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Week 828
You are on Week 829
Week 1

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 Eight Hundred Twenty Nine Ends Friday, October 25

Making appearances didn’t come easy to Clarence, and today was no exception. The feeling of being enclosed within a large crowd made him very uneasy; it was the sense of being trapped. He would have much preferred to be at home, inside, reading a book or perfecting a new recipe in his perfectly tidy kitchen.

Unfortunately, Clarence was a Blumaroo that lived on Roo Island. This meant that he absolutely had no choice but to join the crowd for the big parade on Blumaroo Day. He glanced at the clock. The parade was set to begin in exactly one hour. Grudgingly, he made his way down to the side of the island where the parade was to take place.

As the parade began, Clarence tried repeatedly to move backwards and away from the cheering crowd but it was no use. The jubilant Blumaroos on all sides of him bounced up and down and whistled as the merry parade floats went past. Clarence faked a smile as best as he could, and even managed a half-hearted bounce here and there to try to blend with the others.

As the last float finally made its way to the end of the route, which was in front of King Roo’s castle, a loud voice came over the loudspeaker.

And now it is time to crown this year’s Parade King or Queen!” the voice boomed.

The crowd quieted down and Clarence started to relax a little. Soon, he would be able to go back to his quiet little Neohome, where he could get back to work on his new recipe for Lemon Scones. Perhaps another teaspoon of lemon curd would make the glaze just perfect, he pondered to himself.

“…CLARENCE!”

Hushed chatter broke out amongst the mass of Blumaroos, sounding like a swarm of Springabees. Everyone was looking to the left and right to spot the newly crowned Parade King.

But he was nowhere to be seen…

Author: xrainydayx
Date: Oct 3rd
Why... how...? Clarence's heart was racing. He could hear the sound of scuffling feet and hushed voices above him while he cowered under the pier. People would be looking for him; their parade needs a king. But why Clarence of all Blumaroos...?

Is this some kind of joke? A prank? Clarence was practically a nobody - he wanted nothing more than to keep to himself. Who could've nominated him to be Parade King, let alone actually vote him into the throne?

Just the thought of being Parade King made his throat tighten with anxiety. All eyes would be on him, everyone would be watching, expecting something great... There's no way this was meant to happen. This must've been some sort of mistake. Maybe they wrote down the wrong name.

As he continued to ponder over every possible scenario, a speckled Blumaroo had noticed him, curled up in a ball beneath the celebration. Being concerned to see a Blumaroo on Roo Island who wasn't filled to the brim with merriment, she cautiously bounded up to Clarence.

"Is everything okay? What's your name?", she asked.

Clarence looked up. She didn't recognise him. She didn't know who he was. Maybe this wasn't some conspiracy that the entire island was in on after all.

He took a deep breath in and replied.

"My name is, uh... C-Callum. I'm Callum."

Author: yellow_gellow
Date: Oct 4th
"Well, nice to meet you, Callum. My name's Darla." She looked at him with her head slightly tilted.

"Are you alright? Are you hurt?"

Her voice sounded far away in his head, as if he had plugged his ears. Clarence tried to breathe like his mother taught him to: In through the nose, out through the mouth. He took one more big breath and looked up at Darla who was still standing next to him. She had friendly eyes, but they were clouded with a hint of caution.

"I...I -uh", mumbled Clarence. "I-I need to go home." And I'm f-fine. Thank you."

He turned around and wanted to walk away, but Darla grabbed him gently by the arm. She retracted her paw immediately with a shy look on her face.

"Don't you want to see the crowning of the Parade King?" She stretched her neck and looked around. "Where is this Clarence anyway?"

Clarence felt his face turning red and proceeded to shuffle away from Darla backwards. "I-I really need to go", he said. He turned around and bounced away as fast as he could, hoping it didn't look like he was fleeing.

He turned a corner at the bakery and when he was sure he was out of sight, he leaned on the wall and tried to calm his racing heart. Just as he managed to calm down, Darla's head peeked around the corner. "There you are!", she exclaimed.

Author: mystical_skydragon
Date: Oct 7th
“I was afraid I’d lost you in the crowd. Now, something strikes me as odd that a Blumaroo wouldn’t stay for the crowning of the Parade King. Are you sure you aren’t up to staying, Clarence?” Darla ask.

“It’s Callum,” Clarence corrected her, hoping to quell any nerves that he could feel rising up in his throat. He intensely thought to himself, “Does she know who I am?”

“Oh, my fault! I just got your names confused,” Darla sheepishly grinned. It seemed innocuous enough, but Clarence was apprehensive about her. There was a knowing glint in Darla’s eyes that he couldn’t quite shake.

“I really should be g-getting home,” Clarence stammered. “I appreciate your concern but I really am not feeling well. Why don’t you get back to the parade yourself?”

Darla insisted again, overstepping the line between the two strangers. “I really think you should reconsider. I’d really like you to be there.”

“Why?” Clarence asked, this time with an air of defiance. “Why are you so insistent on me coming back?”

Darla’s innocent approach took a radical turn. “We need you for something bigger than this parade, Clarence. The Parade King has access to King Roo’s court for the day and you’re integral to our mission.”

“A mission? Who exactly is this ‘we’ you’re referring to?”

Author: miraday
Date: Oct 11th
"Us."

Clarence swivelled around to meet the new voice, only to freeze.

An Eyrie. A Kiko. A Lupe. Even more Neopets appeared out from the bushes, or rose from the water. All different species.

None of them Blumaroos.

"Uhhh....?" Clarence asked.

Darla's eyes were practically gleaming as she gestured to the group with a paw.

"Clarence, meet the Troo-ists."

Clarence could only stutter. "T-the what?"

The Eyrie from before strode forward. Large and broad-shouldered, he towered over Clarence with tyrannian horns and a jagged beak.

"Troo-ists," repeated the Eyrie. "You heard it right."

Someone in the back snickered, but quieted at the Eyrie's growl. Clarence gulped, trying to make himself small without drawing any extra attention, ears flopped all the way down.

But the Eyrie had his eyes trained directly on him.

"I am Et'korr, leader of the Troo-ists," said the Eyrie. "We have issue with King Roo."

Issue?

"You know how the Blumaroo Day parade is closed to tourists and outsiders in general?" Darla asked from beside Clarence, and he nodded. "Well... let's just say the Troo-ists want in on the celebrations."

If he was anxious before, he was downright terrified now. Clarence played with his ear nervously.

"Couldn't you just... ask?" he ventured.

Et'korr and Darla shared a look, then smiled, shaking their heads. Guess not.

"We needed a Parade King or Queen who nobody on Roo Island really knows," Darla continued. "So that excludes me. We needed someone who wouldn't be followed by friends all the time, or get too swept up in things once they got into King Roo's court to help us. Someone like you, Clarence."

He frowned. "Y-you... you nominated me."

"We all did," Et'korr interjected.

Clarence stood there for a moment, mind racing. Outsiders at the Blumaroo Day parade. Joining a group of suspicious strangers for an unknown cause. Not being able to just go home and get out of this mess, because he was surrounded, a million eyes on him, and his heart was thumping a mile a minute, legs frozen to the ground.

Et'korr tilted his head. The Troo-ists seemed to be waiting for an answer of some sort. Clarence let out a deep breath. Okay, he had a choice. He could say no. He could leave. He just needed to say so. That was all. He could do this one thing, right? This one thing, and then he could go home and be comfortable and never come out again.

Having gained his resolve, Clarence mustered the small bit of courage he could find in his heart, puffed out his chest, and asserted himself.

"W-what makes you think I'd want to help yo--"

Darla interrupted him. "We can get you out of here."

Clarence's words died on his tongue.

"Tyrannia does not have parades," stated Et'korr.

"Kiko Lake is always peaceful and quiet," said a Kiko.

"Mystery Island loves cooking and making new recipes," a Kougra purred.

Clarence blinked.

He could leave Roo Island? For a place that suited him more?

He'd never had the opportunity before this.

How had they known?

"You can go anywhere you want. Outside of here." Et'korr smiled, as if he could read Clarence's mind. "We had the means to sneak into Roo Island on parade day. We can sneak you out with us."

Everyone around Clarence seemed to exchange knowing looks. They had expected this. They had targeted him specifically. They eyed him, expecting an immediate answer, because both they and he knew that this offer would not last long. He was outnumbered, overwhelmed.

As usual.

At Clarence's prolonged silence, Et'korr barked a laugh. It was gravelly and deep and sent ice down Clarence's spine. It seemed the leader of the Troo-ists had taken his silence for acceptance of their terms.

The Eyrie turned his back, then looked over his shoulder, as if expecting Clarence to follow.

"The plan starts now," said Et'korr.

Author: x_wolves
Date: Oct 14th
Behind him, the same Neopet snickered again.

Et'korr whipped around and scanned his followers' faces with a scowl. "I meant the post-Clarence-recruitment phase begins now. I KNOW the plan began that night after the last Roo Day Parade..."

Clarence fell into step with Darla, tuning the Eyrie out. "So how did you get involved?" He snuck a glance at her face. "You don't look like an unhappy misfit or rebel."

"I fit in when I want to!" Darla smiled. "But I also want to show the best of our island to other Neopians. And the ban on non-Blumaroos at the parade is embarrassingly outdated." She lowered her voice. "Did you know approximately 10 percent of our population is NBO?"

"NBO?"

"Non-Blumaroo Other. Ten percent according to records up to the year Advisor Broo cancelled the survey. We're against him on more issues than one."

"You're saying," said Clarence, "the Trooists are a non-governmental organisation that advocates for non-Blumaroo others? You're an NGO for NBO?"

"Our current project is codenamed NPO," Darla said with a straight face. "No Parade Omission."

Clarence felt strange, as if something was tickling him where he couldn't reach. The feeling only grew stronger when the others ahead of them stopped at what at first glance appeared to be a ruined hut.

"Our temporary headquarters," said the Kiko.

"Why does it look like an orange Slorg?" Clarence climbed in after Darla.

Darla laughed. "Don't be silly. It's the Merry Go Round Uni float that crashed during the last parade! We haggled it down to almost nothing and rebuilt it to magnificence!"

Before he could look at his surroundings and decide if "magnificence" would describe it, Clarence was guided to a seat and handed a folder marked "TROO-IST NBO NPO Y21". Someone lifted his arms and pulled a garment over him, while another set a mug on the table before him. Clarence looked down. He was now wearing something rainbow-coloured, edged in blue and gold trim -- the Parade King gown.

Darla took the adjacent seat, and everyone sat down with a folder.

A Lupe stood and cleared his throat. "We have less than one hour for briefing. Since we couldn't reach consensus last time, I think we should first decide who will be the decoy Clarences."

Author: terukiyo
Date: Oct 16th
"Decoy Clarences?" Clarence asked. A number of the attending Troo-ists motioned to vote. There was no indication that Clarence would have a say in the selection process of the decoy Clarences.

"So no one notices you're missing!" Darla said.

"Why would I be missing?" Clarence asked. After all, as Parade King, he'd be the absolute opposite of missing. Everyone on Roo Island would know exactly where he was and exactly what he was doing for the whole day. That was the whole reason he didn't want to be Parade King!

"You, er, wouldn't be." Et'Korr assured him. "It's just a precaution."

Clarence watched as a costume rack was rolled into view. Two kacheeks and an aisha donned remarkably high-budget blumaroo costumes. Next to Clarence, Darla was handed a mask. She pulled the mask on over her ears, and Clarence turned to see her looking back at him with his own face.

"Why are there so MANY decoys, then?" Clarence asked.

Et'Korr reassuringly patted Clarence on the back, neglecting to answer the question. Then he nudged Clarence out of his seat, and back towards the exit of the float. Clarence, now cloaked in the remarkably heavy Parade King gown, let himself be shuffled along.

"Don't I need to be here for the briefing?" he asked, still moving towards the door.

Et'Korr shook his head. "No, no, you understand the situation. You need to go meet with King Roo, to give us our opening. We'll have our spies and decoys in place by the time you have an audience with the king."

Darla sounded like she was starting to say something, but it was too late. Clarence stepped outside, and this time, a collection of blumaroos recognized him immediately.

"Parade King!" they cheered, identifying him with remarkable ease. A troupe of dancers hoisted him onto their shoulders as they bounced down main street, towards the ever imposing castle. Just that morning, Clarence would have described this exact occurrence as his worst nightmare. It still was, arguably, his worst nightmare, but at least he was going through it for a good cause, he thought. Right?

He looked back towards the orange slorg one last time...

Author: alphachicky
Date: Oct 17th
His stomach had turned to jelly by the time he reached the castle, and something was niggling at him about the whole operation. But the cheering of the crowd, and knowing that he was about to tell bald-faced lies to King Roo, drowned out any doubts. It was probably just nerves, he told himself.

It wasn’t long before he was in front of the impressively ornate wooden doors of the Castle. He took one last look back through the crowd before the dancers set him on the ground, but the orange slorg was long out of view by now. His legs and tail were shaking, and his mouth so dry that he couldn’t thank the dancers who had carried him here. Instead, he gave them a watery smile, and let a guard lead him inside the castle.

Once the doors was closed, silence hit Clarence like a brick to the face. Suddenly, all of his doubts came rushing to the surface, and his fur was quickly dampening with sweat. He looked around at the large empty foyer, which had three doors leading off of it. To the left was a sweeping staircase, but they went too high for Clarence to see where they led.

“Through here, Parade King,” the guard said. He was a stout polka dot Blumaroo, and he began to walk towards the centre of the three doors. Clarence, not knowing what else to do and having no clear instructions from the Troo-ists, followed him dutifully. The guard stopped with his hand on the door, and looked at Clarence with a suspiciously bright smile. “Are you ready?”

Clarence gulped. Was he? But it didn’t matter, because the guard was already pushing the door open. Clarence tensed but he couldn’t have prepared himself for what he saw on the other side of the door…

Author: phoenix_through_fire
Date: Oct 23rd
Masked Blumaroos fitted in colorful suits and dresses of grandeur flitted and bounced before him like synchronized swimmers.

Through the crowd Clarence saw the real king, King Roo, smiling from a golden throne fitted with jester bells. Beside him stood two more knights, stone-face and poised.

Clarence felt a ringing in his ears.

"Callum!" whispered a Blumaroo, moving its mask ever so slightly to reveal Darla. "Hahaha..."

Darla gestured to Clarence's left where he saw his decoys waiting in the wings behind stone pillars.

How had they gotten here so fast?

The ringing grew louder. Clarence felt as if he might faint before realizing the ringing was the sound of King Roo's jester bells as he motioned for Clarence to move forward.

On cue, the dancing Blumaroos began lining up left and right to create a clear center.

The throne room had become so silent now that Clarence thought everyone in the room must have heard the bead of sweat dripping from his eyebrows hit the stone floor as he bowed before King Roo.

The royal blue king motioned for Clarence to rise as he grinned mysteriously.

"Parade King Clarence," he began, voice booming and mirthful as he glanced around the room at his subjects, "Do you like to play games?"

Before Clarence could answer trumpets began to blast and the crowd of Blumaroos searched for its source. The two guards gripped their spears tighter glancing at King Roo, who looked frozen.

This left Clarence frozen as well. He couldn't move if he wanted at this point.

From beyond the pillars crept copies of Clarence. More decoys climbed out from pillars on the other side of the room. More than he remembered back at the orange slorg. At least thirty. How had they managed to sneak in?!

He turned back to King Roo, panicked by how he'd react...

How will this story end?

Author: prettyobscure
Date: Oct 24th


What happens next? (write the next paragraph of the story!)



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