Chaneliz Visits the Beach
"Come on Tusk," Chaneliz squealed, "Race you to the beach!"
Her little paws went from scorching hot cobblestone to sand in just a few moments as she broke into a run - her Gruslen struggling to keep up behind her. She felt the grains in between her toes, warmed by the sun. She could already smell the salty spray of the ocean's hearth. It felt fresh and cool in her lungs. Her body pushed onward, over the slight hillside of sand dunes til the ocean laid before her in all its glory.
She would have stopped on her own to stare at it, but instead tripped, rolling down the hill in a blustering tumble of flailing limbs and laughter. Her petpet landed on top of her back with a thump.
"Wow Tusk! You better lay off the snacks, you're getting heavy," She giggled as she scampered off again.
"Wait for me Chaneliz!" But it was futile, she was far too excited to wait. She threw everything in her arms onto the ground a good twenty feet from the surf, and ran straight forward into the crashing waves and bubbling foam. It pushed back her hair in a rush of sweeping water as she dived into the shallows, feeling the coolness against her fur. Nothing was better on a hot summer day than such a refreshing treat! As she surfaced, she looked back to where Tusk was just now jumping in. He was more cautious about it and tried not to go in past his little orange ankles.
Chaneliz sighed, floating lazily on her back to stare at the cloudless blue of the sky. It was so peaceful here, and so quiet! It was empty otherwise, except for a few wandering Pirakeets looking for the occasional stray Spyrabor to munch upon. It was hard to believe that no one else wanted to take advantage of such a wonderful day.
Tusk, who had finally summoned up the courage to brave the clashing waves to swim out to her, bobbed merrily in the water, splashing her with a sweep of his tail.
"I'll race you to the buoy!" The Gruslen sang, flipping away in a small burst of salty rain. But Chaneliz wouldn't let him have victory so easy, and immediately dived after him, determined to get there first. She was glad for the goggles she had smartly placed upon her head earlier, for she could easily swim underneath the water and still see exactly where she was heading. She surfaced only occasionally, but ended up trailing behind Tusk significantly - so it was hardly a surprised when the tiny Gruslen indeed came up first.
"Don't let it go to your head," Chaneliz teased, "I'm just out of practice is all! Next time, you won't be so lucky."
"Sure, whatever makes you feel better," her friend giggled, resting his paws against the buoy while he took a break from swimming. The water was a lot deeper here. Chaneliz let herself sink under the surface of the water to gaze at the depths.
It seemed they had swam over a reef that was lively with small fish and colorful sea coral. She was surprised by how vast it was - a plethora of rainbow life. She swam downwards, hardly even fifteen feet, letting her paw reach out to touch an exceptionally wispy anemone. It shrunk inward as if frightened. She giggled to herself at the strangeness of it before planting her feet firmly on the bottom of the sea and pushed herself back to the surface.
As she came up she took in a deep breath of fresh air, turning to Tusk excitedly. "Tusk! Put your goggles on! You have to see this!" He obliged and they dove back down, scouring the bottom for interesting things. With each breath they took they excitedly discussed their findings - everything from the most adorable little Jawshell doing somersaults through the kelp, to the most grumpy looking Trunkard who blew a stream of stand and small pebbles directly into Tusk's face.
Before they knew it, they were coming across small and interesting trinkets, and began putting them on the rim of the buoy so that they could swim back with them later. Among the treasures were several strands of a prismatic sea fern, a plethora of different colored shells, from some of which grew anemone and coral, and a strand of dull grey pearls probably lost from a swimmer during an afternoon coastal adventure.
Chaneliz found herself swimming further and further out with each venture as she explored the reef - to Tusk's dismay, who could not go nearly as deep as she could being that he was so much smaller. And so eventually she found herself on the outermost edge, looking out into the drop off point where the pastel coral came to an abrupt shelf like edge. She wondered what kinds of beings wandered in the darkest deeps and shuddered to herself.
Coming up for another breath of air she heard Tusk calling for her. "What is it Tusk?" She yelled back to him.
"Don't go too far Chaneliz! I want to go back soon!"
She gave a little sigh, but supposed her friend was right. They could probably use a good rest on solid land while they ate a few of the snacks they had brought along.
"Okay! I'll come back! Just one more dive!" She took the deepest breath she could muster and plunged downwards with determination. Just one last treasure to find - and it would have to be a good one! By now it was quite the distance from the surface to the floor - it had pretty much doubled in length from where the buoy is, and took quite a bit of stamina to reach.
As she approached the patches of kelp, a hint of gold caught the corner of her eye. It was hard to make out what it was since it was buried in so much algae and sand, but it was definitely shiny for sure! She kicked furiously, eager to unmask it and return to the surface. Perhaps the breath she had taken wasn't as large as she had originally thought, because she was starting to miss the abundant air that came with being above water. But triumph she did, and soon enough her paw was frantically pulling at it, trying to free it from the tangle of sea life it was ensnared in.
It was stubborn, and accidentally cut the tip of her finger while trying to grasp it. Getting aggravated she placed her other paw on it as well, violently wriggling it back and forth with as much weightless strength as she could muster. Finally the clay like filth around it gave, and it was freed, Chaneliz pushing off the bottom one last time as she floated her way to the surface like a rocket ship.
Sputtering, her head broke through and her lungs gasped fervently - it felt good to breath!
"Chaneliz! You get back here right now! You had me worried!" Tusk yelled from the safety of the buoy. She rolled her eyes, holding the shell she had found up to the light. The surface was brilliantly aureate, and scattered the light in fragments, which shimmered upon the surface of the ocean in a beautiful sparkle of warmth and radiance. It was a golden shell! It looked more beautiful and rare than any shell they had ever come across in their adventures to the beach.
Excited, she made sure to clean the last of the murky clay from its surface before swimming back toward Tusk with the biggest grin plastered across her salty face.
"What are you smiling about?" Tusk asked suspiciously.
"Look at this! I found it on the edge of the reef!" She showed her friend the treasure - he was just as entranced by it as she was.
"Oh my goodness! Chaneliz - that's not just any shell, that's THE shell. I can't believe you found one! It's the rarest in all the realms of Neopia! I don't know how you could possibly be so lucky!"
She let out a triumphant chuckle, throwing her arms around her friend - mistakenly pushing them both under the surface for a split second out of glee.
"We found it Tusk! I bet we can sell it at the pier and make enough money to buy us tons of new beach stuff!"
"Maybe we could even eat at Kelp?" Tusk suggested hopefully, with eyes as big as she knew his stomach could be.
"We definitely can! After all, that's what friends are for. Now come on, let's take a trip to the boardwalk," Tusk was right, she was lucky. Lucky for such a beautiful find, on the most perfect of days, with her very best of friends. She couldn't have been happier - and that was worth all the golden shells in all the seas combined.