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Fulfilling Illusen's Quest: Part Three


by grapesourhorse

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"Try and stay afloat, Jannick!" screamed Raerrgarn, swallowing a mouthful of water. He searched frantically for a floating driftwood, but he was already drifting under. If he didn't find one within a snap of a finger, he would be lost…there! A large piece of drifted floated past, and he grabbed that floating scrap of wood.

     He peddled furiously toward Jannick, and grabbed the Lupe's paw before she could sink completely under. "Let go, I can swim!" she snapped. Raerrgarn sheepishly steadied the raft as Jannick struggled onto the little platform.

      Suddenly, Jannick exclaimed, "Oh no," and scrambled up onto the piece of wood. "Get up, if you want to live!"

      The two huddled onto the scrap of wood, which tilted and dunked them underwater.

      "Why, what is it?" Raerrgarn had to ask. He immediately wished he hadn't. Jannick's expression darkened.

      "Sourge has doomed us," she murmured. "We are in Maraquan waters."

     Raerrgarn gasped. He remembered the Maraquan Aisha that Sourge and Lief had hauled above in nets. They had jeered and laughed at her, threw things at her. And Jannick and Raerrgarn just watched, wanting to help, but doing nothing. She had escaped: and now they were in her territory. She would want revenge.

     ~*~

     Raerrgarn felt her first, before seeing her. The water trembled as something sleek and quick darted into the water. Before he could alert Jannick, the driftwood dunked them underwater.

      He held his breath and flailed his Lupe paws desperately, but he was getting nowhere. He saw the tail of the Maraquan Aisha and he tried to swim away, but it was no use: he was powerful, strong, undefeated… on land. Here, he was in Maraquan Waters. He was as helpless as a newborn.

      He flailed desperately toward the left: but he was too heavy and weighted down, and already he was running out of breath. The Aisha was speeding toward him: sleek, smooth, quiet, and a running dart in the water. She was up next to him… right next to him… and he was swallowed into comforting darkness.

      ~*~

     "Papa, I think he is waking."

      "Good. What about this one over here?"

      Raerrgarn groaned. So he wasn't dead after all. He was captive of the Maraquan Aisha, for it was definitely her voice he heard. The other deeper voice he could not recognize. Maybe if he stood really still, the Maraquans would think he was still aslee-

      "That won't work, Pirate," said a rough and deep voice. Raerrgarn blinked sleepily and jumped upward, hurriedly bowing. It was King Kelpbeard! Such an honor!

      The Maraquan Aisha giggled. "No need for formalities," she chuckled. "I'll go and bring you and you're friend some food."

      "My name is Raerrgarn, and she's Jannick," Raerrgarn mumbled, with some irritation and a feeling of dread. What if Jannick was…

      "Your friend is fine," answered King Kelpbeard, hovering over his bed. "Do not be alarmed, pirate. We Maraquans have been granted the power of reading minds."

      Raerrgarn shivered. He wished he had that ability.

      "It can be a blessing only sometimes," said King Kelpbeard.

      Raerrgarn swore and scolded himself to be more careful.

      King Kelpbeard roared with laughter and answered: "I never heard of that swear word before, I have to use it on that Faerie that comes next week. And it's hard to train your brain not to think anything, almost impossible. And your friend awakens."

      Raerrgarn whirled around to see Jannick stirring. Her eyes fluttered open, and she quickly bolted out of bed and leapt at King Kelpbeard, drawing her spare knife. Or she tried, because as soon as her eyes fluttered open, King Kelpbeard jumped out of the way, leaving Jannick to crash uselessly to the floor next to him.

      He chuckled, swimming away and murmuring: "I love this ability!"

      Jannick swore angrily and brushed off her sleeves. "Who was that? Where are we, why are we still alive?"

      "That was King Kelpbeard," answered Raerrgarn teasingly, waiting for her response. After all, meeting the King was her dream, and she had just tried to kill him.

      There was no time for Jannick's response, because the Maraquan Aisha glided in and introduced herself: "My name is Isca," she said softly, in a voice that sounded like rustling leaves. She was carrying a tray of what looked suspiciously looked like seaweed cookies, a strange underwater Maraquan smoothie, and of course, something that no Maraquan came and went without: a traditional Maractite spear.

      This time, both Jannick and Raerrgarn bowed low. Raerrgarn's heart hammered. He had seen too many Maraquans with spears today.

      "Thank you for your hospitality," Jannick said, her tone respectful, eyeing the tray of cookies, "but we must go now."

      "What?" exclaimed Isca, eyes wide. "But surely my father has told you! You may not leave!"

          ~*~

      "What do you mean by that?" snarled Jannick menacingly, paying no attention to the spear in Isca's hand.

      "You are the captives of 'Jhudora's,'" answered Isca gently. "We Maraquans have been trying to capture that ship for ages. Your shipmates have had to be locked up forever, for they have brought the Maraquan Waters and the rest of Neopia much damage over the past years; the ceremony has been held, and it came with much celebration and joy. But you… you two have tried to help me. So my father and I have decided that instead, we will turn you Maraquan. You are welcome to join our civilization in Maraqua."

      "ARE YOU CRAZY?" exclaimed both Jannick and Raerrgarn simultaneously.

      "Never! I am a pirate at heart! Well, maybe not a pirate, but certainly a sailor! I belong above water; it is where I belong, where my heart belongs!" exclaimed Jannick.

      At the same time, Raerrgarn said: "I need to go back to my owner! In Neopia Central! I will promise never to sail again, if that is what it takes!"

      But at the same time, Raerrgarn remembered how mean his owner had been. If only Maraquan Lupes didn't look so…

      Isca read his mind and answered, "Actually, we have a Maraquan Cybunny Morphing Potion, if you would like to be a Cybunny." She smiled. "We also have Maraquan Zafara and Uni Transformation potions…" she continued, staring at them both hopefully.

      "Maraqua would be wonderful," she continued. "We have excellent Neohomes here. And I know that you two are air-breathing creatures. Around your necks are seaweed necklaces that enable you to breathe in Maraqua for as long as you want, as long as the necklace is on you. I favor you, and I am favored by daddy, King Kelpbeard. You would love it here, because you will always be safe and warm and content. I promise!"

      On and on Isca kept on blabbering about Maraqua, but Raerrgarn was only half listening. On their long voyage, he had grown fond of and used to Jannick's company. She was the best friend he had ever had.

      "Only if Jannick agrees," said Raerrgarn. "I think it would be nice to be either a Zafara, Cybunny, or Uni. I've sort of wanted to be Maraquan. Before I'd seen the Pirate look, of course. But if I have a choice of changing color or being locked up, I think I would like to live as a Maraquan Uni. But it's up to Jannick. If she decides to put locked up forever in that cage, I'm joining her."

      Raerrgarn could see hesitantly flickering in Jannick's dark amber eyes. "Well…" she began. Then she smiled. She had always wanted to be a Maraquan Cybunny.

3 years later…

      "Now you pesky Cybunny, listen very carefully! Here is a potion to change you back to a landlubber…but only for three hours. Make sure you're back in Maraqua before then! What in the name of Kelp do you need to go back up to Neopia for?" King Kelpbeard demanded, shaking his head and holding out a golden potion as well as a brown paper package.

      Raerrgarn smiled mysteriously at the old Koi. But King Kelpbeard could not read his mind: three years was a lot of practicing of emptying all thoughts.

      The Koi sighed and led him up to the surface, where he bid Raerrgarn farewell. As soon as his face was above water, Raerrgarn drank the potion and turned into a Yellow Lupe.

      Quickly swimming to shore, he marveled at the way it was to be a Lupe again.

      He sprinted all the way to Meridell, the small brown paper package clutched tightly in his jaws. He could not let that package fall…he panted as he ran, but reveled in the exertion: being a Maraquan Cybunny meant no legs, no wind underwater, rushing through his mane…

      He stopped short outside a familiar place: Illusen's Glade.

     Old memories and near overwhelming nostalgia washed over him, and he swallowed hard. He smiled then, because he knew exactly what Illusen would be doing. And he knew exactly what he would have to do. "Illusen!" he cried into the gloom.

     A rustle answered him, as well as the voice of the Earth Faerie. "In a minute!" the voice exclaimed.

     Raerrgarn's eyes softened. That was the same response he had heard three years ago. He peered through the ferns and called: "Hey Illusen? I know it's three years too late-but I have your Faerie Queen Doll!"

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» Fulfilling Illusen's Quest: Part One
» Fulfilling Illusen's Quest: Part Two



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