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Ndomi's Secret Lost Desert Mission


by drgnswor

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The sun was beating down relentless, casting the entirety of The Lost Desert in glimmering gold. Flat sand plains stretched as far as the eye could see with no respite in sight. The horizon seemed endless to poor Ndomi who wiped the two droplets of sweat that were making their way down either side of her head. She had spent four arduous days trekking in the outer skirts of The Lost Desert. Surely it wasn’t far off now? What she wouldn’t do for an oasis to just appear before her.

     She checked her satchel and picked up her almost empty water bottle.

     “I know what I’d be wishing for,” the Green Gelert muttered between laboured breaths as she took a tiny little sip.

     Why on Neopia did I agree to help Sankara, Ndomi thought ruefully. She didn’t even like going outside Sakhmet City, let alone the barren and hostile desert beyond it yet she had agreed to this difficult task.

     Someone like Ganeel, the local treasure hunter, or even Aurrick, an infamous thief, would be more well equipped for something like this. But Ndomi knew why Sankara went directly to her. With Ganeel and Aurrick, and the likes of them – their antics had made them too famous and their movement more easily noticed. Plus, being a noted professional and a career criminal, their services were for sale. They themselves bore no personal loyalty to Princess Sankara or the old Kingdom. That was why the Princess, who wanted to keep her plans on the down low, came to Ndomi with this particular mission.

     Ndomi, who was a regular girl who lived in the tents outside Sakhmet City, Ndomi, who was only living there after being displaced from her home in the lower Mentu region of The Lost Desert. Ndomi, who was sympathetic to the Khonsu Dynasty rule under Princess Sankara’s late father, King Sobek the Wise. Ndomi, who despised the evil new ruler King Heksas. Ndomi, who wanted Princess Sankara to rightfully ascend the Khamtef throne.

     However, in order to help Princess Sankara, she must find the coveted Jin in a Bottle.

     Legend has it that Jin or Jinn was a powerful King of an ancient Lost Desert region. When he passed, his spirit went to the Temple of the Watcher where he guarded its treasures against those who might seek to disrespect the Temple. Sometime after, his spirit was mysteriously removed from the Temple and had been trapped in a bottle ever since. The story goes that whoever found the bottle should rub it three times, releasing him from the realms within, and be granted three wishes – anything they could ever want. Thereafter the Jin would finally be free.

     Of course, the bottle had never been found. Not officially, at least. Practically everybody in The Lost Desert had dreamt or joked about finding it one day and getting their ultimate wish, whether it be endless riches or eternal life, but to this day it was more or less a fairy tale to amaze children with. Winning the Neopian lottery was probably more likely than finding the Jin in a Bottle – if it even exists.

     Princess Sankara was convinced that it was more than a myth passed down from elders. Even if it was not just a story, finding the Jin in a Bottle is not a guaranteed success. Many have tried and failed over the years, sometimes to their own demise. Ndomi knew of Neopians who were so obsessed with finding the Bottle that they drove themselves insane with greed from their wishful thoughts.

     That part didn’t phase Ndomi though. The Gelert had always been uninterested in wealth and enjoyed the simpler things in life. A cold drink of Borovan and dancing at dusk to the music of Cobrall Charmer Clarinets and Cobral Charmer Flutes with her family and friends was all she needed to be happy. Of course, that was not possible now under Heksas’ chaotic rule.

     “It should be… here,” Ndomi looked at the tall boulder coming up in front of her and back at her tattered map.

     She was puzzled. It was a rock? Albeit a big rock but just a rock. Ndomi scratched her head and made her way up to the base of the rock. She didn’t know what she expected. A gap or a crack maybe? She circled it once and then back again, searching for any sign of an opening.

     “OPEN!” She yelled into the hot desert air. Nothing. “OPEN UP!”

     After an hour of trying variations of that, the Gelert found a shaded spot that would protect her from the harsh desert winds near the boulder and set up camp. Surely she had the spot right? Sankara herself had promised that – if the Jin in a Bottle existed – it would almost certainly be here. It was the most magical spot in all of The Lost Desert, where the moon and the stars aligned biyearly and X marked the spot.

     She made a little fire and heated up some of the dried food she brought along with her. That, too, was running low. Shortly after eating, the Gelert was snoozing, flat tired and asleep on her hammock.

     Her dreams ran wild that night. Disturbing images of Heksas’ invasion, peculiar objects with magical powers floating around her, Coltzan’s pearls of wisdom, Princess Sankara’s disappointment if she should fail clouded her mind. It was a scattered flurry before her dream turned course.

     Ganeel’s face and voice popped up and boasted about how he used a keyword to access a long-buried temple back in the day. It was a magic word; it was… ah…eh…A…

     Abracadabra!

     Ndomi sat upright so suddenly that she almost fell out of her hammock. Of course! That had to be it. What word is more magical than that?

     She hurriedly grabbed a torch and, leaving everything else behind, rushed to the boulder.

     “ABRACADABRA!” She yelled once more.

     It was silent for a moment and Ndomi’s hopes were dashed yet again. But before her very eyes, a slit began to grow between the floor and the boulder. A deep rumbling and crackling sound accompanied the widening of this gap and Ndomi had to take rapid steps back to avoid being swallowed whole. Almost as soon as it began, it stopped. The return of the eerie silence of the desert night was almost overwhelming.

     Cautiously, she tiptoed closer to the gap and peered in only to see total darkness. She shined her light into it and, to her surprise, she made out uneven steps down into the abyss. This entire time, she had thought that the place she was looking for was inside the boulder.

     Gathering all the courage she had, the Gelert began making her way down. At first, she only focused down at her feet, taking care to go one step at a time, but after a while, she cast her flashlight across.

     A myriad of gold glints flashed back.

     It was gold. All gold. Floor to ceiling piled with glittering gold articles and gadgets. She couldn’t believe her eyes.

     As she swept the chamber again and again, a red glint caught her attention and she zoned in on it. It was the Jin in a Bottle. There was no doubt – Ndomi had seen countless drawings and artistic renderings of it. There was no doubt at all.

     She raced down the remaining steps and, ignoring the piles of gold artefacts, within minutes she had the Bottle grasped firmly in her hands and the knowledge that Princess Sankara’s plan can go ahead.

     She succeeded.

     The End.

 
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