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The Maraquan Curse


by tanikagillam

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Mora dangled her paws in the cool water and tilted her head to the bright shining sun to catch the golden rays. A gentle breeze whistled through the beach, creating a calm sensation.

     How she loved the ocean! To swim in the tide, sing with the Peophins, to dance with the starfish, that was what she loved the most in this world. More than anything, though, she longed to be Maraquan.

     She knew one day she would be, somehow. But not for a few years to come, she reasoned. How would she save three million NP when she could barely afford to feed herself? It seemed an impossible dream, but nevertheless, a dream, a fantasy. And don’t dreams always come true in the end?

     * * * * *

     So many years later a young Moehog was trotting along an old, run-down beach beside her owner, struggling with the fast pace. She stopped, panting and wheezing.

     “Come on, Jona! We don’t have all day! The Bazaar closes at 5!” her owner snapped, back-stepping and pulling the tired pet up from her sandy comfort and hurrying along. They would have continued along the beach until they reached the Shops, with complaints of sore hooves the whole way, if only that Moehog hadn’t caught sight of something swimming in the shallows.

     Once again she stopped and stared out to sea, to catch a glimpse of the odd creature.

     She did, when the magnificent Gelert surfaced and flicked her delicate head and slipped back under the comfort of the waves.

     “Mommy! Mommy, there’s a Mer... a Mer-something out there! There it is, look, in the shallows, swimming!” she squealed, beckoning excitedly to her mother walking in the distance, who hadn’t even seemed to notice her pet wasn’t beside her.

     “What? Oh, stop being silly, Jona! Come along now, we won't catch the shops before Half-Price Day is over at this rate! Why did we ever short-cut across this old pile of sand? Clearly it sets your imagination of the walls. What do you take me for? A fool?” her mother ranted, coming up beside her.

     But little Jona didn’t care about her mother's harsh words. She was more interested in the Gelert, who had just performed a dolphin-dive, splashing cool water over the gritty sand at Jona’s hooves.

     The creature, whatever it was, seemed to like her audience, as she executed another perfect dive, flickering her powerful tail.

     Jona stood transfixed, watching her, as much as the Gelert seemed to be watching her.

     Almost afraid, yet strangely calm, the Moehog stepped into the foaming water, not noticing it swirl and bubble around her. She was drawn farther out to sea, farther to the beautiful Gelert. She could no longer hear her mother’s cries, nothing but the steady pounding of the ocean ringing in her head.

     The Gelert stood perfectly still as she approached, not a sound, nor a flick of her tail.

     Then she opened her mouth and a sweet song filled the air.

     “Why walk when you can swim?

     Why fly when you are grim?

     Let the powers of the ocean

     Calm your commotion

     And you will be set free

     To live for thousands of years,

     In the sea with me.”

     Never has a voice sounded so sweet! So beautiful, so loving!

     Jona reached the Gelert and felt her words surround her, like in a whirlpool of beauty, capturing her words and thoughts and feelings.

     She felt the changes before she saw them.

     Her hind legs gave way and she fell in the water, as though bowing to the Gelert. Replacing the hard ebony hooves was a tail, blue, with such power in it, she could feel just by flexing it.

     Then her spine squelched and flattened out to make a strong, sleek back, almost like a fish’s. Her front legs disappeared and in their place two new legs appeared, but so much different. Instead of fur and hooves, Jona’s legs were now flippers, smooth and shiny.

     Jona saw what was happening, but she didn’t want to stop it. At last the changes seemed complete, and she squinted and turned her head from the blazing sun. What a few minutes ago had seemed warm and inviting, now seemed so bright and painful. Ducking under the water, Jona was surprised at how much clearer she could see then above the surface. The suns light reflected off the shiny water, without hurting her vision. Intrigued, she pushed her tail to the side and felt her body surge a little to the left. Trying again, she pushed left, then right, left, then right, until she mastered the complication of moving forward. It seemed easy enough. She flapped her flippers like wings along with her tail, and felt the water breeze past her as she plunged farther and farther into the ocean.

     With a jolt she realized someone was swimming along beside her, and she turned her head to the creature. It was the Gelert.

     Slowing herself down, Jona caught a good look of her,

     She was a beautiful purple, almost mauve, with darker spots here and there. No doubt about it, she was someone.

     Without a word more than her song she sang before, the Gelert abruptly swung around and swam away into the darkness, farther and farther out to sea.

     Part of Jona longed to rush after her, whilst the other half missed her life onshore. She was only young, and she hadn’t chosen a direct path for her life yet. But she seemed different than when she left her mother standing on the beach. Older, almost... new.

     Gulping in a mouthful of salty water, Jona pushed her tail to the side and in a moment she was breathing –choking– on the fresh air.

     She ducked under and gulped more water and resurfaced. She looked around. Her mother wasn’t on the beach, and it seemed much different. Older, more run down, more alone than ever.

     Sighing sadly, she dived under the water again and swam endlessly for hours, circling; swimming. She was lost. She had no idea of where she was, where her mother was, why she was able to breathe under the water; she felt so small, just like a little fish in a big ocean.

     The sun slowly set and with each passing minute of fading light Jona thought of these questions, longing for an answer to them.

     Finally she couldn’t bear the feel of the water pressing around her any longer, and she pushed herself up into the air, remembering just in time to grab a mouthful of water as she went up.

     Glancing at the beach, she snorted with fear, amazement, awe, anguish, she didn’t know what. The sun was shining brightly, too brightly, and there were a few young Kougras playing in the sand, wrestling, swimming, having fun in the early afternoon.

     But... it was just gone sunset...!

     Plunging back under the water, Jona’s eyes widened to a size that seemed painful.

     The ocean was calm, quiet, and dark, like it was nighttime. A few Grarrls prowled the scene, ignoring her, but swimming in the murky darkness, hunting.

     She surfaced again, and instead of the Kougras playing the beach was covered with a faint layer of snow. Winter!

     Had the whole world gone crazy and not told her? WHAT WAS HAPPENING?! Was she insane?

     No. She wasn’t.

     As Jona dove under the blanket of water for the last time, she realized she had not only entered a new world, but a new time as well. It seemed dangerous, but exciting. She loved the taste of the salt in her mouth, the feel of the water as she skimmed through it at amazing speeds. Yes, she could definitely get used to this.

     * * * * *

     So many years later a young Pteri was flying over a very old, neglected beach, circling the sand for a place to land, when something splashing in the waves caught his attention.

     What was it? A Moehog it looked like, but so much different. He waded into the water to get a closer look at the strange creature...

The End

To my Readers: I hope you liked my story! More coming soon... and no, I didn't blackmail TNT... *shifty eyes*

 
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