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||You are on Week 654
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 Fifty Four Ends Friday, May 2
|"And this is a flute." Mrs. Willis, the elderly Ogrin held the silver metal instrument out to Lavendar, a purple Xweetok, pride shining on her face. "I played a solo with it during a concert in Faerieland for Queen Fyora's birthday."
Lavendar tentatively reached out a hand to touch it, marvelling at the smooth shape and feel of the instrument. "Wow! Can you still play it?"
The Ogrin fingered the keys, then said, "I reckon I can. Why don't you have a seat?" She motioned to the small, bright yellow ottoman under the window.
"Okay." Lavendar sat down on the ottoman, crossing her legs and watching Mrs. Willis as the Ogrin rummaged around in a stack of sheet music.
"Ah, here we go, here's the solo I played at Fyora's birthday concert." She drew out a thin piece of paper, setting it on the black music stand in the middle of the room.
Lavendar waited breathlessly on the ottoman as the Ogrin lifted the instrument up to her mouth, moved it to a comfortable spot, and blew. The first notes were soft and delicate, but after a few measures, they spiralled upward in a long run. They then danced and leaped -- loud, soft, high, low -- in a haunting melody that sent shivers up Lavendar's spine. For a long time she sat there, her eyes glazed and unfocused as she listened.
Mrs. Willis repeated the piece several times before finally ending with a high, piercing note that faded away into nothingness. Lavendar sat in silence for a moment before she burst from the ottoman, clapping heartily. "Wow, Mrs. Willis, that was beautiful!"
The Ogrin smiled happily. "Thank you, Lavendar," she said, taking the music off the stand and setting it back where it had been before. She then began dismantling the flute. "Would you like to learn how to play flute? I could teach you."
"Really?!?" Lavendar gasped.
"Of course, but ask your ma first," Mrs. Willis replied. "Speaking of which, why don't you hurry home? Your ma's probably waiting."
Lavendar nodded. "Okay... thank you for letting me come over." She grabbed her coat and hurried out the front door, waving and smiling over her shoulder. "Bye, Mrs. Willis!" She ran across the street to her own white house.
She burst through the door, shouting, "Mom! Mom! Mrs. Willis said she'd teach me flute and she played for me and--" Lavendar broke off. The house seemed forlorn and empty, and she couldn't hear anything but her own breathing. She ran into the kitchen, half expecting to see her mother, a pink Xweetok, standing at the counter. Instead, all she saw was a white envelope lying on the table. She snatched it up with shaking hands and tore it open, yanking the paper out.
Date: Apr 28th
...Lavendar, I have gone to the store. Please tidy your room while I am gone.
Lavendar sighed, releasing her pent up excitement. Mom won't be back for an hour, so it seems like...*sigh* might as well go tidy my room, Lavendar thought to herself.
Lavendar skipped down the hall, thinking of all the exciting songs she would learn to play and all the exciting places she would go to perform. She burst through her door with renewed vigor and jumped on her bed.
The she was, on stage, with thousands of adoring fans before her. She yelled to the crowd, "Are you ready..."
Date: Apr 28th
..."Ready for what?"
Lavendar's beautiful vision was shattered as a familiar nosy Xweetok poked her face around the door.
"Go away, Violett!" the Xweetok growled down at her older sister. "I'm busy!" Violett only ever bothered to come to Lavendar's room when she wanted to force her to do something or when she wanted to pick on her. Whichever it was going to be today, Lavendar didn't want to know. She was in too good of a mood to have it ruined now!
"Don't be so rude to your dear sister," Violett said in mock dismay. She then gave a worrying smirk. "Mom said you have to tidy your room, by the way, so you'd better not just be messing around."
"I know that! Leave me alone!" Lavendar huffed. Violett grinned, looking satisfied by that reaction.
"Well, whatever. I have to get ready for REAL band practice now, so I'll see you later."
"What's that supposed to mean?!?" Lavendar prickled with embarrassment.
The Xweetok waited until her sister had left the room before letting out another big sigh. Why did she always have to act so spoilt and mean? Every time Lavendar got excited about something, Violett would shoot her down.
At that moment, Mrs. Willis's beautiful flute-playing burst into Lavendar's mind. Could she learn to play like that one day? Could she really become as amazing as Mrs. Willis? That'd show Violett a thing or two! Then, after that, she'd get better and better, and then even show the world! The Xweetok beamed as she imagined herself on stage again.
Filled with a newfound energy, Lavendar leaped off her bed and began to tidy her room, humming Mrs. Willis's flute song as she did so...
Date: Apr 29th
...She had nearly finished tidying her room, still humming Mrs. Willis's song, when she heard the front door open and close. Lavendar dropped the plushies she was holding and bounded energetically out of her room.
"Hi, Mom!" she shouted, nearly colliding with the pretty pink Xweetok. Her mother put the grocery bags on the dining room table.
"You're certainly in a good mood today," she commented, smiling. "Where's Violett?" She took a loaf of bread out of one bag, putting it in a cupboard.
"Band practice." Lavendar frowned slightly, her cheerful spirits deflating for a second. She then grinned again. "By the way, I visited Mrs. Willis today--"
"Lavendar, please help me put the groceries away," her mother interrupted her. Lavendar frowned again, but she peered into one of the bags and pulled out some omelettes. She then stowed them in the fridge.
"Did you tidy your room like I asked you to?" the pink Xweetok asked. Lavendar nodded.
"Yeah, but what I was going to say was that I went to Mrs. Willis's house today--" she began, but her mother interrupted her again.
"What about those clothes I put on your bed? Did you put them away?" When Lavendar nodded again, she said, "Good girl. Now, what were you going to say?"
"I visited Mrs. Willis today, and she played her flute for me," Lavendar explained, excitement bubbling up again. "She said that she would teach me if you said it was okay. Can I, Mom?"
There was a brief silence. Her mother looked at her. "I didn't know you were interested in the flute, Lavendar."
"I liked it a lot," she replied.
There was another long silence. Lavendar flicked her tail in anxiety as she waited for her mother's reply...
Date: Apr 29th
...Her mom's features were serious. "Well..." The other Xweetok pursed and un-pursed her lips as she deliberated. "It's not going to be easy, you know. Learning a musical instrument takes time and practice." She paused, giving Lavendar a long look. "Are you prepared for that?" she asked gravely.
Lavendar nodded. Violett, her sister, had taken years to get to where she was now with the clarinet. She understood that skill wasn't something that developed overnight. "Yes! I can do that," Lavendar said, taking her tone from her mom's. Inwardly, however, she squealed. Her mom was considering it.
Her mother offered her a slight smile. "Well, then, I don't see why not. Mrs. Willis is a lovely lady and an old family friend. I'm sure she'll be a wonderful teacher." She placed the last of the omelettes in the fridge and turned, business-like, before moving to put a loaf away.
Lavendar's excitement shifted into elation. "I think she'll be a wonderful teacher, too." Bouncing toward her mom, Lavendar wrapped her in a hug. "Thank you, mom. Really." She made to turn away a moment later but a paw stopped her. Something was flickering in her mother's pink eyes.
"Wait, Lavendar," her mom told her, leaning against the now-bare kitchen bench. "As you know, my mom -- your grandmother -- was great friends with Mrs. Willis."
"Yeah." Lavendar had heard this many times before. "I know."
"They played the flute together," her mom went on and Lavendar blinked, pausing. She hadn't known that about the two. That was pretty cool. "I've still got her flute, actually," her mom noted. "You could use it, Lavendar. After all, you can't use Mrs. Willis's all the time, and you may want to practise at home."
A grin stretched Lavendar's mouth. "Awesome. Where is it?" While daydreaming, she hadn't paid much attention to the flute she'd be using in the future she'd seen, yet Lavendar couldn't help but think that it would be amazing if she had a flute that she could call her very own. One that, like Mrs. Willis's, she could tell stories about when she was older.
Her mother beckoned and she followed her to the attic. Running a claw along a shelf, her mom came to a stop in front of a large cardboard box. As Lavendar moved to her side, her mom brushed away the thick dust and lifted out a smaller box. Passing the velvet case to Lavendar, she gave Lavendar an expectant look.
The instrument within was silver, like Mrs Willis's, but the keys were different, more ornately shaped. Cool to the touch, it fit snugly in Lavendar's paws. The connection she felt to it was instant, almost magical. This was the flute that she wanted to own.
Her mom dusted off her paws before preceding Lavendar back down the stairs. "Come on, Lavendar," she urged, cutting short her reverie. "It's almost time to prepare dinner."
"Yes, mom," Lavendar replied, though her thoughts again drifted. She couldn't wait to see Mrs. Willis's face when she showed up at her doorstep the next day...
Date: Apr 30th
...In fact, she was so excited that she hardly slept that night. School the next day was practically unbearable; Lavender was reprimanded by her teacher on more than one occasion for tapping her feet so impatiently.
When the last bell finally rang, she raced home, grabbed her grandmother’s flute, and skipped over to Mrs. Willis's house, knocking on the front door probably more enthusiastically than she should.
"Mrs. Willis, hi!" Lavender cried breathlessly as soon as the elderly Ogrin answered the door. "My mother said it was okay if I came over for flute lessons!" She said this all in one breath.
Mrs. Willis chuckled. "Slow down, dear. We have plenty of time. Come in so we can get started."
Lavender prattled away about how her day had gone and how glad she was that her mother had agreed to let her learn the flute. Mrs. Willis listened dutifully, as the old are wont to do, and offered Lavender a small snack before they began.
"...and my mom told me that you played the flute with my grandmother, which I didn't know."
Mrs. Willis nodded. "Yes. That was many, many years ago."
"She even let me have my grandmother's flute," Lavender said through a mouthful of cookies. She hoisted the velvet case onto the coffee table and opened the box to show Mrs. Willis the silver instrument, which looked rather large in her small Xweetok hands. "Isn't it pretty? Mrs. Willis?"
Lavender's smile faltered as she saw the peculiar look that had come over Mrs. Willis's face as she gazed down at the flute...
Date: Apr 30th
...A strange, faraway look lit her dark eyes as an odd smile adorned her face. "Melinda," she whispered softly as she reached a trembling paw toward the delicate silver flute. "I never thought I'd see you again."
"Melinda?" Lavendar repeated. "Who's Melinda?"
Mrs. Willis chuckled softly. "Your grandmother and I were more than just friends," she explained. "We were best friends -- almost sisters, in fact. We both loved to play the flute, so we saved up enough money to buy sister flutes." The elderly Ogrin shuffled across the room to retrieve a flute that was sitting in a place of honor -- on a stand that was on a shelf -- and brought it over to the young Xweetok.
While it wasn't precisely identical to Lavendar's flute, the two instruments were definitely crafted by the same individual. "We named our flutes," Mrs. Willis continued. "Your grandmother's flute was called Melinda and mine was Belinda. Look here and you can see that they have been monogrammed."
Lavendar looked and saw that there was, indeed, a tiny M on her flute and a matching B on the one held by Mrs. Willis. "I was wondering about the M," she admitted. "I didn't know why Grandma Amethyst would have the letter M on her flute."
Mrs. Willis nodded. "Yes, those were our flutes' names," she said as her eyes took a new sparkle, "but there was more to the story of our flutes than just that." She leaned forward as if telling a great secret. "Apart, our flutes could make beautiful music," she whispered, "but if we played the same song together, something magical happened."
"What?" Lavendar asked as her eyes grew wide.
Mrs. Willis chuckled. "I could tell you," she stated, "but it would be better to show you. Come on. It's time you learned to play that flute."...
Date: May 1st
...By the end of the week, Lavendar's natural-born talent for flute playing was quite evident to Mrs. Willis and Lavendar's family. Her grandmother Amethyst's talent was like a seed steadily growing inside of her. Lavendar progressed so quickly that she was playing short pieces three days after her first lesson. She practiced diligently, spending endless hours in her room, daydreaming about playing for Queen Fyora and all of Neopia.
"Now Lavendar, please demonstrate the Piece of Eternal Happiness," Mrs. Willis instructed, adjusting her glasses. Lavendar nodded, putting the mouthpiece of the flute up to her mouth. She then placed her Xweetok fingers on the correct keys and began blowing gently into the beautiful instrument. Lavendar's flawless notes seemed to hang in the air, as if floating on faerie wings, swooping up and down and enchanting the room.
Lavendar was halfway through the piece when she heard another airy, metallic set of sounds twin hers. Lavendar opened her eyes to find that Mrs. Willis had joined in the song.
The sound of the adjoined flutes was magical. That was the only word Lavendar could find to describe the song. She then remembered Mrs. Willis' words from the first lesson: "Apart, our flutes could make beautiful music, but if we played the same song together, something magical happened."
All of a sudden, Lavendar felt Melinda vibrate in her Xweetok paws. A strange amethyst light then filled the instrument and poured out of every interstice...
Date: May 1st
...Startled, Lavendar almost stopped playing. The light flickered for an instant as her fingers fumbled for the correct keys. She then glanced over and caught the expression on Mrs. Willis's face. The Ogrin was not exactly smiling as she continued playing her own part of the piece, but there was a definite twinkle in her eye.
So, this is what she expected to happen, Lavendar thought. What's going on? With renewed confidence, not to mention an insatiable sense of curiosity, the young Xweetok found her place in the music and resumed the beautiful melody.
As the notes soared and trilled, the light and vibration returned with renewed intensity. Glancing over at Mrs. Willis again, Lavendar noticed the same amethyst glow emanating from Belinda. The light from both flutes grew continually brighter and more vibrant, bathing the Ogrin's living room in brilliant amethyst, violet, lavender, and dozens of other shades of purple the Xweetok couldn't even name.
As the piece drew to a close, Lavendar felt a calm, peaceful feeling settle over her. There was a final note, high and clear and pure, which faded into a decrescendo, and then it was over. She stood with closed eyes, breathing deeply for a moment, before lowering her flute. She then looked up at Mrs. Willis and smiled.
"That was... beautiful," a voice said from behind them.
Surprised, Lavendar whirled around to face the hallway and was shocked to see...
Date: May 2nd
...Grandma Amethyst. In glowing, spectral form.
Mrs. Willis grinned and whipped around to look at her former duet partner. "I never thought I'd see you again, either." She gestured toward Lavendar, the Xweetok in stunned awe. "You have quite the talented granddaughter, there."
"Gr... Gramamethyst?" Lavendar stuttered. Her grandmother had passed from the world of the living when Lavendar was barely a toddler; the juvenile portmanteau stemmed from the Xweetok being too young to properly pronounce the name and title.
"I heard," the elderly Xweetok faced the Ogrin and agreed, a proud smile on her face, as the light pouring in from Mrs. Willis's practice room illuminated Amethyst's translucent form.
Lavendar ran up to her grandmother and wrapped her arms around Amethyst's surprisingly corporeal figure. "Thanks so much for playing the flute 'cause if you didn't then I couldn't and it just makes me oh so happy!" the young Xweetok exclaimed in one breath.
Her grandmother chuckled, slightly. "Conserve your breath, child," she answered lovingly. "Especially whilst playing the flute. After all, half the air that goes in goes out the other way, without being used to generate sound." She paused and hugged Lavendar back. "It makes me happy to know you're pursuing an instrument, just like your sister, and it absolutely elates me that you chose not just the flute, but my flute."
The young Xweetok took in a big breath of air, like grandma suggested, before continuing. "Also, thanks so much that you became friends with the super nice Mrs. Willis, who is giving me lessons." She grinned at the elderly Ogrin.
"Yes," Amethyst said to her old friend. "I am eternally grateful." She hesitated, then burst out into a light laugh. "Hehe, eternal." She looked down at her translucent body. "I suppose that's a pun."
"I'm glad to have taken on such a bright, talented, and ambitious young pupil," Mrs. Willis commented with a smile.
Little Lavendar presented Melinda to her grandmother. "Play her," she said, grinning. "For me." She recalled vague memories of Grandma playing the instrument, but could recall nothing of the way she made it sound.
Amethyst smiled. "Well," she started, accepting the flute, "alright then. For you." She looked at her faithful woodwind. "It's good to hold you again, my little 'Linda."
The ghostly Xweetok sat in the chair her granddaughter had been sitting in, right next to Mrs. Willis. "Shall we play the one?"
"Oh, the one..." Mrs. Willis trailed nostalgically, a barely-perceptible smile forming on her lips.
Grandma Amethyst nodded. "The one I composed, that you performed, all those many years ago."
The Ogrin's smiled widened. "Of course. Let's do it."
Lavendar grinned in pure awe as the two elderly flautists played together, from memory, the piece that had made her fall in love with the instrument and the sound -- the piece Mrs. Willis had performed for Fyora on her birthday, and the one her grandmother had apparently written "all those many years ago."
The leaps, the runs, the arpeggios, the terraced dynamics... all the brilliance, the contrasts, the spine-chilling beauty. As the melody played on and repeated, the light emanated from the two flutes combined together as the image of the Faerie Queen herself seemed to dance and shine about the room.
After a final sweeping crescendo, the note faded into nothingness and the piece was over. Fyora disappeared. There was the silent stunned awe, yet again... and then Lavendar clapped wildly, tears in her eyes. "Oh that was the absolute best thing ever," she said hurriedly as she ran up to her grandmother, who promptly gave her back the flute before giving her a last big hug.
Lavendar opened her eyes and her grandmother was gone. "Oh, that made me just so happy," she said as she turned toward Mrs. Willis.
"It made me happy, too, and your grandmother." She paused. "They don't call it the 'Piece of Eternal Happiness' for nothing," she mused with a smile. She placed another sheet of music on the stand, and Lavendar promptly sat upon the now empty chair in front of it. "This is another little thing your grandmother wrote for our ensemble," the Ogrin continued. "She called it 'Meadows and Mountains.' I want you to try sight-reading it."
The young Xweetok set to work and played much of it beautifully.
Near the day's end, Lavendar again laid in her bed and envisioned herself, on the stage, in front of the adoring crowds.
The door opened. The Xweetok snapped open her eyes, only to see Violett in the frame. She sighed. "What are you doing here?" Lavendar asked.
"Actually," Violett started, somewhat of a forced smile on her face, "as much as it pains me to do so, I have to admit it. You have some of Grandma's natural musical ability and you're quite good at that flute." She hesitated. "A position opened up in the band for second-chair flutist, and... I was thinking of recommending you, if you wanted to be part of it."
Lavendar's eyes opened wide. In the REAL band? She grinned. This was too good to be true. "I would love that," she said, excited.
Violett smiled more genuinely. "I thought so. Have a good sleep, sis," she finished before exiting.
Lavendar shut her eyes again. There she was, on the stage again, playing Melinda... and there was a young Ogrin beside her -- her own Mrs. Willis, she realized -- playing Belinda. The two performed a glorious duet, and the last note hung in the air with majesty and grace.
The crowds were in stunned silence.
They were then applauding wildly.
Date: May 2nd
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