There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots Circulation: 112,982,760 Issue: 225 | 27th day of Sleeping, Y8
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Riding Desert Waves


by sois_sage

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"I'm bored."

     I looked up from the book I had been reading to find Hinanbasho standing in front of me. It was another sunny January morning on Mystery Island, and the house was finally quite. The perfect time to spend lost in a book, with nothing else to bother me. Or so I thought.

     "I'm bored," the Kougra repeated, blue furred arms crossed over the front of his red marbleman t-shirt.

     I raised an eyebrow at him. "So find something to do."

     "I can't."

     Reluctantly I closed my book and set it on the couch beside me. "Go see what your brothers are up to," I suggested.

     "Dakota's gone, Des is at work, Clever's reading, Eoere is at the gym, Thiebos is taking a nap, Stripes went to a concert, Cosmic is plotting revenge again, Mat went exploring, Wanderer isn't here, and Kale went surfing." He paused to take a breath. "So I thought I'd come bug you."

     "Why didn't you go to the beach with Kale?" I asked.

     "After that incident with the kelp, I don't want to go anywhere near the ocean for a really, really long time," he said with a shudder.

     "You could try reading a book."

     "I already read all the books you gave me."

     "Mow the lawn."

     "Aww, Sage," he groaned. "I wanna do something fun."

     "Do the dishes."

     "Sage! C'mon, I'm being serious." He glared at me, and shoved his hands in to the pockets of his shorts.

     "Use your imagination, Bash. I'm sure you'll come up with something."

     Just then we heard the front door open and slam shut, and a moment later Kale came into the room, completely soaked, wearing a pair of dripping board shorts, carrying a surfboard under one arm.

     "Man, it's going off out there!" exclaimed the shadow Kyrii, shaking his head and sending a shower of saltwater droplets all over the room.

     "Kale, you're getting the rug wet," I told him as I wiped the water off my face.

     "Hey Sage, do you think you can lend me some NP?" he asked, completely ignoring what I had just said.

     "Why?"

     "I scraped the reef. Look."

     He turned the surfboard so that we could see the underside. There were a few deep gouges there, and all three fins had been snapped cleanly off. He was right. There was no way a simple ding kit was going to fix this.

     I sighed. "Fine. But you had better pay me back this time."

     "It seems like kind of a shame to throw this out, though," Kale said thoughtfully, still propping up the board. "Hey Bash, you want it? Maybe you could make something cool out of it."

     The Kougra accepted the damaged board, frowning slightly in thought. A nanosecond later, it hit him. I could practically see the faerie powered light bulb going on over his head.

     "That's it!" he shouted. "Hey, Sage, can I go to the Lost Desert?"

     * * *

      It took a little persuasion, but I finally gave in and allowed Bash to go to the Lost Desert that afternoon. Kale went too, saying that with the waves the way they were, the lineup was a total zoo. And besides, he didn't have a usable board, anyway. Cosmic joined them, because, as he put it, "I could use a laugh." Personally, I felt better for the fact that they were going with him. It's not that I don't trust Bash, but sometimes he can be a little too, well, adventurous for his own good. So the three of them left the house to catch the 12:30 pm ferry, and I returned to my book, feeling only slightly uneasy. After all, how much trouble could they get into in one afternoon?

      * * *

      "Do you even know where you're going?" Cosmic asked as they got off the ferry.

     "I'll know it when I see it," Bash replied confidently as they entered the city of Sakhmet.

     The city was hot, dusty, and teeming with people and pets going about their business. The trio of pets pushed their way through the crowds, until they came to the food stall.

     "We should get something to drink," Cosmic said, pointing to the stand where a Grarrl was selling beverages. "If you two pass out in the desert, I'm not dragging you back home."

     The white Grundo went to haggle with the shopkeeper as the other two observed their surroundings.

     "How long do you think it took to build the palace?" Bash asked, staring up at the enormous sun bleached building in awe.

     Kale shrugged, and continued to watch the citizens around him, looking particularly suspicious of the pets with the image of a scarab tattooed on their arms.

      Cosmic soon returned with three canteens of water, handing two of them to his brothers and slinging the third over his shoulder. They made for the gate leading out of Sakhmet, earning quite a few strange looks from the locals as they went.

     "What are they staring at?" Bash wondered aloud, shifting the surfboard he carried under his arm.

     "No idea, mate," Cosmic said, shaking his head.

     Once out of the city, they headed through the sand dunes in the direction of Qasala, with Bash in the lead. They were nearly there when he veered off to the left, towards the biggest dune in sight. It was forty feet if it was an inch, towering above the trio like the pyramids of the great kings.

     "This better be it," Kale grumbled, sliding in the soft sand.

     "It is," Bash called over his shoulder, still climbing the dune.

     By the time they reached the top, all three were panting. The sun beat down, illuminating the entire desert.

     "Dude, you can see everything from up here," Kale said, taking a swig from his canteen.

     "Look. Isn't that Coltzan's shrine?" Cosmic pointed to the solitary carved stone not far in the distance.

     "Forget about the shrine. I came here to have some fun!" Bash said. He sat down in the sand to wrestle off his socks and shoes, the board lying next to him.

     "Are you sure about this?" Kale asked, eyeing the slope of the hill. "It looks pretty steep."

     "We came all this way, and you think I'm gonna back down now? No way!"

     "You remember how to turn, right?"

     "Yeah, yeah, just shift my weight." Bash set the board down at the very edge of the dune, and turned back to the others.

     "Good luck, bro," Kale said, clapping him on the back.

     "Try not to get yourself killed," Cosmic added.

     The Kougra grinned, and stepped onto the board. A second later he was speeding down the face of the dune.

     "This is awesome!" he crowed as he flew down the hill. The adrenaline rush was even better than the time he found what he had thought was a starry paint brush (though it turned out to be just a plushie). I've gotta do this more - Uh-oh. His thoughts were cut short as a large sand-colored rock came into view, directly in front of him. Desperately he tried to turn, but he couldn't get the board to change its course.

     The nose of the surf, well, now the sand board slammed into the bottom of the rock, diving into the sand beneath it and catapulting its rider forward. The Kougra soared over the rock and through the air about fifteen feet before landing face first in the sand.

     A long moment passed as the two on top of the dune stood, frozen, watching the form of their brother lying unmoving on the sand. Then they started to race down the hill.

     "Pfft." Bash raised his head and spat out a mouth full of sand. Cautiously he moved his arms, then his legs, and finally his tail. Nothing seemed to be badly injured. He wiped the sand out of his eyes, and then squinted at the sand in front of him. Something seemed to be moving towards him. He blinked, thinking that perhaps he had hit his head a little too hard. No, there was definitely something scuttling in his direction. And there, just beyond it, was another, much larger something. A small creature shot across the sand, heading directly for Bash. Behind it came a slightly familiar looking yellow Grarrl, shouting angrily and waving a large shovel.

     The creature dove under the sand just beneath the Kougra, and burrowed beneath him. He could feel it quivering under his T-shirt. The Grarrl stopped short just in front of him, panting.

     "Get out of the way, kid," ordered the Grarrl. "That little thief and I have some business to take care of." He hefted his shovel threateningly.

     "Why do you want to hurt… uh, whatever this thing is?" Bash asked, not moving from where he lay in the sand.

     "It's a Lyins, and it's been eating my best Ummagines! Every day when I come to dig up some of my crops, I find the remains of at least three half eaten fruits, and that little monster is the culprit. Now get out of the way!"

     "I could take it off your hands," offered Bash.

     "No. I'm going to skewer that thing like a Grackle bug! Hmm… Actually, that could be a new dish… Lyins on a stick. I'd bet some people would go for that," the Food Stall shopkeeper mused. Then his eyes narrowed as he looked at the Kougra in front of him. "Move it, kid."

     "No," Bash said flatly. "I'm not going to let you hurt it."

     "Now that I think about it, Kougra kebabs could be popular, too," the Grarrl said menacingly, waving the shovel again.

     "I don't think that's a very good idea, mate," a voice said coolly from behind the Grarrl.

     The shopkeeper spun around to find Cosmic standing there, a dagger held casually in each hand.

     "Yeah, I don't think the Petpet Protection League would like it very much," another voice added. Kale stood next to Bash, twirling a dagger of his own on one finger. "But if it's new dishes you're interested in, I've got one for you. And I think it has the potential to be very popular with the Lupes."

     "What are you talking about?" demanded the Grarrl, tightening his grip on the shovel.

     The shadow Kyrii took a small leather pouch from his pocket, and opened it slightly so that the shopkeeper could see a white powdery substance inside.

     "Chia flour. Now, if I were to, say, accidentally throw it at you, well, poof! Instant new dish. Why, you could be the house specialty."

     "Princess Amira would never allow for such a thing to happen inside her walls," the Grarrl said smugly.

     "Maybe not," Cosmic said. "But Coltzan's shrine isn't too far from here, and lots of Lupes go to visit it. And journeying through the desert can really work up an appetite."

     "And who would be around to see? Just the sand, the wind and the sun. I doubt they'd tell anyone." Kale grinned.

     The Grarrl turned pale, then purple with anger. "Alright, fine! Keep the little maggot. It isn't worth the effort it would take to skewer it." He stomped off, muttering angry curses beneath his breath.

     "Are you all right?" Kale asked his brother, who was still lying in the sand.

     "Fine," said Bash, getting to his feet and scooping the Lyins into his arms. "Just a bit bruised. But that was so cool!"

     Cosmic rolled his eyes. "Leave it to this bloke to nearly get himself killed, and think that it was the best thing he'd ever done."

     "And I suppose you're going to want to keep that?" Kale pointed to the Lyins that was now occupying itself by seeing how clothing tasted.

     "I've got to. Otherwise he'll end up mince meat," said Bash, trying to persuade the creature to stop eating his T-shirt.

     Cosmic shrugged. "I doubt if Sage will mind one more. After all, if she keeps adopting pets, I can hardly see her getting mad at us for it."

     "Where did you get Chia flour, anyway?" Bash asked as his new petpet crawled onto his shoulder.

     "Nicked it, I expect," said Cosmic.

     Kale grinned. "Actually, it's just ordinary kitchen flour. I haven't been able to get my paws on the real stuff quite yet. But my enemies don't have to know that."

     Bash laughed and walked back to where the sand board lay. "Hey, it's still in one piece!" he called back to his brothers. "Do you guys want to give it a try?"

     "NO!"

      * * *

     The guys arrived home just as the rest of us were finishing dinner. After an explanation, I agreed to let Bash keep the Lyins, provided that he kept his new petpet out of the vegetable garden. (Somehow they forgot to mention the part of the story where Bash crash-landed face first, but I eventually found out. And he was grounded for a month for not wearing a helmet. But I digress.) As I watched the young Kougra care for his pet later that night, I couldn't help but smile. This certainly wasn't the first stray we had taken in. I knew it wouldn't be the last.

The End

Author's note: Hey everyone, thanks for reading. As always, questions and/or comments are welcomed. Oh, and please, don't try sandboarding with an old surfboard. Bash got lucky, and was not seriously injured (although I wasn't too pleased when I found out what really happened). Please don't attempt to sandboard without proper equipment and supervision. - Sage

 
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