There's Something in Sakhmet
“That’s going to be 53, 034 neopoints, thanks.”
Alxindor stared at the shopkeeper in disbelief. He hadn’t brought that sort of money with him. He had only come down to Sutek’s Scrolls to get a simple Cursed Scroll for his sister, the all-knowing Brainiac. They were around 1000 neopoints.
“Er, are you sure you scanned it right?” Alxindor asked
The shopkeeper frowned at him and shook his head “I don’t make mistakes in this business. I’ve run this shop for a long time, boy; I think I’d know how to scan a simple item!” The Nimmo pointed to the scroll. “Now are you going to pay or not? Because if you’re not, then get out of my shop!”
Taken aback, Alxindor stepped away from the counter, “Oh, er, no I’ll just... I don’t have the money...” he trailed off. The Shopkeeper fumed. Alxindor could almost see the veins in his temple sticking out. Okay, time to go.
“Er, well, I’d uh, best be going now then...” Alxindor almost ran out of the shop, but not slowly enough to miss the distinct muttering of the shopkeeper “Stupid Lupes always rushing about like they own the place. If I had used that darned scroll on him, I could have...”
Alxindor gulped and sprinted down the street. That old Nimmo was probably feeling his years, which would explain the dark muttering. Ahead of him, Alxindor saw a shop banner; Osiri’s Pottery. Mother liked the pottery from that shop; she always stopped there whenever they were in Sakhmet.
Alxindor walked inside and browsed slowly. This shop, like the other had been, was empty except for the shopkeeper at the counter. The Aisha sat there stiffly and stared straight ahead. Dismissing this, Alxindor selected a nice looking pot. Checking the price-tag, he saw it was less than 2000 neopoints. He had enough this time.
He plopped the pot on the counter and waited while the shopkeeper scanned the item.
“That’s going to be 53, 034 neopoints, thanks.”
Alxindor’s jaw dropped. Again? What was with these people here?
“But, it’s just a teapot,” Alxindor protested.
The Aisha gritted her teeth. “That’s the price.” Alxindor stared at her and thought of a few things he’d like to say. Instead he simply said, “How about I just get something else then?” The Aisha nodded. Alxindor browsed a bit longer, keeping one eye on the shopkeeper. She seemed to be fussing with something under the counter. Turning back to the items, Alxindor sized up a couple of low-priced candle holders shaped like Kacheeks.
Suddenly, there was a huge crash behind him.
Spinning around, Alxindor saw dozens of broken vases and other expensive things shattered on the floor. Suddenly, something slammed into him. Circling around, he saw the Aisha holding a huge sword; the Brilliant Blade of Brightvale. She swung the sword in his direction, only to be pulled down by its immense size and weight.
Alxindor picked up the Aisha and spotted what led to a back room. Seizing his opportunity, he ran to the room and put her on the floor, then slammed and locked the door as he ran out.
Breathing heavily, he hurried out of the shop. This day was simply getting worse! He had no idea what he had done to make everyone so angry at him today. All he had done was go shopping!
He decided he’d test his luck and check out the Petpet stall. Upon entering, the petpets began hissing and growling at him. The Peophin managing the shop rushed up to Alxindor and raised a sharpened talon. He ran out of the shop, not needing to be shown twice.
Alxindor sprinted though Sakhmet and was followed by glares and hisses. He had no idea what was happening but he honestly knew he had to leave the city.
Once he exited the gates, they slammed shut behind him. He could hear cheering and whooping from the other side.
Alxindor saw a guard regarding him curiously, an eyebrow raised and a question in his eyes. Alxindor walked up to the guard.
“Do you know what’s been wrong with everyone in the city today?” he asked. The guard groaned and took out a mini-calendar from his pocket. Flipping through it he checked the date, groaned again and he shoved it back in his pocket. The guard then looked at Alxindor and frowned “Today is the day of Anger in Sakhmet. Whoever comes in who isn’t a regular will have the curse shoved on them for a day.”
Well, that doesn’t sound good, Alxindor huffed. Why did it have to happen to him? “What happens when you have the curse on you?” he asked. The guard shrugged.
“You have the civilians try to attack you for the rest of the day. Sort of like a Multiplayer in the Battledome gone wrong, I suppose.”
Alxindor groaned inwardly. He did not need this today, and besides, he wasn’t even very old either, barely a week! This sort of situation was hard on a young’n. While mulling things over in his head, a sudden thought occurred to Alxindor.
“What would happen if I just leave the Lost Desert then?” he asked the guard.
The guard regarded him sadly. “Then the curse would stay on you until next year’s day of Anger.”
WHAT? Alxindor actually enjoyed his trips to the Lost Desert. He loved the sand and mystery that was underneath it. And his favourite was visiting Coltzan’s Shrine, that place truly was magical.
“So, I’ll just have to stay here all day?” he exclaimed.
The guard shook his head. “Until sunset, then you can leave safely.”
That wasn’t quite as bad as he’d feared. All he’d have to do was bum around till then.
Alxindor looked behind him at Sakhmet longingly. Sighing, he turned to leave, thanking the guard for the help.
Alxindor walked until he got to a river. Seeing a bridge not far up ahead, he ran over to it; however, he was stopped suddenly by an Elephante that jumped in front of him.
The large thing declared, “To get past me and onto the bridge, you must pay me!”
Oh great, another thing screwing with his day. Glaring up at the Elephante, he barked, “What?”
“To pass me, you will have to pay me 53, 034 neopoints!”
“WHAT?” Alxindor exploded “YOU AS WELL? WHAT IS IT WITH YOU PEOPLE AND 53, 034 NEOPOINTS? YOU REALLY NEED TO THINK OF SOMETHING BETTER THAN THAT! NOW THERE IS NO WAY I’M GOING TO PAY ANYTHING TO GET ONTO A BRIDGE! SO MOVE OUT OF MY WAY OR GET WHAT’S COMING TO YOU!” The Elephante looked genuinely shocked at the outburst. Alxindor opened his mouth to start yelling again, but the Elephante stopped him quickly. “Oh, er, no you... you don’t have to pay. I was just, er, kidding. Gee, you seem to have had a bad day or something.”
Alxindor sniffed. “You wouldn’t know the half of it.”
The Elephante nodded. “So, er, you can go now then...” He stepped out of Alxindor’s way and off the bridge. Alxindor glared at him and stalked past, only to be stopped again. By the Elephante
“Oh, what now?”
The Elephante looked slightly embarrassed and uncomfortable.
“Er, do you have some neopoints on you? I need some money to pay for the rent at the neolodge...”
Alxindor studied the Elephante. He seemed stiff and there was pleading in his eyes. Alxindor noticed the dirt on the Elephante’s clothes. This guy was honestly just trying to get by.
Alxindor put his hands in his pockets and pulled out the neopoints he had intended to use for himself. “Here. Take this.” The Elephante’s face was lit up with a huge smile.
“Gee, thanks, man; this’ll last months!” The Elephante’s smile faded. “I can’t pay you back...” Alxindor shook his head
“Don’t worry about it; I have more at home. You need it.”
The Elephante grinned and held out his hand. Alxindor shook and smiled back “You take care,” he said.
Alxindor watched the Elephante go and stood on the bridge.
He turned around and tried to see Qasala in the distance. Instead of seeing the city, he saw a huge sandstorm coming his way. “Oh, not good!” he breathed. Whirling around, he ran as fast as he could on the sand back to Sakhmet. When he got there the guard he’d talked to raised an eyebrow.
“Why are you back? It’s obviously not been sunset.”
Alxindor panted and shook his head, “Gotta... warn them... sandstorm coming... really bad and BIG...” The guard’s eyes widened. Alxindor watched as the guard rang the warning bells and shouted frantically the words, “TAKE COVER! ONCOMING SANDSTORM!”
The guard gestured to Alxindor. “You’re gonna have to come back in the city. Safety and all that you know.”
Alxindor shook his head. “But they’ll attack me!” The guard smiled.
“When the person cursed does something good, then the curse is lifted from them,” he said. Alxindor stared.
“Why didn’t you tell me before?” he gasped. The guard smiled. “They aren’t supposed to know; otherwise, they’ll have to wait the whole time. Come on, let’s get inside the city.”
Alxindor followed the guard inside the city. They both headed towards the palace, which was the only place that could hold all the citizens. Upon entering, Alxindor cringed at the thought of what had happened before. He expected more anger directed at him. What he got was the opposite.
He was greeted by cheers and clapping. He heard someone yell out, “GO, ALXINDOR!” He had no idea how they knew his name, but he honestly didn’t mind. He wasn’t being attacked by sword-wielding maniacs anymore.
From then on, Alxindor was always welcome in Sakhmet. He was treated like family by all the locals and was given free food by the shopkeepers. Life couldn’t be better. Except maybe if he could have 53, 034 neopoints. That’d be nice.