Neque sat staring off into space. Ike wondered what she was thinking about. He knew she was content as she glowed a light golden shade. He squeezed her hand gently breaking her out of her deep thoughts.
"What my Ike?"
"Just wondering what why you seem to be in another world." Ike smiled as she tenderly gazed down at him.
"I am just thinking about the book of Serpow. I want to see it very much my Ike." Neque stated with Nadroj looking at her.
"If only we could somehow read it, but you have the key in your home my wiseone." Nadroj said still watching Taylor in his mind.
"I was thinking of going back to my home and getting it. It would only take me a few hours." Neque exclaimed cocking her head. Ike didn't like the thought of her leaving them.
"But will you be alright? I mean to be out there all alone Que?" Ike asked swallowing hard as he noticed that Lucky woke up and hooted up at him.
"I will be just fine. I will go into rapid mode like the Faction does." Neque affirmed as she stood up breaking the circle.
"Are you sure you want to do this my wiseone? I will go with you." Demi offered looking up at her with concern.
"It will be faster going by myself. I shall leave now. Keep watch on our Taylor my friends." Neque declared and stepped back as she suddenly turned and seemed to just disappear before their eyes. Ike jumped and then looked at Nadroj who shook his head and smiled.
"When she is determined to do something, there is no stopping our wiseone." Mayte attested turning into a soft yellow shade feeling amused.
"Yes. I'm here Tay." Walker answered trying to advert his attention back to Taylor. Everyone was worried about Neque, hoping she would be okay.
"Can you see it?" Taylor exclaimed excitedly.
"See what? What...? It looks like a lake up ahead." Walker smiled watching his son make Saber run to the lake at top speed. He awkwardly held on to the Noil as he bounded toward the water.
Taylor slid off of Saber dropping his backpack onto the ground and ran to the water's edge. His eyes lit up with joy.
"WATER!" Taylor screamed happily jumping in and dived down loving the coolness of the water surrounding him after being so hot and sweaty out on the desert floor. He came up sputtering and smiled.
"Couldn't even wait to take your clothes off first Tay?" Zac laughed watching his brother swimming around merrily in the water.
"It feels great! Anyhow my clothes needed a washing too." Taylor chuckled when he noticed Saber looking at him anxiously at the water's edge by the shore. The Noil was pawing gently at the water and then pulled back hissing at it. He looked out fearfully at Taylor.
"It's okay Saber! It's just water." Taylor smiled and started to swim toward him. The Noil intently watched and then started to make loud grunting sounds. Taylor stood up and walked slowly out of the water. Saber curiously cocked his head watching the boy coming toward him dripping wet. He backed up slightly and then rocked forward sniffing the air.
"Don't be afraid Saber." Taylor cooed reaching out toward him. Saber jumped back and grunted.
"I think he doesn't like water Tay." Ike chuckled as the Nettik hooted up at him. Ike looked down and petted Lucky around his ears. Taylor shrugged his shoulders and walked up near some rocks.
"Well I think I will get undressed and swim around some more." Taylor announced as he took off his wet clothes, laying them out on the rocks. Saber watched him a few feet away. He looked up at the Noil and smiled walking back to the lake. Saber suddenly bounded forward wanting to stop him from going in again, but before he had a chance he was already in the water. Saber grunted loudly while Taylor swam around. He turned and looked at the Noil.
"Do they like water?" Taylor asked feeling concerned about how Saber was reacting.
"I don't know my Taylor. I think he is worried about you though. Maybe you should get out and try to calm him down."
Taylor nodded when Saber was becoming very agitated. He was growling and grunting nervously. He came out of the water slowly and approached Saber cautiously.
"It's okay Saber. Water doesn't hurt you. See? I'm fine." Taylor said trying to sooth Saber's fears for him. Saber carefully stretched his head out and sniffed the boy's chest looking at the dropplets of the water that clung to him. Taylor smiled and reached out his right hand petting Saber on the nose between the eyes and smiled. Suddenly he started to lick hard at his chest rocking him backwards.
"Hey that tickles!" Taylor shouted as he fell onto the ground with Saber still licking at the water on Taylor's body. He tried to push him away.
"Stop it Saber!" Taylor demanded while the Noil kept licking at the water intently. Saber pinned him to the ground and licked hard at his shoulders. He desperately tried to turn and roll away as he started to lick his face.
"Oh man!" Taylor moaned as he heard his father and brothers cracking up with laughter.
"Taylor just let him do it. He is only concerned about you." Nadroj exclaimed feeling amused as Taylor frowned and rolled his eyes, cringing at every lick.
"I don't really like this. Please Saber stop it! Stop it now!" Taylor ordered as Saber jumped and backed off. He sat up and looked down at himself with a look of disgust covering his face.
"Tay? You okay?" Zac asked still chuckling.
"Oh yeah. Fine!" Taylor answered in a sarcastic tone of voice, noticing Saber was licking him with the healing fluid that was brown and sticky and now covered him. "Now I really need a bath."
"Gosh Tay, you look wonderful!" Ike exclaimed bursting into a round of laughter.
"Very funny! I don't care if he likes it or not I'm going in the lake again." Taylor said getting up and walked toward the water. The Noil raced forward and pushed him to the side.
"Saber... stop it!" Taylor declared angrily and walked in up to his waist turning around. Saber grunted again when he smiled and then reached down under the water splashing the water into the Noil's face.
"See! It doesn't hurt you." Taylor shouted, watching Saber shake his head and lick at his lips, blinking at him. Suddenly Taylor's face turned into a look of horror as the Noil took a huge leap into the water coming right at him.
"Oh GOD!" Taylor screamed raising his arms up over his head, as Saber's body hit the water right next to him causing him to dunk under the water. He came up sputtering for air.
"Taylor?" Walker yelled filled with concern.
"Saber? What are you trying to do? Drown me?" Taylor scolded and then smiled watching the Noil start to swim around him and then went out further into the small lake. Saber found a new sensation and began to like it as he swam into the deep water. He went out after him. When he caught up he grabbed Saber's tail that was sticking out of the water and pulled at it gently.
"Hey wait for me!" Taylor exclaimed and then dived under the water coming back up in front of the Noil. Saber grunted looking at him lovingly. He started to laugh knowing he shocked his friend by suddenly appearing in front of him.
"I wish I had some soap. I still feel dirty. My hair is so greasy." He moaned running his hand through his tangled hair.
"Taylor? Look to the right and you will see a plant with very fat looking leaves on it. That plant has a substance in it that will make you clean. Just snap it open." Haelz informed him.
"Oh. I see it." Taylor said swimming toward it. Saber followed him closely scuddling the water. He grabbed one and broke it open noticing a white soapy foam ooze out of it. He brought up to his nose and smelled it.
"It smells weird. Are you sure about this?" Taylor asked when Saber sniffed at the foam like stuff gingerly and backed away.
"The smell of the plant doesn't linger. Use it my Taylor." Haelz assured him. He rubbed some between his hands and smiled. He grabbed another leaf and snapped it open squeezing out the liquid into his palm. He brought it up to his hair and ran it through, noticing it did lather up while he washed his hair. He ducked under the water rinsing it out. He snapped off two more leaves and headed for the shoreline. He stood up and rubbed the stuff over his body and then dived in rinsing off the foam. Saber swam around enjoying himself watching the young man clean his body.
"Saber? Come on let's get out now. Enough swimming for the day." Taylor smiled as he walked onto the shoreline. Saber walked out and then shook his entire body, splashing Taylor who stood next to him.
"Whoa!" Taylor laughed as Saber sat down and started to hum contently drying off in the sun.
Taylor walked up to his clothes and grabbed them. He snapped open another leaf and dripped the white liquid over them. He rubbed the clothes together until they foamed up and then rinsed them out near the water's edge. He squeezed out the excess water and put them on the rocks again to dry in the hot sun. He sat down next to Saber and rested against him.
Several hours later his clothes were dry and clean. He got dressed again and sat down looking up at the mountains.
"Do I have to travel over them Nodrow?" Taylor asked breaking the silence.
"Yes my Taylor, but you should stay where you are for the night. I don't want you running into the Faction. I can see they are searching around in the mountains for you."
"Okay." Taylor answered swallowing hard.
Ike wished Neque would return soon. He started to feel concerned. He softly petted Lucky who lovingly looked up at him, blinking his eyes contently.
"What is taking Que so long?" Ike mumbled feeling frustration overwhelm him.
"She is coming now. I can see her and she is running fast." Nadroj answered and smiled as he pointed at a dust cloud behind them. They all turned around and watched when Neque suddenly appeared glowing golden.
"I have the key my friends!" Neque shouted and walked up next to Ike and then sat down next to him.
"That really took awhile. I was getting worried about you." Ike said feeling relieved that she was back. She looked down at the Nettik and reached out and tapped the head lightly with her finger. Lucky hooted.
"I want our little friend here to bring this to our Taylor." She said holding up a strange looking object.
"That's the key?" Ike asked.
"Is Lucky strong enough to do it?" Zac asked smiling at her.
"He is my young one. Let's tie this on him." Neque stated as Ike took the key looking at it and prepared Lucky for the little trip.
"What are you guys talking about?" Taylor's voice interupted.
"My Taylor, the Nettik is going to bring you the key to the book that you found." Neque informed him.
"Okay Lucky are you ready? I want you to go to Tay." Ike exclaimed throwing a image of his brother in Lucky's mind. He hooted softly and then disappeared.
Taylor jumped when the Nettik appeared in front of him and hooted. Saber turned looking at the tiny creature and grunted, shifting slightly. He untied the key and took it as Lucky disppeared returning back to Ike. Taylor looked at the key curiously rolling it around in his hands.
"It's a odd looking thing." Taylor murmured and then reached for his back pack and slid the book out placing it down in front of him.
"How do I unlock it Que?" Taylor asked feeling unsure of how to use the key.
"Squeeze the bottom and then twist. It will spring open the key." Neque instructed. Taylor did as she told him and saw a diamond like form flip out on the surface that started to glow in rainbow colors and watched them start to swirl around the diamond shape of the key until it reached the top.
"Cool! I see... the diamond like shape fits into the shape on the book." Taylor smiled feeling excited as he began to place it against the lock, noticing that the colors of energy seemed to be drawn towards the dent like shape.
"Just place the shape against it slowly and wait till the colors all turn golden." Neque cooed feeling anticipation rise through her.
Taylor did as she said and then noticed that the energy seemed to be sucked within the lock, hearing a swishing rush of air. He could see the the energy of the key and the book were melting together. Suddenly the colors all turned golden and a long like piece on the side of the book flipped down. He then put the key in the back pack so he wouldn't lose it. He licked his lips feeling excited.
"It's unlocked." Taylor said in awe almost afraid to open it.
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