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The Keeper of Maraqua: Return


by jedimaster891

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Note: This is the sequel to The Keeper of Maraqua: Genesis and The Keeper of Maraqua: Fugitive

The water was shimmering in rainbow colors unlike any place that Melleia had ever seen. The water was warm and clear. Melleia's long, aqua-streaked blond hair drifted around her gently in the current. The blue and green scales on her water faerie tail also glimmered strangely in the peculiar light.

     "Melleia, Melleia," a voice rang out. The voice sounded familiar, but Melleia wasn't exactly sure. The voice echoed throughout the water strangely.

      "Who's there?" Melleia called, taking a defensive pose, ready to protect herself. "Show yourself!"

      "Melleia, do not be afraid," the voice called out again. "You know me and always have. I will not harm you."

      Then Melleia caught sight of the speaker. Her jaw dropped. "By all of the Faerie magic there ever was," she said, "it cannot be!"

      "You are right, Melleia, it is not," Aangeela, Melleia's dear departed sister, said, swimming to hover several feet away. "You are asleep."

      Melleia felt tears in her eyes. It had been so close: her heart's deepest desire-to see her late sister's face alive again-and it was just a dream . . .

      But she looked so real. Aangeela looked the same as she had the day before she had died-the day that she had given Melleia the biggest responsibility ever. Her long blonde hair was loose and flowing, her water faerie tail's scales glimmered too, her face had a giant smile directed at Melleia . . . but she was just a dream.

      Melleia felt her throat tighten.

      "Do not cry, Melleia," Aangeela said soothingly. She swam forward to hover very close to Melleia in the warm water. "I still live in your heart." Her smile was soothing, as was her voice.

      Melleia looked up into her face. So this "dream" was semi-real.

      "Now, Melleia, listen," Aangeela said seriously, the smile disappearing and being replaced by a determined expression. "The Heart of Maraqua is still safe, correct?"

      Melleia reached up to her neck and brushed her hand across the necklace. "Of course," she replied.

      "You must return to Maraqua soon," Aangeela told her. "Otherwise, the Heart itself will die and Maraqua along with it."

      Melleia frowned. "But, Aangeela, you told me on that day that I was to run away and leave Maraqua, never to return!"

      Aangeela sighed. "Yes, sister, but I was wrong you must return, or else our beloved home will die! Now, here's what you have to do..."

     *****

      "Princess Melleia! Princess Melleia! Wake up! WAKE UP!"

      Wyneb the Maraquan Acara, owner of the home that Princess Melleia was staying in, grabbed the thrashing water faerie's shoulder with one of his tentacles and shook it. The Princess of Maraqua continued to thrash around, asleep but obviously in a nightmare.

      "Wake up, Your Highness!" he repeated.

      He had to wake her from this nightmare, had bring her out. She was making the feeble house shake…

      All of a sudden, Princess Melleia sat straight up, startling Wyneb and causing him to jump backward. Her eyes were wide and filled with fear.

      "Your Highness, what is it?" Wyneb asked.

      "A dream," she said, shaking her head. "Or perhaps the term 'nightmare' is more accurate."

      Wyneb nodded. "What did you see?"

      The Princess ignored his question. "Wyneb, we have to go back to Maraqua. As soon as possible!"

      Wyneb nodded again. "That is possible, Your Highness. We can leave first thing in the morning. But now, I suggest that you get some sleep."

      Princess Melleia sighed. "Alright, but remember, first thing in the morning!"

     *****

      The next morning, before most of the sea had awoken, Melleia the Water Faerie and Wyneb the Maraquan Acara were swimming away from Wyneb's tiny cottage in the reef to the great city of Maraqua. The trip was not far, only an hour or so's swim, but Melleia was jittery every step (well, every flick of their tails) of the way.

      She was wanted because of the Heart of Maraqua that she wore around her neck.

      And the dark faerie who wanted her would stop at nothing to get the Heart in her hands.

      She'd already been chased into hiding for months, and after that, Melleia wanted to be certain she wouldn't get caught by one foolish slip-up.

      Melleia glanced around at her surroundings. A smile came to her face. "Wyneb," she said, "we are almost there! It is just over that next rise!"

      Wyneb glanced at her and then at the hill on the sea's floor in front of them. He merely nodded.

      Melleia grew very excited. Maraqua, the home she had not seen in months, was close.

      So very close . . . she thought. Suddenly, she couldn't stand it anymore. She shot forward quickly, rising over the incline and got a glimpse of her home of Maraqua.

      It was just as beautiful as the day Melleia had left. Hundreds of buildings, short, tall and in between, glimmered on the flat plain below the hill where Melleia was, early morning sunlight illuminating it gloriously. Beyond the city lay a bright coral reef that made the city look twice as brilliant. Schools of colorful fish flitted all around, making the scene feel like it was right out of a legend.

      But then again, perhaps it was.

      "Your Highness," Wyneb's voice broke into Melleia's thoughts. He had swum up beside her while she was gazing down over Maraqua.

      "Yes?"

      "I think that now would be a good time to discuss our plans for lodging," the Acara said with a slight frown. "I do not think that it is wise to openly flaunt your presence here. After all, aren't you still wanted, Highness?"

      Melleia dismissed his comment with a wave of her hand. "I know that! I know where we can stay: in my old home on Coral Circuit. After I moved out, Queen Aangeela would not allow it to be sold, just in case we ever needed it."

      Wyneb nodded. "Alright, Your Highness, lead the way."

     *****

      It took them all of 5 minutes to reach Melleia's old Coral Circuit home. They arrived to find it empty, as Melleia had expected. Now this place was not as Melleia remembered it.

      The walls and the floor were now covered in algae from lack of cleaning. Most of the furniture was gone, sold two years ago when Melleia had first moved out. The home was now only the home to krill and a few fish. It lacked all signs of life . . .

      "Your Highness," Wyneb interrupted her thoughts for the second time today. "Is it even possible for us to stay here?"

      Melleia smiled. "Of course."

      "But, Princess Melleia, the algae and-"

      "Yes," Melleia cut him off, swimming through the empty house to her study. It had been Melleia's favorite room, over two years ago. "Aangeela had a secret room made so that no matter what happened, we had somewhere to stay."

      "Her Majesty was very resourceful," Wyneb murmured.

      They had reached the study, which, like everything else in the home, was algae-covered and empty. Melleia swam to the far wall, as algae-covered as the rest, and stuck her hand right into the algae. She felt around for the secret button-and found it.

      Instantly, a section of the wall slid open, revealing a hidden room beyond the study's wall. Melleia swam right in and Wyneb followed her.

      The room was only about five feet wide and it stretched the length of the house. From the study, one wouldn't even know this room existed, thinking that the house just ended in the study. There were no windows at all in the room, another of Aangeela's safety measures.

      There was no algae in this room, because of a non-toxic effective, yet expensive chemical that Aangeela had had circulated into this room's water filters. The room had sparse furnishings: two sets of sleep rungs-cloth rings set onto the walls across from each other so that one could put one's arms up to the shoulders through one rung and one's tail, fin or legs through the other-replaced beds at one end, a table with two chairs sat near the room's center and on one wall was a cabinet filled with unspoiling rations that didn't taste very good, but were edible.

      Melleia swam to the cabinet and withdrew a ration bar as Wyneb laid down his traveler's pack on the table. He sat down in one of the chairs and began unloading the few items that he and Melleia had packed.

      Melleia took her ration bar from its protective package and took a bite. It tasted like cardboard. Her face wrinkled up and she tossed the rest of the bar into the trash bin.

      Melleia sat down in the chair opposite Wyneb and pulled back the hood of her dark cloak. Both were silent for a while.

      During the silence, Melleia just glanced around. At the time this room was made, Melleia had called Aangeela crazy, for she didn't know about the Heart at all. Now that she knew about the Heart and the danger it had put Aangeela in, she was sure that it was a great idea.

      But it still didn't help when the dark Faerie finally found Aangeela, Melleia thought grimly. It didn't help when Aangeela got shot.

      "Your Highness," Wyneb finally broke the silence, "I do not mean to be rude, but now can you tell me what you saw in your 'nightmare' last night?"

      His face was curious and inquisitive, but not a bit nosy or intrusive. Melleia could not deny his request.

      She sighed. "I guess that I should. It's rather gruesome… Well, my sister came to me in a dream and told me that we must return here to Maraqua and rescue it. She also said that we must rid Neopia of the 'menace dark faerie who wants to kill Maraqua'. She said to me, 'This is to be your mission, goal and objective, and succeed or fail, you will be known forever by it.' " She sighed again, deeper this time. "I do not wish to be known as a failure and I cannot do this alone. You said that you would help me unto death . . ." She trailed off inquiringly.

      "That offer still stands," Wyneb replied. "I am still ready to die to help you. But you must tell me the rest of your dream. You said it was gruesome, and so far, there has been nothing gruesome involved."

      Melleia winced. He wasn't giving up . . . "Alright," she said. "I will tell you the rest. Aangeela then showed me what will become of Maraqua should I succeed or fail. If I-or rather we-succeed, Maraqua will live on, happy and complete but if we fail," Melleia winced again, "I am afraid that Maraqua will die. Destroyed. Hence 'gruesome.' I saw it: Maraqua's destruction. Aangeela showed it to me. Wyneb, we cannot fail. We cannot!" She pounded a fist lightly on the table and then put both of her hands in her lap.

      There was a long silence.

      "So, what is our first step?" Wyneb finally said. "Should we try and find the menace dark faerie?"

      Melleia shook her head. "No," she replied. "First, we must find out who is in power here in Maraqua. We must see if they are our ally. Surely someone has taken over since Queen Aangeela's death. It has been months."

      Wyneb rose from his chair. "I will take care of that, Your Highness."

      Melleia frowned. "How?"

      Wyneb smiled. "I have friends here." His smile disappeared. "But I think that you should stay here. I suggest that you lock the front door. I will knock four times upon my return so that you know that it is me."

      Melleia nodded and Wyneb left.

     *****

      Two hours later, Melleia was beginning to worry. She had begun swimming back and forth, sort of like pacing the floor except underwater. Wyneb had been gone too long . . .

      Far too long, she thought uneasily.

      Just then, she heard four knocks on the front door. Relieved, she swam to, unlocked and opened the door.

      She received a shock when the door swung open.

      Hovering there was another water faerie that she remembered all too well. She'd run from this Faerie not too long ago… and escaped to Wyneb's home in the reef.

      Or so she thought.

     Beside the water faerie, bound in chains, was Wyneb, looking beat and bruised badly.

      Melleia gasped and swam backwards, away from the door and the water faerie.

      "Hello, Princess Melleia," the other water faerie said, reaching out with handcuffs. An unpleasant smile was on her face. "We've been waiting for you."

      Melleia continued to swim back, but she was unable to get away. She would be captured.

      "Do not even try," the other water faerie said. "You will not escape this time."

The End . . . for now

Author's note: This will be my fourth published work in the Neopian Times. I always appreciate fan mail, I even have a special Neomail folder for it. But please, do not ask when the fourth story will come out. It will whenever I can get it in. Also, before you Neomail me, please look at my FAQ page located at neopets.com/grannys_jetsam and thanks to greatgrannymyrt for lending me the page.

I expect to write one more story about Princess Melleia, called The Keeper of Maraqua: Conclusion. And get it out very soon.

As always, wishing that I had gills and a fin instead of legs, jedimaster891

 
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