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||You are on Week 605
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 Six Hundred Five Ends Friday, May 10
|"There just aren't enough Lennies in our stories!" Lia fumed as she browsed through several bookshelves. "This place is called the Lenny Library, for Fyora's sake, and there's only a few books starring Lennies, and most of them are villains. Neopia doesn't have enough Lenny heroes."
Her Lutari friend Arya sat calmly reading a book at a table a short distance away. "There's Lightning Lenny," she said calmly without bothering to look up. "And Finneus, and the Lenny Conundrum Lenny."
"And we see so much of Lightning Lenny, and Finneus and his nephew," Lia retorted. "We're not all just boring bookworms and fragile speedsters -- we're also wizards, and cunning ones at that!"
Arya flipped a page in her book. "Well, why don't you do something about it, then?"
"You know what? I think I will." Lia jogged over to the magic books section and grabbed her favorite one, a large worn volume of practical spells. "Ah, spell #231: summons caster to a Neopian in distress. Since Neopia doesn't have enough Lenny heroes, I'll become one!"
Arya slammed her book shut, bolting toward where Lia was starting the spell. "Wait! I only meant--"
Lia spoke the last word to her spell just as Arya grabbed her, and in a bright flash of light both Neopets disappeared from the library. A moment later, they reappeared on the sand in the middle of a scorching desert.
"I only meant that you could write a new book," Arya finished softly, trying to take in her new surroundings...
Date: May 6th
..."Where are we?" Arya wondered aloud, using her paw to block the sun from her eyes. Arya looked around, unable to see anything but sand for miles.
Lia stood in the sand, stunned by the unexpected transfer from the cozy Lenny Library to this arid wasteland. "Well," she said with a hint of excitement in her voice, "there's no use in standing around! Let's go find a Neopian in distress!"
"Hold up," Arya said. "We need to find our way to civilization first, otherwise we could end up being the ones in distress." Arya looked all around, and then frowned at Lia.
"What are you looking at me for?" Lia exclaimed. "I didn't have any idea that the spell would drop us in the middle of the Lost Desert like this!" Lia leaped up and hovered in mid-air. "That way," she said, pointing toward the horizon. "There must be a city that way."
Arya gave Lia a skeptical look and then sighed.
"Do you have any better ideas?" Lia snapped.
Arya said nothing, and began trudging along through the sand behind her friend...
Date: May 6th
"...This was not one of your better ideas," Arya finally said.
"Hush," the Lenny panted, tongue lolling out of her beak. It had been... how long had it been? All she knew was that it was so hot... so, so hot...
"Did that spell you used even work? There's nobody around here. The only Neopets in distress are us."
"I don’t understand," Lia muttered, swallowing dryly. "The spell matrix was perfect. It's normal for... well, an inexperienced mage to have a flawed spell -- imperfect magnitude, variations in teleport distance, weaker flux. If a spell fails entirely, though, it tends to do so... more explosively. You'll know it when you see it, and I was so sure..." she trailed off, slumping. "I guess Lennies aren't even good magicians."
The Lutari put a comforting claw on her shoulder. "You're not... hey, what's that?"
Lia looked up. There was something in the distance, something dark that stood apart from the pale gold of sand. Her heart lifted in her chest. "There's something there! Come on!"
Renewed hope faded to confusion when they got closer, however. The dark blobs appeared to be large stones. They were too regular, too chiseled to be wholly natural formations -- but that was all. There was nobody else there, and no clues. Just haphazardly placed stones of varying size.
"Is this some kind of ruined city?" Arya wondered, looking up at one of the taller blocks.
Lia shook her head. "It's too small, and I don't see evidence of anything else. Maybe these stones were once a statue or structure that fell apart?"
"If nothing else, they'll cast some shade," Arya sighed, settling down into a cross-legged position. "I sure could use a break."
"Me too," Lia agreed. The heat was still fierce, but at least the sun wasn't scorching her from here.
"Hey, Lia," the Lutari said, after a minute or so had passed. "Would you mind trying to fly up again? Maybe you'll be able to see something from here."
The tired Lenny groaned as she got up. Her muscles ached in protest, but she knew that even though Arya wasn't pressing the point, it was she who had gotten them into this mess. It would be wrong of her to refuse.
She beat her wings furiously, struggling to keep aloft. Lennies weren't built for flying -- their legs were too long and threw off their balance. It didn't help that she wasn't the most athletic of Neopets. Her wings strained as she looked all around her. There wasn't anything on the horizon, and beneath her, there was only sand and--
Lia gasped, and almost lost her flight when the realization hit her. From the sky, the great blocks of stone were not so haphazardly placed. Instead, they formed a single word.
Date: May 7th
..."Arya!" Lia yelled as she swooped down in a spiraling pattern. "Arya, you need to see something!"
"What is it?" Arya asked. "Is it a town?"
"No, something much better," Lia said, her eyes glistening. "Hop on my back."
"Get on my back," Lia said forcefully. "I need to take you up and show you something."
Arya reluctantly hopped on Lia's back. "I must warn you, I'm afraid of--"
Lia hopped into the air, struggling to keep aloft. She flew higher and higher, above the sands and large rocks.
"I'm afraid of heights!" Arya shouted.
"Just look," Lia said.
"Help?" Arya asked. "Who could have done that?"
"Someone who has enough power to do it," Lia mused. "I have an idea."
"What exactly would that be, Lia?" Arya asked. "You're the hero here."
Lia dipped in the air as she strained every muscle in her body to stay in the air. It had been hard enough to fly just by herself, but with Arya, too, she couldn't take it anymore.
The two plummeted toward the sand and smashed down with a hard thud. Lia held her legs in pain and Arya was rubbing a large bruise on her forehead.
A shadow then fell over the pair. "It looks like you two need just as much help as I do..."
Date: May 7th
...A magnificent Usul stood towering above them, a weathered pack upon his back towering even higher. If the Usul's size was any indication, he was certainly the one who had moved the rocks.
"Name's Bruce. Funny, right, since I'm an Usul? Go on, laugh, get it out of your system." The Usul's cheery tone was completely at odds with his seemingly helpless situation.
"Er, hello, Bruce. I'm Arya, and this is my friend Lia." Arya motioned to herself and her still-sore companion. "Are you the one who wrote out 'help'?"
"One and the same," Bruce remarked cheerily. "I can't say it's done much good, but I still come out to check once a day. Come on, can you walk?"
The two friends nodded, unsure of what the Usul had in mind.
"Right. Well, follow me. The rocks I used to make the signal came from an old abandoned ruin not too far from here. The place must have been empty for years and the sands have completely taken it. Still, it's got enough rooms intact that it's made a good base while I wait for rescue."
Lia, who had fallen in step behind Bruce, stopped short and asked querulously, "So you mean you aren't here to rescue us? I thought you were going to be our hero!"
"'Fraid not. I came out here with an archaeological dig a few weeks ago as a pack carrier. Those scientists have gear like you wouldn't believe! Anyway, we got lost in a sandstorm not too long into the expedition, and I lost sight of everyone else. Haven't seen 'em since, but at least I wound up with the gear and found a place to lay low."
The explanation didn't calm Lia very much, but she grudgingly followed the two others as they began a steep trek up a nearby dune. Soon enough, a shimmering haze in the distance grew to resemble a crumbling village and Bruce motioned ahead of them with an extravagant hand gesture.
“There she is, home sweet home! Wait a second... what the--"...
Date: May 8th
...Bruce ran over, frantically rummaging through the crumbled stones and dusty floors. "It's not here!"
"What's not here?" Arya asked, leaning forward to see what Bruce was looking for.
"The stuff! All of the scientists' stuff was piled right here, and when I find them, they'll be so enraged at me if I don't have it!"
"He put it right in the entrance?" Lia whispered to Arya. "He chose brawn over brain, apparently."
Arya pushed Lia off and walked over to Bruce. "Who could have taken it?"
Bruce stepped back, staring sadly at the empty space that should have been filled with equipment.
"At least you still have your pack," Arya pointed out.
"Yeah," Lia said, coming over, "and we'll help you, if you help us get out of the desert. I mean, that is why I brought us here. We need to help someone, to put another Lenny hero in the Lenny Library."
"A Lutari hero, too," Arya said.
"Yeah, but there are plenty of those," Lia said. "But now, let's just find Bruce's stuff."
"Did you check further into the temple?" Arya asked. "You might have remembered a different place than where you actually put it."
"I might be able to help with your problem... for a price, that is."
Arya, Lia, and Bruce whirled around to see a sly-looking Shoyru dressed in a tattered old cloak. A canteen hung from an old belt strapped around his skinny waist.
"And how could you help us?" Arya asked.
"Because I know who took your stuff," the Shoyru said in a raspy voice.
"Don't trust him," Bruce said. "He's a desert thief. He tried coming around a few times before when the scientists and I weren't separated."
The Shoyru held up a small lever. "Don't you want to know where the other pieces to this control panel are?"
"Should we do it, Lia?" Arya asked. "It's up to you. You're the hero."
Lia pondered this. "I guess we could try to trust him..."
Date: May 8th
...Bruce frowned and turned to the two friends. "Are you sure this is a good idea? You've never even met this guy."
"You'd never met us until about an hour ago, and yet you walked us right into your hideout," Lia replied. "Besides, he seems to know something about what's going on here. That's more than can be said for any of us."
Bruce opened his mouth to speak, then closed it again. He glanced at Arya, as if looking for support, but when all he received was a shrug he went back to scouring the ruins for any leftover pieces of equipment, his previously cheerful disposition significantly dampened.
"So," Lia began, addressing the mysterious Shoyru, "you know what happened to all the scientists' stuff?"
"Indeed I do," the Shoyru replied. He sat down on the remains of what looked to be a pillar and took a sip from his canteen before continuing, "As I said before, however, my assistance comes with a price."
"What could you hope to get from us?" Arya asked. "We're stranded just like Bruce here; we don't have anything to pay you with."
"Your friend here is a wizard, is she not?" The Shoyru regarded Lia with a small smile and a glint in his eye. "I'm sure I can think of something."
Lia and Arya exchanged surprised looks. "How did you--" they both started at once, but the Shoyru continued.
"For now, let's just agree that once the equipment is recovered, you'll owe me..." he paused and smiled again, "a favor."
Arya shifted uncomfortably and pulled Lia a few feet away. "I'm starting to agree with Bruce," she whispered. "Owing him anything doesn't seem like the best idea."
"I know, I don't trust him at all," Lia muttered back.
Arya beamed in relief.
"But this might be our only chance to help Bruce and get us all rescued! There could be something important in that equipment." Lia drew in a breath and marched past Arya, back to the Shoyru.
Arya's face fell. "Well, I guess I did say you were the hero..." she sighed and reluctantly followed.
"Deal," Lia said. "Now tell us what happened to the equipment."
The Shoyru paused again, as if carefully considering how to continue. "The same thing that happened to the scientists."
Bruce dropped the large chunk of rubble he had been looking under and stared at the Shoyru. "You mean they weren't just lost in the sandstorm?"
The Shoyru stared back and, for the first time, looked sad. "No... they were taken by something far worse than a sandstorm..."
Date: May 9th
..."What do you mean?" Bruce asked, looking shocked at the statement.
The Shoyru looked toward the Usul. "Tell me," he said. "Have you ever heard of Anubits?"
Bruce went wide-eyed. "Anubits is only a myth!" he said. "He isn't real!"
"No, my friend," the Shoyru said. "Anubits was real. He was an ancient and evil wizard of the Lost Desert many centuries ago. After many years under his rule, the inhabitants of the Lost Desert rose up and banished him. He was so dark and evil that both the ancient Qasalans and citizens of ancient Sakhmet scrubbed him from their records. They wanted to make sure that Anubits was forgotten and lost to history."
"Wait, so if that's the truth, then how do you know about him?" Arya asked.
"You assumed that I was a desert thief," the Shoryu said. "You are mistaken. I am actually a member of an ancient society. While the rest of the world forgot about Anubits, we were tasked with remembering him, and it would be up to us to stop him again should he ever return."
"And you're saying Anubits is back?" Lia asked.
"He has not returned yet, but he is getting there," the Shoyru explained. "His power is starting to return. He used his powerful magic to abduct the scientists working here, knowing that they would be able to help him speed up his return. If he were to rise again, there is no doubt that he would curse the Lost Desert with all of his power and malice."
"So, why do you need help from a wizard?" Lia asked.
"It will take powerful magic to banish Anubits again," the Shoyru replied. "I will need your help to cast the magic spell to seal him back into his sarcophagus."
Lia nodded. "A wizard needed to help banish a dark force in the Lost Desert," she said to herself, "this is just the sort of thing I had in mind for an heroic story! Alright, lead the way... umm, I don't believe I caught your name."
"You may call me Zeryx," the Shoyru said. "Very well, then. Prepare yourself, as I shall lead you to the lost temple of Anubits..."
Date: May 9th
...The walk through the stony ruins was surprisingly uneventful. No booby traps, no flaming pits of fire, no nets. According to the mysterious Shoyru, the lack of defense was intentional; "Any fool can just traipse in here," Zeryx informed, "and become prey to Anubits's ancient magic, fueling his power, heightening the chance he will one day escape his prison."
Bruce -- forced to crawl just to stay within the cavern's confines -- glanced at the two young heroes. They looked back at him. All three nodded to each other.
They walked on in silence until the tunnel opened to a giant room, its walls covered in ancient symbols. "The inner power chamber," Zeryx announced as Bruce stood up.
A giant door, taller than the giant in the room, was sealed shut on the side opposite the small opening through which the four had emerged. "It is through this door -- this scary door, this eerie entrance of fright and devastation -- where Anubits is kept." He turned and faced Bruce. "The scientists and your stuff should also be on the other side, their energies slowly draining away along with whatever -- or whoever -- else the wretched Blumaroo's spirit has managed to capture."
Lia nodded. "Alright. What is it I must do?"
"Gaze around, child," Zeryx cryptically replied.
The Lenny did. "You mean... the hieroglyphics?"
"Indeed," the Shoyru responded. "There's a pattern within the madness, and this pattern is the ancient spell preventing Anubits from escaping. Figure it out and recite it -- only then can we ensure the Blumaroo's captivity for another thousand years."
Lia frowned as she contemplated general wizardry. "So... spell #520 refers to the universal translator--"
Her thoughts were cut short by a loud noise, however; the groan of something heavy giving way. The giant door was opening, and through the dust emerged...
Date: May 10th
He straightened up as soon as he stepped through the doorway, towering above even Bruce.
"No," Xeryx whimpered. "No. It can't be."
"I thought you said..." Lia started. The Shoyru shook his head sharply, twice, silencing her. He pulled the three of them against the wall and, in a voice so quiet Lia was surprised that it carried the few inches to his ear, whispered, "It looks like he's only just broken through. It will be a few minutes before he regains his senses entirely."
"How long before he notices us?"
"If we keep as quiet as possible? Five minutes. Maybe. That's if you don't do anything to draw his notice, though."
Lia thought for half a second. "I can't cast spells whispering like this. I'll never be able to translate the hieroglyphics. I don't even know what language this is."
Zeryx glanced between her and the lumbering shape of the ancient monster. He then reached for the canteen at his belt. He unscrewed the top and poured, not water, but a fine powder -- too glittery to be sand -- into his palm. "I can't buy you much time. You have to hurry. All of the Lost Desert is in danger, not just his friends."
Without another word, Zeryx sprinted toward Anubits, trailing the powder on the ground in a giant circle as he moved.
Lia started to protest, but the resounding echo of the Shoyru's footsteps had alerted Anubits to his presence and his eyes shot open. She could only stare after him in horror.
Arya pinched Lia's arm. "Number five twenty," she whispered. She wasn't certain that Anubits had noticed them yet, only Zeryx.
Lia turned to the wall and ran her hands over a line of the strange characters. She took a deep breath. The first few words of the spell came out almost silently, and by the time she got to the end, nothing had happened.
Zeryx circled Anubits, trying to stay out of his reach. The villain could see, but his movements were still slow and awkward.
"Don't be afraid!" he shouted.
Lia took another deep breath and chanted the spell again.
The writing on the wall glowed and morphed. The lines reshaped themselves and the small images vanished, leaving behind words that Lia could read. Above each section of the wall was a description of what the spell did, and she found herself in front of one of the ones that had been used to create the containment chamber originally. It was hardly useful now.
"I need the one to keep him imprisoned," she whispered to Arya and Bruce. The three split up, working as quietly as they could, along the walls of the chamber.
"Here!" Bruce called.
Lia rushed to his side. Behind her, in the center of the room, Zeryx cried out. She started to spin toward him, but Arya blocked her. "The only way you can help him now is to read that."
She read it again. Still, nothing happened.
"What's... I don't..." she muttered the spell a few more times, precious seconds passing by with each iteration.
"Wait. 'Spell to ensure that the prisoner remains imprisoned.'" Arya read out. "So this won't do any good, then. He's already free. We need a spell to seal him back in his prison."
Bruce was already moving. "Here!" he called out.
Anubits dropped Zeryx. He fell to the ground, groaning, but couldn't get up.
"Bruce, run!" Lia called. He started for the far side of the room and Anubits followed him, still slowed.
Lia worked her way around behind Anubits, Arya close in her shadow, and stood in front of the wall.
She read the spell. A deep, colossal groan rose up from Anubits. He took another step toward Bruce, and then tried to take a second, but he couldn't. He was frozen in space. Gusting wind filled the center of the room, pulling him back toward the door he'd broken through.
Moments later, it was over. The door slammed shut. Lia ran to Zeryx. He was badly bruised, but when she bent down next to him, he looked up and smiled.
"I'll be okay," he said. His voice was hoarse, and he grimaced when he tried to stand.
"They're here!" Bruce called.
Several confused voices rose from beyond the door. Lia could hear Bruce explaining to the scientists what had happened, followed by the scraping of metal against stone as they gathered their equipment together. They all emerged in the chamber with foggy looks in their eyes, their steps a bit wobbly.
"Let's go home," Bruce said.
Date: May 10th
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