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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 22nd day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 27 > Continuing Series > Rebirth: Part Two

Rebirth: Part Two

by solargriffin

Sometime later, I awoke. The sun was streaming into the cave, dancing on backpacks and making cans twinkle. Outside I could hear the sound of loud chatter. I listened intently. There seemed to be many voices. I stood up and stretched before quietly making my way to the mouth of the cavern. I carefully peeked out of the entrance and looked around. What I saw astounded me. No less than twenty-five Lupes of all sizes and colours were gathered on the hilltop. There were fire Lupes, stone Lupes, white Lupes, split Lupes starry Lupes, and one VERY big skunk Lupe, obviously the alpha male. He stood talking with the cloud Lupess I had met the day before. I was just about to slip back into the cave to avoid detection when she caught my eye. She gave a wry smile and said something to the skunk Lupe, jerking her head in my direction. The big alpha turned his gaze to me and narrowed his eyes. He approached me and all the Lupes fell silent. I was beginning to feel that I had made a terrible mistake staying in the pack's territory when he gave a large, toothy smile and threw his arms around me, pulling me into a great bear hug.

"Welcome, to the Quataro Pack, amigo," he said in a deep voice with a heavy Mexican accent, smothering me in his grasp. He released me and studied me at arms length. "And what is your name, compadre?" he inquired. I was still recovering from his hug, but somehow managed to gasp the reply "Alvator."

"Ha ha, Alvator, eh?" he said. He clapped me firmly on the back in a friendly manner, causing my knees to buckle. "Well pack, let's give Alvator here a nice Quataro welcome!" With that, all the Lupes yipped and howled a boisterous greeting that surely could be heard for miles. "There now, how's that for a welcome, huh?" The big Lupe pulled me to his side in another death grip.

Man, I thought to myself, even if this guy didn't intend to kill me in the first place, he's sure to do it now if he keeps this up!

Soon the chatter began again and the Lupes took no more heed of me. "Let us go somewhere quiet so we can talk, shall we?" the alpha Lupe said, politely steering me around the rock to the other side of the hill. "I am Lupo Fuerte, the leader of this band of wandering Lupes, if you haven't already figured that out," he added with a chuckle. Then he began to explain the ways of his pack. They were a roving group that constantly traveled around the boarders of their land, and it took them exactly one year to make a complete circuit of their territory. While wandering the desert plains, they helped those in need while chasing off outlaws and other criminals, taking in any stray Lupe or Lupess they came across.

"It is always nice to see a new face," Lupo said with a smile. He looked at me and beamed. "Now to business. In return for our hospitality, I ask only a small favour in return." I looked questioningly at the skunk Lupe. I had very little to offer. He seemed to read my mind. "Oh it is nothing to worry about, I only wish for you to spend a day or two in the company of my pack. At the end of your stay, if you wish to set out on your own again you are free to go, or," he added with a wide grin, "if you wish to travel with us, your presence is welcome." With that, he gave me another deadly pat on the back. "Now if you don't mind, I have business to attend to." He tipped his hat to me and swiftly departed. I took a deep breath and looked at where he had left me. We had talked for a long time, and the sun was now high in the sky. He had led me down the side of the hill and I was now standing into a small valley. The basin was flat and sunny, and in front of me a bunch of adolescent Lupes from the pack running around the dell playing a game in the afternoon sunlight. I sighed and lay down, propped up on my elbows, and thought about what Lupo had discussed with me. I had been lost in thought for quite some time when I heard a soft voice from directly behind me.

"What's up, Rex?" I turned my head and was not at all surprised to see the cloud Lupess smiling down at me.

"You sure have a way with sneaking up on people, don't you?" I said with a laugh. She chuckled and sat down on the ground beside me.

"It's something you just kinda pick up out here I guess. So, it's Alvator, is it?"

"Yep, that's my name," I replied proudly. "I don't think I caught yours." She laughed softly.

"That's because I didn't throw it," she answered with a friendly smile. "They call me Lillypaw."

"Lillypaw, huh? That's a pretty name."

"Why thank you, I made it myself." I turned over onto my side to look at her.

"What do you mean 'made it yourself'? Didn't you ever have a name?" She shifted her eyes to the group of young Lupes playing merrily in the valley and sighed.

"I had a hard life before I found this pack. I will not bore you with the details, but to escape my past I wandered into the desert all alone. It was a foolish thing to do, I know, and very soon I was at what could be my end. That's when Lupo found me, helpless and alone. He took me under his care and adopted me. My life changed so that I took a different name to fit my new identity."

"Well, that's rather unusual," I said. She turned to me and gave a mysterious smile.

"Is it? Every single Lupe in this pack has renamed themselves. It forms a break with the pains of the past. It cleanses, in a way, symbolising a rebirth into a brighter future." Lilly said all this in a passionate voice, and when she stopped, her gaze again strayed to the playing Lupes. After a moment, I broke the silence.

"Well, Alvator's my name, and that'll never change," I stated firmly. She shot me a sideways glance.

"Jeeze, you are a stiff." Then a toothy grin spread across her muzzle. "But we'll change that." She suddenly sprang up and grabbed me by the wrist. She pulled me to my feet and pushed me hard in the direction of the romping Lupes. "HEY!" she called to them loudly. All of the Lupes paused and turned to look. "New boy's it!" After two seconds of complete silence, a cheer broke out and the whole mob came rushing at me.

"Oh, shnikes!" I mumbled and took off in the opposite direction. Lillypaw laughed and joined the throng.

I spent the rest of the day playing in the valley, forgetting all my troubles and woes, throwing my pride and responsibility into the wind. It was the best time I'd had in years…

To be continued…

Previous Episodes

Rebirth: Part One

Rebirth: Part Three

Rebirth: Part Four

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