Petpet Adventures: Runaway - Part Seven
Folfeux stopped and stared in shock at the unmoving Hegelob on the floor. She was lost for words, and ideas.
“I was right.” Kiya sighed heavily beside her. She rushed over to the unmoving form of Dio and bent over him.
“About what?” Archilles asked, joining her beside the Hegelob.
She looked up. “Malei was not in the kitchens, right? So the kitchens were just another distraction. He’s here in the palace.”
She carefully picked up Dio and placed him back in the armchair. Then she ran over to the other side of the room and began rummaging in a petpet drawer. Folfeux went over to Dio, berating herself for leaving her ointment behind. Then she looked up at Kiya.
“I can guess where he is now,” she said.
Kiya paused, and then realisation dawned on her face. “Yes,” she whispered. “You need to get down to the treasury.”
She trotted over to the corner of the rug and pulled it up, revealing another small tunnel. “The treasury is through here. Hurry.”
Archilles open his mouth but her eyes narrowed. “Now,” she spat. “I have to stay here with Dio. Make sure he doesn’t get that dagger.”
“But how can seeing through walls be dangerous for us?” Folfeux asked.
“Does ‘it can cut through anything but Maractite, including your pelt’, mean anything to you?” the Quilin asked angrily.
“Oh,” Folfeux replied. “Point taken.”
She took a deep breath and plunged headfirst into the tunnel. She half expected it to be vertical, but it was just a steep slope. Even so, she slipped and stumbled dangerously until she managed to find her balance. She heard Archilles scrabbling behind her and felt relieved.
For a couple of tense minutes there was no light, but after a while she could just make out a faint glow in front of her. She hurried towards it as fast as she could, and as she did, she heard sounds of furious scrabbling. With a growl she burst out of the tunnel, and crashed straight into a Biyako.
The Biyako turned and snarled at her. She backed away and noticed Asmaral standing a metre away, looking surprised. But then the surprise turned into relief.
“Folfeux,” she gasped, and Folfeux noticed a cut on her cheek. “I can deal with this Biyako. Stop Malei.”
Folfeux twirled around and spotted the Juma not far away. He was running towards a tall stand. And on top of the stand was a sharp, golden dagger. Folfeux looked around the stand and gasped.
The whole room was filled with priceless treasures, some on tall stands like Thyra’s Dagger, while other stood in display cabinets. The larger treasures stood alone, like the statues and rare vases. Tapestries with jewels sewn into the fabric hung on the walls. Folfeux was so absorbed, she stopped worrying about Malei, and it was only when Archilles rushed past her that she realised she was supposed to be doing the same thing as him: stopping Malei.
With a snarl she leapt forwards. Malei looked around at the sound and spotted the two petpets speeding towards him, but he seemed nonplussed and turned back to the stand. He began running and Folfeux knew that they weren’t going to reach him, but she kept running.
Malei leapt onto the podium and grasped the dagger in his teeth. He glared at Folfeux and jumped off. Archilles crashed into him, but he swung his head around and Folfeux watched in horror as the Sandan fell back with one foreleg bleeding. Malei kept running towards the tunnel.
Folfeux changed direction with difficulty and raced after him. She watched as he wove his way through Asmaral and the Biyako. She had to admire his nimbleness. But as he neared the tunnel he skidded to a stop. A moment later Kiya emerged, growling. Malei had seen her coming by using the dagger’s powers, but that didn’t mean he could stop her.
The Quilin put out a powerful paw and wrenched the dagger out of his grip, sending it skidding across the floor. Before she could attack him, though, Folfeux had cannoned into his side, and they were tussling fiercely. Malei scratched at her side, and she let go, giving him just enough time to get up and pick up the dagger.
The Juma grinned at Folfeux, and pulled back his head. Then he threw the dagger across the room. All the petpets in the room stopped and watched as it sailed through the air, landing straight in the lock of the pet entrance. It sliced through the metal like claw through sand. With a loud click that echoed around the room, the door swung open.
One pet burst through the door. With a pang of shock, Folfeux realised it was her former pet, Scelaris.
“The guards from the treasury must have run into the kitchen,” Folfeux said. “That left the treasury unguarded and meant that someone else could sneak in.”
Kiya nodded. “He’s got the dagger. We have to stop him.” She raced after the green Gelert, who indeed had the gold dagger in his paws.
Archilles joined her in the chase. His paw had stopped bleeding, for the moment. Folfeux was about to start after them when Malei leapt on top of her and pinned her to the ground. She tried to squirm away from him but he held her tightly.
“Well, well, well,” he snarled. “Look who we have here.”
Folfeux expected him to claw her, but he stayed on top of her and didn’t move. After a silence she growled.
“Let me go,” she hissed, and with a huge effort, threw him off.
He landed not far away and shook himself, winded. Folfeux scrambled to her feet, but she too was winded from using so much strength in one go. She stood still, panting hard, and the two Juma began circling each other.
“I had high hopes for you,” Malei said unexpectedly.
“What do you mean?” Folfeux asked suspiciously, her eyes narrowing into slits.
Malei grinned. “So you don’t know,” he taunted. “Such a shame. And I thought you were smart.”
“I am smart,” Folfeux spat in pet. She wasn’t sure if she had said it right, but one look at Malei’s face and she knew he had understood.
“So you really can speak pet,” he said thoughtfully. “That’s not what Scelaris told me.”
Folfeux almost stopped in indignation. “Do you think I’d talk to a pet like him?” she asked. “No way. There are so many more... intelligent pets to talk to.”
Malei shrugged. “Anyway. I didn’t realise how alike we are,” he said.
“What do you mean?” she asked again, this time more angrily.
Malei grinned. “You’re my sister,” he said simply, and leapt at her.
Folfeux dodged him, but only just. Then the implications of what he had said hit her and she reeled backwards, giving him just enough time to claw at her side. She fell back in pain, disbelieving.
“I don’t believe you,” she snarled.
He shrugged. “I didn’t think you would. But it’s true. Why else do you think you ended up with Scelaris as a pet?”
Folfeux thought. “If we both had thieves for pets, it can only mean one thing,” she growled.
Malei frowned. “What?” he spat.
“We were stolen,” Folfeux said, enjoying the look on his face. It had to be true. That was the only way they would both end up with robbers as pets.
Now it was Malei’s turn to reel backwards, but unlike him, Folfeux didn’t take advantage of it. She just watched and waited as calmly as possible. She was anxious to follow Scelaris, but he would be far away by now. Then a thought hit her. If she went through the tunnel, she might just be able to cut him off.
Without a backwards glance at her so-called brother, she raced towards the dark tunnel entrance. She couldn’t hear him following, but kept a fast pace just in case. Her various cuts throbbed, but not so much as to hinder her. The exit appeared as a fuzzy light that grew bigger by the second, and then she was through.
She raced into the room, glancing at Dio as she headed for the door. He was lying on a petpet-sized bed, dozing. It looked like Kiya was good at healing, because his cuts were bandaged well.
She looked through the doorway and skidded to a stop just inside of it waiting. Very soon she could here loud paw steps and strained her ears. They were pet all right. And they were fast. She braved a look through the doorway and saw the green Gelert pounding towards her. He was going way too fast for her to stop. If she even attempted it, she could be crushed.
She sat and thought. Then an idea hit her. She tried to recall the blue Kougra’s voice from the kitchen. It was harsh and loud. She took a deep breath. If she could get the voice just right, her former pet might be fooled.
“Scelaris, over here on the right,” she yelled as loudly as she could. “There’s a way out.”
To be continued...