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    Mariposa Aristeo

    Can you believe Story Embers has been around a whole year?! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I canโ€™t even handle all the hype. We already have many exciting festivities going on, but I wanted to add a little something extra to the hullabaloo…



    If youโ€™re unfamiliar with the story, last year I wrote a spoof (with the help of my dinosaur assistant ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿฆ–) of Indiana Jones starring the SE staff, with appearances from various forum members. You can read the story hereย https://storyembers.org/forums/topic/first-se-fiction-story-raiders-of-the-lost-arc/ (For those of you who know the story, you may want to reread it to refresh your memory of all the inside jokes before diving into this one. ๐Ÿ˜‰)

    This sequel takes place soon after the firstโ€”most of the characters are the same, though a few SE staffers have been given different roles and names (just letting you know so you wonโ€™t be confused).

    @jessi-rae @daeus-lamb @j-a-penrose @supermonkey42 @andrew @karthmin @savannahgrace @maddiejay @catwing @brandon-miller

    So, now I present to you the first part of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC II: THE LEGEND OF THE FORBIDDEN BURIAL GROUNDS!

    *Cues the epic Indiana Jones theme song*

    โ€œYouโ€™re branding the wrong cow!โ€ Storm hollered, riding up with a searing iron in the shape of a flame.

    Pennsylvania blinked at the calf, then released it, realizing he had almost branded his neighborโ€™s steer. โ€œHey, Iโ€™m a writer, not a cattle wrestler.โ€

    โ€œObviously.โ€ Storm leaned forward on her purple saddle as Edna, her piguirrel, glared at Pennsylvania for his inconsistency. After discovering the positive arc in the Middle East, Pennsylvania had used the money to buy a ranch in the Middle West so he could escape from all the not-action-adventure stories and live a normal life.

    Pennsylvaniaโ€™s foreman, Nebraska Miller, galloped up with the rest of the cowhands, Glitter Grabber, Sunflower Cinders, Tam Morrow, Madhouse Martin, and Sugarfoot Savannah.

    โ€œLost another one, boss.โ€ Nebraska gestured to the dead calf heโ€™d hauled up.

    โ€œThatโ€™s the seventh one this week.โ€ Pennsylvania scratched his head. โ€œAt this rate, Iโ€™ll have to go out of business.โ€

    โ€œWell, you know, boss, we could go after that other arc and then use the moneyโ€”โ€

    โ€œNo! Iโ€™ve had enough of action-adventure stories!โ€ Pennsylvania shook his fists in indignation.

    โ€œBut this isnโ€™t an action-adventure story, this is a western!โ€ Nebraska corrected him, following Pennsylvania and Storm to the barn.

    Cinders put a hand on her hip. โ€œEver since Pennsylvania gave up his arc hunting, life has been downright boring.โ€

    Morrow rested her hand on her holster. โ€œI guess itโ€™s high time we stirred things up a bit.โ€

    All the cowhands grinned.


    โ€œThe Fine Art of Frog Sitting.โ€ Grabber tilted her head, reading the spine of a book on Pennsylvaniaโ€™s shelf as they searched for the clue to the next arc. โ€œWhere do you think he put it?โ€

    Martin tapped his chin. โ€œIf I were an arc, where would I be?โ€

    โ€œProbably in a fish bowl.โ€ Cinders snorted, yanking a drawer open. Out flew a bunch of purple pens.

    โ€œWhat about this safe?โ€ Grabber nodded to a strongbox.

    A couple minutes later, Nebraska sauntered in and saw them all huddled by the safe. โ€œWhat are you doing?โ€

    โ€œTrying to find the clue to the negative arc.โ€

    Nebraska broke out in a cold sweat. โ€œStop! Stop! Youโ€™re gonna get me fired!โ€ He raved and shouted gibberish.

    โ€œWe gotta shut him up before the boss hears us,โ€ Cinders said.

    โ€œAh, just shoot his head off.โ€ Morrow whipped out her gun, but Grabber raced in front of her.

    โ€œNo! Donโ€™t do that! Heโ€™s already lost his head once!โ€ Grabber interceded.

    โ€œBut weโ€™ve got to calm him down!โ€ Martin grabbed Nebraskaโ€™s arms.

    Footsteps thumped outside.

    โ€œQuick! I know!โ€ Cinders grabbed a balloon from her pocket, blew it up, and placed it in Nebraskaโ€™s hands. His face lit up like a child with, well…a balloon.

    They all hushed as a shadow appeared beneath the door. It creaked open, and spurs jingled in the hallway. Wind rustled the curtain and stole Nebraskaโ€™s balloon out of his hands. Tears welled up in his eyes. Everyoneโ€™s heart raced, and they waited for him to start bawling, but he said not a word. The person in the hallway moved to leave.

    โ€œIโ€™M GONNA GET FIRED!โ€

    Cinders clamped her hand over Nebraskaโ€™s mouth. Morrow walloped his head, and he crashed to the floor unconscious.

    The person started to come back.

    Stormโ€™s purple boots clomped into sight. The gang knew they were deadโ€”or would beโ€”very soon. She raised an eyebrow and reached for her holster.

    โ€œLooking for this?โ€ She smiled, pulling out the clue.


    Nebraska groaned, rubbing his head. He knew all the Coke he drank last night would give him a hangover. When he realized he wasnโ€™t at the ranch anymore, his eyes flew open. โ€œI must have been drunk on the job! Oh, Iโ€™m so fired!โ€

    โ€œCalm down, you arenโ€™t fired.โ€ Storm plopped some cool beans onto a plate and handed them to Nebraska.

    โ€œI donโ€™t believe you.โ€ Nebraska refused to take the beans in fear that they would poison him by making him feel fine again.

    โ€œPennsylvania only owns half the ranch. So he canโ€™t fire you unless I say so.โ€

    โ€œBut…then…Iโ€™m half fired!โ€ Nebraska moaned, burying his head in his lap.

    Martin patted his shoulder. โ€œWeโ€™ll miss you.โ€

    โ€œDonโ€™t encourage him!โ€ Cinders croaked.

    โ€œIโ€™m notโ€”Iโ€™m discouraging him.โ€ Martin retorted so politely it could hardly be considered a retort.

    โ€œCome on, weโ€™d better head out.โ€ Storm rolled up her bed roll. The rest climbed atop their horses. They traveled along a road dustier than Pennsylvaniaโ€™s old manuscripts until they came to a sign that read: Snark Valley, Population: What do you care?

    โ€œSounds like my kinda place.โ€ Maddie spat a piece of jerky at the bottom of the sign.

    They neared the town. No one was in sight, but a bunch of moldy cakes, brownies, and cookies were scattered across the streets.

    โ€œLooks desserted to me,โ€ Martin muttered, pulling a hunk of cake off the sidewalk.

    โ€œThatโ€™s disgusting.โ€ Savannah gagged as they all hitched their horses to the post.

    โ€œI know.โ€ Martin grinned, his teeth a greenish hue from the mold.

    โ€œYou reckon anyone lives around here?โ€ Grabber surveyed the empty streets. Soon thereafter, a black-haired girl rode up. โ€œWhatโ€™s your name?โ€

    The girl smiled. โ€œJenna, but everyone calls me Jen.โ€

    โ€œDo you know what happened to all the people round here, Jen?โ€

    โ€œThis used to be a bustling mining town. Once old man Brilliant struck ideas in his shaft, writers came from miles around in hopes of striking it rich. But then…โ€ Jenโ€™s smiled faded. โ€œThe ideas just ran dry. I mean, I ainโ€™t complainโ€™, mind you. Me and Moe like being here alone, donโ€™t we?โ€ Her horse neighed. โ€œBut if you be extroverts interested in socializing, thereโ€™s a saloon over there where you can find whatโ€™s left of our citizens.โ€ She tipped her hat and rode off into the horizon.

    โ€œLetโ€™s go meet the people!โ€ Nebraska and Cinders beamed, strutting in that direction while the rest shuddered. They came to a dilapidated building with two brightly colored oval statues on either side of the doors.

    โ€œThe Silver Balloon Saloon,โ€ Nebraska read aloud. โ€œI like this place already!โ€

    โ€œWhat can I get ya, folks?โ€ The bartender dirtied a couple glasses to match the filthy ones on the counter. A couple cowpokes sat at a table, betting on which balloon would fly the highest.

    โ€œNo coffee!โ€ they chorused.

    The bartender frowned as if he was insulted. โ€œHey, I run a respectable joint, folks.โ€

    They heaved a sigh. โ€œGive us some root beer with a dash of awesomesauce.โ€

    While the introverts wandered off to separate corners, Nebraska and Cinders interrogated the bartender. โ€œDo you know anything about an arc being nearby?โ€

    The bartender almost accidentally cleaned his glass. โ€œI…I donโ€™t know anything.โ€

    โ€œWe donโ€™t want anything, just something. Do you knowโ€”โ€

    โ€œI told youโ€”now, leave me alone!โ€ The bartender stormed off upstairs.

    Nebraska wrinkled his forehead and Cinders pursed her lips. They approached the men betting on the balloons. โ€œHey, do you know about an arc?โ€

    The men left the table.

    Cinders put her hand on her hip. โ€œIf this ainโ€™t the most introverted saloon Iโ€™ve ever been in!โ€


    Bullets grazed the door, barely missing Nebraskaโ€™s head. Horses stampeded outside.

    โ€œYeehaw!โ€ Someone shouted outside, shooting off more bullets.

    Nebraska and Cinders rushed to the door, peering outside. โ€œOh no!โ€ They gasped. โ€œItโ€™s the book robbers!โ€



    *freaks out*

    *runs around in circles screaming*

    YAY!! A second part! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    *throws confetti*

    Brianna Storm Hilvety

    I love how I knew where Josiah hid the clue and am leading the writing team on this quest. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป (Thatโ€™s actually a fairly accurate representation of how I interact with our publishing personnel…which is probably information I should not be disclosing to the public. ๐Ÿ˜› So shhhh.)

    Jessi Rae

    @mariposa YES! *pumps fists* *turns cartwheels* A sequel! ๐Ÿ˜€ I love the reference to Nebraska already losing his head once. XD And the population sign. And Middle West. And book robbers. And just everything! XD ๐Ÿ˜€ Will I get to be in it again? *hopeful puppy eyes*

    "How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure."

    Maddie Morrow

    Iโ€™m so proud of the impression I have made ๐Ÿ˜‚

    This is pure stinking gold. Love it. I died laughing.

    Kate Lamb


    Martin Detwiler

    Ohmygosh!! @mariposa

    You nailed this all so well!

    I’m dying of laughter over here. ๐Ÿ˜‚

    “looks desserted”

    *shakes head* WAY too accurate.

    Andrew Schmidt

    @mariposa: greeeeaaaaatt joooooooooooooooob!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I like it. The Legend of the Forbidden Burial Grounds! Really good job. And Happy SE Anniversary!

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."

    Ariel Ashira

    OH MY WORD!!!ย  that is so freaking awesome I am dying of laughter!! XD

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."


    Oh. My. STARS!!! XD XD XD That was hilarious!!!!! I loved it!!!

    Now, I must say, I LOVED THE NO COFFEE THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Is that part of the code of honor that writers prefer tea over coffee? I’m considering giving my Tolkien Friend permission to indoctrinate me in the ways of coffee drinking, so if I need to pull out now, somebody tell me.

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

    E. Grace

    That was masterful… made me laugh so hard. XDย  I really needed that.ย  ๐Ÿ˜›


    "True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less." - C. S. Lewis

    Mariposa Aristeo

    @evelyn Ooh, confetti? *throws some more* ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

    Your secret is safe with me (but not with Aberdeenโ€”heโ€™ll tell everyone ๐Ÿฆ–๐Ÿ˜…).

    Perhaps. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Youโ€™ll have to wait and see.

    Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜œ Your character ย was ย fun to write (especially with all the SE staff has told me about you ๐Ÿ˜†).

    Thank you! I canโ€™t wait to write the rest. ๐Ÿ˜„

    I donโ€™t like coffee or tea, so… ๐Ÿ˜…

    Jessi Rae

    @mariposa I can’t wait! *grins*

    "How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure."

    Gabrielle Pollack

    *jumps in* @ericawordsmith Don’t be afraid of the coffee. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It is not against writerly code. #rebel

    As always, fantabulous job. *throws glitter* I approve of that introverted saloon. ๐Ÿ˜›


    @mariposa Yay! *Throws feathers* Another wonderful piece of Story Embers Literature! All the puns! XD
    I can’t wait for you and Aberdeen to release the next part. :3 *hums the Indiana Jones theme*

    When your wings are weak and you feel like you can't fly any farther you're halfway there!

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