|Summer was Marielle's favourite time of year, for that was when she left the sleepless streets of Neopia Central to stay with her Grandma Greta. Her cosy cottage on the outskirts of Meridell always smelled of the most delightful spices that could found around the city. She also had an eccentric straw creature in her garden that looked to be a cross between a Scorchio and Techo, suspended by his back along a thick wooden stick planted firmly in the ground, and complete with silly black-button eyes and tidy handsewn overalls, which she called her "Scare-Crokabek." She had the greatest assortment of crops, everything ranging from carrots and onions to Gurrandrillges and Cocorots. Oddly, ever year Marielle visited, there seemed to be different fruits growing on her trees. Last year, there were Floranges and Tangelas, but this year there appeared to be Doughnutfruits. Grandma Greta was quite the gardener, but that should not come as a surprise, for she was a Kacheek after all.
After Marielle's daily game of Geos one day, the sprightly young Kacheek scurried up to explore the attic while her grandma tended to the weeds in the garden. The main inhabitants up there were old furniture and shelves of dusty textbooks composed of tiny print, long words, and complex diagrams. However, Marielle also found binders filled with pages of inked illustrations depicting strange creatures and plants, none that she had seen in Meridell or Neopia Central before. Some looked fearsome, others frightful, and others still quite comical.
They were drawn by her Grandpa Selkin, her grandma had once told her. Marielle had asked then if they were real, all the fantastic things living in the binders, and her grandma had simply smiled and said, "Of course they are real. He conjured them himself." Marielle could not quite make sense of this, but she often wondered what each of the illustrations would look like, feel like, if she were to see one in person; the images were so detailed. Some of the beasts looked absolutely dreadful with slender sharp teeth, scaly skin, ghostly glaring eyes, and nasty expressions. But to complement those, there were others she thought would make cuddly Petpets.
There were also numerous chests of different sizes, several of them bound by heavy, decrepit locks. It was Marielle's custom to simply leave these alone, but that day she found a delicate, unadorned square wooden box tucked on the bottom of a shelf beside some yellowing books. Its lock was not fastened properly, and after a bit of fiddling (she had a curious spirit today) she managed to get the shackle loose. She gently lifted the lid and peeked inside...
Date: May 18th
And saw dozens, maybe hundreds, of different pens, pencils, and markers. One pen, in particular, caught her eye. It was a strange colour. Purple, perhaps? Or silver? The colour seemed to change right before her eyes. She picked it up, surprised that it was strangely warm in her hand, like a baby JubJub. And was she imagining it, or did her fingers feel slightly tingly like they surged with energy?
Marielle reached for a binder and flipped to an empty page. She had always loved to draw and had even won a few art contents at her school. Today she felt like drawing some pretty flowers. The minutes turned to hours as she put exquisite detail into her work.
“Marielle! Supper!” She heard her grandma’s kind voice from downstairs. The Kacheek startled and felt her stomach growl. She had lost track of time. Ah, well, she could finish this later. Marielle put the book and pen down and rushed downstairs. She was in such a hurry she didn’t see what was happening behind her…
Date: May 19th
Unbeknownst to Marielle as she scampered downstairs for dinner, her flowers were springing to life in the attic behind her. Lilies, daisies, dandelions, rude daffodils and more grew as if from nothing, up towards the attic's ceiling. Soon flowers were piled to the very peak of the house, and the growth seemed to slow.
Meanwhile, Marielle and her grandmother discussed the day while eating dinner. When Marielle's turn came, she launched excitedly into the story of discovering the contents of the box. "...and everything looked SO lifelike! All of the colours were just leaping off the page! Where'd those markers come from, Grandma?"
Grandma Greta gazed at Marielle with a bemused smile. "Those markers belonged to your grandfather. They were bewitched by a capricious Faerie years ago, but by now I expect all of their magic has run out. You didn't feel anything strange happening while you were drawing, did you, Marielle?"
Marielle's eyes widened. "Well..."
Date: May 20th
"...Well?" Grandma Greta echoed, her smile fading.
"I don't know, really," Marielle answered. "It just felt like me and my drawings were the only things in the world. I felt so focused, so immersed in what I was doing, you know? And my fingers had this weird twitching, like they were so drawn to the pen... Grandma are you okay?"
As Marielle went on, Grandma Greta's eyes were widening in shock, possibly even terror. She looked horrified.
"Marielle," Grandma Greta said, breaking the thick silence. "I need to see your drawings. Now," she explained, not angrily but in worry. She was already standing up from her seat at the table.
"Okay," Marielle replied, now concerned as well. The two of them raced upstairs...
Date: May 26th
...to find the attic littered with Slorgs of all varieties: Rainbow, Pink, Checkered... even Dung!
"What?" Marielle gasped, mouth agape and eyes widened. She paused to glance around, letting it all sink in. "They were flowers the last time I checked, Grandma! I wouldn't draw.... Slorgs! Yuck!"
Grandma Greta frowned, brows deeply furrowed, pensive for a moment. Her gaze slowly fixed upon the pens laying the floor, which were emitting a dim glow.
"These pens, Marielle... They're unstable. I guess there was still a bit of magic left in them after all. Your drawings must have been brought to life by ancient magic, but they will be morphing for an indefinite period of time."
Marielle shuddered. Who knew what the already gross Slorgs would shapeshift into next?
"What should we do, Grandma?"
With a jerk, Grandma Greta snapped her fingers and turned around to face Marielle.
"I know what we can do! I think these markers have one last bit of magic left in them. Let's draw..."
Date: May 27th
"a friend for Scare-Crokabek!" exclaimed Grandma Greta, "But wouldn't they just shape-shift into something else?" inquired Marielle, "Yes, yes they would, which is why we should draw something that *would* shape-shift into a friend for Scare-Crokabek." explained Grandma Greta.
So, with a flick of a pen, some auctioning of the Slorgs, and an empty drawing book, Marielle.....
How will this story end?
Date: May 28th
...began ferociously drawing a baby haystack. After all, that's what the original Scare-Crokabek had been made from!
Grandma Greta gave her a beaming nod of approval. "You knew just what I was thinking. Now quick, hurry up, before the magic runs out!" She was running frantically around the attic at this point, trying to herd the slorgs towards the back of the room, so they couldn't escape down the stairs.
Marielle paused as she finished the details on her Baby Haystack. She needed some way to encourage the haystack to do what she wanted. Some way to make sure it would shift into Scare-Crokabek's friend, instead of the normal use of hay - inside a Whinny's stomach. She frantically looked around the room for an answer, and spotted inspiration in the far corner.
"Hurry Marielle!" cried Grandma Greta.
"Done!" the young Kacheek squealed, throwing down the pen.
Immediately, it began to glow and buzz, soon spreading to the lines on the paper. It grew hot in Marielle's hand, and spokes of hay began to pop out at her. Pouring from the page, the haystack built itself on the ground, until the final shimmering detail Marielle had drawn glinted from the top.
A giant sewing needle. To make sure her new creation would sew itself right up into a friend for the Scare-Crokabek. And to be honest, it worked.
That needle in a haystack flew up and began to spiral around itself, as the far less stable haystack was already starting to morph. Soon, a second giant Scare-Crokabek, far more formidable than the one outside, stood staring back at them. In the middle of the room, the slorgs began to squeak, terrified. But instead running away, their fear seemed to have glued them to the floor with their own slime.
"It's working!" Shouted Marielle. Grandma Greta pointed to the pens on the floor. With the slorgs no longer moving, its glow was beginning to fade. And so too were the slorgs.
An hour later, after cleaning up the last of the slorgs' ink trail, Marielle followed her Grandma out into the garden. For some reason, their new Scare-Crokabek had not yet faded, so they figured they better put him to good use.
"Now," remarked Grandma Greta, dusting dirt off her hands. "Who's ready for dessert?"
Date: May 29th