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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Hiding, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 98 > Short Stories > Fountain Dipping

Fountain Dipping

by apparent

The summer had only reached its beginning, and yet Neopia had brought out so many new and interesting things within the past few days. The Rainbow Fountain had just been re-released for the third time, and everyone was quite interested in painting themselves new colors for one reason or another. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and after having his ordeal with yet another "sign" from Maraqua, Krawker_oth and his owner, apparent, were busily hurrying to Faerieland in order to reach the fountain. Krawker had argued against it earlier that morning - he had owned a spotted color for as long as he could remember, and although jumping into a pool of water was his favorite thing to do, the thought of doing that made him quite afraid.

     "Do we have to go?" the Krawk wailed as he and his owner quickly jogged down the sidewalks of Main Street, in order to catch the next bus heading towards the air balloon ports for Faerieland. The cemented ground was rather hot upon the soles of his feet due to the humid weather outside, and every so often he could see a piece of gum stuck to it's surface or even a dropped ice cream cone.

     Apparent sighed and continued to quickly travel towards the bus stop, trying to ignore Krawker's inquiry, although she knew that she had to face him sometime. The Rainbow Fountain seemed like a good idea to her, at least -- who could reject a free opportunity to paint their pets? "Yes, we have to go, Krawker. At least to check it out, I don't want to be left behind on anything."

     So it was said. Krawker didn't dare argue anymore, for his owner was pretty easy to be angered in this hot weather. The bus stop finally came into view and unfortunately a long line of Neopets and their owners were already lined up there. Everyone seemed to want to head to Faerieland that afternoon, despite the overly humid weather and the small chance of actually getting anything as a reward at the prominent fountain of water way up in the sky. Apparent stepped in the last spot on line, and Krawker followed although he didn't seem to have his mind in the right place. His eyes observed the different Neopets on the line and began imagining a number of things.

     The sticky air suddenly became windy and a familiar scent of salty seawater became present within the atmosphere. Krawker blinked and held his owner's hand, quite surprised by the sudden change of smell. No one else seemed to notice it except himself. Krawker shifted his weight uncomfortably upon the surface of his feet and bit his bottom lip, wondering if he was just hallucinating again or if this time these eerie signs were true.

     "Hey ma -- do you smell that salt in the air?" he asked quickly towards his owner who was busily walking forward in the line as the bus pulled up, not wanting to lose their spot. Unfortunately she did not seem to hear his question and Krawker was just left to assume that he was the only one that smelled it, another hallucination yet again.

     The interior of the city bus was quite jammed with travelers, and no seats were left by the time the Krawk and his owner stepped inside. A silver pole was still available and the two quickly scrambled over to it, grasping its cold surface as the bus began to move. Apparent was quite glad that they had made the trip, and began making it quite obvious that she was practically ecstatic about going to Faerieland, somewhat like a small Neopet being excited about having the privilege to stay up late on the weekends or anything similar. She smiled and patted Krawk's head with one of her sweaty hands and proclaimed, "Well, we've made it! I'm so happy for me-- I mean, us, this will certainly be something to enjoy."

     Krawker groaned and sat mindlessly on the floor. His owner acted as if they'd never been to Faerieland before, and it was driving him crazy. As he looked up, every seemed to be staring at him. Krawker noticed a few people in the back who seemed to be weaving play crowns out of..

     No. Not again. He was dreaming, and he knew it. The atmosphere of the city bus turned from average to spooky as each Neopet on the bus sported large, hideous scales. Some began to sprout tails while others scratched at the gills beginning to grow out of their sides. A small Aisha began to wriggle happily on the ground, dirtying her blue gray skin. Krawker's pulse began to speed up and beads of perspiration fell down each of his temples. The passengers on either side of the bus now smiled as they continued to stare, and a long, slimy piece of seaweed fell on his head..

     "Krawker!" his owner called as he snapped back into consciousness. The inside of the bus was empty, apparently it had pulled over already, and his owner was now at the back exit waiting for her Neopet to follow. As he managed to steady himself after his dream, Krawker stood upon his wobbly legs and left the bus with his owner leading quickly ahead.

     "Here's the air balloons, Krawker. It'll take us five minutes to get up into the sky and then we can pay a visit to that fountain."

     The small Krawk frowned with annoyance towards his owner, and then went back to thinking. He could barely tell his dreams apart from real life now, and they were becoming freakishly frequent, somewhat like a part of his daily life. However everything that happened didn't seem to make any sense whatsoever. But one thing was easy to recognize -- the closer Maraqua's existence became, the more he began to imagine these things..

     He shook his head and began to swiftly bound towards the red hot air balloon his owner had taken a seat in. The air balloons hadn't been around for very long, but they had quickly become a popular way to travel to Faerieland in a short amount of time. The balloon guide, a rather hefty Lenny, smiled and helped Krawker into the basket of the balloon. Apparent frowned at his slight tardiness as the guide blabbed on, explaining the rules of safety and precaution. Krawker offered an innocent look towards his owner as the air balloon began to ascend into the sky. The ride was rather calming, and to his surprise Krawker received no hallucinations.

     As predicted Faerieland was an absolute mess -- people and Neopets were everywhere. Krawker held tightly onto Apparent's hand as they did their best to scramble over to the Rainbow Fountain. It took several minutes and a few falls to arrive there, but they made it in one piece. Krawker noticed that there was no line leading to the fountain, and right away that seemed too strange. Apparent ran up to the Faerie that was stationed at the fountain quite excitedly.

     "Hey, I came to ask you about what's going on with the Rainbow Fountain..." she began, and the Faerie smiled and began explaining to Apparent what she had probably explained to hundreds of people before. Krawker, on the other hand, paid no heed to what was going on with the Faerie, for he had become quite drawn to the large fountain of water. There seemed to be no magic within its contents, but the water itself was completely pure and transparent, somewhat majestic and of course, rather attractive..

     As Krawker snapped out of his thoughts, a green Acara snuck up behind him. Krawker turned around, rather surprised, but the Acara squealed and pushed the Krawk into the water. A large splash sprayed the surface of the clouds below, and sent the rather dumbfounded Krawk back first into the fountain. Underwater, his body felt limp, and the fountain water carried his body swiftly to the surface after being held on the bottom for several moments. Krawker slowly opened his eyes and peered around him, finding that it looked like he were in a world made entirely or water, with the sun's rays illuminating the transparent contents upon which he was now dipped in. As much as he wanted to stay underwater, he knew he had to get up. Krawker rolled over onto his belly and used his legs on the bottom of the fountain to help himself back out of the water.

     When he exited, Apparent was just waving goodbye to the Faerie, both of which did not notice his dip into the rainbow fountain. As Apparent headed towards Krawker in order to leave, her expression widened at his appearance. She bit her bottom lip with concern, unsure of what had happened. "Hey, Krawk', we've gotta get you to the doctor right now." Apparent took his paw and lead him towards the air balloon port once again.

     Krawker did not understand. However, once a few points and stares were made in his general direction, he received an idea of what was going on. Slowly, the Krawk looked down towards the paw opposite of the one his owner was grasping.

     It was a hideous shade of green, and the joints upon his paw were now tentacle -- like stubs. He, too, had been struck with the Maraquan fever.

     Or perhaps he was just dreaming again.

The End

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