Highrock Pack History Songs: Song for Three Voices - Part Four
Where on Neopia could Will have gotten too?
Kris sighed, his tail twitching anxiously. When night had fallen, Lou had started to get aggravated with the split Lupe. When two days had passed, he had been enraged. Now a week had gone by, and Lou was getting worried.
“I think I might have really made him mad this time. Usually he’s back by nightfall on the third day. Kris, you’ve got wings, could you go look for him for me?” the gothic boy had pleaded.
How could Kris object? Will was his foster-brother after all. They were roughly the same age, and both had been adopted from the pound by Lou. Though they were as different as day and night, Kris still had a deep bond with Will.
Now he was flying over the jungle. Reason said that this was where his foster brother would head, given Will's infatuation with wild life. With any luck, Kris would find him before he got himself into too much trouble.
Seeing a village below, Kris dove towards it, landing on a rock just outside it. Jumping down from the rock, he trotted into the village, hoping to learn something of use there. Most of the locals gave him looks of surprise and veiled suspicion. Having been painted Darigan for years, Kris was accustomed to this, especially from Royal pets.
A bent old woman leaning on a walking stick came towards Kris, flanked on either side by a Tyrannian pet. She croaked, “Welcome to the village of Tyco. I am Headwoman Sybil. This Aisha is Councilor Sarah, and the Uni is Councilor Merlin. We don’t get strangers here often. I bid you welcome, so long as you intend no harm to the Neopians here.”
Kris bowed respectfully to the woman. “My name is Kris. I am only passing through. I’m looking for my brother, who disappeared a week ago.”
The Aisha on the woman’s left pricked all four of her ears in interest. “Your brother, you say?” she asked in a voice cracked with age. Councilor Sarah walked towards him, her claws clicking on the gravel road. “Your brother wouldn’t happen to also be a Lupe, would he?” she asked.
Feeling a surge of excitement, Kris nodded. “Yes. He’s a split Lupe, and he’s got a studded collar on.”
“Hmm,” the old Aisha said, fiddling with her “A” pendant. “Merlin, wasn’t Troy telling you that he was waylaid by a Lupe on his way to the dome?”
The old Uni nodded. “Aye, that he was. Could be that this is the same Lupe.” The Uni turned his eyes towards Kris. “Troy is a Tyrannian Ixi. He’s likely to be in the square, buying weapons. If you talk to him, he might be able to help you.”
Kris nodded. After getting detailed directions from Sybil, he stood up, intent on finding this Troy character. A flash of purple in the corner of his eye stopped him. He looked, and to his surprise, saw a small flask half buried under the rock. Inside it was a dark faerie.
Ordinarily Kris was opposed to dark faeries, but he also disliked Balthazar’s practice of stuffing them in bottles. Overcome by compassion, Kris dug out the bottle. He checked both ways to ensure that no one was watching, then pulled the cork out of the bottle. The tiny purple faerie whizzed out of the bottle, and glared at the Lupe, hands on her hips.
“You could have left me,” she hissed. “It humiliates me to be helped by one such as you. Still... You did help me, and just this once I will respond with compassion.” She closed her eyes, and waved her hands. Kris felt an ominous flash of energy fill his body, and jerked in surprise. The dark faerie snapped, “I’ve given you the dark skill Drain Life. Use it to drain the energy of your enemies and make it your own. Now get out of my face.” She flew off without another word.
Kris snorted. “So much for gratitude.”
* * * * *
“So you’re sure it was a faerie Lupe?” Kris asked, his ears drooping.
The Ixi nodded his great shaggy head. “She had the wings, sure enough. Musta been one of those wild Lupes I’ve been hearing about. She was probably trying to keep me out’a her pack’s territory.” He sighed. “I’ll have to find a different route to get to the Stone Dome now. No way I’m goin’ to take on an entire pack o’ them savages.”
Kris blinked in surprise. “Pack? There aren’t any wild pack Lupes anymore, are there?”
The Ixi laughed deep in his belly. “You must be a city boy. O’ course there’s wild Lupes still. Why do ya think that the pound’s full o’ Lupes?”
Kris took a deep breath, his mind racing. If there were wild Lupes, than surely his brother would go directly to them. Wily as Will was, he’d find out before too long that his “ancestors” were still alive and well, deep in the jungle.
The Darigan Lupe said, “Can you tell me where the pack’s territory is? I have a hunch that my brother might have gone that way.”
The Ixi snorted. “If he did, he’s toast. I’m a seasoned Battledome champion, and I still got flattened, rolled up, and tossed aside.”
Kris shook his head. “Still.”
Troy sighed. “I can see that you’re determined. Very well, I’ll take you too the edge of their territory. After that, you’re on your own.”
* * * * *
Kris had never been in such a dense forest. Having left Troy at least a good mile back, he was well within what was apparently the territory of a wild Lupe pack. So far, though, he had found no traces of anyone else anywhere around.
Suddenly, he heard an unfamiliar voice. Cautiously, he slunk towards it, every muscle tensed in readiness to flee. Peering around a tree, he gasped. There was Will.
However, he wasn’t alone. There was a white Lupe with him. The stranger had heard Kris’s gasp, and immediately spun around and leapt. Unable to react quickly enough, Kris found himself pinned by a white Lupe with scruffy, unkempt fur and a feral look in his eyes.
Kris had found the wild Lupe pack, and his brother. Unfortunately, it looked like he was in more trouble than before.
Will yelped, “Kris! What are you doing here?”
The white chuckled. “So you two know each other? Good, it’ll make thrashing you for trespassing all the sweeter.”
Kris struggled in vain to escape the Lupe’s grip. “Please! I’m just here to fetch my brother home! Let us go!”
“What!” Will snarled. “Fetch me home? I’m not going. That place is not my home.” He looked at the white Lupe. “I have long felt the stirrings of my wild instincts within me. I wish to join your pack.”
Kris said, “Will, no! Lou misses you! Seth and Yukimi too! You can’t just leave us like this!” The Darigan Lupe tried franticly to get out from under the white Lupe, fully expecting the feral Neopet to launch himself at Will and punish him for his impudence.
However, he was astonished to see the wild Lupe’s eyes glint with interest. “You want to join the Dragon Canyon Pack, do you?”
Will nodded, his eyes alight with excitement. The white Lupe’s eyes narrowed. “Tell me, were you born wild?”
Will looked surprised, and frowned, “I... I don’t know. I was adopted from the pound by my owner when I was just a pup. I don’t remember anything before the pound.” He turned his head to the side in embarrassment. Kris was surprised to see a scrap of red cloth tucked under his collar. Where had that come from?
The white Lupe seemed equally shocked to see it, because he let go of Kris and darted towards Will. “Where did you get that?” he demanded.
The split Lupe blinked in surprise, “I... I found it in the canyon. It seemed special somehow, so I decided to take it with me.”
Kris frowned. He didn’t understand what his brother meant. It seemed like an ordinary enough, slightly threadbare bit of fabric. Something about its smell was vaguely familiar, but it seemed ordinary otherwise. The wild Lupe, however, nodded.
“Indeed, it is very special. It is a sacred item in our pack, but it was lost when our previous leader perished in a fire years ago.” He looked at Will excitedly. “At the same time he was lost, his son also was believed to have expired. However, recently we have come to believe that he might have survived.”
Kris frowned. Something about this story disturbed him. Or was it just the look in the wild Lupe’s eyes? There was look of pure greed in his golden eyes. It frightened Kris.
Will, however, was oblivious to this. He was drinking up the story like a sponge, looking excited, and desperate. The wild Lupe smiled. “I am White, the leader of this pack. I believe that you are our lost pack mate, Venom Of Striking Cobrall.”
Will’s eye’s widened with glee. He nodded franticly, saying, “It makes sense. It explains why I have never felt at ease in the life of a pet.” He gave a little skip, “Oh, please let me join your pack!”
White smiled. “I will, but first you must pass a test of loyalty.”
“Anything!” Will yowled. “I’ll do anything!”
White smiled. “You must attack this Darigan. Drive him from our territory. He does not belong here.”
Will froze. He looked at Kris is confusion, unsure of what to do. The Darigan Lupe said, “Please brother. Please, come home.”
Suddenly, the split Lupe snarled, eyes flashing with rage, “I am home.” He spat, and leapt, claws outstretched, fangs bared...
To be continued...