Spiral: Part Four
Part 4: Maraqua
*C ough, Cough* *Splutter, Splutter* *Gasp*
Cree, Frostrym, Charmifire and Blaz suddenly awoke. Staring at them was a Maraquan Eyrie and a Maraquan Uni.
“Uhhh…Hi” Cree greeted, slightly disturbed. The two retreated and submerged back into the ocean.
“Uh…O…K…” Cree stated slowly as she raised an eyebrow.
“Good, you’re up” the four friends leapt to their feet. In the few minutes they’d been awake, they hadn’t noticed the water Faerie sitting amongst them.
“Ah, and I see my sea-prune stew with Glyme entrails and bone dust worked”
Distraught expressions spread across the four comrade’s faces which drained to a greenish pale. The faerie dropped to the floor, thumping the ice in hysterics
“Oh, ohhh, I got you good” she laughed. Regaining her composure, she explained “Just your normal, everyday Dewberry Reviver” In her hand appeared a corked bottle with a deep purple substance “Here you go” she said, handing them out
“Thank You” Charmifire expressed out of gratitude
“That’s OK, uhhh…”
“Hi, I’m Nereid” the water faerie greeted as she shook each hand in turn. The four friends stood stunned.
“Ok, now that you’re all healed we mustn’t waste any time” Placing her arms out in front of her, Nereid dove into the water. Somersaulting and spinning in the depths, Nereid emerged above the water’s surface in a splash. Water droplets glistened around her. Bobbing down, so that only everything above her shoulders remained over the water’s surface, Nereid swam towards the group. “What’s wrong?”
“We couldn’t stop the Usul” Cree clenched her eyes and bowed her head in dismay “Now all those innocent villagers…What’s to become of them” The others kept to themselves, riddled with guilt
“Oh, hey, there there” Nereid comforted, rising up to hug a nearby Frostrym. “I saw the entire ordeal unfold from the nearby waters. You put up a good fight. It’s not too late to stop your foe” The Maraquan Eyrie and Uni reappeared. “There are still many out there who believe in you, and a certain friend of the… ghostly variety seems to have taken quite a shine towards you. There might be something that may be able to assist you in your plight, but it is found submerged in the depths of Maraqua” Nereid let go of Frostrym as she swam out a little further away from the icy shore “So are you in?”
“It’s so impressive how all of you can hold your breath for so long” Nereid praised. Unable to speak underwater, the friends signalled approval. It had been almost an hour and the comrades had fought through the cold of the ocean, and were now on the verge of reaching Maraqua’s border. Looking back, Nereid spoke
“Almost there” *Gasp* A set of hands had seized each of Nereid’s arms and wrists.
“Well well. If it isn’t Nereid” the last word of that sentence had been uttered in an unattractive, nasally tone, juxtaposing the unnervingly soothing timbre of the speaker’s voice. The others holding onto Nereid cackled. The one who had addressed Nereid had dark-blue streaks in her hair, whilst the others were each a different colour; either dark-teal or indigo. All three seemed to be water faeries, but had unusually sharp nails and excessive, pointier fins. “Aww, what’s the matter doll, are we holding on a bit too tight” spoke the dark-teal one, feigning sympathy. On her left wrist and right shoulder she wore translucent pink tattered bands. Her voice high and had you feeling as though you were about to melt. By this time, the four friends had crouched down amongst the reef, unnoticed. Meticulously they had managed to position themselves so that they surrounded the three faeries who were taunting a squirming Nereid. Knowing that their movements and attacks would be slower they moved in. Charmifire aimed the golden stave in his hand down at the ground. Launching a pulse of energy at the sea floor he propelled himself up, grabbing onto the dark-blue water faerie. Arms ensnared, the faerie writhed trying to break free of Charmifire’s hold. In the commotion, Blaz and Cree had managed to sneak up behind the dark-teal and the indigo water faeries. Taking hold, Blaz and Cree were now placed in the same situation as Charmifire. The faerie’s tight grip on Nereid had left marks. Using one hand to heal the marks on her other arm, Nereid winced. Frostrym’s Negg staff glowed as she waved it over the arm of the hand that was currently healing the other. The marks vanished. Continuing their tussle, Blaz’s pocket-watch began to glow. Drifting about on the chain secured to Blaz’s belt, the pocket watch tapped the dark-teal water faerie. Immediately the faerie was bound in tightly secured chains of light. Blaz let go, the faerie remained suspended in the water. Placing his arms up, Blaz attempted to avoid any contact with the watch, however, a misstep in his movement caused the watch to brush him. Nothing. The Lupe smirked. Unclasping the pocket watch, he launched the apparatus by the chain. Almost instantly, the indigo water faerie was ensnared by glowing lights in the shape of link-chains. Witnessing what had just happened, the last of the three lunged and thrashed, attempting to break free. Arching his arm back, with a thrust of his fist forward, Blaz opened his palm, releasing his grip on the pocket-watch. The watch flew, attached to the chain on Blaz’s paw. The dark-blue water faerie joined the dark-teal and indigo faerie in chains. Using her staff like a crook, Frostrym drew the three tormentors together. Nereid’s eyes glowed as she placed both palms up, arms outstretched. A voracious whirlpool swirled around the three chained faeries, whisking them far away. Nereid placed down her hands and closed her eyes. Opening them moments later, they had returned to normal.
“Guess we won’t be hearing from The Drenched for a while” she stated “Thank you young ones” Nereid expressed in gratitude “Even without access to your regular abilities you were able to lend a hand to those who were in need. I think that constitutes part of the reason why so many believe in you, and serves as a sign that you are more than capable of taking on any challenge that may cross your path” A wave of light-blue sparkles washed over the four friends as they rose up with Nereid “The lights of Maraqua shine just yonder, beyond the sparkling reef amidst the Maractite columns. I must head south of here, this is where we part, for now. Be strong young ones. I believe in you” waving back, after a few flicks of her tail, Nereid was nowhere to be seen. Cree, Frostrym, Charmifire and Blaz made their way towards Maraqua.
Shells of every sort, every shape, every size were scattered all over Maraqua. Some even stood upright as shops or homes. Amidst the shells, fish swam amongst the coral and seaweed. Bubbles appeared with every breath or swish of a tail, or when fins glided through the water. Approaching the castle, Cree, Blaz, Frostrym and Charmifire’s way was blocked off by the overlapping trident handles of two guards
“Halt! State your business” One guard boomed without looking at them
“Speak” a familiar water faerie’s voice said in their minds
“We’re here to see King Kelpbeard” Blaz mentioned
“The king is very busy at the moment, he isn’t taking visitors” the other guard’s voice rang. From the side, emerging from a large pipe, a cloaked figure dashed off as though his motions were on land.
“If that is all, then I shall ask you to leave now please”
“Uh, no wait, Nereid sent us-” Blaz stopped, aware of what he had just said. For the first time the two guards broke their stance.
“Nereid? The Nereid?” the guard whispered
“How do we know you’re not just making this up?”
The four procured the bottles of dewberry reviver given to them by Nereid. The glass sparkled. Nereid’s beautiful singing began to emit from the now vibrating bottles
“That is her voice, I would recognise it anywhere” one guard told the other
“I’m truly sorry young ones, but the King is rather busy. You are welcome to wait here. I’m afraid we can’t let you inside. It’s not like Meridell or Brightvale” the guard apologized
“That’s alright, we might try again a little later on”
Heading down, at the furthermost point of the path, a cloaked figure rammed Charmifire to the ground.
“Who are you all and what are you doing here?” blatantly outnumbered, the figure posed no real threat
“Uh, hi. I’m Blaz, that’s Charmifire and this is Frostrym and Cree. Apparently there’s something here that can help us”
“Yeah, according to who?” the cloaked figure posed
“Nereid” Blaz answered, ashamed that he had used the ‘Nereid’ card twice today
“Nereid. The Nereid?!?!” the figure exclaimed
“Something tells me you have an eye for these sorts of things. Any idea where to look?” Blaz asked
“Hmm, maybe check the ruins of old Maraqua” the figure suggested, rising off of Charmifire
“Thanks” Blaz replied
“No problem, and hey, nice jacket” the figure directed his comment at Charmifire
“Thanks” Charmifire responded. The figure dashed off.
The Maraquan ruins were a far cry from the bustling, bright new Maraqua. Dank and gloomy, a sunken anchor, amongst the algae covered shards of shattered glass and toppled stone, would give quick indication to anyone unaware of the events that had unfolded. Suddenly Frostrym spotted something amongst the wreckage
“It’s… a faerie statue” Frostrym observed.
“Is this what the stranger meant? What Nereid meant? Was this it?” Charmifire thought. Charmifire looked around. Beyond a bubbling pit he spotted something.
“RRAWWW” rising up from the bubbling pit, a slimy mucus-green, creature with eye stalks and a shell. “GO AWAY” the creature bellowed. At the swipe of its claw, the four friends moved out of range. Charmifire’s stave began to glow. Aiming it at the monster, a dazzling display of Light, Water and Air pummelled the creature. Spinning his pocket-watch, Blaz struck the monster between its eyes. Chains of light constricted the creature. Aiming the stave again, Charmifire unleashed another attack. The force of the blow knocked the slimy, mucus-green pest back into the bubbling pit.
Suddenly the ground began to shudder. A massive maelstrom kicked up from seemingly out of nowhere.
The receding squall washed the four friends onto a sandy shore. Glittering sparkles of yellow sunlight accompanied Cree, Blaz, Frostrym and Charmifire as they awoke. Curvy yellow hair and notched wings disappeared behind white marble stone.
“Guys, guys!” Charmifire exclaimed “We’re home!”
To be continued…