A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 104,800,928 Issue: 204 | 18th day of Hiding, Y7
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

Andover's Quest: Part Three


by hermione_granger1899

--------

"Electric One!" the orange Lupess called impatiently. Andover groaned inwardly. "Electric One, are you coming?" she asked.

      "Uh, no. I think I'll stick it out here tonight," the electric Lupe answered uneasily as the tribe of 'Purest Lupes' made their way back to their clearing.

      "Okay, your choice." The Lupess smiled without emotion and bounded after her tribe.

      "What do you want, Electric One?" a mocking voice asked him. Andover peered nervously around as a striped Lupess came out of the surrounding trees. "Should I bow down?" she sneered.

      Andover, immediately defensive, bared his teeth at her. "What do you want?" he snarled.

      "I'm the one asking the questions. I thought the Purest didn't ask questions."

      "I'm not one of those brainwashed freaks," Andover said, letting his snarl slide into a smirk. "They don't even have names."

      "What is your name then, oh Electric One?" the Lupess asked relentlessly. She obviously did not believe him.

      "Look, all those Lupes are solid colors. Am I a solid color? No. I'm not 'Pure' as they say. My pack elder sent me here to investigate the 'Purest' tribe's actions and report back to him in case they come to the plains."

      The striped Lupess's features immediately softened. "You're a plains Lupe?" she asked uncertainly, a small look of awe and respect crawling over her pretty face.

      "Yes, I am," Andover replied firmly. "And I'd appreciate you not judging me like that."

      Andover got the feeling he'd said the wrong thing, because her posture immediately became wary again.

      "Pure Ones don't judge," she said, as though reciting from memory. "Purests hate judgment."

      Andover sighed and sat down, smiling. "You sure are a suspicious Lupess aren't you? I'll take it you aren't a plains Lupe then."

      "What's your name?" she asked, coming over to sit in front of him. She cocked her head curiously.

      "Andover. You?"

      "I'm Kit. Not a plains Lupe, no. I live here on the Island. I have all my life with my mother until she was killed by those 'Purests'. That's when this whole thing started and some of the Lupes that were 'Pure' rebelled because the 'Purest Lupes' were supposed to be flawless - and that included not killing one another. I would know. I used to be a Purest myself," she said, sighing.

      "But you're a striped Lupe." Andover furrowed his eyebrows, confused.

      Kit's soft blue eyes smiled at him. "This is my original color. I was born striped. When the 'Pure One' took me in, he sent me to the lab ray - that's a scary place, trust me - and I went in and out of that thing every day until he had me painted a solid color. I looked horrible as a pink Lupess, let me tell you. I don't know how many times I've been dragged in and out of that lab before I was painted again…" she trailed off with a shudder and laid down on the soft dirt floor of the forest, resting her chin on her baby blue paws.

      "So how did you get back to your original color?" asked the electric Lupe. He was even more confused now. This didn't make sense.

      "Oh, I stayed with some people for a few years, and they nursed me back to health after the 'Pure One' tried to kill me and they bought me a striped paint brush and painted me to my regular color again. They were really kind to me and in the end I was pretty sad to leave them. I'm sort of like a plains Lupe, I guess. I'm a bit more like an Islander, I suppose. I keep to myself and I live in a cave off the coast."

      Andover finally felt the fatigue threaten to overtake him. In the last four days, he'd learned from his pack's oldest elder that he was the next Chosen One - an all-knowing special Lupe that was considered to be of the highest respects; he'd saved a reckless Lupe pup from a raging fire; spent three days trying to recover from his horrific burns and scrapes; learned from Gammot (the oldest elder) that he had to come to Mystery Island to investigate a lethal group of Lupes that could kill him; received a small leather drawstring pouch which contained some money, a special gem that had belonged to his father and was made by Fyora herself that was supposed to protect him, and a letter which he wasn't allowed to read unless he was on his death bed; taken a very long journey to the Island; caught up with these 'Purest Lupes' and met a strikingly pretty orange Lupess who showed no interest in him at all - or in anything else for that matter; watched a small battle between these 'Purest Ones' and a group of rebelling Lupes and other assorted neopets; and now he had met Kit who seemed to want to share her life story with him for no reason at all. He had had a pretty exhausting time lately.

      Kit's soothing voice became blurrier and blurrier and the tired Lupe lay down next to her and closed his eyes. She finally realized he was falling asleep and talked softly and soothingly, crooning him into a sweet, deep sleep.

     * * *

      "Wake up, Andover. Wake up quick!" Kit's soft voice was tickling his ear as the young Lupe sat up drearily.

      "What's going on?" he murmured, rubbing at his aching paws which had been burned badly in the fire a few days earlier.

      "It's the 'Pure One'. He's snooping around. Simon has instructed us to come back to camp."

      Andover followed Kit through a maze of trees - trees he noticed had been expertly marked for trails by small scratch marks in the trunk (but you wouldn't notice the marks unless you were looking for them).

      "Who's Simon?" he yawned as they came into a small clearing where tents of all shapes and sizes were set up. Heaps and piles of neopets of all kinds were sleeping here and there. He smiled when he saw three young Lupes all sleeping draped over each other like he used to sleep with Lex when he was young. How he missed his sister now…

      "He's like our pack leader only he just helps us devise plans on how to overcome this evil that's trying to shroud us," Kit replied, leaping over another pile of sleeping pets.

      Kit led him to a small canvas tent propped up by some sticks. "Simon?" she called softly.

      A very disgruntled-looking green Kougra stuck his head out of the tent. "What? Who's there?" he asked, looking around. His gaze rested on Kit and Andover and his face brightened. "Ah! Yes, come in, come in!"

      Andover followed Kit into the tent and stood there, gazing around at the small surroundings.

      "Sit, sit! No need to stand!"

      Andover started at the sound of the Kougra's voice but he obediently sat down as instructed. He lazily scratched at an itch while he waited for Kit to sit down beside him after she was through talking softly to Simon.

      I wonder how Lex is… he thought. Was his sister okay? And what about Shaylee? Who was she hunting and goofing off with now? And would he ever actually get to do those things with her again after assuming his position as the Chosen One? All these thoughts ran through his head as he watched Simon and Kit converse rapidly in hushed tones. And what were they talking about? He wondered curiously. And why wasn't he included in their conversation?

      They finally broke apart and faced him. "Andover, we've been talking and we think you're just the Lupe for this job," Simon started. Andover swallowed. This didn't sound good to him.

      "Wh-what job?" he stammered. Now he was nervous. He didn't have time for this!

      "We need you, Andover, to lead these dimwitted creatures to war. We've been battling it out with these Purest Ones for years now. We need to have a final fight and we need to do it as soon as possible - if we wait too long they'll know something is up. Brainwashed and ignorant as they may be, they are by no means stupid. If we stop attacking, they'll figure it out. I need a brave Lupe like you to help us get them ready for war. I need you, Andover. I need you here," Simon said, stamping one paw against the ground for emphasis.

      "Simon, that's very generous of you. But I can't stay. My job is to figure out what's going on, then report back to my pack elder and tell him so we can be ready to fight in case they come to the plains next! I can't stay here and fight with you - let alone help you prepare for war! I'm sorry, Simon but I can't do that," Andover said, getting up. He sighed inwardly, thinking he had made a great argument. Of course, he'd always celebrated a bit too early.

      "No. I can't let you leave, Andover. My friends and family are out there, risking their lives every day to keep those evil creatures who call themselves Lupes at bay. If we were to give up, there wouldn't be a single safe Lupe in all of Neopia. We need you, Andover. Have someone go back to the pack for you and report to them. I can't spare you even the five days it would take for your journey - two to get there, one to report and rest, and two more to get back. I can't risk that. In five days those Lupes could overthrow us with a snap of the fingers. I will send a messenger for you," Simon insisted. His yellow eyes pleaded with the young Lupe.

      Andover sat back down as he thought about this. I have to help them. They need me. And like Kit says, I'm a plains Lupe. Even I know that plains Lupes are tougher than these Islanders. And they do need me. I've been in battles before, I know how to scavenge food when supplies run short, I can make shelter out of anything - bark, grass, mud, stones - these neopets need me and I'm going to help them defeat these evil Lupes.

      Decided, the electric Lupe stood up again and looked beyond Simon to Kit, who was sitting there, her eyes begging him to help them. "I'll stay. But I need someone to go back to the plains and tell someone that I won't be coming home anytime soon." If at all, he added silently to himself.

      Kit smiled at him and Simon nodded. "Good choice. I'll get someone on it right away. Kit, find this young Lupe a tent or something to sleep in - we can't have him sleeping on the ground. Andover, come with me and you can help me find someone to take your message back to your pack."

     * * *

      "I'm so worried about him, Monica. What if something happens to him while he's out there? What if he didn't even get there? What if the boat sank and he drowned in the middle of the ocean and we never see him again? Monica what if -" Shaylee was cut off by the arrival of Andover's younger sister Lex. The poor thing was beside herself with worry about her older brother - Shaylee didn't want to add onto that any by voicing her own troubles to her.

      "Lex, what's up?" Monica asked her daughter soothingly. "Is something the matter?"

      "I miss Andover," the blue Lupess sighed softly. "I wish he'd come home."

      "Andover will be back soon," Shaylee said confidently - more to comfort herself than Lex, though.

      "What if he isn't, though? What if someone hurts him or kidnaps him or worse - what if someone…" Lex trailed off, shuddering at the thought of someone wanting to kill her older brother.

      Shaylee sat down beside Alexis and looked down at her. The poor thing was shaking, she was so scared for him. "Andover will be fine. And remember, if he's not home in a month without word, Gammot will send someone to look for him. He'll be fine. I bet he's on his way home right now," she said confidently. She knew that last part was a lie to comfort Monica and Lex, because she was positive that Andover was not coming home anytime soon. She felt it. Something was up with him. He wasn't coming home this month. He might not be home for years. What if she never saw him again?

      Lex glared up at her brother's best friend. All lies. Ever since she was just a pup, all her family and friends and elders and everyone had been lying to her. 'It'll be fine. Nothing bad will happen. He'll be home soon. I bet he's on his way home right now.' They were all lies. She knew they were to make her feel better, but knowing they were lies just made her angrier.

      She looked at Shaylee in surprise as the brown Lupess stood up. "I'm going for a walk," she said. She ran off and climbed to the top of a tall hill where she could see everything for miles around from the top of. If Andover was coming home soon, she'd sit here day and night just to see him coming home. She sat down and tried to blink away the tears that threatened to flow out of her eyes. How could he have left? Why didn't Gammot send someone else on this mission? Why Andover? Andover's still young! Gammot should have sent someone more experienced than him. And the real question: Why had Andover accepted this quest in the first place? He could have said no. Why did he leave?

      Finally she couldn't stand it anymore. She lay down on the hilltop and cried softly into her paws. He'd only been gone for eight days but she already missed him like he'd been gone for months. What if he never comes home?!

      Suddenly, Shaylee's ever-sensitive ears picked up some movement on the other side of the hill. She jumped up and ran half-way down the hill and stopped to listen. It was a Lupe! She sniffed the air for a scent but the wind was going the wrong direction. She sat down and tried not to get excited. But she knew it had to be Andover! It had to be. No other Lupe would come over just to say hello. He was finally coming home! After a week of being gone, he was coming home!

      She was about to call out to him when she saw the Lupe's face. And her heart just about broke in half. It wasn't Andover. It was a curious-looking striped Lupess, weaving her way through the tall plains grasses. Shaylee by now wasn't sad that it wasn't Andover - she was furious. Andover had promised he'd be home soon and she'd been positive it was him and then this Lupess comes in and makes her worry all over again.

      "What do you want?" she snarled loudly.

      The Lupess jumped and looked around. "Oh, are you Shaylee? Andover's told me a lot about you."

      Shaylee's snarl disappeared. It was replaced by a mixed look of wonder and hope and dread - like she couldn't decide to be happy, surprised, or fearful.

      "I'm Kit," the Lupess offered, coming to stand beside her. Shaylee couldn't help but notice how pretty the Lupess was with her baby blue fur and her light pink stripes. She was a bit taller than Lex was and slightly smaller than Shaylee.

      "Andover sent you?" she asked. Kit noticed how shaky she looked.

      "Yeah. He sent me with a message for someone in his pack," she said. The poor brown Lupess looked on the verge of tears.

      "Anyone in particular?" she asked, her voice quivering.

      Kit wanted to say no, it was for whoever would listen. But something in the Lupess's voice and eyes made her say what she did. "Yes. He said to give the message to Shaylee and have her pass it to his sister, mother, and Gammot," Kit lied. Shaylee smiled.

      "What is it then?" she asked eagerly. Kit grimaced. She didn't want to be the bearer of bad news here anymore than she had wanted to come here to be messenger in the first place. But what choice did she have?

      "Andover won't be coming home anytime soon. Our friend Simon is trying to help him devise a plan to overthrow the 'Purest Lupes' and win this war. He can't come home now. He'll be there for at least a couple months if this doesn't work. These battles have going on for years and now we're trying to win the final battle. We need Andover there. He's a plains Lupe and everyone knows plains Lupes are tougher than us Islanders or those house pets. I know you want him home, Shaylee. And believe me, he misses you too. But we need him. He's not doing this to hurt you," Kit said when she saw the hurt look on Shaylee's face. The Lupess sat down and bowed her head sadly.

      Shaylee wanted to cry. The pain she felt coursing through her body was so strong she wanted to lie down and die right there. Kit had said Andover wasn't doing this to hurt her, but she felt as though her heart was breaking all over again. How could he do this to her? No, forget her! What about his mother and his sister? What would they have to say? She glanced up and glared at Kit.

      "Don't blame me. I'm just the messenger. Andover knows you miss him. He misses you and Lex and Monica too. But he's not doing this to hurt anyone. He's doing this to save all the Lupes here on the plains - not just your pack either. If those Lupes overthrow us, then no Lupe on Neopia will be safe from them. He'll be home as soon as he can. He might not even have to fight. Simon needs him to help. I wish I could help you more."

      Shaylee felt the tears coming. "I know," she lied. "I understand." She didn't understand. She didn't understand why he would do this to her! He was breaking her heart and killing her. Didn't he understand that?

      "Will you do me a favor?" the brown Lupess asked, her voice shaking dangerously.

      "Of course," Kit said soothingly.

      "T-tell Andover - tell him to be careful. Tell him I want him home in one piece and tell him ... tell him I care about him. And to stay safe. I miss him, Kit. I wish he was home."

      Kit nodded and looked up at Shaylee. "I will. But he knows. Trust me he knows already. And he cares about you too." And with that the striped Lupess turned tail and scampered back through the grasses and Shaylee sighed. She couldn't believe Andover wasn't coming home. She just couldn't believe it. And yet … she'd known it all along.

To be continued...

 
Search the Neopian Times




Other Episodes


» Andover's Quest: Part One
» Andover's Quest: Part Two
» Andover's Quest: Part Four
» Andover's Quest: Part Five
» Andover's Quest: Part Six
» Andover's Quest: Part Seven



Week 0 Related Links


Other Stories


---------

Curses, Inside-Out: Part Eight
The chair, when she got to it, didn't seem nearly as comfortable as when she had been falling asleep in it last night, but she folded up her legs on it, wiped her eyes and tried to unsmear her glasses, and listened...

Also by dreagoddess

by schefflera


---------

Mashed Potatoes
Dinner is served...

by third_potato



Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.