The Son of Sahkmet: Part Four
The Kacheek that called herself Pazori smiled heartily as
she lay down on the velvet cushions that Vyssa had once slept on. She wanted to
say it had been easy to get there, but easy was farthest from the truth. It had,
in fact, been nearly impossible.
There were two things, and two things only,
that made such a thing possible: the short-term memory neopets tend to have
and a withered old brown Techo named Masika.
Her life had always been a prison; she had been
trapped and powerless in a kingdom that was not her own for most of her life.
This was why the adjustment wasn't really so difficult when she was sent to
one for real. She was ready for Neopia to forget her once again while she wasted
away under the palace she had spent so many of her years.
She had been stone cold throughout the accusations
and the frenzied questions. How dare they try to understand her or call her
a monster for poisoning the King that took her in? They would never know what
it felt like, to be a princess only in name while watching some spoiled little
brat take all of her privileges for granted. They would never understand what
it was like to lie awake at night wondering if their family, their kingdom,
was destroyed while a powerful King did nothing. No, she had gone through that
alone and so she was fully prepared to spend her prison life alone.
But when she was thrown into the dank, dripping
cell, a pair of wide red eyes had stared back at her from the shadows. The creature
had scuttled over to her cooing, "A new friend for me, a new friend." She had
backed away from the brown Techo uncertainly, assuming that the years of solitude
had driven her insane.
"There, there little Aisha," the old crone had
said, for she had been an Aisha then, so long ago, "Masika won't hurt you, no,
not I. These hands that once delivered princes could not harm a hair on your
pretty head." She wiggled her bony and wrinkled fingers. "Now tell me child,
what is your name."
She had spoken softly, uttering the name that
now, as she sat on royal bedding, would never cross her lips. "Sankara."
"Such a lovely name," said the other, peering
at her interestedly, "surely someone with such a name does not deserve these
pits of despair."
"How can you not know what I've done?" she asked.
Masika had grinned a yellow toothed smile. "It
is another world down here my dear, the surface goes on without us even knowing."
She sat closer to the Aisha "Now tell me, what is it that you did?"
She sighed heavily, more from annoyance at repeating
it than actual guilt. "I killed King Coltzan III."
The Techo's eyes went wide and she leapt into
the air. "He's dead! Praise the day!" She skipped and screamed around the cell.
"At last he is gone! The wicked king is dead!"
A red Acara guard slammed his bat against bars,
making them both jump. "Shut your mouth, you old hag!" he growled, "I'll beat
your head with my bat 'fore I hear talk of that sort after a good King's passing."
Masika stuck her tongue out after the guard walked
past as if she were a small child. "What a pathetic waste. He knows nothing
of what he speaks."
Sankara smiled, liking the old Techo more with
every curse she wished upon both the guard and Coltzan. "Now what grudge could
you have possibly held against the King?" she asked amusedly. "He was incredibly
"It was he that put me here," she whispered,
"him and his cronies."
"What did you do?"
She smiled her crooked smile. "I knew too much,"
"What did you know?" Sankara asked sweetly, playing
along with the crazy Techo.
"A secret of course," she giggled, "one they
didn't trust Masika to keep. So here I am, with only stone walls to speak my
knowledge to." She patted the Aisha on the back. "But I like you, my dear,"
she said, "you killed a Lupe I hated. I'll help you."
At the time Sankara had still believed her to
be mad, but after days faded into months, she realized it wasn't so. Masika
told her of her days in Sakhmet Palace, how she had been a nurse to many royal
children, caring for them until they were old enough to know their place in
Neopia. Sankara shared with her the details of her life before her kingdom was
attacked, how she was a princess that would've been queen.
Then one day, Masika shook her awake and said,
"It is time." She hobbled over to the corner of the cell and began tugging at
a loose stone. She pulled out a small pouch and opened it with a smile. It sent
a golden twinkle across the room. "Here my darling," she said, putting the pouch
in Sankara's paw. The coins jingled softly.
"That's the last of old Masika's riches," said
the Techo, "there's at least 300,000 Neopoints there. More than enough for what
"Need for what? The new décor for our dungeon
"No, no dear, for your disguise. We've waited
long enough, I think," Masika said, pacing the room anxiously, "the public should
mostly forget your appearance so you can at least walk the streets. But that
won't do once you return to the palace to take back what's yours, no, no, not
Sankara had rolled her eyes. "That all sounds
nice, but you're forgetting one thing. The palace is up there and we're down
Masika shook her head and scuttled over to the
back wall, feeling through the cracks in the stone. Sankara just sat down patiently,
assuming the Techo would be over her rant soon enough and go back to being at
least slightly normal.
"Ah," she said, satisfied, pushing in a black
stone with her old hand.
Sankara gasped as a portion of the wall slid
backwards, revealing a dark tunnel.
"My family has lived in this palace since it
was built," said Masika grinning, "I know every secret passageway, and trust
me, there are hundreds. Even Coltzan's brilliant Senator Barca doesn't know
Sankara stepped forward tentatively, staring
down the black abyss. "Why didn't you escape before if you knew there was a
"Sometimes," said Masika, leaning in close to
her, "it is better down here than up there. I have nothing to return to, all
of it was stolen from me. I have only weak legs to walk on." She nudged Sankara.
"It is you who will carry out my revenge and yours."
"What do you want me to do?"
"Take out Vyssa. You're a clever dear, I'm sure
you can think of something."
"Make yourself queen in her place. Then you shall
rule the desert you so deserved to rule. Just promise old Masika something."
"Destroy Barca, Palpus, and Wessle, the conniving
venomous rats that helped to put me here."
Sankara had agreed even though the back of her
mind was telling her how impossible this whole ordeal was going to be. She had
failed to usurp the throne before, what would happen if she were to fail again?
"The passageway will lead you outside the palace,"
continued Masika, pushing her towards the gaping doorway. "You must go to the
marketplace and purchase a potion," she lowered her voice as if someone might
be listening, "a special potion, one that will change your form completely."
Sankara looked down at her Aisha paw. Could she
really give up the appearance she'd had her whole life? But yet she knew how
important it was that the desert people didn't recognize her as their King's
She stepped inside the dark passageway and then
looked back at the old brown Techo. "Come with me, Masika," she pleaded, "help
But Masika just shook her head and went back
to sit in the shadows.
Seemingly an eternity later, she had emerged
into the blinding Desert sun. Her eyes watered and it took her several minutes
to adjust to the light. How long had she been in that dark dungeon for?
She walked through back alleyways in her torn
rags and disheveled appearance, hoping that no one would see her. A clothesline
hung through one of the house windows and she grabbed a tan sheet off of it.
She wrapped it around her face like a shawl, hoping it would be enough of a
disguise to get her through the marketplace.
She peeked out at all the stalls bustling with
neopets. It had been so long since she'd been among that many people.
Taking a deep breath, she started to walk through
the marketplace. With every step she held the sheet closer and closer to her
face, knowing what it would mean if she were recognized. A little yellow Ruki
looked at her with a puzzled stare and tugged at his mother's dress. But his
mother, a blue Ruki, quieted him and continued talking to a shopkeeper. Sankara
started walking faster and faster until she saw a ragged looking desert Kyrii
standing in the shadows. She recognized him as a rare goods dealer, and probably
the dangerous kind.
"Sir," she said in a hushed voice, approaching
him cautiously, "I'm looking to buy a potion."
He opened up a side of his jacket. "I've got
healing potions, camouflage potions, freezing potions-"
"No," interrupted Sankara, "I want a morphing
The Kyrii grinned and motioned for her to follow
him. He lead her down a dirty back alleyway and looked around to make sure the
coast was clear. He took out a small bottle with a yellow liquid inside.
"It's a yellow Kacheek morphing potion," he said,
slushing the bottle around with a grin, "and I'll bet you can take a wild guess
on what it'll change you into."
"I'll give you 70,000 for it," she said.
The Kyrii sighed. "Done," he said, handing her
the bottle. Sankara paid him and he went on his way.
She couldn't stop staring at the potion. Would
it hurt? She uncorked the bottle, releasing the smell of fur and chemicals.
As she tipped it to her mouth, one last thought ran through her mind: how would
her father recognize her if he came back?
She drank it.
Her body tingled and shook, her long legs shrunk
away and her paws widened. Her ears became short little triangles. She caught
a glimpse of her reflection in a puddle. It took her a minute to realize that
it was truly her.
She met Abasi some time later, after she had
spent the last of Masika's Neopoints on a desert paintbrush. She changed her
name to Pazori, Pazo for short after her favorite book, 'Pazo the Lonely Aisha
She came to enjoy her new look everyday and smiled at the thought of a King's
murderer passing by the palace everyday unrecognized.
Abasi was middle aged, and slowly working himself
up the ladder or popularity and power. She knew right away how she would succeed
where Vyssa had failed.
Tricking him had been easy enough. One night
as they sat down for a candlelight dinner of grackle stuffed turkey in his large
Neohome she sprung her plan upon him.
"Vyssa is not good for the Lost Desert," she
said, the candlelight casting shadows on her face and making her even prettier.
Abasi nodded, readily agreeing with almost anything she said. "You could be
more powerful than you can imagine if she were gone," she added, with a small
"The people love her, Pazori, no matter how
much the court despises her," Abasi said, shoving a bite of turkey into his
"So make them hate her."
"And then what?"
"Make me Queen."
Abasi dropped his fork. "Hush!" he said, "you
speak of high treason! Don't you know what the punishment is for such plotting?"
She had leaned forward then and kissed him softly
on the cheek. "You could be my king," she said.
That was all he needed to hear. "What must I
do?" he asked, leaning towards her eagerly. She had told him, and they turned
their plan into action.
But now, as she lied on Vyssa's pillows in Vyssa's
chamber, the words of Masika haunted her thoughts and ran through her mind like
a phantom calling.
Just before she had walked through the dark passageway
Masika had pulled her close. She'd whispered in her ear the great secret that
kept her locked away, and the one secret that could keep Sankara, who now called
herself Pazori, from usurping the throne.
"There is only one who could take the crown
from you," she laughed menacingly, "for Coltzan had a son."
To be continued...