Visions III: Revealed - Part Two
From her hiding place, Nil had seen it all. The way Jix had fooled the Kyrii king into believing he was somewhere else, how Jix attacked Jazan, but most importantly, how he confessed that he had attacked the others.
If Jazan's still alive, he'll be able to prove I'm innocent, she figured as Jix retreated down the alley, dropping the sword next to Jazan.
She didn't move until she was sure Jix had gone. As she climbed over the crates, her foot scraped against a broken board and she bit her lip, trying not to cry out in case Jix was still within earshot. She looked at it quickly and saw that it was badly scraped up. Still, she could live with it for the moment.
Focus on Jazan, she thought, limping over to the King. He was prone on the ground and his sword lay some ways away, but she ignored it and went over to the Kyrii.
How am I going to drag him back to the meeting place? she wondered as she stood from her crouching position. The Kyrii was much too big for her to carry, and there was no guarantee that Karan had gotten to the building already. If she ran all the way there only to find Karan wasn't there, it was likely Jazan would die from whatever spell Jix had put on him.
I'll have to drag him, she figured, and, after checking that no one was around, she bent over Jazan once more.
She put one of his arms around her shoulder and tried to heft part of his body onto her shoulder, but she ended up with his head and one arm on one shoulder with the other arm on the other shoulder.
Thank you, Jix, for making my life so very complicated, she complained as she started off towards the meeting place. Ugh, why do you have to be such a heavy king?
Karan carefully finished the last knot in his rope, finally mastering the Double Fisherman's Knot his father had recently taught him. It was mostly for pole fishing, not the net fishing he usually did, so he hadn't cared much about trying to do the knot before. Now that he had the spare time, it was something for him to occupy himself with. Plus, it made him a bit less homesick, something that had been pestering him ever since he left his father in Shenkuu.
Now what? he wondered, untying the knots. He began making a more complicated one called the Mynci's Fist. He carefully wound it into three loops, then made three more loops around the middle. The next step he didn't quite remember, so he ended up tangling his fingers up in the rope, unable to untie himself.
"Aw, great," he muttered, trying to free some of his fingers. I hope Nil gets here soon. Maybe she can help me out. He turned towards the door, hopeful she would appear.
As if his thoughts had summoned her, the Kyrii came through the door the next moment, entering the abandoned building they had found earlier. Karan was about to greet her when he noticed the limp Kyrii hanging over her shoulders.
He quickly untied his hands with his teeth before running over to Nil and taking the Kyrii off her shoulders. He dragged him onto a rug and stretched the Kyrii out so that he was lying face-up, immediately revealing who he was with the unique face paint he had on.
"King Jazan?!" Karan exclaimed, staring in disbelief.
"Yeah, he was attacked by Jix, if you couldn't guess from his unconscious state," Nil replied, sinking down into the corner. She was clearly exhausted and in a bad mood, even for her. "There's some spell on him that's going to kill him, apparently."
"We have to get help," Karan announced, looking around. I can't believe Jix managed to strike already. We just got here ourselves, and we travelled day and night.
"Thank you for that wonderful deduction," Nil replied, slumping against the wall. "We can't, though. Wanted assassin, remember."
"Wow, you're in a bad mood." Karan took off the brown cloak King Jazan was wearing, trying to find anything that might help. There was nothing, though. "Did you talk with Jix again?"
"No, otherwise I'd probably would've beat him up and be in a much better mood," she replied, standing up and walking over to Karan. She briefly glanced at King Jazan with both her eyes. "I'll try to see if anyone has a potion or something to cure this." As she began walking away, Karan stopped her, noticing her limp.
"What's wrong with your foot?"
"We have bigger problems," she replied simply, and pulled up her hood before leaving without another word.
Karan turned back to King Jazan and began searching his pockets, which was futile since he had none. "Between you and me, I think Nil won't admit to being injured. Even if she had this nasty spell on her, she probably wouldn't bother to get help, even if it killed her."
A chill ran up his spine and he felt what he said was a kind of ominous foreboding of some sort. For awhile, he stared ahead, wondering one thing: What's going to happen to her?
There weren't any medicine stands around the market as Nil soon discovered. She asked a few of the locals for the location of the medic, using her cut foot as an excuse. Eventually, she came upon it near the palace. It was a much more open area than she liked, plus there was an abundance of guards walking about, both in and out of uniform. Still, she needed this medic to help with the spell, and she didn't know where else to go.
As she opened the door, a variety of smells hit her nose. There were several soap scents, herbal smells, and an essence that reminded her of injuries and death. Her eye quickly adjusted to the dim light and she saw a red Zafara, busily moving about the shop. She moved skillfully between the plants that were haphazardly growing all over the place. From what she could tell, this shop alone had more plants than the rest of Qasala. Only a few actually sat in pots, which were also along the floor. All of the other surfaces, which included a desk, table, chairs, and a bookshelf, were either covered or reserved for some use.
Nil made sure her disguise was on well enough and approached the Zafara.
"One moment," the Zafara said, running to the bookshelf and picking up a grinding bowl with a strange yellow stalk inside of it. She quickly mashed it into a paste and scraped it into a small bottle of juice. It turned purple in color and gave off a small poof of smoke.
The Kyrii quickly seated herself in one of the chairs, making certain that she could clearly see the entrance and the Zafara at the same time.
As the Zafara sealed the bottle, she put it next to a pile of others before finally turning to Nil.
"I am Hara, Misha's apprentice," she greeted her. "Misha's currently seeing someone, so I'm taking her spot until she returns. What do you need? A tonic? Perhaps some medicine for a sick friend?"
"No, I need something to reverse a spell," Nil replied gruffly, trying to avoid eye contact. Does she trust all strangers like this? Nil would hate to see what would happen if the apprentice ever faced someone who truly meant her harm. Judging by her cheerful manner, Hara knew nothing about how harsh the world could become in an instant, like all the other pampered Neopians that populated the world.
Hara began moving about the shop, rifling through boxes and drawers along the bookshelf and checking all around before finally coming upon a brown case. She pulled it out and brought it over, crouching down next to Nil's injured foot.
"Hm... this isn't so bad," Hara said, opening the case and revealing crisp, white bandages. "Don't see how a spell did it."
"It didn't," Nil replied, pulling the cape of her cloak over the foot. "My injury isn't the problem, either. It's a... acquaintance's injury."
Hara nodded. "Alright. Should I come with you?"
"Most likely," Nil replied, standing from her seat and heading out the door.
King Jazan's pulse was growing steadily weaker and Karan did all he could to keep it from stopping all together.
Where's Nil with that help? he wondered, checking for the dozenth time that King Jazan's pulse was still going. He felt the faint beat drum out against his finger and pressed his lips together. It was steady for the time being, but he was unsure how long that would last. An hour, a few minutes, a few seconds...
Nil burst through the doorway without a word and stood off to the side as a red Zafara followed her in.
"Wait, stop running," the red Zafara gasped, panting heavily. She fell down, bringing the bags and bottles strung all over her with her.
"This is the help?" Karan asked as the Zafara picked herself off the ground.
"You try to do better," Nil replied grudgingly, sinking down into the corner once more, clearly grumpy still.
"My king!" the Zafara exclaimed, immediately running to Jazan's side. She began taking out a number of items and muttering some incantation as she did so.
Karan stood and went over to Nil, who was trying not to be seen. He looked at Nil questioningly, wordlessly communicating his need for an explanation.
"Her name's Hara," Nil explained. "She's the apprentice to the medic. Apparently Misha, the medic, is out so we're stuck with the Zafara."
"And she doesn't suspect anything?"
"She told me to wait when I first walked in and asked about what I needed. There's no chance she suspects me."
They watched as Hara began to force Jazan's mouth open and make him drink a thick, brown liquid that smelled rather like burnt grass. She muttered the last words of the incantation and began to pack up his things. "Don't move him for at least three hours. He'll regain consciousness soon, hopefully, but until then keep him still. The spell should wear off by the time night comes, but he won't be strong for awhile."
"Have you heard about the assassin?" Karan asked, as if trying to make casual conversation.
"Hm? Oh, yeah," Hara replied. "Misha told me about her, but she thinks it's not actually her. If you knew Misha, you'd believe her."
Karan quickly said, "Wait here," and went back over to Nil.
"What?" she asked, glaring at him.
"Let's tell her," Karan suggested. "I mean, after all, she thinks it's not you."
Hara coughed slightly, trying to get their attention. "You know, I could tell she was the Kyrii from the start. Also, the disguise wasn't the best."
"Will you help us, then?" asked Karan. "I mean, clearly we don't have a clue what we're doing."
"Of course," Hara replied, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "I can't very well leave the life of my king in the hands of an untrained Xweetok and his Kyrii friend, now can I? Still, I do have my duties to attend to, but I can come by at night when the shops closed."
Karan smiled and Nil rolled her eyes, all too familiar with that grin. "That would be great. Thank you so much," he said.
"Hey, shouldn't you know what you're getting yourself into?" Nil interrupted, and they both turned towards her.
"I know what I'm doing," Hara insisted. "My skills--"
"That's not what I meant. By helping Jazan, you're becoming enemies with the Wocky who tried to kill him. If he can almost kill a magical Kyrii, he's sure to be able to kill you."
Hara blinked at her. "I--I didn't know. He's really that dangerous?"
Karan nodded. "Yeah, sorry. I forgot to mention him. He's a blue Wocky calling himself Xagam. He's really powerful. I've seen what he can do, and Nil felt it."
"Well, then let's tell King Jazan and he'll get his guards to chase after the actual attacker," Hara suggested.
"He already knows Xagam is the attacker," Nil replied. "Plus, we can't get the guards to follow us without being arrested.
The Zafara nodded. "Right, I forgot. Still, he should be fine. There's no reason for him not to be. I'll stop by tonight, though, just in case." She gathered up the rest of her things and left through the door, her various trinkets clattering together.
Nil gave an amused laugh as soon as she was gone.
"What?" Karan asked, looking at her with interest.
"Oh, it's just the concept of kings and queens," Nil replied, sinking into the corner once more and removing the scarf. "It never made sense to me."
"You grew up away from the world practically," he pointed out, joining her on the floor. "Queen Fyora could have died and you wouldn't care either way."
Nil shrugged. "I'd be a bit upset if I found it, though chances are I wouldn't find out." She paused for a moment, as if considering something and looked at Karan. "Wait, did Fyora die?"
Karan laughed and shook his head. "No, she hasn't died yet." He looked up at the ceiling, a smile on his face. He seemed to be a million miles away, thinking about something. Eventually, he looked back at her. "Can you read?"
The question caught her off guard and she blinked at him, uncertain of how to reply. "Why does it matter?"
"Just curious, to be truthful." He leaned in closer, his eyes staring deep into hers. "So, can you?"
Nil shoved him back and curled up. "Leave me alone." Her tone was firm, and she hoped it would get him to leave her alone.
"I said leave me alone!" she yelled, glaring at him. She turned the left side of her face away so that she didn't have to see him.
"Alright," he said meekly, and backed away to the other side of the room. It was a simple question, he thought. Why was she so explosive over it? He sighed and shook his head. That's Nil for you, though, a thousand and one mysteries she won't let you solve.
To be continued...