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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 30th day of Storing, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 28 > Continuing Series > Legends of the Seasons: Part Four

Legends of the Seasons: Part Four

by tdyans

Relaxing and Swimming
It was the middle of summer and the hottest day that any of us could remember, so Achilles81, Moeioe and I had left our chores aside just for one day and headed to the park in our Neopia Avenue neighbourhood. It turned out that we weren't the only NeoPets who thought that the day was more suited to swimming than working. When we arrived, the normally tranquil pond in the centre of the park was already full of NeoPets, young and old alike, enjoying the carefree feeling of a summer day spent swimming in the park.

The three of us didn't take long in joining in. Even Achilles jumped into the water and splashed around for a few hours before finally climbing out, shaking himself dry, and reclining on the grass for some all-important sunbathing. Moeioe and I stayed in, as Moeioe delighted in showing off the dog-paddling skills that I had taught him earlier in the summer. His hooves weren't quite as conducive to swimming as my big paws were, but as in anything else he put his mind to, he held his own. Eventually I got tired and decided to get out and barbecue us a dinner to eat in the park, but Moeioe stayed in and continued splashing and playing with the other ever-energetic young NeoPets.

The shadows were beginning to lengthen over the park, the other Neopians were slowly heading back to the warmth and safety of their homes, and our dinner was ready to be eaten, but Moeioe still remained in the water. "Moeioe!" Achilles called out, impatient to get started eating, "Come on out, it's time for dinner."

From the middle of the pond where he was still paddling around happily, Moeioe looked up at us with a stricken expression. "What?!" he called back in distress. Achilles answered him with a stern look, to which Moeioe stuck his snout out defiantly. "I don't wanna get out!"

Achilles sighed as he looked at me. I left him to watch the grill while I approached the edge of the pond with a warm, fluffy towel from home. "Come on Moeioe," I cajoled. "You have to eat, and you know you can't stay in there forever. You'll catch cold."

Moeioe sighed at my logic and began trudging dejectedly back toward the bank. He paused in the shallows, trying to relish just a few more seconds. "I wish I *could* stay in the water forever," he said.

"Now Moeioe," I replied, "Be careful what you wish for. You should know by now that a wish can be a powerful thing."

Moeioe's face brightened a little as he recognised the beginning of a story. He trotted out of the water a little more willingly than before and allowed me to wrap the towel around him and lead him to the picnic table where Achi had set up our food, all the while looking up at me expectantly. Finally, tired of waiting for me to begin on my own, he asked, "But why's a wish so dangerous Maxi? Aren't wishes good things?"

As we sat at the table, I answered, "Well, a wish depends on how it's made. It can be a very good thing if it's made wisely, but if it's not... well, I think I have the perfect story for that..." The three of us, tired from a day of playing and relaxing, dug into our food with gusto as I proceeded with my tale...

***

The first summer Neopia had ever seen had finally arrived, and the NeoPets who had lived most of their lives in the cold of winter were definitely feeling the effects of the added heat and humidity. As the days grew steadily warmer and more unbearable, they soon found themselves lounging around their caves and sleeping through the heat of the day. For a full month, the first Month of Relaxing, they were prisoners within their own homes once again, just as they had been when winter had reigned over the land.

It was Koi who discovered a solution to their dilemma, almost by accident. She ventured out of her tribe's den one day in the full heat of the afternoon, not wanting to take this risk but not really having much of a choice. Her people were out of drinking water, and if she didn't go to the river to fetch some more, they might soon perish.

Koi had always been a curious and inventive NeoPet. When she arrived at the river and dipped the two buckets she had brought along with her into it, she felt the cool spray from the river hitting her hands. She suddenly found herself wondering what it would be like to live in that refreshing, icy liquid--the only thing around that didn't seem to be affected by the cruel summer sun. She sighed to herself, imagining that it would be wonderful. But up until this time, no NeoPet had ever swum before. No NeoPet even knew what swimming was. It would be far too dangerous to swim in the raging, rocky river that they all took their water from, and so the idea had simply never occurred to anyone before Koi. The more she thought about it though, the more she couldn't let go of the idea.

Koi returned to her tribe's home with two buckets of water and with her new idea swimming around in her mind. But it wasn't until that evening, as she tossed and turned unable to sleep, that another idea came floating into her head. Koi suddenly began to wonder just where the river went. Everyone knew that the water flowed West, but where did it go? It seemed that up until now, every NeoPet had simply assumed that the river kept on moving forever, but Koi had the strong feeling, now that she really stopped to think about it, that this was not the case. Unable to contain her sudden excitement, Koi leapt to her feet, roused her fellow tribe members, and led them outside toward the river, hurriedly explaining her plan to them.

The Tribe of Koi reluctantly followed their leader as she followed the river, determined to discover where it led. They walked on and on until the sun came up over the horizon and began to climb in the summer sky, and yet still the raging river continued to flow. As the sun grew higher and higher, her people began to grumble, and then to complain, and finally to lag behind, but Koi herself continued on doggedly. Finally, as they reached the crest of a tall hill, one of the other tribe members stopped walking altogether and called out angrily, "Koi, this is crazy! You can't expect us to follow you forever on this ridiculous hunt of yours!"

By this time, even Koi herself was beginning to feel hopeless, and she turned back to look at her challenger with a sigh, "Very well, I will leave it to my people to decide. Fellow tribe members, shall we continue or return to our home?" She waited for a response, but heard nothing at all. She looked at the tribe members all around her and realised that they were not looking at her at all, but were staring in awe at the valley below. Turning slowly to look down the mountain herself, Koi gasped. Before her eyes was exactly what she had been searching for without knowing it--a large pool of deep, still water into which the river was steadily flowing--the first lake that any NeoPet had ever seen.

Koi ran down to the bank of the lake, her tribe following on her heels excitedly, but they all stopped short as they came to the water. Koi stepped forward timidly and stuck the tip of her foot into the water. It was cool, cold even, but felt absolutely wonderful under the blazing summer sun. She continued to step further in, until she suddenly found herself up to her neck in the delightfully cool water. She found that by moving her arms and legs in a certain way, she could go even deeper. She was enjoying the sensation of the water all around her so much that she nearly forgot about her tribe, until she turned around to see them all still standing on the beach staring at her. "Come on in!" she called out. This was enough to break the spell. Her people ran joyfully into the water along with her, whooping and hollering. For the first time since summer had begun, they were able to spend the day outside playing as they had before.

It wasn't long before word of Koi's discovery had spread throughout Neopia and every tribe had come to partake in the new sport of swimming. The Faerie Queen even began to make a habit of coming to the lake to watch them swim and play each day. Some enjoyed it more than others, but Koi and her tribe undoubtedly loved it most of all. The only thing that made Koi unhappy now was the time when the sun began to set in the sky and everyone had to get out of the water and head back to their homes as the temperature dropped. One evening, as her people called to her and she climbed reluctantly out of the water, she sighed to herself, "I wish we could stay in the water."

"Do you really?" a beautiful voice asked, and Koi looked up through the fading light to see that the Faerie Queen was standing nearby and had overheard her. And although her lament had only been a fleeting thought, Koi suddenly had another idea--that this really would make the perfect wish.

"Of course I do!" she replied. "It would be wonderful to be able to stay in the water all the time!"

"Very well," came the Faerie Queen's typical response. She gave a wave of her wand, and Koi felt herself suddenly changing. Her hands and feet changed to fins and flippers, her skin became smooth and scaly, and gills sprouted on the sides of her face. Although she was still in the water, she suddenly realised that she didn't feel cold as she normally did when evening arrived. She dove excitedly into the deeper water and found that she could swim faster than she ever had before and could stay underwater without coming up for air for as long as she liked. When she did come up to the surface, she found her people celebrating their new abilities and diving back into the water as the rest of the NeoPet tribes filed off, glancing back enviously at Koi's tribe.

Koi and her people played long into the night, finally falling asleep right there in the water's comforting embrace, finding that they could float and breathe in the water just fine as they rested. As morning arrived, the other tribes came to the lake as they did every day, but today turned out to be different. After weeks of suffering under the terrible heat of the sun, the NeoPets noticed that they weather seemed to be changing. Neopia was having its first summer storm. Gray, fluffy clouds blocked out the sun's harsh light, and as a light drizzle rained down on them and cooled them off, most of the NeoPets chose to stay out of the lake and play on land in the rain instead.

They all seemed to be having so much fun as they frolicked underneath the beautiful lightning display that soon many of Koi's tribe decided that they would like to join in the fun on dry land. But as they tried to climb out of the water, they suddenly discovered that they couldn't! It was impossible to walk on their new little flippers and fins, their new scaly skin began to dry out quickly if they stayed out of the water, and with their new gills they struggled to breathe outside of the water. As her people panicked at this new finding, Koi called out to the Faerie Queen in distress.

The Queen appeared faithfully before her, and asked what was the matter. "We can't get out of the water!" Koi cried.

"Oh Koi," the Faerie Queen said sympathetically, "You wished to stay in the water, and that was the wish you were given. You will be able to live there quite happily from now on, but you can never leave."

Despite her love for swimming, Koi was sad to hear this, but she and her people learned to live with their mistake. The lake became their new home, and as the tribe grew, they found that with their new bodies they were quite capable of swimming down the rivers and even living in the great oceans that surrounded Neopia. The other NeoPet tribes who loved to swim, such as the Tribe of Peophin, Quiggle, Jetsam, and Flotsam, learned from Koi's mistake. They made wishes that would allow them to choose to live either in the water or on the land--lungs instead of gills, strong front hooves or flippers that could propel them on land, arms and legs with webbed feet. They all had the freedom to live wherever and however they liked, but Koi's tribe has remained forever trapped in the water to this very day because of that wish they made in the first Month of Swimming...

***

"So you see Moeioe, you should always be careful what you wish for, or you just may get more than you bargain for," I finished. By now we had finished our dinner and walked home under the waning daylight. I was tucking Moeioe into bed while Achilles took our wet towels into the laundry room downstairs.

Moeioe snuggled down into the covers, his little Hornsby Gil curling up contentedly at the foot of his bed. "You're right, Maxi," he yawned. "I wouldn't want to live in the water forever like Koi."

"Oh, and why is that?"

"Because I bet they don't have any warm, soft beds down there," he replied.

And with that, exhausted from his long day of swimming, Moeioe fell straight to sleep, snoring lightly as I turned off the light and closed the door behind me.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Legends of the Seasons: Part One

Legends of the Seasons: Part Two

Legends of the Seasons: Part Three

Legends of the Seasons: Part Five

Legends of the Seasons: Part Six

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