Misadventures of a Neopian Times Reporter VIII
I walked in the front door of my home, took off my coat, and hung it and my purse on the coat hanger. I took two steps forward, and was ambushed by a Christmas Zafara. Yanli tackled me, and dropped me to the floor in a rib-crackingly tight hug.
"Hi, Kristy! I'm glad so you're home. Guess what!" Yanli cried exuberantly.
"Someone gave you sugar again?" I guessed, feeling light-headed from hitting my head against the marble floor and lack of oxygen.
"Nope! Can I have some?" Yanli asked.
"When Taelia is nice to me," I replied.
"Ooh, yes! Yay, I love you!" Yanli hugged me tighter then skipped off.
"That was a no!" I screamed after her, realizing my sarcasm had gone right over her naïve little head.
Through my panic about her consuming sugar, I dimly wondered what it was she had wanted to tell me. I was starting to sit up when an orange paw reached down to offer me assistance. I looked up into the face of a Desert Lupe.
"Hector?" I asked, wondering if I had a concussion.
"Nope, just a figment of your imagination, Kristy," he replied.
That was real enough for me, I took the offered hand, and he helped me to my feet. Anita entered the room and looked down at us from the staircase.
"Why were you on the floor, Kristy?" the White Aisha asked.
"Do you even have to ask?" I asked.
"I just saw her in the garden chasing butterflies," Anita replied.
"And now she is in the kitchen raiding the sugar jar," I replied.
Anita pinched the bridge of her nose, as if feeling a sudden headache. "Fyora help us."
Hector watched this exchange with no small amount of amusement. "Terri was asking me the other day, Anita, why my cousin, a girl who loves adventure so much, would want be adopted by a human girl in Neopia Central and settle down to a boring family life. Somehow, I couldn't make her believe that between the human girl, and your second youngest sister, life here was more adventurous than anything you found on your travels."
"I resent that comment, I didn't trip once today," I said in my defense.
"Day's not over yet, and you still have multiple flights of stairs to ascend and descend before it is." My Faerie Cybunny joined Anita at the top of the stairs, grinning down at me.
I just stuck my tongue out at her, I couldn't help that I was stair-impaired.
I turned to Hector. "So, what brings you to Neopia Central, Hector? Just here to see Anita?"
"Maybe I'm here to see all of you, I'm rather fond of the lot you," Hector replied.
"Aw, you're sweet," I said.
"He was talking about us, Kristy. You scare him," Elise teased.
I tried to come up with a witty retort, and failed, so I just stuck my tongue out again.
"Your level of maturity never fails to impress me, mother-mine." Elise one-upped me again, and poked fun at me through my pet-name for her.
"Actually, half my reason for coming was to see Kristy," Hector told Elise.
"Why in Neopia would you need to see Kristy?" Elise asked.
"Well, there are some ruins that have recently been discovered near the river. They are buried very deep, and we believe that they extend under it. They might predate Sakhmet by four-hundred years. The Royal University of Sakhmet is funding an archeological exploration of the ruins, and Terri and I have been put in charge of the dig. I thought I'd come by and invite Anita and Princess, since they both love digs in the Lost Desert, and Kristy, to come cover the story since she is a journalist," Hector explained. "However, I guess it is just you two since I find Princess is in Altador currently."
I bounced up and down in excitement; it would make a great story, and I might even be able to get a story that would give Buzz no reason to chew me out. Above my head, unknown to me in my giddy glee, my two eldest daughters were exchanging looks of horror.
"Are you sure you think that is a good idea?" Anita started.
Before she could finish, I grabbed her hand and dragged her off, crying, "Let's go pack! Elise, you're in charge while we are gone."
Elise watched me go, and when I was gone turned to Hector. "Um, Kristy is great and everything, and I love my mom to death, you know that, right?"
"Of course I do, it's pretty clear," Hector replied.
"So, I'm not trying to be mean when I say, are you sure this is a good idea? She is a walking disaster," Elise said.
"We won't let her touch anything, and Anita will be there to keep an eye on her. What's the worse that could happen?" Hector asked.
"Don't ask that question!" Elise gasped.
I poked my head back into the room. "Oh, and, Bunny-mine? Yanli is in the kitchen eating sugar; you might want to lock the art gallery up."
"Sweet Fyora, Kristy! Why did you let that happen?" Elise shrieked, as she flapped her wings and took off flying for the kitchen.
I carefully climbed down the shaft that led into the ruins. I looked around and grinned, I was the first journalist to stand in these ruins, and I was getting the exclusive scoop. All around me, the archeologists and students from the University Hector was a professor at were setting up lights and getting out their tools. I walked over to Terri, a Desert Usul, and watched her as she brushed layers of caked sand from hieroglyphics on the walls.
"Too soon to ask what this is talking about?" I asked, while taking notes.
"Well, most of it, but the wall mentions the name of King Lylh. This is fascinating, not much is known of him. All that we know of him are unconfirmed stories of his becoming odd as he grew old. If he had this place built, we might finally learn more of him," Terri told us.
"Odd stories?" I asked.
"Yeah, they say he became extremely paranoid, he refused to go out in the sun, and he booby trapped his palaces. Not pleasant place to work, I'll bet," Terri explained.
"Sounds like a fun guy. I can barely get through my own home without almost killing myself tripping on something; I'd hate to have to live in a booby trap filled palace." I laughed.
The next two days were fairly uneventful. Half the team continued the excavation and worked on opening a sealed door, while the other half uncovered the walls and translated them. They were able to confirm that the place was built by King Lylh, though for what purpose eluded them. Numerous mentions of booby traps were made too.
I was pestering some poor student who was translating a wall when Hector called my name. I turned and found that they had the door open. I came sprinting in to cover the story. They were carefully setting up lamps in the room and looking around. I started snapping pictures of the newly opened room at a furious pace.
"Be careful, everyone," Hector warned. "We don't want to set off any traps."
"Really, Hector? This place is over a thousand years old; what are the chances that the traps still work?" I asked.
I shouldn't have tempted fate like that, but I'm stupid and I did. Just as the words left my mouth I felt the ground where I was standing sink slightly, and heard a click. The ground opened up beneath me and I fell. Hector, who was closest to me at that moment, dived forward to try to catch me. I was already gone, but the trap had two doors, and the other one opened late, right under where he was. We both disappeared before the stunned eyes of family, colleagues, and students. The moment of silence was broken by an unfortunate student.
"Pretty good odds, I guess."
Hector and I picked ourselves up and brushed the sand and dust off our clothes. I looked around, but it was too dark to see. I picked up my camera and turned the flash on, looking around by its light. We had had landed in a long corridor. There was a torch on the wall, but it was unnecessary, as Hector had a flashlight.
He pointed the beam at me. "How did you do that?"
"I stepped on a trap, duh," I replied.
"No, I mean, one moment you're asking me what the odds are of a trap working, and the next you're setting one off," Hector clarified.
"Some people are just lucky." I shrugged.
"You call that luck?" Hector asked, flabbergasted.
"I'm not one of them," I finished.
"Now what do we do?" I asked.
"We start walking and try to find a way out, and hope you don't set off every trap in the place," Hector said.
"Oh, that's a good plan," I said.
"Yes, I thought so," Hector replied. "Come on, this way."
He pointed the beam of light to the left, and we headed off.
"How did she do that?" Terri asked.
"She stepped on a trap," one of the students replied.
"No, I meant one moment she was asking what the odds of a trap working were, and the next she was setting one off," Terri clarified.
"She's Kristy." Anita shrugged. "It's what she does."
"All right, well, the only thing to do is to split into teams and look for them. The room has two other passages, I'll head one team, Anita will head the other. Horak, go back to Sakhmet and try to get in touch with the Defenders of Neopia, we might need their help." Terri gave out orders.
Anita pinched the bridge of her nose. "My sister works as a secretary there; she's just going to love hearing that Kristy got herself into trouble again."
They split off to their respective groups and headed off, hoping to find them quickly.
Morphica and Lightning Lenny walked into the control room at the Defenders of Neopia's HQ.
"You called us?" Chloe asked.
"Yes," Loraine replied, the Purple Ixi was sitting at the computer. "Distress call from the Lost Desert, trouble at an archeological dig."
"Didn't you say your mother was covering a dig in the Lost Desert?" Lightning teased.
Chloe was too busy trying not to be sick to answer.
"Let's see, missing, one Dr. Worth, an archeologist and professor at The Royal University of Sakhmet, and," an involuntary snicker escaped Loraine. "One Kristykimmy, a journalist for the paper, the Weekly World.
Lightning opened his mouth to say something, but Chloe shoved a finger in his face and threatened, "Not. A. Word."
Lightning nodded, they left the HQ and made for the Lost Desert.
"This corridor goes on forever!" I cried. "What was up with these people? Why did they have to build these things so huge, I mean, what purpose does this place even serve?"
"I don't know, but I think we chose the wrong path, the path has been sloping downwards. It was so gradual that at first I thought I was imagining it, but I'm not," Hector said.
"Oh, borovan! So, we're going deeper in, instead of out?" I asked.
"It's possible. It's also possible that we'll come to an intersection soon, and one of the paths down there will lead us out. We'd best keep going forward," Hector said.
We kept on walking, and soon came to a room. There were three other openings into the room. Hector puzzled over which one to take, while I took pictures and scribbled down notes.
"You're pretty dedicated to your vocation," Hector commented.
"I have to be; if I go back to Neopia Central without a story, or one that Mr. Johnson considers decent, he will maim me, defenestrate me, shout down a deadline to have a story to him by, which will be really short, and if I fail that, repeat," I said.
"There are days when I wonder why I became an archeologist and teacher, and then I decide that I'm just happy I'm not you," Hector told me.
"Something everyone else on Neopia is thankful for too, I'm sure," I said.
I noticed something on the wall. "Hey, Hector, maybe this is a map?"
I started to brush away the caked sand on the wall.
"No, don't touch anything!" Hector cried in panic.
He grabbed my hand away a second too late. The trap doors opened beneath us and we fell again. This time it was a curving chute, and when we reach the end, we were sent flying out. Hector landed sprawling on the floor and I went a few feet further and landed on some old stone block. At least, at first I thought it was a block. Looking down on it, I realized it was a sarcophagus.
I jumped off it screaming, and continued to scream as I brushed myself off.
"What is wrong with you, it's just a sarcophagus," Hector said.
"Don't you know what those things are for?" I screamed. "That is soooooo gross; I landed on it, ew!"
Hector rolled his eyes at me. "I've touched mummies, Kristy. The sarcophagus is nothing."
"I didn't need to hear that!" I whined.
I worked to get over my disgust and, after a minute, ventured back to the sarcophagus and took pictures. Hector was looking it over, translating the hieroglyphics on it.
"Who does it belong to?" I asked.
"King Lylh, it seems. This is his tomb. No wonder all the traps, if he was paranoid in life, can you imagine how much more so he would have been about his burial place? After all, all his treasure was buried somewhere here with him," Hector explained.
"We're gonna die," I whimpered.
"We are not. Now, come on, we still need to find our way out."
There was only one doorway this time. We left through it, and continued trying to work our way upwards. About four hours after we found the sarcophagus, and after ending up taking a route that purposefully brought us back to where we had been an hour before, we came to a room that was a dead end.
"Well, this looks ominous," I commented.
"We'd better turn around, fast." Hector sounded worried.
I turned, and my foot pressed down on a hidden switch. I could have cried. The door slammed shut, and a moment later, a strange gurgling sound could be heard, coming from under the room.
"Hector, what is that?" I asked.
"Seeing as how we are probably under the river, I'd say water," Hector replied.
I went over to the nearest pillar and proceeded to bang my head against it. Hector's guess was dead on; water began to fill the room, welling up from around the edges of the room.
"Well, this is crummy," was all I could think of to say. Hector nodded his agreement.
The water inflow was really slow; it was a good half an hour before it even reached my knees. The king or the guy who designed the room must have really hated people; they had to bore them to death. I spent the time trying to decide if this was a worse death than being trampled by rabid fangirls. About twelve minutes later, when the water had reached my mid thighs, there was a bang on the ceiling above us.
"Oh, what now?" I cringed, worried that the ceiling was going to come down and squish us next.
Instead, a section of ceiling fell down, and a rope was lowered down from the hole in the ceiling. We went over to it and looked up; I could see the silhouettes of two figures above.
"You first," Hector said, taking the rope and tying it around my waist.
He gave it a tug, and whoever was up there began to pull the rope up, and I ascended. When I came through the hole in the ceiling I found Lightning Lenny and Morphica there. I untied the rope, and they dropped it down, a minute later Hector was with us.
"Come on; let's get you two out of here. Your team is worried sick," Lightning said.
We began the trek out, following the DoN agents.
"How did you know we were in that room?" Hector asked.
Lightning held up a strange device. "Virtupets Heat Scanner, it can pick up heat signals through a foot of solid Tiranium. We saw your heat signals in the room beneath us and decided it was easier to punch a hole in the floor and pull you up, rather than trying to find our way down there to you."
"Nice," I said.
"We also managed to disarm a bunch of traps while we were searching for you. That'll make it easier for your team later."
"Thank you," Hector replied.
When we finally arrived back at the room where we had fallen from, we found Anita and Terri waiting for us. Anita sighed in relief, and hugged us both at the same time. Then she took me by the shoulders and shook me.
"You're the reason we can't take you anywhere fun. I am going to put you on a leash!" Anita cried in frustration as she shook me.
"I'm happy to see you too, Anita," I replied.
The DoN agents turned to leave and I called to them. "Um, thank you! Uh, will you tell Chloe that I said I'm sorry, 'cause when she hears about this, she's gonna be so mad at me."
"Actually," Lightning Lenny was grinning, "I almost forgot. She was there when the distress call came in. She asked us to deliver a message."
"Oh, yeah?" I asked nervously.
Morphica slapped me upside the back of the head. I rubbed my head and said, "Yeah, that would be the message she would send."
They headed off, and we exited the tomb. The rest of the team was waiting outside. The sun was about an hour from setting, and the desert air was beginning to cool. The team cheered when they saw us, and Hector told everyone what we had inadvertently discovered. It was too late to really do any more exploring that night, so we called it a day.
I went to my tent and looked over my notes, grinning all the while. Sure, it had been a harrowing experience while it lasted, but now it was just an awesome story, and it was my story for the Weekly World. I set to writing, and decided that while my luck wouldn't be consider good, but it was rather a unique and interesting kind.