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Week 641
You are on Week 642
Week 643

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 Forty Two Ends Friday, February 7

Valentine's Day was fast approaching and the Island Mystic was stressed. Sure, he had weathered many Valentine's Days before -- sixteen, to be exact -- but he still dreaded the arrival of this day each year.

The Kyrii sighed and put his calendar aside. Soon, the number of daily visitors to his hut would increase. That in itself wasn't too bad; after all, he made a living from entertaining the tourists. However, it was the visitors who took his fortunes too seriously that he was worried about. You know, the ones who would make a special trip to Mystery Island this time of year just to ask him to predict how their Valentine's Day would turn out for them.

Those kinds of visitors were the worst. You could never please them. If you made your fortune too cryptic and vague, then they would accuse you of being a phony and refuse to buy anything from the Tiki Tack shop. If, on the other hand, you gave them a fortune that turned out to be wrong, then they would blame you for ruining their Valentine's Day.

The worst year was when he told a Scorchio that he would have good fortune in Maraqua. The silly Scorchio went and spent his year's savings on taking a pretty little Usul out to dinner at kelp.

The Scorchio had paid him a very fiery visit afterward. To this day, there were still scorch marks visible in the doorframe of his hut.

The Island Mystic got to his feet and shuffled around the hut, muttering under his breath. He had thought up a number of new phrases for this year, and was rehearsing to be sure he could remember them. He hoped that these phrases would be less upsetting to his customers.

He was still muttering to himself and absently polishing a string of beads when he spotted the first visitor of the day coming down the path. The first of the Valen-crowd.

And so it begins, he thought as he opened his door to receive the visitor...

Author: swordlilly
Date: Feb 3rd
...only to be practically thrown aside as an elderly Kyrii bustled in, tossing a rather prodigiously-sized hat onto the side table by the door. The Lenny feathers on the hat bobbed ponderously in the wake of her entrance, as if they were saying hello.

"Goodness gracious, am I tired!" the Kyrii exclaimed, running her hands through her windswept hair. "Must you live in the middle of nowhere?"

The Island Mystic gaped. "But--"

"--and the decor!" the Kyrii continued, as if he hadn't spoken a word. "You'd think that, with the Trading Post nearby, it'd be easy to acquire some tasteful furniture."

She dropped into a woven bamboo chair that creaked warningly under her weight.

"What--" the Island Mystic started.

"Also, what odd neighbors you have. Did you know I met a gentleman on the way here who wouldn't stop speaking to me in limericks? A very oddly-dressed Kougra."

"They're haikus," the Island Mystic gritted out between clenched teeth, "and I'll have you know that he's rather famous and respected--"

The Kyrii waved a hand dismissively through the air. "Whatever they are, they make for very strange conversation. Now, do you have any refreshments for a poor little old lady? It's a very long trip here, you know--"

"MOTHER!"

"Yes, son?"

"WHAT are you doing here?"

The Kyrii smiled and fixed him with a determined stare. "Why, I require your help..."

Author: quince
Date: Feb 3rd
...The Island Mystic should've expected that from the start. He assessed his mother's face and recognized that look, that gleam in her beady eye. It was the expression she got when she really wanted something -- and, when his mother really wanted something, she seldom settled for anything less. His internal sigh was heavy. "What is it, mother?" he repeated.

His mother's smile widened. "Do you still do... whatever it is that you do?" she asked with another airy wave of her paw.

He bit down on his tongue to prevent a rash reply. She knew exactly what he did for a living, she just refused to say it. "Yes, mother. I still tell fortunes," he ground out.

The older Kyrii leaned forward in her chair. "Good, that's good." Strangely, she sounded like she meant it.

Surprise jolted him from the sofa onto which he'd slumped. "What do you mean? You don't believe in fortune-telling."

"No," she agreed, "it's ridiculous posturing." She pulled a compact from her purse and examined the bags under her eyes before she continued, oblivious to the insult she'd delivered. "Even so, it does have its uses."

For someone who habitually spoke in riddles, the Island Mystic found it difficult to comprehend what she was hinting at. It was an ongoing problem with her. "What do you mean?"

His mother looked up. "As you know, Timothy, it's Valentine season."

"I am aware of that."

"I've decided to invest in a new chocolate business."

"A chocolate business?" Timothy asked, taking a step back.

"There'll be an event tomorrow to launch it, on the other side of the island. All kinds of important folk will be there."

A decidedly ominous suspicion took root at the back of his mind. "So, what does this have to do with me?"

"Why, everything! We need a drawing card, son, and you do have a reputation of sorts."

The Island Mystic shook his head slowly. He wasn't inclined to simply go along with his mother's scheming. "Why should I let you drag me into this? I’m expecting dozens of visitors in the next couple of weeks."

"If it's Neopoints you're worried about, you'll be tipped handsomely. Everyone who's going is fantastically rich. Fantastically," she stressed. "I wouldn't be surprised if you earn in a day what you'd otherwise earn in a month! Think of it as a holiday."

Timothy hesitated. He was considering it, despite himself.

His mother quirked a brow. "You'll do it for me, if nothing else. I'm getting old, you know," she said, as though it had already been decided. "Oh, and Timothy? You never did get me a refreshment..."

Author: fairyxhearts
Date: Feb 4th
***

Several glasses of pineapple juice later, Timothy finally managed to usher his mother out of his home, only after reassuring her that he would go to her event tomorrow.

"Don't forget your ball of swirly white mist!" she called over her shoulder, waving to him as she left.

He didn't much like the idea of being a prop in his mother's endeavor, but the prospect of making more Neopoints in one day than he would in the entire next two weeks finally convinced him to oblige her crazy whim.

He grimaced inwardly, recalling his mother's last attempt at being an entrepreneur. She had "invented" an anti-aging cream from coconut extracts that, as it turned out, made your hair fall out.

A quick tap on the door shook him from his reverie. An island Meerca stood on his stoop.

"I've come to get my yearly fortune read!" she squeaked.

"Sorry, Ms. Patters. I'm... going on a holiday." His mother's phrase slipped from his mouth and he realized he liked the sound of it.

"Holiday?" she asked, as if she'd never heard the word before. "Who's going to tell me what to do for Valentine's Day, then?"

"Maybe you should decide for yourself," Timothy pointed out. He watched her give him a scowl all the way down his lawn.

The Kyrii was about to close the door, but, thinking that he didn't fancy any more irate regulars, grabbed a sheet of paper and tacked a note to his door saying he was closed until after February 14th.

***

For some reason, Timothy had expected his mother's event to be elegantly decorated. Sure, they lived on an island, so the palm trees and tiny beverage umbrellas were to be expected, but the scene before him was jaw dropping.

A large pink tent had been set up at the edge of the ocean and it looked like every Valentine's Day-themed item on the face of Neopia was situated before his eyes.

There were hearts in every shade of red, heart-backed chairs, heart-shaped flowers, and heart-shaped confetti being tossed through the air by Pink Faellies.

"Timothy!" a voice cried and he instinctively cringed as his mother came to greet him. "There you are, sweetheart. Hurry, the event is about to begin. We have you all set up over here. Now, the other investors and I have come up with a few fortunes for you to tell everyone--"

She thrust a piece of paper into his hands and Timothy scowled.

"'A bad omen will befall you unless you purchase some chocolate,'" he read. "Mother, this is ridiculous. You want me to lie to folks about their fortunes?"

"It's nothing that you don't already do," she muttered. "There's one more thing I should mention, dear..."

Author: treeword
Date: Feb 4th
"...Mr. Truffles, the Kiko that owns the Chocolate Factory in Neopia. He's a world - renowned chocolate connoisseur and there's no way he would miss an event such as this."

"What about him?" Timothy knew that his mother probably had some ridiculous scheme cooked up.

"I want you to put a curse on him."

"What?! Mother, I--" This was the craziest scheme his mother had ever created.

"I figured that would be your reaction. Don't worry,  I don't take 'curses' lightly. You see, Mr. Truffles is a very greedy Kiko. All chocolate production in Neopia goes directly to his shop, forcing smaller chocolate shops, much like myself, to buy our products from his store. I need you to place a curse on him, that won't be lifted until he agrees to share."

"I'm a fortune teller, I can't curse anyone!"

"I'm know that, dear. All of your tricks are just mumbo jumbo.  But, Mr. Truffles is none the wiser. Rumor has it that he opened the Chocolate Factory on the whim of a fortune. He has great faith in fortune tellers and he will certainly find himself in your tent sometime today. Just tell him something like, 'You've been too greedy, Mr. Truffles. Share your chocolate wealth or face the consequences.' Then wave your arms, shake your crystal ball, or whatever you do to convince him that he's been cursed."

"I don't know about this... it seems wrong."

"Please Timothy, for me?" His mother batted her eyelashes. "I'll pay you triple for today..."

Author: sarahbunnii
Date: Feb 5th
..."Mother, I can't believe you're trying to bribe me." He gave a dramatic sigh. "But I'll do it."

Her eyes widened with excitement. "You really mean it?"

"Of course I do. I wouldn't have said it otherwise, would I?"

"Timothy, I just want you to know something," she said, smiling. "You were always my favourite son."

"Er... I'm your only son."

His mother didn't seem to be listening. Instead, she looked down at her watch and then began tidying the displays, picking a heart decoration up and putting it down somewhere else, and straightening table cloths that were already straight to begin with. She appeared to be unhappy with the placement of the chocolates and moved them around on the tables.

"Go and sit down in your little tent over there, son, and please make yourself look presentable. The first customers should be arriving any second."

It didn't take long for the first wave of customers to show up. At first, they were only interested in the chocolates and the beautiful Valentine's themed decorations but a few people soon caught sight of the Kyrii fortune teller sat in the corner all on his own.

A Spotted Gelert padded over to his tent, his eyes inquisitive and his ears pointed in the air.

"Hello there, young man," began Timothy. "You look like someone who is full of doubt and insecurities about your future. I can help. I'm a fortune teller, you see. For a small fee, I can give you a little hope for your future... or possibly a warning. Well, what do you say?"

"Hmm," the Gelert pondered. "I guess it wouldn't help to try. How much are you charging?"

"1000 Neopoints."

"Okay, why not."

Within half an hour, Timothy had made himself 30,000 Neopoints by reeling off the same fortune that also secured his mother plenty of sales. He couldn't help but feel a little bit guilty, though. After all, the only reason he was doing this was to make some cash for his mother and himself.

Oh well. Everyone has to make a living somehow, he thought.

An hour into the event, Mr. Truffles came waddling into the tent, hemming and hawing over the prices of the chocolates.

"Just thought I'd check out the competition," Timothy could hear him saying. "It would seem that I have nothing to worry about."

"Don't be so confident," Timothy's mother replied. "You never know what's around the corner. In fact, there's a fortune teller over there, in that small tent." She pointed a finger towards Timothy. "He's very good at what he does, and has powers like you wouldn't believe. You should really see what he has to offer."

"Really?"

"Yes, really!"

It didn't take Timothy's mother long to convince the Kiko that getting his fortune read was a good idea. Before he even knew it, Mr. Truffles was stood before him.

"Care to have your fortune read, sir?"

"All right. I've got nothing to lose."

"Okay. Just sit right here, and let me read your palm. This will only take a minute or so."

He traced a couple of fingers around the Kiko's palm, muttering under his breath and nodding his head as if he actually knew what was going to happen in Mr. Truffle's future.

"Ah. Oh dear."

"What? What is it?" the Kiko asked, worry etching across his face.

"Excuse me for one moment while I consult my crystal ball."

He covered the ball with his hands, shaking his head as he did so.

"It is as I predicted. You've been rather greedy in your past. Sooner or later, it is going to catch up with you. Share your wealth or suffer the consequences!"

He lifted his hands and then uttered a few made up words for added effect. When he brought his hands back down again, two shafts of bright light erupted from his fingertips and encircled Mr. Truffle's entire body for a mere second before vanishing.

"Aaargh! My head!" the Kiko yelled. "What's *cluck* going on?!"

Fear and surprise took a hold of Timothy. Was this some sort of joke? It had to be. He didn't really have any kinds of powers. His mother was right. It was all just mumbo jumbo. So what was that light? And why was Mr. Truffles now making clucking sounds, like some sort of demented chicken?

"You will never *cluck cluck* get away with this! What have you done to me?!"

"I-I-I'm so sorry, Mr. Truffles!" Timothy stammered, before high-tailing it out of his tent.

"Mother! Mother!" he yelled as he raced towards her.

"What in Neopia is going on?"

"I don't know how it happened... but I think I actually put a curse on Mr. Truffles..."

Author: ginger23456
Date: Feb 5th
..."What? Of course you didn't. I'm not stupid, Timothy. What are you talking about?"

Before Timothy could respond, Mr. Truffles came wandering out of the fortune telling tent, bobbing his head and occasionally erupting into fits of spastic clucking. "That," the Kyrii said. "That's what I'm talking about."

Much to Timothy's confusion, his mother began laughing wildly. "Oh Timmy, did you tell him he had to cluck like a Peadackle to avoid being cursed? That's my boy!"

"No, mother, you don't understand," the Kyrii said in frustration. "I was just giving him a fortune when this strange blue light shot from my hands and... and now Mr. Truffles can't stop clucking! I don't know what to do!"

Timothy's mother looked at him skeptically for a few moments before responding. "Is this a prank? You've already promised to help me, Timothy. I don't want to play these childish games with you."

"This isn't a joke, mother!"

Their bickering was interrupted by the sound of a pained cry from behind. They turned around to see the spotted Gelert who had been the first to request a fortune earlier, although he was now rapidly stuffing his face with the chocolates set on each table, despite appearing rather unhappy about it.

"Sir, please save some of the samples for the other guests!" Timothy's mother called, chasing after the Gelert as he gobbled up the last few remaining chocolates at one table and dashed for the next. "Sir, please let go of the chocolate."

"I can't," the Gelert sobbed through a muzzle full of gooey caramel. Timothy's mother grabbed hold of the box of chocolates, trying to wrangle them from the Gelert's firm grip.

"Sir, if you can't behave, then I'm going to have to ask you to leave," she said through clenched teeth, struggling in their game of Tug-O-War. The few remaining bonbons spilled from their box onto the floor, and the Gelert dove for them immediately.

"Good grief," she said, taking a few steps back. "Has everyone here gone mad?" Mr. Truffles clucked loudly in the distance, as if in confirmation.

Timothy had been watching this whole time. Suddenly, he remembered the fortune he had given the spotted Gelert. "You will have cravings for sweet treats. Do not be afraid to indulge; not allowing yourself enjoyment is bad for the spirit." It was just meaningless gibberish he'd put together to advertise the chocolate, but...

"Mother," he said hesitantly, "you know that crystal ball you set up in the tent for me? Where exactly did you... find it?"

Timothy's mother blinked. "Crystal ball? That's not from me. I told you to bring your own equipment."

Timothy froze. "It's not mine."

"Well, then. Where did it come from?"...

Author: nebuloid
Date: Feb 6th
..."I don't know," his mother said, "I had some workers set up the tent, but the only thing I had placed inside was a table. Why didn't you bring your own crystal ball and all of your fortune telling nonsense? I told you that you would need it."

"I had just planned on doing simple palm readings," he replied, "but when I saw the crystal ball setting on the table, I thought you had it set up for me."

"Oh, this is just terrible," she moaned, "and my grand opening was going so well up until now."

Timothy sighed. "Let's go back to the tent," he insisted. "Maybe we could find some clue about where this crystal ball came from."

She nodded in agreement and followed him back to the tent. With Mr. Truffle's incessant clucking, the spotted Gelert grabbing every chocolate in sight, and other guests acting out his nonsense fortunes, the tent was comparatively quiet and serene. Sitting on the table was the mysterious crystal ball, which seemed to glow in the dim light. Even though Timothy had used this crystal ball all day, he now found himself hesitant to touch it. A part of him worried that he might also be cursed.

"Any ideas where it could have come from?" his mother asked, and he couldn't help but notice she was staying behind him as she spoke. Apparently, she didn't want to get any closer than he did.

He carefully examined the crystal ball but saw that, other than its constant glow, there was nothing unusual about it. It looked just like any other crystal ball, even though Timothy knew it was far more than that. "How did this even get here?" he wondered aloud.

"I wonder," his mother mused softly.

He whirled around. "Do you know something you're not telling me?" he asked.

"Why would I know anything?" she demanded, but there was an odd light in her eyes as she spoke.

"Mother," he said, looking directly at her, "what do you know?"

"I don't really know anything," she insisted, "but I was just thinking that it looks an awfully lot like that crystal ball the Zafara was using."

"What Zafara?"

"The Zafara at the Gypsy Camp," she answered quickly.

"When were you at the Gypsy Camp?" he asked.

"Well, I was looking for some kind of draw for this event," she began hesitantly, "and I was worried that you might be too busy during this time of year, so I went to the Gypsy Camp to see if any of them could help."

"You went to do what?!?" He couldn't believe what he had just heard. "You mean that I, your own son, wasn't your first choice to tell fortunes?"

"They just seemed a little more legitimate," she said with a pout, "but that Zafara turned me down outright. I offered to pay, but she almost seemed offended when I suggested that she tweak her fortunes just a bit to help my business. That's when I asked you." She tried to give him her best smile. "I knew that you'd help me."

Timothy let out a long, slow breath. "If this is a real crystal ball," he said, "and I believe that it is, then there is only one way to get things back to normal..."

Author: tj_wagner
Date: Feb 6th
..."We need to find the gypsy that it belonged to originally." Timothy frowned as he said this. Wasn't the Gypsy Camp in the Haunted Woods?

"Mother, I just have one concern... how are we going to get to the Haunted Woods?" The elderly then Kyrii smirked. Turning to Mr. Truffles, she announced.

"We're going to be borrowing your boat for a while, Truffles!" The Kiko turned his head upward and let out an indignant cluck. He began to run toward Timothy and his mother, but before he could reach them, he was tackled by the spotted Gelert.

"Give me your chocolate! I need more!" he screamed, trying to grab the caramel square in Mr. Truffle's hand. The Kiko rolled around on the ground, avoiding the Gelert's hand. Other partygoers gathered around the two, shouting and cheering.

"This is worse than I thought," Timothy muttered, gazing at his mother. She looked as if she was about to burst out laughing, but as soon as she noticed her son staring at her, she composed herself.

"Ahem, yes. Follow me."

***

Mr. Truffle's boat was parked by the Mystery Island harbor. Timothy and his mother were able to board easily, without any questions from the lone fisherman on the dock. When the two reached the steering wheel, Timothy groaned.

"Mother... do you know how to drive a boat?" Timothy questioned, gesturing toward the rather large wheel. His mother gripped the wheel firmly and chuckled.

"Of course I do, son. Now, let's get to Faerieland!"

"You mean the Haunted Woods."

"That's what I said."

***

Luckily, the trip to the Haunted Woods was uneventful, other than the few times Timothy had nearly fallen out. Once the two had reached the shores lining the outskirts of the Woods, Timothy smirked. Maybe he could make this mess right... maybe.

***

"There it is. I'm sure this is her wagon."

Timothy put a finger to his lips and shushed his mother. "Whisper, mother. If we get caught, then I don't know what we'll do."

"We can use the ball to make them act weird, too," his mother suggested, talking as loudly as she could. Timothy sighed. His mother was going to get them caught and he couldn't do a thing about it. A rustle caused both of the Kyrii to jump.

"Who's there?"

Author: tttxyv
Date: Feb 7th
...A flash of purple hair and green smoke startled Timothy into grabbing his mother's sleeve, but the source had vanished. "We... need to get... out of here... now!"

Timothy's mother paid him no attention. "I said, who's there? Come out, come out, whoever you are!"

"Don't do--"

Green smoke billowed around the trees and Jhudora herself stepped out of the shadows. She raised her chin and fixed her gaze firmly upon Timothy's mother. "Who dares address the great Jhudora in such a fashion?" she asked.

Timothy fell backward, but his mother held her ground, flaring her hands out to protect her son. "I do! What are you--"

Jhudora waved her hand and the Kyrii abruptly disappeared. In her place a Green Ghoti flopped around.

"M-mother!" Timothy crawled over to his mother and picked her up.

"Huh? When did you get here?" Timothy cowered at the dark faerie's words, but she breezed past him and addressed the wagon. "Come out, fortune-teller! I have a magnificent opportunity for you to accept. Riches, power, all yours for the taking."

The door of the wagon opened and a dignified Zafara appeared in the square of light. Her skirt tinkled as she stepped down from the wagon, but Timothy could distinguish her location from more than just sight and hearing.

"I was expecting you." Her voice was mellifluous but cold. "You will not find what you seek here."

Jhudora frowned. She could tell the Zafara was not lying. "Where have you hidden it?"

The gypsy just raised an eyebrow. In the distance, a number of gypsies had noticed the commotion and were gathering the folk together.

Jhudora looked at the Kyrii, then back at the gypsy. Then, with a snarl, she disappeared in a puff of green smoke.

"Well, well. This is a fix. Ms. Helrie, right? I warned you that outlandish things would happen if you discounted the power of magic and fortunetelling." Timothy stood, bringing the Ghoti to the Zafara.

"Are you that fortune-teller?" he asked, his voice cracking. The gypsy smiled.

"Fear not," she said. "Your mother is unharmed, but be quiet! The dark faerie is probably still nearby." She ushered Timothy into her wagon.

"What was she looking for?" he asked, collapsing into a chair. The Zafara poured a cup of steaming water and added a pungent (but somehow easing) herb.

"There was once a powerful crystal ball, protected by an ancient tribe of warriors. This ball had the power to make suggestions become realities and lies become truth. In careless hands, this would have caused mayhem, but in the wrong hands, it will cause great turbulence."

As she spoke, and Timothy calmed from his great shock, he felt the truth of her words enter his aura as if it were his own fortune-telling power at work. "Turbulence? Isn't that a bit of an understatement?"

"This ball was lost to history, but some Neopians yet seek it -- for their own ends, for their own selfishness. Even one such as I cannot evade its temptation forever. I have passed it on to you, as it has been foretold."

"I don't want it."

Timothy put his cup of tea down firmly.

"Excuse me?"

"I said that I don't want any part of this game. This crystal ball is really more trouble than it is worth, and I don't really care what happens to it. All I want is to change my mother back to normal, cancel the curses on the townsfolk, and return to my peaceful business on the island."

"I can't help you with that," the gypsy said.

"Pardon me?"

"The crystal ball belongs to you now, and you are its master. You must reverse the wrongs you have created."

"But... what about my mother?"

"When you have learned what it is you must learn, you will have the power to restore your mother."

Timothy nodded, then stood. "I don't like it, but I suppose I will have to try." With that, he picked up the Ghoti and left. Bidding the gypsy goodbye, he made his way back to the boat and, from the boat, to the disarranged party.

"Reverse the wrongs I have created, huh?" Timothy asked, picking up the crystal ball. "How do I do that?"

The chocolate-crazed Gelert shoved into Timothy's face. "Where can I find more chocolate?!?"

Timothy looked at him. "You don't need any more chocolate!" he declared. The ball glowed, and the Gelert stopped cold.

Instead, he abruptly began wiping his face and hands on any clean cloth he could find. "Ahh!!! It burns!!!"

"What?" Timothy stared, wondering. "What did I do this time?"

He looked at the ball, then at the telegraph, who was rolling on the ground in pain. "Well... let's try this. Believe in the one that you are, and fortune will come your way!"

The Gelert froze, then slowly sat up. "Believe... in myself?"

Timothy swallowed. It had worked. With a rush, he pushed past the Gelert and to the next fortune-telling victim. Guest after guest was reviewed and encouraged. Finally, all of the affected Neopians were back to normal, glancing around sideways. Everyone, that is, but Timothy's mother, who still sat on Timothy's fortune-telling table waving her fins at a plushie.

"Believe in yourself, mother!" Timothy said, over and over again, but the great dark faerie's spell wasn't that easy to break. "What do I do? Wait... if a faerie cast the spell, then perhaps another one can break it! I'll take her to the Healing Springs!"

He did just that, but the faerie there was already tired from healing too many helpers who had received chocolate poisoning at an expensive party, and sent him to Meridell.

"Illusen..." he muttered, worn out. "Illusen's Glade..."

An old and worn out silver Aisha staggered along the road near the Kyrii. "Good evening, young one," she rasped.

"Fair weather to you," Timothy said, forgetting about the ball in his pocket. The old Aisha laughed.

"Tell me, young one, would you happen to have a nice, crisp apple I could munch on while I walk?"

Timothy frowned. It was true that he had picked up an apple from the Healing sSprings, but he had been planning to eat it himself. "I'm sorry... to be so rude." He pulled the apple out and offered it to the old Aisha. "I haven't introduced myself. I'm Timothy."

The Aisha giggled, taking the apple and putting it in her pocket. "I'm Illusen."

Timothy didn't even notice, for the Ghoti had suddenly begun to grow and change shape. In a moment his mother was standing next to him, healthy and hale as if she had never been transformed. "What?!?" Timothy looked around frantically, but there was no one around. Even the ancient Aisha had disappeared. "What? Where'd she go?"

"Who?" his mother asked.

"I... I don't know."

"Timothy?"

"Yes, mother?"

"This was a bad idea. I'm sorry that I asked you to do something like that."

"It's alright, mother. Let's just go home. I'm exhausted."

She nodded, then took his arm, resting gently against his shoulder.

They returned, cleaning up the party and settling things down. In no time flat, Timothy found himself home alone, watching the smoke run around inside the powerful crystal. He carefully wrapped it in cloth and tied it shut with purified rope, then hid the crystal in the safest place he could think of.

As he went about his day, however, the knowledge of the ball was dragging him down, and he felt almost like being hungry, wanting to try it just one more time.

Therefore, he took the ball and found the highest cliff around, and then dropped the crystal ball. Gleaming, it broke free of its windings. Timothy wiped the sweat off and returned to work as best he could, not seeing the flash of green smoke and fog below him.

"Finally," Judhora said. "I've been waiting for this." She then tucked the ball into her pocket and left.

The End

Author: windy_chrome
Date: Feb 7th



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