An Unexpected Treasure
I was softly sailing on the Neopian Ocean near the underwater city Maraqua, quietly fishing some Pfish for my aquatic petpets sale that would occur the following week. So far, all I had caught were a couple of old rotten sandals and a Pepito. I threw my Fishing Made Easy book deep into my bag.
“Guaranteed to increase your fishing skill or your money back!” I said. “Yeah right!”
Bored and disappointed by my poor gathering, I fell asleep in my little boat, peacefully rocked by some waves. Just like all Quiggles in Neopia, being flooded with sun all day makes me want to sleep. It must have been a funny thing to see, a blue Quiggle like me asleep in the middle of nowhere, my not-so-lucky fishing hat on my eyes and my webbed legs on the edge of the boat.
I must have stayed like that, silently gliding on the ocean, for a couple of hours, since when I woke up, I realized I had lost the sight of the coast.
“I’m going to be late for dinner,” was the first thing that came to my mind. As if it was replying, I heard a deep growl coming from my stomach. The sun had nearly set. I turned around to get my bottle of water and the last piece of a worm burger in my bag.
That’s when I saw it. Right ahead of me was an immense shadow of a mountain in the middle of a small island. The sun was setting behind it, reflecting its orange color on the still surface of the sea and making the mountain’s dark shape look even more solemn. I recognized it; it had the same shape as the drawing in an article I had read that morning in the Neopian Times, the one about a lost isle.
An old guy named Mad Tongue Murphy wrote about it in his journal and they could manage to successfully translate it. Whether or not this island was the product of Murphy’s imagination was a divided issue.
I couldn’t believe it. I had this marvelous island right in front of me. I had found it. It took me a while to understand all the meanings of my discovery. All the wild animals and unknown plants living on that island could certainly teach us much about Neopia. I heard there might even be treasures there.
“Treasures?!” I exclaimed. “Does it mean I’m rich?”
From my boat, I searched on the coast for some animals or any hint on what could live on the island. I didn’t want to disembark on the isle, just in case a mutant Grarrl living there would desire some Quiggle thighs for diner. But I saw nothing. It was getting too dark and everything was in a peaceful rest.
I didn’t get the time to search any farther. The crashing noise of the thunder startled me. I looked around me. The landscape was way less picturesque now. Puffy clouds were slowly covering the sky, sometimes lit by lightning. Warned by these signs of an approaching storm, I quickly took my star map (a gift from a friend who studies at the Lunar Temple) and steered toward my homeland. Before I took the oars and began rowing as fast and arduously as I could in the opposite direction, I turned around only to see the storm raging behind me.
Unfortunately, the storm was faster than me. Within twenty minutes, I was soaked to the bones and I had water to the ankles (and the Pepito fled). I could hardly row in these conditions, the wind blowing so rough I could barely stand it. Furthermore, I don’t like sea water (I didn’t know it itched so much!). I let go the oars, kneeled, grabbed the edge of the boat and hoped for all the Water Faeries to help me get through this.
* * * * *
I woke up on a beach; the sun was high in the sky again. A baby Gelert was curiously looking at me.
“Are you okay, sir?” he asked.
“I guess,” I replied, touching every part of my body to check if anything was broken. I looked behind me; the little boat was still in one piece, my bag and my hand crafted fishing rod in it. I knew this place. It wasn’t far from my house.
“I must see someone,” I requested, suddenly awake.
“I am here, sir.”
“No, not you, someone important, someone with authority. I made a great discovery.”
“Like the mayor?” he asked.
I didn’t answer his inquiry and hastily walked towards my house. My wife was there, bags under her eyes and her lips pinched. Her cute little pink Ixi ears were dressed straight on her head. Obviously, she wasn’t happy at all I didn’t come back home yesterday.
“Maximilian, where were you?!” she yelled.
“Honey, I made an incredib...”
“I don’t care of what you did! The children and I were worried!”
“I’m sorry, Dalia; I was caught by a storm,” I replied. I explained everything that had happened. She made me a big meal to make me recover. Afterwards, I wanted to go to the mayor’s house. When I left my house, the little Gelert was in front of it, apparently waiting for me. I ignored him and went straight to the mayor’s house.
“What’s your great discovery?” he asked, following me.
I didn’t bother answering him once again. When I came to the mayor’s house, I saw him planting flowers in his huge garden. It was pretty astonishing to see this big spotted Tonu taking care of delicate flowers. The tenacious Gelert was still behind me.
“I’m sorry to annoy you sir, but I must tell you something really important.” Unable to wait any longer, I explained the events of the day before.
“What? This island doesn’t exist,” he answered, sprinkling an aurora lily.
“I’ve found him unconscious on the beach, sir,” the baby Gelert added.
“You stayed out all night?” inquired the mayor. “Something must have struck you on the head during the storm.”
“But I swear it’s true! I saw it with my own eyes!”
“Okay. We’ll have a meeting with the elders of the village to see if we can trust you,” he decided.
* * * * *
All the elders of the village met in the council room. Most of them were old narrow-minded guys trapped in their little daily routine. I thought I had no chance to prove that the island was real.
“What are those silly things?” said an orange Gnorbu. “It doesn’t make any sense. If that island is so near our village, how come we never saw it during our many fishing trips?”
“In fact, I don’t exactly know where it is, since I was sleeping during the travel,” I confessed.
All the people present in the room began talking loudly to each other, stating their disagreed. Manifestly, they couldn’t believe such a story.
“Then, do you have any proof of what you saw? Did you come back with any nonexistent plant or lost treasure?” asked a shadow Ogrin.
“No...” I answered, shamefully looking at my feet. “But I could find the island once again. I know where it is on my star map. But we’ll have to wait for the night.”
Once again, everyone began talking at the same time, debating between them. They finally agreed, their curiosity probably taking over their reason.
“So, let’s meet near the quay at the sunset tonight. We’ll take my personal ship. I seriously doubt anyone here wish to take the nut shell that our friend here uses,” declared the mayor.
The meeting ended in bursts of laughter.
* * * * *
That’s how, at nightfall, I found myself on the mayor’s ship. The whole village was there. Well, the village wasn’t that big, but still, the bridge was crowded. It was the first (and last) time I got the chance to get on board of that ship. A Maraquan Aisha was crafted into the wood at the prow and the village’s emblem was forged on all the doors.
I didn’t get much time to admire this noble vessel; I had to watch the stars and indicate the directions to the mayor.
“The lost island should be right in front of us now,” I announced, loud enough to cover all the uttering. The silence came back instantaneously. Everyone was watching right in front of them, waiting for the mysterious island to appear. The sky was completely cleared, untroubled by clouds and the moon was round and bright. As we saw a silhouette appearing at the horizon, we held our breath.
“But, that’s...” I stammered, “that’s Mystery Island!”
Mystery Island, along with its Techo Mountain, seemed to challenge me. I felt the red invading my cheeks, as I realized the big mistake I had made. I could already hear all the mockeries spouting from everywhere. I fled to the hold and didn’t get out until we got back to the village.
* * * * *
“Grandpa, you said your story would have a happy ending,” said a baby Draik.
“It does, Eidan. The day after, I found this in my bag.”
The old blue Quiggle withdrew a beautiful feather from his pocket. “This is a rainbow Pteri feather. It’s very valuable.”
“Wow! Where did you get it?” asked Eidan.
“I suppose a Rainbow Pteri flew right over me while I was in my little boat near Mystery Island. It must have fallen in my bag while I was looking at the island.”
“You’re so lucky, Grandpa!”
“So are you, Eidan, because it’s now yours.”
“Whoa! Thanks Grandpa!” he exclaimed, his eyes shining brightly. Seeing his grandchild so happy was the greatest treasure Maximilian could have ever hoped for.