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

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Week 378
You are on Week 379
Week 380

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 Three Hundred Seventy Nine Ends Friday, August 8

"We've landed," said Crina, looking up from the control panel and smiling at her friend Verril. It was Verril's first visit to Neopia, and the Grundo was practically bursting through his spacesuit with excitement.

"I can't wait!" he cried happily, unfastening his helmet. "What should we do first? Get sludgies on Scary Mountain? Roll on our knees in Meridell?"

Crina laughed. "It's slushies on Terror Mountain, silly. And you roll cheese in Meridell; you don't roll on your knees." She wondered again at how Verril could know so little of Neopia in spite of the all the tourists who visited his Kreludan homeland.

Verril shrugged. "It all sounds fun to me! Let's go!"

Still grinning at her friend's enthusiasm, the Blumaroo opened the ship's door and gathered up her bag. Verril pushed past her and ran out the door... but once outside, he stopped short.

"It wasn't what I imagined," he said sadly.

Crina peeked out the door and gasped. It wasn't what she had imagined either. Outside, the sky was sickly orange and black clouds streamed across it at an impossibly high speed, even though there was no wind blowing. The ground beneath Verril's boots was a strange shade of purple, and as she stared in disbelief, it seemed to grow up around the Grundo's feet.

"Watch out!" she shouted. The Grundo leapt back into the spaceship and Crina slammed the door. "I don't understand what's going on. The coordinates said we'd landed just outside of Neopia Central. But that's not Neopia Central... I don't think it's even Neopia..."

Verril's large red eyes filled with tears. "Crina, where are we...?"

Author: I Don't Think We're in Neopia Anymore!
Date: Aug 4th
"I'm not sure," Crina, said, biting her lip anxiously. Amid her bemusement, she felt a twinge of guilt; how could she have botched Verril's first trip to Neopia, especially when he had been looking forward to it for so long? She scanned the control panel, wondering why her equipment was malfunctioning.

The navigation system still blinked NEOPIA CENTRAL in bright, insistent yellow. All other operations seemed to be working flawlessly; there had been no unusual loss of power, and even the oxygen levels were normal.

"The coordinate program must have glitched," the Blumaroo decided. She turned to Verril, who still looked achingly distraught. "Don't worry," she assured her friend. "We can still navigate manually. Why don't we visit Neopia before heading back to Kreludor to report this... place to HQ?"

Verril beamed, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. "That sounds like a plan!" he chirped happily.

Crina returned his grin before turning her attention back to her ship. She went through take-off procedure with practised ease, barely thinking as her paws moved across the complex controls. The engines hummed quietly as they powered up --

Abruptly, the master alarm went off, flooding the control panel with a glaring, angry red. Crina jerked away in surprise. "What...?"


"Obstruction?" Verril echoed, confused.

Crina traded an uneasy glance with the Grundo. She pressed a shiny blue button to open the blast shield, which would allow them to see through the glass window of the cockpit.

But there was little to see. The tiniest hint of the lurid orange sky showed, but everything else had been blocked from view. Inch by inch, the purple rock was consuming the spaceship...

Author: keikala
Date: Aug 4th
The planet was about to eat them alive.

"We have to get out of the ship!" the Blumaroo cried, dashing to the door and trying to force it open. But it would not open.

"We're trapped!" Crina pulled at the door again, harder, but to no avail.

The purple rock had now covered the window entirely.

"We're trapped," Verril echoed, his voice oddly calm, as though he had resigned himself to his fate. "We will be swallowed by the planet, and I'll never see Neopia or my home again..."

"Don't talk like that," said Crina, trying to restrain her own growing desperation. "Look, I'll just switch on the distress beacon. Someone will come to get us out in no time." The Blumaroo flipped the big, red clearly labelled switch to send the beacon. "There, see? We'll be out of this in no time flat..." As she spoke, the display panel flashed with a new message.


"No..." Crina breathed. Their last hope, dashed. What could be blocking the beacon?

Before she could come up with any satisfying answer, the rock over the windows suddenly withdrew, and the ship began to fall. Crina screamed as the ship crashed to the ground.

"Are... are you okay?" Crina asked her Grundo friend, her voice shaky.

Verril nodded. "Yeah."

They seemed to be in some sort of underground cavern. The rock was the same purple shade as that which had engulfed the ship, and luminescent green mold grew on the walls.

The control panel had gone dark, obviously damaged in the fall. They were stranded, with no way to get back home.

"Let's... um, let's get out and look around," said Crina. There was really nothing else they could do. Perhaps they would find something that could help them fix the ship, but what were the odds of that?

Before either Neopet could exit the ship, however, the door was torn open, and Crina could only gape at the creature that stood in the now vacant doorway...

Author: cookybananas324
Date: Aug 4th
...not because it was terrifying or strange, like some mysterious creature that would be expected from some foreign spaceship-eating planet, but because it was normal, something she was used to seeing everyday.

Crina stared at the figure before in disbelief. The Aisha in the doorway stared back.

"Impossible," she breathed. There was no way she could possibly be on Neopia... and yet here, clear before her eyes, was an Aisha. And it wasn't even an Alien Aisha. Just a plain, everyday Aisha, the kind you'd expect to find anywhere.

Except on a orange skied planet with spaceship-eating rocks, of course.

"P-please don't eat us!" Verril cried. The Grundo was cowering behind Crina, eyes shut tight and knees shaking, not even bothering to look up in case of what he might see. Crina felt a sharp stab of guilt. This was his first trip to Neopia. It was supposed to be a magical and amazing moment. Everything seemed to have gone up in flames.

The Aisha blinked. "Why would I eat you?" She frowned. "That's kind of ungrateful considering I just saved you from Monty..."

"I don't think she'll hurt us, Verril, she's..." Crina trailed off, distracted by the Aisha's latest comment.

"Monty? The rock has a name?"

The Aisha frowned again. "Rock? Oh gosh. Please don't tell him that. He's already sensitive enough already." She swept her arms around as if to remind them of what happened to the ship. As if they had forgotten already. "You shouldn't have hit his tail."


The Aisha saw Crina's confusion and was quick to explain. "He's a Skeith." She shook her head. "Honestly, I though you'd know that. You're a Blumaroo, I've seen your kind around here loads." She glanced at Verril, who had dared open his eyes and was staring at the Aisha with just as much confusion as Crina was. "Not sure what he is though..."

Aishas? Blumaroos? Skeiths?

This wasn't making any sense at all. How could those creatures exist on two planets? Sure, the Skeith may have been unmistakably large but still... and they seemed to speak the same language, too. What was going on?

Crina had some questions that needed to be answered.

"Where are we?" She squeaked.

The Aisha stared at her. "Are you serious? I though you'd know. After all, you're native to this planet and all..."

Crina felt the cold wave hit her even before the Aisha had finished speaking.

"This is Neopia, of course..."

Author: reveirie
Date: Aug 5th
Crina felt her knees begin to shake and hoped they would be able to support her. Neopia? Impossible. She had visited fairly recently. The whole planet couldn't have changed since then. This wasn't how this was supposed to be. She couldn't imagine Verril's disappointment.

"What happened here?" Crina asked, although she wasn't sure she wanted to hear the answer. She cast a sympathetic look to the stunned Verril.

The Aisha frowned. "What d'you mean, 'what happened'?" she said. "I don't understand what you're talking about."

"I could say the same to you." Crina bit her lip. "What happened to the blue skies, the green grass, and the bright sun? Everything's... different," she finished lamely.

The Aisha chuckled dryly. "Neopia and its inhabitants haven't seen blue skies for centuries."

"Centuries?" Verril gasped, speaking for the first time. Crina closed her mouth. She was about to say the same thing.

"Yes," the stranger said, scrutinising him carefully. "Where have you been this whole time?"

The spaceship rocked slightly, and the Aisha blinked. "Listen. I'm not sure why you don't know, but you're not going to survive long if you don't, so you better come with me."

"What?" Crina's eyes widened. "We wouldn't survive long?"

The Aisha just stepped down from the doorway into the purple cavern, motioning for them to follow. Verril caught Crina's eye anxiously. The Blumaroo just shrugged helplessly and made for the vacant doorway. She jumped down cautiously and waited for Verril, who hesitated before jumping down after.

"Monty," the Aisha addressed an enormous Skeith. "These two appear to know nothing. We need to find them a safe place to stay until we can learn about their... memory loss."

Crina smiled nervously. "Sorry about landing on your tail, Monty."

The Skeith ignored her, much to her annoyance, and spoke to Verril. "What are you?"

"Huh?" Verril asked, surprised the Skeith was speaking to him. "Oh, I'm Verril."

"No," the Skeith frowned. "Not who, what are you?"

"What am I?" Verril repeated dumbly. "I'm a Grundo, of course."

"A Grundo..." Monty exchanged a brief glance with the Aisha. "I never thought I'd see one in my lifetime, but then again, strange things have been happening lately."

Crina's head began to spin. What was going on?

"You mean the orange skies and purple ground?" Verril squeaked.

The Aisha laughed. "That's normal for us, little one. We're talking about far stranger things." She looked at him oddly.

"My name's Verril," he snapped.

"So what's up with the sky, anyway?" Crina broke in, warning Verril with her eyes.

The Aisha's expression grew dark, and it was Monty, with his deep, drawling voice, who answered. "Long, long ago, something happened that forced everyone to live underground. Life is unsustainable on the surface."

"What happened? And what were you doing up there?" Verril asked.

"No one has talked of that incident since it happened," the Aisha interrupted, suddenly very angry. "And we will not be the first..."

Author: xsoulweaverx
Date: Aug 5th
Verril gaped in surprise and looked as if he were about to let disaster fall from his mouth, but received a nudge from his Blumaroo friend at the very last second.

"That's all right," said Crina quickly. "Sorry for asking. Please lead us on -- you're being very kind to us and we don't know how we can ever repay you."

"Don't worry, you'll be able to pay in due time," said the Aisha mysteriously.

Verril glanced at Crina in helpless anxiety, but she said nothing, so on they trudged in the dim, mossy silence. The underground network of paths was bewildering -- the Aisha turned this way and that, and the two friends trotted nervously to keep up with her. The giant Skeith brought up the rear, in his solemn, solid manner. Presently they came to a small cave, lit by a white-gold sphere of lamplight glistening on the wall. There was a smooth black desk, four smooth black stools, and two soft, dark mattresses against the farthest wall. A narrow door led out into a tiny lavatory. The room was unashamedly simple, and there was nothing to suggest its position in the far future except for a panel of shiny buttons near the entrance.

"You'll be safe here, for the time being," said the Aisha, pressing a button to turn up the light. "If you press this yellow button here, some food will come out in a chute just below the panel. I must leave you here to rest now -- you have much to learn in the morning. In the meantime, Monty and I have work to do."

"Thank you very much," said Crina. "Before you go, could I have the pleasure of knowing your name?"

The Aisha paused thoughtfully at the door. "You can call me Tarkin," she said, and disappeared with a little smile.


Tarkin pressed something in the wall as she stepped out of the cave, and a film of laser sealed up the entrance with a soft hiss. She prodded it, and appeared satisfied when it did not give way.

Outside in the rocky corridor, Monty was waiting quietly. "What now?" he whispered as the two of them started off down a winding passage.

"We'll report these strange events to headquarters," said Tarkin, without hesitation. "Those two strangers have apparently come out of a time warp, or something -- not even the worst memory loss could result in such specific ignorance. They're very precious specimens, especially the Grundo. Nobody has seen a Grundo in centuries." She walked a little faster. "If we could use them for our research, perhaps we would be able to find out how to repair the greatest mistake in history. Perhaps, Monty, we could restore Neopia."

"Perhaps," the Skeith rumbled slowly, as they moved onward in the darkness...

Author: yoyote
Date: Aug 6th
"If time, of course, is actually pliable. I still believe that if we do go back, then we have already been back. Which would lead to the assumption that nothing ends up solving this problem."

Tarkin chuckled softly. "Nothing has been proven about time. You know time travel is forbidden."

The Skeith shot her a dark look. "And you know full well why. Do you really think they will allow us to go back because the warp has opened?"

Tarkin shrugged. "There cannot be much worse than this."

Monty gave her a grave look. "Perhaps you are right. Or, perhaps... you are not."

The words lingered in air like the silence before a storm.

The pair vanished into the darkness, leaving behind the Aisha's single whispered phrase to hang in the air.

"But we have nothing to lose."


Somewhere beyond the tainted future of Neopia, beyond the Space Faerie's starry patrol grounds, beyond reality, something stirred.

Darkness roiled with blinding light, colours pulsating wildly and erratically, and all aspects of every sense imaginable whirled and danced in ways that defied their very natures. Dark stars glowed and shimmered among the blackest white.

It existed quietly, unknown, hovering outside the edge of reality. But it existed.

Time did not pass here. Instead, it raced forward or leapt back, sometimes holding still. If you could measure out a second here, perhaps a million years would pass in that second, or no time at all. Or possibly, you would find yourself further back than you were when your 'second' started. Time spun and danced erratically in an incomprehensible whirl.

It reached out through the dimensions, occasionally touching down in places throughout space and time. Such contact was rare, and impossibly infrequent.

Something jolted, and somewhere outside of Neopia, Year 10, a small spaceship containing a young Grundo and a slightly older Blumaroo mysteriously vanished, without leaving so much as a trace. Their families would be frantic, and authorities would search for them for months, but to no avail. They were never seen again.

Somewhere outside of Neopia, Year 1287, a spaceship containing a young Grundo and a slightly older Blumaroo appeared out of nowhere, continuing its course to the planet.

And deep within the heart of the time warp, she stirred.

Imprisoned here ever since her worst deed yet, one that had destroyed and tainted Neopia for an eternity to come, she had slept. And slept. Undisturbed and untouched by the passage of time. The sands did not pass through time's hourglass here.

But now...

The faerie lifted her head and brought herself to attention, shaking the ceaseless sleep from her mind. She assessed the situation in a sixty-fourth of a second. Deftly, she leapt into the wormhole a few moments before it closed up.

A fading strain of a cackle lingered in the empty space for a second after she vanished, before it was sucked up by the time loop and deposited in some other unknown galaxy a couple million years ago.

Oh, no, Neopia was not done with this dark faerie...

Author: dianacat777
Date: Aug 6th
Crina knew nothing of the dark faerie who had just been roused from her endless sleep within her star-filled bed. Tarkin and Monty had appeared early the next morning (or what passed for morning underground) to fetch Crina and Verril and lead them on another circuitous walk through the underground tunnels. As they made their way through the dim passages, all the Blumaroo could think of was, "Where is my home?" Her heart ached and she blinked continuously to keep back the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes.

It hadn't been all that long ago that she had returned for a normal visit with her friends and family -- and even enjoyed a pleasant picnic upon the emerald grass of Meridell. Had she known that might have been the last time she could have gazed upon the beauty of her native land, she would have never returned to space. Instead, her eyes would have drank in all loveliness her world had to offer, and perhaps she could have even avoided this dreadful fate. Quickly, before anyone noticed, she swiped a lone tear with a trembling paw.

I can't think like that, she told herself as she looked at at Verril. The Grundo appeared confused, but not particularly upset. Of course, he had never seen Neopia Central before, so he couldn't even imagine its true beauty. He probably thought she had just exaggerated when she told him tales of her home. For some reason, that thought made Crina angrier and more determined to save this world, her world, from what had befallen it.

"Here is what remains of Neopia Central," Tarkin suddenly announced, breaking into Crina's thoughts. "You should be safe here for now."

There were groups of others there -- all familiar species. Within seconds, they found themselves surrounded by Poogles, Zafaras, Xweetoks, and even a few Krawks, each one intrigued by Verril. It was obvious that he was as unusual to them as this world was to Crina.

"But where is everything?" Crina asked, turning to look at the Aisha and Skeith who had been so helpful to them.

The twisting path behind them was empty.


"Do you think we'll figure out their secret?" Monty asked, as he stepped upon the forbidden surface once more.

"We have to," Tarkin replied shortly. "We have to."

Suddenly, the ebony clouds begin to twist in the orange sky as stars, countless stars, begin to twirl into a tight spiral. The two knew they should run, but they stood transfixed as the stars came together, and the form of the evil dark faerie began to take shape...

Author: tj_wagner
Date: Aug 7th
Slowly, her body came into focus. Her dark wings unfolded and stretched to their longest length, letting the faerie gently float to the ground.

Tarkin stared, mouth gaping. Monty, however, cowered in fear.

"Neopets," laughed the faerie. "You who locked me in that endless dimension, that black prison. I should make all of you suffer for that hero's mistake."

Tarkin and Monty exchanged a glance. They knew the story of how the faerie was imprisoned, but they had heard that other faeries had done it.

Tarkin opened her mouth to speak, but the powerful figure cut her off.

"Do not speak, if you wish me to spare your lives."

The Aisha fell quiet. Better not to annoy the faerie if they wanted to heal Neopia.

"Now tell me, where is the hero?"

Both Neopets remained silent.

"Where is he?!" The faerie's voice rose, and power flowed through with every syllable. Monty's body shook, and Tarkin faltered.

"We didn't know there was a hero. We thought faeries imprisoned you," the Aisha stuttered.

"Lies! Now tell me, where is he?"

Monty gathered his wits and decided to ask the question that was on both their minds.

"If we help you, will you return Neopia to the way it was?"

The dark faerie sighed. Brave little Neopets trying to save their puny planet annoyed her.

"Fine," she finally said. "But first you must bring me that accursed Grundo. The one they call Verril..."

Author: be2aware
Date: Aug 7th

Monty and Tarkin exchanged glances. No words were needed.

"We will take you to Verril, if you would just follow us..."

The dark faerie's lips curled back into a vicious snarl, but she didn't say anything. They were free to lead the way.

"I don't like this, Tarkin..." Monty whispered when he thought the faerie couldn't hear. They were walking across the barren black-violet wasteland, toward the underground entrance of the present-day Neopia Central.

"Neither do I." The Aisha's head was bent, staring at the ground, concealing her emotions.

Monty sighed. "The Grundo... he seems so young and innocent. Naive, he's like a child. Can he really be this... this hero she speaks of?"

Tarkin didn't say anything. Swiftly, she bent down to the ground and stood up, grasping something in her hand.

It was a flower, or at least it could've been, centuries ago. Its stem was twisted and burnt into an arc-like shape. The only thing recognisable about the flower were its petals. They were shrivelled and the unhealthy colour of ink, and yet...


It had survived.

"Look at this, Monty," Tarkin whispered. "Don't you wonder what this looked like before? Before everything? Don't you wonder what the world -- our world -- was like before? When it was full of colour and life. Magic."

Monty didn't say anything. Tarkin closed her eyes, as if picturing something in her mind. But it was a scene she had only heard about -- she couldn't really see it,; it was out of her reach, lying on the edge of her mind.

"You remember the stories the elders told us when we were children? The tales of beautiful places, the way the world looked before, the way it should look now."

She opened her eyes again. "I want to see that world. I want to see the flowers and the ocean. I want to see a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. I want to see the colour green.

"I want Neopia to be that way again. More than anything. And even if it means..." She hesitated. "Even if it means resorting to this, I'll still do anything I can. Everything I can."

Her fingers curled around the remnant flower, crushing it. "And I won't stop until the sun shines again."

The ashes of the crushed petals slipped through her fingers and were carried away by the wind.

* * *

Crina stared at the world around her.

She saw nothing but rock. The sky was made of granite, the clouds were discoloured rocks. Where were the trees? Where was the grass? Where was the Rainbow Pool? The shops and the houses?

She looked around her. The faces were grimy and pale from living underground for so long. Smiles lasted for mere seconds, flickering like a dying candle. They seem defeated, forlorn.

Where were the constant happy faces? The laughter?

This was not Neopia Central. There was no way this could be her home...

Verril sat beside her on the ground, legs crossed. "Somehow I don't think this is the Neopia you were trying to show me..."

Crina surprised herself by laughing. But her mirth sounded hollow, empty. She shook her head. A sudden thought struck her. She gave her hand to Verril.

"Come on, let's explore. Monty and Tarkin obviously don't seem to be coming back, so there's no use waiting for them."

Verril gave her a wary glance. "You sure?"

Crina blinked. "Well, yeah. I promised I'd show you Neopia. Even if it... even if it is..."

She didn't need to finish. Verril took her outstretched hand and pulled himself up. "Let's go then."

There wasn't much to see. The once familiar sights and landmarks of the old Neopia Central were long gone. No colourful shops greeted them here. The houses appeared to be carved into walls, their doors simple, dull cloth.

Crina blinked back tears she hadn't even noticed. How could her world be turned upside down like this? How could anyone live this way?

Beside her, Verril frowned. "I hate this," the Grundo said quietly.

Crina glanced at him. "Hmm?"

He looked up at her. The Blumaroo was slightly surprised by the look in his eyes. He didn't look sad or scared or anything like that anymore. He looked almost... angry.

"Why?" Verril almost snapped. "Why do they have to live this way? Why can't they live on the surface?"

"You've seen what it looks like up there. There's no way any one could survive in a place like that..."

"But why don't they try? Why does it have to be that way? Why can't they change it? Where are the faeries? Why don't they help?"

His eyes seemed to blaze. "Those stories you told me about Neopia... beautiful and magical. Why can't it be that way now? Why is it like this?"

Crina had no idea how to answer any of his questions. She shifted uncomfortably, searching for a way to distract him.

"Um, what's that over there? Come on, let's go see."

She hadn't seen anything, of course. But that didn't matter. She just wanted to distract Verril. She hadn't moved fast enough, however. She had heard the Grundo whisper a ribbon of words that sent a shiver down her spine before she tugged him away.

"I want to save them."

The way he said it... she didn't like it. It was almost as if he were making a promise. And she knew this would be a promise he could never keep.

Crina looked around her, searching for something that could pass as the thing she had "spotted." She found it rather easily; it was almost as if she were drawn to it, as if she had actually really seen something.

It was easy to see, it contrasted so easily with the grey and brown patterned walls of the cavern. Something gold, sticking out of the rocks.

She gasped as she saw it. She recognised it instantly. How could she not? After all, it was something she knew by heart, something that reminded her of home, something from the old Neopia...

"Look, Verril..." she breathed.

It was a giant feather, long and golden. Part of a statue that had broken off, judging by the jagged metal of the tip. It was from the giant Chia statue that led to the Catacombs.

Crina didn't know when she started grinning. Somehow, this comforted her. Seeing something from her time in a place like this. The way it shone even in the dusk of the cave -- it was obviously treasured here. Proof that the old world had not been entirely destroyed...

"Verril! Crina!"

The Blumaroo looked up, startled. Monty was bounding toward them. Despite his size, he moved through the cave rather easily. Mainly because everyone seemed to move out of his way, not wanting to be squished.

"Hi Monty. Where's Tarkin?"

He didn't answer. "You have to come with me. Now. Tarkin, um, wants to see you."

He looked nervous, his eyes darting back and forth rather fearfully.

Crina frowned. "What for?"

"She, umm, she, uh, thinks she knows a way to get you two back home. Yeah, that's it."

All Crina's suspicions washed away as she heard those words. "Really? That's great!"

Verril didn't say anything.

"Um, yeah. Follow me please."

The Skeith started moving through the crowd, Verril and Crina tagged faithfully behind him. He turned into a nearby tunnel and led them through a twisting passage way.

The tunnels seemed to get darker with every step; they were going deep into the maze of tunnels, deeper than they ever had before. But Crina hardly noticed. This was it. They were going home!

He stopped at an entranceway, turning to them. "You can go in here."

"Aren't you coming in with us?" Verril asked.

Monty blinked furiously. "N-no. I-I'll stay o-out h-here."

"All right..." The Grundo sounded unconvinced.

Crina was practically jumping with delight. "We're going home!"

They entered and stopped short. All happiness evaporated, replaced with gasps and frightened stares.

The sight that greeted them was one neither had expected. Tarkin stood in the centre of the cavern. She looked terrified, but she stood tall. She seemed to have a lot more confidence than one would expect considering who her companion was. The dark faerie was practically oozing with malice, every element about her dark and foreboding.

She didn't even look at Crina -- her indigo eyes locked with Verril's and she smirked.

"Finally... revenge will be mine."

Crina looked at Tarkin, frightened and confused. "W-what's going on?"

The Aisha shook her head. "I'm sorry. I-it was the only way..." She turned to the dark faerie. "There he is. Now will you please turn our world back?"

The faerie laughed. "Foolish Aisha. Don't you know any better?" Her eyes narrowed into dangerous silts. "Dark faeries always lie..."

"But - "

Tarkin was silenced as the faerie waved her hand. Crina whimpered and Verril flinched as the Aisha hit the wall with a bang.

The dark faerie looked at Tarkin with disgusting contempt. "Silly Neopet... after I worked so hard on poisoning this world, did you really think I'd throw away all my hard work?" She smirked maliciously. "I've come back to finish the job. Neopia will be destroyed. But for the moment, I have more ambitious plans."

She approached Crina and Verril, eyes threatening to burn holes into them. She stopped no more than three paces away.

"Hello Verril, remember me?" She spoke his name as if he were a disgusting bug she were about to squish.

Crina stared at her young friend. What? What was she talking about?

He didn't give anything away. He didn't know anything more than she did. Or so she thought.

"No, sorry, I'm afraid I don't."

The dark faerie was outraged. "How dare you forget me?" She raised her hand, as if preparing to strike, but then stopped. The smirk returned to her face.

"I, the one who you imprisoned in that timeless jail. Destined to be locked up for eternity by your doing."

Her smirk grew wider, darker, more dangerous.

"Well, I've escaped. But that dungeon of stars is waiting. And it will have its prisoner. Only this time, it won't be me..."

She was laughing now. "Maelstra. Remember that name. It will be the last thing you'll know before I destroy you."

She leapt forward, and the world exploded in silver light. It was as if every star in the sky had fallen and this cave, acting like a net, had caught every one. The pinpoints of blinding lights surrounded Maelstra and Verril, a tornado of starlight.

Verril searched over the whirlpool of stars for Crina. "Crin-- " His voice was lost in a rushing that sounded like wind, his words left unspoken.

Up until this moment, Crina had been paralysed. Unable to do anything. But Verril's cry seemed to pull her back into reality.

"Verril!" She screamed.

The twister was brighter, spinning faster. She felt herself being pushed away from the vortex, away from Verril.

So, of course, she ran toward it. Fighting against the wind, it took all her strength to do the one thing no one would even think of doing.

She jumped into the vortex.

The light beamed brighter than ever before and with one final, blinding flash, everything was gone.

They disappeared along with it.

* * *

She was floating. Floating...

In darkness.

She tried to open her eyes, but saw nothing. Perhaps they were never closed in the first place. It didn't matter.

Pinpoints of light flashed in the distance. Stars? They were gone before her mind could register.

Where am I?


Who am I?

The Blumaroo floated. Not in time, not in space. Not anywhere. Hovering on the edge of nothingness.

Completely oblivious. Completely unaware.

That above her, below her, all around her.

A battle was raging.

* * *

Light flooded into darkness. Darkness folded into light. Forming something that was both, but at the same moment, neither. A ring. A square. A straight line.

So, what do you think of the place? Hope you like it. You'll be spending a lot of time here. Darkness taunted.

Verril was still.

What do I do?

What can I do?

Where's Crina?

Is she okay?

Soon, you'll sleep for eternity, locked away in this prison of time...

I don't want to be here.

I want to go home.

I want to see Crina.

I want to see Neopia.

And after that, I can finally destroy your puny planet once and for all.

It was then that the pieces of the puzzle came together. Clicked.

And suddenly, he knew.

No. The light started to pulse, stronger, brighter. You won't.

The darkness seemed to laugh, cackle like lightning. What? You think you can stop me? This time I have the upper hand. I will not make the same mistake.

You already have.

In all those years imprisoned in the stars, she had remembered. Remembered the name of the one who trapped her there in order to keep the fires of her revenge going.

But she had forgotten... forgotten how she had gotten there in the first place.

Sleep well...

Light exploded. Darkness filled the sky. And then... there was nothing.

Maelstra was sleeping once more.

I don't intend to make the same mistake either.

This time, he'd do everything he could to make sure she didn't escape.

* * *

She didn't see him coming, but she knew he was there.

"Verril!" She tried to cry out, but nothing was heard. Her lips didn't even move.

You can't talk here, Crina. It's impossible.

But then how do I- Oh. Verril, where are we?

I'm not sure how to answer that.

Oh, okay... Um, Verril, where's Maelstra?

Maelstra's locked away. She won't wake up this time.

...How'd you do it? What happened? Verril, what's going on?

Her friend seemed to have changed. Or maybe, he was like this in the first place.

I'm... I'm not so sure myself. It's as if I've remembered something... no, that's not it. It's almost like I haven't forgotten. I just... knew... it's... He trailed off, there was no possible way to explain what had happened.

It's okay... I think... Verril, what do we do now?

You go home. To Neopia. It's not safe for you to stay here much longer.

Really? How can you send me back -- wait. You mean you're not coming back with me?

I can't. There are still things I need to do. I can't go back, not yet.

If it were possible to cry in a place like this, Crina would've. She thought she felt something wet roll down her cheek but when she reached up, nothing was there.

Will I ever see you again?

Someday, maybe, someday...

Pinpoints of light started to dance around her. Like the tornado of stars that had brought her here, this one would take her back.

She looked around for Verril, hoping to see him one last time, but her eyes met with nothingness.

Goodbye, Verril.

Goodbye, Crina.

The light spun faster, the warp opened.

May we meet again...

Then everything was gone. As if it had never been there in the first place.

* * *

Tarkin woke to a dull throbbing in the back of her mind. The Aisha flinched as she rose. Her mind worked slowly. What happened?

When she remembered, she burst into tears.

"Oh, how could I do such a terrible thing?"

"It's all right. You just wanted to save Neopia. Any of us would've done the same thing..." Monty was standing in the cavern with red-rimmed eyes. "I'm sure they're okay."

He didn't sound like he believed his own words.

"I hope..."

She was cut off. Lights began to appear in the room. Small and silver. Little stars. They danced in circles.

Tarkin's mouth dropped open. Monty stiffened.

"S-she's not coming back, is she?"

The vortex spun and then ended abruptly. Tarkin wordlessly reached for the object that had appeared on the cave floor.

A flower, its petals soft and covered with dew. Its stem and leaves fresh and green.

She looked up at Monty in bewilderment, but the Skeith did not meet her gaze. He was looking past her.

"Tarkin... look."

Some of the ceiling had crumbled away, thanks to the first time warp. Now, golden beams were slipping through the cracks like liquid and illuminating the cave floor.


* * *

The tears were what awoke Crina.

"Verril..." she croaked.

How had everything gone this way? She just wanted to show her friend her home, Neopia. Now it was like she barely even knew him anymore.

Her fingers curled around something soft. Grass?

She leapt up, looking around her. It was nighttime, dark, but she didn't need light to tell her where she was.

Up ahead, amber lights of the city shone, as if reflecting the night sky. Neopia Central...

She was home.

For a moment, Crina just stared. Absorbing the beauty like a sponge. But she didn't dare smile.

How could she?

Verril was gone...

She turned her head up to the sky, where the stars were. She had never gotten to show him the magic of the world she called home. Even if it was just for a second, she wanted to show him. Show him everything... show him the world the way it was supposed to be.

Something caught her eye. A streak of silver, a shooting star, flying across the inky sky before vanishing.

Her smile finally found her. Somehow, somehow, at that moment, she just knew.

Verril had gotten to see Neopia after all.

A world of beauty and magic and brilliance. Neopia, the way it should be. Neopia, the way it would stay. For decades, centuries, millennia.

Maelstra would not rise again.

The End

Author: reveirie
Date: Aug 8th

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