Sands of Time: The Beginning - Part Three
It was like a miniature city inside. Neopets of every color, species, shape, size, and nationality were here. Jehea was horrified when she realized that every one of them was dedicated to the same cause Sahrden, Cortrenton, and Metthallion were: ultimately, taking over Neopia. They walked through the crowd without any notice whatsoever.
“Where do we start?” Aspire whispered to Jehea. Jehea furrowed her brow in thought for a moment.
“Err... how about we ask around?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea...” Aspire began to say, but soon realized trying to argue with Jehea was like trying to stop a rain cloud from raining.
“Excuse me?” Jehea approached an island Lutari. “Do you know where Metthallion is?”
The Lutari stared at her quizzically. “Metthallion? Who is that?”
Aspire intervened. “She means the Supreme Ruler.”
“Oh! Why didn’t you say so? Wait, why do you want to know? Have you been summoned?”
Jehea thought fast. “Yes, he wants us to assist in...”
“Distracting some of the Sakhmetahn Royal Guard so other agents can steal some...” Aspire added.
“More neopoints for our Supreme Ruler,” Jehea finished.
“Oh. Okay. He’s in the treasure room, over there.” The Lutari pointed to a heavily guarded room. Aspire gulped. Jehea managed a muffled thanks.
“We have to get in there...” Aspire said nervously.
Jehea steeled herself. “We have no choice.” They hid behind their cloaks, which, once they were hiding behind them, became conveniently see-through so they knew where they were going. Once they got very close, they hid behind a stalagmite and took off their cloaks.
“I’ll sneak in,” Jehea whispered, “and find the crown. I’ll return back to this stalagmite. If you hear that I have any trouble, make a distraction. If we get separated, go to the door that we entered in.”
“Which door would that be?” Aspire asked, pointing to the several doors scattered everywhere.
“It’s that one,” Jehea stated, “I’m sure of it.” Before Aspire could add anything else, Jehea took off.
“It’s just you and me, Cyrahn,” she said as she sneaked past the guards, unseen. The cyodrake was also underneath the cloak, sitting on his usual spot, Jehea’s shoulder, as he watched what was going on. Jehea saw Metthallion speaking with a few other neopets whom she didn’t recognize.
It was only then that she realized that the room was filled with piles of treasure, everywhere. She knew she had no chance of finding the king’s crown unless somehow, Metthallion revealed where it was while he was talking. So she snuck over and eavesdropped.
“Well, Vyssa? Isn’t it just as splendid as I said it was?” Metthallion bragged about his room filled with treasure.
The Usul next to him nodded. “Indeed, Metthallion.”
The Aisha seated to the left of the Usul cleared her throat. “Metthallion, what was the agreement again?”
“Ah, yes. It is of utter importance that you assist me in this cause. If you do, Sankara, I shall grant you your kingdom back. Vyssa, I shall dethrone your elder sister, Amira, and place you in charge of the entire Lost Desert. And Wessle.” The Kyrii, who was seated to the right of Metthallion, looked over. “You shall be granted your own kingdom. Also, all three of you will be given a tenth of the treasure in this room, which, I assure you, is more than enough to purchase two Neopian lands and have billions of neopoints left over.”
All three of the neopets seemed greatly satisfied with that. “All I ask is that you help me control Neopia,” Metthallion said.
“You can have Neopia,” Sankara stated, “so long as I receive Khamtef. That’s all I want.”
“And you two?” asked Metthallion.
“If my sister can be my maid,” Vyssa purred, “and I rule the Lost Desert, well then, I figure I’d help with nearly anything.”
Metthallion smiled. “That leaves you, Wessle. What do you say?”
“No offense,” the Kyrii smirked, “but I want to make sure you’re not just spouting steam. Show me the crown.”
“A wise request,” Metthallion said. He motioned for a guard to bring him the box he was holding. “Here it is.” The Draik pulled off the top of the box to reveal Coltzan III’s crown. It gleamed and shined with refined, rich gold and sapphire imbedded in it. Lapis lazuli shone from both sides, and, though it was solid gold, it was very light. The center gem, however, was its grandeur. It was a single ruby, as big as a fist, that was a liquid, pure, midnight blue. It was one of a kind, the only blue ruby in existence. And now, it was in the hands of Metthallion.
“How did you get it?” asked Wessle, not looking up from the amazing crown.
“Well, I had two of my agents steal it while I diverted the guards’ attention to other things. However, it was taken from them, by a young shadow Lupe from Shenkuu.” Jehea held her breath out of instinct, though she knew there was no possible way he could detect her presence. “But she was so easily tricked! I soon retrieved my agents, which she had subdued, and the crown from her. She would have been a good agent. I’ll bet even now, she’s just wandering around, thinking that I’ve returned the crown,” he laughed. Jehea grew hot, out of anger and embarrassment. How she wished to give him a good slap, but she didn’t let anger get the better of her.
Metthallion returned the crown to its box and placed it behind him, completely out of sight, as he was nearly up against a wall.
“I shall help,” Advisor Wessle said.
Metthallion smiled charmingly. “Excellent!”
‘It’s hard to believe he’s so evil...’ Jehea thought to herself as she carefully picked up the box and hid it underneath her cloak. She quickly ran back to the stalagmite and got out from under the cloak. Aspire suddenly appeared, doing the same.
“I’ve got it!” Jehea whispered triumphantly. She showed him the box.
Aspire’s eyes glittered. “Great! We’ve got to get it to Princess Amira!”
“They were talking about her, you know,” Jehea said, as she navigated through the crowd and towards the door that they entered in.
“Who was?” asked Aspire.
“Well, Metthallion, for one thing. Also, there was some Princess Vyssa, Princess Sankara, and an Advisor Wessle.”
Aspire got alarmingly still. “Jehea?” he asked in a panicky voice.
“What?” replied the Lupe somewhat nervously, due to Aspire’s reaction.
“All of those people have a lot of control in Sakhmet. If they’re working with Metthallion...”
“Then Sakhmet will be easily taken over,” Jehea finished in petrified realization.
“We’ve got to warn Princess Amira!” said Aspire in a hushed voice. They ran towards the door they had entered in, and knocked on it. The Grarrls opened the door.
The Lupe and Bori, flanked with their petpets, ran through the tunnel. They pushed open the ‘Employees Only’ door and were met with the sight of a near-empty building. The only one there was the green Mynci, who was sweeping the floor.
“Pretty amazing, isn’t it?” she asked, smiling.
Jehea was about to say something that would probably get them caught, so Aspire interrupted. “It took our breath away.” The neopets left the building in a hurry.
“How are we going to get to Sakhmet in time?” asked Jehea.
“We can hire some Unis to take us there. It won’t be long at all if we ride Unis; and I’ve got enough neopoints to hire two of them.”
They saw a sign just across the road that said: ‘Take a Glorious Uni-Back Ride to Sakhmet!’, and they ran to the building, just as the owner of the company, a red Techo, flipped over the open sign.
“Please, sir! We need to get to Sakhmet right away! It’s an urgent matter!” begged Aspire.
“You’ll get there faster riding a turdle then begging me to hire out two Unis at this hour.”
Out of impulse, Jehea asked, “Have you been stolen from? By L’ahn?”
The Techo looked at her incredulously. “Why, yes! I have!”
“Well,” Jehea continued, “We have vital information that can stop them, but we need to tell Amira right now, or all could be lost.”
“Tell you what,” The Techo said, “You look like you’re telling the truth. I’ll let you both ride one of the Unis each; for free.”
Jehea gaped at him and managed to say her thanks as Aspire stood beside her, as shocked as she was. The Techo walked around the building and came back with two Unis: a spotted and a desert.
“Take care of them, now. They know their way back and will come back on their own, so don’t be worrying about them.”
“Okay. Thank you very much,” Aspire said.
They each got on a Uni, Aspire on the desert one, and Jehea on the spotted. They rode on in silence, but all was not silent in other parts of Neopia.
In a small village in Shenkuu, a young Eyrie tossed and turned in his sleep while he was burned with nightmares and a fever. And in an underground cavern beneath Qasala, a furious Draik stormed about as he searched for the crown. With each gallop, Ronix got worse. And soon, Metthallion made a horrifying decision. He decided to stage his attack without a war between Shenkuu and Sakhmet. And he intended on doing it right now. Meanwhile, Jehea and Aspire got off the Unis.
“Good luck,” said the desert Uni quietly. Then, he galloped off with his companion.
To be continued...