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||You are on Week 673
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 Seventy Three Ends Friday, September 12
|Heart pounding against his ribcage, breath gasping in his lungs, Corry raced through the crowd and around the tents that made up the market in Meridell. An indescribable mix of emotions swirled through him; his hands were practically shaking from excitement, but he was careful to keep gentle grip on his prize.
He'd been planning this for so long, stalking the market and daydreaming daily, but his little treasure had been surprisingly elusive. He knew they were popular, but he hadn't realized just how hard it would be. Days had turned into weeks that had turned into months before he’d even seen one -- and then he'd been so excited to see it that he'd fumbled trying to talk to the shopkeeper and someone else had snatched it up. He'd been crestfallen, but his lesson had also been learned. When he saw it hit the shelf today he'd grabbed it immediately, offering full price. He'd practically shouted his offer at the poor Meerca, who'd blinked at him in surprise -- but that hadn't stopped the shopkeep from taking his Neopoints. He'd beaten out a fat old Skeith who'd yelled at him for buying his lunch out from under him, but it was water off his back... he'd seen it first!
Now it was his... opening his hands, he stared breathlessly down. It glimmered in the patchy sunlight, the icy blue exterior shifting richly, almost as if something moved inside the jewel-toned egg...
Date: Sep 8th
...The egg was cool to the touch and he could see mist floating up off its shell. It was an amazing sight to see for the Techo.
Just as he was about to go home and get all of the preparations for the egg ready, he heard a strange sound coming from inside the egg. It sounded like a mix between a Tasu and a Zebie, which was quite unique.
Corry tapped on the egg and the egg tapped back, which gave him a fright. He had heard stories about these eggs but he'd never thought that they were real. The Techo assumed it was just hearsay in order to make the eggs more expensive (and popular). He had never held one in his hands before today, however, so he wondered now if it was all true.
The Skeith whom he had beaten to the egg then came out of the shoppe and saw Corry examining the egg.
"Ha! You fool... don't you even know what you just bought? You look like you've never seen one before, and yet you just spent all of those Neopoints on it," the old Skeith said as he looked down at the Techo laughing. His laugh was deep and it echoed inside Corry's eardrums.
"I... I've bought many of them before, and who are you to say otherwise?" the Techo said, holding his egg tighter.
"Hmph! Yeah, right... and Snorkles can fly!" the Skeith replied, beginning to walk away from Corry as he continued to laugh.
"What a grumpy old geezer he was..." Corry said to himself in a whisper.
The Techo waited until the Skeith was out of sight and then carefully put the minty-coloured egg in his bicycle basket. Corry would walk his bike home today and he would do so with pride.
He decided to take a shortcut and went down a less-used path. Once there, he saw a strange-looking little cave he'd never seen before off to his right side...
Date: Sep 8th
...A faint smile materialized on the Techo's face. There, he would have some privacy. If anything, that Skeith wouldn't be likely to return... would he? Even so, he'd definitely be stopped by the next 'pet who came across him on the way to the cave. His bicycle basket didn't hide the egg very well -- indeed, it shimmered brightly in the sunlight. The glare would certainly alert Neopets within sight, especially that Skeith.
Concealing the egg in his satchel was no easy task, as the satchel was meant for books of history and famous legends, which were already occupying the majority of the space inside. Removing several of these books and tucking them into his bicycle basket, Corry slid the egg inside with utmost care. Whipping his head from side to side to make sure no one would follow him, the Techo walked as casually as he could into the cave.
The cave was very warm, its air unusually stale for a Meridellian cave. Fearing that something or someone already lived in the cave, he dared not venture too far in. The Techo took a few steps and then settled on the toasty, stalagmite-free floor. He was close enough to the exit where he could run away from something if necessary, yet far away from the exit that his voice wouldn't carry too much if he was careful. Perfect.
Now that he was alone, Corry was able to get a better look at the egg. Its rich, pale exterior almost felt cool to his touch, very much like a misty summer breeze. Corry smiled down at the egg, caressing it with one claw. Something was definitely in it, that was certain... but what? "What are you?" he asked it, only to be met with a few indignant-sounding murmurs.
Corry shook his head violently. "What are you?" had to be the rudest question known to Neopet, especially when introductions hadn't been in order. He swallowed. "Er... my name is Corry. I'm a proofreader." He paused. Did the egg know what any of those words meant? He then considered -- the egg had been around for a long time and had heard many voices, been passed around from hoof to paw to the Techo's claws. If there was ever a time for the contents of the egg to get used to his voice, it was now.
Corry smiled and pulled a thick book out of his bicycle basket. This one was yellowed with age, yet it had been one of his newest acquisitions. "'Daring Draiks,'" he read aloud, opening the book. "Since before the dawn of Neopia, Draiks have been famous for their brave deeds, heroics, and general elusiveness." He turned a page. "Sharpeye Skeen was noted for his skill in archery, and protected the north of Meridell from bandits. However, he didn't start out that way--"
The Techo silenced himself as he saw a large shadow fall over the mouth of the cave, threatening to eliminate all light pouring in. The shadow grew larger... its owner took a step closer.
"I know you're in there. I will find you..."
Date: Sep 9th
...The egg stirred in Corry's hands and a low grumble emanated from within.
"You know when trouble is coming, don't you little egg?" Corry whispered as he packed up his book and the egg. He weighed his options; judging by the shadow, he could not exit the way that he'd come in. Corry could feel the sweat dripping down his neck. "It looks like I'll have to move deeper into the cave before a bandit steals my egg!"
With no lantern to guide his way, Corry placed his right hand on the wall of the cave and pushed further into the darkness. Instead of becoming cooler, the cave stayed warm and dry. He could hear some teeth gnashing in the dark... he did not want to lose a toe to a Drackonack's snack, so he took extra care with each step. He thought he had moved far enough out of the entrance to escape his pursuer until he heard, “Some hiding spot you've got yourself here!”
This time the voice was louder and clearer than at the entrance. It was the same Skeith from the shop! Corry's mind spun; why would he go through the trouble? "Don't worry, my Techo friend... I will find you and that scrumptious egg you sniped from the shop. Why don't you just hand it over? You don't know how to prepare it, anyway."
Corry harrumphed at that and then ran his hand across the smooth surface. It was so much more than an egg. The stirring vibrations were getting stronger the deeper that he moved into the cave. Corry was certain that he couldn't allow anyone to eat it.
Lost in thought, Corry tripped over a rock and landed face-first in a puddle, startling several Mortogs.
"Ssshhhh!" he pleaded with the croaking beasts, frantic to keep quiet, lest the Skeith find him. Corry then looked up from the pool of water to see several streaks of light pouring through cracks in the cave. A pedestal lay in the center of the cavern with dried twigs and leaves atop it. He looked about, trying to decide whether the Skeith would see him more clearly if he approached the pedestal or if he should follow a dark corridor to the left. The Techo's curiosity won out and he approached the pedestal.
As he looked down at the brittle leaves and twigs, he felt his satchel stirring violently. Corry pulled the egg out and ran his hand over the shell tenderly. "Don't worry. I won't let him find you."
A splash started Corry out of his reverie. "There you are!"...
Date: Sep 9th
...the Skeith's voice boomed, its ringing tones triumphant. Corry felt a wave of dread wash through him at the sound, realising with horror that his pursuer had caught up with him.
He jumped as the Skeith's outline appeared in his line of vision. Corry's view of the other pet's expression was limited at best but he sensed, somehow, that the Neopet was smirking. Stepping back, he edged away instinctively until he backed into the cave wall.
Corry gulped, his thoughts awhirl, before he shook his head. The Skeith might've closed in on his trail but Corry hadn't been cornered yet and wouldn't be, if he acted fast. He looked to his left, seeking a passage that he could follow, but there was nothing but rock.
His claws dug into the smooth, hard surface at his back before he turned and peered in the opposite direction. The thump of his heartbeat, Corry realised, was every bit as ominous to his ears as the slow, amused thud of the Skeith's step. He could feel himself shaking and had to force his claws to steady and his feet to move.
He couldn't let himself give into his fear, Corry told himself. There had to be a way out of his situation and he was determined to find it for the egg's sake, if not Corry's own. The creature inside wasn't going to be anyone's meal. Not if he had a say about it.
The Techo had barely moved, however, before a claw snaked out of nowhere to wrap itself around Corry's arm. He stared down at the large fist, uncomprehending, for a moment then attempted to rip himself free of the Skeith's sweaty grasp. Oh, rotten omelettes!
"Is this really necessary?" Corry bit out as the pet's grip tightened. His insides were churning but less with anxiety than with a bright flare of anger. He had bought the egg from Merrifoods, using his hard-earned savings, and the other pet could do the same if they wanted an egg of their own. "Why are you doing this?"
Something unreadable flashed across the Skeith's features, gone too quickly for Corry to pinpoint what he read there.
The other Neopet chortled, the sound high and guttural, but it seemed forced. "I told you," the Skeith replied. "I'm going to have that egg for lunch… so hand it over!"
Corry shifted and the Skeith frowned, dragging him to where the lighting was better. "Hand it over!" the pet repeated.
Words came slowly to Corry's lips but, when he spoke, his voice was firm. "I don't believe you," the Techo said, swallowing to moisten his dry throat. "That you just want that egg for lunch, I mean."
There was something more than that at play here, Corry thought with a flash of insight. He'd seen a glimpse of it in the Skeith's expression earlier and it would explain the unusual lengths the other Neopet had gone to in following Corry. Now, he just needed to work out what...
Date: Sep 10th
...Corry steeled himself.
"You seem..." he began, but paused to swallow again. His throat felt like the terrain of the Lost Desert. "You seem to know a lot more about this egg than me, and we both know it's too precious to be eaten. What's so special about it?"
The Skeith sneered, maintaining his hold on Corry. "As if I would tell you!" The egg, nestled between Corry's claws, seemed to be shifting more and more with each of the Skeith's snarled syllable.
"So you admit there IS something special!" Corry cried.
"Look, kid, don't test my patience. Just give me the egg and no one gets hurt," the Skeith growled, baring his teeth. His scowl scared Corry, but the Techo refused to let his fear show. The egg was vibrating more frantically, as if trying to escape from the towering figure facing them. Corry felt like doing much the same.
"You... you obviously care about this egg and won't let it get damaged, so you can't force me to hand it over!" he said, hoping to make this fact seem like a bigger advantage than it was. What was really stopping the Skeith from grabbing the egg? Corry himself was certainly not strong enough to take on this giant Neopet.
"Would you bet on that?" the Skeith growled, leaning towards Corry. Underneath the anger and irritation was a trace of desperation. Perhaps if Corry pushed a bit further...
At that moment, the egg stopped shaking for a second. Then, it took a decisive leap out of Corry's clutches and sped towards the ground.
"No!" the Skeith cried, reaching his paws out to catch it...
Date: Sep 10th
...Corry lunged at the same time but was only successful in getting himself tangled with the Skeith. The two of them fell onto the cave floor in a ball of flailing limbs. As if the world had suddenly slowed down the progression of time, both Neopets paused to watch the final descent of the fragile-looking egg as it plummeted toward the ground.
Fearing the worst, Corry closed his eyes, expecting to hear the unmistakable crack of shell, the same sound he could hear so vividly from his many mornings of cooking omelettes. However, all he heard was a muffled bump, much like a fist makes when hitting a pillow.
He opened his eyes in time to see the egg teeter a few heart-wrenching seconds before it began to roll away from them toward the shafts of light streaming from above. The Skeith, being so much bigger than Corry, was able to extract himself easily from Corry's grasp.
Desperately, Corry found himself reaching toward the Skeith's tail and giving it an unforgiving twist. The latter's roar echoed off the walls, but it gave Corry the extra time to race toward his precious purchase.
"Where are you going?" Corry cried. "Come back!"
The egg, whether it was listening or not, continued on its mission, only stopping once it had reached the edge of the pedestal. The Techo reached down, intending to pick the egg up, but it was vibrating so violently that Corry couldn't get a good grip. A pounding of footsteps behind him signaled the Skeith's return for vengeance.
Reacting instinctively, Corry set down the egg among the leaves and dried twigs, promising to defend the egg no matter the cost. He had grown quite attached to his little friend in the short amount of time theyd been together, and he would not allow the Skeith to steal him away without a fight.
He turned in time to see the hulking form of the Skeith bounding for him. In only a matter of seconds Corry was likely to be squashed. Yet, something happened that caused the Skeith to freeze in his tracks.
The adrenaline pumping in Corry's ears almost drowned out the unmistakable sound of an egg beginning to crack...
Date: Sep 11th
...Corry and the Skeith forgot their skirmish for a moment, each completely enraptured by the miraculous scene unfolding before them. Beams of light shone down at odd angles from the cave's ceiling, forming a beautiful kaleidoscopic aurora around the egg. Cool wisps of air rose from the shell's cracks as it hatched, gradually forming a thick cloud of glittering smoke in the area above the egg.
Shortly after the egg finished hatching, a silhouette became visible behind the cloud. It outstretched two magnificent wings from its back and swung its spiked tail to and fro experimentally. Two red eyes blinked rapidly as the smoke cleared, surveying their surroundings. Behind the now-hollow egg and its shattered pieces stood an elegant blue Draik.
Before Corry or the Skeith had time to react, the Draik crouched in a fighting stance with Corry behind her, eyes narrowed and wings protectively outstretched. Her voice was cool, clear, and strong -- that of a warrior.
"I know who you are," she said to the Skeith. "You will keep your distance and you will answer the questions that are asked of you."
The Techo stood frozen, thoughts racing through his head. The Skeith's facade was now broken and his face showed that he was visibly frightened.
"If you make a move to hurt me or my friend, you will regret it..."
Date: Sep 11th
...For several moments, the three of them stood as still as statues. Countless questions raced through Corry's head; everything that had happened throughout the day, in the past hour even, seemed unreal. What would he say? Where would he begin?
Finally, he managed to clear his throat. The Draik turned to look at him.
Although Corry was supposed to be questioning the Skeith, his first question came out directed at the Draik.
"Wh-who are you?"
The Draik directed a faint smile in his direction. "My name is Cahira. My lineage consists mostly of warriors and soldiers, and even though I have known you for a short while, I am your friend." She turned to look at the Skeith, who stood frozen across the pedestal. "Rest assured, I will protect you as you have protected me."
Corry nodded. He knew his features were still an expression of awe and surprise, but couldn't seem to gain control of his facial muscles. His eyes meandered toward the Skeith.
"Would you finally tell me... tell us why you were after the egg -- I mean, after Cahira so desperately?"
The Skeith was still eyeing Cahira with fear in his eyes.
"Well?" the Draik prompted him.
"I..." For the first time, the Skeith's voice wobbled. He lower his eyes. "A very long time ago, I bought an egg just like this one. I spent all of my savings -- every last penny -- to get it. Twice the price," he added, glancing at Corry. "Twice the price you paid."
He paused, peering through the cracks in the ceiling. In the sunlight filtering through, dust mites could be seen fluttering around.
"It was stolen from me just a day afterward," the Skeith continued after a while. "Some lowlife took it and I've been hunting for it ever since. When I saw it in the market... well, I knew I had to have it, and I've never wanted something so much in my life."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Corry asked.
"Would you have given it to me?" the Skeith asked, his voice growing harsh.
Corry knew the answer. He knew he wouldn't have. He couldn't have. He then remembered something Cahira had said.
"You said you knew him," he said to the Draik. "How?"
Cahira tensed visibly. She and the Skeith stared at each other as if communicating telepathically. The Skeith then opened his mouth once more...
Date: Sep 12th
...but Cahira, in a fury, cut him off. "Your recklessness of my care whilst I was in your possession comes in favor to the universe as a whole," she answered harshly. This response just created more questions for Corry, who now saw her as quite the articulate and sagacious Neopet; she could have been in that egg for eons, experiencing tremendous development.
The Techo just glared back and forth between the two. "Answer my question, if you please," he said as gently as he could to his new friend.
"I've said what I wanted to say," the Draik replied with a smirk aimed at the heavyset figure athwart her. "Let him make his case," she finished.
A new sense of fury seemed to stir in the Skeith in all this back and forth bantering. "My name is Reid," the Skeith commented, "and I, too, come from a long line of warriors."
Corry couldn't quite stifle a gasp at this.
"Stuff it," the Skeith decisively rebutted. "I know what you're thinking, Techo, and it's true. The prominence my family once held fell by the wayside, but only after we had successfully defeated the ancestors of the BEAST standing before you." He gestured toward Cahira. "I had to have the egg... but not because I wanted to keep it. I wanted to destroy it and fulfill my family's destiny."
A newfound sense of rage bubbled within Corry's being. He wanted someone "destroyed," too, and it definitely was not Cahira.
"I, again, know what you're thinking, Techo--"
"Corry," he interjected rigidly. A fierce look of indignation blazed on his face.
"Corry," Reid continued. "You want me dead in light of this new information, but trust me: if you saw the destruction her kind was capable of--"
"And still is capable of," Cahira interrupted. "Do you believe the track of vicious malevolence ends with me?"
The Techo was dumbfounded, unsure what to make of these somewhat conflicting stories. He stuck with his gut, however; he stuck with his Draik. Walking over to her, he asked, "You mean malevolence directed at your enemies, correct?"
"Why, at everyone!" Cahira roared with a laugh as thick as honey, yet permeated with unmistakable poison. There was no doubt in her words, especially as her features darkened. "You have no idea what it's like to be trapped in an egg, to feel the fall of your ancestors from authority, unable to do anything about it." She grinned, a fire in her eyes alight with simultaneous pride and devastation. "Until you came along, Corry dear," she continued sweetly, yet inciting fear in the Techo to whom she spoke. "You freed me from my prison, and for that you shall be protected. Together we may rule this land, you and I, as it should be."
Reid suppressed a low growl. "And thus marks the decline of Meridell."
The Techo was wide-eyed. He couldn't believe this was happening... that any of this was happening. What would be happening now, if the Skeith had only taken the egg away?
Cahira seemed to sense his thoughts. Her demeanor seemed to assume a genuine sort of fear; of mutiny or of rejection, Corry could tell not. "Are you opposed to joining me in my path toward redeeming my family name?"
He turned back to look at the Skeith. Reid just stared at Corry, an odd mix of rue, consternation, and melancholy about him; the Skeith knew it was over, that nothing could be done now.
Corry realized this, and in that case... well, he really didn't have a choice, did he? "I am not opposed in the slightest, friend," he replied, though a brief waver in his voice perhaps subconsciously hinted otherwise.
Regardless, Cahira replied with a determined, "Splendid." She gestured for the Techo to sit on her back.
He climbed onto her and comfortably positioned himself. This was a new day for him -- perhaps a new dawn for the lowly worker -- and he tried to appreciate the guaranteed change ahead of him. In a cascading blur that seemed to encompass takeoff, the Skeith's demise, and surging out of the cave's mouth, the two were in the air flying high above Meridell.
"We're going to do great things for my family, and for the greater nation of Meridell." Cahira smiled at him with an obvious twinkle in her eyes.
Relaxing slightly, Corry certainly hoped so. "I know we will," he said, patting his newfound friend on the head.
They continued on into the horizon, the day turning to an almost majestic dusk before their very eyes.
Date: Sep 12th
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