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||You are on Week 691
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 Ninety One Ends Friday, February 13
|It was unusually stormy for the month of Awakening, but it could have been raining Slorgs for all Cuthbert knew. The old Lenny was in his workshop, buried deep in the heart of Brightvale, surrounded only by the noise of time passing and his deft wings at work.
For days on end he had been surrounded by the same four walls, which were covered by an array of clocks. The only thing he had been aware of was how far his invention was coming along and, of course, what time it was. He was always aware of time. As a clockmaker, he didn't have much choice. Frederick, his apprentice, would visit him for a few hours every day. He was new to the trade, and therefore was stuck with repairing and cleaning rather than creating.
Cuthbert was now nearly finished. He held a calliper in his hands, sculpting the tiniest of wheels. As he fitted it into the clock, he allowed himself a second to wonder where Frederick was. He usually arrived very early to finish his odd jobs and then spent some time watching Cuthbert working on his invention. He shared the Lenny's enthusiasm about this project and knew that Cuthbert would likely finish it today. So, where was he?
Cuthbert looked around for the last piece he needed -- the most extraordinary, something yet to be introduced to the world of clocks -- for his invention. It was difficult to see amid the clutter on his desk. He moved some things around. Being so disorganised did not help him with his trade.
After a while, he started feeling anxious. His heart beat faster with each stoke of the multiple clocks surrounding him. Shifting his project aside, he searched until his his desk was clear but the piece was nowhere to be found.
Cuthbert stood back. He had spent months making that final piece in preparation for this moment. Without that piece, his invention was nothing. At that moment, there was noise at the door. The lock turned, the door opened, and Frederick entered, looking flustered...
Date: Feb 9th
..."I'm so sorry I'm late!" Frederick said, apologizing profusely. His bag was carelessly flung around his shoulders and there were soggy papers slipping out of his bag as he ran in. "Reginald at the Potionery was nearly talking my ear off." The Quiggle shook the rain off of him, his brown cap going with it and sliding onto the floor.
Cuthbert stood up calmly and faced his apprentice. "My boy, I understand. However, there is a more pressing matter at hand." He gestured behind him to the bare desk. "My final piece has appeared to have gone missing."
"Oh, you mean the--" Frederick began, but then slapped a hand over his mouth to cut himself off. He knew better than to speak of any of the invention's vital pieces aloud, since they never knew if King Hagan the Wise had sent one of his associates to spy on them again, and they both knew very well that he would have their heads if he knew what they were creating.
Cuthbert spoke in a very hushed tone. "Yes, that. I was hoping you would have a hint as to where it may have gone."
Frederick rifled through his bag but it was to no avail. A few more soggy papers fell onto the ground, as well as a few odds and ends that he had been sent to retrieve. "It's not in my bag. All I have is the potions you wanted and the blueprints." The Quiggle paused, then pulled out a slightly damp scroll. "Oh, and this! When I was on my way back, Garvin stopped me and asked me to deliver this to you."
"Give it to me." Cuthbert extended his wing and took the scroll from his apprentice. He unrolled it and peered at the tiny printing that was scrawled on it...
Date: Feb 9th
...and gasped in amazement.
"What is it?" Frederick asked excitedly, "Will it help with the... project?" He indicated the half-completed invention on Cuthbert's workbench.
Cuthbert didn't respond at first. He reached out a hand, deftly selected a pair of powerful magnifying glasses from his bench, and continued reading.
At length, he seemed to remember Frederick's question.
"Ah, yes... yes, it might," he said absently. There followed another lengthy silence. "Wait a moment while I read this..."
Frederick edged closer and attempted to read over Cuthbert's shoulder, but the paper was so closely written that he could barely make out anything.
"Oh, botheration!" Cuthbert exclaimed at length, tossing the scroll unceremoniously onto his cluttered workbench. "The key to our problem was written on that very page, but it's now illegible thanks to that horrible rain." He sighed a deep sigh.
Frederick took a closer look at the page. In places the ink had run, making it hard to read the words correctly.
"What does it mean, master?" Frederick asked expectantly. He'd thought that his teacher had the project in hand, but now it sounded as though not everything was going to plan.
"Well," Cuthbert began, "Garvin confirms my suspicion that certain modifications would be required for the... piece... to function correctly in the context of a clock. However, the modifications he identifies are different from those I was anticipating. Unfortunately, the section detailing how to complete those modifications is all smudged." He shrugged helplessly. "Besides, I need to find the piece before I can modify it!" he added.
Casting the scroll aside, he began searching through his desk again, even though he was certain it wasn't there.
Just then, the door to the workshop was flung wide open, admitting a gust of wind and rain, and framing a Techo against the backdrop of the storm. She stepped inside...
Date: Feb 10th
...it was Maray, the Qasalan Delights shopkeeper. Frederick saw her and wondered what such an exotic Techo was doing in their little shoppe.
"Hello, Cuthbert," the Techo said in a curtly tone.
The Lenny immediately stopped looking through his desk and stood up.
"Maray, it has been a long time. What brings you to these parts?" Cuthbert asked as he straightened his bow-tie.
"I was in town to make a few fruit trades and saw someone rush out of your shoppe in a hurry. I thought you would like to know, since I know you're still working on the--" Maray replied before she was cut-off.
"Don't!" Frederick replied, unable to stop himself.
"I see you have even made your assistant superstitious about saying such words aloud," the smirking Techo said as she took Cuthbert's seat from his desk and sat down.
"Do you recall what this Neopian looked like?" Cuthbert asked the Techo in the hope that they could deal with this quickly.
"Yes, he was..."
Date: Feb 10th
..."Blue with a dark cloak?" Cuthbert repeated. "And a Nimmo, you say?"
Maray nodded cooly. "He looked very suspicious, of course, or I wouldn't have stopped in to tell you."
"Sir," Frederick began.
"Not now, Frederick! We must discover who this Nimmo is that stole the piece!" Cuthbert snapped.
"Shut up, Frederick!" his master ordered. "I feel like I should know who this Nimmo is... but I can't remember!"
"Listen to me!" Frederick shouted, jumping to his feet. "I know who it was!"
Cuthbert and Maray both turned in surprise. "What did you say, Frederick?" Cuthbert whispered.
"I said -- I mean -- the description fits the owner of the Magical Bookshop. It might not be, but he's in town and..." Frederick managed to say, giving a worried look to Cuthbert. He and the owner of the Magical Bookshop were good friends.
"And he didn't visit me? He must be hiding something!" Cuthbert exclaimed, racing out the door.
Maray sighed. "I guess we'd better follow him..."
Date: Feb 11th
...Frederick didn't hear her, though, as he was already bolting out after Cuthbert.
"Wow... " Maray muttered, shaking her head. "I can't believe how stupid some Neopets can be."
Meanwhile, Cuthbert was racing toward the Magical Bookshop. "Give me my... oh, you know!" he cried.
He was so busy yelling and running that he failed to notice the large puddle right by him! "Arrrrrragh!" Cuthbert exclaimed as his foot slipped in the puddle, leaving him laying on the ground, soaking wet.
"Come on," someone said. Cuthbert looked up to find Frederick staring down at him. Fredrick took hold of Cuthbert and pulled him up. "Come on!"
Cuthbert stood there, panting for a second. "I simply must have it! Hurry, let's go!"
He started to run, but Frederick pulled him back. "Wait... where are we?"
"We're at the..." Cuthbert stopped. "I don't know!"
Date: Feb 11th
...Back at Cuthbert's workshop, Maray smiled and wondered a little at just how easy this had been. She'd barely even had to hint at that silly blue Nimmo from the Book Shop -- Cuthbert's own friend, no less -- and out they'd raced without sparing a second thought to Maray.
She shut the workshop door and locked it. That ridiculous old Lenny hadn't even thought to bring his key along when he dashed out.
Maraya did not intend to be around long enough for Cuthbert and Frederick to figure things out and get back, but it could buy her a few extra minutes if it came down to that.
She walked up to Cuthbert's worktable, her eyes sparkling with wicked triumph, and produced his missing piece from a pouch as she eyed his new invention laid out before her. Her plan had been set into motion long before Frederick and Cuthbert had received word on the modifications the final piece would require and, therefore, did not notice the scroll from Garvin that Cuthbert had tossed off into the general clutter.
With a grin and a little laugh, Maray placed the final piece into place on Cuthbert's invention and...
Date: Feb 12th
...scratched her head in confusion. Why wasn't it working? She knew she had attached it correctly, but nothing was happening!
She eyed the machine sitting so inconspicuously on Cuthbert's worktable. Did she dare start pushing buttons? Maray obviously didn't know how to work the machine and didn't want to risk messing it up. She delicately pressed a small black button on the side of the invention and winced as it made a loud grinding noise. Nope, not that one, she thought. What could be missing? she wondered.
She tried to take the final piece back off the invention, but it was stuck. A bead of sweat trickled down her face. She glanced over her shoulder to make sure no one was approaching the door and tried again. If anything, the piece was wedged tighter in. Maray hissed in frustration. She had not come so far only to fail now!
When she had heard that the famous Brightvale inventor was inventing... something... no one really knew what... she had to find out what it was. When she did, she knew that she had to get her hands on it. Her future depended on her success. She now glared at the machine sitting before her.
How did one make a time machine actually move back in time? Maray didn't care about the science of it -- not anymore. She only hoped she could figure it out before Cuthbert and his clumsy assistant came back and saw her with the stolen piece!
She was attempting to take the piece off again when Frederick and Cuthbert were trudging up the street back to the shop. Frederick whistled and started fishing for his key within his pockets while Cuthbert was muttering under his breath. "'Never seen the piece,' he says... 'No idea what I'm talking about,' he says... ahh, well. Maybe Maray will have another lead for me to follow?"
Frederick unlocked the door just in time to see the Techo yell triumphantly as she pulled the piece back off. "You!" Frederick shouted, quickly piecing together that Maray had sent them on a wild Nimmo chase. Cuthbert looked up and gasped. "Maray! You found it!"...
Date: Feb 12th
...Frederick's jaw dropped. "But... master," he started to say before he was interrupted.
"Isn't this great, Frederick?!?" Cuthbert said as he walked over to Maray, holding out his hand expectantly. "Where did you find it, Maray?"
Maray didn't know what to do or say. She didn't want to give the piece to him, but she clearly wasn't going to be able to get the machine to work. "Oh, I found it, uh..." Maray quickly looked around the shop. "Right over there, under those scrolls and papers," she said, pointing with one hand and handing over the piece with the other.
"Huh, I thought I looked there," Cuthbert said to himself as he scratched his head.
"Sir," Frederick tried again, only to be cut off by Cuthbert once more.
"To think... I threw Garvin's scroll right on top of it! Although, without knowing what the rest of the scroll said, my invention won't work anyway."
Both Frederick and Maray's eyes widened, albeit for different reasons...
Date: Feb 13th
...Cuthbert walked over to the table Maray had indicated and picked up Garvin's scroll once again, peering at the smudged, blurry ink. He held the paper even closer to his face so that his beak was pressed against the damp paper... and then he gasped suddenly. The Lenny whirled around to face Frederick and Maray with wide eyes. Both stared back with eyes equally as wide.
"What is it, sir?" Frederick asked in a hushed tone, his concerns about Maray momentarily forgotten.
Cuthbert paused for a split second, then cleared his throat. "Nothing, nothing," he muttered. "I thought I had it figured out, but that can't be right. Maray," Cuthbert began while looking over at the Techo, who was now watching him warily, "I'm afraid I must ask you to leave. I don't mean to be rude, but I'm quite tired."
Maray narrowed her eyes suspiciously, but turned toward the door. What else could she do? "I understand, Cuthbert," she said graciously. "Perhaps I'll call on you again in the morning." With a last wistful glance at the piece Cuthbert still clutched tightly, she swept from the workshop.
Frederick saw his opportunity to voice his suspicions of the Techo to his master and took it before he lost his nerve. "Sir," he began, but Cuthbert cut him off.
"I know what you're going to say, Frederick, but there is no need to tell me of Maray's deception. I'm already aware." He waved the scroll at Frederick and continued. "Garvin wrote to tell me of a couple adjustments he wanted me to make, that is true, but he also wanted to warn me of a danger, a threat to my invention. I believe he was referring to Maray and her plans to steal my invention. She believes it to be a time machine."
Frederick barked out a startled laugh. "A time machine? That's ridiculous! We both know it's really a--"
"Stop!" Cuthbert ordered, raising his right wing abruptly. "Is it so outrageous for Maray to have made such a... mistake?" He paused briefly, then continued. "A clockmaker working on a secret invention that requires a very special piece to function... no, I don't believe it's a completely outrageous conclusion."
Frederick suddenly became wary. Something about his master's tone made him uneasy. He watched, wide-eyed, as Cuthbert strode to the machine, the final piece in hand, and picked up a tiny screwdriver laying next to the nearly-completed machine. He made a couple small adjustments and, without preamble, shoved the final piece in place. He then switched the machine on and turned to Frederick.
"I know I led you to believe I was inventing something else, but Maray was right," the Lenny said to the Quiggle, whose mouth was hanging open in astonishment. "It was for your own safety, of course. However, now that it's completed, there's no more need for secrecy. What do you say to a little trip?" Cuthbert stretched his wing out, as if reaching for Frederick.
Frederick continued to gape at his master for nearly a minute before he came to his senses. "Yes!" he cried, without a moment's thought to the risks or consequences. "Let's go!" He stepped closer to Cuthbert and put his hand on the Lenny's wing.
Cuthbert pressed a button and a deafening whirring sound filled the workshop. Then, with a POP, the two vanished.
Somewhere in the distance, a Techo hissed loudly in anger.
Date: Feb 13th
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