The Jackals of Sakhmet II- Finding Lee: Part Three
Kasha's Ship (Somewhere Out At Sea)-
It had happened all too quickly. The last thing Lee
remembered before she was so rudely shoved to the side was a large bell with
a Cybunny engraved in it ringing loudly on the decks. Lee came to notice that
everyone on the ship, except for her, was a Cybunny. Were they all like Kasha?
Did they all think that Neopia would be a better place if their species ruled?
When Lee found that no one was paying any notice
of her, and all were preoccupied with fixing up the ship, Lee began to wander.
This is what children did, you see. Besides, there was nothing else for her
to do; the ship was already out at sea and the Lost Desert was far behind… Lee
wandered to the back of the ship where no one dared to tread. This part of the
ship seemed completely deserted and uncared for, for the only thing there was
an old mop and bucket, a dirty towel, and an open door that led to the lower
deck… Surely someone would come back here…
"What are you doing back here?" asked a gruff
voice from Lee's right. She jumped at the sight of the Cybunny who appeared
out of nowhere. He looked…Lee didn't wish to be rude…but he looked so very old!
He looked like a tortoise, a very old tortoise, and he had a cane in one paw.
Lee avoided his eye while saying, "I was bored…"
"So you thought you'd come snooping around my
turf, eh?" he snapped, limping towards her. Lee stood her ground. She was afraid
of some things, but old men weren't one of those things.
"I didn't know this was your turf…sir…" she
added from the angry glare he gave her. He eyed her for a moment, still thinking
about whether or not she was worth his time, mumbled something, and then turned
around, heading for the mop and bucket.
"You're not worth my time, child! I have much
work to do…" he grunted, snatching the mop up. He lazily dunked it in the bucket,
sloshed it around, and mopped away. In the process he dropped his cane by mistake
- and Lee picked it up for him…
"You dropped this," she said quietly, handing
it to the man. He stared at it blankly, not sure what to say. The man gently
took it from Lee and asked, "What's your name, child?"
"My name's Leeann, but my friends call me Lee."
"Well, as you know, I'm very busy…so thank you
for the help…" he said softly, continuing to mop. Lee stared at him for a moment,
and then smiled. There was some good in these pets after all…just some…
* * *
Lost Desert (Palace Tower)-
It was getting very close to six, but Cole stood
alone in the Palace Tower, the same place Princess Amira had been imprisoned
by Kasha. He was leaning on the window sill, staring at the blazing sun. He
was happy about Lee, no; beyond happy…it was just this business about sending
the Jackals away that bothered him… He didn't want to be locked up, yet, he
didn't want to be adopted either. What Jackal would? That would mean having
to lie to yourself and say that the ones who adopted you were your parents when
they really weren't.
Cole would know nothing about the people who
adopted him, and they would know nothing of him. Who's to say that someone won't
just adopt a Jackal just so they could look good, but then mistreat the child
afterward? Pets could and would do that. It was a harsh world they lived in…but
it was the only one they had… The door opened behind Cole, but he didn't move.
He knew who it was already.
"Cole, I wanted to talk to you before you left,"
Amira said softly, walking up next to him. Cole remained silent. Amira sighed.
"Cole, I know you're upset… I know you don't
want to be adopted or sent away, but they're the only choices you have…"
"What if I don't like either choice," he muttered,
not taking his eyes away from the window. He could feel the Princess's paw on
"Cole, Omar is younger than you; maybe by just
two years, but he's still younger than you. But you are thirteen, Cole. You
are growing up, and making choices is part of growing up. They may not always
be the right choices, and they may not always be the easy choices." Amira took
one of his paws and looked him straight in the eye. "But Cole, no matter whom
or what you are, you have to make choices…"
Cole was breathing hard now. He wanted nothing
more than to be gone right now. How embarrassing it would be to break down in
front of the princess…
"But what if I don't want to grow up!" he said
in something close to a whisper. "What if I'm not ready?"
Amira chuckled, touching his cheek.
"Did you know that I said the exact same words
to my father when I was your age?" she asked, kneeling down in front of Cole.
Cole shook his head.
"Well of course I did," she went on. "I was
nervous and scared! I would be the ruler of an entire desert one day, and I'd
have to do it without my father being there to help me! I thought I'd screw
up big time! I thought no one would like me, but you know what happened? I made
the right choices. I did what I had to do, and it got us this far, didn't it?
You might not always like who you are or what you have to do, but Cole, you
gotta do what you gotta do… That's a bit of advice for life…"
Both went silent for a moment, and the two of
them stared out the window.
"Thank you…for everything…"
* * *
Lost Desert Coast-
Cole felt slightly happier by the time he, Omar,
and Lycos had arrived at the coast. They had gone by Uniback, befriending the
Palace's royal Uni guard. Everyone dismounted their Uni and approached a small
table that stood some ways away from all the ships. There was a great many ships
at that. Dozens and dozens of them stood anchored on the shore…but why wouldn't
they be? Neopians from all over came to the Lost Desert to trade, and the only
way to the Lost Desert was to walk there from the Haunted Woods, Neopia Central,
or Meridell, or to get there by ship.
"And there they are!" called a cheery, unfamiliar
voice. The three turned to see a Yellow Chia what looked like a butler's outfit
approaching the table with a bright smile. He wore large, rounded glasses, magnifying
his eyes five times…and he was followed by a cheery, familiar Bori.
"Young ones," Scarab chuckled, patting Omar
and Cole on the shoulder once they had reached the table. "Good to see you both
again! And the same to you, Lycos," he added, bowing his head to her. She smiled.
"It's nice to see you too, Scarab," said Omar,
staring anxiously at the Chia. "And you are…?"
The Chia smiled, giving a polite bow, replying,
"Wain Trigordon Demantus III is the name! And I am your navigator!"
"Navigator?" asked Lycos, staring quizzically
at Scarab. "I thought you knew the way to Krawk Island."
"I do, but Wain needed a job, poor fellow. He
came all the way from Meridell to find one, so he's our new navigator," Scarab
replied, digging around in the pocket of his robes. "By the way, I need to give
the boys something…in private." Lycos stared at him suspiciously, but she and
Wain left off to the shore where many other members of the Dunes stood. Scarab
suddenly became serious, pulling Cole and Omar to the side.
"You two know that we're going to be riding
in a pirate ship, don't you?" he asked them, still excavating his pocket.
"Now we do," replied Omar, eyeing the pocket.
What could Scarab possibly want to give them? The question was soon answered,
but it came to the boys as somewhat a shock. You'd be shocked too if someone
you trusted handed you a Cobrall Dagger… Scarab gave one to Omar and one to
Cole; both boys took it hesitantly.
"Tuck them in your robes, but always have them
at hand." Scarab told them, but the boys were still staring at them in shock.
"But Scarab," whispered Cole. "We're just children…
Why are you giving them to us?"
Scarab looked Cole in the eye.
"Cole, Omar, pirates can't always be trusted.
They do mistrustful things, and I'm not all too sure about letting you two go
about the ship unprotected. But there's another reason… Kasha is not happy with
us, not one bit…you know that… But she's particularly not happy with you two…and
she can and will kill you if she gets the chance…"
He paused for a moment, staring at the pair
"We live in a dangerous world, you two," Scarab
went on. "Risks cannot be taken. I asked you to come because I trust you two,
but you need to know that this is not a game…life is no game… You to need to
know that we're dealing with real danger here and that you need to be ready
when that danger comes…"
Everyone went silent. Cole and Omar had already
tucked away the daggers, but they were still silent with shock… Scarab patted
them both on the shoulders.
"You just need to know…" he said. "Now let's
go." Hesitantly, the three made their way to the others on the coast. There
were a good number of Scarab's men there, but some of them looked trustworthy…
Cole supposed that's the way a band of thieves worked. Looks weren't everything.
Scarab addressed a shabby looking Lenny who came to his side to see what needed
to be done. The Lenny nodded, pointing to a ship close by.
"C'mon guys; the ship's over here," Scarab told
the others, leading them to the ship. As they approached the rather diminutive
ship, they all realized that a large, wooden plank had been set out for them
to board the ship, and on the plank stood a Pirate Wocky wearing a knowing smirk.
"You're late, Scarab," she said as the team
boarded. Lycos, Cole, Omar, and Wain lagged behind to hear the conversation.
"Do you know where the captain is, ma'am?" Scarab
asked politely. "I was told he was supposed to meet us on the shoreline, but
he's not there. The Wocky's smirk widened.
"No, no, I'm afraid he's busy right now!" she
laughed, placing both paws on her hips. "But you know, you can talk to the female
captain if you'd like…you're staring at her…"
Omar stifled a chuckled, making everyone stare
"Might I ask what's so funny, little boy?" asked
"Well, you can't be the captain; you're a..."
"I'm a what?" the Wocky challenged, cutting
Lycos had crossed her arms and added "Yes, Omar,
she's a what?" angrily. Omar bushed. It was obvious he was about to say girl,
but he seemed to have become mute and never finished his sentence.
Patting Omar on the head, the Wocky said, "I'm
just jokin' with ya lad! But I really am the captain of this ship…"
"It's a pleasure to meet you, ma'am!" Wain said
ecstatically, reaching to shake the captain's paw, but she gave him a quizzical
look and he withdrew.
"They call me," the captain went on, turning
to Scarab. "Cap'n Keera… And you must be the thief who took some of my cargo
the other day…"
"That was strictly business, you know… Now are
we going to Krawk Island or no?"
Keera nodded, smiling
at them all. She urged them on deck, saying, "Of course, of course! Go on ahead!
Feel free to look at everything, but touch nothing! To Krawk Island it is!"
This was it…they were going to find Lee… Once
on board, everyone got settled. Lycos had a room of her own, Scarab had a room
of his own, but Cole, Omar, and Wain were to share a room.
"If you call this a room," Omar added in an
undertone when they had entered the uncared for, shabby looking room. There
was mold on the side of the walls and their beds were grimy sheets tied to make
a hammock. "This isn't a room; it's a deathtrap waiting to happen…"
"Look on the bright side," said Wain optimistically.
"At least we even have a place to sleep…"
The boys ignored his comment, starting to get
settled. Wain shrugged and piled bag after bag onto his hammock. Omar sat on
his own hammock, watching him unpack, but Cole had other things in mind. Cole
left through the door once more and set off to the top deck. He knew that the
ship had already left the Lost Desert's coast even before he got on deck. The
smell of sea air was strong and there was much hustling and bustling when he
They had really left home… Would it feel the
same if he and Omar were shipped off to Neopia Central?
To be continued...