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Sophie's Leave Me Alone Notice


by liouchan

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At the edge of the swamp that is home to Sophie the Swamp Witch, there stands a vine-wreathed sign featuring instructions to leave her alone in bold lettering. Behind the sign, forty pages of bark-like paper unfold like an accordion.

      PRIVATE SWAMP.

      KEEP OUT.

      NO TRESPASSING.

      Trespassers will be zapped on sight.

      Trespass: intransitive verb. To enter unlawfully upon the swamp of another, more specifically Sophie. To make an unwarranted or uninvited incursion into said swamp, which your incursions are guaranteed to be. So don't do that. Keeping out is exactly like coming in, except that you don't, which should be well within the realm of your capabilities.

      Disclaimer: the owner of the swamp declines any and all responsibility for what may happen to dunderheads who disregard the perfectly clear explanation above and choose to waltz right in against all common sense, including but not limited to: injury, insult, material damages to property, material damages caused by property, illness, change of species, discolouration, recolouration, hair loss, loss of tooth, fang or claw, loss of senses, outrage, scrapes or boo-boos.

      Addendum: the above also applies if you do not literally dance the waltz on your way in, you dill pickles.

      The Meowclops can be fed entirely at your own risk. It can take anything, including zombies. If you are carrying or have been carrying anything remotely edible on your person, the Meowclops will know.

      Update: CAUTION - SIGN WILL BITE IF NOT READ.

      Update: some of you appear to be labouring under the delusion that you do, in fact, have a chance of sneaking past the sign and into the swamp unnoticed on whichever foolish dare or hunt brought you here. Since you obviously did not get the memo, it's now up to me to give you a little crash course.

      This here is a witch's swamp. Witch's swamp implies the presence of a witch. Hence the title: Swamp Witch. What are witches known for, kids? That's right, witchcraft.

      Question: can I sneak in without triggering the alarm spells if I am really extra sneaky?

      Answer: no, you cannot. They are magic.

      Question: can I run in very, very fast, so that the spells do not notice me?

      Answer: no, you cannot. They are magic.

      Question: can I convince the carnivorous plants of the swamp not to eat me if I ask really nicely or distract them with food?

      Answer: no, you cannot.

      Question: can I convince the exploding plants of the swamp not to explode around me if I ask really nicely?

      Answer: no, you cannot.

      Question: does Sophie the Swamp Witch enjoy pulling people out from bogs and mires and finding them antidotes and counterhexes?

      Answer: not remotely. I have better things to do than dragging you out of trouble. This is not the Snow Faerie's cabin for poor little lost travellers.

      Update: it looks like there is another misunderstanding for me to clear up. Some of you now seem to be labouring under the delusion that quests are given here. For the unversed, a quest is a small, easy errand run by someone hoping for a reward worth much, much more. Sophie the Swamp Witch will not sponsor you.

      You may have mistaken Sophie's Swamp for Edna's Tower, a place with a witch who does give out quests. Classic mistake. Allow me to help you tell them apart: firstly, one of them is a tower, a tall stone thing, while the other is a swamp, a large flat muddy thing. Secondly, one contains a green Zafara witch called Edna, while the other contains a green Ixi witch called Sophie, plus one Meowclops. If you are looking for a quest, you should go and find Edna.

      Below is a very rough doodle of Edna, carefully labelled with important details such as her hat, large cackling mouth, squiggly lines and flies representing body odour, and a wart.

      Update: to the brave heroes of the Petpet Protection League, I have seen you, I still see you, and if your Petpet expertise does not let you tell the difference between an average Petpet and a witch's familiar, I will have to sic the said familiar on you, and you will learn to tell the difference. The Meowclops is fine. The Meowclops will be the end of me. You can get out of my swamp and look after Petpets that need it.

      "Sophie, it has been a while, how are you? Do drop in for tea on Friday, it would be lovely to have you over. - Mother."

      The offer of tea is appreciated. A mug has been affixed to this signpost. Tea may be poured into the mug.

      "Why would you want to drink it cold? If no one can come in to see you, you need to check this sign more often. All the muffins I brought you from your family's tea party were spoiled! - Gilly."

      I was wondering who had left a box of mouldy muffins lying around.

      Addendum: NO LITTERING.

      Below is stuck a leaflet made of parchment and covered in the ink pen strokes of an enthusiastic calligrapher.

      "Tired of your old spells? Think your fireballs lack a spark? Need a revivifying potion? Join the Order of the Red Erisim today! Attend our bimonthly gatherings to discuss the best new brews and show off your broom moves."

      Please. I survived out here, alone, for over ten years. Call me when your order helps out kids.

      "CHET FLASH WUZ HERE"

      Update: sign will also bite if used as the local public noticeboard.

      "Dear Sophie, we are all invited to the town's ball celebrating our collective recovery. Please find an invitation enclosed - or rather, pinned to this board. Mother would be so glad if you attended with us. Please come back to town for us, just this once. I promise that we will tone down the hero worship. - Reginald."

      "Sophie, thank you again for coming to the ball. Nevermind that you had to leave early, the party was not quite as fun after you left. Mrs. Butterworth is almost fully recovered from the hex and she is very sorry that she startled you. You did very well, sweetheart, we're proud of you. The photographer managed to take a picture of you in your elegant dress and we could not resist bringing you a copy. With love - Mother and Father.

      Below is a sepia photograph showing Sophie from the back, turned slightly to the side, wearing a tidy dark dress with a lacy collar, with her hair stuffed into a bun already in the process of unravelling.

      "Aaaw, look who dressed up for once! You look like a little schoolgirl trying to practice witchcraft in the bathroom. Sophie, since I can't be the only witch with my image on your sign, I made sure that this photo of you would stay properly glued. You're welcome. By the way, the economy has changed and quests are advantageous business. Get with the times. - Edna."

      Excellent Permanent Adhesive Spell, Edna. Practice it elsewhere, will you?

      Update: you lollygaggers might have noticed the statue of Ilere currently sticking out of my swamp. No, you may not have the statue. No, you may not have a similar statue. No, you may not know how I obtained it. The statue is not to be: poked, prodded, hit, dressed up, levitated, climbed on, sat on, drawn on, painted or made up. I mean it. If I catch anyone messing with Ilere I will set my wand to "obliterate".

      "You are totally using her as a coat rack, though. She's wearing your gardening gloves and holding your watering can. I think that could be a bit misleading, given your previous message. - Gilly."

      Look, Ilere was never a very helpful guardian. This is just a low-effort way for her to catch up and make herself useful around the house.

      Update: since this has apparently become the local noticeboard, I have created a duplicate sign on which I may read your nonsense and respond in real time from the comfort of my home. If you continue to post your enquiries as before, you can be sure that they will be ignored within a week.

      Attention: there shall be no trick-or-treating in this swamp this Halloween. Trick-or-treaters begone! Witches have very important witch things to attend to on Halloween, and none of those involve you.

      "Sophie, it has come to our attention that three children from Neovia were subjected to transfiguration magic which changed their forms to those of Petpetpets when they called upon you this Halloween night. We request that you present yourself before the town council in order to undo this magic and decide on a form of compensation. - Mayor Thumburt."

      Why did I undo your transformation, again? I bet you sent someone else to stick this note here instead of you. Compensation will be the spell wearing off in one day. Teach your brats to read signs.

      "Sophie, that was quite uncalled for. I think you should apologise to those kids. - Bruno."

      I don't wish to see more people from my town being transformed into monsters. Is that really so hard to respect?

      Don't pretend you wouldn't lash out if someone visited you while dressed up as that Krawk, give me a break, Bru.

      "Sophie, we don't often get a chance to talk about everything that happened. Maybe that would do us some good. How about a little get-together? Nothing fancy, not in Neovia. Just you and me and Bru, at his place. - Gilly."

      What is all this about Sophie and talking about Neovia? When did it start and who started it? What made anyone think that I want or need to talk about the blasted place? It's history, get over it.

      "Sophie, I think something strange is going on in town. It's like the life and joy is being drained out of us. The shadows have been thicker ever since the faeries were turned to stone. I don't like this, something's about to attack. Please come quick. - Reggie."

      "Please hurry."

      "We need you."

      "Your conduct was unacceptable and you should be ashamed of yourself. I cannot believe anyone ever admired you for meddling with your magic. You caused almost as much damage as the Wraiths did and fled while leaving us to deal with the rest of them. How dare you try to make us believe that you were still chasing after Krawley? The nerve. Some witch! - Herman Dorfdrap."

      "This one looks like good material for testing new hexes. Sophie, let me deal with them. - Edna."

      "Sorry you had to see Neovia overrun with monsters again. I can't imagine how hard that was. - Gilly."

      I never needed your admiration and I never needed your help and I never needed that town, leave me alone, ALL OF YOU.

      I see you.

      I see you out there so stop trying.

      You can take any form you want and I will still know it's you. I recognised you all the other times.

      "Sophie, you were right. We made a terrible mistake. He really did come back. Most of us knew better, but some have already taken the potion again. We're so weak after the Wraiths' onslaught. We must have the antidote, or at least the recipe. We have to fight back. - Reggie."

      "Sophie, Gilly tricked Krawley into giving us another magic flower. It's going to be all right. We just need you for the potion. We'll help. All we need is your recipe and your stuff. - Bruno."

      "We can't come in at all with this force field! Tone down the magic. We'll have to break and enter for this! - Gilly."

      I'm so sorry.

      I'm so weak.

      I drank it.

      "I know you don't have a sense of humour but please tell us you're joking. - Reginald."

      "You drank it, as in the potion? Krawley's potion? - Bruno."

      "Sophie, where are you? Where is the house? - Reginald."

      "Answer us if you can! - Bruno."

      "Your house is back and there is a lot of lightning. I don't think those red, blue and yellow Sophies are you, and they do not seem - no, they are definitely hostile. Did the potion strengthen your magic? - Reginald."

      "That blast was very strong and the Crokabeks are swarming but we're still here! We're holding on! You hold on too! - Bruno."

      Guys? This is Gilly. I'm inside, with the other sign.

      "How did - can you find the recipe? - Bruno."

      I'm looking! Sophie can't talk.

      I've got it but there are many words I don't understand and the writing is very scribbly.

      "Can you find us a way in? - Bruno."

      Sophie's magic is out of control, she can't use it. She's in a different state.

      "Sophie, please let me in. - Mother."

      Bruno, Reginald. Your sister is not ready for visits now but she is thankful that you are here for her. The three of us are cooking.

      Gilly again. I had no idea that she was such a cute kid! You need to show me more family pictures. If the potion made her into a little girl, no wonder her magic was going haywire.

      "All right, no calling you cute. We're on our way to distribute the potion, then! And to answer your question, I got through the swamp and into your house with a shovel. - Gilly."

      Update: invitations for tea may be dropped into box below this sign.

      The End.

 
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