Savak: The Redemption - Part Five
Savak peered through the slats in the locker as he waited
for the door to the room to open. It was a tight fit in the locker, but with
Heysha’s help, he managed to fit. The locker wouldn’t close, but he didn’t want
to close it anyway. After all, he still needed to get out. To maintain the illusion
that Heysha was alone in the room, Savak had to keep quiet. They would never
be able to hear anyone coming up to the door, so silence was necessary if this
was going to work.
After they had waited for what seemed to be an eternity,
the door finally opened. Savak tensed, ready to spring from the locker as the
blue Grundo, Bulthor, entered the quarters, followed closely by Megan, the red
“What do you want?” Heysha demanded. “Why am I here?
I haven’t done anything wrong!” The Lupess performed well. She had been rehearsing
silently since she stuffed Savak in the locker.
Bulthor didn’t answer her, but took her by the arm.
“You need to come with us,” he said grimly. “Kaylee will want a word with you.”
The mention of the name Kaylee immediately silenced
Heysha and nearly made Savak gasp. Kaylee was here! What was she doing on one
of Dr. Sloth’s ships? Savak guessed that she must have sought out the sloth
soon after the Ghost Lupe transported her away from Mystery Island. But why?
What would she gain by joining with him again?
When Heysha fell silent, Bulthor gave her an odd look.
“Do you know of Kaylee?” he asked.
“Uh…me?” Heysha asked nervously. “N…no, of course
Bulthor gave Heysha a good, long look, trying to decide
whether he believed her or not. Then he shrugged. “Regardless, you’re her prisoner
now. Come on.”
The Grundo and the Kyrii escorted Heysha from the
room, leaving the door open, as Savak hoped they would. Silently emerging from
the locker, and glad he was no longer in such a cramped space, Savak quickly
slid through the door just as it closed, nearly catching the end of his tail.
Once he was through, he quietly padded along the corridor, keeping an eye out
for any guards that may be roaming the ship.
Bulthor led Heysha from the freighter by way of the
cargo-bay, as Savak expected. At this point, the bay was completely empty, and
there were no containers for Savak to hide behind or sneak around. But there
was no one else in the bay, either. Chances were he wouldn’t be spotted. He
waited until the Grundo had escorted Heysha off the ship before he crossed the
bay and peeked out the cargo door.
There was a long, tubular corridor just outside the
ship, leading directly to the Vengeance. Aside from the mesh-plate flooring,
the corridor was clear glass all the way to the battleship. The corridor was
completely open; no doors, no guards…only Bulthor, Megan, and Heysha between
them, her tail low as she was pushed along. Taking a deep breath, Savak followed,
crouched low. He couldn’t be sure what lay beyond the end of the corridor. He
only hoped that he wouldn’t be spotted, or worse, caught.
Peeking nervously around the end of the corridor,
to Savak’s relief, there was no one around in the next chamber. The loading
bay of the Vengeance was actually a bit more colorful than the freighter’s
cargo-bay, but no less dull. The walls were lighter gray- marked with yellow
where the various containers were supposed to go. Some container zones were
also blue, or purple, possibly reserved for specific cargos. All the containers
from the Ugly Duckling were lined up neatly in this room within their
zones, waiting to be shipped around the ship to their various destinations.
As soon as Savak took this all in, he saw that Bulthor was leading Heysha to
a door on the other side of the room. The Lupe followed, weaving his way along
between the containers. When he reached the other side of the room, he saw Bulthor
move through the door with Heysha and Megan, and watched in despair as the door
shut behind him.
What am I going to do now? Savak asked himself.
Then he spotted a small air vent above the door Heysha went through. It would
be a tight fit, but a Lupe could squeeze along the ducts inside. Now he just
had to get in there.
Looking through the containers again, Savak found
one of the containers marked vaguely as “equipment” and opened it up. To his
surprise, it contained racks of laser riffles. Curiously, Savak moved to one
of the other “equipment” containers and opened it, revealing more riffles. The
Lupe cocked his ears as he looked at all the other “equipment” containers, wondering
what anyone would do with this many munitions.
Putting the matter aside, Savak reached into the container
and attempted to pull out one of the riffles. He hoped he could figure out how
to use the weapon, both to get him into the vent, and perhaps to use it later…if
he needed to. But as he pulled on the riffle, he found that it was held fast
by something. He pulled harder, but it wouldn’t budge. Then, gripping it with
both paws, Savak tried pushing against the container with his hind paws as he
pulled on the weapon.
To his surprise, the riffle suddenly flew off to the
side after emitting a colorful beam of light from its muzzle. Savak lost his
grip on the weapon and fell back, bewildered. Taking in the scene before him,
Savak quickly realized he had set off the weapon. What amazed him, though, was
that not only had the weapon fired, but it had pierced through the wall of the
container , a second container next to it, and by sheer luck, the vent Savak
wanted to enter.
An alarm sounded and red lights engulfed the room
in response to Savak’s little incident. Thinking quickly, Savak closed the containers
he had peeked into, then scrambled for the vent he had opened. Climbing into
the vent, he pulled in his hind legs just as the door under him opened and several
mutant Grundos entered the room, fanning out and searching around the containers.
Savak only hoped they would assume that one of the weapons contained in the
chamber had misfired, and they would ignore him, at least for now. Clinging
to this hope, turned around and squeezed down the corridor in search of Heysha.
* * *
Trying to track down Heysha from the ducts above the
corridor was harder than Savak imagined. For one thing, there was no scent you
could follow. The sounds from the corridor were muffled, and often drowned out
by the fans circulating air through the ducts. And on top of that, he could
only look into the corridor from the vents set above the corridor every few
yards. It was fortunate for Savak that the corridor below him went straight.
Otherwise, with all the side ducts going to rooms along the corridor, the Lupe
could have easily gotten lost.
So, with no way of tracking Heysha, and no knowledge
of where Bulthor and Megan were taking her, Savak had to crawl along the corridor,
looking into each vent, and hoping he would find Heysha before she disappeared
either into a room along this corridor, or down another corridor where he couldn’t
As he crawled along, the duct suddenly opened up into
a cylindrical junction. It was taller and more spacious than the rest of the
ducts, and Savak felt a bit more at ease not to have the walls so close to him
on all sides. So, for a moment, he rested in the junction.
With the light coming in from the vents down the ducts,
Savak was able to make out four passages from the junction. One was the direction
he came from. The one directly across from that obviously continued along that
same corridor. The other passages, though, probably connected with a separate
corridor. It was a passage Savak would have left alone, too, if he hadn’t heard
There were two voices, actually, speaking in raised,
almost yelling tones. One of them, after a moment, Savak recognized as a voice
he hadn’t heard in months. It was Kaylee, the Shadow Lupess who threatened the
freedom of Neopia. The other voice Savak could hardly hear over the din of the
duct fans. But he finally recognized it as Lilia’s voice!
What’s Lilia doing here? Savak wondered. He
looked down the passage above the corridor he was following, wondering what
to do. Heysha was expecting Savak to follow her and get her out in a timely
fashion. But he needed to find Lilia too. And if she was here, with Kaylee,
there was a chance he could solve all his problems in one day!
Shaking out his fur, Savak decided Heysha was safe
enough on her own for the time being. And with that decision, the Lupe followed
the duct from which the voices originated.
He didn’t have to go far before tracking the voices
to a side duct a few yards down the corridor. Even before he reached the vent,
the voices began to grow clear, and he listened in on the conversation.
“…Lilia, listen to me,” Kaylee said. “Dr. Sloth commissioned
me to oversee the construction of this battleship and its Mutation Beam Array.
Now that it’s nearing completion, he says he’s going to give me complete control
of the Vengeance. The power that I’m going to get…I could share it with
you. You don’t have to live by scrounging up scraps of prey anymore. You could
have Grundo’s waiting on you, hand-and-paw. You could live in luxury for the
rest of your life.”
Savak reached the vent at this point and carefully
peered into the room. Like many of the quarters and rooms Savak had seen on
the ships under Dr. Sloth’s command, this one was gray-walled and quite featureless,
containing the typical bunks and lockers. On one side of the room, by the door,
Kaylee stood, watching as her island colored prisoner paced in the space left,
in front of the bunks. Lilia seemed to be fuming, but from the way she was acting,
it didn’t seem she was mad about being a prisoner. Or, at least, not entirely.
“And what about everyone that you’re going to step
on to get there?” Lilia snapped back. “I’ve lived in poverty long enough to
learn about what everyone takes for granted. How could I live with myself if
I rose above all that without earning it?”
“But you’re my daughter!” Kaylee argued. “Do you really
need to earn what I’m offering you?”
Savak felt his fur stand on end, remembering that
Lilia was Kaylee’s daughter. It was no wonder, now, why Lilia was so angry.
What she said next confirmed this.
“Life is about earning your keep!” the island Lupess
snapped. “When I saw you back on Mystery Island…When I recognized you, I remembered
everything. I remembered you as you were. You were a kinder Lupe then, even
though we lived on the brink of starvation. You were hardened by the pirates
that roamed Krawk Island, but you still cared enough to help others when you
could. You even scoffed at the pirates that fought their way to power through
deception and brute force. You were a Lupe that I was proud to know as my mother.”
The Lupess paused, staring directly at Kaylee. After a moment, she turned away,
her head low. “But now, after seeing what you’ve become, I’m not even sure I
want you for a mother anymore.”
Savak smiled as his former hired guide took a stand
against Kaylee. But his satisfaction at seeing Lilia’s rejection of the shadow
Lupess’ offer faded slightly as he saw Kaylee’s reaction. Her tail lowered slightly,
and she looked more dismayed at her daughter’s rejection than he expected. As
he watched, Kaylee nodded slowly.
“Very well,” she said. “I see you need time to think
on this. I’ll leave you for now. Call me if you change your mind.”
“I won’t,” Lilia replied. “I promise you that.”
Kaylee didn’t respond to this, but turned from the
island Lupess, walking out the door. As she left, Savak thought for a second
that her fur lightened slightly, but shrugged it off, thinking it was the lighting
in the corridor.
Once Kaylee was gone, Savak turned back to Lilia,
who had moved from where she sat, lying quietly on one of the bunks. Hoping
his voice wouldn’t carry outside the room, Savak leaned down to the vent and
called to Lilia.
“Lilia, it’s Savak.”
Startled, Lilia’s fur bristled slightly as she looked
around the room. “Savak?” she asked. “Where are you? I don’t see you.” She stepped
off the bunk and paced about the room.
“Look up to the vent,” Savak said. Lilia did so, then
smirked in amusement when she saw him.
“What are you doing up there?” she asked. Then, she
added, “How did you find me? Who came with you?”
“I’ll tell you in a minute,” Savak said as he carefully
removed the vent. “Right now, let’s just get you out of there.”
It took Lilia a few tries at jumping to reach the
vent, which was high above her head. When she did finally manage to get a foothold,
it was so poor that Savak had to grasp her paw and haul the Lupess inside the
duct. Nodding in gratitude to Savak, she allowed him to replace the vent before
they moved back along the duct to the junction.
“So, why are you here?” Lilia asked.
“Well,” Savak said, a little uneasy, as they turned
down the duct along the corridor Savak was following originally. “It started
out that I was coming after you. After what Kosek told me, I left immediately,
on my own, to seek out your kidnappers. But when I came to the spaceport, Heysha
followed me…and she got herself captured.”
“You’re kidding,” Lilia said. When Savak shook his
head, her eyes widened. “So, now you’re here to save two of us?”
“That’s how it turned out,” Savak said. “And I’m sure
Heysha’s waiting for me somewhere. We just have to find her.”
Though Savak suspected that Lilia wanted to ask him
more, he was relieved that she remained silent. He really didn’t want to reveal
any of his feelings toward Heysha.
At least, not yet…
To be continued...