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||You are on Week 729
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 Twenty Nine Ends Friday, May 13
|"Get a move on, boys! I don't have all day!"
The agitated voice of Dr Sloth rang through the space station, sending the frantic Grundos scurrying even more rapidly to complete the task. Tosh sighed as he shuffled over to the spaceship, heaving a brown crate onto his shoulders. He grunted under the weight.
"What's in all these boxes anyway? It isn't like he needs anything…" Tosh muttered under his breath.
"Careful he doesn't hear you, Tosh," a red Grundo behind him whispered. "You do know what happens to Grundos that make him upset…"
Tosh sighed. "Yes, I do know Kiel. But it's just…" Tosh riveted his ruby eyes onto the faraway land. The land they knew as Neopia, but none have seen before. Tosh reckoned it was a beautiful planet, if the lush greenery and glittering waters were anything to go by. He longed to visit it one day. "I just wish we could leave this place sometime."
Kiel sighed. "Everyone does, Tosh. But no one has ever succeeded in leaving before."
Tosh didn't answer. But deep down, he knew it was true. Still…he couldn't help but hope. What if one day the chance came? What if one day he could escape?
Lost in thought, it took a while before Tosh realised they had already reached the hangar. The two Grundos placed the crates they were carrying on the cold metallic table. Tosh stared at the crates solemnly, even as Kiel turned to leave.
"Come on, Tosh. We still have 6 more boxes to transport — and we can't afford to offend Dr Sloth, especially when he is already as agitated as he already is."
"Coming, coming…" Tosh muttered. Just as he turned to leave the hangar, he heard a soft *plink* behind him. Curiously, he peered over his shoulder, and gasped when he saw a small bottle on the ground. It was glowing with a faint yellow hue.
"What's this?" Tosh headed over to the small bottle, picking it up with his paws.
"Help me…" a small voice emanated from the bottle.
Tosh almost dropped the bottle. "Who's that?! Who spoke?!" he asked quietly.
"My name's Belle. I was to be transported to Faerieland, but I was somehow sealed in the wrong bottle. Please free me… Faerie's can't survive for long if so far from Neopia."
Tosh blinked. "We're on Kreludor now. There's no way to return to Neopia here, and I can't help you do so either. I'm sorry…" he said sadly.
"That I know," Belle replied softly. "But us faeries have a… unique way of doing so, when the need arises. I just need your help, Tosh."
Tosh's eyes widened. How did she know his name?
As if reading his mind, Belle laughed, her soft chuckle no louder than the tingling of a bell. "Faeries can do many things, dear Grundo. But I won't be able to for much longer the more I am away from Neopia."
Tosh stared into the bottle, studying the small little glowing figure within it. Was this his chance? Could Belle be his ticket to escaping Kreludor? Could…
"Tosh! Where are you?? Come on, we need to get moving!" Kiel's yell broke into his thoughts. He could hear the shuffling of feet as the red Grundo padded closer.
There wasn't much time left.
Tosh made his decision.
Taking a deep breath, Tosh placed his paw on the cork that kept the bottle sealed shut and yanked it off...
Date: May 9th
There was no sound but in the blink of an eye, everything around him was bathed in a warm, golden shimmer. The smell of rocket fuel and wooden crates was instantly replaced by the fragrance of Buzz Honey (or what Tosh imagined Buzz Honey smelled like, since he had only heard of it when some of the long timers told their tales).
Kiel had stopped in his tracks, crates teetering precariously, looking uncannily like Wallace the Wocky laden with slipping trinkets.
He had opened his mouth to admonish Tosh for lollygagging, but when he saw his friend circled by the brilliant glow, could only gawp.
Belle appeared inches away from Tosh's nose causing his eyes to cross, and asked, "A faerie can not abide an unpaid debt, and I am in yours. What say you Tosh? Would your wish be to accompany me?"
"To accompany you?", Tosh could hardly believe the words he had heard. Belle or his own!
She smiled gently, "Yes, Dear Tosh. But be quick in deciding."
Still holding the glass bottle, Tosh took in a breath to say, "Yes", but before the word was fully formed and out of his mouth, he felt the faerie gently take hold of his uniform sleeve and with what felt like the strength of a team of Unis, pulled him off the ground, leaving only the tiny cork behind.
"WHAT'S THIS?!" bellowed the inimitably debonair and forbidding voice of Dr Sloth. Kiel's crates came crashing to the ground, tiny skulking hangar vermin scattered into deeper shadowed recesses, and the metal walls of the hangar reverberated and quaked with dissonance.
Date: May 9th
"...WITH THIS MESS?"
Dr. Sloth had knocked over Kiel's crates by his sheer presence alone, and the red Grundo was doing what all good Grundo's do in this situation. Cower in fear.
"I...I..." Kiel stated, before getting the withering glare of Sloth upon him.
"I don't want to hear excuses!" He spat, "I want to see results. These needed to be transported five minutes ago!"
"But the schedule..." Kiel blubbered out.
"I AM THE SCHEDULE!" Dr. Sloth bellowed out, "Now get back to work! Where's your partner?"
Tosh gulped and looked towards Belle, who was quickly hiding in his uniform sleeve. He stood up quickly and held onto the bottle.
"Here sir..." He quivered, "I saw something get loose from one of the crates and went to get it before it got away. It's my fault sir." He lied.
Dr. Sloth glared at Tosh before looking back to Kiel.
"No, it's his fault. If he had been more diligent, that mistake wouldn't have happened in the first place." He growled, looking at the red Grundo. "You, whatever your name is. Keep up the good work. And you..." His gaze narrowed, "One more mistake like that and it's re-education for you! I need some more mutants after all."
Kiel gulped and the looming form of Dr. Sloth began to go further through the hanger, keeping his sharp eyes on any other mistakes.
"That was too close..." Tosh said, suddenly feeling the pull coming from Belle again.
"Let's get out of here..." She whispered.
"Wait!" Kiel said, forcing the pair to stop, "Take me with you..."
Date: May 10th
"...I want to go to Neopia, with you; there's nothing for me here, certainly not Dr. Sloth. I don't want to cower in fear all of my life..." he said, glancing at the ground, then met his startled friend's gaze. "Please?"
When Tosh hesitated, Belle spoke for him: "There is enough room for three... but it is a more difficult effort on my part; I must recover my powers. But it won't be long now."
Tosh grinned. "I can't imagine anyone else I'd rather go to Neopia for the first time with."
Kiel shrugged and hesitantly glanced at the metallic floor, and said, "that's what friends are for, right?"
"Yeah," Tosh answered quietly, for his eyes were on something else. Kiel's brow furrowed, then he followed his friend's gaze. They both watched as Belle's golden outline expanded around her, forming a small sphere, then larger, and larger, until it encompassed the three of them.
"This is as far as I can go!" she exclaimed, with the tension on her hands evident on her face, her brow contracting at her concentration, and the two Grundos stood at the ready.
"In three..." Belle breathed, focusing her energy on the golden sphere.
The sphere began to flicker and fade in and out.
Tosh watched Belle intently as a massive form of energy erupted from her, fading everything they saw to white; and just as they thought they'd go blind from the intensity of the light, they saw...
Date: May 11th
...a landscape of greens and pinks and purples. Tosh blinked rapidly, trying to clear the spots from his eyes. He couldn't believe what he was seeing: Neopia! He saw giant structures, trees, a blue sky... it was everything he ever imagined. Tosh looked over to his friend; Kiel seemed just as dazed as Tosh was.
"W-where are we?" Tosh asked, turning reluctantly to the faerie. He wanted to stare at the plants, the sky, the buildings, all day.
Belle looked at the two Grundos with a small smile. "We are in Faerieland," she said. "I was able to transport us directly here."
Tosh grinned. "We're free, Kiel! Finally!" He grasped the other Grundo by the shoulder. "We can explore everywhere we always wanted: the Haunted Woods, the Lost Desert..."
Belle nodded. "You two are free to go. Thank you for freeing me from that bottle." A small frown appeared on her face. "Although I'm still not certain how I got in the wrong bottle in the first place."
Tosh glanced back at the faerie. "No, thank you for rescuing us," he said. "We would still be with Dr. Sloth if it weren't for you."
Kiel nodded in agreement. "Thank you for finding the energy to bring me," he said with a grin.
Belle smiled. "Of course. I will always do what I can to help those in need," she said. "Now, I must get going. Safe travels, you two, and-"
The faerie broke off abruptly, her gaze focused on something behind the two Grundos. "What's going..." Tosh asked, then he turned and saw what Belle was staring at.
Date: May 11th
But it wasn’t a Grundo like them. No, this one towered. It hulked. Massive muscles rippled under its dark green skin; flinty eyes darted about. It was monstrous and twisted and terribly, terribly familiar.
For Tosh knew very well what happened to disobedient Grundos. Dr. Sloth cured them of that little problem in short order – and also their wits. Would-be rebels became brutish monsters, without reason or regard for the ones they once called friends. The message was clear to all Grundos – as poorly off as they were under their master, they still had much left to lose.
And this one was lugging a sack of very familiar-looking bottles and hefting a net.
“Quick!” he hissed, pulling Kiel and a stunned Belle into the leafy brush of this new planet. “Hide!”
Even in the moment’s panic, he still had time to marvel. These ‘plants’ on Neopia were so green! And vibrant! And… ticklish. His nose tickled, and he scrunched up his face to hold back a sneeze. Noise would be bad.
As it was, the mutant had heard them – spindly antennae swerved, and it took a lumbering step in their direction. The three of them held stock still, scarcely daring to breathe, and after a few moments later, it shook its head and stomped off. Tosh caught a glimpse into the sack as it left, and while some of the bottles were clear, others housed pale glows.
“That’s a faerie catcher,” Belle gasped. “But – who?”
“What do you mean, who?” Kiel whispered. “We need to get out of here!”
“Because – there is a Lupe that goes around catching faeries. He’s a menace, to be sure, but we are always found and freed by some Neopet. We never end up off-planet… and I’ve never heard of any other so brash as to try and capture a faerie.”
“That’s because he’s-!” Kiel protested, but all of them immediately fell silent as another thud hit the ground, this time from behind them. Tosh, who’d begun to extricate himself from the leafy lifeform, quickly nestled himself back within its branches.
He turned to Belle, desperation coloring his features. “You’re good with magic. Can you turn us… invisible or something?”
“My magic will begin to replenish now that I’m back in Neopia, but carrying the both of you has taxed me – I’m nearly out of power,” she whispered back. “But please - what was it you were saying, young one?”
“Sloth is capturing faeries,” Kiel continued. “He must be. Those crates we were unloading…”
“But faeries? What does Dr. Sloth need with faeries?” There had been that one… incident… with the cardboard wings and the wand, but no Grundo dared talk about that, unless they wanted a one way ticket to the Kreludan mines.
“I think I know.”
“What?” Tosh turned to his friend. “What do you mean? And how?”
“Working on the Space Station – well, you hear things.” Kiel‘s face was grim. “He’s…”
Date: May 12th
"...plotting revenge against the Space Faerie."
"What!" Belle looked at Kiel startled. "But what use is it capturing us? The Space Faerie relies on the will of the Neopians for strength, not little Faerie's like us."
"Yes," Kiel said. "But something tells me Sloth's using you to fuel a weapon of his own - something that'll turn the Faerie's magic against Neopia."
Tosh spoke up, "So if Sloth is kidnapping all these Faerie's and draining their power - wouldn't Queen Fyora have noticed by now?"
"Yes," Belle whispered. "Unless..."
"What?" Both Tosh and Kiel asked simultaneously.
"Unless Sloth has someone working on the inside," an uneasy look came over Belle's eyes. "It would make perfect sense considering none of the Faerie's are mobilized to counterattack."
"Then we need to find this person," Tosh said.
"-and warn the Space Faerie," Kiel joined in.
"Okay, but there's one more thing that I can't figure out..." Belle let out, a nervous flutter in her voice.
"You can tell us on the way," Kiel said. "We need to get into the city as soon as possible..."
"I know but--"
A sudden burst of evil cackling laughter filled the air, "GOING somewhere?" an insidious voice echoed.
All three started and whipped their heads around to see...
Date: May 12th
... no one in sight.
"Who's there?" Kiel mumbled nervously as the three got out of the brush as discreetly as possible.
As if to answer his question, a puff of purple smoke appeared a few metres away from them, revealing a Faerie clad in purple and green. "I see you're enjoying yourselves over there?" her voice was dripping heavily with sarcasm.
"Jhudora!" Belle exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"
The Dark Faerie cackled again. "Just leaving my Cloud for a while. It's quite boring being holed up in there all day." She then glanced at Tosh and Kiel and grinned, a smile none too friendly. "Oh, hello there! What brings you two here?"
Tosh and Kiel exchanged glances. They didn't know how to respond without making themselves sound like escaped convicts. Kiel replied after a moment. "We're here on a mission for Dr Sloth."
Jhudora's interest perked up instantly. "What orders could he possibly have for the both of you?" she asked, curious.
"Erm..." the red Grundo saw Belle shake her head ever so slightly and took the cue. "We cannot disclose it to anyone."
"I see," the Dark Faerie commented. She snapped her fingers and all of a sudden, tall, spindly vines broke the ground's surface. They slithered their way up the Grundo's bodies, binding them tightly to the spots where they were standing.
Belle wasn't subjected to the same fate since she was floating in air. However, before she could counterattack, Jhudora had grabbed her petite form in her hand.
"I don't think I can let you three continue on this mission," Jhudora said. Her mood was solemn and serious.
It was then that Tosh and Kiel realised it.
"You're working for Dr Sloth!" they exclaimed simultaneously.
"Correct." Her maniacal laughter filled the air once more. The evil glint in her eye made her look even more terrifying. "Now, what should I do with the three of you?"
Date: May 13th
…”You should let Sloth know that you caught us!” Blurted Tosh, an idea forming in his mind. A crazy, impossible, never-going-to-work idea.
Belle looked at him as if he had lost his mind, or as if the journey to Neopia had irreversibly scrambled his brain. Kiel looked like his friend might have been working with Sloth all along. Both had terror in their eyes. Even Jhudora looked confused.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Grundo! I’m not leaving you little pests alone to fly up there and…”
Tosh shook his head urgently, refusing to meet Belle or Kiel’s gazes. He wasn’t a liar at the best of times, and one glance to them would have given away his entire, desperate ploy.
“Of course not! But then… We ARE escapees… Sloth’s smarted Grundos. Of course.” He did his best to look intelligent.
Kiel didn’t help. He was looking like he was Sloth’s most terrified Grundo. Jhudora however, paused. Tosh could almost see the wheels turning in her brain. They HAD managed to escape the mighty Doctor Sloth. Perhaps they weren’t so dumb… Nobody had managed it before, afterall.
“And of course…” Tosh puffed up his chest, trying to look intelligent. “We know all the secrets he has. We could have escaped years ago, really. Just wanted to have as much information as possible first, you know.” He even managed a smirk.
Jhudora had a smirk of her own. Tosh forced himself to keep his gaze on the cold, malicious gaze of the faerie, refusing to let his eyes meet the one chance he had. The shimmering tower that spiralled above her head, mere feet away. Indigo, rose and violet, clouds embracing its turret. And there, nestled within the structure, the massive window, from which, should something grab her attention, Fyora would be able to see all.
“If it were me… Mind you, I’m terribly smart, I don’t expect others to think this way… I would send up faerie light to Sloth. Get him down here, you know? I mean, you would have to be pretty powerful…”
Jhudora smirked, raising her hand into the air, and from her long, wicked talons, beams of indigo and emerald light shot into the sky, rocketing past the tower window and arching up towards the Space Station.
Tosh held his breath. This was it…
Date: May 13th
There was a light haze as a blue light lanced out the tower window, colliding with the chaotic emerald beam.
There was a hiss and a thunderclap, and both beams fizzled out.
"What? What... oh." Jhudora muttered, balking as the space faerie appeared.
"Release then," she intoned. "This is a direct order from Queen Fyora."
Jhudora raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"
"Yes. Release them." A familiar voice repeated, as Fyora appeared beside the space faerie in a burst of violet light.
Jhudora blanched. Despite her powers, she was no match for both the space faerie and Fyora. She knew they both knew that too. "Very well."
She waved her hands in the air, releasing Belle and allowing the two Grundos to scramble free.
"One question. How did you know?"
The space faerie chuckled. "I have Tosh and Kiel to thank."
The Grundos blinked at each other in surprise. "Us?"
"Yes," the space faerie smiled. "I've been watching over Kreludor ever since Sloth''s last attempt, and when you two vanished in faerie light, I knew something was up." She walked over to Jhudora. "So I went to investigate, and found the boxes of bottled faeries Sloth had trapped."
With a wave of her hand, the boxes appeared beside her in a haze of turquoise light. "Here they all are, safe and sound. Ready to be freed, away from the hands of Sloth."
"Oh." Jhudora sighed.
"What? No comeback? I have to say I'm disappointed," the space faerie smirked.
"Enough," Fyora spoke. "I will deal with Jhudora." She turned to the Grundos, then the space faerie. "Faerie land extends its gratitude to you, Tosh and Kiel. And space faerie, you should head back to your base." With that, Fyora disappeared with Jhudora.
The space faerie nodded. "Indeed. But first..." She walked over to the Grundos, and thrust a handful of faerie dust onto the two. "This is my reward for your help. Such bravery deserves to be rewarded."
Tosh and Kiel suddenly felt stronger and healthier. "Thank you," they chimed unanimously.
The space faerie smiled, before vanishing as well.
There was a moment's pause.
"That turned out well," Belle finally spoke in disbelief.
"Yeah," Tosh found himself agreeing.
"One question though. How did you know, Tosh?" Kiel asked curiously.
Tosh blushed. "Uh, I'd wanted to get the attention of Fyora but...seems like they're one step ahead of us."
Kiel laughed, gesturing to the boxes of bottled faeries. "We should start releasing them."
Tosh nodded, smiling.
As the two set out uncorking the bottles, Belle watched on. She could not shake off the uneasy feeling that still settled in her heart. How did they get trapped in the wrong bottles in the first place? Who did that? Was it Sloth? ...
She did not have an answer. Belle supposed those questions would have to wait. Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she landed on the ground to join the two Grundos.
Date: May 16th
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