Acceber nearly fell on the warm couch in the middle of the marble room. Everyone
was speechless as they were led into to the Palace of Sakhmet. The royal furniture
was as cozy as it looked and everyone just stared.
The guard left them, reminding them that if they needed anything--food, clothes,
etc.--to just call on him.
They couldn’t believe their luck. The only thing that stopped Acceber from
enjoying it was the fact that her Shoyru was missing.
They had been far away from the Monoceraptor, so they had decided to take
a break, when a mysterious, handsome, fire Lupe approached them. Everyone had
been alert, but the Lupe had spoken in a kind, yet masculine, tone.
“I understand you are in need of a place to stay,” he said, bowing his head.
“Well, yes. How did you--”
“I can give you shelter for as long as you need, friend, as long as you are
Everyone had fallen silent until Acceber had raised her hand.
“Then, you may all follow me.”
The thought that it was dangerous crossed all of their minds, but they were
hungry, dirty, and in need of a place to stay, so they all followed the fire
Lupe, who led them to a pit.
“Step into the hole,” he told them.
They all stared.
One by one, they all stepped in. The Lupe entered as well, his tale wagging.
He stood on his hind legs and put his paws together. He muttered a spell, and
then, they were at the golden gates of a large castle.
“This,” the fire Lupe said, “is the Sakhmet Palace. A guard will escort you
to your room. When you feel you are ready, please just tell the guard to call
on me. I have questions and answers for you, Frost_Acceber.”
As quickly as he had appeared, the Lupe vanished. A guard came out from the
Palace and spoke to them. He was a spotted Techo, with gold armour. He had a
matching gold sword at his waist, and a shield, with a picture of what looked
like Brucey B’s Lucky Coin on it, on his yellow arm.
“I am Kayther,” he said to them. “I am a guard, and I will bring you to your
room. Please follow me.”
The gold walls of the Palace were shiny and clean, and the marble floor was
so clean you could see your reflection smiling back at you. They all followed
Kayther to the spiral staircase at the end of the long corridor, where pictures
of royal NeoPets lined the walls. Near the foot of the staircase, a picture
larger than all the others hung; a haunting portrait of the late King Coltzan
Below it, first in strange markings, then in English it read,
“King Coltzan III King Coltzan III was a brave and just warrior who governed
The Lost Desert with a kind heart and generous soul for many years. His legendary
status as a noble defender of The Lost Desert grew as the tales of his heroic
deeds spread throughout the land. There isn't a single Sakhmetian alive who
has not heard the tale of how Coltzan defeated a savage Monocerous with his
bare paws, or of the time Coltzan rescued Princess Lightfoot from the clutches
of the nefarious Baron Nehlaki, a story which is recounted in Sakhmet Tales
a popular anthology of Sakhmetian folklore.”
Kayther sighed when he found his guests staring at the painting.
“King Coltzan,” his eyes suddenly drooped downwards as he spoke. “Oh, pray
for us, great, loyal king.” Momentarily, he closed his eyes and sniffed. He
then continued to led them, walking up the curving stairs.
Acceber blamed herself for losing Saratigo. She imagined the worst had happened
to her and she didn’t even think of the Lupe. But now, as she sat on the royal
furniture with the option of delicious food at her fingers, she pondered the
The others were recovering from shock. They danced around the room happily.
Yonishia soon tired of joyfully acting ditzy, and she settled down onto the
couch across from Acceber. Curling up into an orange and purple ball, the split
Acara fell asleep. Several pets, like Keladry and Cherpster, joined her.
Acceber sat, deep into her thoughts. She figured that someone had spoken to
her but she couldn’t hear anything. She sat, staring at her feet for what seemed
like endless hours. Finally, she asked everyone to go into one of the bedrooms
that were connected to their stateroom.
Sparkle_Qween eyed her suspiciously. Then, realising what it was about, she
helped herd everyone into the rooms, one room saved especially for the sleeping
pets. When they were all gone, Acceber tested to see if they could hear anything
from the rooms. Finally, she turned to the door.
The spotted Techo appeared immediately, as if he had been waiting for her call.
“Tell him that I’m ready.”
Everyone was crowded around the limp body of the drowsy Shoyru. Saratigo had
slipped from unconsciousness and was now sleeping. She needed to rest her mind
and she was at peace, lying on the dingy sandstone. They all pitied her deeply,
as they watched her.
Saratigo woke suddenly, panicking when she discovered the many pets that stood
studying her. She looked around. This wasn’t the foul chamber that she had been
chained in. The floor was as red as the flames that singed everything in sight.
Many pets, some badly cut and scraped, were gathering large boulders and piling
them up. They walked into the fire and emerged, coughing and walking crookedly
under the pull of the stone’s weight.
The pets jumped, startled as the Shoyru awoke. Saratigo raised herself, and
many murmurs were spread about the room. “Where am I?” she demanded.
The others looked at each other. They backed away.
A small Lupe approached her. He looked like he was a newborn. “I am XJeer.
Why is such a powerful Shoyru like you here in the Monoceraptor’s prison?”
Saratigo was enraged by XJeer’s statement. “The Monoceraptor’s prison! What
makes you think I’m such a powerful Shoyru? If I were powerful, I’d find a way
out of here! If I were so powerful, I wouldn’t have been abandoned and only
wanted by one person, would I?”
The pets backed away further as Saratigo darted to the pile of boulders and,
strength renewed, pick up one. She smashed it on the dirty floor. It broke into
“Please, Shoyru! Don’t destroy those! We worked hard in getting them!” XJeer
cried. He threw up his blue paws. “Forgive me! I assumed you were powerful by
your coat. Not many useless pets get painted.”
“Don’t you say that!” Nothing could calm Saratigo. “I was only painted a while
ago. My friends and family – they’re not painted! You take that back!”
“Sorry, Miss! It was meant only as a compliment, I assure you!” XJeer cried
fervidly. “Please, tell me your name, Shoyru.”
Saratigo panted. The Lupe’s large eyes were miserable as he asked for forgiveness.
He looked so young, she assumed he was in need of a friend in this gloomy place.
She stopped herself. She had just made an assumption. When XJeer had made an
assumption she had lost her temper.
“I am Saratigo,” she replied.
XJeer studied her, his eyes looking doubtful and skeptical. “But--did you
just become a Shoyru or…” his voice trailed off.
“No, I’m a Shoyru. Why does everyone have a problem with my name?”
“It’s not that, it’s just that--Saratigo is a Lupe’s name. In fact, my parents
spoke of a Sara--”
“Well, I am a Shoyru, and that’s that.” Saratigo looked sadly around. She
had to do something. The crowd that had found its place watching the Shoyru
had diminished as a whip was brought out and the work started up again. Saratigo
and XJeer stood together, watching. They slowly made their way to the firestorm,
for fear that they’d get whipped for not working--or maybe the punishment would
Acceber waited as the Lupe brought a full meal of tantalizing Lost Desert
treats to everyone in the rooms, including a tiny tray in the room that the
sleeping pets were in, so when they woke up they’d have a snack.
When he was done, he settled down across from her.
“I am Jemanlea. I have to tell you something, so I’d like you to give your
full attention--it’s very important that you know.
“I had been wed to my sweet Fyrenza for a while when we decided we would like
to have a child. She wanted a girl, but of course I wanted a male so he could
follow in my footsteps. We wanted different things--colours, genders--it was
very difficult. We decided to consult the pound. It was for a good cause and
it would help us receive almost “the perfect child”. So, one fine day, we ambled
along to the pound.
“We looked around, but there was not a child who we found special. We were
about to give up. We were woebegone. But finally, we passed one special rusty
cage. Well, rather, the creature inside was special. It was a beautiful Shoyru,
quivering in its sleep. It was such a tiny little thing. She touched our hearts
“We found out more about her; abandoned by someone who had no money for her.
They remain nameless.”
Jemanlea bowed his head, eyes closed. He continued.
“The Shoyru didn’t have a name. She was a newborn and we were left to find
a name. We wanted one that described her. So we took our time. Finally it hit
us. We gave her a Lupe’s name. The first part of her name meant, “Friendly,
kind, taking no hesitation of helping others” and the second half meant, “Serious,
determined, brave.” I loved her with all my heart.
“We raised her like a Lupe. I taught her how to hunt, how to fight. She learned
quickly and was soon fighting all the Lupes in town. They all challenged her,
and left the battle injured. The odd thing was she was so young; she won’t have
any memories of this. She was determined to win. Fyrenza trained her with education
of things I wouldn’t have thought about. She was our little Angel.
“Soon, we couldn’t care for her. There was a criminal on the loose who kidnapped
Lupes and sent them to the pound. My wife and I feared him so much. We didn’t
want our Shoyru to have to go through her parents being taken away. So, we took
her one night, while she was sleeping peacefully. We took her with a bag of
goods to the pound, and left her there. We cried all night.
“Fyrenza and I stayed together when we were kidnapped. We prayed every night
that our baby was in good hands (or paws, which ever one). And she was, though
we didn’t know, Acceber.”
“What does this story have to do with me?” Acceber looked at the Lupe, confused.
“That Shoyru was my life, Acceber. I was desperate to learn more about her
whereabouts. I soon took it as an important project. Now I am terrified for
her. She’s in great trouble. I located her by magic and have been monitoring
her since. I want to help you save her.”
“Why do I have to save her?”
He turned to the girl, his eyes sage. “Acceber, that Shoyru was Saratigo.”
To be continued...