A Heroine's Heist: Part Three
Cassie was frozen to the spot.
The scimitar was dull, and the slash was not very powerful, but the force was enough to knock Stan to the ground. He fell on his back and hit the ground hard. Cassie gasped. She stared the guards straight in the eye, clenched her fists and bared her teeth. With the last bit of consciousness he had, Stan sat up. Immediately he felt the pain across his stomach where the scimitar had hit him. He placed an arm across the wound and said to Cassie, “No. You can’t fight these guys. They’re too powerful. Even if you managed to escape, the security around the city and its outskirts are sure to catch you.”
The young thief glanced over her shoulder at her cousin. “I’m either gonna succeed,” Cassie drew her breath, “or die trying!”
The young thief really went with her word. At that moment she jumped and did a front flip onto one of the Elephante’s heads. She jumped off and began running.
“After her!” ordered the guard who slashed Stan.
All the guards seemed to forget about the wounded thief, figuring he was too weak to go on. But this thief wasn’t going down so easily (as if years of shoplifting weren’t easy). Refusing to give in, the Kyrii stood up, although very shakily because of his new wound, and ran after the mob of guards.
Meanwhile, Cassie was right - the guards were fast. They were almost gaining on her, but once they hit a four way intersection where a fruit cart was crossing, Cassie was able to escape by jumping over the cart, as well as steal a few fruits. The Elephantes got held back a few seconds while waiting for the cart to cross.
She had been running for a while until she hit the large wooden gate that marked Sakhmet’s exit. She was too small to jump over or push open the doors, so she climbed instead. With all the rough edges the door was easy to climb.
Stan had finally caught up with the Elephante guards and now stood behind them. He watched in awe as Cassie climbed up the gates. The guards close to the front of the mob were banging on the door with their scimitars. The younger thief was holding on for dear life as the gates shook and creaked. Once she had gotten to the top, she jumped down again.
The guards bashed open the door with all their might and sprinted off after their young target. Stan hesitantly followed.
The soft sand slowed down Cassie’s pace to a mere jog, but it also slowed down the Elephantes’ and Stan’s pace. Cassie did not realise her cousin was following her, and so she picked up a handful of sand and threw it at the guards. Luckily, it missed Stan. But the Elephantes were complaining and couldn’t see because their eyes were full of sand. Cassie continued onward.
A tiny Khonsu was in the middle of Cassie’s path. She would have hated to see it get trampled on by the guards, so she gently picked it up and placed it off to the side. This had cost her some time; however, she did the right thing.
The little Khonsu watched as huge green feet stampeded by its face, followed by some tan feet. Man, did it hate being small.
Only a few minutes went by and Cassie, Stan and the mob had hit the long river that divides the Lost Desert in half. Cassie stopped right at the edge of the calm waters. She looked across to the other side (where she could see Coltzan’s Shrine in the distance), then back to the guards chasing her. She thought, All this for a bag of fruit! Oh well, here goes nothing...
Cassie held her breath, then dove into the river.
“Are you mad?” Stan whispered quietly to himself.
A few seconds later the young Kyrii’s head emerged from the surface. The water was cool and felt very soothing when she'd been roasting in the hot desert sun for hours. Cassie began swimming along towards the other side. The water was deep, deep enough to drown an Elephante. Many guards backed away from the water, but about five of them stayed. They took their scimitars and grasped them between their teeth, then swam after Cassie. These were the guards that were specially trained to do such things.
The young thief was getting tired from running and swimming, but continued to move. Additionally, the potato sack full of fruit she had tied around her waist was weighing her down. Once she had reached the other side, Cassie wrung out her tail as well as the ends of her clothes and the sack, then continued on running. The guards were even more weighed down, but they were strong swimmers. They reached the other side and continued to run.
Stan was still watching his cousin closely. With only one major source of water in the Lost Desert, where had she learned to swim? As soon as everyone was on the other side of the river, Stan followed by swimming. He had taught himself to swim after he fell into the same river by accident when he was much younger.
Coltzan’s Shrine was what the desert was famous for, something that Cassie had never been to before and was now standing only a few feet away from it. She was wowed by its magnificent golden appearance, the way it just gleamed in the sunlight. She was going to do something so big, so extreme, so impossible-it was crazy. But she would escape.
The younger Kyrii ran up right in front of the enormous tower, then around the back. She stretched her fingers... then started to climb up Coltzan’s Shrine.
At first she was slipping, but then she remembered. “See here, Cassie, that when you climb a smooth object, you really gotta dig your nails in and climb,” is what Stan had said. So, Cassie did what anyone reasonable would’ve done. She dug her nails in and climbed. It hurt, but she struggled to escape the guards.
All the Elephantes were standing about a foot away from the shrine and stared at the bold young thief climbing the golden tower. Stan was out of the river and stopped running once he was behind the guards. Drenched and tired, he didn’t have a cramp, but his wound ached so terribly he had to drop down onto his knees. Stan looked up to see what all the guards were staring at. A tiny tan-and-red figure dotted with maroon and purple was trying to climb up Coltzan’s Shrine. At that instant, Stan recognised the figure.
“Cassie!” the older Kyrii screamed from below. “What in Neopia do you think you’re doing?”
That was the first time that the guards - and Cassie - had discovered that Stan was following them. Cassie became very worried that her older cousin was going to make the wound he had worse. Unfortunately her tiny, shrill voice wasn’t loud enough to reach all the way down to the ground. So she continued climbing.
Two of the guards had grabbed Stan. Cassie watched, wide-eyed, as they began to take him away. He kicked and squirmed, but those guards had a firm grip. Cassie hurriedly climbed to the top of the tower. To save my only cousin, she thought, I may have to make a few sacrifices. She reached into her potato sack and pulled out two spiky puntec fruits.
With all her might, Cassie chucked one of the fruits at one of the Elephantes clutching Stan. The fruit hit the guard right on the head and knocked him out. Stan freed himself from the knocked-out guard. Cassie repeated her trick for the second guard and it worked. The other three guards didn’t care that Stan was free. They were completely focused on the young Kyrii thief, who was keeping a good balance on the top of Coltzan’s Shrine. Cassie reached into the potato sack for another fruit when she lost her footing. She fell backwards off the shrine.
Stan’s heart skipped a beat. Although Cassie was behind the shrine and he couldn’t see her fall, he knew it happened. As much as he trued to deny it, there was no use. Cassie had fallen, and there was nothing Stan could do about it.
The Elephantes began to take their leave, but then stopped when another said, “Look! It can’t be! It just can’t be!”
Stan looked up, expecting to see something that he probably would not have wanted to see. But instead, it was something he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to see it or not. He was shocked at what stood before his eyes.
Cassie had climbed back up to the top of the shrine. She must have grabbed hold of the shrine or something, because this just could not be real.
The three guards and Stan al gaped at the sight. One Elephante spoke up.
“That little devil - she simply will not take death for the answer!”
To be continued...