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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 17th day of Awakening, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 141 > New Series > The Maraquan Kougra: Part One

The Maraquan Kougra: Part One

by playmobil_is_my_life

Nate, the green Kougra, lived in a little house on the outskirts of Neopia Central with his owner, Melody. He was young and adventurous, ready to tackle or pounce on any task that came his way.

     Sometimes he would run off to explore the world, or hunt for treasure in the forests. He was allowed to go wherever he wanted in his neighborhood, except on the rocks by the water’s edge. These rocks were slippery and if he happened to slide off, he’d fall into the water and he wasn’t a strong swimmer.

     Nate stood a few feet from the rocks, badly wanting to look down into the water and see all of the new things to explore. He inched closer and put one paw onto a large gray rock. It wasn’t very slick at all. He looked over his shoulder, making sure no one, (especially his owner) was watching. He carefully jumped up onto the rocks. Keeping a distance from the water’s edge, he craned his neck to peer inside.

     At first he saw nothing, but then a long white creature glided through the water, coming close to the surface. Nate yelped and jumped back. What was that thing? He crawled a little closer so that he was lying on his stomach. A different creature, this one more thick and blue moved slowly over to him, then the long white one appeared next to it. Nate watched, transfixed by their large eyes. He tentatively reached out his paw and tapped the surface, sending small ripples in every direction. The creatures fled.

     “Wait!” Nate called. “Come back!” He waited a few seconds, and to his relief, the two creatures reappeared. “Are you… Neopets?”

     “Yes,” said the blue one. “Maraquan Neopets.”

     “We’re just like you,” the thin white one chimed in, in a more rolling voice, “I’m a Draik. My name is Annah.”

     “My name is Kylie, and I’m an Aisha,” said the blue one.

     “That’s cool,” said Nate. “Can you come out of the water and play with me?”

     “I think not,” said Annah in her pleasant voice. “We can’t live on land, as you can’t live in the water.” Her purple eyes were so round and bright that they glowed through the water. She turned and Nate saw that she had fins, and a long tail. Annah and Kylie moved so majestically through the water, like a cloud does in the sky.

     “Do you have owners?” Nate asked. Annah and Kylie were confused. Nate tried his best to explain, “An owner is… a human that takes care of you. My owner’s name is Melody.”

     “No, we don’t know of any humans. Seen them a few times, yes,” said Annah, “but never had one. Neopets of the sea are more independent. We are like… strays. We don’t really have permanent homes. We drift from time to time, and when it rains, the new water pushes us somewhere else.”

     Nate nodded thoughtfully, thinking about what Annah said. “I wish I could talk to you more, but it’s getting dark, and my owner will expect me home. Goodbye for now,” Nate stood up and Kylie said,

     “Can we meet you here later?”

     “Sure!” said Nate jumping off the rock. “I’ll see you first thing tomorrow!”

***

Nate kept his promise. He wolfed down his bacon and headed out the front door, but Melody stopped him. “Nate, hold up a second, buddy…”

     Nate turned and said, “Yes?”

     “You’ve been gone for long periods of time nowadays. You’re not doing anything dangerous, are you?”

     “No, Melody,” said Nate. He hated to lie. But he wanted to find out more about those Maraquan Neopets…

     “You’re not on those rocks by the water?”

     Nate tried to hide his surprise about her direct question. He squirmed a little, thinking of a good answer. “I said I wasn’t doing anything dangerous.”

     Melody smiled, “Okay. I trust you.”

     Those final words of, ‘I trust you’ burned into Nate like a small fire in his gut. It was almost as if she knew what he was doing. He forced a smile and opened the front door half way, when—

     “Oh, and Nate?” Nate looked up. “And I know you wouldn’t do anything that you would regret. You know, there are plenty of strange things in the world. You have to be careful…”

     She was onto him. Definitely. But she didn’t look as if she knew something. She just smiled again and turned her back.

     “Yeah… thanks…” He hated to lie to Melody, but right now, his encounter with Annah and Kylie was more important. Coincidence, he thought. He felt guilty as he trotted along the path to the sea. When his Neohome was out of sight, he sprinted all the way to the rocks. He rushed onto them and called, “Hello?” Nobody was there. “Annah? Kylie?” He said their names into the water. After a few seconds he dipped his paw in and thrashed it around, causing ripples and splashes on the surface.

     “All right, all right, don’t make such as fuss…” came the familiar voice of Kylie. She and Annah glided up to him like two phantoms.

     “Sorry,” Nate apologized, “I just wanted to see you.”

     “Does your human know about us?” Kylie asked and Nate was thunderstruck. He took a deep breath, yet another coincidence.

     “No, I don’t think so. Why?”

     “I thought maybe we could meet her,” Kylie continued.

     “You can’t right now, she’s… she’s sick.”

     “Oh,” said Annah, “give her our regards, then.”

     Wow, Nate’s lies were really piling up!

     “Nate,” said Kylie suddenly, “we got you something.” Annah poked her long tail out of the water and a bottle came flying up with it. Nate caught it, luckily before it hit the ground.

     “Thank you. But what’s this?” Nate asked, taking hold of the bottle. It was a little slimy from being underwater. Nate wiped off the grime with his paw and discovered that the bottle was clear. Inside of it was a pile of blue goo.

     “It’s a Maraquan Kougra Morphing Potion. It’s the only one in the world. No one thought that it existed, such a rare potion as this. This potion has very special powers. Whoever drinks it will physically take the form of a Maraquan Kougra, giving them the ability to live underwater. Once you drink it, you will be one of us,” said Annah in her dreamlike tone.

     “Drink this and become a Maraquan Kougra…”

     Nate echoed, “Wow, where did you find it?”

     “Yes, my friend,” Annah continued. She didn’t give Nate an answer to where she and Kylie had found it. “Drink it and you can play with us forever.”

     “Forever?” said Nate, “But… what about my life here? And Melody?”

     “Choose,” said Kylie, “either Maraquan or Neopian.”

     “Right now I want to be Maraquan,” said Nate and he took off the cork of the bottle.

     “Wait!” said Annah. “Drink it now then jump into the water.”

     “Into the water,” Nate echoed, “Okay. But I can’t swim!”

     “You’ll be able to,” said Kylie.

     “All right,” said Nate. He dumped the potion into his mouth and nearly gagged. It tasted like a rotten omelette. He tipped the bottle back and drained the rest of it.

     “Jump!” Kylie shouted and Nate shut his eyes and dove into the water. It was freezing. He tried to open his eyes, but the water stung. He couldn’t breathe! He needed to get to the surface. He sank deeper and deeper. A cold wave overpowered him. He rolled around, trying to kick back up to the surface.

     The first thing Nate felt were sharp pains in the sides of his neck. He jerked his paw to his neck and tried to stop them. Then he felt his fur slipping off of him like a blanket, and a stretchy and smooth material covering him—his new skin. He felt his back legs shrink and a long, thick tail sprouting from his old one. Webbing was growing rapidly between his toes and in his ears. I need air… Nate thought, breathlessly. Annah! Kylie! Help me! When his lungs could not take it anymore he breathed in deeply. But he did not drown.

     He slowly opened his eyes. Everything was crystal clear.

     “Hey, I have gills!” Nate exclaimed, touching the smooth slits on his neck. He looked down at his paws—there was no more fur, just smooth skin. His breathing was coming out in small gasps, trying to regain his breath. He could breathe underwater!

     Kylie was grinning, “Success!” Nate could see her much more clearly. She sort of did look like an Aisha. Annah swam over to him. It was a lot easier to see all of her details, too.

     Nate moved his tail back and forth and it propelled him through the water. Speaking of the water, it was no longer cold, but pleasant.

     “Look, I’m swimming!” Annah tapped him on the shoulder and held up a flat stone that reflected his image, like a mirror.

     Nate was officially a Maraquan Kougra.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Good Taste or a Waste?

The Maraquan Kougra: Part Two

The Maraquan Kougra: Part Three

The Maraquan Kougra: Part Four

The Mystery Shop

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