Petpet Adventures: Reunited - Part Six
“Attack!” The loud roar came from Zariam as he sailed over the ledge and fell onto Archilles.
The Sandan let out a shout of surprise and threw the Biyako off, but then another petpet landed on him and brought him down. Folfeux started forward, but found her way blocked by Malei.
“Out of the way,” she spat, glowering.
He studied her. Then he sighed and took several steps backwards. Folfeux sped past him and tangled up with Archilles and his foe, rolling around on the ground. She was dragged off by Zariam, who leered at her.
Now she could see Kiya nearby, striking out at the bandits with two other Quilins flanking her. More royal petpets were pouring from the gap, and Folfeux saw bandits chasing them in. Now they were all half-trapped.
She tried to pull away from Zariam, but his grip was too strong.
“You were so gullible,” he said with a chuckle.
“And so are you,” snarled a low voice.
Both of them turned in time to see Malei swing his paw. Zariam reeled backwards and released Folfeux hastily as he tried to regain his balance. He looked at both Jumas, then smiled evilly.
“Well, I didn’t expect you to become attached to her, Malei,” he said.
Malei growled. “She’s my sister; what did you expect?”
“I expected you to remain loyal to your leader,” the Biyako sneered.
“Yet I was your leader once,” Malei snarled. “And for good reasons too.”
Both petpets had begun to circle each other, gazes locked, eyes narrowed, bodies tensed in anticipation. Folfeux took several steps away fro the crackling tension in the air, staring at Malei. He actually cared about her? Then why hadn’t he ever shown it?
She remembered him throwing her to safety while he went down the steep slope. But countering that was leading her and her friends into this trap. And not telling her anything about it.
A Gikerot, very much like the one who had tricked them, approached her. She swiped her claw angrily and drove him away, then turned back to the circling contest. It surprised her that they were the only bit of calm in all the fighting. She was the only one who had noticed what was taking place.
Except for Kororr, possibly, who had just felled an opponent with surprising strength and agility, and was watching the Juma and Biyako intently.
“You can’t beat me anymore. You lost all our respect.” Zariam spat the words out contemptuously.
Malei stopped edging around and immediately Zariam stopped as well, so that they were facing each other, muscles bunched.
“I don’t deserve any respect,” he said almost sadly, then he met Folfeux’s eyes. “But I hope that one day I might earn some again.”
And while he was looking at his sister, Zariam took the opportunity to strike, springing forward and closing the distance between them in an instant. The two adversaries were locked together on the ground, each trying to roll the other onto his back.
Finally Zairam got the upper paw and held Malei down.
“I told you that you can’t beat me,” he boasted triumphantly.
Only to be knocked flying by the combined effort of Folfeux and Kororr.
As he skidded across the ground into the wall of the dry pool, Folfeux turned to the Dandan with a questioning look in her eyes.
“I trust Malei from what I know of him.” Kororr shrugged.
“Thank you,” Malei said as he rolled to his feet painfully and padded over to the Biyako.
“I see that you now have to be saved by others, Malei.” Zariam smirked.
“At least he has people willing to save him,” Folfeux said loudly as she stalked up to Zariam. “And I have a piece of information for you; you’re losing.”
Zariam looked around at the battle, and his eyes widened as he saw that slowly his petpets were being subdued by the royal petpets, most of them Quilins. His eyes narrowed dangerously and he turned them on Malei.
“This is all your fault!” he howled and then charged forward and rammed into the large Juma.
Folfeux’s jaw dropped as she watched Malei sail through the air, so high that he landed on the grass above them. She couldn’t believe anyone had that amount of brute strength. It was almost a metre to the top.
“Retreat!” Zariam roared. He bunched his muscles and leapt up next to Malei, tackling him.
Folfeux was about to follow them when she saw her brother climb to his paws, take one shocked glance at the angry Biyako, and then bolt, disappearing from Folfeux’s sight in less than a second. Zariam followed, with the half a dozen petpets he still had with him racing behind him.
A paw fell on Folfeux’s shoulder and she turned to see Archilles’s familiar face.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
Folfeux could still see a deep bruise on his temple where he had been knocked unconscious at the port.
“I’m fine,” she said, gazing up at the spot where she had last seen Malei.
“How did he manage it?” Archilles asked.
“Malei. How did he manage to catch you?” Archilles smiled fractionally. “I thought you were tougher than him.”
Folfeux felt a pang of irritation. “I am,” she said. Then she frowned. “Or maybe I’m not. It doesn’t matter now!”
Before she could continue on, there were sounds of a scuffle.
She turned to see Kiya trap Kororr against the war and rushed forward to stop the Quilin from closing in.
“Kororr’s a friend,” she said. “He helped me.”
Kiya stopped and turned to face her and, and Folfeux saw the fierce determination in her friend’s face.
“I see.” She studied Folfeux intently. “What happened with you and Malei? Did Zariam help kidnap you as well?” the Quilin asked.
Folfeux sighed in frustration. She realised now that they hadn’t seen the two petpets fighting, and thought they were still in league with each other. But she knew that Malei was in danger right now. And she needed to stop it!
“Malei ‘kidnapped’ me himself,” she said. She held up a paw to stop interruptions. “But he was only doing it so he could tell me he had found our parents.”
She realised she had said something wrong when all the assembled petpets stopped to stare at her.
“Both of your parents?” Kiya said, shock bright in her eyes.
Folfeux closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Yes. Everyone tend to have two parents.”
“That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” Kiya said angrily. “Are you related to Malei?”
“So I’m told,” Folfeux said. “And I believe him for now.”
“You’d believe a worthless thief? Kiya growled.
“He’s not worthless to me.” Folfeux paused as she realised that she really meant the words before continuing. “And right now he’s in danger, so I’m going after him.”
Kiya stared at her for several long seconds until a voice interrupted them.
“I think you’ll find you won’t be able to stop her, Kiya,” Archilles said with a sigh. Folfeux met his eyes as he continued. “Do you want help?” he asked her.
“You can’t help her help an enemy of Shenkuu,” Kiya snarled.
“Then I’ll go by myself,” Folfeux said simply, and sprang up onto the side of the pool. She stared down at them. Kiya tensed to go after her, but then Kororr bolted in the opposite direction and the Quilin spun around. Folfeux used the distraction to race out of sight, glad for the diversion he had caused.
It only took a few seconds for her to find Malei’s scent, trampled over with Zariam’s and his band of petpets. She doggedly began to follow it when the most typical of things happened.
It began to rain.
It was almost amusing, the fact that it always rained at the most inconvenient moments. But the clouds had been threatening to release the torrent of water all day. She shook herself off, which had no effect at all, and then put her nose to the ground.
With a jolt she realised that the scent was weaker now because the rain was washing it away. She sped up fast, dashing through the pelting rain as she tried to catch up with it before it disappeared.
The only good thing about this was that Zariam wouldn’t be able to find Malei either.
She stopped, her heart pumping as she realised that the scent was gone. Completely. With a growl of frustration, she pressed her nose to the ground once more, but failed to find the scent.
She lifted her eyes and scanned all around her. She realised with a shock that she had begun to climb up the slope of the mountain where her parents were. What if she went to find them now...? But Malei was more important right now!
Now she began to notice that the sparse bushes around her were bent out of shape. Like, say, half a dozen petpets had trampled past. Except they all seemed to be going in separate directions.
Of course! They had split up to find Malei. Without hesitating she ploughed through a bush and began looking for her brother. She had just as much chance of finding him as the other petpets did.
A flash of brown fur caught her eyes and she dashed towards it.
It disappeared as soon as she headed towards it, but she didn’t care. Well, not until someone heavy landed on her and rolled her onto her back. She struggled for a moment, but they were too strong for her, so she lay still.
And found herself looking into the eyes of her brother.
To be continued...