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||You are on Week 426
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 Four Hundred Twenty Six Ends Friday, August 21
"How much longer? How much longer?" Ceren asked for what seemed like the hundredth time in less than a minute. The Wocky was dancing from foot to foot as if she were walking on hot coals on a Mystery Island beach instead of standing in a queue for Usukicon in Neopia Central.
Her friend Ardale checked her watch with a sigh and said, "Only five more minutes, Ceren. Same as the last time you asked me."
Ceren gave a theatrical groan, her face crumpling as if Ardale had said they had another whole year to wait before the doors were opened.
Ardale laughed. "Oh, Ceren! I've never seen anyone get as excited about Usukis as you do!"
"Anyone who doesn't get excited about Usukis is wrong. Besides, it's my first Usukicon! When I lived in the Lost Desert, it took ages to hear all the Usuki news from Usukicon," Ceren declared. "What do you think the new Usukis will be this year? And what about the new playsets? I wish they'd make a Shenkuu one, maybe based on Princess Lunara, wouldn't that be pretty?" Slowly, the Wocky began hopping from foot to foot with excitement again as she talked.
Her Poogle friend just shook her head. "Don't forget, Ceren, we have to set up the display of your collection. Wasn't that one of the reasons you wanted to come to Usukicon -- so you could show off your massive collection?"
Ceren waved her paw dismissively. "Those old things?" she asked, giving one of the boxes full of her prized Usuki dolls a thump with her foot. "Maybe you could set them up while I take a look around and check out the new Usukis... oh look! They're finally opening the doors!"
Overcome with excitement, Ceren took off toward the door, leaving Ardale to struggle with the boxes of Usukis. The Poogle eventually managed to stack them up and carry them toward the entrance, but she could barely see over the top of them. Unable to see what was in front of her, Ardale bumped hard into another Neopet and had to juggle the boxes to keep from dropping them. As bored as Ceren seemed with them right now, she'd never forgive Ardale if any of her precious dolls were damaged.
"Excuse me, I... Ceren? I thought you were going to look at the new Usukis. Ceren, are you OK? What's wrong?"
The Wocky didn't make any answer; she just raised a shaking paw to point at what the opening doors had revealed...
Author: Usuki Pro or Usuki Con?|
Date: Aug 17th
More furry little dolls than Ceren could ever have imagined, all in the same room. Even from outside, she could already identify the Usukis that she didn't possess in her collection.
Usukicon was everything she had hoped for and more. The sparkling banners, the life-sized Usuki figures, even the Usuki shopkeeper stood proudly near the doors, hoping to sell some of her precious dolls to the avid fans.
Meanwhile, Ardale stood clutching at the mass of boxes she'd been forced to carry, but managed to take a look past them to see the inside. She opened her mouth to try and persuade Ceren to snap out of her abstraction, but was instantly cut off.
Ceren squealed. Not just any squeal -- a squeal of immensely high decibels. Pets around her clutched their ears at her high-pitched excitement, and Ardale could only squint her eyes in pain.
"Look at it, Ardale," Ceren managed to squeak. "Isn't it just beautiful?"
Ardale raised an eyebrow. "You obviously don't get out much, do you, Ceren?" she replied with a smirk.
Ceren shot her friend a glare, before quickly looking back at Usukicon. She couldn't bear to look away for more than a second.
"So, lets go inside. I need to set up your Usukis before I collapse."
"Just make sure that my Ballerina Usuki is right at the front. That's my rarest one," Ceren said, and ran off, lost in the crowds.
Ardale sighed. She could tell this was going to be a very long day. The Poogle heaved the boxes inside, past pets dressed up as the Magical Hair Usuki, and glass cases containing still boxed mint condition dolls.
She finally found a table with Ceren's name on a piece of paper on its top. Ardale dropped the boxes next to the table as carefully as she could and took a sigh of relief.
Neopets around her were also starting to set up their collections, all beaming with pride.
Ardale opened the box and shook her head at the mass of Usuki dolls she saw in it. Ceren had quite the collection.
It would take some time for it all to be set up. Ardale shrugged, deciding to start with the Ballerina Usuki. After all, it was Ceren's prize possession.
She pushed aside a Prom Date Usuki, Usuki sunglasses, and the Usuki dream car -- but no ballerina was in sight.
Ardale sighed and opened the second box -- no Ballerina Usuki. By the time she'd searched the remaining two boxes, panic struck her face.
Could I have possibly dropped it, she thought to herself. The boxes had looked sturdy enough. Maybe Ceren had left it at home and forgotten about it.
Ardale looked around the hall nervously, before her glance settled on a Blumaroo next to her who was wearing the same panicked look.
He looked like he was on the edge of tears, as he exclaimed, "Where has my Ballerina Usuki gone...?"
Date: Aug 17th
From Ardale's other side came the confused and panicked muttering of a young Ruki, who was frantically searching through her own storage containers while pausing often to rake back the golden braids of the Fair Maiden Usuki wig she wore.
"OK, here's the comb and the ballet shoes. Check. One white tutu. Check. One pink tutu. Check. But where is she? Where... hello... what's this now?"
Ardale strained her neck to see what had caught the Ruki's attention in the very bottom of her last box. As she stretched to the very tips of her Poogle toes, placing her own face very close to the Ruki's, a high-pitched scream once again set her ears to ringing. After shaking her head to clear it of its tintinnabulation, Ardale spied the object in the Ruki's quivering hand.
Pink tutu... pointe shoes... Ardale thought to herself as the object came into clearer focus. What's the big deal? She found her ballerina with the golden hair and green skin... green skin?! The Poogle gave her head another cleansing shake and concentrated even harder on the small doll that the Ruki was now violently shaking in her clenched hand, an action that was turning the braids on her wig into golden, pinwheeling menaces that forced Ardale to take a few protective steps backward.
No sooner had she bumped into Ceren's display table than a keening wail started up from her other side, and she spun her head in time to see the Blumaroo pulling doll after doll out of his boxes, each wearing a pristine and colourful costume, each sporting huge, bulging eyes and crooked, playful smirks. Most shockingly of all, however, Ardale noted that doll after doll boasted sickly green skin.
"What is going on?" Ardale asked the Blumaroo. "Didn't you bring any Usukis with you?"
The Blumaroo turned slowly toward her, and his face was pale and drained of colour. Too horrified to reply, he simply pointed a wavering finger in the direction of Ceren's boxes.
Ardale sniffed dismissively: after all, she had just looked in those boxes, and although she had been unable to find the Ballerina Usuki, she had noted nothing was out of the ordinary with the rest of the collection.
The Poogle dramatically reached down into the box closest to her and pulled out a doll to wave in the Blumaroo's face, but it was now her turn to have the blood drain from her features. She felt suddenly dizzy as she turned the doll toward her own eyes to look at the yellow and green pompoms, the two-piece green outfit with a bright yellow "Q" on the chest, the pretty green ribbons in the golden hair, and those bulging eyes, the crooked, playful smile and the sickly amphibian green skin.
"I... I don't understand what's going on," Ardale said to no one in particular, being, from the sporadic shouts and cries coming from every corner, vaguely aware that every single Usuki fan in the hall was experiencing the same thing. "This was a Cheerleader Usuki, these were all Usukis when I helped Ceren pack this morning."
Ardale suddenly panicked at the thought of how her friend would react to the news, but a long, shattering, and discordant note of feedback filled the hall over the loudspeaker system and interrupted these thoughts. When the grating noise cleared, a sound echoed throughout the room, a throat-clearing half-cough of a sound, which instantly caught the attention of all those assembled, hysterical over their transformed collections.
After the throat clearing, a voice said...
Date: Aug 17th
"Testing, one two, one two, testing -- is this working? Can you hear me?" The voice then cleared its throat again, a kind of harrumphing sound. "Well, until I have reason to believe otherwise, I'll assume that you can hear me. And hear me you should, for I have a dire message of incredible weight, magnitude, and significance! And I shall announce this message right now, with no further ado! The message is this! The upcoming shall be the message! Do not stop listening, for the important message is about to be delivered by me! As soon as I can find the notecards I wrote it on..." Here the voice trailed off and the sound of shuffling papers came over the loudspeaker system.
Ardale wrinkled her brow in confusion. Whoever this mysterious voice belonged to, they didn't seem very organised.
"Ah! Here they are!" spoke the voice. "Terribly sorry for the delay. Anyway, the message. Here it is. I am now delivering it to you. Here we go. I'm beginning now. Are you ready? I hope you're ready, because if you aren't, you'll be missing my very important message!"
"Get on with it!" chorused the collective voices of everybody in the convention hall.
Apparently the owner of the strange voice could hear their admonition from wherever he was broadcasting, as he quickly responded to it.
"Sorry, sorry, I'll say it now. Harrumph! 'Attention, attendees! You may have noticed that some strange aberrations have taken place. Specifically, involving your Usukis. Your Usukis have been abberrated!' Wait a minute, is that a word? 'Abberrated'?" the voice questioned, seeming to stray from his script. The pet speaking quickly regained its composure, however, and continued.
"No matter! Let me continue with my message of great importance, which I have previously described to you and recently began to read to you. The message continues: 'You will notice that your Usukis have been transformed into dramatic pause Quigukis!' Oh, shoot, hold on, I wasn't supposed to say 'dramatic pause,' I was supposed to do it. Let me try again. 'Your Usukis have been transformed into... Quigukis!'"
"Yeah, we can see that!" came an indignant shout from the assembled pets.
"Quiet, you!" retorted the voice. "As I was saying: '...Quigukis! No longer shall these green-skinned wonders play second fiddle to their Usul counterparts. Soon, all of Neopia shall realise the beauty and wonder that lies within their lovely yellow eyes and their warty countenance, when I transform every Usuki into a Quiguki. All shall tremble before my might and...'" The sound of shuffling papers resumed. "'...In 41 BN, the kingdom of Meridell increased the marrow tax from four to five Neopoints per pound --' Wait, that's the wrong notecard; that one's from my school report, 'On Fluctuations in Marrow Production, Taxation, and Consumption in the Pre-Skarlian Reign.' I got a B+ on it. Hang on, let me find the right card. Ah, here it is! ' -- power! And all shall know my name, and cower at the sound of it! For I am... Quincy! Quincy the quick! Quincy the quirky! Quincy the querulous! Quincy the questionably sane! Quincy... the Quiggle! Muahahahaha!" And with a click, the transmission was over.
The pets in the convention hall were silent, the expressions on their faces ranging from bemusement to horror to confusion to hunger. (A few of them had skipped breakfast.) But there was one face that wore a very specific expression. It was the expression that a small blue Wocky who had just returned from ogling the new arrivals to find her beloved collection of Usukis Quigukified possesses.
As you have no doubt guessed, that expression belonged to Ceren. Her lips trembled and tears threatened to fall from the corners of her eyes. Finally, she opened her mouth and uttered the words that broke the sudden silence...
Date: Aug 18th
"How could this happen?"
The word fell like a bomb on the convention room floor, spreading from Neopet to Neopet until all were either sobbing, tearing up, or getting extremely angry at Quincy.
The tears that had threatened to fall plopped one by one into Ceren's paws as she buried her face into them. "How could this happen?" she asked again.
Ardale walked over to her friend, putting an arm around her for comfort. "I don't know," she murmured softly, "but I intend to find out."
Placing two hooves on the cluttered table, a Uni leaned back in his chair, which threatened to tip over. On top of the desk was a microphone, which he had used to declare his reign over all Quigukis.
It was actually quite simple to get access to the microphone -- all he had to do was walk (stumble, actually, because he had tripped up the stairs) into the control centre of the Usukicon, tell the Skeith guard that there was a cake in the meeting room (which there wasn't -- there were actually donuts, but the Uni didn't think it would matter), and sit down in the chair and give his speech (though the chair wasn't very comfortable, he had to admit).
Sure, the overall giving of the speech wasn't too smooth, but he had gotten the point across, right? Right. He had also gotten in the fact that he had gotten a B+ on his report, but that was beside the matter. All that mattered was that he had stayed enough to script for no one to be mad at him -- except the Usuki fans, of course.
Suddenly the door behind the Uni opened wide, causing him to turn around to see...
Date: Aug 18th
A blue Wocky harbouring an expression that would have had Dr. Sloth running to his mama crying out for a cookie and his blankie, no doubt. Behind her stood a Poogle wearing the same angry expression, but containing perhaps less blood lust.
"What. Have. You. Done?!" the Wocky screeched furiously at a volume certainly ten times louder then he believed a thing her size was capable of. Anger-induced tears fell swiftly down her blue-furred cheeks, and her eyes were a mixture of intense fury and desperation.
The Uni raised an eyebrow. "I turned all the Usukis into Quigukis, of course. Did you not notice? I really hate repeating myself," he stated matter-of-factly.
"Yes, I KNOW you destroyed my prized Usuki collection, I've figured that one out myself, thanks!" she seethed, the tears still falling relentlessly.
The Uni shrugged. "That's what you get for trying to help someone." He sighed theatrically.
"HOW?!" Ceren was abruptly shouting again. "How can we change them back?!" Her tone reflected her desperation to be reunited with her precious collection, though her expression was a hard, unyielding mask of anger and determination.
Ardale put a reassuring paw on Ceren's shoulder. Ceren's eyes were like daggers, glaring fiercely at the Uni.
The Uni conspicuously scooted to the left, trying, in a very obvious fashion, to hide something -- though he wasn't conscious of his quite plainly answering Ceren's rhetorical question. In fact, he was quite proud of his sly, cunning concealment of the large mechanism that was draped with an ostentatious neon-yellow cloth.
An invisible ghost himself couldn't have done a better job of hiding an object. It's in such perfect cooperation with its environment, perfectly camouflaged, practically invisible! he thought to himself proudly, glancing around at the dull, generic colours that covered the walls and furniture.
Against its colourless background, the blinding yellow sheet couldn't have been more prominent....
There's no possible way they could discover the tool of my treasury, hiding right under that concealing sheet! he thought, scooting closer to the sheet-covered item. He glowed with pride at his ingenious cunning and brilliance.
"We should try under that sheet," Ardale whispered in Ceren's ear.
Ceren nodded a tiny nod of agreement. "On three," she murmured back, too quietly for the Uni to hear, who was till shuffling noisily closer to his sheet-covered object.
"Three!" Ceren shouted, shooting forward, her hand outstretched. She could hear Ardale struggling to keep the Uni at bay as she charged forward with cold determination.
With sure, quick fingers, she pulled back the neon cloth to reveal...
Date: Aug 19th
... a tiny robot Usul, who who blinked up at them with curiosity in her eyes. She shifted in place, as if the position she'd been in had been cramping her circuit-made muscles, and she yawned, a mechanical noise escaping from her mouth.
"Function complete?" she asked in a voice that couldn't possibly come from anything alive.
"Function complete," stated the Uni, before either Ceren or Ardale could say anything. The Usul's red, glowing eyes flashed a few times, and then started to fade.
"No!" shouted the Poogle. "Function incomplete! Function incomplete!"
"It's too late," said the Uni, sounding smug as the robot became as still as a statue. "She only responds to my voice, or to the voices of my superiors."
Ceren, her wide eyes furious, whipped around and glared at the Uni for all it was worth -- which, in this case, were her Usukis.
"You. Turn. Her. On. NOW!"
All of the colour drained out of their captive's face, and he immediately turned toward the Usul, telling it to wake up in a high, nervous voice. Ardale was impressed. She didn't know that her friend could be this forceful. Then again, this was practically a life or death situation in the Wocky's eyes.
The robot immediately started to glow again and shook as it booted up, her red eyes shining creepily.
"Fully charged and ready to function. What are your orders?"
"U-Um... restore all Quigukis to their proper form?" said the Uni, his order more of a question. The Usul shifted in place, and a few clicks filled the air.
"What's it doing?" asked Ceren suspiciously.
"A-Accomplishing its ordered task," said the Uni weakly.
It beeped twice more, and then there was a horrible noise. It sounded incredibly like the ancient Virtupets computers when they were first starting to make their technology, a loud cacophony of noises fluctuating back and forth.
"Error. Task cannot be completed."
"What? Why not?"
"404 Error. File Not Found..."
Date: Aug 19th
For a few seconds no one said anything, but then Ceren completely lost it.
"What?!" she shrieked hysterically. "My Usukis mean more to me than anything else in the world, and you just turned them all into hideous Quigukis, and now you think that you can just tell me that there's an error?"
After she finished her rant the Wocky took the robot Usuki and threw it down on the floor. Pieces of metal and wires smashed across the room.
"No!" shouted both Ardale and the Uni.
"Ceren, what were you thinking? That might have been the only way we could have saved the Usukis," Ardale scolded.
As Ceren heard these words she did what she had been holding in this whole ordeal: she cried. Tears poured from her eyes and dampened her fur while she wailed like a Weewoo with something in its throat.
Seeing this intense display of emotion, the Uni began to feel somewhat guilty about what he had done.
He knelt down beside her and said, "I'm really sorry, I didn't realise how much those Usukis meant to you."
Ceren simply continued to sob while Ardale watched helplessly.
The Uni continued, "Maybe Quincy can turn your Usukis back. This was all his idea, and if we ask him he might-"
"No, Roderick, I would not," came a smooth, icy voice from the doorway.
All eyes looked in the direction to see a tall elegant Quiggle standing in the doorway. He wore a black cape and had the deepest frown that Ardale had ever seen in her life.
"I gave you a simple task: Use the robot to transform all of the Usukis and give my message, yet you are still here and telling this girl that I might return her despicable Usukis," the Quiggle sniffed.
"How dare you say something like that?!" Ceren hissed as she lunged at the arrogant Quiggle.
She was restrained by Roderick, the Uni, as the Quiggle continued, "Usukis are the most wretched things in all of Neopia, yet some adore them. I, Quincy the Quiggle, shall no longer let the majestic Quigukis hide in the shadow of the Usukis, and now there is nothing that you can do to stop me..."
Date: Aug 20th
"And why should you get to decide what makes others happy?" Ceren screamed at the smugly grinning Quiggle. "You can't make anyone like Quigukis, no matter how much you like them! I'd rather play with a piece of dung than with a Quiguki -- what do you think of that?"
Ardale sighed and pinched her brow with frustration. When would Ceren ever learn how to keep her emotions in check? To make matters worse, that sneaky Uni Roderick had let go of Ceren's other arm, leaving Ardale to try to restrain her friend all by herself. The Poogle leaned to look behind Ceren's back at what the Uni was doing -- he appeared to be scrabbling around on the floor, probably trying to prostrate himself before his master Quincy.
The Quiggle's eyes gleamed dangerously at Ceren's words and he said in a cold voice, "Who said I cared anything about others liking Quigukis? Who's to say that I don't just want to make everyone who made me miserable for so many years just as miserable?"
"You monster!" Ceren shrieked, but Ardale just rolled her eyes.
"Did it ever occur to you that even those who like Usukis and dislike Quigukis might not feel the same way about Usuls and Quiggles? You're a Quiggle, not a Quiguki," she said.
Quincy blinked uncertainly but quickly recovered himself. "I don't care. You think you're so clever, don't you? What if I just enjoy the sound of hundreds of selfish, greedy little Usuki lovers crying? Oh, it's like music!" he said mockingly, giving a derisive smirk at the sight of Ceren's still-flowing tears.
"Psst! Psst! Hey, Poogle girl!"
Ardale glanced down in surprise, distracted momentarily from her struggle with Ceren, to find Roderick crouched beside her. "What?!" she whispered. "Help me!"
He held a piece of the broken robotic Usuki in his hoof. "I think there's enough of the processor left to make it work again..."
"Then fix this so my friend here will stop freaking out, please!"
The Uni tossed his head. "It's not as simple as that. I'll have to reprogram it to be an de-Quigukifier... or an Usukifier, I guess you'd call it. Or maybe a Mobile Usukification Unit, or..."
A particularly violent wriggle from Ceren nearly pulled Ardale off her feet, and she impatiently hissed, "Get on with it!" at the wibbling Uni.
"What? Oh, right. Sorry. Anyway, I think I can reprogram it, but it needs to be activated by a remote control. I never really understood the need for that; I mean, an emergency shut-off switch on the unit would really come in handy, but Quincy said that..."
"So why don't you just use the remote?!" Ardale snapped.
"Well, see, that's the thing... the remote's hidden somewhere on Quincy, so someone will have to get it from him..."
Date: Aug 20th
"That's just dandy, and how are we supposed to--" Ardale cut herself off as she was struck by a sudden idea while still holding on to her struggling friend.
She took one look at the smug grin plastered on the Quiggle's face, and turned toward the fuming Wocky. "Ceren. You aren't just going to let him get away with this, are you? All your time and effort, your hard-earned Neopoints, he took away your prized possessions and turned them in to disgusting, foul, detestable monsters." With every adjective she emphasised, Quincy's frown deepened and Ceren's fury rose. "He had no right to do that."
This made the Quiggle chuckle, only serving to intensify Ceren's anger, which was precisely what Ardale wanted.
"And we aren't going to let him get away with it, are we?" Ardale cried, pumping her friend up.
"No way!" Ceren yelled, and Ardale let her grip on Ceren go and watched as her Wocky friend, fueled with Usuki frenzy, lunged toward the Quiggle.
Quincy's smile lingered, but was quickly replaced by confusion and shock as this small Neopet, who was surprisingly strong, pushed him to the floor and he was knocked off balance. "Give me my Usukis back!" Ceren shouted furiously.
The remote slid out of the Quiggle's pocket as he hit the floor, and it skidded across the ground, landing at the Uni's feet. "I got it!" Roderick cried, picking it up.
Ardale had joined her friend in trying to restrain Quincy and managed to gasp, "Well use it, you nitwit!"
"Oh right, uh, here goes," and he pressed one of the buttons.
A large beam of light illuminated the small room, and a laser zapped through the air straight toward the group of three struggling Neopets.
Ardale and Ceren saw it a second early and managed to jump out of the way, but Quincy, surprised by their sudden departure of restraint, was hit squarely in the chest.
A small flash of light momentarily blinded them and when it subsided, they dared to take a peek.
In the spot where the tall elegant Quiggle once stood was a much shorter Usul, a black cape billowing meekly around his neck.
Ardale, Ceren, and Roderick all stood transfixed, looked at each other, and then in unison, burst out laughing.
"Stop laughing this instant!" Quincy the Usul piped in a high squeaky voice.
They heard a loud chorus of delight issue from the Usukicon down below.
"I guess it worked. But what happened there?" Ardale asked, gesturing toward the small red-faced Usul.
"Well, I'd never tried re-Usukifying anything before, so I guess it malfunctioned and mistook him for a Quiguki?" the Uni said with a shrug.
"Give me that remote!" the high-pitched voice ordered.
There came the sound of crunching metal, and everyone turned to look at Ceren, who was smiling in satisfaction, the broken remote lying at her feet.
Ardale put down the last of the boxes and watched as Ceren started unpacking her Usuki dolls, now restored back to their proper form, and arranging them neatly on their shelves in her bedroom once more.
"So, what did you think of your first Usukicon?" Ardale asked.
Ceren sighed. "I don't think I'll be too heartbroken if we decide not to go next year."
Ardale grinned scanning the collection. "Hey, where's your Ballerina Usuki? It wasn't lost after all, was it?" she asked incredulously.
"No," Ceren said absentmindedly. "I sold it."
"What? Why would you do that?"
The Wocky shuffled her feet. "To buy this," she said hesitantly, lifting the green-skinned, pompom-sporting, crooked-smiling doll wearing a large letter Q out of the box. "They are kind of cute, in a way."
Date: Aug 21st
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