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Neopedia : Return of the Ghoul Catchers

The moors were thick with fog, and the night was as black as it gets. Only the silver light of the moon reached down, making the fog shimmer in its pale light. Slowly, three figures moved across the moor, their footfalls wet and squishy in the damp, muddy soil.

Professor Vinsjin's hand shook, only just a little, as he held the lantern out in front of them. "Keep moving," he said, his voice wavering.

Brave Bren's hands clutched his net. They did not shake. "I'm ready," he said.

Behind them, little Doctor Boolin held his large leather bag and said nothing.

"Are you sure the Ghost Lupe will show up?" Brave Brin asked the Professor. "And this rope will hold him?"

"Absolutely certain," the Professor answered. "That net is specially designed to catch ghosts. In addition to being made from the strongest ropes, I also ordered the Mystery Island folk to weave silver strands into the knots. The silver will keep the Ghost Lupe from escaping."

"Still," Brave Bren said, "Hunting the Ghost Lupe on Halloween doesn't seem..."

A howl cut through the still, cold air of the moor, and the three of them stopped. The lantern began to quiver, but little Doctor Boolin put his hand on the Professor's shoulder. His eyes spoke for him.

Be strong, they said.

The Professor nodded, his shivers disappearing. "Thank you, my friend," he said. Doctor Boolin blinked in reply, then looked out with Bren to where the sound had come from.

All they could see was mist and fog, swirling over the moors. No sound... and no movement.

Then there was another howl. This one had come from behind them. All three of them spun about, just as another howl echoed to their right.

"Three Ghost Lupes?" the Professor asked.

Bren shook his head, frowning. "I think the reports the villagers gave us may have been wrong," he said. Putting the net down, he cracked his knuckles. "I think we're dealing with..."

A blast of furry movement knocked Bren to the ground. He skidded across the muck and mud, fists and knees moving at a rapid pace. He'd been hit by something that must have been made of muscles and fur and teeth and claws. Professor Vinsjin dropped his lantern, and it fell to the ground. The oil and flame splashed all across the moor, igniting into a bonfire.

"Bren!" the Professor shouted.

Under the heap of snarling, raging sharpness, Bren shouted, "The net! Use the net!"

Little Doctor Boolin snatched up the net, then looked at the Professor. Again, his eyes spoke for him.

Help me!

The Professor understood, grabbing the other half of the net. Together they moved quickly, throwing it over the savage beast. It howled in pain as Bren pushed it further into the net, then tightened the ropes and knots until the thing was a snatching, snarling mass that had been tied up and trapped.

"A werelupe!" the Professor said, completely out of breath.

Bren nodded. "Yes. And the silver in the net is what keeps him from escaping." He put his hand on the quiet Doctor's head. "Thank you, my friend. That was quick thinking."

The Doctor blinked. It was nothing.

The Professor looked at the trapped werelupe. "Werelupes seldom travel alone," he said. "They are a pack creature, moving in groups of four to five." He looked up at the mist-covered moor. "There's a good chance there's more of them."

Bren straightened himself up. "We'd best get this one back to the village, then, and tell the Mayor what we've found. We'll need help rounding up a pack of these things."

Just then, shadows moved through the fog. The three friends made a quick circle; each at the other's back. The shadows moved closer - hunched figures, hairy and huge. Snapping and snarling.

"We're surrounded," the Professor said.

Bren nodded. "Trapped."

The little Doctor opened up his bag and reached inside.

Bren looked to the Professor. "Do we have any other weapons?"

"No," the Professor said, shaking his head. "We brought tools to capture the Ghost Lupe. It was only chance the net contained silver."

The little Doctor reached deeper into his leather bag. Meanwhile, the shadows drew closer... and closer.

Bren cracked his knuckles again. "If it's a fight they want... I'll give them a fight they'll never forget."

The Professor shook his head. "You can't fight them all, Bren."

"No," Bren said, smiling, "but at least I can take one or two of them with me."

Just then, the Doctor pulled something from his bag and held it up high. It flared like a red, burning star, lighting up the whole moor. The Werelupes all ducked, covering their eyes from the blinding light.

It only took Bren and the Professor a moment to realise what had happened. "Quick!" Bren said. "Run!"

The three of them raced across the moor, running towards the little lights of the village, far, far away. The sound of angry Werelupes was behind them... not so far away.

"Where did you get that?" the Professor asked Doctor Boolin.

The Doctor shrugged. I just found it in my bag.

"I don't care where he got it," Bren gasped. "Keep running! And let's hope those Werelupes can't follow."

"Bad bet to make," the Doctor said. "Those noses of theirs will follow us wherever we go."

"Then we just have to hope we can outrun them," Bren said.

They all looked at each other. Nobody said anything.

And the howls got closer....