The Greatest Treasure: Part Four
Also by bluerang1
“No way!” screamed Cheikz.
“I’m sorry but after yesterday, there is no way that you’re going back down there,” Croy replied, wanting the conversation to end then and there.
“Guys, I’m still trying to get some rest before we leave,” called Kitthie from inside the tent.
“You should be awake by now. We leave in like an hour, and I still need to fix my diving gear,” Croy said. “Now, back to you, Cheikz. You’ll stay on the boat, and that’s that!”
“No!” screamed Cheikz. “I’m going down to get the treasure too!”
“No, you’re not. Now please stop and continue eating your breakfast. I’ll show you how to handle the boat while we’re diving, as soon as Kat gets done putting it back in the water.”
“I’m not staying on the boat!” Cheikz fumed, and he stomped off into the woods.
“What got into him?” Kitthie asked, emerging from inside the tent.
“Who knows? Now, start getting ready!” Croy said.
Kat returned from the shore of the lake, just as Croy and Kitthie had just finished fixing Croy’s diving gear. One of the hoses had been torn loose when Croy collided with Cheikz, and it had to be refitted. Croy was heading down to the edge of the lake to test her diving gear, just as Kat was coming back up to have her breakfast. Kat put her hand on her hips and then surveyed the campsite. Someone was missing, and it was the person who she thought would be most eager about treasure hunting that day.
“He didn’t take it so well, did he?” Kat asked.
“No,” replied Croy.
“Did you tell him that manning the boat is a very important job to do for this?”
“I sort of missed that part,” replied Croy, rubbing the back of her head.
“Croy!” Kat cried. “You shouldn’t have been so hard on the little guy. Where is he now?”
“He went off into the woods somewhere. But don’t worry, he’ll be back soon. He can’t stay in unfamiliar grounds without his big sisters for too long,” Croy said.
“Poor baby,” mocked Kitthie, prompting the two sisters to laugh out loud.
Kat let out a little giggle herself, then jokingly said, “You two aren’t very good sisters. Alright, come on, let’s go look for him.”
The three girls split up and went into the woods in search of Cheikz. They searched around carefully while calling out his name in hope for a response. All they got were echoes. Being a Mynci, Cheikz was a good climber; the girls had to look high up at the trees to see if Cheikz had made his way up them. It was Kitthie who found him, not where she had expected.
“Cheikz?” she called. She was unsure if it was her brother she saw rowing a boat towards the dark part of the lake. “Oh my goodness, Cheikz!” she shrieked.
Kitthie ran back into the woods calling for Kat and Croy.
Croy reached her first and asked, “What is it? Did you find him?”
Kat arrived at where her friends where as Kitthie replied, “He’s in a boat and he’s heading for the dark end. I think he’s looking for the treasure.”
“We’ve got to go after him!” Croy said, as she ran back toward the beach, the other two close behind.
“He took our boat!” Kitthie exclaimed, standing at the lake shore, near the campsite. “We'll never make it to him!”
Kat looked frantically up and down the beach. Maybe someone left a raft behind, she hoped. The best she spotted was a large piece of driftwood. She hung her head in dismay. If only I could swim better.
Kat was brought back to reality by the sound of Croy's voice. “The emergency kit!”
Kat and Kitthie turned to look at Croy. “You know, the one Mum and Dad gave us.” Croy was smiling. “It has an inflatable dinghy in it!”
Croy and Kat ran for the tent.
Cheikz had gone off on in search of the treasure. He had got up early that morning to get prepared for the dive that day. However, his hopes were crushed by his older sister Croy who said that he couldn’t go diving for the treasure that day. He didn’t like this one bit.
“Who does she think she is saying that I can’t go diving as if she controls me? When I go down and get the treasure, I’m not sharing it with any of them,” Cheikz mumbled to himself while struggling to row his boat. “They’ll know not to mess with me next time.”
Cheikz heart sank. Looking back to the shore, he could see the three older girls yelling at him from an inflatable blue boat. They were starting to catch up to him. He rowed faster, ignoring Croy’s cry.
“Cheikz, stop, right there, right now,” ordered Croy.
Cheikz still didn’t listen. They were still quite a distance away from him so he could pretend that he couldn’t hear them at all. That’s just what he carried on doing.
“Cheikz, listen to your sister. Stop right now – whoa!” Kat exclaimed. A gust of wind had blown their boat away. This pleased Cheikz.
“What was that?” Kitthie asked.
“It’s nothing, remember what the tour guide said - these winds are normal,” Kat said, recovering from the blow.
“It’s swept us further away from Cheikz. We won’t get to him in time,” Croy informed.
“Why don’t you just let the kid go? We’ll catch him underwater,” Kat said.
“Um, guys,” Kitthie tugged at Croy’s sleeve, “you might want to take a look at that.”
Kitthie was pointing at the jagged rocks that were growing closer with every passing second. Kat rowed hard against the wind and current, but the little inflatable boat was continuing to be carried toward the dangerous rocks. Fallen trees poked out of the water, their branches threatening to tear a hole in the dinghy.
The sun disappeared. Angry black clouds filled the sky. The gust of wind was back, but this time, it was even stronger. It was headed right for Cheikz. It hit him. The gust wasn’t a one-blow thing; it rocked Cheikz’s boat back and forth, and all around. The sound of thunder, and then rain followed.
“Guys, help me!” Cheikz cried out while clenching onto the boat with all his might.
“Oh my goodness!” Kitthie cried before she went stiff in shock.
“S-so-somebody do something,” stammered Croy, who was also in a state of shock.
The thunderstorm was now making the whole lake move in frenzy, but the wind at Cheikz’s end made it especially hard for him. The dark clouds overhead made the whole lake turn dark blue. A flash of lightning sparked.
It woke Kat from her trance. She now fully acknowledged what was going on and broke out of the shock of it. She had to do something! She was the best swimmer amongst them, but the lake was too treacherous for anyone to swim in, even Kat. The rain beat down on her face.
“Kat!” Croy cried while shaking her friend. “What should we do?”
Kat knew exactly what to do. She had her backpack on her all through that day, so her friends couldn’t snoop around it while she was gone, to see what she was hiding from them. Without thinking of what Croy and Kitthie might think, Kat took her backpack off her back, unzipped then reached into it, and pulled the Maraquan paint brush out. Croy and Kitthie’s eyes lit up at the sight of it; they were left speechless. There was no time for an explanation. Kat held the brush out at chest height; then stroked it on herself starting from the top of her head all the way down to the tip of her toes. The transformation began.
It started off with Kat’s head. Her long red Acara horns started to turn green and grew suction cups. Her face also started to turn from a furry mammalian form to a slimy amphibian one. He eyeballs went from a reddish white, due to all her swimming, to a glowing yellow. Her pupils, which used to be big and blue, were now turning small and black. Kat’s wide Acara ears morphed into webbed ears. Her red sturdy body dropped as all four of her limbs turned into tentacles. Her whole body dawned sea green colour with yellow-green here and there. With the transformation complete, Kat the red Acara was now Kat the Maraquan Acara!
The whole experience Croy and Kitthie were completely transfixed on their friend. They couldn’t move one bit. Kat smiled at her friends with her new slimy lips. She seemed to have gotten used to her new body instantly, even though it was her first time being painted. She then remembered her task at hand. She jumped off the boat and splashed into the chaotic lake.
At first, she splashed about as she wasn’t used to her new limbs and wasn’t sure how to use them – the fiercely stormy lake didn’t help either. She focused herself, and in no time, she was swimming off to save Cheikz. It was amazing! She was moving in the water really quickly, and she didn’t even need to pause to take breaths. I have gills, she realised excitedly. Gills! It was amazing; Kat could now live out her dream.
She had now reached Cheikz’s rocking boat. He could barely hold on any longer.
“Cheikz!” Kat called. Her vocal chords hadn’t changed.
“Kat, is that you?” Cheikz asked, while looking over to see who it was that called out his name. “Whoa, you look different. Did you lose weight?”
Kat rolled her eyes, “No time for jokes, Cheikz. Now grab my hand, er, tentacle,” Kat corrected herself.
Cheikz reached for the limb, which was once Kat’s right arm, Kat had held out. Due to the stormy conditions and Kat’s slippery tentacle, Cheikz’s hand slipped off it and he fell backward into the lake. Just then, the wind took hold of the small rowboat, smashing it into the rocks.
Kat was alarmed at first, but she then instinctively dove into the lake in search for Cheikz. He wasn’t far, just sinking down. The lake was wavy; Kat struck her head tentacles out to grab Cheikz. She got hold of him and pulled. The weight was the much for her head and the lake was putting her off balance so she used leg tentacles to grab him. She then swam up with her hand tentacles to the surface and headed for the bank. By this time Croy and Kitthie had regained awareness and were in the small boat, cheering Kat on while waiting in anticipation for her.
“I see her,” Kitthie said pointing at Kat who was swimming towards them.
“And she has Cheikz with her!” Croy jubilantly added.
Kat got to the bank and deposited a sputtering Cheikz in the dinghy, with his sisters. “Get back to shore! I'll meet you there. There’s something I have to go get first,” Kat said, panting, before diving back into the lake.
“What’s she going back for?” Kitthie asked.
“It can’t be the treasure. The water’s too wild,” Croy replied.
“Kat, come back!” Kitthie and Croy yelled together.
Kat didn’t listen to them; she was already way too deep in the lake to hear them. She was swimming for the treasure. The water was churning around her, but she didn’t care. She had one thing set on her mind. If she could recover some treasure for her friends, they would forgive her for using the paint brush on herself. She spotted the shipwreck. It looked different from last time, darker, scarier.
As Kat got closer, she was knocked back by the stormy lake. She spread her tentacles out to parachute, then push, then thrust through the lake rapidly to reach the treasure. A spark of lightning revealed the gold she had seen from the glass bottom of the tour boat. The pile was just near the ship. As Kat swam close, she could see them clearly. They were thousand dubloon coins! Kat grabbed a piece which each of her limbs and swam upwards using her head tentacles. The storm began to settle as Kat swam to the shore to meet her friends, who were nervously smiling, wrapped in blankets, awaiting her approach.
The four pets sat around the fire, trying to warm up and dry off after the rain. The clouds had passed, and the sun was shining once more.
“I got you guys these,” Kat said as she placed the four coins in front of her friends. Smiling, she said, “Well...”
“Kat, thanks for saving me,” said Cheikz, averting his gaze, as he found himself not able to look Kat in the eyes.
“It’s alright, Cheikz. But you need to be more careful, little dude,” Kat replied, trying to sound casual.
“Kat, you look gorgeous! Like, I’m not a fan of aquatic creatures, but you look, wow!” said Kitthie, admiring her friend.
“You sure do! Thanks for getting the gold. You didn’t have to, you know?” Croy told Kat.
“But I wanted to. I wouldn’t want you guys to be upset with me for using the paint brush on myself and you getting nothing,” Kat explained.
“What? No. We would have wanted you to have it regardless,” Croy said.
“Yeah,” said Cheikz. “You saved my life, Kat.” He blushed.
“Thanks to you, we still have Cheikz with us,” Kitthie added, reaching for Kat's front tentacle. “We have each other and our friendship, and that's the greatest treasure of all.” Kitthie and Cheikz nodded in agreement.
This warmed Kat, and she needed the warmth, as the lake had been cold. “Thanks, you guys,” Kat said, smiling. “Now, what are you guys going to do with this treasure?”
“Well, I’m going to keep my coin as a memory of all this,” replied Croy.
“I’m not sure to do with mine,” said Kitthie.
“Oh really?” Cheikz said, only to get a ‘don’t you go there, cause of this whole dangerous event’ face from Kitthie. “I mean same goes for me.” His face fell. “Um, I guess I’ll have to cash my coin in. I sorta need cash to pay for damaging the boat we rented,” Cheikz said, pointing at the sinking boat he was in during the storm.
“What about you, Kat?” Croy, Kitthie and Cheikz asked in union.
“What are you going to do with your coin?” Croy expanded.
“Oh right, I bought four. Well, I’ve got all I wanted,” said Kat gesturing at her new body. “Although, I’m thinking of cashing mine in, as well, and then donating the Neopoints in segments to the Money Tree. Maybe some other Neopets will snag them and use it to go on their own wild adventure,” Kat added.
“That sounds like a great plan!” Kitthie said, Croy and Cheikz agreed.
“Now, let’s go for a hike in the woods. You need to test out your new limbs on land,” Croy said. She then grabbed Kat’s right arm tentacle, Kitthie grabbed the left. They smiled at their friend, and together, all three started walking into the forest, with Cheikz trailing behind.
“Hold on a second,” Kat said, her brow furrowed. “Can I live on land?”