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||You are on Week 667
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 Sixty Seven Ends Friday, August 1
|Harley felt a whoosh of dust fly up from the floor as she set her bags down, sighing from the long day she'd had. Moving from one side of Neopia's mountains to the other was a challenge. The Ixi was going to miss her home on Roo Island. Shenkuu seemed so different, and moving into her great aunt's old mansion was not exactly ideal.
In her aunt's will the mansion was given to Harley by surprise. She'd always loved her aunt, and they'd written letters to each other for years. She did not think she would be given her mansion, however.
The Ixi's aunt passed away when she was just a teen and no one had lived in the mansion since. It had belonged to Harley the whole time, and right now she was very glad it did. Harley had recently lost her job and, in turn, lost her home as well. Her life was turning upside down and she had nowhere else to go, so she decided to be brave and move away from everything that she knew, to make a new start here in Shenkuu.
As Harley sat atop her suitcase she nodded her head firmly. "Right. No more wallowing in your self-pity. You have to start cleaning this place and starting your new life," Harley said to herself very authoritatively.
The brown Ixi began by taking all of the sheets off Aunt Lana's old furniture. She knew it would take a while, but it was a good first step.
Putting on her favourite album (by The Twisted Roses), she started to liven up, which is why she could not hear a very loud knock on the door.
That was soon followed by a doorbell, which finally got Harley's attention.
She had no idea who it could be, but she dusted herself off and headed toward the front door...
Date: Jul 28th
...Harley opened the door and there he was, a royal Draik standing in front of her.
"Uhm, hi. I'm Kale, and I've been told that someone would be moving into this mansion... and, well, as a good neighbour I thought I should come and give you a welcome."
Harley looked at him right in the eyes. She'd never seen a Draik so close before; she worked too much to look around her and observe.
"Thanks, but... there's no neighbours so close here and this area is pretty big. Where do you live?"
The Draik blushed and looked down, and then, after a while, he looked at her again. "I live in your attic..."
"WHAT?!?" Harley took a step back.
"I know, I know, freaky... but I ran away from Meridell and didn't have anywhere to stay. Plus, it's hard finding an abandoned home that isn't in the Hauned Woods. This was... my luck."
Harley didn't say anything. The only thing she wanted to say was that she needed him to leave, but she couldn't find her voice.
"You see, I've been a bit neglected at home, and that's why I ran away. I shouldn't have busted in here, I know that, but please -- I can help out with the cleaning and moving. I won't bother you or harm you... I'm a good roommate."
Harley looked inside for an instant, toward her soon-to-be living room. It was a mess; she'd never very good with cleaning, or cooking... or housework of any manner. She was good at her work and that's it.
"How long have you been here?" she asked, trying to look calmer than she was.
"For about three months..." he said, blushing again.
"How do you get in? The door was locked when I arrived."
"I fly through the upper window... the glass was busted when I arrived."
Harley looked up; the glass was perfectly fine.
"Oh, I fixed that after getting settled." The Draik smiled. It was such a sweet and innocent smile, like something she would do when she was a teen. She let out a long sigh.
"So, Kale..." She looked at him again. "How do you survive in my deceased aunt's attic?"
The Ixi stood by the door and the Draik began to talk...
Date: Jul 28th
..."Well," he started, rubbing the back of his head shyly, "I started by eating the fruits that grew on the trees in the backyard. I found that they were very delicious, so I started harvesting and taking them to the markets around here to sell..." Kale paused, looking the Ixi in the eye quickly before looking at the ground. "They sold quite well, so I was able to buy myself some other foods and then clothes and some small furnishings."
Harley nodded, thinking over what the Draik had just told her. "Well," the Ixi started, letting out a long sigh, "if you could help me clean this place up a bit, then we can see about going to the market with some more of those fruits -- assuming there are still some growing -- and get ourselves a nice big meal."
Kale looked up excitedly, a joyful glimmer shining in his eyes. "I would very much like that!" he exclaimed, smiling confidently. "I am very happy to help."
The Ixi let the Draik enter the dusty home, closing the mansion door behind him. She motioned for him to help carry the remaining luggage into her bedroom before handing him a mop and telling him to "Get to work!"
The two were cleaning like mad for hours, it seemed, while the album played loudly through the mansion. Every now and again the pair would stop their work, turn down the music, and enjoy a few sips of Achyfi, only to pick up a few new cleaning supplies and head off in the opposite direction that they'd come from.
Kale was wiping down a mirror in a bathroom downstairs when he heard Harley let out an awful shriek...
Date: Jul 29th
Kale flew quickly in the direction of the scream, which turned out to be the second-floor guest room.
"I HATE Spyders!" Harley whimpered, cowering in a corner with a dusting rag in one hoof. A White Spyder scuttled up to Kale.
"Oh, that's just my Petpet, Argus." Kale giggled, scooping the Spyder up into his hand.
"JUST your PETPET!!!" Harley wailed, stomping out of her hiding place. "Ooh, I HATE Spyders!"
"Sorry," Kale muttered, stifling a laugh.
"If you can keep that thing away from me, then we'll be fine!" Harley exclaimed. She glanced at the expression on Kale's face, which had changed to... something different... something Harley couldn't explain.
"What? What is it?" Harley asked.
"Look at that!" Kale whispered in disbelief, pointing a claw at a tiny hole in the wall.
"Oh, yeah," Harley said bashfully, "I might've accidentally, you know, punched the wall when I was--"
"No! Look!" Kale gestured toward the wall again, moving closer to it.
Harley moved closer as well, baffled by what she saw...
Date: Jul 29th
..."Wh-wh-what are th-those?" Harley wailed. She could barely finish her sentence as she gaped at what appeared to be sluggish, pepperoni-like critters crawling through the minute hole in the wall.
"Oh, well... would you look at that?" Kale said, not a hint of dismay in his voice. Argus also seemed to have noticed the new visitors as he hurriedly wriggled from the top of Kale's head to behind Kale's neck.
"It's okay, you guys." Kale reached out his left arm in a welcoming manner as one of the curious critters latched itself onto his arm.
Harley was in disbelief. "Y-you keep whatever that is far, faaar away from me!" she pleaded. Argus the Spyder didn't seem all that scary compared to these things. The longer she looked at them, the queasier she felt. Ever since she was a young Ixi, Harley had been extremely afraid of insects.
"Aww. You're just a sweet little Larnikin, aren't ya? Look, Argus... I've found you a pet!" Kale cooed as he motioned for Argus to greet his newfound friend.
"Argus? Here, boy! Argus? Where did he run off to now?" a puzzled Kale asked as he gently caressed the back of his spiky spine while searching for his beloved pet.
Just when things seemed as bleak as possible for Harley, a faint buzzing sound erupted from the ceiling, soon growing louder and buzzier by the second.
Startled, she reluctantly peered above to greet the source of the disturbance...
Date: Jul 30th
...Along with the Larnikins now pouring from the plaster, the air was suddenly filled with hundreds of tiny yellow and red blurs, which were buzzing around the two Neopets' heads.
Harley knew her aunt's house hadn't been cleaned in years, so she expected a few pests here and there, but it was as if the hole in the wall set off a chain reaction -- one that Harley had only thought of in nightmares.
"Buzzers, of course," Harley moaned, swatting her hands wildly about her face.
"Aww, don't worry," Kale said in his most reassuring voice. "They’re really harmless, see?" He gave Harley a wonky smile and pointed to a Buzzer that had landed on his upper lip. "Ow!"
The Buzzer took flight with an angry hum and Kale's face began to swell.
"Well, dat hurt," the Draik said through puffy lips.
Harley darted to the nearest window, yanked it open, and then raced for the door downstairs, Kale on her heels. The two stopped in the kitchen downstairs, Harley breathing hard and Kale massaging his mouth.
"Arguth!" Kale cried.
"Don't worry, he'll be fine," Harley said, for there was no reason in Neopia why she would venture back upstairs anytime soon.
"No, he's on your thoulder," Kale said, pointing.
Harley shrieked, tossing the Spyder in the air. She tripped over her own hooves and sat down hard on the kitchen floor, feeling the weathered wood give way and the middle part of her body plunge into the roof of the basement.
She then felt something slimy inching up her leg...
Date: Jul 30th
...Harley shrieked out again, rubbing her legs together to try and get whatever it was off of her. That only seemed to attract more of them, however, and soon her entire lower body felt completely covered in slime and goo.
Using all the strength that her upper body could muster, the Ixi pulled herself up, only to see that she was covered in Blobikins. On one hand she was relieved because she was afraid that, after feeling something slimy inching up her leg, she would find out her aunt's old mansion was infested with Slorgs as well. On the other hand...
"EEEEEKKKK!" Harley shrieked out, trying to rub the gelatinous Petpets off of her. The Blobikins oozed off her and started to move around the kitchen once they were free before Kale rushed into the room.
"Why'd you theam?" the Draik said, still rubbing his lips, before seeing all of the Blobikins coming out of the hole in the floor.
"Awwwww.... they're tho cuth," Kale said.
"Cute?" Harley said, "This is a nightmare! This entire place is infested! Just how did Blobikins even get in here, anyway? The Lost Desert is miles away and over a mountain range!"
"It lookths like they camb from the bathment," Kale said. "I've nebah actually been in the bathment."
Harley looked to the Draik.
"Wait, you've been here all this time and never been in the basement?" the Ixi asked.
"It wath lockth," Kale said. "I never could find the key."
Harley's eyes lit up a bit as she pulled the key to the mansion out of her pocket.
"When my aunt left me the mansion in her will, she left a skeleton key. It should open every door. I bet all these pests are coming in from the basement," the Ixi said triumphantly. "I bet that, once we find out how they're getting inside, we'll be able to then get them cleared out."
She looked toward Kale with a fierce determination in her eyes -- a determination to get all of these pests out of her house.
"Which way to the basement?"...
Date: Jul 31st
..."Justh follow me," Kale said.
"Alright," Harley replied. "Lead the way."
Kale led the terrified Ixi down the hall. She was glad he was first, since the last thing she wanted to deal with was more bugs. This way, Kale could deal with all of the "creepy crawlies" if they came their way. He didn't seem to mind them.
Once they were at the basement door, Harley squealed with discomfort. There were Spyder webs all over the door. Argus was on the door, making himself at home. She wasn't afraid of Argus anymore, however -- he was the least terrifying thing at the moment.
"What are the chances that Argus did that?" Harley asked the Draik.
"I highly doubth that he could do this," Kale answered. "Can't you clear them off?"
Harley began to reach for the webs, but retracted her hoof when she was just an inch from them. "Oh, I can't! I just can't! Can't you do it?"
"I'm thort of buthy at the moment."
Harley turned toward Kale, wondering what he was doing. It turns out that he was trying to shoo away a swarm of Gikerots. Harley, not even thinking about the webs anymore, unlocked the door, opened it up, and ran through it. Once she remembered about the webs, which she recalled while halfway through the entrance, she flailed. It was during this flailing that she tripped and ended up tumbling down the stairway.
Once she got back up, the Ixi immediately screamed, "Kale!" It was all she could do, as what she saw had left her in complete shock...
Date: Jul 31st
...She had starting corresponding with her aunt as a young child the very moment she had learned that Aunt Lana was the famous explorer Lana that had traveled all across Neopia, and even to Kreludor on one occasion. Aunt Lana had even written a series of books about her travels, although there was a lot of controversy concerning her stories. Many individuals, Harley's mom included, claimed that Lana's tales were nothing more than made up stories and the products of an overactive imagination.
As a child, Harley didn't care if Aunt Lana was telling the absolute truth or not. She loved the stories and was constantly asking Aunt Lana to tell her more in each letter. As Harley grew up, however, she begin to see what others were saying. She still loved her aunt dearly and didn't stop writing to her, but she thought that the travel stories were nothing more than creative lies. She had given up on the stories being true about the same time she had given up on her dream of becoming a published author and decided on what she thought to be the safer and more mature route of being a simple office worker.
Yet, despite putting aside these stories as part of her childhood, there was one that Harley could never quite get out of her mind, and that was the story of the Petpet Queen. Aunt Lana had told her that she had been doing an excursion into the deepest, driest parts of the Lost Desert when she came across an unknown temple half buried in the sand. She had gone inside looking for riches or knowledge but had stumbled across a massive Spyder that seemed to have control over other Petpets in the area. Aunt Lana told that she had barely escaped with her life, but she was certain that the Petpet Queen would follow her to exact her revenge one day. Although a part of Harley still loved that story, she had thought it was pure foolishness until this very moment.
The entire basement had been framed in lacy webbing that hung and fell like curtains between the support beams. At the far end the webs were set up in a circular fashion, creating a throne of sorts, and upon this throne sat the largest Spyder she had ever seen. The typical Spyder, like the ones that now scurried around Harley, usually weighed about a pound, but this one was at least 10 lbs and all of her ruby red eyes seemed to be focused on Harley.
The frightened Ixi managed to stand as she stared at the massive Petpet Queen. She could hear Kale struggling upstairs and feared that he would be unable to help her. As she watched, the Spyder Queen made a strange clicking noise and all of the Petpets in the room stopped and turned toward Harley.
She didn't move as she tried desperately to remember exactly how her aunt said that she had escaped the first time...
Date: Aug 1st
...She backed away slowly from the army of slime and fangs crawling steadily toward her, stumbling over the sticky webs left like traps all over the basement. She used to know all of her Aunt Lana's stories by heart, but as her faith in them dwindled so, too, did her memory of them. She let out a sharp gasp as one of her hooves caught itself in a particularly strong cluster of webs, and she fell to the ground helplessly. Harley struggled violently to escape the web's clutches, but it was no use. She closed her eyes, waiting for the army of Petpets to creep up.
Through the frantic skittering of the Petpet swarm and the vile hissing laughter of the Petpet Queen, Harley thought she could hear fast, tiny footsteps coming from behind. Kale? she thought, peering through one eye. He loves these things. Maybe he can convince them to stop? Although, they don't exactly seem to love him...
She then suddenly heard a vicious hissing sound come from behind her, and all of the Petpets stopped. Whatever had made that noise couldn't be Kale -- or any other Petpet she'd encountered so far, for that matter. Except, perhaps... the Petpet Queen? Was Harley going to be her next snack?
Confused, she twisted her neck as far as possible to see Argus's fang-toothed smile. The Spyder skittered over to Harley's trapped leg and expertly untangled the labyrinth of string in a matter of seconds. The Ixi stood up shakily, nauseous from the scent of cobwebs and miscellaneous buggy goo, while Argus gingerly preened her of all the mess that had managed to mat itself in her fur.
The Petpet swarm stood loyally in place like tiny wriggling soldiers, and the Petpet Queen appeared to be convulsing strangely, with tears in her eyes. Was she... crying?
The wave of Petpets parted to make a pathway for Argus to crawl through to the Petpet Queen. Harley watched in extreme bewilderment as the two Spyders... embraced? At that point, all of the Petpets in the room began cheering and cooing wildly.
"What in Neopia?" Harley was cut off by a series of clumsy thumps from behind her, each followed by a soft "ouch." She turned to see that Kale had finally made his way downstairs to the basement, now with a red bump on his head to match his lip.
Looking back at the two Spyders, Harley felt a sense of familiarity about the scene. "Kale," she said hesitantly. "Where exactly did you find Argus?"
"Arguth? He wath already in da attig when I game here," he said, wheezing slightly from the fall.
It was then that Harley remembered the letter in which Aunt Lana had told her the tale of the vicious Petpet Queen, who wasn't actually as vicious as she seemed. She was guarding a rare and valuable treasure and only become hostile after Lana had captured it for herself. The only way Lana could stop the giant Spyder from attacking her was by taking one of the Queen's newly born in her arms... which grew up to be Argus.
"What'th going on?" Kale asked.
"I think I know how to get the Petpets to leave."
Outside the mansion later that night, Harley awkwardly held Kale in her arms as he sobbed wildly. "Come on, Kale," the Ixi said, trying to pry the Draik from her now-damp fur. "Argus isn't going to be gone forever. He'll come back and visit, right?"
Argus nodded his head fervently, wrapping his many legs around the tip of the Draik's tail as if to hug him. Kale sniffed and turned to face the hundreds of thousands of hovering Petpets and Petpetpets galore, all waiting on the Petpet Queen's demand.
Harley had learned earlier that the Petpet Queen could understand at least most of what she said, although she still felt a little awkward speaking to the enlarged version of a creature that used to plague her nightmares. (After the whole ordeal, she found that she was no longer petrified of insects, and had, indeed, come to harness a sort of respect for them -- as long as they stayed as far away from her as possible at all times.)
"I, uh..." she started. "I wish I could give the treasure back to you, but we don't have it anymore. Also, I'm sorry that my aunt kidnapped your son." There was an awkward silence and she cleared her throat. "I'm glad you two were able to find each other again. I hope you guys can find someplace safe where big scaredy Ixi like me won't be trying to whack you all the time," she said, smiling.
The Petpet Queen smiled sweetly in response and then clicked her fangs, giving the order to leave. Kale waved sadly as they disappeared into the mist of Shenkuu. Harley let out a long sigh and then turned to head back into the house, with Kale dragging his tail behind him as he followed. He then, however, caught a glimpse of flashing gold from the corner of his eye and held out a paw curiously. A tiny Lightmite landed on his wrist, glowing softly.
"Aww! What a li'l guy you are! You mutht be a liddle baby," Kale cooed. "Are you lotht? You can live with me until your mommy findth you," he said, closing the door behind him.
A string of golden lights flickered on the horizon....
Date: Aug 1st
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