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||You are on Week 637
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 Seven Ends Friday, December 20
|Ricardo pushed up the reflective glasses on his nose with a snort as he glanced at his surroundings. Sure, he'd been called to weird places before, but this? This was the weirdest of the weird, and that was saying something.
"A job's a job," he sighed as he ruffled his jacket quickly and knocked on the door of the rundown house he faced. "After all, a Wocky's got to eat." His knock was responded to with a high-pitched yap and heavy footsteps. The door opened with a creak as a withered-looking Bruce was revealed.
"Sir? You called me to--" He was cut off by a long and dry cough from the Bruce. Stepping back quickly, Ricardo glanced at the interior of the house. It was "decorated" with assorted cobwebs and ripped up couches.
"Oh! Yes, yes, I remember you now. Come on in, but don't make yerself too comfy." The Bruce wheezed, stepping backward to allow the Wocky entry to his home. Ricardo walked in slowly, looking around at the strange house before refocusing his gaze on the Bruce. He had a job to do, and that was his top priority.
"Well, here he is," the Bruce said, exhaling deeply as he sat down on a couch, sending dust flying across the room. "I hope he isn't too much trouble for ya."
Ricardo smiled awkwardly as he looked at the little Spardel suddenly sitting in the Bruce's lap. "Oh, he won't be. After all, I'm a certified Petpetsitter..."
Date: Dec 16th
...The Bruce erupted into a violent coughing convulsion, scaring the Spardel off of his lap, and fumbled with a ball of tissues he produced from between the couch cushions before covering his mouth. Between coughing and wheezing for air, the ghastly Bruce let out various outbursts of ha, he, and ho.
While Ricardo stood awkwardly waiting for the Bruce to finish his fever fit, he slowly came to the realization that he was being laughed at. "Was it something I said?" Ricardo joined in on the joke.
With one last massive cough, the Bruce cleared his throat and replied, "Oh, no... I just enjoy your optimism is all."
"What do you mean?" Ricardo questioned.
The Bruce employer began to cough yet again, making various hand gestures to imply a short wait. "You must excuse my terrible cough," he began. "You see, it's why I've asked for your help." Ricardo couldn't help but feel his question had been successfully avoided. "I've been feeling under the weather as of late, and the doctor has insisted I confine myself to my bed to avoid spreading any germs. It's highly contagious."
The Wocky froze as he recalled the moment the Bruce coughed on him as he answered the door. "Well, if it's okay with you, I really must be going," he said as he attached a yellow leash to the Spardel's collar.
"Oh, wait! Just one more thing," the Bruce insisted. "You’ll need to follow these instructions very closely," he warned as he fumbled through his pockets. As he dug, several used tissues fell out before he could reveal a folded note. "Little Beaux can get quite cranky if you vary from his daily routine," he explained with a wink.
Ricardo hesitantly grabbed the note from the Bruce before quickly shoving it in his coat pocket and wiping his hand on his trousers. "I'm sure we'll be just fine. Thank you."
With that, the Wocky and the Spardel let themselves out of the house and marched down the street...
Date: Dec 16th
...Thankfully, Ricardo's own house was only a few streets away. As he walked, the Spardel faithfully plodded along beside him, tail wagging and pink tongue lolling. Maybe the next three days wouldn't be so bad, after all. With one free paw, the Wocky reached back into his coat pocket to fish out the instructions for... what had the Bruce called him? Beaux? What an odd name.
Shuddering slightly at the memory of the Bruce's hacking cough, he paused at the corner of the street for a minute to skim over the crumpled, suspiciously damp piece of paper. The list was written in small, cramped, almost illegible handwriting.
1. Beaux eats half a can of Fancy Petpet Food twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. Do not overfeed him, as he is prone to indigestion and that can get rather... messy.
2. He likes to be walked once a day in the morning after breakfast. Make sure to avoid encounters with other Petpets. He's old, but he can get a little feisty.
3. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, he will start yowling. It's a rather odd noise and I do not know why he makes it. You will just have to bear with it, as I know no means of calming him down.
4. He will make this noise when he is cranky, too. This is why sticking to his routine is so important.
5. Oh, and I almost forgot, make sure you pay attention while you are walking him. He has been known to escape from his leash (I don't know how he does it) and wander off. It can take ages to track him down.
Upon reaching the end of the list, Ricardo shoved it back in his pocket and gave the leash a little tug. "Let's go, we're almost home." To his dismay, however, there was no weight at the other end. The little Spardel was gone...
Date: Dec 17th
...Ricardo stared at the empty loop at the end of his leash for several moments, willing himself to believe the Petpet had simply turned invisible rather than admit to the horror of his disappearance.
If the Wocky had prided himself on anything, it was that he had never lost a Petpet in all his years of Petpetsitting in Meridell.
"Beaux?" Ricardo called meekly, twisting around to search the surrounding area. He bent down, looking under nearby shrubs. He kept scanning frantically until he heard a commotion a couple of Neohomes down.
Practically running down the street, he nearly collided with a harassed-looking elderly Aisha holding a Green Noil in her hands. The Noil growled as Ricardo approached.
"Excuse me, ma'am," Ricardo panted. "You haven't seen a loose Spardel running around in this area, have you?"
The Aisha squinted in his direction. "Spardel? What did it look like?"
Ricardo rubbed his temples. "Small, blue, kinda wonky-eyed..."
"You own that little heathen?" the Aisha wheezed. She coughed suddenly from her indignation, making Ricardo step back. He thought vaguely of the Bruce and his infectious health problems. Perhaps it really was contagious.
"Uhh... yes. Well, no... kind of,” Ricardo said, shaking his head. "I just really need to find him--"
"Look what he did to Mr. Fuzzy!" The Aisha thrust the Noil into Ricardo's face. He noticed that the Petpet had a particularly large amount of saliva on him, but other than that, seemed unharmed. "He practically attacked him!"
"Right," Ricardo said. "Which way did he go?"
She thrust out a shaky arm, pointing down the street. Ricardo followed the direction of her finger and groaned as he saw the great hulking form of the Turmaculus in the distance...
Date: Dec 17th
...Ricardo forced himself to take slow, shallow breaths. Okay, so he's at the Turmaculus. That doesn't mean he's been eaten... yet. He rushed over as fast as his legs could carry him, imaging the worst.
When he got there, he saw the little Spardel in front of the hulking form of the Turmaculus. Thankfully, the Turmaculus was asleep. His giant chest rose and fell as he snored loudly.
However, the Spardel was repeatedly poking the giant behemoth with a stick, singing, and sneezing... all simultaneously. What in the world was he doing?!? He was going to wake the Turmaculus!
"Stop it!" Ricardo yelled, quickly scooping up the Spardel.
It was too late, though. The Turmaculus yawned and slowly opened his eyes...
Date: Dec 18th
...Ricardo turned toward the hulking beast, eyes wide with fear. He had never seen the Turmaculus awake before; he'd never dared to try with the Petpets he was Petpetsitting, as the owners would've been much too devastated with the loss of their beloved Petpet (and Ricardo would have, most likely, not gotten paid).
The Turmaculus looked at the pair with sleepy eyes, as if he had not been expecting to be woken up. No matter how drowsy, though, the overgrown Turmac didn't look happy to see the pair.
Just as the Turmaculus opened his mouth to (most likely) swallow the pair whole, Ricardo swung his leg with all of the strength he could muster. His foot connected and the Turmaculus groaned as his lower jaw clacked from the impact.
Before the Turmaculus could make a move to try and eat them again, Ricardo dashed out of the way. He glared at the Spardel panting happily in his arms. "Don't think you're off the hook yet, you little rascal."
He stared back up at the Turmaculus. The creature still seemed agitated with the two, but didn't appear ready to actually attempt getting up and chasing them. Instead, he flopped his head back on the ground and closed his eyes with an agitated sigh.
Ricardo panted. His Petpets had never acted up like this before. He took his glasses off with a flare of anger and wiped them off on his shirt, then placed them back on his nose. It was only then that he remembered the little Spardel who should have been in his arms.
Ricardo shakily looked up and saw a Petpet-like shadow running off into the green hills in the distance, and continued to stare as it disappeared into a thick patch of trees with a sign posted at the front. Ricardo groaned. He didn't even have to see the sign to know that it was clearly marking the entrance to Illusen's Glade...
Date: Dec 18th
...He sighed as he trudged past the sign to follow the Petpet. Luckily, he didn't have to go too far before he spotted the Spardel in the arms of the earth faerie Illusen. He breathed a sign of relief as he headed over. "Lady Illusen," he greeted, "I think you've found something of mine."
Illusen gave a melodious laugh as she returned the Spardel to the Wocky's arms. "Strange, usually it's the other way around."
Ricardo made sure he had Beaux in a firm grip before he grinned at the earth faerie and said, "Thanks, maybe it's just a day for strange things. I don't usually lose Petpets, either."
Before the conversation could continue further, a yellow Lenny came running up to the glade yelling excitedly, "Lady Illusen! Lady Illusen! I found it!" He skidded to a halt in front of the two before proudly whipping a carrot out of his bag with a flourish.
Ricardo tried to hold back a chuckle while Illusen simply turned to look at the Neopet and smiled as she said, "Yay! I knew you could do it!" She moved to take the carrot from the Lenny's hand, but before she could, Beaux began yapping loudly from Ricardo's arms.
"Shush," Ricardo said, trying to hush the Spardel. It only started yapping louder and louder, though, squirming in his arms as it tried to escape, lunging toward the Lenny.
The Lenny jumped back in alarm. "Eek," he exclaimed. "What is going on?"
"Sorry, sorry," Ricardo apologized as he tried to calm the Spardel down, "I don't know whats wrong with--"
Suddenly a loud wailing interrupted his sentence. Ricardo blinked; the sound reminded him of his younger sister throwing a tantrum, but he was pretty sure his sister was on vacation somewhere in Mystery Island. He glanced toward the noise, and only then noticed a Mallard peeking out of a pouch at the Lenny's hip.
He frowned as he vaguely recalled the list from earlier, and how it had said to make sure to avoid encounters with other Petpets...
Date: Dec 19th
...Oh no! Ricardo thought as he stepped in front of the Spardel. "I'm sorry," he said again for the umpteenth time. "This little one doesn't take well to strange Petpets. It would be best if we headed out." Ricardo started to move backward, subtly pushing the yapping Beaux back with him. "Thank you again, Lady Illusen. Have a wonderful day."
Ricardo grabbed onto the leash tightly; he would not let this incident damage his Petpetsitting career. He has made a good name for himself, and no little yapping Petpet was going to destroy that. He smiled to himself; I can do this. Just put one foot in front of the other and calm down. The Wocky exuded utter calmness, hoping that the Spardel would follow suit and go with him. Unfortunately, little Beaux had another idea.
The Wocky's calm demeanor did nothing to soothe the Spardel at his side. Lady Illusen was taken back by the fiery Petpets yapping and wailing at each other. Even the Lenny didn't know what to do but tremble as he held his struggling Mallard in his arms. Obviously he didn't want trouble, either, but the Petpets just didn't get along.
In an instant, the Mallard achieved freedom from his Lenny owner's clutches and made his way toward the Spardel. Not knowing what to do, Ricardo accidentally let go of the leash holding Beaux. Now both Petpets were en route toward each other with one mission at hand...
Date: Dec 19th
...Ricardo, frozen in shock, stared as the scene unfolded before him. The fight didn’t commence as everyone expected, however. The Mallard swerved and ran right past the Spardel into the thick patch of trees. Obviously not expecting the Mallard to run away, little Beaux turned around, disoriented. Seizing this opportunity, Ricardo collected himself and ran to the Spardel to put the leash back on. Then, realizing that the Spardel was obviously experienced in escaping the leash, he tightly held the Petpet in his arms.
"I'm so sorry!" the Wocky said, apologizing to the Lenny and then coughing before adding, as an afterthought, "Thanks for all of your help" to Lady Illusen. Ricardo then made a quick getaway as he noticed the Lenny start to open his mouth in indignation. He had better make sure that little Beaux not cause any more trouble, because he didn't know how much more of this excitement he could handle.
"What kind of mutant Petpet are you?" Ricardo asked the Spardel after he was a decent distance away from Illusen's Glade. At that point, he decided to cut this walk short and go home. After all, the Spardel couldn't possibly run away in his own home, he thought.
On his way back, though, he began wheezing uncontrollably. It was the same type of uncontrollable coughing fit that he'd witnessed the Bruce have earlier. He fell to the sidewalk and let go of little Beaux involuntarily...
Date: Dec 20th
...Ricardo awoke in the Meridell branch of the Neopian Hospital.
"Ah," the nearby Gelert doctor said after the Wocky opened his eyes. "You're up."
"What?" Ricardo inquired drearily before succumbing to a coughing fit.
The doctor pointed to an object on the table beside the hospital bed. Ricardo followed the Gelert's gesture and noted the Spardel sitting beside him. The Wocky's breathing quickened.
"Don't get yourself worked up," the doctor said. "You need rest. You've been on an excursion recently?"
Ricardo nodded in agreement.
"You must have been exposed to quite a contagious disease, and the excitement you experienced today made you weak and you fell susceptible to it -- literally." The Gelert smiled. "The best thing you can do is rest." He hesitated. "You should feel lucky that Spardel dragged you all the way here. It came as quite a shock when one of the nurses saw him with you, and you were rushed into emergency right away. Thankfully, save a few minor scrapes, you were only sick and not too injured."
Ricardo frowned and stared at the Petpet.
"We contacted the Petpet's owner -- a name was inscribed in the leash. He should be coming fairly soon."
The doctor left the room.
Still staring at the Spardel, Ricardo reached out and patted the little Petpet on the head. "Thanks," he wheezed scratchily before coughing again.
The world went black for Ricardo then, and, the next thing he knew, the Bruce from earlier was standing in front of him. He must have fallen asleep. "Hello," the Wocky greeted, a touch of melancholy in his voice.
"Hiya," the Bruce said back, almost merrily. He seemed virtually disease-free. "I guess he was too much trouble, eh?"
Ricardo grinned sheepishly. "Er... yeah. Sorry I didn't adhere to the guidelines of the list." He broke out into a coughing fit.
"That's alright," the Bruce replied with a smile. "You tried your best, and that's really all I wanted with you having to follow Beaux's convoluted set of rules." He patted the Spardel. "But, I did get you sick, and -- through some fault of your own, I suppose -- you ended up running halfway 'round the town. Though I wouldn't have reprimanded you, it seems as though life has punished you enough here."
The Wocky frowned, and then started hacking.
"I recommend rest," the Bruce started after it appeared as though Ricardo had stabilized. "It did me a world of good." He smiled. Taking the little Spardel in his arms, he waved goodbye to the certified Petpetsitter. "Honestly, you were one of the better ones," he concluded. "Can I call you the next time I need a supervisor for Beaux?"
Ricardo smiled, then said, "I think I'm going to take a little while off."
The Bruce smiled back. "That's understandable." Walking up beside Ricardo, he left a large sum of Neopoints on the bedside table before turning around and exiting.
The Wocky grinned at the money, then eased. Never before had he encountered a case like Beaux's... and he hoped he'd never have another again. Well... not right away, anyway. For now, though, he sought to rest. He needed to get better. After all, a Wocky's got to eat... but, he reasoned, the cash beside him should keep his belly full for a little while before going back to Petpetsitting.
He smiled and, taking off his glasses, set them beside the NP. He then let himself fall into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Date: Dec 20th
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