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Yap! Yap! A very small dog is tugging at my trousers and trying to pull them off!
A very dozy owl flutters down from the crown of my tent and flies to the door. There it looks at me and "toots" while the dog keeps yapping and pulling.
It dawns on me that perhaps it wants me to go somewhere!
So I get up and follow the dog out into the adjacent field.
There in the middle of the mud wallow that Beau has created sits a weird site - a mud man!
Most of him is plastered in the wet stuff but his face has dried and now cracks as he speaks.
"Come and get this *&%!!"__+(*&%%$$XXXX! stuff off me and get me my spare set of clothes that Charlie knitted for me"
Well I am not going near him with this gluey mess around him and I have an idea.
Beau created this wallow so perhaps Beau would like to replenish the water!
I rub my amulet and explain to Charlie what is required and within minutes there is Beau, somewhat larger than normal with a great deal of liquid sloshing around in her trunk!
I call to the Cap'n: "come to the edge of the depression and we'll get you clean!"
A lily white torso soon appears with the Cap'n bellowing in rage.
"Do you want to get clean or not? If so then stop complaining!"
Beau returns with another load and finishes the cleansing job off.
She then starts to trumpet and a stream of warm air dries him off.
"There! Now stop muttering and get dressed again!
"You need to get on your travels before any of those so-called guardians of the Realm change their minds!"
A sparkling clean Cap'n and Charlie leave and pass through the main gate together with two large cats and a dog.
I sit by the main tent greeting citizens as they pass by and entertaining those, who love petting animals. Some of these are so cute and have been taught tricks to make you laugh. Charlie has worked wonders with them.
I keep a watchful eye on any citizen who strays near to Beau or Blossom, not because of any danger from them but because Egor who is somewhere on one of them is in a very excited mood at the moment and is capable of any mischief. Both Beau and Blossom are also watching out for him.
Everything is going so well, especially when I pop into Angel’s tent and see for myself the pictures that Charlie’s cats are now sending back from inside the Kingdom as she and Cap’n Bob climb upwards onto the higher levels of the realm.
Why must I have such thoughts? They only bring on disaster!
And disaster is what happens next!
A long dark shadow casts over our little encampment as a long expensive carpet sinks to the ground and two men approach me. One of them is wearing a VERY expensive suit and the other is rather scruffy in an old pullover and jeans.
As they get near I can clearly see that they are wearing badges that put mine with Chief Sweeper Upper of the Midnight Castle emblazoned on it to shame.
Underneath the logo Midnight Castle gold badge reads Development Team and is worn by the suited guy. The other badge reads Midnight Castle Technical Support Team.
“I see you are in charge of this expedition at the moment?”
Without pausing for a reply, he thrusts a sheet of inscribed vellum into my hands and stands back so I can read it.
“You have been charged and found guilty of stealing Midnight Castle property to the detriment and dismay of all those who are now playing the game!
“This is not your first offence fo doing this and you were warned not to do it again
“As you have done so, this is now your FINAL warning and any more infringements will result in the owners of the game withdrawing your ID.
“There is no appeal
“Furthermore in accordance with Rule 74 subsection a (101), you have been fined 1,000 diamonds and $1,000.000. This has already been deducted from your account”
He stands back and as I am speechless and only able to get out a few incoherent syllables the scruffier guy steps forward.
“We want it back! And we want it back NOW!
“If it is not still in perfect working order YOU pay for its repair!”
What on earth are they talking about? What have we done?
He continues as he pulls out a screwdriver and a lamp.
“Come on, this is URGENT! There are several dozen concerned citizens who are unable to continue with their games until you do give it back”
I manage to croak a question:
“What are you talking about?”
And get that particular sympathetic look from them that I know so well:
It means that I am a simple moron!
“OUR WHEEL OF FORTUNE you cretin!
“You have removed it illegally to use as a prop on this expedition.
“So return it NOW!”
The ‘penny drops’. I had wondered why Roo Roo was so smug when she said she had a circus act to end them all.
She must have borrowed the item and not told us.
Then “Toot, Toot”
Which is owl speak for “she’s not here”
I rush to her tent and there it is propped up against the far wall.
I wheel it back to the waiting MC guys who look it over, tinker with it for a while, then sniff and load it onto their carpet.
And they leave.
Now where is ROO?
Why is it always when I am left in charge that things happen?
With my letter from the smelly one .. that will have one banger of a headache tomorrow lol ,
Roo and I stroll through the streets making sure the cats are getting as many shots as they can man this place is huge and so many side streets and I say to Roo we have our work cut out for us.
We hand out flyers as we pass and enter a few shops checking things out and asking if we could hang a poster in the shop and invite them to come have some fun be entertained and have some great food and bring the kiddies for we have rides and they can pet and feed most of the animals
Nose nudges my leg several times and the two Lions get very irate and they fur stands on end ,, sign of DANGER ,,,
A huge burly brute jumps in front of me with his sword drawn and jabs the handel into my chest ..
STOP YOU CAN NOT ENTER HERE...so I show him my pass but I get a humph NOPE NO GOOD HERE TURN AROUND AND LEAVE OR ELSE ,,,come on Roo he means business but I am sure Sugar and Spice got the pic's I need ,, They growl at the burly beast and him like an idiot growls back and I say I would not do that if I were you and feel them both pull and growl harder and see Sugar's paw lase forward just missing the idjiots leg.
craponacracker he thinks he can fight these two?? I pull as hard as I can and yell easy easy easy come on we are leaving Spice takes a swipe #$%^&*&^% wish CHARLIE was here as I am fighting to hold Sugar and Spice I call CHARLIE WHAT IS THE COMMAND TO BACK OFF THEY ARE ABOUT TO ATTACK AND I CAN NOT HOLD ON MUCH LONGER AND WE DO NOT NEED THIS RIGHT NOW .
The burly idjiot starts to sweat and his hand starts to shake ,,, I can see he is having second thoughts ,,, so calmly I say put down your sword slowly and back away and we will do the same.
I try and tell him do NOT run but he is off like a shot.
Well Roo I hope this does not cause us any trouble and get us banned from here come lets get as many pictures as we can and get out of here I will come back with Nose tonight.
We check out a few more ally ways then not to push our luck I say okay lets head back we need to calm Sugar and Spice here and I bet they are hungry like us so lets go eat.
Charlie and I make sure the Zoo is fed and watered when I hear a crash bang BOOM from the TEMP food Tent,, I go flying Sai drawn ready for battle.
OMG what the hell's going on here Opel has PTG's broom swinging it all over the place,,, it on turn is trying to get out of her Hugh hands ,, PTG is frantic trying to rescue his broom from Opel ,,, Muss Katt Angel and Roo are hiding under a table so as not to get bombarded with ballons filled with water and bananas
Bananas ???????????????????? EGORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR where are you fur ball ,,, I follow the broom in Opel hands up to the cross beams and there he is the lill devil playing hide and seek pitching bananas and water balloons then swinging to an other steel grid EGOR GET THE !@#$%^&*()_ DOWN FROM THERE AND STOP THAT SPALATTTTTTTTTTTTTT I GET A FACE FULL OF GOOGY BANANAS ,,,,
WILL SOMEONE GRAB THAT NUTSO MONKEY ,,,,
Charlie to the rescue as she brings in Egor's play mate and gets him down with out any further flying objects,,
Okay Egor you are grounded now get back to the closer Charlie has set up and Charlie keep an eye on him.
Man what a mess as everyone pitches in to clean up so we can eat ,,, AHUM Miss Opel may I please have my broom back now??
She hands him his precious broom as he checks it over from bristle to stack end and coos it is ok I got you now ,,,,
I look at PTG and just shake my head.
All is cleaned up and we all get to eat in quite ,,,, I call Charlie to come join us and bring Nose please*** she likes to eat her meals with her Zoo***
As I am waiting I clear the table and lay out the maps and pictures we have so far,,, okay gather around ,,,
Heres the plan,,, Nose and I will do a night recon here as I point to entrance to The Bone Kingdom,,,, I need get a look at the inside ,, what is this a Ball Room ,,, Yes says Roo and up the stairs are The Hounds over three doors ways what and where they go I do not know .
Okay that is my plan Charlie can you fasten the pearls to Nose's collar ? I need to look as if we are on a nightly walk if we are spotted.
And Charlie you will be with me tomorrow as my assistant I will have one Lion you the other ,,, I have the pass if we are stopped and questioned ,, we just say we are here for meat for the Lion's and that we have permission and this pass.
We can get Sugar and Spice to growl a bit as if they are really hungry .
Okay every one clear on the plan??
I go with Charlie to get ready for my night recon with Nose.
I HEARD THE COMMOTION GOING ON IN THE FOOD TENT. THE I HEARD THE CAP YELLING AT EGOR. BABY SAID THAT HE HAD GONE IN SEARCH OF FOOD. FOOD! I ASKED BABY SAID THAT IS WHAT HE SAID HE WAS HUNGRY AND YOU WERE NOT HERE AT THE TIME. OK ! NOT YOUR FAULT.
I GRAB JL AND HEAD FOR THE FOOD TENT. JL YOU GO UP THEIR AND GET EGOR DOWN. AND NO JOINING HIM THROWING THINGS. OR NO TREATS FOR EITHER OF YOU! EGOR COMES DOWN WITH JL . CAP SAYS EGOR IS GROUNDED TO THE PET AREA. GOOD I SHOULD HAVE MADE IT CLEAR TO BABY AND BEAU HE WAS NOT TO LEAVE THERE.
BACK WITH BABY AND BEAU IN THE ANIMAL AREA I TELL BABY AND BEAU EGOR IS NOT TO LEAVE HERE AGAIN. IF HE GETS HUNGRY TELL ME I WILL COME IF I AM NOT HERE. BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES IS HE TO LEAVE HERE. NOW I WILL FEED AND WATER ALL OF YOU THEN GET MY SUPPER AND BRING IT HERE. THAT WAY I CAN KEEP AN EYE ON ALL OF YOU. NO WONDERING AROUND WHILE WE ARE AWAY FROM THE PET ENCLOSURE AND BARN AT THE TEA ROOM. I KNOW MANY OF YOU PREFER TO HUNT OR FIND YOUR OWN FOOD. BUT THESE PEOPLE WILL NOT UNDERSTAND OR WANT YOU DOING THAT. SORRY SUGAR AND SPICE. NO HUNTING HERE. I KNOW YOU HUNTED BEFORE WE LEFT. ARE YOU HUNGRY NOW.
NOT REALLY THEY REPLY. BUT SOME MEAT WOULD HELP. THAT WE CAN GET BUT IT WILL NOT BE FRESH KILL YOU ARE USED TO.
WE UNDERSTAND THEY REPLIED.
I WAS FINISHING MY FOOD WHEN THE CAP ASKED IF I COULD COME TO THE FOOD TENT. AND TO BRING NOSE.
WHEN WE ARRIVE HE SAYS HE WANTS THE PEARLS PUT ON NOSE. I LOOP THEM A COUPLE OF TIMES AROUND HIS NECK THE SECURE THEM TO HIS COLLAR WITH STRING.
DON'T WORRY NOSE YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO ALWAYS WEAR THEM.
THEN THE CAP SAYS I WILL HAVE TO GO OUT WITH HIM TOMORROW. I CHUCKLE SO YOU THINK I AM NEEDED. NO TROUBLE I HOPE. I AM GETTING TO OLD TO FIGHT. THEN I THINK I WILL HAVE TO RIG MY BAG INTO A BACKPACK I CAN'T LEAVE IT BEHIND. WHO KNOWS IT AND IT'S MANY CONTENTS MAY COME IN HANDY.
TIME TO RETURN TO THE ANIMALS. JUST LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU ARE READY TO LEAVE IN THE MORNING.
CHARLIE JOINS ME AND IS WITH NOSE .
I ASK DID YOU TAKE CARE OF THAT CRAZY LOONIE TUNE MONKEY ? AND DID YOU SEE WHAT HE DID?
WELL FOR THAT LITTLE STUNT HE IS GROUNDED TO THE TEMP EN CLOSER AND OUT OF THE PARADE FOR A FEW DAYS ,,, I DID NOT NEED HIM MUCKING UP THINGS AND WARN HIM IF HE EVER DOES THAT AGAIN NO MATTER HOW FUNNY OR HUNGRY HE THINKS HE IS AND ACTS LIKE A SPOILED CHILD THEN HE WILL TREATED AS SUCH.
OPEL I SEE YOU, NO AND I MEAN NO SNEAKING HIM TREATS LIKE YOUR HONEY COVERED NUTS REMEMBER THE LAST TIME HE GOT INTO THEM ??
WE ALMOST HAD TO SHAVE HIM BALD HE WAS SO FULL OF HONEY SHEEEEEEESH.
OKAY CHARLIE BE READY FOR TOMORROW TO COME WITH ME AND PLEASE HAVE NOSE READY FOR TONIGHT,, THIS WILL BE OUR FIRST NIGHT RECON AND I DO NOT WANT ANY THING TO GO WRONG MAYBE A GOOD IDEA IF I TAKE GHOST PUP ALONG TO ?
OKAY LETS GET READY ..............
I HAVE ALREADY TOLD BABY AND BEAU TO KEEP EGOR IN CHECK. HE IS TO GO NOWHERE. BABY WILL TAKE CARE NOT TO LET HIM WANDER AGAIN.
YES, TAKE GHOST PUP. HE MAY COME IN VERY HANDY. AND YOU KNOW HE HATES GUARDS. IT IS BECAUSE OF THEM HE IS A GHOST.
NOSE IS READY WHEN YOU ARE. HE THINKS HE LOOKS LIKE A SISSY. BUT I TOLD HIM IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO WEAR THE PEARLS.
GHOST PUP I CALL MENTALLY COME AND JOIN NOSE. LISTEN TO THE CAP AND DO WHAT HE WANTS YOU TO DO.
NOW I HAVE TO GO AND ASK OPAL IF SHE CAN HELP ME FIGURE A WAY TO MAKE MY BAG INTO A BACKPACK. WHO KNOWS WE MAY NEED IT TOMORROW.
"Roll up...Roll up... Catch a duck....Everyone gets a prize" I call out as I stand in front of my stall.
Without warning there is a stampede heading my way!!
The ground trembles as six guards & a short round man with a sceptre forces a way through the mob & comes to an abrupt halt three feet from my stall.
"The Bone King wants Champion the cat".The little man says.
"Certainly" I reply " If you pay your 30 coins & pick up a fishing net all you have to do is catch the rubber duck with a number '1' on the bottom ".......Before I can utter another word he raises his squeaky voice to a very high pitch.
"NO, NO,NO....You will GIVE me Champion the ginger cat if you & your circus wish to remain here".
Hmmm....Randy might not be too happy if I tell him we have been evicted, I hand over Champion & they head back into the Bone Palace.
The crowds are pushing & shoving each other to get to the front & my appeals to 'Form an orderly queue' are unheeded.
As my coffers swell as I dole out prizes....
PTG walks over to see why I am surrounded by so many players.
" Roo, your crowd is blocking the path to the other amusements" PTG grumbles.
"Well don't just stand there, I will take the coins & you can give out the prizes.Just match up the number on duck with the prize".I frustratedly replies.
After an hour I stop for a rest.PTG has given out The Frog Witch, The Dwarf Warrior, The Moose & The Woodpecker along with almost all the other prizes.I watch PTG merrily enjoying himself counting the coins.
"Roo......Why were all the prizes stamped with my i.d. Number?" He asks.
I back out of the booth.
"Of course your i.d. is stamped on the back, they all belonged to you."
"What?....How?.....NOoooo...." He frantically shouts.
”Perhaps you should take greater care of items entrusted to your care....Like the Fortune Wheel“ I smugly reply.
Sensing that I might need to disappear at speed, I get ready to raise my hood.
"If you hurry you might be able to buy back some of them with the coins, but I would not hold out much hope for Champion as he now resides with the Bone King!" With that I raise my hood & am gone.
I sweep the takings of Roo’s nefarious activities into a cash box and hand it to Angel for safe keeping.
For a few seconds I am brain dead with the shock of Roo’s latest perfidy
Then my ‘little grey cells’ begin to work.
Pure revenge is not going to solve this latest problem caused by that she-devil!
I need to return the situation to an earlier ‘time zone’ using the System Restore facility and all my hard-earned winnings will then be returned.
I am particularly enraged by the loss of my little Champion as it is irreplaceable under normal circumstances.
To make ‘normality’ return to my game play I need to slip over to the Library in the Dark Tower to consult the Book of Knowledge.
Within seconds my trusty broom has transported me before the lectern with the enormous tome on it.
After several hours of frustrating search, I still have not located the device I need but then I see it!
It is in a footnote of a footnote to say that in the Northern Islands there is a very strange area called the Stone Garden
There you can find a stone deer with magical runes emblazoned on it.
By completing its HOS you are rewarded with a Nordic Triangle, which the Book of Knowledge states to be a most powerful shaman tool.
It can reverse time!
I quickly fly across there and complete he necessary HOS. This does not take long as I am in the early stages of the task.
But what I get is no magical triangle – it is a blob of ice!
Complete frustration at getting the Crushing Cold prize instead.
I slip it into my pocket and wait 10 minutes for the HOS to recharge. Then I complete the task again.
I now hold the pulsating Nordic Triangle icon in my hands and get an eerie feeling of a command being required.
My broom takes charge, being magical itself and we are back at the Fair before the Bone Kingdom walls where I was sitting bereft just a few seconds before.
A whisper: “Initiate?”
And somehow my belongings are restored to me and a sign is placed on the table where I sit saying:
OUT TO LUNCH!!
NOW is the time for revenge!
Roo has disappeared using her magical cloak, but my pet owl has already demonstrated that it can relocate her – invisible or not!
I hand it the Crushing Cold Ice Ball and tell it to bomb her with it!
It will not affect her cloak, so the terms of our agreement with the Mage are not breached. But it will freeze her into submission until I decide otherwise!
Soon I hear that all too familiar screeching howl of anguish as my pet owl accomplishes its mission successfully!
I look up & see PTG's owl scouring the area trying to find me.PTG is quite delusional if he believes I would not be expecting some sort of attack on my person.I give a Heavy Sigh!
Remembering that the Magic Council granted my cloak the power to be undetected in its state of invisibility by "Animals whether ghostly or physical" I can only assume the owl is hovering around waiting for me to lower my hood.
I release a Gentle Wind which forces the owl from its current path, spending a few moments adjusting to the sudden breeze.Feeling tired & hungry the owl opens its claws to drop an Ice Ball, then it circles to change direction presumably back to PTG.
As the Ice Ball falls I toss a bottle of Liquid fire into the air then dive for cover under a Proper Shield.
When the Liquid Fire hits its target the Ice Ball sizzles as it quickly melts into steam & a few harmless raindrops fall to the ground six feet away from me.