Where there's a Weewoo, there's a way Circulation: 90,555,820 Issue: 165 | 5th day of Storing, Y6
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Savak: The Medallion - Part Two


by zephandolf

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Through the fading light, Savak could just see the tops of the trees of the Haunted Forest. The sun was drawing closer to the horizon, and Savak was starting to wonder how much longer he could run. He was tired. He was hungry. It was a long way between Neopia Central and the Haunted Forest. The young Lupe was a bit surprised about how quickly he covered the distance. But, now that the forest was in sight, he started to wonder where the pack was exactly.

     At the top of yet another hill, Savak stopped, nearly collapsing with exhaustion. Panting, he looked around him. Aside from the forest to the west, there were endless hills all around him. The pack could be anywhere. It was all he could do to keep himself together. After a short rest, Savak pushed himself to his paws. Yelling for the pack would be useless. If they weren't nearby, they wouldn't hear him. A howl carried much farther. The only problem was, Savak had never howled before. But he knew he couldn't run for much longer. He had to try. Taking a deep breath, Savak lifted his nose to the sky, and sang a single, lonely note.

     It came naturally enough. He was surprised how easy it was, and how easily he could change the tone. Ceasing his howling, Savak listened closely for an answering howl. When none came, he howled again, the same, lonely note.

     "Savak!"

     Savak cut his call short when he heard his name. He turned around to see, far to the northeast, a single Lupe standing at the top of another hill. It was Kosek! Nearly overcome with relief, Savak ran to Kosek. Sure, the Lupe distrusted him. But if he was here, Jessie and Gerthen had to be too! When he reached Kosek at the top of his hill, he spotted the other two Lupes crouched at the bottom, eating the catch of the day: a few small rodents.

     "Savak!" Kosek said when the young Lupe made it up the hill. "What…Where's Murgoh?"

     For a moment, Savak just looked down the hill at the scraps of food piled between Jessie and Gerthen. He hadn't had a bite to eat for days. But he had more pressing matters to deal with. Shaking thoughts of food from his head, he turned to Kosek.

      "Murgoh's caught in a trap!" he exclaimed. He sprang impatiently toward the north. "That way, not far from Neopia Central!"

     "A trap?" Jessie asked, running up the hill, Gerthen at her side, munching on the remnants of his dinner. "What kind of trap?"

     "A-a cage!" Savak said. "I couldn't get him out. It came up out of the ground and trapped him inside!"

     "Where is he?" Gerthen asked after swallowing his mouthful of rodent.

     "Like I said," Savak said. "To the north."

     "Take us there."

     * * *

     The Neopian Plains were cast in the dim light of a half moon. The sun had long since dipped below the horizon by the time the pack reached Murgoh's cage. Savak stood aside, shifting impatiently from paw to paw as Jessie examined the cage. After circling it three times, she sighed sadly and sat down in front of her trapped leader.

     "I don't see how I can get it open," she said. "I think it's locked shut."

     "So he's at the mercy of whoever put that thing there?" Gerthen asked.

     "I'm afraid so," Jessie replied. "And from the scent of this cage, Murgoh wasn't the only Lupe to be caught in this thing."

     Looking uneasy, Kosek padded closer to the cage. "So what do we do now?" he asked. "Do we leave him here?"

     "We can't!" Savak exclaimed. "He's the leader! We need him!"

     "Savak," Murgoh said calmly. "There's nothing you can do for me. There are times when life moves on, and leadership passes from one to another." With that, the white Lupe removed the medallion from around his neck. As Savak watched, Murgoh's fur stared changing color! Slowly, it faded from white, to silver, then to a graying red.

     "Wha…how…?" Savak started. He was interrupted by a deafening sound. Before Savak knew what was happening, Kosek fell to the ground, a small tube sticking out of his side! Another shot rang in the air and Gerthen collapsed.

     "Tranquilizer guns!" Jessie exclaimed. "Savak, run!"

     The young Lupe did so without hesitation. He cleared the first hill before he heard another shot. He could only imagine Jessie falling to the ground. For a moment, he considered going back. But he realized such a move would be pointless. He had to get away unless he wanted to be caught as well.

     At the crest of the next hill, Savak spotted the river he and Murgoh crossed earlier. If he could cross that, he could probably get away. The problem was he had to get there first. He didn't look, but Savak could hear he was being followed.

     Another shot rang as he approached the river, and the young Lupe felt a sharp pain in his neck. A moment later, he started feeling drowsy. The river was just ahead. He lumbered forward, never stopping. He couldn't keep his eyes open. He felt that he lost his footing. As he fell, he felt something envelop him. His hearing was muffled. He couldn't breathe. But he couldn't do anything about it. He no longer had the strength to move, and all he could do was sleep as he felt himself carried along in the current of the river.

     * * *

     Coughing and sputtering, Savak pushed himself wearily to his paws. He could barely stand, but he was alive! Opening his eyes, he found himself glaring to the east at a rising sun. It was morning.

     Shaking himself, Savak tried to collect his thoughts. Last night's events were foggy, but it was all coming back to him. Murgoh's cage. The tranquilizer darts. The river. At this point, it was obvious he fell in the river and drifted downstream. Who knows how far he drifted before he was deposited on the bank. And now, here he was, a single red Lupe, alone on the Neopian plains, with only half a clue as to where he was.

     Sighing sadly, with his wet fur spiked out all over the place, Savak started the long trek upstream. Hopefully, he could find where he fell into the river before noon, and then find his way back to the cage, if it was still there.

     As he walked, Savak had plenty of time to think. The future of the pack looked grim. As far as he could tell, he was the only member who wasn't captured last night, and he didn't know who was capturing Lupes, or why, or even where they were taking them. Then when he fully realized what all this meant to him, it was all he could do to keep himself together. For the first time in his life, Savak was truly alone, with no one to run to for help.

     Angrily, the young Lupe shook these thoughts from his head and trudged on. He had to find a way to find the others. Gerthen, Kosek, Murgoh, and especially Jessie. He was still in this determined state of mind in midmorning when he finally caught stale traces of his scent on the riverbank. It was mixed with a scent he'd never smelled before, possibly his pursuer. Savak smiled briefly. He'd found where he fell in much sooner than he'd expected.

     Turning from the river, Savak followed his scent trail across the hills to where Murgoh's cage was. When he reached the crest of the last hill, Savak sat down, gazing sadly at an empty dip in the landscape. He knew it would probably be gone long before he got there. After all, who would tranquilize three Lupes and capture a fourth in a cage just to leave them all behind?

     More weary than he was before, Savak nearly stumbled down the hill, hoping to find a trail he could follow. At the bottom, the young Lupe started circling around, hunting for any traces of metal scents, Lupe scents, or even that scent he couldn't identify. The fact was, along with those scents, he detected several more he'd never smelled before. They were all confusing, but he was sure that they were all probably the scents of his pack's captors.

     Then, unexpectedly, Savak found himself standing over a glinting piece of yellow metal. It was Murgoh's medallion! He must have dropped it when they dragged the cage away. Immediately, Savak knew he could never leave this behind. This was the pack's symbol of leadership. They needed this medallion. Ruefully, Savak realized that, being the oldest member of the pack not captured, he was now the leader. The thought saddened him. But how else was he going to carry the medallion unless he put it on? If anything, he could give it back to Murgoh when he found him.

     With a little patience, and a great deal of determination, Savak finally managed to nose the gold chain over his head. Once it was on, the young Lupe barely noticed his pricking fur as he yawned, his body stating his exhausted state. Savak couldn't imagine going any farther without getting a few winks of sleep. And considering where he was, here was as good a spot as any to get some rest. Circling around, Savak curled up where he was, and tucking his nose into his chest, he quickly fell into a restful slumber.

     If he had been more awake, Savak would have noticed that his fur was paling from a rusty red to pure white.

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Savak: The Medallion - Part One
» Savak: The Medallion - Part Three
» Savak: The Medallion - Part Four
» Savak: The Medallion - Part Five
» Savak: The Medallion - Part Six
» Savak: The Medallion - Part Seven
» Savak: The Medallion - Part Eight



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