Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)
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||You are on Week 257
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 Two Hundred Fifty Seven Ends January 13
"...And over here in this part of the tree is an EXTREMELY rare faerie Pteri feather, which looks like it got caught on that branch right before its owner took off! Amazing! Simply AMAZING, isn't it?" the Ogrin said, beaming at his friend.
"Yeah... uhh... very interesting, Rinni," Seran replied, inwardly sighing. The Chomby was quite fond of her new friend, but he got awfully excited whenever they went on these nature walks. He could talk for hours about the strange shapes of leaves, and while Seran wasn't above appreciating nature's beauty, spending an hour crouched in the mud looking for new species of Petpetpets wasn’t exactly her idea of fun.
"Oh, and just LOOK at the crazy way these tree roots come out of the ground!" Rinni said. "They almost look like a Hissi! How utterly FASCINATING! Did you know that this type of berry is only native to this very small part of the forest? Can you BELIEVE it? I mean, WOW! Oh look, Grarrl footprints! Oh, I bet he's on the hunt for his dinner! Let's follow them and observe what happens!!!"
"What?!? NO!" Seran cried, shocked out of her reverie. "I mean, no," she corrected herself, trying to sound more gentle. "It sounds really great, Rinni, but maybe we should head back. Just look at the time."
"According to the sun's position," the Ogrin said, waving a hoof carelessly at the sky, "we still have plenty of time before it gets dark. Besides, there's still SO much more left to DISCOVER!..."
Editor's Note: Again, because this week is a short one, the storytelling competition will run for two weeks! Have fun!
Author: is AMAZED!|
Date: 29th December
...Seran inwardly sighed, resisting the sudden urge to rub her temples. "Rinni, what if your mother finds us out after the sun sets if we don't get back in time? We'd BOTH get into so much trouble." The Ogrin ignored her.
"Oh, Seran, you worry too much! Who CARES about your mother or my mother when we have an ENTIRE forest to explore! I mean, think about it, Seran! You see your mother EVERY DAY but this might just be your ONE CHANCE to see a Grarrl at work! Amazing! SPECTACULAR! Oh, I wish I brought my sketchbook with me!"
Seran sighed at herself frustratingly as Rinni immediately took up the hunt, sniffing and pawing the ground, creeping along the side of the footprints like he was a professional detective at work on a mystery case. There was no stopping him now; once Rinni started on something that he absolutely liked or firmly believed, he'd go through with it whatever the cost. She shifted the pack on her shoulders and stomped on behind him.
"--And here you can see the pebble stuck in the footprint looks EXACTLY like a miniature Eyrie doing a flip in the air, so that means the Grarrl was heading north here, but then in this footprint, the leaf that is shaped like a faerie indicates that he changed his mind and then--"
Rinni ranted as he hopped from one side to the other, examining each footprint.
Seran rolled her eyes, then told herself to just deal with it. He was her friend, and as his friend, she must support him even if she did think that this was total idiocy. "Rinni, I think we should really go back now," she said, looking back. "We haven't been through this part of the wood yet, we could easily--" She turned around, and gaped. "--get lost."
Rinni was no where to be seen and the footprints had ended...
Date: 3rd January
...Seran froze, but her eyes darted this way and that, looking for anything that seemed familiar. "Don't panic..." she muttered to herself. "I'm sure Rinni's around here somewhere. Rinni? Rinniiii..."
A snapping branch caught her attention as she turned to see who -- or what -- was in front of her. All she saw was dense woodland setting, but then saw a small rustle in the bushes. Seran started to back away slowly. "Rinni? Is that you?"
Just then, she felt the ground give way underneath her and found herself sliding down a steep pit. She let out a scream, expecting to hit jagged rocks, but instead hit something soft and gooey. She looked down to see that she had landed in a mudhole. As much as she tried to climb out, the mud was far too thick.
"Brilliant..." she muttered to herself. A shadow covered the Chomby and fear immediately overwhelmed her. She looked up expecting to see a Grarrl, but instead saw...
"Seran!" Rinni cried happily, oblivious to Seran's plight. "There you are! You've got to come see this mushroom I found. If you turn your head just right, it looks almost like a Turmtum!"
"Uhh, Rinni?" said Searan. "Can't you see I'm a little preoccupied?"
Rinni's eyes widened in amazement. "An actual Tyrannian mudhole! Oh, Seran, you're so LUCKY! I hear that stuff does wonders for the complexion! Move over, let me join you!"
"NO!" cried Seran. "Rinni, I'm stuck! I can't get out, and I think I'm sinking! Go back to the village and get help!"
Rinni simply chuckled. "Oh, don't worry, Seran! You're not in any real danger... well, actually if you keep thrashing around like that you will sink much faster. Considering your weight and density, I'd say that if you remain perfectly still, you have at least two hours before you're completely sucked in. Three tops."
Seran looked at her friend incredulously. "And you say I'm not in any danger?!? GET ME OUT OF HERE!" When Seran panicked, she felt herself sink a few more inches.
"Calm yourself, Seran," said Rinni soothingly. "Don't worry, I'll get you out. I saw some vine not far from here that's just perfect to pull you out. Tyrannian vines have numerous uses. Did you know that during ancient Neopian times, vines were used to..."
"GET THE STUPID VINE!!!" cried Seran, but doing her best to keep still.
Rinni snapped out of his moment of wonder and looked at his friend. "All right, all right! Just stay there and try not to move. I'll be back as soon as possible." With that, the Ogrin was out of sight.
Seran started to breathe a little easier now that Rinni had gone to find some vines. Surely he'll be able to find some vines without getting distracted, Seran thought. Although a little eccentric with nature, Rinni was a good friend. The only thing that'd distract his attention was possibly a flower... or a Petpetpet... or an oddly shaped rock.
I'm doomed, Seran thought to herself...
Date: 4th January
...A surprisingly short while later, Rinni returned with a vine around his neck. "Wait until you see this Buzz nest I found on the way back here -- the shapes it made were simply MARVELOUS! And I also saw a--"
"Throw the vine down!" Seran squeaked, attempting to wave at him without sinking even lower into the mud. "Just throw it down, and I swear I'll look at anything you want to!"
"Okay," the Ogrin said cheerfully. "Hey, there's a Petpetpet!!!"
The vine flopped into the mud, making some of it splatter. Blinking, Seran realized that in his haste to do as she had ordered, Rinni had thrown the vine down. The whole vine.
"Rinni, you're supposed to use the vine to pull me up, not throw the whole thing down here!" she cried out in frustration. But then something else caught her attention.
There was a dangerous rumbling sound... something was falling. "Rinni, get back!!!" Part of the ground surrounding the mud hole was caving in, apparently not used to being tromped on by an enthusiastic Ogrin. Unfortunately, the Petpetpet perched on his hoof had preoccupied Rinni.
"Hey, this mud feels pretty good!" Rinni exclaimed as he landed next to Seran. "Check out this new Petpetpet I found!" The little creature buzzed happily, obviously not the least bit dazed by the fall.
"Now you're down here, too!" Seran groaned.
"At least we'll have company!" Rinni said. "I saw more Grarrl tracks leading somewhere around the mud hole!"
Let's think rationally, Seran thought to herself. What would a calm, reasonable Neopet do at a time like this?
"HELP!!!" she screamed...
Date: 4th January
"Why are you yelling?" Rinni asked, still fascinated with the Petpetpet on his hoof.
"Why am I yelling?!? We are stuck in a mudhole, and you saw Grarrl tracks leading this way... how could I NOT be yelling?!?" Seran exclaimed.
"Good point... I still don't know why you're so scared, though," Rinni replied, not really paying attention to what her friend was saying.
"I'm not scared, I'm just sort of... surprised by the fact that you couldn't care less that a hungry, VICIOUS Grarrl could be lurking somewhere in this area!" Seran said, her voice rising with every word.
"You're yelling again..." Rinni said in a sing-song voice.
"Well, can you think of any possible way to get out of this mudhole?" Seran asked her friend in a calm voice.
"We could always go through there." the Ogrin replied, pointing toward a gap in the trees next to the mudhole.
"O-kay... but how do you plan on getting out of HERE?!?" Seran screamed at her friend, for what must've seemed like about the billionth time that day.
"Oh, I don't know... I was kind of hoping that you'd worked that part out already," the Ogrin said, then continued gazing at the Petpetpet again.
"Oh, great." Seran said as she heard a low roar from the distance. It was a roar that could only come from a Grarrl...
Date: 5th January
"Did you hear that?" Rinni asked loudly. "It sounds like the Grarrl is back! Oh, and what if there are more with him? Can you IMAGINE?!?"
Seran stared at Rinni in disbelief. For such a smart Ogrin, he didn’t seem to have a lick of common sense.
"Don't you get it Rinni?" Seran whispered frantically. "If they find us, we're toast! They'll eat us for sure!"
Even as she spoke, a tremendous crashing noise signified the arrival of the Grarrl. Risking a glance up, Seran nearly fainted from the sight that greeted her: not one, but three Grarrls encircled the pit, staring down at the two Neopets with decidedly hungry looks.
"Rarrrr, me hungry!" declared the large, yellow Grarrl closest to Seran. The terrified Chomby let out a small yelp, then cowered in the mud. Suddenly sinking didn't sound like such a bad idea.
"Oh stop it, Gus!" declared the smallest of the three. A startlingly blue Grarrl, Seran had to admit that she gave off a slightly more friendly aura.
"Oh Penelope, I was just having a bit of fun with them!" Gus replied. "You can hardly blame me. After all, it isn't every day that you find an Ogrin and a Chomby taking a mudbath in this neck of the woods."
Gus redirected his attention to Rinni and Seran, a perturbed expression on his face.
"Now tell me, young ones... what ARE you doing down there?"
Rinni proceeded to relate their plight, gesturing so wildly that Seran feared he would sink straight to the bottom of the mudpit. Surprisingly, the little Petpetpet simply hopped to his nose, where it continued to ride out the charade without a care in the world.
"My, my, that is quite the tale," Gus chuckled amiably. "If you'll hold on just a moment, I'd be MORE than happy to get you out of there. Glorf, the rope, if you please."
The third Grarrl, a red fellow who had hitherto remained unnoticed, quickly retrieved a rope out of his haversack and handed it to Gus.
"Rinni, Seran, this is my brother Glorf, and my research assistant Petunia. We’re here in the hopes of discovering new and rare species of Petpetpets... such as the one which resides on your nose, my boy."
Gus quickly lowered the rope, and in no time managed to extract the weary Neopets from the mud. As soon as they reached firm ground Gus swooped down on Rinni, capturing the little Petpetpet in a bottle and slapping the Ogrin on the back.
"Well done friend, WELL DONE!" he exclaimed, guffawing slightly. "Only a day in, and I... I mean YOU have already made an amazing discovery! This calls for a CELEBRATION! Won’t you join us for... dinner?"
Seran found herself slightly unnerved by the fleeting glances Glorf shot in their direction at the word "dinner", but as they walked on, Gus and Rinni proved to be two peas in a pod when it came to their enthusiasm for wildlife, and Seran found herself relaxing. She would much rather be at home right now, but Gus and his companions were obviously harmless -- weren’t they?...
Date: 5th January
The trek through the woods was fairly short, and after the close call that they'd faced in the mudhole, Seran could hardly complain. Rinni and Gus were carrying on, talking about some famous nature researcher or another, and it was obvious that neither the Grarrl nor the Ogrin had ever enjoyed a conversation more.
No, Seran realized. Just because they're Grarrls doesn't mean that they're vicious carnivores. I can't believe I was being so stupid. Perhaps panic had done something to her senses, she figured.
Seran was surprised to see that the house - or research station - of the Grarrls was a beautiful little cottage, painted green and white, surrounded by luscious greenery. The shutters were bright red, as was the door, and Seran found herself reminded of a toy house. All in all, it certainly didn't seem especially threatening.
"Come in, come in," Gus said, ushering them into the cottage. "It's getting dark and late. Don't worry, Glorf will soon have the dinner ready."
"I know that people usually expect girls to do the cooking, but not around here." Petunia said, grinning easily. "I have no talent for it, none whatsoever, while Glorf is a master chef."
A fire crackled in the cheery fireplace, and Rinni and Seran sidled eagerly toward it. "That's right," said Petunia. "Just sit there until we're ready to eat... dinner."
"So, what are we having?" Rinni asked happily.
"Well... for the first course, we're having steak. The second course is a bit more special," explained Glorf, calling from the kitchen.
"Oh, really? And what would that be?" Seran asked, as a feeling of dread grew in her stomach...
Date: 6th January
"You'll see..." Glorf answered, then resumed cooking.
Seran and Rinni waited patiently by the fire and the feeling of dread continued growing.
"Settle down, Seran. I can tell you're worried about something," Rinni whispered.
"I'm sorry, I just don't trust them. Aren't you the least bit concerned about what the second course might be?" Seran asked.
"Of course not. It's probably a nice souffle or something. It's nothing to worry about... maybe they haven't decided what to make yet, so that's why they said it would be a surprise," remarked Rinni.
"I just don't think--" Seran loudly began before Rinni shushed her, reminding the Chomby to be quiet. "I mean, I just don't think they're as nice as they seem."
"Don't worry about it. Seriously," Rinni said confidently. "They're explorers and scientists, like me. They can't be all bad."
Seran knew that Rinni would never listen to her unless she had proof that the Grarrls weren't what they seemed.
"Um, Rinni... I have to go to the restroom. I'll be right back," Seran said uneasily.
"Oh, okay. Do you know where it is? Do you want me to help you find it? I can ask them where it is if you're not sure," Rinni said helpfully.
"No. I saw it on the way in," Seran replied, gesturing Rinni to sit back down. "Stay here and I'll be right back."
"Okay. Hurry back or you'll miss dinner!" Rinni said joyfully.
I wish I could skip dinner, Rinni! Seran thought. She knew she had to find something to show Rinni that the Grarrls weren't to be trusted. She ran into the room next to the kitchen to look around, where she found all kinds of scientific stuff, but nothing to be alarmed by. Maybe this place isn't as bad as I thought, Seran said to herself...
Date: 8th January
...She was about to go back and tell Rinni that she had been mistaken when she noticed a strange looking cabinet positioned beside the door.
"Maybe I'd better check that out, just to make sure..." Seran said to herself.
She walked over to it and pulled one of the drawers open. It contained a set of different tools, many of which she couldn't identify.
"But then," the Chomby said to reassure herself. "They're scientists and researchers and all. I guess they'd need these."
She opened the second one. She found nothing but a few more tools and a sketchbook. The third one had similar objects.
"I really was wrong," Seran told herself. "They're only friendly, nature-loving creatures. Like Rinni. It isn't their fault they're Grarrls."
But because of her curiosity, she decided to look at the last.
It was filled with folders, papers and envelopes, all neatly arranged. She randomly selected a thick brown envelope and opened it.
As she scanned the first page, her eyes widened and her heart began to race. "No..."
Date: 9th January
...The yellow paper crinkled as Seran's eyes digested every devastating word on it, finally understanding why the Grarrls had asked them over for a supposedly friendly and safe dinner.
The title, typed in blaring red letters, stood out the most: "TARGET PETS." Sitting just beneath those words was a detailed explanation of the plan that Gus, Glorf, and Petunia were executing even at that very moment:
PLAN: Our goal, as famed Grarrl scientists, is to lure other competitor scientists into our home to be disposed of (for different disposal plans, see pg. 8). Any other Neopets that happen to be with them will forcibly become our lab assistants. Below is a list we have compiled of our main scientific threats.
Seran wiped her palms on herself, as they were getting sweaty due to the anxiousness that was rising in her like a balloon being inflated. Gulping, she looked down at the thumbnails of the "target pets," as the Grarrls called them.
A column of pictures ran down the margin of the page, all of them showing the identities of the other scientists. Beside each one was a small description of each ones' goals, and what their weaknesses and fears were.
A mustached shadow Ruki... a disco Bruce dressed up in a lab coat... there were many others, but a familiar face near the bottom seemed to scream at her, like neon lettering.
Rinni stood, while beaming at a new Petpetpet he had discovered. All he sported was a red cap. He seemed too happy to be on such a depressing sheet of paper. She didn't bother to read his description; the Chomby didn't have time. That is, if she wanted to warn Rinni of the danger he was in before supper was served.
Hurriedly, almost sloppily, she shut the wardrobe's drawers as quietly as possible. Seran walked quickly out of the room, hiding the horrible paper behind her back in case one of the Grarrls saw her and became suspicious of her intentions. A sudden thought blossomed in her mind, and she stopped in her tracks.
How was Rinni going to be disposed of?
Seran had no time to go back. For all she knew, Rinni could be disposed of already. So, fear strangling her, she hurried on.
"Rinni," she panted, reassured to know that he was still living and breathing. He was sitting on the couch, staring at her with an inquisitive look plastered on his face. "Rinni... you have to see this, before the Grarrls-- "
"Wow, you took quite a while in the washroom! Was there no soap left? Were you-- "
"RINNI! Look, just shut up and-- "
"Dinnertime!" a deep, sing-song voice called playfully from the kitchen...
Date: 9th January
"Oh, jolly day! I just can't wait to see what the Grarrls have prepared for us this evening. You know how I LOVE surprises!" Rinni said as he gleefully jumped off the couch.
"RINNI, WAIT! You MUST see this!" Seran yelled anxiously, grabbing Rinni's arm and preventing him from running off.
"Goodness! Can't this wait, Seran? I haven't eaten all day, and if we could just wait until..." Rinni's voice trailed off as he gazed at Seran's ragged figure. She had turned completely white, her hands were freezing and slightly shaking, and her eyes were as big as saucers. "My... goodness... you demonstrate a ghost Chomby PERFECTLY! Good job, Seran, really!"
"ARRGH! NO! I'm not joking around, Rinni! Read this! I think these Grarrl's are--"
"Is everything okay in here?" A deep voice interrupted. Seran turned to see Gus's shadowy figure standing in the doorway.
"Yes, yes, everything is fine," Rinni happily answered as he freed himself from Seran's grip and pranced toward Gus. "Seran was just about to show me some of her papers, but it can wait until after dinner! I'm starving!"
"Papers? What papers, Seran?" Gus asked with a grin on his face. "Please, share with us. We scientists enjoy ALL types of information."
Seran stood in terror. Her breathing became short and rapid, and her body suddenly turned moist with sweat. She tried to say something, but nothing came out. She was completely frozen... completely helpless.
After what seemed like an eternity to Seran, Rinni finally blurted, "Don't mind her, Gus; she's been acting funny all day! Now, about that grub!" Rinni then happily trotted off in the direction of the kitchen.
"Yes... of course... we mustn't keep dinner waiting," Gus said, glaring at Seran as he slowly turned toward the kitchen.
A surge of relief jolted through Seran's body as she let out a short sigh, but this feeling was only temporary as she began heading toward the kitchen. When she arrived, Petunia stared at her funny. "Is everything okay? You really don't look too well."
"No, no... everything is fine. I... I... I'm just hungry, that's all," Seran muttered as she sat herself in front of a great big steak. The aroma in the room was rich and delicious. Seran would have actually liked this setting, if she wasn't sitting with a bunch of murderous Grarrls. Soon, everyone was digging into their dinner without hesitation, but Seran seemed to have lost her appetite.
"Is something the matter with my steak? You haven't touched it at all." Glorf asked with a chunk of meat hanging out of his mouth.
"No, it's perfect. I'm... I'm..." Seran paused to think of an excuse, "I'm just a vegetarian."
"Of course! You're a Chomby, after all. I should have been more considerate!" Glorf replied. "It isn't a problem, though! It just means that you'll have more room for... the second course. I know! Gus, why don't you and Renni go fetch the ingredients for me?"
"What a perfect idea! Rinni, please accompany me to the pantry, if you will," Gus said with a smirk on his face as he slid off his seat.
Rinni looked up from his plate with a mouthful of steak. "Okay!"
As Rinni and Gus both left the room, Seran could only stare in terror. No... what am I going to do? she thought as her heart sank. A few moments later, her heart sank even more as she heard a crashing sound coming from the direction of the pantry...
Date: 10th January
...followed by absolute silence.
Seran's entire body felt rooted to her seat, as if it were gripped there by the clutches of some horrible animal. She was terrified -- had they "disposed of" Rinni? Was she next? Oh, she was too young to be a lab assistant! Glorf and Petunia went on with their dinners, taking no notice of the calamity in the kitchen -- but Seran could swear she saw a sinister glimmer in both their eyes.
Just as she had mustered up the courage to flee, Gus re-entered the room... with Rinni. Both seemed well enough, and Gus was holding a sack of flour, some tomatoes, and a stick of butter, while Rinni clutched a gleaming silver bowl. They set down these ingredients upon the dinner table, and Gus clapped a hand to the Ogrin's head, ruffling it a bit in a fatherly fashion. "He's a big help, this one!" said the Grarrl heartily. Rinni smiled, but it was in a strangely vacant way. As he made his way back to his seat, Seran (her nerves calmed a bit) examined his face. It was oddly slack, and his eyes seemed a bit dulled -- certainly not the usual look for her inquisitive and energetic friend.
Glorf leapt to his feet, his expression brightened by the various foods and cooking implements. "Wonderful!" he cried, setting aside the tomatoes and butter. He stopped suddenly, groping for an item that was not there.
Gus suddenly smacked his forehead and exclaimed, "Glorf, I seem to have forgotten the potatoes. I'm so sorry -- Seran?" Gus called over his shoulder, a saccharine smile on his face, "Seran, won't you please help me in the kitchen?"
Seran's eyes widened so much that they resembled her dinner plate. Her mind reeled frantically, searching for an idea, any idea -- but there was none to be found. There was nothing, nothing she could do... so the petrified Chomby felt herself getting up from her chair and crossing the room, drawing ever closer to the Grarrl who now waited in the kitchen. She crossed the threshold, and immediately, a feeling of panic took hold of her belly.
Gus stood, a wicked grin on his face, by the stove. Something was simmering there, and sending off an odd smell... a sickly, cloying smell... Seran felt her eyes drooping and her limbs go limp as the world dissolved around her...
Date: 10th January
...everything was now upside down.
Seran thought about this muzzily for a long while. Somewhere in the back of her mind, an alarm was going off, and it made thinking calmly very difficult to do. I was in the forest with Rinni, she thought, and the Grarrls came along...
Grarrls!! She suddenly remembered most of what had happened. Seran thrashed furiously, trying to right herself, only to find that all of her feet had been tied together and she'd been hung up by them.
She was about to yell, when Petunia's voice came from behind her. "Well, the Chomby's awake and struggling," said Petunia. "The Sapwill must not work as well on larger Neopets."
Sapwill? Seran had heard of that... she thought hard. Her thoughts were still fuzzy. Then she remembered: Rinni had steered her clear of a patch of Sapwill once, probably the second time they had been in the forest, she thought. But what else had he said about it? And why didn't it affect the Grarrls?
Petunia circled around in front of her and stared at Seran coldly. "If the Sapwill doesn't work well on her, I don't think she'll make a suitable assistant after all," she said, as if Seran couldn't hear her. "We might need to dispose of her too. Speaking of which, is the big pot ready yet?"
Seran's blood turned cold. It was just as bad as she had feared for Rinni, and apparently it would be just as bad for her. As Petunia walked away again the Chomby tried desperately to think of something. The sickly smell of Sapwill was still filling her nostrils, but apparently not strongly enough to drain her willpower. Gus had been going into the kitchen too -- why didn't the Sapwill vapours affect him?
She closed her eyes and tried to think. Rinni had said something... she cast back in her memory. Then she had it. "Have to keep away from that stuff!" Rinni had said. "INCREDIBLE effects on willpower! We'd have to find some Eelmint to counter that, and of course, we wouldn't have the initiative to do so!"
Eelmint! That was probably what Gus was using! She looked around wildly. They wouldn't keep it in the kitchen, obviously... there! She saw it, clearly labeled, on a counter. But how to get it?
Gradually she began to swing herself around. If Seran could swipe it with her tail, perhaps the Eelmint would fall off the shelf. As her vision shifted, she caught sight of Rinni, who was still sitting at the table, vapidly staring into space. Then, with a clatter, the Grarrls reappeared in a doorway, carrying a huge pot between them. They caught sight of her and started forward. With one desperate swipe of her tail, the Chomby knocked the canister of Eelmint flying across the room, where it burst open in front of Rinni...
Date: 11th January
...releasing the canister's contents right before him. The vacant Ogrin blinked once, seemingly grappling with the idea of removing the obstructing herb. His hazed eyes slowly began to clear. Would it work?
Seran got her answer as the Ogrin's empty expression melted into a grin.
"WOW! Seran, look! Eelmint! Do you know how RARE this plant is? It's a unique subspecies of Marmint, you know, which originates in the undersea caverns used for fishing... FASCINATING, eh? AND its reviving properties come from..."
His rambling continued unstopped, even by the stunned Grarrls, as Seran slipped away due to the effects of the Sapwill. Rinni, never relenting in his fascination with the plant, didn't even notice... until the Grarrls came around, that is.
Gus, snarling rather effectively at the Ogrin, stomped forward and knocked the upside-down Seran out of the way. Rinni quieted with his approach, confused as to who could be so angry at him. The nature-loving Neopet did all he knew how in that situation.
"Look at this, my Grarrl friend! It's EELMINT! Can you BELIEVE it? This is rare stuff, you know, not generally found in these parts..."
"I KNOW what it is, Rinni!" Gus roared, spitting the rival scientist's name with disgust. "Glorf, Petunia... get him into that pot!" The Grarrl turned to Petunia and Glorf, who readily obliged.
Rubbing an eye with his hoof, Rinni slowly remembered who these menacing characters were. This didn't help matters much, as he remembered them as friends. The Ogrin only watched as Petunia and Glorf approached. Gus stood behind, a smug smile playing across his face.
Seran, meanwhile, was swinging back and forth, back... and forth... the rope creaking in slight protest as she moved. Back, and forth, and there! She was right over the healing Eelmint. The Grarrls, too busy trying to cook Rinni, didn't notice as she repeatedly was introduced to the medical powers of the leaves bunched on the floor. Her eyes snapped open, slowly focusing.
"Rinn..." If her paw had been available to slap over her mouth, she would have. If she and her friend were to escape alive, she would have to plan fast. Details of their capture slowly came back to the swinging Chomby, hopefully fast enough to rescue her friend, now sitting bemused in the large silver pot carried by the murderous Grarrls...
Date: 11th January
..."Ah, this is a NICE bath," Rinni said, complimenting his captors. "If I'm not mistaken, do I detect a hint of honey blossom? It smells amazing and does WONDERS for the skin and fur. I suppose I do need a bath after falling into that mud hole..."
The Ogrin looked in the direction of the voice to finally see Seran, hanging upside-down. He swam over to the edge of the pot that was closest to her and tried to turn his head so that he could see her right side-up. "Wha'cha doing hanging like that?"
The Chomby put all of her cards on a final attempt to convince her friend one last time. She knew that he wasn't dumb... just a little too trusting. "The Grarrls hung me up-side-down. It hurts Rinni... why are they doing this to me?"
Rinni's smile faded when he saw tears in Seran's dusty lime eyes. Seran was forcing them a bit, but she knew no other way to grab the easily amused Ogrin's attention. "Seran, you're crying... you never cry..." He turned to Glorf, who was slowly lowering the pot over a roaring fire. Unfortunately, Rinni was so worried about Seran that he did not notice. "Glorf, why is Seran hung by her feet like that?"
"Don't ask Glorf! Get out of that cooking pot!" Seran yelled, become breathless from the effort.
"Cooking pot?" Rinni swam to the middle and looked around. He was indeed in a cooking pot. "Why did you not warn me before? I've got to get--"
Seran cursed herself for being late in her plan. Gus and Petunia together had lifted a large lid over the pot and now let it drop. While Rinni did not get squished, he was now stuck in a pot of rapidly heating water. The Grarrls laughed when they heard his muffled yelp of surprise.
"Rinni!" Seran called out in desperation.
Petunia turned to her. "Don't get so excited. The same thing is going to happen to you tomorrow!" Her harsh voice echoed in the Chomby's mind as the three of them stalked off, saying how they would come back when Rinni was "ready."
"Rinni!" Seran cried out again. "Rinni, can you hear me?"
She heard him alright, even if it did sound really muffled. "Seran, I have an idea, but we have to work quickly..."
Date: 12th January
..."Svink!" Rinni said, his voice coming from the pot.
"What?" Seran asked, her throat cracked and dry.
"SWING!" the Ogrin's muffled order came from under the top of the pot. Seran swung without even thinking about it. Suddenly she realised why the rope had been creaking -- the wood that held the rope was beginning to crack under her weight. She looked up, though her neck was getting extremely sore, and her eyes squinted with concentration. All Rinni could do was wait.
Seran screamed as she quickly fell to the ground. While falling, she felt a split second of happiness come over her; the happiness you feel when you're in midair and all your worries have been wiped away. Moments later she hit the ground hard, causing her spine to shiver with pain. She froze for a second, letting the pain soak into her body and sink away, but Rinni was calling her. She hastily got up and groaned from the pain that was screaming through her back.
"Rinni, what? What am I to d--"
"GET ME OUT!" the Ogrin screamed, finally coming to his senses. Seran was relieved that he had finally come to understand that he was in serious trouble, and she quickly tried to open the top of the pot. Putting her front two feet on each side of the lid, she then pulled up.
It was stuck.
Seran pulled as hard as she could, her eyes glazing with tears of frustration. Cold sweat ran down her face, and warm breath came from her lungs.
"Seran, what's wrong? Do you need help?" Renni didn't even wait for her reply. He pushed upward as hard as he could, the exploding water bubbles burning his skin. For once in his life he was completely focused on the task at hand. Working together, they pulled the top up, and the Ogrin flashed out of the boiling water. Seran couldn't take it any longer. She dropped the lid of the pot and a loud clanging sound rung through the room. They then heard the loud stomps of feet running through the house... and the sound was getting louder...
"Hide!" Rinni whispered in panic. They ran to hide behind a bookshelf, but when they tried to move it away from the wall so that they could crawl into the space, the wall behind them swung like a door. They now found themselves in another room, obviously a secret room...
Date: 12th January
...Seran looked around in dread fascination. There were cages everywhere, full of buzzing Petpetpets and other such creatures. Plants grew in glass containers, with mist fogging up their edges. This was a lab—the Grarrls' lab. Obviously all of their research, and the research they had stolen from rival scientists, was done here. Beyond the numerous labeled jars, files, books, and scribbled notes were a group of Neopets.
They sat against the wall, all staring at the ground. There was a Buzz, his wings sagging and eyes half-lidded. A Shoyru leaned against a stack of books -- her body limp. Lastly, a Bori lay on the ground, listlessly propped up on one paw. All of their eyes were so lifeless that Seran wanted to scream. Had she looked like that under the Sapwill's influence? "W-what is this place?" she whispered. The answer came to her almost instantly, though. The rival scientists had been disposed of, and the others were made into lab assistants... these were the assistants!
"Rinni," she hissed. "These must be the prisoners of those Grarrls! They've been forced to become their lab assistants, due to the influence of the Sapwill!" She waited for her friend's response, but there was none. Expecting a more dramatic reply than silence, she turned around.
"Wow, I've never seen that kind of plant before," Rinni muttered, staring at a jar intently.
"Ah, yes, what were we talking about?" Rinni had heard the panic and exasperation in Seran's voice and wisely scurried to her side. The Chomby groaned and pointed at the lab assistants. Rinni seemed to understand instantly.
"Those poor Neopets!" he gasped. "We simply MUST get them out of here! I say we organize a rescue effort!"
"Well put," Seran sighed. "If we want to wake them up, we'll need more of that Eelmint. There's got to be some of it around here... after all, this is a lab! Why don't you look for that and I'll see if I can't find a way out of here?"
Rinni nodded, serious for once. He had seen what those Grarrls could do, and once they'd seen that the rope had broken and the pot was empty, it was only a matter of time before they searched this place -- both Renni and Seran knew it. They had to find a way out of this place before time ran out.
Seran began by searching the wall where they had stumbled in. There she found a small lever. She guessed that if they pressed it, the door would open. However the Grarrls could be out there, too -- they would need a different exit. This one would have to be used as a last resort. She began to eye the other walls... perhaps one of them lead into another room in the house?
Five minutes later she had found no such exit and her heart was pounding. The situation was beginning to look a little more desperate. They needed a way out!
A voice made her jump. "Seran!" Rinni yelled, galloping around a bookshelf and skidding to a halt. He was sweating, although whether it was from panic or excitement, Seran couldn't exactly tell. "Seran, you have GOT to see this..."
Date: 13th January
..."Where are we going?" Seran asked as she followed him down rows of shelves. "This isn't going to be some Petpet-shaped rock is it?"
"Trust me, you'll want to see this," was Rinni's only reply. "Almost there. Just around here and--" he skidded to a halt in front of a large silver door. "Here."
"A way out?" Seran asked excitedly.
"No, it's better than that," Rinni said with a laugh. "You're never going to believe this..." he declared while opening the door.
"...Yeah, okay, I believe you promised me this wouldn't be a scientific oddity," Seran snapped, sick of Rinni's observations. "I'm not really in the mood to appreciate the natural beauty of a plain old greenhouse." That's all the room was; a little indoor bit of nature... extraordinary for a scientist, but not very helpful for a Grarrl's runaway dinner.
"This isn't what I wanted to show you," Rinni said, rolling his eyes, "Although it is QUITE a marvel that they were able to-- ahem, just come over here."
"This had better be good," Seran muttered, but she followed him through the miniature jungle without hesitation. She trusted Rinni... for the most part.
"Okay, here it is," Rinni said, having led Seran to a large clearing. "Hold your breath."
"Huh?" Seran was confused, but she knew enough to do as he said. Rinni also took a deep breath, then reached out to the curtain of vines hanging down from the trees. Slowly he pulled them apart.
"It's--" Seran gasped, then immediately regretted it when her head began to feel fuzzy. Rinni quickly dropped the curtain, which Seran could now see was really a plastic curtain with vines camouflaging it. With it down the Sapwill fumes could not reach the rest of the greenhouse.
"Sapwill," Rinni stated unnecessarily, "This is where they grow it. They've got enough here to... well, to sedate three Grarrls."
"Really..." a small smile began to grow on Seran's face, "I take it you have a plan?"
"Of course," Rinni was smiling as well, "And believe me, it's a WONDERFUL one."
* * * * *
The three Grarrls literally tore out of the kitchen. They stormed through the dining room, slashing at anything that might conceal their prisoners, but with no luck. They tried every room, but eventually they made their way back to the kitchen. They had to admit it: the kids had escaped.
"Dumb Chomby!" Petunia growled angrily, "Who's idea was it to tie her from the ceiling anyway?" She didn't wait for an answer, but continued ranting, "We should have just stuck her in the lab with the rest of them from the very--" Her eyes grew wide, "The lab!"
All three Grarrls leapt for the door, but Gus was the quickest. Sending the bookshelf flying with a single swipe, he burst into the lab.
"Where are you?" he roared, "I know you're in here!"
"AHHH!" Seran screamed, peeking out from behind a nearby bookshelf. "Rinni, they found us! RUN!" With that, she bounded away.
"Follow her!" Petunia snarled, but Gus didn't need the order. In seconds, the three Grarrls were knocking through the bookshelves, doing their best to keep up with the elusive Chomby.
"Rinni, faster!" she screamed to their right, causing the Grarrls to alter their course accordingly, only to have her scream in the distance to their left, "I think we're losing them!" They Grarrl trio ran around in circles, then circled those circles, then added another circle just for good measure. In a fairly short time the Grarrls had knocked over almost all the bookshelves in the lab, and were no nearer to locating the Chomby.
"Look, there's a door!" said a voice that came from just ahead of them. "That big silver one! Go in there!" The sound of a door being opened and then quickly shut soon followed.
"Got 'em," Glorf said with a laugh, striding confidently to the door. He threw it open and crashed inside.
"Huh? Where'd they go now?" Gus asked angrily.
"Ah-ah-achoo! Oh no..." Seran said, poking her head out from behind a tree, "RUN!"
The Grarrls laughed again, then charged.
After another grueling chase, they found themselves in a small clearing. "Which one is this again?" Petunia asked, looking around, "I've lost track of where we are."
"So have I," Glorf admitted, "More importantly, I've lost track of that kid."
"Wait! Quiet!" Gus ordered, cocking his head to the side. "Do you hear that?"
There was a rustling sound coming from the curtain of vines to their right. Without a thought, all three Grarrls lunged head first -- straight into the Sapwill plant. From high above them where he sat in a tree with his nose plugged, Rinni laughed.
* * * * *
"That was easy," Seran said as she sat beside the curtain, catching her breath with her friend. "Are we sure they're not about to storm out of there?"
"Quite certain," Rinni assured her. "Like I said, the uninstalled sapwill in there is very strong."
"Okay," Seran sighed, "We should probably go help the lab assistants, and then call the authorities to take these guys away..."
"Probably," Rinni agreed, "And we will, in a minute... but look!" He pointed excitedly at the ground beside him, "That clump of dirt looks just like those stupid Grarrls!"
Seran couldn't believe her ears. There was just no distracting Rinni.
"Wow," she said happily, "That is just FASCINATING!"
Date: 13th January
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