Tangled Up in Blu: Part Two
Blu’s breath caught in her throat as she bounded across the expanse of white sand between her shady spot and the crystalline ocean. Liletia had still not reappeared above the ocean’s glittering surface and Blu was beginning to panic. Sprinting on her hind legs, the Gelert made a mad dash towards the spot where her alkenore had disappeared. The sand under her paws began to become wetter, and soon she was swimming waist-deep in the aquamarine sea, her back pack still secured on her back. When she reached the spot where Liletia had gone under, she inhaled deeply and dove into the watery depths of the sea.
The water chilled Blu, but not to the point that it was numbing. Paddling her white paws through the clear water, Blu swam with a natural ease. Out of the corner of her eye, she spied a stream of bubbles and immediately took chase to it. As she swam faster, she closed the gap between her and the thing creating the bubble trail. A hideously scarred Maraquan mazzew was hauling Liletia through the pure blue waters, its scales a sickly green in hue. Blu’s eyes were blazing sapphires as she chased the petpet through the underwater world. Corals, seaweeds, and various underwater life forms blurred together into a strange rainbow of colors as Blu increased her speed. She was on the mazzew’s tail as the water turned from a pure, clean azure into a sickly grayish-blue hue. A mound of crumbling ruins rose up from the dull plot of sand below it. Ashen dust filled the surrounding water, and grey sea ferns swayed listlessly in the tides. The black aura of the place was so overwhelming that Blu stopped and cringed, allowing the mazzew to bolt away with its unconscious prisoner still in tow. The place practically screamed danger, but Blu decided that rescuing her dear Liletia would be worth the risk. Hopefully...
Swimming slowly and silently, Blu made her way over to the debris-like structure. As the floating veil of dust became thinner, Blu could see that the ruins occupied a vast expanse of sea floor. Dark, looming, and foreboding, it was a perfect setting for any nightmarish event. Its utter silence was unnerving; Blu felt goose bumps rise under her white and tan fur. The ruins could have once been a thriving city, but were now nothing more than a shadow of its past glory. What remained of a kingdom was reduced to pathetic excuses for buildings, some no more than piles of rubble. Broken glass and fragments of belongings littered the deserted streets. Everything had a desolate grey tinge in color, from the water to the buildings to the abandoned trash on the streets. With holes where windows should be and buildings that were caving in on themselves, the city looked anything but welcoming. Not a soul was around. Or so it seemed.
Blu ventured to take a step forward, and her paw was barely touching the filthy ground when she heard a noise. Not a clanging or a knocked over trash bin, not the scuffle of a rock against pavement, not the hollow sound of a footstep in an empty alley. This sound was an outlandish growling sound; a deep low rumble that made Blu’s hair stand on end. The growl was followed by the empty echo of heavy footsteps on the sand, kicking up clouds of the filthy grey dirt. Blu could faintly make out the hulking outline of a creature. As the footsteps got louder, Blu could see the creature more clearly. One step; the creature had a slender fin running the length of its back. Two steps; its tail had a fin on the tip, and looked like it could topple one of these buildings with one blow. Three steps; its face was hostile, with two teeth protruding from its lower lip. Four steps; its entire body was green with jagged scars cutting across every scale. Five steps; it was the Maraquan Skeith from Blu’s dream.
Covered in strange, fork-shaped scars, its immense form could easily flatten Blu with one direct hit. She had to move or face off with this monstrous beast. Fear crept up Blu’s body as she made to escape from a run-in with the Skeith. It bellowed a low, unearthly sound that stopped Blu in her tracks. Her fear was so great; she was frozen in her spot. She willed herself to run and not to turn back, but fear’s grip was unyielding. She stood stupidly in her spot as the beast lugged itself over to her. Shutting her eyes, Blu braced herself for the worst. The Skeith stood on its massive hind legs, rearing up to attack Blu with all its power. Nothing can save me now. There’s no way I’ll make it out of here alive! I’m terrified and I can’t move, oh, what do I do? Blu’s terrified thoughts came in a blur as she tried to formulate a plan. She knew it was useless, but she focused her energy on the Skeith, willing it to stop. As it threw itself at her, a fast-moving stream of water rushed out from the spot Blu was standing in. The force of the water knocked the Skeith off balance, and sent it crashing to the ground, creating a cloud of sand that obstructed its view of Blu. Fear’s grip lessening its hold, Blu was able to swim past the beast as fast as her violently shaking body would allow.
With no destination in mind, Blu stroked furiously at the water in front of her, putting as much space as she could between her and that thing. It could’ve killed her if that current of water hadn’t stopped it. But the real mystery was: where did that current come from? The water down here was a lifeless body, moving only enough to sway the underwater plants that dotted the landscape. So how had had a swift current of water come to her rescue when she was in peril?
Blu’s musings were cut short as she spied a building that could serve as a makeshift shelter while she regained her bearings. Swimming over to it, she noticed the door was still intact, doorknob and all. Tentatively, she turned the doorknob with a shaky paw and pushed on the door. It stuck fast, but it wasn’t locked. Blu rammed her shoulder against the solid door as she turned the knob a second time, and the door swung on its rusty hinges. Letting out a loud creak, the door opened to reveal a dank, light-deprived interior. Blu let her sapphire eyes adjust to the dark, then walked into the building. To her slight surprise, the door swung closed behind her. How cliché. She thought grimly. Next a pair of menacing red eyes will emerge from the darkness and a monstrous beast will consume me whole.
Blu groped around, trying to find some source of light in the room. Grumbling to herself, she realized that any torches, matches, or fire produced light were out of the question. She was underwater. How troublesome, she thought in despair. Her eyes fully adjusted to the dark, she was able to make out the outlines of several boxes, brimming with indistinguishable items. Carefully making her way through the room, she looked for a window that could provide some light. Try as she might, Blu could not maneuver the room without any setbacks from the lack of light. The darkness had concealed an item on the floor, and Blu stumbled clumsily over it. She tumbled right into a container covered in a sheet and sent it crashing to the floor. Oddly enough, the sheet flew off of the object to reveal a (now shattered) jar contained a glowing pet rock. Its radioactive green glow illuminated the room, and she could now take in the full effect of the building’s interior. The indistinguishable items in the crates were actually weapons that were a deep green in hue, similar to the shade of the Maraquan Skeith Blu had faced earlier. They were all engraved with ornate markings in some hand that she did not recognize. The engravings were of a lighter green color than the weapons themselves and seemed to glow with power. There were daggers, swords, helmets, armor, hammers, pitchforks, cutlasses, boomerangs, bows and arrows, spears, shields, and maces of all shapes and sizes. Hundreds of weapons were stored in the seemingly deserted town, but for what?
Could there really be creatures in this town capable of using - maybe even making - these weapons? It seemed completely devoid of life when I arrived here! Blu’s thoughts came in waves of troubling questions. But there was that Skeith – that monster - who attacked me when I got here! Could he be linked to these weapons? Could there be more creatures like him?!? Blu was in a panic. She needed to calm herself down, and she knew that. Sitting herself down on the cold, stone floor, Blu tried to calm herself. Breathing deeply, she drifted off into a fitful sleep.
A Maraquan Grarrl swam swiftly through the grey water. His duties to patrol the kingdom were utterly pointless; no one ever came here. Nevertheless, he didn’t want to anger the king, so day after meaningless day, he patrolled the area searching for trespassers. His body was a midnight blue in color, covered in scars identical to those of the Maraquan Skeith. His wide mouth had rows of crooked, sharp teeth that could easily rip through steel. The Grarrl’s fierce green eyes spied an uncharacteristic glow coming from the weapon storage building. Someone must’ve uncovered the glowing rock in there, he thought, but who? Glowing rocks were the main source of light in the kingdom; being underwater negated the use of fire for light. But the weapons building was off-limits to unauthorized neopets; it was a law. The only pet that wouldn’t know that would have to be an outsider, but no one came around here anymore. It was a ruin. No time to think, the Grarrl reminded himself, just have to stop that intruder! With a flip of his muscular tail, the Grarrl was off.
Blu woke with a start. Another dream, she thought groggily, but what does it mean? Am I the intruder? Glancing down at the glowing rock, and the crates of weapons, she decided it was. Unsure of what to do, she decided self-preservation was a priority. Rousing herself from her uncomfortable spot on the floor, she made her way towards a weapons crate. Browsing the selection for a minute, Blu selected a cutlass, a shield, and a helmet from the massive store of weapons. Shoving them, as well as the rock, into her sodden back pack, she made haste towards the exit. Without the light of the rock, the room was pitch black again, causing Blu to lose her footing on an unseen item and fall to the ground. Staggering to her feet, she tried to escape from the building. What Blu didn’t realize was that the unseen item was a tail fin, and that fin was connected to the fearsome form of a Grarrl. So before Blu could lift a paw to swim, two flippers were skillfully binding, blindfolding, and gagging her. Panicking, Blu struggled against the creature. Grinning maliciously, he hauled the blindfolded Blu off into the unknown.
To be continued...