The most fantastic thing in the universe! Circulation: 195,039,356 Issue: 816 | 15th day of Awakening, Y20
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series

Tales of the Plot: Lost Desert Plot:Part Two

by triarthrus_eatoni


     Maximillien brushed the back of his head and followed behind the Shoyru, who had used her mapping device to be able to map the rest of the tomb. They eventually came to the Tomb of Pharaohs which had the sarcophagus in the middle of the room. There was the sign of something which had slid across the floor and a few pieces of bandages, but Eyrieki was nowhere to be seen. Maximillien walked over to the open sarcophagus and reached inside, pulling out a parchment which seemed to reveal the locations of the various tablet pieces they had been searching for.

      "Take a look at this.", The Werelupe's tail wagged, "I think I've found something."

      "Let me see...", Pepper took the parchments and examined them, "It seems that the doors on the parchment correlate to the number. If we can identify which room holds a tablet piece, we should be able to not only find the pieces we need...we can even do it in order!"

      "Can you program that?", The Werelupe tilted his head quizzically.

      "I certainly can!", The Shoyru beamed, "Let me fine tune the coordinates..." Beep, the machine made a noise when the correct coordinates had been input inside of them "Ahhh, there we go! It should work now."

      The pair managed to scout the many different locations and narrowly evade the traps all while walking through the tomb. They had collected all of the separate pieces of the tablet before long, and made their way back to the exit of the temple. It had taken them several hours to collect all of the pieces of the tablet, but they had eventually come across them all. Though Maximillien had several embarrassing moments, including where he had been been covered yet again in a pile of sand. They eventually reached the room with Nuria the Fire Faerie's statue and picked up their packs. Maximillien dropped his torch and doused it again, knowing that it wouldn't be too long before they found themselves scouring the insides of the Temple of One Thousand Tombs. They picked up their packs and headed for the exit, taking yet another three days time to make their way back to the city of Sakhmet.

      They made their way back into Sakhmet city and, again, purchased many fine foods and supplies before waiting for nightfall to visit the Kau Fortune Teller. Only this time it would be different. This time they would have all of the pieces of the tablet which they had so diligently searched for. They waited until nightfall before looking for the Kau Fortune Teller who, again, had appeared in a different location and was nestled in between the light of the torches. They walked inside, Pepper holding most of the tablet pieces so they did not slip out of the Werelupe's pockets.

      "I have been expecting you.", The Kau Fortune Teller smiled, "Please, come inside."

      "We've found them!", The Shoyru blurted out, "All of the tablet pieces. Here they are."

      Pepper reached into her pack and dropped all of the pieces she held onto the table. Maximillien took two of them out from either pocket and placed them on the table as well. The Kau Fortune Teller beamed and quickly picked up the pieces one after the other, using Maximillien's canteen to carefully wash off each piece and placed them inside of the tablet. The tablet started to spin around in midair with a strange energy spiraling about it, emanating a radiance as it eventually landed in its complete form in the Fortune Teller's lap. She carefully examined the tablet pieces, suddenly given an awareness of what they had meant. She smiled, placing the tablet back under the table and nodded her head.

      "Ahhhhh....yes, I see!", The Fortune Teller nodded her head in understanding, "The ancient prince will steal away with the city of Sakhmet. That is what the tablet says."

      "What ancient prince?", Maximillien demanded, "How did you know what it said?"

      "You will have to discover that...", The Kau grinned, "On your own."

      "What do we do now?", Maximillien frowned, "It seems like all of that work for nothin'"

      "Wait!", Pepper exclaimed, "Do you remember the Fire Faerie statue?"

      "What about it?", The Werelupe shrugged.

      "It said to tell it the prophecy!", Pepper beamed excitedly, "Perhaps the prophecy of the tablet is what we need to tell it!"

      "That's not a bad idea.", Maximillien grinned, "Guess we can give 'er a try."

      "I suggest you leave immediately.", The Kau Fortune teller nodded.

      "Can't we stay at an inn first?", Pepper protested, "We've been walking for days on end...I'm sore and exhausted."

      "We'll stay at an inn first.", The Werelupe smiled courteously, "Then, we head for the Temple tomorrow."

      The pair stayed at the nearest inn and made themselves comfortable. Pepper took a nice bath while Maximillien ordered room service. They enjoyed themselves as much as they could and had a nice rest which had been different from that of the tents they pitched in the lost desert. Morning came and they did not spare any time as they decided to use the teleportation device as quickly as possible. It didn't take long before they were wisped away to the center of the Temple of One Thousand Tombs and found themselves situated in front of the Nuria statue once more. Maximillien turned and gazed at the statue, noticing the features on her face and the look of what appeared to be dismay. He realized that telling the prophecy to the statue may have dire consequences, but he had also understood that it was fully necessary to discover what may have been the cause of their sudden transfer to the Lost Desert.

      "Whaddya s'pose the prophecy'll do, Pepper?", Maximilien tilted his head curiously while looking hesitantly at the statue.

      "I...don't know.", The Jelly Shoyru frowned, "I suppose we'll just have to find out. I mean...the Fortune Teller said that it would be important to do so. We may as well try, now that we've gotten this far." She nodded.

      "Here goes nuthin'....", Maximilien winced and started to read the prophecy to the statue. The ancient prince will steal away with the city of Sakhmet."

      The statue of Nuria started to chip and crack as a huge rumbling echoed through the entire tomb. Tears started to form in little droplets of pure light as they carried across the face of the statue and dripped onto the ground below. It turned out that the tears were made of pure acid and scorched the ground with a hiss as they landed, the room starting to fill up with the substance which caused smoke to rise up from the floor. Maximilien grabbed Pepper as the teleportation device instantly melted and the entire room started to fill with the acidic liquid. The door started to move closed with a grind and a whirr as powdered rock rose into the air like a puff. The Werelupe dove for the door and threw Pepper in front of him to make sure at least she managed to escape. She landed on her feet and skidded across the floor in a circle as she gazed back at Maximilien who had dove and somersaulted through the doorway before it completely closed. After several minutes, the acid leaked out of the room and the door once again opened.

      "Well...that was close." Pepper brushed some dust off of herself and turned to look at Maximilien, though she could not find him. Max...?", the Shoyru looked around the room, unable to find the Werelupe, "Maximilien, where are you?"

      Pepper suddenly realized that there was a large pile of scarabs in the middle of the room besides her that she hadn't noticed before, and soon afterwards a single eye broke through from the pile of scarabs. It had been the eye of a Werelupe, gazing at her as he was completely covered in a pile of scarabs. Pepper couldn't help but fall over laughing at the sight, much to Maximilien's dismay.

      "'t'ain't funny.", The Werelupe frowned.

      Pepper could only continue to laugh and laugh, rolling on the ground as the Werelupe got more and more frustrated.

      "It isn't funny!", Maximilien growled, shaking off all of the scarabs from him as though they were water in his wet fur.

      "Sorry, sorry.", Pepper tried to stifle a few chuckles, "I'll stop. I'm glad you're okay."

      "yeah, well...", The Werelupe turned his head indignantly, "I'll be more okay when we get out of here. "

      The pair made their way back through the Temple, through the many separate passages that they had mentally mapped as they walked through the tombs. They made their way through until they reached the end, but something had been different. Whereas before there were lots of different objects in the distance which they could see, there had only been pyramids and Coltzan's Shrine. They stopped and looked around for a moment to make sure that they had been in the same place they had been before.

      "Did the tomb move?", Maximilien asked in a fit of confusion, "Don't see nothin' in the distance..."

      "No, I don't believe so.", Pepper nodded, "Let me check. I left some surveillance equipment in the inn we stayed at, to make sure we'd be able to find our way back if something like this were to happen..."

      The Shoyru pulled out a device from her backpack which seemed to be a display monitor. She hit what looked like a rewind button to see what had happened in the city in the past hour or so since they had left from there. What she saw startled and horrified her, watching curiously at the images. She gasped and nearly dropped the display.

      "What's'th' Matter?", Maximilien's ears drooped as he felt a sharp contrast in the Jelly Shoyru's emotions, "Somethin' wrong?"

      "See for yourself.", Pepper covered her face and gave the display to Maximilien.

      The Werelupe looked closely at the various images which displayed in front of him, amazed at the technology which seemed to allow for him to see what had happened without even being there. At first everything was calm and carefree as it had been before the pair had left. Then, without warning, a giant black ebb opened up in the middle of the city. A huge shadowy sphere with purple lightning started to streak through the middle of the city and grow larger and larger as it eventually started to swallow it up. The images of skeleton people and mummies running through the city could be seen while the inhabitants of the city ran for their lives. The sight of an enormous two headed Scorchio could be seen as he flew above the city and started to breathe fire on some of the different buildings, and suddenly everything all vanished in a flash and the image on the screen suddenly turned into static.

      "Wh...what happened?", Maximilien frowned, "This doesn' look good at all."

      "I think the city was pulled into another dimension.", Pepper winced, "Let's hope they're all safe."

      "Well....", The Werelupe sighed, "No use sittin' 'round 'ere, eh?"

      "You're right.", Pepper nodded agreeably, "Let's get moving."

      The winds of the desert blew past them as a sandstorm picked up, swirling dust into the air in a phantasmagorical dance of evanescence which disappeared gradually into the skies of the desert as swiftly as they had appeared. The rays of the sun danced against the desert's floor as the rising waves of heat started to emanate from the sands and dance whimsically against the surface of the dunes. Maximilien and Pepper had again run out of water, as they hadn't been able to prepare for the sudden disappearance of the city and everything surrounding it. They had walked and walked for miles without any knowledge of where they were going. Just as they were about to collapse, they had come across the similar oasis which had sustained them before. They stopped and filled their canteens as well as drank directly from the source as well.

      "Let's camp 'ere.", Maximilien set up a hammock against two of the palm trees and laid down in it, "We should get some rest."

      "I agree.", Pepper pulled out a sleeping bag from her backpack, which apparently had the ability to store things much larger than it itself had been.

      Before long, the pair had fallen fast to sleep. Unbeknownst to them both, they would share the same dream. The dream started off with either pet in the middle of Sakhmet city, watching as the fires burned against the buildings and the peoples of the city ran and hid from the creatures which existed in the alternate dimension. The sky was pitch black with a somber red in the distance which constantly fluxed in and out of a darker and lighter hue. The sky had been painted with a brilliant crimson which was neither bright nor dark, simply present. Above the sky appeared to be clouds of the deepest red which coalesced in a swirling effervescence which appeared as though the skies themselves had constantly churned and swirled as though they had been alive and rife with the living life of a body.

      In the dream, either Pepper or Maximilien would see the visage of someone out in the distance. Someone who had been in the royal palace of Sakhmet, situated in a lone tower as she called out to them.

      "Help me!", The figure would cry, "Please, help my people!"

      Just as they would go to reach them, there was the looming tall figure of a fiery being who bellowed in laughter as they were drawn further and further away from the city and suddenly felt pulled from the alternate dimension outright and into the distance where the city vanished from view and they suddenly awoke.

      "I had the strangest dream.", Pepper exclaimed as soon as she saw Maximilien had awakened as well.

      "Couldn't be weird'r n'mine.", The Werelupe laughed, "I dreamt I was in the city..."

      "...and a figure called out to you from a tower?", Pepper tilted her head curiously.

      "Yes!", Maximilien's eyebrow rose, "Exactly that. It looks like we shared the same dream."

      "Maybe it wasn't a dream...", Pepper nodded, "Some say that all dreams are another's reality."

      "You may be right...", The Werelupe shrugged, "It'd 'x'plain why we're here in'th' first place."

      In the distance, the rising sun started to radiate its heat against the sands below which started to cascade with waves of heat which started to cause the air above the sands to dance to and fro. The brilliant hue of the illuminated lights dressed against the auburn sun allowed for the entire sky to be colored in the new light of the dawn. Several Tactis started to move across the dunes and scurried about trying to find food and water before the sun had reached its height and caused the sands to become too hot for them to forage. Several Kepru darted through the surrounding desert to their dens which were nice and cool on the inside of the underground burrows of their home. Pepper and Maximilien packed their bags and carried them against their backs, Pepper putting as much as she could into the seemingly endless backpack adorned between her wings. They looked around and tried to detect where they should travel next, but found themselves unable to find any clue of where they should go.

      "Which way d'we go?", Maximilien tilted his head.

      "Let me find out.", Pepper stated matter of factly as she pulled a device from her backpack.

      The device had many various flashing lights and buttons all over it, which appeared to have some kind of a radar on the front of it. There were two antennae which protruded from the tip of the device and waves of electricity moved between them in the form of a Jacob's Ladder. She twisted several dials and pressed several buttons as the machine beeped and whistled and suddenly gave an indicator on the front of the radar tracker. It detected that they should head due North from their position. She walked around in a circle to be able to determine which direction North had been, and she nodded her head and gestured for Maximilien to follow her lead.

      "This way", She started to walk and follow the device.

      "Gotcha.", the Werelupe smiled and followed stealthily behind her.

      They traveled North for what seemed like hours before they were finally too tired to even move. Despite the fact they had found an oasis to drink from and fill their canteens, it still had not been enough for the length of travel they had walked for. The canteens sold at the Sakhmetian stalls simply were not large enough for their travels. Maximilien, as well, being enormous ran out of water before Pepper had. She offered him some of her water, but he declined -- he decided it would be best to simply grin and bear the lack of it. His size also meant that it would be unlikely that he would become dehydrated too quickly, and he knew that Pepper, the Jelly Shoyru that she was, would need the water for herself. They walked several more hours before the sun started to set again, this time, a glowing figure had been seen in the distance.

      "What's that?", Maximilien tilted his head, "it looks like a...a glowin' man!"

      "I can't detect it on my radar...", Pepper's eyebrow rose, "I have no idea what it is."

      The figure in the distance started to walk closer and closer to them as they walked closer to it as well. There was no indication of what it may have been, and the only reason they were able to notice it at all was because the sun had set and the light of the moon was not bright enough to block out the luminescence. Eventually the figure was close enough to them where it could be seen in greater detail, and it had appeared to be a Dimensional Krawk adorned in a strange hooded robe with a rope belt around its waist. They could only see the glowing of his feet, his arms, his head and his tail. They went to speak, but before they could the figure had raised his hand in gesture for them to be silent. He removed the hood and smiled, nodding politely and speaking himself to introduce himself.

      "Greetings, Maximilien and Pepper.", The figure smiled pleasantly.

      "How d'ya know r'names?", The Werelupe's eyes went wide.

      "I know many things.", The Krawk grinned, "That is not of the most importance right now."

      "Then what is?", Pepper gazed cautiously at the figure.

      "There is a reason that you are here.", The Krawk nodded, "This is as much as I can tell you. You are no longer in the same place you once were. However...", The Krawk continued, "You are not in the same time, either."

      "What!?", Pepper and Maximilien blurted out in tandem.

      "That is correct.", The Krawk nodded, "I cannot reveal any more to you...except...take this."

      The Krawk reached into the right pocket of their robe and pulled out what appeared to be a golden scroll. It was just as luminescent as the Krawk had been. He placed it in Maximilien's paw and gazed at him with determination and knowing.

      "You will know when you need to use this.", The Krawk started to turn and walk away in the opposite direction.

      "What is it? Who are you? Can we at least know yer name!?", Maximilien blurted out.

      "I am a friend.", The Krawk stopped in the distance and called back to them, "My name is not important to you right now...go! Neopia needs you."

      "Where do we go!?", Pepper yelled out, "We have no idea where we need to be right now."

      "Close your eyes.", The Dimensional Krawk called out, "Then reopen them."

      "What do you mean!?", Pepper yelled out in a fit of rage, "That doesn't answer anything!"

      "May as well do as 'e says...", Maximilien closed his eyes, "Tell me when yer's are closed and then I'll reopen 'em."

      "...Okay, they're closed.", Pepper frowned as she closed her eyes along with the Werelupe.

      "On three...", The Werelupe nodded, "One...two...three!"

      As soon as they had opened their eyes, they found themselves surrounded by the light of day as well as many different workers who all seemed to be collecting piles of sand around them and moving large blocks. It had been some kind of a construction site, where everyone seemed to be taking orders from a Yurble Foreman who was yelling in every direction. There were enormous pillars and what appeared to be a large building being excavated from beneath the sands. The building itself was gold in color and appeared to be very ancient. They looked around as no one seemed to notice them at first, as though they had been completely invisible to everyone around them. After a few seconds, everyone noticed them and dropped their piles of sand and blocks and called out to them. Two guards in particular walked over to them and met them quickly.

      "Halt!", one of them yelled out, "Only licensed contractors are allowed in the repository site."

      "What is your business here?", The other bellowed loudly.

      Pepper stumbled around and thought of something she may have read from the Temple of One Thousand Tombs. She suddenly blurted out the first thing that came to her mind.

      "Well....err....DID that Anubis get its 15 minute break yet!?", Pepper stammered as she tried to act dignified.

      "What do you mean?", The guard scratched his head

      "Well...err...I was sent to err...", Pepper continued to stumble on her words.

      "We're 'ere to make sure e'ry Petpet gets its break!", Maximilien lowered his head into the guard's face and snarled, "An I wouldn' wanna mess wit' th'official who sent me if'n they don't."

      "O-O-OH!", The guard stuttered, "R-Right this way, please!"

      "Please, right this way", The second guard coughed.

      The Grarrl guards had led them into the distance of the campsite where many different tents had been strewn about. They eventually walked inside of a very official tent which was reserved only for the most important officials, as they had been assumed to be of that caliber.

      "Please, make yourselves at home.", The guard nodded, "We'll be sure to check to see that the Petpets are getting their breaks."

      "Do we even have Petpets working for us?", The second guard asked questioningly.

      "I...don't...know.", The first guard's eyebrows rose, "But we'll make sure they get their breaks if we do."

      They guards exited the tent as the pair sighed in relief, dropping their packs and picking up canteens of much needed water. The Dimensional Krawk had shown up just in the nick of time, but what did he mean? Different time? Different place? How did he know about them? Maximilien pondered this as he gazed at the scroll. He was tempted to open it and take a look at it, but he decided it would be best to wait until it was the correct time. In his heart, he did not feel as though it was. Maximilien laid on his back against a cot which had been situated for the guests of the room as Pepper pulled up a chair and sat back in it. She contemplated everything they had heard so far...the Kau Fortune Teller...the Dimensional Krawk. Their predicament. She hadn't thought of Terror Mountain in quite some time, and then she started to think of the dream they both shared the night before.

      "What do you think it all means?", Pepper tilted her head.

      "If we were meant to know...", Maximilien nodded while laying on his back, "We would."

      "I see you're in your contemplative tone.", Pepper grinned, "What have you thought of so far?"

      "I'm uncertain.", Maximilien nodded. Though he had Pirate and Werelupe heritage, he had also been an intellectual at heart who was in complete control of his accent.

      "Who do you think that Krawk was?', Pepper looked up at the roof of the tent and started to think.

      "I suppose...", Maximilien closed his eyes and started to think, "If they knew us...and they came all this way into the desert to meet up with us...that we'll find out later. For now, let's just focus on trying to solve this Lost Desert Mystery."

      "It's almost like some kind of...elaborate plot, isn't it?", Pepper quipped.

      "Very funny.", Maximilien chuckled, "Let's get back out there and see what they're tryin'ta do, though. Looks like it may be fun."

      "Agreed.", Pepper nodded, "Let's go."

      The pair walked out of their tents and walked around the Scroll Repository grounds for a while, taking in the various sights and sounds and even smells in Maximilien's case. Beyond the encampment were thousands upon thousands of laborers who were all digging piles of sand. There had been nothing but desert beyond the massive pyramid shaped Repository which stood silently in the distance. There were many guards and many officials who had been overseeing the operation. There appeared to be refugees from Sakhmet as well who had found their way to the repository the same way that Pepper and Maximilien had. They walked until they spotted the same Yurble Foreman again...who seemed to be very angry. He yelled over to the pair as they were walking around and started to bark orders at them.

      "Hey, YOU!", The orange Yurble Foreman yelled to the pair in a fit of rage, "Get to work!"

      "Who, us?", Pepper asked curiously.

      "Yes, you!", The Yurble shouted even louder, "What are you standing around for!? Get to digging! That pyramid's not gonna un-bury itself!"

      "And if we don't?", Maximilien barked back at him as he started to get agitated from the Foreman's level of anger in his voice.

      The Foreman simply lifted his cudgel and gave them an expectant look.

      "I guess we better do as 'e says.", Maximilien nodded, walking over to the nearest dig site with Pepper as he grabbed a shovel and started to dig.

      The pair dug and dug as several workers hauled away the piles of sand that were left behind. While Maximilien dug by the shovelful, Pepper dug by the handful. She had no less than sixteen handfuls of sand after she was done digging, and decided to keep some of it for herself in her pack. She had always been a sand enthusiast and wanted to bottle some of it later. Maximilien found a Lost Desert Paint Brush mixed in with the piles of sand as he walked over to Pepper and teasingly pretended that he was about to paint her.

      "Don't even think about it.", Pepper stared flatly at the Werelupe who tossed the Paint Brush and grinned sheepishly.

      They continued to dig until the pair had been completely exhausted from the effort and the Yurble Foreman walked over to them and started to talk to them in a calmer tone.

      "That's what I like to see!", The Foreman yelled over to them in a softer tone, "You two! Take a fifteen minute break!"

      Pepper and Maximilien simply collapsed on the ground and started to take a break right on the desert floor as they eventually dozed off and took a small nap. As they woke up, they saw that the Scroll Repository had been completely unearthed as the Foreman was walking with a higher official and discussing the endeavor with him.

      "Wouldja look at that.", The Foreman smiled proudly, "And under A hundred and four thousand, thirty four piles of sand no less!"

      "Excellent, excellent." The official looked pleased as he spoke, "But what about the Repository itself? It...isn't hollow?"

      "WHAT!?", The Foreman shouted, "Them stupid engineers didn't build the thing right in the first place!" His grin quickly turned into a scowl, "There ain't no space inside for scrolls! What kinda Scroll Repository d'ya call that!?"

      "A poor one." Pepper replied indignantly, not sure of what was going on.

      "Seems we got ourselves a Comedian!", The Foreman laughed out loud, "You two! Yer some of mah best workers! Get in there and haul some blocks out so we can put some scrolls inside!"

      "I guess we have no choice." The Werelupe sighed, "Let's just get this over with."

      "I think it's kind of fun.", Pepper grinned as she walked ahead of Maximilien and wandered into the Scroll Repository."

      "That's 'cause yer not doin' all th'work!", Maximilien frowned, "Hey...wait up!"

      Pepper and Maximilien entered inside of the Scroll Repository which had been placed together be a menagerie of separate blocks. Each of the blocks had symbols on them similar to the symbols found in the Temple of One Thousand Tombs and were collectively placed together. The outer most blocks had no symbols, and if they had gone anywhere near them the Foreman would yell and scream until he had forgotten what he was yelling about and went back to directing the workers. Maximilien noticed a block which had the same symbol as the Faerie Statue in the tomb and walked over to it.

      "Hey, Pepper, this way!", The Werelupe shouted to her and gestured with his paw.

      "Right, coming!", Pepper nodded, running over to him.

      There had been two empty spaces where someone could push the block. They tried to figure out the best way for them to move was, after all, a block. Maximilien tried to get his fingers right beneath the block and attempted to lift it, but to no avail. He then tried to ram it with his shoulder and pushed as hard as he could. He tried desperately to find a way to help move the block and found that he couldn't. Pepper, who had silently observed, found that there were ropes connected to circles which were drilled into the hole. She politely walked over to the Werelupe and handed him a rope as he smiled widely and pulled Pepper into a big hug.

      "Thank you!", Maximilien beamed and licked her face.

      "Stop that!", Pepper chuckled, "I know I taste like grape, but that's no reason to lick me!"

      The block started to slide behind them as they pushed and pulled it simultaneously. Maximilien had pulled the block with the rope when he was on the side of the block that could not be pushed, and pushed with all of his might with both arms as the others pulled with a rope. After a coordinated effort with the different workers, the blocks had all been pushed out of the Repository and there was enough space for them to be able to finally be able to put the scrolls. Maximilien had to think of this for a second, and pulled Pepper aside and started to ask her what was on his mind.

      "Y'know...I've been thinkin'...", The Werelupe pondered, "If this is a Scroll Repository, and we're supposed'ta find information 'bout whatever it is we're tryin'ta do here...why are we putting the scrolls in the Repository?"

      "I...don't know.", Pepper shook her head, "It's probably best not to think about it."

      "I s'pose yer right.", The Werelupe shook his head in confusion and walked out of the Repository with the Jelly Shoyru, again to find the Yurble Foreman who seemed to be in a fit of rage.

      "It looks like there ain't any place to put the scrolls!", The Foreman yelled loudly, "I'll go tell those Rukis to start buildin'."

      Maximilien and Pepper followed the Yurble Foreman into the tent and watched as several different Rukis started to build furniture out of large pieces of stone. They noticed that there were pieces of furniture which were already placed against the sides of the tent as the Yurble Foreman turned to greet them.

      "You there!", The Foreman yelled over to them with a bit less anger in his tone, "Take some of those painted pieces of furniture and start bringin' 'em into the Scroll Repository!"

      "Where do you want us to put it?", Maximilien tilted his head curiously.

      "There are markers inside of the Repository!", The Foreman nodded in a dignified manner, "Go put 'em in the right spots."

      "We just came from the Repository!", Maximilien demanded, "I didn't see any spots to put furniture!"

      "We're fast workers.", The Foreman laughed loudly and patted the Werelupe on the back, "Now go take that furniture into the Repository!"

      Maximilien walked over and grabbed a table, flipping it over onto his back while Pepper picked up a lamp stand and carried it off with her as well. The pair made their way to the Scroll Repository as they entered inside of it and started to look around. The vast emptiness of the Repository was difficult to take note of as they moved the final block out of the pyramid and out into the open. Various pieces of chalk outline were scattered across the floor as they tried to look for the best place to put each piece of furniture. Pepper placed her Lamp Stand in a circle while Maximilien placed his Table on a correlating square. They walked out of the Repository only to find the Foreman yelling and screaming at the top of his lungs at the different workers who seemed to resent having to tell him something.

      "WHADDYA MEAN THERE'S THIEVES STEALIN' THE FURNITURE!?", The Foreman blurted out, "I'm gonna go tell those Rukis they've gotta build even more now!"

      "Thieves!?", Maximilien blurted out, "Whaddya mean, thieves!?"

      The Werelupe rushed back into the Scroll Repository only to find that the pieces of furniture he and Pepper had just placed were nowhere to be seen.

      "Yer joking.", Maximilien blurted out, "The furniture's gone."

      "What!?", Pepper gasped, "Who could have done such a thing?"

      "Sadly, there seems'ta be lossa thieves in Neopia...", Maximilien scowled, "Let's get sum'more furniture and try to beat the thieves."

      "Sounds like a plan.", Pepper nodded, going back into the tent and grabbing another Lamp Post, "I won't let the thieves keep ME down!"

      Pepper and Maximilien took many various pieces of furniture into the Scroll Repository as they placed them in all of the chalk outlines that they could find. The sun went down as they continued to move the furniture, until finally they found that everything was in place and there was nothing more they could do to bring furniture into the Repository. They wandered over to the Foreman's tent and walked inside, the Foreman seemed to be greatly pleased.

      "We finally outdid those thieves!", The Foreman beamed, "Thankfully, there's a staff of expert librarians on hand to put all the scrolls into the right positions....but..."

      "What's wrong?", Pepper asked the Foreman in a concerned tone.

      "The construction's done....", The Yurble sighed, "Looks like I'm out of the job."

      The Yurble Foreman ran to the corner and started to sulk, sobbing quietly.

      "Hey....", Pepper tried to think of something as quickly as she could, "You could...err. I don't know. Maybe you could try becoming a chef?"

      "That's a great idea!", The Foreman beamed, running out of the tent.

      "Ye certainly made 'im happy." Maximilien chuckled, "Let's get back t'the Repository and look around."

      "We should get some rest, first.", Pepper yawned, "It's the middle of the night!"

      "Fine, fine.", Maximilien nodded, "Let's get back't'the tent."

      Maximilien and Pepper made their way back to the encampment and found their tents. It was difficult for them to find their way, but the Werelupe's night vision allowed for them to get back much more easily. Pepper walked over to one of the cots and simply fell face first against it and was shortly fast asleep. Maximilien laid on his back and started to think to himself. He was nocturnal by nature, after all. He only followed the sleeping patterns of Pepper in order to be able to travel with her. He couldn't sleep and started to think of his parents. He wondered where they might be, and if what's going on had anything to do with them. He wondered if he would find them, and he thought of what the Kau Fortune Teller told him...he thought and thought about it until finally he fell asleep.

      Morning arrived and Maximilien's eyes slowly crept open, the very first thing he had seen is that he slept past dawn and the light was its normal hue as opposed to the dimmer light of the sunrise. He looked around and saw that Pepper was nowhere to be seen, and he made his way out of the tent to find the Jelly Shoyru who had been waiting for him.

      "There you are!", Pepper smiled, "I was waiting for you to wake up, sleepy head."

      "What time issit?", The Werelupe stretched out and yawned, "Coulda sworn I was gonna wake up at the crack'a dawn."

      "It's past noon.", She chuckled, "But there's no reason to worry about that now. Look! They just completed the Repository."

      Maximilien looked around as most of the tents had been removed and the majority of the workers were no longer anywhere to be seen. The Golden Pyramid of the Scroll Repository was clearly visible and unearthed from the distance they had seen it at. It glistened in the light of the high-noon sun as many Djuti flew overhead. A small windstorm blew dust just against the surface of the Scroll Repository as they gazed up at it.

      "I don' see that Yurble Foreman anywhere...", Maximilien looked around, "Guess 'e's really outta the job."

      "Let's go inside!", Pepper ran forward and yelled back to the Werelupe, "Let's see what they've done with the place!"

      The Werelupe followed closely behind Pepper to make sure he didn't lose sight of her. Though she was a full adult, she was still small and he didn't want to lose her in the crowd that may have been inside. As they entered through the massive open doors of the Scroll Repository, everything within was just as glistening and gold as it had been on the outside. as though it had been made of Golden Phosphorescent Calcite. Various scrolls were placed within the many hundreds of scroll racks which situated the various levels of the repository. It would seem that they had gotten done with quite a lot in just a short amount of time. Pepper had run forward to some scroll racks which were set up just in the front of the Repository, of the colors yellow blue and red. Pepper was astonished by the scrolls, though she then frowned and put one of them back.

      "It seems to just be a catalogue of different scrolls found throughout the Repository.", She sighed, "It looks like we have a LOT of work to do."

      "Work, work, work!", Maximilien growled, "All we've been doin' is work!"

      "Now...that ain't no way for my best workers'ta talk!", The Yurble Foreman appeared from the side and walked over to them...wearing a chef's hat.

      "I told you you'd make a fine chef!", Pepper beamed, "Do you have anything to eat? I'm starving!"

      "I'll be makin' lunch as soon as I get some supplies!", The Yurble Chef beamed proudly and twirled his rolling pin in his hand, "But....", He sighed.

      "What is it?", Pepper asked him in a concerned tone.

      "I ain't gotten any shipments of food yet!", The Yurble yelled angrily, "I can't make anything yet. Just have some mislabeled boxes."

      "Sounds tough.", Maximilien started to turn and walk away before the Yurble called out to him.

      "Say...", The Yurble Chef scratched his ear, "I heard somethin' about you surviving an attack by a pile of scarabs."

      "what of it?", Maximilien turned to look at him as his ear tilted slightly.

      "Boy, adventuring sure sounds like a good time...", The yurble sighed, "But I've been too busy workin' to take a vacation. I sure would like a souvenir from one of those...y'know, exotic locales."

      "I'll keep my eyes out.", Maximilien turned again and followed Pepper through the corridors.

      Pepper and Maximilien walked through many various corridors, each picking up scrolls and reading them from time to time. While the information was vast and contained a wide array of information which was beneficial for them to simply learn on its own, it did not quite explain their situation. They looked through all manners of scrolls, until Maximilien picked up a scroll which talked about one of Neopia's oldest villains...Dr. Sloth. He read about how Sloth had invaded Neopia and intended to turn the entire inhabitants of Neopia into mutants, but he was thwarted by the Space Faerie and Neopia was saved. He also read about many of the denizens of the Haunted Woods, such as Meuka, Hubrid Nox, The Esophagor, Eliv Thade, Magax, Balthazar, The Shadow Usul, and Count Von Roo (though he originated from Roo Island, he also had a tendency to frequent the Haunted Woods the scroll read.)

      Maximilien learned of many lands he had never heard of, or even dreamt of existing in Neopia and some places even beyond Neopia. He realized that the few places he had seen in his life paled in comparison to the places which had been there. Pepper had a similar experience, though she mostly read about the ancient construction of the Lost Desert and its engineering. Though they had learned quite a few things, they did not learn anything about the reason they had been there. Though one of the scrolls appeared blank with a simple symbol on it, and Pepper had memorized the symbol and color of the scroll as well as where she had found it just in case she needed it. They found their way down a long hallway which eventually lead into what appeared to be a dead end.

      "Now where do we go?", Maximilien frowned and pounded his fists on the wall, causing it to slide open.

      "I suppose we go inside.", Pepper chuckled.

      Pepper pulled out a flashlight from her backpack as they entered into the dark room. As they got further inside, there was a dim light from the ceiling which allowed them to see what appeared to be a miniature of Sakhmet City.

      "It's Sakhmet!", Pepper exclaimed, "Maybe it's been shrunken and kept in this Repository?"

      "I doubt it.", The Werelupe tilted his head curiously, "Don' see any people there..."

      "Well...let's examine it anyway.", Pepper nodded.

      The pair started to look over the whole of the model, gazing at its every piece. The stalls were there and the walls of the city as well as the palace and the many various buildings which had been there. Despite the fact that it looked so lifelike, it had been made entirely out of sandstone and appeared to be just a model. Maximilien eventually noticed a little slot on the top of the palace which looked like something he had remembered. He thought about it for a long time until he noticed something in his pocket brushing against his leg. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the crystal which had apparently no use to it. He boldly placed the crystal into the slot as the light from the ceiling shined through it and caused a prismatic image of lights to appear on the wall before it. It had been too dark to see before, but there were many symbols all against the wall.

      "Look at the symbols!", Pepper walked towards the wall and placed her hand against it, "it appears to be some kind of message!"

      "Guess it wasn't so useless after all.", The Werelupe chuckled.

      "Hey...wait a minute.", Pepper looked closely, "One of the symbols is the same color and symbol as one of the scrolls I read."

      "And?", Maximilien tilted his head.

      "It was blank, except for a single symbol."

      "D'ya think it's some kinda message?", The Werelupe gazed curiously towards the Shoyru.

      "Indeed.", Pepper nodded, "I've already deduced what I'm supposed to look for. Now just to think of where to...ah! The catalogues!"

      "If we can identify the symbols on the wall with the correct catalogue information...", Maximilien explained, "That means that we'll be able to find the code, correct?"

      "Indeed.", Pepper smiled, "The symbol on the blank scroll looked a lot like a letter...or perhaps several of them put together. If I can analyze the symbols and match them with scanner..."

      "We need to get back to the catalogues.", The Werelupe nodded and started to exit the room.

      "Don't forget this.", Pepper pulled the crystal from the slot and tossed it to the Werelupe, who caught it in midair and placed it back into his pocket.

      They walked back to the catalogues at the entrance of the Repository and looked through them. Though, Pepper had made a startling discovery. The scrolls were enchanted in such a way that if they were read in the wrong order, the symbols would change and you would not be able to get the message. What's more, not all of the symbols on the wall meant anything. She was able to deduce that she had to figure out the correct pattern from start to finish and eventually came to a conclusion. With a logical series of deductions, she was satisfied that she had come to the right conclusion and talked it over with Maximilien.

      "We need to read these symbols in a row.", Pepper explained, "Red Ahn, Yellow Tep, Blue Fer, Blue Set, and Red Kha." She pointed at the different symbols and the different colors in the racks they had read to show exactly what they needed to look for.

      "And then...?", The Werelupe gazed towards Pepper curiously.

      "Then it'll get us to where we need to go.", Pepper replied coolly.

      They walked through the various corridors and looked at the different scroll racks to find the locations of the scrolls they had needed and spent hours looking through them. Eventually, they came across the first symbol they had needed. Pepper pulled it out and analyzed it with her scanner and deciphered the first part of their message as she smiled and nodded in satisfaction to Maximilien, who silently nodded back. The other scrolls were much easier for them to find afterwards and they eventually managed to decipher the first part of the code. They didn't know what it had meant, or where they had to go, but it was even more of a riddle than the scrolls themselves had been.

      "It's a bunch of random symbols.", Pepper explained, "My translator has no rhyme or reason of it...maybe you can figure it out?"

      "Let me see...", Maximilien looked at the screen on the device.

      There were symbols stacked on top of one another which had appeared to be the head of an Anubis, a flamingo, men standing, palm trees, several lines as well as various other figures. Before long, the Werelupe blurted something out.

      "Th'Temple!", The Werelupe sputtered, "I've seen this before at the Temple of One Thousand Tombs."

      "Oh yeah!", Pepper exclaimed, "The room with the many patterns on the wall. Good thinking!"

      "Does yer teleporter still work?", Maximilien asked hesitantly, "How would we even get back...?"

      "I have two of them.", Pepper grinned widely, "I'll leave one in front of the catalogues and we can move back and forth between them!"

      The Jelly Shoyru pulled a similar device to the first teleporter out of her bag and placed it in front of the catalogues after a little backtracking, eventually calibrating her device to work between the two points.

      "Now...we just need to run a test.", Pepper explained, "I'll teleport a camera to the Temple of One Thousand Tombs...if it's still full of acid, we can't go."

      "I wouldn' wanna anyway," Maximilien chuckled, "So let's try it."

      Pepper pulled a camera from her backpack and placed it on the floor, using the teleporter to move it instantly into the Temple of One Thousand Tombs. She pulled out the same device which was used to see the images of Sakhmet disappearing, but she no longer had any connection to the first camera. Instead, the video showed the room with the statue of Nuria the FIre Faerie inside of it, which had been completely dry and empty as it was when they first found it.

      "As long as we don't do anything strange...", Pepper explained hesitantly, "I suppose we could try to go back."

      "Excellent.", The Werelupe smiled, "Let's go!"

      Pepper used the same device which teleported the camera, but instead of sending them to the room with the statue of Nuria the Fire Faerie, it instead malfunctioned and teleported them to the very front of the Temple of One Thousand Tombs. They looked around in a state of bewilderment, but at the very least they were unharmed.

      "Looks like we're gonna have to look manually.", Pepper nodded, "Let's go!"

      " that shop?", Maximilien looked over to the side of the temple and chuckled, "Of all the places....Hey, I've gotta favor to keep that Yurble, why don'cha go on ahead?"

      "You trust me?", Pepper grinned, "You normally don't let me out of your sight."

      "Yeah well...", The Werelupe laughed, "I think we've triggered every trap in the place anyway. Just don' get yerself into any trouble.", He scolded, "ONLY that one room."

      "I have a map charted from the same scanner.", Pepper explained cheerfully, "I know where I'm going now.

      "I'll be back to check on ya lickity split.", Maximilien frowned, "I just...gotta funny feelin'. That we should help th'guy."

      "I understand.", Pepper nodded, "He certainly seemed like he needed the encouragement."

      Maximilien and Pepper temporarily went their separate ways as the Werelupe walked over to what appeared to be an ancient door and knocked on it. There was no answer, and Maximilien was about to run after Pepper to watch over her as he felt letting her go into the dangerous temple was against his better judgment. Before he left, there was a voice which suddenly echoed from the other side of the door.

      "You a...customer?', The female voice asked curiously.

      "I suppose so, yes.", Maximilien explained.

      "Please, come in.", The voice replied enthusiastically.

      She opened a door and led the Werelupe through it and sat down in front of what appeared to be a broken wall with the desert exposed just behind it with many dilapidated bookshelves and scroll racks and dust. Cobwebs were strewn across the roof of the room -- or what was left of the roof, and there were pieces of debris and rubble everywhere. The shopkeeper was a blue Ruki who appeared to be thoroughly depressed at her job.

      "Welcome to the gift shop of 1000 trinkets.", The glum expression of the Ruki had been apparent, "We don't have any now." She sighed, "I mean business has been really slow."

      "Well...d'ya have any souvenirs o' some sort?", Maximilien frowned, "I need one to make the Yurble Fo-- I mean Chef happy."

      "Well, I do have this.", The Ruki dug into the drawer in front of her and looked at something, "But I can't give it to you for free."

      "I don' have any Neopoints...", Maximilien frowned, "What didja want fer it?"

      "Here's a vial...", The Shopkeeper tried to form a smile, "I want you to get me some black smoke."

      "That's it?", Maximilien rose an eyebrow, "Smoke...?"

      "I don't just want any smoke.", The Shopkeeper grinned, "I want smoke from the Spirit of the Ruins. The ruins are located a short distance from here, I'll give you a map."

      "Alright...I'll see what I c'n'do.", The Werelupe hesitantly took the map and placed it in one of his pockets, the vial in the other.

      The Werelupe trekked through the desert as he closely followed the map. The sun had begun to set as vibrant orange and red streaks formed across the skies above which appeared like a river of magma which cascaded across the looming horizon against the ripples of clouds which ebbed and flowed through the distant air above him. The dunes had appeared to be a bluish color as the dusk turned to twilight and offered only a scarce amount of light for him to see around him. Fortunately his night vision had allowed him to see completely in the dark. The ruins eventually came into view, despite the fact he had been nearly dehydrated by traveling through the desert without any canteen or supplies, as they believed they'd be instantly teleported to the location they needed to be in. There were tall pillars which formed some kind of a courtyard, with pieces of building laying around on the grounds surrounding him. It appeared to be an ancient palace of some kind, but not it was simply rubble.

      "This must be the place...", Maximilien affirmed to himself and looked around for the spirit.

      Before long, there was a looming shadow which peered above him. He noticed that the shadow had an orange mouth and eyes as though the very insides of him had been illuminated with a fire within him. He drew his iron lupe swords which shined in the light of the Spirit of the Ruin's own eyes as he rushed towards it. He leapt into the sky and sliced at the Spirit with all of his might, but it was just out of his reach. The Spirit laughed at him and his efforts, leap after leap and blow after blow which had all narrowly avoided the spirit. The Spirit of the Ruins eventually came closer to the ground and rushed towards the Werelupe. He sliced his blade into the direction of the spirit as it moved right through it, not appearing to do any damage to the creature at all.

      "Darn!", The Werelupe exclaimed. "How am I s'pose'ta fight this thing!?"

      The Spirit struck at Maximilien and hit him on the shoulder, causing one of his blades to fly through the air and land in the sand as it stuck out of the side of a dune. He grabbed his remaining Iron Lupe Sword with two hands as he had been trained to fight with either one or two of the weapons as necessary. With what he lacked with two blades, he made up with in the strength of his blows. He immediately rushed to the side of the spirit and lunged towards the side of him, grabbing one of his pillars in the side of his paw and sliding around it as he kicked right into the spirit. His body went straight through the spirit which he noticed was hot on the inside as though it had been filled with fire as it appeared to be on the outside. He continued to dart from pillar to pillar as he built up speed and attempted to fight the spirit once more. This time he threw his sword directly into the spirit and kicked off of a nearby pillar, causing it to collapse from his weight as he dove into the spirit, grabbed his sword and sliced as hard as he could. Still, to no avail.

      "Wait...I know!", Maximilien blurted out and pulled out the vial.

      "Eh!?", The Spirit blurted out, attempting to fly away from the vial as it pulled the spirit inside of it. More and more of the spirit was pulled into the vial as it gripped at the surrounding pillars and the sands as it clawed desperately to keep itself from being pulled within. Eventually, the spirit was completely trapped inside of the vial as it banged on the walls of it from the inside. Maximilien placed the top back onto the vial and grinned, gazing at the Spirit of the Ruins from inside of it.

      "Ain't so tough now, are ya?", He laughed, placing the vial back into his pocket and heading back to the Gift Shop.

      Pepper walked aimlessly through the halls of the Temple, which seemed almost different than they had been before. The map seemed to be showing her the same direction, but something wasn't quite right as she walked through it. She wasn't sure if the Temple itself had changed...or perhaps, something about her had changed. Perhaps it was so long ago that she was unable to properly remember what it had looked like. She made her way through many separate doorways as she walked into the room which she believed held the clue to the next mystery. She found the room which had the same symbols adorned on the walls and started to analyze them. She tried her hardest to decipher that the symbols meant as the different information had shone on the screen. She eventually got frustrated and kicked the portion of the wall that had just been in the corner as a portion of the wall fell forward and revealed a trap room with another useless crystal inside of it.

      "That was easier than I thought.", The Jelly Shoyru chuckled to herself and took the crystal.

      As she walked through the hallways, she thought she had heard the mummy that they had fought earlier. She kept on her guard and stealthily made her way through the tunnels and rooms once more. She decided to turn off her flashlight just in case it may have been able to see her and walked as slowly and cautiously as she could until they eventually made her way to the entrance of the Temple of One Thousand Tombs. She saw Maximilien in the distance and ran to him, who had picked up the sword which was flung during the battle and placed them both within their scabbards.

      "Max!", Pepper shouted, "Maximilien, am I ever glad to see you!"

      "Anything wrong?", The Werelupe shouted back to her.

      "! Nothing!", Pepper blushed a little, unseen by the Werelupe in the distance. She didn't want him to know that she was in danger of the mummy.

      "Good!", Maximilien shouted back to her, "Guess yer capable of takin' care of yerself more'n I thought!"

      "How about you?", Pepper shouted back, "You okay?"

      Maximilien didn't care to admit that Pepper may have shown her to use the vial much sooner in the battle if she had been present, but he too didn't want her to think that he wasn't able to take care of himself.

      "Totally fine.", The Werelupe smiled proudly, "Let's get into that gift shop and get outta 'ere."

      The pair walked into the Gift Shop of One Thousand Trinkets and looked around, Pepper was especially fascinated by the dilapidated surroundings. They walked over to the Ruki who seemed interested in the fact that Maximilien had a friend.

      "Didja get the black smoke?", The Ruki's expression seemed hopeful.

      "'Ere.", Maximilien reached into his pocket and placed the vial on the table.

      "You got it!", The Ruki beamed, picking up the vial and gazing at the tiny Spirit inside of it.

      "He was a tough one, that's fer sure.", The Werelupe laughed heartily, "But he ain't too tough fer me."

      "I suppose you'll want your souvenir, now.", The Ruki pulled out a T-shirt from the drawers and handed it to the Werelupe.

      "This!?", Maximilien barked, "This is the souvenir!?"

      "Sorry...", The Ruki sighed, "It's all I have."

      "It's fine, honestly," Pepper shot Maximilien a look that he was being rude to her.

      "A...ah, yeah. It's...err...great!", Maximilien grinned, "Let's go, Pepper. This'll have'ta do."

      Pepper pulled out her device once they reached the outside of the gift shop and started to tweak the dials and press buttons. Once it had been properly calibrated, she pressed the large button on the device again and both Maximilien and Pepper had been sent instantly to the Scroll Repository once more. They found the Yurble Chef wandering around aimlessly, listlessly waving his rolling pin as he muttered about needing his supplies.

      "!", Maximilien called out to the chef, "I got somethin' fer ya!"

      "", The Yurble Chef turned around, "Oh! It's you two. Lemme see what'cha got."

      Maximilien pulled out a T-shirt which had the slogan on the front of it "I mapped the Temple of One Thousand Tombs and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." It also had a picture of the temple on the front of it.

      "It''s...", The Yurble Chef started to speak as Maximilien and Pepper expected him to start yelling how much he hated it, "It's WONDERFUL!"

      The Werelupe and the Jelly Shoyru's jaw dropped as they saw him happy for the first time.

      "It's just my size! I love T-Shirts!", The Yurble Chef went on and on, "Did you know that I love T-shirts? Oh I'm so happy!"

      "Well...glad'jer happy.", Maximilien started to turn and walk away before the Yurble Chef stopped him.

      "Here...take this.", The Yurble placed another useless crystal into Maximilien's paw, "The shipment was full of them. It looks useless, but maybe you'll find some use out of it."

      "That's the third piece!", Pepper exclaimed excitedly, "Here...let me see that."

      The Jelly Shoyru took the crystal from Maximilien's paw and placed it against the Crystal she had stored in her pack

      "Let me see the other one.", Pepper explained, "I have an idea."

      Maximilien reached into his pocket and pulled out the first useless crystal and handed it to her. She quickly placed it against the first two as they clacked together. It appeared that the crystals themselves were some kind of a puzzle.

      "Eureka!", Pepper cried out happily, "I think we've solved the next piece of the puzzle!"

      "Let's try puttin' it back into that slot an see iffit fits, eh?", Maximilien brushed past the Jelly Shoyru and started to walk towards the direction of the hidden room in the basement.

      Pepper and Maximilien made their way towards the hidden room in the basement as they continued on their way and walked past the various scroll racks. Though they held a wealth of information, there was only so much the pair could read. It would have to wait for another time...if there ever was another time. They eventually made their way to the hidden room with the model of Sakhmet City in the middle of it, noticing that the light filtering through the ceiling of the room was no longer present. It was the dead of night and there wasn't any sunlight to get through the crack in the ceiling. They spent all of their time battling the Spirit of the Ruins and collecting the last two pieces of the crystal, and now they could no longer use it.

      "Why don' we get some sleep?", Maximilien nodded, "We can come back tomorrow."

      "Sounds like an idea.", Pepper sighed, "I was looking forward to seeing if it would work...let me see something."

      The Jelly Shoyru took the crystal out of her pack and placed it in the top of the palace model again, finding that it fit perfectly. She was ecstatic. She beamed and knew that it wasn't a question of if...but when.

      "Alright.", Pepper nodded in satisfaction, "Why don't we get some shut-eye."

      "Right behind ya.", The Werelupe nodded and followed Pepper out of the room and back to their campsite. The tent which they used had still been in place, despite the majority of the workers leaving.

      They had climbed into their cots and quickly fell to sleep, the actions of the last couple of days having been thoroughly exhausting. As they drifted from their waking hours into the moments of dreaming, they saw the same sight they had seen before. More and more of Sakhmet city had been thoroughly ravaged as the two headed Scorchio dragon flew through the sky and breathed fire against everything it could find. Skeletons rampaged through the city of Sakhmet as groups of freedom fighters attempted to fight back. The sight of the figure in the palace had been much closer this time, revealing the image to be none other than Princess Amira. There was a strange figure in the distance of her room, imploring her to marry him. It was a red Kyrii in a white and gold robe with a royal snake like crown adorned on the top of his head along with a gray and white pharaoh's headdress who appeared himself to be royalty.

      "You must marry me, Amira!", Jazan exclaimed, "You don't's for the best of both our kingdoms!"

      "I will never marry you, Jazan!", Amira cried out and turned to the gaze of the sleepers, "Please, save me! Save my people!"

      Pepper and Maximilien woke up right at the crack of dawn, nearly leaping out of their cots and onto the ground besides them. By the look on each other's faces, they realized that they must have shared the same dream again.

      "Same dream?", Pepper asked curiously.

      "Yep.", Maximilien frowned, "Let's just focus on the puzzles fer now...maybe they'll give us a clue as'ta how'ta help."

      "Right!", Pepper nodded, "Let's go!"

      The pair walked through the entrance of the tent and found their way to the Scroll Repository once more. After some backtracking and finding their way to the end of the corridor, they found themselves in the secret room once more. Pepper pulled out the crystal and placed it within the palace model once again and this time, the light of the morning sun had been at its brightest. A brilliant light shined through the crystal and resonated a prismatic hue of different colors against the wall. This time, there had been many separate colors and each one seemed to be of importance -- though Pepper had also known that not every color had been of the utmost importance. She pulled out her scanner and started to decipher the codes, using her own sense of logic to deduce which colors were necessary and which were not. Eventually, she came to the conclusion she felt was best and nodded to the Werelupe.

      "I believe I have the answer.", Pepper smiled, "Let's go."

      They walked to the catalogues once more and made sure to use the correct colors and symbols with the corresponding catalogues. They walked through the entirety of the Scroll Repository, having to reach every nook and cranny to make sure they found the correct scroll. Finally, Pepper was able to translate the symbols on the blank scrolls and the scanner had translated the message.

      "A sharp eye holds the next clue."

      "...but what does it mean?", Maximilien tilted his head.

      "I'm not....sure.....but...", Pepper started to stumble off, "I think that it may have something to do with the Temple of One Thousand Tombs again."

      "Again!?", The Werelupe kicked dust into the air, "I'm gettin' sick o' that place!"

      "I can go there alone if you'd like.", Pepper smiled boldly, "I know I can take care of myself."

      "Iss against my bet'r judgment...", Maximilien began, "But...I think I'll let'cha do it."

      "Wonderful!", Pepper beamed, "I'll be off now!"

      Just as the Werelupe had decided it may have been a bad idea to let her go off alone, Pepper pulled out her device and calibrated it to just herself and was gone in a blinding flash. Maximilien realized that it may have been even more boring in the Scroll Repository, and started to walk around. He eventually bumped into the Yurble Chef, who started to talk to him.

      "Boy, adventurin' sure sounds fun.", The Yurble began, "It reminds me of when I got my job as the Foreman. Did I ever tell you about my job as the Foreman? I loved my job as the Foreman. I got to tell people what to do and I yelled a lot! Why, I remember the first time I yelled..."

      Maximilien sat back and lowered his head against his legs and sighed, deciding to listen to the Yurble's stories.

      Pepper found herself in the room of the Temple of One Thousand Tombs which held the Nuria statue, though there had been no danger or liquids of any kind. She carefully walked past the statue and made her way into the hallways surrounding the room, using her scanner to backtrack through the temple. She had an idea of what the clue may have meant, but she didn't want to bring Maximilien in case there had been any danger like last time. When the spike trap had been set and they nearly fell inside of it, she noticed that the spikes had both been sharp, and there were many skulls. She thought she had seen something glisten in the eyes of one of the skulls and realized that, somehow, there may have been a crystal hidden inside of it. She eventually found her way to the spike trap room and flew down with her wings and kept herself just above the spikes. She flew a little closer and examined each skull, until finally she found a glistening in one of them like she had suspected. She, with the most caution and caring she possibly could, started to pull the skull off of its spike and flew to the flat of the floor above her.

      "This seems like it.", Pepper nodded, reaching into the skull and pulling out yet another crystal!

      "No reason to stay here anymore...", The Jelly Shoyru reached into her pack and pulled out the device, instantly teleporting back to the Repository.

      As Pepper approached Maximilien, she noticed that he was nearly sobbing as he listening to the Yurble Chef go on and on and on about his stories. She cleared her throat and began to speak to him.

      *Ahem*, She coughed, "Max...did you want to go now?"

      The Werelupe's eyes lit up as he nearly pounced Pepper to the floor as he was so excited to see her, he couldn't help from wagging his tail.

      "Thank you, thank you, thank you!", The Werelupe blurted out, "Yes...I...err..I'm ready."

      "If ya ever wanna know more about my time in the Neopian Troupe for Gifted Yurbles, let me know!", The Yurble Chef beamed proudly.

      "I err...yeah...I...err...", Maximilien tried to think of something to say and simply ran off into the distance as fast as he could.

      They eventually found their way back to the room with the Sakhmetian model inside of it, and this time Pepper was determined to make something happen. She realized that the crystal was the largest it could be while still fitting into the top of the palace, so she knew that this was their final crystal. As she placed it into the slot, the light shined a glorious luminescence which spiraled smaller lights surrounding it twisted around the beam and fired like a laser through the crystal and blew a hole completely through the next room's wall. They walked inside of it and found a scroll...though, the scroll had been completely in an indecipherable language and Pepper realized that there was only one person they could talk to. Though, the Kau Fortune Teller had been teleported along with Sakhmet, and she tried to think of a way they could communicate with her.

      "It's indecipherable.", Pepper frowned, "Only someone who has a strong knowledge of Sakhmetian language would be able to help us."

      "What about th'Kau Fortune Teller?", Maximilien tilted his head and asked curiously, "She helped us before, eh?"

      "Yeah, but...", Pepper sighed, "She was teleported along with Sakhmet to who knows where."

      The Shoyru thought about it for a moment and suddenly it was as though a light bulb appeared above her head.

      "I've got it!", Pepper exclaimed proudly, "I can use the camera."

      "Didn'cha lose contact withit some time ago?", The Werelupe tilted his head, "How d'ya s'pose ya'd be able'ta do that?"

      "I have my ways." , Pepper grinned, "Let me see here..."

      The Shoyru pulled out the same device which was used to show her the footage from the camera. Though, she adjusted it with another device which allowed for her to be able to maneuver the camera and move it. The camera had turned on and motioned it through the room it had previously been sitting in. She flew through the city and found that after it started moving, it was transmitting its footage yet again. The same sights that Pepper and Maximilien had seen in their dreams were evident as the giant Scordrax Scorchio flew through and ravaged the city. The camera flew through to the outsides of the city where the lone Kau Fortune Teller had been within her tent. She was using her own abilities to keep the undead and the flames away from her, but she noticed the camera immediately belonged to Pepper and allowed it inside of the city.

      Pepper started to speak into a microphone which spoke directly to the Fortune teller, and even had the ability to send images through the camera which displayed to her.

      "Greetings!", Pepper smiled, "I'm glad I found you!"

      "I never imagined you'd think of something like THAT.", The Fortune Teller grinned, "What do you need of me?"

      "We found an ancient scroll...", Pepper explained, "It has a language that is completely there any chance you could help us read it?"

      "Of course.", The Kau smiled warmly, "Let me take a look."

      Pepper opened the scroll and showed its contents to the reverse end of the camera, which had created a holographic monitor and showed the Kau Fortune Teller the entire contents of the scroll.

      "Hmmmmm....", The Kau trailed off, "Let's see here...there's a lot of gibberish, but apparently it says the that 'The curse of Jazan will make Sakhmet disappear...', it also reads 'Jazan must marry a true princess of Qasala to break the curse.' "

      "...But what does it mean!?", Pepper shouted in a fit of frustration, "All this work...for that!?"

      "Calm down, young one.", The Kau smiled, "Perhaps you should attempt to decipher the tablet again?"

      "It's worth a shot.", Pepper nodded calmly, "Why don't we take another look at it..."

      The Kau held up the tablet to show the camera, but this time she had accidentally held it upside down. This immediately gave Pepper an idea.

      "Ma'am!", Pepper exclaimed, "Your were holding it upside down!"

      "I....I was!", The Fortune Teller's eyes went wide and started to read the tablet once again, "It reads..."The father of the prince will destroy the great desert."

      "We should go tell this to the Nuria Statue!", Maximilien stepped forward and spoke into the camera, "Thanks again for your help."

      "Think nothing of it...", The Kau trailed off, "The sooner I'm out of this dimension, the better."

      Pepper pulled out the device which allowed for them to instantly teleport back to the Statue of Nuria, where they were quick to speak in front of it.

      "Last time...", Maximilien explained, "We spoke the wrong prophecy to it..."

      "If we speak the right one, the acid probably won't fill the room!", Pepper nodded, "Let's try it!"

      "The father of the prince will destroy the great desert.", Maximilien spoke boldly

      The statue started to glow brightly as a compartment just beneath it opened widely. There were three weapons which instantly fell before them, which had been a Scimitar, a Mace, and a Spear. Maximilien already had two swords and didn't feel the need for the Scimitar, the Mace looked like it had been too heavy for his liking. He decided to take the spear. The Statue began to speak as soon as he had taken it.

      "You have chosen the Spear of Infinite Wisdom.", The Statue explained, "Go...take this mighty weapon and defeat the evil king once and for all!"

      " you hear that beeping?", Pepper searched through her pack frantically, "'s the camera. It's returned to this dimension, I mean...Sakhmet has returned!"

      "Seems about the right time to head back there...", Maximilien nodded, "I think we can travel back from 'ere. I know the way."

      They exited the Temple of One Thousand Tombs, only to notice that the teleporter had fizzled out. The sudden return of the camera to the correct dimension caused some of her other devices to stop working properly. The teleporter in front of them started to smoke as it fell apart with a mechanical whirr. Electricity sparked from it and it appeared that it simply wouldn't work anymore...and they would not be returning to the Scroll Repository again, either. This time, Maximilien had been prepared and secretly hid two canteens along with his swords at his back. He picked up the spear and twirled it so quickly that it appeared to be a transparent circle in midair and stuck it between his two Iron Lupe Swords. There had been a middle pouch between the scabbards which allowed for him to keep it with him.

      They traveled through the desert and trekked through the distant sands as the winds picked up and sent speckles through the air which glistened in the mid morning sun. The skies had been blue with several clouds seen above them, but there hadn't been anything spectacular for them to behold as they walked. They eventually found their way to the city of Sakhmet and entered through its gates to find that the dragon Scordrax had no longer been attacking the city, that the undead were no longer attacking the denizens that surrounded them. They found their way into the center of the city they had discovered a massive, looming figure completely dressed in a black robe and its entirety on fire standing in the city's center. Jazan was standing next to a pink Ixi, as they appeared to care very deeply for one another. Jazan effortlessly knocked down Jazan as he attempted to attack what must have been his father, as the figure turned to face Maximilien and Pepper.

      "Bwahahahaha...", The figure called out to them, "I am Razul...if my mighty son cannot stand against me, what hope do you have?"

      "We'll see about that, skull-face!", Maximilien spat and grabbed his iron lupe swords, rushing towards the giant figure and slicing at him repeatedly.

      The Lupe's swords had hit up against the long black cloak of the fiery figure, but to no avail. Everything about the figure had appeared to be indestructible. He ran from side to side, striking him with his swords and attempting to slash through his garbs which would not let them cut through them. He leapt high up into the sky and struck at the figure with all of his might, leaving a trail of light behind his strikes which appeared to make several different straight lines which trailed behind the gleaming swords for just a moment. He did a backwards somersault and landed on both of his feet, skidding across the ground.

      "This guy's tough!", The Werelupe shouted, " try!"

      "Roger.", Pepper pulled out her Virtublaster 3000s and started to fire wildly against the figure.

      Many various lasers of the color green started to fire from the blasters and instantaneously hit up against the massive figure, simply fizzling out as they hit up against him. She started to fly up into the sky and continued her barrage of blasts against the figure as she flew around him quickly in circles, firing wildly. An array of laser fire could be seen against the figure's cloak as he waved his massive skeletal hands and attempted to knock the Shoyru away, who realized that her blasters would not be enough. She pulled the QX-92 Neutrino Blaster from her back which she had specially modified to be able to fight much tougher opponents than the standard issue as she flew back to the top of a building and took aim. She placed it underneath her arm as she started to charge the weapon...a massive blue orb formed at the front of it with energy which spiraled around it as it built up its strength. The wavelength of the energy started to change as it fluctuated between ice blue and sunset orange as it constantly fluctuated and grew larger and larger. Finally, the blast was released from the front of the blaster as it flew directly towards Razul.

      Razul simply laughed and knocked the ball of energy away with his hand, causing it to fizzle out and explode just in front of him. Maximilien realized that there was only one more thing which could defeat him. He remembered his Spear of Infinite Wisdom against his back and pulled it out, twirling it in the form of a transparent circle and pointing it directly at Razul.

      "I don't know why we're here...", Maximilien explained, "Or what our purpose is...but Razul, for the people of this city and everything you've done here....", The Werelupe began to shout, "IT ENDS NOW!"

      "Come and get me.", Razul gestured with his finger to come towards him.

      "RAAAAAAAAAAAAA!", Maximilien shouted as he lunged towards the massive figure.

      He struck forward as Razul dodged and backed away, leaping out of the way of his massive hand which threatened to crush him. He jumped forward several more times, striking from side to side as Razul dodged to the subsequent opposite side. Finally, he jumped high up into the air and slashed just against the front of the figure's robe with the spear, landing a direct hit. Razul fell backwards, landing on his knee and his foot as he had stared directly into the sight of Jazan. Jazan was furious that he had attacked Nabile in an attempt to hurt him, and had charged up a blast that he was preparing while Maximilien and Pepper kept him distracted.

      "Father....", Jazan trailed off, "For the sake of everything...BEGONE!"

      A flow of energy burst through Jazan's hands as an electric current of blue shot towards him and started to hit the immobilized giant. The front of his skeletal structure started to break apart as more and more of the energy hit against him. Razul began to disintegrate as Jazan used the greatest strength he had in order to attack him -- his love.

      " CANNOT BE!", Razul shouted in his final moments, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH--"

      Razul had completely disintegrated into dust as a wave of energy circled around him and caused the whole of him to simply vanish in an instant. As though he had never been there, Razul disappeared...the battle was over, and they had won.

      Jazan ran over to Nabile as he held her close, the city cheered at the destruction of Razul and what was evidently the newfound love of Jazan and Nabile. Maximilien put the Spear of Infinite Wisdom back into its scabbard as he and Pepper started to walk away, realizing their role in the Plot of the Lost Desert had been over. Before they left, Jazan called out to them.

      "Wait...", He yelled, "I wanted to say...thank you."

      "Don' mention it.", Maximilien waved his hand behind him as they continued to walk away.

      As Pepper and Maximilien started to gain distance between them and the city of Sakhmet, they realized they had nowhere to go. They didn't understand their role in this place, but they realized the whole of Neopia could have been destroyed had they not helped. As they pondered what had just transpired before them, they noticed the entire sky start to shift as everything around them changed. Waves of energy started to fluctuate around them as they were pulled into what felt like a wormhole, and suddenly they found themselves in a completely new place. They found themselves situated between twelve ominous statues which appeared to be some kind of Hall of Heroes in a strange new place. They looked around, trying to figure out what had just happened.

      "Where are we?", Pepper frowned, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."

      "I dunno...", Maximilien frowned as well, "Maybe we can ask that...wait..."

      "Well I'll be!", The Yurble Janitor yelled out, "Well if it ain't my best two workers! Where've ya been? Did I ever tell you about the time I..."

      Maximilien's tucked his tail between his legs and started to whimper as the Yurble Janitor started to go into another one of his stories.

      "I guess we'd better listen to him.", Pepper sighed, "Maybe it will help us figure out where we are."

      "Where ya are?", The Yurble Janitor grinned, "'re in Altador! It's been years since I last saw ya!"

     The End.

Search the Neopian Times

Other Episodes

» Tales of the Plot: Lost Desert Plot

Week 0 Related Links

Other Stories

Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.