Desert Journey: Part Three
Barely halfway down the valley wall, Noel stopped to rest. This rocky edge was proving much more difficult to descend than he had earlier anticipated. Getting around occasional sheer drop offs further complicated the descent. One wrong step could easily send Noel tumbling down into the depths below.
I wonder if that Xweetok has caught up to me.
Suddenly he heard a faint and growing rumbling noise from above. Noel quickly looked up to find various rocks of all sizes crashing down upon him.
The first rock grazed his left hand, causing Noel to loosen his grip a little. He quickly readjusted his body against the valley wall and hoped the remaining rocks would avoid him entirely.
What am I going to do?!
Despite her earlier attempts to stop the outsider, Aria was not going to fail this time. She knew he would have to cross the Lost Desert valley and it was there she would finally stop him once and for all.
As she approached the valley, Aria spotted her target pondering his next move. She smiled in contempt.
You have nowhere to go but down outsider.
Sure enough, he decided to descend the steep rock walls. His predictable choice caused Aria to further widen her smile. With all the rocks surrounding her, she could easily hurl a few over the cliff and knock him down to the distant ground below.
That red cloak of yours makes you an easy target outsider. I will prevail!
Aria quickly gathered a good chuck of rocks for her disposal. Some of the rocks were rather heavy but she didn't care. Aria was determined to knock him off the walls! She could easily locate his vibrant red cloak slowly moving down the valley rocks. With her target in sight, Aria began to roll the first few rocks down the edge. She watched with anticipation as the rocks plummeted below.
The first rock to reach the outsider just missed, managing only to graze his hand. Aria moved on to the next batch of rocks. She flung them over the edge but the Zafara managed to hold onto the valley wall and dodge each successive rock. Aria began to succumb to her anger as she wildly tossed more and more rocks down towards her target. The Zafara easily dodged the incoming missiles. Then he quickly began to climb down again.
Aria watched as he made his way over to a small nook carved within the valley wall. She frantically tried throwing more rocks at him but her efforts were futile; the Zafara was well protected. Not wanting to waste her few remaining rocks, Aria decided to wait.
He will have to start climbing down again sometime...
She waited some more. After what seemed like an eternity, the outsider began to crawl out of the nook and started climbing back down the wall. Aria sprang into action. She promptly grabbed her last three rocks and took careful aim at her target. The first rock once again hit his left hand while the second just grazed his back. The outsider lost his footing as he struggled to hang on with his right hand. Meanwhile the third rock was already heading straight for him. Unable to dodge the rock in time, the Zafara yelped as the rock smashed into his right shoulder. The force of the impact caused him to lose his grip as he plummeted to the ground below.
I've got you now, outsider!
Rocks continued to rain down on the alarmed Zafara. He hastily grasped onto the valley wall in hopes no rock would send him flying. Noel looked around. He suddenly spotted small nook just a few feet below. As more rocks flew off the cliff's edge, Noel swerved his body just in time to avoid getting hit. As soon as he noticed a break in the incoming projectiles, Noel quickly made a mad dash towards the nook.
He made it just in time as more rocks grazed the rocky walls. Noel breathed a sigh of relief. The nook offered just enough protection. Soon the rocks stopped falling.
Has the Xweetok given up now?
Just to be safe, Noel waited for some time. He hoped the Xweetok would give up in frustration. With nothing else to do, Noel brought his gaze towards the distant mountain. He wondered what the ancient city looked like and imagined himself finding the lost treasure. The thoughts slowly eased his anxiety.
Noel listened for signs of more rocks. Nothing. Feeling safe enough to venture out into the open, Noel began to start climbing down again. He was only a few feet farther when he heard the familiar tumbling of rocks coming straight for him. The first struck his left hand while he felt another rock roll down his back. Unable to stabilize himself, Noel slipped as he held on with his right hand. He failed to regain his footing and could hear the next rock coming straight at him.
With nowhere to go, the Zafara braced for impact just as the rock smashed into his right shoulder. Noel cried out in pain as the force caused him to lose his grip. Falling, Noel desperately grabbed for his Sakhmetian Dagger and thrust it towards the rapidly moving valley wall. The soft orange rocks gave into the sturdy sharp metal, catching the Zafara from his fall. Noel began to slow down wall and regain his composure. The gliding dagger finally came to a halt near the bottom as Noel gracefully hopped down to the desert ground below.
He removed his blade from the rocks and yelled out towards the top of the valley.
"YOU'LL HAVE TO DO BETTER THAN THAT IF YOU WANT TO CATCH ME!" he mockingly screamed.
Noel then turned back towards the desert valley floor and ran. After putting some distance between him and the valley's edge, Noel progressively slowed to a walk. He looked around at the surroundings. The desert valley was full of more sand dunes and orange rocks. Up ahead, he could make out some rock looking pillars.
He looked back to see if the Xweetok was following him. Alone once again, Noel proceeded to head towards the pillar formations. Another hour of walking passed when the first few pillars began to draw near. Noel ran over to the closest pillar.
I wonder if my grandfather encountered these on his journey.
The pillar was nearly fifty feet in height and three feet in diameter. Intricate carvings wrapped all around depicting ancient settings with unknown symbols and hieroglyphs. Noel awed in amazement. Never has he seen such brilliant works of art. This pillar revealed a lone Xweetok gazing up towards the sun. Various symbols and hieroglyphs surrounded the illustrated Neopet.
He moved on to the next pillar. Three Xweetok circled around a large symbol as the lone mountain rose from behind them. He could see more hieroglyphs reaching towards the top of the pillar. Impressed, Noel made his way over to another pillar. This time, many Xweetok were shown building a vast city at the base of the mountain. It was as if the pillars were telling a story of the Xweetok civilization's history.
He brought his gaze back towards the sky and pictured what it was like for the Xweetok to first discover the mountain.
They must have known this mountain was special...
Aria watched in disbelief as the outsider glided down the rest of the rock wall with his dagger. Soon he reached the bottom and insultingly yelled out before dashing off into the valley. She was furious. The Zafara had evaded her yet again!
This pesky outsider is getting on my nerves!
She collapsed to her knees and grabbed her head. No outsider has ever made it this far past her traps! Aria was running out of options. Not wanting to fall too far behind, Aria picked herself back up and began to climb down the cliff.
On the way down, she thought of more ways to trap the outsider. Many of her tribe members experienced much less success than her in stopping outsiders. Thus quite a few Xweetok have had to chase after them in the Desert Valley. She remembered how one Xweetok used a similar rock avalanche technique but that had already failed for Aria. Another Xweetok managed to cross the valley first and throw more rocks at an outsider attempting to ascend the rocky walls. But she knew the Zafara was too far ahead and would reach the other side before she did.
Aria continued to climb down until she reached the small nook where the cunning Zafara had evaded her rocks. She scoffed in disgust.
So this is where you managed to hide from me!
Aria descended the rocks some more before her hands felt the long indentation where the outsider had plunged his dagger. She paused once again.
That must be one lucky Zafara to not have his dagger snap in half from the force of sliding down these rocks!
The angry Xweetok continued her descent. As she neared the ground, Aria thought of the elusive Zafara.
You will feel my wrath outsider and when I catch up, you will wish you had never gone on this journey!
To be continued...