Sand Daughter: Part Eight
Also by smurfafied1800
They weren't out of danger yet - Rehkek knew that, despite
Immi's relief. He had no idea how they were going to escape from a rabble of
well-armed bandits, but they had to - it was either manage a miraculous getaway,
or die. And he wasn't about to allow what had just happened occur a second time.
It would be too much for Immi and he certainly wouldn't make it out alive.
Rehkek knew that Seht was not a Krawk to be
underestimated, and the same went for his followers. They would have to do something
bold, and fast.
Seht was currently staring at the jovial Sand,
an eyebrow cocked in incredulity. "What's wrong with her?" he muttered, distracted
for a moment.
Sand danced about whimsically. "I am merely
a lover of sand and a believer of its daughter!" With this she flopped onto
her back and started waving her limbs as though she was making a snow angel.
"Maybe we ought to keep her as a kind of court
jester, hm?" The Kyrii offered this suggestion and Seht smiled thinly, but not
for long. His frosty gaze was soon riveted on the two Kacheeks once more: one
still clad in the flowing, ornate robes, a completely distraught expression
on her face, and the second in an unsteady sitting position, his body laden
with injuries, glaring hatefully at his former ally. "The power of Aker disappointed
me," Seht stated, his displeasure evident in his harsh voice. "Your ancestors
fell to its brutality, and yet you managed to bend it to your will." The Krawk's
eyes almost revealed a hint of awe.
"Let us leave here," Immi choked, although she
knew this would not sway her enemy. "You don't need us anymore." Truly she wanted
nothing more than to see Seht die, perhaps by her hands. He'd manipulated both
her and Rehkek in the most despicable ways and she didn't want to leave him
unscathed. She wanted the Krawk to pay for what he'd done - long ago sending
assassins upon her family, and now having her captured and subjecting her to
what was possibly a fate worse than her own death; to be the executioner of
her close friend who had escorted her through countless dangers, unaware that
he had been delivering her to her doom.
Seht merely laughed aloud. "You're not going
anywhere," he announced, "but to the grave! I'm not letting that worthless boy
get away with his life, and you have proved your power - I believe you may still
have your uses, girl." He gave a curt nod and his henchmen moved forward, ready
to capture and kill their prisoners without delay.
Immi and Rehkek had no idea what to do. There
was no way they could defeat them, what with Rehkek wounded and Immi nothing
but a girl with a sword. Nevertheless, the Cloud Kacheek tried to shield her
friend, raising her weapon. She would go down with a fight - she wouldn't allow
them to kill her companion or abuse her power again.
"NO HARM SHALL COME TO THE SAND DAUGHTER! HEE
Something of a whirlwind had unexpectedly hurled
itself upon the opposing forces, kicking and flinging itself around madly. After
a second of bewilderment, Immi realized that their protector was none other
than Sand herself, fending off Seht's cronies with some kind of deranged martial
art. The Kacheek blinked. She would never have guessed that the psycho old hag
was capable of such a stunt. Rehkek also stared blankly, wobbling. Immi supported
the wounded Kacheek.
"Where's Khirelle?" she whispered, and Rehkek,
barely able to speak, shook his head to show he didn't know. A Lenny ran towards
them, a dagger brandished, but was knocked out by a swift punch from Sand. "Hi-yaaaaa!"
she screamed, punching out two others. Immi chanced a look at Seht and (much
to her grim amusement) he was staring at the whole scene with a hopeless look.
The white Kyrii notched his bow, aiming it at
the Usul. "I'll get the crazy wench, sir," he hissed, letting go. Immi nearly
cried out, but sighed in relief when Sand dodged the arrow with amazing agility,
and was in the Kyrii's face in the next instant. "FEEL THE WRATH OF SAND!" she
screamed, flinging the substance into his eyes. The Kyrii cursed and rubbed
his eyes, causing the grit to rub in further. Before he could defend himself,
Sand backed up, jumped into the air, and high-jump-kicked the unlucky Kyrii.
"THE ALMIGHTY SAND SHALL DEFEAT YOU!" she screamed as the unconscious Kyrii
slumped to the ground. She turned in the other direction, completely ignoring
Seht, and ran after the other bandits. The "unbeatable, tough thieves" screamed
like girls and ran at the sight of the psychotic Usul. "YAA!"
Rehkek stumbled, then grabbed a discarded scimitar.
"I'm going to settle a score," he hissed, shoving away from Immi's support.
"You're too wounded...!" she warned, but he wouldn't
"Shut up," he hissed, walking towards the Krawk
Seht glared coldly at the Kacheek, drawing his
sword. "I should've killed you myself," he hissed. "Then the girl would've come
quietly. I see now - you're nothing but an annoyance."
"I have a knack for annoying jerks like you,"
Rehkek retorted. "I also have a knack for killing those who annoy me. Bad for
Seht laughed. "You think you'll have the upper
hand on me... you bleeding cripple?"
Rehkek swung the blade in a horizontal arc, the
metal a bright blur. "Pretty much, yeah!"
Seht blocked the blade easily, forcing it back.
"You truly are pathetic," he hissed, cutting it down on the Kacheek's unwounded
Rehkek gasped in pain, falling back. "I-I don't
give up easily!" he hissed. He stood shakily, groaning. "Sand!" he shouted back
to the insane Usul. "Grab Immi and Khirelle and get outta here!"
Sand nodded obediently and looked around. "The
Sand Daughter appears to have vanished into the sand!" she screamed, getting
down on her hands and knees. She started scraping away at the ground, flinging
sand everywhere. "Oh Sand Daughter, where are yooouuuu?" Rehkek hardly listened
as he parried and blocked Seht's harsh blows weakly. The injuries he'd endured
were catching up to him, and he felt his body wearing out.
Seht seized a moment when Rehkek stopped for
a breath of air, and cut him across the leg. The Kacheek stumbled; his leg wounded,
and fell gasping into the sand. "It's over for you, Rehkek," he hissed, holding
the sword at the Kacheek's throat.
Something literally blasted the Krawk before
he finished what he meant to do. Seht was thrown over Rehkek and landed about
five feet away from the bounty hunter. Immi stood where Seht had previously
been, panting. It worked! she thought, gasping. I-it blasted him!
It had almost been on instinct when she'd jumped in and blasted Seht with Aker's
power. The beast inside threatened to come out, eager for blood. Obey me,
she inwardly hissed, desperate to keep the beast latent. What if she was possessed
again? She was terrified to repeat the power surge. Before she could decide,
Seht was up and running towards the wounded Rehkek.
Immi didn't care. She would protect her friend.
"STOP!" she screamed, blasting him on instinct.
Seht was thrown back, hacking. Immi towered before them, walking in front of
Rehkek. "You lay a hand on my friends and you're dead, nose-ring boy!"
Seht glanced upwards at his enemy, seemingly
towering above him, gold-bordered robes billowing subtly in the wafting breeze.
How could she be so formidable to harness the power of Aker when it had only
just consumed her not long ago? The Krawk's eyes widened in a mixture of fear
and awe - the girl had surpassed even her most powerful predecessors. "How…can
you do this?" Seht gasped, barely aware that he was letting his superior front
fall for a moment.
Immi ignored him, for she didn't even know the
answer. "Let's get out of here," she said, grabbing Rehkek by the arm and helping
to support him. Together they staggered out from the tent, Sand covering them
with her incredible fighting skills. A moment later the Usul had joined them,
Khirelle hoisted across her shoulders due to her ankle.
As anticipated, a number of Seht's thugs pursued
them. "Don't follow us!" Immi cried. "Aker will be used against you!" As much
as she hated them, Immi had no desire to hurt anything with her inexplicable
strength - it still frightened her, almost more than Seht did.
The bandits hesitated for a moment, unsure of
whether they should believe her or take a risk and reclaim the prisoners.
"You saw what she did to Seht, so back off,
you slime!" Rehkek called this over his shoulder at his former comrades, who
Immi and the others trudged away into the sands,
the bandits staring back at them, motionless.
"They're going to come after us shortly," Rehkek
breathed raggedly. "Seht'll talk them into it. We have to move faster."
"We can't," answered Immi forlornly. "You're
injured and Khirelle can't walk. Even if we were in good condition, they'd catch
up." But I can hold them off. Immi knew this was a fact. The immeasurable
power she held within her was completely capable of wiping out their foes, she
just hadn't used it to kill yet. Thinking of what she had done evoked new thoughts
in Immi's mind. "Rehkek, I'm so sorry for what -"
"Not your fault," he interrupted. "Seht's out
of his mind to do what he just did to you."
"I know, but, it was terrible…" I never want
to hurt you, she thought.
"Out of his mind," repeated Rehkek. "I hate
him for that - I just thought he'd pay me well and forget it."
This caused Immi to voice a question that had
suddenly entered her mind. "And if he had killed me like you thought he would?"
"What would you think then? Would he be just
as despicable or not?"
Rehkek flushed slightly. "He's just… stupid,
okay? Let's just get away from here as fast as we can - don't waste your breath."
Immi would've replied, but held her tongue.
Part of her wished the plan had been carried out as ordered - she would've liked
to see what Rehkek would've done. She'd become close friends with the bounty
hunter, and the thought of him standing by and watching lazily as she was killed
perturbed her. He'd save me, she thought, trying to convince herself.
He would... wouldn't he?
Khirelle winced, muttering in a hoarse voice.
"They're coming. Right behind us." Immi craned her neck back to see the bounty
hunters coming up behind her, looking a little more hesitant than determined.
I'd be hesitant, too, she thought, mentally grinning. Who wouldn't
be scared of fighting the almighty Sand?
The power of Aker pulsed inside her, eager for
blood. Immi literally shoved the beast's power away, desperate to keep it under
control. She'd been able to keep the beast's power under control twice, but
who knew what would happen another time? She was scared - what if she used the
power, lost control, and then turned on Rehkek and the others?
"I'll make it really subtle," she muttered,
delving deep into herself. Like Seht had said, she was more powerful than her
ancestors. That gave her the power to control this beast, even if it was hard.
Not much, she commanded firmly, taking out a small reserve of power.
The bounty hunters were almost upon them...
What was supposed to be a subtle use of power
turned into a huge blast of wind, knocking the hunters over. Before they could
get back up, Immi sent another blast, this time aimed for the sand. It sent
up a huge gust of sand reeling towards the pets, and they cried out as the sand
enveloped them. "Let's go..." Immi muttered, turning and hobbling away with
the rest of them. How long would the storm last? How many hours... many days
would it take to get to a town and get their wounds properly treated? She was
worried about Rehkek's injuries, Khirelle's ankle, and Sand possibly had wounds,
too. Too bad, the healers of the desert weren't too great with mind problems;
otherwise she'd be trying to help Sand, too.
"D'you think," she suddenly said aloud, questioning
the others. "That I can possibly use Aker's power... to make us fly?"
"Don't try it," Rehkek ordered sternly. "We'll
walk." Immi nodded - she too had been scared of wondering what would happen.
Maybe on her free time, she would try to tame the beast's power, against her
own fears, and learn to use it for constructive reasons.
It's not gonna be that easy, she thought
"This will help your wounds, lion of the sand..."
They were in a small village, thankfully. The
clay building around them suppressed the cold air inside, making it extremely
refreshing. Sadly, Sand had insisted on no one but herself doctoring them, and
for a really odd reason, Immi was grateful. She hadn't needed much healing;
Rehkek winced as Sand tied a bandage around
him, extra tight. "Ow...!" he hissed through clenched teeth.
"HEE HEE!" Sand giggled, excited at the thought
of helping the "lion of the sand". "It will probably sting for a while, sand
lion!" Rehkek and Immi met eyes and shared the same look: this Usul couldn't
be more insane.
"Immi," he winced, standing. "I wanna talk to
you on the porch." Immi nodded obediently, knowing that refusing would only
raise the bounty hunter's temper, and followed him out the door. Rehkek leaned
over the balcony, looking over the city. "I'm sorry," he muttered, which was
frankly the last thing Immi expected him to say.
"What?" she asked, and he looked at her, shrugging.
"I'm sorry for helping to kill your parents."
Immi remembered, and felt a slight pang. "Th-that's
okay..." she muttered, scuffing a foot against the clay floor.
"No, it's not okay," he insisted. "It was murder,
and if I'd known then that I'd meet you later, I wouldn't have had anything
to do with it."
"You were only a kid…"
"They teach their apprentices from a young age
that there is nothing morally wrong with killing. And I can't believe I let
myself get caught up in it."
Immi wanted to change the subject - she wanted
it to rest easy with Rehkek that she forgave him entirely. "Well what are you
going to do now?"
He looked at her with seriousness in his eyes.
"Send you home."
"You can't stay here - Seht'll come after you."
Immi knew Rehkek was right, but she still felt
uneasy. "You can't stay here either, Rehkek - he'll have a bounty on your head
for disobeying him."
"I know that! I can take care of myself, Immi.
And I've gotta keep an eye on him - if he finds out where you've gone, what
just happened could repeat itself."
"I don't want to just run away! If you're staying
here, so am I!"
"No you're not!"
"I will! I'll just jump off the boat - I've done
Rehkek sighed, but then had an idea. "What if
I go home with you?"
"I dunno, to make sure you'll be okay there and
stuff…" Immi eventually, albeit reluctantly agreed to this plan. They would
be safe in Neopia Central.
"I'll ask Khirelle if she knows when the next
boat departs, then," she said, re-entering the building.
Rehkek felt a twinge of guilt as he watched her
leave the balcony. He was lying to her, but it was the only thing he could do.
He wouldn't be going anywhere, but he would ensure Immi got home; safe, and
away from the terrible ordeal she had just endured.
The next day dawned and with it brought the friends'
arrival at Sahkmet Harbour. They travelled there by use of a Uni-pulled dune
buggy, which they paid its owner to drive for them. Immi felt a sense of relief
wash over her as they made their way over the sand, being occasionally jostled
by the uneven terrain. She was going home, and Rehkek would keep her safe. She
wouldn't have to worry about Aker anymore - she would try to forget that this
had ever happened.
They arrived at the harbour in the early afternoon,
Sand and Khirelle accompanying them to see them off. The two Kacheeks boarded
the vessel and waved at their companions, Rehkek somewhat half-heartedly. A
horn sounded, indicating that the ship would set sail for Neopia Central in
a few short minutes.
Immi leaned over the rail looking down at the
ocean. The breezes made her forget the heat of the desert she had had to endure
for so many days.
Rehkek suddenly seized her shoulder with a grip
too firm to be friendly. Confused, Immi twisted around. "What?" Suddenly a strange
aroma flooded her senses, strangely familiar… "Rehkek…?"
The bounty hunter caught the slumped form of
the girl before she hit the floor, and carried her over to a deck chair, laying
her down and tucking the vial of sleeping draught back into his cloak. Without
another word, the Spotted Kacheek turned and raced towards the boarding plank,
shoving his way through crowds as he fled from his now dormant companion.
He reached Khirelle and Sand on the docks again.
"What are you doing back here?" asked the Aisha, confused.
"I'm not going."
"What? But you bought a ticket!"
"Just to convince her that I was really coming.
I'm staying here to make sure Seht doesn't try anything else."
Khirelle was flabbergasted, but couldn't find
words to justify her opposition to what the Kacheek had just done.
"There isn't any sand where you've sent the sand
daughter," Sand stated rather cluelessly. "That's dreadful!"
"Just go get our ride - we'll head back to Ku-Nur."
"But…" Khirelle merely trailed off, then beckoned
Sand to follow her. The Usul tottered along behind her foolishly.
A second horn blew almost deafeningly, and the
ferry began to drift away from the docks. Rehkek looked ahead wistfully, hoping
he'd done the right thing. The crowds around him dispersed, and with one last
glance over his shoulder, the Spotted Kacheek turned away. "Farewell," he whispered,
and strode away towards Khirelle and Sand.
An hour later, Immi was jolted awake by the motion
of the boat. Blinking, she stared around groggily. "Rehkek, where…?" She suddenly
sat up as she remembered what had happened - he'd drugged her! Practically knocked
her unconscious! No, she thought, He said he was coming with me, that
he'd stay with me… She raced back to the rail, somewhat unsteadily, and
glanced around - ocean everywhere. Not a trace of the land or the harbour of
the Lost Desert.
The Cloud Kacheek felt tears form in her eyes.
How could he do this? Sure it was for her own good, but he'd tricked her! "Rehkek,"
she choked, "Stupid, why'd you leave me here alone?" She looked up at the sky,
the clouds sparse, the sun beaming down. There was nothing she could do - no
way to get back. Her heart swelled with emotion as she knew that she had been
left behind and lied to. "I'll come back," she vowed irrationally. Her voice
dripped with longing as she spoke out to the sparkling blue sea. "Somehow, I'll
find my way back."