|"Why did it have to be a cave?" Donovan grumbled while crawling on his stomach. "I'll take a jungle. I can go into the mountains just fine. Anything above ground! But no, here I am beneath Neopia."
Donovan was an explorer, and one of the best - he liked to brag about that. He'd found ancient ruins all over Neopia - from deep in the wilderness of Mystery Island to the cold heart of Terror Mountain. This time, though, he'd gone into a hole in the ground outside of Shenkuu and found himself in a tunnel which kept getting smaller and smaller. Soon, he feared, there might be no way to turn back at all.
"This is the last time I take information from old, 'wise' villagers," Donovan said, knowing that he didn't mean what he said. Next time, he would be just as reliant on them as always. If he made it out of this cave, that is.
A little further on, just as it seemed the tunnel would get too tight to continue, suddenly the dirt opened into an enormous cavern. Donovan spilled out onto the ground and grumbled a bit more, before looking at what surrounded him.
"What in the world..."
Date: Dec 10th
Surrounding Donovan was an enormous school of Belonthiss. A myriad of these fanciful fishes flitted around the cavernous expanse. The mingling petpets were unperturbed by Donovan's presence and continued their mesmerizing dance. Their vibrant purple hues glistened against the cave walls, as a mysterious source illuminated their silhouettes.|
Deeper in the cavern appeared to be a stagnant pool of water, offset by a golden glow emanating from within. The Belonthiss were still flying around the cave, but appeared to circle the water - and whatever was submerged.
Donovan began to approached the glowing pool, but stopped himself before he made his first stride - an experienced explorer knew when best to exercise caution. Donovan began thinking of his best course of action when suddenly...
Date: Dec 11th
A call came from inside the pool as if singing to him. Donovan shook his head to keep from being spellbound by the sounds, and yet he couldn't stop staring at the glowing waters.
"What an alluring sound... I want to... touch the waters..." he muttered, taking a few steps to the pool and kneeling down on the shore bank. He slowly touched the waters, which felt surprisingly warm and inviting. Inch by inch, Donovan submerged his body into the waters, being pulled towards the glow. And as his head entered, he found it to be airy, not the dense and pressure inducing liquid he knew well from his adventures.
'Such a fantastical discovery. I wonder if I can...' his thoughts trailed off as he took a deep breath, to find out he actually could breathe! Not only that, he seemed to float to the glowing artifact, not sink.
As Donovan "swims" closer, he finds the glow to come from...
Date: Dec 12th
...A golden Belonthiss statue, hovering innocently in the water. The glow seemed to encapsulate the statue as if it were contained in a bubble. Despite the light being vibrant enough to illuminate the entire cavern, Donovan was surprised to see that it did not hurt his eyes to gaze upon the statue.
Several of the Belonthiss had followed Donovan in his descent through the water. They tumbled around him, dancing as easily through this mystical water as they had in the air above.
Donovan felt the desire, no the need, to touch the statue. Deep down Donovan knew it to be a bad idea - he was an explorer, not some artifact fiend. He made his riches writing about the hidden wonders of Neopia, not by hawking priceless artifacts to entitled rich folks bored by their manors' decorations.
But that glow.
Just touching it couldn't hurt, right? All he wanted was to feel the statue, to see if it was truly in a bubble.
Unconsciously, his hand reached out and brushed against the statue's smooth surface. In an instant, the glow surrounding the statue faded to nothingness and the statue began to sink into the murky depths of the pool. And then...
Date: Dec 13th