An Uprising of Sweepers: Part Three
It was there in the forest, in one of the many secluded areas, that tragedy played out and a choice and transformation had to be made. And again choices, had to be made when a certain group of Neopians; the most unlikely to ever join forces, did so. A revelation of the secret things that were brewing within their town itself. And they too, had to quickly make their choices: choices that would either benefit the town… or finally bring it to its knees. This was the birthplace of a movement. ---
All four turned to find the sources of the voice, and found three young Neopians from the town looking upon them with interest. Adian immediately recognised them as the troublemaking trio that occasionally wreaked havoc in town with their pranks and shenanigans. He dealt them a few times whenever they tried their luck in stealing some small catch. He had even chased them around the market on one occasion when they painted his boat garish orange (which unfortunately still remains this colour). He in particular, remembers that the one who spoke up is Nikos’s cousin. Before he could say anything, Nikos blasted out at her. “What are you doing here?”
“Me, dear cousin? My friends and I here happen to be taking a walk in town when we saw some interesting things and decided to take a closer look,” the mischievous looking Mynci replied.
“Closer look? More likely it’s you three causing your usual mayhem!” Adian barked.
“Well, you have to admit that we make things more interesting, right girls?”
“Definitely!” agreed the pretty white Acara and the green chirpy Pteri.
“Sorry, but you three are not getting your way in this,” growled Adian.
“Can you be so sure? We may have something of interest to share with you all… especially after hearing what my cousin has got to say.”
“Ah, that’s right! I saw something earlier Si- Adian, and was trying to find you everywhere and tell you about it.”
“Really? Fine timing! What were you’re so desperate to tell me?”
“I was just turning the corner to the mayor’s residence with his order when I heard voices as though he was just sending off someone. So I didn’t approach but waited. I heard him informing his guest about the soonest trading day; which was strange, unless they’re not from town. So I took a peep around the corner to see who was the outsider and saw it’s the bandit that blinded my father!”
“What?? Are you-” Adian’s question was cut short by Nikos’s affirmation “I am sure it’s the same bandit! I was there when it happened and I won’t forget the Neopian that caused my father so much suffering so soon!”
“But… that’s unbelievable!” remarked Orcius in shock. Khaenos on the other hand, looked stunned and said aloud, as though to himself “No… this explains everything…”
“Well, you’re another mystery! We all thought that you and your family were finished off by those bandits!” cried Nikos. “Hmm, we would like to hear more about this Khaenos. How did you survive?” questioned Orcius.
“Yes, do tell!” piped in Nikos’s cousin. “Before we hear him out, I want to hear from you three. I don’t trust you and it’ll be better to hear what you’ve been up to first,” injected Adian.
“Oi, we’ve got names you know? In case you haven’t gotten them yet, she’s Aurelia (indicating the white Acara), Maevia (the Pteri) and I am Thena.”
Nikos glared at Thena and surprisingly, she stopped. “Alright. Fine, we’ll stop fooling around… for now. You want to hear what we have done? Here it is: We were feeling bored when we saw someone in a great hurry and decided to shadow him for the fun of it. There were no problems doing just that until he arrived at the mayor’s residence. We wanted to follow him in, but… ah, didn’t want to make our relations with them more awkward than it already is.”
“What has awkwardness got to do with this? Sounds more like you brats were caught causing havoc there before! Anyway, continue.”
“Thank you! In any case, we couldn’t get as close as we would have liked; except that we’ve got Maevia up our sleeves. She could easily blend in with the plants growing around the house, so we sent her in. Anyway, it didn’t take too long, whatever they did in there. We saw the mayor himself come to the door to see our target off and Maevia came back to us. What was it you heard again, Maevia?”
“Oh, it didn’t sound like much. They were having a discussion on how despite all the raiding that’s been happening, the town is still able to survive as a trading town.”
“Fine, so that’s what Mathia found out,” Adian interrogated Thena, not really caring whether he got the troublemakers names right. “What made you pests come up here?”
“It’s Maevia, not Mathia. And why we’re here? We were wondering about what we heard, when we saw my cousin; looking like the shell shocked Mynci that he was walking right pass us to the door. Delivering something, I suppose. Luckily it was a servant that handled him, he would’ve given himself away with what he heard with his face like that.”
“Enough about my face. How come you followed me here?”
“Coming to that! After his delivery, he ran as though he as chased by a particularly vicious Hydruplit towards the town. So we decided to shadow him instead and followed him all the way to town, the market, the piers, someone’s house, Mother Euthia’s inn and finally all the way here.” This, Thena said in almost one breath and had to stop to catch it.
In that break, Orcius who had been deep in thought remarked “So… putting everything we’ve heard together; the mayor’s been having a discussion on the town’s survival as a trading town with a bandit? Intriguing… And now, for the last mystery…” All turned their attention to Khaenos, who had been very anxious ever since they had gotten hold of him, now looked cornered.
“Well? Why are you holding back?” demanded Adian.
“Thing is, I don’t really feel like going into the details of it.”
“Err,” Khaenos looked as though he wished he could take flight there and then. “I still have bad memories from that. Alright, I’ll just say I tried to escape by getting out of the house and sneaking to someone’s house to get help. But I was found out and chased all the way into the forest. There, while I was cornered, a Moehog appeared from nowhere and fought them off without even letting them land a blow on him. He was about to leave the area when I begged him to help my family...” at this point, the Eyrie trailed off and tried to get control of his breathing, as he said everything as fast as he could. It was as though he would get through those bad memories faster by quickly speaking.
“In any case,” he continued emotionlessly after a pause, “it was too late. That’s when I begged him again, this time to take me with him; to teach me how to fight like he does. It was difficult, he was very reluctant to let me follow him. In the end, he relented and taught me while we travelled all over but on condition that it will only be for seven years. After that, we both part our ways to follow where the winds call us to.”
When he was done, there was silence as all present absorbed his tale. But it gave way to comments, questions and exclamations of “So that’s where you’ve learnt to fight like that!” to “Who exactly was your teacher?” until Orcius silenced everyone with a “Let’s all do something against those bandits.” Not surprisingly, he was met with startled expressions and in the girls’ case, excitement. Nikos however, quickly warmed to the idea by adding “You know, that may explain that water faerie I saw today…”
“That faerie again! Weren’t you half dreaming then, Nikos?” questioned Adian somewhat worriedly.
“I wasn’t. And that faerie isn’t just any faerie. It was Tethya!”
“What?! Are you sure it’s her?” Adian and Orcius asked in wonderment and surprise. For, Tethya is a water faerie whom Neopians in the region see as a legend and local guardian; even if she isn’t as powerful as Faerie Queen Fyora or the more well-known ones. In fact, any appearances of her indicate important changes for the region or a turning point in a situation is due soon.
“Well, the one I saw today has pearls in her hair. And Tethya is the only water faerie hereabouts well known for having pearls in her hair.”
“Then,” Orcius announced grandly, “this confirms it! We’ll send those bandits out of town once and for all!”
“Yes, lets!” from the girls was drowned by a “Hold your feathers there, my friend.”
“Huh, I thought you would be the one jumping in and saying “Let’s do it”, Adian.”
“And so I would if it wasn’t for Nikos and those brats.”
“Hey! We can too!”
“What makes you say so? And how will we know that you three won’t cause trouble?” retorted the Wocky.
“About that, Adian, what you’re worried about is in fact a key. They can cause trouble alright… for the other side!” Orcius added. “As for me, I am fast and don’t tire easily, even if I am not as strong as you, Adian nor as good a fighter like Khae!” countered Nikos.
“Whoa, wait a minute.” This came from Khaenos who had been silent after telling his tale. “I didn’t say that I would be joining in.”
“Well, why not?”
“I am leaving. Tomorrow to be very exact. I came here as a traveller, passing through this town and not as a townsNeopian coming back.”
To be continued…