It didn't take me very long to decide about the pack. After my first day,
I wanted in. Whenever I felt lonely or depressed, there was always someone around
to say a kind word, and, alternately, whenever I desired to be alone, the area
was mysteriously barren. I had been with Lupo Fuerte's Pack for about ten months,
and I had made many indispensable friends, including Black Dart the stone Lupe,
Snow Cap the white Lupe, and Tut's Tomb the desert Lupe. There were also countless
acquaintances that I was on especially friendly terms with like Glitter Violet
the faerie Lupe, Twinkling Star the starry Lupe, and Golden Horizon the split
Lupe. And, of course, there was Lillypaw. The cloud Lupess and I had become
inseparable, as close as friends can be. Whenever one of us was missing, the
other wasn't far behind. Lupo often called us "two peas in a pod." Today, the
two of us were on a tiny mesa a little ways from camp. It was a beautiful day,
and the sun shining over the canyons was indeed a splendid sight to behold.
"Oh come on! I promise, nothing will happen."
"Ha yea right, nothing will happen. Wasn't it you who told me 'oh, he won't
allow any rider but me'? Uh-uh, mister, no way I'm getting on that horse!" We
were having a little disagreement; one I didn't intend to lose. I was trying
to persuade Lilly to ride my trusty steed, but instead of simply agreeing, she
decided it would be more fun to string me along.
"If I tell him to behave, you'll be fine," I urged. She shot me a sideways
glance. "Please?" I gave an irresistible, pleading smile. She pursed her lips.
"Fine," she agreed, "but if I get thrown, it'll be your neck, Ally!"
"Ha ha! Fine, fine!" I said, and I put my paws together to give her a leg
up. However, just as she was about to hop on, I pulled my paws apart and she
fell flat on her bum.
"Hey! Why you sneaky little starry bandit! I'll have our head for that." Lilly
exclaimed. I could not control my laughter and had to wipe a tear from my eye.
"I'm sorry, milady, but I couldn't help myself." Then, in one swift movement,
I bent down, swept her up in my arms, and placed her neatly in the saddle. Lilly
"That's better," she said. We both laughed and she smiled again. There were
never any hard feelings, and we always took everything lightly. Lillypaw took
up the reins and began to walk at an easy pace. Before long, she chanced a slow
trot and eventually broke into a beautifully controlled canter. She came to
a halt and called, "got any jumps?" We both laughed again.
"What happened to your fear of falling off?" I was just about to suggest she
try a gallop when a young yellow Lupe from the pack approached us.
"Lillypaw? Alvator?" he asked.
"Yes?" I responded.
"Lupo Fuerte has called a pack meeting, he requests your presence."
"Is something wrong?" Lilly asked trotting up.
"I don't rightly know, Miss," the young messenger answered. Lilly and I exchanged
worried glances. Lupo seldom called meetings unless there was urgent cause.
Five minutes later, we returned to the pack. All of them were gathered in
a semicircle chatting nervously, and Lupo sat on a rock in front of them all.
When he saw us arrive, he nodded his head solemnly and held up his paws for
"Amigos," he said gravely, "I am afraid I have bad news. I have been informed
by our scout Wind Star that outlaws are infringing on our territory and are
planning to attack the pack." There was a gasp from the crowd and everyone began
to talk at the same time. Once again Lupo held up his paws for silence and a
hush fell over the Lupes. "In order for us to overcome our enemies, I have devised
a strategy. We will split up and take the bandits by surprise." The skunk Lupe
looked around at his followers and waited for any objections. None were raised;
everyone trusted his judgement. Lupo continued. "I will take Hype Fire and my
council and swing around to the west. Lilly?"
"You will take Golden Horizon and the Lupes of the third order and patrol
the eastern boundaries to prevent escape."
"Yes, sir," Lilly said respectfully. I was about to raise question to why
I would not be accompanying my best friend when Lupo turned his eyes to me.
"Sir?" I inquired.
"You will take Solar Gryph and the first order to protect our left flank."
"Yes, sir," I replied with a salute. Lupo nodded.
"Very good. Sea Breeze?" he said turning to an elder green Lupe. "You will
go with Guiding Light and look after the pups. Grey Wolfe…"
The council continued late into the night. All the Lupes were divided and
a basic battle plan was developed. Lupo finally ended the meeting and ordered
us to get a good night's rest, for we would depart with the first rays of dawn.
The next morning when we awoke, everyone was quiet and grave. I bid goodbye
and good luck to all of my friends. Lilly pulled me close and gave me a friendly
peck on the cheek.
"Be careful out there, Rex," she urged. Moments later we were all saddled
up and ready to move out. Suddenly, Lupo slid up beside me on his great black
"I'm sorry I had to split you and Lillypaw up, muchacho, but I need a strong
leader to guard my left flank. It is a dangerous mission, and I need someone
I can rely on." He rested a large paw on my shoulder.
"You can count on me, sir," I said. "I won't let you down." Lupo patted my
shoulder and laughed.
"That's the spirit, eh?" He laughed again and trotted his horse out in front
of the pack. He gave a howl to call everyone to attention. All eyes turned to
him and he spoke. "Remember the plan, once you vanquish your foes, make towards
the Great Rock. By the time this is over, it will be time to meet up there.
And remember: always have courage. We are strong and no foe can defeat us. The
Quataro Pack will never fall!" Cheers and howls rose from all the Lupes. I looked
at Lupo, and saw him for the first time in his full glory. The same friendly
Lupe I had grown to love was transformed into a great warrior, intimidating
and battle ready. With another howl, he called his council to him and rode off.
"All right, guys let's head out," I cried to my group. As we started off,
I watched the other sets disperse. Even after Lupo's inspiring speech, I couldn't
help but wonder if I would ever see them all again….
To be continued...