The Son of Sahkmet: Part Six
The red Acara prison guard stood before the so called Pazori,
"I'm glad you reported to me, officer…what did
you say your name was again?"
"Leek," he said quickly, "and I knew you stressed
how important it was that we tell you anything out of the ordinary that took
place around the city."
Pazori walked across the chamber that she now
called her own and grabbed a handful of fresh grapes from a jewel incrusted
bowl. "That's a good officer," she said sweetly, offering some to him, "now
tell me exactly what you saw in the dungeon."
"Well," said Leek, hesitantly plucking a single
grape from the bowl, "I had just come in for my shift when I heard a Horus call
and saw the petpet flying towards me. It then led me to cell number seven."
Pazori gagged on a grape. "What cell did you
"Seven, ma'am; is something wrong?"
"Never mind, continue."
He nodded and took in a deep breath. "Well there
was a young desert Lupe locked inside. It crossed my mind that it was odd for
him to be there, since he was neither a guard nor prisoner. But then I saw this
crazy Techo, one that's been there for some time, wielding a Cobrall dagger,
Fyora knows how she came across it. She was shouting her lungs out, ready to
slash him to pieces. This seemed strange as well, since the Lupe was a decently
sized fellow and could've easily overpowered the old Techo with one paw. But
he was just laying there, mouth agape, so I rushed in and knocked the crazy
Techo out. The young Lupe seemed very shaken, and when I asked him what he was
doing in the cell, he simply ran."
"That Techo you speak of," said Pazori, realizing
that it was Masika, the very pet that helped to free her, "is she alright?"
"Um…I'm really not sure, your majesty," he stammered,
"but with all due respect, what does that have to do with anything?"
"Nothing," she said, shaking the thought. "What
were the two yelling about?"
"That was truly the oddest part of all," said
Leek, "in fact I'm almost embarrassed to say, as it was so ridiculous."
Pazori grinned. "If you learn anything from
the Lost Desert, learn this: nothing is so ridiculous that it should not be
Leek nodded. "Well as I said, she was yelling
at him in blazing fury, and what she screamed I'll never forget. She said 'It
was Coltzan who imprisoned me and I'll see to it that no child of his shall
ever take the throne again'."
Pazori's eyes seemed to burst with excitement
but somehow she managed to contain herself.
"So you're saying she told the Lupe that he
was Coltzan's son?"
"Oh what a laugh," she chuckled, pretending
the information wasn't essential to everything she was trying to do, "you're
dismissed, officer Leek, and I thank you for reporting these things to me, however
trivial they were."
"But your majesty, there's more!"
"This was just as unusual as the rest, maybe
even more so. The Techo said something about how the Lupe couldn't stop Princess
Sankara, that's right, Princess Sankara, from taking the throne. At first I
thought it was complete madness but then I remembered that the palace was still
investigating her disappearance from that very prison cell. I don't suppose
anything has turned up?"
Pazori shook her head no, secretly cursing Masika
for screaming out such an important secret, even though she had led her to Coltzan's
secret heir. "That information is privileged, I'm afraid," she said. "I'm sure
you know the investigation is being kept very hush-hush."
"I'd be very grateful if you too, kept what
you saw a secret," she said quietly, placing several coins in the Acara's paw.
His face lit up happily.
"Certainly ma'am," he said, bowing his head
quickly and walking towards the door. He turned back suddenly with a concerned
look on his face.
"Suppose that Lupe really was the son of Coltzan
III?" he asked.
"Don't worry," said Pazori, grinning as she
led him out of the room, "the palace will most certainly look into it."
Palpus shook his head confusedly, his round face
looking even older in the candlelight of the secret underground chamber. "In
all my years of military strategy, never have I heard of such a tactic in all
Wessle agreed. "Putting Coltzan's murderer on
the throne? That's madness. It can't be true."
"I swear to you," said Kontar, rubbing his temples
in frustration, "Masika said that Sankara was going to take the throne. It sounded
like she was on her side too."
"That's hardly surprising," said Barca, "especially
after what this dynasty has done to that Techo. But as for Sankara, it saddens
me to say that the rumors of her escape must have been true. It appears we made
the dreadful mistake of underestimating her. I can only assume she used her
cunning to change her form and make powerful friends."
Palpus rested his head in his large hands. "We've
made so many mistakes," he said sadly, "Sankara is a worthy enemy who has every
force she could possibly have on her side. Why didn't we announce Kontar's identity
sooner? It is hopeless now!"
Wessle nodded. "We could still arrange for a
ship to take us away from here, there's enough time."
The Lupe stood up defiantly. "Don't you dare
say that," he hissed, "you dragged me into this, you kept my life, my whole
existence a secret just so I could be of use for this very situation!" He slammed
his paws on the table, the dark bags under his eyes from sleepless nights making
him look just like his father. "Don't you dare say that you are giving up on
the Kingdom that you forfeited my identity to protect!"
The three politicians stared up at Kontar, unable
to take their eyes off the seemingly transformed Lupe.
"What do you suggest?" asked Barca softly.
"I will reclaim the throne during Sankara's inauguration,
just as you suggested."
"Then the years must have clouded Barca's head
to advise such a plan," said Palpus cynically as if she wasn't even there. "She
obviously hasn't thought this through. Revealing Kontar at the ceremony would
lead to chaos. The crowds would riot and protest, each neopet fighting over
who they think should wear the crown. It's exactly what Coltzan was trying to
"And I'm sure my father," said Kontar, almost
choking on the word that sounded so funny in his mouth, "would have wanted to
prevent someone from unjustly assuming the throne as well."
"We must use force," said Barca, "there are many
who still remain loyal to Coltzan's name. They would defend his son at the drop
of a hat." She looked over at Palpus with a pleading smile. "We would need your
Palpus groaned. "It's insane," he said, "Abasi
will probably have his own militia hidden in the crowds there as well. This
could turn into a full fledged battle."
"Oh please," said Kontar grinning cheekily, "we
all know you yearn for battle more than anything else in Neopia."
"I do miss the glory of war," he murmured, reminiscing
of the days when he was a young and eager general of a great army.
"Then are you in?" Kontar asked.
"Yes," replied Palpus softly as he fingered one
of his old medals.
She smiled at him tenderly. "You know I have
been from the start."
Kontar looked over at Advisor Wessle, who still
sat nervously in his seat. "Well?" he asked.
"Oh, fine!" Wessle grunted, "it's not as if
my opinion matters anyways."
Kontar smiled at the group. "Rally all the forces
we can get tonight," he said, "and have them be ready to fight tomorrow morning."
"And what of you?" asked Wessle. "We have to
find someplace safe to keep you in, it's not safe for you to be about on the
night before a revolution"
Barca stood up and started to walk out. "I've
already arranged for a room to be guarded by several of my most trusted servants."
Kontar nodded as they all left the secret chamber,
loathing the idea that someone would have to baby-sit him. His feeling didn't
change much over the course of two hours as he lay on an exotic tiger bed and
stroked Artu's feathers out of boredom. The same thought passed through his
mind over and over: Vyssa. She was his sister, though he barely knew her, and
he was letting her sit alone, locked away in the tower of her own palace. He
felt drawn to her, as if he had to see her. Did she know he was her brother?
Did she really know of him at all? He wondered if she knew how hopeless things
were for her, or how hopeless they were for the Lost Desert. Hopeless crossed
through his mind many times as well, despite his effort to remain positive.
He knew there was a good chance he would not live to see the sunset of tomorrow.
A tapping sounded on his door. He rose up to
answer it, but remembered what Barca had told him. "Don't open the door under
any circumstances unless the password is spoken."
Kontar swallowed hard and sat back down on the
bed. A girl's voice spoke in shrill urgency. "Hurry sir, Vyssa is in great danger;
she needs you to come to her immediately!" The pretty face of his sister flashed
into his head and he bolted for the door. His hand was on the golden knob before
his mind got the better of him. "Speak the password," he said shakily.
"Horus," said the voice, "the password is Horus."
That was all Kontar needed to hear, and he pulled
open the ornately painted door with scenes of grinning Erisim and Khnums looking
towards the sun. The sound of his heart pounding in his ears masked Artu's wild
He saw Barca's servants, a yellow Mynci and
a white Ruki tied and gagged on the floor before his eyes met with the Pazori's,
his father's murderer with a changed appearance and a different name.
He opened his mouth to scream but two Desert
Grarrls came up behind him and tied a white cloth around his mouth.
Kontar struggled and writhed in their grip like
a helpless Pfish in a net.
He felt the blow of a club to the back of his
head that sent him reeling forward onto the hard limestone of the hallway. It
had been much worse than the hit he'd taken in the palace dungeon.
They threw a dark sack over Kontar's body and
his world went black.
To be continued...