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The Expedition of Walter Wesley: Part Eight


by 2_andromeda_8

--------

"This is like the beginning all over again. It's the third time I am packing my bags," Vivian commented. A bag was neatly packed with travelling essentials offered by the Kyrii. This time, though, she included the Artisans Lens.

     "You know what they say," Dr Wesley began, "third time lucky."

     "One would hope so," she responded.

      The four Neopets left the darkness of the Kyrii's lair, and as they approached the bridge leading to the main path Leon paused.

      He looked back and saw what remained of his past: a lifetime of solitude and darkness, where even the Ghost Meepits avoided him, but a comfortable life nonetheless.

      He looked forward and saw his future. A future of possibilities, and a second chance to becoming the accomplished Neopian he longed to be. Yet the path ahead inspired only uncertainty.

      Dr Wesley's experienced gaze noted Leon frown and tilt his head to the side.

     "Letting go is considered as one of the most difficult things to do," he said, approaching Leon. "But sometimes, letting go and realising that some things are part of your history, but not part of your destiny, will give you the courage you need to move on."

      Leon sighed with hope, turned his back to his hidden lair and faced the path that lay ahead of him.

     "Then on we must go," he replied.

      ***

     ​In the distance, a vast land of dunes stretched out underneath the scorching sun. Not even a single cloud obstructed the wide open sky. Even the weaving wind carried unnatural warmth.

     Leon ran a paw through his mane and swiped the sweat from his forehead. The sun was taxing and harsh. Cora inhaled the warm, dry air and felt as though an Elephante had trampled over her.

      "You know," she began as she gasped for air, "back in the Haunted Woods, I would have willingly given away my soul for a bit of sun, but now I kind of long for a merciless storm."

     Vivian sighed and handed over a Vial of Water, which Cora eagerly accepted.

      "Look!" Dr Wesley cried, with a wing over his forehead, shielding his eyes from the sun.

      Amongst the sands, there were large triangular structures including taupe coloured tents scattered around. Vivian noticed an obelisk in the distance.

     "It's Coltzan's Shrine!" She beamed with a sudden spring in her step.

     "Welcome to the Lost Desert." Leon grinned. "This way to Sakhmet!"

      The Kyrii lead them to the entrance of the great Kingdom of the Lost Desert and stopped abruptly.

     "Now, just a word of advice," he warned. "Keep your belongings close, and your wits about you closer. I read that there is a group of thieves active in this area—"

     "—known as the Hand of Anubis," Cora completed, clapping her paws as she admired Sakhmet standing tall before her.

     Leon looked at the Wocky with surprise

     "Leon, we are from Brightvale, not from Kreludor."

     "And she reads," Vivian added with a hint of amusement. "A lot."

     Leon stood aside and watched Vivian and Cora tread through the gates as though they were locals.

     "Ah!" Dr Wesley shook off a couple of scarabs crawling onto his leg. "Here we go again."

      ***

     The four friends walked through the exotic city and saw visitors being lured to the Scratchcard Kiosk, intellectuals stop at Sutek's Scrolls, and burly looking locals examine weapons at Battle Supplies.

      "Cora." Dr Wesley's voice resounded amongst the chatter of the locals and odd visitors. She pointed to herself, and as the doctor nodded, she joined him at the Fruit Machine. Dr Wesley invited the curious Wocky to sit on the nearby bench.

      "Do you know what distinguishes archaeologists from other professionals?" he questioned.

     "Um, well... um," Cora muttered, watching an over-excited Kacheek walk away from the Fruit Machine with a Tchea Fruit.

      "Finding evidence, presenting it to the world, and filling the gaps into the puzzle that is our past – that's what we do. But that does not define who we are."

     "Yes," Cora agreed. "It's the choices we make that define who we truly are."

     Dr Wesley noted an angry Chia muttering to himself as he walked away from the famous Fruit Machine with nothing.

      "You have what it takes to be an archaeologist. At Leon's lair, I suddenly realised that I had taught Vivian everything I knew, and maybe she had acquired more knowledge than me," he admitted, as he folded his arms.

     "Dr Wesley, it's my dream to become like you and Vivian. That's why I insisted on joining you on this expedition. However, I have done enough reading – my place is out here. I strongly recommend you take Leon as your new apprentice instead," she boldly confessed.

     Dr Wesley raised a brow.

      "There is so much potential, Doctor. How can you not see it?" Cora's eyes widened and her voice spoke with excitement.

     "Hmm." The Lenny scratched his head. "Yes, he seems smart and determined to learn. He also was very kind to take us here."

      Cora sat in silence whilst the doctor thought out loud. She had convinced Leon to join them by promising him she had already spoken with Dr Wesley about his apprenticeship.

      "Yes. Those are the traits of an archaeologist. Like, have you witnessed his attention to detail? He has a copy of Eye-Sha! He actually keeps old copies of the Neopian Times."

      She tried to remember all the tactics the shopkeeper had taught her about selling motes, back in Brightvale.

      "What else could a teacher want in a student? Look at him –"

     She pointed towards Leon, who was carefully examining a vase from Osiri's Pottery. "He is meticulous and has an eye for detail."

     "Well, I suppose I could teach him about this profession," Dr Wesley considered further.

     "Just like you did with Vivian, a lifetime ago," Cora chipped in.

     "Yes, just like with Vivian."

     "I mean, just look at him!" Cora continued, as Leon negotiated with the vendor.

     "Yes... a good communicator." Dr Wesley adjusted his glasses, and noted how Leon closed the deal as he shook paws with the seller.

     "So what's it gonna be?" Cora asked.

     "I will gladly take this Kyrii to Brightvale and teach him all there is to know. After all, where better place to study than Brightvale?" Dr Wesley concluded with a smile, and watched Leon take away his ingenious purchase.

     "You offering Leon to take your place is very honourable. Change of mind?"

     "Not quite," Cora responded. "Someone once told me that it's not about being extraordinary – it's about ordinary Neopians in extraordinary situations."

     "Ah!" he remarked, remembering his own words. "But where do you go from here?"

      "Cora is coming with me."

     An assertive voice called from behind them. They both stood on their feet and spun around. Leon watched from the distance.

     "So." Vivian emerged from the tent. "How do I look?"

     Dr Wesley and Cora both did a double take, whilst Leon smiled – this Aisha wasn't completely crazy after all. She was neither wearing pink, nor a gown, nor anything fancy. She wore explorer's attire.

     "You look ready," Dr Wesley proudly affirmed. "And it was about time."

     "Oh yes," Vivian agreed. "Finally being here, after what seemed like a never ending journey, has confirmed that we need to bring to conclusion that which we started."

      Dr Wesley reached his feathered fingers into his backpack and retrieved his map of Qasala. Without a word, he handed it over to Vivian.

     "Walter," Vivian queried, "has the sun gone to your head, or have you finally lost your mind?"

     "My days of exploring are over, Vivian," he admitted. "In fact, they were over a long time ago – I just didn't want to admit it. Especially with this reputation I have, of being the 'great Walter Wesley'. Besides, it's time for you to venture on your own with your own apprentice."

     Vivian stood in disbelief.

     "If there's an archaeologist who will discover the secrets of that Tomb, it's you," he added.

     Vivian smiled and accepted the map.

     "Well, then," she said, turning to Cora. "I guess we have work to do."

      ​***

     ​Leon watched the rain fall heavily from the sky.

     "So... I guess your wish is granted."

     "Huh?" Cora said over the thundering sound of the pouring rain.

     He pointed towards the sky.

     "Rain is an incredibly rare occurrence in the Lost Desert. Never happens."

     She and the Kyrii exchanged a smile and a firm handshake. "Farewell, Leon."

     "No, Cora. A farewell excludes all possibility of ever meeting again."

     He majestically made his way through the crowds to reach Dr Wesley at the port. Another voyage at sea, this time headed to their point of departure: Brightvale.

      Cora stood near the edge of the port watching the merchant vessel disappear.

     She watched with melancholy as the outline of the Kyrii became smaller and smaller in the distance.

     "Just how does he do it?" she thought to herself, as she noted Leon's impressive mane wave in the wind!

     She turned away and joined Vivian.

     "So, what do you know about the Temple of 1000 Tombs, Cora?" she asked.

      ​***

      The strange course of events had turned what was meant to be a quest to unearth Neopian history, into a journey of self-discovery.

     "This expedition has failed on many levels," Dr Wesley thought to himself. From his decision of travelling aboard a pirate ship, to his distraction of gossip from the locals, he finally came to the realisation that as an archaeologist, he had run his race and now found himself at the finish line.

      Yet, he did not fail. Vivian had finally found the courage to pursue her goals and soar against the powerful winds alone. Cora found her place to quench her thirst for adventure, and no longer had to limit her knowledge to books. Leon broke away from what the locals said he was, and for this first time in his life, believe in himself.

     As for Dr Wesley?

     It was really time to put his Brightvale library to good use.

     No, he did not fail.

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» The Expedition of Walter Wesley: Part One
» The Expedition of Walter Wesley: Part Two
» The Expedition of Walter Wesley: Part Three
» The Expedition of Walter Wesley: Part Four
» The Expedition of Walter Wesley: Part Five
» The Expedition of Walter Wesley: Part Six
» The Expedition of Walter Wesley: Part Seven



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