The Protecter Chronicles: The Beginning of the End - Part Four
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
"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...
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
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
"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
"Prisoners do not parley with our leader."
And he started to turn away when Algerdon persisted,
"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
He stopped as the Lupess threw her head back
"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
"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.
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
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
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..."