Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 105,225,448 Issue: 209 | 23rd day of Gathering, Y7
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Sand Daughter: Part Three

by sara_mossflower


Also by smurfafied1800



      Immi sat up, awake, icy sweat dripping down her face. Those memories… Looking around, she beheld the dawn sunlight breaking over sand dunes in the distance. She was still in the desert - it had been only a dream, even though its contents were all pure fact. The loss of her parents was something Immi constantly strove to avoid thinking about, but when she did, it dug a pit in her heart that ached until she turned her mind to other things.

      And speaking of other things, Immi recalled her kidnapper. Looking around, she realized that he was a short distance away, but was approaching her again. She realized that her limbs were still bound, but the gag had been removed, and it was for this reason that she had been able to cry out as she'd awakened. She cringed as the other strode forward swiftly, plucking her up by the collar of her shirt. "If you think calling for help is going to get you anywhere, you're a fool," he informed her, tossing her back down on the ground violently, sending sand flying into her eyes and mouth. Immi tried to blink and spit it out, but it didn't help much. She opened her watering eyes and looked upon her captor as he continued to speak.

      "We're miles from any village or city, in case you hadn't noticed," he spat. "So screaming won't help you."

      Immi decided it was time to speak up. What was the deal with this guy - just scooping her up out of nowhere, and now he was throwing her in the dirt and lecturing her! "Who do you think you are?" she demanded. "What was the whole point of kidnapping me - are you a cannibal or something?!"

      "No," he answered, removing his burnoose. Immi now saw his face: it was that of a young, rugged-looking Spotted Kacheek. He smirked. "A bounty hunter, actually."

      "Oh my gosh…" moaned Immi, rolling her eyes and collapsing back onto the sand. "You desert people are all violent and messed!" This guy was so annoying - acting like he held the upper hand, although, technically, he did.

      Her mouthing off only gave her another mouthful of sand as the Kacheek kicked her down again. He sneered as he picked her up by the shirt collar a second time with seemingly endless strength. "I wouldn't mouth off in your position." It was now that she figured she was the one being "bounty hunted".

      "Who would bother wanting to kill me?!" she demanded, glaring at him. "Whoever it is has got a pretty boring life, to come after an ordinary pet!" The other Kacheek sneered, but Immi was grateful that he didn't shove her down again.

      "Your life is a lot more interesting that you think," he hissed, but didn't say anything more. Before she could question him, the Kacheek kicked her again and she fell down.

      "What the heck's your problem?!" she snapped. "I can't even stand and you're using me as your punching bag!" She blinked. "What's your name, anyways?"

      "Why would I tell you?" he questioned. "You'll die as soon as we get to our destination." Immi gulped at the thought of trudging through the desert for days on end, then getting killed after all the effort.

      Finally, she choked out, "Give me the pleasure of your name, at least."

      The other Kacheek shrugged; this girl was going to die anyways, so what was the point of keeping his name from her? "Rehkek." He bent down, unbinding her feet.

      "Immi," she returned, rather huffily.

      "You weighed a ton on the way here," he sneered. "You can walk." Immi would've punched him under regular circumstances for calling her fat, but her paws were still bound. Rehkek kicked her again to get up, and with a few complaints Immi did so.

      The two Kacheeks walked through the desert for an hour or so. The hot, yet thankfully dry air shoved sand into her face as they walked along. Though exhausted, Immi didn't want to show this to her kidnapper.

      She tried to think of who this Rehkek was, but as far as she could tell, she had no major enemies, let alone ones who would employ a bounty hunter to track her down. Sighing, trying not to think of the sweltering heat and the mess she was in, Immi continued to follow in Rehkek's wake.

      About a minute later, she noticed that the other Kacheek had stopped in front of her, his stance taut as his eyes searched the dunes around them. "Hey," muttered Immi, "What's wrong with you now?"

      "Quiet," Rehkek commanded, narrowing his eyes in anger. "I should have noticed earlier…" He slowly drew a dagger from the folds of his robes, as well as a scimitar with a dulled golden hilt. He turned to Immi and reluctantly sliced through her remaining bonds with the dagger, which he then handed to her. "Use it if they get too close - there's a band of brigands or something over the crest of those dune." He squinted and indicated the sweeping direction with his curved blade.

      Immi cocked an eyebrow. "Are you just trying to freak me out or something?"

      "I'm serious," he gritted out through clenched teeth. "I don't know how many there's going to be, but I'll take care of them. If any of them get near you, use the knife."

      "First you wanna kill me and now you're protecting me?" She sighed again. Great, now they were going to be robbed.

      Rehkek snorted indignantly, losing his patience once more. "You'll end up dead, I'll promise you that, but I've got to ensure you're delivered safely to the one who wants to do the killing." He then whirled away from her and called towards the distant dunes, "Come on, thieves!" he crowed challengingly, "We know you're there!"

      "Heh heh, clever ones, eh?" The returning voice was deep, but also rang of slyness. "Well, brains won't save you from swords, wanderers!" In seconds, the bandits had crested the dunes, four of them, all mounted on Unis. The leader was an Acara bedecked in a variety of bracelets and earrings, all undoubtedly stolen. Like Rehkek, he too wielded a scimitar, and he swung it violently as he came at them, leaning out of his saddle, thirsting for any valuables the pair might have been carrying.

      Immi was suddenly terrified as hooves thundered around her as the band closed in. Rehkek went for one of the sidekicks, springing into the air and landing a slash across his shoulder. The creature wailed in pain and with amazing agility, Rehkek proceeded to leap onto the wounded pickpocket's steed, shoving his unfortunate foe into the sand as he bled. Taking the reins into one fist, the young bounty hunter charged through the remaining contenders, striving to keep control of the Uni, who was thrashing in protest, unwilling to charge his fellows.

      Rehkek held out his scimitar while riding past another bandit, cutting him in the stomach. The bandit screamed as he fell into the sand, breathing in quick, choppy paces. Rehkek sneered and ran past to another bandit. The Acara ran from the wrath of the unusual Kacheek and sneered, running at Immi. The Cloud Kacheek screamed and ducked as she was nearly cut in two. The bandit laughed and turned his Uni, running toward her again.

      Immi was speechless with the fright that overcame her. She held her paws above her head for whatever protection they would offer and bit her lip. She choked out, "Rehkek, idiot...!" And something pulsed inside her. Immi felt her strength of mind drain and her physical strength grow rapidly. She blinked a few times, seeing a glassy veil cover her eyes, and heard a voice booming inside her head.

      "Kill them."

      The Acara was almost upon her when Immi grabbed his blade with her bare paws, sneering. The bandit's eyes widened in fright as he saw the transformation from the helpless little girl to the maniac before him. Before Immi knew what she was doing, she had grabbed the scimitar by the blade, wrenched it from his paws, and was waving it above her head, laughing insanely.

      Rehkek finished off the last bandit before he whirled around, seeing Immi slash the Acara down. His eyes widened as he watched this act being committed, thinking that she would have never done that. She's a stupid little girl! he thought, running toward her. She's the last person I would suspect of this!

      "Hey!" Rehkek snapped. Immi whirled around, a gleeful expression on her face. It scared him a little, to be honest. She giggled slightly, licking the blade. "Heh heh... no escape..." She brought the scimitar down at him, and Rehkek easily dodged. "Idiot!" he screamed, smacking her across the head with his sword hilt. Immi fell face-first into the sand, and for a moment Rehkek considered killing her, then put it from his mind. "Boss's orders..." he mumbled hotly, picking up the girl and walking once again into the hot desert.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Sand Daughter: Part One
» Sand Daughter: Part Two

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