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Secrets of Geraptiku


by angelpuss_muddskippy

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In Geraptiku, everything was dark. Mera scurried along, her candle flickering as if the overwhelming darkness were snuffing it out.

      Mera stopped for a second, and looked, by the dying candlelight, at her once-perfect golden coat. Being a Uni, she was quite vain, but the present disaster was more urgent then picking the dirt bits from her worn hooves.

      Finally giving in to a short rest, Mera leaned against a cold stone, and opened the knapsack her mother had given to her, though she was nearly running out. The yellow Uni picked halfheartedly at a leftover turkey sandwich, and let some berry juice run down her dry, dust-coated throat. Finally, staring up at the jet-black sky, Mera fell asleep.

      Mera awoke a few hours later, her mane and fur caked with dust, and her throat drier than it ever had been. Mera felt a pang of dismay as she realized a few bugs were feasting on the residue her open bottle of berry juice had left on the hard, packed ground beside her. Mera looked once at the bugs, once at the stone propping up her head, and emptied the berry juice into her mouth.

      Slowly, waiting as the sun turned the thick blackness to a rich, dark fog, Mera plodded along, reviewing her life.

      She had begun life as an innocent Uni, before she learned of her prophecy. Three months ago, she had left her comfortable life as a wealthy suburban Uni, and went to the ancient city of Geraptiku, where her prophecy would be fulfilled.

      So far, Mera had done almost nothing but learn that she was to venture inside the deserted, ancient tomb of Geraptiku…and so far, Mera admitted with a pang of guilt, had done nothing of the sort.

      In a sudden gust of energy despite her draining energy Mera broke into a run. Today, she whispered to herself. Today, I'll step inside that tomb.

      Finally, Mera stopped. She was at the tomb, snakelike and twisted, crawling with Spyders and other insects. Mera forced back a shiver, and slowly approached the tomb.

      Forcefully shoving the door open, Mera blew out her candle, and replaced the warm, dripping wax with another candle, plain, white, tall, and long, just like the other. Too bad, Mera thought. Cinnamon Cupcake scented candles are still my favorite.

      Seeing the tomb didn't make Mera feel any more ambitious to fulfill her prophecy. She was stepping in a thick layer of grime, though she was heavy enough to break through it, and each time she withdrew her hoof from the ground it was covered in a thick layer of dust. There were many halls, all illuminated by the dull light of Mera's candle, but none looked more appealing than the one she had been in last. Everything was coated by the heavy stench of blood.

      Forcing herself through a layer of last century's cobwebs, Mera found herself in a room spattered with blood. In the corner, she could see a skull. But then, there was the scuffle of a living creature…

      "Hello? Are you lost?" whispered Mera.

      "Yes. Are you here to save me?" an excited voice yipped.

      Mera turned her lantern so it reflected the face of a baby Usul, its long fur shaggy and windblown.

      "No," admitted Mera readily. "I'm here to fulfill my prophecy."

      The Usul's amethyst eyes grew huge. "Fulfilling a prophecy?" tittered the Usul.

      "Yeah," muttered Mera awkwardly, "But I don't know what I'm doing, or how to do it."

      "Oh," said the Usul. "Kerani will help you. Let me come, please! I have food, I have been captured by the natives, I have food they have supplied me. Find the treasure, they want me to do, me help you instead."

      "Ummm…Kerani?" she said. "I'd be honored."

      Kerani chattered eagerly to Mera all the way through the halls, but Mera wasn't listening. They were looking for a place to eat, maybe sleep, too-neither of them were fit enough to stay up the entire night.

      "Here?" said Kerani, awakening Mera from her pondering thoughts.

      Mera smiled, and realized that Kerani had led her into a small, dusty tomb. There were stone benches that filled the room, and despite the skulls that lay around, Mera realized this would be the best place to sleep.

      "I have four blankets," offered Kerani, "One to cover the bench and one for warmth. And the cheese will be going bad soon, we will have cheese and bread," she finished at last.

      Mera had to admit that the meal was the most filling she had had in days. They both had myriad slices of cheese on slightly stale bread, and lukewarm berry juice. It was not the feast that Mera had grown accustomed to in her life of riches, but it was good enough.

      Soon, Mera could here Kerani's gentle breathing, and felt her ears droop with exhaustion. Still, as the last of the candle's orange flame flickered into nothingness, Mera could not sleep until well into the night.

      Mera was awakened by the scent of food, and saw Kerani eating an apple and drinking some Kau Kau milk. "Eat," she offered, and Mera sat down with her.

      "So how was your night's sleep?" asked Mera, biting into her apple core and spitting the seeds into the eye socket of a skull.

      "Fine," said Kerani. "Always fine. Never bad, that how it is with us Usuls. Hardy, no time for glory."

      Kerani finished her apple shortly after Mera did. Wiping apple juice off her lips, Mera said, "Let's go, then, Kerani."

      Again, Kerani chattered throughout the journey, but Mera did not reply, unless it was by a nodding. She had no idea what her companion was saying, it was as if she had been dunked into icy water. Was she the only one who could sense a veiled threat in this ancient Geraptiku tomb?

      No. No, you're not. The others have just all died. Mera's thoughts were suddenly filled with evil laughter. And you will too, before long. You and Kerani will be dead, all before you realized that you had time to escape.

      "Mera! Is something wrong?" Suddenly, Mera jerked her head up, and saw Kerani standing above her, her plume-shaped ears bobbing up and down.

      "No, I'll be alright," said Mera, deciding not to confess on what she had just heard. "I'll be alright…but I want to stop for a little while."

      Mera found a place to sit, and sat down. Her entire coat was caked with grime, and she realized she had not bathed in about a month now, ever since she had left civilization.

      Suddenly, she heard something. It was much louder, she was certain, than any noise that Kerani could have produced.

      "Did you hear that?" she whispered to her companion.

      "Yes," whispered Kerani. "What was it?" Let's find out.

      "No. No need. I am right in front of you," a voice cackled.

      "Who…who are…" whispered Mera, though she felt as if she knew. It was the same thing, the same voice, that had spoken to her in her dream.

     Suddenly, Mera was aware of a dim glow of silver light, pouring down from above. Standing in front of her was a giant serpent, an evil aura pouring from its body. Its body had a crystalline glow, and it's eyes were evil, red, and full of hatred.

     "You made it this far," the creature hissed, "but no farther. The secrets of Geraptiku are secret and always will be. No prophecy has changed that."

     "You mean," said Kerani, her purple eyes glittering with fear.

     "Yes," hissed the beast. "Yes, that other prophecies have been made, none fulfilled. You will not be any different."

     "I MUST," said Mera determinedly. "Really."

     "Oh?" hissed the serpent. "I have never been wrong predicting death in these tunnels."

     "You will be this time," grimaced Mera. Finally, casting a glance at Kerani's frightened, round face, she said. "Run. Run to the end and tell everything you know. Don't wait for me. I want Geraptiku's secrets to be told."

     Watching the Usul run, her white fur glowing with candlelight, Mera turned back to the serpent. "Tell me what I must do," she said.

     "Why," said the serpent, in a mocking voice. "That should be clear to you, O Chosen One." The serpent's last three words dripped with mockery. "Simply run, and tell the secrets of Geraptiku."

     "But Kerani's doing that," snapped Mera impatiently. "Now, tell me what I must do."

     "Run," he said. "Geraptiku's secrets have been revealed to you… especially what it is: an evil place, the keeping-place of secrets."

     Suddenly Mera realized her prophecy. "You see not," the serpent spat, "but you know. Run now."

     "NO!" shouted Mera. "I want to know!"

     Suddenly, Mera felt a jolt of pure joy. This serpent preys off my own uncertainty in my duty, she realized. I must be clear-minded.

     "Tell me what you hide," said Mera certainly. "I must know."

     But she realized that the serpent wasn't there. It was again vanishing into a thousand silver wisps. "Defeated…" it whispered.

     Stepping cautiously forward, Mera saw a pinprick of light. It was a book, a tiny book. Reading it aloud, it said, The Fulfillment of the Prophecy.

     "This is it," said Mera. "Another step in."

     She dug into her knapsack for another candle, and lit it. She smelled Cinnamon Cupcake.

The End     

 
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