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Sand Daughter: Part Eight


by sara_mossflower

--------

Also by smurfafied1800

Escape

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 HEE 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 listen.

     "Shut up," he hissed, walking towards the Krawk weakly.

     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 you, huh?"

     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 shoulder.

     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 faltered.

      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?"

      "Yeah?"

      "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 grimly.

     *

      "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; just rest.

      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."

     "What?"

     "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 it before!"

     Rehkek sighed, but then had an idea. "What if I go home with you?"

     "Why?"

     "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."

The End

 
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Other Episodes


» Sand Daughter: Part One
» Sand Daughter: Part Two
» Sand Daughter: Part Three
» Sand Daughter: Part Four
» Sand Daughter: Part Five
» Sand Daughter: Part Six
» Sand Daughter: Part Seven



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