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||You are on Week 617
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 Seventeen Ends Friday, August 2
|Sir Alexander von Starfire the fifth had spent his entire life waiting for this moment.
The Ixi had lived his entire life in Meridell, and just on the basis of his family name and stature, he was able to convince King Skarl to allow him to borrow several men for this expedition. As such, Alexander was leading the small group through the jungles of Mystery Island, heading for the legendary Temple of the Dark Sun.
It was a story that his family had passed down for ages. Many years ago, a group of island natives had built the temple and filled it with a vast amount of treasure and riches. However, the majority of them were lost to the river of time at about the same time that Geraptiku became deserted.
As chance would have it, Sir Alexander's ancestors came across an ancient text that told the tale of the natives, and of the riches within their temple. In order to keep their treasures hidden, the temple had a powerful spell placed on it. It would only be visible during a total solar eclipse that occurred on the day of the Summer Solstice.
This would be the first time in over five hundred years that those requirements would be met.
"We're almost there!" the Ixi said as he cut his way through the jungle brush and branches. In addition to the text telling the tale of the hidden temple's untold riches, a map to the location of the Temple of the Dark Sun was drawn. He had been leading the group right to the spot it was supposed to be.
After about a half hour, Sir Alexander cut away the last bit of brush before he entered a great clearing. This must have been the location.
"Alright everyone," the Ixi said, looking skyward. "Now we wait."
High in the sky, Kreludor slowly continued its orbit. The moon soon began to pass in front of the sun, casting its shadow onto Neopia below. The darkness of the eclipse soon reached the spot where Sir Alexander and his men were waiting, and in the clearing...
Date: Jul 29th
...the ground began to rumble. Old torches around the area, which hadn't been lit since the existence of the ancient tribe, began burning with no tinder. The small red sparks began growing and transformed into hot blue flames, as if past spirits were fueling them.
The fire was so bright that it blinded the party. Once the flames began to settle and diminish until they were fully out, the rumbling also, gradually, stopped.
The adventurers regained their vision and feasted their eyes on the precious Temple of the Dark Sun.
"It's finally here," the Ixi said with tears in his eyes. "Let's go in."
He made his way in the direction of the temple with his party nervously walking behind him. As they approached, the men began pushing one another toward the front, so that they wouldn't have to face any danger that might come.
They approached the temple doors with great caution. Engraved in gold on the doors was text in an ancient language that Sir Alexander translated.
"Only those who possess bravery and courage as mighty as Geraptiku can enter this domain."
"Well, I guess I can't come along. Anyway, good--" one of the men said as he was interrupted by Sir Alexander.
"Not so fast! You can't leave without my ship, so you're staying here. Now, come along and act like a knight of Meri--"
The ground once again began to rumble, only this time the rumbling came from the temple doors. The men huddled behind Sir Alexander in fear.
The doors then fully opened, revealing the dark entryway. From the darkness, the men saw a shadow move within the dark hallway. They backed away as the shadow grew bigger and bigger. Coming out of the temple, they could see...
Date: Jul 29th
...what appeared to be a large, wraith-like monster. Its huge, menacing paws were outstretched, as if to clutch them like a small plushie. Just before they could flee in utter terror, it moved into the light to reveal, not a monster, but a small, ancient Xweetok dressed in a ragged cloak. The figure was not clutching at them, but beckoning them closer.
Sir Alexander drew near, glancing contemptuously at his crew. Once he was on the threshold of the gates, the Xweetok put out his paw to stop his entrance.
"Only the brave of heart and mighty of will may pass these doors," the Xweetok croaked. "Why do you come at all if you shrink back from your own imagined monsters when there are real fiends beyond these gates?"
Sir Alexander looked affronted. Who in all of Meridell could claim his bravery and courage? "I do not shrink from the mere shadows like a child afraid of the dark," he declared somewhat pompously, "and who are you to question my worthiness to pass into the Temple of the Dark Sun?"
"Take care, my good Ixi," the Xweetok chuckled ominously. "After you pass these doors, nothing will be as it appears. You will question your own ideas of bravery once you leave this place. As for my name, I have many, but you may call me Colmundi." With these words, Colmundi stepped back, allowing Sir Alexander to gaze for the first time into the dark shadows of the legendary temple.
His men still lingering outside the entrance, Sir Alexander took the first step past the threshold. Nothing happened, and the men breathed a sigh of relief.
Colmundi laughed. "Take care, young von Starfire. You have chosen your path for good or ill. Perhaps we shall meet again." With that, the Xweetok seemed to melt away into the mists of the jungle.
All was quiet for a moment, and then the men started to move to follow their leader. Sir Alexander had just lit his own torch to get a better look at the first room of the temple when he gasped. The room in front of him was littered with...
Date: Jul 30th
...bones, pearly white bones! Everyone gasped at them, and the skulls seemed to smile evilly at them. Sir Alexander stepped forward again in disbelief. These must be the ones who have failed, he thought.
He stepped forward again, and this time his men trotted along behind him. The skulls' empty eye sockets seemed to follow them as they moved, studying their every step.
They were halfway across when the bones started to clatter and move. The men watched, becoming terrified as the bones seemed to form a huge, white, terrible monster in the shape of a Hissi!
The men stumbled backward, but Sir Alexander stood his ground as the old Xweetok's words swam through his ears... nothing will be as it appears.
He took out his weapon, ready to face the monstrous bone Hissi, when...
Date: Jul 30th
...he stepped back, the tile making a clicking noise as his heel struck it, and suddenly the ground beneath him was no more.
As Sir Alexander fell, he looked around him to see at least half his men had fallen with him. Looking up at where he had been standing moments before, he could see the giant white Hissi peering down at him, until the floor closed itself.
Sir Alexander and his men kept falling, and he knew that nobody could survive a fall this long. He saw a black surface rushing up to meet him, and he splashed into the water.
Relief spread across Sir Alexander's face as he realised how lucky they were. A blue Nimmo surfaced right next to Alexander, pulling out her torch and shining it high into the cavernous space above them. With the presence of light, Sir Alexander could see that they were in the middle of a vast lake.
"Commander, how many of us are down here?" Sir Alexander questioned the Nimmo beside him.
"There are six, including ourselves, who have made it this far," came the response.
Sir Alexander was deciding on how to proceed when he looked to the other side of the lake, where the dim torchlight was shining upon...
Date: Jul 31st
...hundreds upon hundreds of glittering gems.
Sir Alexander beamed. Had he found one of the many treasure chambers?
The Ixi waded over the opposite end of the vast underground lake. The other five followed close behind him.
"Remember, chief," piped in a young Aisha, who struck Sir Alexander as looking not unlike Hoban, "nothing is as it seems, here. That Hissi may have looked entirely threatening, yet, in an odd sense, he showed the way to the next passage."
"Or perhaps," asserted a camouflage Flotsam nearby, "the Hissi was actually good, despite his threatening appearance. By Sir Alexander taking up his weapon first, he destroyed any good relations between the two parties, and, for that, we are banished down here, forever to rot in the water."
The troop reflected. "I like the Aisha's opinion better," said the leader with a half-hearted chuckle.
The Nimmo went up close to a gem and touched it. It seemed to shudder.
"Did that thing just move?" queried a red Korbat with a mix of disgust and horror.
A pause. "I don't know..." stated Sir Alexander with a frown. "But, seeing as we seem to be totally surrounded by rock wall... perhaps these gleaming gems will show us the way."
"Or perhaps they'll mark our doom," the Flotsam continued.
Gingerly, Sir Alexander removed one...
Date: Jul 31st
...and an angry roar filled the cave. As the group tried desperately to cover their eyes, everything began shaking as if there was an earthquake... so badly, in fact, that Sir Alexander fell backward into the water. The group watched in mixed horror and awe as what had seemed like a pile of gems unraveled.
"I don't think those are just gems," the Korbat yelled. His voice was barely audible over the din of the noise.
Sir Alexander struggled to get to his feet. Just as he stood up a stalactite plunged into the water, right where he had been not a moment before.
“RRRRUUUUUNNN!” Sir Alexander yelled as he turned and ran, grabbing the closest companion to him. The group struggled to run as stalactites fell around them. A simple stumble or being a second too slow could mean the end of the journey.
Just as suddenly as the noise and shaking had started, it all stopped. The group came to a halt and looked around as an eerie calmness settled. "I think the gems are gone!" the Hoban lookalike whispered to the group. "Where could they have gone, though?!?"
"I've heard tales..." the Flotsam started, "but those are surely only tales..."
"What tales? I think we are beyond thinking that something isn't possible here," the Nimmo retorted.
"Well, everyone knows of the Snowager, yet there are tales of giant worm creatures in ancient texts from all over Neopia. What if the Snowager isn't the only one of his kind? If I'm right, then we just awoke another one that has probably been sleeping on his treasure for so long that it melded into his body." As the Flotsam was finishing, a shadow fell upon the group.
The group turned slowly -- their hearts filling with dread -- to look behind them.
A giant body encrusted with gems filled their vision. They slowly looked up at the two large, gleaming eyes...
Date: Aug 1st
...it was a Jewelager. It tossed back its head and roared, causing more stalactites to fall around the group, this time circling them.
"We're trapped!" the Aisha exclaimed, looked like he was about to faint. The Jewelager roared again even louder. More stalactites filled the cracks in the cave, and gems filled in the small cracks like clay with a broken wall.
"There's no way out!" Sir Alexander yelled, now trembling in fear. The Jewelager slapped its tail on the wall three times...
Date: Aug 1st
...and a large crevasse opened up in the stone wall.
Sir Alexander gasped quite loudly as he saw what was behind the wall.
A hidden cave, filled with thousands of sparkling gems, all much bigger than the ones that he had seen around the cave they were in now. There were gems in every color of the rainbow, and then some.
With one last triumphant roar right in the face of Sir Alexander, the Jewelager slithered back into its hidden cave and laid down around a neat pile of clear gems.
"Well, I'll be a Mynci's uncle," Sir Alexander said with a chuckle. He stood up straight. "It looks as if she just wanted to protect her gems from us."
"Sir, I have two questions. How do you know that it's a she, and how do you know that she isn't just waiting for the right time to strike us?" the Flotsam asked.
"Well, first of all, men don't stack their stuff in neat, color-coded piles. It takes too much effort. I mean, have you seen the Snowager's cave?" Sir Alexander asked. His men nodded in agreement.
"Second of all, that Jewelager -- or whatever she is -- looks pretty content sleeping right now. I don't think that she'll be waking up to attack us any time soon," the Ixi explained.
"She might not have to attack us soon," the Nimmo said in a grim voice, waving her torch around. "I don't think that we'll be leaving this imprisonment of stalactites any time in the near future." The men nodded in agreement.
Sir Alexander ignored them and began poking around the stalactites surrounding them. He found a small hole in one particularly large stalactite that looked oddly jewel shaped.
The Ixi grabbed the gem he had pocketed while they were running and shoved it in the hole.
All at once, the stalactites surrounding them fell away into the floor, and a small door opened next to the Jewelager's cave, which revealed a twisting path lined with cobwebs and a few glittering torches here and there.
All six of them peered down the path. "Men," Sir Alexander called out, "I think that the Jewelager just showed us the way to..."
Date: Aug 2nd
...the hidden treasure of the natives!" Sir Alexander von Starfire the Fifth broke down and cried. Finally, the dream his family had carried for ages had come true.
"Let's go!"the Aisha cried as he rushed ahead into the dark tunnel. Running right behind him was Sir Alexander and the rest, excitement in their eyes now that the end was finally in sight.
They burst out of the end of the tunnel into a sunlit cave. There, they found crates, crates, and more crates lying on the ground. Slowly, Sir Alexander knelt down and pulled back the lid from one of the crates to find a pile of ancient scrolls. Disbelieving, he opened up the next crate... more scrolls. They had ventured all this way just to find a dusty cave full of books!
"Why?!?" Sir Alexander wailed. "Why does it have to be like this? All this, all this..." he said, gesturing toward the tunnel, the map, and the ancient text. "All this for nothing!"
Defeated, the group of explorers slowly traipsed out of the cave into the jungle... all except for one. The Flotsam knelt beside an opened crate and unrolled a scroll. Written on it in slanted handwriting was a detailed account of how to create gems from magic. Looking around, the Flotsam knew he was surrounded by knowledge that was thousands of years old. Information that would make anyone rich.
In the distance, a voice echoed, "Nothing will be as it appears...."
Date: Aug 2nd
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