Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 129,296,931 Issue: 201 | 29th day of Swimming, Y7
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Unexpected Fishing Expedition


by youkos_lil_fox

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The Kougra sighed, hanging her head and yawning, showing sharp glinting teeth. She had been here all day, and not a single bite. Not one. Xanitatia shook her head. "I'm still awake…" she mumbled softly to herself, drifting off into nap time rather quickly. A sudden jerk on her fishing line made her jump, however.

      "Wha-What??" Xanitatia stuttered, jerking roughly on her fishing line. The white Kougra tugged with all her strength, fighting whatever it was that was on the other end. "It must be HUGE!!" she managed in between pulling up on her pole and reeling in line. She was getting more and more excited with each inch that she drew in, until… SPLAT! Xanitatia stumbled backwards and landed on her tail, rubbing her head. "OUCH!" she growled, a giant bump forming in her soft white fur. "What in the world…?" was all she could say after she took a good long look at her "huge fish."

      It was a book. A thoroughly soaked one at that. But for all the water there was, the ink in the pages was still neat and clean, Xan noted as she flipped through it. The writing was long and loopy, and dates were at the top of some pages. "It has to be a diary!" the Kougra squealed excitedly. She loved stealing her older sister's diary and reading it, but she was always getting in trouble for that. Now she could read to her heart's content without worrying about anyone finding out. The book looked like it was ancient, with a leather strap around the leather cover, with accents of red and green kelp stuck to it. Xanitatia flopped down, tail swaying contentedly as she started to read. After a few minutes, however, her nose wrinkled in disapproval. "This isn't interesting at all…" she grumbled, picking it up and shutting it, grabbing her pole and heading home.

      "Hey, what's this?" her annoying, as Xan put it, little brother, Zach, said. He bounced around on his springy Blumaroo tail, prodding the diary his sister set on the kitchen table.

      "That's what I caught today…" the Kougra sighed, falling on the couch and yawning again. "I'm so tired though…" she yawned again, flipped over and curled up. In a few minutes, Xanitatia was fast asleep on the couch. Zach grinned mischievously. He snatched the book up from the table and bounced to his room. Flopping onto the bed, the spotted Blumaroo began to read, and, unlike Xanitatia, he was very interested.

      "March 19...I discovered a new fishing spot in an underwater cavern near the ruins of Maraqua. It's a quiet place, undisturbed, and well hidden from any view whatsoever. I've noted many new species of kelp, in a variety of colors. I like the red myself. I've also taken time to discover things about my own personality. Zanitor is such an original name, and I feel like I am such an original Acara. Even if I am plain red. Maybe that's why I like the red kelp so much. Who knows. I'm going to go fishing later on tomorrow again, hopefully I can document even more new species."

      "March 20..." Zach blinked, rather confused. All that followed the date was weird illegible scribbles, and some discolored water stains. At the bottom of all this was a quickly jotted line reading "I'm fine, really. Amazing place. Find more time to write later." After a few minutes of deep thought, Zach gathered up the book and bounced out of the house, right past the fast asleep Xanitatia. He knew someone who might be able to help tell him what this book really was…

      "This must be EXTREMELY old, and worth a fortune!" the shopkeeper exclaimed, closely examining the leather-bound journal. "And you said it documented the now widely known fishing spot?" Zach nodded at this. "Simply amazing…" the Nimmo continued to turn the book over and over, taking in its details from every angle. "I'll give you fifty-thousand Neopoints if you simply let me read it!" Zach's eyes grew wide. That was a small fortune! "Okay!" he quickly said, taking a rather heavy bag from the shopkeeper. "I'll come back for it in a few days." the Blumaroo said, shaking the Nimmo's hand to seal the deal.

      A few days later, Xanitatia was reading the latest issue of the Neopian Times. "Hey, the shopkeeper of the book store has gone missing!" she shouted to Zach, who was only sitting a few feet away.

      "What?!?!?!" he screeched, jumping up out of his seat.

      "It says it right here!" his sister said, waving the paper in his face. "Nimmo missing, only lead a small old book. Reward for any tips leading to his safe return. Contact…" Xan stopped reading and looked up. "The journal!" she and Zach whispered in disbelief at the same time. Ten minutes later, they were out and heading back to the fishing spot the white Kougra had gotten the diary from only a few days earlier.

      "Right here," Xanitatia stated, making a sweeping gesture to a rather large mossy rock. "I was sitting right here when I caught the book." Zach nodded to show he got the message, and hopped over to search the area. To his disappointment, he found nothing. His ears drooped, and his sister's did the same thing. "Nothing…?" she timidly asked.

      "Not a… Wait…" he carefully headed over to a small piece of paper that was stuck to a piece of driftwood. On it was written "I think I'm onto something, I'm down there if you need me." It was signed by the Nimmo that ran the bookstore. Zach and Xanitatia looked from each other, to the note, to the still water of the lake. They knew what they had to do, and did it without a word to each other. The siblings simultaneously jumped into the lake, swam a few yards, and came up in another secret cavern.

      "Why hello…" came a voice from inside the cavern. Xanitatia and Zach shook themselves off, splattering water all over the walls of the cave. "Hey! Watch it!!" the voice came again, spitting out drops of water.

      "Sorry…" the two culprits muttered apologetically.

      The Acara stepped into their view. "Not a problem. Apology accepted." he grinned. He was, at first glance, a deep shade of crimson, more so than any other red Acara the pair had ever seen. And he was very old, very very old indeed. The glasses he wore were held together with what appeared to be leaves of red kelp, and his blue eyes sparkled behind them. "I must be extremely fortunate. Three visitors in two days."

      A chuckle was heard from the same direction the Acara had came from. "I didn't expect to meet you down here," the Nimmo shopkeeper said, grinning at the triumphant look on Zach's face.

      "I KNEW it!!" the Blumaroo said, smirking with satisfaction as Xan muttered about how it wasn't that big of a deal and she could have come up with the exact same solution on her own. The Acara and Nimmo exchanged amused glances.

      "Well, I suppose you'd like to know who I am and what I'm doing down here," the Acara said, and the two young Neopets nodded, the look on their faces begging him to continue with his what had to be magnificent tale of adventure. His eyes sparkled even more with delight. "My name is Zanitor. I'm a professor on the history of old Maraqua, and I discovered the fishing spot which I now learned has become recently popular." He smiled at the Nimmo, who smiled back. "I came here to do some basic research on the plants and creatures that inhabit the environment. I was fishing, when my line was snagged on something. I pulled and pulled and pulled with all my might, but it was to no avail. All of a sudden, I was jerked into the water and dragged down to this very cavern, where I've spent the last ten or so years carefully studying the aquatic ecosystem that exists here.

      "I kept notes in the journal that, to my understanding, finally made it's way to the surface via your-" he gestured to Xanitatia, "fishing pole line. For that I am deeply grateful, otherwise you would have never found me! In the back is listed all species of plants and the fishes I have found, along with a few notes on each of them. As far as I know, the research could be priceless. I'm hoping to finally get credit for discovering this place though. But to do that…I need to make it back to the surface. You did come here on a rescue mission, didn't you?"

      Zach and Xanitatia nodded enthusiastically. The story of the lost scientist was almost too much of a fantasy to be real, yet they knew they weren't dreaming! After fifteen minutes of Zanitor running around, collecting various artifacts and tools he had created during his long "vacation," the quartet of pets headed back to Neopia's central city, eager to get the word out. Zanitor was fascinated with everything he saw, and stopped every few feet to "oooh" and "aaah" over the, to what was him, new change in architecture and building style. Finally, after what was a short trip made twice as long as it should have been, the Acara was dragged into a building by the Nimmo and Blumaroo, with Xanitatia shaking her head in the lead mumbling about how easily awed Zanitor was.

      "We'd like to have an interview," Xanitatia courteously stated to the Aisha receptionist in the Neopian Times' headquarters.

      "Do you have an appointment?" the blue worker asked, adjusting her beaded glasses and not even glancing up from her stack of paperwork. A rushed Pteri came and dropped another small pile of papers on her desk, and flew away quickly. The Aisha just scowled and grumbled something Xanitatia didn't quite catch.

      "Well…" Xanitatia paused to think. "No…but we did find the Bookstore shopkeeper, along with a scientist who went missing almost ten years ago!" The Kougra grinned as she watched the receptionist drop her pen in amazement and slowly look up.

      "I see…" she said almost breathlessly. "In that case, let me call down K.T. He'll do the interview for the four of you." With that said, she picked up her phone, pressed a few numbers, said a few words, and added to the group, "He'll be in the room down the left hallway all the way on the end on the right hand side. Have a good day," and busily returned to her paperwork, scowling at the large stack in front of her.

      "Let's go then!!" Zach said excitedly, hopping into the lead and bounding ahead of his comrades. Xanitatia shook her head again, sighing and following her little brother. Zanitor and the Nimmo exchanged grins again and the siblings' antics.

      "Why hello there!! I'm K.T., and I'll be doing your interview today! And all of you are…?" a cheerful strawberry Gelert said, holding out his paw for each of them to shake.

      "I'm Xanitatia, this is my younger brother Zach, you already know the shopkeeper, and the Acara is Zanitor. He's the scientist we mentioned." Xan said, pushing past Zach and taking the Gelert's paw in hers, shaking it firmly. Her three companions nodded as their names were said, and took K.T.'s paw in turn and gave it a firm shake. After some small talk, K.T. set them all down in comfortable chairs and settled into his own. He meticulously got out his notebook and quill so he could write down his questions and his guests' answers. Then he explained to them what he was going to do, what they should do, and a brief overview of what he wanted to get out of the interview.

      "Well, let's start with you, Xanitatia. How did you come across the book in the first place?" K.T. expertly stated, scribbling on his pad and looking back up at the Kougra, smiling reassuringly.

      "Well K.T.," she started, "It's a long story….You really want to hear the whole thing? I'll tell you. But I promise you'll never believe my luck. First off I was fishing…"

The End

 
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