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The Neo-Rakarr: Part Three

by shelleylow


The red-clad Eyrie screeched with triumph as he alighted onto the rocky ledge on the side of the stony mountain. Aihami looked around her as she was roughly yanked off the Eyrie's back onto the ledge, and the bonds around her hind legs untied. The red-clothed pets organized themselves behind her.

      "Now walk," the Lenny commanded.

     "You stop moving, Aisha," snarled a Shoyru threateningly, "and we'll skewer you." He punctuated his sentence with a hard jab in her back from a spear he carried.

     Aihami sighed as she shuffled forward obediently. She was still curious as to what they had brought her here for, and she felt surer the more she sensed of these pets that they wouldn't be kind if she didn't move. She would need all her strength and energy if she wanted to free herself later on.

     As she mused she could hear the pets behind her laughing and joking cruelly about Neo-Kido. It was such a pity that they would never see what it had to offer. She shut them out of her awareness as she started to think. Where were they?

     Her seat on the Eyrie had been less than comfortable, and she had no idea where this place was. Still, there were one or two things she could find out be reasoning. It was rather cold, so they had definitely flown off Mystery Island. Yet as she surveyed her surroundings she could see no snow…it couldn't be the Terror Mountain range then. She had never see snow before, but some nights, as the white-belts grouped eagerly around him, Manny had delighted in telling stories about the places he had visited with his owner. He had told them about snow, the white fluffy flakes that were intensely cold and floated down from the sky so thickly that they blanketed the whole world in white. Aihami and Marko, who had lived all their lives on Mystery Island, had enjoyed these tales of distant lands as much as their students. She groped with her memory now. Had there been some place he had described that was similar to this?

     That was it. It had to be. Once, Manny had told of a place his owner had been grumbling about having to go to for a 'conference', he had called it. He had described it as backward and far away from civilization. Manny had of course been more eager to go hearing this picture painted of it, the little Jubjub had preferred places of natural beauty to bustling towns. It had been a cold rocky mountain called…what was the name now…The Forgotten Mountains. Due to their dryness and inhospitable nature, the group of mountains was not a popular tourist destination. They had been frequently left off maps of Neopia, hence their name.

     So there was that problem solved. It was a perfect hideout for pets up to no good. But what were these pets up to, exactly? She would have to be patient to find out. She had no clue how she was to get back to Mystery Island like this but there had to be a way, somehow. As long as she kept alert she was sure she would be all right.

     After a long trek up the narrow, pebble-strewn pathway Aihami's footpaws were aching and sore, but she bore it patiently, now and then pushing lifeforce energy into them to ease the pain. She rounded a corner and almost stopped in amazement.

     Looming out of the swathes of cloud that surrounded the mountains, an enormous castle stood, built entirely of stone of a deep red hue. It had been so skillfully created it looked almost like part of the mountain. And the castle was obviously their destination. The pets behind her let forth a cheer of victory as they saw it, and then began to congratulate each other again on their capture. The Shoyru prodded her sharply in the back again with his spear blade. "Double-quick time now, Aisha," he rapped out. "We're nearing the place."

      Aihami trudged on, sending more lifeforce energy to her bruised footpaws. Surely soon, in that castle, the mystery would be solved.

      As they entered the castle gates and set off down a narrow hallway lit only by candles, Aihami felt a note of fear and panic begin to creep into her mind. Carved into the wall were pets of all sizes and shapes, and though they were not at all unusual looking, their expressions made them frightening. Malice and hatred seemed to gleam from the red stone eyes, mixed with pleasure in striking terror and fright into every heart, and oppressing the weak.

      Aihami closed her eyes and breathed slowly, trying not to shudder. Gradually she calmed down. Now she had to find out more about this place. She extended her awareness, listening carefully to every sound. She could hear shrill cries echoing from everywhere; they spoke of pain and fear as well as smugness and victory. A terrible air of malevolence hung over the entire place. And there were lifeforces… so many lifeforces, but growing weaker and weaker from lack of development and training. She shuddered involuntarily, though now more from the pang she felt at all she had sensed. What sort of a place was this?

      She stopped short in front of a heavy iron door. One of the red-clothed pets, a Scorchio, strode forward from behind her and rapped loudly on it.

      "The Neo-Rak Champions-in-Training seek an audience with Champion Taruuk," he bellowed. "We have with us the red Neo-Kidoka Aisha."

      There was silence for a while. Then paws were heard scrabbling at the door, and in a moment it swung creakily open. Aihami felt someone's spear blade against her back again and began to move through the doorway into she knew not what. She felt, however, that she was soon to find out.

      The enormous room within was even darker than the hallway outside, with even fewer candles whose weak flames barely gave any light at all. At the far end, she could just make out the shadowy outline of a throne, with the even more shadowy outline of an enormous figure sitting atop it. She could not help feeling rather unnerved by the sight. Still, she held her peace. She was as yet ignorant as to what she had been brought here for.

      "Champion Taruuk," began the Scorchio as boldly as he could, though through the pride in his voice Aihami also detected some degree of caution. "We have brought the red Neo-Kidoka Aisha, just as you commanded us."

      The figure eased itself off the throne, and advanced majestically towards them. Aihami could see as it approached that this Champion Taruuk was a force to be reckoned with. The colossal Eyrie was obviously very strong, possibly the strongest pet she had ever seen. He was as dark as midnight, except for his eyes, which were bright orange and glowed with baleful cruelty. She pulled herself together and stood evenly unafraid, but not arrogant or overconfident in the least.

      For a long time the two faced each other. Champion Taruuk loomed over her, cold arrogance showing in every line of his shadowed body, and in the gleam of his orange eyes. Aihami turned her mind inward, focused on breathing steadily and slowly. In, out, in out…

     Opening her eyes, she saw the faint glow that was the pale vermilion of the Eyrie's lifeforce, and the other dim flickers from the rest of the Champions-in-Training. They barely shone as bright as the weak light of the candles. Inside, she was stronger. She was ready to face whatever they had. She continued to look tranquilly at Champion Taruuk, still trying in vain to intimidate her, to make her look away from him in fear.

     The Eyrie to his own disbelief found he himself had to turn away from the red Aisha's unwaveringly calm dark gaze. Unwilling to show his weakness in front of his subordinates, he changed the subject by shaking his head firmly and roaring into the darkness of the hall.

     "Head Champion Horak!" he boomed. "The red Neo-Kidoka Aisha has been found."

     An aged Techo shuffled quickly out of the shadows at the far end of the hall near the throne, his eyes glittering with so much accumulated hatred that even Aihami had to step back when he came into view. A sharp intake of breath accompanied his words as he turned those malignant eyes on her.

      "Karei," he hissed vindictively, a note of triumph in his voice as well. "So, Karei, we finally meet again, after all this time! You don't seem to have changed much, young Aisha, oh no…must be that precious Neo-Kido formula of yours, keeps you youthful, eh?"

      Karei? Aihami could do nothing but look at him, puzzled. Who was Karei?

      Her stunned silence seemed to inflame the Techo. "Well, so you think you can frighten me with your silence?" he roared. "You and your little Neo-Kidoka friends!" The victorious edge crept back into his tone as he savoured his next words. "But you're too late, Karei, too late! I have rebuilt the Neo-Rak training ground, far away from all that is gone! Somewhere you Neo-Kidoka would never think of looking. You thought you defeated us forever. I had to bring you, Karei, who caused our downfall once, here, to see how wrong you were!" He began to caper around her with a savage glee, chuckling at her.

     Aihami could do no more than stare uncomprehendingly. What was he talking about? These pets and the Neo-Kidoka appeared to have been at odds for some time already... what could the connection be? She wished Naro-Master were with her. Surely he could explain this mystery...

     "Yes, Karei," the mad Techo continued, "soon the Neo-Rakarr and their legacy will be spread throughout Neopia! For we are the strongest of all the Neopian fighting arts. We can overcome all with the sheer might we have in muscle and bone, and our skill in fighting is unmatched even by the best of your Neo-Kidoka. The Neo-Rakarr will soon be sent to recruit new members to our training ground, this castle you see before you. By our training and exercises we will weed the weak from the strong, the survivors from the quitters, the fit from the unfit! And the strongest shall dominate the weak, for how can the weak overcome the strong! And all you Neo-Kidoka, with your pitiful philosophy that peace and harmony should prevail… Ha! By then all will understand and think the practical Neo-Rak way: that the weak should be crushed and only the strong survive! Who will listen to you then, Karei? Who?" He broke into wild, maniacal laughter.

     Aihami had not understood all that he had said. But she could discern something: All these pets she had seen had been called Neo-Rakarr, and their thinking was drastically different, the exact opposite in fact, to Neo-Kido's…They were planning to spread that thinking all over Neopia…

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» The Neo-Rakarr: Part One
» The Neo-Rakarr: Part Two
» The Neo-Rakarr: Part Four
» The Neo-Rakarr: Part Five

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