The Hunt for the Perfect Pearl
A wide-eyed Maraquan Jubjub with a look of determination on her face paddles through the coral reef. She is surrounded by marvelous corals of so many colors – blue with orange swirls, brilliant greens, red and pink tree-like formations, and even purple – but these are not what she is after. She passes them by without a second thought, scanning along the ocean floor for her prize.
Samara’s birthday is only a week away, and Kallisco the Maraquan Jubjub has an idea for the perfect gift. She fancies herself a novice jewelry maker (quite difficult for a Jubjub with no hands…) and wants to find the loveliest pearl of them all to use in a necklace for Samara. It only makes sense to give her Royalgirl Lupe sister a necklace worthy of royalty, after all! They have been steadfast friends since Kallisco was adopted into the household. Samara is the oldest girl, and took Kallisco under her wing right away, looking after her and making sure she felt at home. Samara will be turning fourteen this year and Kallisco wants to make sure it’s special.
Kallisco searches and searches, with no luck. She stops to rest every few hours and munch on some of her trail snacks (Kelp Samosas are her favorite!). Two days go by like this and she starts to feel discouraged. She sits down for a rest under a rock overhang.
~ ~ ~
“I can’t believe there’s still been no sign of pearls anywhere, other than the small ones… maybe I should try to come up with a different idea.”
A colorfully dressed Jetsam swims up next to Kallisco, who is deep in thought and fails to hear the lady approach. “Hey there, young’un! Whatcha looking so sad for?” bellows the Jetsam.
Kallisco jumps and backs up against the rock, “AHHH!” She had heard of Jetsams in these parts that were not so nice to little Jubjubs.
“Oh, come now, don’t be silly! I’m not gonna hurt you, sugar! I just figured I’d make sure you were alright. Do you know where you are headed?”
“Um, uh, not exactly, ma’am. I am l-l-looking for the prettiest pearl of all to use in a necklace for my sister’s b-birthday. I haven’t had any luck searching so far,” Kallisco manages to mumble at the Jetsam, her voice growing stronger as she starts to calm down.
The Jetsam scratches her head, ruffling her orange, frilly hat in the process. “Hmm... well, there’s this legend, but I don’t know if it’s true. I heard there was a giant oyster in this cave to the southwest. A mean ‘un, won’t give its pearl to anyone that comes by. Rumor has it the beast will part with it if the right traveler comes along. Now, I don’t know about any o’ this, but it might be worth checking out. I could take you to the entrance, but I’m too big of a lady to go in with you.”
A glimmer of hope shines in Kallisco’s eyes. She is still a bit wary of the Jetsam, but this seems like her best bet. She decides to explore the cave and that no matter how it goes, she will head back home afterwards. “That would be great, ma’am!”
~ ~ ~
The pair reach the entrance of the cave, chatting away. Maybe Jetsams aren’t so scary after all? Well, some of them, at least.
“Well, here we are! I wish I could go with you — be careful, little’un!” The Jetsam, who Kallisco learned is named Betsy, looks worried. Kallisco gives a nod of grim resolve and heads into the cave.
~ ~ ~
Luckily there are only a few branching paths in the cave system. She makes it to the deepest area of the cave. It opens up almost like a grotto, a large, dome-shaped chamber. In the middle of the chamber lies an oyster Kallisco would later describe as being as large as the Giant Omelette (though that is a bit of an exaggeration). It is partially submerged in the sand, looking ancient and restful.
Kallisco steps into the chamber gingerly, as if she is entering a renowned and delicate ruin. She stops short around twenty feet from the oyster and tries to clear her throat, but no noise comes out. She takes a few deep breaths, thinking of her new friend Betsy and of the necklace she wants to make, and tries again.
“Ahem. Um, excuse me. My name is Kallisco and I have came here to request the prettiest pearl of them all.”
The beast stirs, awakening in the presence of its little visitor. Its enormous shell opens and it speaks, “For what purpose do you seek my pearl? That which has taken 350 years to create?”
Kallisco is stunned by the beauty held within the oyster. The pearl is perhaps too large to make into a necklace — as big as a bowling ball, it seems to contain all colors of the rainbow at once, ever glimmering and changing color in the dim light of the cave.
“M-my big sister’s birthday is next week and I want to make it the best b-birthday ever. When I was adopted three years ago, my sister was immediately so nice to me. She helped me setup an underwater room in our neohome and always made sure I was taken care of. We might be very different neopets, but she showed me true kindness despite our differences. She is like the big sister I didn’t have when I was younger.”
The massive, algae-covered oyster somehow seems to relax its posture. “I see... you are the first one to enter this place out of love, instead of greed or some other selfishness. I can tell you have travelled far and went through much to find a gift for your dear sister. Truth be told, I am nearing the end of my time here. I would be honored if you took this pearl to your sister, with only the promise that it will stay in your home.”
Kallisco starts to gently cry, overwhelmed by the generosity of the old one. She grabs the pearl as gently as she can with her coral feet and carefully wraps it up in her pack. “I can’t thank you enough, this is going to be so wonderful. Can I do anything at all for you?”
“You have already done much, my child. Now go, and prepare for your party. May it be as joyous as your heart is kind.” The oyster gently closes its shell and returns to its slumber. Kallisco, overjoyed, hurries as much as she can back to the entrance, while still keeping her pack carefully secured.
“Ma’am! Betsy! You’re not going to believe what happened!!” Kallisco relays the tale to her new friend, bouncing with excitement.
~ ~ ~
“Oh, sugar, that’s amazing! Now you’re gonna have to let me walk you back home. It’s getting late!” The two swim side-by-side, taking the shortest route back to the neohome of Kallisco’s family. Betsy stays the night and gets to know the rest of the pets. When morning arrives, Betsy heads home the two promise to stay good friends. “I’m sure the party is gonna go great, honey,” Betsy winks at Kallisco as she leaves.
Munchokiss the Darigan Grundo leans over to Kallisco, “Ay, what was that about?”
Kallisco whispers, “Shh, I’ve got something to show you, come check this out!”