The Legend of the Fishberry
All weather stations have predicted a fine day for Meridell. They are right. As you walk out of the Meridellian Food shop, the bright sun shines high in the sky. It is indeed a perfect day for your picnic. On your way to your picnic spot, though, you start to feel a bit peckish. Perhaps you should have something small to eat on the way. You shove your hand in the basket and pull out nothing other than a Fishberry. You grimace and wipe the slime off your hand. The Fishberry positively reeks and has a few maggots and ants invading the inside of it, but is a rather nice shade of blue. You shrug and go to put it in your mouth.
You cry out as a flitting shadow plummets down from the sky and snatches the Fishberry right out of your hands. “Thief!” you shout. “Help, there’s a thief!” However, before the words are even out of your mouth the mysterious burglar has disappeared. You sniff miserably. Sure, the Fishberry had stunk, was covered in slime, was past its expiry date and was home to a few thousand maggots. But, being a tourist, you were looking forward to trying a Meridellian delicacy. You feel a sudden rush of anger and stubbornness to get the Fishberry back. You glance around at the locals on the path. All had seen the attack, but they were back to their work as if nothing had happened. You storm up to the nearest farmer.
“I know you saw that!” you accuse. “Why did none of you help me?” The farmer looks up at you with his weary eyes. He is a rather hunchbacked and old-looking Ixi, with one of his horns missing. To your surprise, he chuckles.
“Aye, we did see that. You are new around here, am I right?” he asks, his words a slow drawl. You nod. “Well, you just experienced the wrath of Azuring, so called for his love of blue things. He’s been around as long as anyone can remember. It’s said that he’s stolen from kings, wizards and faeries. And to your question, although many have tried, no one has ever caught him. Don’t even bother trying.”
You listen intently to the farmer’s words, but his last sentence goes in one ear and out the other. “I’ll show you,” you vow dramatically. “I will hunt down this monster and find it even if it takes the last breath out of my body!” You once again look up at the clear sky. You are certain that the beast had flown north, towards the mountains. And so you begin your journey.
Your following days are tough and perilous, but your determination never wavers once. After four days, you finally reach the halfway point of the mountain. You settle down for a snack, only to find out that your food supply has run out. However, you simply get up and trudge on. This miscreant must be found! You are burning for revenge. To pass the time, you daydream vividly of defeating the monster and claiming his hoard. You remember ‘Azuring’ as you saw him – huge, as large as the cloud that holds Faerieland. His wingspan must’ve been as long as the drop from Citadel Castle. His eyes were cruel as Dr. Sloth’s as he watched his first successful mutation.
Two days later, you are nearing the top of the mountain. You are dizzy and exhausted from the lack of food, but you know now that victory is in sight! Ecstatic that the trials of the past few days will soon be rewarded, you hurry as a new burst of energy surges through your body. You run up, up, up!
Finally you reach the mountain peak. It is bitterly cold and an icy wind rages around you, but the bright sun still glistens in the sky. It is so bright you can barely see!. You squint through the piercing sunlight, trying to find where this ‘Azuring’ may be hiding. Ah, there it is! You see a small patch of dark in the rocky wall and rush towards it, hands over your eyes to protect them from the harsh light. Once inside, you sigh with relief as the sunlight is blocked out.
When you uncover your eyes, however, light once again shimmers around you, though not as harsh. It takes a while for your eyes to adjust, but when they do you see piles and piles of glittering treasure! Well, not treasure really. More like piles and piles of things. Blue things, millions of them. You can even see your Fishberry placed on the edge of the pile. You gasp as you look around. It’s amazing! Astonishing!
“Who dares enter my lair?” a deep voice booms. You take a deep breath, brace yourself and turn around to face your adversary, your antagonist, your enemy. What you see shocks you more than the discovery of the treasure around you. Despite your daydreaming, the legend of Azuring is nothing but a small, harmless blue Pteri!
“I... uh...” you stutter. You really don’t know what to say, even after all the previous days filled with planning your untouchable and heroic speech in your boredom. A small chuckle escapes the Pteri’s beak.
“You’re the first to ever find me, do you know that?” he says. He shakes his head. “I take it that you must be wondering about all the blue. A sort of curse, actually. I won’t go into that.”
“But... but...” You try to say a complete sentence, but nothing will come out. The shock of the situation has rendered your throat absolutely useless.
“I’m sure you’ll think of plenty of things to say to me later, even though I’ll be changing lairs now that you’ve found me. But right now, it is time for your reward! Anything you wish from the pile here,” he tells you, gesturing hospitably towards the blue treasures.
You are still speechless. Nothing will come out of your mouth, no matter how hard you try!
“Wocky got your tongue, eh? Well, you are that young one I took the Fishberry away from, aren’t you?” he inquires. He walks over to the pile and picks up your stolen food, his filthy feathers sticking to the horror that is the Fishberry. “Here, take it. Now off you go.”
He starts to shove you outside. “No! I don’t want the Fishberry, I want something else!” you try to say, but you still can’t talk. But it’s too late. You have been pushed outside, and the entrance to the cave has disappeared. You start to sob as the sunlight once again pierces your eyes. You have lost your craving for the Fishberry, and think of the treasure you could have chosen! Why, there was even a Blue Ixi Plushie in there! Those things are worth millions! You could very well be the only Neopian in all of Neopia to own one. How thrilled your pets would be! Do you have any idea how rare those plushies are?
But of course you do. That’s why you are crying. You chuck your stupid and worthless Fishberry on the ground and stomp on it. It is now a stinking, vulgar mess smothered into the ground. You give it one last SMOOSH! then begin your journey back to Meridell.
After all, the weather forecast says that it will be a perfect day for a picnic.