Petpet Adventures: Reunited - Part One
Author’s Note: This is the sequel to Petpet Adventures: Runaway. If you haven’t read it, it’s up to you whether to read it or not, but for your benefit, this is a brief summary:
Folfeux is a young Juma who, let’s just say, dislikes her pet very much, so when her stray friend Archilles gives her the opportunity to run away, she seizes it. The next morning she meets another Juma called Malei, who reveals that her pet happens to be one of the best thieves in Shenkuu and that he is her “replacement.”
He chases her out of the house, and during the chase her paw becomes injured so they go to visit a medicine petpet that Archilles knows. At his (Jalla’s) house she sees a picture of the royal palace, and asks Archilles to take her there after they’ve dealt with her pet.
She gets to visit the palace sooner than she thinks when she learns from one of Archilles’s contacts that Malei is planning to steal a magical dagger. She is almost mistaken for Malei by the head of the palace petpets, a Quilin called Kiya, and together, along with Folfeux’s old friend Asmaral, they foil the thieves’ plans.
Folfeux gives Malei a scar down his side that makes him highly recognizable, and he reveals to her that they are siblings. Folfeux then guesses that they were stolen at birth, and Malei flees. Folfeux and Archilles are asked to stay and help guard the palace, but they decide to continue their wanderings of Shenkuu.
Folfeux entered the large basement of the Port Shenkuu Inn and smiled. In all directions were petpet-sized tables and chairs, and occupying those chairs were a dozen or so various petpets, all enjoying themselves.
“There you are, Folfeux,” said a voice from behind her.
The lithe Juma spun around and her face broke into a smile as she recognized the tall Sandan striding towards her.
“Hey, Archilles,” she said, falling into step beside him as they threaded their way through the scattered furniture. “Where have you been the last few days?”
He chuckled good-naturedly. “Oh, here and there. You know.”
“What, you mean stuffing yourself with food?” Folfeux said, but her face showed that she was teasing.
His expression became sheepish. “So what if I have?” he protested. “It’s not my fault I’m always hungry.”
Folfeux shook her head and sighed.
“So how have you been?” he asked, changing the subject abruptly. Folfeux grinned slyly at him.
“Don’t worry, Sadeth’s an excellent host. He took good care of me.”
A moment later she smiled to herself. For two years she had belonged to a horrible pet, who also happened to be one of the most successful thieves in Shenkuu. But then Archilles had offered to help her run away, and finally she had ended up here, enjoying the street life, and helping Sadeth keep up with the workings of Shenkuu. She had never looked back once. And as for her former pet, he was locked up in the palace dungeons.
At that moment, the owner of the establishment – or rather, the petpet of the owner of the establishment – appeared out of nowhere and seized Archilles’s paw in a firm pawshake. Then the Pandaphant turned to Folfeux and gave a sort of half bow, which made her and Archilles smile.
“Good to see you again, Archilles,” he said. Then he turned a critical eye on the Sandan. “You’ve been eating again, I guess?” he said with a smirk. Folfeux sniggered.
“How can you tell?” Archilles asked, looking down at himself, his expression worried as he tried to figure out how his friend had known.
“I can’t,” Sadeth grinned. “I just guessed.”
This time Folfeux had a huge coughing fit and had to walk away to recover. Archilles scowled at her back.
When she finally came to join them again, she heard a name she was hoping never to hear again.
“Malei?” she said. “What about him?”
Sadeth looked uncomfortable. “Well...” he began.
“What?” Folfeux demanded.
This information about the thieving Juma was essential. He had been the mastermind of a robbery of the royal treasury, and he had also made an attempt on the king’s life. But none of that really mattered to Folfeux as much as the one thing he had told her when they had last seen each other: they were siblings.
She had told no one, not even her closest friend Asmaral. But she hardly saw the beautiful Kazeriu these days, all these months after she had first become a stray. So she had kept the secret a secret and forgotten all about him. But now... she had been told that Malei had left Shenkuu to avoid being captured. What if he was back?
“There have been sightings of his petpet accomplice, a Biyako that we think is called Zariam. Zariam was last seen near the royal palace, and almost certainly with a Juma.”
“So you think it’s Malei?” Archilles asked.
“It’s very probable,” Sadeth replied gravely.
Folfeux stared dumbly at both of them and then manoeuvred herself into a nearby chair. She had always known he would return to Shenkuu, and probably start his thieving again, but now she remembered the disgust she had felt when she had learned that they were related. Even Kiya, the head of the palace petpet guards, had thought she looked like Malei when the Quilin had first seen her in the gardens of the palace.
“So do you know where he is?” she asked steadily.
“The Royal Petpets have been trying to track him down since yesterday, but no luck. You know how determined Kiya is.” Sadeth shrugged, though he had only met her twice, while Folfeux visited her regularly.
The small Juma sat in silence. This was not good at all. She stood up.
“Why do you think he’s back?” she asked.
Sadeth and Archilles exchanged looks. “Possibly to get back at you,” Archilles said. “You were the one who foiled his plans, so...” he left the sentence hanging.
Folfeux scowled at him. “I can defend myself.” She wanted to mention that the likeliness of Malei wanting to hurt her was lessened by the fact that they were brother and sister, but the Sandan had no idea of that fact, so she kept quiet. But even that hadn’t stopped Malei before. It was only when Folfeux had guessed that they had been stolen that Malei had lost all the fight in him and disappeared.
After a long silence she spoke.
“I’m going to visit Asmaral,” she declared.
She stood up and shook out her fur, and then Archilles came to stand beside her and put a paw on her shoulder.
“I’ll come with you. I haven’t seen her in ages,” he said hastily.
Folfeux gave him a small smile. “Great excuse for coming with me,” she said teasingly. “But sure, you can come.”
Sadeth nodded at them and Archilles led the way to the entrance. When they were halfway up the petpet-sized stairs (specifically made by Sadeth’s owner), Archilles gave her a long look.
“So what’s really the matter?” he asked as they emerged into the still night air.
Folfeux frowned at him and took a moment to enjoy the port while it was at its emptiest. In the far distance she saw a ship floating a metre above the choppy waves, and remembered the first time she had seen a flying ship. At least she wasn’t in danger of being stepped on by a lumbering pet this time.
A shadow caught the corner of her eye, and her head snapped around to follow it. Archilles seemed to think she was trying to avoid the question and spoke gently.
“Shhh!” she hissed at him, stopping and tensing her muscles. Her eyes scanned the empty docks, but the moving shadow was gone... or it had stopped moving.
She sprang toward where she had last seen movement, forgetting about Archilles. Her paws landed on nothing, but a sound to her right made her spin around and pounce. She stopped when she realised it was Archilles.
The Sandan shook her off and he began to look wary.
“You saw something, right?” he asked her.
“Yes,” Folfeux whispered.
A flash out of the corner of her eye, then something much heavier and larger than her flung her high into the air. It was a painful landing, and she heard Archilles’ cry of surprise as she rolled along the sea-stained wood of the docks.
Gingerly she climbed to her paws and tipped her ears forward to catch any sounds. Her eyes fell on a crumpled heap some distance away, and she padded slowly toward it.
It soon resolved itself into Archilles, lying sprawled on the ground. Folfeux could tell he was unconscious by the way he wasn’t moving. Another quick glance around and her eyes fell on a crouched silhouette on the edge of the docks. It was small enough to be a petpet, but she couldn’t tell what type.
As if sensing her gaze, it darted to the right, and Folfeux rushed to meet it. At the last moment, it did a spectacular leap over her head, just clearing her bushy tail, and disappeared between two large warehouses.
If she had been just a little dumber, she would have rushed straight into the unwelcoming darkness. But she wasn’t dumb, so she slowed her pawsteps into a standstill and pricked her ears.
The waves crashing underneath her prevented her from hearing any small sounds, and she cursed silently, realising she’d have to follow.
Keeping to the wall, she slunk into the darkness as quietly as she could.
Which turned out to be not as quiet as she thought.
She was knocked sideways by the darting figure, and instantly lashed out with one paw, but she missed and lost her balance, falling down hard. There was a flurry of paws heading back towards the docks, and she scrambled up and raced after them in pursuit.
Then it stopped, and she skidded past, the dock suddenly disappearing beneath her paws.
There was a few seconds of freefall before she hit the water below, paws flailing to keep afloat. She could see the distant beach and stuck out towards it, the waves trying to pull her further away.
Then she heard someone landing beside her, and teeth sinking into the scruff of her neck. They were much larger than her, but they were pulling her towards land. After long minutes of being tossed about in the dark, she felt and beneath her paws. The teeth released her, and she turned to see a vaguely familiar shape.
Then something hit her on the back of the head.
She could still smell the salt when she woke. It was day; the burning of the sun against her eyes when she opened them proved that. And she was in a room in a very ramshackle neohome.
She climbed to her paws and surveyed the wall in front of her, steadying herself. There was someone behind her, but she still didn’t turn, biding her time. At last she eased her body around.
There was a single entrance, with a door hanging half-open. And the petpet standing dead centre of her only escape seemed to be waiting for her to recognise him.
It was Malei.
To be continued...
Author’s Note: I was never actually going to do a sequel for Runaway, but it kind of gnawed at me, until I just HAD to write one. Also a lot of people suggested it when Runaway ended.