“I should’ve known that this would happen,” said Joshua.
He was surveying one of the once lush islands in the desert of Rhukashlavia. It was drying up, and the sand was starting to cover the island floor that was once full of plant life. Even the leaves on some of the trees started to turn yellow and orange, just like what you might see in the fall.
“How did the Dark Thieves do that?” asked Jack. He was standing beside Joshua at the time.
“I wish I could tell you that secret, but I really don’t know,” replied Joshua.
“They just kill those plants at will,” continued Jack.
“And they grow them at will, too,” replied Joshua. “It’s quite awful, really. For once they actually did something that I wasn’t even taught as a child. I could tell you that they’re on the move again, but I really have no proper evidence to support such a statement.”
“So… what do we do now?”
“Take pictures,” replied Joshua.
“Take pictures?” replied Jack while feeling a bit confused.
“Yes,” replied Joshua. “Take digital ones at all angles. I need to investigate this further. Even if I can’t figure this one out, I bet I can find someone who can.”
“I don’t have a camera on me,” replied Jack.
Joshua sighed and pulled out his cell phone. He pushed a few buttons and then put it back into his pocket again.
“I didn’t want it to come to this, but we need Lucas,” said Joshua. “He might be able to help us.”
It was 30 minutes later that Lucas had arrived on the scene. He did have a camera with him, too. He also felt saddened when he realized that the island that was once full of life was now dying before his eyes.
“What did they do?” asked Lucas in shock. “I can’t believe this!”
“Settle down,” replied Joshua. “We brought you here to figure that one out.”
“I guess you can take the pictures?” said Jack.
“Yeah,” replied Lucas. “And then I’ll study it for myself. I can’t believe that the Dark Thieves did this to their own plant life!”
Lucas then took pictures of the island for the next hour. When he was done, however, he made sure to take a closer look at what was around him as well.
“Nothing looks unusual… except that everything is drying out,” said Lucas. “It’s acting like it naturally would in the desert sun. So, I guess that whatever was keeping these plants alive got turned off or something.”
“How?” asked Jack.
“We’d have to explore the whole area to figure that out,” replied Lucas. “That’s unless the switch or whatever was satellite controlled.”
“Is this satellite controlled, Josh?” asked Jack as he turned his head towards Joshua.
“I’m really not aware of any satellites,” replied Joshua. He was trying to sort through his thoughts at the time.
It was at that moment that Jack thought he heard something rattling in the dead bushes.
“Did you hear that?” asked Jack silently to Joshua.
“Yes,” replied Joshua quietly. “We’re not alone. Now… watch my lead.”
Joshua silently walked forward a few steps near the nearly dead bush. He then slammed his elbow directly onto whoever was behind it. He immediately pulled the person out by the arm and sent this stranger onto the ground with her back facing up.
Joshua backed up in shock when he realized the person he had found was only a young woman not far from his own age.
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Joshua began. “I didn’t realize…”
“Who are you?” she asked. She stayed on the ground still feeling pain on both her head and some of her body.
“You mean, you don’t know who I am?” asked Joshua.
“No,” replied the woman. “My memory isn’t gone either. Maybe that is what you ask.”
“Do you get the news in any form?” continued Joshua. “It needn’t be in English.”
“What is the news?” she asked.
“How do you know English then?” asked Joshua.
“My people speak both English and N’d’lan,” replied the woman. “We live here.”
“Will you accept my apologies?” asked Joshua. “I sincerely believed that you were one of the Dark Thieves.”
“The enemy, no,” replied the woman. She began to stand up and face Joshua and Jack. “We actually haven’t seen them around within the last month. I don’t know why.”
“Would you like medical attention in the palace, ma’am?” asked Joshua.
“Yes,” replied the woman.
Joshua helped the woman to his car. It was at that same moment that Lucas came back to where Jack was standing. He then noticed the woman climbing into Joshua’s car.
“Who’s that?” asked Lucas.
“She’s a local,” replied Jack. “Josh hit her on the head and pulled her out from behind a bush.”
“Was he mad?”
“No,” replied Jack. “He was just overprotective of the rest of us.”
“And now he’s making up for it,” replied Lucas.
“Exactly,” replied Jack.
Lucas went up to the car near where Joshua was sitting. Joshua rolled down the window.
“Hey, we’ll meet you back in the palace to discuss these island pictures, okay?” said Lucas.
“Yes,” replied Joshua. “I’ll be right on it.”
“Right,” said Lucas.
As Lucas walked away from the car, Joshua then began driving back towards to the palace.
“Does he normally make mistakes like this one?” asked Lucas with a slight laugh.
“No,” replied Jack. “I don’t recall him ever making a mistake like this with anybody.”
Jack began walking towards Rhukashlavia.
“Wanna a ride?” asked Lucas as he got on his motorcycle.
“No thanks,” replied Jack. “I prefer facing the dangers of the desert on my vacations. It’s more fun that way.”
“Sure,” replied Lucas as he began to ride off to the palace.
Jack gave a slight laugh and continued walking across the desert sands.