Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 129,296,931 Issue: 201 | 29th day of Swimming, Y7
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Black and White


by christinetran

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The sun gazed down upon the sandy dunes of the Lost Desert, and its rays were like daggers of heat that struck the ground ceaselessly. Far off to the North, the kingdom of Sakhmet could be seen. Its palace towers, made out of sun-burnt sand and stone, loomed like sentinels. Their windows were their eyes, and their balconies were lips. It was burning hot, and the air was completely saturated with calidity.

     Far off to the south of Sakhmet dwelled the quiet village of Okhet. It rested upon the shores of the ocean, so the houses of this village were made of cool mudstones gathered from the edges of the blue sea. The Neopians of this village call themselves Okhetiers, and the majority of the population consisted of Lupes. They were all multi-colored, but their fur were all burnt into a deeper shade due to their constant exposure to the sun. Okhetiers were a close bunch, though, and everyone in the village knew the neighbors of their neighbors, and so on.

     To the west of the small village were miles upon miles of sand dunes, and far off in the horizon, the black edges of the Haunted Woods could be seen. Genee, a Skunk Lupe, slowly made his way towards the village, for he was a traveler from the Neopia Central, and he had crossed the depths of the Black Woods in order to reach Okhet. With each step, flickers of electricity flew from his paws and shocked the surrounding air. Genee, though, ignored this, and continued to drag himself through the sand and towards the village.

     He was parched. Thirsty. Beyond thirsty. Three weeks of continuous walking, and one week of dry desert surroundings had started to take its toll. He was beyond glad that he had finally made it to the village. He would've never went if it weren't for the fact that he was the only one in his family that could survive in the Haunted Woods, since his odd case of Shock-A-Lots gave him a protective electric layer. Errands. CT was always asking him, and the others, to run errands for her.

     "Why can't she just go herself?" he questioned angrily as he neared the outermost building, a Water Shop, of Okhet. Tied about his neck was a plastic bag of Neopoints that CT had given him to buy shelter, food, and the rare desert fruit, a Pyraberry. CT was going to try to raise the fruit in Neopia Central, despite the fact that it only survives in desert regions.

     Slowly, Genee made his way past the Water Shop and entered the bustling main street of the village. Around him, Lupes of different colors and sizes browsed through the shops that lined the dusty roads. Shouts echoed off the walls, and the combined mutterings of hagglers and shopowners was nauseating. Genee shook his head and tried his best to avoid touching anyone as he made his way towards the fruit section of the market. He could already smell its ripe scent in his nostrils, and he was quite eager to get on hands on a Pyraberry and return home from this scorching place. Genee lifted his head higher, looking for an empty place for him to walk through, and he began to move forward...

     "Move over, loser!"

     Before he could even breathe, Genee felt the body of a Lupe crash into him. Instantly, strands of electricity erupted from his body and shocked the poor thing. The Lupe screamed in surprise and jumped back, but it was too late then. The electricity had already absorbed itself into his darkened green fur, and it's volts surged through his body like lightning. The green Lupe gasped in surprise and collapsed upon the floor as his eyes started to water from the stinging. He couldn't move, or stand up. He was momentarily paralyzed, for the sudden shock had driven the breath from his body.

     "Oh my Fyora, what's happening to him?"

     "Is he all right?"

     "What did that skunk Lupe do to him?"

     "Did you see those bolts of light on his body?"

     "Oh, somebody call Doctor Gaerk!"

     "What in the world is that skunk Lupe?"

     Genee hadn't even processed what had happened before he heard these words enter his ears, and everything in his world started to shrink. Thoughts of home and his family crowded his mind as his fear of everybody and everything started to grow. He looked around in horror at the faces that gazed fearfully at him, and he couldn't bear it. He couldn't take it anymore. He took off running through the nearest opening, and ran straight into the endless desert.

     **********

     I keep hurting people. Why do I keep hurting them? What's wrong with me? Why did this have to happen to me?

     Questions clouded Genee's mind as he wandered between the dusty dunes of the Lost Desert. He was surrounded by miles upon miles of hot, scratchy sand, yet he didn't care. He was completely awestruck by what had happened, and now, his thoughts were occupied by the previous events. Why did he go? He could've entered the market at night, or at morning, instead of the time when it was crowded. He was dumb. Stupid. Ignorant. Why didn't he make a more logical choice? Why didn't he duck in time? How was the Lupe doing? Was he okay? Was he healing? Would he ever heal?

     BARK!

     Genee's eyes instantly focused and he gazed around at his surroundings. But all he could see was sand, sand, sand, and more sand. Golden, dusty sand that covered the land for miles and miles, burned to a soft brown by the orange sun. No. It must've been his imagination, Genee though. He hadn't heard anything bark, and what he thought he had heard had only been a trick, an illusion. Genee continued to walk forward, and the questions came back once more.

     BARK

     His eyes widened in surprise when he heard that noise once more. "Is anyone here?" Genee asked uneasily as he continued to make his way around the sandy hills of the Lost Desert. His ears were stiff and alert, and his nose twitched slightly as it tried to catch a sign of an unfamiliar scent. He looked up, and it was then that he saw it. A monolith built of yellow stone, covered in heiroglyphics that were scratched in by metal-wielding Lost Desert dwellers. It was beyond tall, its highest point seemed to reach towards Faerieland. Yet, as Genee came closer, it started to shrink, and the odd blue light that emanated from it started to dull and fade.

     Standing in front of the shrine was King Coltzan III.

     An aurous crown sat atop his graying head, and his penetrating eyes were shadowed in blues and blacks. Thick tufts of white whiskers hung from his snout, and his mouth was set in a firm, black line. A yellow shoulder shield was strapped onto his right shoulder, and layers of white cloth veiled his chest. One single gold band was attached on his left leg, and it glowed an unnatural blue.

     "Lost soul, you have entered the shrine of the dead Kings of the Lost Desert," King Coltzan III growled softly, and his voice sent shivers down Genee's spine. It was rough and loud, and yet it sounded ghostly at the same time.

     "I'm... I'm sorry," Genee stuttered. "I didn't mean to intrude..."

     An eerie smile flashed across King Coltzan's face, and his eyes became pale and wraith-like. "You have entered a cemetery, lost soul... the graveyard of phantoms. You have entered a haunted place."

     Another shiver ran down Genee's spine, and his legs started to quiver in fear. "I'm sorry," he repeated. "I didn't mean to intrude..."

     "What is it that you want?" King Coltzan asked, and his eyes lost their intensity. "What is it that you ask of the gone and late?"

     "Home," Genee whispered. "Family. Friends. Normality..."

     King Coltzan smiled when he heard these words, and, like a phantom, he started to fade into the wind. His lifeless eyes continued to stare, and his gray fur started to turn a sick, chalky color as his face became gaunt and skeletal. Finally, his shadowy figure disappeared, and it was night in the Lost Desert now. Cold, eerie winds started to pass through, and Genee collapsed onto the floor. He was frightened. Beyond frightened, in fact. He had just spoken to a ghost.

     The only thought in his mind now was that of home and light...

      "Genee!" I screamed in fear as I sat up in bed. Beads of sweat dripped off my forehead, and my fingers were tightly clenched about my brown and white comforter. I was shivering, and it felt abnormally cold in my room. My dream... it felt so real, and yet, could it be?

     I knew that I should've never sent my Genee on that trip. Despite the fact that it was dark, I jumped out of bed and ran towards the hall to awaken the others...

     Mounds of cold, dewy sand were piled upon Genee's shoulders. Occasionally, they would fall off with each burst of electricity that snapped from his body. He groaned, and he slowly blinked away the grains of sand that were glued to his eyelids. He felt weak, tired, and once the memories of last night came back into his mind, he felt frightened and terrified. Quickly, Genee jumped and the piles of sand fell off of his body... but wait.. what was that white object that fell off as well? Sand was not white, particularly not in the burning desert.

     Genee approached the small, white blob of fur and tried to catch a glimpse of its face, though he made sure not to touch it. Suddenly, without warning, the small blob jumped up and tackled itself into Genee. He growled out in surprise and anger, for the moment the small thing touched his body, he felt an enormous surge of energy erupt from his body and through the tips of his fur.

     "Get off!" Genee warned with a growl and snapped into the air. He believed that he was already too late, for the small thing, was on the grou... no, it was standing. It was still standing, and it was staring at Genee with small, beady brown eyes. The volts that had transferred itself on its small body were starting to fade and disappear, but it did not affect the little thing.

     It was a white Anubis, and a small, golden chain hung loosely about his neck. His fur was colored a pure, blinding white, like layers of cold, untouched snow upon the uppermost towers of Terror Mountain. His eyes continued to stare at Genee, and he barked a familiar bark that Genee had heard once before.

     BARK!

     Genee slowly approached the small thing and he placed one careful paw upon it's tiny shoulder. Another flicker of electricity ran through his paw and into the Anubis, but all the Anubis did was flinch and bark once more. No pain entered its face, no surprise, no shock... no nothing. Only inquisitiveness, curiosity... Genee picked up the little thing and hugged it close to his chest.

     It had been a long time since Genee had been able to hold something without hurting it, and he tightened his hold upon the Anubis as it wriggled uncomfortably in his arms. It barked again and started to lick Genee's face, and he begun to laugh in surprise.

     A companion. An unlikely companion. Was this the work of King Coltzan III?

     "Genee!"

     Genee looked up, and to his surprise, he saw CT, his owner, trudging through the soft, grainy sand towards him, waving her hands wildly about her heads. Next to her, floundering about as well, were his three siblings: Tiger, the Spotted Eyrie, Hopper, the Faerie Kacheek, and Bloo, the Christmas Grundo. They looked particularly angry, and unusually sweaty as well. Next to them, walking atop the sand as if it was cement, was a Desert Aisha. Her small, black eyes glimmered royally in the sun, and she glided across the sand towards Genee easily. Still, Genee could see an amused smile plastered across her face as she came closer. She was probably one of those Lost Desert tour guides, the ones who knew every nook and cranny of the Lost Desert, and the only reason why they still kept their tour job was because they loved seeing tourists flounder about in the soft sand.

     "Are you all right?" the Aisha asked as she came closer to Genee.

     "Yes," Genee said happily as he placed the White Anubis down on the sand. "I am."

     "Oh, that's good. Has anything odd happened? Usually, most tourists who wander about in the Desert speak of seeing strange things... discovering strange things," the Aisha murmured, mostly to herself than to Genee. Slowly, she lifted her eyes towards the sun, and she gazed at its strong rays and burning center. "They speak of seeing our King..."

     Genee smiled as she said this, and placed one paw upon the head of the Anubis, which was still sitting obediently by his side.

     "They speak of a strange creature, as well. A ghost, a phantom, a spirit who was taken on the form of our old king," the Aisha whispered. "They say that he was an evil spirit, one who had come from the other side, the dark side. More evil than Dr. Sloth, and the Drenched of Maraqua. His eyes could tear someone up with just one glance, and he could bring a nation to ruins if he felt that it had offended him in any way. But... one day, the King of the Lost Desert, King Coxtlan, banished him from the world of Neopia. But, his spirit remained, an evil spirit remained, and in order to punish the king, he hid the Lost Desert from the world for hundreds and hundreds of years. That is... until he had fallen for King Coxtlan XXII's daughter, Ameray. He then spent another lifetime trying to pursue the young Aisha, until she perished and disappeared from Neopia during one of trips across the sea towards the Island of Mystery. It was then that he couldn't bear to live in evil any longer, and he became the guiding hand that helped the next king of the Lost Desert, King Coltzan III, the youngest and third brother of Ameray, for the other two had perished alongside their older sister. He appeared in Coltzan's dreams, and helped him... until he had been usurped by the visiting princess. Then, he spent the next few years haunting the place of the shrine, and he took on the form of our late king and granted wishes to anyone who happened to pass by. Of course, they all believe him to be our late King, but he isn't. He is simply a magician who has no form..."

     Genee stared at the Aisha for the longest time, and he looked towards the horizon of the Lost Desert. CT and the others were still struggling to get closer, for a heavy wind has started, and it delayed them momentarily.

     "What was his name?" Genee asked the Aisha. "The name of the magician?"

     "He goes by many names," she whispered. "Like all magicians, they have many nicknames and aliases. But, the one he took on before he died, was Eochoniche. The people of the Lost Desert, though, call him the Black and White Magician, for he was once evil... and now he is good."

The End

 
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