Guardian of the Lagoon
Jilocasen woke early that morning to a bright sunrise and the beautiful sound of a cascading waterfall splashing into a crystal pond outside his bamboo window. The little Mutant Scorchio had been ever so excited when his family had moved to the beautiful land of Shenkuu, more so than even his bright sister, La Melusine, who was a blue Shoyru of many personalities. She had always been very enthusiastic about moving, for she had never liked living in the noisy city of Neopia Central, with all the business always going on in the streets. It was never very peaceful there, but here, all there was was peace and serenity.
Melusine and her brother rushed out of their rooms and rushed down the stairs of their two-story home, passing their other sibling, Tearenath the Mutant Skeith, who was sprawled over a red satin chair in their living room. The noise their feet made as they dashed across the wood floor woke the Skeith. "Hey!" he shouted to them. They were standing in the doorway, Melusine strapping on her sandals. "Where are you going?" They looked at each other.
Another voice entered the room. "Yes, where are you going?" It was their owner, Sara. Sara had long, blonde hair and steel blue eyes that seemed to be made of ice. They drilled into the eyes of the two young Neopets standing in the doorway. "Do you know how early it is?"
"But, Mom," complained Melusine. "We've only been here for two days. We wanna explore a little! It's beautiful out there, and I want to go swimming. You know, in the pond that the waterfall flows into." Jilocasen looked at his owner, giving her the "puppy dog eyes."
"Yeah, I wanna go too," said Jilocasen, a sarcastically sad expression in his voice. He drooped his wings a little, and wilted the spines on his head to make himself look even more disappointed. Sara smiled at him.
"Alright, I guess you can go, but only if you make your beds first. I will also make you a few sandwiches, maybe a chia pop for each of you, and put them in a basket, and you can have a little picnic or something by the pond. Tearenath can't come with you, though. He is quite sick today."
"Thanks, Mom!" exclaimed Melusine, and they both rushed upstairs to make their beds.
~*** *** ***~
Melusine, carrying the picnic basket, and Jilocasen made their way through the bamboo forest just outside their house, moving around toward the lush grove of trees that surrounded the waterfall. "Why couldn't we just walk around the house?" said Melusine, stumbling over a rock in the soil. "There is an easier way to get there, you know."
"Come on, Mel," Jilocasen said. He often called his sister Mel, and she called him JC. "You'd be missing out on a lot." He looked back at her as she stood back up, smiling wryly. "Hey, sis, catch me if you can!" Jilocasen spread his tan wings and lifted his body off the ground. He sped through the tall bamboo trees ahead of Melusine, who was also taking flight.
"Oh I will, JC, I will!" She shot after him, so fast that she appeared to be a blue arrow. She soon caught up with him. "Hey, bro! Watch this!" Melusine looped into a barrel roll, then twisted about some trees. Jilocasen laughed as he dashed after her.
~*** *** ***~
The amazingly beautiful expanse of the lagoon opened up before the two siblings. The sound of the cascading waterfall was transfixing and wonderful. "So this is what you wake up to every morning," said Melusine, smiling at her brother as they landed, still gazing with wide eyes at the waterfall, on the soft sand of the lagoon's beach. Melusine set the picnic basket gently on the shore.
"Let's go swimming!" she shouted, splashing into the clear, warm water. Jilocasen followed. He plunged his head under the water, and caught a catfish in his jaws. He opened his bright yellow eyes and looked around. He saw bright orange coral surrounded by beautiful fish. Two Koi waved to him as they swam around a piece of kelp. He smiled and waved back.
Suddenly, two huge sapphire eyes opened in the darkness of the deeper part of the lagoon. He saw them, and bewildered, stared back at them. He screamed, and swam back up to the surface. The beast who possessed the eyes was also following him slowly. Jilocasen had never heard about any beast of the lagoon, but it was likely that no one really even knew about the lagoon itself. He ran, frightened to death, onto the shore, but turned around, stiffened by fear, as he heard the enormous splash of the beast's head and neck submerging from the depths to the surface. His eyes grew wide as he looked at the huge creature.
It resembled a draik, but had little "feelers" at the end of its long snout. It was turquoise in color, and as it flicked its tail out of the water, Jilocasen could see that it was whip-like and ended in a feathery "fan." Tall crests adorned its neck and thin, black, barb-like spikes ran along its back. Curved, slim horns sat just behind its drooping triangular ears. He backed up a bit as the enormous creature growled softly in its throat. Melusine screamed as it flicked its tail, and flew over to Jilocasen, standing behind him.
They both expected the massive beast to roar and snap at them viciously, but instead it just smiled down at them. It was not an evil smile, though, it was gentle and warm. "Hello," it said. Its voice had a very female sound, and a very rich and deep accent. "Jilocasen and Melusine, the new residents here in Shenkuu. I see you have found the ancient waterfall, the place I call home, and the place I have been obligated to protect and watch over for a thousand years."
Jilocasen, knowing that she wouldn't harm him, stepped forward. "May I ask, Your Grace," he said humbly, "what your name is, and how you knew ours?" She lifted her enormous silver-tinted wings from the water, and spread them to their full extent.
"My name is..." She paused slightly. "My name is Izumi, the Guardian Princess of the Ancient Lagoon. I know your names, because I am the unseen and unknown guardian of not only the lagoon, but of the whole of Shenkuu. I know everyone's name who lives here, from the Silver Valley in the south to the Lunar Temple in the north."
"Izumi," repeated Melusine. "Beautiful."
"Yours is quite wonderful too," said Izumi. "It comes from Meridell, I think." Izumi stared at the sun. It was setting already. Jilocasen and Melusine had forgotten how long they had been gone, lost track of time through the excitement of the day. "Oh, it is getting late. I have to sleep so I can greet the sun upon sunrise tomorrow. But before I leave you, you both must swear that you will tell no one of me or where I live. Do you so take upon the burden of keeping my secret sacred?" The two looked each other.
"Yes," they said in unity. Izumi nodded, then disappeared under the water slowly, and as she dove under, blew an orb of blue magic from her mouth, and sent it flying over to them. It engulfed them and faded, with Izumi's whispered words: "Come back and visit me again, young neopets."
*** *** ***
So they started back home, only half believing what they had just seen, but still knowing that it was all true, somewhere in their minds. "Should we go see Izumi tomorrow again?" asked Jilocasen.
"Of course," replied Melusine. "Just don't tell Sara!"