Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 135,120,767 Issue: 265 | 10th day of Storing, Y8
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by dolphinchixs


The large Skeith grinned, his eyes passing from the human to the Neopet with malicious ease. "Yes, I'm sure you must move." His voice sounded scratchy and rough. His eyes lingered on the Neopet, and his lips twisted into a smile as hers quivered - it was in that moment that his eyes flashed cruelly, the moment that Masken looked away.

      "Masken!" the Xweetok shrieked, pulling out the end of the boy's name with her high pitched voice. She pointed at his boss with a shaking light brown finger. "He -" She struggled as a warm hand slapped over her mouth, her tail lashing out violently behind her.

      There was an awkward pause as the boy released the tormented Neopet, straightening his red, crinkled shirt. "I am so sorry, sir." He was fidgeting, ringing his fingers together repetitively as he eyed his superior. But the Lost Desert is my home.

      A tilt of his large head, and the Skeith had slipped through the framed doorway, ignoring the glares he was receiving from the other Neopet. His raspy voice was left behind for a moment. "You will be notified of your new station."

      Masken sighed and looked toward the sound of sniffling at his feet. "Sakien," he said softly to the Xweetok, "are you alright?"

      Sakien shook her striped head violently and bolted from the room, kicking up sand from their ground. "I hate you!" she screamed, her voice louder and more choked than ever before. She collapsed onto her regal oak wood bed, muffling her tears with the cloth of her soft, red and green pillow. She knew it would not be long before Masken came in, bringing along his sad form of human comfort, and so she rolled over in response to his knock.

      The paper in his hand was white, the envelope a bright yellow. He noticed that the letters were black, and that together the three colours matched those of the beads that hung from his braided hair. "We've got twelve hours." His voice was slightly obstructed, and Sakien couldn't help but notice that he was staring very powerfully at the cardboard wall behind her. The drawings they had made upon them were vibrant, if not sketchy.

      "Like you care," Sakien spat. She wanted him to know that she might as well be reading his thoughts.

      Yet another sigh escaped Masken, but this time it was accompanied by a turn of his lips. Sakien was shocked to see his smile. He sat down at the edge of her bed, bringing along his odor of new plushies from where he worked tireless hours. "You know that I hate to make us move, but -"

      "No you don't."

      He ignored her and continued. "I don't have a choice."

      His explanation on exactly why they had to move bored Sakien until the point that she completely stopped listening. She was just beginning to notice that he had ceased his tale of enlightenment when she felt him reach over and hug her. Instinct told her to pull back, but at the moment, she wanted Masken to hug her, to tell her it would be alright as he had when she had first been created. The denim from his jeans was hard against her yielding fur, but she ignored the blue fabric and focused on the arms that were darker than her own, the arms that now silently wrapped around her.

      She sat up in his lap, her tail flicking as her red eyes scanned his face - he was clearly waiting for a response. "I know," she said morosely, hanging her brown and red head in hopes that her answer to his questioning gaze made sense. Masken smiled and hugged her again.

      "Then you're ready to pack?"

      "What?!" Sakien jumped - packing! How could she bring all her things? It wouldn't be possible, she had so many... one glance at her cardboard room made the Xweetok realize just how easy it would be to leave within a few hours. She nodded and set off in the task of collecting her meager possessions.

      It took less than five hours for the small family to pack up their three room house, and the two stood together in the main room to glance outside as a large Bruce and a smaller, yellow Acara worked together to lift Sakien's bed out of her room. The two spent the last seven hours traveling throughout the Lost Desert, bidding farewell to the shopkeepers that they had spoken to almost every day.

      "Well then... that's it." Masken's voice was strongly dejected as he and the moping Xweetok climbed into a large ship. "This is free, right?" he asked one of the workers.

      The stern Techo nodded. "Destination?" As he asked this, Sakien couldn't help but think that he must have had no emotions whatsoever.

      She watched as her owner's face drain. He paused, swallowing as he looked out across the brilliant sea. "Terror Mountain." Her heart vanished, and she felt her paws curl inward as the white ship began to shove off.

      It was a long trip, but the moment that they broke into the Terror Mountain territory, Sakien realized exactly why all of the creatures there wore clothing. The only clothing she had ever worn was a scarf, along with her ever present Lost Desert bracelets. She never thought she could hate anything more than she hated Masken's big, ugly, Skeith boss - how very wrong she had been.

      Together, they found a location for their new home, a small, iced over plot of land. It was surrounded by other houses, and they both knew that theirs would never measure up. They spent the majority of their first day arranging their four separate pieces of furniture. The rest was spent setting up Sakien's school and Masken's work - he started that day.

      Morning came and created a brilliant blind spot upon the snow covered land. When she arrived at her first class of Neoschool, Sakien was greeted by the oddest stares, for all she had managed to come up with for warmth was a red dress through which one could see her form, and a matching, slightly thicker, scarf to wrap around her head, mouth, and neck. For lunch Masken had said it would be best if she ate at the school like the rest of the students - it would apparently help her blend in. His brilliant plan failed miserably.

      Sakien could not bring herself to touch the flavored snow; she was already far too cold. She curled up in a ball when they returned to class, her stomach emitting load grumbles and causing her to receive even more attention than needed, and waited for the bell to ring.

      At home, which at the moment was a one room cardboard shack, she found out that Masken's boss lived right behind them, and that he would be coming over for dinner. He wanted her to join Masken at work, so that she could become better acquainted with her new lifestyle. Her new lifestyle was what Sakien hated the most, and so when she went to sleep on her bed, she hugged the sheets tight around her head, hoping desperately to catch a scent of her old home.


      "This is what we moved here for?" Sakien shrieked, waving around her front paws hopelessly as she sat on the cement ground of Masken's working station. He was currently lifting a box full of randomly assorted plushies, moving to deposit it upon a conveyor belt. His nod was like a signal, and the emotionally crushed Xweetok promptly fell back onto the ground, her paws evenly extended.

      "Miss Sakien." The scratchy voice startled her, and she swiftly jumped up into a standing position upon her four, numb paws.

      "What?" she spat. Her eyes narrowed, and she glared up at the Skeith as if he had just slapped her, and, for some reason, she was unable to slap him back.

      "Mr. Roden, sir! The executive has just arrived." The eager Blumaroo held a brown clipboard in his hand, and as his eyes fell on the shivering boy and his Neopet, he suddenly turned to leave, but it seemed Mr. Roden had another idea.

      "Ah, perfect," the Skeith said, and his lips formed a smile in which Sakien could see no good. "This young Xweetok here would adore showing her to my office." He placed a large hand on her back and pushed Sakien toward the now fidgeting Blumaroo.

      "Whatever," she mumbled as she waved goodbye to Masken. He was now battling a box labeled "Action Figures," and barely managed to smile at her. She rolled her eyes when the worker brought her to a thin Zafara whose outfit looked like it cost more than Sakien's house. "It's this way." Her tail flicked as she walked, turning once they had reached the door.

      "Won't you come in with me?" The Zafara sounded nice, and her smile was strong.

      "Well... I..." Sakien could come up with no convincing argument, so she shrugged her small shoulders. "Sure."

      "Do you like Terror Mountain?" The richly clad Neopet had now taken a seat in front of the Skeith's desk, and Sakien moved into the one next to it.

      "No." She didn't look at the Zafara, she was too busy staring at a file with her picture inside of it. Her paw instinctively reached out toward it, but she pulled back at the voice that now entered the room. It was like a jagged stone being pulled across a cobblestone walkway.

      "Ah, perfect." That was when Sakien's chair gave way into darkness.


      Sakien pushed a paw against the ground and felt her lips part to release a sigh. She looked up at the shadowy figure from behind the black, metal bars. "You are kidding, right?" she asked, her voice exasperated.

      The Skeith smiled in the dim light that poured in from an old window. "Of course not." His voice still caused the Xweetok to cringe. "You'll make a few perfect plushies, and the rest... well..."

      She groaned and fell back onto the hard ground. "Whatever." Her serene composure was flawless on the outside; conversely, her insides were churning with worry and terror. So, that's it then.

      Mr. Roden left, leaving Sakien to listen to the whimpering of the other Xweetok nearby her. "What - what do you think they'll... d - do?"

      Sakien rolled her eyes despite her fear. "What do you think chicken is?" The shrieks from the other cage assured Sakien that she would not need to worry about any more questions. She rolled over onto her stomach, her legs folded under her. "I wonder what Masken is doing right now..."

      The other Xweetok perked up. "Who's Masken?"

      "A human."

      "Oh... Your human?"

      Sakien was starting to get irritated. "Yes."

      "Does he know you're here?"

      "Would I be here?"

      Silence greeted her question, and new questions stirred in her head. A scratch on the ground was followed by a timid voice. "Then how do we get out?"

      "Well, it's not like Queen Fy- Wait!" Sakien desperately ran around the small cage, pushing her nose into the corners to feel for her school bag. She had put the light faerie Masken had given her inside of it. Her quest failed, and she collapsed dejectedly in the last corner. "There's no chance you wear those 'clothes,' do you?" The question made complete logical sense to Sakien, but the other Xweetok scoffed.

      "You're kidding, right?" Sakien shrunk back at the familiar words. "Of course I do, silly."

      "Do you keep anything in your pocks?"

      Again the other Xweetok laughed. "Pockets?" How was she finding the strength to express any amusement?

      "Yeah, those."


      Sakien listened to the sound of ruffling cloth. There was the wrinkling of paper, plastic hitting the cement ground, and a bouncing noise, followed by the distinct clink of glass upon stone. She jumped up. "What was that?"

      "Nothing important." The other started to sniff again, and Sakien could already imagine the sobs. "I'm sorry!" she wailed. "I don't keep my battle items!"

      "No, it's ok." Sakien struggled to focus her eyes through the cages. "What was that glass thing?"




      This was too easy. Sakien's mind felt like it was going to bust. She was more excited than she had ever been, and her fur felt as if it were burning for the first time since she had moved to this terrible place. "Open it! Open it!"

      There was a brilliant explosion of light from about four cages down, and Sakien blinked continually until her vision was corrected. The small glow hovered inches over the floor. "Thank you for re-"

      "Wait!" Sakien pounded her paws against the bars. "You have to help up!"

      The faerie looked concerned. "Sakien?" she asked, tilting her brilliant head. "Sakien, are you ok?" The Xweetok felt her jaw drop onto the cold, concrete ground. "Sakien, it's me! Please, Sakien!" Tears of pure radiance were falling from her bright, yellow eyes, flooding the young Xweetok's soul. "Sakien, please wake up! Sakien!"

      "What?" Sakien grabbed the bars; they were getting bigger, warming up, "I'm awake, I am!" She was now holding two wrists in her outstretched paws. Her head was pounding suddenly, and her tail felt as if someone had dropped Masken's box of action figured on it. She groaned, pulling herself in as tight as she could, becoming a furry sphere of brown and red.

      Water poured into her dry mouth, and a hand massaged her throat as she attempted to swallow. "Masken?" The name faded into nothing, and she coughed, heaving air out of her lungs in large rushes. There was a scuttle of voices around her, and she found herself being held up by two very dark arms.

      "Masken?" She failed again, but the arms drew her in even closer, comforting her in the pain. Her red eyes cracked open slightly, and she shut them twice as fast, feeling blinded from the light around her.

      "Sakien," Masken's voice was whispering from above her. There was something about it that she did not recognize - dread? Fear?

      Sakien buried her head away from the light, slowly opening her eyes to the punctured darkness. She sniffed the air, trying to figure out where she was - definitely not Terror Mountain; her paws were too warm. She was squirming now, maneuvering herself to jump out of the arms, but they grew rigid, holding her firmly in place. "Hey!" Her shout came out as more of a squeak, and the arms suddenly snapped open, allowing her freedom..

      "Sakien! You're ok!" Masken's face was directly in front of hers, and she smiled, feeling her head spin as she gained her feet.

      She lay back onto her stomach, and felt her throat clear out now that she was moving more. "Can I," she coughed again, "get water?"

      Masken nodded and offered her a glistening bowl of the desired liquid.

      She drank the entirety of it in under five seconds. "So," she said, rubbing her neck against the solid edge of the examination table she was on, "what did you do with your boss?" She was convinced it had been Masken that saved her.

      He looked taken aback by the question. "Nothing," he said. "After I told him I wasn't moving, I quit."

      Sakien felt her jaw drop again. "You quit?!"

      Masken pushed his palm against the dark skin of his face, threading his fingers through his braids. "I forgot."

      "Forgot what?" The Xweetok demanded, stamping one of her front paws against what she now realized was a hospital bed..

      Masken smiled mysteriously. "You've been out for, what?" The green Gelert decorated in a white lab coat spoke up from behind him.

      "Two days."

      Sakien was shocked.

      "Right." He sat down on the white cloth that draped the table, and Sakien leapt into his lap as he spoke. "Mr. Roden told us we had to move." The Xweetok growled from on top of his jeans. "You went to your room, and I left while you packed, or so I assumed." A troubled look came across her face, but she kept silent.

      Masken sighed, and stroked Sakien's fur. Apparently, he had told the nasty, old Skeith that he refused to move. It was out of the question - the Lost Desert was his home. Mr. Roden said that he would not allow him to stay in the company if he did not move. "My only choice was to quit," he said matter-of-factly. He had then returned home to tell her the good news - only, she was asleep. He tried to wake her but his efforts failed, and he rushed her to Neopia Central for treatment. "I couldn't imagine you eating snow in a snow covered land."

      Sakien snorted. "I could." The young boy's eyebrows shot up, and she quickly changed the subject. "So, what are you going to do now?"

      Masken threaded his thin fingers together and stretched out his arms until his knuckles cracked. A smile settled into his face, fitting in perfectly with his shallow dimples. "I," he said, "am going to play games." He laughed. "Would you join me?"

      The Xweetok grinned, her pointed white teeth sparkling a bit as she spoke. "I would love to."

      Masken lifted her so that her paws were wrapped around his neck. "Tell me," he prompted, "what have you been dreaming of for the last two days?"

      Her red eyes grew wide behind Masken's bouncing braids and the clinking of plastic beads in his hair. "Err... I can't remember," she lied. Maybe, one day, Sakien decided, she would tell him. For now, however, she was perfectly happy with how everything was plotting out.

The End

All comments appreciated! ^(l_l^)~ Kat

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