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

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Week 614
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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 Fifteen Ends Friday, July 12

"That's three games in a row. I win again."

The Mynci gave a sly grin as he watched the defeated Gelert slink away. The Gelert really thought that he had victory well at hand, but once Zenco unveiled his trump card, he had lost match after match. Before it was over, Zenco the Magnificent had claimed another notch in his undefeated streak.

"Are there any other challengers?" Zenco asked aloud. There was a small crowd of Neopians gathered around him. Once he issued the challenge, they all averted their eyes and shuffled their feet. No one spoke up.

"I suppose that's it for today, then. I guess I'll see if anyone brave enough to try to take my title tomorrow." Zenco said, gathering up his Dueling Deck cards.

It would be hard for the crowd to notice, but there was a small sigh in his voice. Zenco picked up his cards and walked away alone from the playing field.

"Cowards..." he muttered under his breath. "It's not like I'm Master Vex or anything. I'm not that scary..."

Zenco sighed again and continued walking home alone. He remembered how it used to be back in the old days, when he was just learning how to play. Back before he had earned the title "the magnificent." Back before everyone challenged him to prove they were the best. Back before his reputation drove everyone away.

Back when he had friends.

No one wants to play for fun anymore... Zenco thought to himself. They all play just because they want to beat me.

The Mynci continued his slow walk home, when suddenly a voice rang out behind him.

"Walking home alone?" the raspy voice asked. "That's no role for a Games Master like yourself."

Zenco froze and turned around...

Author: dr_tomoe
Date: Jul 15th
...and his eyes widened. In the dim twilight he could have easily missed the looming shadow, especially if he hadn't been looking out for it, but at the moment all of his senses where heightened.

"Who's there?" he called out, feeling shamefully that he was just as cowardly as the crowd that had just dispersed.

"No one in particular." The shadow didn't move. "Just someone who's been watching your games for a while. Congratulations once again on the victory, Zenco the Magnificent."

The way the mysterious voice said his name, full of malice and some sort of sinister amusement, sent shivers down Zenco's spine. He knew that the best thing to do right now would be to leave, to tail it out of there before he got himself into any trouble. However, perceptive as he was, Zenco sensed another undertone to the voice. It clicked.

"Ah. You're a challenger, then?"

The voice chuckled darkly. "Consider me... an interested party."

This was new.

"Let's just say my employer is in need of your, ah, skills. A prestigious annual game of Dueling Decks is taking place on the Darigan Citadel tomorrow at precisely midday. My employer believes that your assets would prove you to be a perfect candidate to send on his behalf."

Zenco’s eyes narrowed. "I'm not for hire."

"My employer did mention that you might be reluctant at first. He wishes to stress the prestige of this competition. It is truly a competition worthy of a Games Master like yourself, you can be assured."

Zenco couldn't believe it, but he was actually beginning to consider this seriously. Still, he wasn't sure just how much he was willing to jeopardise his own safety. Who was this voice, and who was this mysterious employer? "Anyway," he found himself saying, "how grand can this competition be? I've never heard of an annual competition before, and I would have thought that someone would think to notify me."

"I said the competition was prestigious." The voice was hoarse and ominous. "I never said it was necessarily... lawful. There is a lot at stake here, shall we say."

As if noticing Zenco's reluctance to become involved once more, the voice played its figurative trump card. "I haven't mentioned the final bit yet, and I think this will appeal to you greatly. You won't be playing as Zenco the Magnificent. You'll be going undercover. Think of it -- for once, your reputation won't overshadow your game. It will be a contest of pure ability alone."

Zenco the Magnificent was rarely ever bested, even outside of cards, but he knew a loss when he had one. At the moment, he knew this raspy, sinister voice had gotten the better of him, and he knew deep down that tomorrow he would be in Darigan, dealing out the largest game of cards he would ever play. He couldn't deny it, but it actually sounded fun. No Neopians there seeking to glorify themselves with his title, just a good old fashioned game. Later that night, Zenco was humming with anticipation. He had his trusty deck in one hand and an envelope in the other, which contained all the necessary instructions for his journey tomorrow. Now all that remained was to disguise himself...

Author: latvinia
Date: Jul 15th
...Zenco glared at the morphing potion he'd been given. Surely this was a bit too extreme for disguising himself. Different clothes and adding a stutter to his voice should do it, but no, his mysterious sponsor didn't want to take any risks. Who would suspect an innocent-looking Blumaroo of being Zenco the Magnificent?

He'd been given a second morphing potion to change himself back once he returned. That one would stay here, just in case someone decided to search him. Security at the Darigan Citadel could be paranoid at times, and he'd have a hard time explaining why he was carrying around a morphing potion.

Zenco finally gritted his teeth and downed the potion. He felt nothing at first, and then a strange sort of warmth overcame him as he felt his body shifting. It didn't hurt, but it was definitely weird. Once the feeling subsided, Zenco approached his mirror to see how he looked. "Well, it could be worse," he muttered to himself, "but yellow really isn't my color."

After finding himself some suitable clothing to fit his new frame, Zenco made his way to the gates of Darigan Citadel. Sure enough, the guards searched him thoroughly. He even overheard one of the guards telling another to watch for stolen morphing potions. He was about to leave when a guard stopped him. "I haven't seen you here before. What's your name?"

Uh oh. Zenco hadn't thought about that yet. He certainly couldn't tell them his real name. Well... he wasn't Zenco the Magnificent because he couldn't improvise. "Melly, sir," he said, letting his voice squeak a little. "My name is Melly..."

Author: dark_chocolate_tea
Date: Jul 16th
...the Meek!"

The guard gave a little chuckle. "So, what brings you to the tournament?"

"I'm the greatest Dueling Decks champion to ever step foot in the Citadel!" Zenco squeaked. "I was reigning champion the last two years in a row back in my village!"

"Right, of course you were," the guard said, giving Zenco the distinct feeling that he didn't really believe him. "Well, good luck in there, Melly-the-Meek, and remember -- if you lose, there's always the children's tournament in Roo Island next week."

Without even searching him, the guard let him through. Feeling somewhat confused, yet excessively relieved that he hadn't been searched, Zenco stumbled through the gates and into the Citadel.

This could help him, he realized with a start. No one would suspect poor, pathetic Melly as being the great and mighty Zenco the Magnificent. All the better for when he won.

Following the arrows on the signs, he soon found himself approaching a hall, in the same shade of dark purple as all the other buildings; in the front of the doors was a long table, with forms clamped tightly to clipboards.

He put on his best "Meek" face and shuffled up to the registration table...

Author: chocolate_lover67
Date: Jul 16th
...The Darigan Aisha sitting there handed him a name tag. "Write your name next to the number, please," he said slyly, lisping slightly.

Zenco observed the piece of paper. He was contestant #17.

Taking the pen offered to him by the Aisha, he casually scripted "Melly the Meek" in calligraphy not his own. Smiling with satisfaction, he pinned the card to his shirt.

The Aisha read his writing. "Melly the Meek?" he started with a condescending smile. "You know you have no chance, right?"

The Blumaroo returned his smile. "Oh, why would you say that?"

"For one, the stakes are incredibly high, and I've never seen you here before. You've never competed against the big leagues here."

"What's to say I'm not the next Zenco the Magnificient?" he replied with a wider grin.

"Because you're not, I'm sorry to say," the Aisha replied, his smile waning and eyes narrowing. "Also: even if, by some odd chance, you manage to get into the finals, the odds of you beating Zenco are... virtually zero."

Zenco's eyes widened. "Wait, Zenco is playing here?" Was the ruse falling apart?

"Kid, he's over there." With that, the Aisha pointed in the direction of a Mynci -- a Mynci who looked just like Zenco...

Author: rielcz
Date: Jul 17th
...Zenco furrowed his eyebrows, highly confused. It was a striking resemblance -- the impostor stood about twenty feet away, looking around with a confident grin as if studying his competition.

Zenco wandered away from the Aisha to get a better look at the blue Mynci. Most of the other players appeared to be keeping their distance from him, which was unsurprising to the real Zenco. The Mynci almost looked annoyed by the lack of attention he was receiving from the vast crowd, however.

He didn't quite understand. The figure -- who had never revealed his identity -- had not mentioned that another Neopet would be posing as Zenco.

Perhaps he was simply here to keep suspicion off of "Melly," Zenco thought to himself. After all, once the naive young Blumaroo began beating every opponent, the other players might begin to suspect him.

At the same time, though, the main reason for Zenco having disguised himself was so that nobody would know about his involvement in this competition... even afterward. This place was not, as the shadow had said, "lawful," and Zenco had decided he didn't want others to know of his involvement, should things take a turn for the worse.

As Zenco finally decided that it would be better for him not to associate with the imposter Mynci, he turned to walk in the other direction. As he did, however, his eyes caught the blue Mynci glaring in his direction, and he froze as the fraudulent Zenco began to approach him, an uneasy smirk on his face...

Author: allison_kitty11
Date: Jul 17th
..."It's good to see you again, my friend," the fake Zenco said, smiling darkly. "I'm pleased to see you took my advice..."

"Again? Advice?" The realization dawned on him a second too late, giving the imposter a chance to smirk amusedly. "It's you! The... the shadow!" The squeak slipped from "Melly's" voice, but Zenco couldn't bring himself to care.

"That's it? No words of gratitude? I'm ashamed of you, Melly, after all I've done for you..."

Regaining his composure, Zenco squeaked, "What are you doing here?"

"Why, as the Dueling Decks master, I thought it only proper that I show up to a tournament," the fake Zenco said smoothly. "Really, I ought to be asking you that question. How could you possibly think to win against me?"

Finding no words to respond, Zenco turned on his heel and left, stumbling over his own feet in "Melly's" iconic walk. The thoughts pounded through his head with every step. Someone was pretending to be him! The more he thought, the bleaker things seemed to get. If he let the shadow win, then it would be all too easy for him to reveal his true form, dethroning Zenco as Dueling Decks champion; but if he defeated the fake Zenco, then his reputation would be ruined anyway, as the whole world would be under the impression that Zenco the Magnificent had lost to a nobody from some nondescript little village in who-knows-where. There was really no way to win.

I knew I shouldn't have done this, he lamented silently to himself...

Author: chocolate_lover67
Date: Jul 18th
...unless...

An idea began to form in the real Zenco's mind. The great Dueling Decks strategist didn't get there without a great deal of intelligence outside the game, too. The details of his plan were starting to form when he heard an announcement.

"Attention, tournament competitors!" the Aisha boomed. The Neopets in the room quieted down. "Pairings for the first round of competition have been posted. Remember, as soon as you are dealt your first defeat, you are eliminated from the event!"

He would just have to win until he came face-to-face with his impersonator.

Zenco moved toward the sheet of paper that the Aisha was pinning to the wall, which was a list of matches for the first round. He waited his turn, then scanned the list. It looked like pairings had been made alphabetically for the first round, which was all well and good. They had to be made somehow.

He found "#17, Melly the Meek" in the first column easily enough, and then looked over to the second column for the name of his opponent.

Oh no, Zenco thought. Not the first match!

He traced across the paper with his finger, just to be sure he hadn't read the wrong line. Nope, he had been right. His round one opponent was none other than "#11, Master Vex..."

Author: phadalusfish
Date: Jul 18th
...Zenco sat down at the table and smiled, trying to appear cordial.

"Stuff it, Blumaroo," the Mynci started as he noted his opponent's innocent smile. "There's no need to be nice at these tournaments." He smiled mischievously.

"Good luck," Melly replied.

The Mynci's eyes narrowed.

A few rounds later, Vex found himself vexed.

Playing his trump card, Melly sighed with relief. "You lose."

Vex, now throwing a fit, had to be escorted away from the table by guards.

Game after game Zenco played. Some players -- like #21, Galgarrath -- he beat quickly, whereas for others -- such as #15, some random Korbat -- Melly dragged out the game as a way to counter rising suspicions.

Several hours and many despondent contestants later, #17 found himself face to face against #1, Zenco the Magnificent. Or, as Melly mused, Zenco the Counterfeit.

An utterly contestable contestant, Zenco thought as he turned to face the former shadow. Melly smiled.

Zenco smiled back.

The real Zenco sighed. He had no idea what he was going to do, but he had to think fast.

That's when a yellow Blumaroo walked near the finalists' table, not unlike Zenco's present form. He whispered something to Zenco the Mynci, and returned back to the crowds, who now came to surround the two.

That voice... with his new large Blumaroo ears, Zenco had heard that Blumaroo's entirely too familiar voice... it was almost sinister with its edge of prestigious self-satisfaction. It had said, "Win at all costs."

It was none other than AAA, completely stripped of his trademark attire.

The Blumaroo thought further about his predicament. It became evident that AAA was the "employer" the shadow had talked about before... and then it dawned on him.

In a past game of Dueling Decks, Zenco had made the "games master" weep like a little child.

This was AAA's revenge.

Zenco then realized his own species and color... he, too, was a yellow Blumaroo, just like AAA.

Smiling, he had come up with a plan.

Melly fought a brilliant match, having stunned the whole crowd that a young nobody from a remote village had the power to make Zenco the Magnificent sweat.

It was all over... potentially. Melly had his trump card lined up. He was about to win... when he played the one next to it instead.

Grinning, the counterfeit Zenco played his trump over it, and the game was won.

The crowds cheered and shrugged simultaneously. This was expected.

"But," the counterfeit Zenco started as he began to change.

Immediately, Melly thrust his arm forward and shook the Mynci's hand. "Congrats Zenco, you've once again beaten the likes of me, AAA!"

The Blumaroo who had talked to the counterfeit Zenco before the match gaped.

Melly grinned. He had succeeded in further humiliating AAA.

As AAA had been out of Neopia's limelight for so long -- in all likelihood preparing to destroy Zenco's reputation at this tournement -- the crowds swarmed around the yellow Blumaroo who had previously been known as Melly, with no one paying attention to "Zenco" or what he wanted to say.

A few minutes later, the entire arena was forcefully cleared by guards to make way for the next event, which consisted of some Petpet battling.

***

Zenco returned home. He held the Mynci morphing potion in his hands.

He smiled. As much as he hated his reputation, it would be nice to return to who he really was.

He then sighed.

Setting the potion back down, Melly wandered toward the hometown Dueling Decks playing field. There were all the opponents who had tried so vigorously to destroy Zenco the Magnificent.

"Hey, can I play?" he asked them.

"Sure, new one," a Gelert said, scaling him. "You know, you'll be in for a real treat if Zenco the Magnificent comes. He's such an amazing player, and he wins all the time! We all love playing him, even if it gets a bit exasperating from time to time." He shrugged. "Just as well."

The Blumaroo grinned, and commenced playing.

The End

Author: rielcz
Date: Jul 19th



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