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||You are on Week 633
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 Thirty Three Ends Friday, November 22
|Fear and desperation pervaded the simple village of Injolva, a place populated with a multitude of species, the most predominant of which was the Elephante. The benign denizens of Injolva were under attack! Dotting the newly-created battlefield were burning huts, the perfect illumination of the atrocities taking place. The first wave had consisted of archers, some of which bore flaming arrows and contributed to the current state of some buildings. They now had fallen back, making way for the invasion squad.
Amid the sweltering confusion and panic stood a helpless shadow Elephante named Keemif. Had it not been just this morning when he and his playmates were joyfully playing tag down by the river? He could not believe the sights and sounds around him. Just ahead in the distance, he spotted an ominous pair of red, glowing eyes. The arcane entity seemed to be the one coordinating the unjust assault.
Overwhelmed by all of this, Keemif felt a little light-headed. He stumbled back and forth for a minute or so, and the next saw him lying in a prostrate position. It was around this time that the whole ordeal began to end. Mistaken for a victim, he was quickly dismissed and ignored. The troops soon withdrew, and the only audible sound as the Elephante peacefully slept was the crackling of steadily burgeoning flames.
Night had fallen by the time he had awakened, and his dreary gaze met a full Kreludor. In an instant his mind turned to his poor village. He blinked twice and began twisting his head about, searching for any fellow survivors. All that greeted him was smoke billowing out of rubble, remnants of fires that had run their course. After searching in vain for several hours, he simply plopped down on a grassy hill and stared up at the night sky. Keemif's sad sobs filled the air. His family was all gone, his village destroyed; now he had no one.
Come sun up, the dejected Keemif gathered what he could from his home and began a long trek. He was blind with sadness, and he did not know where he was approaching, or if there was anything to approach at all. He simply did not care. His mind, when actively functioning, raced as his legs somehow found the ability to keep working. Left, right. Left, right. He was a machine now, and his auto-pilot had no destination. Harsh weather was no deterrent, to say the least. If it was raining heavily, it seemed like a regular day to him. Well, actually nothing seemed to him at all.
For many days he kept this up, stopping only to sleep and eat anything he could find. Finally, he came upon a valley, and it was through trees near the top that he spotted fellow Neopians as they made their way along a trail...
Date: Nov 18th
...Keemif came close enough to make out that there were three of them; one was limping and being supported by the others. He also realized that they were wearing robes. On the back of the robe being worn by the shortest one was the letter "S," which was in the shape of a bronze triangle.
Keemif was about 15 feet away from them, and about to bound in their direction with questions concerning his village and theirs, when he overheard them talking.
"That was more intense than I thought it would be," one, an Eyrie, stated. "Are you sure you're alright, Kimique?"
"Trust me, Kyoya. I'm fine," said the Korbat, whose name was Kimique. She then turned to the third one, the one with the "S" on his robe, and asked, "What's with you, Slate? You haven't said one word since the battle was over."
Before Slate, the Elephante, could respond, Kyoya spoke up. "Come on, give the the newbie a break. He just went through his first battle. I remember that, after my first battle, it took me forever to process the rush and excitement."
"You're too easy on all the new members, Kyoya," Kimique snapped," but just as soon as they take off the novice's robe, that's when you start treating them the real way."
Keemif listened intently, even though he'd been taught in his village not to eavesdrop. What is with these Neopians? Battles? Robes?!? Keemif tried to put it together, but couldn't. There was one thing, however, that caught his attention: Slate. He looked familiar to Keemif. Something about him reminded Keemif of his old friend, Slaetof, who had disappeared a week before the attack on Injolva...
Date: Nov 18th
...Two and two clicked together in Keemif's mind. That Elephante had to be the Slaetof that he had known from the village! How, though? Slaetof -- or Slate, as the Korbat had called him by -- had left the village to go find more berries and fruit to supply the villagers with food a week before the attack. He had never returned, however. The elders sadly wrote him off as lost, never to be found again. There was no search party assembled for Slaetof, and really, no one in particular missed him... except Keemif.
Slaetof had always been a rather shady Elephante, and not just because he, too, was painted shadow. Always lurking where you least expected anyone to be, Slaetof was an outcast of sorts. Apart from the infrequent sightings of a "dark flash," nobody paid much attention to Slaetof. Keemif did, though. He would cautiously approach the Elephante when his back was turned and talk to him. More often than not, the figure would reply. Maybe one word, two if he was feeling talkative.
Keemif was determined, however. Eventually, the two became inseparable. Keemif taught Slate how to pick the right berries from the tropical fruit trees, and Slate, in turn, taught Keemif how to slip into shadows and disappear without a trace. The two were an odd couple, but the villagers dismissed it as merely two children playing together. It was much more than that, though -- a friendship that would stand strong through thick and thin was being forged. Before Slate left, however, he didn't say a word. He was just... gone.
It had bothered Keemif. Every day he would search for his lost friend, calling out into the dense jungle whenever he could conjure up an excuse to go out, and he was saddened when nobody replied but a Cobrall or Buzzer. He couldn't ever become too sad, though, as the attack was only a week later. Now, however... his friend was right in front of him.
"Well, Slate," Kyoya said with a wolfish grin. "Little miss bossy wings here probably wants us to get going. If we don't get moving soon, the boss is gonna demote her or something." He glanced at Kimique before continuing. "Not that that would be a bad thing..." Kimique inhaled deeply, clearly irritated by the Eyrie.
"Yes, but it's gonna be your fault if we don't make it to headquarters in time!" As soon as she said this, she flew down the path, leaving the two others behind. Kyoya, his grin ever-present, watched as Slate stumbled, then picked himself up.
"Are you alright?" he questioned, glancing at the Elephante's wobbly legs.
"I'll... I'll be fine. Let's just report to headquarters." Kyoya nodded and began walking in the direction that Kimique had flown off.
"Hey Slate," he said suddenly, "why did we even attack that village? There were so many other options with more wealth and treasure. You could've chosen any of them as your first battle site!"
A sullen expression crossed Slate's face. The last thing Keemif heard before the two rounded a bend in the trail was, "I needed to make sure Keemif wouldn't interfere with our plans..."
Date: Nov 19th
...Upon hearing this, Keemif's eyes narrowed and he followed the suspicious trio with his gaze. Through a haze of tears, he whispered, "Me. He was trying to kill me."
Keemif slowly shook his head in disbelief, as if denying that Slate had ever said anything.
The trio was now leaving the furthest reaches of his gaze, so he pulled himself up and trudged forward, wiping his eyes.
That's when, suddenly, a new resolve struck him.
I will follow them, he thought. I will make Slate regret what he's done.
Keemif snuck forward, stealthily stepping over all of the gnarled tree roots that snaked across the ground like veins.
Ha! Keemif thought to himself. When Slate taught me how to be sneaky like him, I bet he'd never have dreamed that those skills would come in handy this way. He chuckled mirthlessly, using the irony of the moment to distract himself.
Up until this point, he had been doing a good job of remaining inconspicuous and relatively far away from Slate, Kimique, and Kyoya.
However, Keemif was too caught up in his own fog of emotions and new ideas to notice that he was approaching a steep downward incline in the path.
He let out something like a scream and a roar and a whimper -- a conglomeration of his feelings -- and fell headfirst onto the level ground at the bottom of the dip in the trail. In the confusion, he had scraped his knee on a stray tree branch. He lay on the ground, blinking fresh tears from his eyes.
"Hey!" Kimique shouted from a ways farther up the trail.
Keemif flinched, but then relaxed, realizing that what was happening was inevitable.
"Did you just hear a yell?!?"
Keemif squeezed his eyes shut, as if that would make the trio less of a threat to him.
When he dared to take a peek at the trail a few moments later, he saw the three Neopets -- with Slate at the front -- dashing toward him...
Date: Nov 19th
...The Elephante would have trembled had it not been for the fact that there would be no way the trio would pass him by as they approached him. During the days of his listless haze of emotion, a tiny part in the back of his mind -- so tiny that he had not noticed it until now -- had whispered a thought that rang with purpose. You are alive for a reason.
That, apparently, wasn't meant to be true. Slateof, Kyoya, and Kimique were armed, based upon what he could see from afar. The trio would surely finish him here and, well, that would be the end of that. The Elephante shut his eyes once more, his other senses heightened by the impending threat to his life. The pounding of Keemif's heart. A rush of wind here. A thump and a curse there. A concerned flurry of voices.
Huh? Keemif peeked from behind the tree he'd nearly crashed into in his fall and watched. "Slate, even if there was a spy, you're in no condition to go after them." Keemif could see his friend of days past, hatred burning in his eyes, something he'd never seen before. A hunger for the pain of others. Keemif could not help but tremble. Those days of brotherhood, what had they meant to Slateof? Surely the Elephante on his knees, swearing to eliminate whoever "had the gall to oppose The--"
"We're late as is! It was probably a Weewoo or something; now let's go, before the boss expels us all!" Kimique hissed, seizing the Elephante and flapping her wings to pull him away. Slateof brushed her off with a foreleg and sniffed.
"Did I not say I was fine?!?" He sauntered off, the two winged Neopets and his robe trailing behind him.
Keemif waited, quivering, until the trio was nearly out of sight. He suddenly sprang up to his feet and flapped his tiny wings, hoping to cover as much ground as he could before he'd lost them. The dejected Elephante had no idea what he would do once he'd snuck up on them, but if he'd had the patience, the keen mind, and the memory to determine which berries were edible and which were poisonous, then by Fyora, he would use all three to help him now.
The group approached a large but otherwise unremarkable tree, knocked on its bark several times in a seemingly haphazard manner, and whispered words even Keemif's Elephante ears could not pick up.
The bark opened and shut before his eyes.
Keemif would have been startled by this, but after his best friend's shift in character, nothing could faze him now... or so he thought.
The Elephante dashed forward as soon as the tree regained its normal, tree-like appearance, and knocked on the bark, mimicking the previous group's attempts to open it as best as he knew how.
The door shifted a little. "Password?" A Hissi-like voice sneered.
"I'm..." His voice sounded half-strangled from both emotion and disuse. The Elephante cleared his throat, his mind filling with purpose and zeal.
Keemif curled the end of his foreleg into a fist as a brilliant plan entered his mind.
"That Elephante you just let in was Keemif disguised as me." He snorted, a growl rising from his core...
Date: Nov 20th
...Silence greeted him, and he thought for a moment that his plan might not have worked, but slowly the wooden door cracked open enough for a camouflaged Techo to stare back at him.
"Slate?" the Techo asked. He hesitated with squinted eyes, looking the Elephante up and down, finally resting upon the snarl gracing Keemif's face.
"Were you expecting Queen Fyora? You've let in an impostor... now, move aside so I can catch the intruder." Keemif inhaled, standing up to his full extent. Inwardly, his heart rate was beating rather loudly against his ears, making him almost lightheaded from anxiety.
The Techo's eyes widened (seemingly convinced of his identity) and, with a mighty gulp, he stepped back a few feet to allow Keemif to enter the trunk.
There wasn't much space. The small circular room representing the diameter of the tree only offered a few feet of standing area before the floor fell away into darkness.
"This is bad," the Techo said while wringing his hands. "Am I going to get thrown out for this? I didn't mean to... oh, this is bad. I'll get demoted for sure!"
"Right," Keemif said, trying to keep his voice steady and authoritative. "Just stay here and don’t say anything to anyone. Not until... until I've talked to the boss."
The Techo grimaced at the word "boss," and the last thing Keemif heard before he slid into nothingness was the Techo muttering something about switching allegiances.
Keemif gracefully glided down into the chute and emerged into a well-lit underground hallway. As he walked, he saw endless routes snaking right and left, and he couldn't help feeling a little fidgety, as if he might run into himself... or, rather, Slate... at any moment. Keemif shook his head, trying to stay in character while also being true to himself.
Right. Left. Left and then right again. Keemif wasn't sure where he was going, but he walked methodically, passing mostly unmarked doors. The only image he noticed was the same triangular "S" upon each door handle.
As he rounded another corner, he passed an ornate door that stood slightly ajar. He then heard someone from within bark "Slate!" Keemif whipped around, his heart racing and eyes darting for his enemy. It took him a moment to realize that the voice had been directed toward him.
The Elephante peeked around the doorframe, taking in the plush armchairs and rusty chandelier, which was hanging from the dirt-packed ceiling. He suppressed a squeak as he saw a large poster with an image of himself pinned to the wall with the words, "Public Enemy No. 1" written underneath...
Date: Nov 20th
...Keemif's eyes widened.
"Slate!" the voice came again, even louder and more reprimanding this time.
It snapped Keemif out of his stupor, and the Elephante shifted his gaze toward the ostentatious Skeith sitting behind a magnificent desk in the room. He held the poster in hand. "Er, yes?" Keemif squeaked.
"Why is your face plastered all around headquarters?" the Skeith started slowly. "Also, why does the caption read 'Pubic Enemy Number 1'?" His voice was ominous, and his eyes possessed a malevolence unlike anything Keemif had ever seen before.
"Er..." the Elephante trailed. He then regained his composure and readopted his character. "That's not me," the Slate counterfeit started confidently. "That's Keemif, from the village we stormed."
The Skeith became visibly anxious. "Keemif?" he inquired with a mix of disgust and dread. "That's bad, that is truly terrible." He paused and looked at the poster he held. "Based on what you've previously told me, I can imagine why he'd be considered our society's prime opponent."
The Elephante frowned. What lies had Slate spread in an effort to ensure Keemif's demise?
"You might not be the most senior member," the Skeith began, "but as your boss, I want to tell you that I've never seen more promise in an individual so young." He paused. "Follow me."
"The secret weapons room. You'll need some great ones if you're to take Keemif out."
The boss stood from his chair and walked out the door. Keemif followed. He almost let himself grin. What lies had Slate spread to allow for his own demise? was the last thing the Elephante thought before he left the room...
Date: Nov 21st
...Keemif slid into the room after the camouflage Skeith, his eyes examining the stone brick walls. Several cracks ran through them, signs of age and deterioration made clear.
Portraits hung from the walls of stately-looking Neopets of different species and colors, each staring straight ahead seriously, not a single smile on any of their faces. The sound of his footsteps in time with the Skeith's was all that could be heard as they traveled down.
He wanted so badly to ask questions. Where were they? What were they? What was this place?
He kept his mouth shut, however, knowing that the smallest slip of the tongue would blow his cover and ruin him.
He was so deep in his thoughts, mindlessly following the Skeith, that he didn't even notice a crack between the bricks sliding open until a pair of paws reached out and snatched him into a gap in the wall.
Keemif desperately tried to scream, but the gap had closed and he was now behind the wall, and there was a paw over his mouth. "Shhh," a voice whispered.
A match was struck in the darkness that was being held by a stealthy Eyrie, who was barely illuminated by the faint flame. "Don't ask questions," he said gently, pulling out a corked potion and slipping it into Keemif's hand. "Drink this if you don't want to be found."
Keemif looked down; it was a...
Date: Nov 21st
...clear potion that sparkled, as though it was made of the purest sugar and diamonds.
"What is it?" Keemif asked, furrowing his brow.
"Don't ask questions!" the Eyrie hissed. It turned toward the part of the wall where the gap once was, as though waiting for something.
"Slate?" The Skeith's voice echoed through the chambers, and heavy footfalls could be heard. "Where did you go?"
"Drink it, or we'll both die!" the Eyrie hissed yet again.
Keemif uncorked the bottle hurriedly, spilling a few drops of the liquid on the ground. To his surprise, the minute they touched the ground, they vanished. However, he wasted no time in pouring the potion down his throat.
Soon after, he doubled over, coughing violently. The potion tasted sickly sweet, horribly sweet, and his throat was closing. Was he about to die?
It then passed. Keemif looked down at himself, only to see nothing.
"Good, now hide behind me," the Eyrie hissed.
Keemif ducked behind the Eyrie, just as the gap opened.
"Guard, you didn't happen to see an Elephante here, did you?" The boss asked, looking into the shadows at the Eyrie.
"Oh, yes. I did, sir," the Eyrie said respectfully. "He was with you."
"Well, if you see him, make sure to tell him to report to me," the Skeith growled. He turned and then left the room.
"Good." The Eyrie relaxed slightly.
"Who are you?" Keemif asked.
"One who has answers to you questions," the Eyrie replied.
"Here's one: why was my village destroyed?"...
Date: Nov 22nd
...The Eyrie winced. "Let's start with a less painful one," he suggested.
Keemif snarled. "How dare you refuse to give me the information I know you have! Tell me, or I'll... or I'll..." Keemif spun around, searching for something to threaten him with, and settled on a nearby umbrella. He quivered slightly as he brandished it at his foe.
"There are reasons I cannot tell you yet," the Eyrie replied sadly, putting up his paws in surrender. "Look at my eyes, Keemif."
The Elephante snorted. "What do your eyes have to do with..." His voice trailed off, and he dropped the umbrella in astonishment. Clear, blue eyes stared at him hard, begging him to recognize them.
"Doctor... Doctor Wyndar?!?" Keemif gasped.
Wyndar nodded. "I couldn't do anything as an Elephante. I was far too slow to give chase when our beloved Injolva..." he cleared his throat, quickly regaining his composure. "Listen, Keemif!" he exclaimed, seizing the Elephante by the shoulders. "You do remember the sort of work I used to do in the village, don't you?"
Keemif blinked. "Of course!" He gasped. "You were the best alchemist in all Neopia! Your potions were rivaled only by Kauvara herself. So then, why did you--"
Once more, Keemif's mind put two and two together. "You transformed yourself to find out all you could in here... why Injolva was destroyed..." Keemif's eyes filled. How he wished he could have done something instead of grieving so much!
"Yes and no. I need your help, and yours alone." The doctor gave Keemif a sad smile. "You see, buried by the archives is my miniature cauldron, filled with a draught whose fumes would be capable of wiping the memories of everyone in its relative vicinity. I grabbed the books that talk all about the villages the Sway has targeted, and may target for recruits in the future. The potion won't work, however." He sighed. "I'd forgotten one little thing. Without it, the cauldron is likely to blow up these tunnels in approximately..." Wyndar checked his watch. "Nine minutes and fifty-eight seconds."
Keemif recoiled. "And no one's seen this yet?!? What is it you need?!?"
Now it was Keemif's turn to shake the Eyrie by the shoulders. "No, miraculously, no one has seen it. All I need is a pinch of Elephante tail fluff. Slate, no matter how I tried, wouldn't dare let me sneak one. You know what happened to him..." The Eyrie looked down and sighed. "He was such a wonderful child, always ambitious, eager to learn from me..."
"Doctor Wyndar, you know I have lots of questions, and I'll bet you do, too, but I think we should complete your potion before we all die."
The Eyrie shook his head as if to clear it. "Oh. Of course. To the archives!" He ran, tottering on slightly unsteady legs, into a room... into another room... into a corridor... with Keemif dashing behind him.
Several candlelit corridors later, Keemif frowned. "How much time did you say we had?" He panted.
Wyndar checked his watch. "Three minutes and twenty-six seconds!" he called out nervously. "We really should be there by now," he muttered as the two came to a dead end. Right away, Wyndar started to feel around the stone wall, trying to find one such moving panel that this Sway location was famous for.
Keemif groaned. Of course. He recalled, back in Injolva, the doctor had been extremely helpful as a teacher, but was often... careless.
Now, though, it was a gross understatement. Even so, careless or not, Keemif wasn't just going to stand on the sidelines. "We have to hurry!" he exclaimed, joining the Eyrie in the quest for a continuing path.
"Stop." It wasn't a scream. It wasn't a sharp bark. It was a soft, austere, and chilling command. Keemif and Wyndar turned around slowly to see Slate in his robes, with Kimique and Kyoya behind him.
"You thought you were very clever, didn't you?" Kimique sneered, flapping her wings in distaste.
"You, Public Enemy #1 to the glorious Sway... you, who joined the Seekers, switched factions when you got the chance, but were never loyal to us..." Slate folded his arms. "And we've got you, like a Spyder trapping a helpless little Vernax."
"I only did that to support the village! I'd never even heard of the Sway before I got here!" Keemif protested, casually touching another brick to try and find an escape.
"Enough!" Kyoya screeched, pinning down Wyndar.
"One move and he gets it," Kyoya hissed.
Slate grinned at Keemif, who expected to feel himself withering under his gaze. Instead, the robeless Elephante felt something he thought he hadn't felt in a long time.
With a mighty heave, Slateof hurled the Korbat in the room against a bookshelf, causing it to empty its contents on top of the now-unconscious form.
"You traitor!" Kyoya hissed. "I knew there was something dodgy about you!" He lunged at Slate, his beak bared with full intent of vengeance.
Almost as if by instinct, Keemif tackled the Eyrie with all of his might, who then crumpled into a heap, moaning. "You... will... regret th..." He did not have time to finish his sentence before fainting.
Wyndar arose, still shaky from the ordeal. "Slateof? Since when have you come back to your senses?" he asked, his voice wavering.
"Slateof... what happened to you?" Keemif turned toward him, a look of utter disbelief on his face, mirrored by an equally unhappy Slateof.
"They told me to trade in 'loyalty or life.' I did neither, but I had to make it look like I did when they captured me. Watching my home burn down while I had to help..." The Elephante fell to his knees and sobbed piteously, his shoulders shaking. "Coward..." was all Keemif could make out.
"Slateof. You were never of the Sway. I can understand why you never recognized me." Wyndar raised a paw to console him.
"I searched for you day after day..." Keemif murmured.
"I thought I'd lost it when they marked you as the enemy. You, who brought me out of that fearful silence, but I had to pretend for fear of losing my life... Keemif, thanks. You know, for... for just now giving me the chance to stand up again."
Keemif was about to embrace his best friend when--
"Life?!?" the Eyrie screeched, leaping into the air. "We only have about one minute until the potion detonates!"
"And we don't know where the archives are!" Keemif wailed.
Slateof arose, tossing his Sway robes onto a nearby chair. "They're not too far from here; follow me," he said confidently.
The trio dashed into a well-lit room so positively stuffed with books that it seemed as though the walls, floors, and ceiling were made of them. "Here we are!" Wyndar cried, yanking a piece of fluff from Keemif's tail. He dropped it into the foaming brew, which grew agitated and began to spurt sickly green bubbles.
Keemif yelped, but barely had time to fathom the pain when he felt a furry arm wrap around his waist and felt himself zooming through the tunnels. "I know where the tree is!" Keemif called into the rushing wind. Wyndar beat his wings against the musty air, extinguishing candles in their wake.
"Is that so? You'd better tell me, or it'll erase our memories in ten seconds!"
Keemif's mind spun as the Eyrie reached a dizzying speed, but he tried to keep calm and direct the three of them. "Left here! Another left! Keep going!"
A faint trace of daylight filtered from the tree ceiling. "That's it!" Slateof cried as they shot through, closing the door behind them.
The earth roared as steaming white smoke whooshed out of a loose knot in the tree. "We did it! They won't remember anything they did, and we certainly didn't stoop to their level, now did we?" All three of them interjected, unable to stop their frenzy of excitement.
When, at last, things had calmed down between the three, Wyndar continued to hover, slowly ruffling his wings and gripping both Elephantes. Finally, Slateof spoke. "What should we do now?" he asked timidly.
Keemif surveyed the land below him, dotted with villages, just like his own. His eyes filled once more at the memory of its destruction, but that thought from earlier tugged at his mind yet again.
You are alive for a reason.
Keemif smiled. "Doctor Wyndar, have you still got the books?"
The Eyrie nodded and patted his satchel with his tail. "Of course I do, I'm not that forgetful," he chuckled.
Keemif looked at his friend, his friend with whom he'd shared and would continue to share a bond like no other.
Practically reading his mind, Slateof answered the question.
"We're going to make sure it doesn't happen again."
The Duchess sipped her cocoa, sighing at the mountains of paperwork her subordinate oafs had to sort through at a Slorg's pace. Even she could be faster than that.
The Lenny daintily picked up the first document of the pile, a letter addressed to her. Raising an eyebrow, she opened it with swift and terrifying grace.
Dear Lady Duchess,
We seem to have lost our memories. We don't know where we are; it's a sort of underground series of tunnels. We found this address and, well, maybe you can help?
The Duchess sighed, put the letter down, and resumed sipping her cocoa.
Her subordinates could deal with this nonsense.
Date: Nov 22nd
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