A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 136,210,130 Issue: 282 | 9th day of Running, Y9
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The Grass is Much Greener

by 4zure


It was just one of those days for surfing. It had been overcast for a while, and now the sun celebrated its return by baking unwary beachgoers. A minuscule breeze with the potential to be a panacea for its oppressive heat merely pressed it upon the congregation. Even the oceanic wind, infamous for chilling even the sunniest of days, did little to relax the sun’s exuberance.

      Yup, just a day for surfing.

      Xenon watched the comings and goings of tourists, all of whom had undoubtedly expected a sunny day and sure as heck got it. Older Neopians were relaxing on the beach--or at least trying to despite the superheated sand--while teenagers and children splashed about in the shallows. Some of them came out neck-deep and bobbed like colored buoys in the tide while the slightly bolder disappeared beneath the water and popped up again a few moments later. A little way off were a few body surfers.

      But there was no one SURFING surfing.

      What a waste of perfectly crafted water, the spotted Kyrii inwardly sighed. His gaze found the horizon, where it fixed itself upon wave after wave that seemed so enticing that he was half-convinced the ocean itself had wormed its way into his mind just to pick out the very traits he favored most in his rides. The heat had made him drowsy and he doubted he had the concentration to navigate the cerulean titans. Then again, the water did look nice and cool...

      Arzaohe had since given up trying to bring the temperature in her room to down to a tolerable level. She was now wandering down a deserted side of the beach, bereft of tourists for its difficult terrain: a mass of tide pools guarded by citadels and spires of rough, slippery rock and the constant onslaught of pounding waves. Arzaohe had long since learned how to navigate this area, though, and glided from rock to rock with near effortlessness. She stopped here and there to pick up shells that caught her eye, taking care to leave the inhabited right where she found them. When she had accumulated a nice armful she made her way toward an opening in the rocks. Most of these were only room enough for crabs and starfish, but this one was quite commodious. It was a six-foot drop to the sandy bottom and there was at least four feet worth of room in all directions from the center.

      Arzaohe found her way to the strips of kelp she’d laid upon the rocks days before to dry and grabbed one. The yellow Kyrii then shoved her treasure of shells into her pockets and slipped through the opening. The soft, wet sand below buffered the impact. The sun’s oppressive heat was now gone and she sighed in contentment. Now she could work.

      She dragged a smooth, flat rock to the center of the floor and sat upon it. She then produced a clamshell from her pocket and reached for a small, sharpened rock tucked away in a natural cubby. The shell was set atop yet another flattened rock--this one balanced on the Kyrii’s knee--and Arzaohe worked to make a small hole at its base.

      Elheena loved days like this. The water was just a degree or two warmer than usual and even the deepest part of the seabed was illuminated in a cascade of sunlight. The Maraquan Kyrii’s gaiety was embodied in a series of leaps, flips, spins, and somersaults over and under the glassy tide. Schools of Nuranna, Peo, and Tanizards darted about below and a few were occasionally caught up in his slipstream. He stopped for a moment to consider the young tourists lounging in the shallows.

      They never do come out very far, he mused, and what a pity for them. Oh well. More room for me!

      Elheena swam on and resumed his joyous acrobatics. He soon lost track of his progress and came in a bit closer to shore than he would’ve liked. A little girl and her older brother spotted him and apparently decided that they’d like to be in deeper water themselves. As they waded out farther and farther a few others became emboldened and began deviating from the shoreline. Before he knew it, there was a whole throng of people treading water just a few meters away.

      Way to jinx it. Elheena mentally slapped himself.

      He sighed and surveyed the roaring waves that obscured where the sky converged with the ocean. A speck of goldenrod zipped across the belly of one of the massive beasts and disappeared under the curl of its lip. It reappeared a moment later on the crest of a fresh ride and coasted down its mounting face. It was soon swallowed up in a cascade of sea and foam, and Elheena swam out to where it had vanished.

      “Good surfing, Xe?” he called to the spotted Kyrii, who had just resurfaced.

      “Yeah,” Xenon replied, a little breathless. “S’really pumping today.” He wiped a lock of wet hair from his eyes and studied the nearby tourists with a grimace. “They‘re out father than usual today--much farther. I hope I can still surf without plowing anyone down.”

      Alas, fate chose not to deal the surfer a fair hand that day. He remounted his board and took off on what would’ve been a perfect ride... had he not been forced to veer suddenly to avoid colliding with a teenager in an inner tube and beefed it. He came up coughing and sputtering, having not had time enough to prepare for the wipeout. He shook his head and tried again, only to have déjà vu laugh in his face.

      “Sweet Fyora!” he cried, slapping the water in exasperation. He laid his ears back and glowered at the specks of pink, purple, and orange that dotted the waves. His waves.

      “Let’s beat it.” Elheena sighed. “This is a madhouse.” Xenon sullenly agreed and paddled off alongside his friend.

      As they passed the tide pools, a speck of yellow set against the steely rocks caught their attention. It spotted them and beckoned them closer.

      “Hey guys,” Arzaohe greeted them. There was an edge to her voice and it was not missed. “You look irritated.”

      “Ditto that.” Xenon slid off his board, laid it horizontally to himself, and crossed his arms atop it, resting his chin on them and bobbing with the tide. “A bunch of yahoos snaked my rides and we had to bail. What’s eating you?”

      “I was making more shell necklaces,” replied the yellow Kyrii, “and the blasted things kept breaking in half! I’m not sure what it is, but something’s wreaking havoc on my concentration today. I’m usually so good at it...”

      They were silent for a moment. Then said Elheena:

      “Well, what are we moping around here for? There’s gotta be some sturdier shells and dork-free waves somewhere around here. You know the old saying: ‘The grass is much greener on the other side of the fence.’”

      Thus began the search for greener pastures. The trio dissipated to fulfill their own separate needs.

      Xenon paddled to another side of the island that usually produced waves worthy of his time. He scanned the horizon for something to surf, but what he found was only good enough for boogie boarding.

      Those tourists ought to be over here, he thought dryly.

      He stayed there for a few minutes, hoping for a change, but it didn’t come. He rolled his eyes at the heavens and paddled on.

      Arzaohe strode down the beach, her eyes seeking spots of color against the tan expanse of sand. A few popped up here and there, but the shells were either badly damaged or simply far too brittle to work with. She carried on her search just as determinedly as ever, but yielded nothing.

      Elheena swam on. And on. AND ON. One place had too many submerged rocks to even attempt to breach. Another was too shallow. Yet another had a riptide. And what would’ve been the perfect spot was bereft of any fauna--he never liked feeling abandoned when he was trying to have fun. So he swam on, albeit half-heartedly.

      Each Kyrii searched for his or her greener pasture, and each was sorely disappointed. No matter where they looked, how hard they looked, that grass wasn’t getting any greener. Crestfallen, they eventually gave up and retreated to their respective relaxing spots.

      As dusk fell, the trio regrouped at their favorite campfire spot on the beach. The heat of the day had since retired and the tourists had, too. They piled on the wood and tinder and silently watched the flames grow higher and hotter. They sat in silence, each meditating on their own troubles. Their unspoken thoughts bubbled and churned, overfilled their heads, and spilled out in a tense froth that the others could take in with all senses. And yet, something sweet, subtle, and refreshing laced the concoction and eased their nerves.

      “Y’know,” Arzaohe said softly, her eyes cast to the ether, “I don’t believe that saying, the one about the grass being greener somewhere else. I think the grass is just as green as you think it is, wherever you go.”

      Nothing more was said, but their spirits were lifted. The fire crackled long into the night.

The End

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