Andover's Quest: Part Three
"Electric One!" the orange Lupess called impatiently. Andover
groaned inwardly. "Electric One, are you coming?" she asked.
"Uh, no. I think I'll stick it out here tonight,"
the electric Lupe answered uneasily as the tribe of 'Purest Lupes' made their
way back to their clearing.
"Okay, your choice." The Lupess smiled without
emotion and bounded after her tribe.
"What do you want, Electric One?" a mocking
voice asked him. Andover peered nervously around as a striped Lupess came out
of the surrounding trees. "Should I bow down?" she sneered.
Andover, immediately defensive, bared his teeth
at her. "What do you want?" he snarled.
"I'm the one asking the questions. I thought
the Purest didn't ask questions."
"I'm not one of those brainwashed freaks," Andover
said, letting his snarl slide into a smirk. "They don't even have names."
"What is your name then, oh Electric One?" the
Lupess asked relentlessly. She obviously did not believe him.
"Look, all those Lupes are solid colors. Am
I a solid color? No. I'm not 'Pure' as they say. My pack elder sent me here
to investigate the 'Purest' tribe's actions and report back to him in case they
come to the plains."
The striped Lupess's features immediately softened.
"You're a plains Lupe?" she asked uncertainly, a small look of awe and respect
crawling over her pretty face.
"Yes, I am," Andover replied firmly. "And I'd
appreciate you not judging me like that."
Andover got the feeling he'd said the wrong
thing, because her posture immediately became wary again.
"Pure Ones don't judge," she said, as though
reciting from memory. "Purests hate judgment."
Andover sighed and sat down, smiling. "You sure
are a suspicious Lupess aren't you? I'll take it you aren't a plains Lupe then."
"What's your name?" she asked, coming over to
sit in front of him. She cocked her head curiously.
"I'm Kit. Not a plains Lupe, no. I live here
on the Island. I have all my life with my mother until she was killed by those
'Purests'. That's when this whole thing started and some of the Lupes that were
'Pure' rebelled because the 'Purest Lupes' were supposed to be flawless - and
that included not killing one another. I would know. I used to be a Purest myself,"
she said, sighing.
"But you're a striped Lupe." Andover furrowed
his eyebrows, confused.
Kit's soft blue eyes smiled at him. "This is
my original color. I was born striped. When the 'Pure One' took me in, he sent
me to the lab ray - that's a scary place, trust me - and I went in and out of
that thing every day until he had me painted a solid color. I looked horrible
as a pink Lupess, let me tell you. I don't know how many times I've been dragged
in and out of that lab before I was painted again…" she trailed off with a shudder
and laid down on the soft dirt floor of the forest, resting her chin on her
baby blue paws.
"So how did you get back to your original color?"
asked the electric Lupe. He was even more confused now. This didn't make sense.
"Oh, I stayed with some people for a few years,
and they nursed me back to health after the 'Pure One' tried to kill me and
they bought me a striped paint brush and painted me to my regular color again.
They were really kind to me and in the end I was pretty sad to leave them. I'm
sort of like a plains Lupe, I guess. I'm a bit more like an Islander, I suppose.
I keep to myself and I live in a cave off the coast."
Andover finally felt the fatigue threaten to
overtake him. In the last four days, he'd learned from his pack's oldest elder
that he was the next Chosen One - an all-knowing special Lupe that was considered
to be of the highest respects; he'd saved a reckless Lupe pup from a raging
fire; spent three days trying to recover from his horrific burns and scrapes;
learned from Gammot (the oldest elder) that he had to come to Mystery Island
to investigate a lethal group of Lupes that could kill him; received a small
leather drawstring pouch which contained some money, a special gem that had
belonged to his father and was made by Fyora herself that was supposed to protect
him, and a letter which he wasn't allowed to read unless he was on his death
bed; taken a very long journey to the Island; caught up with these 'Purest Lupes'
and met a strikingly pretty orange Lupess who showed no interest in him at all
- or in anything else for that matter; watched a small battle between these
'Purest Ones' and a group of rebelling Lupes and other assorted neopets; and
now he had met Kit who seemed to want to share her life story with him for no
reason at all. He had had a pretty exhausting time lately.
Kit's soothing voice became blurrier and blurrier
and the tired Lupe lay down next to her and closed his eyes. She finally realized
he was falling asleep and talked softly and soothingly, crooning him into a
sweet, deep sleep.
* * *
"Wake up, Andover. Wake up quick!" Kit's soft
voice was tickling his ear as the young Lupe sat up drearily.
"What's going on?" he murmured, rubbing at his
aching paws which had been burned badly in the fire a few days earlier.
"It's the 'Pure One'. He's snooping around.
Simon has instructed us to come back to camp."
Andover followed Kit through a maze of trees
- trees he noticed had been expertly marked for trails by small scratch marks
in the trunk (but you wouldn't notice the marks unless you were looking for
"Who's Simon?" he yawned as they came into a
small clearing where tents of all shapes and sizes were set up. Heaps and piles
of neopets of all kinds were sleeping here and there. He smiled when he saw
three young Lupes all sleeping draped over each other like he used to sleep
with Lex when he was young. How he missed his sister now…
"He's like our pack leader only he just helps
us devise plans on how to overcome this evil that's trying to shroud us," Kit
replied, leaping over another pile of sleeping pets.
Kit led him to a small canvas tent propped up
by some sticks. "Simon?" she called softly.
A very disgruntled-looking green Kougra stuck
his head out of the tent. "What? Who's there?" he asked, looking around. His
gaze rested on Kit and Andover and his face brightened. "Ah! Yes, come in, come
Andover followed Kit into the tent and stood
there, gazing around at the small surroundings.
"Sit, sit! No need to stand!"
Andover started at the sound of the Kougra's
voice but he obediently sat down as instructed. He lazily scratched at an itch
while he waited for Kit to sit down beside him after she was through talking
softly to Simon.
I wonder how Lex is… he thought. Was his sister
okay? And what about Shaylee? Who was she hunting and goofing off with now?
And would he ever actually get to do those things with her again after assuming
his position as the Chosen One? All these thoughts ran through his head as he
watched Simon and Kit converse rapidly in hushed tones. And what were they talking
about? He wondered curiously. And why wasn't he included in their conversation?
They finally broke apart and faced him. "Andover,
we've been talking and we think you're just the Lupe for this job," Simon started.
Andover swallowed. This didn't sound good to him.
"Wh-what job?" he stammered. Now he was nervous.
He didn't have time for this!
"We need you, Andover, to lead these dimwitted
creatures to war. We've been battling it out with these Purest Ones for years
now. We need to have a final fight and we need to do it as soon as possible
- if we wait too long they'll know something is up. Brainwashed and ignorant
as they may be, they are by no means stupid. If we stop attacking, they'll figure
it out. I need a brave Lupe like you to help us get them ready for war. I need
you, Andover. I need you here," Simon said, stamping one paw against the ground
"Simon, that's very generous of you. But I can't
stay. My job is to figure out what's going on, then report back to my pack elder
and tell him so we can be ready to fight in case they come to the plains next!
I can't stay here and fight with you - let alone help you prepare for war! I'm
sorry, Simon but I can't do that," Andover said, getting up. He sighed inwardly,
thinking he had made a great argument. Of course, he'd always celebrated a bit
"No. I can't let you leave, Andover. My friends
and family are out there, risking their lives every day to keep those evil creatures
who call themselves Lupes at bay. If we were to give up, there wouldn't be a
single safe Lupe in all of Neopia. We need you, Andover. Have someone go back
to the pack for you and report to them. I can't spare you even the five days
it would take for your journey - two to get there, one to report and rest, and
two more to get back. I can't risk that. In five days those Lupes could overthrow
us with a snap of the fingers. I will send a messenger for you," Simon insisted.
His yellow eyes pleaded with the young Lupe.
Andover sat back down as he thought about this.
I have to help them. They need me. And like Kit says, I'm a plains Lupe. Even
I know that plains Lupes are tougher than these Islanders. And they do need
me. I've been in battles before, I know how to scavenge food when supplies run
short, I can make shelter out of anything - bark, grass, mud, stones - these
neopets need me and I'm going to help them defeat these evil Lupes.
Decided, the electric Lupe stood up again and
looked beyond Simon to Kit, who was sitting there, her eyes begging him to help
them. "I'll stay. But I need someone to go back to the plains and tell someone
that I won't be coming home anytime soon." If at all, he added silently
Kit smiled at him and Simon nodded. "Good choice.
I'll get someone on it right away. Kit, find this young Lupe a tent or something
to sleep in - we can't have him sleeping on the ground. Andover, come with me
and you can help me find someone to take your message back to your pack."
* * *
"I'm so worried about him, Monica. What if something
happens to him while he's out there? What if he didn't even get there? What
if the boat sank and he drowned in the middle of the ocean and we never see
him again? Monica what if -" Shaylee was cut off by the arrival of Andover's
younger sister Lex. The poor thing was beside herself with worry about her older
brother - Shaylee didn't want to add onto that any by voicing her own troubles
"Lex, what's up?" Monica asked her daughter
soothingly. "Is something the matter?"
"I miss Andover," the blue Lupess sighed softly.
"I wish he'd come home."
"Andover will be back soon," Shaylee said confidently
- more to comfort herself than Lex, though.
"What if he isn't, though? What if someone hurts
him or kidnaps him or worse - what if someone…" Lex trailed off, shuddering
at the thought of someone wanting to kill her older brother.
Shaylee sat down beside Alexis and looked down
at her. The poor thing was shaking, she was so scared for him. "Andover will
be fine. And remember, if he's not home in a month without word, Gammot will
send someone to look for him. He'll be fine. I bet he's on his way home right
now," she said confidently. She knew that last part was a lie to comfort Monica
and Lex, because she was positive that Andover was not coming home anytime soon.
She felt it. Something was up with him. He wasn't coming home this month. He
might not be home for years. What if she never saw him again?
Lex glared up at her brother's best friend.
All lies. Ever since she was just a pup, all her family and friends and elders
and everyone had been lying to her. 'It'll be fine. Nothing bad will happen.
He'll be home soon. I bet he's on his way home right now.' They were all lies.
She knew they were to make her feel better, but knowing they were lies just
made her angrier.
She looked at Shaylee in surprise as the brown
Lupess stood up. "I'm going for a walk," she said. She ran off and climbed to
the top of a tall hill where she could see everything for miles around from
the top of. If Andover was coming home soon, she'd sit here day and night just
to see him coming home. She sat down and tried to blink away the tears that
threatened to flow out of her eyes. How could he have left? Why didn't Gammot
send someone else on this mission? Why Andover? Andover's still young! Gammot
should have sent someone more experienced than him. And the real question: Why
had Andover accepted this quest in the first place? He could have said no. Why
did he leave?
Finally she couldn't stand it anymore. She lay
down on the hilltop and cried softly into her paws. He'd only been gone for
eight days but she already missed him like he'd been gone for months. What if
he never comes home?!
Suddenly, Shaylee's ever-sensitive ears picked
up some movement on the other side of the hill. She jumped up and ran half-way
down the hill and stopped to listen. It was a Lupe! She sniffed the air for
a scent but the wind was going the wrong direction. She sat down and tried not
to get excited. But she knew it had to be Andover! It had to be. No other Lupe
would come over just to say hello. He was finally coming home! After a week
of being gone, he was coming home!
She was about to call out to him when she saw
the Lupe's face. And her heart just about broke in half. It wasn't Andover.
It was a curious-looking striped Lupess, weaving her way through the tall plains
grasses. Shaylee by now wasn't sad that it wasn't Andover - she was furious.
Andover had promised he'd be home soon and she'd been positive it was him and
then this Lupess comes in and makes her worry all over again.
"What do you want?" she snarled loudly.
The Lupess jumped and looked around. "Oh, are
you Shaylee? Andover's told me a lot about you."
Shaylee's snarl disappeared. It was replaced
by a mixed look of wonder and hope and dread - like she couldn't decide to be
happy, surprised, or fearful.
"I'm Kit," the Lupess offered, coming to stand
beside her. Shaylee couldn't help but notice how pretty the Lupess was with
her baby blue fur and her light pink stripes. She was a bit taller than Lex
was and slightly smaller than Shaylee.
"Andover sent you?" she asked. Kit noticed how
shaky she looked.
"Yeah. He sent me with a message for someone
in his pack," she said. The poor brown Lupess looked on the verge of tears.
"Anyone in particular?" she asked, her voice
Kit wanted to say no, it was for whoever would
listen. But something in the Lupess's voice and eyes made her say what she did.
"Yes. He said to give the message to Shaylee and have her pass it to his sister,
mother, and Gammot," Kit lied. Shaylee smiled.
"What is it then?" she asked eagerly. Kit grimaced.
She didn't want to be the bearer of bad news here anymore than she had wanted
to come here to be messenger in the first place. But what choice did she have?
"Andover won't be coming home anytime soon.
Our friend Simon is trying to help him devise a plan to overthrow the 'Purest
Lupes' and win this war. He can't come home now. He'll be there for at least
a couple months if this doesn't work. These battles have going on for years
and now we're trying to win the final battle. We need Andover there. He's a
plains Lupe and everyone knows plains Lupes are tougher than us Islanders or
those house pets. I know you want him home, Shaylee. And believe me, he misses
you too. But we need him. He's not doing this to hurt you," Kit said when she
saw the hurt look on Shaylee's face. The Lupess sat down and bowed her head
Shaylee wanted to cry. The pain she felt coursing
through her body was so strong she wanted to lie down and die right there. Kit
had said Andover wasn't doing this to hurt her, but she felt as though her heart
was breaking all over again. How could he do this to her? No, forget her! What
about his mother and his sister? What would they have to say? She glanced up
and glared at Kit.
"Don't blame me. I'm just the messenger. Andover
knows you miss him. He misses you and Lex and Monica too. But he's not doing
this to hurt anyone. He's doing this to save all the Lupes here on the plains
- not just your pack either. If those Lupes overthrow us, then no Lupe on Neopia
will be safe from them. He'll be home as soon as he can. He might not even have
to fight. Simon needs him to help. I wish I could help you more."
Shaylee felt the tears coming. "I know," she
lied. "I understand." She didn't understand. She didn't understand why he would
do this to her! He was breaking her heart and killing her. Didn't he understand
"Will you do me a favor?" the brown Lupess asked,
her voice shaking dangerously.
"Of course," Kit said soothingly.
"T-tell Andover - tell him to be careful. Tell
him I want him home in one piece and tell him ... tell him I care about him.
And to stay safe. I miss him, Kit. I wish he was home."
Kit nodded and looked up at Shaylee. "I will.
But he knows. Trust me he knows already. And he cares about you too." And with
that the striped Lupess turned tail and scampered back through the grasses and
Shaylee sighed. She couldn't believe Andover wasn't coming home. She just couldn't
believe it. And yet … she'd known it all along.
To be continued...