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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Gathering, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 113 > Continuing Series > Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Five

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Five

by stoneman3x

The Meerca continued to bounce happily on the seat next to me. I awed by the fact that he was so pleased with having a name, even if it was a ridiculous one. Wolf had done a lot of Lupey things since he had come to live with me. He had done things that irritated me. Even so, I had always admired him for the lordly way he cruised through life. But looking across the table at him now, I was beginning to see him as nothing more than a big bushy-tailed snob.

     "Ummm..." I said, snatching the springing Meerca in mid-sproing and setting him back down on the seat next to me. I held my hand firmly on the top on his head to restrain his upward momentum, but he was still vibrating from sheer joy. "Now that we have been introduced... Reallyconfused..." I began slowly, "Maybe you could answer a couple of questions..."

     The Meerca squirmed out from under my hand and crawled into my lap. He settled himself down comfortably again and resumed his excruciatingly Slorg-paced nibbling on his pizza. He was so fluffy and cute and didn't mind the fact he was using me for a booster seat.

     "So, RC, it's not like it hasn't been fun having you here for dinner and all," my Lupe drawled, "But shouldn't you be getting back to the ol' Meerca Chase game?"

     The Meerca froze in mid-chew and shuddered slightly.

     "Nope," he stated matter-of-factly.

     We all exchanged glances. There was a long pause before I said, "Won't they be worried about you? It's going to get dark soon. You shouldn't be out after dark. I mean, a little guy like you really shouldn't be out all alone. You could get into trouble."

     "But I'm not alone," he chirped. "I'm with you."

     I coughed and shifted uncomfortably. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but he was obviously even more confused than his new name implied.

     "But you don't belong to me, RC. You belong to the... ummm... Meerca Chase officials... I guess..."

     Reallyconfused shook his head emphatically. "No! I don't like that game anymore. I like you better."

     "I'm really flattered, RC, but..."

     "You promised!" he declared, cutting me off.

     My head began to spin as I tried to recall what had happened earlier in the Meerca Chase arena. A dozen images in my head slammed into each other like bumper cars. I wracked my brain trying to remember promising him he could be my pet, but I was pretty sure I hadn't done anything like that.

     "Promised you what?" Wolf interjected with a look of confusion that rivaled my own.

     "You said you won't let anyone hurt me," the yellow fuzz ball replied. "If I go back to the pit, I'll get hurt." He cocked his head upwards and his tiny black eyes connected to mine. "You promised."

     My stomach dropped down to my ankles. It was a good thing I hadn't eaten any of that greasy pizza after all.

     "But," I said uneasily, "That wasn't technically a promise. It was more of a reassurance."

     "You don't want me?" he asked with crestfallen look and a heart-rending tone.

     "It's not that..." I replied, shifting in my seat as if I were suddenly sitting on a flaming hot burrito. "But I already have two Neopets and..."

     The Meerca suddenly burst into a wail that actually rattled the salt and pepper shakers on the table.

     "Waaaaaaaaaah! Uh-uh-uh waaaaaaaaaah!"

     The Crokabek on StoneKrawk3x's shoulder was so startled that it let out a rapid volley of squawks that added to the already eardrum shattering screech of the extremely not-very-happy Meerca.

     I started stroking the Meerca's fur furiously, hoping to calm him down, but all that happened was that he sobbed even louder.

     "You hate me and you wanna see my nose get all crunched up on a big fat wall!" he bellowed as his agitated tail whacked me repeatedly on my left temple.

     "I don't hate you. And I don't want to see your nose get crunchied..." I said as a hint of hysteria began rising in my own voice.

     I desperately tried to catch the face-thwacking tail, but it was like trying to nab a dive-bombing Flightning bug with your bare hands. I glimpsed the others as I tried to repel the unintentional attack. Krawk was occupied trying to calm down Stonecrow by soothing his feathers and hurling phrases like "Arr, belay that matey" at him. Wolf sat in stunned silence as a wide-eyed Doglefox wobbled in terror on top of the Lupe's head. I suddenly had a sneaking suspicion that no one within a hundred yards of me was at all pleased.

     "It's okay, it's okay, don't cry... please don't cry..." I said pleadingly, wishing that some miracle would suddenly happen to make the high-pitched anguish stop. They say you should be careful about what you wish for. I wish I hadn't made that wish.

     A regal-looking desert Kyrii wearing Egyptian-style robes approached. He smiled pleasantly at me.

     "Excuse me, sir, but I happened to hear everything that has transpired here, and if I may, I think I can offer some words that will calm down the poor little distraught fellow." The Kyrii motioned towards the Meerca. "With your permission, of course," he added.

     "Sure, if you think you can help," I replied, nodding in hopeful relief.

     He tapped Reallyconfused on the shoulder. The thunderous wailing subsided to merely deafening sobbing as RC turned and focused on the desert Kyrii.

     "My name is Advisor Wessle," he said, handing the Meerca a card that seemed to appear out of nowhere. "I know a lot about Neopian law and you don't have to leave this human if you don't want to. You can stay with him as long as you like."

     At least six jaws dropped simultaneously.

     "What?!" Wolf growled in a mix of horror and disbelief.

     "I c-c-can?" asked Reallyconfused as his active crying suddenly slowed to gasping ahu-ahu-ahus instead of screeching wah-wah-wahs.

     "Now wait a second..." I said, jumping in.

     The Kyrii cut me off by continuing to speak to the Meerca.

     "According to Neopian law, as soon as a human gives a Neopet a name, he is responsible for that Neopet. The legal term is 'not born yet', although what that actually means is the Neopet in question has not been officially registered to the claiming human's name yet."

     "But I haven't named him! I haven't claimed him!" I protested.

     A crowd of curious onlookers began to cluster around our crowded booth. Advisor Wessle leveled a stern gaze at me.

     "Did the Meerca have a name before you met him?" he asked crisply.

     "Well... no..." I admitted.

     "Does the Meerca have a name now?"

     "Well, yes... but I didn't name him. It just... sort... of... happened..." I could feel beads of nervous sweat begin to form above my eyebrows.

     "Did you ever, at any time, tell this Meerca that you would protect him from harm?" the Kyrii asked cooly, folding his arms across his chest.

     "Ummm... sort of... but..."

     Advisor Wessle cut me off with a wave of his paw.

     "Then according to Neopian law you have not only named him but you have publicly accepted responsibility for him. He is legally yours. If you wish to get rid of him, you first have to officially register him to your name and then put him up for adoption. Until then, he stays with you."

     A chorus of approving murmurs rose up from the mob and a sea of heads bobbed in agreement.

     "I can stay?" RC said in a hushed awed tone.

     "Yes. You have the right to stay with this human," the Kyrii stated with firm conviction.

     Reallyconfused clapped his paws together in delirious joy and began hopping up and down in my lap. I was too dumbstruck to stop him.

     "Yay! I can stay! I can stay!" he whooped.

     The crowd applauded and cheered in overwhelming support. It was obvious that I wasn't going to have much of a say in this. I was beginning to feel like I had just been scammed like a noob when RC did something I really didn't anticipate. He threw his chubby little paws around my neck and hugged me.

     "Oh, Manny! Oh, Manny! I can stay with you!" he squealed with delight. "I'm so happy! Now I can be like everyone else and have a home and a family and everything! I always wanted a home and a family and everything! You're the bestest person in the whole wide Neopia! I knew you were the bestest person in the whole wide Neopia the first moment I saw you because you waved to me! Nobody ever waved to me before! I am soooooo happy!"

     I melted like a wet snowball tossed into the Tyrannian volcano.

     "I'm happy you're happy," I whispered, hugging him back.

     I plucked the card out of RC's paw and wagged it at Advisor Wessle.

     "I take it you are some sort of a lawyer or something, right?" I said with the half-smile of someone who has just been thoroughly had.

     "Something like that," he replied and winked slyly. He extended his paw and I shook it. "If you ever need any more legal advice, you have my card," he added. Then he turned and disappeared into the milling throng of pets.

     I stuffed the card into my back pocket. RC released his grip on my neck and slid back down into my lap. I looked over at Wolf and Krawk. If the looks I was getting in return could have been made into Hidden Tower weapons, they both would have been invincible in the Battledome. I smiled weakly and shrugged.

     "What can I say guys? The law is the law."

     Wolf simply snorted in disgust.

     "Well, I guess we had better be going home now, right guys?" I said, trying to be as upbeat as possible. Part of me knew that they weren't going to take too well to having another pet in our NeoHome. But part of me really hoped that they would adjust to the idea given a little time. Boy, was I wrong.

***

The trip back to our home in Tyrannia took twice as long as it normally would. It slowly dawned on me that the yellow Meerca had spent his entire life cooped up inside a dark dungeon-like holding cell at the Meerca Chase arena. He didn't come right out and tell me that, but it soon became pretty obvious.

     Every time we passed a tree, Reallyconfused ran up to it. He would feel it and examine the leaves to see if it was different from the LAST tree we had passed. If it was, he would go, "Ooooo! Cool!" He performed this routine with just about everything we passed from fence posts to rocks. Of course, once a Mortog spontaneously exploded out of fright when RC grabbed him, RC pretty much steered clear of anything that even remotely looked like a Mortog after that.

     Even the ferry ride to Tyrannia followed the same ritual. He sped back and forth between the port side of the ship to the starboard side of the ship to see if the ocean waves were the same on both sides. It was both amusing and exhausting to watch at the same time.

     But my biggest concern was Stonewolf3x. I had expected him to show his displeasure with our newest addition to the family at every opportunity. But he simply sat by the railing with absolutely no expression on his face whatsoever. It's weird, but I almost longed for a snide comment or exasperated glare. But there was nothing. And that nothing was starting to really worry me.

     When the ferry docked at the port in Tyrannia, Wolf and Krawk disappeared into the crowd of pets leaving the ship. I wandered around the dock for awhile looking for them, but it was hard with RC zipping off in so many directions, fascinated by so many things. I was afraid he was going to get lost, so I gave up looking for the other two.

     "Come on, RC," I said as cheerfully as I could. "Let's go. They know the way home so I'm pretty sure they just went on ahead."

     The Plateau was depressingly deserted as we walked across it. The darkness of the starless night cast fingers of inky shadows everywhere. I had never been out so late alone before. Well, without my Lupe anyway. The bad feeling creeping up my spine turned out to be dead on the mark. We hadn't even gotten halfway home when four figures in hooded cloaks stepped out of the gloom and into our path. Even in the stark blackness I could see they were Aishas. The long ears poking out of their hoods were pretty much a giveaway.

     "Hand over your Neopoints!" the tallest one demanded. He pulled out a long poison tipped dagger and wiggled it at my stomach for emphasis.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part One

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Two

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Three

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Four

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Six

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Seven

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Eight

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Nine

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Ten

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Eleven

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Twelve

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Thrirteen

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