The Joys of Maraqua
Aiey curved her body and let herself fall into the deep, cool depths of the ocean, with her faithful Kadoatie Katie right beside her. She took in a deep breath of water and let it out with a contented sigh. The Aisha enjoyed these rare occasions when she was free to glide underwater. In fact, it was amazing she could do this at all.
Everything began with this gorgeous, now-Maraquan Kadoatie gliding alongside her....
It was a beautiful day in the busy avenues and cozy streets of Neopia Central. Shoppers flitted around the shops; some unsure of what to buy, others striding purposefully to check off the items on their lists. The Rainbow Pool was full of Neopets splashing contentedly and beautifying themselves with Paint Brushes. The Money Tree’s branches reached out wide to soak up the sun’s warm rays, and there was a small Blue Shoyru sitting under it, timidly yet gratefully picking up a jelly and an Ummagine and relishing every bite. A few young Neopets chased a Puppyblew across the bazaar, laughing, and an elderly Krawk relaxed comfortably on a park bench. In the vast blue sky, there wasn’t a cloud in sight. Surely, resident and tourist alike felt pure bliss that day (with the possible exception of the unceasingly harried Half Price Day shoppers), but nobody’s happiness could compare to that of a young Yellow Aisha named Aiey, for she had just taken home her new Petpet.
Aiey was sitting in the Neogarden of her Neohome in Rainbow Lane, enjoying the warm sunshine and cool ocean breeze with her new best friend, Kaddie. Kaddie was a Kadoatie, a gorgeous Blue Kadoatie that was sitting next to Aiey and purring contentedly. Together, they gazed out past the horizon at the nearby sea.
Suddenly, a wave of sadness washed over her. It had always been her dream to swim proficiently, but she had soon faced the hard facts: Aishas couldn’t swim. But how she wished that she could glide as effortlessly as a Peophin or a Flotsam through the delightfully clear and pristine waters of the sea! Aiey wished with all her might that she might someday swim like a Peophin.
Suddenly, her body began to change...
Aiey’s body became slender and curvy. Her legs fused and became powerful and smooth as a Flotsam’s; they had become fins. But they could not hold her weight, and so she toppled to the floor in a tangle of hair and clothes. Sharp slits formed on either side of her neck, and her skin turned slick, beautifully shiny and sparkly, and a pure aqua.
Of course, none of that matters when you suddenly find you can’t breathe.
Aiey gasped for breath and managed to croak out her plea before she began to wheeze again. Luckily, her mother heard her cry, and rushed to her side with a cup of water. But her mom’s hands trembled so much at the sight of her daughter that she dropped the cup all over Aiey’s neck! But at the moment the water touched Aiey, her breathing returned to normal, she relaxed, and fell into a deep sleep.
For a few minutes, Aiey slept peacefully. Then, out of nowhere, her body shrank back to its normal proportions, and her fins became legs once again. The slits on her neck vanished, and her downy, yellow-hued fur returned at hyper-speed. She was cured!
Aiey was stunned, and it took her a moment to come out of her stupor and realize that she was awake. But sure enough, as soon as she was fully awake, the inevitable, then-unanswerable questions began pouring out.
“What happened? Why did I fall asleep? It hurts all over! How? I was just sitting there, then—”
Her mother put up a hand to silence her.
“Let’s go see the doctor,” Aiey’s mom said.
They trekked a short way down Rainbow Lane and into the Marketplace to the Neopian Hospital. After a long and (in Aiey’s opinion) boring talk and examination with the doctor, her strange experience that morning was dismissed as mere ‘allergies’. But as Aiey and her mom returned home, and as Aiey retired to her bed that night, she wondered if it could have been something else....
It was the middle of the night. Aiey woke up abruptly, and had only one thought: Get to the beach. With the full moon as her guide, and Kaddie at her side, she left the house, crossed the front yard, walked down the sidewalk, through the park, and onto the cool sand of the beach. She stopped at the water’s edge. Aiey felt apprehensive about diving in, for she knew quite well that Aishas couldn’t swim, but the strange urge that had propelled Aiey out of bed that very evening now told her to get in the water. Even more strangely, she obeyed.
As soon as her paws touched the water, she transformed. Her body changed like it had earlier that day, but this time, she realized what she had morphed into: a Maraquan Aisha! Feeling energized, she leapt, uninhibited, into the cool water, with the now-Maraquan Kaddie right behind her. As she dived deep, the cool, pure water cleared her mind, and she suddenly understood everything: the strange transformation, the awakening, and why she was here tonight...
Aiey had a very keen feeling that Kaddie, her beloved Petpet, was behind all of this. "He must be magical! I remember making a wish: 'I wish that I could swim like a Peophin.' Kaddie has somehow made my wish come true! He has transformed him and me Maraquan." And she was sure that the full moon’s rays had woken her, and drawn her to the seashore, where the water had transformed her. And it would happen only when there was a full moon. By the time she thought it all over, she was in Maraqua.
Whenever Aiey fantasized about swimming at long last, the first place she visited in her mind was Maraqua. So even though it was the middle of the night, Aiey and Kaddie frolicked gleefully in the water. She was so grateful that Kaddie had granted her wish.
I can’t believe I have a magical Petpet, thought Aiey.
But as soon as one of the first rays of sunshine hit her, she felt the same urgency she did in her bed last night—only now it was to get back home. She rounded up Kaddie, swam home as fast as possible, and returned to her Neohome before anyone even noticed that she was gone. As she lay in bed, trying to get some sleep, she felt an aching desire to return to Maraqua, but was content knowing that she would come back next full moon....
Now, it has been almost a year since that fateful night. Aiey was right with her theories—every time a full moon lights up the sky, the same thing happens. She stirs from her sleep, walks to the beach, and transforms—along with Kaddie, of course. After that, instinct takes hold of her; her senses guide her to and from Maraqua. But by far, her favorite part of the monthly excursion is being in the great city. She loves exploring the ruins and pretending to live in the great New Maraqua. Now, Aiey doesn’t know how she ever lived without the adventure. She also wonders how she ever got along without the priceless times when she loses herself in the peacefulness and joyfulness of the sea.
This is my first submission. I hope you liked this story. Feel free to Neomail me about it! More is to come... =D