There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 81,443,838 Issue: 151 | 30th day of Swimming, Y6
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The Story of Stan: Part Two


by waterboy711

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Also by ridergirl333

The Lost Temple was a hidden sandstone building at the far end of the Sakhmet River. In front of the temple, water collected in a pond and flowed into Sakhmet River. The river, in turn, flowed to the large oasis in front of Coltzan's Shrine. The building itself was grand, round, and surrounded by sandstone pillars. It had a musty, abandoned look to it, with Spyders making their webs in every corner and petpets making burrows around the walls. Pictures of Ancient Neogyptian deities adorned the walls, all facing towards the center of the temple. At the center, there was a hole in the ground, where the floor had caved in.

     Stan shuddered. He hated this place, but it was perfect for hiding from the Elephante Guards. He hoisted the bound and gagged Usul into the pit at the center of the temple. She won't get out of there, he thought to himself.

     By struggling and biting at her gag with her sharp Usul teeth, Starling had managed to rip open her gag. "Why're you doing this to me, you mangy, flea-bitten street Kyrii?"

     "You have something that belongs to me," Stan growled, extending his paw into the hole. "I couldn't find it in your room, so you've got to have it with you."

     "Yes it is... EMERALD!!!" she shouted as she realized that the green Scorchio had taken the ring from her room overcame her. If the ring were in her room, Stan probably would have found it. "Listen, you've got to believe me," she pleaded. "I--"

     "-- No! You listen to me. I want my ring back right now! No excuses, I never could make any! Do you think that I chose this life?" Stan said in an angry rant. He took some deep breaths before speaking, "I will ask you only one time more. Where is my ring?"

     "Oh, you're not really a bad Kyrii at all are you?"

     "Of course I am," he said coolly, pulling the vest tighter. "I'm not just bad. I'm really bad."

     "No-you're-not!" she said in a VERY, VERY high and annoying manner.

     Stan rolled his eyes and groaned. This was going to be a long night, a very long night.

* * *

A while later, the Usul girl was finally beginning to calm down. Maybe, she thought desperately, just maybe I can get him to talk and let me free. "Stan," she began awkwardly, then, using a tactic she had once seen when she had gone through anger management, "How do you feel about your current condition?"

     "If you mean being here, horrible."

     "If you feel horrible about taking me captive, then you should let me go."

     "I don't feel bad about taking you, I feel bad that there are people who have to put up with you all of the time." Stan replied, trying to be a tough guy.

     "Now I know that inside you are really a young, caring boy who just needs loving. Tell me, what was your relationship like with your mother?"

     Stan said, mockingly, "I know that inside, you are a pathetic little girl who is really a prototype for the new Usuki robot from the Space Station."

     "You just need a little motherly love."

     "I'd tell you what you need but I don't curse in front of girls."

     "I am not a girl, I am a lady."

     "And I'm the Faerie Queen's Motha'-in-law."

     "Its interesting that you mention 'mother' again."

     "What do you mean 'again'?" Stan retorted.

     "I realize that you have unresolved issues."

     "Listen to me Usuki-girl," Starling gasped at the comment. "You are the one with issues. You are the one who needs love. You are the one who keeps mentioning mothers. YOU need the motherly influence, because you didn't have a mother, did you? Did you? Did you?"

     Starling began to cry. "It's true! It's true!" she wailed, letting the tears flow freely down her cheeks. "I live with 3 guys, and one of them is incredibly tall! No one understands me! My sister is so popular and hates me! I'm not surrounded with enough estrogen!!!"

     "Don't complain to me, kid. You've got the easy life. Ever been out, begging and stealing for food, not knowing whether you'll live to see another morning? Always in fear of the Elephante Guards and their ever-present, ever-watchful crossbows and swords?" By now, Stan was working himself into a terrible rant. "Do you know what it's like to feel lonely every single day of your life?"

     "Yes, actually," starling said quietly, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I do. My brothers are always out together. And my sister's never home. She's always hanging with her friends. I think she hates me."

     "Well at least you've got a family and an owner," Stan said darkly. "Nobody wanted me. The sickly, scrawny little Kyrii in the back of the market stalls."

     "What good is it having a family, if they don't care about you?"

     "They probably do," Stan said. "Some families are just bad at showing it. Plus, you have a newer owner, don't you?"

     "How could you tell?"

     "Just the way you act. It's classic," Stan said. "Anyway, your family might just be getting used to Neopian life, that's all. But, you know, you can't help it if you feel lonely."

     Starling met Stan's eyes and saw that they weren't so different after all.

* * *

For the second time in one night, Stan was prowling a hotel for a young Neopet. Of course, this time is was a Scorchio boy, and not a Usul girl. Creeping slowly in the shadows, the Kyrii found the room easily. Before, the hardest task of finding the girl was getting the room number, but this time he had no trouble- Starling had betrayed the number of Emerald's room for food. She even gave Stan the key she had stolen from Emerald.

     Slowly, and very carefully, Stan inserted the key and turned.

     As soon as he was in the room he knew where Emerald was. All he had to do was follow the sound of the loud snores. He crept to the boy's bed and woke him in a cliché manner he had once seen at the Neopian Playhouse Theater- putting his paw over the Scorchio's mouth. By doing this he accomplished three things: 1) he woke Emerald, 2) inspired fear, and 3) he stopped that dreadfully loud snoring.

     "Mmmmfph!" Emerald yelled, his voice muffled by the Kyrii's paw. Looking up and seeing the shadowy figure of Stan, he screamed some more. "MMMPH! MF MF MMMMPH!"

     "Shhhh!" Stan hissed, putting his finger to his mouth in a gesture of silence. "Calm down, kid."

     Emerald was a fool, but he was a wise fool. He knew that Stan meant business.

     "I have the Usul," Stan said once Emerald had stopped struggling. "If you want her back, give me the ring." He removed his paw from Emerald's mouth, and Emerald's brain kicked into overdrive- or as much of an overdrive as his brain size would allow.

     "How about we make this… interesting." Emerald said in his, "rogue businessman" voice. "We can… negotiate. I'll give you half the ring if you give me half the Usul."

     There were a couple of moments of stunned silence as Stan processed this offer.

     "Kid," he finally said, "you have issues."

     "Thank you," Emerald said. "I collect old copies of the Neopian Times."

     Stan slapped himself on the head, wondering how any pet could be so stupid. "Listen, kid, just give me the ring and I'll set the Usul free. Deal?"

     "But I found the ring!" Emerald protested. "Finders, keepers! Losers, weepers!"

     "Just hand the ring over!"

     "No!"

     "Fine," Stan snapped. "Foolish boy. I'll keep Miss Starling." And swift as a wraith, he left.

* * *

The next day, Emerald found himself pacing around his hotel room, muttering under his breath. The guilt of abandoning Starling was eating him up inside. I mean, Starling might be loud, obnoxious, egotistical and an all-around pain in the tail, but he wouldn't want to be left there. Plus, with the exception of his own sister Ruby, there was no one he'd rather banter with.

     Time was running out. Only 6 hours before he'd have to take an Eyrie taxi back to Neopia Central. And he hadn't bought a single Ummagine.

     He put his sunglasses on, and slung a market bag around his shoulder. In the bag, he stuffed a Lost Desert Dagger, a Coltzan's Gem, a Wooden Shield, a Lime Elixer, and a banana. (Hey, you got hungry in the desert.)

     The sun was barely peeking out on the east, when he began to search for any trace of Stan. Kyrii pawprints were all over the Lost Desert, but Stan's were unusually small and agile. He followed the footprints around the marketplace, pausing when he lost the trail, and then picking it up again. Finally, he got out of the marketplace and followed them directly to the front door of the Temple of Sakhmet. Taking a deep breath, Emerald marched forward. He was going on a daring mission, with Starling as his damsel in distress, and he as her knight in not-so-shiny armor. I will rescue her, he gulped, even if it means I may be knocked out in battle. He moved onward.

     The first thing that he noticed were the small Spyders weaving their way about the massive webs that covered the ancient, sandstone walls. On occasion he would pass by a Selket burrowing into the sand, or a neogylph from the ancient Sakhmets.

     Finally he found what he was looking for: a piece of wall lighter in shading than the others. Counting how many bricks were in the lightly-shaded area of wall space, he pressed gently at first, then harder, on the 4th brick in on the 12th row. He had learned this trick, among many others, from the old Neopian Times issues he was always reading.

     The wall moved back slowly, allowing a small space for Emerald to crawl through. He did, and found himself in a secret passageway, leading to the center of the temple, he knew. Easy as faerietastic cherry pie.

     Following the narrow corridor he came into a large, round room with the tiles in the center caved in. "COME BACK YOU FOUL LITTLE SELKET!!!"

     Emerald smiled; his princess awaited rescue. "I'm here, my damsel in distress," he called cliché-ly. He had read it so many times in the Neopian Times that it came out easily. "I've come to rescue you from your vile captor."

     "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, SCORCHIO?!"

     "You know, you should be slightly more grateful to your hero. I don't have to let you go, even though I'm a big strong Scorchio man."

     "YEAH RIGHT! LET US SEE YOU SLAY THE SNOWAGER! I WILL HAVE TO SAVE YOU! THEN WE WILL SEE WHO THE BIG STRONG SCORCHIO MAN IS!!!!"

     "I might let you stay there," he called. Emerald heard footsteps walking down the secret corridor. Stan must be back from stealing his breakfast, Emerald reasoned. "Dung!" He cursed, running into a shadow-covered corner.

     "Oh my little captive girl, Stanny's back."

     "Stanny?" Emerald whispered to himself. Maybe she doesn't want to be rescued.

     "Oh Stanny! We have company!"

     Emerald knew it was over; he walked out of the darkness. "I surrender."

     Stan walked over to him. "Good choice, kid," he said in a nice manner. Then, his voice changed to a stern tone, "Now where's my preciousssss?"

     "Well," Emerald began. "It seems as if she is down there in that hole."

     "I mean the ring, imbecile."

     Emerald looked confusedly at Stan. "Get a dictionary!" Stan snapped.

     "Picking up our captive's habits, are we now?" Emerald reached into his pocket, but he did not have time to give the ring to Stan. A group of people were coming. Coming for Stan.

* * *

The Elephante Guards charged through the path. The foolish Kyrii left the door wide open, Captain Scarab thought with a smirk. For the first time in months, the temperamental Elephante was feeling… well… happy. Excited. She had Stan trapped like a rat, and she was that close to achieving her life's mission. And I'm that much closer to a promotion. I can finally get off these faerie-cursed streets and do something worthwhile. The King's personal guard. I hear the job comes with benefits and a really shiny outfit.

     The Meepit just stared at her.

     "What're you doing here?" she snapped. "I thought we got rid of you."

     Again, the Meepit stared.

     "Whatever." Captain Scarab growled. "Let's just get this over with."

* * *

"Shoot." Stan muttered as he heard the sounds of Elephante feet charging. How could he have been so stupid as to leave the door wide open? Whatever happened next, he deserved it for his carelessness.

     "Now what?" Starling asked in a high-pitched squeal. "They're not going to arrest you, are they Stanny?"

     "Knowing them, no," Stan said in a low growl. "They'd probably shoot on sight." "And we'd be caught in the crossfire," Emerald said in that same growl. "I can't risk this beautiful face being wounded. C'mon, this face is priceless."

     "It's beyond words," Starling said sarcastically. Sarcasm was the only shield she had when her heart was beating so fast she thought it would explode. No need for the guys to see her panic.

     "There's no other exit?" Emerald asked.

     Stan shook his head grimly. "Nope." Drawing his Cobrall Dagger from his belt, he turned to face the entrance. "So I'll have to give them one heck of a fight. Leave my legacy, you might say."

     "It can't be over," Emerald said urgently. "I had so many more insults for you planned! We could have robbed the merchants together!"

     "Kid," Stan began.

     "Yes, Stan?"

     The Kyrii took in a short breath and spoke, "When life gets tough and a Kyrii's about to get shot, always honor his, most probably, last request."

     "What's that, Stan?"

     "Shut up."

     "BUT WE HAD SO MUCH IN COMMON!!!" he wailed. "Think about it- you're a pickpocket, I'm a pickpocket; you're a Kyrii, I'm a…; Well, you're a….oh well. Good luck in battle, mate."

     Stan rolled his eyes and ran into the corridor.

* * *

A young petpet was in the corner of the Lost Temple of Sakhmet and had been watching this whole escapade unfold right in front of him. He had seen the feminist Usul, the macho/crybaby Scorchio, a pitiful thief, and a fat…well, he thought it was an Elephante, but he couldn't be sure. But it sure was ugly!

     He wandered around as the Kyrii, Scorchio, and Usul girl were deciding what to do. They had come up with many ideas, but none of them good enough. The petpet knew he had to help them, they were, after all, going to be helping him in the future. But, for now, it was his turn.

     The petpet stalked around the great circle, searching for what he knew lay hidden. The object he was searching for was hidden beneath the sands…it was he who had put it there so long ago.

     Digging with his paws, he uncovered a small, corked bottle. He barely had time to pop the top when the Elephante Guards rushed inwards and began their assault on Stan. He threw the Slumberberry potion and hoped it hit the correct targets…

* * *

So the Meepit had misaimed and instead hit everyone instead of just the guards. Thankfully, the Meepit knew, Stan the Kyrii had a powerful resistance to sleep. He woke up much sooner than the others and began to pace around.

     The Kyrii spoke to himself, "What to do? What to do? What to do? Should I wake up the little children or take my flight? The Guards would think they were my accomplices, especially since I became such good…friends, something I have never before known…with Starling. Maybe I should leave them, get the Guards off my tail for a while. Then again, isn't it like betraying them? After all, I ended up on the streets like that. Do I want them to go through what I have?"

     Like a sign from someone who controlled all of Neopia and its inhabitants came signal. Out of the darkness came a full-grown Meepit. In all its pinkness and glory it said the one word that made up Stan's mind: "Meep."

     "Yes!" he shouted, jumping on top of Captain Scarab's overgrown stomach. "I will help them! The 'meep' is truly a sign!"

     From below him a deep voice spoke, "Could you help me help first?" The Captain's voice faded toward the end of her question, and she fell backwards.

     "Well, then, that wasn't what I expected."

     Stan was flung upwards by the Captain's attempt to stand. Tucking himself into a forward roll, he stood up, unscathed. Quick as lightning, he drew his Cobrall Dagger. In turn, Captain Scarab drew her Engraved Short Sword. The two faced, and began to duel.

     Metal clashed on metal. Stan cursed his stupidity for the second time that day. This new 'friendship' thing was making him slow.

     "You're mine now, Stan!" Captain Scarab raved in a very cliché fashion. Stan didn't read the Neopian Times, but he supposed if he did, that would sound like a very Plushieowner-esque line. He wouldn't be surprised if she started laughing, "MUAHAHAHAHAHA!"

     Surprisingly, she didn't. With a flick of her wrist, she disarmed Stan. The Kyrii cringed as his dagger clattered on the sandstone tiles. Like another sign from the omnipotent, the fat lady screamed and fell, revealing Emerald holding a now-Captain-Scarab-head-imprinted wooden shield. "You know the saying 'It isn't over until the fat lady sings'"

     "Yeah," Stan replied, still in shock.

     "Well, I couldn't make her sing, but I did the next best thing."

     "Emerald?"

     "Yeah?"

     "That was brilliant."

     That was the first time in his life Emerald had heard those words directed at him. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing.

     "We'd best get out of here, mate," Stan advised. "Looks like the fat lady might come around for an encore performance."

     "I'll take the Usul," Emerald said dryly, hoisting Starling into his arms. As Stan walked ahead to make sure the coast was clear, Emerald put his mouth near Starling's ear and whispered, "Can your brother do that?"

     "Meep."

     Emerald spun around.

     "Meep. Meep. Meep."

     "Don't be so obnoxious. Of course you can come with us." He leaned in close to the Meepit and said, "I wouldn't want to be here when bruhilda wakes up either."

     "You saved our lives out there," Stan said, returning from his venture. "We at least owe a good home to you."

     Stan nodded. "And that's why he should go with you… what's your name again?"

     "Emerald."

     "Emerald. You seem like the type with a nice home, a loving owner, and," he glanced at Emerald's stomach, "enough food on the table. You take the Meepit."

     "Okay!" Emerald said, overjoyed. He had always wanted a Meepit! "So, little buddy, what's your name?"

     "Meep."

     "Ventratta? Welcome to the family, Ventratta. Let me warn you; my sister Ruby's a grouch when she hasn't had breakfast. And her mane is no laughing matter…"

     "Meep."

     "I didn't know you spoke meep-ish, mate," Stan said.

     Emerald shrugged. "I never knew either. One of my natural talents, I guess. Just like my super strength and my dazzlingly handsome face."

     "You keep telling yourself that," Stan said, rolling his eyes.

     And with that, the Kyrii, the Scorchio carrying the Usul and the Meepit walked out into the setting sun. (So it's midday. Who cares?)

* * *

"Lay her down here," Stan said. Emerald obeyed. They were in Starling's hotel room, surrounded by her plushies and Usuki dolls on the floor. "Let's get out of here," Emerald said dryly. "This place is freaking me out."

     Emerald let Stan leave before him. Right before he left he turned around and looked at the Usul. "Goodbye, stupid Usul girl. I'll miss you." Emerald continued on his way out the door, being sure to lock it so that nasty thieves wouldn't get into the room.

     "Listen, Stan," Emerald said. "I was, well," he pulled out the ring from his pocket. "Here," he said, giving the ring away. The ring was his chance to lead the daring life he had always wanted to lead, as a rogue and an honest thief. This was his ticket into a life of adventure. But it wasn't his ticket. It was Stan's, and the Kyrii deserved it much more than he did.

     "Thanks," Stan said. "You know, Emerald, you're not stupid."

     "There's news."

     Stan chuckled. "You've got street smarts, kid. Keep 'em. Don't let the domestic life in Neopia Central keep you down. You've got potential, kid. And if you ever decide to leave the city, know that my door is always open to you. That is, of course, assuming that my current lodging actually has a door."

     "Thanks," Emerald said with a smirk. "Thanks a lot. Anyway, we'd better get out of this hotel before the Sleeping Beauty wakes up."

     "Yeah, I don't want to see her reaction when she sees her hair after that ordeal."

* * *

The next month, Emerald was still being grounded for wasting Rider's Neopoints and not getting those Ummagines. One morning, he was reflecting on his adventures in Sakhmet. "Y'know, Ventratta, I kinda miss that Usul girl. She wasn't so stupid after all."

     "Meep."

     Emerald felt someone about his sister's weight sit down on his bed. "Hey Ruby," he said solemnly.

     "You know," Said a familiar but unrecognizable voice, "my brother couldn't have carried me all the way from the lost temple to my hotel room. Believe me, when he heard about how strong and manly you were, he tried it."

     Emerald smiled. This was the beginning of a most beautiful friendship.

The End

Authors' Note : No Meepits were harmed in the making of this story. A few Elephantes, maybe, but no Meepits.

 
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