In the last week of Relaxing, Bird opted out of going to Mystery Island with Allie to instead saddle up her eyrie and visit her family in the Lost Desert.
She sent a neomail out ahead of her with an airax escort to announce her coming before she actually arrived. It was late night when she walked into her childhood home (an eyrie ranch outside of Sakhmet), and a note graced the table of the eeriely quiet abode. In her mother's graceful Quasalan handwriting she read:
"Maaf kijiye, dear, but we can't meet you when you get in. Your brother is sick and your father and I have gone to see him. Keep your daa-dee-maa and daa-daa-jee company. We'll be back early Wednesday. Love, maa-ta-jee"
As Bird folded up the note and went for the trashcan, she heard a cough from one of the back master suite.
"Is that you, dear?" It was her grandmother Garudi. "Bird? Your mother said you'd..."
Bird smiled and peeked into the room, which was lit by one amber glowing bedside lantern. It threw dark shadows across the wrinkled, deep face of Garudi: a regal woman with silvered hair and expressive hands. Next to her in the cherry oak four poster she carved in her younger years was Bird's daa-daa-jee, but he was curled up and asleep, trying desperately to ignore the light coming from his wife's lantern.
"Yes, daa-daa-maa, it's me," she whispered sweetly, "Go back to sleep. It's late, and I promise we'll talk in the morning." Garudi sighed heavily and blew out the lantern. There was a shuffling of the bed sheets, and then a quiet occassionally disrupted by raspy breathing. Bird walked back to the entrance hall, and expressionless, left the house.
Inside Sakhmet the lights of city houses danced and cast dancing shadows across the very-much awake town.
Bird made her way around stalls and alleyways, her mind filled with nothing but sentimentality and curiousity. Girls her own age dressed in sari and luxurious jewelery scampered about the streets with their desert neopets trailing at their sides. Groups of them huddled together and giggled freely in the late hours of the night, as violent crime in the walled city was nonexistent, and parents were lax about curfews and the like. Bird silently envied them for a moment before turning and fixating her interest on some lazy peddler or homeless ruki crouched on a street corner.
She lacked a destination, but her feet eventually pulled her into a dimly-lit café crowded with noisy musicians and eager listeners that were perhaps a little too inebriated. A turban-clad kyrii, balanced on a barstool, strummed excitedly at a sitar, while his user companion blew at something that looked like a wooden oboe. The native tune excited the café-goers and they clapped to the melody the sitar provided.
It wasn't long before Bird left the café to return outside and breathe the dusty air of Sakhmet, her nostrils flaring at the scent of freshly baked bread and incense.
Anywhere in the Lost Desert, Sakhmet especially, the air was always peppered with the scent of spices and warm baked things, and it was something Bird regretted leaving every time she remembered her house in Neopia Central.