The Kougra Klan: Part Six
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
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
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...
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
"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
"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
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.