The Petpet Detectives: Case of the Absent Anubis - Part One
In the dusty Sakhmetian cave, hundreds of feet below the
violent sandstorms, blazing sun and sandstone-colored buildings of the Lost Desert,
three brave explorers pressed further down the carved path. Their lanterns swung
at eye level and the flames danced on the walls around them. Darius, the group
leader, was in the front and carrying his lantern and a small backpack. The desert
Lupe paused to wait for his colleagues as two separate paths loomed in front of
This cave in the Lost Desert was exceptionally
intricate, with numerous twists and turns, forked paths and some places where
the ceiling was so low that you had to crouch down to get through. But the most
amazing thing about it was the red, blue, and green markings that were painted
across the walls. They were so precise, each shape seemed perfectly marked and
put there for a reason. Darius couldn't read the symbols but he knew that the
cave paintings were extremely important. They were what the team was following,
Darius turned his attention back to the fork
in the path and lowered his lantern. Both passageways were pitch black, except
for the faint light from his lantern that bobbed up and down on the floor.
"Kysen?" he called.
A female desert Aisha stepped into the lantern
light. "No, my name's Bek," she teased.
Darius rolled his eyes at his friend. "Where's
"Somewhere back there."
Right on cue, Dr. Kysen emerged, clutching a
smaller lantern and a leatherback book. A Cobrall Dagger was sheathed and hung
from his waist. He was a tall desert Ruki and a bit on the serious side. Being
a linguist and reading the symbols on the walls, he was supposedly leading them
to the heart of the cave, but Darius wasn't sure he and Bek could trust him.
Dr. Kysen had only been with them a week, whereas they had been friends for
years. Darius didn't like the Ruki but knew that he was crucial in the caves.
Without him, they would be lost.
Dr. Kysen stepped forward to face the black tunnels
ahead of them. His claw grazed the painted wall and his dark eyes narrowed.
He seemed to know what he was doing, but Darius had his doubts. The Lupe knew
he, Bek, and the rest of the team above ground didn't have a choice. They needed
to trust the linguist.
"This way," Dr. Kysen said, indicating the tunnel
on the right. So Darius and Bek followed him, as always. The one thing that
bugged Darius was that Dr. Kysen never bothered to tell what the symbols meant.
When he asked the first time they started down here, the Ruki told the story
of the Neopians in the B.N. time that lived in the Lost Desert before it was
discovered. The Ruki explained that they supposedly left the cave and its paintings
alone for new generations of Neopians to view, centuries later.
An interesting story, believable, at least. But
It was Dr. Kysen who led the way now, leaving
Darius and Bek to follow the dusty footprints that trailed behind his large
strides. The temperature of this cave was cool. The Lost Desert sometimes went
up to one hundred and fifty degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, so when he was
down here, Darius always appreciated the cold air and lack of sandstorms. He
learned over the years that when you lived in the Lost Desert all year round,
your body started to adjust to the radical heat waves.
Dr. Kysen stopped abruptly and Darius halted
behind him, looking up. They had come to a dead end. This was the first time
that Dr. Kysen had misled them.
"Do we turn back?" Darius asked. He started to
swivel around, but Dr. Kysen stopped him.
"No, I'm positive this is it."
Darius certainly couldn't see how the linguist
thought so, but he obeyed and planted his feet. Dr. Kysen read the paintings
above them, occasionally mumbling to himself and raised his claw. Darius concentrated
hard to hear what the Ruki was saying, "The middle of the wall and just to the
Dr. Kysen pressed firmly on the spot with his
brown claw. This must have been the correct action because with an immense sound
of shifting stone, the wall slid to the right and slowly started to open. Darius
and Bek watched in awe as the stone wall retracted sideways into the doorway,
permitting the three of them to step inside.
As they did, Darius stared up at the gigantic
shrine that was before them. The sandstone steps led up to the top, where a
vast statue of an Anubis, a petpet common to the Lost Desert, looked down upon
them. The cloud of dust that had swelled around them started to settle and Darius
was able to get a better look after wiping his face.
"The heart of the Sakhmetian cave," whispered
Bek. The desert Aisha stood silently at the foot of the steps and gazed longingly
up at the shrine.
"It's amazing," commented Darius.
"It's just what I expected."
Darius turned to look over at Dr. Kysen. The
Ruki shrugged, "The symbols above the wall acknowledged the room into which
we just entered. It is indeed the heart."
"These paintings, symbols…" Darius paused, caught
up in all of the paintings woven from floor to ceiling in the room. "What did
Dr. Kysen hesitated with an unreadable expression
on his round face. "They said that this shrine was worshipped by the Neopians
of the Lost Desert before King Coltzan III. Perhaps this was the temple of the
The deceased Lupe King did mean a lot to the
citizens of the Lost Desert, Darius knew. Some Neopians went to Coltzan's Shrine,
the current one above ground, to ask Coltzan for strength or health. Sometimes,
he granted it to them. Just the thought of standing in the King Coltzan's chamber
was overwhelming. Knowing that they were the first ones to discover it felt
"The symbols above the wall also said," Dr. Kysen
continued, "that at the top of the shrine is a great fortune that was left here
by the King himself." Astonishingly, he seemed unimpressed. Darius asked him
why. "I've seen many caves in the farthest corners of Neopia. Much of this isn't
new to me."
Whether it was a new piece of information or
not, it was simply stunning. Bek turned to look over at Darius, but he was already
climbing the stone staircase to the peak of the shrine.
"Be careful, would you?" she called. "We don't
know what's up there."
"You heard the linguist," called Darius over
his shoulder. "A great fortune." The Lupe padded up the stairs, panting only
slightly, until he reached the top. Carefully making his way to the center,
he stood before the shrine.
Sitting at the top of the shrine, with its paws
crossed and ears pointed in alarm, was an Anubis.
The discovery of such a small creature living
in the Sakhmetian cave was breaking news for Darius and his team. Almost instantly
after finding it and realizing its rarity, Darius, Dr. Kysen and Bek evacuated
the temple and returned to the opening where they could present it to the team
A dozen or so archaeologists and explorers, all
friends or colleagues of Darius, were gathered around the table in their building
that evening. The Anubis had been confined to an iron cage until they could
find out more about him. Darius withdrew the cage from the back room and set
it on the table. It was covered by a thin, green cloth to keep the Anubis feeling
safe and out of harm's way.
"Friends and fellow archaeologists," Darius began,
"an amazing discovery was made in the Sakhmetian caves today. With Dr. Kysen's
help, we were able to locate the heart of the cave, the shrine for the first
King Coltzan." There were a few cheers of approval and smiles in the crowd.
"However, the second discovery we made was not as great as the first, but more
of a mystery. How could an ancient petpet have survived so long in a secluded
place with little food and water? The answer may always be a question in our
Placing his paw carefully on top of the green
cloth, Darius said with a grin, "I'd like you to meet the newest discovery…"
With a small upward flick of his paw, Darius
removed the green cloth and gasped as the cage was revealed: vacant. Where the
Anubis had once sat, there was only a small slip of paper.
Someone laughed. It was a desert Grarrl. "Is
this some kind of magic trick?"
"No, I…" Darius began, but his voice trailed
off. The Anubis was gone? How? Bek and Dr. Kysen, who were standing behind
him, appeared looking fretful at his shoulders. Darius picked up the small slip
of paper and unfolded it. He read it silently to himself:
Sorry to inform you that your discovery will
not be able to attend this evening. I sincerely apologize for his absence, but
you should know… he will not be returned to you. He now belongs to me and we
will keep it this way. Do not go looking for him. Good day.
It was a perfect day in Neopia Central. A definition
of perfect would be a blue, cloudless sky, warm sunshine that shone from the
tips of the trees to the streets, and a mild summer breeze. It was a great day
to be outside, enjoying the early summer weather and the city was peaceful.
Yeah, but so what? I was never really into spending
the day frolicking in the flowers or swimming in the stream near the edge
of Neopia Central. Well, Eyries weren't too good at swimming, but you get the
You see, on most occasions there was a mystery
to solve or some trouble to land us smack dab in the middle of whether it was
in Neopia Central or another city. But in the house today, it was so quiet that
I could hear the hum of the Faerie Fridge.
It was nice not having to rush from place to
place while trying to locate a missing petpet and keep track of all of the suspects
in the process. Detective business was hard work, but the reward was usually
worth it. Plus, I had my siblings on the case as well. The four of us made it
our job to relocate any petpet, no matter how far away they were or how perilous
the situation looked.
I was normally part of the Petpet Detectives…
but not today. Today was a day to read my book, prop up my large white feet
and take an afternoon nap.
Then a loud knock at the door startled me. Slowly
rising upright, my mind whirled with thoughts: Who in the world would come to
the last house on Bracknell Road in the middle of the day? The mail-Ixi had
already arrived and I was positive the neighbors were all out in Neopia Central,
roaming around. Who did that leave? With a small groan, I rolled off the sofa
to answer my own question.
I was startled to find a desert Lupe (he must
have come a long way) standing on the porch. He extended his orange paw. I shook
"Hi," he said. "I'm Darius. You're a detective,
I introduced myself. "Marlo, and yes. Is there
"There is, Marlo," the Lupe said, frowning. "An
Anubis was stolen from me on the 22nd day of the month of Relaxing."
"Enough said," I told him, gesturing towards
the door. "Come inside and we'll talk."
As he brushed past me, elegant desert robe swishing
around him, I realized that my day of not doing anything escaped out the front
door. We were busy again. I grinned to myself: good.
To be continued…