There are certain things in life that you simply don't do.
Getting trapped in Sakhmet City when a rather pushy Kyrii blasts it into another
dimension and unleashes his undead minions onto its populace is one of those things.
But honestly, it wasn't my fault. I had no idea that was going to happen. All
I knew was that my pets were begging me for something interesting to do and that
I was running fast out of ideas. It doesn't help things that my striped Eyrie,
Un-eairkagh, gets destructive when bored. Snap decisions were never my specialty.
"Alright, alright!" I finally howled, "We'll
go to Sakhmet."
Oh, what WAS I thinking? A trip to the hottest
place on Neopia when I'm the girl that's been nicknamed "The Ice Queen"? When
I, unlike my four furred and feathered pets, have to worry about things like
massive third-degree sunburn? And with a hyperactive Eyrie that doesn't understand
the concept of sunstroke? Ah yes, a trip to the Lost Desert would be interesting
indeed. But I had committed myself and now, I was resigned for what was probably
going to be a disaster. I didn't know how right I was.
The best thing about my family of pets is that
they can all fly. Furthermore, I can ride on my Uni MoonFall's back. We arrived
at the city around midday. Arrived is a generous term. I'll be honest - we landed
in one of the various open courtyards with all the grace of a rotten tchea falling
from a third floor window. My Eyrie hit first, bounced, and with a happy squawk
landed in the fountain. Neopets started staring at that point, long enough for
his brother, Aldrai the Darigan Zafara, to attempt a graceful landing at the
pinnacle of the fountain. So, Terraile, my faerie Pteri, upset this with a well-placed
dive. Into the fountain went Aldrai. MoonFall made a nice landing and I dismounted,
doing my best to pretend that the two pets tussling in the fountain and soaking
nearby passersby weren't mine. That was when one of them grabbed me and pulled
me in along with them. I remember shrieking something about washing the sunscreen
off my poor pale skin.
Every exposed portion of me was beet red by
sundown. Even the part on my scalp was red. Un-eairkagh and Terraile were finding
this vastly amusing.
"Like a tomato."
"No, I'd say more like a meatball in sauce."
Terraile was engaging him in a word-association game.
"You already used tomato. She's like a cherry
"You can't use tomato again!"
That was me. I was trying to secure us rooms
at an inn.
"You're not from around here?" the Grarrl at
the front asked me, raising one painted brow in inquiry. I would have to find
where they got that face paint sometime, if only to try it out on my poor unsuspecting
"What gave it away?"
"Your attire. Sakhmet natives know to cover
up against the sun, not show as much skin as is decent and allow for ah, your
I scowled at my blistered shoulders.
"I'm HOT, though."
"We're also used to the heat. I'll show you
to your rooms."
The next day, I got up before my pets and slipped
out into the city. Hopefully MoonFall and Terraile would keep the boys out of
trouble. There were a couple merchants setting up and I found some clothes vendors
and examined the wares. With a little help, I purchased some clothing that they
assured me was lightweight and would keep the sun off my face and arms. I also
bought some jewelry and black paint. Those eye decorations were just too grand
to not try. And luckily, I got back before any of my pets woke.
Un-eairkagh actually screamed when he got sight
of himself in the mirror. Earrings on his feather tufts and beautiful black
lines decorating his eyes. Aldrai merely blinked in confusion and the girls
were adorning themselves.
He turned to me and I swear he managed to make
his lower beak quiver. I don't know how.
"Sweet benevolent giver of goodness… Loving
caring wondrous owner… Kiddo…. Why did you put makeup on me?"
"It's the fashion. And you look adorable."
"I look like a girl."
"Ah, you've been zapped with the lab ray enough
that you shouldn't be bothered. Stop your yapping and let's go. I want to see
Princess Amira today."
We saw Princess Amira all right. We also saw
Prince Jazan. I'll admit it - I wasn't too impressed by the direness of the
situation at first. In fact, all I really noticed was how to poke fun at my
"Look, look, Eair. He's got the eye makeup too."
"He's a foppish prince."
That was when the princess refused his offer.
And when he brandished his hands into the sky, his steed transformed into something
out of nightmare, and the temperature dropped a couple degrees. I would have
been delighted, had it not been for the hair on the back of my neck standing
on end in response to the magical power gathering in the air.
"Kiddo," Aldrai said, slipping to stand between
me and where Jazan was, "We need to go. Now."
"Oh, awesome," Un-eairkagh breathed, "that evil
Kyrii with the cool magic has eye paint. I like this stuff now."
We of the Child Dragon clan had long ago learned
to ignore the majority of Un-eairkagh's comments.
"This is not good!" Terraile had landed on my
shoulder and was clinging for dear life as the wind picked up, buffeting her
wings and feathers and making flight near impossible.
In the past, we've faced incredible danger.
Incredible evil. We came through it intact. But when you left your weapons at
home, your allies are back in Neopia Central, and you really have no clue what
you're going up against, fighting doesn't seem like an appealing option at all.
So we resorted to Plan B.
We made it as far as where the street turned
when Jazan finished his spell. A shockwave rippled across the city and I fell
when it reached me, my heart skipping a beat from the strange sensation that
rushed over us. Like we were being crushed by an invisible hand. Only a second,
then it was gone, and I was staring up at a strange sky.
Terraile was sticking close to me and I could
see out of the corner of my eye MoonFall lowering her head to display the point
of her horn. I rolled, slowly, and stood. Something was stalking the streets.
A jerky, stiff sort of stalk - snapping heads at angles to glare at the innocent
civilians before brandishing weapons. Neopets, covered in bandages and with
glowing eyes. The reek of must hung heavy in the air.
"More running?" Aldrai asked.
"Yep. Definitely more running."
We ran. It was after I cut through an alleyway
that we truly ran into trouble. One of those undead-pets noticed us and blocked
our escape, polearm pointed at us. I skidded to a stop but it was far too late.
I dropped to the ground right before him and the blade went whooshing right
where my chest had been.
"That's my owner you're messing with!"
A blur of white feathers and fur went streaking
over my head. At some point Un-eairkagh had grabbed a stout piece of wood and
as his favored weapon was the portable kiln, this came in handy. Crack! I didn't
take any time to survey the damage - seconds were precious in a combat - only
lunged for the weapon that fell from the creature's hand. Snagged it up, stood,
spun, and called for Un-eairkagh to stand down.
"It's unconscious. I think."
My Zafara prodded the creature with one foot.
It moaned and Un-eairkagh brandished his weapon, but I shook my head. There
was no need. The thing wasn't getting up.
"Alright, we find shelter," I said. "There's
too many of these things for us to fight."
I tossed the polearm from hand to hand, performed
an uppercut and then my 'snipe shot' - a full extension of the polearm to test
the range. A touch small for a fully-grown human, but it'd do. Much better than
no weapon at all.
"Terraile, can you play scout for us? Try and
find passageways where we can avoid conflict."
"Right. Where's our ultimate destination?"
"The inn, I guess."
She flapped into the air and circled, waiting
for us to start moving again.
"Un-eairkagh, you take point. Standard defensive
formation - I'll attack over your shoulder if need be as I've got the reach.
Aldrai, MoonFall, you take rear guard. Watch our sides."
A deep breath. Strategy was one of my interests
but I wasn't so keen on playing tactician when it was myself and my pets on
the line. And when we were vastly outnumbered. But what choice did I have? Something
bad had just happened to the city and it appeared we were trapped with all the
rest to share in its fate.
At least the sunburn was only a minor concern
We found the inn. We helped its keeper barricade
the doors and windows. I put my pets and myself on guard duty, taking turns
patrolling the few rooms of the building to ensure that nothing was trying to
get in. That was nerve-wracking business. I could hear them shuffling about
outside and each time one got close, I would just freeze up in terror. Wait.
Hope they couldn't sense me through the wooden planks we'd hammered into place
over the door. Then it'd continue along and I could breathe again. I dreaded
the thought of what would happen if we were discovered.
There was no information. We were completely
cut off from the rest of the city - for all we knew, we could be the only survivors.
The innkeeper filled us in with the back-story, about how this mysterious Jazan
hailing from the city Qasala was demanding that Princess Amira marry him to
fulfill some prophecy.
"Romance? Ick!" Un-eairkagh stuck out his tongue.
"It's not like that," my Uni said disapprovingly,
"This whole thing happened because she refused to marry him."
"Another reason why no one should fall in love."
"She doesn't love him, you dolt! I've been trying
to tell you that."
"Sorry," I apologized to the innkeeper, "continue
with the story, please."
Turns out that's about all there was to it.
She'd refused and now here we were, trapped, with no knowledge of what was happening
and if we'd ever see Neopia Central again.
With no way to measure days, I could not tell
how much time had passed before we were forced to vacate our hiding place. I
use such gentle terms. Vacate is not the way to describe it. There was screaming
and burning and running. Basically, Jazan grew tired of waiting on Amira and
set loose another monster on the city. An enormous two-headed Scorchio that
flew about spitting fireballs onto the buildings. We were one of the unfortunate
Thankfully, we were in the bottom floor when
the fire erupted. There was an explosion and it seemed like all the oxygen was
sucked out of the room and then came imploding back in, clapping in my ears
and sending them ringing. Then the temperature leapt (I was profoundly dismayed
by this) and I saw flames leaping down from the stairwell.
"Fire!" Aldrai cried, "Get out!"
Our protection from the undead soldiers had
become a trap. I pried at the planks over the door, coughing at the smoke that
was billowing up. Then someone pulled me away - the Grarrl innkeeper I think
- and MoonFall spun and reared, planting her hind legs into the planks with
a tremendous kick. They cracked, broke, and we tumbled from the building, choking
and gasping to collapse on the opposite side of the street. I'd no sooner caught
my breath than the building collapsed inwards.
"We've got to move. The fire is spreading."
I could see the Scorchio moving on to torch
another part of the city, shrieking like a banshee as it did so. There were
tears in my eyes from the soot.
"Right," I whispered.
Standard defensive position again. This time,
we had the Grarrl taking the rear and MoonFall and Aldrai watching the flanks.
There were a couple run-ins and Un-eairkagh and I dealt with them in our usual
efficient manner. He stayed between me and the enemy and I provided some ranged
support, holding the spear up high and thrusting down towards the enemy. That
didn't seem to do much good outside of distracting them long enough for Un-eairkagh
to smash his improvised club down over their heads.
"Shoulda brought my kiln," he muttered. "Why'd
you make me leave it again?"
"Cause this desert is plenty dang hot already."
I wish I could say we were an integral part
to saving the city. We weren't. Eventually, we found another bolthole and crawled
in amongst the other refugees. Found a spot close to the entrance and stayed
there with weapons ready. Everyone was quiet and we waited in fearful silence,
punctuated by the occasional cough and a young pet's crying. Terraile and Un-eairkagh
tried to start up their game on thinking up metaphors for my sunburn, but that
didn't last long. We were too anxious from the waiting.
When the noise died down in the city, it was
a Lupe native who volunteered to go look. Un-eairkagh offered to go with him,
but I made him stay. It was too dangerous to send such a boisterous pet on a
scouting mission. He'd botch it all. The Lupe returned after about an hour with
the news that the princess had agreed to marry Jazan and end this madness. Everyone
breathed a sigh of relief.
"But I thought she didn't love him," Un-eairkagh
whispered to me.
He may be a bit silly and feather-brained, but
Un-eairkagh is perceptive in ways he doesn't realize.
I suppose you know how the story ends already.
Amira doesn't wind up marrying Jazan - that Ixi does. The curse is lifted from
the city. We can finally leave our hiding places and breath the free - but still
unpleasantly hot - air of Sakhmet city once more. I started making plans on
leaving the wretched desert and returning home to safety and a nice long bath.
There was soot in my hair from fleeing the burning building and Terraile's brilliant
feathers weren't as bright as they should be. But before we left, we joined
the throngs that crowded the streets to watch Jazan and Nabile depart for Qasala.
Our seats were great. MoonFall flew me up to
a nearby rooftop and we sat arrayed at the edge, dangling our legs and paws
over and watching. The two looked so happy as they rode past, Jazan beaming
at Nabile riding by his side. Such a different creature from the Kyrii that
had unleashed a nightmare upon the city days earlier.
"It's kinda sweet," MoonFall said.
"Blech." Un-eairkagh was back to making faces.
"I guess there's a moral in all this," Terraile
We thought on this. MoonFall was the first to
"True love always wins?"
"Good prevails over evil?" Terraile.
"Not everyone is what they seem?" Aldrai.
"Girls have cooties?"
"Bring more sunscreen?"
I don't think I have to elaborate as to whom
the last two were from.