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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 26th day of Awakening, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 5 > Short Stories > The Scoop on the Maraquan PetPets

The Scoop on the Maraquan PetPets

by sailorptah

I'm sure you've all seen the redone Maraquan PetPets, and the shop that now sells them, The Rock Pool. How did that come to be? Here's the scoop on the Maraquan PetPets:

Crista collected PetPets. Specifically, she collected Maraquan PetPets. She'd managed to get them all before the destruction of Maraqua, and had stacks of bowls in her shop. They contained Goldys, Sea Monkeys, Rubys, Cleos, Clippers, and every Maraquan PetPet she could pile. (She didn't have any Waleins or Peadackles, for example.) Crista's best friend, Sally, was a Koi, and appreciated Crista's collection more than anybody else.

Sally was a wreck when she heard the news of the giant whirlpool. "Maraqua can't be gone! It's existed for hundreds of years!" she'd wailed. Crista (a green Kougra) had also been dismayed, but she contented herself with the knowledge that her collection would be suddenly extremely valuable.

Lanchon, Crista's sort-of sometimes she-wished boyfriend, lived on Mystery Island, and Crista was with him on the beach watching the sunset when she noticed something swimming in the waves. "What do you think that is?" she asked.

Lanchon shrugged his furry yellow shoulders. "I'll go see," he offered, and padded out into the water to catch the creature.

It turned out to be a Bubbles, a pretty fish PetPet with large lips. Crista examined it carefully. "It looks healthy. I wonder how it escaped the whirl...pool?" Her voice trailed off as she realised that the Bubbles had started looking extremely strange. In fact, she'd never seen a weirder Bubbles. It didn't look much like a Bubbles any more!

"What's happening to it?" wondered Lanchon. "Is it dying?"

"It must be. Put it back in the water, quick!"

They bounded down to the water and dipped the Bubbles in, caging it with their paws so that it couldn't get away. It swam around, looking confused but otherwise perfectly healthy. But it was still changing. Within a few seconds it had morphed into a sort of orange rectangular fish with a dopey expression. Crista sat back in the water and the no-longer-Bubbles took the opportunity to swim away.

"Have you ever seen that happen?" asked Lanchon. "A PetPet turning into something else?"

"Never. But maybe...I don't think I've ever seen one of my PetPets out of their bowls! I'll ask Sally. Her uncle was the Fishy Friends shopkeeper, so she might know."

The next morning, Crista woke up, had breakfast, spent her customary ten minutes brushing and flossing her sharp sharp teeth, and phoned Sally.

"What is it?" came Sally's sleepy voice from over the phone.

"It's Crista. What happens to a Maraquan PetPet when it comes out of water for a minute?"

"Dunno. I've never seen one out of water like that."

"That's what I figured. Oh well. Come on over; I'm going to try an experiment and I want you to see it."

"'Kay. Just let me wake up, all right?"

"Oops! Sorry!" Crista had forgotten that Sally usually didn't get up this early in the morning. "Bye." She hung up, and was about to leave when she turned back and dialed again. "Hi. Is Lanchon there?"

"This is his owner. Crista?"

"Yeah, it's me. Can I talk to him?"

"He's still asleep."

Crista hadn't realised what an early riser she was. "Sorry. Can I just leave him a message?"

"Certainly. What would you like me to tell him?"

"Ask him to meet me by the Rock Pool before noon." Lanchon's owner promised that she would deliver the message, and Crista hung up. Was her crazy notion true?

Crista paced back and forth. Kougra paws were good at pacing, so she did it for a moment even after Sally and Lanchon arrived at the Rock Pool.

The Rock Pool was their secret little place. It wasn't really kept secret, but it wasn't well known either. It was a small pool on the tiny island just off the shore of Mystery Island, and formed just so that creatures always got trapped in the pool. Whenever those few who knew about it went there, they guided the trapped animals out into Neopia's oceans. This time, however, Crista picked up a Phishy and held it out of the water, dripping. "Oh, Crista, let it go!" exclaimed Sally.

"Wait," directed Crista. They waited. And then...

The Phishy became larger, darker, black and red and shaped like a lump. Crista sat the black not-Phishy down, and it swam away. "What was that all about, anyway?" she asked. "How did that happen?"

"I don't know," replied Lanchon. "But what do you bet people will prefer the out-of-water pet to the in-water pet? Let me try it again." He pulled out another trapped Phishy, and it turned into the same thing after about half a minute. "Okay, let's see how well they sell. What's the nearest PetPet shop?"

"Faerieland, but it's way over our heads and we don't have any way to get there. But we could take a boat to the Haunted Woods."

So they went down to the harbour. A sad-looking Coco and Kougra guarded it, huge fake tears splashing down their faces, but Lanchon and Crista knew how to deal with uncooperative Kougras, and soon they were docking next to the Haunted Woods and running (or, in Sally's case, hopping and jumping) to the Spooky PetPets Shop. The scary green chap who owned it took one look at the no-longer-Phishy and said quickly, "Is that for sale?"

"We'd like to know how much it sells for, yes," relented Lanchon.

"Hey!" shouted Dr. Petrov into the crowd in the shop. "If you could purchase this PetPet here, what would you offer?"

Someone called, "Three Neopoints!" But the yells of the more experienced PetPet buyers quickly drowned them out: "A thousand! Two thousand! Three thousand!"

"That looks to me like a Phnard," the green man remarked, examining the no-longer-Phishy. "It's a wild animal that lived on Mystery Island, but it hasn't been seen for years. Where ever did you get it?"

"It's a Phishy," Crista explained. "Phnards are actually Phishys taken out of water. I've tried holding them in water for minutes; they don't change back, while it takes seconds for them to change to Phnards. I'm pretty sure the change is permanent."

"Out of water? But everybody who has Phishy should..." Dr. Petrov trailed off as he realised. "Nobody actually takes their Phishys out of the bowl! Maybe no Phishy has come out of water for years! That would explain it!" He shook his head in astonishment. "Once the word gets around, all the shop owners will be taking their Maraquan pets out of their bowls. We'll have an explosion of Phnards! And...other PetPets..." He paused, then jumped into the back of his shop and returned with a thick book. "Use this book to identify the other PetPets you morph from Maraquan PetPets. And good luck!"

"So they'll sell for lots now?" Sally pressed.

"Five thousand! Eight thousand! Twelve thousand! Twenty thousand!" the crowd continued to scream.

"Hold up! It's not really for sale," Dr. Petrov called. To Crista and her friends he asked wryly, "Does that answer your question?"

"We can set up a shop by the rock pool," Crista said enthusiastically. She'd been planning during the entire boat ride.

"What should we call it?" asked Lanchon.

Crista grinned. "How about, 'The Rock Pool'? Anyway, it'll be great because I can sell all my extra PetPets, and we'll have a fresh supply of more always coming in. We'll make tons of NP. This is great!"

They stopped off at Crista's shop to pick up all her extra pets, and pulled them out of their bowls as they went back up to the rock pool. Sally ended up pulling the wagonful of bowls of Pinkys and other splashing pets while Lanchon and Crista took on the job of herding the Bowlas (dark teal ribbonlike pets tied into bows with faces on the front) and other bowl-less pets up the island. As they swam across the shallow channel between Mystery Island and the tiny island of the rock pool, Crista noticed that the pets stayed as they were. The change was indeed permanent.

Within an hour they had identified the Bubbles' new form as the Cubett. Other new PetPets included the Pepito, the Leeble, the Frillabon, and the Ramosan. Lanchon put up some makeshift shelves in front of the pool, cutting it off from the customers. On the shelves he set PetPet after PetPet. He was putting a wiggling Sproing (a purple ball with long springy legs) onto a shelf when he heard Crista shout, "Lanchon! Come out here!"

"What is it?" called Lanchon, running around the wall of trees and shelves to see Sally sitting bewildered in the pool. A tiny Blumaroo was looking up at her. Then Lanchon looked closer and saw tiny fins and a tiny pale blue tail! It wasn't a Blumaroo at all. But the head looked exactly like one!

"It's not in the book," said Crista from across the pool. "And it doesn't change out of water. I don't know what it is."

"Is it intelligent? Or is it just like a PetPet?"

"It seems to be just like a Petp-" Crista was cut off by a shout from the other side of the tree/shelf wall: 'Oh cool! Free PetPets!"

Lanchon and Crista, Crista dropping the book, bounded around the wall and growled at the visitors, showing their long sharp teeth. "Why are you here?" demanded Lanchon.

"Hey, dude, cool down!" exclaimed the man who had spoken before. "We got referred by Dr. Petrov. So are those things for sale, or what?"

"We haven't priced them yet," Crista said sweetly, discreetly elbowing Lanchon. "And we don't have a link to the National Neopian Bank, so we're really not ready to distribute yet. Could you come back tomorrow?"

"Sure thing," the man said. "Come on, dudes." He and his buddies and their pets turned and swam away. Crista grinned at Lanchon. "I think business is going to be just fine."

Later that afternoon, as Crista was consulting Dr. Petrov's book and her records of pre-whirlpool Maraquan PetPet prices, the man returned.

"I'm sorry, we're still not ready," Crista said nicely.

"That's okay, dude! We're here to help!" He escorted a tall blue Kyrii in a black three-piece suit up the side of the little island. The Kyrii was wringing water from his fur and looking quite disgruntled. "This had better be worth it," he grumbled. "Where's this great deal you said you had for me?" Then he noticed Crista, and did a little bow. "Pardon me, madam. Are you the one in charge of arranging our association, Miss...?"

"Crista. Just call me Crista."

"Ah yes. Crista. What is the nature of this deal?"

"This young Kougra," said the man, "is the owner of the Phnard from earlier today. I'm sure you've heard of the almost-riot in the Spooky PetPets shop?"

"I did. Are you saying that her pet caused this?"

"Exactly. As you can see if you examine the shelves, she has a whole slew of other PetPets just as rare. I believe she wants to make a deal with the National Neopian Bank. Isn't that right?"

"Um...yeah, it is," Crista said. "What deal did you have in mind?"

The Kyrii looked startled, but he quickly composed himself. "The same deal that my company has with all the other Neopian shops," he explained. "The National Neopian Bank will install a machine in your shop through which users can withdraw Neopoints from their account. In return for the installation and maintenance of this machine, the National Neopian Bank will receive one per cent of your shop's total profits."

"I'm not sure how fair that is," Crista said slowly. "It's not that I don't trust you; it's that I don't know enough to make the right decision." Wow, she sounded professional! Crista hadn't been aware that she could sound this smart. "I'd better ask Lanchon. Laaanchon!"

The yellow Kougra padded out from behind the wall. "What is it-oh, hello!"

"Lanchon, this Kyrii has a deal to make with our shop." Crista explained about the bank machine and the profits. "We give the bank one per cent of all our profits. Is that fair?"

Lanchon considered this. "Well, let me see. My cousin is a worker at the Tyrannian Weaponry shop; we could ask him what his deal is. Sally! Will you watch the PetPets while Crista and I go make a call?"

So Sally came out to keep an eye on the PetPets, and Crista and Lanchon swam then ran to Crista's NeoHome, which was nearest. They used the phone to dial up Lanchon's cousin's NeoHome, and he answered: "Hello?"

"Hi, Flame! It's me, Lanchon."

"Hey, Lanchon! What's up? How's it going?"

"Everything's just fine. Say, Flame, I've got a question for you. What's the deal between Tyrannian Weaponry and the National Neopian Bank?"

"What do you mean?" asked a puzzled Flame.

"About the bank machine in your shop."

"Oh! We give them one per cent of our profits, and they take care of the contraption."

"It's the same deal," Lanchon told Crista. To Flame he said, "Thanks."

"Any time. Hey, did you see the news? There was this riot at the Spooky PetPets shop."

"Actually, we were there. Crista kind of caused the riot."

"Crista? As in, your sort of sometimes you-wish girlfriend?"

Lanchon blushed. He was glad Crista hadn't heard that. "Yeah, the same one. Anyway, talk to you later, okay?"

"Sure thing."

"Bye."

"Bye."

Lanchon hung up and turned to Crista, but she wasn't there. Then he heard a click from the next room: his owner's room. "Crista?"

The green Kougra hung up the extension and padded out of Lanchon's owner's room. "Sort of sometimes you wish girlfriend, hmm?"

"Ack! You were on the phone when Flame said that?"

"Yeah. So...would you like to drop the sort of, sometimes, and I-wish parts?"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." Lanchon stopped when he realised what Crista had asked. "You really mean it? I mean - yes, of course!"

"Great!" Crista headed for the door. "Now let's get back to the Rock Pool."

"We've been all over today! I'm exhausted."

Crista nodded. "I never thought having a shop would be this much work!"

"We accept your offer," said Crista as she hauled her wet fur out of the little strait between the Rock Pool isle and Mystery Island. "You can build the machine. We might even be ready to go by this evening!"

"Sign here," said the Kyrii, handing Crista a pen and a sheet of paper. It had no fine print and no footnotes; it was just a clearly written statement of the arrangement between The Rock Pool and the National Neopian Bank. Crista took the pen and signed her name in cursive. She'd never been very good at cursive, but her signature was easy to read.

"We'll have the machine ready within two hours," the Kyrii said. "Oh, and by the way..." He paused, looking uncomfortable. "This may seem like a silly question, but could you...erm...could you hold back one of those Phnards for me? I'll pay full price, but I want to be sure of getting one."

Crista grinned, showing her teeth. "Okay. As long as you get that machine here within the hour."

"Whaaat!?"

"Sorry, but that's the way it is. I'm trying to run a business here, after all."

The Kyrii nodded and agreed to bring the machine in an hour. "Good."

"Nice going," said the man, who had stood back to watch the proceedings. "So will you be ready by tonight?"

"I hope so."

"I hope so too." He grinned and sloshed through the shallow water back to the main island. Crista turned to Lanchon and, once man and Kyrii were out of earshot, screeched, "We did it! We've got our own shop!"

The Rock Pool did booming business. Although they didn't stock very many pets, the two Kougras sold them all for full price in an instant. Crista estimated that the bank was paying interest on the accounts of the five thousand wealthiest Neopians with the 1% of the Rock Pool's earnings. Lanchon figured it was probably true.

The little Blumaroo-lookalike had been dubbed the "Baby Blu" and was selling faster than any other pet. Everybody wanted one! And, as predicted, every shop owner with a Maraquan PetPet rushed to pull them out of their bowls, until Crista had most of the few remaining unchanged pets.

Crista and Lanchon are an official couple at Mystery Island High School, and have been named "Most likely to stay together until death". The Rock Pool is still selling out within moments...but hey, what do you need me for? Go visit it yourself and find out!

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