Werelupe Chronicles: The Search - Part Two
Marion woke up to see three faces looking down at her. She seemed to be lying on a bed, or at least something quite soft. Well, that was an improvement to the hard surfaces she had slept on for the last month. Too bad that she didn’t recognise anything around her.
She jumped as she became aware of that, and shot up, but soon sank back down again, clutching the side of her head. She could feel a big bruise coming on there.
“Ah, she’s awake,” one of the faces said. Awake? Marion was sure she hadn’t just been sleeping...
“Do we send her to the King now?” Couldn’t someone just tell her what’s going on?
“Yes, we should,” the third person said. “I think the other two are still awaiting judgement.”
“Hey, you.” The first pet spoke again. “You are going to be brought before the King. Speak only when you are spoken to, and don’t forget to curtsy.”
Marion gave a weak nod of her head, which sent a jolt of pain through her. One of the pets, she realised they were all Lupes, helped her gently to stand up. Her bare paws were cold on the stone floor, so she got moving, trying not to move her head too much.
Flick couldn’t stand still. He fidgeted until he and Psellia were brought in before the King.
“Your Majesty, we found these children on the south cliff,” one of the guards said as he bowed to a Lupe standing at the front of the hall. Out of the corner of his eye, he glared at Flick until he did a sort of bow-type-thing. Looking up again, he saw an immensely tall white Lupe standing before him. Flick hated to think how tall he would be if he stood up on his hind paws.
But something about this Lupe made him stop. He looked familiar...
“I believe there was a third one?” The Lupe’s voice was very deep and slow, almost like... but it couldn’t be...
Flick was too busy thinking of where he had seen him before when Psellia spoke up.
“Yes. But then one of your guards hit Marion over the head and knocked her out cold.” Psellia narrowed her eyes.
Someone cleared their throat from the entrance to the hall. Everyone looked at the Lupe who had caused it, who stepped aside to reveal a very dozy looking Marion. She gingerly walked forward and curtsied to the King, a move which sent her head spinning.
“My apologies, young lady,” the Lupe said kindly. “I keep trying to tell my guards about the need to treat ladies politely.”
Marion smiled slightly and bowed her head. That didn’t stop it from hurting, though, she thought.
“Well, as you have no doubt already noticed, we have a slight problem as to where you are going to stay.”
“Please, sir, we’ve got nowhere else to go,” Psellia piped up again.
“I can see that. I can also see that you have travelled very far, and it is getting late. My people tend to prefer the night time, but you need your sleep. We will pursue the matter next morning. Guards, please take these young pets to a room in the castle.”
Psellia and Marion were sharing a room. Or rather, an apartment.
“Are you ok?” Psellia asked as Marion groaned and rubbed her sore head.
“Yeah, it’s just a bit sore,” Marion moaned and sat down slowly on her bed. “What was that all about, anyway?”
“Dunno, really.” Psellia shrugged. “Flick seemed kind of weird, though.”
“He did? I never noticed.”
“Yeah, he never said a single word while we were in front of the King. Usually he can’t stop talking.”
Marion yawned. She rested her head against the pillow and dozed off.
Before Psellia settled down, she hopped over to the window and looked out across the town. Watching the Lupes go about their business, she suddenly remembered something.
They were in Werelupe Forest.
So why weren’t there any Werelupes?
Flick looked around his room. It was tiny. He had caught a glimpse of the girls’ room as they walked past; it was way bigger than this one. It just wasn’t fair.
Sighing, Flick flopped down onto the bed and stared out of the window thinking about the King. He reminded him of his father, but it couldn’t be him. It couldn’t...
The next morning, Flick woke late, as usual. Even at this late hour, he only woke up because someone was hammering at his door. Deciding that morning came too early for his own good, Flick got out of bed and opened the door.
When he opened the door, he got such a shock that he stumbled back into his room. In front of him was standing a real, live Werelupe!
It didn’t move to attack him, though. Instead, it just pointed down the corridor and growled something which sounded like ‘breakfast’. After regarding Flick for a moment, it headed off into the other direction, probably to get its own breakfast.
Flick didn’t move. Only until he was quite sure the coast was clear did he venture out of the room, wondering what on Neopia happened to the Lupes from last night.
Psellia and Marion woke early. Well, Psellia did, and shook Marion awake when someone knocked on the door.
“Hey, Marion,” she hissed. “Someone’s at the door.”
“Can’t you get it? My head hurts,” Marion groaned, squeezing her eyes tight shut. Psellia hit her shoulder.
“I’m getting it, I’m getting it,” Marion muttered darkly, only half opening her eyes. She dropped out of bed and stumbled over to the door, where she stood up on two paws to reach the door knob. As soon as she had it open, she dropped back onto four paws, her preferred way of walking.
Through her sleep, Marion didn’t register what she saw. Outside was a Werelupess, wearing a tattered uniform.
“Oh, hi there, come in if you want,” Marion muttered sleepily as she kicked the door shut after her.
As the Werelupess got past Marion, Psellia let out a very high-pitched scream.
“Well, that certainly woke me up,” Marion said, shaking her head when the screaming had stopped. It was probably a good thing that she was taller than the Werelupess; it made her feel... big.
The Werelupess looked quite alarmed at Psellia’s screaming, but carried on doing what she was doing. Which was apparently getting some dresses out of the large wardrobe at the end of the room. Once she had enough, she came over to the two pets and placed them on Marion’s bed.
“She wants us to try them on.” Marion nudged Psellia and pointed at the dresses. “Ooh, I like this one!”
Only once Marion had tried on a deep blue glittery dress did Psellia dare try one on herself. She just grabbed the nearest one and hurriedly tried it on. She only noticed what it looked like when she spotted Marion trying to stifle laughter. She looked down at herself and saw that she had on a bright pink frilly dress.
“Hm, I don’t think I like this one,” she said, and started laughing too. By now, even the Werelupess was laughing, and soon, all three of them were practically rolling around on the floor.
Flick was sitting on a table in the corner of a vast hall, as far away as possible from the Werelupes who were all over the place. If he hadn’t felt so lost, he would have tried to find Marion and Psellia’s room. But he didn’t know where exactly it was, so he decided not to try his luck.
Flick stared down at the bowl of soup he had. It was very lumpy, and the bread he got to go with it was very dry. Gingerly, he scooped a bit of soup onto his bread and took a bite.
It was so bad he nearly choked trying to swallow it.
But he was hungry, so he ate a bit more.
“Heya!” Flick started as Marion and Psellia slid into the seats opposite him.
“What happened to you? You look as if a pack of meepits got you,” Psellia said, placing her own bowl onto the table.
“Mm,” Flick mumbled vaguely. “You two look exactly the opposite.”
“Yeah, early this morning, I made an amazing discovery,” Marion said happily. “I discovered that Psellia is scared of answering the door.” Marion ducked as Psellia threw her bread at her.
“Yup. And then, after she had pulled me out of bed, I opened the door and found... a monster!” Psellia nodded wisely at this. Flick’s eyes widened in shock.
“It was the maid service.” Psellia nodded again.
“A Werelupess. Should have heard the scream that came from Psellia! My ears will never be the same again.” Marion twitched one ear. “Anyway, she came in (the Werelupess, I mean) and got out all these wonderful dresses!” Marion threw her arms up into the air.
“So we had so much fun trying them all on. Marion tried on, like, fifty before she found the one she’s got on now.”
Marion crossed her arms in a mock pout. She had finally settled for a deep crimson dress that trailed on the floor slightly. The sleeves were slightly too long, too - but Marion didn’t mind.
“Well, it beats trying on the dress that you had on,” Marion said pointing her spoon evilly at Psellia.
“Yeah, well, I just grabbed the first one I came to,” Psellia muttered.
“What was it like?” Flick laughed.
“You dare!” Psellia hissed at Marion, who rolled her eyes.
“Well... Putting it mildly, it was pink and had... a couple... of frills on it,” Marion said vaguely.
Flick chuckled as Marion dodged Psellia’s angry swipe.
“So anyway, how was your morning?” Psellia asked glaring at Marion while fishing around in her soup.
“Not so good,” Flick said glumly. “First, I get woken up really early, and then I get scared half to death when I see a Werelupe at my door!”
“Aw,” Marion said, nibbling on some bread. Psellia totally spoiled the effect, though, by adding, “Ugh, what is this anyway?”
Marion peered at the soup.
“I believe that is spyder soup,” she said matter-of-factly. Flick and Psellia pushed their plates away in unison.
“Why won’t you eat it? You always ate it when I cooked,” Marion said innocently, her eyes wide.
Flick glared at her, while Psellia covered her mouth and ran out of the hall. Smiling sweetly, Marion ate her soup, while Flick nibbled at his bread while glaring at her darkly.
A Werelupe growled something to the King. Marion noticed that each growl sounded different, and figured it must mean something.
Marion and Psellia curtsied, while Flick bowed. When they looked up, they saw a magnificent Werelupe, his fur still white as the night before. But that was about the only thing that hadn’t changed. An idea began to form in Psellia’s mind, but she would have to think it over a bit more...
“So. We must now solve the problem of what happens with you lot.”
The three friends waited anxiously.
“I think it would be wise if you, Miss Psellia, were to leave this city. Some of my people can get a bit... edgy... towards different species.” Psellia looked up, her eyes already full of tears, and was about to protest when the King moved on.
“Now, about you two Lupes...” the King continued. Marion tried to catch Psellia’s eye, but the Pteri turned away. Tears started to form in Marion’s eyes, too.
“I suppose it wouldn’t do to send you back out into the forest. None of my people would bite cubs, but there are other tribes out there who would happily do that.”
Tears started dripping down Psellia’s cheeks. She would be banished, while her two friends would stay.
Marion felt like crying. She would miss Psellia. But surely there could be a way to let her stay?...
Flick didn’t know what he was feeling. He was sad, for losing Psellia; happy to be able to stay here; confused about the King...
“Well. I have reached me final conclusion,” the King rumbled after thinking for a while. “The Lupes will stay, the Pteri cannot.”
“But, Sir, please! You can’t send Psellia away!...” Marion started to object, but was cut off.
“That is my final answer, now please leave!”
The three friends left the hall. As soon as they got outside, Psellia flew off, and Marion ran after her, telling Flick she’d see him later.
“Great. Now what?” he muttered. Then, sticking his hands in his pockets, he went outside and plonked himself down in the castle gardens.
“Psellia! Wait!” Marion was running as fast as she could, but Psellia was flying faster. Eventually, Psellia swooped around a corner and found herself outside. In front of her was a lake, and to either side were trees. Psellia swooped down and landed next to the lake, sobbing.
“Hey... Psellia...” Marion panted as she skidded to a stop next to her friend. She sat down next to her. For a while neither of them said anything, but gradually Psellia stopped crying.
“I don’t want to leave.” She sniffed. “And you’re such good friends, too!”
“I’m sorry,” was all Marion said, and when Psellia started crying again, she leaned over and hugged her. They stayed like that for a long time until Psellia stopped crying again.
Tioryn frowned. Had he done the right thing, sending the Pteri away? But he couldn’t risk anyone biting her, not when she was obviously a friend of the young Lupe, Flick.
Flick. He had once had a son called Flick. This young Lupe reminded him so much of his former life, it was all but unbearable.
He wondered. Ever since he had become King of the Werelupes, he hadn’t thought about his past. But now, he had just let two Lupes stay at his castle. It was the first act of kindness that had come from him for a long time.
Tioryn wondered. No, it couldn’t possibly be him, could it? But his son Flick would never be stupid enough to come looking for him. Least of all in Werelupe Forest.
But he had to know. He had to know for sure.
“Guards, get Dixie for me,” he growled in Werelupe language.
That night, Psellia was ‘escorted from the town’, as the King told Flick and Marion. They had both said goodbye earlier.
Now they had each been given a room in the castle, and Flick was sitting on the windowsill, thinking.
A knock on the door jolted him out of his reverie. Before he could tell them to come in, the door creaked open to reveal a greying Werelupess.
“Yes?” Flick asked as she stepped into his room.
“King Tioryn has sent me to find out how you got here. I’ve just been asking your friend the same thing.”
“Tioryn?” Flick asked in disbelief. It couldn’t really be him... “Yes, well, I come from the Haunted Woods, from a house right next to Werelupe Forest. I just sort off walked here, I guess.”
“Right. Any family?”
“My mum, Lani Vellis,” Flick said. “And there would be my dad, Tioryn Vellis, but he disappeared six years ago.”
“Well, thank you,” The Werelupess said. “That would be all I need to know.”
“Why do you need to know, anyway?” Flick asked curiously.
“Records,” she said vaguely. “Now, I really must leave. Good night.”
“Night,” Flick said and turned back to the window. Dixie hesitated before she left the room. She studied the back of Flick’s ear, and, sure enough, there was the thin white scar Tioryn had told her to look out for.
Well, he would certainly be pleased with this, Dixie thought as she returned the throne room to report.
Flick was thinking again, harder than ever. By now, he was pretty sure that the King was his father - but how could he? On the other paw, everything about him was like Flick remembered him... minus the Werelupe part, Flick corrected himself. Before he went to bed, one final thought ran through his head.
I will ask him. Tomorrow.
A distant howl cut through the night. As Flick sat up, he heard another howl, this time much closer. Standing up, he realised that he was still in his clothes of yesterday. Judging by the moon’s position, it must have been around midnight.
Flick quietly slipped out of his room, and walked past Marion’s room next door. He needed to get outside for a bit.
Once outside, Flick felt much better. The cold night air cleared his head of thoughts that had kept the sleep away.
Walking round the castle gardens, Flick discovered the lake where Marion and Psellia had sat earlier that day. Now, there was a tall Werelupe there, standing tall at the water’s edge. Flick recognised him as the King.
He flicked an ear back and turned his head to see Flick standing there, watching him. He nodded his head and Flick came to stand next to him.
“It really isn’t a good idea for young Lupes like you to be staying near this many Werelupes,” Tioryn rumbled quietly. He didn’t look at Flick again, but watched as a lone Pteri flew above the trees.
“Then why didn’t you just send us back into that forest, like you did to our friend?” Flick snapped angrily. Almost as soon as he said it, he regretted talking like that to the obviously powerful Werelupe. But the King stayed silent. Flick was about to ask if he had once been called Tioryn Vellis, but the King interrupted him before he got a chance to speak.
“There are a lot more dangerous Werelupes out in the forest,” Tioryn said. When he saw that Flick was about to say something else, he got annoyed.
“And that’s the end of it. Go back inside, I don’t want to talk to you any longer.”
Flick lowered his head. After a moment’s hesitation, he swiftly turned and strode back to his room, annoyed that he hadn’t been able to ask. As he left, the white Lupe heard a howl come from behind him. He suddenly looked up, and his yellow eyes glinted in the moonlight. He had reached his decision.
I will learn to speak this Werelupes language, he thought. And someday, I’ll find out for sure.