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||You are on Week 533
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 Five Hundred Thirty Three Ends Friday, November 18
|Sleet had always been a lucky Lupe. Dice-A-Roo, Brucey B Slots, scratchcards, the Wheel of Excitement... he excelled at every endeavor where the only thing you needed was a little bit of good fortune.
It was a very lucrative business, being lucky. After all, here he was, vacationing with his best friend on the beaches of Roo Island. The bright sunshine beating down on him was a warmly welcome respite from the constant chill of his home on Terror Mountain. It was nothing but perpetual winter back there, and while he often marveled at the harsh beauty of the ice and tundra, it was nice for him to get away for a while and experience new and exciting things with Sonya.
Speaking of Sonya, I wonder where she's gone off to, he thought to himself as he got up off the beach and dusted the sand from his fur. They'd been hiking around the island for a couple of days now, exploring the vast variety of local flora and fauna with fascinated interest. Sleet had wanted to take a break at the beach around midday, but Sonya had quickly gotten bored with their idleness and decided to mill around the ridge overlooking the ocean until he was ready to get moving again.
"Sonya, where are you?" he called out as he reached the crest of the ridge. He spun to the left and right, looking as far as his keen eyes could see. She was nowhere in sight! He did, however, spot a set of her tracks veering off the main walking path and into the dense foliage that covered most of Roo Island.
Sleet adjusted the pack of supplies on his back and started following her footsteps into the thick green forest. After a while, her tracks angled off onto a narrow pathway leading up a steep slope that seemed to stretch on forever. His muscles started to ache in vehement protest as he slowly made his way to the peak.
A castle, immense and imposing, awaited him at the top. The dull gray walls were cracked and overgrown with ropy green vines. The battlements, which had probably once proudly risen up toward the sky, were now reduced to little more than rubble. Empty black windows stared at him menacingly as he followed Sonya's steps past the open iron gate and up to the front door.
A metal knocker in the shape of a frightening Blumaroo was affixed to the front of the door. He swallowed with anxiety, then grasped it firmly and rapped on the wood a few times. "H-hello?" he asked. "Is anyone... is anyone in there?"
The door shrieked as it abruptly swung open, but there was no one on the other side. A chill winter wind, too cold for the warm weather of the day, blew past Sleet and ruffled his fur. He cautiously stepped into the dreary castle's entranceway, the sound of his footsteps reverberating off the stone walls and shattering the eerie silence of the castle.
"Welcome to Castle von Roo," said a deep, harsh voice. The heavy oak door slammed behind him with a loud bang. Sleet spun around and frantically tried to turn the knob, but it seemed to be jammed. The sound of wickedly mocking laughter echoed through the empty halls of the dimly lit castle.
Sleet had always been a lucky Lupe, but he had the sinking feeling that his luck was about to change...
Date: Nov 14th
Sleet stood there for a moment, back pressed to the imposing door, as his chest heaved with panicked breaths. The hair-raising sound of laughter faded into the impassive stone walls and the guttering flames of candles lining the dark corridors grew slightly taller, as if they had been cowering at the sound. A cool draft blew over the Lupe's paws, and he traced its source to a particularly dark hallway that stretched deep into the recesses of the castle directly in front of him.
"Sonya?" he squeaked softly, hoping she was perhaps quivering somewhere nearby herself. "Sonya, where are you?" he tried again, his voice rising slightly. The echoing hiss of his own voice set his teeth on edge. He could just imagine some slithery beast crouched in the shadows, mocking his fear. He cleared his throat, threw his chest out, and stood tall. He wasn't going to let this decrepit old castle get the best of him!
As he stepped further into the dark hallway, he swept a candle from its holder and mentally berated Sonya for wandering off. She knew better than to pull some silly stunt like this. They were on vacation, for crying out loud! Sleet sighed in exasperation, perhaps more than he should have, for just as quickly as he had taken the candle, its light had vanished, leaving a faintly glowing wick and a wispy trail of smoke that rose into the dark.
It was suddenly suffocating in that mysterious passageway, with the dark pressing down against him, clinging to his fur and saturating his eyes so that he could not see. In panic, the Lupe flung his paws about him, blindly searching for a wall. Instead, he struck something damp and slimy. Something that moved. Now thoroughly spooked, the Lupe shot forward, running madly through the corridor, stubbing his feet against rough stones and bruising his nose as the corridor took sudden turns.
As he turned one particularly unexpected corner with tears of pain from the walls and a cold draft saturating his cheeks, Sleet suddenly tripped, the floor dragging unforgivably against his fur. He slid to an unceremonious stop, and then suddenly, he was again blinded -- this time by a bright light that flooded the large chamber Sleet had stumbled into. His heart sank even further when the light did not reveal Sonya, but instead a rather small, stuffy-looking Kacheek, who was watching him with disdain from a platform in the center of the large, mostly bare chamber.
"Hush, now. The Count needs to get his rest. He has no time to play with you. He's on a vacation, which he rightly deserves it, what with all the pestering that he gets from you gamblers with your inflated egos." The Kacheek sniffed delicately, running a monogrammed handkerchief over his nose. "For the life of me, though, I can't imagine why he prefers to stay here while on his vacation, as opposed to going somewhere warm. I can never get over this cold."
"I'm not here to challenge the Count," Sleet protested quickly, rising to his feet shakily. "I'm just looking for my friend Sonya. She's a--'"
"About this tall, and exceedingly friendly?" the Kacheek said, gesturing with his hands to demonstrate Sonya's height. "Yes, yes... she's been through here, all right. I'm afraid she was rather greedy with the Count." He shook his head in mock sadness, tucking the handkerchief back into his fancy sleeve.
"You'll be lucky if he lets her go..."
Date: Nov 14th
Sleet stared at the Kacheek for a moment, almost as if the gravity of his words had yet to hit him. Sonya... was here? And she'd done something to Count von Roo to get on his bad side? The feeling of fear was welling up within Sleet again -- not just due to the situation, but out of fear for his friend.
"Wait," Sleet said. "What do you mean she was greedy? What happened to Sonya? Where's my friend?"
The Kacheek sighed. It was clear from the tone of his sigh that he was growing tired of talking to Sleet. "The Count was having a bout of insomnia," he said. "As your friend's unfortunate luck would have it, the first thing she did when she saw him -- while trespassing in our castle, I might add -- was to challenge the Count to a game of Deadly Dice."
The Kacheek brought his handkerchief back to his nose as he sniffed once more. "To make a long story short, she began to win constantly. Since no one is that lucky, the Count investigated, discovering that she was using a rigged die, and acted accordingly."
"Acted... accordingly?" Sleet said, now very worried about what happened to Sonya.
"Well," the Kacheek responded, still sounding annoyed, "When I say acted accordingly, I mean that he has her locked in the dungeon. Normally, if the Count caught someone cheating him, he would deal with it immediately. Since he was still very tired, however, he decided to lock her up first and then deal with the matter once he was good and rested. I suppose you could say it's the last bit of luck that she had, or perhaps the Count will feel generous and let her go. I wouldn't count on that, though, considering how mad he was at the entire situation."
"And now," the Kacheek said, "I'm going to ask you to leave. Like your friend, you are trespassing on the Count's property. I will, therefore, escort you off of the premises."
The Kacheek sniffed again before uttering a single word. "Farewell..." he said to Sleet, and then the room that they were in went dark as pitch.
Sleet screamed, feeling the cold darkness surround him before he suddenly found himself back outside of the castle. He stopped in fear for a moment before he returned to pound on the door. "Wait!" Sleet pleaded, "Let me see her! Let me see Sonya, please!"
His pounding was to no avail. Sleet tried the knob, but it too wouldn't budge. While it might have seemed like the castle was inviting him in earlier, it now seemed like it was doing everything to keep him out.
"No... no..." Sleet said, shouting at the castle. "This isn't right! Sonya would never cheat! Count von Roo must be mistaken! I know her! She might be cocky, but she's not a cheater! Please! Please! Give me a chance to see her! Please! Please..."
His pounding at the door of the castle continued to go unanswered. Sleet could feel the cold breeze of the castle, even though he was outside, chilling him to the core.
He needed to do something. He needed to save Sonya. What could he do, though?
Before he could even think about formulating a plan, the sound of rustling bushes to his side caught his attention. There was something else there...
Date: Nov 15th
Sleet turned his head in the direction of the sound, slowly at first but then more abruptly. From the bushes emerged none other than his friend from Terror Mountain.
"Sonya!" he exclaimed, hugging her as tears ran down his face. "I thought I might never see you again."
Sonya remained unmoved by the Lupe's expression. "Sleet," she said firmly, "I'm okay. You, on the other hand, are not."
Sleet began to laugh. "Alright," he finally said. "I guess I can stop crying over you."
Sonya sighed. "That's not what I mean," she said drearily. "For the past few hours, I've been locked up in the castle of Count von Roo--"
"Yes," Sleet interrupted, "a Kacheek told me. He said you cheated, using a phony die... that's not true, though, right?" Sleet held a tense yet forgiving expression on his face.
Sonya again uttered a sigh of desperation. "Yes and no. It's true that the die I gambled with was rigged, but not by my own accord; von Roo placed the die there himself."
"Why did he do that?" Sleet asked, the colder than usual wind outside the menacing castle causing him to shiver slightly with his words.
"He wanted a reason to keep me there... to get to you," Sonya said quietly as Sleet's facial expression turned to that of surprise.
The Lupe tried to sort out the situation in his head, but was unsuccessful. "What?" he finally asked.
"After I had been jailed in one of the Count's many underground cells, he came 'round and told me that he had watched... us... ever since we'd arrived, that we had a sort of lucky aire to us. He eventually narrowed it down to you."
Sleet looked up at the castle, its door the mouth of some sinister plot that now involved him.
Sonya continued. "He hoped that you would fancy a game of Deadly Dice so that he could capture you, but when I showed up instead he figured that he could just as well use me as bait. So, I received a rigged die, was accused of playing with a rigged die, and then sent down to the dungeons."
Sleet understood. "What did he want from me, though?" the Lupe asked, emphasizing the last few words.
"I'm not even sure," Sonya said, looking solemnly toward the ground.
"But," the Lupe began, "shouldn't I have been taken by that Kacheek, then, upon my initial exploration of the castle?"
"Nah," Sonya said as she smiled, her change in mood lifting a weight off of the environment. "He's just a grunt-worker; he doesn't know anything. He doesn't even know about the significance of us or his master placing the rigged die on me."
The two laughed, then paused as an awkward silence fell upon the castle.
"Still," the Lupe said, breaking it, "we'd better get going."
At that moment, however, the castle doors opened and a hand fell upon Sleet's shoulder. He slowly turned around and, for the third time that day, wondered if he was really as lucky as everyone made him out to be...
Date: Nov 15th
...The mysterious hand felt icy cold. Sleet could feel his heart palpitating wildly. The Lupe turned around slowly and saw the same Kacheek from earlier.
"My master wishes to see you immediately," the Kacheek said coldly and then swiftly turned around, beckoning Sleet to follow him into the castle.
The eyes of Sleet and Sonya met. Both of them were wondering what they should do next. Should they follow? Would it be better if they left the place?
"Please hurry. My master is very impatient and dislikes waiting,” the Kacheek remarked.
Sleet and Sonya eventually entered the castle. As Sleet crept in, the Lupe felt an unusually chilly breeze making him feel uncomfortable. It was as if the breeze was a bad omen.
The Kacheek continued guiding them down the dark and damp staircase, which had a musty air to it. There was a creepy silence. Their footsteps made sounds that jarred the silence, loud and discordant. Just like Sleet, Sonya quietly followed the Kacheek.
This is the same staircase I was escorted to earlier on. It's just a different dungeon, Sonya thought to herself.
At the far end, both Sonya and Sleet could see a dim light in one of the dungeon windows. It was like a light at the end of a dark tunnel. They continued to walk till the Kacheek opened the door that had the dim light in it.
"Welcome to my dungeon!" a voice boomed. Instantaneously, bright lights flickered on. Sleet's and Sonya's eyes shouted in pain. Sleet scanned the dungeon quickly. He could feel his heart pump at every beat.
"You must be Sleet, the famously lucky Lupe that I have heard so much about," Count Von Roo exclaimed.
Sleet was stunned and frozen with fear. He had never seen Count Von Roo before. Even though he had heard various stories about the Count from his friends, he had never imagined that he would see him up close. Sleet was staring at the Count's small beady eyes. A bright gleam of light from Von Roo's sharp fangs caught his attention.
"Now tell me," the Count continued, "how are you always so extremely lucky? Do you have special powers? Are you cheating in any form?"
"I... um... I," Sleet mumbled.
"Answer me!" Count Von Roo yelled.
"Sir, I was just really lucky," Sleet muttered.
"Lucky? Lucky?!? Impossible! You can never be this lucky!" the Count shouted.
"Really, Sir. I suppose I was just born under a lucky star," Sleet replied.
"Lies!" the Count sputtered in disgust. "I want the truth, or else..."
Date: Nov 16th
"Sir, no disrespect intended, but it's truly just luck. No more, no less." Sleet whispered quietly, ending the conversation and leaving the group entrapped in damp, chilly silence.
All the while, the Count eyed Sleet menacingly, mixing a heap of distrust with a subtle hint of wariness. The Count obviously wasn't buying his answer, and he was never going to buy it. Not cheaply, at least.
Sleet shifted nervously. He'd said earlier that it was luck, no more, no less, but right now, he really wished that he'd had a little more. From the almost bloodthirsty look in the Count's eyes to the aggressive stance he imposed upon Sonya and himself, there could be no doubt that he had no plans of letting the two go anytime soon.
Sleet's thoughts were racing for some solution, some way to get out of this precarious mess, when the Kacheek blew his nose -- softly, yet loud enough to blow away the silence.
The Count's countenance softened slightly, but still he maintained a threatening expression. In a less vehement voice, the Count offered, "Why don't we settle this... the proper way? After all, what use are words without a little... action."
On the word "action," the count flourished a pair of dice. The dice gleamed enticingly in the light, as if tempting whoever looked upon them to surrender against the desire to try one's luck.
Sleet swallowed another wave of panic. Saying no didn't seem like it would be an acceptable answer to the Count. All he wanted to do was get out of here with Sonya, and do so in a hurry. It seemed like the only way to do that was to play the Count's game.
Afraid that his voice might betray his fear, he silently accepted the challenge as his own hand reached for a die from the Count.
Before he got to the die, however, Sonya cheekily cut between the two, grabbing the pair of dice. "May I?" she asserted briskly, then sarcastically added, "After all, we wouldn't want your search for the truth to be skewed by faulty dice."
The Count leered at Sonya, but made no motion to stop her. "Be my guest," the Count replied stiffly.
"I'm sure you of all people should know how to most accurately check for a loaded die, sir. A small cup of water should suffice," Sonya stated curtly. The Count made a motion toward the Kacheek and, soon enough, the Kacheek held a cup of water in his hands.
Grabbing the cup and and placing it on the floor, Sonya kneeled down and proceeded to unceremoniously drop one of the die into the cup. Two was face up. Again, she repeated this movement four times. Three face up. Then two, one, and lastly, four.
When she was satisfied that the die wasn't loaded, she proceeded to the next die with a plop. Six face up.
Her eyes immediately clouded with suspicion and shot a quick, piercing stare in the direction of the Count. Von Roo made no gesture to signal that any possible unfair play was at work; only that he was getting fairly impatient.
Again, she dropped the die into the water and stared somewhat disconcertedly at the five that stared face up at her. She had been fully expecting the die to be loaded, and yet...
"Satisfied, my dear?" the Count interrupted.
"Quite," Sonya muttered quietly as she handed the die back to the Count.
"Good, good." He then turned his head in the direction of the Kacheek. "If you would be so kind as to make sure no one else disturbs us."
The Kacheek nodded and left with a farewell blow of his nose.
With a smile that emphasized his fangs, more specifically the terror that his fangs had brought about to many throughout Neopia, the Count said with an overexaggerated cheeriness, "Now, let us begin..."
Date: Nov 16th
Sleet gulped, and again reached shakily for one of the dice the Count held. Wordlessly, he dropped a die into the Lupe's trembling paw.
"I assume you know the rules?" the Count asked him. When Sleet nodded, Count von Roo grinned and said, "Alright then, let's not waste any more time and get going right away!" Sleet was taking short shallow breaths, and his head was light with panic, but the rest of him was weighed down with dread. Trying to steady himself, the Lupe closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths.
"I'll go first, then, shall I?" the Count said in a slightly mocking voice. The sound of the die rolling echoed around the dank room. Sleet didn't open his eyes straight away; he didn't want to know the number. He couldn't avoid it forever, though, so he mustered up the necessary courage and slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he saw was the Count's triumphant face, a cocky glint in his eye. Flinching, Sleet let his gaze drift toward the die. With a fresh wave of panic, he saw six dots facing the roof.
"Now, if you would be so kind as to roll any time soon," the Count drawled lazily, inspecting his nails with half closed eyes.
By Fyora, please let me tie with him! Sleet pleaded silently. He then shook his die for luck and threw it. It bounced twice, then rolled a metre. It came to a halt, spinning around on one corner before slowing to a stop. The Lupe gasped. There, on HIS die, was a six! He was safe! His relief was short lived, however, as he realised the stakes were now doubled.
Sonya picked up the dice. The Count scowled when she handed them to him. His pointed teeth stood out even more than when he smiled. Sleet shuddered, then prepared himself to dice with fate once more...
Date: Nov 17th
"You take the first throw," the Count said as he handed a die to Sleet. "Good luck," he said with a smile, revealing a pair of menacing fangs that caused the Lupe to wince slightly.
Sleet closed his eyes and tossed the die. He then heard a fit of laughter from Von Roo. That can't be good, Sleet thought.
Fearing the worst, Sleet opened his eyes to see his dice on the stone floor about four feet from where he stood, one dot facing upward.
Sleet's facial expressions were lost as far as a reaction. They tried being angry, then sad, then disgusted, before finally settling upon fairly melancholy.
Speechless, the Lupe could only manage a high-pitched noise as a show of defeat.
Count Von Roo smiled another ghastly smile and retrieved his die from where it had landed on the floor previously. He rolled, and once again Sleet closed his eyes out of fear for the worst possible scenario.
At that moment, however, the Kacheek came back, hanky in hand. "I locked the door; no one can get in now," he uttered as he blew his nose.
"No!" Count Von Roo shouted in a tone of voice so foul that it would make any baby Neopet cry. His Kacheek servant, too busy blowing his nose to pay attention, had stepped on the die at such an angle that it shot upward and out through one of the cell widows, presumably landing in the glade adjacent to the castle. "You fool!" the Count shouted at his servant.
No one had seen the number on the die, so it was Sleet's game by default, on account of a very improbable (yet highly lucky on the Lupe's part) accident. Everyone took a step back from the Count, who was now seething with rage.
"I guess..." Sonya started after a moment of silence, "I guess Sleet won." She stared at her Lupe friend, then back at the Count, then toward the Kacheek, then back at Sleet.
"Yeah," Sleet agreed, "I guess I won." He couldn't believe his stroke of luck.
No one spoke for a while. "Alright," the Count finally said, "I'm nothing if not fair. Instead of keeping you locked in the dungeons indefinitely, I will let you roam the dungeons until the point when you tell me where this universal luck of yours comes from." The Count glared at Sleet as he began to walk upstairs. "Don't break anything," he said.
"But--" the Kacheek began.
"You're fired!" Von Roo erupted at his servant as he continued the traverse. It made him angry, to lose his job just because of a bout of NeoFlu.
Walking over to Sleet and Sonya, the angry Kacheek spoke softly, "Look, I know this building as well as anyone, save the Count. Perhaps I could set you free... as long as you're willing to comply with my terms," he said with a smile.
Sleet and Sonya glared at him, but without any knowledge of the Lupe's luck besides it just being luck, they weren't sure if they had a choice...
Date: Nov 17th
Standing their ground, Sleet and his friend remained silent. After all, they had the Lupe’s luck on their side – perhaps they didn't need any help from the sniffling Kacheek.
Unfortunately, he seemed to be possessed of infinite patience, as he stood glaring at the brave (yet clearly frightened) pair. Minutes ticked by as they faced off, and while Sleet and Sonya began to fidget slightly in the silence, the Kacheek seemed impervious to the passing of time. He didn’t even speak, though he did occasionally sniffle.
Where is my luck? Why can't something cave in beneath him, or us... or the lights go out again so we can run... Sleet thought to himself, bemoaning the lack of intervention on his behalf.
Finally, though, he realized their standstill would last until the Count woke again if he didn't do something soon.
"Fine!" he burst out, making Sonya flinch beside him. The Kacheek grinned darkly.
"Thanks, Sleet," Sonya muttered under her breath, but the Lupe ignored her.
"What are your terms?" he asked, lifting his chin and refusing to be cowed by the sniveling wretch in front of him.
"Oh, they're very simple. I just want you to help me make sure the Count never wins another game of Deadly Dice..." he replied with a dark grin. Anger was plain on his face; Sleet got the feeling he had worked for the Count for a very, very long time.
"I don't think that's such a good idea..." Sonya began, but Sleet cut her off.
"Deal," he said firmly, causing his companion to glare. So it would make Von Roo a little angrier if he found out... what was the worst that could happen? They were already locked in his castle forever.
Sonya huffed beside him. "How could we do that, anyway?" she asked, still glaring.
"Oh, it's simple... I know where he keeps his dice, you see," the Kacheek said with a chuckle.
Sonya frowned. "But it's easy to see if a dice is fixed. Didn't I just prove that?” she asked.
"Besides," Sleet interjected, "If we fix all of his dice, won't he just tie forever?"
"Or half of them, how do we know who'd get the fixed die?" Sonya wondered aloud.
The Kacheek grinned darkly. "Just follow me... I'm sure your luck will help us figure it out," he deadpanned, evoking the feeling that he knew exactly how he planned to ensure that Von Roo never won another game.
Without another word, he ducked out of the room, leaving an apprehensive pair behind him. With a determined look on his face, Sleet grabbed his friend's hand and followed the Kacheek out of the room.
Outside the room, they were immediately plunged into darkness. It was a blackness so complete that not even the echoes of shadows would differentiate before their blinded eyes, a darkness so thorough that no modicum of light illuminated even the faintest shadow. In the pitch blackness the pair froze, but after a beat Sleet realized he could still hear the patter of their guide's footsteps. With a deep breath, still holding fast to his friend's hand, he stepped forward even as his heart beat fast in apprehension.
Each step after that was easier; even if they had no idea where they were, the Kacheek clearly did. While there were bumps along the way when a corner came up before their outstretched hands could register the change in landscape, for the most part their journey was relatively easy.
Until their guide stopped. "This is as far as I can take you... the Count has never let me past this point. His dice are in here... I'm sure you'll figure out what to do, though, lucky beast that you are," the Kacheek sneered. Momentarily, Sleet wondered whose side he was on as the Kacheek's tone reminded him of Von Roo earlier, but he had no time to think as he was suddenly shoved forward, dragging Sonya along with him.
The pair tumbled to the ground, knocking shins and elbows on the stony floor. Though the room was only dimly lit, the change from the pitch blackness they had walked in for so long caused them to shut their eyes against the glare. When they were finally able to open them, however, they could only gasp...
Date: Nov 18th
Sleet and Sonya peered all around the vast, round room, the only source of light emanating from several dim oil lamps.
Adorning the stone walls were many shelves, each containing hundreds of dice stacked in neat little piles.
Staring in stunned silence for what felt like many minutes, Sleet finally declared, "There must be tens of thousands of dice here!" Fear shook his voice; the task at hand would not be an easy one.
"So, what are we supposed to do?" Sonya asked in a high-pitched wimper. "Are you going to check every die and dispose of the ones that you deem rigged?"
Sleet took a deep breath. "I suppose so, Sonya."
Searching for a location to put the faulty dice and finding nothing, Sonya suggested they talk to the Kacheek about fetching them a bag.
"Alright, fine," the servant said as he blew his nose.
Upstairs, the Kacheek went to Von Roo's kitchen and found a rather large garbage bag. "Perfect," he remarked.
At that moment, however, the Count stepped in. "Oh, look what the Meowclops has dragged in," he remarked with a sneer. "I thought I fired you."
Hesitating, the Kacheek fumbled with a response. "Er... I was just... packing my possessions."
"In a garbage bag?" the Count asked, staring with eyes like daggers at the poor, sick Neopet.
"Yes," the Kacheek said confidently as he hurried to leave the Count's view.
The Count smiled, his violent fangs showing to no one. Something isn't quite right here, he though.
Walking down the path that led to the dungeons, he was not surprised at all to see no prisoners.
Sleet and Sonya had begun the tedious task by the time the Kacheek came back, separating good dice from set dice in neat little piles on the cold stone floor.
"I've got the bag," he said from beyond the doorway as he tossed it in.
"Thanks," Sonya remarked as she picked it up, throwing all the dice Sleet had thought rigged into its black mouth.
The two from Terror Mountain had gotten about two-sevenths of the way through and were beginning to feel the effects of the somewhat tiring work.
"This is so boring," Sleet said as he picked up another die. It felt OK to him, so he set it back down. He picked up another and tossed it in the bag; the next three also were tossed.
"There really isn't a hurry," the Kacheek remarked, his being outside creating a thin distortion in his voice.
Several hours later, the grueling task was complete. The shelves had been stripped of more than two-thirds of the small dotted cubes that they had once possessed, and the bag was almost to the point of overflowing.
They stepped outside the room and back into the seemingly infinite darkness.
"There," Sleet said, exhausted as he handed the bag to the sniveling Kacheek. "Now take us home."
"Sure," he said with another smile, though no one could see it in the dark.
He led the two down a different corridor this time, ending at what seemed to be a wall. "Just a sec," he whispered, though the voice resonated all around. Flipping a switch, the wall that had seemingly ended their path opened and gave way to the castle's entrance hall.
"Wow," Sleet remarked as he looked behind him. "Bookshelf passageway, nice."
They had emerged from behind a bookshelf, a fireplace next to it.
"The Count should be resting, so you'll be able to make a clean getaway," the Kacheek said. Unfortunately, after completing those words, out from behind a chair emerged the Count.
"I knew something was amiss!" he said with delight. "Now, what's in the bag? And give me a good reason why I shouldn't put you away for a long while?"
There was a silence. Sonya, taking the bag of dice from the Kacheek, waved them over the fireplace and declared, "Your rigged dice." She smiled a menacing smile, then said, "And I'll drop them in the fire if you don't set us free!"
The Count was angry. "Don't you know how hard it is to make rigged die?!?"
Sonya showed no signs of backing off.
He knew he had been beaten. Sadly facing the ground, the Count said, "Alright. Give me the die, and I'll give you your freedom."
"Will you give the Kacheek back his job, too?" Sleet asked.
"Okay, fine," the Count said, somewhat disgusted. "I never want to see you back here on Roo Island again, though --got that?"
"Sure," Sleet and Sonya said in near unison as Sonya gave him the bag of dice.
It appeared that all had worked out for the best.
The following year on Terror Mountain, Sleet asked Sonya about where a good vacationing spot would be.
"Well, we can't go back to Roo island. I hear Mystery Island is nice this time of year," Sonya remarked. "Who knows what's in that Geraptiku tomb? I hear there's treasure!"
"Yeah, who does know..." responded her Lupe friend. After a brief pause, he smiled and said, "I'm feeling lucky. Care to try to find it?"
Note: due to next week's holiday, the Storytelling Contest will run for two weeks, going from Monday to Wednesday next week and then resuming for a full week on Monday, November 28th.
Date: Nov 18th
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