New Update! (Check it out!)
Every time we make a change to our site we like to add an update to let you all know what's happening, so be sure to check back here often to catch up on the latest Daylight Pets news.

Updates for Aug 14th, 2013:

Notice on Trade Feature



Dear Users,
There appears to be a bit of an issue with the trade feature, so this feature has been disabled temporary. It will be announced in the news once it is fixed and we apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused.
-The Daylightpets Team



Updates for Aug 13th, 2013:

A friendly avatar.



Those of you who have read up on the Harena story know of one particular Sphinks that has went through a rough time! Well, now thanks to Undisclosed, he has his very own avatar!



The Azaz Avatar is now available for a limited time in the rations machine! Head on over there now so you can get one of your own!



Updates for Aug 12th, 2013:

Harena 9



Three days later –
Harena was complete; the hard work had finally paid off, and Ng, Brandhardt, Veles, and everyone else piled in the palace, drinking the Juice of the Cane. However, one of them was missing – one of them that had been there since the very beginning and it pained Brandhardt that that someone wasn’t able to make it.
Brandhardt sat still in his throne, staring at the one Azaz once sat in directly in front of him. Truth was, Brandhardt hadn’t even moved the chair since Ng last sat in it, when he was describing to her the deal to get Harena back on the map. But, like precious lives, things must come to an end sometime. He then started thinking back when he first found Azaz in the quarantine camp years before…
~
“Lord Brandhardt, there’s a quarantine camp ahead, filled with the infected. What are your orders?”
The battle-hardy Brandhardt scanned the surroundings. Bodies of the deceased lay rotting on the sand below – victims of the one they called Pathogen, the monster who would be responsible for much tension and anger to come. “Soldier, the plague was destroyed with Pathogen. That strange doctor, Agatha, and Agorr cured those still with the disease. Any in that camp ahead that are still alive are cured, I’m sure of it.”
And so they marched on – Brandhardt and his group of soldiers. Yes, Pathogen was destroyed, but Brandhardt was no idiot. He knew sympathizers sat in the shadows, planning their next move. Showing up on the outside of his city prepared not for a battle would be suicide.
As they reached the camp, Brandhardt could hear the screams and cries of the people trapped within. He noticed several corpses on the ground in front of the camps. Each of them had similar wounds. “They resorted to throwing themselves over the walls. What sad fools.” He shook his head and continued onto the entrance.
The entrance had been barred, but signs of prisoners trying to break free were evident. Fingernails and hair were caught in the bloody, silver mesh keeping those inside in, and the outsiders out. A quick inspection would show that the guards had fled the camp days ago, abandoning those within. All they wanted were to torture the infected beings, even after they’d been cured. Brandhardt, seeing this as unacceptable, tore the mesh down. Several beings darted out as they seen the opportunity. But most of the prisoners inside were either wounded or bound to the ground in chains. Pathogen had surely submerged Cruithne into a dark age, indeed. Such an age would be difficult to exit if not even the cured could help out other cured creatures.
Actually, Brandhardt noticed, most of the prisoners were dead. What he thought were movements of the prisoners were only caused by the ravenous scavengers that were pulling the fresh meat from the body. Those who were still alive definitely were not able to be saved, Brandhardt decided. However, he then noticed movement in the back of the camp. And with closer inspection, he could make out a little creature trying to climb his way up the fence. Such a creature only a few feet tall would never reach the top of the fence, and even if it did, it would never survive the fall down the other side. He decided to run towards the confused being.
“You, there – stop climbing!” Brandhardt yelled, trying to get the creature’s attention. Fortunately, it worked; what appeared to be a young and terrified Sphinks stopped climbing, and jumped to the ground.

“They said you would come. They said you would come and kill all of us that were left.” The little Sphinks took a swipe at Brandhardt, though Brandhardt was quick enough to catch the small one's hands. The little Sphinks had snot dripping from his nose; cuts all over his body were dripping blood, and one of his eyes were swollen shut. This cub had definitely experienced the worst of the disease, Brandhardt noted.
“I sent the orders to free you all, but they obviously refused. I told them that you all were cured now, but they didn’t listen. I’m here to let you all go.” Brandhardt let go of the Sphinks’ arm. One of Brandhardt’s fingers could wrap around the little Sphinks’ wrist. He was obviously malnourished, and would be dead within a day.
“Why do
you care about me?” He asked. “I’m nothing.”
“What happened to your family?”
The little cub frowned. “They promised me I would get out of here, some way or another. They had tried to get us all out, but they were stopped before anything could happen. They’re over there.” The Sphinks pointed at a couple of rotting corpses. Scavengers had already plunged out both of the eyes; the flesh was beginning to peel away.
It was then that Brandhardt swore to himself that he’d take care of this boy until it was rendered impossible. He found out that this boy, who he would come to love as a son, was named Azaz. And even though Brandhardt knew inside that Azaz was never truly cured of the disease, he was able to look past that and view the boy as family, instead of infected swine.

~
Brandhardt snapped free of his memory, and was back in the present. Then, there he was, standing in the doorway of his palace. Brandhardt knew he would never stop loving nor caring for Azaz. Granted, it would be extremely tough if either of them had ever stopped breathing, but that day had yet to come.
“Sir, I just can’t stay in that house all day like you said. I’m sorry, but I can’t miss this final gathering with everyone.” Azaz stood weakly in front of everyone. Everything was still, and for the first time in Brandhardt’s life, he smiled, and was truly happy. Harena had been rebuilt, Ng had stumbled upon something major on the tablet, and Azaz had fought off the deadly Frost venom that was coursing through his veins.
Only one thought entered Brandhardt’s mind as he saw Azaz standing in the doorway. Sure, before, he had Azaz, but the relationship was chained together with mostly Azaz’s fear of disappointing Brandhardt. But now Brandhardt realized just how important family and friends were, and now, thanks to Agatha Ng guiding him out of the darkness, he had something to be proud of.

One last note:
Brandhardt did as he promised Ng, and (with lots of work from the Daylightpets Team) the recreated Harena is opened for good! Travelling there, you will now be able to purchase a variety of new items and shops, as well as a new Trades feature, and a couple of new games! Species changing masks are also available in a Harenian shop, as well - so be on the look out for those! However, as you will see, not every species has its own mask yet. Excluding the premium-exclusive pets, the rest of the pet masks will be released soon.
Please stay tuned with us as the entertaining Festival of Light grows near along with Ng's continued research on that mysterious Harenian tablet! Bigger things and greater discoveries are to come!



Updates for Aug 10th, 2013:

Harena 8



Early the next day, Agatha arrived in Harena, but the sight she had seen was not the one she left before. Instead of the deteriorating, nearly forgotten city, Ng had seen what Veles had imagined for Harena. The city was nearing completion; what would be grandiose building structures now boomed over the pyramids, and some were even built alongside the mountainside! The professor had to shake herself out of the spell that the beautiful, ancient city had cast upon her. She noticed Brandhardt standing outside the palace.
“Agatha! You’ve returned!” Ng thought she noticed something new about the Harenian leader. Something that was once long ago evident in the monarch’s eyes had now returned – but she could not figure out what exactly it was.
“Indeed I have, Brandhardt. It took me a while to figure it out, but I think I’ve got it.”
“And, what is ‘it’?” He asked.
Agatha shook her head. “I’ve yet to really pin it all down. I need to see the actual tablet before I make any more assumptions.” The professor winked playfully at Brandhardt. She felt herself beginning to like the once crazy, territorial leader.
I guess I needed to walk around in the shoes of craziness before I could ever create a bond with another crazy creature, Agatha would later say.
Brandhardt and Ng entered the old, Harenian lab, and on the table where she left it lay the tablet. “You know, I knew you’d come back for it sooner or later for another round of studies. I just thought it’d be best to leave everything as you left it.”
Ng pulled Brandhardt a chair, and she turned out the lights in the lab. She then switched on a brown desk lamp that she had brought with her. For the next few minutes, Brandhardt sat silently as Ng emitted a collection of ahhs, ohhs, and hmms, and finally, she stopped. “What’d you find?” Brandhardt asked Ng, stroking his chin.
The professor turned the tablet towards Brandhardt. “What you’re seeing now is the same thing I’ve been looking at for the past few weeks. Puzzling, isn’t it? But if you turn it ever so slightly…”
“What..?” Brandhardt now understood that Ng had stumbled upon something. “The light hitting the etchings this way fill them with a shadow…” He paused. “The shadows are the key!”

Agatha Ng’s eyes lit up with a light that had been long extinguished. Now it all made sense - the shadows of her dream circling the tablet. Instantly, Ng closed her eyes, and she could see the shadow figures floating about in the back of her mind. As they were fading, the once empty void was now filled with light. She had done it.
As she opened her eyes, she was caught by Brandhardt’s confused stare. “Oh, what were you saying? I might have dosed off for a bit.”
Brandhardt scoffed. “What I was saying was: okay, we have the symbols. Now what do they mean?”
“Oh! The symbols, yes!” Ng threw down the photographs of the previously discovered tablets. “I circled them. They’re exact matches – two more words.”
A frown appeared on Brandhardt’s cold face. “Only two? You’d think whoever is responsible for the creation of these etchings would give us more than two words.”
“There are other words. It’s obviously some sort of message, story, or whatever. You see, the words we can make out in the shadows are War and Gods. And this,” Ng pointed at the bottom of the tablet, “I can decipher this. You see, these last 3 lines are riddles or clues to find something. Parts of the lines are worn away so we cannot read all of it, but the clues are still evident.”
“Well what are these clues? What are the items, or whatever it wants us to find?” Anticipation was very much evident in Brandhardt’s voice now. He was shouting.
“Calm down, Brandhardt. I still don’t know enough to really say. I’m going to need some more time looking at all of this, before I give you a definite answer. I need to be sure that there are no other light tricks on this tablet.”
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Both the professor and Brandhardt jumped at the sound of the three short knocks. “Agatha? Are you in there? It’s Veles.”
The professor walked calmly to the door, and opened it, even though she wanted to sprint to him, and tell him all about her discovery. “Veles, it’s so nice to see you.”
“Nice to see you, too, Agatha, but I’m here because of something else. There’s been an accident.”
“What?” Both Brandhardt and Ng asked in unison.
“Well, he was so caught up and excited about all the progress we’ve made here. So, still thinking you’re back at Settlement One, Azaz was determined to come and see you, to tell you about what’s been going on here – with all of the, you know, progress. But on the way…”
Brandhardt grabbed Veles’ shoulder. “You better stop with this pausing, or I might just rip this arm off.”
“Brandhardt, please.”
“Those wretched dragons, they stopped him before he could even enter the forest. He was walking near the nest, I assume. But the strong boy, even with all the wounds, he walked all the back here. His wounds are pretty severe, but I’m no doctor. So I came to ask you for your help.”
Ng was already in the back gathering her supplies. “Where is he?”
~
On the way to Azaz, Veles told Ng and Brandhardt that several Harenian natives happened to see Azaz limping towards the city. They could not see how severe his wounds were from such a distance, but knew something was wrong, so they ran to help him. They said that the bright blue Frost Dragon venom was oozing out of the bite marks on both sides of his neck as well as his legs. There were other bite wounds, they said, but they were not as bad.
“Frost Dragons are known to be territorial, but I don’t think they’ve ever acted this hostile,” Veles warned.
And finally the trio had reached Azaz’s home. Inside, Kouren was busy cooking, as usual, and Azaz lay on a pile of blankets on the floor. The fur around his wounds were beginning to fall away, and the skin had turned a bright red. Some of the venom had dripped onto the blankets.
“Okay, I need everyone to exit, please. I need some privacy if we’re going to help Azaz.” Ng started treating the wounds the best she could.
"This is the first frost venom wound I’ve treated," Ng thought to herself. "I didn’t even realize they had any venom."
So Professor Ng treated the wound as she would a snake bite wound on Earth. As the venom exited, Azaz began to shake furiously.
Whimpers came from his mouth with each jerk. "He’s not going to make it," she feared. But suddenly the shaking stopped, as did the whimpering. Professor Ng felt for a pulse, and felt a faint one. Azaz was holding on.
Ng went outside, to alert the others. “I’ve done all I can. It’s up to little Azaz now.” And, for the first time, Ng noticed Brandhardt’s eyes filled with tears.
“That boy is the one thing in my life that I’ve felt great about. Rescuing him was the one good deed out of the numerous bad ones that I’ve made. He can’t leave me yet.”
“I’m sorry, Brandhardt.” It was then that Ng finally realized what it was in Brandhardt that she hadn’t seen before, and it was remorse.



Updates for Aug 9th, 2013:

Harena 7



After several hours of cleaning the lab, Ng had finally completed her first project, and could now move onto the real research. The professor had brought with her photographs of other Harenian tablets that had been discovered and deciphered. She hoped that the script used in the tablets was the same as the one used in the recently discovered tablet. If that was so, deciphering the new tablet would be easy.
So, Ng moved the new tablet onto the center of the table, and sat the photographs beside it – hoping to find similarities. Luckily, she did find a few, but decided the recently discovered tablet was not in good enough shape to decipher completely. She went to Brandhardt immediately with her findings.
“Brandhardt, I brought with me images of previously discovered as well as deciphered tablets, to try to find similarities in the hieroglyphs. I have bad news and good news.”
Brandhardt took a sip from his goblet. Ng decided that it must be the Juice of the Cane that he had tried to offer her before. “Oh? And what is it? I assume you didn’t decipher it.”
“You’re only partially correct. I managed to get two words from it.” Ng smiled.
“Two? And you’re bringing this to my attention, why? It seems you have much work to do.”
“Hourglass and Time were the words I found. They were used several times, indicating that the message on the tablet is more than likely about the two. I took an image of the newest tablet, so I can easily refer to it anywhere I please. I circled the occurrences of the words Hourglass and Time on the old and new tablets.” She handed Brandhardt the photos.
Brandhardt scanned the photographs with increasing interest. “And you’re entirely sure that these words mean Hourglass and Time?”
“Yes, you see, the older tablet you hold on your right uses the words hour, glass, and time separately in different messages. But the words hour and glass are etched together on your newest tablet – that has got to be what it is. Unfortunately I doubt the two tablets are related in any manner. Nowhere on any tablet I have images of does it mention an Hourglass. This is something new.”
“You do realize these are written in an ancient script. The language you and I speak, the word hourglass in our language doesn’t necessarily have to be a blend of two words in this ancient tongue. I feel you need to do more research on this before you go making assumptions. You’re the famous Professor Agatha Ng! Get me some facts, and then come back to me with answers.”
A little disgruntled by Brandhardt’s reaction, Ng left the palace, and went back to the lab.

The next day, Ng went back at the tablet again, trying to gain some sort of insight on its meaning. But, the truth was, she had no idea where to even begin. Brandhardt was right, she was merely going on gut feeling, but that gut feeling had granted them entrance to Risa, didn’t it? She decided to keep going at it, though, trying her best to find some other similarity in the tablets, but came up short. The day passed with no gain in studies from Ng.
That night, Agatha Ng had her first dream in years. In this dream, she imagined three black shadows fighting for their existence.
Though she could not see any features of the shadows, Agatha knew they shared a sense of beauty that no other beings had. In the center was the tablet. Oh, even in a dream, Ng was trying to wrap her mind around that enigma, but she knew she couldn’t. The three shadows disappeared from the dream, and the professor was left with a sense of emptiness. This would be the only dream Ng would ever remember. Why her mind chose to remember this one, she didn't know. Could it be because of the magical quality the tablet had? Or maybe her mind was simply trying to make sense of all the changes that was happening around her. Time could only tell.
The next day, Ng would plead to Brandhardt to allow her to return to Settlement One. Perhaps it was just the pressure of the new lab that was keeping her from discovery. And finally, Brandhardt agreed to allow Ng to return to her personal lab, though he made sure to remind her that the tablet must remain in Harena.
As quickly as her feet would allow her to travel, Agatha returned to her research lab in Settlement One. It was then that she began her real research. Unfortunately, she fell short again, and again. And for the next 23 days, Ng would continue to come up short in her studies, drifting deeper and deeper into that emptiness she had seen in her dream.
On that last day, Ng’s lab was trashed. Any ounce of organization had been crashed to the ground by a crazy Ng. Files and pictures of Harenian tablets as well as those of pyramids from Earth were taped onto the walls and scattered about on her table. “There has got to be something here! I know there is something!”
And then she saw them. Two more words of similarity to the new Harenian tablet. Etched onto a Cruithnean tablet discovered around Callie’s time as a scientist were the words War and Gods. Faintly, those two exact symbols were found on the face of the newest tablet. And it was then that things clicked in Professor Ng’s mind. All this time she was looking for exact matches from other etchings. She was looking at it in the wrong angle, she realized. Etched very finely below each line of hieroglyphs are different hieroglyphs entirely. “The black hieroglyphs etched into the stone attract the eye away from the smaller, lightly etched symbols directly below.” Ng told herself. And, in fact, she was correct. It appeared she only needed to tilt the tablet in the right amount of light, and she would be able to make out the other legible etchings.
“I have to return to Harena!” And with that, Professor Ng grabbed the photos sharing the similarities, and was off.



Updates for Aug 7th, 2013:

Harena 6



The professor had returned to Settlement One around nightfall the very next day, and happened to chat with a few of the shopkeepers just as they were shutting down their shop. Veles stated that business was a bit slow here lately, and could use whatever payment Brandhardt could offer in order to reconstruct the Armoury – on the up side he also had some other employees to take his place while absent. He could offer the very best supplies for building. Kouren agreed almost immediately, interested only in feeding the starving Harenian people. And, lastly, Beo decided he was able to come along, as business was going slow as usual, and stated that he could use the workout. Dozens of other settlers agreed to come and help if it meant helping Harena back onto its feet, too. Many of them shared a sense of nosiness, wondering how the ancient settlement was holding up since after the disease outbreak. But all in all, Ng was surprised at the number of settlers offering services to help Harena, but then again she wasn’t at all surprised at the kindness the settlers show even to strangers. All those living in Settlement One had grown strong bonds together, and to Ng, they all seemed like a big family. This was exactly what Brandhardt needed to see – they weren’t the savages that he had told Azaz.
Ng decided not to embark on yet another long walk to Harena until the next day. She had decided not to leave Harena until she was sure she could nothing more in the lab there. With no means of quick transportation between Settlement One and Harena, and with the many swarms of dragons flying about, such a journey could turn to be fatal if not taken with enough caution and preparation. So, Professor Ng retreated to her home and slept, excited to start the research the next day.
~
Agatha Ng conducted a head count before she and the other settlers embarked on their trip… 23, she counted. That was enough to help speed up the Harena reconstruction project, she decided. And so they started out on their journey. Unfortunately, the group happened to walk upon a large swarm of Frost Dragons, and several settlers were left with inflamed bite wounds. However, they all got away alive, and Ng was able to treat the wounded with the medical supplies she brought with her from her lab.
The trek took longer than the professor had expected; they had arrived at Harena a few hours after nightfall, and met up with Brandhardt, who was waiting for them at the entrance. Brandhardt, surprised, applauded Agatha.
“Well done, Professor. Honestly, I expected only a few helpers, but not an entire squadron! I must thank you all for coming.”
Ng was beaming, but it was Veles to speak first. “Surely with all this help, Harena will be back to normal in no time.”
“Not to mention it will also be very well-nourished!” Kouren raised her cooking mitts. “I’ve brought enough supplies to cook for an army!”
“I’m just sort of here for the thrill,” Beo said coolly, but he was met with a friendly hit from Veles.
And it was then that the reconstruction of Harena would begin. Brandhardt allowed the Settlement One crew to rest in his palace while they weren’t working. It would be there that Veles, with much help from Brandhardt, would construct an incredible building plan – an outline for the new city in the desert. Azaz offered Kouren his home in which to start her cooking. All the while, Ng retreated to the Harenian lab to begin her studies. She was surprised to see that Brandhardt had already placed the tablet onto one of the research desks.
But curiosity got the best of Agatha Ng. She spent the first night rummaging through all the old paperwork and reports based off of experiments conducted long ago. It was then that she read a familiar name onto one of the lab reports: Callie was once a Harenian research scientist. “This must be were Callie was stationed whenever her crew had died mysteriously,” Ng said aloud.
Professor Ng discovered a folder of reports dating even before Callie, though the scientists then suffered the same fate as Callie’s team. “Well that’s a bit alarming,” Ng whispered, “Besides Callie, all the other scientists that conducted research here died before the research was finished. They all died from a mysterious illness, and Callie only escaped because she seemed to be immune to it.” Agatha then realized that she may suffer the same fate as the other scientists, but she threw the thought out of her mind before she could dwell on it any longer.
It wasn’t long after her realization that Ng fell asleep on the reports, completely exhausted from the trips back and forth from the settlements.

Construction in Harena commenced the next day. Veles made sure to be up right before sunrise, in order to get the other settlers up, too. Kouren started baking around this time, as well, which caused Azaz to wake up drooling. Ng however, did not wake until a visitor knocked on her door.
“Professor Ng? Is everything all right?”
It was Brandhardt, and why he wasn’t just letting himself into his lab, Ng didn’t know, but she woke up to allow him in anyway.
“Hard night?” Brandhardt asked as he was looking up and all around the interior of the lab. “Guess I could have cleaned it up a bit for you, but that’s beside the point.”
“No, it’s not that. The trips back and forth have me just tired, that’s all.” Ng put on her glasses, and then she realized what Brandhardt was talking about. The lab was standing in its own filth. The place was grey with dust, and appeared almost ghostly.
“How and when you get your sleep really isn’t any of my business anyhow. I just came to stop by to give you my thanks for agreeing to all of this. Your workers were hard at work even before I stepped out of bed this morning. Ah, what’s his name? Oh, yeah: Veles. He was up for most of the night drawing out plans. If it weren’t for me telling him to sleep, I bet he would have forgotten.”
Ng chuckled. “Yes, that’s definitely Veles for you. If he sets out to do something, he will not stop until it’s done. That’s one of the main reasons I brought him here. He’s also a very good friend of mine.”
“Well I won’t keep you from your studies any longer. I just thought I needed to stop by.” Brandhardt started to walk out the door. Though he was deeply sincere in his thanks, such a dirty lab left him with a disgusted look. “Would you please just dust a little here and there if you have the time? Being in here the short time I have leaves me feeling I need to bathe. I cannot imagine how you must feel.”
Brandhardt was obviously enjoying this, Ng decided. “You don’t expect me to work in a dirty lab, do you? Cleaning it was actually what I was hoping to do before you walked in.”
The Harenian leader exited the lab satisfied. Perhaps he was wrong to judge the outsiders from the beginning, but there’s always a time for changing, and Brandhardt knew that.



Updates for Aug 5th, 2013:

Time to hit the rations!



Yep, it is that time of the week again! It's time for everyone to head on over to the Rations Machine to claim their special item!



This lovely Ladybug Pillow is now available in a limited quantity, and was created by Enki! Don't worry though, this little pillow won't be able to fly away!

On other note, Year 3 items are now retired, the giveaway contest have closed and the results have been posted on the forum.



A new avatar!



Now thanks to Undisclosed, a new avatar is available just in time for Darklight!



The Darklight Somnis Avatar is now stocking in the Avatar Shop! Head on over there to purchase your own, before it retires at the end of the Darklight Season!



Updates for Aug 4th, 2013:

Harena 5



Agatha and Brandhardt arrived at the entrance of the palace. Compared to the rest of Harena, the palace looked in utmost magnificence. It was the one structure in the city that did not have a crumbling exterior. Sure, the palace was old, perhaps the oldest building in Harena, but Brandhardt seemed to make sure it was taken care of.
Inside, Ng wasn’t surprised to be met by dozens of guards lining the walls, each armed and emotionless. Brandhardt escorted the professor through the first long stretch of a hallway, which was etched in ancient hieroglyphs. With the guards lined at the walls, it was a tight fit, but they made it out fine regardless of the lack of comfort. The hallway brought its visitors to a vast room filled with valuable treasures and other rarities. In the center stood a gigantic, arched opening. Two red, ripped banners bearing the sign of Harena sat freely on each side. Larger, and more dangerous looking guards sat at each side of this opening as well. And it is through this opening that Agatha clearly could make out a grand throne, a chair fit for a king.
Ng followed Brandhardt through the arched opening and into the throne room. She noticed a separate room located on the left side of the throne room, and through the opening of that room, Ng could see what appeared to be a glorious bed. She was in Brandhardt’s personal quarters. The Harenian leader then pulled a slightly different and smaller throne directly in front of his.
“Please, have a seat, Agatha.” Brandhardt offered the small throne to the professor, and Ng, knowing she was in no place to resist, sat. The little chair most certainly was the most comfortable she had ever sat in. Brandhardt then took a sip from the golden goblet that rested on the arm of his chair. “And, if you like, I can offer you a cup of Harenian’s finest Juice of the Cane?” Brandhardt took a sip from his goblet. “It’s a special drink served only in Harena, and only to those wealthy enough to afford it. It is powerful enough to cool you down even on the hottest of days.”

“No, but thank you, Brandhardt. I would have never expected such marvelous hospitality towards someone you've called an outsider for years.” She realized her mistake in making such a statement, and to help lessen the tension that was now burning brightly on Brandhardt’s face, she apologized. “I’m terribly sorry for that, Brandhardt. So many years of solitude builds up many… emotions that are difficult to contain sometimes.”
“I understand. But let’s get back to the real business, shall we?” Brandhardt took one last, long sip of the Juice of the Cane, and started. “I’ll cut to the chase. Harena is not growing any larger. I’ll be honest with you, it fills me with pain seeing my city in such a pitiful state. The buildings are crumbling to dust, and Harenians die from starvation daily. There just simply isn’t enough left here in Harena to where I can maintain it myself. Over the years, I’ve pushed away any outside help, and as a result, Harena is reaching the end of the line. The people here are weaker than ever, so building projects have been slowed, if not cancelled. But I so dearly want to fix Harena, to restore it to its former glory, and I can’t do that with the worthless masses of settlers I have here. The work that is needed is to arduous for many of them to set out to do. So, my offer is this: In exchange for several good workers from your Settlement One, I’ll allow you to perform studies here in Harena, which, might I say is the oldest settlement to be discovered on Cruithne.” Brandhardt stood up, and walked to fetch an object resting on a flawless wooden table in the back of the room.
“Look at this,” Brandhardt carefully handed Ng the objec., “You must know I have a knack for exploring, myself, and I happened to find this in a special room deep within the pyramid. We happened to stumble across the room accidentally when…” Brandhardt paused, and continued only when Ng opened her mouth to question him. “We had a casualty. A worker was walking down a corridor, and fell into what appeared to be a pit trap.”
“Oh my…” Agatha gaped.
“He fell quite a ways down before the tragic stop onto dozens of spikes at the bottom. After closer inspection, we could see that the spikes didn't line the entire floor of the pit, and that there was a clearing. So, my workers got a long rope ladder, and carefully made their way into the secret corridor. That is where I found this tablet. I was hoping you’d be able to decipher the text on it for me. I’m sure something that old and hidden holds some sort of information on our asteroid’s past.”
After a long pause, Ng spoke. “So, in exchange for several settlers from Settlement One, you will let me unravel whatever mysterious message is etched into this stone tablet?”
“I know, you were right – it does sound horribly one-sided. However, I do have something else to offer you: another lab. You see, on the edge of Harena lies an incredibly old research lab. It has been untouched since the last group of researchers who left the city many, many years ago – since before your unfortunate crash.”
The professor thought deeply about the offer made, but decided it wasn’t enough. “I’m sorry, Brandhardt. For so many years you’ve shut us out of Harena, even came to the point of threatening us. When we needed you for assistance during the disease breakout, you shut us out. But when you need help, you expect us to freely give it to you?” Ng shook her head. “I…”
“If you accept my offer, I will even go as far as permanently opening the Harenian gates to outsiders who can come and go as they please. I’ll sign a pact initializing the permanence of tourists into Harena. Thus, you could come any time you need to perform studies. And that is all I have to offer. Besides that, all I have is wealth. Everything I once had has either died from disease or starvation, or has turn to dust on the ground.”
She felt the sense of craziness enter her mind once more. She thought to herself, "Harena is any researcher’s paradise. Allowing me the opportunity to research as I please, and declining would be ignorant."
Finally, she came up with her decision. “I will go back and ask the settlers if they would be willing to help rebuild Harena. You will not take them by force, and they will be paid for their services.”
Brandhardt grinned, knowing he had struck a deal. “Of course. You go to Settlement One, get as many workers as you can, and return. Then, I will let you start the research on this strange tablet. However, there is one condition. The tablet must stay here; you cannot bring it back with you to the settlement. I am sure you can find all you need in the lab located here for your studies.”
Reluctantly, Ng agreed to the conditions. Brandhardt then bidded farewell to the professor, and she left the palace, leaving the ancient tablet in Brandhardt’s hands. She was going to need much more to convince the other settlers to travel with her to Harena, she feared.



Updates for Aug 3rd, 2013:

Harena 4



Ng and Azaz arrived back at Kouren’s food shop just before sundown, and as Kouren kept bringing the delicious food, Azaz told the professor of Brandhardt’s proposal.
“But what did he mean by ‘assisting in my search’?” Ng asked before having another spoonful of Kouren’s special soup.
Azaz downed his glass of soda, and said, “All I know is what I told you. Questioning the king is blasphemous. I could never put him on the spot like that.” Though he would never tell Agatha this, Azaz was beginning to question Brandhardt and his values, regardless of how it appeared. It was hard for him to believe that the great being Azaz had grown to look up to as a father had been shouting out vicious lies of the outside settlements; however, the bitter hatred towards any place but Harena had blossomed into envy. Never before had Azaz been treated like an equal, except in Kouren’s food shop. Sure, Brandhardt tried his best to treat the young Sphinks like his own child – like an equal – but wasn’t it for nothing if every other Harenian were treated, and thought as themselves as, mongrels?
Knowing she was on touchy grounds, Ng ceased with the questioning. It seemed that the young Azaz was firm with his stance of protecting his king, and she respected that. But it was now that what Callie had said made sense. Was she asking too many questions, and growing too lazy to seek her own answers? “You’re right Azaz, it was out of my place to be asking you those questions. You know, such questions can damage strong friendships. And I seem to be filled with such questions here lately.”
“Then travel with me to Harena, and you can ask Brandhardt all the questions you have.” By this time, Azaz had cleared four different plates of food, as well as several drinks. But now he was filled to the brim; he could eat no more. “I know I have several to ask him myself,” he said quickly.
When the time to go had come, Ng and Azaz tried to pay the bill, but Kouren had insisted that her payment was: “Knowing one hungry belly is off the cold streets.” Agatha told Azaz that Kouren was known for letting people eat at her place for free, and he couldn’t help but to wonder how she could afford to stay in business if she’s constantly giving away her food. Such acts of kindness were still unfathomable to Azaz.
~
They both were awake before dawn the next day, ready to set off on the journey to Harena. Ng was sure to pack extra clothes in the case of an extended stay at the desert city, and Azaz made certain to stock up on lots of food and water for the trip back (he also packed in a little bit more so that he would have a bit extra to take home with him). In a few hours, they reached the northern edge of what was known as Heartache Rift. Azaz still had his map from previously, and he marked the location of the Frost Dragon attack he had to endure so that he and Ng could steer clear from that location. It appeared to him that she was more afraid of the dragons than he. She never let go of that incredible, thick club that she held in her hand, flinching at every crackle they heard. Once, after coming back after a break, Ng nearly clobbered Azaz over the head thinking he was an angry swarm of dragons. And by nightfall, Harena was in the midst. Both Ng and Azaz were nearly exhausted by the time they reached the gates of the city, but they both knew they had to stick it out if they wanted to make it back home alive. Under a flickering torch, they both noticed Brandhardt waiting for them at the entrance. The flame caused a shadow onto Brandhardt’s right half, which made him appear more intimidating than he was, and just as monstrous. He wore a conniving smirk, only half-visible under the waving flame.
“Well if it isn’t the great Agatha Ng. I must say, I am surprised you came,” Brandhardt exclaimed.

Ng and Azaz walked closer to the Harenian monarch. “And I must say that I am surprised, as well. But don’t think that I’m oblivious to your real intentions, Brandhardt. I know you have more to gain by this little gathering; otherwise, you would have never considered allowing me inside your city.”
Brandhardt snickered, but anyone else that heard it would consider it a roar. “You're over-analyzing it a tad, but that’s to be expected. I take it my little Azaz told you my offer?”
“Yes, but I’d like to hear it from your lips to be sure. Just so we’re on the same page.” Anyone that knew Ng from Settlement One wouldn’t recognize her now. What used to be an innocent scientist interested in helping others was now a dauntless warrior. She knew not to trust Brandhardt, no matter how believable he seemed.
Brandhardt was quick to reply. “Fine, Ng, I’ll discuss with you my terms, but not here. Before we continue this any further, please come with me to my palace.” He turned to Azaz. “As for you, my boy, well done. You’ve done what I asked you with perfection. Please return to your bed now and rest. Such a long journey is exhausting, I’m sure.”
Azaz bowed. “Yes, sir.”
“Oh! I forgot to mention. You will be compensated for your fine service to me, and rather nicely if I may add.” Brandhard patted Azaz on the head. “You’ve no idea what you have done for your city.”
All the while, Ng was analyzing Brandhardt. It seemed the soulless ruler did have a heart, after all. Even though he didn’t make it obvious, Agatha realized now that he shared a bond with that young Sphinks.





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