A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 110,013,549 Issue: 158 | 20th day of Gathering, Y6
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The Scarab Tree: Part Two


by amberttttt

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Nefertari and Sosta were in the temple. Before them stretched a courtyard, bare and desolate, and beyond that was a dark doorway. The crossed the courtyard and entered the doorway to find themselves in a room so beautiful that they forgot all their troubles in a moment.

      The room was made of the same hard brown stone as the rest of the temple was, though it was polished so that it was smooth and reflected the blue torch lights that were hung along the walls of the room. In the corner was a lovely silken bed, piled high with many brown silk pillows that reminded Nefertari so much of her own bed, with the most gorgeous creature in the whole of the Lost Desert sleeping peacefully upon it.

      Nefertari and Sosta walked up to her, for what else could they do? She was so beautiful that they were drawn towards her like iron filings to a magnet. She had a tanned and pointed face, and wore a long linen dress that fell to her sandal-clad feet; her head held many dozens of countless black braids that neatly fell to her shoulders, and upon them was a head band of gold and lapis lazuli. But the most magnificent thing about her was the set of wings that grew out of her back. They were brown and transparent like that of a dragonfly's, and extremely thin and delicate looking. And though Sosta tried to stop her, Nefertari reached out and touched the clean, beautiful wing with her filthy, sandy hand.

      It was only for a moment that her hand was on the wing, for the faerie woke with a start and danced out of reach, but Nefertari felt the smooth glassy wing, and all in that one instant, she felt strangely refreshed again.

      "It is forbidden to touch a faerie's wing!" the faerie cried out, standing in midair, wings buzzing like a hummingbird's. Her voice was like the desert wind, pure and calming.

      Nefertari gulped. "I'm sorry. I wouldn't have done it if I had known. And…is it just me? Hmm…I felt-different when I touched your wing. I felt-cool and, err, refreshed? Yes that's it, I felt healed."

      The faerie smiled. "That is why you just gulped. You have liquid in you again. A faerie has the power to heal the one who touches her, whether she likes it or not."

      "Who are you?" Sosta demanded. "Are you good or are you evil?"

      And the faerie laughed. "Obviously, I am good. Evil does not heal. That is how you can tell between a faerie that has a black heart and a faerie that has a golden heart."

      "Sooooo… who are you?" That was Nefertari.

      "I am Sithathoria, the one and only Sand Faerie here on Neopia, Queen of all sands of the Lost Desert."

      "That is an awfully long name." Nefertari again.

      "Just call me Sitahthoria."

      "Righto."

      *****

      A number of things happened while they were at the temple. Sosta told Sithathoria that they had set out to destroy the Scarab Tree, and the sand faerie had given them a golden double-headed axe with a lapis lazuli striped handle, saying that it was the only weapon in the world that can cut through the thick bark of the Scarab Tree. She also gave them a jeweled ring each, which they put on without a word of thanks, the greedy things, which were to protect them from the sandstorm.

      Sithathoria set them off again, healed and with new provisions. They were to follow the Dark Sands, a thin line of black sand which would lead them to the Scarab Tree.

      "We're a very lucky pair, you know," Sosta said to Nefertari after they had walked along the Dark Sands for a time.

      "Yes, we are," Nefertari said.

      "You know, I left the house without any weapon of any sort to use against the Scarab Tree."

      "Not very smart, was it?"

      "Well, it's not like you did either!" Sosta said, and sniffed.

      Nefertari scoffed. "That's because I knew that no blade we had in the house would cut through the big ol' mean Scarab Tree in the first place!"

      "Sure you did, Neff, sure you did." There was an incredible amount of sarcasm in Sosta's voice.

      "I sure did! And now that we have this axe thingy-" Nefertari patted the axe hung on her belt "-we're going to chop down Mister Hi-I'm-Mighty-and-I'm-a-Bug-Tree, right, Saucy-o?"

      "Yeah," Sosta said. "We sure are."

      *****

      The Dark Sands stretched before Nefertari and Sosta like a thin, black, confused snake. It wound and twisted and curved, sometimes even turning 180 degrees and heading back the way it came.

      "Are you sure this leads to the Scarab Tree?" Nefertari asked.

      "No, but Sithathoria was," Sosta replied

      They had been following the Dark Sands for a number of days now, and still there was no sign of the Scarab Tree.

      "Augh! This is hopeless! We're never going to reach the Scarab Tree. This stupid path never ends!" Nefertari said in frustration, and slumped down on the ground.

      "Maybe you're right for a change," Sosta sighed, and sat down next to his sister.

      Nefertari's eyes started to water. She whimpered.

      "Don't cry, Neff, I'm trying to think!" Sosta grumbled.

      Nefertari sighed. "The Scarab Tree is supposed to be at the end of this dumb little path, Sithathoria even said so. But what if there is no end? Then what?" She kicked the sand so it covered part of the Dark Sands. "I wish there was some way we could just make it end, and then say, 'Lo! The end!'" She sighed again.

      "You can say that if you want," Sosta said slowly, getting to his feet. "But I've got a better plan. How about trying to find the end instead of sitting around and complaining? I think it'll be much more effecti-" He stopped in mid-sentence as a look of shock spread across his face.

      "Now what's the matter, Sos-" Nefertari too stopped speaking. "Where is it?" she asked, looking around at the sand around her in panic. "Where did the Dark Sands go?"

      "Find it!"

      "What happened to it?"

      "It was just around here and then-"

      "No, it was around here."

      They looked at each other with wide eyes.

      "It couldn't be buried, could it?" Nefertari asked in a panicky voice, digging like a mole.

      "No, never. Sithathoria made it so the Dark Sands would be protected from being buried in this sandstorm," Sosta replied, but he too was digging furiously for a thin black line of sand.

      "We're doomed!" Nefertari exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air. She looked up, threw her hands in the air again, and screamed.

      "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!"

      "What is it?" Sosta asked. He looked up. "AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHH!!!!!" he screamed.

      "It's-"

      "It's-"

      "The Scarab Tree!"

      Indeed it was. The Scarab Tree loomed 40 menacing feet high into the air, its thick, gnarled trunk dull, brown, aged, and crackled, sand spinning around it like a whirlwind, climbing up and up to the top of the tree, where the leaves hung in large dead clumps. They weren't actually leaves, Nefertari realized in horror, but scarabs. Dark, green, ugly scarabs they were, with brown undersides and murky brown eyes, round and staring like glass marbles. They hung on the Tree's branches, eerily still as stone, even as the sand swirled around them and shot out in all different directions like a giant web.

      "Keep your ring on," Sosta breathed, making sure his own was on securely.

      Nefertari drew her axe. This was the moment they had waited for for so long. They couldn't go back. Not now. Not when this grand opportunity to get rid of the evil Scarab Tree was staring at them straight in the face.

      "Let's go," Sosta said.

      They both ran forward, Nefertari with the axe raised above her head. But they both stopped in their steps, because suddenly they heard the monotonous drone of an insect. Or rather, many insects. It was so loud that they both gritted their teeth and pressed their palms to their ears as hard as they could, but the buzzing leaked through to their ears anyways.

      And though Nefertari and Sosta did not see it, the scarabs were twitching little by little into life. Their legs moved slightly, their eyes fluttered slightly. Then the first green scarab broke free of its frozen state and leapt into the air, and many followed its example by doing precisely the same thing, wings clicking and eyes darting, until not a single scarab was left on the twisted, gnarled branches of the Tree.

      Nefertari looked up, threw her hands in the air yet again, and screamed. "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!"

      But Sosta could not hear her; for he was too busy screaming for himself. "AAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!"

      "What do we do now?! What do we do now?!" Nefertari panicked.

      "Uh, err, here, I'll take care of the scarabs, and you go cut down the Tree," Sosta said, pulling his eyes away from the swarms of scarabs in midair.

      "Why me?" Nefertari whined.

      "Fine, then you'll take care of the scarabs, and I'll cut down the Tree," Sosta said almost willingly.

      "No, actually, I'll do the chopping," Nefertari said quickly.

      "Ok," Sosta said, and took a deep breath. "Go!"

      Both of them lunged forward. In a flash Sosta was jumping up and down in front of the green cloud of insects like a mad beast screeching, "Yoo-hoo! Hey, I'm talking to you! Look at me! Chase me! Kill me! Come on, you big fat stupid scarab colony, come on!" And in a flash Nefertari was at the base of the Scarab Tree's trunk, axe above head.

      "This is for trying to kill us innocent Neopets!"

      WHACK

      WHACK

      WHACK

      The scarabs suddenly turned their murky brown eyes from Sosta to Nefertari, then the golden axe. Realization hit them like a thunderbolt. This was no mere axe this Wocky was carrying; this was Sithathoria's axe, the only weapon in the world that could ever cut the Scarab Tree to its doom.

      Nefertari screamed as the scarabs headed for her. "Sosta! I need a little help!"

      "Yes, I can see that," Sosta called out. "Just keep cutting! I'll be right there!"

      WHACK

      WHACK

      WHACK

      WHACK

      WHACK

      Splinters flew. The scarabs were almost upon her.

      WHACK

      Just one more time…

      "Neff, look out!" Despite Sosta's cry of warning, she swung the axe above her head, one more time.

      WHACK

      Silence. The scarabs hung frozen in midair, only inches from Nefertari. Then, making a noise like the creaking, groaning of a door, the Scarab Tree swayed. The scarabs unfroze, but made no attempt to kill Nefertari, and instead, started flying about and panicking. They flew to their giant dying nest, every single one of them trying to support it and keep it from falling. And to Nefertari and Sosta's relief, the ear-splitting droning stopped, and a nervous, clammy jittering filled its place.

      The Scarab Tree swayed again, and as if to make a final attempt to kill the two Neopets that brought doom to its door, it leaned towards them, threatening to crush them under its mighty boughs. But Nefertari and Sosta were in no mood to be killed by giant falling trees that day, so they simply leapt out of the way and let the Scarab Tree crash to the ground, crushing only scarabs and sand, nothing more.

      Nefertari looked up, but this time didn't scream. "Look, Sosta," she whispered. "The sky is blue."

      Sosta looked up. A smile crept across his face as he looked at the sky. "It's been a long time since we've seen it, eh?"

      "Yep." Nefertari was smiling. "Oh, and look! Look, it's Tungalle! Sosta, it's Tungalle! Tungalle!"

      "It's not buried!" Sosta exclaimed. "Come one, Neff, I'll race you home!"

      And so, the Kyrii and the Wocky sprinted off towards their beloved home in the town of Tungalle.

The End

 
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