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Squid Bait


by brokensilent

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With his owner out and about, Torinaar decided to take a dive in the cool ocean waters. As he was racing about beneath the surface, testing how fast he could go, he suddenly spotted a strange shadow on a rock formation. Unable to see what was causing the shadow, he swam closer for a better look. It was a cave; a cave he’d never noticed before and perhaps, no one else had.

      Torinaar eyed the cave suspiciously; he knew better than to venture in, but his curiosity was too much. It was such a luring entrance and who knew what was inside it?! Perhaps he would find a treasure that would put to shame anything yet discovered or, he gulped at the thought, maybe he’d find a sea monster that found Maraquan Techos to be a delicacy. His skin got goose bumps at the thought of being eaten, but the image of sparkling gems and dubloons overshadowed his fear and with a powerful thrust of his tail, he began swimming towards the cave.

      A shadow fell over him and he looked up quickly, suddenly certain that the sea monster was on its way to eat him, but it was just a school of brilliantly colored catamaras swimming lazily by. A sigh of relief escaped him; he had to quit being so jumpy. Even if there was a sea monster hiding in the cave, he’d never be able to escape it if he panicked at the very thought of it.

      The mouth of the cave, though located near a coral reef, was devoid of any coral formations or of any sign of life. It was just a yawning black mouth, and as Torinaar swam into its shadow, he began to doubt the intelligence of his plan. He didn’t have a light on him as he’d only been enjoying an afternoon swim, nor did he have any weapon should he have to defend himself. Most other neopets would have turned around at this point and he probably should have, but once again, his curiosity was too much and he continued further.

      Soon there was nothing but the cool black water of the cave around him and he was holding his hands out in front of him to avoid any obstructions that should pop up. He chanced a look over his shoulder, where the light from the opening did very little to expose his surroundings. Gulping nervously again, he continued forward, wondering why he was being so foolish and continuing his venture. Suddenly, the tunnel around him opened up and he could tell that he was in a very large room.

      Something shifted; the cavern was suddenly lit up by a large opening in the roof. The sight of something moving should have made him more cautious, but Torinaar was stunned by the view that greeted him. The room was ablaze in glittering diamonds, shimmering sea plants, exotic fish, and junk like broken fishing poles, rotting shoes, and other such throwaway items. It was an incredible sight and he moved forward to get a better view. A fish that seemed almost completely an eye swam near him and he turned to watch it some more. A strangled cry escaped his throat; behind him, blocking the entrance, was an enormous, gigantic, angry squid.

      “Er,” stammered Torinaar, “I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t mean to trespass on your home. If you want, I’ll leave, I’ll leave right away and won’t cause you any trouble.” The squid did not appear to care and Torinaar tried to swim around him to the exit. However, being a giant squid, his tentacles were near impossible to avoid and he had to give up his plan of escape.

      Dodging a broad tentacle that was easily as thick as his body, he gazed around the cavern, which now didn’t seem nearly as big as he would have liked and a plan dawned on him. There was an exit, which the squid had unblocked when it had swum down to keep him from escaping. As if a divine force from above had realized his intentions, an almost invisible line with a fishhook dropped through the opening. Figuring it was his only chance, he swam to it and gave it a couple of tugs. Unwilling to leave emptyhanded, he dove to the bottom of the cave for one of the diamonds that was as big as his hand.

      At that moment, the string began to pull out of the water and the squid had realized that it was about to lose its prey. Tentacles seemed to shoot at him from every direction and Torinaar understood he had made a grave mistake. Using every ounce of energy he had, he propelled himself upward and just barely managed to snag the string. Upward he shot, leaving the cave and all its splendor, and horror, behind.

      When he broke the surface, he heard a gasp of surprise and then a familiar voice announced, “Well, Torinaar, I don’t think this helps your fishing skills any.” Startled, he looked up to see his owner and his little brother, TenderHorn, sitting on a dock with fishing gear beside them. TenderHorn looked like he was about to fall over from trying not to laugh and his owner just looked plain flabbergasted.

      “I was exploring,” he explained, “and I found this cave full of beautiful diamonds and other junky stuff. See, I even brought one up.” He held out the bright faceted jewel that shone like a star. His owner looked at it, then shook her head and set it beside her.

      “Oh Torinaar, that’s very sweet but that’s only a fake. The only thing of real value in this fishing hole is the giant squid. That’s why Tender and I come here every day. I appreciate the thought but unfortunately, that diamond isn’t worth anything. It’s basically just a piece of junk.” She pointed to a pile of discarded items behind her, where to his horror, there were tons of matching diamonds to the one that he had fetched.

      At this, TenderHorn couldn’t contain himself any longer and began snickering. Torinaar glared at him but managed to hold his tongue. He’d risked his life, had almost become squid bait, and for what? A fake diamond? And now his pest of a little brother was laughing at him, he was sure all of his siblings would know about the tale before the night was over.

      “Come on.” She scooped Torinaar up in her arms and urged TenderHorn to pick up their fishing gear. “It’s getting late and we’ve got to head home. Tender, we’ll try again tomorrow and maybe you’ll catch something other than your brother. Torinaar, perhaps you’ll find an undiscovered cave tomorrow with real diamonds.”

      He grunted and then mumbled, “I don’t think I’ll be going in any more caves for a while. That one was a little too, er, occupied for my taste.” He glanced over his owner’s shoulder to see TenderHorn chortling behind them. He knew he was never going to live this down, ever and at that moment, he decided that any interest he had in increasing his fishing skill had forever been discouraged. The giant squid could stay living in his cave in peace as far as he was concerned, but maybe, with any luck, it might catch Tender and teach him a lesson. Then who would be laughing?!

The End

 
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