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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 27th day of Sleeping, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 31 > New Series > Once Upon a Full Moon: Part One

Once Upon a Full Moon: Part One

by wubba_flub_the_alian

There was a clatter of friction as the two Lupes locked jaws, claws ripping at each other, saliva flecked from the force and dropped to the sand swept plains. Snarling deeply, their eyes blazing, the continued to fight. They broke away very quickly, circling each other, their growls booming deep within their throats.

A young, muscular Lupess, with eyes dark like the night, but blazing white fur like the rising sun lurched forward, as the aircrest burned red on her forehead. There was a burst of light, as a ghostly form of a Peophin floated through the air like a wandering mist, it writhed and danced around the the opposition--a particularly sinister looking Lupe, his thick coat of fire coloured fur rippled as the power of the aircrest surrounded him. There was another burst of light. When it all faded, a cloud of swirling smoke hovered in the air around them. The aircrest guardian had disappeared. The Lupe arose from the ground, lifting his back leg slightly, he takes a deep breath in, as a tiny trickle of sweat crept from his head. He wiped it away with a paw, and then looked with a sceptical expression on his face. He smirked.

"You're improving, Sahhara." He looked up at the outline of the white Lupe. "I must admit, this year, my own power cannot match yours." While he spoke, he removed a single leather threaded necklace with the shape of a rippling ocean carved from a blue crystal taken from deep sea. A single sky-blue jewel was engraved in the centre of the watercrest. The flame coloured Lupe dropped the precious necklace to the ground.

"I surrender the watercrest," he stated, bending down on one foreleg to bow with respect.

An irruption of noise sounded from the pack. Another year begins a new moon, another year for Neopia. Sahhara panted as her body, once tensed, now loosened as she stood tall, and claimed the crest.

"I give my thanks, Canditro," Sahhara said softly.

The tradition of the crests had been around as long as Lupes. Created by their five ancestors, Lupes travelled from pack to pack, claiming what little power remained in them.

Each ancestor had one power, earth, air, water, fire, and the most powerful and valued of all, the mooncrest. At the times the crests were made, magic was what Neopia was built on. The actual purpose of the crests was to bare peace and harmony, and protection of evil spells, yet as the world grew older, and magic disappeared from its plains, Neopia became a deserted place, with dark trees, wilted and rotting, endless grey sands, and the dead ocean that flooded most of the lost world. The crests defied their set task, and did the opposite, blooming hate and the urge for combat anywhere it went. They were now simply items for battle, only one of their features remained, which was the guardian part of their magic.

Canditro got to his feet, the smoke had cleared now. "If you don't mind me asking... what you hope to achieve by claiming each of the crests from each of the packs in Neopia, then destroying them?" Canditro gave a hollow laugh. "When you could be known as the greatest Alpha Lupess of all time, with that much power around that neck!"

Canditro's eyes, deeper than the colour of stone wandered to four of the five crests around the beautiful Lupess' neck.

"I see you're still missing the mooncrest," he noted, his pack still behind him.

"At least let one of my men go with you on your quest… Neopia is a dangerous place for such a beauty," he said oily, taking her delicate paw in his sturdy one.

She yanked it away, looking a bit disgusted. "I can manage on my own, thanks," she said, her tone slightly colder.

"Once the five crests are united then destroyed, maybe some magic could return to Neopia, to make this place alive like it once was!" Sahhara continued determined to leave her eyes on the moon in the shadowy sky.

Canditro shook his head, his lip curling. "My pack and I must leave you for now. I wish you luck for your, erm, quest." Canditro sounded doubtful as he turned and lead his pack of Fire Lupes deep into a rotting forest.

Only one fell behind. He was generally short for his age, but was still a mature Lupe. He, of course, was a Fire breed and couldn't take his somber orange eyes off Sahhara, who was staring after the pack, then turning to leave in the opposite direction.

This Fire Lupe glanced back at his pack, took a deep breath in, and bounded soundlessly to Sahhara's side. He slowed to a walk as he traveled next to her.

"I think what you're doing is a noble deed, Sahhara, is it? My name is Faltoh," Faltoh murmured.

Sahhara hastened to a trot in silence. "Would you mind me asking though, why are you attempting this? What's your story?"

Faltoh tilted his head to one side, now matching her pace.

What's your story? Those words echoed in Sahhara's mind. She sighed, and halted. Faltoh had a curious expression on his face.

"If you really want to know my story, then I'll tell you," she muttered, her tone emotionless. "Sit down," she said imperiously.

Faltoh obeyed. Sahhara sat next to him, and took a deep breath in.

"I guess this whole thing started before I was five. My parents were a White and Shadow Lupe and Lupess. Not the best of combinations if you were a superstitious type of person…. My mother was a wanderer, never knowing where she wanted to go, always searching for something new. When she first met my father, it was love at first sight. She had me, but having a cub was like a prison, she could not fulfil her need to wander. My dad found this heart breaking and was always strict with her to contain his true feelings. I remember the most vivd thing she ever said to me in my years of youth, 'My love of the mountains, my love of the sea, my love of the plants, and all living things… child, a shed of life is all I've been searching for, a flicker of magic, was all I wanted to see… but no. All magic is gone. Trapped within the walls of the Crests. Like I am to a partnership.' On the night of my fourth year of life, she could not take any more. She could not stay bound to some one, it was too captive. She left. I don't know what happened to my dad after that. She wandered the countryside with me growing stronger everyday, to be with her while she travelled. I remember asking why we had to move around so much, and all she ever replied with, was: 'To get away from the darkness.' I've spent my life at her side, and when she finally perished, I knew it was my destiny to wander, to release the magic and return life to the world. Finish, what she started…"

There was a moment of silence. Faltoh snapped back to reality. "That's my story in short… I don't expect much sympathy, you would have had to live and experience what I had to understand why this has to be done! The sooner I break the spell of the crests the magic can be released!"

Sahhara got to her feet, determination burning in those dark eyes of hers.

Faltoh remained sitting as Sahhara began to pace to and fro. "How do you know it won't just destroy the magic? How do you know it won't destroy everything?" he asked quizzically. Sahhara jerked her head and locked a gaze into his eyes.

"I don't," she said simply.

"Yet, if my instincts are right, if the power is trapped within the walls of these…'crests', and they're broken free, no matter the cost, they'll live, and continue as they did. Just like my mother being trapped in a partnership. She broke free, and continued as she did," Sahhara explained.

Faltoh blinked and rose to his feet. "Then I shall join you on your journey!" he said protectively. "You could use a bit more help."

Sahhara stood apprehensively, with a searching look on her face. "All right… but, you must understand, I can never be your mate. A partnership, I could not stand."

Faltoh nodded vigorously. "Understood!"

Sahhara lingered on her gaze for a moment, then turned away, continued walking further East, leaving tracks in the sand as she went. Faltoh soon followed as they continued together. It was obvious, at first sight, they became the best of friends.

***

A twisting chilled wind crept through the air. Faltoh shivered as he stared down the icy ravine. Sahhara was pacing once more, showing no signs of hesitation. Faltoh gave a pleading look. He knew what she was going to do.

"I'm afraid of heights, and I'm cold, and… we could possibly fall to a jagged… well… you know," he said pathetically.

Sahhara stared at her shivering companion. "You agreed that if you came with me, you wouldn't wuss out. We're nearly three days in and you're showing signs of it." She quirked an eyebrow.

Faltoh looked sheepishly back at her through the gently falling snow. Sahhara stood back a few metres from the edge, ran with the wind, and leapt. All four of her legs stretched out, her fur rustling elegantly. It looked as though she had flown across with wings of ice. Faltoh gave a shuddering sigh, and took a few shaky steps back as Sahhara skittered up to safety, her feet occasionally slipped on the ice coated cliff-side. Faltoh took a leap, grabbed the ledge, his claws sprawled from each toe, but the ice was too slippery and he was too far down to clamber up. He shivered more as he slowly slid down a few inches, leaving deep gouge-marks in the ice. Sahhara looked over the edge.

"Help! Help me please!" Sahhara just gaped, looking as though she had never been asked for help before.

Faltoh's paws quivered with the effort of keeping clamped to the edge. Sahhara lowered herself slowly, and grasped the Lupe's paws. Slowly rising, pushing with her back legs, she hurled them both safely to the other side. Panting, Sahhara got up. Faltoh followed, as the sound of cheerful music and cheer was in the air. Faltoh's ears perked up.

"A village!" he cried out joyfully.

"C'mon! Let's go!" he started pounding through the snow, leaping and letting out triumphant laughs, heading straight to the village. A shadow over swept the ice-aged valley. Sahhara leaned back, a feeling of a threat fogged her senses.

"FALTOH! No! Don't be a fool!" Sahhara shouted. The mindless Lupe continued spinning through the air, kicking out his back legs and making his way toward the village. Sahhara took a step forward, and screamed at the top of her lungs: "LOOK OUT!"

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Once Upon a Full Moon: Part Two

Once Upon a Full Moon: Part Three

Once Upon a Full Moon: Part Four

Once Upon a Full Moon: Part Five

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