Magic and Mayhem: Part Six
Four pairs of paws grab the princess, who has slumped to the ground, and drag her into the portal. A burned and battered shadow Kyrii limps toward the portal after them. Sand can hardly breathe. She sees a duplicate of herself standing next to fake/duplicate Ruby and Violet- except... they look slightly different. Violet is faerie instead of blue and Ruby has shaggier red-brown fur. With them are two neopets none of them recognize- a very short, yellow Bori with a pale blue eye and a brown eye and a green Ogrin, whose stripes across his back hind legs are in the shape of lightning bolts, with dark blueish-grey eyes. They scramble backward in surprise as Razul joins them in the portal.
"Come on!" shouts Violet.
Sand manages to follow them as they spring into the portal. Her stomach drops as they fall in the swirling rainbows of colors. Why does everything have to be so bright? gripes Sand in her thoughts. If these visions keep up, we're all going to go blind.
** ~ **
As soon as they stop plummeting, Sand knows they have not followed their doubles. They are in a desert palace- a Qasala palace by the look of it. The library room is not packed; only a few occupy it.
"Where's Coltzan's Shrine?" asks Ruby peering out a telescope near a window.
"It hasn't been built yet," Sand, who somehow knows they are still in the distant past, replies huskily, confused by two figures. "Don't they sort of look like...?"
"Whoa!" supplies Violet.
Sand didn't need to ask. The Bori and Ogrin in the library bear striking resemblances to the ones in the portal. Sand is sure that somehow the tall, yellow Bori is the same neopet as the short, yellow Bori. He is studying a scroll, his pale blue (with specks of silver) eye and his brown (with flecks of green and gold) eye scanning it diligently. Next to him is an electric Ogrin, who has light blueish-grey eyes and the same lightning bolt markings. Sand is convinced that the green and electric Ogrins are related.
"Check this out." The Ogrin has been having trouble staying still and has found a different scroll. "This has a brief segment on that legend of the lost princess of the Pyramid Paradise Palace-you know before it was destroyed and abandoned, it had been at the heart of a rich civilization."
"Honestly, Spark." The Bori lays a blunt digging claw on a sentence to save his place. "With you around I never get very much work done."
"What are friends for?" Spark, the electric Ogrin, gives his companion an impish grin. "It says here that no one present at the princess's final ball could say for certain what happened just before she-and her closest advisor- disappeared. Many describe an explosion of light and a strange disk-like object floating in the room, but no one was near enough to it to identify it. How weird is that? I wonder what it was."
"Well, we have plenty of mystery on our paws as it is." The Bori turns back to his scroll. "You do remember why we are here, don't you?"
Although they then move on to have an interesting conversation-about an enchanted sword and some perilous quest, Sand cannot make herself pay attention. Her body is extremely exhausted and not even the instinct that something important is being revealed can rouse her.
"So... tired," grunts Ruby, his speech slow. "What do they mean? Who.... who needs a rescue?"
"I dunno." Violet's eyelids feel like stone and her eyes water with fatigue. "Is it us?"
Frustration creeps into Sand's tone. "Okay... thanks, Coltzan, but I think we've seen enough! You can stop now!"
The library room fades into mist around them.
** ~ **
"Oh, good!" A ghost Eyrie observes their struggle to sit upright. "For a while I thought you weren't going to wake up. Did that solve your problems and answer your questions?"
"Some of them." Sand shakes her pelt. "But mostly it just made more."
"And gave us headaches," adds Ruby.
"Now what?" Violet stares at the rising sun on the horizon.
"Now..." Sand pauses, glancing at Steve. "I release a ghost."
The ghost floats over to the kepru as she unpins the scarab from her necklace. Paws glimmering blue and green, she twists open a hidden notch in the charm. Duping out a wad of green feathers, Sand smiles as Steve's ghostly blue-grey appearance rapidly turns green and his red eyes vanish and golden orange take their place. Steve is still faded and also still a ghost, but he is no longer tethered to a scarab charm. He does flips elatedly in the air.
"Thank you, Sand!" He beams and as he disappears, includes, "If you are ever in trouble, give me a call."
Sand reattaches the scarab to her necklace, joyful herself that her powers have returned. It feels like a waterfall surging through her body.
"So." Violet's vibrant purple gaze settles on the kepru. "What are you going to do now that you have your magic back?"
"I know!" Ruby wags his massive tail. "You can stay with us."
I can go back to Sol and the others, thinks Sand. With my magic, shopkeepers will be no worry... but is that what I want? To use this incredible power for petty theft? What should I use it for? Sand considers what she did with it before. Certainly, she hadn't used it all the time for noble purposes, but most of the time it had been for the benefit of her kingdom. Violet needs help watching that absurd Lupe and besides, she adds to herself. That was us in that... time portal so clearly this isn't the end of our journeys.
"I've thought it over." Sand's heart races with adrenaline as she keeps her voice smoothly nonchalant. "And it would be the most advantageous choice for me to stay with you."
Ruby barks blissfully and Violet smiles, her eyes dancing with amusement as if she saw into Sand's thoughts. All three start toward the city of Sakhmet.
"Hey, Sand," Violet calls out as Sand trots down an alleyway. "Our hotel is this way."
"I've got to say good-bye to a few friends," the kepru says over her shoulder.
"Okay, Ruby will wait here for you. I need to check in with our owner."
Sand nods to indicate she heard and she turns the corner. It isn't long before The Desert Sunrise Inn comes into sight. She squeezes through the hole in the front door. As she hopes up the stairs, she organizes what she will say in her mind.
"Sand!" Sol flies down from the window ledge. "I'm glad to see you. I heard you ran off to some old ruins by yourself."
"I had business to take care of there." Sand sits cautiously on the dusty floor. "I regret to tell you that we will be seeing less of each other from now on."
"Oh, Sand... what did you do? I tried to warn you that if you bugged Takmur too many times he would-"
"What? No.... I'm going with some neopets."
Sol ruffles his feathers in shock. "I never thought you would want that, but if that is your decision... then congratulations! You will visit us once in a while, won't you?"
"Of course, Sol! You are still my friends. I just... need this chance more than you know."
"There you go again!" Sol rolls his eyes playfully. "So melodramatic!"
"Hey!" she protests lightheartedly and they embrace before parting ways.
"Hey. Hey, Mom," Ruby fixes his emerald eyes on his owner. "Can I keep this kepru? She followed me home. I promise that she will be extra good. She can talk and do magic spells and she used to be a princess centuries ago, but future us took her through a time portal to rescue her from an evil magician guy."
"Sure, Ruby." The young human girl pats him distractedly as she gathers their things for the hotel rooms. "Just remember to feed and give her water."
"Did she even hear the rest of what you said?" Sand studies the tall human, who has thick brown hair and brown eyes and-Sand notes- smells not unpleasantly like a vanilla cookie.
"Probably not," responds Violet, tossing a suitcase up on a bed. "Even if she did, she'd say yes. I bet she would even say it sounds "exciting" to own a potentially dangerous petpet."
"Hmph." Sand disagrees with one part of her last statement. "I must point out that Lupe does not own me. In fact, if anything, he would be my pet!"
"Right... okay." The Xweetok snorts.
"Guess what?" Ruby bounces back into the room. "Mom says we are going to look for houses again!"
Sand watches Violet's negative reaction and Ruby's undiminished enthusiasm. "I take it that this isn't very interesting?"
"Oh, no," Violet sighs. "It is interesting.... It's just that Mom is so indecisive about the houses. She'll pick three of her favorites, go back and forth for days, and then decide she isn't sure and she wants to take a vacation instead. I wouldn't be surprised if that yellow Wocky salesman flees when he sees who is coming."
As Violet and Ruby continue packing, Sand looks out the window at the clear sky. The sunshine burns hot against her kepru pelt. The crowds swell as more neopets join it, searching for a good deal. Not peaceful. Just the way I like it. Her lip curls back in a satisfied grin because she knows there are more adventures on the way.
I wanted to thank some people who helped to encourage me to finish this story. Thank you, Roxie (kca_98) my best friend and cousin for always making my day special. Thank you, RC (romanian_cutee) for listening and giving me tips. And thank you, readers! I hope you enjoyed reading this story as much as I did writing it. ~thedoggirl_97