We reached the Lost Desert in three days, having slept comfortably
in lodgings during the time. It had been nice, but we were rapidly running out
of money and we needed it desperately.
"What are you going to do?" Lae asked as I counted
out our remaining Neopoints.
"We've got 1500," I reported. "Maybe enough
to get lodgings for a day or two. I dunno, the prices are a lot higher in the
desert." It was true, people would milk travellers, knowing full way it was
impossible to survive in the desert otherwise.
"Well, I'm tired and need a bath," Lae said.
"Let's find somewhere for a night. No offence Sari, but you really need a shower."
I swatted her over the head, not really meaning
it. Lae grinned, joining in on the general teasing mood. Slowly, we ambled our
way over to the nearest inn. Painted in large red letters was a sign saying
vacancies and by the look of the prices, it was a little used place. The prices
were repeatedly slashed, now residing close to nil.
"That'll do," I grinned at Lae.
"I just hope they have running water," Lae said
darkly, glancing pointedly at me.
"Keep that up and you'll hope we're not on the
top floor," I replied.
The next morning dawned early and bright, the scorching red sun already burning
brightly on the golden sun. I woke up feeling considerably better than before.
"Breakfast?" I said to Lae, who was untangling
herself from a mass of bedclothes.
"No more bread, I beg of you," she pleaded.
"Okay," I said, feeling the loose coins in my
jeans. "We'll buy something from the food stall. Good honest . well, semi-honest
"Cool," Lae smiled, grabbing her shirt. "I could
do with a scarab cookie."
We reached the Food Stall just as a restock occurred. The path was dusty and
the awning created very little shade. Piles of Tchea Fruit, plump and juicy
sat in a large cardboard container. I hurriedly grabbed a few. Roughly the size
of apples, Tchea fruit are very sweet. Lae loved to squash them into a paste
and spread them on very bland Scarab Cookies. I personally didn't like scarab
cookies but Lae adored them. Already, she was fighting to grab a few.
I wondered over to where a pile of Ptolymelon
were stored. Cut in half, they looked like grapefruit. However, they were very
very sweet and the juice could be stored in flasks for many days, even if the
flesh went off quickly.
Grabbing one, I saw Lae arguing with another
Aisha over a packet of Sutek Beans. 'Yuck,' I thought, shuddering. (I hate beans
of any sort.)
Most people had rushed off by now, being as
someone has ran into the store announcing the petpet stall had restocked and
many rare petpets had been on offer.
"Good Morning," the shopkeeper, a bloated Yellow
Grarrl said. He was dressed in the usual Lost Desert attire - a plain white
tunic and a white scarf on his head, tied with a strip of golden fabric.
"Says who?" I replied, placing the food on the
"Business is doing badly," the Grarrl commented
as he counted up the fruit. Lae walked over, having finally obtained the packet
of beans. She dumped the food on top of mine and grinned.
"Really?" I asked nonchalantly.
"It's a shame, no one cares for the old anymore."
The Grarrl said. He sighed once and then continued in a brighter tone; "1000
"I shall pay 500, no more." I replied. As I
spoke, Lae was eating a Tchea fruit from one of the boxes.
"900," the Grarrl replied.
"Done," the Grarrl said. I grinned and handed
over the Neopoints. as Lae put all the food into my rucksack. "Goodbye," he
called as we exited the shop. The minute we stepped outside, Lae handed me a
Tchea fruit - evidently, Lae had decided we need not pay for everything. I accepted
it without complaint and we started to munch our way through them.
"What do we do now?" Lae said as we walked down a back street of the Lost
Desert. We had been tossed from our rooms, another Neopian had offered a ridiculous
amount of money for our room and so we had been sent to find a new inn. Unfortunately,
we couldn't afford it.
"Go back to Neopia Central I guess," I replied
with a shrug.
"I guess..." Lae trailed off, her ears pricking
suddenly. She spun round, a frown on her face. "Who's there?" she called.
"Lae?" I asked quizzically, "What did you hear?"
"Shh," Lae replied. We both jumped as someone
stepped in front of us. They were of a medium built, and a black scarf covered
the majority of their face. They reminded me of a ninja, only their eyes reminded
me of an innocence that was lost a long time previous. A scar ran down the side
of their left eye, running from the eyebrow down to the cheekbone.
"You are Sari and Laeyan?" I recognised the
person was male, his tone deep and husky.
"What's it to you?" I replied, immediately suspicious.
"Answer my question," the stranger replied,
a hint of annoyance in his voice.
"Who are you?" I asked in annoyance.
"I am a servant of a man who can make sure you
never go hungry again," he replied. "Now answer my question."
"We're them," I answered eventually in an awkward
voice. "Now, who are you?"
The man's eyes narrowed and suddenly, I heard
the sound of tires behind me. I spun around as white van pulled up, several
people, dressed in similar attire to the man jumped out.
"What?" I yelled, stumbling backwards. "Let
me go!" I struggled as one of them grabbed me from behind. A cloth, sickly sweet
smelling was thrust over my nose and mouth and immediately I could feel myself
falling into blackness.
The girl went limp just as the Aisha did, neither of them holding much effect
to the drug. The dark people quickly carried them to the van, putting them inside
with care before jumping in themselves and closing the doors. In the darkness
of the back streets, nobody noticed.
To be continued …
Author's Note: Neomails will be loved and worshiped. Pwease?