Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 132,988,897 Issue: 246 | 30th day of Relaxing, Y8
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The Soul of Maraqua: Part Three

by grapesourhorse


Atomasphere was trembling softly when they drew closer to the little hole. She did not see anything... no bright glint of Aresto's coat, nor Mirilin's. But that didn't mean anything...

      "I'll go in first," Atom volunteered, wriggling into the little hole. Fardeep, for all his bulk and muscles, slid through easily after her.

      "Mirilin," Fardeep breathed, closing his eyes and letting his breath whoosh out.

      "Atom!" cried the voice of Aresto. "You came back! But why? And Fardeep-he's all right! You saved him... but where's...?"

      "Naracissus is back at home with Cyn, that Maraquan Eyrie," she soothed. "Don't worry."

      Aresto breathed a sigh of relief, and Atom could tell that Mirilin was also eavesdropping, eager for news on her daughter.

      Then, she gasped. "The box!" Mirilin exclaimed.

      "Naracissus has it," Atom smiled. "Fardeep has already explained your story and predicament. You are in no fit shape to travel-this Marapool of yours must be far, far away, for we do not know of it here."

      Mirilin frowned. "You told them?" she muttered. Fardeep protested. "There was no choice, and they deserved an explanation."

      Atom interrupted. "The Marapool. When do you plan to travel there?"

      Aresto looked up, weariness clear in her eyes, but she said: "As soon as possible. In fact, right now. After we get Naracissus, of course, for although she is young, she is representative of the Soul of Maraqua, and only she has the right to open the box."

      Atom nodded, even though she didn't quite understand why Naracissus had to break open the casket.

      "Where is the Marapool located?" Atom asked. "Cyn and I are more than willing to accompany you there-"

      But Aresto shook her head firmly. "No. This journey is only for the Heart, the Soul, the Depths, and the Body. But we thank you."

      Atom dipped her head respectfully, though her heart sank with disappointment. Without a word, she and Fardeep led Aresto and Mirilin to her home, where they found Naracissus reading a fragile book crafted of seaweed and Cyn glaring at a soggy newspaper.

      The Maraquan Eyrie's keen ears heard the motion of the water and looked up, sighing with relief. "They're all right, then?" he asked Atom.

      Naracissus dropped the fragile book to the ground, squealed, and dashed towards her mother. Aresto smiled and exchanged glances with Fardeep, who looked embarrassed.

      Atom quickly told Cyn what had occurred, and he quietly muttered, "Fyora. I wish we could go with them."

      Atom shook her head. "Actually, I don't. It's their fate, not ours. And they're over a thousand years old. Even the little one, Naracissus."

      The Eyrie smiled wisely. "They've only been preserved in stone for a thousand years. So they're more like... normal aged. Like you or I."

      Atom was unconvinced. "But Fardeep managed to change them all into stone to prevent themselves from being destroyed! He's so powerful!"

      Their conversation was interrupted by Fardeep, who said, "We must be off now. Mirilin and Aresto are not in their fittest state, but they can get to the Marapool without problem. We give you our deepest thanks for healing us, awakening us from our stone enchantment, and taking care of my daughter."

      Atom blinked with shock. "But you said that you only awoke from your stone enchantment because you were safe... daughter...?"

      Aresto nudged Atom gently with her tail, and said: "Farewell. We leave you now."

      Atom led the group up to her balcony, where she demonstrated going down to the sand below by flipping off the top of the railing. Aresto did this quite beautifully, her multicolored, rainbow body flashing like the crystals. Mirilin was next, her body shining like a silver coin. Then Fardeep. The Peophin gazed at the two with his solemn eyes, blinked, and leapt off the balcony, his tail flailing, and his mane rippling. Then, it was Naracissus. The little white Peophin flung her hooves around Cyn in farewell and then hopped off the balcony, fluttering slowly onto the soft sand.

      "Do you think they will be all right?" Atom asked worriedly. "Do you think that they'll reach the Marapool?"

      Cyn smiled at her, eyes sparkling. He said in a voice quite unlike him: "Oh yes. After all-they're over a thousand years old. And they have Naracissus."

Five years later...

      'Knock, knock, knock...'

      "Cyn, can you get that?" called the voice of Atomasphere the Maraquan Uni, gripping her book, her eyes gazing intently at the printed words.

      "I'm a little busy right now!" answered the irritated voice.

      "Please?" called Atom. "I'm at the part where the Kau finds out that her necklace was stolen by the princess!"

      Cyn the Maraquan Eyrie scowled and slammed his book shut. "Fine! But only because I just finished it."

      Atom bolted upright, scattering pillows. "You finished a book before me?!" she gasped.

      Cyn grinned secretly and went upstairs to the balcony, where the door was. Atom gazed back at her book, trying to find out where she had last left off, when she heard a shocked exclamation, a squeal of excitement, and a warm, familiar laughter echo through the house.

      "Cyn?" she called, still staring at her book. "Who is that?"

      There was silence, followed by more laughter and another squeal of excitement, and then the call of: "I think you'd better come up and see!"

      Atom groaned, Lupe-eared her page, and trudged up the current. Two things happened at the exact same time. One, Atomasphere's mouth dropped upon, her eyes bulged, and she was completely shocked into silence. Second, a large, powerful blur of white torpedoed into her body, knocking her over.

      Atom looked up and saw a handsome copper-colored Peophin, his eyes wise and studious, muscles rippling and bunching under his charismatic coat. Beside him, looking radiant in the early morning sunshine, sparkling like a silver coin was a silver Peophin, her eyes warm and friendly. To her left was a dazzling sight-a rainbow Peophin, shimmering like a million crystals. And the figure that had knocked Atomasphere over-not the small, scared, little Peophin that she had been before, but strong, powerful, and astute.

      Atom tried to talk, but she could not even swallow. Her vision was blurred by a sudden onslaught of burning tears. "Fardeep?" she said, letting it out in a strangled whisper, "Mirilin? Aresto?" and in a voice so soft, it was swept away by the current, "Naracissus?"

      The white Peophin smiled radiantly, and spoke in a voice as clear as crystal. "Yes, Atom and Cyn, it is us. We have successfully met up with Aegean and broken the casket. The proof is on our brows."

      Atom wondered what she was talking about when she saw that a golden streak ran down between Narcissus's ears and all the way to the tips of her nose. Around the center of the long, golden streak was a gem that seemed to be embedded into the metal.

      "What is that?" Cyn marveled. Fardeep smiled, and said in a voice far deeper and mature than it had been when they last heard him speak: "It is the Mark of the Peophin."

      Atom just noticed that Fardeep had one, and Mirilin, and Aresto, but it was different colors. "Wow. They're beautiful," breathed Atom, "but what does that have to do with the casket?"

      "It was the Soul of Maraqua," said Naracissus simply. "It is what keeps Maraqua together."

      "So you mean," said Cyn, "Maraqua is saved because of Peophins? And they are marked with honor?"

      Aresto inclined her head proudly. "Indeed."

      Atom sighed dreamily. "I wish I was a Peophin."

      A peal of strong, clear laughter burst through the water like the shrill of a Weewoo. Atom and Cyn, along with Naracissus, Mirilin, and Aresto turned in shocked amazement towards where the laughter had come from, which came from none other than Fardeep.

      He smiled sheepishly, the corners of his eyes crinkling. Atom could not believe her eyes. Serious, studious, Fardeep, always frowning, had smiled and laughed!

      "You should laugh more often," Aresto said breathlessly.

      "Yeah," agreed the others.

      Fardeep laughed. "That was a once in a lifetime chance."

      Atom felt a rush of warmth run through her body. They would be okay. Fardeep, Mirilin, Aresto, and Naracissus had grown up and saved Maraqua. They had broken open the casket and the proof was shining on their brows. They would stay with Cyn and herself. They would be okay.

      Atom gazed at the Peophins with fire in her eyes. Naracissus-she was so sweet and friendly, but not a scared Peophin anymore, wise and kind and marked with the Mark of The Peophins to show her loyalty-the very first of the Soul of Maraqua. Then, there was Fardeep, Narcissus's father. So studious and always serious, but good in his own little way. And then, Aresto, sparkling like gemstones in the sunlight that reached towards the depths of Maraqua-and last, but not least, Mirilin. She glittered like a misty glass diamond, as her eyes twinkled warmly once more. Twinkled-not with sorrow, but now, with happiness, that Maraqua was saved.

      And one last member-Cyn. They had been through this together. Together. She could have had no better friend.

      And maybe--just maybe, they would have an adventure.

The End

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Other Episodes

» The Soul of Maraqua: Part One
» The Soul of Maraqua: Part Two

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