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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Awakening, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 50 > Continuing Series > Lupina II and the Quiggle of Doom: Part Five

Lupina II and the Quiggle of Doom: Part Five

by thegreatlupelover

IT WAS A long time before Rosy's blue and white head emerged over the top of the cliff. Next, it was Emala's turn. The three already at the top ran in short circles to keep themselves warm. Finally, Emala reached the top, and the group continued upward. The snow was waist deep and hard to move in. It grew higher at a surprisingly rapid speed. When Lupina, at the head of the group, was up to her chest, she gave up. Dropping to her four paws, she began to dig through the snow. It was surprisingly light, and she made good progress. The others followed suit. Lily went last, because her short legs were not good at digging like Lupina's or Rosy's were.

     A while later, Lupina stopped to wait for the others. They were following close behind. "Lily," Lupina suggested, "Do you think you could fly above us and call out directions? We don't know which way to go."

     Lily thought a moment. "All right. But could you break through the top for me?"

     Rosy immediately straightened her long ears and spun them so fast it seemed to be light blue blur. When she finished, a hole had been drilled through the top of the tunnel.

"Wow. That was cool," Lupina said. Rosy grinned.

"I made that technique up myself. This is the first time anyone else has seen it. I call it Gelert Drill. I intend to use it in our fight." Silence followed her worlds. Our fight. They knew we would have to battle this "Sinistra" person. None of them, though, had even considered what technique they were going to use. Except Rosy.

Lily broke the silence by beating her wings and ascending through Rosy's hole. "We've been veering off course," she called. "Turn left about forty degrees."

Lupina paused, thinking. History and Writing were her best classes, but she hated math. Lily, on the contrary, was a math whiz. "Um, forty degrees... that would be...?"

"This way." Emala pointed. Lupina glared at her.

"How come you cats are so good at math?" Emala only laughed.

"Well?" Lily called impatiently. "You going or not?"

"We're going, we're going!" Rosy said, taking the lead and digging at an angle. She winked at Lupina. "Maybe it's just that you wolves are bad at math."

Sighing, Lupina followed.

The pace that Rosy set showed her boundless energy.

"Don't you ever tire?" Emala panted.

Rosy grinned impishly. "No. Do you?"

"Me? Never!" Emala put on a burst of speed, overtaking Rosy.

"Hey, guys," Lupina warned. "Not too fast. We don't want to start sweating."

The others immediately adapted a slower pace. They had all heard horror stories of pets who had worked up a sweat in intense cold. Their bodies were like statues, frozen in a sheet of ice.

Wordlessly, the friends dug on. Above, Lily shouted out directions. It seemed that they were ever shifting their path. As they climbed, the air got thinner. It was harder and harder to breathe. All four pets were beginning to feel weak, and the storm still raged outside. The three tunnelers heard something thump against the roof of their passageway. It bumped again. Lily burst through the roof, showering them in snow.

"Whew!" she exclaimed. "It's good to be out of that. It's so windy out there that my wings were almost blown straight off. And the snow is so thick, you can hardly see!"

Lupina looked down sheepishly. "Sorry I suggested it."

"Oh, no, that's fine," Lily assured her. "If we can keep going straight north, we're fine."

Emala frowned. "We don't have a compass, though."

Lupina sighed dejectedly and glanced down. Around her neck, on its blue ribbon, her Lupe Moon Charm sparkled. "I know!" Lupina declared. "I could summon a compass with my Charm." Without waiting for a reply, she closed her eyes and reached into her charm to grasp a tendril of its magic. Taking the magic, she shaped it into a line and allowed her third body to slip onto it. This body was her magical body, the one that she could use in her spells to travel over Neopia. She sped along the line, skimming down the mountain to Happy Valley, where she threaded her way to her own home. Entering, she hurtled underneath the grand, swooping staircase and into the library. She made her way through the maze of bookshelves to the grand desk that Rosy's father did his work at. He was a mapmaker. On his table lay many sheets of paper, charts, pens, and - in one corner - a compass. In her true-life form, Lupina gritted her teeth. This was the hard part. Because her magical body was merely a spirit, with the particles only loosely composed, it was difficult to lift solid objects. She sent a quick wave of power through her paws to solidify them for a moment and grasped the compass. It seemed immensely heavy, but she held on. She grasped her magical line and spun it back into her charm, dragging herself and the compass along with it.

When she opened her eyes, she was clutching the compass tightly in her paws. She held it level and watched the needle. It swung around to point straight ahead and slightly left. Lupina began to tunnel in that direction. The others followed close behind as she forged through the freezing cold. She had to keep reminding herself that she was getting ever closer to the summit of Terror Mountain - and the Ugran Cavern.

Emala's teeth chattering broke through her thoughts. "It's cold," the shadowed Kougra complained. Lupina turned, sighing.

"You want me to keep you warm with a spell?" Lupina caught a glimpse of Rosy giving Emala a thumbs-up, and glared frostily at her. "This was a plot to get warm, wasn't it?" she accused.

"Oh, great expedition leader," Rosy began. Lupina snorted. Rosy ignored her and went on. "Perhaps in your might you feel not the bitter cold that harasses us." She lowered her voice to a whisper. "And you know what my mom is like when any of us catch a chill." It was true. Rosy I had studied with Dr. Gelert in health care, and ever since she had wanted to try her methods as a healer on the next generation of heroines. Yes, nettle and leek soup did make them feel better, but it burned and stung on the way down.

"All right," Lupina agreed, "but I don't think 'harass' is exactly the right word."

"Too bad," Rosy said, tossing her ears back. "That's what I said, like it or not."

Lupina chuckled and closed her eyes to call yet again on the magic of her Lupe Charm. Taking a ball of it as if it were clay, she willed it to become pure heat. Almost immediately, she felt warmth in her paws. Her magical self began to spin it into fine thread. Unlike solid objects, magic was easy to hold in this form, just as solid objects were easy to hold in her solid form.

It wasn't long before the entire ball of heat had been spun into yards of fine thread. Next, the magical Lupina took the thread and flitted in and out, back and forth, weaving warm netting. Soon, she had yards of invisible cloth made entirely of heat. Using her claws, she tore the cloth into four cloak-shapes. Lastly, she made the cloth so it would be attracted to her friends' skin and stick there.

Taking the first rectangle of heat-cloth, Lupina approached Rosy. Her friend had a bit of frost topping her nose. Lupina draped the cloth over her and heard her gasp in surprise. Ignoring it, she tailored the cloth so that it was streamlined with the Gelert's body. Then, using extra cloth she had cut off, she encircled Rosy's ears, tail, and legs.

She proceeded around her friends, and finished by cloaking herself. Then she returned to her solid form. Her body was stiff from sitting in the same place, but a quick wisp of magic helped relax her muscles.

"That was cool, Lupina!" Emala exclaimed. "I feel like I'm wrapped up in heat!"

"Not exactly 'cool,' maybe more 'warm,'" Lupina observed. "And, in a way, you are wrapped in heat. Each of us is wearing a suit that I designed specially to fit our bodies, but will not interfere in any way with movement or senses. I'll bet Lily can hear just as well as always."

Lily rotated her sensitive Aisha ears on their stalks. "You're right. I can. And what I hear is that the storm is raging even more wildly outside, and we had better get going."

Emala laughed. "I'll go along with that, Lil'."

They resumed digging, although now each felt wonderfully warm, despite the blizzard that raged outside. After a time, Lily asked, "Lupina?"

"What?" Lupina replied, not stopping her relentless tunneling.

"Do you think you're warm enough now to use your parts?"

"Probably. What for?"

"Well, see, I was thinking that since you can teleport now, you could go ahead and fight that Captain Sinisitra person."

"No. Don't," Emala cut in. "Lupina, it's not safe. You know that you're only Level 8. You hardly have any powerful abilities! We'd stand a better chance if we all went at it together."

Lupina thought a moment, then turned to Rosy. "What's your opinion on the matter?"

"I'd have to say Emala's right. You wouldn't stand a chance alone." The cloud Gelert shook her head. "We'd do better if we stuck together."

Lily opened her mouth to protest, but Lupina spoke first. "All right. We'll keep going for, like, two hours. If we aren't there by that time, I'll go alone. Deal?"

Emala looked as if she was about to protest, but Lupina gave her the special look she reserved for times when she wanted no arguments. Emala shut her mouth.

"All right. Let's get going."

Less than an hour later, Lupina and her friends were still at it, tunneling through the deep snow. Lupina was still leading, and the cloaks of warmth kept them from freezing.

"It's almost been an hour," Lily said.

Lupina checked her watch. "Not quite."

Just then, the snow before them broke off. Lupina blinked. She had become accustomed to dimness of the tunnel. Now she had emerged in the mouth of a cave. The snow had almost blocked the entrance. The cave was lit by a bare light bulb, hanging from the ceiling on a wire. The others followed Lupina out, blinking, just as she had. Looking around, Lupina noticed that, at the back of the cave stood a huge machine. Its body was a complex structure of bars, wires, and pots of liquid that slowly bubbled. From the body of the machine rose a great beam, with a Dr. Sloth-style ray gun on the top. Lupina advanced cautiously. Her mother had once had an encounter with Dr. Sloth.

"Lupina-" Rosy nudged her shoulder "-there's someone there. On the seat of that contraption." Lupina glanced up. It was true. A blue Quiggle was seated by the controls of the machine. He looked down and saw them.

"Ha! Foolish puny pets, you shall never defeat ME!" The Quiggle hopped down from the seat, glaring at them through one eye. He probably meant it to be intimidating, but it looked so comical that the four burst out laughing.

The Quiggle's neck veins swelled in rage. "You DARE laugh in the face of Captain Sinisitra the Quiggle of Doom?"

"Yeah... haha... uh... heehee... yes, we... ahahaha... we do!" Rosy burst into gales of laughter. Lupina put a paw on her shoulder.

"Rosy, he's not joking. Maybe he looks pitiful, but I was just checking his stats and they're way higher than ours." Rosy sobered.

"I see you have managed to get past my blizzard." Sinisitra gestured towards a Blizzard Ring lying on the table, shooting a blue-white beam out the cave. "No matter, that was merely to delay you. You're real challenge comes now; in the Ugran Cavern Battledome Arena."

Lupina took a deep breath. Here goes, she thought. Gathering her power, she sent a blast of fire at the Quiggle. He leaped back, surprised. The flames caught his webbed feet. Cursing, he beat the flames until they died away, leaving charred skin.

"Lupina, split!" Rosy yelled.

What? Lupina thought. Split? Suddenly, she realised what Rosy meant. Becoming two would double her power. Quickly, she sent her other part to the opposite side of Sinisitra. The others helped her, circling the Quiggle.

He was quick. Pulling forth a Rainbow Frost Cannon, he pulled the trigger. A ball of rainbow frost hurtled at Lupina, freezing her in a solid block. In her other form, she could move, but slowly.

Emala leaped forward and hurled a shower of fireballs at her, melting the ice. In a trice, she was on top of Sinisitra, growling and biting from two directions. He sent up a shield. She could have cared less. All she wanted was a diversion so that she could really build up her magic. She could feel it swelling up against her mental wall that held it back. It pressed against the wall, pulsing, surging forward. Lupina let only a bit through, shaping it to break Sinisitra's magical shield. It worked perfectly. Meanwhile, more magic was swelling behind her dam. Quite suddenly, she let it fall.

From two sides, a tremendous blast hurtled towards Sinisitra, knocking him over. Lupina could see that his hit points were dramatically reduced, in her sense of things, but he still had a large amount left, far larger than the amount taken away. She gritted her teeth this would be a long battle.

"So, you dare to attack me?" yelled Sinisitra. "Well, take THIS!" Drawing forth an Ice Sword, he chopped at them.

Lupina shook her head. She could see exactly what this fellow had done. He had gotten high stats and powerful weapons, but never bothered to train in the ways of battle. He had assumed it would come naturally. Indeed, to some it did. It was obvious, however, that he was not one of them.

An Ice Sword, though, was something to be reckoned with. Sighing, Lupina readied herself. Again, she rallied her magic. Before she could use it though, Lily had darted at the face of the Quiggle. At first, it seemed the craziest move she could make. Then Lupina began to see her tactics. As Lily scratched at his eyes, he hacked blindly in front of himself, away from Lily. She was so small that he couldn't hit her. When she finally had to leap away, one of his eyes was ruined. Had Lupina not needed to save her breath, she would have yelled in happiness. Now, Sinisitra would have no good 3-D vision. Rosy, who hadn't taken a large part in the fight so far, grinned and used smokescreen. Catching on, Emala joined in, then Lupina. Lily didn't have smokescreen.

Surrounded by fog, blind in one eye, Sinisitra could only see faint shapes moving. He could not tell how far away from himself they were. Suddenly frightened, he spun around, his sword out straight, ready to strike any foe. There were none. Sinisitra's fright grew to terror. "Vister!" he screamed. "Now!"

Ready for a new attack, the group clutched their weapons. A cold-eyed Zafara entered.

"No, don't pounce on me. This is single combat. Only one may step forth. If I defeat-" he glanced around "-her in a fencing match, then I will challenge another, until you are all dead. If she defeats me, the way to Sinisitra is clear."

Rosy and Lupina traded glances. They were the best fencers. "You fence really well," Lupina offered.

"Only when I'm really mad," Rosy replied.

Lupina almost laughed. "Well then, I'll go first, and if he defeats me, you'll probably be mad enough." She winked, and took out her Sword of Domar. Rosy, Lily, Emala, and her other self drew back to watch.

Vister was already holding a Sword of Domar. Lupina drew hers and took the "guard" position.

Lightning fast, Vister swung his sword to the side, an arc of white light. Just as quickly, Lupina blocked and, seeing a small opening thrust her sword towards his throat. But he moved his sword up faster than she could believe to lock hilts with hers.

The two strained at each other, trying to push the other to the ground. Lupina locked her leg joints in place. Finally, she broke her sword away, quickly moving it in on the side to make a shallow wound in the Zafara's arm. He moved in quickly and forcefully, switching his blade to the other hand. She only just managed to block as he struck in and down. Her blade hissed towards him, he lunged back, landing lightly. He circled, stalking her, searching for a fault in her swordsmanship. Lupina watched carefully the muscles of his torso. In many fencers, these muscles would betray their next move. Vister's, though, showed nothing. Without warning, he moved in with a sweeping uppercut. Lupina blocked swiftly, stepping up and into his blow. Freeing her sword, she slid it up to his throat.

There was silence for a moment. "Kill him." Emala's voice sounded from behind her.

Lupina turned her head ever so slightly. "Do I have to?"

"Ye-" Rosy started, but, taking advantage of her distraction, Vister kicked her away and raised his sword again. She lunged back, almost losing her footing, but her claws dug into the rock and she stayed on her feet. Vister feinted at her, trying to find her weakness. Lupina dodged and slashed in at his right side, opening a cut on his arm. For a moment, his face contorted with pain, but he moved in again, attacking with lightning speed. Lupina blocked and parried, feeling her strength slowly begin to drain.

"Hey!" Rosy cried angrily at Vister. "No using magic!"

He's using magic? Lupina thought dazedly as she blocked his thrusts and slashes. Suddenly, her strength returned, filling her. She felt a fierce, exhilarating joy in the battle. She could defeat this Zafara. She could - and she would. She attacked with speed that even she didn't know she had, her blade spinning and slashing. Vister was driven back. She swung her blade in a crescent, he blocked it. Whipping her sword around, she brought it down in a vertical butterfly-sweep. Lunging back to avoid his slash, she spun to the right and thrust inward. With a clatter, Vister's blade dropped to the floor. His eyes stared ahead wonderingly. Three words slipped from his mouth.

"You... destroyed... me." Then he fell to the ground and was silent.

A scream of rage came from the back of the cave, where Sinisitra had been watching. Raising his sword, he hurtled forward at Lupina. Her alarmed friends couldn't move in fast enough; he was already on top of her. She dodged and rolled away, his keen blade missing her by mere inches. She was defenceless, her sword buried in Vister's dead body.

She was flat on her back, the Quiggle moving in. He raised his sword high over his head, eyes bloodshot. Lupina squeezed her own eyes shut. She heard a hiss as the blade began to descend.

Without warning, a huge explosion rocked the cavern. Unnoticed by any of the gathered pets, Lupina's Lupe Moon Charm had been building up power as she fought with Vister. Triggered by her imminent doom, it released an immensely powerful blast, using even the magic stored up in her other charm, on her other self. Her eyes snapped open. The image she saw before her was frozen in two mental photographs. One showed a gleaming blade of ice directly above her head, with a beam of rainbow light with blinding brilliance streaking from below her chin at the mad Quiggle who was holding the sword. The other showed a mirror image of herself flat on the stone floor with a powerful, rainbow-coloured beam of light streaming at the Quiggle about to slash her in two.

Sinisitra froze, paralysed. Lupina could almost see his life-force flickering and fleeing from his body. With his last ounce of strength, he sent the surge of his remaining magic to the blizzard ring lying on a small shelf on the machine in the cave. In turn, the ring sent an icy beam out the front of the cave. The wind outside doubled in velocity. "You will not leave this place alive... The blizzard will stop you... The ray will fire in 15 minutes... You cannot stop it... All the pets of Neopia will have their souls sucked from them... and I... will be... reborn..." He trailed off. With a sudden small explosion, he disappeared.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Lupina II and the Quiggle of Doom: Part One

Lupina II and the Quiggle of Doom: Part Two

Lupina II and the Quiggle of Doom: Part Three

Lupina II and the Quiggle of Doom: Part Four

Lupina II and the Quiggle of Doom: Part Six

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