The Jackals of Sakhmet II- Finding Lee: Part Ten
Rubite Mines (The Pond)-
At first, nothing happened…but then the pond began to
lose its glow and a green liquid, poison, began to spread quickly throughout…
It had worked… The pond, the source of Rubite's power, had been contaminated,
"You little rat! You urchin! I'll have your
head for this!" Kasha hissed, shoving Lee to the side and heading for Cole.
The Wocky moved quickly out of the way, heading for the tunnel Kasha and Niger
had come up in.
"Lee, Omar, let's go!" he called over his shoulder.
Without hesitation, the three of them were running for the tunnel, Kasha and
Niger right on their tails. They all had jumped inside the tunnel, sliding down,
down, down to the base of the ledge. Cole, of course, was the first one out,
followed by Lee, then Omar, and finally Niger and Kasha. Apparently, the two
Cybunnies, Kasha's henchmen, were waiting for them at the opening of the tunnel.
The moment Cole and his friends were in sight, they had grabbed them by the
"Let-us-go!" Lee cried, trying to break away,
but her attempts were for naught, for the henchmen had them in a tight grip.
"You'll pay for what you did," snarled Kasha,
glaring at each child with a murderous look in her eyes. "I will…"
No one found out what Kasha would do, for a
rock, flying out of nowhere, hit her square in the eye. Another one hit Niger
on the head. Soon dozens of rocks were hitting everyone…everyone except the
children. The henchmen were forced to release them; backing away slowly as more
rocks came pelting down on their heads and faces.
"You aren't touching a hair on any of them!"
called a sharp voice one the rocks had stopped falling. All heads turned to
the very entrance of the mine: Cole, Lee, and Omar smiled as Scarab, Lycos,
Wain, and Keera entered the mine. Gratefully, the children ran behind them,
knowing that things were going to be better now…
"You gave me your word, Scarab," Niger pointed
out coolly. "You were to stay outside the cave or the Wocky was through…"
"The last time I checked, Niger, Cole was standing
directly behind me." Scarab replied just as coolly, glaring at the Cybunny.
"Besides, you're one to talk… Attacking innocent children, going back on your
word… I told you things wouldn't be pretty…"
"Back off, you bozo!" Kasha snapped, yet wearing
a weary expression. "Those urchins have ruined my plans…again…"
"Oh really?" he asked in an amused voice, casting
the children a quick glance. "Figures…"
* * *
It was done quickly and without hesitation.
Kasha, Niger and the henchmen were forced outside the cave…or more really, the
henchmen gave up immediately and did everything Scarab told them to. For evil
sidekicks, they weren't very reliable.
"Don't think this means I don't still have a
bone to pick with you," Keera snarled at Niger, squeezing his paws tight behind
his back as they all walked down the path. "Nobody, I mean nobody, messes with
me, my crew, or my ship… Do you think pirating comes cheap, buddy?"
She went on fussing at Niger the entire way…
Cole all of a sudden felt very lightheaded. He lagged behind the others, closing
and opening his eyes repeatedly. No…he thought nervously. Anywhere
but here… Anytime but now… Never would be nice… He saw it coming the entire
time. Immediately he regretted not telling the others about his paw… He looked
up at the others, lagging even farther behind. The only one who seemed to notice
was Kasha who smirked knowingly, letting out a small chuckle.
"Perhaps this trip did have some benefits,"
she called to Scarab, ignoring the tight squeeze Wain gave her paws as she made
to break free. Confused, Scarab looked over his shoulder to see what Kasha meant:
there, on the ground, lay Cole, his breaths short and eyes closed…
* * *
My head…my arms…my legs… I can't feel any
of them… Where am I? Am I…am I dead…?
Cole wanted so longingly to open his eyes, but
his eyelids felt so heavy, it seemed impossible. He could not move at all, as
if his very body was made of stone or brick… Was this death…to be stuck in an
endless void of darkness for all of eternity? No…It couldn't be… Why would Cole
hear singing if he really had passed on? The voice was beautiful… It sounded
so graceful, so smooth, so familiar… Who was singing? He had to know. He had
to come back to reality…
Someone gently brushed a paw through his hair;
the singing grew louder. It sounded mournful…and yet, it sounded as if the Faeries
themselves were singing of a joyous occasion…
Across the seas
Over the skies
Nothing can keep me away, away
Under the stars
Over the moon
Nothing can keep me away…
Such beautiful words… Cole's eyes slowly opened…
Lee was peering down at him, wearing a large smile. She was the one singing…
"Glad to see you're awake," called Omar from
across the room, sitting on a small stool. Across the room… Cole sat up from
the bed he was in quickly and stared around their surroundings. From the looks
of the looming ceiling, the elegant wall decorations, and the doors made of
gold, Cole assumed they were in the Palace…back in the Lost Desert. He had so
many questions: how was he alright after what had happened? Where were Kasha
and Niger and the others? How exactly had Omar survived his encounter with the
As if reading his mind, Lee gently placed a
hoof on his knee and quietly said, "You have some catching up to do…"
"You think," asked Cole sarcastically. "But
seriously, what happened after I passed out? How did you..."
"Scarab forced Kasha to tell what she did to
you and as soon as we found out, we rushed you immediately to a doctor on the
island. They gave you some sort of injection…I don't know, but you still didn't
wake up…" Lee cut him off. Omar had found his way over and sat on the edge of
"The doctor said you'd be fine, though," he
added. Lee nodded and continued.
"We went back to Keera's ship and once all of
Niger's 'friends' saw that Kasha and Niger were capture, they surrendered and
gave back Keera's ship."
"So we sailed all the way back here?" yawned
Cole, rubbing his eyes groggily. Lee nodded.
"We got here and of course, Niger and Kasha
went straight to the dungeons. Princess Amira says they're heavily guarded at
Cole understood now. He was grateful; if his
friends hadn't been there, he would be here right now… He then turned to Omar
and asked, "And what of your soup?"
Lee looked confused, staring at Omar as well.
The Cybunny smirked and replied, "Thought you'd never ask. Well, as you know,
it was dinner time on Cap'n Keera's ship." He was more really talking to Lee
so she understood. "We were served soup, and of all the cloaked stowaways to
be hiding in the shadows on the ship, Niger was the one lurking in the kitchens…
Who else would have poisoned our soups?
"The moment I looked at the soup, I knew something
wasn't right. It was darker than usually. I swirled my spoon in it: some black
stuff was mixed in it… Whatever it was, I noticed the same stuff to be in Cole's
soup. Niger… I decided to pour it out in one of Keera's fake plants and leave
early, making it look like I ate already. I knew that if Cole saw me leave early-"
"I'd think that something was wrong with you
and go looking for you…" Cole finished, smiling knowingly. Genius… Omar never
missed a meal, it was common sense…
"I proceeded to make my way to our room, but
I felt like someone was watching me," Omar continued. "As soon as I stepped
in the room and closed the door, I heard footsteps approaching the room. Whoever
messed with the food was following me… So, I made a loud thud, fell on the floor
"You pretended to pass out from the soup," Cole
finished once more, looking pleased. "Omar, that was clever!"
"Very," Lee added brightly.
"Yes, I couldn't have done better myself," added
a familiar voice. The three turned to the door, which was now wide open. Princess
Amira stood there, smiling nervously at the children. Cole suddenly realized
why she looked so uncertain: their conversation from a few days ago came back
"We have concluded," Advisor Wessle had
said. "That all orphans from ages 0 years to 16 years are to be shipped off
to Neopia Central and adopted into a family, or, if they wish not to leave,
they can be adopted right here. Either way, orphans are being taken off the
streets, so it doesn't matter what you choose…"
Princess Amira slowly walked up to the bed and
looked down at Cole.
"I'm glad you're okay," she said quietly. Cole
nodded, not saying a word. He wasn't sure whether he was still angry with her
or glad to see her…
"Princess," said Omar so abruptly that everyone
jumped and stared at him. "Why do we have to be adopted?"
Lee stared at Omar incredulously, and then to
Cole who gave her a meek shrug.
"I mean," Omar continued. "You're in charge;
you should have a say in what to do. Isn't there another way?"
Amira shook her head and replied, "I'm afraid
not… It's either adoption or relocation… You have only those choices…whether
you like them or not."
She glanced at Cole when she said those last
words. Cole knew what she meant: their conversation before they had left to
Krawk Island… Cole still didn't feel ready to grow up…
"I have an idea," said Lee, suddenly smirking.
Omar and Cole stared at her as if she was a talking Slorg… How could she be
smiling at a time like this? Her eyes flashed knowingly as she stood up and
began whispering excitedly into Amira's ear…
* * *
Palace Gates (Several Days Later)-
Various pets were walking, strolling, or running
along on the sidelines. Shopkeepers bargained with customers. Customers bargained
with shopkeepers. Hissi Charmers performed for the crowds that enclosed them
in a small circle. Everyone was busy. Everyone was doing something. Everyone
was crowding around the Palace Gates, for Amira had something special to announce.
Curious Neopets shot disdainful glances at the many orphans, the Jackals, lined
up in a row in the very front of the crowd, cheering excitedly.
No one knew why they cheered except for the
children themselves and the Princess… Why wouldn't they cheer such splendid
news? Amongst these children stood three well-dressed, knowing little children,
Cole, Omar, and Lee. They clapped with the crowd as Princess Amira appeared
in front of the Palace gates, accompanied by Lycos and two Grarrl guards. She
held up her paws to silence the crowd.
"Loyal Sakhmetians," she called happily. "Thank
you for being here today… I have excellent news; now, for some time now, I've
been receiving many of your complaints about parentless children running loose
among the streets and stealing from you. You need not worry anymore! The Royal
Council and I have come to this conclusion…"
Amira had everyone's undivided attention when
she spoke the last few words.
"Instead of adopting these children into families,
or sending them away, or locking them up, we've opened a brand new children's
The crowd began to cheer, but not as much as
the Jackals. Amira held up her paws to silence them once more.
"How this works is simple; if you're generous
enough to donate to the children's care center, you would be helping to pay
for these children's food, clothes, education, and helping them to keep their
home here in Sakhmet! They'll live in the children's center and go about their
average lives, except no stealing!"
She shot a small glance at the children who
nodded eagerly. She smiled once more and went on, "And without further ado,
I present to you the SOCC, Sakhmetian Orphan Care Center!"
All heads turned towards the brand new building
made of adobe brick to the very left of the street. The letters SOCC were boldly
engraved above its door. Amira clapped her hands once and added, "Well, go on;
let the festivities begin!"
Everyone cheered, rushing here and there. Most
Jackals rushed into the building to get a first look, but some stayed outside
to join in on the celebration. Among these Jackals were Cole, Omar, and Lee.
They walked to the sidelines and sat down, staring around with interest.
"What a crazy week," Omar muttered, rolling
on his back and staring blankly into the sky. "It's just so weird… It's finally
"Yeah, and it's great to be back home," added
Lee, blowing softly on his ear for no reason. Cole stared and smiled at her
for a long moment. When she realized, she asked, "What?"
"Sing that song…" he said quietly. "The song
you sang for me…"
Lee blushed and shook her head, yet Cole could
sense a small smile across her face.
"I don't…remember it," she muttered. Cole nodded,
smirking…and then gently poked her on the shoulder.
"You're it," he muttered, climbing to his feet
and running off. Lee smiled, rising to her feet as well. Before running off
after Cole, she poked Omar on the shoulder.
"Now you're it."
Omar, still lying on his back, sighed, rising
to his feet as well.
"I'm always it!" he whined, smiling all the
same and chasing after his friends. There was nothing like a good game of tag
that took your mind off of things. Cole was far ahead of the two of them, but
he was still in their view. He may have been a year or two older than his friends,
and Princess Amira had told him that he had to grow up sometime, whether
he like it or not… But for now…he chuckled to himself… For now he'd enjoy the
time he had left before he had to make really tough choices…
Author's Note: Thank you for reading the JOS II- Finding Lee! I had real
fun writing in! Please feel free to neomail me any comments or questions about
the series, and once more, thanks for reading!