A World Of Grandiose Creature:Part Four
I, Randal, one of the greatest Kougra explorers in all the world, am back with you to present more of my findings! After some scary experiences with Coconut People, Ixi Raiders, and an overgrown Snowickle, and a relatively peaceful encounter with the Turmaculus, I'm back to jump into the past for a bit before diving into the present.
The Lost Desert has a rich history that goes back incredibly far, to the time just after the smog cleared off of Neopia and Dr. Sloth was scared off. It is a desolate landscape filled with sand and dunes, with a long river passing through to help sustain life to its residents. It is speckled with different structures built over time, some modern like the city of Qasala, while some ancient structures from seemingly before time still exist.
I wouldn't be a great researcher if I only studied what was still around! I wanted to dive deep into the past, and explore an extinct type of Petpet. While there is a modern form of these brilliant builders, they once ran their own kingdom how Neopets do today. It makes me wonder if we are severely underestimating the experience and abilities of petpets...
We know a lot about the history of the Lost Desert because the ancient civilizations transcribed much of what they did, and great linguists like Dr. Zardulu have been able to translate the wall carvings into our modern language. There was an entire race of extremely intelligent Gebs, they pyramid-shaped petpets, who built an entire society here. They would build massive Gebmids, in their own shape, that still tower over areas of the Lost Desert today and attract millions of Neopian tourists from every corner of the world.
Thanks to my growing fame from these published works in the Neopian Times, I've been able to gain special access to a few of the pyramids to see if I can discover anything new about these Gebs. We do know that they used many tools, and had a sophisticated trading system and functioning economy. It appears they would occasionally welcome visitors from other areas of the Lost Desert, but they were living only as a group of Gebs. They also had a central leader, who we have translated his name as Sutek. He has his own massive Gebmid built for his grave and it also houses all of the things he possessed while living.
I figured that was as good a place as any to start! So I descended down into the giant Gebmid, home of Sutek. As I traveled through I came across puzzles that I had to solve, matching shapes to trigger doors that opened. I stumbled down sandy hallways, pushing back spider webs and seeing the occasional scarab beetle scuttling by. Trying to take a deep breath was a challenge due to all the dust that would fill my lungs. I kept my headlamp bright so I could see the way and made sure to mark my trail out with small seeds.
I stumbled upon some writing on the wall, I pulled out my handy translation book and read what it said:
THERE ARE HUNDREDS KEPT DOWN HERE
SO THAT I WOULD NEVER HAVE TO FEAR
A MAN OR WOMAN TAKING WHAT IS MINE
AND THAT MY RICHES WILL BE FINE
Weird, I thought, that the poem rhyme scheme translated so easily...I figured that the hundreds must be the puzzles that I've had to crack coming down, it feels like I've already done a couple dozen and I was starting to fry my brain a little, but I had to press on. I took a few more steps and then felt a stone slab below me depress slightly, like I was starting to sink. I looked down at it and then felt something whiz past my head. I looked back: it was a spear! Not again...I really wasn't in the mood to get speared today. Pressing on I was more careful of where I stepped, apparently this place was booby-trapped on top of being a labyrinth of puzzles.
"Ack, ick," I spit out a spyder web. "Ugh, ew."
I had been down here for hours and haven't come across any writing other than that previous poem. I was hoping for deep inscriptions detailing the full history of Sutek, the Geb buried here, but was having no such luck. All of a sudden, I hear a faint buzzing in the distance. It snapped me out of my deep thoughts of self pity and I started to look around. I was hearing the sound get closer but I didn't know where it was coming from, I was in a tight hallway and it was echoing off all the walls. I felt like I should run but I didn't know which way to go. I had a 50/50 chance so I took off in the direction I was heading anyway.
I could tell as I was running that the sound was behind me, but it was moving towards me faster than I could move away from it. It was almost deafening at this point, snapping and buzzing, like a swarm of angry locusts...
It hit me, Lost Desert was famous for swarming scarabs. They had been featured prominently in all the puzzles I've been doing down here and it started to click that maybe this is what the poem was referencing. Hundreds of scarabs live down here to protect Sutek and his tomb. YIKES!!
Within seconds of me piecing all of this together, the Scarabs rounded a corner and swarmed all around me. It was a full on assault of them pelting into my skin, my head, I closed my eyes and covered my face and was knocked to the ground. I felt them cover my entire body, even fiddling in between me and the ground.
The scarabs had lifted me and were now moving me. They had stopped attacking and were now transporting me. I tried to struggle, to move myself, but I was surrounded in a tight shell of scarabs and they were constricting every part of my body. I wanted to know where they were taking me! Were they going to lock me away in this tomb to die of starvation? Were they going to throw me into a sacrificial pit? Or were they just going to eat my alive!?
It felt like an eternity that I was being carried by them, but then I felt their grip start to loose. I started kicking my paws, trying to shake them off, and they dispersed. They started buzzing down the hallway, away from me, and their excruciatingly loud sounds were drowning out in the distance. I looked around me, turning my headlight on, only to see that I was in an empty chamber. It didn't appear that I was behind a locked door or anything, but I had no idea the path that I had been taken down to get here. My seed trail was nowhere to be found. Then suddenly a blue light appeared...
"Why have you come here? To steal my treasures, to take what isn't yours, you will rot in here with me," a voice said. I looked up at where it was coming from, a ghostly blue glow surrounded a floating Geb.
"Yes, I am Sutek and you are in my tomb, and you will be punished."
"No, sir, I'm sorry, please," I began to beg him to listen. "I am not here to steal from you. I'm a researcher, I'm trying to discover more about the history of the Gebmids and the ancient Geb civilization that you led. You build these Gebmids that lasted a millennium, you are one of the smartest petpets of all time, I don't want your treasures, I just want knowledge."
Sutek's expression shifted a bit.
"Those were hard days. The Gebs went through a lot of tough times, things were not easy for us. You see the modern day Lost Desert, filled with armies and war and nefarious faeries," Sutek said. "Things were even worse for us, as small petpets. Life was hard but we worked harder. There is no magical explanation, no secret ancient faerie watching over our land, it was just the hard work of our people. I led them, yes, but they were a noble and strong group that was easy to lead. They were willing, determined. I wish I could tell you there was a secret, but there is not. Hard work is what made our society great. Even with that, we didn't last forever, no one can. Enjoy what you have while you have it."
"Thank you, Sutek," I replied gracefully. I didn't know what to say to him. For one, he was a ghost of an ancient Geb and I was trapped deep inside his home, and then on the other hand, I was just mystified by what he was saying. It was such a simple concept, work hard and enjoy what you obtain. I do work hard, I work hard to find out the secrets of Neopia, and maybe some of the secrets aren't as magical as I wanted them to be, but that didn't make them any less valuable.
This wouldn't be the end of my adventures, I knew there still had to be a magical secret out there somewhere. I had my eyes set on one more thing, something I had dreamed of since I started my research in the first place. Let's hope it delivers. First I guess I should find my way out of this Gebmid...
"Sutek, one more thing..."
"Yes?" Sutek questioned.
"Which way do I go to get out?"
"Down that hall, go to the left, and then you'll find your seed trail. Good luck and be great," Sutek smiled at me before he faded back into the darkness.
To be continued…