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||You are on Week 610
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 Ten Ends Friday, June 14
|Lucy walked through the corridors of the Neolodge's lobby, her excitement growing with every step.
These are my people, the Acara thought to herself as she continued toward the registration booth.
"Ah, who have we here?" asked the Quiggle sitting at the booth. He was dressed as the Pant Devil. "A lovely Fyora, I see."
It was true. She was dressed as the Faerie Queen. "Yes," she replied. "My true name, though, is Lucy Riley."
The Quiggle rifled through some documents and pulled out a name card. "Have fun!" he said as he handed it to her.
Grinning, she almost greedily snatched it from his clutches before pinning it square on her pink dress.
She continued toward the main section of the lobby, which, for three years now, had hosted an annual "Comhecon," or Comic / Hero Convention.
This was Lucy's first year in attendance... it would definitely not be her last.
She swept past a booth manned by the Book Store Nimmo, then by the Usul artist who drew the Usukicon comics, and finally she approached one at which Alstaf Poogle sat. She basked in the warmth of the crowds, of the fandom, of... everything.
Someone then pulled her arm. "There you are, Mae," an Aisha, clearly dressed as Aethia, breathed before tugging Lucy away. "Come on, we're going to miss the costume contest with your dawdling."
Lucy was not Mae. But... she smiled. This could be fun...
Date: Jun 10th
..."Of course!" she said with a grin, putting on a dainty, yet regal, voice that she hoped would suit both the Faerie Queen and whoever "Mae" was. The Aisha frowned before bursting into sputtering giggles.
"Wow. Is that your Fyora voice?" she snickered, an ear tilting in line with her lopsided smirk. "At least your costume is great. We're sure to win, and then--" The Aisha bit her lip, eyes gleaming. "First prize!"
Lucy struggled to keep up to her new "friend" in her gown. How did the Faerie Queen get around in an outfit like this? Her wings kept clipping other attendees, and her shoes pinched her paws! Still... "Um... what is first prize again?" she stuttered for a moment, realizing she'd forgotten her accent. "Er, fellow faerie?"
The Aisha gawked over her shoulder before passing between a pair of Jerans, who were arguing about whose costume was better. "Um, the prize we've been waiting MONTHS for? Remember? Meeting who we're dressed as!" She sighed dramatically, doing a delicate spin between booths. "We'll get to meet Aethia if I win, and if you win, Queen Fyora herself!" She squealed.
"Q-Queen Fyora?" She bit back a gasp. "I guess I just forgot in the excitement! Will we have a lot of competition?" The Acara moved faster now, skirt clutched in her paws as she ran. For an instant she wondered about "Mae," if she might show up, but this was just too good to resist. She could meet the queen! Besides, her costume was the best of all -- she was destined to win!
"Lots. Tickets for the contest sold out weeks ago," the Aisha drawled. "Only the most dedicated got tickets. Remember how I stood in line to enter us while you made our costumes? It will all be worth it, though!" Another spin and she stopped, hushing Lucy as she collided into her. "Now, c'mon!" she implored, then gestured toward a curtained archway, which was adorned with a gold star. "Let's check out the competition!"
Lucy carefully leaned in as the Aisha pulled back the curtain...
Date: Jun 10th
...Lucy couldn't help but gape at the sight before her. Everywhere she looked there were Neopians dressed up, in all sorts of costumes from King Hagan to Nabile, from Brynn to Jhudora, and it was clear to see that a lot of time and effort had gone into making the costumes. Winning the competition would be harder than Lucy had thought.
"Tickets, please." Lucy's thoughts were interrupted by a Wocky in an official-looking suit and a striped purple tie. He was obviously involved with running the competition.
The Aisha handed the two tickets to the Wocky, who nodded. "Go through and take a seat," he said. "The competition is about to start. Your number is here," he stated, tapping a section on one of the tickets before handing both of them back to the Aisha. "One by one, the numbers will be called. When we get to your number, head up to the front and your costume will get judged. Once everyone has been judged, the winner will be announced," he concluded. "Good luck."
"Thank you," Lucy said quietly. She wasn't sure the Wocky had heard her, but by now the Aisha was practically dragging her.
"Come on, slowpoke!" the Aisha demanded impatiently, and Lucy quickly followed her and took a seat. The Acara was trembling a little with anticipation. To think, she might get to meet Queen Fyora!
Silence fell over the gathered group as a spotted Lupe took to the stage. "Now, you're all here to participate in our costume competition for the annual Comhecon," he began, his voice loud and clear. "But, unfortunately, I have to inform you that there has been a delay, and we might not be able to go ahead with the competition."
There was roar of protest coming from all around Lucy, and the look of sheer disappointment on the Aisha's face broke Lucy's heart.
"Why not?" someone demanded after the initial reaction had died down.
The Lupe up on the stage sighed and said bluntly, "I'm sorry to have to say this, but our judge has gone missing..."
Date: Jun 11th
..."What do you mean?" a voice shouted, cutting through the hubbub of the crowd.
"I mean exactly what I said," the Lupe snapped. "We have no idea where our judge has gone, and with no one to judge all of your costumes, there can be no winner."
"I can judge it," a lone voice called out. "I could give myself a perfect score."
The Lupe grumbled. "I can't have anyone here judging the contest for unfair advantage. Either the contest is cancelled, or someone goes to find Teylor, our judge."
"I'll find the judge," Lucy declared, standing up. She wanted the competition to go on, because if it did and she won, she would be able to meet Queen Fyora.
"Mae, what are you doing?" the Aisha asked. "We should just wait here so we're ready!"
"But if no one else goes to find Teylor, then the competition won't even be held," Lucy said. "If we want even a chance of winning the contest, then we need the competition to go on."
"So, we need to go find some stupid judge for a bunch of losers and their costumes that could never be as good as ours?" the Aisha whined.
"We would be doing this for ourselves," Lucy said. "If there's no judge, then we can't win. If we want to beat everyone else, then we need to find the judge -- whose name is Teylor, apparently -- and have the competition go on..."
Date: Jun 11th
..."Fine. I guess I'll help if we have no choice." The Aisha looked skeptical. Lucy turned to the Lupe. He looked stressed, but other than that, Lucy couldn't make out any emotion. She turned to the competition; most of them were either angry, annoyed, or about to cry. They have every right to be sad, Lucy thought. After all, just the very thought of not even having a chance frightens me.
"What does this... Teylor look like?" Lucy asked slowly, trying hard to hold onto the name in her head.
The Lupe shrugged. "She's a pink Shoyru in a Hannah-inspired costume."
The Aisha looked even more skeptical than before. "How do you expect us to find her, then?!? Haven't you ever heard of the game Hannah and the Wardrobe of Adventure? She could be in any one of those outfits!"
"Look, all I know is that she was here this morning to help set up the place. She then said that she was going to go buy a Neocola, and then BA-BAM! She's gone." The Lupe snapped, looking rather agitated.
The Aisha turned red with anger. "Well, that's not helpful to us, now is it?!? Come on, Mae. Apparently we need to go find this Teylor ourselves." The Aisha then stormed off, leaving the competition and the Lupe behind.
"Please tell us if Teylor turns up before we find her," Lucy said in a low voice as politely as she could. She didn't want to risk the wrath of anyone here. Lucy then turned and ran after the Aisha...
Date: Jun 12th
...Only to lose her in the crowd once she had gotten back onto the main floor of the convention.
Where did she go? Lucy thought to herself. I only had my back turned on her for a minute!
That minute was apparently all it took for her to vanish into the crowd. Neopets of all shapes and sizes were milling about the floor. She saw several others dressed as the Battle Faerie, but none of them were the Aisha with whom she was partnered.
"I guess she decided it was best that we split up?" Lucy said to herself. "What a mess. What am I supposed to do now?"
Well, she was still in this to find the judge, so what she needed to do was find a pink Shoyru dressed like Hannah -- or in one of Hannah's many outfits.
Well, he said she went to get a Neocola, so I suppose I should check the Neocola machine first, Lucy thought to herself, and then headed toward the refreshment area.
The Acara walked with a brisk pace in the direction of the refreshment area, which was kept in a room off to the side. The reason for that was so, in the event that anyone had an accident, the mess wouldn't get all over the exhibits.
Speaking of accidents, right as Lucy opened the door, she heard a cry of surprise come from the other side.
"My dress!" the voice cried out.
"Oh!" Lucy said, "I'm so sorry, I didn't realize anyone was..."
She stopped for a moment when she saw that the 'pet on the other side was...
Date: Jun 12th
Not the real Queen Fyora, but another Acara dressed in an elegant violet gown.
"Ruined," the Acara huffed. "Completely ruined." She stared down at the yards of fabric she had spent weeks carefully stitching together, particularly at the giant tear that ran from hip to floor. Tears welled in her eyes. She seemed to notice Lucy's presence a moment later, when she hurriedly brushed the tears away.
"I'm so sorry," Lucy repeated.
"Oh, it's not your fault," Mae said, forcing a smile. "How could it be? You had no way to know I was here. It's just an accident."
Lucy stared. Their dresses were identical, but the Acara before her was so much more an embodiment of the Faerie Queen than she could ever imagine herself being.
"Izzy is going to be devastated."
"Izzy?" Lucy asked.
"My costume contest partner. Oh, she'll be so mad."
"Is... is Izzy an Aisha by any chance?" Lucy asked.
"How... how did you know?"
"Which makes you Mae?"
The other Queen Fyora nodded.
Lucy stood in silence, trying to decide what to say. She decided to focus on what she had come to do, and worry about the Queen Fyora she was pretending to be when -- if -- the contest actually started.
"Izzy has more problems right now than your dress. The contest judge is missing, and they won't let anyone in the contest judge it, so it's not going to happen unless we can find her."
"I came out here looking for her. She's dressed as Hannah, but she could be wearing basically anything. A Shoyru. They said she was last seen over here, by the Neocola machine."
"That's the judge?"
"Yes," Lucy answered.
"Oh, I saw her. We chatted for a while, about the contest, but then someone came up to her and said they thought that some of the tickets that were used to get in this year were counterfeit. She ran off with him in a hurry. One of the other officials; I think he was a Lupe. I couldn't tell through his Darigan costume, but he had a tie on that didn't match the rest of his ensemble."
"Thank you. Very much," Lucy said with a smile. "Do you have any idea where they were going?"
"No. No clue," she looked down at her dress again. "Sorry I couldn't be more helpful."
"You were very helpful," Lucy assured her. "There's almost no one here dressed up as Darigan. He should be easy to find."
Mae opened her mouth and then closed it again. Lucy waited. Finally, her mirror started to talk again. "Would you mind if... if you do find the judge... would you please..."
Date: Jun 13th
"...explain to her what happened to my dress? It's just... this contest means so much to Izzy. I'd hate for our chances of winning to be ruined because of an accident."
"Of course," Lucy sympathized. "I really feel awful about it."
"Well, if you find the judge and let her know what happened, then we can call it even!" Mae replied, as she delivered a big smile.
With an affirmative nod, Lucy agreed and went on her way to find Teylor and her Darigan-costumed companion.
She scoured the main floor of the convention hall, hoping to spot one of them. Mae was right; there weren’t many Neopets with Darigan costumes. Lucy did not see one at all among the sea of Comhecon enthusiasts buzzing about.
The crowd was overwhelming for Lucy. In addition to the endless succession of 'pets in costume, everyone was so caught up in the spirit of the convention, with each passionately playing up the role of the characters they were dressed up as. Lucy came across a Cylara blasting everyone in sight with a Toy Laser Light Gun. She also witnessed a mock battle between a Jeran and a Swordmaster Talek. There was even a little Poogle dressed as the Soup Faerie passing out free cups of soup.
On one hand, it was exciting for Lucy to be at the center of so much fun and enthusiasm, but she also began to doubt herself. Looking down at her beautiful dress, she thought of Mae, who -- even with a giant tear down to the bottom of her gown -- was able to personify Fyora in a way that she did not.
Wanting to collect herself, Lucy escaped to a sequestered area under the main staircase. To her surprise, also gathered there was a group of...
Date: Jun 13th
Of course, not real Darigani. Costumed creatures. Lucy quickly took in her surroundings... there were five of them, huddled around a Darigan Knights Board Game probably pilfered from the "Playing Field" games area. They seemed highly engrossed, and the Acara took it as her chance to quickly take in the surroundings.
The room was small... secretive. In the corner, there sat a tie appearing not to go with anyone's costume...
This was enough snooping for her, and seconds later she left, unnoticed, as she formulated her next move across from the stairs.
While the area wasn't packed, there was enough of a crowd walking by that she could just stand there without attracting attention to herself. Perfect.
She watched... and then noted as a spotted Lupe walked inside.
Very quietly, she snuck over to the the room's open entrance and put one of her powerful ears close to the crevice.
"You have my costume?" the voice belonging to the Lupe asked.
"Yep," someone replied.
"And you ditched the tie?"
"Er..." some ruffling. "There."
"Perfect. It was a great misdirect -- if anyone actually saw me with that judge and became suspicious, the only thing they'd really take into consideration would be the mismatched tie."
Lucy's eyes widened.
"Melissa?" The Lupe asked.
"Yes?" a female responded as she audibly took off her headgear.
The Acara stole a glance into the room.
This Melissa was a pink Shoyru.
"Put on the Hannah outfit. It's almost time."
"Yes," the Lupe said in a nefarious voice, "the plan I spent so long working on is finally coming into fruition!"
"You mean the plan where we get rid of the real judge, take her name card, and instate a fake with that card who declares our group the winner?"
"And then we meet the famous and powerful Darigan knights, and I can use my alien Aisha mind meld tricks to control them?"
"That's the one."
"And then, with their sheer strength and determination, they can raid the Book Store, Collectible Card Shop--"
"That's enough Ted. But, yes. All will soon be ours..."
Laughter filled the room.
"And no one will find the real judge, locked in the 'Super Secret' room."
"Shut up, Ted."
Super Secret? Lucy thought. Wasn't there a hall called the "Super Secret"? If she remembered correctly from the information letter she received about the event, the Super Secret Section revealed upcoming spoilers about big events happening later in the year. The session going on right now would end... well, after the costume contest would be either judged or canceled, and no one was allowed in or out during one of the sessions.
That was it.
She had to get down there...
Date: Jun 14th
...Slipping away from the hidden room under the stairs, Lucy pulled out the map of Comhecon’s structure and found the Super Secret Hall conveniently located to the left of her. She had to find the judge right away, but stopped at a worrisome thought.
Lucy's Fyora skirts would make her clumsy and she'd trip if she tried to do anything stealthy. Comhecon lasted a few days, and Lucy had brought separate costumes in her bag just in case something happened to her Fyora dress. She slipped into a changing alcove, stuffed the Fyora costume in her bag, and emerged.
Lucy was no longer a poor representation of the Faerie Queen. She was Masila, a thief... a stealthy, experienced thief... and no one would convince her otherwise. Lucy raced to the door in the eerie Super Secret Hall with a sign labeled "Meeting In Progress: Do Not Disturb" and turned the doorknob. It was locked, of course. Lucy let out a groan of despair. Surely they would at least prop the door or the window open on a hot day like this, right?
The window. There was a window right next to the door, which was open to the breezes wafting throughout the cooled Neolodge. The stealthy Acara didn't think twice about jumping through, doing a barrel roll, and crashing the 'meeting' right away.
Of course, what she really did was barrel through the opening of the window and land on the tiled floor face-first. Close enough, Lucy thought, rubbing her head. She swiveled around to see a pink Shoyru with a brown wig and a thick green coat (though how she was able to withstand it in the summer heat, Lucy would never know) and her hands tied behind her back. "Finally!" she exclaimed, her wings flapping. "We have to stop those Darigani," she told Lucy.
Lucy nodded. "I know."
After undoing Teylor's ropes, Lucy ran outside of the Super Secret Hall, her Masila cloak creating drag and slowing down her normally-speedy run.
"Wait, dearie." Lucy felt small hands grab her around the waist and hoist her up. Teylor clasped Lucy and beat her little pink wings toward the costume contest. "I just hope we're not too late," Lucy murmured.
The crowds cheered upon seeing Hannah carrying Masila to her "doom." Lucy chuckled, belatedly realizing why they were so happy. "We make a great team," she told Teylor, attempting to make small talk. Teylor was too tense and intent on getting to the contest. "Perhaps we do," she said absentmindedly, "but we have to hurry. The shops are in danger."
Teylor fluttered her wings rapidly as she landed, and both of them dashed to the stage. "Stop!" she cried, seeing the contest already take place.
One of the judges raised an eyebrow. "Well," the pink Shoyru in a space outfit and Usul ears said. "You certainly get a ten out of ten from me for trying to imitate me. Didn't it say in Hannah and the Wardrobe of Adventure that 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?'"
"You have to listen! All of you! This entire contest is a sham! They took my name card!" Teylor cried out in desperation.
She may as well have not spoken. The judges shooed her aside and continued to judge the Darigani that swooped onto the stage, marveling at his wings.
"Mae!" Izzy rushed forward to hug Lucy, but stopped upon seeing the blue Acara with the torn Fyora dress. Her non-visible eyes grew wide. "Who ARE you?!?" she screeched at Lucy, snatching her name tag. "Lucy Riley? Why did you try to sneak into the contest with me? Did you kidnap Mae and Teylor?!? Was this all part of your plan?!?" Izzy tackled Lucy, pinning her to the ground. She really did have Aethia's battle spirit in her.
Mae put a hand on Izzy’s shoulder. "She isn't... she wouldn't..." Mae paused. "Would you?"
Lucy's head spun. No, no, no, this was going so wrong. "This Shoyru is the real Teylor! That judge over by the panel is part of the Lupe's plan," she cried lamely.
Every judge, including Melissa, the Teylor impostor, guffawed. "That’s rich," a Bruce remarked, wiping a tear from his eye.
From her vulnerable position on the ground, Lucy pleaded. "At least give her a chance to prove that she's the real judge, and the whole plan will fall."
The pink Shoyru on the panel began to protest, but the Bruce held up a flipper. "Let's humor these two with a question only the real Teylor can answer. We've known her -- I mean, you -- for years." The Bruce nudged Melissa playfully.
Teylor flapped her wings in acknowledgement. "That would be splendid," Lucy nodded, agreeing.
"What is Teylor's favorite Hannah game?" the Bruce posed.
The costume contest contestants buzzed with conversation. That was a tricky question for posers, but not one that the real Teylor could easily get wrong.
Melissa spoke up, her voice as smooth as a Marrow. "Why, Hannah and the Wardrobe of Adventure, of course."
The Bruce smiled.
Teylor chuckled lightly. "The original Hannah game, Hannah and the Pirate Caves, is best... even though it's hard to find sometimes."
The Bruce smiled wider. "That Shoyru in the Hannah coat is correct. Teylor was always very... 'old school.' As for you--" he locked Melissa in a wing-lock, holding her down. "Let's see what the Defenders can do with you."
Melissa and the Darigani involved were taken by the Defenders of Neopia, and the costume contest went on as it should have. Lucy even got to participate, and Mae hid her torn dress well.
Lucy enjoyed herself, crouching low, peeking behind the curtains, and stabbing at the air. Her performance made the judges smile, and she was happy to be in character. "I might even make a good thief," she speculated, teasingly.
When all of the contestants had taken their turns, the judges whispered among themselves. The suspense made Lucy's blood surge through her veins in anticipation. It was killing her! She loved every second of it.
"And the winner is... Izzy! Congratulations, you will be able to meet the Battle Faerie herself! Don't lose this paper."
Lucy grinned and applauded wildly, as did Mae, who met her eyes without hostility.
The rest of the convention went smoothly, with lots of samples, and artwork, and sparring going on. Lucy even took part in some of the play-fights against Teylor! The latter proved to be a veteran.
All too soon, the Neolodge began to close, and as Lucy exited the building, she thought of the day's events and the results of the costume contest.
It was all for the best, really. As dusk fell, the crowds grew hushed and Neopets streamed out, some yawning with the late hour. Lucy looked up at the night sky, dusted with stars, very much like glitter on the Fyora dresses she had seen.
She had to pre-order tickets for the next Comhecon right away.
Date: Jun 14th
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