Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 102,279,292 Issue: 202 | 5th day of Hiding, Y7
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Andover's Quest: Part One


by hermione_granger1899

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The electric Lupe opened one eye and glanced out beneath his heavy eyelid. It was the middle of the day at least. Had he really slept that long? He stood up, stretched, yawned, and shook his head to clear his thoughts. He hadn't stayed out that long last night; why was he so tired then?

      "Good-morning, sleepy head," a voice said from behind him. He turned sharply, ready for a fight. He had had some bad experiences with someone sneaking up on him.

      "Oh, it's you. Gosh, Lex, stop sneaking up on me like that," he growled. His sister just smiled brightly.

      "What do you want, anyway?" Andover asked sleepily as Lex started toward some unknown destination.

      "Gammot wants to speak to you," she said simply. The small blue Lupe bounced around as she spoke, always energetic in the mornings. Andover was the one who slept all day in this pack.

      Lex - or Alexis as she was known to the pack elders - led her brother through a maze of other Lupes eating, playing, fighting and such until they came to a small cave set into the side of a rocky hill.

      "Gammot?" Andover called softly. "You wanted to see me?"

      Andover and Lex immediately fell silent as the old silver-haired Lupe slowly came into view. He was the oldest Lupe in their pack and he was well-respected by everyone - even the pack leader and the hunters.

      "Thank you for your services, Alexis, you may go now," Gammot croaked. Lex nodded and scampered off to find her friends.

      "Come," Gammot said softly. Andover silently followed the old Lupe into his cave and waited to be invited to sit. "Sit, sit," the silver-streaked Lupe said impatiently. Immediately, Andover sat.

      "Sir, why have you summoned me?" the electric Lupe asked politely, his bushy tail flicking back and forth like a cat's.

      "I have summoned you, because you are the next Chosen One." Andover swallowed hard. This couldn't be possible. Chosen Ones were special Lupes born with great wisdom and power - Andover could hardly hunt small game, let alone be a Chosen One to a whole pack of rambunctious Lupes.

      "B-but, Gammot, sir. I-I…." Andover trailed off, uncertain of how to plead his case on this one.

      "But nothing, young Lupe. You are the Chosen One and whether you accept that or not, you will become one and take my place when it is my time to step down - or pass on, whichever comes first." He smiled softly at his own joke.

      "Gammot, I can't be the Chosen. There has to be a mistake. Chosen Ones are born with superior knowledge, great strength, wonderful endurance, amazing grace and speed, monstrous courage, and more. I'm no Chosen, sir. I can barely hunt enough for myself and as for courage, I cower at the first sign of danger," he said. Well the last one wasn't completely honest, he argued with himself. You do fight a lot with the other pack members…

      "You will learn, Andover. That is why you are here. You are going to learn to become the Chosen and you will be honored by your comrades, family, friends, and all in this pack. To be Chosen is something most Lupes only dream of. I would think you'd be delighted to discover that you were born Chosen."

      Andover sighed softly. There was no getting out of it. He was meant to be a Chosen One and a Chosen One he would be, according to the laws laid down by the pack. He still didn't really understand why he was Chosen. What superior knowledge or monstrous courage did he have?

      "Andover! Kindly do not daydream while I am speaking to you," Gammot barked, annoyed. Andover snapped out of his thoughts and listened.

      "As I was saying: What you are about to embark on is a perilous journey. You will learn how to fight your enemies, use knowledge in times of danger, protect those you care for, and above all, how to come out unscathed and alive."

      Andover gulped. This wasn't what he'd had in mind for today. Today he had planned to go hunting with his best friend Shaylee - a very rambunctious brown Lupess he'd befriended while he was still a young pup. But Gammot did not have that in store for him today.

      "Frown all you want, Andover; it will not get you out of this. I do not choose the Chosen. A Chosen is not made, he is born. And you, my young friend, were born Chosen. So shall we get this all down to pat now?" Gammot asked him. His golden eyes shone brightly, and were full of knowledge and wisdom. Andover sighed and nodded heavily.

      "Gammot, come quick! A fire!" someone yelled. Andover leapt to his feet and scampered to the entrance of the cave, Gammot hot on his heels.

      Below was a raging fire - luckily not spreading, but not getting any smaller either. Andover, who had seen plenty of bad fires in Neopia Central before, had never seen a plains fire. The grass it consumed burned brightly and a huge cloud of black smoke hung over them.

      "Gammot, my son!" someone yelled. Gammot looked sharply to his left to see a horrified red Lupess staring at the fire. "Please help him, Gammot! Coron is in there!" she screamed, pointing to the small wooden building consumed in flames. That was the only building the Lupe pack had - besides caves they found in hillsides and whatnot - and it was a place they had to rebuild every time they moved. Andover knew perfectly well what resided in that building and it wasn't helpless pups either.

      "What is a young Lupe like Coron doing in there?" Andover murmured to the elder. The formerly shadow Lupe shook his head.

      "You have to ask? I seem to remember another young Lupe who wandered in that building once or twice before," the old Lupe chuckled.

      A pitiful howl came from inside the burning building and Jennica - Coron's mother - started sobbing.

      "Gammot, aren't you going to do something?" Andover asked furiously. He couldn't stand this!

      "There's nothing we can do. That building is consumed in flames. I'd be surprised if anyone could even get within ten feet of it," Gammot replied sadly.

      Andover snarled furiously at his elder, surprising the old Lupe considerably. "You're supposed to help Lupes, not let them die!" he yelled. Without another word, the angry young Lupe loped down the rocky hillside toward the burning hut.

      "Andover get back here!" Gammot yelled. "Get back here this instant! You'll kill yourself!"

      Andover ignored the calls he got from the other Lupes watching and circled the weapon hut quickly. If he could just find a window… Aha! He spotted one window, about five feet off the ground. It had not been consumed by flames yet. Taking a deep breath, the electric Lupe backed up and ran toward the opening. He sailed through the window easily and landed hard on his feet.

      The Lupe winced when he discovered a shard of glass had cut his foot open, but he ignored the pain and called out, "Coron! Coron where are you? I'm here to help!"

      A whimper came from nearby. Andover whirled around, straining to see through the black smoke and bright flames.

      "Coron, you have to speak up!"

      "Over . . . here!" The two words were immediately followed by a coughing fit and Andover followed the sound.

      "Coron, is there a big wall of fire in front of you?" the Lupe asked, hoping the pup would say no.

      "Y-yes." Andover sighed and backed up again, trying not to run into burning logs or step on broken glass, metal, and copper shards.

      "I'm going to jump the flames, stay out of the way!" Andover called.

      Taking Coron's silence as an okay, the young Lupe bounded toward the fire and flew over it, just inches between him and the ceiling. He landed hard on the other side, and collapsed from the weight of his body on his sore feet.

      "Andover, help me!" a small chocolate-brown Lupe pup limped forward and cried pitifully up at him. "I'm scared!"

      This would be so much easier if I had been born a fire Lupe, he couldn't help thinking to himself as he took Coron's scruff in his mouth and once again, looked for a way out. He jumped as a large portion of the roof caved in exactly where the pup had been cowering a few seconds earlier.

      "I want my momma," Coron cried pitifully as Andover's eyes darted frantically around for a way out. It was getting hotter and he was sure they couldn't get out the way he'd come in. There had to be another way out. He turned in all directions but for the life of him could see no way out. He jumped over a burning piece of the floor and turned a corner. They had to find a way out soon or they'd both die from this smoke…

To be continued...

 
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