The Maraquan Marshals in: Disappearances
The waters of Maraqua were warm today, it said in the weather
forecast, and little Mari, the Island Xweetok, had already planned her day out.
She had loved fishing even as a baby and today was going to be devoted to it.
She had her fishing tackle, rod and food and sweets and today was going to be
extra special. She was going to try and achieve the almost impossible; catch the
giant squid that resided in the little underwater fishing cavern. Apparently no
one had caught it yet. Things were about to change.
Waving goodbye to her owner in Mystery Island,
she hopped onto her little makeshift palm leaf boat and set sail for the waters
of Maraqua. She spent an hour paddling away, catching the early morning rays
of Neopian sunlight and already stuffing her face with the sweets she'd brought
with her. It was going to be a trouble free day; she could feel it in her bones.
She stopped paddling and looked beyond the surface
of the aquamarine coloured water and into the depths below. The grand city of
Maraqua stood below her; the towering buildings made of crystalline shell and
coral looked welcoming. The small shops just visible to the naked eye from up
here looked warm and summery and made Maraqua look like a tropical haven. She
would tether her boat up here using the rock (not a Petpet Rock. How cruel would
that be?) and rope that she always used when visiting Maraqua so that the boat
would be here when she got back and head on down to Maraqua. She would greet
some of her Maraquan friends and then head off to the ruins of the old city
and into the fishing cavern, where she would definitely catch the giant squid.
She wasn't going until she had caught it.
She attached the rope to the rock, threw it into
the water and watched as it sank into the clear depths and eventually out of
sight. She tied the top of the rope to her boat, got into her swimming gear,
including flippers and a special waterproof helmet so that she could breathe,
put her food and rod in a waterproof bag, slung it over her shoulder and dipped
her two back legs into the water. She eased herself slowly deeper until only
her head was above the surface. One last check to make sure everything was alright
with the boat and she was under.
She was a fast swimmer for a Xweetok and she
paddled quickly through the depths with great ease, kicking her back feet so
fast any passers by or aquatic Petpets would wonder if this Xweetok even had
any back legs at all. She could feel a slight pressure on her lungs and head
but it was to be expected. This didn't bother her in the slightest for she had
been down here many times before and knew that the pressure of the water faded
entirely once in Maraqua.
"Mari!" a familiar voice yelled excitedly once
her feet touched the bottom.
"Hi Penny," Mari replied, giving her Maraquan
friend a big hug. "Wanna come fishing with me?"
"I'd love to," Penny began. "But…I can't. I'm
sorry. I started a new job today and it's excellent. I can't miss it either
or I'll get told off!"
"Cool, what are you doing?" asked Mari, a little
disappointed that her friend couldn't make it but intrigued about this job nonetheless.
"I'm working for a job agency down here and it's
my job to report anything suspicious. It's like, really important! I'm sort
of like an investigator."
"That sounds so cool, Penny! Hey, if I get bored
fishing can I come and keep you company?" Mari asked hopefully. She wanted some
excitement after all, and she guessed that a job like this would be.
"Sure you can! You'll find me out and about.
Anyway, gotta go. See you later maybe?"
"You bet!" Mari exclaimed, punching a fist into
the water and watching tiny bits of plankton and coral dust swirling through
the water where her fist had just been. She watched her friend swim around the
corner, a coral building obscuring her from Mari's vision, and then swam to
the ruins of Maraqua.
It was dark and gloomy in the ruins as usual
and the strange cold atmosphere was ever present. The warmth of the new city
of Maraqua and the coldness of the ruins was remarkably different but Mari didn't
worry. It was normal. She watched three aquatic Petpets huddled together, slowly
inching their way back to safety. They looked petrified. It was nice in the
cavern though and so Mari swam there as quickly as possible.
Swimming upwards through the tunnel, she hit
the surface of the water, slung her backpack over her shoulder and onto the
floor and crawled out of the water. She could see the jetty a little way up
and was quite relieved when she saw no one else fishing there. She would be
so jealous if they had managed to catch the giant squid and not her. She walked
onto the wooden jetty, found a suitable spot, withdrew her portable rod from
her bag and began by putting the bait she had brought with her on the end of
It wasn't live bait. It wasn't even real. Mari
objected to the use of actual bait and instead used rubber items in the shape
of Petpetpets. Apparently the giant squid loved the little blighters and she
just hoped he realised the difference between a real one and a rubber one.
No such luck, apparently. She started fishing
at 10:00am NST and it was now 1:00pm NST. Three hours of waiting and she had
caught nothing but kelp, all colours and about six of each variety, ten old
boots, two broken fishing poles and not much else. She hadn't even been lucky
enough to catch one fish. Not one.
Hmm? She realised just then that something wasn't
right. When she arrived here the Maraquan Grarrl in charge of this place had
not been seen. She didn't think much of it at first but then she realised something
else; everyone who had fished here knew of the giant squid's presence because
of large shadows underneath the water. But Mari considered a fact. Maybe the
Giant Squid wasn't even here anymore. No one had caught it because it would
have been in every copy of the Neopian Times and would remain in at least three
future issues, too. And why were there no fish?
She knew just who to call on. Her friend Penny
now specialised in this sort of thing and it was definitely suspicious. No fish.
No Maraquan Grarrl handing out bait. No Giant Squid. Something was going on.
She grabbed her stuff and headed out of the cavern, through the ruins and into
the city of Maraqua. The warmness of the place calmed her nerves a little but
she knew that she would probably have to go back to the cavern to look for clues.
It offered her some kind of reassurance, however, to know that her friend would
be with her this time.
She stopped a few Neopets and asked them if they
had seen Penny. No one had and she decided to conduct the search herself. She
looked in every shop, up every alley but couldn't find her anywhere.
"You haven't seen a Maraquan Ixi, have you?"
she eventually asked a wandering Neopet.
"Why, I've seen a few of those jolly fellows
down here many a time," the old Neopet replied. "Very nice Neopets are Maraquan
Ixi. You would be very wise to befriend one for they can be very generous and
"I already have a Maraquan Ixi as a friend,"
Mari told him, slightly frustrated that the Neopet hadn't understood her question
fully, "and I'm looking for her. Have you seen her?"
"Oh!" the old Neopet exclaimed. "Yes! I have
indeed!" He beamed from ear to ear in an absent minded and innocent kind of
way. Mari stamped her foot once.
"Where?" she asked, prompting him to answer.
"I don't know. I forgot. My mind isn't as it
used to be, you know."
By now Mari could throttle him but she controlled
herself. Just then, however, she saw from the corner of her eye a Maraquan Ixi.
She turned her head just to make sure she wasn't imagining things and then relief
set in as she caught the warm eyes of Penny. She looked more shocked than anything
and swam over.
"I wouldn't talk to him if I were you," she said.
"He's an idiot. I'm quite embarrassed to have to tell you this, Mari, but he's
also my grandpa."
"I'm not your grandpa!" he yelled. "Am I?"
"Unfortunately, yes. Gramps, you're hindering
my work and I must go. There's something you want, Mari? You look troubled."
She shot her grandpa one last glance as he plodded away. "Then again who wouldn't
be troubled, talking to him?"
"Penny, something odd has happened at the underwater
fishing cavern. The giant squid has gone. There's no fish either. Also, the
Grarrl handing out bait wasn't seen for over three hours."
"That IS weird!" exclaimed Penny. "Thanks for
pointing this out, Mari! To tell you the truth, the job was getting boring but
now it's going to be FUN! Come on, Mari, you can come help me out!"
The two investigators first asked everyone, excluding
Gramps, for any information regarding the giant squid and whether they had seen
the whereabouts of the Grarrl handing out bait. Their results were futile; no
one had any positive answers to give. No one had caught the giant squid and
no one had seen the Grarrl since dawn this morning. They established that he
had been missing for approximately six hours now. That fact alone was worrying.
"Okay, we've asked everyone for important answers
and we've found nothing so far," Penny said. "Our next stop is to head to the
fishing cavern. We'll have to dive for clues and I'm sure it's going to be pretty
scary down there in the depths. You sure you want to do this?"
"Yep," Mari replied positively. "And besides,
even if I didn't want to I couldn't back out now and leave you down there all
alone in the dark."
"Diving gear, check. Flashlight, check. Sanity…uh…I'm
not too sure about that one." Mari was standing, once again, on the jetty checking
things off in her head. Penny was rearing to go by the looks of it as she was
standing with her feet on the edge of the water, flashlight in hand and ready
to dive straight in.
"Let's do it," Mari ordered. Penny dived first
and Mari jumped in after her. The water here was rather cold and bits of kelp
rammed into her underwater helmet and obscured her vision a little as she swung
the flashlight through the water and cut a ray of light through the thick murkiness
of it. She couldn't see Penny at first and was beginning to worry until she
eventually caught a flicker of a tail and a swish of a hoofed foot beating the
water. And then she was gone, the murk hiding her.
Mari followed her, scoping every darkened area
with her flashlight and finding nothing but more kelp, old boots and the odd
broken fishing pole. It wasn't a nice sight down here and was so murky that
it was almost claustrophobic. It seemed that her suspicions proved right; there
were no fish down here. There wasn't a lot of anything really and she certainly
hadn't found any convincing evidence that someone or something was behind this
She continued to search but didn't notice that
Penny had stopped to examine something. She banged into her and sent her forward
a little. Penny turned around clutching a convincing piece of evidence; evidence
of capture. She held a piece of net in her hands and it was made out of a dull
red mesh kind of fabric. The look on Penny's face was worrying. The Ixi pointed
upwards and motioned Mari to climb back up to the surface.
Mari pulled herself up on to the jetty and watched
in awe as Penny glided out of the water and landed onto the jetty elegantly,
the piece of mesh net still in her hands.
"This is evidence," she said, "but it doesn't
look too good. This sort of net is rare and only the fiercest of people can
usually get their hands on it. It's used to capture huge things and is usually
quite sturdy. It was unlucky for whoever captured the squid but very lucky for
"But…I don't understand," Mari said, confused.
"What's so bad? It got caught, didn't it? That's all."
"Yeah, it did. But it's against Neopian Law to
catch an aquatic being and not put it back. This person certainly hasn't released
it and I fear that whoever did this is using the squid for some evil purpose.
And there's the fish. Why are there no fish? Caught too, maybe?"
"Yeah," Mari replied. "Yeah, I think so."
"So, we've established that the squid and the
fish have been captured. We still don't know what has happened to the Grarrl
and we don't know where the squid and fish are. We also have to make the Grarrl
a suspect. He's disappeared and who's to say that he hasn't caught them and
ran away to some place secret where he can conduct his plans?"
Mari furrowed her brow and looked at her friend
in a disbelieving kind of way.
"He wouldn't do that, surely!" she exclaimed.
"It's not like him. He's nice!"
"But that's what being an investigator is all
about, Mari," Penny told her. "We have to rule out every possibility. Search
all avenues as they say. I'm sure all evidence will lead away from the Grarrl
and we won't have him as a suspect anymore."
"Yeah, you're right," Mari said. "Anyway, we've
got one piece of evidence so we should search for more. Doesn't look like there's
anything else of use down there…" she trailed off and watched as Penny looked
into the water and knelt down closer. "Penny, have you found something else?"
"Yep!" She put her hoof into the water and scooped
an item out of a floating piece of grey kelp. She pulled a small greyish white
item from out of it and threw the kelp back into the water. She turned to Mari
and withdrew her hoof.
"This is what we call underwater breathing apparatus.
You put it into your mouth and it allows you to breath underwater. You can also
talk with this and I'm sure that whoever took the squid and fish used it. You
know what that means, don't you?" She smiled and Mari knew exactly what she
"The Grarrl isn't a suspect anymore," Mari said,
"Because he's Maraquan," Penny finished. "That
means we're dealing with an outsider. Also, the criminal wouldn't have gotten
far if they'd left this behind. They would panic and try to find dry land. It
would be too far back to the surface and they'd probably drown. So they have
to be somewhere close. Come on, let's go!"
They left the cavern and into the ruins. They
scoped the area closely for any more evidence and by this time they were both
feeling saddened and frustrated that they had not found anything else. They
had been swimming for over an hour now but they were not going to give up hope.
Mari decided to trek a little further out and
called Penny over immediately with a wave of excited hands. She had retrieved
evidence alright; pieces of red net in a trail, leading around the corner of
an underwater mountain. There must have been one heck of a big struggle, probably
due to an outsider struggling to breathe and carrying a net full of fish and
a giant squid!
"Way to go, Mari!" Penny gasped. "Way to go!
Come on, let's follow that trail!"
They went round the mountain and found more of
the red net. It led into another underwater cave, but this one was a lot smaller.
If it weren't for the trail Neopets could probably swim close to it and not
even realise it was there. The Neopet who had caught the squid was both lucky
and unlucky; lucky to find the cave and unlucky to be trapped in there with
two law abiding investigators at his heel.
They reached the entrance and as Mari looked
up she could see ripples of water and realised that this was the most likely
place their suspect would hide. It was definitely free of water and would also
act as an air pocket like the fishing cave.
"Be very careful," Penny warned. "We don't know
what the Neopet's intention is. It will most likely be an act of evil and we
should keep our wits about us. Try not to make a sound, okay?"
Mari nodded and they broke the surface of the
water and climbed onto dry land. They lit their flashlights to reveal a passage
overgrown with bits of kelp. It was damp and smelt musty and Penny wondered
if it had only recently drained of water. They continued for five minutes and
stopped when the passage grew suddenly wider.
"Looks like it goes wider and wider eventually
opening into a large area," Penny said. "I'm sure whoever's got the squid is
in there. Maybe the Grarrl too. It seems strange that he's nowhere to be seen."
They continued for a little while longer until
Penny stopped in her tracks as voices could be heard.
"Turn your flashlight off," she whispered in
Mari's ear, "and keep your ears peeled. I can hear voices."
"It's 'keep your eyes peeled' not 'keep your
ears peeled,'" Mari corrected as she turned her flashlight off. "But I'll keep
my ears open, though."
Penny turned hers off too and the investigators
slunk deep into the shadows and listened to the conversation unfold.
"Please don't do this," a rough gravely voice
pleaded. "What do you want with Maraqua's animals? Just hand them back to us.
Mari recognised the Maraquan Grarrl's voice instantly.
He had been here for hours, pleading for the safety of the animals of Maraqua.
"Don't you dare tell me what to do!" a sharp
evil voice hissed. "Don't you DARE!"
"You'll get found out eventually! And then what
will you do? All those Neopoints won't do you any favours when you're behind
bars, Dyrin. I hate to call you my brother. You're evil and barbaric. No one
with a decent mind would put poor animals in cages and in horrible conditions
just so people can come see them and pay YOU money."
"Shut up!" Dyrin hissed. "Just SHUT UP!"
Large footfalls, bangs and crashes and awful
violent sounds reverberated down the passage.
"Now's our cue," Penny instructed. "Go now and
They charged into the larger area and Mari had
to conceal a large gasp as she saw the Maraquan Grarrl and a Mutant Grarrl battling
with each other. They emitted awful battle cries and yelps of pain as they fought.
In the corner were two dingy glass tanks filled with murky water. The squid
was in one and the fish in the other.
"Stop it!" Mari screamed. "Stop fighting!"
The Maraquan Grarrl stopped at once and backed
away from his evil brother. He turned to the voice who had ordered that the
fight stopped but his brother was already advancing on him.
"Quickly go to the city of Maraqua and inform
the Chia Police. Quickly!" she bellowed at the Maraquan Grarrl.
He gave one last disgusted stare at his brother
before dodging his blow and walking out of the cavern and into the city. His
brother turned to Mari and Penny and laughed.
"Do you two pipsqueaks honestly think you're
going to save these stupid animals?" he chortled. "You're more stupid than I
"We have all the evidence here. We have the red
netting, the fish, the squid, even the underwater breathing device that you
carelessly discarded while thrashing about with the giant squid! You're going
down and just for a few measly Neopoints." Mari spoke this with such defiance
that she received a shocked stare from her partner.
The Chia Police arrived quickly as usual and
the Mutant Grarrl didn't even try to fight them off as they escorted him back
to their submarine.
"I'll get you one day. And I'll get HIM too!"
he hissed before being forced into the doorway. Both Neopets doubted it, however.
He wouldn't be doing anything bad in a long time.
The chief Chia officer shook the hands of Mari
and Penny and thanked them for all of their hard work. They were dropped off
outside the agency and the Chia Police waved at them as they went.
"We did it!" Penny exclaimed. "We solved our
first crime together!"
Just then, Penny's manager arrived. He was grinning
from ear to ear and hugged them both.
"You did a brilliant job, Penny. Your friend
did too. I just received word that the giant squid and the fish are back where
they belong and the Maraquan Grarrl is back at his bait shop offering bait as
we speak." He shook Mari's hand and offered her a job; the same job as Penny.
They were now official colleagues!
"So, we're working together now!" the Ixi beamed.
"Isn't that great! We should call ourselves the Maraquan Marshals, what do you
"Sounds good to me!" Mari said excitedly. "Maraquan
Marshals it is! And let's hope there are many exciting cases to be solved in
the near future."
"Oh, I think there will be!"