A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 102,975,150 Issue: 203 | 12th day of Hiding, Y7
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Andover's Quest: Part Two

by hermione_granger1899


Andover felt yet another cough coming on. He set the brown Lupe pup down between his front paws and coughed and coughed until it was out of his system.

      "Andover, I'm really scared," Coron cried, weeping into the electric Lupe's paw. "I want my momma."

      "I know you do. And I'll get you to her as soon as I can find a way out," he promised, picking up the pup by the scruff again. He was scared out of his wits, the poor thing. Andover had to get him out of this burning building. He looked around for a window or an opening in the flames. There!

      Hope bubbling up in his chest, he raced toward the window and jumped. The two Lupes landed in a heap outside the building, exhausted. Andover picked up the pup and limped over to where a red Lupess was sobbing uncontrollably. He set the terrified pup at her feet and nudged his mother comfortingly.

      "Jennica, I think Coron missed you," Andover commented as the brown pup wrapped himself around his mother's paw and cried there.

      Jennica gasped. "Andover! You saved him!" she said joyously. "Oh how can I ever repay you?"

      Andover, finally feeling just how scared and tired he was from his rescue, just smiled. "It was nothing," he lied. He limped over to Gammot, the old silver-haired pack elder.

      "There. I saved him. I can't believe you were going to let him die," the young Lupe snapped, his fur bristling with electricity like it did when he got angry.

      "You were very brave, Andover. I did not want to let him die. I honestly did not think anyone could save him. Maybe he's learned not to play with fire motes and to stay out of the weapon shack.

      "And now you cannot say you do not have monstrous courage or great strength. You have both. I may also add in there that you have the grace and speed of a warrior, although you disagree. And endurance - not many could stay in that fire as long as you did, and come out alive. As for superior knowledge - you knew enough that a young Lupe pup could die in a fire and that although it is very dangerous and rather reckless to jump into a burning anything, you had to save him. And for that, I respect you."

     * * *

      Andover sat down wearily. Three days had passed since the fire, but he still felt all the fear and danger from it. His normally brightly shining electric blue fur was still sooty with ashes and smoke. Coron, still terrified from his experience with fire, had learned his lesson and was now sticking closer than ever to Jennica.

      "Gammot, must we talk now? I'm really tired," the Lupe said as the elder came in.

      "Oh, my young friend. You will find that this is nothing compared to the fright, exhaustion, and peril yet to come. As a Chosen One, it is your duty to protect your pack, but I never expected anything that brave out of you just yet. You need to prepare for your journey. You leave tomorrow for Mystery Island," the silver Lupe said as he sat.

      "How old were you when you learned you were Chosen?" Andover asked, struggling to keep his heavy eyelids open.

      "Not much older than you are now. I realize this is frightening for you - to learn out of the blue that you were born Chosen - but I cannot change what you are," Gammot said.

      "I understand. What do I have to do at Mystery Island?"

      Gammot sighed heavily. "There is an ongoing battle there at the moment between a large group of assorted Pets, and a tribe of Lupes that call themselves the 'Purest Ones'. We aren't sure how this is going at the moment, so we need someone with good speed and endurance like you to investigate. I am not asking you to fight. I just want both stories from either side of the battle. But if you need them, I have some weapons and equipment you can take."

      "I have to go to Mystery Island, get stories from both sides of a battle that does not include the Natives - for once - try not to get killed, not fight, and then come back and report to you? That doesn't sound . . . life threatening," Andover said, undecided.

      "It will be perilous. Lupes are not considered very welcome on Mystery Island at the moment. You will have to be very careful, Andover. This is serious. If these 'Purest' Lupes continue to bring unsuspecting young Lupes toward them, they will not let them go. You must not let them keep you there. You have to come home, Andover. I will not lose you to a brainwashing tribe of power-hungry Lupes who think they are superior to others. I've heard of these Lupes before. They're dangerous, Andover. You have to be careful around them. If you aren't home in a month, I'll send someone looking for you. You leave tomorrow at noon," the old Lupe told him. Andover swallowed nervously. He had no idea other Lupes could be that way.

      "Gammot, I'm frightened," Andover admitted. He lowered his head.

      "You would be a fool if you weren't. You are brave, Andover. I know you'll do alright. But you must go alone. I don't want to risk losing someone at your expense. I believe in you, young Lupe. You will do fine."

     * * *

      Andover nuzzled his sister comfortingly. "I'll be back soon, Lex, I promise. I know you don't want me to go, but I have to. Gammot is sending me there so we can gain more knowledge on a particularly dangerous group of Lupes so we will be ready for them if they come here. I have to leave."

      "But . . . I . . . don't want . . . you to get . . . hurt," the young Lupess sniffled, shaking with tears. "What if you don't come home?"

      "I will come home," Andover said firmly. "I promise."

      Alexis nodded, wiping away her tears. "I'll miss you," she whispered.

      Andover smiled. "I'll miss you too."

      "Andover! You can't leave without saying good-bye!" someone called. The Lupe looked over his shoulder. His best friend Shaylee and his mother, Monica.

      "I wouldn't," Andover argued as his mother enveloped him in kisses.

      "Oh, be careful, Andover. I don't want you hurt. Come back in one piece okay?" Monica said, smoothing her son's ears lovingly.

      "I'll be fine, Mom," he said as Shaylee hugged him.

      "Please don't get hurt," Shaylee said, tears flooding her eyes. "I hate to see you hurt." The Lupess smiled at him and blinked away her tears. "Come home soon," she murmured.

      Andover shouldered his pack and walked to Gammot's cave. The old Lupe was sitting there waiting. "You will need to leave soon, Andover."

      "Where do I go?" he asked. He wasn't sure how he was going to get to Mystery Island.

      "The harbor - someone will take you by boat. If you need payment, give them this." The silver Lupe handed Andover a small leather pouch with long drawstrings. He slipped it around his neck.

      "What's in here?" he asked. The small pouch was quite heavy.

      "There are a few neopoints in there in case you need to pay for your ride. Another thing in there is a gem. It's a very special gem. It will bring you good fortune and protect you from the evil of the 'Purest'. Keep it close. Do not lose it and do not trade it for anything, you hear? That gem is worth billions of neopoints - maybe trillions. It's the only one in existence and it was given to me by a friend your father. Your father got it from Fyora herself. Be careful with that. There's one more thing in there, but you can't read it unless you are positive you'll never live again. I don't want you to even think about reading it unless you are on the edge of death. What it contains is too powerful for even you to see. Now go! And remember, that pouch is not to be opened unless you need to pay for something," Gammot insisted.

      The electric Lupe nodded and stood up. "Oh, and Andover?" Gammot said as the Lupe reached the exit. Andover looked back.

      "Be careful."

     * * *

      "Hey, mister!" Andover called. An annoyed-looking checkered Gelert looked over.

      "What do you want?" he snapped.

      "Is your boat going to Mystery Island?"

      The Gelert glared at him suspiciously. "What do you need, sonny?" he asked impatiently.

      "I need a ride to Mystery Island." Andover looked up at the Gelert, who seemed to be taking his time deciding.

      "It'll cost you 200 neopoints," the Gelert said. "But you don't look like a house pet to me. I'll be betting you don't have any money."

      "I do have money. I have the 200 right here," Andover insisted. He opened the pouch and took out 200 NP. He caught a faint glimpse of a glowing blue gemstone and a folded piece of paper in the bottom of the pouch, but he closed it again and handed the Gelert his money.

      "Well, I'll be! A plains Lupe having money. That's something different. What's your name, kid? I'm Marc." The Gelert stuck out a checkered paw for him to shake.

      "I'm Andover. Nice to meet you," Andover replied, shaking paws.

      "Alrighty, then! Let's get going. Next stop, Mystery Island!"

      Andover and Marc talked very little on the two-day ride to the Island. Marc spoke a bit about himself and how he took supplies all around Neopia to the places in need. Andover said very little at all - only telling him his pack elder had sent him to Mystery Island to investigate some strange happenings.

      After a while, the Lupe fell asleep, one paw lying protectively over the small drawstring pouch around his neck.

     * * *

      "Wake up, kid. We're here." The Gelert softly shook him awake. They were about twenty feet out from the shore. "I'd be quiet if I were you - there's some nasty folk around these parts. I didn't want to take you to the harbor - I heard some angry Natives are hanging out there and they aren't letting any Lupes in. Hope you find what you're looking for. Good luck, kid."

      Marc waited until Andover had safely swam to shore and was walking stealthily down the path before he turned his boat around and motored back toward Neopia Central.

      Andover quietly crept toward a loud commotion going on between the trees. He got down on his stomach and crawled through the underbrush.

      "We are Pure! We are Pure! We are Pure!" The chant went on and on and on. Andover saw then what he was sure Gammot had been warning him about. In a large clearing, hundreds upon hundreds of yellow, red, silver, shadow, white, green, brown, blue, orange, and pink Lupes were all yelling We are Pure over and over.

      Andover couldn't believe what he was seeing. Not a single patterned Lupe in sight. Every single one of them was a solid color. Not a striped, starry, purple, baby, checkered, Christmas, cloud, Darigan, desert, faerie, fire, ghost, glowing, grey, Halloween, island, Maraquan, mutant, pirate, plushie, robot, skunk, split, rainbow, or electric Lupe in sight. This was spooky. He had to know why they were like this, but he couldn't go in there like this! They'd paint him faster than he could say 'pure'.

      He'd have to risk it…. He was about to stand when all the Lupes in the clearing got up at once and started running toward him. Frightened, Andover dodged behind a tree but got caught up in the throng of running Lupes and found himself running along with them. This was NOT what he wanted.

      He looked to his right to see a pretty orange Lupess running beside him. She smiled at him. "Are you Pure?" she asked, eyeing his electrically charged fur. "If you aren't, I won't tell," she whispered. She grinned at him. Andover was amazed at how pretty she was, but something was missing. Her eyes were so blank. Her pretty blue eyes … they showed no emotion.

      "What's your name?" he asked her, slowing so she could keep up. Maybe if he could befriend her, he'd get more information about these 'Purest' Lupes.

      "The Pure One names us all. He has named me Orange Six. I am the sixth one of the Orange group," she said. Andover frowned. He didn't like that. That meant that none of these Lupes had names - or, they didn't have names anymore.

      "You are not Pure. I can see by your fur coloring. Are you Electric One?" the orange Lupess asked him as they loped continuously.

      "No. Where are we going?" he asked.

      "Purest Lupes do not ask questions!" a tough-looking shadow Lupe barked angrily from behind them. "Keep running!"

      As he ran with the tribe of 'Purest Lupes' Andover started to wonder if he was ever going to escape them after all. Maybe they'd brainwash him and paint him orange and call him Orange Seven. He shuddered at that thought. He was so caught up in thinking horrible thoughts and thinking up different scenarios that he almost ran smack into a green Lupe who had stopped very suddenly along with the rest of the tribe.

      "Oh, unPure ones! Come out of your hiding places and fight! Do not be cowards! We will find you anyway!" someone called. Andover looked up to see a very large-looking white Lupe shouting out to the trees in front of them.

      Little by little, groups of straggly-looking Neopets came out of the trees, armed to the max with every weapon they could put on their bodies. He couldn't help but notice that over half of the population of these pets were Lupes also. Most of them were electric, striped, split, starry, and a lot of other patterned colors.

      The white Lupe turned to his 'Purest Ones' and nodded. The hoard of solid colored Lupes charged the rest of the Neopets standing by. Slinking quietly to the side, Andover sat down wearily between some trees to watch. So far this was not going as planned.

To be continued...

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