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A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Four


by appaloosa500

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Boring, thought Rocky to himself. The Red Ruki was sitting on a golden cushion across from the two beautiful Purple Ruki princesses he now knew as his aunts. He really wasn't paying attention to a word, being too busy counting the seconds in his head. Where were the queen's supposed intelligence?

     The princesses were still happily chatting about something or other to their darling long-lost nephew, the newly proclaimed Prince Rocker. Not that he'd even noticed when they'd told him his new title. He didn't seem to have heard a single word until one of them mentioned something about a king.

     "Huh? What?" he said, jerking back to the present.

     "Queen Rose wants you to be the next king. Why did you think she doesn't want you to run off?"

     "No!" said Rocky in horror. A king?! "No!" he repeated, getting to his two sets of feet.

     "Why not?" asked one of his aunties. "Your mother was Crown Princess. If she hadn't had a child, naturally the crown could've been passed to one of us-"

     "I don't want it! I want to save DeSoni and go home!"

     "You are home!" exclaimed the other aunt in worry.

     "No, I'm not," said Rocky stubbornly. Then he quickly added, "How long has it been?"

     "About two hours. Now, dear-"

     "That's been plenty of time. I'm leaving."

     "Prince-!"

     "Look," said Rocky, "my best friend, practically my only friend, has been captured and could be in mortal danger! And I'm just supposed to wait?!"

     "Yes," said the two princesses, as if that was the simplest question in the world.

     "Forget it!" he exclaimed.

     With those last words, he took off at super-speed, so fast the two Purple Rukis barely noticed the blur.

     "How in Neopia?" gasped the first.

     "Why in Neopia?" wondered the second.

     ******

     Khargana drenched herself with the aptly named faerie-blessed ability "Drench." She was still obviously sweaty and hot, but the soaking had done her a world of good.

     "Clearly this isn't working," she told Rissa, who stood perfectly comfortable next to her. She shook herself and water specks went flying.

     "Then let's try for Rocky instead," said the Blue Shoyru.

     "The reason we've been trying to get into the Sakhmetian dungeons is because we can't follow Rocky," sighed the Green Wocky, flicking leftover droplets from her vest. "There's no way we'll be allowed into a Ruki colony's home. Those footprints were likely guards, and I don't fancy-"

     "Come on, Khar. You know we could get in."

     The Green Wocky's eyes darted to the left and right warily. They were right in the middle of Sakhmet's marketplace and surrounded by Neopets and possibly listening ears.

     "Hush up!" she hissed, grabbing the Shoyru's arm and pulling her into an empty alley.

     "As far as possible, I'd like to do this legally! If that's not possible, I certainly don't want everyone to know our plans!" scolded Khargana when she was sure they were alone. "And you should know better than to speak of those types of skills in Sakhmet!"

     Rissa lowered her head guiltily and nodded. Sakhmet plus thieves equals the real world and all that. If any of the many patrolling guardsmen had overheard them speaking of sneaking into anywhere he could've arrested them on the spot.

     "But we've tried everything!" she despaired. "They're not lettin' anyone into those dungeons, no matter what names we drop. Especially since we cain't explain why we want in! Short of being arrested ourselves-"

     Khargana got a thoughtful glimmer in her eyes.

     "Oh no, girl. I've been in Sakhmet's dungeons before; thank Fyora they don't keep records so they don't remember. They search you down to the skin beneath your fur before snapping on the shackles and locking you to a wall. They'd get all your sweet gadgets and we'd be sunk. We ain't gettin' out if that's your way in."

     "Alright, alright," grumbled the Wocky Detective. "We've tried asking the princess and weren't even granted audience. We've tried speaking to the guards, who might've been stone for all the leeway and information we got from them. We've tried sneaking around and looking for a hidden way in, which nearly got us kicked out on our tails. And..." She flipped what looked like a small, blank scroll from one of her pockets, unrolled it, and pressed her paw against the center. A small red dot began flicking rapidly in swirls and twists and turns around what was now clearly seen as a map. "And besides not getting into wherever Rocky is, he's just activated his super-speed, so there's no way we'd even find him."

     Khargana slipped the scroll back into a pocket and smiled a little foolishly into Rissa's face. "I know the one way to get in, and you're not going to like it."

     "What?"

     "Side with a band of street rogues or thieves who need to get someone out and offer our own services in exchange for theirs." The Wocky almost unconsciously stuck her paw into the pocket she had stashed the little pyramid-like objects in.

     "You're jokin'."

     "There's no other way."

     "I don't like it."

     "But I do," said a voice just above their heads. A Desert Usul flipped over their heads and landed facing them, shortly followed by two Desert Acaras and a Desert Aisha.

     The Desert Usul took over speaking. "I am Kai-ji. You are not to know the others' names. I do not wish to tell you the secret name of our team or anything else, only to speak of what we have overheard from you."

     "I am Khargana, a detective from Neopia Central. This is my friend, CarissaOfire, an ex-thief. We need to get a good friend out of the dungeons."

     "We too have someone we wish to get out. What have you to offer us?"

     "Items of some fair importance," said Khargana smoothly. She opened her vest and pulled the Alien Aisha blaster from an inside pocket. Then she pulled out another scroll; this one, when unrolled and in Khargana's paws, showed some sort of detailed analysis and map of Sakhmet's castle and dungeons. "And my friend has skills to match the best of your thieves." The Wocky grinned cleverly. "We may not be able to get in, but I promise you we can get anyone out."

     The Desert Neopets turned and consulted among themselves. Khargana's keen ears picked up the words "no choice," "good deal," and "Ofire." Rissa's old owner, the one that forced her to steal, had called her Ofire. They must've heard of her before.

     They turned back around. "Deal."

     ******

     Rocky dashed through the countless corridors and rooms and whatnot, trying to find the exit to this tremendous maze. Unfortunately, the normal Rukis of the colony had woken from their afternoon siesta and kept getting in the way, involving substantial dodging on Rocky's part. Thankfully the paths had been designed for Rukis, naturally, so it wasn't actually difficult, just confusing. He skidded to a stop in a more deserted looking area to get his bearings.

     The tall Red Ruki looked around and scratched his head behind the antennae. This room didn't seem at all familiar. So where was he? He'd thought he'd been heading in roughly the right direction.

     "Rocky!" gasped an older, masculine voice behind him. "What on Neopia?"

     Whoops. It was that Head Guard guy. Rocky gulped and turned around, vividly aware of the track of dirt from his skid and how shocking his sudden appearance from nowhere must have been.

     "Um, wrong room?" joked Rocky weakly.

     "I'll say. You're in my bedroom!"

     "Oh. Really wrong room…"

     "Why aren't you in the royal chambers?"

     Rocky lowered his head. Something about the combination of commander and father in the Head Guard's tone made him view his actions as rather childish. "I… I…"

     "Don't answer; I can guess," said the Head Guard with a sigh. "You found out they want you to be the next king and all you could think about was your friend who is currently in mortal danger."

     "Well, um, yes sir."

     "Call me Silas-and have a seat," he gestured to the hammock that must serve as his bed.

     Rocky slowly did. "Thank you, Silas," he said softly. The older Red Ruki sat across from him on a wooden chair.

     "I take it you don't want to be king?"

     "No sir, I mean, Silas."

     "Why not?"

     "I…" Rocky hesitated. "I don't know anything about this life-the life of a wild Ruki. How could I possibly be a good king to a people I've never been a part of?"

     "Excellent point."

     "Plus, I'd be so homesick all the time! And I'd always be worrying about my owner, and my sisters, and DeSoni-"

     "Your friend, of course. And can you explain that?" He pointed to the tracks in the dirt floor.

     If Rocky hadn't already been red he'd have become it then from blushing. "About that-um, long story. I'm really sorry about your floor though."

     "Apology accepted, and I won't pry. Especially since we don't have time."

     "Why not?" asked Rocky warily, suddenly thinking Silas had rung the other guards or something.

     "I made a promise, didn't I? And obviously you can't find your way out of our home, or you wouldn't have ended up in my room. Let's go save your friend. I know a back way out of here that no one will spot us on."

     Rocky blinked in surprise.

     "Come, come. He's assuredly being held in Sakhmet's dungeons. I guessed that and my men reported in half an hour ago with affirmatives."

     "Half an hour?!" gasped Rocky.

     "More proof you're not suited to the royal way of life," chuckled Silas. "No patience. The queen does not believe in rushing into things." He walked to the back of his room and pulled aside a curtain to show a secret tunnel. "Now, let's go! Before they come looking for you."

     ******

     DeSoni and Kregor's situation seemed hopeless.

     Commander Galba reentered the cell, arms laden with assorted types and sizes of potion bottles. The Red Alien Aisha set them on a stone bench opposite Kregor's, on the other side of the table DeSoni was bound too. Was there anything anyone could do at this point?

     Poor, dismal Kregor Geiger positively withered, not even looking up at the uniformed Alien Aisha that had as good as destroyed his own life by destroying the life of his old friend. His blue shade was pale, his slim body was trembling, and his four earstalks dropped nearly straight down in overwhelming sadness and loss of hope.

     Whereas Kregor seemed to have been weakened from Galba's slow and steady pace, DeSoni seemed strengthened. The tiny yellow Neopet, who had once proudly counted himself an Alien Aisha but had long since abandoned that way of life, had finally come to grips with things as they stood. He still sweated and trembled at the idea of being a test-subject, but he was no longer haunted by memories of the past nor in dire fear of his future. What mattered most, at this moment, was not giving Galba the pleasure of bringing him any lower.

     ******

     Khargana checked her scroll-locator, then motioned for Kai-ji and Rissa to draw close. "Straight down this hall, just as we planned." The threesome nodded.

     Kai-ji, the Desert Usul, took off with Rissa and his team of street rogues. Khargana closed her eyes and concentrated, trying hard to access her newest faerie-blessed ability, one called "Teleport."

     ******

     Galba's solid body bent over and lifted a greenish potion bottle, at the same time pulling a sort of sprayer-top from inside the coat of his Alien Aisha Military uniform. With careful and deliberate movements he pulled the stopper from the bottle and twisted the top into place.

     Almost as if in slow motion, he turned and leveled the sprayer straight at DeSoni's face. The poor doctor whimpered and buried his head in his paws. DeSoni bravely looked past the potion about to stream into his face and met his enemy's eyes.

     ******

     "Here we are," whispered Silas. "Just on the other side of this wall."

     "Got it," answered Rocky, putting his shoulder against the stone barrier and pushing with all his super-powered might.

To be continued...

Author's Note: I know, I know--you hate cliffhangers! But I couldn't resist! And part five was just a fraction too long to squeeze with part four. So PLEASE don't neomail me any flamers, but I would LOVE neomail about Silas, Rocky's aunts, Kai-ji, Rissa's past, or just what you like about the story! Or anything else for that matter, and thanks!

 
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Other Episodes


» A Confusing Conglomeration: Part One
» A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Two
» A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Three
» A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Five



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