Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 91,590,388 Issue: 174 | 21st day of Sleeping, Y7
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Deception


by christinetran

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All was cold and quiet, as calm as the rivers that ran peacefully beside the endless plains. Thousands of stars flickered on and off in the purple-black sky, turning each blade of grass into a single stalk of pure, green brilliance. A shooting star appeared beside Kreludor's crescent moon. It lingered there for three seconds before it disappeared into the abyss...

Upon the brink of Terror Mountain, at the dividing line between stone and snow, a civilization of thieves existed. Their flames burned with malice, and scared off the light of the moon... the only thing that illuminated the thieves was pure fire, nothing more. The old brown tents scattered around the encampment were identical in both size and shape, and the thieves' clothing were all torn in shades of blue, brown, black, and purple. Scars adorned their faces, and their eyes were pure red.

"To Galem!" they all cried as they raised their stone cups to toast the purple sky. "To Galem!" they shouted, their voices a murmur of rough, beaten stones scraping against cement.

Standing near the doorway of one particular tent stood a tall, dark, purple Grarrl. Running vertically across his right lip were three gashes; they were dark and menacing... signs of one who cannot and will not give in. His eyes were a bright red, almost charming if they were not always concealed and narrowed in anger. Shades of dark purple cloth were draped about his shoulders, concealing the layers of black body armor within, but he did not carry any weapons. His stare and his strength were his weapons... he was a Thievian warrior and leader.

"To Galem!" the thieves toasted once more, and pointed their cups at the purple Grarrl. "To Galem!"

Galem narrowed his eyes and ignored the toasts of respect. "Where is he," he muttered slowly to himself as he glanced angrily around the campsite. "Late as I suspected..."

"He shall come, Galem, my love."

Galem felt the flaps of the tent behind him slightly move as a figure exited its confinement. His eyes lost their intensity, and the charm it could contain began to gleam through.

"I know, Masila...but he's late," Galem whispered down to the green Acara that now stood by his side. "He should not be late."

A smile graced Masila's features, and she stared adoringly up at Galem's averted gaze. A heavily layered cloak and hood was wrapped around her petite figure. It was fastened at her throat with a golden charm adorned with a single emerald and four purple rubies. Underneath her cloak, she wore an elaborate purple, blue, and teal dress etched with strange designs and figures, and her ears each contained two golden hoops and a diamond. Slowly, Masila reached up and pulled down her hood, revealing her naturally flawless face and her best feature: her large, hazy blue eyes. Masila placed a reassuring hand upon Galem's arm and said softly, "My love, it's cold. Come inside."

Galem glared around once more before he reluctantly followed Masila into the tent. An old, spicy aroma met the two as they entered, and the coldness stood at bay near the entrance way. Masila slowly glided towards a chair covered in purple velvet cloth lined with golden stitches. Gracefully, she set herself down upon it. She held out one beseeching hand, and Galem took it with his large paw.

"He shall come, my love," Masila said warmly, and Galem's hard features softened as he gazed at her. "Do not worry."

The corners of Galem's mouth twitched slightly upwards, almost as if he was going to smile, and it stayed that way the entire time. He seated himself besides Masila, her hand still in his, rested his head against the chair's back, and closed his eyes.

"Sleep, my love," Masila whispered, and a smile appeared upon her face as she stared at his dozing figure.

Masila glanced down at her hand that Galem clenched tightly, as if he was afraid to let go of her. His hand felt warm and perfect... almost as if Masila's hand was meant to be in it. Her eyes sparkled as she thought that, and she wrapped her other hand about his paw and squeezed it comfortingly.

"My lord, Kanrik has come."

Masila glanced quickly towards the tent's opening and stared coldly at the wretched blue Mynci who stood there. A blue handkerchief was tied about the Mynci's yellow eyes, and a dark belt was wrapped diagonally across his chest. A smirk was upon his face when he entered the tent, but it quickly disappeared as he gazed at Masila's deadly stare.

"How dare you disturb your lord," Masila growled coldly at him, her hand still tightly wrapped about Galem's warm paw.

"It's all right, Masila," Galem murmured slowly, his eyes still shut tight. Slowly, the small smile that was upon his face disappeared, and his eyelids flew open. "I was waiting for him... Kanrik. Send him in, scoundrel."

Awkwardly, the Mynci nodded and stumbled out of the tent. Masila's eyes softened once he disappeared, and she glanced over at Galem. "Who is Kanrik, my love?"

"A warrior who shall help us. He wishes to be part of the Thieves, and therefore, he shall prove it," Galem said roughly as he pulled on his leather, purple gloves. He grabbed his black belt off of a nearby table and attached it around his waist before he stood up. "I heard of him from strangers."

"I see, my love," Masila said and placed her hands in her laps. Her hands felt cold now, almost dead... she wished for Galem's warmth dearly, and she reached towards him once more. "My love... it's cold."

"Masila, I cannot show weakness to possible new warriors," Galem said quickly, but when he glanced at Masila's adoring gaze, he faltered. His eyes gained their charm once again, and he took hold of her hand. "Very well, Masila."

"Galem?"

Galem, still holding Masila's hand, turned his head to look at the doorway. Standing there was a Gelert with faded blue fur and even paler yellow eyes. An old, discolored cloak concealed his entire body, and a hood hid half his face in shadow. He reached out one paw and threw the cloak off of his left shoulder, revealing his red suit, leather shoulder pads, and thigh-high black boots. One single gash ran across his left cheek.

"I go by the name of Kanrik. Apparently, you have summoned me for some unknown reason," Kanrik said, his voice rough and home to a deadly passion. "I have come willingly, and I shall leave whenever I feel need to. I am my own master. Now, what do you want?"

A smirk appeared on Galem's face when he heard these words, and he released Masila's hands and gave out a hearty laugh. "Your own master? Good show, Kanrik, but I do not aim to be your master. I aim to be your superior."

Kanrik's face remained expressionless, but he cocked one eyebrow in answer.

Galem laughed once more, this time, though, it was filled with respect instead of heart. "Fearless Neopian, I see. Fine, since you do not want small talk, I shall get right to business. Have you ever heard of a species called Bori?"

Briskly, Galem walked over to Kanrik and continued to speak business as Kanrik listened. Nearby, though, Masila's once warm gaze had turned to that of surprise. Her eyes were glued upon Kanrik, and she felt a strange emotion in her heart. Her entire body felt cold, and she shivered at it's intensity... yet, her stare upon Kanrik never faltered.

Masila quickly closed her eyes and gazed down at her lap, but it was too late. Kanrik's image had already planted itself into her mind... and she couldn't rid herself of it.

I cannot, she thought to herself. I am Galem's, Masila looked over at Galem, and her heart skipped a beat as she gazed at him. He needed her... he was her love. But, as Masila's eyes looked away from Galem and landed upon Kanrik, her heart stopped...

"What is happening to me?" Masila whispered to herself and buried her face into her hands.

Galem's voice faltered when he heard Masila whisper, and he looked towards her in concern. Abandoning all else, Galem walked over to Masila and kneeled before her in worry. "Masila, what is wrong?" he asked quickly and took her hands into his once more.

Masila's eyes fluttered in pain and shock when she felt Galem touch her, and she fell upon the floor in surprise. His touch... his once comforting touch... it was colder than a blast from the Snowager. She glanced down at her hands, expecting them to be encased in ice, but they weren't. They were exactly the same... it was Galem who has changed. Masila's heart started to pound in fear when she realized what had happened.

I have lost my only warmth... she thought to herself, and a flood of iciness engulfed her. Masila cried out in shock, and a series of shivers started to run through her body. Instinctively, Masila threw her hands out in pain as tears started to appear in her eyes.

"Help me..." she whispered.

Galem, meanwhile, was completely shocked at Masila's behaviour. She looked perfectly normal... the only difference was that she was acting like a maniac. Galem quickly stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her, hoping against all hopes that he would be able to calm her. The moment he touched her, though, she cried out even louder.

"Masila, what is wrong?" Galem whispered worriedly, and he inhaled sharply when he glanced at her once brilliant blue eyes. They were clouded, as if a fog of white coldness had fallen upon them and stolen away their beauty. "Masila..."

The entire time, Kanrik stood by fearfully, unsure of what to do. Masila cried out once more, and it tore at his heart when he heard it. She was wounded, deep within... Kanrik desperately wanted to help her, but he did not know how. Stiffly, Kanrik reached out and grabbed her paw in his... and Masila stopped shivering.

Slowly, the coldness started to drift away, and a new warmth fell into it's place. This time, though, it felt different... like the sun burning away the snow that had frozen Neopian for a thousand and one years. Masila clutched at the warmth desperately, and she threw herself upon it and cried. Her sun had risen at last, and she dared not let it set upon her world.

"My lady..." Kanrik said awkwardly as Masila continued to cling upon his cloak, her face buried within his chest. "Are you... are you all right?"

Slowly, Masila loosened her grip upon Kanrik, and she stepped away from him. This time, though, the warmth did not leave her. It stayed with her, and melted the ice that had frozen her eyes and her beauty. She gazed at Kanrik, and a look of surprise appeared on her face before it too melted away into adoration. "Thank you," she whispered. "Thank you, Kanrik."

Kanrik stood there, transfixed by both Masila's words and beauty. Stuttering, Kanrik muttered a quick, "You're welcome," before he looked down, his cheeks flushed in crimson. Finally, Kanrik dared to look up once more, and Masila's eyes continued to shine at him. His cheeks deepened in color, and he turned around quickly.

"You can leave now, Kanrik," Galem growled horribly at Kanrik's back, shocking both the warrior and the lady. Galem's stare was directed at Kanrik, and his fists were clenched tightly. Something inside him was telling him that everything was wrong, and that nothing was perfect. Yet, whenever he glanced at Masila, his worries were washed away, and that something disappeared. "Kanrik. Leave," he growled once more.

Kanrik nodded in response and walked towards the tent's exit. He reached forward to pull pack it's brown flap, but before he walked out, he glanced back one last time. Masila had turned her gaze to the floor, and her hood was draped about her head once again. Yet, she still captivated him somehow, and he didn't understand why. Kanrik looked at the ground and walked out.

Masila inhaled deeply when Kanrik left the tent, and all was cold about her once again. This time, though, the coldness wasn't as sharp. It was simply night in her world, and the sun had simply hidden itself beyond the horizon. Eventually, the sun shall rise again...

"Masila, are you all right?" Galem asked worriedly as he took hold of her hand. Masila flinched at his touch, and her eyes narrowed slightly. She meticulously pulled her hand away from Galem's, and stepped away from him.

"No, my love," Masila whispered back softly. "I am not all right." She looked up and stared at the tent's opening... Kanrik's image was still implanted upon her mind, and she smiled. "But everything's perfect."

The End

 
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