Sand Daughter: Part Six
Also by smurfafied1800
A tall, sinewy Shadow Krawk tapped a claw impatiently
on his desk. A cloak was wrapped securely around himself, concealing daggers
and other weapons. A nose ring dangled from his snout. The Krawk hissed angrily,
stabbing the map on his desk with a claw.
"He should be here by now!" he growled angrily.
His worker was sent to collect the pet, bring her here, and then he had decided
on following out with his own plan. The journey through the desert was a mere
four-day walk - why on Neopia was it taking so long? He'd helped them when the
bandits had interfered - were they expecting him to carry them through the desert?
"You'd better not try and betray me, boy," he
hissed to himself. "The consequences for that are terrible indeed..."
"Sand???" Immi immediately began to hack up
the grit that came as a result of yelling. Looking around, she noticed that
the storm had seemingly abated.
The Usul leaned over her, grinning wildly as
usual. "Yes, it's me! SAND!! My my, I had such a hard time following you through
the desert - this marvellous sandstorm started up and I was drenched in sand
- I just didn't WANT to leave!"
Immi just stared at her rescuer, psychotic as
ever. "Um… that's great, but do you have any idea where we are? Where're Rehkek
"What?" responded Immi without a speck of enthusiasm.
"I don't know where we are at all! Or where they
are! But do not fear - the sands shall show us the way!" With that, she picked
up a handful of sand and tossed it about, dancing a few paces around the girl,
showering her with her favourite substance.
Immi struggled to stand, feeling unsteady as
the sand she'd just been buried in shifted under her toes. "Well I'm going to
try to find them, whether the sand has any influence on that or not. I'm guessing
you want to come?"
"Indeed! I'm quite eager to witness the fate
of the sand-daughter herself, and you seem very promising, living as a lion
and lamb before my very eyes!"
Immi sighed. She thought that the most logical
course of action would be to head for their destination, meeting up with the
others there. The only problem was that she didn't know where that was. She
also realized that wherever Rehkek had planned on heading, it had to be the
residence of his boss, and arriving there would no doubt plunge her into very
real peril. Even so, Immi yearned to be reunited with those she now saw as her
friends, and began walking in a random direction, Sand skipping along in her
wake jauntily, hoping that perhaps the sands would, somehow, show them
Once the sandstorm had ended, Rehkek wasted no
time in seeking out the missing Kacheek. If he returned to Seht empty-handed,
he knew that he'd pay dearly, and knowing his boss, thinking up punishments
worse than death was a pleasurable pastime for him.
Immi had to have survived, or so he desperately
wanted to believe.
He and Khirelle left the sheltering overhangs
of the cliffs they had used as a refuge, trekking out into the wasteland of
the scorching desert once more. Shielding his eyes from the sun with a hand,
he peered about for any sign of life - perhaps Immi had managed to shelter herself
and was now searching for them. But the bounty hunter knew that this was hoping
against hope. More likely she had perished, or if she was all right, she was
probably heading back for Ku-Nur, if she could locate it. Only a fool wouldn't
flee from a bounty hunter, but after their entire journey, Rehkek found himself
thinking that Immi would, by her nature, look for himself and Khirelle. He snorted;
she was too loyal for her own good, but maybe that wasn't an entirely bad thing.
Khirelle stumbled again, but when trying to get
up, moaned and crumbled. Rehkek turned, watching somewhat lazily, and asked,
"What's wrong?" Khirelle panted, holding her ankle. "Twisted... my ankle..."
Rehkek sighed loudly. "We don't have time for
this!" He looked around, seeing only a small tree that would serve as a little
shelter from the sun. Rehkek grabbed Khirelle and hauled her over (she put up
with this treatment very well) to the tree, setting her down. "Stay here," he
ordered firmly. "Are there any villages nearby? I could go get help - maybe
some supplies; we're running low." Khirelle rubbed her sore ankle as she pointed,
"RoCai is over that way."
Rehkek nodded. "Don't go anywhere. Here," he
tossed a dagger to her feet. "I don't think bandits come this far out, but if
there are any, use that." Khirelle nodded, though she knew she could hardly
handle a dagger, and watched as the Spotted Kacheek trekked across the sand.
It had been about an hour when Rehkek began
doubting if Khirelle was right about the village. But, of course, they had been
very far out when the storm had hit, and who knows, they could've been blown
even further out. The Kacheek instantly stiffened, the hairs on his neck bristling.
He whirled around, just barely dodging the path of an arrow, and glared at the
archer as malicious laughter sounded in his ears.
"Well, well, Rehkek," the archer sneered. He
was a brown Kyrii, small and agile. "I always knew you to be quite fast on your
feet. But did you really think speed would save you when Seht wanted his prize?"
Rehkek continued his glare, while spitting in
contempt. "I had the girl and was on my way, moron. I was simply delayed."
The archer laughed, notching his arrow again.
"Tell that to Seht - by all means, where is the girl now, then?" Rehkek said
nothing, and the Kyrii fired the arrow. The Kacheek jumped out of the way, and
the arrow met the sand with a fast whoosh.
Rehkek had just escaped the first arrow when
a second one was unleashed from the Kyrii's bow and hit him in the tail. Rehkek
groaned in pain, trying to pull the arrow free from his tail, when his eyes
rolled and he fainted. The Kyrii chuckled cruelly as he pulled out a bag and
shoved the bounty hunter in. The sleeping potion attached to the arrow would
last a few hours - plenty of time to take him back to Seht's camp.
"I'm really disappointed in you, Rehkek," he
sneered as he shouldered the bag. "You of all pets should've recognized that
the camp wasn't far from here... have you gotten stupid?" And he lugged the
bag back to Seht's camp, gleeful to learn what his master would do to the unlucky
"...Aw, the sensation of the sand running through
my fur was magnificent..."
Immi barely listened to Sand's parody as the
two of them walked through the desert. She wiped sweat from her brow for about
the hundredth time when she spotted the familiar silhouette of Khirelle, sitting
under the base of a tree.
"I'm so sorry, sand daughter!" Sand repeated.
"I just couldn't leave the marvellous storm to seek you out!"
Immi shoved past her, screaming, "Khirelle!"
Khirelle jolted, then gaped at the Kacheek as
she ran towards her. "Immi?!"
The Kacheek reached the base of the tree and
collapsed onto her knees. "You survived the storm, then?" She glanced around.
"Where's Rehkek?" Despite the blazing, dry heat of the sun, her blood turned
to ice at the thought that the young bounty hunter hadn't made it.
"He's all right," Khirelle assured her, and Immi
let out a subtle sigh of relief. "We were trying to find you, but I tripped
and hurt my ankle." She shifted her leg to demonstrate and winced at the discomfort.
"I should've been more careful, but we had to stop because of me, and he headed
off to the nearest village to get some supplies to help me. But now I'm not
entirely sure if I pointed him in the right direction…"
"Then we need to find him," Immi decided promptly.
By now she knew how unpredictable the desert could be: bandits, sandstorms…
and who knew what else. Rehkek was completely capable of taking care of himself,
that was obvious, but it seemed to Immi that she had been trying to find both
him and Khirelle for so long. She didn't want to be separate from her friends
for much longer, and on top of that, lost in the perilous terrain of the desert
wasteland for much longer either.
"But how are we going to do that?" Khirelle asked
quietly. "I know the direction he went in, but I can't come with you…"
Immi looked up at the small, sparse tree. "Oh
yes you can." With a small jump, she began to climb through the flimsy branches,
snapping off two of the strongest ones. "We'll use a cloak and those to make
a stretcher," she told them as she descended. "Sand and I can carry it until
we find Rehkek."
"But won't you get tired?"
"It's okay - we'll be fine." Immi didn't see
Khirelle's weight as much of a problem - the Aisha was so small and frail, lifting
her would be no arduous task.
After fashioning the stretcher, they set off,
Sand barely paying attention to her charge of carrying one end of Khirelle's
makeshift bed. She was constantly prancing about as she walked, causing the
Aisha's head and shoulders to jiggle awkwardly on the unstable end of the stretcher.
After several minutes of trekking across the
sandy expanse, Immi began to feel uncomfortable - it had become far too quiet
to be natural here. She noticed that Sand had suddenly stopped. "The lion and
the lamb!" she giggled with her usual lunacy.
The next second, the three were surrounded by
a motley assortment of pets, who seemingly appeared out of thin air, although
they had been stealthily concealing themselves behind the dunes and cliffs that
littered their barren surroundings.
"What?" breathed Immi, shocked by how swiftly
they'd plunged into trouble once again. "How did they get here?"
The head of the party, a brown Kyrii, grinned
wickedly and signalled to his fellows to draw the bows they carried. Soon about
twenty arrows were aimed at the comrades' hearts. "It's called being silent,
little girl. Seeing as what you are, I was surprised you weren't aware of our
presence. But no matter - you'll come with us now, if you want to leave here
in one piece."
To be continued...