Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 175,957,813 Issue: 355 | 15th day of Hiding, Y10
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A New Hero


by aerenity

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His eyes narrowed threateningly as he paced before me. He was terrifying in his grandeur, his huge semi-transparent form wavering in the air in front of me. His heavy paws barely touched the ground, giving him the illusion of being naught but an image, a treacherous fog throwing deceptive images at those caught off guard. But as he growled disdainfully in my direction, I knew he was as real as the ground beneath my hoofs.

     His menacing red eyes leered at me, almost daring in their cold demeanour; his coat was shining proudly in the light. A cold sweat exploded over my entire body, and my eyes met those of my owner, alerting her to the panic and fear I felt in my pounding heart. My eyes pleaded at her to surrender, to withdraw me from this hopeless battle.

     But instead, she smiled reassuringly, dropping to one knee and cradling my shaken form to her comforting body. I shivered, as her warmth counteracted with the freezing terror of my being. I tried not to whimper as she released me, murmuring words of comfort into my unhearing ears. The blood pounded in my head as we took up our positions, readying ourselves for the eminent battle. I spared a glance at my opponent, but he was unaffected, perfectly calm and confident in his immense power.

     As the referee readied his whistle, I stared back forlornly at my trainer, but saw only trust and hope in her eyes, hardening my faltering resolve. This fight could be my downfall, but I would fight on until I could fight no longer, in order to earn the love and respect my owner had given me since the moment I was born.

     The whistle interrupted my thoughts as the Ghost Lupe leapt at me, his lethal claws striking my chest, leaving huge red welts down my front. Snarling, he turned ready to run at me again. I was frozen in shock, as his seemed to glide over the air towards me, his misty form hard to focus on. Soon he was within a few steps, and I heard my trainer cry out in alarm.

     “Minukoto, remember your Ice Club! Fierce attack, don’t let him get you again!” she ordered.

     Of course, my Ice Club! It had been bought to serve me alone, for this undeniable purpose. I snatched the glittering object with my teeth and felt a chill go through me.

     My musings were short-lived, as heavy footsteps reminded me of the fight at hand, and turning I met the Ghost Lupe’s charge with equal intensity. The ice club battered his frame, freezing him and unfreezing him in mere seconds, as his body crashed against mine, tossing me to the side like a ragdoll. My limbs ached, and I felt my legs wobble as I lifted myself from the ground. But I gritted my teeth and stood tall, readying myself for his next attack. But as I glanced over, I saw him trying to rise where I had hit him, his shine vanished and weariness seeping from his form. I could almost smell victory, as I spurred on my wasted legs, and my trainer called her final command.

     “Jump and attack! Quickly while he's down,” she shouted in anticipation, and my heart rose gladly as I raced towards my still struggling nemesis. I remembered the joyous smile I had been greeted with at my birth, the wonder and happiness in my trainer’s eyes as she had seen me. I remembered all the wonderful gifts she had given me, and the thrilling adventures we had undertaken.

     With these thoughts in mind, my club smashed into the Ghost Lupe’s jaw, and my hoofs battered his already weakened legs. He fell to the ground with a loud thump, his eyes closed and breathing laboured. His body lay limp and unmoving as I looked on in hope. Then the referee blew the whistle, signifying my victory and as my trainer raced to embrace me I felt fierce and proud. It was in that moment that I finally knew. With love by my side, I could take on the world; there was no enemy strong enough to withstand me. In my trainer’s arms I felt safe and warm, and nothing was going to take the perfect feeling of pride from within me.

     * * * * * *

     How far do you go when using your lovable Neopet to win a battle? How do you distinguish between what is a fair expectation of them and what is undoubtedly an unnecessary danger to their health? I’ve always been one to consider my precious Minukoto’s feelings – after all, we do absolutely everything together. Whether it be going to the beach, buying some new clothes or participating in a new and exciting game, it’s always been just me and her. However, when it comes to the Battledome, or even the notorious Lab Ray, how do we know that what we are doing is inevitably the best for our pet?

     The Ghost Lupe is just another of those villains invading our near-perfect Neopian world – wreaking havoc and ruining the fun of others. Your everyday pet owner realises that there are people out there who are willing to put a stop to such impertinent actions. I’d heard the stories and circulating rumours of how Simi the Chia and his pet Tigermouse moved into a new house, only to be scared out of it by a creature who takes pleasure in petrifying others. I felt that it was time that I, too, stood up as a Defender of Neopia. Judge Hog warned me of my opponent’s power, being sure to inform me that I needed to be careful.

     Well, really, it all came down to Minukoto. I’d spent time training and nurturing her, but she was far off being fully grown at a legendary status. My feelings of doubt became almost overpowering as I began to ready her for the certain challenge. But why should I doubt her ability? I needed to put my trust in her; it was just what she deserved.

     So that’s how this day came about, as I stand here and keep alive my unwavering hope that Minukoto will come out of this battle a healthy winner. Minutes seem to go past like seconds, time just seems to fly by as I command Minukoto through her fight. And then it’s all over, just like that. She did it; she won, not only earning us a trophy for her efforts, but a shiny new avatar! My respect for her rises tenfold. She was scared, I know. How could she not be? But it is all over, and she is the hero. My Minukoto; a true Defender of Neopia.

     * * * * * *

     His weary bones finally collapse under his weight. His powers have all but evaporated. Just another battle has passed, just another battle which has brought him down on his knees. He uses the last of his strength to get slowly to his feet, and enviously watches that Moehog run delightedly back into it's master’s arms. That pet, like all those other pets that come looking to defeat him, are luckier than they could ever imagine.

     He, the infamous Ghost Lupe, has grown up without the love and care of an owner. So what if he sometimes likes to have some fun, scaring some fellow Neopets? He really does mean no harm, and feels misunderstood in this Neopian world. With one last glance at the celebrating owner and pet, he limps off to recover in his dark and ever present doom.

The End

 
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