A procession was making its way across the desert, tiny as ants against the
vastness of the sands. At the front went Lew, followed by Wimborne who carried
Seapaws on his shoulders. The Wocky was wearing a baseball cap to protect her
from the sun and watching a Horus soar across the endless blue of the sky. Bringing
up the rear came Plonkle, a friend of theirs who knew the desert well.
"Water..." Wimborne groaned.
"Shut up, you big baby! We haven't gone any distance yet!" snapped Plonkle
from behind, swatting at his tail. Lew looked round. "We are running low on
water," he said quietly. "I didn't want to say anything."
He started sniffing around. "The ground here feels cooler; that's a sign there
may be water underneath. Everybody dig!"
Seapaws jumped off Wimborne's back and scrabbled at the sand. The Lupes joined
her, and soon they had dug a deep hole.
"I can smell damp. We're nearly there!" Lew told them. Then he vanished.
Wimborne stuck his head down the deep pit which had appeared where they were
digging. "Lew? Lew!" There was no answer. Straight-away the skunk Lupe leaped
into the darkness after his friend, closely followed by Seapaws and Plonkle.
They landed in a tangle of paws and tails, struggling to get up and coughing
out sand. "Where are we?" Wimborne asked. Plonkle examined some strange symbols
on the wall. "Uh oh," she said quietly. "I think we're in the Mummy Maze!"
At that point there was a low groan and what looked like a mummified Scorchio
came lurching towards them, arms outstretched. The Lupes flattened themselves
against the wall, terrified. But Seapaws stood still, her eyes glowing green
once more. Wimborne tried to grab her but she seized a rusty sword from the
ground and threw it at the Scorchio. The mummy disintegrated and the sword returned
to the Wocky's paw. She looked at the others and said in her strange new voice,
Seapaws led the way down the seemingly endless tunnels, the faint fire in her
eyes casting green shadows on the walls. Wimborne stumbled on the ancient stones,
at one point tripping and hanging from a ledge by his back paws. He stared down
at a sheer drop into blackness. "Er, heeelp!" he whimpered, eyes shut. Quickly
Lew and Plonkle grabbed a leg each and hauled him up. Then they had to run to
catch up with Seapaws, who was taking no notice of them but strode on with a
slightly lurching gait.
"We're very deep now," Lew said hoarsely. "Air bad. Hard to breathe." Wimborne
nodded silently, wondering how much strength Seapaws had left. He had seen her
stagger a couple of times, but the curse of the mummy kept pushing her onwards.
When another of the Scorchio things appeared, Seapaws ran her sword through
it without hesitation. She also seemed to know the exact positions of the cunning
traps set up by whoever had built the maze: the swinging axeblades, the sudden
bursts of fire, she led her friends safely past every one.
The tunnels were now so narrow the Lupes had to crouch and squeeze themselves
through, though little Seapaws could still walk upright. At last they came into
a chamber larger than any other they had passed through. The walls stretched
upwards to a domed roof.
"We are under my shrine," Seapaws said.
"That's nice, um, Coltzan," replied Wimborne.
They looked to the middle of the room and saw a giant diamond of incredible
beauty set in a golden frame. Something was written in the picture-alphabet
around this frame, and Plonkle translated. "'The great jewel of Coltzan'!"
Seapaws turned to look at them, eyes blazing now.
"My greatest treasure. I built the maze to keep it safe, but one followed
me down here and murdered me for the diamond." The voice of Coltzan was a roar.
Suddenly a black shape rose up from the ground next to the jewel.
"Mosteek the wizard! It was you!" Seapaws said. They saw a Mynci with glittering
eyes who wore a cloak of deep purple. A wicked smile appeared on his face.
"I have been trapped down here with the diamond since I destroyed Coltzan. But
time has no meaning for a wizard. Now I shall be free." He pointed a wand at
"Lead me out, or suffer the consequences!" But before he could say any more,
Seapaws sprang upon him.
The little Wocky and the tall Mynci wrestled on the floor. Lew leaped in, trying
to help, but a powerful bolt of energy sent him flying back with singed whiskers.
Mosteek was shouting in a terrible voice, casting spell after spell at his enemy
in the body of the Wocky. All the while the green glow around Seapaws intensified
until the Lupes could hardly bear to look at it. Plonkle looked worried. "I'm
not sure a mortal body can take what that Mynci's putting Sea through," she
"Seapaws!" Wimborne yelled, pacing frantically up and down. "Seapaws!"
Seapaws looked round at the noise, and recognised her father. "Papa!" she called
in her old voice. All at once the green light left her body and took the form
of a large Lupe wearing robes and a crown. The Wocky slumped to the ground,
and Wimborne bounded over and held her close.
The phosphorescent shape of Coltzan I grew in size until it towered over the
shadowy Mynci. Then the light engulfed both figures, and with a searing white
flash king and wizard were gone.
"Thank you... you have broken the curse?" said a faint voice lingering in the
"Great, we broke the curse. Hooray. Let's get out of here!" Lew said, springing
towards the door. "How?" Plonkle asked. "Coltzan was the one who knew the way,
and he's not with us any more." Wimborne looked down at the unconscious Seapaws.
"I think I can remember the way - follow me!"
Then the maze began to collapse around them.
It was a desperate race. Around them walls that had stood for two thousand
years fell, and huge boulders bounced along beside them. The ground shook so
much they had trouble staying upright as they ran, and all the time a deep rumble
told them the maze wouldn't be around much longer.
"Good job you memorised the route, Wim!" Lew said - just as they ran into
a dead end.
Wimborne looked wildly round. "Rats! Turn back!" But before they could move
part of the ceiling collapsed, trapping the four. "I guess this is it, guys.
I'm sorry I dragged you all into this," Wimborne said, ears drooping. "You've
been great friends, and it's been wonderful knowing you."
Plonkle gave him a shove. "Close your mouth and open your eyes, dummy! A ladder!"
"Must be the emergency exit!" Lew grinned, putting his paw on the bottom rung
of a rickety wooden ladder.
"Lew - take Seapaws and go. Plonkle, you next. I got us into this mess, I'll
come out last," Wimborne said, putting the Wocky gently in Lew's paws and pushing
the others on. He followed hot on their heels, and they climbed up. And up.
"Daylight!" Lew called from overhead. His hindpaws disappeared, and Plonkle
and Wimborne blinked in the sudden light. Wimborne pulled himself out of the
hole close behind Plonkle, and turned round in time to see the ladder fall into
the darkness below. Seapaws opened her eyes, twinkling brown again, and jumped
out of Lew's paws.
"Whoa, where are we?" she asked, looking about her curiously and sniffing the
air. The bandage had fallen off her head, and the wound the mummy had given
her was completely healed. She looked better than ever.
Wimborne picked her up and hugged her till her ribs creaked. "I dunno where
we are, but you're back!" he said happily.
Where they were was in the town square, having come up through the shaft of
a disused well. They were soon surrounded by the citizens of Sakhmet, who had
felt what seemed to be an earthquake and had rushed out to see what was going
on. So Seapaws got to see the Lost City after all. Wimborne stocked up on desert
delicacies to replace the ones he had dropped going to help Seapaws in the Haunted
Woods, while Lew and Plonkle enjoyed a well-deserved rest lazing in the sun
and sipping cool drinks. And when a lone Grundo Trooper was discovered hiding
under Peopatra's PetPet stall Seapaws challenged it and defeated it all by herself,
which was all she had really wanted?