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Tropical Tragedy: Search for the Jungly Jem - Part Five


by cheopspyramid

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The Outskirts of Geraptiku:

"... Oh Maraqua: the place for thee!" An old man flung his fins wide open while finishing his song.

      A group of people clapped cheerfully, including myself, at the wonderful piece that sounded so familiar. The man rose from the piece of coral that he had been sitting on at the time and swam upward slightly and then descended in the clear, aqua water. He did a flip and chuckled in an odd voice that made the children laugh, and strangely enough I giggled as well, but it felt as if I had no control over what I was doing.

      The Maraquan Lupe that had sung the song had a furry, white beard that was fairly long for his age. He carried a stick, presumably a walking stick, which had strange carvings on the side and shells of all colors and shapes. At the top of the pole was a large conch shell with pink, green, and white streamers flowing from the end. He waved the stick through the swishing water and almost like magic, little sparks flew from the end and sparkled and danced in front of the children's eyes. They stood there in awe and stuck out their paws and fins and tried to catch the twinkling sparks. After a while they disappeared and the children clapped once more.

      I glanced to the right of the crowd to see a lonely Maraquan Kyrii sulking in a seaweed bed. Her eyes seemed to be filled with tears and occasionally she would look up towards the surface, trying to swish the tears back into her eyes. I felt a feeling of sorrow as I swam towards her, of course without telling my fins to swim.

      "Are... you okay?" a childish voice came out of my mouth.

      The Kyrii sniffled and nodded her head. "Yeah, I'm f-fine. J-just go away... I don't need your sympathy."

      Taken aback, I glared at her. "You know that wasn't very kind. I'm trying to help you out somehow. What's your name?"

      "Maleah," she replied. "I don't like my name very much, but at least it's not something horrible."

      "I think it's a very pretty name," I complimented. "My name's--"

      "--I already know your name," she interrupted. "I see you at the Maraquan Academy in the mornings and right before battle class. You're one of the popular people... I wish I were popular like you. Not many people hang out with me because they think I'm a nerd."

      "Why would people think you're a nerd? That's not very nice of them."

      "Well, you should know. You called me a nerd a few months ago," she said, flustered. "But anyways, they call me a nerd because I actually listen in class and make good marks and such. Or did you have another reason for calling me that?"

      I recollected over the past few months and my mind came upon a time in the morning when my friends were talking about her and the word "nerd" slipped through my lips. I jerked back to the present time and saw Maleah looking at me with weary eyes. I apologized and she accepted it gratefully and then we took off swimming towards the large crowd again. When we reached the group, the elderly Maraquan Lupe was now nestling himself in a miniature underwater volcano and then making it erupt and shooting himself many feet towards the surface. The crowd cheered and the children giggled and pointed at the deranged flying old man.

      Maleah and I swam out of the town square and off to the empty town to find a place to talk at. We ended up just swimming through the town and chatting about school and adventures that we had taken part in. The small, empty town was eerie but all the same it was a neat experience. When we finally found ourselves at the town library, Maleah asked me an odd question. "Have you ever heard of the Jungly Jem?"

      "No?" I inquired. "What is it?"

      She opened the library door and beckoned me to come inside the many halls of books and ancient novels. We swam to the restricted section of the library and passed through the large doors and towards an old book sitting on a pedestal entitled "Diamonds of Many Beauties." She opened the novel to a page around the middle and scrolled her finger up and down the page until it landed on the words "Silva Gemma." There, she began to read through the description and finally she moved out of the way and allowed me to read it.

      Silva Gemma:

      One of the most powerful gems on Neopia, the Silva Gemma (translated to the Woods Gem or the Jungly Jem as referred to by the Mystery Island mystics) has the power to control all people possessing the abilities of a mystic. This gem was created in 1937 by many powerful Earth Faeries. But shortly after realizing the true powers of the gem, the faeries hid it in a derelict cottage somewhere in Neopia. Since then, nobody has been able to find any clues as to the whereabouts of the gem.

      "Wow! That is so cool!" I shouted. "Do you want to try and find it?"

      "I can't," she declined. "The gem is located somewhere on land and I can't breathe on land, unlike you. But my great-grandfather knew one of the Earth Faeries and the faerie gave him two things: a riddle." She held out one hand with a scrap of paper in it. "... and a key." She held out the other hand to reveal a rusted key. "I want you to take them and find the Jungly Jem with them. I know you can do it out of all the other people in Maraqua."

      She handed both of the items to me and I placed them in my pocket gently. "Why me?" I asked.

      "I just know you can do it," Maleah replied. "Keahi... "

      Keahi?... Keahi?... Keahi...

          ***

      I jerked awake from my dream to the sound of Ailis's urgent voice and two hands shaking me violently. I opened my eyes quickly and saw tears streaming down Ailis's face and on to her pants. "Damian! Damian! Come quickly, come quickly!" she screamed. I pulled my soiled, white shirt over my head and rushed out of my tent and out into the morning mist of the jungle.

      When I walked out into our campsite, I first saw the fog that clung close to the ground, but after a quick analysis of the site, I noticed one thing that was very wrong: Keahi's tent was destroyed and the ground was churned up, apparently something had been dragged through the campsite. The thing that worried me the most was that Keahi wasn't at the campsite and immediately I knew what was wrong.

      "Keahi's gone!" Ailis sobbed while screaming. She walked over to a rock and sat down on it and leaned against a palm tree. She cupped her paws over her face and screamed and sobbed violently.

      I examined the site once again and saw the dragging marks lead deep into the forest and along the way, random items were scattered from Keahi's tent. I turned to look at his tent which had been destroyed to a phase where it only seemed to be a few strands of cloth and a sleeping bag. I sifted through Keahi's strewn belongings and found no sign of the maps that had been stolen the previous day. Suddenly, I remembered my dream and I looked through Keahi's clothing. Inside a pair of small pants I found a large, golden key that was rusted all over. I expected to find the riddle as well, but I remembered that it was stolen as well.

      I dared to talk to Ailis by the tree, but I couldn't get much out of her other than stuttered words and a few piercing screams. But after a few minutes or so, Ailis calmed down and we were able to hold a conversation about what we were to do next since our maps and guide were gone. We didn't have time to search for Keahi; we had to get to Geraptiku quickly, before the looters made it there before us.

      "Ailis... are you ready to pack up and go?" I entreated soothingly.

      She sniffed and wiped the tears off of her face and nodded slightly. "Truthfully, I d-don't want to leave without K-Keahi... but we need to c-carry out his wishes of finding the J-Jungly Jem." Her lip quivered, but she swallowed the tears that were about to erupt through her gentle eyes.

      Later that morning, we began to gather all of our things, but when it came time to pack up Keahi's belongings, we weren't sure what to do. In the end, we decided to leave all of his items there and place a circle of rocks around the campsite to keep out bad spirits that would disturb anything that belonged to him. We reluctantly left, but upon leaving I saw Ailis turn her head back towards Keahi's tent and her eyes began to water once more and her lip shook.

      I thought for a moment, and finally decided to try and cheer her up and keep her mind off of Keahi and whatever his fate was to be... or if he was okay. I started to tell her a story that would cheer her up. "Hey, did I ever tell you about the time when I was little that I got lost on the beach?"

      Ailis looked at me and shook her head. "No? W-what happened?"

      "Well," I began. "It was a hot summer's day when I was seven. My family and I decided to go to the beach for a little relaxation as well as some enjoyment... " I continued to tell my tale as we walked aimlessly towards Geraptiku... that is, if we were going in the correct direction.

     ***

      Noon came along quite quickly that day, and Ailis and I began to bake under the scorching sun that was directly above our heads. The tree's branches that hung above us provided no shade or coolness and there wasn't a cloud in the breezeless sky. As you can imagine, it was very hot. Either way, we continued our journey to Geraptiku, despite the blazing heat.

      Conversation was scarce between Ailis and me, so every time that there was some idea for a discussion, we would take it. By this time I had already forgotten about my dream and when I suddenly remembered it, I was fervent to share it with Ailis.

      "Last night I had a dream," I stated. "It was as if I were Keahi."

      Ailis looked at me sadly and forced a small smile. "Really? What happened?"

      "Well, I think it actually happened to him when he was little. I remember his town and the grand elder singing his Maraqua song. Yet after a while I noticed a Kyrii in a seaweed bed and I went over to her and we talked for a while. Finally, her and I went into the city and went to the library where we found some information on the Jungly Jem."

      Ailis stared at me as if I were crazy. "Err... now are you sure this actually happened to Keahi? It might just have been a regular dream."

      I pulled out the key that I found inside Keahi's pant's pocket. "Then how did I know this was in his trousers? The Kyrii gave him the riddle and this key and showed him a lot of information on the Jungly Jem."

      Ailis seemed amazed at this information that I told her. She took the key from me to examine it closely, but she couldn't make anything of it. Yet she did tell me to hang on to it, just in case we needed it later on, which we probably might. But we continued to walk further and further, aimlessly into the deep, jungle forest. But as the afternoon dragged on, we felt a sense that we were near Geraptiku.

      Suddenly, a large clearing opened up around three o'clock as we walked into the beginning of Geraptiku. The trees around us changed from a bright, cheery green to a dead, deep green. Life was meager in this area and even the dirt below us seemed different: it crunched when we walked on it. In front of us was a large sign that "welcomed" us to the city and beyond it was a mass village of olden, feeble huts that were destroyed and abandoned. Mist flowed from deep within the city to the ground where we were. I shivered and looked at Ailis unwillingly. She glared back and quickly tilted her head and then spoke for the first time since we reached the city. "Be prepared..."

To be continued...

Author's Note: Woo! Next week will be the final part, but I will say that it will be the best and most revealing part (and the longest... ) of the entire series. Will the looters solve the riddle before the heroes? What befell Keahi? Will Ailis and Damian get the Jungly Jem? Or will the looters succeed in their malicious plot? All of these questions will be answered in next week's part.

 
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Other Episodes


» Tropical Tragedy: Search for the Jungly Jem - Part One
» Tropical Tragedy: Search for the Jungly Jem: Part Two
» Tropical Tragedy: Search for the Jungly Jem - Part Three
» Tropical Tragedy: Search for the Jungly Jem - Part Four
» Tropical Tragedy: Search for the Jungly Jem - Part Six



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