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Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)

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Week 719
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Week 721

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 Seven Hundred Twenty Ends Friday, March 4

"Lucius!" Skarl shouted from his bedroom. "What's taking so long?!"

An old blue Draik entered the room, with a food tray on his hands full of food. King Skarl would be eating his breakfast in bed, as always.

"I'm sorry for the delay, your majesty."

"You better be sorry! I'm your king!"

Lucius deposited the breakfast on Skarl's lap, walked towards the window, and pulled the curtains off so daylight could penetrate the room. It was approximately midday and the king had just woken up.

"Lucius! You know I don't like apples! And what is this?" He pointed his finger to a pomegranate. "Where are my chocolate cookies? And my milk?"

"I'm sorry, your majesty, but shall we speak about today's schedule?"

The king nodded.

"Well, as you may be already aware of, your and your brother's birthday is next Sunday and king Hagan wants to throw a party for both of you in his castle."

"I don't want to go to that old man's place! He and his people are too boring - they only talk about books, poetry, and that kind of stuff."

"King Hagan says in his letter that there will be food from all over Neopia made especially for you two, since it's your birthday."

Lucius's sentence caught Skarl's attention.

"Well, I may go then." The king said. "Now, can you please return this thing in front of me to the kitchen and return with a decent breakfast?"

"Sure, your majest--"

The Draik's words were interrupted by a panting soldier of the castle who had entered the room abruptly.

"Your majesty!" The Kacheek shouted. "A letter has just arrived and it's from your brother's palace! He's been kidnapped!"

Author: saudadesdagripe
Date: Feb 29th
Skarl immediately launched himself from the bed, sending his breakfast tray, untouched, flying. Lucius watched as the pomegranate hit the floor and rolled under the four-poster bed, forever lost.

"Hagan was kidnapped?" Skarl exclaimed. "Are you sure? Where did you hear this?"

The guard caught her breath, and held up a letter, sealed with the Court of Brightvale. "This came with a runner who had been sent here as soon as the news broke."

Skarl snatched the letter away, and shoved it into Lucius hands.

"Read it to me," he said.

It said:

'Dear Your Majesty King Skarl of Meridell,

We write to you asking for your most urgent help. Your brother was kidnapped while walking in his gardens. We have two witnesses, the guards escorted him, though they were mildly incapacitated during the traumatic event. We request your presence in the court to help us solve it.

Regards,

Rex Sinha, Head of Hagan's Guard.'

Lucius finished, and folded the letter away, tucking it in his back pocket. If he put it down anywhere in the room, it was bound to be lost in the clutter.

"You, soldier, inform the stables to ready two horses! Lucius, fetch my boots and robe! We make haste for Brightvale immediately!"

Author: phoenix_through_fire
Date: Feb 29th
"Of course, your majesty." Lucius replied as he walked over to the closet, pulling out a clean robe and trying not to smell the boots.

"Right away, your majesty!" shouted the soldier, who hopped over a rolling orange and ran from the room. If the situation hadn't been so dire, Lucius might have been amused by the antics. Instead, he felt just as worried as his king. He remembered Hagan and Skarl as children, after all, and as crass as Skarl could be he knew that the king had always cared for his brother.

When Skarl was dressed, they rushed outside. They were met by an anxious Ixi in Meridellian blue and red livery who was holding the reins to two horses. With nary a word to either of them, Skarl mounted one of the horses and started on the path to Brightvale.

Lucius sighed and apologized to the stablehand before securing the pack of food he had brought for his king and mounting himself. He jolted slightly--he was older now, and he had the aches and pains to prove it, or he'd have flown to Brightvale instead of riding.

It didn't take very long to catch up to Skarl on the road. The other man's horse was strong, but his king was not a small person.

They rode for a length in silence before Lucius turned to Skarl. "Your majesty, who do you think kidnapped your brother?" he asked.

Author: yentris
Date: Mar 1st
"It's hard to say," Skarl answered, a scowl more foul than usual painted on his face. "I may not like my brother too well, but I would never want him kidnapped." He sighed. "I hope that perhaps this is just some sort of ruse to get me to his palace. I dare not think what is going to become of him. He isn't an easy person to take; so it must be someone very skilled."

Skarl halted his procession when he realized the forest around him had become deathly quiet. The chirps of birds no longer met his ears, nor the chipper sounds of other woodland creatures.

"What is it, my lord?" Lucius asked curiously.

"Something isn't right," Skarl muttered. "It's too quiet."

Suddenly, from a thicker section of trees came a loud explosion, with a thick cloud of smoke billowing out towards them. It filled the space around them, obscuring their view and causing them both to cough.

Author: oriyume
Date: Mar 1st
"What's going on?" Skarl choked out.

Lucius shielded his eyes from the smoke with his wings. "I have no clue, your majesty," he coughed. "Perhaps it has got something to do with your brother."

Skarl's face looked more determined than ever, an extremely rare sight as he squinted at the area of the trees far ahead.

"Ahead!" he yelled and his horse galloped deeper into the forest at a fast pace. Lucius trailed behind, still coughing from the smoke.

However, another explosion, this time even louder and closer to where Skarl and Lucius were, shook the entire forest. The impact caused the both of them to be hurled off the horses backs as they reared back in panic.

"WHO SET OFF THAT EXPLOSION?" Skarl roared, his face cortorted in fury. Lucius had never seen him so angry before; it was worse than those times he gave Neopets an F- for their feeble jokes.

They didn't have time to come to their senses before a third explosion rang in their ears. The dense clouds of smoke permeated the surroundings around them making them cough and gag even more. They were unable to even see a few metres ahead of them.

"WHAT IS GOING ON?" bellowed Skarl, his face turning a light shade of purple. Lucius couldn't figure out if it was a result of rage or a lack of oxygen but either way, he had to lead the king to safety. There could only be one reason for all three bombings to be in such close proximity to them.

"LUCIUS, ANSWER ME! WHAT IS GOING ON?"

"Your majesty," Lucius shouted to be heard, "we have to get out of the forest. I think someone is targeting you!"

Author: azusa_k
Date: Mar 2nd
Lucius looked around for an escape route. Although he could hide in the trees, there was no way that Skarl could manage that. He looked around for the horses, but they were long gone, having been completely spooked by the last explosion.

"THIS WAY!" Skarl roared, drawing his sword. Lucius hurried after him. Skarl was heading away from the path, but also deeper into the forest.

A fourth explosion, larger than the third, went off behind them, sending Lucius flying. He barely caught himself before he would have hit a rather large tree. Skarl was only pushed a few feet forward before he was able to regain his balance. Lucius looked back, but there was so much smoke he couldn't see the road. The only way out was forwards then, he thought grimly as he raced to catch up to Skarl.

They hurried along for a little while longer with Skarl using his sword to cut through the undergrowth. They stopped for a very short interlude in a jumbleberry patch to eat, but quickly continued on, despite Skarl's grumbling. Their clothing was blackened and ripped; they no longer resembled the King of Meridell and his faithful retainer.

Lucius shivered as night fell around them, but was grateful when they caught sight of a cave lighted by a fire. Then he felt wary; what if this was the person responsible for the explosions?It didn't matter; Skarl was leading them to the cave.

When they reached the cave, a voice they both recognized called out to them. "The bandits get you too, your Majesty, Lucius?"

Author: yentris
Date: Mar 3rd
Skarl let out a cry of delight, the first Lucius had heard from him that was not food related. Inside the cave, sitting crosslegged at the fire, was a blue Acara.

"What in Fyora's name are you doing out here, Roberta?!" Skarl exclaimed, patting his niece on the back so heartily it nearly knocked the poor girl into the fire.

"I came as soon as soon as I heard that Uncle Hagan had been kidnapped," she said. "I found a clue in the gardens that led me to the forest, but then the bandits managed to steal my horse and my magical scrolls. I made camp to wait out the night in the meantime."

"What clue, Your Royal Highness?" Lucius asked, taking the leg of meat she offered him from above the fire. She handed one to Skarl, too.

"You can call me Robert, Lucius, I think you've known me long enough. Anyway, I managed to save the clue. It's from the kidnapper's uniforms - who I think are the same people as the bandits who ran us off the road."

She dug into the small satchel on her shoulder, and pulled out a piece of fabric. She handed it to Lucius, who gasped as he recognised the symbol on it....

Author: phoenix_through_fire
Date: Mar 3rd
"This is the mark of the Sway!" The old Draik said.

"What? Who are the Sway?" Skarl growled and grumbled.

"Uncle Skarl... you can't be serious..." Roberta said to her relation.

"Never mind that." Lucius said, "But that doesn't explain why they would do that. They normally work in the shadows..."

"I know, that's what I thought too." Roberta said, "Which is making me think that it's a ruse."

"A ruse...yes, that would make more sense..." Lucius said, "Make something so shocking that we can't help but think it's true, while it's actually a misdirection."

"Hey, don't leave me out of this!" Skarl growled, "Just out with it!"

"It's more then likely the Thieves Guild making us think it's the Sway." Roberta said, cutting straight to the chase.

"Bah, those lousy thieves!" Skarl grumbled, "They probably thought that my brother had some special trinket on his person and that's why they took him."

"That's what I was thinking too, Uncle Skarl." Roberta said, "But I've got a plan. But I'd need your help."

"Whatever you need Roberta." Skarl said.

"Great, then here's my plan..."

Author: dr_tomoe
Date: Mar 4th
She rummaged in her bag and pulled out a doll.

"Here, hold this, Uncle Skarl," she said, passing it to him over the fire.

Skarl inspected the doll. "What is this? Are you trying to embarrass me?" he asked.

"Don't worry, Uncle Skarl, I’m not," she replied. "You’re going to use that to lure them. That's a Collectors Edition Usuki Doll, by the way. It fetches quite a lot of money. They wouldn't bother about who they stole it from since it will soon belong to them, isn't it?"

Skarl contemplated her words and nodded. He looked at the doll with disgust though.

Seeing that her uncle gave consent, she continued, "now, we've got to give you a makeover, Uncle Skarl. I’ve got some clothes in my bag."

The king's jaw dropped instinctively. Roberta giggled as he closed his mouth and scowled. "It better be good, Roberta," he said sternly.

"Oh, it will." She proceeded with the makeover and soon, Skarl was in a new set of clothes and trinkets. He looked like any other ordinary Skeith.

When she was done, she stood back and took a good look at her uncle. "Something doesn't look right," she commented. "Hmmm ... ah, that's it. You've got to smile, Uncle Skarl. Smile!"

Unwillingly, Skarl forced a hideous grin. Lucius couldn't contain his laughter and choked in his effort to hold it in; it was a funny and uncommon sight after all. Skarl glared at him but maintained his smile for the sake of his niece.

"That's better," she remarked. "Now, I know that it's the middle of the night but ... do you want to -"

"Hagan's my brother!" Skarl interrupted. "Of course I should go as soon as possible!"

"Great!" Roberta clapped her hands. She picked up a thick branch and lighted it using the fire. "I'll follow Uncle Skarl in case he gets into trouble too -"

"Hey!"

"- and Lucius, please send a letter to Rex to inform him of our situation."

"Certainly, Princess Roberta," Lucius said and bowed.

Skarl and Roberta exited the cave and ventured into the forest once more. The Acara led the way and her torch illuminated the forest, giving the tree trunks an orange glow. It was eerily quiet - their footsteps echoed loudly in the noiseless woods.

They wound their way around the trees for quite some time before Roberta stopped and put her paw to her lips. She pointed at an old hut nearby with her other paw.

Skarl nodded and started moving but was stopped by his niece. She shook her head. Picking up a stone from the ground, she hurled it at the door and it bounced off with a loud 'pock'.

After a few moments, someone opened the door and Roberta quickly extinguished the torch. Skarl couldn't make out the figure standing at the door.

"Who's there?" a voice spoke.

Skarl and Roberta turned to look at each other, bewildered. They recognized that voice!

"Who's there?" the voice repeated and a shadow stepped out from the hut. The moonlight shone on the figure and sure enough, the voice belonged to Hagan!

"It's us, Uncle Hagan!" Roberta shouted gleefully, coming out from her hiding spot. "Roberta and Uncle Skarl!" She ran to her uncle and gave him a big hug. "Thank the faeries you're okay!"

"Hi Roberta," Hagan patted her on the head.

Skarl frowned as he too, stepped out from amongst the trees. "What is the meaning of this? Weren't you kidnapped, brother?"

"I was, Skarl. They wanted to steal this emerald of mine," he lifted up a pendant from his neck, "but fortunately, I had a Slumberberry Potion with me and used it on them. They'll be sound asleep for days. The higher-ups in this guild aren't here though."

"Thank goodness!" Roberta squealed and hugged him again.

"Where do we stay for the night?" Skarl asked, yawning.

"It's safe here. We can rest here till the morning arrives," Hagan replied.

The three of them entered the hut and fell asleep on the chairs and tables along with the rest of the guild members who were under the effects of the potion.

They woke up the next morning to the sound of the door knocking. Roberta looked slightly alarmed as Skarl walked over to the door and opened it.

"Good morning, your majesty. Rex and I have readied the horses for your departure."

"Lucius!" Skarl exclaimed. "How did you find us here?"

"Rex and I searched since dawn, your majesty. We reached here and peeked through the window to see all of you sleeping. I must say we stumbled upon this place by sheer luck," he answered, smiling a little.

"Rex," Hagan called out from inside the hut, "inform the guards to escort these thieves to prison once they're awake."

Rex walked in. He bowed and said, "yes your majesty," before going out again.

The rest of them exited the building, climbed up on their horses and bounded for Hagan's castle.

***

Skarl enjoyed the party very much. Lucius hadn’t followed him to Brightvale as the previous week’s events had tired him considerably. Except for the gross food originating from the Haunted Woods, everything tasted delicious, although he still believed that Meridell food was the best.

When the party had ended, Skarl approached Hagan who was at the stables outside the castle. "Thank you for the party, brother."

"There's no need for thanks, Skarl. It's your birthday," said Hagan heartily.

There was an awkward silence as the two siblings looked at each other. Hagan made a move first; he stuck out his paw. "Till next time then. You have to head back to Meridell now."

Skarl took his paw and shook it. "Till next time, brother." He mounted his horse and left, waving one last goodbye to Hagan.

Mounting and dismounting a horse sure has given me some exercise, Skarl thought to himself as he travelled back to his homeland.

The End.

Author: azusa_k
Date: Mar 7th



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