Enter the Snowflake's lair... Circulation: 145,521,815 Issue: 253 | 18th day of Hiding, Y8
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The Kougra Klan: Part Three

by ikea_sale


The smile on Riyita's face sank, and the blood drained from her face, as she looked over the home she had spent so many years repairing.

     The front door had been completely ripped off its hinges, and lay on the ground covered in dusty footprints. The front gate had suffered the same treatment. Shards of glass were scattered all around the front of the house where the windows had been shattered. Even the old green curtains were torn out, snagged on the remnants of jagged glass surrounding the window frames and flapping in the cold breeze. In the front garden, plants had been uprooted from the ground and lay across the path, leaving a messy trail of dirt and roots. Riyita could only stand and take in the scene, her heart pounding furiously.

     "Wha... What happened?" Guanya stammered, the glass crunching under his feet as he slowly approached the front door, surveying the empty frame with apprehension. He turned to look at Riyita, who gulped and looked back grimly.

     "I told you, Guanya... they want you," she replied, her voice almost a whisper. He looked back, the realization that this wasn't all a game filling his deep brown eyes. The Kougra opened his mouth to try and speak, but nothing came out.

     Suddenly, a huge metallic crash came from inside the cottage, the noise ringing through the air for a few seconds. Both Neopets jumped.

     "They're still in there!" Guanya whispered, backing away from the door. He bent down and picked up a huge plank of splintered wood, previously part of the gate. He cast one solemn glance at Riyita, and she nodded. He gradually advanced into the hallway, holding the plank above his head. Riyita followed closely behind, shaking.

     In the hall, cloaks had been pulled off the pegs and stamped all over. The big mirror was smashed like the windows. Everything seemed silent. Cautiously, Guanya peered around the kitchen door, and then Riyita.

     There was no one in the room, but it was obvious that someone had been a minute ago; the window had been pulled wide open, the curtains flailing around wildly as the cold breeze swept into the ransacked kitchen. Everything had been pushed of the table and lay on the floor in a heap. The intruders had pulled out all of the draws and tipped the contents onto the floor with the rest of the wreckage. Jars, pots and mugs were smashed, their contents trickling across the floor. A snapped wooden leg from one of the upturned chairs lay at Riyita's feet. She bent down and picked it up, looking at it forlornly.

     Treading ever so softly, they made their way towards the next room, a small sitting room. Guanya poked his head around the corner.

     "Empty," he mouthed, and they both stepped in.

     The room was turned upside-down like all the other rooms, with the armchairs slashed and items thrown across the floor, but there was one significant thing Riyita noticed more than anything else. The framed picture of her and Guanya that usually hung above the small log fire was gone; in its place were two bold, black words, written with a piece of blackened wood from the fire. They screamed out at Riyita, causing her stomach to twist itself in knots as she stared and them in shock.

     HE'S OURS, they said.

     "How could anyone do this?" Riyita snivelled loudly, assuming that whoever had been in her home was now out of the window and far away. As she spoke a thump came from upstairs.

     Guanya made a frantic shushing noise, reaching to slap a paw over Riyita's mouth, but it was too late; whoever was upstairs had heard. The heavy sound of footsteps running across the floor echoed through the house, and the window upstairs was flung open with an ear-splitting screech. Guanya immediately sprung into action, dropping the plank and rushing up the stairs, his cape flying out behind him like wings.

     "You're not getting away!" he bellowed as he disappeared upstairs. "Come back here, you vandal!"

     Riyita was too startled to move. Her ears rang with the sound of Guanya's deafening shouting, and someone frantically scrabbling down the side of the house. There was a thud, and then the rustling of leaves as a green and black figure stealthily shot past the kitchen window. Forcing her limbs to move, Riyita scurried over to the front door, but only caught a blur of green before it vanished into the undergrowth. She shuddered.

     Guanya came back down the stairs, panting. He doubled over, gasping for air.

     "That Kougra... he moved... so fast," Guanya gasped, pausing to draw in another deep breath. "It was... unreal."

     Riyita wasn't surprised to hear the word Kougra, but her heart still lurched violently inside her and everything seemed to start spinning round and round. She propped herself up against the wall, breathing heavily, trying to take it all in. The realisation of what she had to do had hit her.

     "Guanya, we're not safe here anymore," she said. "Go upstairs and get anything that's not broken and bundle it up. I'll search downstairs."

     "Riy... " he began.

     "Please, just do it Guanya," she interrupted hastily, still leaning against the wall with her eyes shut. "We have to leave. We have to leave now!"

     Suddenly, all the memories came back to her in a flash flood, rushing through her mind. Those were the exact same words she had used on that night; now they repeated in her mind, conjuring up images of that blazing fire, her brother squirming as that black cloth was tied tightly around his arms, his face sinking and his body giving up as he knew there was no escape...

     "Guanya..." she stuttered, opening her eyes and breaking out of her trance. He stopped on his way up the stairs and turned around.

     "Yes?" the young Kougra said.

     "Get something to defend yourself with."

     Guanya nodded gravely and continued ascending the stairs. At the very top, propped up against the wall, he noticed Riyita's cleaning broom. Picking it up and running his paw along its length, he discovered the wood was hard and thick. Curious, he gasped it firmly in one paw and swung it above his head, twirling it from paw to paw with ease. Perfect, he thought with a smile. Using all his might, he snapped off the end with the bristles, and then slipped the long piece of wood under his belt before continuing into the bedroom.

     Downstairs, Riyita worked hurriedly. For all she knew, this Kougra could be going to fetch more of his kind; it would be easy to take Guanya if he was outnumbered. If so, they had to be as far away from the cottage as possible before he returned. She picked up one of the green curtains that had been ripped from the window and began piling objects on top of it; an old metal mug and some plates that were dented but not broken; one of the trampled cloaks, a few hunks of bread wrapped in an old copy of the Neopian Times; and a battered but usable compass she had found on the forest floor. Everything else was either stolen or lying smashed into dozens of pieces on the floor. Sighing, Riyita carefully wrapped up the items with the curtain to make a bundle, which she threw over her shoulder. She then walked out into the hallway, taking one last look at what used to be her favourite room.

     Guanya soon came down the stairs with a cracked leather satchel thrown over one shoulder, a pouch with a few Neopoints in his pocket, and the long wooden broom handle tucked under his belt.

     "Are you ready?" Riyita asked, opening the door so the strong breeze carried a few leaves sweeping into the hallway. Guanya paused, taking one last look at the house, though it wasn't exactly in the state he wanted to remember it as being in. Eventually he took a deep breath and lifted his chin.

     "I'm ready," he said.

     With that, Riyita and Guanya strode out of the house, down the path, and out of the battered gate; they didn't look back until they were deep into the heart of the shadowy woods, and the little cottage was blocked out of view by the tall, looming trees that surrounded them on every side.

     "So... where are we going?" asked Guanya as they walked, not stopping lest anyone was on their trail. They were so deep into the forest now that the thick wall of greenery above them blocked out almost all the feeble daylight, save a few shafts, which shone down like radiant swords.

     "I don't know," replied Riyita, "but we just have to get away from the vil-"

     She stopped mid sentence, as they both heard a cracking noise, followed by a thump, as if something had fallen from a tree. They froze.

     "What... was... that?" said Riyita through gritted teeth, her eyes darting left and right frantically. There were several more thumps, combined with a chorus of loud rustling... then the growl came. It was a long, low-pitched snarl, which chilled Riyita right to her bones.

     "I don't know," replied Guanya, "But it doesn't sound good..."

     Slowly, he turned around, his face in a grimace as if dreading what he was about to see--and he was. Out of the undergrowth emerged a huge Kougra, his teeth bared. He wore the same black bandanna that Riyita remembered from all those years ago, but now with a red logo emblazoned on it; it simply read 'KK'. He loomed over the two quivering Neopets, and sneered. Two bushes either side of him parted, and out stepped two more Kougras, both dressed in the same way and both just as frightening.

     "Please, tell me this isn't happening," Riyita said, stumbling backwards. She crashed into someone, and turned to see three more Kougras, barring the way behind her. She gasped as they moved closer in, trapping the two Neopets in a tight circle.

     Guanya pulled the wooden pole from his belt and lurched forward, poised with the pole held out in front of his body defensively. He wasn't going without a fight.

     "Oh, it's happening," he said.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» The Kougra Klan: Part One
» The Kougra Klan: Part Two
» The Kougra Klan: Part Four
» The Kougra Klan: Part Five
» The Kougra Klan: Part Six

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