Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 179,262,770 Issue: 440 | 23rd day of Eating, Y12
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The Werelupe Of Neovia Lake


by tyranosaurus_rampage

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Something terrible is happening at the lake. I can feel it, every night I get the same chill down my back....

***

    "Hey guys, what's up?"

     Ugh, trying to impress the popular Neopets at neoschool is so last year, but if I wanted to go on this adventure to the lost city of Neovia with them, I had to step it up. I'm Tyler, I'm a Uni, and apparently an embarrassment to the whole school.

     "Hey, Tyler how's it going?" the leader of the group, Milo, answered me first. The whole group are Lupes, ever since stepping foot into this school they've been acting like they own the place. Milo had that smug look on his face. I tried to answer him as best as I possibly could.

     "I um, got that scratch card you wanted, you know... as payment for letting me come on the trip." Without giving me another glance, he snatched the card right out of my grasp and smiled. It felt like a century after that, but finally, it was time to head home.

     As I went to exit the school, Milo stopped me. He had a shifty look in his eyes.

     "Ok, so you're coming with us tomorrow, right? As soon as you get home, start packing but only the essentials, ok?"

     As soon as he left, the question flowed out of my mouth before I even had a chance to stop it. "Neovia isn't a scary place, right?"

     He turned around and looked at me, and if I wasn't mistaken, his shifty look had turned into a look of hurt and sadness.

     "No, Tyler, it isn't. We'll be fine. Now go home and get some rest. We'll pick you up from your place at noon."

     As I was flying home, all I could think about was being accepted on this group outing. We shouldn't really be going without supervision, but I really wanted to be part of Milo's group. I got home, ran up the stairs and got out a backpack. Toothbrush, mane brush, a few books and a special charm I had obtained especially for a time like this. My lucky space faerie charm. Having finished packing, I was pretty tired. Milo had said to rest up. So, I lay down and almost immediately, fell asleep.

***

     Knock, knock, knock.

     "Go away, I want to sleep longer."

     Knock, knock, knock!

     "If I have to stomp on you I won't be afraid to do it."

     Knock, knock, knock!!

     "Ok, that's it!" Omph!

     "Owwwwww."

     Through my window came a familiar voice. "Yo, Tyler, we tried knocking but it seems you slept in."

     I looked up at him in a daze, and then it hit me. "Oh no! Have I made us late?! I can't believe I overslept. I am so sorry, Milo!" I rushed around the room frantically trying to find the backpack I had packed last night.

     "Tyler."

     "Not now, Milo, I've already made us late by sleeping in. I have to find the backpack I packed last night!"

     I put my head under my bed. A few seconds passed.

     "Tyler?" Even from under my bed I was getting impatient with Milo's continued interruptions. My voice sounded muffled from under the bed.

     "You could help me by finding my backpack, you know." It was evident that the backpack was not under my bed.

     As I got up Milo was rocking something back and forth on his tail. My backpack. I felt so stupid.

     "Oh, erm, sorry, Milo." I probably had the most sheepish look on my face then. Priceless to some.

     "We are ready to leave. Are you?" Milo looked me up and down and then smiled.

     "You know what, we'll give you a few minutes to clean up." And he left out the window. Confused as to what he might mean by that, I looked in the mirror. My face couldn't turn any more red after what I saw. I had two socks in my mane and a snorkle snout in my tail. I shook these items off and put on my backpack. Making sure the home was secure, I left by the same window Milo had. The group were waiting for me. I have only ever spoken to Milo, but this time I got introduced to the whole pack.

     "Tyler." Milo was doing the introductions.

     "This here is Pluto, Piper and Yukki." I looked at the group and smiled. Pluto was a red Lupe, Piper was a pink Lupe with a green bow on her tail, and Yukki was a Darigan Lupe. I was not sure on Milo's colour, though; I had always thought he was shadow.

     "Yes, Tyler, I am a shadow Lupe." I almost jumped into the air.

     "Milo, you can read minds?"

     "Hardly, everyone at school knows you've been asking around." The second sheepish look for the day, I think.

     "Oh, cool. Thanks for clearing that up for me, Milo."

     "Let's go." The deep, dark voice of Yukki boomed over the land. With a shiver down my back, we headed off to visit the lost city of Neovia.

***

     On the first day of travelling, we stopped for the night to rest. Milo, Yukki and Pluto were out picking berries for dinner. It was just Piper and myself setting up camp. As the flames on the camp fire blazed, I looked at Piper and she smiled back.

     "So how many days do you think it will take to reach the city?"

     She kept smiling at me and finally spoke. "This is our first night; it'll only take one more night to get there."

     I smiled back at her. I am actually really glad to be able to get to know all the group instead of just Milo. A few minutes later Yukki and Pluto returned, alone. Piper and myself exchanged looks of confusion. I decided to be the one to ask.

     "Um, Yukki, Pluto? Where's Milo?"

     Yukki practically glared at me, and Pluto just ignored my question completely.

     "That is none of your concern, young Uni. Milo is going to need the night to himself." I think that was the end of the discussion because Yukki stormed off and lay under a tree and became ever so silent. I couldn't be certain, but I thought I heard howls in the night air. Howls? It couldn't be. I shook off the feeling and looked around the camp site. Piper had fallen asleep, Yukki was reading his book Lupe Mysteries, and Pluto was star-gazing. I ate a few of the berries Yukki and Pluto had brought back and lay on a grassy patch.

     I must have fallen asleep. As I opened my eyes, the heat was intense. I jumped up, and jumped into the pool of water closest to me. Piper, Pluto and to my surprise, Yukki all laughed as I realised what had caused the heat. I glared at the small petpet that had made a home last night in my bed of grass. The little fire Sandan got up, stretched and retreated into a nearby bush.

     "He must have been cold," Pluto said with an angelic look on his face.

     "Lonely," Piper chimed in.

     "Shivering," Yukki added. I again glared at them, but couldn't keep it up for very long. We all burst into laughter. The laughter didn't continue for long; we heard a rustle in the bush and out stepped Milo. I gasped.

     "Milo... what... what happened to you?"

     He had a black eye and his fur was out of place, almost as if he'd been in a fight. Yukki took a quick glance at Milo and then myself and said, "We've got to pack up and keep moving. We've got another night to go before we reach the city. It's obviously not safe here." So, as we packed up, I promised myself I was going to get an answer out of Milo. One way or another.

     Yukki was leading the pack, with Pluto and Piper following. I made sure I was next to Milo.

     "Are you going to tell me what happened?"

     Milo winced at this question. I don't get it. What could be so bad that he couldn't tell even me?

     "You will come to understand sometime, Tyler, but now is not the time." Milo then moved forward in the pack and exchanged places with Pluto. We both gave worried looks.

     After a few hours climbing mountains and walking through forests, we came to a swamp.

     "Whoa!" I couldn't keep in my amazement. Suddenly, a witch stepped out of the swamp's hut.

     "Good evening, young ones. I've been expecting you. My name is Sophie, and yes, I'm a witch." We all exchanged worried looks, except for Milo.

     "Go with her, I have some business to attend to myself," Milo said, and abruptly took off into the dark before anyone could argue. Inside the hut, Sophie signaled us to sit down on the rug on the floor.

     "I know what you want to ask, young Tyler. But it is not my calling to tell you. It is up to you to find out and to be able to help Milo on your own." My mouth must have been hanging open, as I had to shut it pretty quickly.

     "How did you...?"

     "I told you, I'm a witch." She smiled and bent down next to me.

     "All I can tell you is that, on the evening you arrive at Neovia, be prepared." The same howls I heard last night came through the window and sent the same chill down my back. Sophie swiftly ran over to the window and closed it.

     "Get some rest, young ones. You have an early departure tomorrow."

     We all awoke at the same time that next morning. Sophie was making something in her pot, and the others were packing up. Sophie poured some lime-green liquid into a vial and handed it to me.

     "Drink this if you are unable to help Milo at any rate. I must depart now. Farewell, young ones." And in a puff of pink smoke, she was gone.

     A few seconds later, Milo burst through the hut door. I stared in horror as he looked as bad as he did last night. Along with the black eye and ruffled fur, his eyes were now blood-shot.

     "Guys," he said in barely a whisper of a voice. "We have to get to Neovia as soon as possible. We are only a few hours away. Let's go, please." We all didn't argue with Milo and hurried out of the hut, making sure we had everything. I tucked the vial of green liquid tightly into my mane, thinking that this was getting weirder by the minute.

     We were all tired by the time we reached the sign on the road that said, 'This way to Neovia.' As we walked through the shady forest of trees, finally it broke out into a few buildings, houses and a lake.

     "Doesn't seem so scary," I said out loud. Suddenly, I was knocked onto my back by... a Gelert? No, couldn't be...

     "What are you doing here?" he growled. I was too shocked to answer.

     "You dare bring danger into this city?"

     Before I could say anything, Yukki spoke up. "Bruno! We have come to seek a permanent home for Milo. He is in danger of himself and endangering others." Bruno? The mutated Gelert, Bruno? It couldn't be. He was run out of this city years ago, or so I read. I stared in amazement. Bruno again spoke, but this time, it was softly.

     "It has gotten worse? You have to wait until the moon is full. That will be tonight. The townspeople have all fled. It is just me and the lake. Come, you all must rest." And he gestured us into one of the houses to the right.

     As we all walked in, Bruno got to work making a stew. Pluto, Piper and Yukki got to work on setting up camp and so I took this opportunity to go for a walk outside. I took a look outside the window at the distant lake. Something terrible was happening at the lake, I could feel it. Every night I got the same chill down my back. It's not a coincidence. And then it hit me: where on earth was Milo?

     With the potion Sophie gave me tucked in my mane safely, I took one look back at the well-lit cabin where my newfound friends now stayed, thinking I might never return. I started to run through the forest and came to a stop at the lake when I saw him. Milo was standing at the edge of the lake, shaking pretty badly. I took one step forward when Milo shouted at me.

     "Stay back, Tyler!"

     As I tried to get my head around what was happening, Milo's fur started to stand up on end, his soft breathing became grunts of pain and suddenly his teeth became elongated as his eyes changed from green to red. His claws became sharper and he was able to get up onto two legs.

     As he towered over me, he let rip a tremendous howl. And then it hit me. I gasped and whispered, "Werelupes DO exist..." I took a step backwards into a tree. I was cornered. As Milo started inching towards me, the moonlight shining off his fur, I could hear voices behind me. Pluto, Piper, Yukki and Bruno. No, they couldn't reach this far. I wouldn't put them in danger.

     I grabbed hold of the vial of green liquid Sophie had given to me, and tugged off the lid with my teeth. I just hoped Sophie knew what she was doing, and skulled the liquid. It tasted horrible. Suddenly, I felt my heart start to race. I could see flames starting to surround my hooves.

     My skin was turning greyish and the tips of my wings became white. I winced as Milo went to take a swing at me but the blow didn't follow. Milo was standing so still, staring at me. I walked over to the lake and looked in. The potion Sophie had given me had turned me into a night steed! It made sense now! Milo was a Werelupe and the only way to keep him under control was to have another Neopet as strong as him keep an eye on him. The voices of Yukki, Pluto, Piper and Bruno were getting closer. I turned to Milo.

     "Milo. We've got to get out of here." Milo must have understood me because he took off in front of me. It all made sense now. The howling, the chills and the ruffled fur. I wasn't invited on this adventure for no reason. The lucky space faerie charm I had brought along was in on this too. The space faerie must live around here somewhere and Milo and myself must have been brought here to protect her and her lake. I took one last look behind me, knowing that I was leaving my friends behind. A teardrop fell from my eyes, as Milo and I took off into the forest. We are, and now always will be, the protectors of the lake.

The End

 
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