fierce personality.
"What is the meaning of this, Rasala?" he asked, sounding much less amicable than before.
"She's here to get us out," the Bori calmly said, looking completely at peace even with the gigantic, mace-wielding Skeith staring down at her. "If you'll remember, Flint, we can't seem to leave the general vicinity of this obelisk..."
"Don't get me started," the Skeith muttered. "How do you expect to do this with all those fireballs flying around?" he barked at Citra.
"I... I don't know," Citra confessed.
She didn't lack courage, that much she knew, but this
was a special set of circumstances and she needed a plan -- not just mind and motivation.
"She can get to the obelisk!" Lorrin exclaimed. "She's not aligned with anybody, so she's still safe!"
"Really, now?" Flint murmured, sounding somewhat skeptical. "Let's see this, then."
Citra glanced back at Lorrin and Rasala, seeking out their gazes. Lorrin gave her a bright smile and Rasala nodded slightly.
She took a couple of steps down the hill, skidding a few inches on the smooth, warm rock, and then she ran forth a couple more paces. The obelisk loomed in front of her, bobbing up and down when she ran, slowly growing larger. She looked back at Lorrin, Rasala, and Flint, who looked no bigger than Warfs.
Around her, chaos reigned; ducking fireballs and sidestepping battlers, she was almost crushed by a passing Brute Squad member as he duked it out with a member of the Seekers. Citra muttered a quick apology and dashed away.
The masses slowly thinned out the closer she got to the obelisk, and before long, she was the only Neopian who had made it that far. Citra glanced back at her friends, still standing in the distance. They were the size of plushies now. She could just make out Lorrin, waving his arms frantically at her.
She then turned back to the obelisk. So close now -- twenty paces... she started walking, slower. Fifteen paces, ten. She could reach out her arm and touch it...
Date: Mar 14th
...and as she did so, the rest of the world seemed to fade entirely. In a way, she knew it was still there -- vague outlines, almost like ghosts, moved in the periphery of her vision. However, the world had taken on a brownish, greyed-out tone, as if shrouded in fog with light just beyond the fog, and sounds were strangely muted. Even the sound of her breath sounded slow and far away, almost like she was listening to someone else breathe.
WHO DARES TOUCH THE OBELISK?
The words boomed out, loud, and yet, silently; if she could have, Citra would have quaked where she stood, but she found she could not move. She had heard the words, but at the same time she was certain the words hadn't been spoken aloud. Confusion swept across her; had she heard those words... in her mind?
The words rang out again, echoing within the Chomby's skull; she flinched at their impact. They sounded cold, frozen with fury.
ANSWER AT ONCE!
"I... I do!" Citra replied weakly, her voice barely more than a whisper, though it was shockingly loud in contrast to the silence that had reigned outside her brain.
For a beat, there was silence.
AND YOU ARE?
Despite the wording, it wasn't a question so much as a demand.
"Ci... Citra," she stuttered, shaking. Rasala hadn't said anything about confronting a voice inside her head! Come to think of it, Rasala hadn't said much at all -- other than that only Citra could allow the different factions to flee the battlefield.
WHY ARE YOU HERE, CITRA?
"To st... to stop the fighting," she answered, her voice growing somewhat strong as the voice reverberating inside her head took on a less hostile tone.
WHAT CONCERN IS THAT OF YOURS?
The voice grew cold again, and Citra flinched, but forged on. "I'm from Tyrannia! I live here, and this battle... this battle is ruining everything! My friends, my family... we've all barely slept since it began. Between the noise and the fear of having so many warriors clashing around us, we can't go on like this -- and I don't want to leave my home!" she shouted, her impassioned speech ending on a declaration that was half-plea.
If silent voices could sigh, this one did, and almost imperceptibly, the fog around Citra grew brighter, less like the world was wrapped in cotton. The distant ghostly figures grew no clearer, but the air itself seemed to relax, and the Chomby found that she wasn't immobilized quite as strongly as she had been before. She couldn't remove her hand from the obelisk, but she could move more than her eyes, and that was something.
"Unfortunately child, it isn't as simple as you hope," the voice said, sounding old and sad; it took Citra a moment to realize that she had heard the voice outside of her head. To her left, a figure emerged from the fog...
Date: Mar 15th
...followed by five others.
The Neopet who led the army forward from the obelisk -- the one who had spoken to her -- was a Bruce. His effulgent outward appearance in no way matched the air of his impassive personality. "I am Apathy," the creature started. "Meet my brethren: Greed, Pride, Envy, Wrath, and Death."
Anxiety gripped the poor Chomby.
"Drop your hand from the prodigious power, humble Citra," the Bruce commanded.
Her hand immediately dropped. Astonished, she gaped while silently reflecting. The battles still went on all around her, but something seemed odd... they appeared to be moving very slowly, as though they were disconnected from whatever she was experiencing, trapped within their own confines and perceptions of time and the universe.
Citra turned and faced the elite six. "Who are you?" she asked.
"We are the physical forms of the obelisk's unparalleled power," Pride began as she stepped forward. "We are together, one and the same -- a hex divided into an equal hexad, if you will."
"Like the six factions!" Citra piped up.
The others nodded their heads.
"We are the spiritual enemies of the members of each faction," Death continued in his high-pitched voice. "We are the evils that hide inside their souls, that keep them striving forward."
"We six are the reason the battlers and their battles will not cease," Greed concluded.
"So, why can't you just... relinquish your hold on them?" Citra posed, not entirely sure how symbolic or metaphorical the conversation was getting.
"The battlers fight for us," Apathy said solemnly, "not because of us. They fight for whatever is inside the obelisk, allowing their Greed, Pride, Envy, and Wrath to take over; this leads to the clash of swords, to defeat -- this prompts Apathy and Death."
"So..." Citra began, believing that she grasped the gist, "you six are manifestations of the things we all battle inside us. These things are what keeps the battlers pressing on, keeps them fighting..." She began to smile as it dawned on her more heavily. "They may believe they want to stop, but on an inner subconscious level, they've let themselves succumb to greed, envy... everything."
"Exactly," Apathy finished. "They stay here under their own accord. They may think they want to leave, but deep down, all they want is the power of the obelisk for their faction."
"And," Citra said, frowning, "that's why it's not as simple as I hope." She breathed a forlorn sigh.
"Go," the six powers stressed in unison, "teach the factions to work together for control of the obelisk -- only then, not pitted against each other, not feeding their vile spirits, can they stop their fighting and leave this most epic place."
Then, just like that, they were gone. Time flowed normally in the battles about the obelisk, and Citra realized where she was and attempted to regain her bearings.
"Citra!" Rasala's voice rang as the Bori approached, with Lorrin following quickly behind her. Citra ran up to them. "What happened? What did you encounter?"
"You mean, you didn't see those six things from the obelisk?"
They admitted they had not.
"Regardless," Citra finished, "according to those six, the only way to end the battles is to... end the battles." She smiled sheepishly. "We need a truce. Call for the other faction leaders -- something must be arranged."
All six of the faction leaders assembled in Rasala's little pointy hat-shaped tent.
"So," Kanrik started upon his entry, "I hear you've figured out how to stop the battling."
"Apparently, this young Chomby here has," Rasala revealed, attempting to look excited. The prospects of a "truce" didn't necessarily appeal to her -- just as it would probably not appeal to any of the leaders.
Citra walked up in front of them. "I've gotten close to the obelisk, felt its presence, seen its power... its power manifested itself in my mind as a group of six -- just like you six, the six leaders of the six factions. Apparently, you fight not because you have to, but because you want to. You've let your inner senses of Greed, Pride, Envy, and Wrath take over, resulting in Apathy and Death."
"I thought as much," Lambert interjected. "Our battlers aren't stuck here -- driven by their inner forces, they just simply don't want to leave, or give up."
Citra nodded. "Precisely. So, I urge you all to form a truce -- at the very least refrain from battling each other for a while, and focus on defeating your entire group's inner evils. Thieves, take Greed; The Sway, Pride: the Order, Envy; Brutes, Wrath; Seekers, Apathy; and Awakened, Death. Then see where you stand against destruction, against the others."
There was then a silence.
"Alright," the Duchess -- the firm-minded Lenny on whom everyone's eyes were fixed, waiting for a response -- started, "I suppose I can issue a temporary ceasefire, if everyone else also chooses to. Together, The Sway can battle our inner sense of... Pride, I suppose, and see where we are after that."
The other factions agreed to similar terms.
After everyone had gone, Rasala met Citra face-to-face. The wizard then smiled. "You've done it, Citra. There are reports from the other factions of some members being able to leave the battlefields, and the faction-against-faction brawls have, for the time being, ended. Now go, my wonderful Chomby, enjoy peaceful Tyrannian life."
Citra mirrored her with a grin. "And if I ever decide to join a faction, the Order will be first on my list."
"Please don't become involved," Rasala said kindly. "I wouldn't want to see you get hurt after what you did."
Bidding one final "thanks," Citra left the battlefield.
"So, how was your day today?" Sedena asked her child softly as Citra was tucked in that evening.
"Let's just say it was... eventful," the Chomby replied.
Her mother smiled. "I hear the faction-to-faction fighting is over."
"True enough," she said, and then kissed her daughter goodnight.
Citra fell asleep, dreaming of her encounter at the obelisk. She reached out and touched it... and then a bunch of angry Meepits flew out of it!
She awoke, startled. Chuckling slightly to herself, she fell back asleep.
The sound of her alarm clock -- not battlers -- woke her. She grinned. It would be a glorious new day.
Date: Mar 15th
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