Seashells: Part Two
“Ulalume?” Ulalume breathed a deep breath of relief as she recognized the voice as her older sister Calixta, and realized that no one had been “forcing” their way into the house after all.
“In here,” Ulalume called softly, not wanting to disturb Samara. She could hear the water rippling as her sister swam into the room, looking worried.
“Do you know what’s going on?” Calixta asked as she saw the Ixi. “What is that?”
“It’s a neopet from the main lands,” Ulalume said, leaving the room so that the Ixi could rest. Calixta followed, and they made their way towards Ulalume’s room as they spoke. “She got lost in the sea, and she would have drowned if we didn’t save her. Some people are a bit disgruntled about having a land creature here.”
“I don’t think that is why they are disgruntled,” Calixta said, making Ulalume nervous again. “Some city officials have been looking through everyone’s homes. I don’t know what they are trying to find, but they are pretty determined to find it.”
“I think I might know what it is,” Ulalume said, and Calixta’s mouth opened in surprise. Ulalume went to her drawer and pulled out the necklace, showing it to her sister. “The neopet was wearing this,” she said, and Calixta covered her mouth with her hand.
“Is that—” she began, and Ulalume nodded.
“I think so,” she replied, and Calixta was silent for a long time.
“We have to get her out of here,” she said at last, and Ulalume looked at her in surprise.
“We have to what?” she asked, and Calixta took the necklace from her little sister as she swam back towards the other room.
“We have to leave as soon as possible,” Calixta said, studying the Ixi. “It won’t take them long to track down the shell to here. She’s a foreigner; they will figure it out soon enough.”
“What will happen if they find out?” Ulalume asked, and Calixta looked at her seriously.
“That’s not what this is about,” she said, the necklace wrapped around her fingers. “If they find out that she has this, they will take it away and probably banish her from the city. But if she has this necklace, there is a reason for it. This was Emila’s shell, and if this neopet has it now, then maybe she knows where Emila is.”
“Do you really think so?” Ulalume asked, and Calixta nodded.
“Now, we have to be quick, and as casual as possible. Here, help me tie the necklace up into my hair so that no one will see the shell.”
Ulalume helped her sister hide the necklace in her mass of flowing blonde hair, and then they devised a plan to get the Ixi out of there safely.
“We’ll wait until sunset, and then wake her up. If we can get her to follow us while she is still drowsy and not asking many questions, that is even better. We need to get her outside of the main city before we can talk to her and see what she knows,” Calixta explained, running over the plan with her sister for the third time.
“I know, I know,” Ulalume said, impatient with her sibling. “Then we sneak out, and swim quickly. Behind the houses so no one sees us, and we will stop at the cave that it a few minutes outside of the city boundaries.”
“Good. I just want to make sure you are ready,” Calixta responded, and Ulalume huffed.
“I know what I’m doing,” she said crossly, and Calixta just rolled her eyes.
“Whatever you say, sis. Whatever you say.”
Samara awoke to find herself somewhere fairly dark, with two figures floating above her. She was a bit frightened, but she was also very curious as to where she was, and tried to sit up and get a feel for her surroundings, only to realize there was some heavy sort of helmet around her head.
“She’s awake!” some faint voice said then, and soon Samara felt herself being dragged up to a sitting position, before being pulled into a standing position, and soon after that taken straight off the ground into what Samara, in her confused state, thought was a flying position.
“How can I fly?” she said to herself, her head hurting a bit. “I don’t have wings.” From beside her she heard giggling, and she saw a door open in front of her.
“Ulalume, don’t laugh at her,” one of the voices was saying, and the giggling stopped; it was at this time that Samara realized that she not, in fact, flying, but rather floating.
“Where are we?” she asked, and she saw a little more clearly the two girls she now knew were pulling her along with them as they swam.
“Maraqua,” one of the girls said, and Samara’s eyes went wide under the helmet.
“Maraqua? How did I end up in Maraqua!”
“You were lost in the sea; we saved you,” one of the girls replied.
“And who are you?” Samara questioned, and the girls smiled.
“I’m Calixta,” the one said, “and this is my younger sister Ulalume. We are going to help you get home.”
“And who are you?” Ulalume asked.
“Samara,” the Ixi replied, and at that the two girls stopped moving for a moment, staring at her in silence before slowing starting to swim again. “What?” Samara questioned, but they both just shook their heads.
“Nothing,” Calixta said, glancing at her sister. It made Samara uneasy, and she wished that she had a hoof free so she could grab her necklace, something she always did when she felt nervous or frightened. However, since both sisters had a hold of one hoof, Samara was left floating behind them as they swam through the night, stopping every so often when they heard a noise. It was a bit exciting, but at the same time quite frightening, and she hoped that wherever these two were taking her, it would be somewhere safe.
They swam for what seemed like hours, until they finally rested in a small cave. Samara longed to take the helmet she had on off, but the others explained that it was the only reason she could breathe under the water, and Samara couldn’t argue with that logic, so she left it on. She tried to get some sleep, but since she had been sleeping for the entire day, and was in a foreign and uncomfortable space, it was impossible. The other two fell asleep quite quickly, and Samara watched them, wondering who they really were.
It was after about an hour of this gazing that Samara first realized that Calixta’s hair seemed to shimmer in the darkness. It was lovely to watch once she had discovered this, and after a bit it reminded Samara of the shell she had found earlier that day. She lifted her paw up to neck to feel the shell, and when she realized it wasn’t there, Samara’s eyes grew wide. Carefully, she made her way over to the girl and sifted through her hair until she clearly caught a glimpse of the shell, tangled amongst the girl’s hair.
“You took my necklace,” Samara whispered to herself; she didn’t care about the gold shell any longer, but rather just wanted the shell her mother had given her back. She slowly untangled the necklace and tied it back around her neck, and then she left the cave, untrusting of the two girls now.
It was extremely dark out, but the shell gave off light, and Samara was able to see a bit in front of her as she swam. Her plan was to make it back to the city and find someone that could help her get home, though she couldn’t quite remember which way they had come from, and she ended up getting herself even more lost. By the time the sun began to send small rays of light into the dark water, Samara was exhausted, and she didn’t have the slightest idea where she was. The weight of the helmet allowed her to sink to the floor of the sea, and she let herself sink, curling up against the cold sand.
“I just want to go home,” she said solemnly to herself, and she drifted off to an uneasy sleep as the rays of sun began to warm the water.
“Calixta! Calixta, wake up!” Ulalume tugged at her sisters fins in a desperate attempt to get the other girl to awake.
“What?” Calixta said groggily, and her blue eyes fluttered open as an annoyed look overtook her face.
“She’s gone,” Ulalume declared, and at that Calixta was wide awake.
“She’s gone?” she repeated, and Ulalume nodded, her hair bobbing behind her.
“We have to go and look for her,” she exclaimed, and Calixta agreed. Together the two girls left the cave and began to softly call Samara’s name.
“If Rouge finds her, we are all in trouble,” Calixta said with worry. She had discovered that the necklace she had taken from Samara was gone, and knew that was why the Ixi had left. “We should have told her more, explained to her that the shell the has was banished from Maraqua, and that if she is found with it, she could be destroyed!”
“You are right, sister.” Ulalume nodded. “If we find her, we have to tell her the truth... and warn her about the dangers the shell holds.”
“I think it is her only chance at survival,” Calixta agreed. “But of course, first we have to find her and make sure she is okay.”
“Well, we only have all of Maraqua to search, so how hard can that be?” Ulalume asked, and the two sisters looked at each other in worry and fright.
To be continued...