Ailemea vs. Jenna: Part Four
Also by jeanaet
Ailemea's insides were twisting. She stared out of the
bubble that had been their shelter for the last several hours, clinging to Trohanex
like a baby Chia clings to her teddy bear. The water was getting darker and
darker as they sank deeper from the surface.
She looked around at her companions. Jeanie and
Rain sat sleeping against the wall of the bubble, Jeanie snoring while Rain
drooled a little. Isaerios was sleeping beside them, Ailemea having released
him from his bubble prison a few hours before. Kiara was asleep in Lindsey's
arms, the Zafara sitting quietly with Lailani, who gazed out into the water.
Jenna was pressed against the bubble shield's walls, paws clasped around her
knees, rocking her body back and forth, obviously upset about something.
Ailemea sighed and carried her sleeping baby
brother over to Jeanie, where she dumped the Yurble into their owner's lap.
Jeanie groaned in between her snoring, and rolled over, pulling Trohanex into
Ailemea returned to her lookout at the bubble
Jenna was beginning to feel claustrophobic from
being trapped in the small bubble interior for so long. And as their surroundings
grew dimmer and dimmer, she grew more and more nervous. She began glancing every
five minutes out the shield for a glimpse of Maraqua. Her palm tingled as numerous
light faerie abilities inside her yearned to brighten the oncoming dark waters.
Just when she thought she couldn't stand it any
longer, buildings came in sight, neighborhoods among the underwater canyons.
Instantly Jenna's urge for the open strengthened, and without warning she shattered
the silence, "The city's in sight!"
Rain and Jeanie jerked awake, and Kiara jumped
in Lindsey's arms. Everyone rushed to see Maraqua's splendor through the bubble
shield's shimmering walls.
"Finally," Rain murmured.
The city rose up as if out of nowhere; huge buildings
that looked like shells, buildings that were made of shells, and buildings selling
shells. The group caught their breath at the beauty of it all.
Jeanie broke the awed silence. "Ailemea, you
swim down there and figure out if it is safe," the owner commanded. Ailemea
nodded and was just about to active her Water Breathing ability when Jenna dashed
forward as well, tightening her sword's strap.
Every hint of urgency, if not concern, sounded
in the Xweetok's voice as she spoke. "I'll come with you, just in case there's
danger," she said. Aile hesitated, glanced at Jeanie, who nodded, then nodded
herself. She placed a paw on Jenna's shoulder and then closed her eyes. A moment
later their lungs seemed to fill with endless air.
Making sure the bubble was secure, Aile and Jenna
slid out of the shield.
Relieved at the chance for fresh air, even underwater,
Jenna forgot whom she was traveling with at first, and actually smiled, enjoying
Memories of the past several hours came flooding
back after a few minutes however, and she quickly grew cautious and alert. The
two Xweetoks slowed their stroke as they neared the city. But it soon became
obvious that it was safe.
Several hundred Neopians had lined up in front
of the city gates, requesting entrance. Guards were everywhere on the lookout,
keeping the crowds together, escorting them into Maraqua.
"Well, King Kelpbeard certainly has a load on
his fins," Jenna observed. She turned to Aile. "Come on, our residence is in
the canyons. Let's tell the others and then we'll be on our way."
Ailemea nodded in agreement. "I'll bring them
here, and then you can lead us there," she said. She turned towards the bubble
that was a couple hundred yards away. As she turned towards it, the bubble began
to approach. It did not take long to reach them and Ailemea slid into it, leaving
Standing in the middle of the bubble, Ailemea
clapped her paws together and invisible strings seemed to attach to her legs
and body. Testing, she stepped forward and the bubble moved. She nodded at Jenna,
and the striped Xweetok turned and began to swim away. Ailemea followed, dragging
the bubble along.
Within a few minutes, a small quaint neighborhood
was in sight, planted quite safely among the vast canyons. Under Jenna's guidance,
Aile dragged the bubble among the quiet houses, till the striped Xweetok stopped
at a small four room Neohome, covered in kelp due to neglect.
Rain seemed a bit embarrassed as she showed Jeanie's
family into the water-protected home. "I used to live here before some Peophins
I raised grew up and moved out. It's been so long since my last visit, I think
it'll need some fixing up. Meanwhile," she added with a half-hearted smile,
"let's settle in."
Jeanie smiled, remembering her quaint home on
Mystery Island which she had not visited in years, literally.
Trohanex was forced into Isaerios' arms as Jeanie
went around, scooping up kelp from rooms and around the Neohome. Rain joined
her. Trohanex wrinkled his nose distastefully at his little brother (for Nexy
is actually the second oldest) and struggled hard. Isaerios sighed and set Nexy
on the floor. The baby Yurble crawled away quickly to Kiara, whom Lindsey held
uncertainly, looking around. Trohanex pawed at Lindsey's legs until the Zafara
was finally holding two baby pets.
Ailemea sank down and closed her eyes. She was
tired, feeling like she had just spent the whole day in the Battledome. Jeanie
handed her 1/3 of an omelette which Rain had retrieved from the kitchen, then
continued to pass around the rest of the food that the two owners had found.
Jenna munched thoughtfully on her Mummified Ummagine,
trying to ignore the dusty taste.
It had been nearly a day since the disaster at
Mystery Island, yet it was still difficult to register what had happened since
then. They were safe for now, but how long could they stay here, watching as
Sloth gradually conquered Neopia land by land, till Maraqua was his next target?
It didn't seem right that they should retreat so fearfully. But what was there
to do? Sloth had the upper hand, and he was winning.
Sighing, Jenna finished her measly snack, and
joined the others as everyone headed off to bed.
The two owners carried Nexy and Kiara into the
bedroom and fell instantly asleep on the only bed in the house. Lindsey and
Isaerios claimed the couches in the living room, their petpets curling up beside
them. Aros and Simba clawed at the bedroom door before sighing and lying down
beside each other and closing their eyes. Lailani went into the bathroom where
she filled the bathtub with water for her bed.
Ailemea nodded at Jenna and then laid down, closing
her eyes and slowing her breathing. Haelee blinked at her and then sat down
beside her and did the same.
When the sound of sleeping had filled the house,
Ailemea stood up and snuck into the bedroom.
Kissing Jeanie and Nexy, she whispered a small
good bye and then went into the kitchen. She put a few omelettes into a small
sack and then returned to the living room where she tucked the flimsy blanket
around Isaerios and then brushing his fur back fondly. Her work finished, she
carried Haelee into the airlock that led outside.
She had taken only a few steps when a suspicious
voice whispered behind her, "What are you up to now?"
Ailemea whirled about to see Jenna_Leanna standing
in the doorway, sword drawn, her eyes narrowed.
Ailemea hesitated, glaring at Jenna. What could
it hurt if she knew? She could tell Jeanie, the blue Xweetok thought.
She looked away and began to wrap Haelee and her sack of omelettes in a bubble.
"I'm going to fight Sloth," she said. "And save
Oreh. Isaerios is right - if I am going to claim the title of protector, I need
to start acting like it. I'd be glad if you could tell Jeanie for me..." She
glanced at Jenna to see her reaction.
The striped Xweetok gaped, "You WHAT?" she burst
out. "Aile, you have no idea what you're getting into. If Sloth can overtake
an entire Island, do you really think he can be defeated single-handedly?" She
watched with growing panic as the blue Xweetok's bubble continued to form. "You'll
get yourself killed out there!" Then before she knew what she was doing she
cried out, "Take me with you, at least!"
The blue Xweetok stopped short, and then hurried
to finish the bubble before it evaporated. When she finished she turned and
looked at Jenna_Leanna. The striped Xweetok was obviously surprised at her own
words, but there was true honesty in her expression.
Ailemea stared at her for a moment before nodding.
"Very well, you'd be a great help," she admitted. "Just don't get in my way..."
Flipping her mane, she opened the door, blessing herself and Jenna with Water
Breathing. A moment later, water poured into the airlock and the two Xweetoks
swam quickly out of the house.
Ailemea led the way, swimming as fast as she
could towards Neopia Central.
To be continued...