Also by rfrchompchomp
A Maraquan Draik danced in the waters of Neopia, for she had found what she had been hunting for many years. It gleamed in the faint light that filtered down through the water, and the Draik thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world.
No one had believed her when she told them her memory; they all scoffed, telling her it was only a myth. But she refused to believe them. She knew it was real. She had seen it when she was only a little dragon. Grandma wore it during that terrible storm... and... Her thoughts trailed off.
In the shadows, two malicious eyes peered out at her, burning with hatred. This was its treasure, and it was not willing to share.
But Namera, the Maraquan Draik, knew nothing of the greedy evil watching her. She noticed nothing except for the prize that had eluded her for years. She swam closer to the treasure, and held it in her hands. She wiped the dirt from its surface, and now it shone with more brilliance than before.
It was the legendary Ring of the Deep. Long ago, before a raging storm took it from the world, this ring had been possessed by many, and by chance it had found its way into the hands of Namera's grandmother, who wore it day in and day out. Never did it leave her finger.
At the time, Namera was so young she could barely walk on her own, but she had faint memories, and dreams that faded away until they felt like memories. She couldn't tell one from the other, but together they told the story well.
The family had been vacationing in Mystery Island, and were now traveling back to their home by ship. It was a large, grand ship, captained by one of the greatest seamen of the time. He and his crew promised the family that their journey home would be a smooth one, but he had been wrong.
In the middle of the night, thunder cracked, lightning struck, and winds gusted. Namera awoke, alone in her room and ran next door to where her grandmother slept. Namera stood in the door, and waited until she was sure that it was her grandmother, and not a monster waiting to attack. She became sure when she saw the ring shine with a flash of lightning. She tried to cross the room, but as the waves tossed the ship back and forth, Namera could not keep her balance. She fell, this way and that, landing with a loud thud each time. She could hear the captain shouting orders to his crew, but could not understand what they meant.
Her grandmother awoke, and saw Namera sitting on the floor. She smiled, walked to her, and held her close.
“I'm scared, Gram," Namera whispered.
Just then another voice echoed down from the deck. "All passengers to the deck! Abandon ship! To the life boats!"
Namera's grandmother grabbed the young Draik, and ran to the deck. Already the life boats were filled with passengers, and could carry no more. Namera's grandmother sighed, and gave her one last squeezing hug. Then, before Namera even realized what was happening, her grandmother handed her to a passenger of a life boat that was descending into the sea.
“Grandma!" Namera called, and watched as her grandmother moved out of sight. The Draik struggled to get away from the passenger now holding her, twisting and scratching, but could not. She called out for her grandmother again and again, but she did not come. She could still see the gleam of the light off of her grandmother's ring, as she waved goodbye to her granddaughter.
Then, while the life boat that carried her danced out to sea, Namera watched with horror as the ship began to sink into the ocean, engulfed by the raging waves, determined to bring down the mighty boat. Then, the shine of the ring passed into the dark waters.
“Nooo! Grandma!" and young Namera cried until she could cry no more.
Namera sighed, the thoughts of so long ago fresh in her mind. She looked at the ring again. Yes, this was it. The ring she had watched sink into the ocean so many years ago. She grasped it in her hand, and prepared to swim back to the surface.
Don’t worry, Grandmother, the young Draik thought, your treasure is safe again.
That was when it attacked, lunging out of the shadows, and reaching for her arm. A great monster bit for her in a mad fury, seeking its treasure she had taken.
After the storm brought down the ship, the ring floated down to the deep, and landed on the sea floor, scaring away the life in the area. But there was one creature that did not run. It swam to the ring, and gazed upon it. As it did, it fell in love with the Ring of the Deep, and claimed that the ring would be its forever.
And so for the rest of its days, until Namera came, the creature watched over the ring, like a guard of the king. Rarely did the ring leave its sight, and when it did, it was for brief moments of time when it left to hunt for food. The ring became an obsession, and to lose the ring was not an option.
For a moment, Namera froze. She stared at the jaws coming towards her, crunching down with enough power to snap bones like toothpicks. Her mind told her to run, but her body could not. It was frozen in place, and there it would stay. But then she felt the water rush back to greet the mouth, and she fled. She swam like lightning, but the beast behind her was fast as well. They raced to the surface, Namera in the lead only by feet, inches, centimeters, breaths. As the gap closed, she could feel the water rushing back and forth as the monster opened and closed its jaw near her tail.
The Draik leapt from the water, and flew into the air. The guardian beast jumped into the air as well, right behind her. Both soared into the sky, and Namera felt herself begin to fall. She could already see herself slowing, and falling, landing in the great mouth of the beast, and going into the dark abyss within.
But as if by an act of Coltzan, Namera stayed in the air just long enough for the beast to begin to fall to the water, so she could outrun him. Rushing through the water like a speed boat, the Draik skimmed the top of the water until she crashed into land.
The beast watched as his treasure swam out of reach, cursing himself for letting it get away. He swam back into the dark water, and there he stayed for the rest of his days.
The Draik lay panting on the beach of Mystery Island, clutching her chest. Never had she gone so fast, and she knew she probably never would again. That was fine with her, she never wanted to do anything like that again.
Then she looked down in her hand, and still clenched between her fingers was the Ring of the Deep. Well, maybe I’d do it again, but only just for this.