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Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)

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Week 669
You are on Week 670
Week 1

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 Ends Friday, August 22

Griden clasped the tiny object in his paws so tightly that it might very well be squeezed out of existence. The atmosphere was so overwhelming -- new sights, new sounds, new... smells. The Trading Post was a bustle of activity, and this was Griden's first time here.

The small Meerca was no match for the lumbering Skeiths carrying heavy crates of tropical fruits. His long tail barely skirted by an academic Lenny bartering for books. A cluster of Lupes brandishing their shiny new Battledome weapons caught his eye, but he continued on his mission.

Griden crept through the endless mob of Neopians touting their wares, some yelling about expensive and rare things while others just tried to get by on half-eaten omelettes and Old Croutons. He wasn't so sure why he decided this was a good place to come to, but he was sure this small prize was worth the hassle.

He finally found a free spot in the crowd, perching up on an old discarded crate. His diminutive voice was incapable of being heard above the din of the Trading Post. No one was looking his way, and no one wanted to see what he had for sale. He sighed and, deciding to just hold his arms up high, slowly opened his paws...

Author: filter
Date: Aug 18th
...An old Lupe was the first one to notice what Griden had. His old eyes lit up and he raised a shaky finger to point at the object. Soon, other members of the mob began to notice Griden's item and they began to shove and push each other out of the way to get closer.

"I'll trade you my Eventide Paint Brush!" shrieked a longhaired Blumaroo.

"I'll give you my Meepit!" screamed a brown Acara, holding up his squirming Petpet.

Griden just stood on his pedestal, speechless. He hadn't been sure what he wanted when he arrived and now, because of his newly-discovered treasure, the Meerca had his choice of anything!

He looked around at the items being wielded by the crowd, which had settled down, somewhat. His eyes locked on a shiny coin that he knew would look lovely in his collection. Griden then stepped down to walk over to the very pudgy Chia who was offering the coin, but before he could get to him, a hooded figure grabbed his arm and swept him away.

The figure pulled Griden down a side street and moved close to him, whispering into his ear...

Author: choquis
Date: Aug 18th
..."You mustn't show that to anyone else," a gruff voice said. "Tell everyone that I've bought it off you and hide it in your pocket."

The Meerca frowned. It did, indeed, seem like a valuable item, judging from the fuss that everyone was making! Was it valuable enough for this shady business, though? Also, how could he tell if could trust this hooded 'pet? He was new to the Trading Post, but his sister Amy had told him all about the kind of Neopians he'd find there. There'd be resellers who would try to low ball him, as well as the sort who didn't know the value of their own items... the latter group including himself, of course.

There was a possibility that this stranger was going to try to scam him, although he probably could have used brute force to rob him if he'd wanted, given the strength he'd used to pull Griden into the alley in the first place.

"Why should I trust you?" Griden asked. He puffed his chest out, trying to sound sure of himself, but it came out weak and high-pitched in front of the 'pet who towered over him.

The cloaked figure looked over his shoulder. The eager Chia from earlier was poking his head round, still after Griden's valuable.

The figure shook his head in what seemed like exasperation. "I know everything about what you have brought here," the stranger said, leaning close to Griden to ensure that no one -- including the stout Chia -- heard him. "Let me tell you why it's so special..."

Author: phoenix_through_fire
Date: Aug 19th
..."That is no ordinary Usuki doll, my friend," the hooded figure continued. "It's magic."

Griden stopped suddenly, looking down at the item in his grasp. The innocent Usul face peered up at him, the button eyes portraying no hint of anything abnormal. Griden knew the crowds around the Trading Post were swindlers at times, but this stranger was downright crazy.

"How did you come across it, if I might inquire?" the stranger asked.

"I found it," Griden admitted, clutching the small doll to his chest. To his surprise, the hooded figure began to chuckle heartily at his words.

"You mean it found you. Let me guess: you were doing some mundane routine, something quite common, and... there it was."

Griden thought back to the day he'd come across the doll. He'd been shopping in the island markets, looking at a booth run by an old Techo who was selling odd coins and dubloons. He had been reaching for a rusted metallic coin when his gaze fell upon an Usuki doll sitting nearby, looking quite out of place.

He didn't even like dolls, nor had he ever fancied collecting them, but there was something about its sinister face that caused Griden to reach out and grasp it. When he'd asked the shop owner how much he wanted for it, the Techo had merely shook his head, signaling that the doll was not his.

Finders keepers, Griden had thought.

"How is it magic?" Griden asked, only wondering if this might make the doll worth more.

The stranger reached out with one gnarled claw and said, "Let me show you..."

Author: treeword
Date: Aug 19th
...Griden gasped as it shimmered -- wait, shimmered? He shook his head to clear his vision, yet the Usuki doll was still glimmering. The stranger said, "This magic is faerie magic. The Usuki doll was originally blessed by a very powerful faerie, but no one knows who did it and when it was done. This magic is very potent, however."

After giving Griden a moment to absorb what he'd just told him, the stranger continued. "I suspect that Baelia the grey faerie perhaps did it, back before she lost her magic. She supposedly had the power to grant wishes, but one wrong action and she would invoke the worst of all punishments. For, you see, this magic is to be taken very seriously. It is not meant to be played with, nor is it to be in the wrong hands."

"So, are you suggesting that this is a wish-granting factory?" Griden asked.

"To be honest, I'm not really sure. This doll was last spotted ages ago. There are many rumors about its power, but no one knows for certain. That's why everyone mobbed you before..."

Author: yumberry2002
Date: Aug 20th
..."Oh," Griden said while nodding slowly, for now he understood the fascination with this item. There was a slight pause while he let the information sink in. No wonder everyone was going crazy to get their hands on this. No wonder they would pay almost any price. He stared, awestruck, at the glowing doll in his paw.

"So... what should I do now?" Griden asked uncertainly after a while.

"You can use it," the stranger replied. "It could grant you your heart's deepest desire. Isn't there something you've always wanted?"

"A Fish Negg," Griden blurted.

"More valuable than that, my friend," the hooded figure sighed. "Think this through -- this thing could grant you a thousand wishes; it could also grant you a single one. You don't want to take any risks, do you?"

"No," the Meerca admitted. "Wait, though..." He frowned. "How come you didn't just trade me something for this doll if you know so much about it? I didn't know anything; I would have given it to you for a good enough price."

"I..." For the first time, the stranger seemed to struggle for words. "I used the doll once," he answered eventually. His voice seemed to grow huskier with each word. "I didn't use it properly and now it won't grant me any more wishes. I was hoping... hoping that you would help me."

Griden peered at the shadowy shape in front of him. "Help you how?"

"Years ago," the stranger began, "this doll found me. When I figured out the extent of its power, I used it. I didn't think about my wish properly because I didn't know I would only get one, so I never had a chance to right my mistake." The stranger cleared his throat and explained, "I was hoping that, if you're lucky enough to have more than one wish, then you would use one to help me."

"What did you wish for?" Griden whispered.

The stranger took a deep breath. "I wished for..."

Author: annaisme2006
Date: Aug 20th
"...money," he admitted, scuffing the dirt with one toe.

Griden stared at him. "What's so bad about that?" he asked. Lots of Neopoints sounded good to him.

The stranger took a deep breath, opened his mouth to speak, and then closed it again. Fidgeting, he stayed quiet.

"Well?" the Meerca persisted. "Didn't it grant your wish?"

"Oh, it did," the stranger replied. "I had more Neopoints than anyone could ever wish for."

Griden eyed the stranger's shabby cloak; it was threadbare, and even patched in places. He raised an eyebrow in polite surprise.

The hooded figure laughed. "I know, I know... but I did! I had so many that I liked them better than friends. I ate the best foods, had the best clothes, lived in the best Neohome. That's when..." he trailed off, his attention turning to a patch on the seam of his cloak.

Griden waited a beat or two. "That's when what?" he finally prompted. He realized that he was clutching the Usuki to his chest and forced himself to relax his grip.

"That's when... when I lost it, all of it. Storms damaged my Neohome, debts grew as investments went belly up. I lost it... I lost it all... and the doll would never grant me another wish," he answered gravely.

"Why not?" Griden asked, wide eyed.

"I'm not sure," the stranger admitted. "I know I used it incorrectly, and that it won't grant me any more wishes because of what I did... and that only someone with more than one wish can fix whatever I did. That's all I know, however..."

"So, how do I know if I get more than one wish?" Griden asked while staring at the doll. One wish, two wishes... he had just wanted a dubloon. How did this end up so complicated?

"I don't know, but I know who does..."

Author: agedbeauty
Date: Aug 21st
..."And who would that be?" Griden asked, unable to pull his eyes up from the doll as it glinted in his hands.

"Baelia," the stranger said simply.

"The grey faerie? How are we supposed to talk to her?" the little Meerca chirped indignantly. Clearly this fellow had lost his mind.

"She isn't hard to reach. Just find the gloomiest spot in the worst rainstorm," the stranger said, smirking at Griden.

"Well... where is it raining?" Griden asked.

The stranger looked up at the clear blue skies and frowned; obviously they would have to leave the island. He walked away from the busy Trading Post with Griden at his heels and found the island's shoreline.

He looked out across the water toward the Neopian mainland and squinted his eyes, unable to hide his grin at the black clouds looming over the land in the distance. He pointed at the clouds over Neopia Central and Griden looked at him worriedly.

"We have to go to Neopia Central?" Griden squeaked.

"It seems that way," the stranger replied.

"Amy is not going to like this..."

Author: philominoes258
Date: Aug 21st
..."Excuse me, sir!" the stout Chia said suddenly from behind them. "What about my offer?"

Griden nearly screamed in fright, as he hadn't realized that the trader was still waiting for a response from him. He also looked like he wasn't going to take no for an answer unless he got that Usuki from him. Griden was going to have to think quickly to get rid of him.

"Umm..." Griden said, "reserved?"

A disappointed and exasperated groan came from the Chia, who frowned at the Meerca before shaking his head.

"It figures..." he muttered before walking away.

Griden sighed in relief as the Chia left them alone. "Man, some of these traders are relentless," he said aloud.

"You have no idea," the stranger said. "I used to come across all of them back when... well, I don't have to tell you again. I remember one hounded me non-stop for about a week before finally giving up."

"Right..." Griden said softly before looking toward the docks. "It looks like the next ferry to Neopia Central is boarding now. We should get going."

"Thank you again for helping me," the stranger said as the pair headed for the docks and boarded the next ferry to the mainland.

Little did either of them realize that the Chia had, indeed, heard the whole story. Likewise, the thought of unlimited wishes was filling his heart with a level of greed that would make the Thieves Guild blush.

"That magic will be mine..." he said to himself. "That Lupe had his chance, and that foolish Meerca wouldn't even know what to do with it. I'll be sure to use the magic properly..."

The horn on the ferry blew five times and soon set sail for Neopia Central, with the storm clouds growing heavier as they approached...

Author: dr_tomoe
Date: Aug 22nd
...The streets of Neopia Central were completely empty by the time Griden and the mysterious hooded figure arrived. The townsfolk had all taken shelter from the heavy rain and thunder. The air was thick and humid, but Griden still felt a chill; it was eerie to see such a typically cheery and bustling marketplace so gray and empty.

Griden followed clumsily behind as the cloaked figure lead the way, occasionally splashing through the odd puddle that had accumulated on the pathways. His fur was completely soaked in a matter of minutes, but he barely took note.

After a long time of running around the various shops, the mysterious stranger came to a sudden halt near the Money Tree, which was completely empty for the first time Griden had ever seen. He was so in shock that it took him a moment before he'd realized the two of them had even stopped moving.

"I don't know where else to look," the hooded figure said, exasperated. "We've already been everywhere. There can't possibly be a worse storm than this in Neopia right now."

Griden sighed and loosened his grip on the Usuki. "I wish we could just find Baelia already," he muttered.

Without realizing what he had said, Griden let go of the Usuki in surprise as it began to emit a warm, bright light. In his confusion, he did not hear the hooded figure call for him to watch out. Someone -- or something -- tackled him to the ground. His surroundings were consumed by the Usuki's magic light and the world slowly began to fade from underneath him.

***

Griden awoke in a mysterious forest glade, with jagged pieces of stormy sky peeking through the canopy overhead. Confused, he looked around to find the mysterious figure beside him, along with a Chia Griden recognized as the one who had offered to him at the marketplace. They both appeared just as bewildered as Griden was.

"I see you are awake," a calm voice said from in front of them. They looked up to see Baelia sitting cross-legged in the grass, holding the Usuki in her lap.

"Why did you bring us here?" the Chia demanded. "I was so close to getting that doll! I could have been rich!"

"You know of the story behind the doll?" the figure asked, surprised.

"I do now, loudmouth," the Chia scoffed. "After overhearing you tell this clueless idiot about how it granted you so many Neopoints, I followed you to Neopia Central, hoping I could steal it for myself. However, there was a flash of light and then... I don't know."

"It was not me who brought you here," Baelia said. "This 'pet wished aloud to find me, and so the doll brought him to me in order to fulfill his wish, as is its purpose. The doll's magic was so strong that it just happened also to pull in those who were closest to him at the time."

Griden hung his head in shame. "I guess I wasted my wish, then... I'm sorry."

"No, wait," the hooded figure said. "You could have more than one, remember? Baelia can--"

He trailed off as he saw the grey faerie shaking her head. "I enchanted this doll to grant only one wish per Neopian, without exceptions."

"That's ridiculous," the Chia scowled. "Why?"

"For the same reason you are standing here right now. One wish is enough to ruin one's life forever, as I am sure those who have wished for treasure, riches, and fame have come to realize."

The cloaked figure bowed his head as if to hide his already-concealed face.

"I blessed this doll a very long time ago, when I was angry about the suffering of the unfortunate. I intended it to be a gift for poor Neopets, sad Neopets, sick Neopets; a gift that would bring infinite joy and love and happiness to all. When it was lost from my sight, though, it brought only chaos and greed, and tore apart families and friendships. I must thank you for bringing it to me, even if it was for your own selfish intentions."

"Why's that?" Griden asked.

"Now I am able to seal it away forever."

Baelia vanished in a cloud of gray smoke, and along with her, the Usuki doll.

Disappointed, Griden and the figure trudged along in the opposite direction, too dismayed to say much at all.

"I can accompany you on your way home if you like," the hooded stranger mumbled.

"Thanks," Griden sighed. "Maybe you can help me make something up. Amy's going to be so mad when she sees how soaked I am."

The Chia laughed at the two of them. "Yeah, yeah, what a bunch of sore losers! Too bad you don't have the sense to stick around this hidden part of Neopia Central. It's probably an abandoned faerie glade! Who knows what kind of treasure could just be sitting around?!?"

Griden rolled his eyes and continued forward as the Chia ran off. "Some folks will never learn."

***

After walking for a few moments, the Chia had quickly grown bored of his treasure hunt and decided to turn around and find his way back to Mystery Island. However, he found that no matter where he turned, he only seemed to end up deeper and deeper in the forest.

He eventually found an old fallen tree trunk and took a moment to sit, tired of the endless walking. With the absence of the constant shuffling sound of his feet against the forest floor, it was completely silent. Silent enough for him to hear a faint hum coming from somewhere nearby.

The hum grew louder and louder as he paced along the log, until eventually his eyes caught sight of a faint sparkle through a pile of twigs. He quickly knocked the branches away, almost salivating at the thought of treasure in his hands.

The twigs cleared to reveal an old Quiguki doll shimmering mysteriously in the light of the forest....

The End

Author: nebuloid
Date: Aug 22nd


What happens next? (write the next paragraph of the story!)



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