Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 100,597,592 Issue: 199 | 14th day of Swimming, Y7
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Fishing -- The Weird and the Wonderful

by pensill


Ah, fishing. A relaxing and soothing way to spend your afternoon. And what better place then an underwater cave in the seaweed coated ruins of a city?

Recently, fishing has become a favorite pastime among many Neopians, but if we look closer, this common hobby may be stranger then we ever thought.

Now, we'll go through this step by step. We're going on an undercover mission to get the inside scoop on fishing, you and I.

First of all, we swim down to the bottom of the sea, into the Old City of Maraqua. Past ancient, broken statues and buildings, through narrow crevices, down into a dark, scary cave. We arrive there, and head to the Bait Stand to buy....bait!

Now, I wonder, what is this bait, anyway? Could it be little petpetpets? Or some unknown creature, maybe a petpetpetpet? I wasn't about to ask, and I wrinkled my nose as some of the possibilities filled my head.

"We'd like to buy some bait!' I tell the clerk. Now, this doesn't seem odd, does it? But if we look closer, we will realise that the clerk selling us bait is indeed a Maraquan Grarrl - - A fish himself! A tad bit strange, eh?

We hand the clerk some Neopoints, and, taking our bait and poles in hand, sit down on the dock. We cast our lines, and sit, patiently waiting for a bite.

Suddenly, I feel a tug on my line! My face brightens, and I reel it in like crazy! We're both smiling now, and some nearby Neopets head our way to watch. With some effort, I manage to pull my catch out of the water and onto the dock. Why, it's a huge, smooth, shiny.....erm, rock.

"You mean to tell me, using that baited hook, you pulled a Mossy Rock out of the water?" you ask. I nod, glaring at the rock. How is it that I can catch a rock? I wonder to myself.

"Have you ever heard the legend of the giant creature, who is said to live right here, in this very cave?" I ask a nearby Kougra. The Kougra nods, and I turn to you and ask you the same question. You shake your head, and I tell you a bit about it.

"Do you think anyone's ever seen that big old thing?" you ask me.

I shrug.

"Maybe we'll see it, on this trip!"

Oh well, I doubt it. With a sigh, you and I continue to fish, and every once in a while, one of us comes up with something. We're getting bored now, and, looking back at the huge heap of shoes, boots, sandals, and tin cans piled behind us, it seems like we haven't had much luck. Honestly, what were these Maraquans thinking when they first started to use this cave? And where, where on Neopia, did they find so many shoes? Is this a secret Shoe Dump? Is there a shoe conspiracy? I couldn't help but laugh as the thoughts reeled (Haha, get it? Reeled? Like, reel in a line? Sorry 'bout that...) through my head. I wanted to get to the bottom of this, but I really didn't know how.

I was standing up to leave when all of a sudden, another tug on your line. But, this is a big tug, not like the last 67 tugs have been, we may have got something this time! We both grab onto your fishing pole, pulling hard. I wasn't getting too excited, it was probably just a large shoe, a VERY large shoe. But the thing on the line kept pulling, it wanted that bait badly, whatever it was.

As we continued to try to reel in our catch, a familiar smell fills our noses, but we can't put our finger on it, nor can the Neopets around us. We don't think twice about it, and, with one final, hard heave, we pull our catch out of the dark, murky water. We smile as we look at what has to have been the largest Bread Fish...ever! Its about 4 Skeith feet long, and as we try to lift it, the smell fills our nostrils once again, but stronger this time! "Now I now what that strange smell is! It smells like fresh baked bread!" I exclaim with a grin.

We look at our catch, and suddenly realise just how weird Bread Fish are. The thing was mouldy in many places, which can only be expected of bread when it's in a damp place for any period of time. How unusual is that? I never thought I'd catch some baked goods on a fishing trip...

We put our Bread Fish in a bag - - What, did you expect us to eat him? Think about what we pulled up before him! Honestly, I've never seen so many smelly, old, rotten shoes in one place! - - so we can take him home. He'll fit in great in your aquarium, right in the main room of your Neohome, eh? But we have to find out a few things before we leave.

"Sir, are you sure that this is sanitary? I mean, does this violate any Neopian Health Codes?" I ask the clerk at the Bait Shack, eyeing the large pile of shoes.

He winks. "That's for me to know, and you to never find out."

I start to feel a bit queasy, and decide maybe that the best thing to do right now would be to go home and lay down. But I must ask him another question, first.

"Has anyone ever seen that giant creature? The one in the legends?" He grins, and turns around, showing you his tailfin. We both gasp as we see that one fin is fine, and the other is just a peg-leg, I mean, peg-fin.

"I've seen 'im meself," the old Maraquan tells us. "He got a hold of me, he did! I got away though!" He laughs insanely, frightening us both more then slightly. "But no one has seen IM in these parts for many a year!"

With raised eyebrows at the Grarrl's story, we head to the mouth of the cave to leave, but I look back, one last time. This time, though, I look to the ceiling, where a blindingly bright light shines down, illuminating the cave. "Have you ever wondered what that light is?" I ask you. "I mean, seriously, you can't tell me that this fishing cave has electricity! But what else could keep it light in here, isn't it sorta damp for torches?" You shrug, and we make our way back to the surface.

Still, we have a lot of questions left unanswered: What is the bait made out of? How did I catch a smooth and slimy rock with a hook? Why are there fish made of bread? What lights the cave? Is the legend of the giant monster true, or was that Grarrl not just partially but totally insane? Are there different flavors of Bread Fish? And why on Neopia are there so very many assorted foot-related objects?

If we would have stayed a bit longer, we would have seen the creature himself quietly come to the surface, huge eyes shining, and silently slip back below the water. Though we didn't know it, one question had just been answered. But as to the rest of them...

...Neopia may never know.

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