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Pet Name: Zaharen_yce
It’s a perfect day for fishing. The sun is shining, and the water is a beautiful clear blue. While you wait for a catch, you lie on your back, staring at the sky. And since you have nothing better to do, you imagine the puffy white clouds as oddly shaped babaas as you once did a long time ago. Suddenly, you feel a pull on the line. You quickly reel it in, expecting another blandfish and hoping with all your heart it isn’t a bombfish. It’s neither of these. According to your fishing guide, it is a Maraquan flowper. You become excited as you reach out for it, wondering how many neopoints you’d make from selling it. As you are pondering this, you feel a large splash behind you. You whirl around, soaked and angry, wondering what has made such a huge fountain of water. Then deciding that such a wonderful day shouldn’t be ruined like this, you turn back, noticing that the Maraquan flowper has vanished. You feel slightly disappointed, but then notice that something else has gone missing as well. Your whole day’s catch has disappeared. Down to the very last waterfish. All that’s left is an empty, torn net. You curse loudly and when you row back to shore, you hear passing neopets whispering and pointing at you. You look around and notice that an obviously visible “Z” has been carved deeply into the side of your boat. That’s when you realize what has happened. You have been visited by the legendary Zahee.
“Great job, Flo. We’ve done it again!” The legendary Zahee high-finned his faithful sidekick, Flo the Maraquan Flowper, as he freed the fish from the nets. The fish swarmed out, squealing “thank you”s and “I love you”s as they rapidly raced away. Flo gurgled as if reminding him something.
“You’re right, I almost forgot!” Zahee swam upwards, toward the large fishing boat where voices were starting to raise. Using his horn, he swiftly and quickly carved an obviously visible “Z” deeply onto the side. As if proud of his work, he nodded and swam back to the nets.
“Now... what should we do with these nuisances this time?” Zahee asked thoughtfully, nudging the nets with his hooves. Flo twirled and posed in front of one of them. “No, I think we’ve made enough of those underwater net backgrounds for a week.”
Out of ideas, Zahee and Flo left the nets where they were, tying them down to boulders to make sure nobody gets caught in them. After a couple more rescues and carvings on the boats, they swam off to their special secret haven. An old long forgotten shipwreck deep at the bottom of Maraqua, but not too deep so that you could still see rays of light filtering through the water. There were heaps of dubloons and marvelously shaped seashells beside the ship that glittered and winked as they caught the sunshine. Once inside the wreck, what you would have expected to be dark and gloomy would on the contrary be surprisingly bright and full of Maraquan life.
This time, however, both Zahee and Flo could sense that something was wrong. There was still a warm and happy glow, and there were still dubloons aplenty, but it just felt… different. Not a single one of those playful petpets peered out to wave cheerfully.
“Hi, Zahee,” a camouflage Flotsam greeted him when he entered. A lutra was circling around her slowly as she attempted to draw in the sand with a stick. The other Maraquan petpets were arranged in a messy circle around her, watching her. The atmosphere seemed quite sullen.
“Hey, sis,” Zahee replied. “What’s wrong?”
“What makes you think something is wrong?” she asked with raised eyebrows.
“C’mon, Bubbles, you look as if someone had just made you eat dung jelly, stole away your shell wings, and took you to the Lost Desert all in the same day,” Zahee pointed out rather amusedly. A couple petpets giggled, gurgling.
Bubbles appeared to be less entertained. “It’s worse,” she said in a solemn voice. Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Pirates.” The giggling stopped.
Zahee remembered the last time he had met pirates. They weren’t all that bad. Most of them used to be normal citizens of Neopia until they got painted. “What about them?”
“They came down here. When everyone was sleeping. I thought they would take the dubloons. It wouldn’t matter as much if they did. It must’ve been dark; the pirates probably didn’t see them. But they’ve been kidnapping our friends instead!” Furiously, Bubbles turned back to her drawing as Zahee examined the room. He hadn’t noticed before, but now he could see that some of the petpets that used to reside in this secret haven had gone missing. Blurt. Pupper. Mazel. There were others, but he couldn’t quite remember their names.
“All right. Here’s the plan.” Bubbles pointed to a square-like figure of her drawing. “That is the pirate ship. They’ve anchored around here. The ship’s name is Ero. Or maybe Hero, but the “H” is too faded so I couldn’t really tell. Anyway, this is us.” Bubbles pointed to a triangle. “We can catch up in no time since there’s no wind to blow their sails today. All we gotta do is to stop their motors somehow so they can’t get away; you guys can distract them.” Bubbles waved her fins at the attentive petpets. “And Zahee, you can go... umm... negotiate with the captain.”
“I don’t really feel like fighting today…” Zahee gave a lame effort of delaying the plan, but he knew his sister well. Once she had her mind set on something, there was no stopping her. Besides, part of him did want to go show those pirates who was boss, to go save the kidnapped petpets.
“In case that doesn’t work,” Bubbles went on, ignoring him, “I’ll bring some dubloons; that ought to do the trick.”
In a few short hours, they arrived where the pirate ship was. It was where Zahee and Flo had torn down the nets earlier that day. Bubbles was right. There was no wind that day, but to ensure that the pirates didn’t escape, they had to make sure the motors didn’t work either. Zahee and Flo exchanged mischievous glances as they took the nets on either side, and swam to the surface. The others caught on and helped carry the heavy net, shoving it into the propeller.
Zahee grinned at Flo. “It’s show time.”
Gazing off into the beautiful sunset, you can’t help but smile as you see a Maraquan Uni and his petpet leaping out of the calm seas, occasionally doing an impressive flip, victorious after another heroic act. You see a pirate ship very slowly pulling into the harbor, dragging a large fishing net behind it from its propeller. The ship’s name is Zero. “What an odd name,” you think. The letter “Z” in “Zero” seems different than the other letters in the name. You then turn to look at your own boat, the one with an obviously visible “Z” on the side, quite identical to the one on the pirate ship, and decide that you don’t care about it too much. You can always repaint it. Or perhaps you can just leave it there. It actually looks rather nice.