Lost in the Desert II: Part One
It had been nearly three months since Liji
had her encounter with the Lost Desert. She knew she would never go back there–ever.
After she made it home safely to the comfort of her bed, she decided that she
would rather die then go back. She wouldn't be able to stand it.
The three friends, Riggo, Baroo, and Liji, hadn't
been talking for a while. Instead they had gone off on their own to do their
own thing. Riggo, a white Lupe, was becoming quite fond of the Battledome, challenging
other pets only to beat them. Baroo had come to enjoy reading in his free time,
when he wasn't off doing jobs in Faerieland. Liji had become very successful
with her training at the Neopian Hospital. She hoped that soon enough she would
be a doctor, prescribing medicines to ill Neopets.
One crisp morning in the month of Celebrating,
while Liji was walking through Neopia Central to the hospital, she noticed an
old Ixi standing in an alleyway. Curious, as she was with everything, she followed
as the Ixi walked slowly down a long path between two shops in the marketplace.
It seemed to go on forever.
After an hour or so, Liji remembered her training
back at the hospital. Quickly, without a sound, she turned around to run out
of the alley. This would be the third time she was late for training. If she
was late again, she would be in big trouble. But she seemed to have even worse
trouble just moving–the Ixi had her by the hood of her coat. Liji could hear
"I'm well aware that you followed me," she said
in a cruel voice, pulling Liji in towards her. She gulped. "You don't think
I'm stupid, do you? Cause if you do, well, maybe we'll just have to see how
smart Aishas really are...."
Liji was twitching. There was a certain something
about this Ixi. Something beyond her words and voice, beyond her wrinkly green
skin, some sort of immense power that Liji could sense just by looking at her.
The Ixi sneered. "Well, scared,
are we? There is nothing to fear from me. I could make your dreams come true,
you know, Liji," she cackled and dragged her further and further into the dark
"H-h-how do y-you know my na-name?" Liji asked,
stuttering. The alley just got more narrow and slanted downward as the Ixi tugged
at her body in silence. In just a few minutes, they arrived at a dead end. The
only light came from a single lantern flickering to its death. As it went out,
Liji thought about what might happen to her now. The Ixi turned to her, dropping
her with a loud "thump" onto the icy cold ground. The Aisha had half a mind
to make a run for it, but the Ixi stared her down.
"Move not," she spoke in a low, flat voice, much
different from her evil one. She turned to the wall before her. Liji tried to
move, but she couldn't. Had the Ixi put a spell on her? She watched carefully
as the Ixi tapped one of the stone bricks three times. It fell in, revealing
two big red eyes gleaming mischievously.
"Password?" came a soft, hoarse voice, like that
of an innocent young male Neopet. Liji was confused. What was going on? The
Ixi cleared her throat and whispered something to those eyes. Although they
were large and otherwise frightening, Liji found some comfort looking into them.
At one point, she could see them looking straight at her. A warm feeling came
"Follow," the Ixi said crossly, walking right
into the wall. Liji tried to pull away, but her legs moved forward anyway. As
she came to the wall, it sucked her in. She landed sharply on a tiled floor,
twisting her ankle. She opened her eyes, only to see the big red eyes again.
The body they belonged to was helping her up, but she didn't pay attention to
that. She only wanted to see the red eyes. "Drop her!" the shocking voice of
the Ixi screeched. Liji could feel her back fall quickly to the ground again.
She blinked and opened her eyes. The red eyes were gone, and in their place
was a blinding chandelier hanging from the ceiling. She shaded her eyes with
her hand as she tried to pull her body into a sitting-up position. She coughed
as she leaned on a table for support, lifting her body up on her good leg. Hardly
seeing where she was going, she slumped back in a chair. Dazed, her head spinning
in pain, she looked up at the room around her.
It was a large rectangular room, walls a deadening
grey. The only light came from the disgusting melting candles hanging above
the table. That was the chandelier. She saw five or six Neopets situated around
the circular oak table, glaring at her with evil grins. To her left was the
powerful green Ixi. To her right, a spotted Zafara. Across from her, covered
in titanium armor, was a one-eyed fire Lupe. His fur was matted, his face covered
in bloody red scars, almost appearing to be a fresh cut from war. A chunk of
his left ear was missing. He was a scary sight. Standing silently in one corner,
pouring drinks into chilly glass mugs, was a red Kau. The Neopet turned around
quickly, but faced the wall again in an instant. It took Liji a moment to realize
that the Kau was the red eyes. She twitched as she saw slashes up and down his
back from what must of been a whip. Looking up, an Avocado Chia, sitting between
the Ixi and the Lupe, stood up and spoke.
"Major Tanren, we have found her." He sat back
down as the Lupe sneered.
"Lovely," he chuckled, standing up. He walked
around the table until he was standing directly behind Liji. She could feel
his heavy, hot breath, and she knew he could sense the fear tingling her spine.
He cackled. "Don't be scared," he said in a fake attempt to comfort her. "We
won't hurt you. Don't be afraid." Liji didn't follow his advice. She knew that
all of the Neopets in the room, besides herself and the Kau, wanted her dead.
She bit her lip as the Lupe sat back down in his chair across from her. She
gulped as she saw a desert Poogle sitting between the Zafara and the Lupe. He
reminded her of the chief of the Poogle tribe she had come across in the desert.
He looked slightly younger, though, and greedier. He had an evil grin spreading
from ear to ear. She nearly jumped out of her skin as the spotted Zafara spoke.
"Major Tanren, General Ariconn will be arriving
shortly." She sat back down in silence. The way the Neopets acted around the
Lupe–Major Tanren, she suspected–was so eerie and strange that she felt like
she was in a puppet show. They waited for what seemed like forever for a brick
in the wall behind Liji was tapped three times. The Kau ran to the stone wall,
and pulled out the brick.
"Password?" he asked in a raspy tone, just as
he had when Liji and the Ixi came. The Kau pressed his ear to the opening to
listen to the general's words. He stepped back, and for a few seconds, the wall
disappeared. Liji could see almost all the way down to the opening of the alley.
General Ariconn, an orange Lupe, stepped in, and sat in an empty seat next to
the major. The wall was back in place, so Liji turned back to the room. The
Kau went back to his table, fiddling around with something with a faint clanking
sound. He came back, carrying a plate of foamy glasses. He set it down in the
middle of the dusty table, passing a drink to every guest. The last frosty glass
was passed to Liji. She looked at it in surprise, and then looked up at his
eyes and its smile. She shuddered as the Ixi snapped at him.
"Back!" the Ixi sat back in her chair, glaring
at the Kau as he hurried back to his table. She then turned to the general.
"Now, getting down to business."
"Yes, let's," his voice was clear and low. His
colorless eyes seemed to be trying to do something to Liji. She gulped. What
was this business they were talking of?
"General Ariconn, have you located him?" asked
"Not yet, but my troops are closing in. I expect
to have him captured in no later than three days. I hope you found this one
easily?" he stared at the frightened Aisha.
"She was no trouble," came the voice of the Ixi.
"Curiosity is such a vivid characteristic, she can't help but follow an old
neopet down a dark alleyway. Intelligence is disappearing through the generations."
Liji felt rage build up inside her.
"Good!" exclaimed the Poogle, licking his lips.
"We can get to work, now. This should be fun!"
"We shall end centuries upon centuries with just
one descendant," said the general. "Liji, we thank you. Because of you, we can
now kill you and end you and your ancestors heir to the throne of ancient Neopia."
Liji gasped. It was over.
To be continued...