Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 111,981,549 Issue: 223 | 13th day of Sleeping, Y8
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Searching For Paradise: Part Five


by cpmtiger

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Ricki and Jack were worried. Tye hadn't come back from Allehya's alley, and the sun was beginning to rise.

     "What're we going to do, Jack?" Ricki wailed. "She could be anywhere! And we can't look for her, or her parents will know we're missing!"

     "Speaking of which," Jack muttered, "what're we going to tell them? That we helped their daughter run away?"

     Ricki snorted. "Their daughter? They barely treat her like a petpet!"

     "But if she's missing, it'll reflect badly on their reputation." The blue Zafara frowned thoughtfully. "Somehow, we need to distract them from Tye. The other one needs to go find her. I think you should-"

     Just then, the door connecting the servants' shack to the main house slammed open. The other servants awoke with a start. Ricki and Jack gulped at the sight of Tye's father, glaring at them angrily.

     "WHERE'S MY DAUGHTER?" the Ixi roared. "I KNOW YOU TWO HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT!" He pointed an accusatory hoof at Ricki and Jack.

     "Honestly," Jack said humbly, "We don't know where she is, sir. We didn't even know she was gone!"

     The Ixi pawed the ground angrily. "I KNOW you two helped her sneak out! Offered her a way back in, eh?"

     "No, sir." Jack's right ear twitched, and Ricki's eyes widened. Jack's ear only twitched when he had an idea.

     Slowly, the Zafara went on, "But she may have gone to the lake. She's snuck there before, remember?"

     The large Ixi pondered this a moment, then nodded. "You're right," he grunted. "Maybe she thinks that stupid tree house the neighbors built is still there. " With a sigh, the Ixi turned around. "And now I'm going to have to go get her. What a waste of a morning!"

     "Wait, sir," Jack said quickly. "How about Ricki and I go looking for her? That way, you can still have your morning, and we can get your daughter back."

     Ricki watched Tye's father nervously. He looked a little suspicious, as if he knew what they were up to. But then, at last, he shrugged, and said "Sure. Why not? Go on, I want you to check in by noon if you haven't found her." The Ixi left, slamming the door loudly.

     Ricki shook her head and bared her teeth. "A waste of the morning, is it? Looking for your missing daughter is a waste of a morning?" She turned to Jack, a look of confusion in her pale eyes. "What is wrong with these Neopets, Jack? Why are they so uncompassionate?"

     Jack sighed. "They've spent their whole life swimming in Neopoints. They've never known anything else, and they don't want to know anything else."

     "But what about Tye? She's been living in this palace all her life, too."

     Jack looked Ricki right in the eyes. "You know what her name means. How she's supposed to be."

     Rick groaned, "You know what I mean." She sighed. "Come on, Jack, we'd better get going." And the two servants left the house, heading for the alleyways where stray pets were known to dwell.

     By morning, the leg Tye had fallen on was cut, stiff, and painful. Allehya took a look at the wound. It had stopped bleeding, but by the light of day still looked very nasty.

     The shadow Kougra shook her head. "I can't see how bad it is. There's too much blood and dirt on it."

     "Well, is there any way to wash it?" Tye asked, wincing at the brownish color of the fur around the wound.

     "Did you bring a cup?"

     "I was bringing food for the night, not materials for an escapade."

     Allehya sighed. "I'll try and find some water. How about you pull something together for breakfast?"

     Tye nodded, so Allehya turned and disappeared into the thick trees, looking for water. Tye untied the bag's drawstring with her teeth, and pulled out some of the bread, as well as a shiny silver knife. Putting the knife's handle in her mouth, Tye cut two pieces from the loaf. She opened a small jar of Chokato flavored jam, and spread some on her slice.

     A moment later, Allehya appeared from a nearby grove of trees. She was balancing a cupped leaf on top of her head, trying to stabilize it with her large ears. When she reached Tye, she paused, then tilted her head. The water fell onto Tye's wound. Instantly the scratch stung badly. The faerie Ixi tried to jerk away, but Allehya grabbed Tye's arm, and used the leaf to wash away some of the last dirt.

     After a moment of inspection, the Kougra let go of Tye's arm. "Looks okay," she said, picking up her piece of bread. "I wish we had something to use as bandages."

     "Something to use as?" Tye asked. She swallowed the last bite of bread.

     Allehya shrugged. "There're lots of things you can use. Some trees have nice leaves for bandages. Sometimes pets throw out ribbons, and if you have enough, you've got a bandage. People also throw out those bandanas a lot."

     Tye shrugged. "Well, we don't have anything like that, either, so I guess we're just going to leave it?"

     Allehya nodded. "That's all we can do. Hopefully it doesn't get infect-" Allehya paused, and her ears pricked up.

     Tye, whose hearing wasn't as good as a Kougra's, leapt up and asked, "What?"

     "Shhh!" Allehya's tail flicked once, like a whip. "Someone's back there. I think they're looking for someone." She gave Tye a meaningful look.

     "Not you!" Tye whispered. She didn't expect an answer, and the shadow Kougra didn't give one.

     "Come on," Allehya whispered. "Let's get in those bushes over there."

     As Tye crouched in a leafy shrub, she realized that her fur would stick out like a Lupe among Chias. While Allehya could blend with the shadows, the only thing Tye could disappear into would have been a large, ludicrously purple flower.

     But to Tye's amazement, the group of officers didn't notice her. They stopped, and Tye could see the paws of a fire Gelert and claws belonging to a purple Lenny through the bush.

     "Did the others find anything?" one asked. He had a sharp voice, with a slight bark to it. Tye guessed the Gelert was the one speaking.

     The Lenny shuffled its feet. "Not that I know of, sir," he replied. "What did the Kougra steal, anyway?"

     "An orb," the other voice said, "made by one of the air faeries. It's an extremely valuable item."

     "Someone said the Kougra is a stray."

     "Yes, from what Officer Burro said, she is."

     "He saw the stray?"

     "Burro was the officer trying to arrest her. The Kougra and some Ixi knocked a box of dung jelly on him, poor guy."

     The sound of a shout drifted into the clearing. The Gelert paws stiffened, and the barky voice called back, "We're coming, we're coming!" The Gelert paws and Lenny talons turned and moved back the way they had come.

     Tye didn't move until the forest was silent again. She slipped out of the bush, shaking the sharp needles from her fur. Allehya slid out of her own bush, ears perked, eyes wary.

     "So that's what the thieves stole," Allehya said quietly. "An orb. And the police think I stole it."

     Tye gave her friend a worried look. "What should we do?" the faerie Ixi asked.

     Allehya began to pace. Her golden bands caught the light of the sun and glimmered as the Kougra walked back and forth. Tye sat and watched her uneasily.

     "You should probably head back," Allehya said at last, stopping her pacing. "With your parents out looking for you like I bet they are, that's only going to bring more importance to this. Besides, being accomplice to a thief doesn't exactly paint you in the best light."

     Tye shook her head. "If I hadn't asked you to be there, none of this would've happened. I'm staying with you."

     Allehya looked like she wanted to protest, but instead shook her head and continued to pace. "We need to keep moving," she said at last, coming to a halt. "If we don't get out of this forest, they'll find us."

     "How?" Tye asked. "If we don't leave anything behind-"

     "They can follow out scents. I think if we find the stream that runs through here, we can use it to erase our trail."

     "And what about supplies? We're almost out already."

     "I traveled through this forest when I left the gang neighborhood. There's a village along the river. We can sneak there at night and get food and stuff."

     "Then what?" Tye muttered. Allehya didn't have an answer for that. She looked down at the grass and moss beneath her large black paws.

     Tye sighed and picked up the knapsack. She stood, tentatively putting weight on her injured leg. To her relief, there was only a small jolt of pain accompanying the weight. Tye knew running was pretty much out of the question, but she could definitely walk.

     Tye and Allehya gave each other a quick glance, before the shadow Kougra turned and led the way toward the river, Tye right behind her friend.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Searching For Paradise: Part One
» Searching For Paradise: Part Two
» Searching For Paradise: Part Three
» Searching For Paradise: Part Four
» Searching For Paradise



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