Dry Danger: Part Three
Back in the Lost Desert, two weeks had gone by. More and more neopets were leaving the desert. Already over half the stalls had been left behind, and Sutek himself was beginning to get his family ready to move north. As for Peopatra, she stood with Osiri at the entrance to the City of Sakhmet, gazing off into the distance.
"Surely Tomos should have come back by now?" Osiri asked Peopatra. "Maybe he really did decide to leave us here. I bet he's probably out there in the streets of some other town, stealing from poor, innocent neopets instead of helping us."
Peopatra shook her head, saying, "No, no, I'm sure he's coming back. It's just taking him longer than we thought." But deep inside, Peopatra was beginning to lose hope, too.
Osiri shook her head, sighing to herself. "While I have never traveled around the world, Peopatra, I still get the feeling that we should start getting used to the idea that help may not be coming. And, if so, we may have no choice but to leave."
"Leave?!" exclaimed Peopatra, "Leave and abandon my poor, little petpets? I could never do that."
"No, but surely you could take them with you. And it would probably be better for the petpets you look after to get out of this dreadful place while there is no water. We can always return once the rain comes back."
"If it comes back," sighed the Desert Peophin, "and even if we were to return, the place would probably be deserted and in ruin. No, I think if we do leave, it would be for good. And never to return."
Osiri nodded, seeing what the other meant by her words. Still, she feared that in the end, the two of them may not have any other choice. Maybe Sutek was right to have already started getting his family ready to move north.
Suddenly, a beautiful figure emerged from within the city, her presence joining that of the two desert neopets.
"Princess Amira! Your Majesty! What are you doing out here?" Osiri said, bowing to the Princess.
"Your Majesty," Peopatra added, bowing her head in respect to the great leader of the Lost Desert.
Smiling, the Princess placed her paws on the shoulders of the two desert neopets, saying, "I came out to join the two of you. I take it that you are probably waiting for Tomos, correct?"
"Yes, your Majesty," said the two in response.
"Let me guess: You're beginning to doubt whether or not he will return, aren't you?" she continued with a keen smile.
The two of them nodded, Osiri adding, "Princess Amira, he is a thief, a street urchin. From the beginning I had doubts about putting my trust in him, and I'm afraid that these doubts may yet be justified."
Princess Amira also nodded before turning her gaze over to the other. "And you, Peopatra? Why does your trust in him grow faint?"
"For the same reasons as Osiri. Plus it has been two weeks now since Tomos has set out, and still he has not returned. Surely, your highness, it does not take one two weeks to travel across Neopia in order to find help?"
"You'd be surprised, my dear Peophin," said Princess Amira with a soft chuckle. "It is a couple days travel to the Haunted Woods alone from here by foot, and I doubt Tomos would have had any success there."
"Yes, your Majesty, but it has been more than just a couple of days. It has been a couple of weeks; surely it does not take that long?" Peopatra questioned.
Shaking her head, the Princess added with a kind and pleasant smile, "The world of Neopia is much larger than our small desert. There are many places to explore, and even more ways to get lost. And as I assume Tomos has never been out of the Lost Desert before, I dare say he probably has gotten lost more than his fair share. But don't worry, my dear friends; I am sure that he will return."
"But when, Princess Amira?" asked both neopets in turn. Osiri continued, saying, "The sun is getting stronger and hotter as we go deeper into spring, and still no rain falls. We have no water, and more and more of us are leaving the Lost Desert. If he does not come soon, there may be no one left for the others to help."
"I do not know when, dear friends, nor, I think, does anyone else in the Lost Desert. But until help does come, I shall never leave this desert. I shall never abandon the neopets I serve." The Princess then looked at each of the two in turn, adding, "What about you? Will you leave us? Will you leave me?"
Osiri lowered her head, not quite sure what to say. Would she leave her fellow neopets? What about the Princess that had worked so hard to keep peace among them and others of the Lost Desert? Could she truly live with herself if she left them?
"No, Princess Amira. I shall never leave you," replied Osiri. Peopatra nodded, indicating the same, though it was obvious that she, too, was having second thoughts on the subject.
Hugging the two, the Princess praised them both, saying, "Thank you, thank you both. I am glad. And if the two of you will stay, who is to say that others won't also remain? Don't worry, my friends; I'm sure everything will work out all right."
Osiri and Peopatra both nodded, though neither of them felt completely comforted. Instead, the both continued to gaze off into the distance as Princess Amira returned to the city.
Several hours passed as the two desert neopets waited by the outer wall of the City of Sakhmet for Tomos and the help they sent him for to return. As of yet, though, not a single sign of either him or help had reached the two. Inwardly, they couldn't help but still feel doubtful that this Lupe would ever return.
And then came a soft, sort of muffled sound, coming from somewhere off in the distance. Both of the neopets stood up upon hearing this, their eyes searching franticly for the source of the sound. Instead, all they could tell was that it was becoming louder and louder; what started out as a mere soft and muttered 'pat, pat' soon became a loud and thunderous 'PATTA PAT, PATTA PAT'.
"What's that noise?" shouted neopets from within the city walls. "What's going on out there?"
Princess Amira herself was rushing out into the open, joining Osiri, Peopatra, and a number of other desert neopets gathering outside the City of Sakhmet.
And then, Peopatra caught her first glimpse of the oncoming travelers. "Look!" she shouted. "Blumaroos!"
And so there were: millions of Blumaroos were everywhere! There were purple ones, shadow ones, even pink and checkered ones. And in front of them all was Tomos himself, carrying two large, 'Blumaroo blue' bags: the same bags every other neopet with him was carrying.
"There he is!" shouted Sutek, one of the many who had recently joined the gathering crowd outside of the city.
"Who? Who?" screamed the little ones who remained, jumping up and down in hopes to see the oncoming Blumaroos.
"Tomos!" shouted Osiri and Peopatra, both of them running up to great the returning Lupe.
"Your water, dears!" the Lupe cried, shouldering the bags he was carrying.
"Oh Tomos, you returned!" cried Osiri.
"Did you ever doubt me?" questioned Tomos with a sly grin as he reached the two females. "I know I never doubted you in coming through with your end of the bargain." And with that, the Lupe gave the two a wink and set his bags of water before them.
From behind the two desert neopets that stood at the front of the crowd came the Princess of the Lost Desert. A kind, generous smile lay on her face, lighting up her beautiful face.
"Welcome back, Tomos. And they have not forgotten their part of the bargain, nor have I. You shall, indeed, be highly rewarded for your deeds, providing that you dine with me tonight in celebration of your return."
"And the generosity of whomever sent you back with all this water," added Peopatra.
"Yes, yes, most definitely. By the way, dear friend, where is this gracious fellow?" the Princess asked. "I must thank him."
Bowing his head, Tomos replied, "He chose to remain on Roo Island, your Majesty. Indeed, the neopet which sends this water to you is none other than King Roo, King of the Blumaroos."
Smiling, Princess Amira responded by placing her hand on the shoulder of Tomos, saying, "Very well then, friend. I shall have to send my thanks to him by some other means, I see. But in the meantime, come, let us celebrate! We shall store what water we have, after which everyone, Blumaroos of Roo Island and neopets of the Lost Desert, shall be invited to a feast of celebration! Come, all, and let us prepare for a great feast in celebration."
And so the song of the Pteris' and humming from the wings of the Buzzes came at last to the Lost Desert, finally and officially announcing that Spring had come. And all, every neopet from Happy Valley to Mystery Island, from Tyrannia to even the Lost Desert now celebrated in the warmth of Spring.