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||You are on Week 689
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 Eighty Nine Ends Friday, January 30
|Lora-Anne sighed as she anxiously batted the spoon sitting in her cup of Earl Grey.
The Scorchio proprietor paused on one of her many rounds through her Coffee Cave and scaled the Xweetok. "What, is there something wrong with it?" she asked with a hint of cynicism.
"No," Lora-Anne replied.
"Ah," the Scorchio condescendingly replied whilst rolling her eyes, "so there's something wrong with you, then."
The Xweetok scrunched her face at the Scorchio, who said nothing at this action before continuing throughout the seating area.
Everyone around Roo Island had been treating Lora-Anne like this recently. This was her first winter on the fun-loving isle and, unbeknownst to her at the time, she did the exact wrong thing once winter and the snowfall set in... she complained.
"Ugh," she said to her neighbor as she hoisted out her shovel that morning about a week and a half ago. "I can't believe we got half a foot! At least it came later than I expected... there's nothing good about snow. I just can't stand it."
Her Blumaroo neighbor glared at her.
The next day no one would talk to her.
The day after that, she returned to her Neohome and found that someone had spray-painted SNOW HATER all over its tidy front. She then realized... she must be the only one on fun-loving everything Roo Island to hate snow. Lora-Anne broke down on her steps and cried.
She shook herself and took a tiny sip of the tea. It... wasn't bad, all things considered. However, she couldn't shake the feeling that everyone was watching her every move.
The Xweetok opened the latest Neopian Times (there was a copy on every table in the Coffee Cave) and flipped to the Comics Section. Perhaps one of those would help take her mind off her present situation?
In the footer of one of the popular pictured installments Lora-Anne saw, to her surprise and slowly-increasing delight, an advertisement for WINTERFEST... "A time to celebrate coolness, snow, and the magic of winter."
The Xweetok almost spat at the thought, but what had delighted her so? The note at the bottom saying, "DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE ANNUAL SNOWCASTLE BUILDING CONTEST: WIN A TROPHY, NEOPOINTS, AND ADMIRATION FROM YOUR PEERS."
Why, she could build the best castle and teach all those Roo Islanders a lesson about what it means to "love snow." If she won -- a "SNOW HATER" -- then they'd all back away from her and maybe even reconsider their own affections for the white evil fluff.
Suppressing a cackle, Lora-Anne downed the rest of her tea and exited the Coffee Cave. She had to practice...
Date: Jan 26th
...for the snowcastle building contest, but how could she when she has such a bad reputation around town? What if the hatred of the other Neopians got them to do the unforgivable, such as melting her castle or, even worse, knocking it to pieces?!?
She wandered home and locked her front door. She then proceeded to barricade her backyard with wood and barbed wire. After the hard labor of keeping others out was complete, the Xweetok then started pondering her ideas.
With a shovel, she gathered up as much snow as she could find around her backyard and patted the snow down in a pile until it turned into a hard lump of ice. Lora-Anne then dropped her shovel and picked up her scalpel for carving the castle.
She started with the base, using the scalpel to finely carve the snow; it soon became apparent to the Xweetok that using such a tiny instrument would probably take her much longer than she'd hoped. After using her paw to wipe away the sweat from her forehead, Lora-Anne went into her shed and pulled out a Dull Stone Axe. With a smile, she said to herself, This could work... it's not too sharp and not too blunt!...
Date: Jan 26th
...Lora-Anne focused on her snowcastle for the next couple hours. She realized, to her dismay, that it was still taking too long even with the Dull Stone Axe. She hadn't looked at the advertisement for long, but she did remember reading something about a time limit, though she couldn't remember exactly what it was.
Still, she couldn't help but admire her own work a bit. With a few finishing touches, her snowcastle would be almost as magnificent as Fyora's castle. She wiped her forehead once more as she thought about the faces the Roo Islanders would make when they laid eyes on her beautiful creation. She smiled to herself and began to carve out the few finishing touches her snowcastle still needed. This one was only for practice, but she still wanted it to look perfect.
For a few minutes, the only sound she could hear other than that of her Axe was the wind, but soon she heard a small voice whisper, asking, "What's that?"...
Date: Jan 27th
..."What? Are you kidding?" Lora-Anne asked with disappointment as she stepped back and squinted at her snow sculpture. "It's a castle, obviously," she answered before shaking off the question and getting back to applying detail to the tallest tower.
"Oh, like a castle for little Petpetpets?" the voice chimed in again.
Lora-Anne looked up from her project and faced the source of the curious little voice -- a baby Aisha dressed warmly in a blue winter sweater and some knit button boots. She looked past the intruder and followed a trail of footprints over to the edge of her property where she had built her barbed-wire fence. At the bottom of the fence was a gap just big enough for the young Aisha to squeeze through. "You do know what they say about curiosity and the Meowclops, right?" she asked the little one sarcastically.
"Mom says Meowclopseses are too esspensive, and I still want one, but I'm not sure what I'd name her," the Aisha replied as she hopped around the castle on one foot.
The Xweetok rolled her eyes. "You're cute, kid," she admitted with a smile, "but you're not supposed to be here, so scram!"
"She also said you're a gwumpy snow hater with a big bad attitude," the Aisha revealed. "Is that why you're killing the snow with that axe?" The little goober placed a finger on the snowcastle's drawbridge and it fell clear off.
The smile left Lora-Anne's face. "Don't touch that!" she scolded as she picked up the drawbridge and coddled it in her arms. “Snow isn't alive, and your mom doesn't know as much as she thinks she does," the Xweetok scoffed. "I love snow! In fact, I'm joining the Winterfest annual snowcastle building contest," she said proudly.
"My mom is doing that, too! She wins every year," the Aisha shared as she began to hop around the castle again.
At that very moment, an idea popped into Lora-Anne's head...
Date: Jan 27th
..."Haven't you ever considered hopping around your mom's castles?" Lora-Anne asked, her voice as sweet and innocent as possible.
"I'd love to, but Momma says I'm not allowed anywhere near them," the Aisha explained. "I'd be grounded for weeks."
Lora-Anne frowned and tried to think of something else quickly. "Well, what does her latest one look like?"
"Well, she's doing a big theme this year. She's got lots of pretty windows and--" The Aisha suddenly stopped. "Hey, wait! You're gonna steal her ideas!"
Lora-Anne huffed. "Look, kid... I just really need to win this competition."
"Quit calling me kid!" the Aisha exclaimed. "My name is Melly."
Lora-Anne paused for a moment. She looked to her castle, then looked to Melly (who was examining a window) and finally back to her castle. "I've got an idea. If you tell me all of your mom's secrets and help me win this contest, I'll get you your very own Meowclops."
Melly's eyes widened with excitement. "Really? No way! I'm in!"
"I think we're going to get along very well, Melly..."
Date: Jan 28th
...Melly went dashing out the way that she'd come in. Lora-Anne felt clever from tricking the little Aisha, but couldn't help but feel a little guilty for dragging the kid into her dirty little tricks. Not only that, but she now had to figure out how to get what it would cost to buy a Meowclops.
The Xweetok waited a little while for Melly to come back. She had a rosy smile on her face and her hands were behind her back. It looked like she had something to share.
"I found out!" she chirped.
"Really?" Lora-Anne asked. "What's it going to look like? Can you tell me?"
"Even better," Melly said, and then she took her hands out from behind her back to show a rolled-up sheet of paper. "It's a drawing of her castle."
Lora-Anne smiled slyly. "Thank you."
The Aisha then ran out through the hole in the fence. Once she was gone, Lora-Anne unrolled the picture. The design looked very impressive, like a fancier version of the castle in Brightvale. The Xweetok knocked down her old castle. She now needed to figure out how to build this one...
Date: Jan 28th
...Lora-Anne worked on her castle for two hours, but what she'd built so far looked nothing like the castle on the sheet of paper. "Oh, rats. Maybe I've gotten in over my head?" Lora-Anne muttered to herself.
The day was over and nighttime had set in, so Lora-Anne retreated to her house for the night, prepared to get a head start at dawn.
The sun rose early the next morning and Lora-Anne brewed some Borovan to put in a thermos to bring with her. She went back to her snowcastle and Melly came walking over to Lora-Anne, a grin in her face.
"Good morning! So, where is my Meowclops?" The Aisha could barely contain her excitement as she looked at Lora-Anne expectantly.
"Melly, sweetheart, you'll get your Meowclops when I win," Lora-Anne patiently told her as she concentrated on her snowcastle.
"You said I could have a Meowclops if I told you my mom's secrets!" Mellys smile turned into an ugly grimace as Lora-Anne started to speak.
"I said you'd get one if you help me win."
The Aisha before her started to growl.
"You said I had to HELP you win. I shouldn't have to wait! You'd better hope my mom doesn't get mad when I tell her about this," Melly said angrily and then stormed off.
Lora-Anne tried running after her, but Melly was just too fast.
Date: Jan 29th
...Lora-Anne rushed over to the fence before the baby Aisha could crawl back into it.
"WAIT!" the desperate Xweetok cried.
The loudness of her words made the baby Aisha stop in her tracks. Melly turned around and her facial expression showed shock and surprise.
"Please wait, Melly... look, we can go shopping for a Meowclops today, but I cannot buy you one until I win the snowcastle prize money. Please understand that -- I really am going to keep my promise to you," Lora-Anne said in a loud but politely-toned voice.
Melly sat in the snow and stared at Lora-Anne for an awkward amount of time.
"WELL, okay... but if I have to wait until the end of the contest then I want a Faerie Meowclops, not just a regular one," Melly told Lora-Anne as she crossed her arms in defiance.
The Xweetok wasn't sure if this was all worth it at this point, but she agreed. Lora-Anne then took Melly's paw to go window shopping...
Date: Jan 29th
...It was colder in the marketplace and Lora-Anne shivered as they walked. Hunching her shoulders, she bit her lip when the wind picked up speed. Some light snow started to fall.
Melly strained at her hold and gave Lora-Anne's paw an insistent tug. They passed a number of stores and peered through their windows.
Each shopfront appeared cheerful, having been painted bright colours, and the well-lit interiors seemed just as lively. There were several customers inside and many more milling about, despite the awful chill. However, none met Lora-Anne's gaze for more than a moment.
Five minutes flew by before Melly pulled Lora-Anne to a halt outside a Petpet store. Its wooden façade had been designed to look like a Meowclops and Lora-Anne noticed a group of the Petpets on display.
One fixed its large, yellow eye on her and she couldn’t help flinching from its piercing scrutiny. It almost seemed to her as though it knew how wretched she felt, standing there in the cold.
Lora-Anne was of two minds. Part of her thought that she should give up her bid to win the snowcastle building contest. She’d practiced for hours but doubted that she'd be able to create a castle stood a chance of winning. Her neighbours' treatment of her hurt, nonetheless, and the stubbornness in Lora-Anne insisted that she keep to her scheme.
Looking away, Lora-Anne realised that Melly had fixated on another Petpet. This Meowclops had dark violet fur and filmy wings that gleamed in the light as it moved. With a swish of its tail, the Meowclops preened. Melly giggled.
It took Lora-Anne a moment to recall their previous exchange. "Oh," she said slowly. "It's a Faerie Meowclops -- the type you wanted."
"Isn't it pretty?" Melly pressed her small face against the display, smiling widely, and Lora-Anne gave her a nod.
"I suppose so." Expensive, too.
With a sigh, the Xweetok turned her glance on a third Petpet. The Snow Buzzer's eyes resembled lumps of coal and its torn wings appeared leaf-like. What caught her attention, however, was its snow-packed body.
"Bleh," Lora-Anne muttered, pulling a reluctant Melly away from the window. "Okay, I think that we've done enough window shopping." She didn't understand why anyone would want a Snow Petpet and voiced as much to the younger Neopet.
Melly blinked at her in surprise. "But... but Snow Petpets are really popular! Right now, especially."
"I can't imagine why."
"Well, it's almost the winter solstice," Melly told her.
Confused, Lora-Anne frowned at Melly's words. The solstice marked the middle of winter, and had the shortest day and longest night in the year. She didn't see what connected it with Snow Petpets.
"You know, the solstice?" Melly pointed at a nearby street lamp, where a poster had been hung. Lora-Anne recognised it as the advertisement that she'd seen a few days earlier.
Walking close, Lora-Anne examined the notice. As she had before, she read out the line, "A time to celebrate coolness, snow, and the magic of winter." Turning to Melly, she raised her eyebrows. "I still don't get it."
The Aisha heaved a sigh and Lora-Anne felt like she, instead of Melly, was the small child. "Gracious, do you really not know? On the day of the solstice, anything you build from snow will come to life. Many of the Snow Petpets here were made during previous solstices."
Lora-Anne felt faint. "The snow... becomes alive?"
Melly beamed at her. "It's why WINTERFEST has such a special place in our community..."
Date: Jan 30th
...Lora-Anne frowned. I guess that would explain why everyone here loves snow so much, she thought. I wonder, though...
"Melly," Lora-Anne said.
"Hm?" Melly answered, looking at the Faerie Meowclops again.
"If I win this snowcastle competition, will everyone stop hating me?"
"I don't think they hate you," Melly responded with a smile. "I think they just think you're a grumpy snow hater, like my mom said, but I've never actually heard anyone say they hate you. You're just weird because you don't like snow."
"However, if I win the contest, do you think they'll stop thinking I hate snow... or at least stop glaring at me?" Lora-Anne seemed to be pleading now.
"Hm, I don't know," Melly said, scratching her head, "but I do know of a way to make the Roo Islanders like you more."
"Anything," Lora-Anne said without hesitation.
WINTERFEST had finally arrived. Melly hopped around Lora-Anne as she built something in the middle of the celebration area. The snowcastle building contest was almost over, but the Xweetok's structure definitely could not pass as any sort of castle -- at least not one that would win the contest.
"You're sure about this?" Lora-Anne asked Melly hesitantly.
"Absolutely. Like I said, they're popular, especially now," Melly answered cheerfully.
Lora-Anne frowned as she put the finishing touches on her Snow Mazzew. She'd always wanted a Mazzew as a Petpet, but she wasn't so sure about having any Snow Petpet.
After finishing her Snow Mazzew, she stood back. She wasn't even completely sure it would come to life until she saw it blink. As soon the Petpet was moving, its first instinct to hug Lora-Anne. The Xweetok backed up slightly, but she accepted the gesture from her new friend.
"Admit it," Melly whispered, "you like your new Snow Mazzew."
Lora-Anne was about to snap back at Melly when she realized that all of the Roo Islanders at WINTERFEST were smiling at her. "Remind me to thank you later," Lora-Anne whispered back with a smile.
"Just don't forget about my Faerie Meowclops, okay?" Melly said before she hopped over to her mother's snowcastle.
Date: Jan 30th
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