The Son of Sahkmet: Part Seven
When he came to again, his hands were tightly bound
behind his back, the rope chafing his skin painfully. His head throbbed as he
looked up to view his attackers, but the only person there was a pretty yellow
She stared down at him with a malicious grin.
"What a fool," Sankara laughed, "you have the same weak compassion as your father."
She kicked his bound legs lightly. "Look at you, you risked everything for a
sister you barely knew." She rolled her eyes. "I guarantee you wouldn't be so
eager once you truly got to know her."
Kontar glared at her with blazing eyes. "Murderer,"
he said, "you're a wicked liar. I don't even know what to call you, Sankara
the killer or Pazori the fraud?"
She looked down at him unfazed, as if the years
of accusations and venomous insults had calloused her feelings. "Sankara was
the name of a failure," she said, "I go by Pazori now, a name that can only
"Succeed?" scoffed Kontar. "You'll never feel
the crown on your head."
She laughed. "Who's going to stop me? You?"
Kontar suddenly realized that he couldn't.
"You, my prince, were out for the entire night,"
she said, pulling open a dusty drape that spilled light across the dank room.
Kontar realized that he was in a tower overlooking the entire city.
She grinned. "I want you to see something." She
clapped her hands and a large brown Grundo palace guard came through the door.
He dragged Kontar harshly to the widow, holding him up by his fur.
"Now do you see that other tower, straight across
the way?" she asked.
"Yes," Kontar whispered.
"Well that's where your lovely Vyssa is being
held." She pointed down towards the city. "And do you see that shrine?" Kontar
couldn't bear to answer, but Pazori spoke regardless. "That's where I'll be
crowned queen of the Lost Desert in one hour."
She pulled up a chair, and the guard sat Kontar
down on it, tying more rope across his chest so that he was bound to the chair.
"I could've killed you as you lay sleeping,"
said Pazori, "but somehow that just didn't feel fair." She put her face close
to his, and he could smell her sweet perfume. "I wanted you to suffer as I suffered,"
she whispered, "watching someone wear the crown that should've been mine."
She walked towards the door and out of his range
of sight, for he was unable to move or turn from the chair. "And now," she said,
"both you and Vyssa must watch me wear the crown that should've been yours."
The door slammed behind him, and Kontar's head
sank. He had failed miserably. Barca, Wessle, and Palpus were probably searching
frantically for him. Tens, maybe even hundreds of pets waited in the crowds
below to fight for him. But yet he was locked away, helpless to stop the series
of events that were sure to come.
He watched the desert people gather around the
shrine until it seemed the mass of bodies stretched out like an ocean. He could
hear the triumphant music of horns and the enticing notes of harps and guitars
drifting up to him in a torturous melody.
But then, he heard another sound amidst the music,
like flapping wings against the wind. No, he thought it couldn't be, it must
be some wicked Shoryu flying here to pester and heckle a failed prince.
But it wasn't, and Artu landed gracefully on
the window sill.
"Oh Artu!" cried Kontar, tears almost sliding
down his face, "I never thought I'd see you again!"
The Horus flew over to him and landed on his
shoulder. With his sharp beak he snapped the rope around Kontar's chest, wrists,
Kontar stood up; a hope he thought had left filling
him deeply. He remembered what Barca had said of the extreme intelligence of
his petpet. He thanked her silently for giving Artu to him so long ago, when
his home was on a sweltering Island instead of a tall tower.
Suddenly the horns and trumpets all sounded in
unison and the excited crowd hushed. Kontar looked out the window to see Pazori,
led by Abasi of course, walking across the sand before the horde of pets. Even
from the tower he could see her golden dress gleaming like a second sun with
its golden trail being held by little desert Usuls, all dressed in white. The
crowd stared in awe at the beautiful Kacheek who would be queen.
"I can't let this happen," murmured Kontar, "we
have to get out of here."
He leaned over the window sill and looked down
at the dizzying drop. There was nothing between the tower and the ground to
break his fall.
Kontar shook his head and kicked a rope away
from his foot. "Rope," he whispered, picking it up in his paw. He gathered all
of the cords that had been used to bind him. He looked over at Artu.
There was enough of it to reach the ground.
He tied the rope around the door handle and threw
the rest out the window. Hoisting himself up onto the ledge, he gave the rope
a tug to make sure the knot would hold, and began descending down the tall tower.
By some sort of miracle it held, despite the heavy strain. As his feet landed
on the ground, Kontar struggled not to kiss the sand.
He saw the crowds gathered in front of him from
his position in the empty alleyway. He suddenly realized there was another problem;
he had no idea how to find Barca, Wessle, or Palpus.
With Artu on his shoulder he pushed through the
all the pets, trying to wedge his way through the thronged crowd.
"Excuse me," he said, as he shoved aside a yellow
Kyrii and bumped past a desert Cybunny. He heard shouts of "Watch it!" and "Hey
jerk!" as he passed but he was too busy checking faces for Barca or Palpus,
or anyone. A brown Skeith knocked him to the ground, where he was unintentionally
kicked and stepped on by the feet of anxious pets. He stumbled around before
picking himself back up again. Wiping the sand and dirt from his face he saw
Abasi starting to finish the ceremonial procedures.
Pazori was rising from her kneel as the Scorchio
anointed her with the juice of a tchea fruit. Kontar could see Abasi holding
the gleaming crown, ready to place it on Pazori's head.
"NO!" screamed Kontar.
He became aware that the entire crowd had turned
to stare at him in shock. He knew it was too late to find Barca; he just had
to hope Palpus had his militia ready to fight.
"There's nothing but a fraud standing beneath
the shrine!" he cried, flinging Artu from his wrist and into the air. The Horus
flew swiftly towards the stunned Pazori and snatched the crown in its talons.
At that exact moment, hooded pets sprung from
the crowd, hundreds upon hundreds of them, a dozen pouncing on Abasi, holding
back his flailing fists. But Abasi's forces didn't waste any time, and Kontar
could see them leaping from palace balconies, wielding axes and swords. The
crowd erupted in panic, each pet scrambling in different directions. He was
certain he would be trampled.
Kontar felt cold claws on his arm. "Don't scream,
your highness," said the pet, "My name is Ummagine and I'm part of Senator Palpus's
militia." Kontar turned his head slightly to see the hooded desert Shoryu strapping
some sort of harness around his waist. "Hold on," said the Shoryu, "this is
going to be a wild ride."
Suddenly he could feel himself being lifted
into the air, as the Shoryu's wings beat furiously against the sky. They were
flying over the terrified masses and Kontar could see the battle raging below.
Pazori was writhing and thrashing under the hold of several pets from Palpus's
militia, but Abasi's forces just kept coming, hundreds pouring out from alleyways
and dozens more from palace doors. It struck Kontar that they were hopelessly
The Shoryu dropped him off in front of the shrine
so that his back was to the chaotic battle. He unbuckled the harness, panting
heavily. Bowing slightly to him he said, "Coltzan is with you, my King," before
turning and fighting off several of Abasi's men.
As the struggle waged on, Kontar could only stare
up at the tall memorial dedicated to his father. He thought of the words Barca
had told him, Barca, who could've been killed in the battle for all he knew.
"He shall reveal the truth," she'd said, "I am certain of it."
Kontar took in a deep breath, closed his eyes
and approached the shrine.
Suddenly the three Desert Grarrls Ummagine had
been fighting all dropped their weapons and stared up at the cenotaph. The Shoryu
turned his head, and gasped, immediately falling to his knees.
Abasi looked over at them. "You incompetent
fools-" he started to say before he saw Kontar, who had turned to face him.
Abasi gasped, his heart skipping a beat. For as he looked at Kontar's dirty
face and torn clothes he could've sworn he saw King Coltzan III, just as he
looked when he stood triumphant and exhausted over the terrible body of the
His limbs gave way beneath him, and he was bowing
down to Kontar and the shrine despite himself.
Both militias suddenly stopped their fighting
as they too, saw Coltzan's face at the peak of the monument.
Even the crowd fell to their hands and knees
like the rocking waves of the ocean.
Only Kontar and Pazori still stood. The Kacheek
stumbled over to Abasi in her long dress; the pets that had been restraining
her were now kneeling down before the shrine.
"Get up, you fool!" she shouted, kicking him
in the side, "you're ruining everything!" But Abasi wouldn't budge, as if he'd
been glued to the sand.
She the turned to Kontar, who stood stunned and
confused as he looked at the bowing masses. "You!" she hissed, stomping over
to him in fury, "how dare you take my crown from me!"
Suddenly a little white Ruki named Boarah looked
up at Pazori. With her own two eyes, she somehow saw through the morphing potion,
paintbrush, and golden makeup. She looked upon Pazori's true form and identity
and saw only Princess Sankara waving her finger in fury at the Lupe who looked
like their former King.
Boarah tugged at her mother's dress, tears of
fright running down her face. Her mother looked up and saw the same thing.
"Murderer!" cried the blue Ruki, a cry echoing
over the crowd.
Pazori wheeled at the sound of the yell, forgetting
all about Kontar.
As each head looked up, they all saw the same
thing: Princess Sankara.
"You should've known you couldn't hide your
true self through that disguise," said Kontar, "and now the people can see you
as you really are."
Pazori, who was now Sankara, backed away from
him. She looked over her shoulder at the shrine.
"You did this, you wicked King!" she yelled
up at it, "You foiled me again!"
Suddenly, Barca emerged from the crowd. "No,"
she said, as both Wessle and Palpus followed behind her, "we did."
Ummagine then flew down next to Sankara and pulled
her hands behind her back. The crowd cheered as he led her away. Kontar watched
with something that was almost sadness. She didn't even put up a fight.
He then heard feathers rustling above him, and
he looked up to see Artu landing down on his shoulder. The Horus dropped the
glimmering crown into his paws. He turned it slightly, watching its gems glisten
in the desert sun. This, he thought, this was what everyone was fighting over.
At that moment Barca bowed her head in respect.
"You are King," she said, and the masses burst
into applause and cheering.
Kontar looked at her, and then back down at
the crown. "Well then I'd like to make my first royal decision," he said.
The room was dim with all the windows covered;
there were no ornate paintings or fabulous golden dresses. Certainly it was
no place to crown a queen, but Vyssa kneeled on one knee in her dirty rags regardless.
"I am not the true heir," said Kontar, as Palpus
anointed her with the juice of a Tchea fruit and the sweet smell of bananas
and blueberries filled the dusty room. He kneeled down so that his face was
leveled with hers. "You," he said, setting the crown on her matted hair, "will
make rule them better than I could've ever hoped too." Vyssa's dirty cheeks
were streaked with tears and Kontar wiped one away affectionately.
Barca opened the doors to the large balcony.
"Go to them," he said, "sister."
And Vyssa did, pulling up what remained of the
hems of her rags as if it were some splendid dress and walked towards the balcony
where the entire Lost Desert waited below. As she waved her hand to them triumphantly,
the people all saw her for what she really was.
She stood before the desert looking like their
queen without the mystical powers of her father's shrine. Kontar knew from the
beginning that was a quality he would never possess.
Barca looked at him, and despite how tired and
aged her face had become over the last few days, her eyes gleamed happily. "What
are you going to do now?" she asked.
Wessle put an arm around him. "We could really
use some new senators what with the current situation," he laughed, "and a great
guy like you could do wonders in the Sakhmet court."
But for the first time in days Kontar had the
time to think about his aunt and uncle, his cousin Cay, and Mahani. He'd forgotten
about the Underwater chef, about the Island, everything. It had been so easy
to leave his whole world behind to find out about a past he never knew. He'd
forgotten about the family he really had because he was so focused on finding
the one he didn't.
He smiled at Barca. "You know there's only one
place for me to go."
"And what," asked Palpus, "the second heir will
just disappear?" Both he and Wessle stared at him in shock. Barca on the other
hand, just nodded.
"It worked fine before," she said.
So as Kontar sailed the small boat Barca had
arranged for him, he steered the rudder and stared out at the view.
He had the whole ocean before him, and his whole
life ahead him.