Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)
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||You are on Week 611
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 Eleven Ends Friday, June 21
|The sun was at its zenith.
Through the window, the armored sentries could hear the bustling sounds of the marketplace. Outside the castle's westernmost wing, many farming Neopets were selling the crops that they had toiled to grow during one of Meridell’s sultriest summers on record. Potatoes! Sweetcorn! Carrots! Turnips! The shopkeepers' shouts echoed in the crisp autumn air and carried through to the stone interior of the tall tower.
The guards stood stark still, dutifully keeping their eyes straight ahead of them. None dared to sneak a peek at the impressive Wocky who sat stiffly on the intimidating throne at the very back of the room. The sentinels knew that one stray glance could invoke an irreversible ire -- one that was not hot and heated but instead cold and calculated. One look, and the next day they could find themselves thrown out on the streets without warning, or worse: they could find themselves ostracized by the rest of the forces without even a pronounced command. The resounding business of the market just outside the tower belied the inactivity within. No one dared to move a muscle, not even that authoritative Wocky whom everyone simultaneously respected and feared.
Suddenly the old wooden doors burst open, nearly breaking off of their hinges. The sentries turned their heads to view the silhouette of a spindly young Techo looking down at the cobbled floor. Nervously the Techo strolled forward, not daring to meet the eyes of his mistress. "Lady Drisella--"
"Is it done?" the austere Wocky demanded.
The Techo stopped just short of Lady Drisella and anxiously cleared his throat. "Yes, My Lady."
Lady Drisella's face remained stolidly neutral. "I hear a tremulous twinge in your voice, Torrick." The Wocky rose deliberately and began to descend the steps to the floor. "Why is it that I sense a 'however' in the near future?" She strode ponderously toward the feeble Techo in front of her, who continued to refuse eye contact. "Hmm?" Tenderly, she placed a paw on his chilled, sweaty face. "Why do I sense that, Torrick?"
Torrick inconspicuously gulped as he raised his face to meet his mistress's gaze. For a few moments, Lady Drisella's words hung in the air like the heavy humidity of Meridellian summer. Torrick opened his mouth to speak: "It is done, however... there has been... a complication, My Lady."
"Ah." The Wocky paced forward, in the direction of her loyal legion, until Torrick was completely behind her line of sight. She surveyed her sentinels and sighed an immense sigh before asking, "And what might this complication be?"
"Well, My Lady," Torrick dreadfully responded, "the package has been delivered, but it seems our captive has escaped..."
Date: Jun 17th
...Not as far away from the castle as she would have liked, a Cybunny was running for her life.
Her bounding legs kicked up a spray of mud behind her as Iria scrambled downhill. Above her, there were shouts, rending the thick, humid air, spilling sound into her twitching, upturned ears. It was her fault, all her fault. She should have stayed hidden when she rolled off the back of that Techo's cart, she should have followed her instincts. After all, a Cybunny's first response to fear was to freeze and hope not to be spotted... but Iria had run instead, straight into a farmer's cornfield. Amid cries of outrage from the grizzly Kacheek farmer and his two farmhands, she had started right down the other side of the hill, feeling her muscles burn and her heart pound, her fur going dark and mucky with mud and dirt.
There was a dense patch of brambles here, running alongside a well-trod but thankfully abandoned road. Iria dove in, burrowing under prickly branches and trying to press herself far enough into the thicket to go unseen. Spiny growths raked through her fur and over her ears; one misplaced paw had her stifling a squeak of pain as a thorn dug deep into the pad. She didn't dare even to whimper in pain as she hunched over, trembling, listening hard with her pointed, ever-attentive ears to the sounds from outside her hiding place.
Footsteps came to her, moving thickly through the same mud that had given her this lucky coat of camouflage. The day had gone hot and still again, the only sounds those of the three farmer Kacheeks as they surveyed the landscape for Iria. There were mutters of "Got away" and "Crafty little bunnies" as, one by one, the strangers gave up and headed back uphill in a group. Still shaking, Iria tried to peer through the brambles to see if they were gone, listening for the fading sound of their conversation. For a while it was silent, but oh, no, no, she didn't dare move.
She wasn't cut out for a fugitive's life. Not a nice Cybunny like her. In Terror Mountain, she'd been the Snow Faerie's protected friend, meek and shy and useless; Taelia had plucked her shivering from a snowdrift -- too young to know from whence she'd come, but old enough to know she was lost -- and named her Iria. She'd even given her a task... guarding that enchanted object.
The object that, because of Iria's cowardice, had been snatched up (along with Iria herself) and taken to Meridell. Iria knew that the enchantment was very powerful, but she didn't know what these Meridellians wanted with her. She wasn't cut out for hard life, adventure, and mayhem... and she wasn't cut out for bramble patches, either!
The long day had begun to dip into early evening when Iria emerged from the thorns. Sitting down heavily, she took inventory: covered with dried mud, scratched all over by thorns, tired, lost... she lifted her injured paw and finally felt safe to whimper at the sight of the thorn, dug in deep. How was she going to get that out? How could she keep running, running back to the mountains, running back to the Snow Faerie, with an injured paw?
Iria's ears twitched as a sudden, soft sound reached them; she jolted, gasped, and froze. From above her, a voice said, "It looks like you're in a spot of trouble there, my fine long-eared friend..."
Date: Jun 17th
...Sitting on a tree branch, Iria spotted the source of the voice. It was a devilish-looking Nimmo with a menacing grin on his face.
As he leaped from the branch to the ground beside the brambles, Iria was frozen in a state of panic, not knowing if she should hope for him to leave her alone or to ask him for help out of the prickly bush.
"You're a quiet one, aren't you?" he continued. "The name's Pierre," he said softly. "I don't bite, I promise."
The Nimmo circled the brambles for several minutes, waiting for a response. "Well, if you don't need my help, I guess I'll just leave."
Turning around, Pierre slowly walked away from the brambles as Iria squirmed in the wild shrubs. With every step the Nimmo peeked back, waiting for it...
"Wait!" the defeated Cybunny squealed. "I'm stuck. Please help me out of here!"
Pierre turned around with a self-satisfied smirk and approached Iria once again. "Of course I can help you," he said insidiously, "but just know that, in return, I will need something from you..."
Date: Jun 18th
"Torrick, how could you?"
He was shocked. The tone in Lady Drisella's voice wasn't rage, it was... disappointment? Torrick wasn't really sure.
"I was certain... never mind. You said the package was delivered?"
"Yes, My Lady. To the Aisha sorcerer, exactly as you asked."
"Good, good. Did she say anything?"
"She said that it would be two days before she could gather the final ingredient."
"Two days? That's too long!" Lady Drisella paced back and forth at the base of her throne, the only movement in the chamber. "Very well. You haven't failed me yet. You have two days to find that Cybunny. We cannot succeed without her."
"My Lady, if I may be so bold, would not just any Cybunny do the trick? The entire time she was under my guard, I can't say I noticed anything... extraordinary about her."
"Two days!" Lady Drisella screeched. "Two days to find her, and do not think that you know better than I."
Torrick bowed his head and walked backwards away from the throne. He knew exactly who he would need to talk to...
...Iria looked up at the Nimmo, who stared down at her in silence, waiting for her answer. What he didn't know was that she didn't really have a choice. She could remain here -- lost, alone, and injured -- or agree to whatever he wanted.
His bargain was hardly better than what she had escaped in Lady Drisella's custody, but at least he was far less intimidating than her guards.
At last she nodded. "Okay. What do you need?"
The Nimmo hopped down from the branches, landing gracefully in front of her. He smiled. "I told you I don't bite. Here, let me help you with that thorn first..."
Date: Jun 18th
...A sharp yip of pain escaped Iria's lips as Pierre yanked the thorn out of the pad of her paw. He studied it for a moment while Iria rubbed her wound, as if it was the most interesting thorn in Neopia.
"Can you help me out of the bush now?" Iria asked. "I think that the thorns are scraping against my back."
"Right, right." Pierre threw he thorn, where it landed up in the trees somewhere above them. A slight rustling occurred.
"Now, then." Pierre grasped Iria's now thorn-free paws and gently wiggled her out of the brambles. She slid through the bushes with ease as she slightly kicked her feet or moved her hips. Soon, she was out.
The Nimmo whipped around Iria as soon as she was standing. He grabbed her wrists and held them together behind her.
"Hey, what are you--" Iria started to protest, but Pierre lashed a cloth around her mouth and tied it tight, so that she couldn't speak.
"Sorry, Iria," he said quietly, "but it's important. This is what I need you to do for me..."
Date: Jun 19th
...Pierre gave a sudden gasp. "Slorg slime," he murmured before collapsing to the ground.
Iria quickly untied the cloth around her mouth. Pierre lay unconscious before her. "Er, who's there?" she whispered.
A loud laugh erupted from the tree branches hanging over her. The sound of it sent shivers down her spine; she had never heard such a cruel laugh before. A cloaked Gelert dropped suddenly from the branches and landed beside Pierre's prostrate body. "That was far too easy," he said, laughing again. "No fun at all... but this reward should make up for it." He smiled and unsheathed a long blade from his side. The blade was sharp, sharper than most swords Iria had seen. She gulped and drew back.
"Please! What do you want?" Iria said.
The Gelert stepped toward her. "A child?" he asked. "Is this all I have been sent against?" He laughed again, smiling even more broadly, but somewhere in his voice Iria could sense a slight uncertainty. "My orders were to bring you back, dead or alive," he said. He then kicked the small Cybunny to the ground and then brought the sword to her throat. "Any last words?"
Iria shut her eyes. So this is how it ends, she thought. Dead and alone in Meridell. Oh well, I guess it's all over now. She breathed deeply and prepared for the finishing stroke, but it never came. "Well?" she whispered, opening her eyes slightly.
Pierre was tugging at the Gelert's arm. "RUN!" he yelled at her. "Run as far as you can! I'll find you again later!"
"Yes, run my dear!" the Gelert said. "Run as far as you can. It will be much more fun that way." He grinned and looked at Pierre. "As for you..."
Iria shrieked and got up onto her feet. With one look behind her, she ran across the farm field as fast as her little Cybunny feet could carry her...
Date: Jun 19th
...Blindly, Iria dashed through tall thickets of varying flora, her surroundings a blur as a whirlwind of thoughts chaotically flew through her head. What was going on? What was she to do? Oh, where was the gentle, comforting hand of Taelia when she needed her the most? In her blind panic, the terrified Cybunny didn't notice the fields of grass give way to first a dirt road, and then the stone steps of a little cottage, until she ran headfirst into its heavy wooden door.
CRACK! The force of her running left a split in the door's weathered planks and Iria sitting in a daze on the doormat. Once she finally blinked the pain and dizziness away, she found herself face to face with an elderly Aisha, who had opened the door at the unconventional knock and was now peering curiously at Iria's face.
Iria leapt back to her feet, hastily brushing caked mud and bramble bits out of her fur the best she could. "I-I'm terribly s-sorry! I-I didn't mean to interrupt," she stammered, still struggling to keep her racing adrenaline and whirling emotions from earlier under control. At least all this shock did nothing to undo the manners Taelia had taught her.
"Tut tut!" the Aisha said. "What a mess you are, my dear visitor. Why don't you come on in, and we'll do something about all that mud and Fyora-knows-what-else you've got caked all over you." The elderly Aisha turned and wandered back into the cottage without waiting for Iria, leaving the door open behind her.
Iria gave a quick, nervous glance over her shoulder before she hurried into the cottage after the Aisha. Anything was better than all of the dangers she was running from outside, and the offer of hospitality was most welcome. Maybe she would be able to take a bath now, plus she desperately needed to rest.
The door creaked shut again after her, and Iria paused to take in the strange sights inside. Bottles and vials of dried herbs and bubbling potions lined the tops of tall bookcases full of old tomes, forming all four walls of the room they were in. A large, carved oak table supported a mess of scrawled, handwritten notes, a strange gem, and a carefully wrapped package in the center of the room. As Iria meekly crept by the bookcases, she quickly browsed the titles. Lost Spells of Neopia. Morguss Spell Book. Curses From the Deep. Advanced Magic. Her eyes widened.
"You're a sorcerer."
The old Aisha smiled. "Quite the perceptive one, are you? I am indeed a sorcerer, and although this humble one admits that there is still much to learn, many claim that I am the best sorcerer in Meridell. Would you like some tea?"
"Yes please," Iria replied, her voice even meeker than before.
"Very well. I hope you like Flatfruit Tea..." The Aisha sorcerer bustled into a different room, presumably the kitchen. Over the clinking of china cups, her voice continued, "Feel free to make yourself comfortable, although I'd suggest staying away from reading anything. As a word of warning, some of the books bite back." She chuckled. "We'll have you refreshed and on your way home in no time."
Iria shifted from one paw to another, her gaze cast down at her muddy pawprints. "Actually, I don't really have a place to go to around here," she admitted, uncertainty quavering in her voice.
"Oh, a foreigner. I sense a long story, although that can wait until after tea. In that case, you're welcome to stay for a few days, until we sort everything out."
"Thank you. Thank you so very much!" The offer was music to Iria's long ears.
"Not a problem," the elderly Aisha replied. The piquant aroma of the tea now mingled with the clinking of the teacups in the air. Iria inhaled deeply, and she felt the lovely fragrance calm her racing heartbeat. The Aisha continued, "I have a very important meeting two days from now, and many preparations to make before then. I'll be very busy in the meantime, so it will be several days before we can focus on getting you home." The Aisha reappeared in the door, carrying a tray with two cups of Flatfruit Tea.
"That's perfectly okay," Iria answered, gratefully accepting the purple tea. "You've already shown me much more kindness and hospitality than I could ever ask for."
"Then it's settled." The Aisha plopped the tray down and gathered up the package on the table. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get to work. This just arrived today, but I'm missing an ingredient and the sender is a very impatient one." She chuckled again. "She tends to not like it very much when things don't go according to her plan..."
Date: Jun 20th
..."Who is this eager perfectionist?" the Cybunny asked casually before taking another sip of the palatable drink.
The Aisha paused and stared at Iria coldly.
The Cybunny frowned. With hesitation, she gently set down her cup. "I'm sorry, did I do something wrong?"
The pause continued. "To whom does your allegiance lie?" the sorcerer eventually inquired, breaking the awkward silence about the abode.
Iria blinked. "Er... to the side of... good?"
The sorcerer let out an exasperated sigh, followed by a small giggle. "Everyone does good in their own mind." Another pause. "Frankly, since you'll be here until after its creation, you're going to find out later, anyway." The elderly Aisha leaned in close. "Can you keep a secret, my dear child?"
"Uh, sure," the Cybunny agreed. She could keep secrets -- she'd done so before -- so, if by some chance she couldn't keep this one, it wouldn't technically be lying. Taelia had taught her never to lie. She smiled, attempting to appear innocent.
"Well... I have a new offer in mind," the Aisha began, mirroring Iria's expression. "You see, I'm missing an ingredient needed to prepare this very elusive... customer's... er, order. It would normally take me two days to fetch it, but for a young, sprightly thing like you... why, you'd be home before sunset. Fetch it for me, and you will be rewarded twice over: I can finish it more quickly, and we can therefore set you off on your way faster; also, you will have proven your worth, and you may continue residing here until... well, until we set you on your way. Does that sound good?"
The Cybunny thought. Oh, she had definitely had enough adventure for one day... but the Aisha, she just kept on smiling. How could she turn her down? Or herself down, for that matter?
Iria sighed. "Alright. What is it I must fetch?"
The Gelert had motioned his sword toward Pierre until Iria was far out of sight.
"The illusion is complete," he announced as he returned his weapon to its sheath.
"Thanks, Gregory," Pierre said as he bowed toward the double agent. "You seem to have succeeded in deepening her fear, her trouble." The Nimmo grinned mischievously.
"I'll see you in two days' time," the Gelert announced he leapt gracefully further into the brush.
Pierre rubbed his hands together in a malevolent fashion as he hummed an old song taught to him by his mother. A song warning of ill, of ire... of Drisella.
When he caught up to the Cybunny she would, without doubt, throw herself at him; she would embrace his kindness, his care, his heroism.
He would then strike her fatal blow.
Well, not necessarily fatal -- that incompetent Techo said dead or alive. He may have had his ties with Drisella forcefully cut when he was expelled from his esteemed position and replaced with that bumbling Techo -- a position that had been in his family for generations -- but he still had ways of learning what went on inside the palace.
Like, through Gregory... whom Drisella believed a loyal sentinel.
Whatever they wanted with her, he could not say. But... a mere Cybunny? Why, if they needed her that badly, he could probably get his old job back in addition to a raise in pay.
He was almost sorry for Torrick.
Pierre chuckled to himself.
Iria frowned as she traversed, once again, through the brush. This "magical wheat" just had to be grown on the farm owned by the Kacheeks.
At the very least, she had been given some sort of concealment potion by the sorcerer, in the event utmost secrecy had to be employed.
Secrecy. Her mind wandered back toward the sorcerer, to the mysterious individual she was working for, to the package.
The package. Something seemed... almost familiar about it.
Her train of thought then halted, however. She heard yelling, and someone rushed toward her.
Another knock at the door? the Aisha mused to herself as she went to open it. "Ah!" she exclaimed as she registered the Techo standing outside. "Come in, Torrick."
"It's the Cybunny... the one I referred to earlier when I brought you the package?"
"Yes, the one you said you'd deliver after you cleaned her up, or whatever? The one 'absolutely irreplaceable,' according to Drisella?"
"Er, yeah," Torrick agreed with a nod. "There's a thing about her, I didn't tell you from before. Well... she seems to have escaped our clutches..."
Date: Jun 20th
"…and she's the one with the pliant half of the Crystal Ball of Power. The water half."
The Aisha sorcerer's eyes grew large. "Is the fire half of the Crystal Ball of Power, the unyielding one, safe with Lady Drisella?”
"Of course, milady. However, it is useless without the Cybunny. Lady Drisella will only be satisfied if she has both halves, enough to stretch her power and influence halfway across Neopia. Has the Cybunny approached your house?" Torrick swiveled his large Techo eyes all over the Aisha's cottage, taking in the evidence. A tuft of fur here, a muddy footprint there, and it became clear to Torrick that he had asked one of the silliest of questions.
The Aisha swooped and lifted Iria's mug of Flatfruit Tea. "Sip this, and you will be locked within the regions of that Kacheek farmer's neighboring field. So long as she doesn't magically sprout wings and fly over it, Iria will be trapped there until..." the Aisha sorcerer laid her paws on Torrick. The Techo felt a tingling sensation laced with the slightest amount of pain. He squirmed under her paws. Whatever she was doing, she had better finish it up fast.
"...A day after you lay a claw on her." The Aisha let go. Torrick shuddered, glad to be free of... whatever that was.
"All you have to do is head into the field, crouch in the wheat, and look for a pair of white ears. It shouldn't be too difficult. I shall prepare the cellar for the crystal ball's union." The Aisha twirled her skirt as she glided to the kitchen, about to go down the stairs, when--
"Wait!" Torrick called out. The Aisha stopped. "How is the package? Are you enjoying it?" The blue Techo chuckled. This kind of package didn't go to just anyone.
The Aisha grinned at him. "It's beautiful!" she exclaimed, throwing open a closet door. On the top shelf, spotlit, was a Neopian Times White Weewoo Plushie. "I've been waiting years for it. Of course, when you've been friends with Lady Drisella since childhood, only good things can happen, correct?" She let out the tiniest of uncharacteristic squeals, beyond happy that this coveted plushie was hers at last. "The fire half of the Crystal Ball of Power was a small price to pay for this gem of a Weewoo plushie!"
Torrick didn't answer. He shrugged, smiled, rolled his eyes, and walked out of her abode.
Iria screamed. The last few times Neopets had chased her in Meridell, it was because they were after what Taelia had told her to guard. She bolted to the edge of the field, throwing caution and her task (as one would chaff) to the wind. Iria ran smack into what felt like a brick wall. Stunned, she looked in front of her. There were only hills and more farms, a forest there, but no brick walls. Curious, Iria waved a paw in front of her without any trouble. She tried to walk through, but was blocked once again.
Pierre was about to strike her down, but he considered another possibility. Lady Drisella would be more impressed if he brought the Cybunny to her conscious, had a few scratch marks on both him and her, and presented the Cybunny himself. He abruptly swapped his devilish countenance for a peaceful one. "It looks like you've gotten yourself into a bit of a jam again. I'll help you again, for a price." Iria nodded, her mind too cloudy with questions and dizziness from running into the magical barrier to think properly.
Pierre wrapped his skinny red arms around Iria. He grunted and pulled upward, flapping his Halloween wings into her face. The Cybunny didn't budge. "Do you keep bricks in that thick fur of yours?!?"
Iria gasped in panic. The fragment of the crystal ball -- did Pierre know? -- Iria pushed the cold surface of the hemisphere closer to her skin. She would have gladly thrown it out, but Taelia herself had told Iria to guard it with all of her strength. After being saved and raised by the kindly faerie, Iria couldn't let her down.
Torrick didn't need to search for white ears. The red and black Halloween Nimmo struggling to lift the Cybunny was as visible as Chokato jam on Puntec Fruit. He, however, did as the Aisha had instructed him, and crouched, nipping through the wheat as though it was water.
Both Iria and Pierre yelped with alarm when the two were simultaneously tackled to the ground. They looked up at their assailant to find... Torrick! "You won't be getting away," he cackled. "As for you," he said, giving Pierre a shaky grin. "You'll stay out of my way, won't you?" Torrick unsheathed a dagger, twirling it on his deft claws.
Iria remembered the potion the Aisha had given her. If there was any time a concealment potion would come in handy, this was it. Iria took out the flask from her thick fur. Without giving either Pierre or Torrick any time to react, Iria gulped down the potion, which tasted of strawberries and Peachpas all at once.
Her paws felt prickles, like several painless needles had pierced her... then her tail... then all of her fur grew slack and drooped, no longer capable of carrying the crystal ball fragment.
This was no concealment potion.
Both Torrick and Pierre dove for the fragment, and scuffled all the way back to Drisella's lair, biting and clawing and scratching and tugging as they went. The poor fragment was magical, but it was only by that fact it did not break from all the tension.
Iria was left alone. She sighed, feeling as empty and numb as her vacant fur. Drisella would gain power, enough to take over several Neopian lands, and it was all her fault. Iria's stomach’s squeezed and she pulled her ears over her face. Taelia especially would be disappointed in her for not being careful enough to guard the fragment.
Taelia might disown her now... Iria hung her head, knowing that there was no other fate than to travel to Terror Mountain and deliver the bad news. She arose and walked slowly to the edge of the field, running her paw along the magical barrier. Iria only made a halfhearted effort to find an opening in the wall around the wheat field...
Lady Drisella had seen numerous occurrences in her life that had long since dulled her to anything that resembled humor.
That said, seeing both a current and a former sentinel attempt to reach her first while fighting viciously over what she needed to complete her quest for power? That was just too much.
The Wocky brought a paw to her face most delicately. Her shoulders shook. The corners of her mouth ached from underuse, the strain of smiling excruciatingly painful. She fought to regain her composure. This sort of joy was most unbecoming.
"What in Fyora's name are you two doing?!?" That felt much better. Both the Techo and the Nimmo straightened, each still trying to pull the water fragment away from the other. "I brought what the Cybunny was carrying," they said simultaneously.
Really? I had no idea... the Wocky thought with a foul smirk. A brilliant idea blossomed in her mind, and she silently reveled in how interesting this would be. "You have... done well. Pierre, step forward." The ice in her voice made Pierre jump forward immediately. "Your slate is clean. You will be working in your former rank... alongside Torrick."
It took every ounce of Mystery Island training Pierre had ever undertaken for him not to cry out in disbelief. "Very good, ma'am," he said stiffly, glaring daggers at his new "comrade."
This job was not going to be fun.
Taelia wiped her brow. It wasn't often that she had to rescue Neopets away from Terror Mountain. Normally she would leave them to someone else, as Terror Mountain was her realm, but she felt a disturbance as soon as Iria had lost the water fragment of the Crystal Ball of Power.
Taelia ruffled her wings and set off for Meridell. A Cybunny she had cared for long ago was trapped.
Iria had circled the Kacheek farmer's field at least three times with no indication of an opening. This wasn't so bad, she supposed, until she get tired of wheat. A shadow fell over her. Iria's heart stopped. Her eyes grew wide with apprehension as she gazed upon the faerie who had saved her life many years before.
"I-I'm so sorry! I really tried to guard it! I just got clumsy; I know I'm not that speci--"
"Shh," Taelia crooned. With no visible effort, she scooped up the trembling Cybunny and held her in her arms. "You were brave. You stood up against those hungry for power, something only the best Neopets do."
Iria was not comforted. "But Lady Drisella has the fragment! Doesn't that mean she will take over half of Neopia?"
The Snow Faerie chuckled. "Little one, do you know what water and fire makes? Steam! That's not the true source of the power she tried to take from me." Taelia reached inside her large coat and displayed a smooth hemisphere, which looked as though it was carved from glass. It hung around her neck. "Besides, ice has the real power around here." She winked.
"Shall we head home?" The Cybunny nodded, glad to be in the arms of the Snow Faerie once again. Her heart swelled and her fur rustled in the wind as she saw Meridell shrink, and the towering mountain get larger and larger...
Two days later...
"Miss Anastasia. Is the fire fragment ready?" In the confines of the Aisha's cellar, Lady Drisella felt secure. She felt excited enough to smile, as much as it hurt her to.
"Absolutely, Lady Drisella!" the elderly Aisha said, beaming. "Now, you take the fire half, and I'll the water. You are unyielding, after all," she joked.
"Yes, and you are pliant enough to fold in half. Get on with it."
The Aisha beamed and the Neopets pushed the halves of the crystal ball together.
Steam clouded the cellar, but nothing more happened. No growing, no power, no odd glowing orb... the crystal ball remained a sphere of red and blue crystal. The elderly Aisha cursed under her breath. "I was drying those herbs in here! Now I shall have to desiccate them again!"
"Do be quiet, Anastasia." Lady Drisella sighed.
She would have to hire more competent workers.
Date: Jun 21st
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