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||You are on Week 668
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 Eight Ends Friday, August 8
|Sadie sighed deeply from behind the kiosk, lazily resting her head on one purple paw, using the other to cool herself with a makeshift fan of playing cards. It had been a particularly slow business day for the Blumaroo, and Roo Island's relentless summer heat was beginning to take its toll. All she wanted was to close up shop and enjoy a refreshing Iced Borovan in the comfort of her own home, but she'd only sold three toys today. Going home meant giving up.
Business had slowed to a Slorg-like pace since the disappearance of Sadie's business partner, Paige, a few weeks earlier. Sadie wasn't too concerned, considering this wasn't unusual behaviour for Paige, although she had been gone for a bit longer than usual this time around. Paige had a tendency to vanish and then return with new toy ideas inspired by whatever exotic adventure she'd had, leaving Sadie to run the business by herself in the meantime. It was not a habit Sadie was particularly fond of, but she put up with it. Paige's toys were always best-sellers and had earned them a stellar reputation as toymakers across the island and other parts of Neopia, as well as a permanent spot in the village's marketplace.
Neopets from the other side of the world used to travel all the way to Roo Island just for one of Paige's exclusive toys. Since Paige's disappearance, however, it was rare for even the locals to so much as glance at the toy stand. Sadie had tried several times to invent her own toys, but she didn't have Paige's dexterity or creative mind. To make things even worse, the Blumaroo Day festival was only a few days away and there would be fierce competition in the marketplace, as well as a crowd of disappointed customers who had come for miles to see Paige's work. It seemed as if there was nothing to be done but wait for Paige's return, but she didn't know if she could wait much longer.
By sunset, Sadie was idly passing the time with one of Paige's double-sided gravitationally-adjustable paddleballs (an old classic, although no longer high in demand now that almost everyone on the island owned a few) when the marketplace organizer approached the stand. The glowing Techo had a worrisome expression on her face, but Sadie was too intently focused on her paddleball to notice.
"Sadie," the Techo said suddenly, causing the Blumaroo to jump, "we have to talk."
"If you're going to ask me about Paige, I don't know where she is and I don't know when she's coming back," Sadie said in dismay. The only time most anyone bothered to talk to Sadie was to ask about Paige.
"Ah, no... that's not what I've come to talk to you about," the Techo said, then cleared her throat. "You see, unfortunately, we can no longer host your business in the marketplace..."
Date: Aug 4th
..."What do you mean you can't host us anymore?" asked a voice that came from behind the kiosk.
The Techo and Sadie both jumped and looked around the corner at Paige, who was grinning ear-to-ear at them both.
"Oh, well... Paige. I suppose that, if you've returned, then we don't have an issue," the Techo muttered, forcing a smile toward each girl. She turned around and walked back to her shop, leaving Sadie to blink in shock at Paige's sudden return.
"Where have you been?" Sadie asked loudly.
"Oh, here and there. Don't worry about it... look at what I made!" Paige cried, pulling a ratty cardboard box out of her backpack.
Sadie eyed the box when Paige set it on the counter and hesitantly opened it. Inside was a golden pyramid that was covered in hieroglyphics. Sadie pulled the pyramid out and set it on the counter, looking at Paige expectantly.
"Push the top!" Paige beamed.
Sadie followed her instructions and pressed a finger to the very point of the pyramid, which depressed like a button. The sides of the pyramid began to shift and, right before Paige's eyes, the entire structure transformed into the shape of a crab.
"That's amazing!" Sadie cried, grinning at Paige.
"Isn't it? It even moves, watch!" she replied, grabbing a small remote out of the box. She pressed a few buttons and the crab began to walk along the kiosk's counter, causing Sadie to squeal with delight.
"Paige, it's just what we need! How did you come up with this?" Sadie asked breathlessly, full of excitement.
"Oh, you know... it just happened," Paige said a little awkwardly. She chewed her lip but shook off her anxiety, feeling relieved at having saved the stand -- and Sadie -- once again...
Date: Aug 4th
...So that was it, then. The sudden scare of being forced to close up shop was over now that Paige had returned and Sadie could go back to manning the shop front while her partner worked in back making more toys. Over the next few days she was extremely busy with making more of the crab toys that they would sell at the festival. So busy, in fact, that Sadie hadn't had a chance to ask her where she had been or why she had been gone for so long.
"This toy is going to be big," Paige said the evening before the festivities began. "It's going to rock the socks off of every 'pet in Neopia. We won't have to worry about upkeep after that. We'll be rich!"
Sadie wasn't as sure of the toy as her partner was. After all, it was just a crab toy. The sheer excitement radiating off of Paige was infectious, though, and both Neopets were giddy with excitement all night as they stacked their pyramids around the kiosk and awaited morning's light.
Just as Paige had said, the pyramids sold like hot cakes all throughout the day. 'Pets of every shape and color came through, asking her partner where she had gotten her ideas, how long she'd been gone, and what she had done abroad. Mum was the word on all of it, though, and Paige didn't spill her secrets to a soul. By the time they had to close up for the evening almost every one of the toys had been sold.
"I told you it was going to be big. It'll only get better from here, too," Paige said as she held one of the extra pyramid toys in her paws. "I'm gonna go out back and freshen up a little. Could you clean up the kiosk for me?"
Sadie gave her a shrug and did as she was told. After everything Paige had done it was the least she could do. Although, as she swept a ball of lead began to form in her gut. The old familiar wave of jealousy began overtaking her. Paige was always the one to save the day, to find a new and amazing toy that made all the points. Why couldn't Sadie get a little of that limelight?
She was still thinking that when she set her broom aside and went to find Paige. A few of the boxes were too big for her and she wasn't going to strain her back trying to lift them on her own. Her friend was probably in her workshop again.
Sadie went to the door and leaned against it, listening for any signs that she was working. All she heard was a low clacking noise, like the sound of a clock. Pushing the door open slightly, she glanced inside and had to cover her mouth with a paw to keep from reacting to what she now saw. The inside of the workroom was illuminated with golden rays of light, the beams radiating around the room in slow clumsy motions.
Sadie focused her attention on the cause of the light and saw that it was coming from the pyramid Paige had created. The hieroglyphic symbols shimmered across its surface. Paige was leaning over it and staring avidly into its depths, her eyes wide and unblinking at the clicking contraption.
Sadie pulled away from the door and leaned against the wall to catch her breath. Paige had never mentioned the crab toy doing something like that before. Whatever it was doing didn't seem very friendly, though. The attention Paige had given the pyramid was strange, and she didn't know why, but it frightened her...
Date: Aug 5th
...Making a quick decision not to interrupt Paige at whatever she was doing, Sadie decided to tiptoe back toward the front of store and contemplate what she had seen. She had always considered her friendship with Paige to be a little unconventional, but what she had witnessed stretched way beyond their "don't ask" policy.
Sadie had respected Paige's privacy for years, not prying into her friend's reasons behind disappearing or where she ventured off to, but the look in Paige's eyes convinced Sadie that perhaps Paige was not who she thought.
Could Paige be doing something illegal? Was she in some sort of trouble?
Sadie felt a paw land on her shoulder and she shrieked instinctively, turning to see Paige's wide Lutari eyes staring back at her.
"Are you alright?" Paige asked.
"Y-yeah," Sadie said, trying to act innocent. "You startled me, that's all."
Paige turned to head for the door. "Are you coming?"
"Uh," Sadie hesitated, grabbing the broom again. "I think I'll stay a little longer. I have a bit more cleaning to do."
Paige shrugged, muttered "See ya tomorrow," and left the store, the ringing of the door's bell lingering in the empty store.
Without thinking too much about what she was planning to do, Sadie walked quietly back toward Paige's workshop and pushed the door open, silently thanking Fyora that her friend hadn't locked it. She spied the pyramid sitting on the table. The hieroglyphics had ceased their glowing and the pyramid sat still and silent upon the desk.
Taking a deep breath, Sadie reached out to touch its smooth surface...
Date: Aug 5th
...And expected the worst as her dainty fingers trailed along the sides of the toy. When nothing of consequence happened, Sadie released a sigh of relief.
However, the moment was short-lived as the Blumaroo became highly skeptical of Paige's new contraption. Sadie had seen the toy glowing with her own two eyes, not to mention her friend's strange fixation on the thing... almost as if she was being hypnotized.
If there WAS something unusual happening, it was only right that she investigate. Sadie wanted to give Paige the benefit of the doubt, but there was too much at risk with the toy, especially since half of the world seemed to own one in their home now thanks to the festival.
Conflicted and a little afraid, Sadie quickly made the decision to sweep the pyramid into her backpack - closing the door of the workshop behind her before she could change her mind.
Stepping out into the night, Sadie made sure that the toy was well-hidden before walking quickly towards her home. However, as she was treading through the forest, the backpack in her arms began to vibrate - emitting a strange light that peeked through its opening.
Sadie decided to ignore it since she was only a few blocks away from home, though the further she walked the stronger the vibrations became. Pets passing by the young Blumaroo became suspicious due to the strange light and loud vibrations, whispering to one another as they passed. This pushed Sadie into making a small detour by a large tree in order to take a peek inside.
Before checking the bag's contents, Sadie looked over her shoulder to make sure that she was alone. Positive that no one was around, she unzipped the backpack, only to be startled by a voice chuckling above her.
"Ah, so you're the thief who stole my precious item..."
Date: Aug 6th
Sadie's head snapped up. Through the darkness, her eyes could vaguely discern the shape of a Mynci perching amongst the branches of the tree. As she stared at him, paralysed, the Mynci shifted forward and nimbly fell from branch to branch, almost noiselessly, until he was standing right before Sadie.
"Wh... who-" Sadie began. The glow emitted by the pyramid lit up the Mynci's eyes, which were fixed on her backpack.
"Where did you get that?" he asked. "How did you take it from me?"
Sadie gripped the straps of the backpack firmly in her clammy paws. "I... um, I..." The words declaring her innocence were like pebbles in her throat, refusing to string themselves into a coherent sentence. What should I do? Sadie thought frantically. Should she tell on Paige, her friend, the one who had saved her and their business countless times?
"Do you know what that thing does?" the Mynci demanded before she could answer. He moved a few steps closer to her and Sadie stumbled backwards.
"N-no," she stuttered. "What-?"
"It has unthinkable abilities," the Mynci whispered. "Powerful magic. If controlled, it can grant you those abilities. But if misused, it can control and dominate the mind."
Sadie stared at the Mynci as if mesmerised. What had Paige gotten herself into? How had she gotten her hands on such a powerful item? Sadie resolved to confront Paige about this; things had far surpassed the terms of their "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"Now," the Mynci said, and Sadie returned to the present. "How about you give it to me and we can both go our separate ways?"
Sadie's hold tightened on the backpack. She cleared her throat. "How... how do I know you're its rightful owner?" she asked.
The Mynci's eyes glinted in the pyramid's glow. Something about the way the light danced inside his eyes seemed familiar and with a pang, Sadie realised why. It was the same fixated, hypnotised look she had seen in Paige's eyes in the workshop...
Date: Aug 6th
...This mere toy was, after all, definitely more than a toy. The pyramid seemed to bewitch whoever possessed it for too long. Sadie knew she had to keep it away from this Mynci (and away from Paige).
"Look, you told me yourself that this thing is bad news. IF you did own this pyramid, the why would you want it back?" Sadie asked as she hugged her backpack.
"Ahha... but, you see -- I know how to handle it and you don't! Now, give it to me before things start getting out of hand," the Mynci replied as he continued to stare at Sadie's backpack.
"I think you and I both know I'm not going to just hand this over to you without proof. So, either you somehow give me definite proof that you are, indeed, its former owner, OR you meet me at my shop tomorrow morning so we can figure this all out then. Got it?" the Blumaroo said to the Mynci in a very stern tone.
The Mynci actually looked Sadie in the eyes this time. He seemed a little afraid of her now and he petted his tail.
Sadie could tell he was backing off a little. She figured he was not used to being spoken to that way.
"Okay, okay... but I must advise you not to touch that pyramid. I wouldn't even open up your backpack if I were you. Just let it stay in its dormant state until we meet again," the Mynci said as he, once again, stared at the backpack's opening.
"Fine. Here is my shop's address... I expect you to be civil when you go there." Sadie kept her voice stern and gave him her business card.
The frazzled camouflage Mynci took the business card and read it over.
"Very well, Sadie. I'll be looking forward to our meeting and the return of my pyramid. Have a good evening and be sure to stay safe," he said as he began climbing up the tree again. The Mynci then disappeared into the foliage...
Date: Aug 7th
...and Sadie breathed a sigh of relief. She continued home, flinching at every sound she heard. Upon her arrival, she set down the backpack and walked to the lavatory. The Blumaroo then washed herself and got ready to climb into bed. However, she felt a tugging feeling in her stomach.
As if in a trance, Sadie walked over to the backpack. She suddenly thought of the Mynci's words, and how he'd warned not to open the backpack. However, she shook away the thought and kept walking. Reaching the backpack, her fingers stretched out. They seemed foreign to her, as if they were not her own.
Trembling, she unzipped the pack and then lifted up the pyramid and gazed into it, appearing as though she was hypnotized. The hieroglyphs seemed to swirl before her eyes.
Voices echoed in her head. "You will have a great destiny... just listen to me... I can help all of your troubles... give you whatever you want..."
Sadie nodded, mesmerized by the soft voice. It was so comforting that she just wanted to hear the lull of the voice all day and night. The voice continued: "Just give yourself up to me and I will show you yourself in your full glory... this will be much better than what you can do by yourself..."
Her legs began to move of its own accord, toward the cemetery that she feared, even in adulthood. Now, though, she wasn't afraid of anything. She felt supreme, powerful with this voice guiding her. "Go into the Mausoleum of the Brills... down there you will find the ultimate treasure that everyone wants..."
Sadie complied and walked into the mausoleum. "Go down the stairs..." Sadie walked down the stairs...
Date: Aug 7th
...and, despite what she saw, she did not gape. She was too mesmerized to even fathom what gaping was at that point and time in her existence.
In the huge basement of the mausoleum were what appeared to be thousands of Neopians, customers who had purchased and were currently holding the amazing toy. They had all been hypnotized by the dancing light cast from the pyramid.
There, in the center of the crypt, was a box. Despite knowing in the back of her mind that there had to be untold evils locked within its confines, Sadie -- alongside the droves of others -- felt herself navigating toward it.
Suddenly emerging from the box was a -- familiar, correct? -- Lutari. She appeared half dead, though it may have just been a trick of the dim-yet-fluid light about the chamber. "Fellow toy enthusiasts," she started loudly, proudly, and demandingly.
PAIGE. Sadie snapped out of her stupor and let her toy fall to the ground; its shimmer promptly died away. She could now gape freely. Paige was behind this?
"You have been shown the path of light... quite literally," Paige added. "The ultimate treasure is power and recognition, and together as a cohesive army we may achieve this goal."
The Blumaroo almost cried. Her best friend... well, best sort of friend... living some kind of lie this whole time. All her toys gained the trust and fondness of countless innocent individuals, individuals who became loyal customers, only to be tricked into some form of repressive army.
All but Sadie's eyes were fixated upon her; Paige continued. "Just give yourself up to me and I will show you yourself in your full glory... together we shall accomplish goals much better than what you could ever do by yourself."
Then, however, Sadie remembered the Mynci. If such a precious artifact could be capable of such supreme domination, then how could he possibly let it get stolen? A new thought hit her... perhaps he'd wanted it to get stolen. Perhaps the pyramid brainwashed her, too, and made Paige do all this "dirty work"; perhaps he would come in yet to take over them all.
"Now, march," the Lutari declared forcefully, cutting off Sadie's train of thought. The hypnotized Neopians started to walk up the stairs leading out of the mausoleum.
It had begun. The Blumaroo, with wide and frenzied eyes, knew that she had to do something. Despite not being entirely sure where she would be going with her plan of attack, she leapt up and tackled Paige to the ground...
Date: Aug 8th
..."What are you doing?!?" Paige screamed as she was forced onto the floor.
"Paige, you've got to stop this! You're being controlled!" Sadie cried, struggling to keep the Lutari still. Sadie didn't know if it was even true; she had just blurted out her assumptions.
"You don't understand!" Paige screeched. "Isn't this what we always wanted? Fame and glory? To be remembered in the hearts of young Neopians FOREVER?"
Sadie hesitated, her eyes thoughtful. Paige, seeing her chance, rose up and brushed the dust off of her clothes. Sadie tried to tackle her again, but Paige simply stepped out of the way and Sadie was crammed against the hypnotized crowd.
"I'm sorry, my friend, but I will go now." Paige's words were cold and emotionless.
"No!" Sadie cried, but she couldn't do anything as she laid there weak and defenseless.
"Don't force yourself," Paige said, walking away, ignoring her friend's pain. Ugghh... Sadie crawled pathetically toward her friend. She lunged at her, and Paige was, once again, forced to the floor.
"Yes, I know, Paige... I know that we always wanted to be famous... to be rich... but that wasn't the best thing... the best thing was... to spend time with you... my best friend."
The greed disappeared from Paige's eyes. She blinked once, twice. "Sadie? What... w-where am I?"
"We'll talk about that later," Sadie said, gritting her teeth. "First, we have to get out of here."
Paige managed to get herself up and dragged her friend toward the exit. She then heard a familiar voice behind her.
"Well, well, well... it looks like my minion has failed."
Date: Aug 9th
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