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The Protecter Chronicles: The Beginning of the End - Part Four


by angelfire_from_above

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After watching the Lupe stride off through the forest, Algerdon finally turned his attention back to the other figures. He saw a good thirty to forty others, of which only ten were tied up. As he stood watching, he did not notice the figure behind him until it tapped him on the shoulder. He turned, and jumped nervously as a mutant Hissi nudged him towards the other prisoners, and then tied him to a large tree. The Shadow Zafara sighed. This was not exactly what he had imagined. He turned and around to view his surroundings, when a soft voice hissed suddenly next to his ear.

     "Psst. Don't do that, they don't like it--you'll just get poked with a spear. If you want to look around, then wait until the guard isn't looking."

     The speaker, a short Halloween Cybunny with twinkling eyes glanced at him then looked away.

     "I'm Saalmef," the Cybunny whispered out of the corner of his mouth. "And those over there some of the other students, I think. Who are you?"

     They both ducked their heads down as a large Grarrl walked past, glancing down at them suspiciously before heading down to what Algerdon presumed was the river. Algerdon kept his head down as he answered the Cybunny.

     "You can call me Ger. I thought we were headed to some secret villa for training?"

     The Cybunny snorted.

     "I was told that we would spend most of the time inside reading books... but maybe that's--OW!"

     He howled as a spear butt descended heavily upon his head, and he glanced up to see the Mutant Hissi wander off with a smirk on his face.

     "Hsss... don't get comfortable, my little friendssss... the day hasss jussst begun..."

     The Hissi turned and walked away, with one head still turned around to watch them.

     "That," said Algerdon slowly "is really gross. I feel distinctly dizzy just thinking about having two heads and one brain... I think..."

     Saalmef grinned and nodded.

     "I know what you mean--"

     He broke off suddenly as a disturbance grew around another one of the trees where the captives were staked out. A small Darigan Kyrii had tried to sneak off when his guard wasn't looking, but the Hissi had spotted him and was now in hot pursuit. The chase didn't last long; as soon as the other guards spotted the two racing for the forest, a large Shadow Zafara like Algerdon reached into his belt and tossed a small white ball at the fugitive. At least it looked like a ball, until it began quickly growing, until it finally had finished and looked like a huge spider web. It landed squarely on the Kyrii's head, and stopped him in his tracks. The Kyrii was sheepishly led back by a very embarrassed blue Kacheek, and tied to a tree root.

     Algerdon and Saalmef looked at each other silently. Finally, Saalmef spoke.

     "And we are expected to escape with that type of technology? That's not fair! I would think that someone would have given us some little idea how we were supposed to--WOULD YOU STOP HITTING ME ON THE HEAD?!"

     His last statement was directed towards the Mutant Hissi who had once again snuck up on the two and landed a hefty blow to the Cybunny's head. He hissed in delight, then wandered off almost cheerfully, his second head once again staring at the two. The Cybunny glared, and stuck his tongue out impudently at the retreating Hissi and turned his attention back to Algerdon.

     "That's Sssahkrad, one of Khalyen's best. No one can get past his second head, as Risto showed us."

     Algerdon knit his eyebrows in confusion.

     "Wait, you know that Kyrii? The one that tried to get away? You didn't tell me you knew him."

     The Grey Cybunny nodded.

     "Actually, he's a she. Yes, we grew up together. She won't make it far though; she's to impetuous and hasty-two of the worst qualities that a Protector."

     And he lapsed into silence, and the two spent the rest of the morning in silence.

     That evening, as a guard served their evening meal (Stone Soup and Stale Bread) Algerdon gathered up his courage.

     "Excuse me sir, is there a leader, or captain that I may speak to?"

     The guard, a fearsome looking Jetsam stared in surprise, as if amazed that they could speak.

     "Yeah, you know, like a chief, the big kahuna? Or the boss?" chimed in Saalmef hopefully.

     The Jetsam stared for a moment, then answered flatly.

     "Prisoners do not parley with our leader."

     And he started to turn away when Algerdon persisted, saying,

     "But the Thieves Code of Conduct clearly states that if a prisoner is taken without being held for ransom or some clear offense, then he has the right to plead mercy and ask to be released for a price, am I not correct?"

     The two waited patiently while the Jetsam scratched his head thoughtfully.

     "Yeah, it does!" piped up Saalmef, who then whispered in Algerdon's ear, "It does?"

     Finally the guard nodded and reached down to untie Algerdon's tether. He led him to the center of the camp, where a pair of armed sentries stood guard outside of an unusually large tent. He entered, and Algerdon followed, only to be blinded by the light of the torches. He stood with blinking, watery eyes while his guard spoke quietly to a figure in the shadows, then led Algerdon up to a desk. A small, female pirate Lupe sat there lazily dangling herself over the sides of the chair. Algerdon blinked in surprise: where was the huge iron grey giant? As if she had read his mind, the Lupess smiled and winked at him.

     "I assure you, I didn't shrink. My brother is currently busy, and I am handling this business for him. Roshin informs me that you have tired of our hospitality, is this true?"

     She watched him intently, eyes sparkling with mischief. Algerdon suppressed a slight grin.

     "I assure you, ma'am, that the accommodations are quite comfortable--I have to say I have never seen such an exemplary tree root before, and I must say I never could have imagined that they made such comfortable cushions..."

     He stopped as the Lupess threw her head back and laughed.

     "My, I didn't expect such eloquence from a rough, uncouth member of the League. And what is your business, now, eh?"

     She smiled indulgently, and Algerdon relaxed a little.

     "Well, according to the Thieves Code of Conduct, if a prisoner has been detained for more than six hours without a ransom being set or a reason as to his imprisonment, i.e. trespassing, stealing, etc, then he has the right to plead mercy and ask to be released for a price, to be bargained between the two parties, am I correct?"

      The Lupess nodded seriously.

     "Go on."

     Encouraged, the Zafara forged on ahead.

     "Well, I and the other prisoners have been detained for almost the entire day, and as far as I was aware an announcement has not been made as to why we are captives, and I propose to bargain for our freedom."

     He sat back, aghast at what he had just said. Our? He meant his own! But the Lupess was nodding slowly, then stood up suddenly and called.

     "Khalyen!"

     A curtain swept aside from the back of the tent, and the huge Lupe stood up. "Well little one, you have done what no other has--you have bargained not only for your own freedom, but for others. You have passed your test."

 

     A year later, Algerdon and his captains stood at the top of Terror Mountain. His best friends, the mutant Hissi that had guarded him and Saalmef so carefully was there as well, with Saalmef, Echo and a few other trusted friends. Algerdon surveyed the lands carefully, then noticed the Hissi's pale green face and shivering body.

     "I'm sorry, Sssahkrad. I forgot you don't like the cold. Come on, we'll go find Taelia and have her teleport us back--our business here is done."

     As the party trudged back down the mountainside, Algerdon considered the last few months. Janrun Lakitaga had vanished, as well as half the other council members. With the sudden disappearances, the remaining council had rushed their decision, and cut the testing for Protector. Within seven months of training, Algerdon had been appointed Protector, and now sat in Janrun's seat, waiting until he reappeared. Now they were gathering allies from outside of the Meridell and Brightvale region, and faeries were the first on their lists. Illusen had always been partial to their cause, as had most of the other earth faeries, but Taelia had been a bit more hard to persuade. But after a lot of careful diplomacy and a little delicate flattery they had won her over, and Algerdon had no doubt of her loyalty.

     "Those dratted dark faeries have been stealing all my questers," the beautiful faerie had explained in a snooty tone, but the others were not fooled. Trouble was not only in Meridell and Brightvale; it had spread all over Neopia. But first they needed to have eyes and ears around to gather information, and then they would make their plans.

     As they continued down the mountain side, he heard Sssahkrad mutter hopefully, "Maybe that sssilly faerie would be kind and teleport ussss back to Krawk Island..."

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» The Protecter Chronicles: The Beginning of the End - Part One
» The Protecter Chronicles: The Beginning of the End - Part Two
» The Protecter Chronicles: The Beginning of the End - Part Three



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