A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 126,511,783 Issue: 256 | 8th day of Gathering, Y8
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The Kougra Klan: Part Six


by ikea_sale

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Riyita was crestfallen - too crestfallen even to inflict her brother with a barrage of insults as he hustled her down the dark, damp corridors of the Kougra Klan fortress. Instead she watched her passing surroundings with a gloomy expression on her face. The walls were made of large blocks of stone, lined with the occasional flickering candle to produce a dim light. Every so often there was a door, from inside of which Riyita could hear noises of combat: thumps, thuds, yelps and the echoing clank of two fighting sticks colliding. The place was like a labyrinth of corridors, each one as dark, dingy and depressing as the next. Sometimes another Kougra Klan member would pass them, sneering at Riyita, and congratulating Sampson on his 'catch'. All of it disgusted the Aisha.

     Just as Riyita was wondering if they would ever reach 'The Chief', Sam glanced all around him suspiciously, opened a door and shoved Riyita in before slipping in himself and slamming it shut. He slid a bolt across the door, then turned to face Riyita.

     "This is where we keep our armour," he said to her with a wink. When Riyita regarded him with a perplexed expression, he added, "Find something that fits you."

     "Oh, Sam!" Riyita bounded forward to hug him, but he frantically gestured for her to be quiet. "But aren't they going to notice I'm not a Kougra?"

     Sampson grabbed a hat embellished with "KK" from a nearby pile and shoved it onto her head, pushing the brim down so that her face was immersed in shadow. "Nope," he replied, grinning.

     A few minutes later Riyita and Sampson emerged from the armour room, Riyita clad head-to-toe in heavy Kougra Clan armour. Despite the damp chill of the corridors, Riyita felt sweltering hot in the many layers, and she could barely walk in them. She waddled down the narrow passage next to her brother, receiving strange looks from any Klan members who passed--but at least she was undetected. Now, she could find Guanya, and rescue him.

     "Where do they take new members?" Riyita asked quietly.

     Sam grimaced. "They lock them in the cells until they have calmed down."

     Riyita felt an immediate pang of pain, imagining Guanya confined to a slimy, dingy prison cell. He was so brave, and noble, and kind; he did not deserve that kind of treatment. However, she did not have to imagine it for very long: a screaming voice suddenly filled the corridor, almost shaking the whole building with its ferocity.

     "Let me out! I'm not one of you! I'll never be one of you! Let me out, you fiends!"

     There could be absolutely no confusion over the owner of this passionate, enraged voice. "It's Guanya!" Riyita hissed in excitement. They turned a corner a couple of seconds later to be presented with a long row of cells, almost every one containing a young Kougra who shook at the bars and shouted at their captors. Guanya's voice was the loudest of them all. Riyita brimmed with anticipation; she was so close to saving him now. There was only one problem - the hallway was absolutely littered with guards, pacing up and down, watching every cell alertly.

     "It's up to you now, Riy," Sam whispered, stationing himself at the end of the row of cells and giving Riyita a gentle shove forward. Clueless as to what to do, the Aisha attempted to mimic the guards, walking along with a confident stride in her step, trying her best not to be affected by the cries of the protesting captives. The guards were all so powerfully built, and she was so small and scrawny, it amazed her as to how they hadn't suspected her yet: they were obviously even more dense than they looked.

     "I said let me go! You will never have any control over me!" Guanya cried. She could see him now, paws wrapped around the bars, shaking them as hard as he could.

     "Shall I shut him up, or you?" one of the guards said to her with a chuckle.

     Trying to avoid shrinking away from his foul-smelling breath in disgust, Riyita said in the most masculine voice she could muster, "I will," and made her way over to Guanya's cell. Guanya eyed her with a mixture of suspicion and hatred as she approached.

     Riyita pressed her face up to the bars. "Guanya, it's me!" she said almost silently. "Be quiet and don't say a thing; I'm going to get you out of here."

     "Riy!" he muttered in disbelief. "How did you-" he began, but Riyita shushed him. He shrank to the back of his cell, his mouth widening in an irrepressible grin of happiness and exhilaration. He couldn't believe what Riyita had managed to do; she was stronger than he thought.

     "Now, young Kougra," Riyita boomed, turning the heads of several guards. "The Chief has told me he wants to see you in person. You will go without a fuss."

     "The Chief?" the guard next to her said. "But he has already seen the Chief."

     In the safe shadows cast upon her face by the hat, Riyita screwed up her face and gave herself a mental slap. Out of all the excuses she could have used to get Guanya out of the cell, she had to choose the most unbelievable one.

     "I know, but he wants to see him again!" Riyita replied defensively. "Open the cell, please--I will restrain him!"

     Shrugging, one of the guards pulled the keys from his belt and made his way over to Guanya's cell. Guanya tried his best to suppress his beaming smile and look scared about his 'meeting' with 'The Chief' as the guard tried out all the different keys in the lock, grumbling to himself.

     As Riyita stood watching and contemplating what to do once Guanya was out of the cell, another guard - a blue and extremely unintelligent-looking Kougra - came and stood by her side.

     "I've never seen you around before," he said, scratching his head.

     Riyita just bit her lip under the hat, and shrugged. The guard glanced up at her, pondering over her strange choice of armour.

     "Hey, what's that under your hat?" he asked. To her horror, Riyita realised that one of her long, yellow ears was poking out the back of her hat-but before she could make any desperate excuses, the Kougra reached out and whipped the hat off her head.

     "It's an Aisha!" he shouted. "A girl!"

     Every head in the corridor turned towards the trembling Riyita. "Get her!" someone shouted, and suddenly there was a surge of angry Kougras rushing towards her.

     It was just at that moment that the Kougra trying to unlock the door succeeded, and with a click the door swung open. Seeing that Riyita was an impostor, he turned to quickly slam it shut - but it was too late. With an ear-splitting crash, Guanya kicked the door wide upon, knocking the guard clean off his feet and reducing him to a crumpled heap on the floor, where another Kougra promptly tripped over him and came plunging down to the floor beside him with a roar of surprise. As they lay there, disorientated and groaning, Guanya grabbed both their spears, spinning them around his head, and then leapt to Riyita's side.

     "No one touches her!" he shouted, wielding the spears in front of him.

     "We'll see about that!" a voice snarled, and a wave of blundering Kougra Klan guards descended upon them. They flew at Guanya, but he fended them all off with ease, his spears swishing effortlessly through the air at such a speed that they looked no more than flashes of brown, blocking every attack that was thrown in Guanya's direction. He was empowered by rage, the Kougra Klan blood inside him flaring up like a roaring fire, and he was unstoppable. Riyita just cowered behind him, amazed at the sheer power he was displaying, unlike anything she had ever seen before.

     "What's all this commotion?" A mighty roar rose above every other noise in the room, causing everyone to freeze on the spot. Spears clattered to the ground and mouths dropped open. At the end of the corridor stood the Chief.

     He was the biggest Kougra Riyita thought she had ever seen, towering above every other guard there, the mighty shadow he cast making the place seem even colder than it already was. His fur was an intense green, just like Guanya's, although the Chief's coat was covered in long, criss-crossing scars from head to toe, with a chunk missing from one ear and the Kougra Klan mark cut into the other. His bandanna was blood red, the word CHIEF embellished onto it in large letters, and he carried a colossal spear with strange markings carved into it all along the handle. But it was not his battle scars, nor his size, and not even his glinting weapons that struck fear into the hearts of everyone who saw him--it was the look in his eyes. Intense, angry, an unflinching glare; a look that could reduce the bravest of Neopets into a trembling heap, that could penetrate any calm exterior in a matter of seconds. Riyita's stomach twisted itself into knots as she laid her eyes upon him; but his presence did not disconcert Guanya at all.

     "Chief of the Kougra Klan," Guanya said, "I demand that you let me and Riyita go free!"

     The Chief only smiled, his lip curling to reveal a flash of his teeth. "I knew to expect some trouble from you," he growled.

     "And if you do not let us go free, expect even more!" Guanya cried in response.

     This comment drew a laugh from the Chief. "I was just as troublesome myself when I was your age."

     "Do not even try and compare me to you," Guanya said, narrowing his eyes. "I will never be like you, and I will never be a part of the Klan."

     "You have Kougra Klan blood in you," the Chief said simply. Every guard in the room watched him as he spoke, hanging on his every word and not daring to interrupt.

     "That means nothing," Guanya spat, causing a collective gasp to rise from the crowd of guards.

     The Chief shook his head slowly. He had something strange in his eyes--an emotion not far from being sorrow, regret. Not a single member of the Klan had ever seen anything like it before.

     "I expected some trouble," he said, glancing up at Guanya. "But I did not expect this much defiance from my own son."

     Riyita drew in a sharp breath, and for the first time since he had arrived, Guanya was stunned into absolute silence. The fact he had Klan blood in him had been hard enough to accept. And now to discover he was the son of the Chief of this bunch of cold, heartless boots... it was painful to comprehend. He closed his eyes, unable to look at the monster who claimed to be his father. It cannot be true...

     The sadness in the Chief's eyes had gone. Instead the anger had returned, stronger than it was before. "I had great dreams for you, my son," he continued, his voice dripping with spite. "You have betrayed me. You have gone against my every wish. And though it pains me to do so, every good father must punish a defiant son..."

     He raised his spear, and started forward towards Guanya with a fiery look in his eyes, his path of anger cutting a gaping hole through the centre of the crowd as the guards dived out of his way. He bared his set of sharp, gleaming teeth, a stifled roar escaping from between them, and prepared to thrust his spear forward as Guanya backed up against the far wall, trapped and whimpering...

     THUD.

     The Chief stopped as a spear handle collided with the side of his head. He looked confused for an evanescent moment, as if he could not believe what had just happened, and then his eyes rolled backwards and he teetered on the spot before slumping forwards onto the floor, unconscious. Behind him stood Sampson, spear in both hands, breathing heavily as he stared at the massive body on the floor beneath him with eyes as wide as saucers.

     An incredulous voice broke the staggered silence that swept through the room. "He knocked out the Chief!"

     Immediately, as if disgusted with himself, Sampson dropped his spear. "I knocked out the Chief!" he exclaimed, horrified.

     Riyita took this chance to step forward. She knew what she had to do. "Members of the Kougra Clan!" she called. "I have not only come to liberate Guanya from his bonds. I have come to liberate you, too."

     The guards all glanced at each other. "Do we want to be liberated?" a dopey voice said.

     The yellow Aisha resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "I'm guessing that, like Guanya and my brother Sampson over there, a lot of you were kidnapped in order to bring you here. I'm also guessing that you were torn away from the people you loved, the things you loved and the place you called home. Am I correct?"

     A chorus of muttered agreement echoed down the corridor.

     "Do you really want to be part of this?" Riyita continued. "An organisation that destroys families just like it destroyed yours? An organisation that puts fear in the hearts of every Kougra in Neopia? An organisation that leaves people lonely, sad and full of hatred, and that threatens to kill you if you try and escape?"

     Riyita's audience grew as more and more Kougra Klan members came to see what was happening. The throng before her bristled with energy - some Kougras nodded, others shouted out the ways in which the Klan had destroyed their lives, and some could even be seen wiping tears from their eyes.

     "Look, the Chief lies unconscious. He has no control over you now. If you all escape--if you all break free of your bonds--who will there be to kill you? You can have happy, normal lives. You can find your families. You can learn to love again instead of going around devastating villages and hurting people. So you have power here. What is power worth if you feel miserable every day?"

     "Nothing!" a voice bellowed.

     "Exactly! So I urge you all--break free now. Forget about the Kougra Klan. Go out into the world and rebuild your lives, and the lives of those you have hurt. I promise you it will be worth it!"

     As Riyita finished her speech the crowd erupted into a cheer, and the Aisha found herself wiping tears from her own eyes as she thought of her destroyed family--of her heroic father, and of little Bella. She wasn't just doing this for Guanya and Sampson, she was doing this for them. For everyone who had suffered under the tyranny of the Kougra Klan.

     The foundations of the crumbling fortress shook under her feet as the crowd surged out of the building, cheering, whooping and laughing, feeling the wind rush through their fur as they leapt down the rocks and escaped out into the forest, into the open. The sweet sensation of freedom rose up into the air where everyone could feel it. Riyita grabbed Guanya by one hand and Sampson by the other, and with broad smiles on their faces they followed the stream of Kougras out of the building, out into that big wide world where anything was possible. It was the best feeling she had ever felt. For once, she had done something great; she had abolished the Kougra Klan. It was no more.

     When they were out in the open, Guanya turned to Riyita. "Thank you, Riy," he said, enveloping her in a massive hug. She laughed and hugged him back with double the force.

     "What are you going to do about your father?" Riyita asked gingerly when they had pulled apart. "He will be furious when he finds out what we have done..."

     Guanya just shook his head, his smile not fading in the slightest. "I don't care about him right now," the young Kougra said with a laugh. "We may have the same blood, but he will never truly be my father. All I care about is that we're out of that place!"

     "We'd better get a move on, then!" said Riyita.

     "Why's that?" Sampson asked his sister, excitement glimmering in his eyes.

     Riyita's lips curled up in a devious smile. "We have a cottage to rebuild," she said, and the two Kougras groaned in unison.

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» The Kougra Klan: Part One
» The Kougra Klan: Part Two
» The Kougra Klan: Part Three
» The Kougra Klan: Part Four
» The Kougra Klan: Part Five



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