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||You are on Week 741
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 Seven Hundred Forty One Ends Friday, August 26
|Whirrrr… Hummmmm… Clank. Whirrrr… Hummmmm… Clank.
The churning, mechanical motions of Moltara formed an industrial song, each section of the massive, cold machines contributing to the mechanical harmony that simmered in the volcano’s heart. Even as the magma boiled ominously in the depths, the machines continued to grind, captivated in their own, endless music.
Each day, as she cleaned the cogs that kept Town Hall’s anvil beating out the city rhythm, Ilya found herself moving in sync with the sounds. The small, shadow Shoyru conducting her repetitive tasks in time with the mechanical symphony.
Whirrrr… Hummmmm… Clank. Whirrrr… Hummmmm… Clank.
There was no joy in this song, she mused, shifting to clean the next mechanical clog as it spun slowly. It was simply part of a large machine, never changing, never altered. Much like her. Years ago, inspired by the industrial song, she had told her mother that she sometimes made up words to accompany the beat. Rambling prose about subterranean life and the folk that tended the churning, musical monster. Perhaps, she suggested, she could leave Moltara one day. Become a musician. Tell the stories of her people, through song.
Her mother had laughed softly, petting her atop the head and smiling in amusement. Moltarans didn’t leave. They remained and fed the great machines. Music was not in her future. Even now, the memory made the clanking sounds of the subterranean song seem morose.
Whirrrr… Hummmmm… Clank. Whirrrr… Hummmmm… Clank. Clank. Clannnnnnnk. Thud.
And then, silence. No strange, machinery based harmony. No singing sound of whirring clogs. Silence. Silence as moments passed. Not a sound filtering into the now motionless machines of Town Hall.
And then, a noise that Ilya had never expected to hear…
Date: Aug 21st
...the melodious tune of a violin - Ilya's favorite instrument.
Ilya followed the beautiful music across the town. She hummed along to the melody produced as she followed its trail. As she walked, she noticed that the other Moltarans were not interested in the violin music. Ilya didn't understand how how anyone could not be entranced in this wondrous sound.
The Shoyru stopped at the Town Hall. Sitting on the bottom step was a purple Gelert. His eyes were closed as he played the violin. Ilya found herself dancing to the music. She was sad when the Gelert stopped playing.
"You quite like my violin playing, don't you?" the Gelert asked.
Ilya was a bit nervous at first, but she nodded and said, "Yes, sir, I love the violin. I want to be a musician who plays as well as you."
The Gelert stood up and looked down at Ilya. "Well, if you want, maybe I can teach you how to play the violin..."
Date: Aug 23rd
...Ilya's eyes widened at the offer. Could he be serious? "Oh, yes, please. I would be ever so grateful if you would!" the Shoyru replied, but she was cut off by the Gelert raising a paw.
"I... apologize for speaking to quickly and getting your hopes up. I don't work for free," he explained softly. "I can most assuredly teach you all that I know, but first, I need you to do something for me."
Ilya felt herself deflating a bit, however, chances like this didn't come around too often, especially in Moltara, so she steeled herself to do whatever it is the Gelert needed her to do. "I, well I can't promise I can do it, but I'll certainly try my best."
"I suppose that is all I can ask. My name is Nicholas and I am in Moltara for a reason, you see. I recently came into possession of the schematic for what is rumored to be the world's most beautiful-sounding violin. It calls for a piece of rare metal called Zymosite and my sources have confirmed that there is such a piece, in the mechanism of the Town Hall's machinery."
"So, that's it? You want me to just grab the part you need and replace it with something else more common?" Ilya asked.
Nicholas shook his head. "You could try, however, the strip of Zymosite is located at the very heart of the machine. Just as it is capable of producing wondrous music, it is also integral to the machine it is located within. I cannot guarantee Moltara will not be without consequences. Nonetheless, this is my price."
Ilya stopped to consider. Mechanically, it did not make sense. She had seen various scrappers make amazing constructions out of bent, rusted metal pieces they had found on the ground. How could a machine rely on the presence of one specific metal? Ilya shook her head; Nicholas had to be wrong. If all it took was this one piece, she felt confident that she could find something of a similar weight and shape and it would slot in just fine. And then she could learn how to be an amazing musician!
"Alright," Ilya said. "I'll do it..."
Date: Aug 23rd
The sound of the Gelert's violin began to weave once more through the air as Ilya made her way back through the skirts of the town, entranced by its melody and dazzled by her musical dreams. With distance, the music faded almost completely away, and the Shoyru became aware of the Moltarans who bustled around her in the streets. Most of them were oil-stained and looked busy, occasionally calling to one another in greeting, carefully balancing armfuls of gears and cogs while they joked with passing friends. It was the sight of a small gear slipping from one of these piles which caught Ilya's attention.
The gear clinked loudly on the rocky ground, then rolled swiftly away down a nearby alley. The Lupe who had held it paused and growled, looking in frustration at the teetering pile of metal it held and the dark alley. Without a thought, Ilya sprang after the gear, nimbly dodging the Moltaran workers.
"I'll just be a moment!" she called over her shoulder at the Lupe, before the darkness of the alley swallowed her up.
Blinking, Ilya waited for her eyes to adjust to the sudden lack of light. The walls of the alley were taller than usual, blocking out the familiar red glow of the town. Her slight, shadow Shoyru form blended well into the gloom. Thankfully, the gear was made of shining metal, and even in the darkness it gleamed faintly. Beaming as she picked it up, Ilya ran back to the Lupe - only to discover he had disappeared into the streets.
Well, that was pointless, Ilya thought, looking down at the gear she held, suddenly feeling the weight of it as her excitement passed. Her eyes widened as she realised that it was not a gear at all.
Date: Aug 24th
It was nothing close to a gear. Moreover, it was quite fresh and clean, without a single smear of oil. She dusted it off as if it was her newly bought paint brush. It was beautiful, twinkling with effervescent flashes of different colored light. It stood out in the lonesome, dark alley and balanced the gloom, reflecting the red lustre of the magma in brilliance.
Ilya began to wonder what this multicolored stone could be. Maybe it could be a shard of an Everlasting Crystal Apple. Or it could be the finishing touch to an elegant necklace. Whatever it was, she kept it safely in her pocket and cushioned it with her red printed handkerchief, which soaked a lot of sweat and oil.
She scampered off to work again, pushing the stone deep into her pocket. While cleaning and oiling the cogs, she overheard a conversation between two workers. One of them was the Lupe who she saw earlier.
"Guess we have to order Hubert's Hot Dogs tonight! Hey, have you seen the Zymosite piece?" said the Lupe, tightening some cogs.
"I'm afraid not. I was just carrying coal to the machines." replied an Aisha. She turned over to Ilya.
"Excuse me, did you happen to find any shiny, colorful piece of metal anywhere?" she asked, sweating.
Suddenly, Ilya's heart jumped. Capable of producing music. Rare metal. But she would be letting the chance go of learning a unique musical instrument.
Date: Aug 24th
"No, I haven't." Ilya said.
"Hoo boy, that's not good." The Lupe said.
"Well, it's not an issue yet." The Aisha replied.
"What's an issue?" Ilya asked, not sure of what she had just done.
"Oh, if the machine doesn't have the Zymosite piece in it, eventually it will shut down." The Lupe said. "And after that, all of Moltara will go dark and stop working, and then the core of Neopia will start to cool, then the planet will stop turning, and that will be the end of all life and then a thousand years of darkness, before our orbit disintegrates and we crash into the sun."
Ilya blinked for a moment in sheer horror.
"I'm just messing with you." He replied, "At least on the last part. But if we don't get the Zymosite piece, then the machine will shut down and Moltara with it."
"There's an emergency shut off that activates after twenty-four hours." The Aisha said, "So we have time to look for it without it being a crisis. But we do need it back. Or another piece. But what are the odds of finding another Zymosite piece? Haha."
The two workers laughed at that improbability, and Ilya gave a few nervous chuckles as well. She started to take a few steps back, when she started to hear the sound of the violin playing once more.
Her hand clutched at the piece. Was she doing the right thing?
"There had to be more Zymosite, right?" She thought to herself as she headed back towards Nicholas. "Surely they have to have extra. They wouldn't have just one of such a valuable and important piece to the town's machinery, right?"
With a bit of hesitation in her step, Ilya clutched the Zymosite piece in her hand, and approached the Gelert...
Date: Aug 25th
... who stopped his piece when he spotted her.
"I'm back, Nicholas. I've got the rare Zymosite that you needed for your violin." She extended her hand tentatively. The metal piece lay exposed on her palm.
"Thank you," he said with a smile as he took the piece from her outstretched hand and placed it on the wood surface of the violin. Nothing happened for a few seconds. Then, to Ilya's surprise, the Zymosite began to melt into the instrument, its colorful properties turning the violin from its original maple color into a sea of changing colors. It was gorgeous.
The Gelert held the instrument up to his chin once more and began playing a melodious tune. The tune that was produced was mesmerizing and in a matter of minutes, a crowd of Moltarans surrounded them, enraptured by the sweet melody.
So that's the power of the Zymosite, thought the Shoyru. It enhanced the sound of the violin in a most beautiful fashion. As much as it pleased Ilya, she started to worry as well. She had to return the metal piece to its original slot in the machinery if Moltara were to continue functioning normally. But the Aisha had said that the underground city would only be in dire trouble twenty-four hours later, didn't she? Which meant she had almost one whole day to learn the violin. That was more than enough time; it wasn't a problem.
The Shoyru spent the next few hours practising with Nicholas. He proved to be a very good teacher and she a fast learner. Ilya was soon able to play her favorite song and gained much applause from the coming-and-going audience.
"Thank you so much for teaching me how to play the violin!" Ilya grinned.
"No worries," he replied. "Besides, the both of us got what we wanted."
The Shoyru flinched slightly. She couldn't let the crowd know about the missing gear in their machinery. She leaned close to the Gelert and whispered, "yeah... about that, I think I need that metal piece back. It's really important for the machinery, or else Moltara will shut down within the next day."
"Oh, but you can't," the Gelert merely shrugged, "since it's already melded into the violin. I'm afraid there's no way to remove it."
"What?!" Ilya exclaimed. "Why didn't you tell me this before?" she asked, exasperated.
"I did warn you."
Terror and shock were understatements to the emotions Ilya was experiencing. She had landed herself in boiling water. The whole city depended on the Zymosite. Without it ... she shuddered to think of the consequences.
But Ilya didn't know much about the metal piece nor the detailed workings of the machinery. She had to confide her problem to someone, even if she was going to be punished severely for her actions. After several moment's thought, she knew just who to ask for the solution.
Date: Aug 25th
She made it clear to herself that she would have to go to Tangor for help. Tangor was a Mynci who ran a workshop in Central Moltara. Of course, Tangor wasn’t an actual metal scientist, but Ilya assumed that he definitely know about Zymosite as he may have used it in one of his petpets or machines.
She scrambled off, running to Tangor’s Workshop near Molten Morsels. Though she doubted that she would learn something about Zymosite, she couldn’t think of anything else in such a sticky situation.
“Hello, welcome to Tangor’s Workshop. What petpet would you like to make?”
“Actually, I needed some help. You know, you work with metals and stuff so I thought you would know something about a colorful, glassy metal called Zymosite?”
“Sure thing! I’ve used Zymosite in one of my gadgets. It’s very difficult to obtain.”
He ran through the shelves in his small library at the rear of the workshop. There were a bunch of books about metals, but he fished out one called ‘Moltara Metallurgy.’
“Hmm…let’s see here….Zadorite, Zygophite, Zylomite, Zymosite.” he said, showing the Shadow Shoyru a page with a colourful, glassy metal and a huge description.
“Is this what you were looking for?”
She rubbed her eyes just to check. It was the exact metal she picked up from the alley and gave to Nicholas.
“Oh, yes! Thank you. Can you read out the description?”
“Let’s see here. ‘Zymosite is a rare, iridescent metal found in the heart of the machine which runs everything in Moltara. It is formed when Zylomite, a metal melted and added to dyes and paint brushes, chemically reacts with Orophyte, a mix of Obsidian and condensed Moltite under different temperatures. Zymosite has extremely high melting temperatures and can only be melted in a sizeable tub of magma.’ Wow! That is quite complicated.”
“Is that all?” she asked the Mynci.
“No. There’s more. ‘A faerie’s wand, when melted, causes many chemical reactions and forms a piece of Zymosite.’ I guess that’s the easiest way to obtain Zymosite. Anyways, why do you need Zymosite?” asked the Mynci.
“Well, uh….my friend wants it for her birthday gift.” she lied.
“But where do I get a faerie’s wand?” she said.
The Mynci laughed.
“You can’t just ‘get’ a faerie’s wand. It’s hard to convince a faerie to give you one. She won’t even think about it even if you do a hundred quests for her without taking any rewards. But you can convince Fyora to give you one. Only if you dare.”
Ilya gulped. Her heart was beating at a quick pace. She had landed herself into a soup and she was responsible for it. Now she was facing the music. But this was her only chance and she wasn’t going to let it go. As she turned over to the exit, the Mynci shouted over to her.
“Wait! There’s something else you need to know……”
Date: Aug 26th
...Ilya turned back to the Mynci, bracing herself for bad news.
"Fyora has a meeting with the Mayor today, so she'll be in Moltara. Just thought I'd save you the trouble of going all the way to Faerieland," Tangor said. "I don't know how amenable she'll be, but if you really want that Zymosite, this'll be your best chance."
A sigh of relief escaped the Shoyru. At least she wouldn't have to go as far, but she would still need to convince Fyora to give her a wand. "Thank you," she replied genuinely before exiting the workshop and heading back to the Town Hall.
Nicholas was still there and, though he continued playing, his eyes followed Ilya as she dashed by him wordlessly and into the Town Hall.
Ilya approached the Techo receptionist who greeted her with a wave. "Good afternoon, Ilya. You won't be needed for the rest of the day; the crews performing maintenance on the machinery cleaned them as well."
"Well, I'm not here about work, I'm here for... has Queen Fyora arrived yet?" she asked.
"Oh, yes, Her Majesty is in with the Mayor now. I can't send you in, obviously, but if you wanted to just get an autograph or something, you can wait until their business is concluded. Due to the crowds outside, Queen Fyora arrived through the back entrance, so I can let you wait near there," the receptionist offered.
"I'll do that, thanks."
Ilya followed the Techo to the back entrance. It was much less flashy than the main entrance, but she supposed it was a small price to pay for someone as busy as Fyora to avoid drawing attention to herself. The wait was not very long; whatever Queen Fyora and the Mayor had had to discuss, they were finished quickly.
"Your Majesty," Ilya blurted when she saw the tall Faerie floating gently down the hallway. Fyora turned to gaze upon the Shoyru.
"Oh, yes. What can I do for you?" the Faerie Queen replied graciously.
"Well, you see... the Zymosite mechanism for the Town Hall's machinery -"
"- was taken, I know," Fyora replied.
"But how could you know?" Ilya asked in a gasp. "Did the Mayor...?"
Fyora gave Ilya a soft smile and nodded toward the front of the building. "I recognize the sound of a Zymosite violin when I hear one. And it just so happens that the only known schematic for one was stolen from me. By my own court musician, no less."
Ilya's brow furrowed. Could that mean that Nicholas was really Fyora's court musician? And a thief?
"I came to Moltara as quickly as I could to warn the Mayor that the Zymosite should be given extra security, however the piece had been removed for maintenance and I was too late. Luckily I had thought ahead to bring a spare wand, so we were able to form a replacement piece of Zymosite. It will be replaced within the day."
"That's a relief," the Shoyru exclaimed.
"Now, if I may ask, how did you come to know about this? The presence of Zymosite is a closely-guarded secret, for good reason," Fyora asked.
Ilya wanted to lie - she knew that there were a million and one stories she could make up to remove her own implication - but for some reason she just couldn't bring herself to lie to the Faerie Queen.
"I found the Zymosite," she admitted, staring at the ground and shuffling her feet. "The maintenance crew dropped it and I picked it up. Nicholas, the Gelert with the violin, asked me to give it to him in exchange for teaching me how to play the violin. I didn't realize that I wouldn't be able to get it back, or get another piece, after he used it. I'm sorry for causing so much trouble. I've always wanted to play violin and everyone in Moltara laughed at me for it, so I thought this was my only chance."
Fyora put a warm hand on Ilya's shoulder. "Everyone makes mistakes. Not everyone is brave enough to be honest. No harm was done, but I hope you learned a valuable lesson about not messing with things you don't fully understand, and about not trusting thieving Gelerts."
"I did, Your Majesty, thank you," Ilya replied honestly.
"Speaking of thieving Gelerts," Fyora mused, "he still needs to pay for his crimes. By my calculations -" The music outside suddenly came to a halt. "- The Moltaran guards should currently be taking Nicholas in custody. I suppose I should go reclaim my violin." The Faerie Queen paused. "You said that Nicholas taught you how to play violin after you gave him the Zymosite?"
"Yes, he did, Your Majesty. I found I was able to learn quickly," Ilya said.
"That's good. With Nicholas going to jail, I'll be needing a new court musician."
Ilya held the last note of her song for a few long beats before cutting it off. The audience roared and clapped its approval as she bowed. Roses rained upon her head from those close enough to throw them. The Shoyru's heart was singing; she was finally a musician!
The long round of applause gave Ilya a chance to reflect upon how much she had learned since becoming Fyora's court musician, and it wasn't all about music. For instance, Fyora had told her that Nicholas had stolen the schematics because the music from the Zymosite violin was so enchanting that just one concert could leave a Neopet wealthy enough to live out the rest of his life. Ilya was paid well enough that the idea of stealing the violin and charging for tickets didn't appeal to her.
As the applause wound down, Ilya found herself permitted to go backstage where she gasped. Her mother, the Mayor of Moltara, and Tangor were waiting for her backstage. The Shoyru flew forward and embraced her mother.
"I did it, Mom!" she murmured into her mother's shoulder as the two hugged.
"I know, sweetie," her mother replied. "And I couldn't be more proud of you."
"It's astounding that the piece of metal in your violin is the same one that we use in our Town Hall," the Mayor exclaimed. "Who'd have thought Zymosite would be so varied."
"I know you're loving life here as a musician in the city, Ilya, but won't you come back to visit home sometime? Everyone would love it," her mother replied.
Ilya grinned. Faerieland was nice and she loved being a musician, but sometimes, in the quiet of the night, she could still hear the thunks and whirs of the machinery. And she found herself missing the lyrics she would make up to the mechanical music.
"Maybe I will visit sometime," Ilya replied with a smile.
"Hey, so I'm guessing that Zymosite wasn't for your friend after all," Tangor said with a grin.
The four of them all laughed. It seemed like so long ago that she had frantically gone into the Mynci's workshop when in reality it had only been a couple weeks. In those weeks she had experienced a tumult of emotions - fear, guilt, excitement, joy, and it was now fading into contentment.
Ilya had achieved her dream of being a musician, the Mayor had obtained a piece of Zymosite to replace the one that now resided in her violin so the citizens of Moltara could live in peace. Life - for everyone except Nicholas, who was still in the dungeons - was good.
Date: Aug 26th
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