Scarblade's Pearl: Memories in Maraqua - Part One
Nira could hardly believe it. She was in Maraqua! All the stories she'd heard of its beauty couldn't have prepared her for such a glorious sight. It had been three days since her encounter with Captain Scarblade and the Revenge. On the second day, she had been deemed healthy enough to leave her bed for extended periods of time. That was the day Nira realized she'd been staying in Maraqua's palace, home of the great King Kelpbeard III! It was also the day she came face-to-face with the great Maraquan king.
She could hardly breathe when she stood before His Majesty. After asking her many questions (in example, had she ever visited Maraqua?) he proclaimed that Nira would remain in Maraqua for seven days. She was free to roam the city so long as she didn't leave its boundaries. Nira didn't understand why she couldn't just go home, but dared not question the king. As a matter of fact, the king wanted to keep an eye on Nira a bit longer, which was why he had commanded her to stay seven more days. His subjects had yet to confirm whether or not Nira was a danger to Maraqua.
And so Nira wandered the streets, completely oblivious to her undercover followers. Maraqua was wonderful. There were so many sights and stores, Nira couldn't have explored them all. She passed the famed Kelp restaurant, wondering if their outrageously-priced food really was worth it, as most customers proclaimed after visiting.
After passing Kelp, Nira came upon a shop that she'd somehow never pictured finding in Maraqua. It was an instruments shop by the looks of it. “Maraqua Melodies” was written on a sign outside. Curious, Nira went inside. An amazing array of underwater treasures spread out before her as soon as she entered. Nira hadn't been prepared for all the beautifully made instruments. They were all so unique and creative.
Nira drifted around the displays, hardly noticing as one of her followers came in. The neopet (a Maraquan Krawk) was surprised Nira had entered this specific shop, but tried his best to act as if he was just another customer.
Nira, attention attracted to the instruments, didn't notice when a Maraquan Kyrii came out of a back room and spotted her.
“May I help you, Miss?” she asked. Nira spun around to face the Kyrii, a bit startled by her sudden appearance. The Krawk watched them as closely as possible, worried about how the situation might turn.
“Oh, I'm sorry,” said the Kyrii, blushing a bit and rubbing the back of her head with a grin. “Did I startle you? Oh, why can't I learn to stop sneaking up on potential customers?”
Nira looked the Kyrii up and down, feeling like she'd seen her before. She seemed so familiar. But how could she have met her before? Nira had never been to Mara-
Nira's thoughts broke off as a pain stabbed the back of her head. She groaned loudly and put both hands to her head, doubling over.
She was my age!
The words echoed painfully through Nira's mind.
“Miss?! Miss, are you alright?!”
Nira snapped back to reality at the sound of the Kyrii's worried voice. Suddenly the pain was gone and she was back in the instrument shop. The Maraquan Kyrii was leaning over her, looking very worried.
“I... I'm okay.... Just... a headache....” Nira straightened and rubbed her forehead with one hand.
“Are you sure?” asked the Kyrii.
Nira took a deep breath and let it out, letting her hand fall away from her face.
“Yeah... I'm fine. I'll be okay now,” she reassured the Kyrii.
Neither pet noticed as the stunned Krawk slipped out of the shop and swam as fast as he could back toward the castle.
The Kyrii still looked worried, but she forced herself to give Nira some space.
“Alright...” she said.
Nira grinned and offered the Kyrii her hand.
“Sorry for disturbing things. My name's Nira.”
The Kyrii grinned and shook her head, taking Nira's hand and shaking it.
“It's alright. I never get any excitement around her. My name's Muyalia, but everyone around here calls me Alia.”
Nira smiled, relieved to put the whole incident behind her. Instead, she turned her attention to the Kyrii, who she now realized didn't look too far from her own age.
“How old are you?” she asked.
“Sixteen. I'll be seventeen in...” Alia paused, looking thoughtful. “Four months, I think.”
“And you run this place by yourself?” Nira asked in surprise.
“Well, not completely by myself. I mean, I've got Rina.” She looked around the room, as if trying to find something.
“Rina?” she called finally.
A little delfin suddenly swam into view, swimming right up to Alia and snuggling against the Kyrii's neck. Alia giggled again.
“Rina, that tickles.”
The little delfin made a purring noise and swam back the way she'd come.
“That was Rina. She helps out a lot when she can,” Alia explained.
“A petpet? But... don't you have any family?” Nira asked. The Kyrii's cheerful face suddenly fell. She looked away, clutching one arm.
“Well... no. My family was killed a few months ago in a whirlpool that destroyed my hometown,” she said quietly.
Nira winced as another sharp pain came to the back of her head.
She's just some stupid Maraquan!
Nira put a hand to her head and closed her eyes.
“Nira?” Alia asked, her voice distressed again.
Nira waved the Kyrii away.
“I'm fine, I'm fine,” she said firmly, although she felt anything but fine. When she opened her eyes to look at Alia again, the Kyrii was looking for more worried than before.
“Nira, I think you should see a doctor,.” she said quietly.
“No, you're not. You won't be able to fool me, no matter how hard you try,” Alia cut in.
Nira stared hard at the Kyrii. She still wasn't used to strangers worrying about her, or the kindness most pets seemed to show each other. She wasn't sure why it bothered her, though. I mean, why would anyone feel uneasy when someone's worried about your health?
After a while, Nira looked away and sighed her surrender.
“Alright. I'll go back to the palace and have a doctor look me over,” Nira mumbled reluctantly.
Alia grinned and ushered Nira toward the door.
“Good. Make sure you come back again, alright?” she said in a more cheery tone. “I've got plenty of merchandise to show you~!”
Nira was suddenly reminded of Lightning and grinned. She could grow to like Alia.
“Yeah, I will,” she replied. Out the door she went, on her way back toward the palace.
Meanwhile, back at the castle, the Krawk had just been allowed to appear before King Kelpbeard. Isca and Caylis hovered on each of the king's sides, eager to hear the knight's tale.
The Krawk floated to the ground before the throne and bowed his head.
“What is this I hear of Nira visiting Alia?” asked the King impatiently. He never seemed to like formalities when urgent matters came forth.
The Krawk lifted his head and nodded confirmation.
“Yes, Sire. Nira entered Maraquan Melodies and began looking around. When Alia came out front, Nira seemed to recognize her somewhat. Then she suddenly groaned and doubled over, holding her head in her hands.”
“What else happened?” asked Caylis.
The Krawk switched to address the Aisha.
“She was like this a few seconds before Alia went to her side and asked if she was alright. It was like she had snapped back from another world, Sire. She looked startled and confused.”
The king rubbed his chin thoughtfully before addressing Isca.
“What do you make of this, Isca?” he asked.
Isca's eyes were filled with worry for the Shoyru.
“I believe she's suffering from memory loss. From the way she reacted to Alia, I think her memories came back for a brief moment,” she said cautiously, aware of her sister's reactions. Caylis didn't contradict her sister, so the Aisha sighed in relief.
Kelpbeard turned back to the Krawk.
“Anything else to report?” he asked.
The Krawk shook his head.
“No, Sire. I left shortly after the incident.”
Kelpbeard nodded and dismissed the Krawk with a wave of his fin. When the Krawk had gone, Isca and Caylis moved to hover before the king. He looked from one to the other, the uncertainty clear in his eyes.
“What next?” he asked them.
Caylis, for once, looked at her sister. Isca was both startled and glad to find her sister allowing her to speak first.
“I think we should question Nira about her day. See how much she'll reveal to us.”
Caylis smiled at her sister.
“I agree completely, Sister,” she said, addressing both her sister and the king.
King Kelpbeard mulled the idea over for a minute, before nodding his head in approval.
“Yes, I agree also. As soon as she returns, have Nira brought before me,” he said.
Isca and Caylis bowed.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” they replied in unison. Then, when King Kelpbeard dismissed them, they left the room.
Nira nearly jumped when she heard her name. She had been wandering the halls on her way back to her bed chamber when the voice had suddenly come from behind.
To be continued...