Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 186,904,169 Issue: 196 | 24th day of Relaxing, Y7
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The Son of Sahkmet: Part Two


by twirlsncurls5

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She wrapped her tan shawl tightly around her face as she walked through the bustling market. She had made sure to grab a plain one from her drawer of ornate and gold stitched scarves. Looking around at all the young desert women, she smiled a hidden and secret smile. She blended in perfectly with all of them, whose dark eyes were the only things visible from the shawls that covered their faces.

      The desert Usul felt as free as she always did when she walked alone through the marketplace. Her large eyes took in everything around her, all the fishermen pushing the day's catch on passersby, a jeweler holding a necklace with a gold pendant that hung round and gold like the sun, and the fruit stalls who displayed the most luscious and ripe fruits for everyone to desire.

      She shook her head. No, she thought, you're doing it again. She was always letting herself be mesmerized by the wonder of the desert world rather than noticing the imperfections that lay beneath its glistening outer shell.

      This time she willed herself to look past the fruit stall. There she saw two small blue Gelerts looking thin and lonely as they stared wide eyed at a round Ptolymelon. She didn't see their parents anywhere near.

      Quickly she walked up to the shop, paid a desert Chia several coins, and took a Ptolymelon off the cart. Without even looking at the young Gelerts she handed them the large fruit and walked off.

      She knew the city didn't need her charity, they needed orphanages and shelters. Now that her eyes were truly open she saw all the poor pets in their disheveled rags and shamed faces. They sat gloomily in corners of the marketplace hoping for someone to drop some spare change in their direction.

      She was deep in thought wondering how to start all these things that needed to be done, when she ran straight into the large body of a desert Grarrl.

      She looked up at his stern face and saw the palace tattoo, a black silhouette of the crown on his cheek.

      Her eyes narrowed angrily. The guards! That rat Wessle must have snitched on her trips to the marketplace and sent them to get her.

      "Listen," she said, unwrapping the shawl so that her face was visible, "you go back to the palace and tell Wessle that I'm the one in charge here and that if he ever meddles in my affairs again I'll have his job and his head."

      The Grarrl didn't budge. She noticed there were at least five others behind him, all wearing the palace tattoo.

      "How many of you did he need to send?" she asked, infuriated.

      The Grarrl grabbed her by the wrist and began pulling her forward.

      "How dare you!" she cried, "Unhand me!"

      "Princess Vyssa," he said in a deep and calloused voice, "you are hereby under arrest for the murder of King Coltzan III."

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     "Why hello, Senator," hissed Kontar as he opened the door for the friend he had once called Acrab. He thought her face would melt to shame, that she would feel horrible for lying to him all these years but instead she grinned.

      "I knew you would start to figure it out on your own," she smiled, patting him on the shoulder. It had been two weeks since her last mysterious visit.

      "That's it?" fumed the Lupe, not even bothering to invite her in, "you're not going to apologize for all those years you've lied about who you were?"

      She sighed. "There is a difference between a lie and a lack of information. I, my boy, simply never gave you any information." She reached into an elaborately beaded bag and pulled out a package. "But I promise that I will make it up to you." She looked at him sadly. "You'll wish forever that you could've gone on in your sweet ignorance."

      She handed him the package and he looked down at it, then back up at her. He opened it slowly and pulled out a Desert Paint Brush in awe.

     "It will keep you from standing out in the Lost Desert," she said.

     Kontar's mouth filled with so many questions that it just hung open, soundless.

     "We leave tonight. There will be no goodbyes and no tears."

     Kontar found himself shouting frantically. "Tonight? What about my family? What about the chef, and my job? What about Mahani?"

     Barca kept her calm emotionless demeanor. "Your family has known this day would come for a long time. We spoke of it last week in fact, just as you came into the room. Mahani, on the other hand, will just think you simply disappeared."

     "No," he shoved the paint brush at her suddenly feeling very dizzy, "I can't. I can't just leave now, not like this. Not without saying goodbye."

      The Acara looked up at him, gently pushing the paint brush towards him. "This is how it has to be." She locked her round eyes on his, eyes that once twinkled and gleamed with brilliant ideas. "They know what they are losing Kontar, and they might not let it go. Don't make it any harder on them."

      She led him past the brush and trees behind his house and they stood on the open, cool beach. The water lapped up on the shore methodically.

      "I can give you adventure, Kontar," she said looking out to the small boat that floated lazily in the water. "That's something this Island can never offer. I've taught you everything you need to know about the world so that you could explore it."

      Kontar looked to the long horizon. He wanted to see all of Neopia more that anything.

      "And I can tell you about your parents," she said, "your real ones."

      Kontar looked at her, stunned. The solution somehow became obvious. "I just have to pack my things," he said.

      The senator smiled. "They're already taken care of. All but one." She whistled sharply and Artu descended from the sky elegantly and landed on Kontar's shoulder.

      "I told you to never let him leave your side remember?" she asked. "Do not take my words lightly. The danger of where we go is grave."

      Kontar could only nod despite his confusion. He didn't even know where they were going or what they would be doing there but somehow the danger only intrigued him further.

      They waded out into the warm island water and jumped into the wooden sailboat. It was large enough to withstand long travel but small enough to be manned by two pets. Living on the Island had taught Kontar to sail, a talent he was proud of. He and Mahani had often raced on lazy summer days. The memory stung as he tied down the sails and the boat began to move silently through the water.

     "Why do you want me to go with you?" he asked, "I'm not very important."

     "Oh but you are," said Barca, lifting the hood from her face, "if only you knew how much."

     "Then what's with all this secrecy? I don't even know where we're going."

     "The secrecy is to save your own life," she said, "and we're going to the Lost Desert."

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      After a short stop at the rainbow pool, Kontar found himself covered in gold and black jewelry and standing on Desert sand. The air was an entirely different kind of hot; it was more open than the close, suffocating humidity on Mystery Island. Artu fluttered around excitedly, for him this was home. Kontar couldn't have felt any more out of place.

      Barca walked him through the marketplace and he just stared, mesmerized by all the foreign goods. But it was all forgotten as soon as he laid eyes on Sakhmet Palace.

      "It's amazing," he murmured.

      "And you haven't even been inside yet," muttered Barca sarcastically.

      Once he was, he couldn't even blink. All around him was red velvet pillows and musicians strumming long guitars. Usuls wearing sea foam colored scarves around their faces danced for members of the court who sat laughing and eating wonderful foods.

      "This is it," said Barca cynically, "this is what's become of the grand court of Sakhmet. Nothing but rich, fat politicians sitting on their behinds and calling for entertainment."

     She led him out of the vibrant hall disgustedly and into an empty corridor. She looked around cautiously before lifting a painting of an Anubis and pushing a button underneath. A door opened before them to reveal a long, twisting passageway. Barca grabbed a torch on the wall and led them down into the dark ground. Eventually a light started to shine in the distance and he could hear the sound of murmured voices.

      They ended up in a large chamber, where a small desert Kyrii and fat, medallion clad Tuskaninny sat at a wooden table. Their faces flickered in the light of a small lamp.

      "Kontar, this is advisor Wessle," Barca said, pointing to the Kyrii, "and this is Senator Palpus." The Tuskaninny nodded.

      "So this is the boy," stated Wessle in awe. Kontar thought his eyes had brimmed with tears, but he blamed it on the flickering light and nothing more.

      "Where are we?" he asked, disregarding the stares from both men.

      "We're beneath the palace," said Senator Palpus. "We think there are hundreds of secret chambers and tunnels like this one but we haven't been able to find them all yet."

      Barca sat down. "We are here as the last surviving members of King Coltzan III's court. We were the great thinkers and doers of our time. The King once considered us to be his most trusted friends."

      Wessle nodded. "And like the poison that took our great King, so has poison infiltrated his once great palace." He leaned closer to them all and began to whisper, as if the information was so furtive that it must be kept quiet, even underground. "What we tell you now, Kontar, we tell you in the most secretive of secrets. A new name has surfaced in the murder of Coltzan, and it is none other than that of his own daughter."

      A hush seemed to fall over the table.

      "Vyssa?" Kontar echoed incredulously, the picture of a beautiful desert Usul automatically popping into his head from the textbooks Barca had made him study. "Did she do it?"

      Palpus shook his head sadly. "Does it matter? The evidence they have is sufficient enough."

      "What did they find?" Kontar asked, still shocked.

      "The poison that killed Coltzan was a rare kind. There are only several bottles of it in all of Neopia," said Wessle, "and a chambermaid found one of them in Vyssa's room."

      "Someone could have planted it," suggested Kontar.

      "We're well aware," Barca agreed, "but no one else seems to be. Vyssa is not popular with many members of the new court. There was always that one thought in the back of their minds, the nagging kind that never really goes away. Her name was never cleared from Usurper; none of ours were. They will bring up the fact that she was an original suspect in the murder every chance they get."

      "They will try her, unfairly of course," added Palpus, "and once they have a reasonable amount of information to confirm to the Desert that she is indeed guilty, they will lock her away forever."

      Kontar leaned back in his chair. "Who will rule then?"

      The old politicians looked at each other uncertainly.

     "Whoever they want," said Barca.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» The Son of Sahkmet: Part One
» The Son of Sahkmet: Part Three
» The Son of Sahkmet: Part Four
» The Son of Sahkmet: Part Five
» The Son of Sahkmet: Part Six
» The Son of Sahkmet: Part Seven



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