It was almost the full moon, and Evan_Eggplant was becoming restless. He was
a very young Lupe, having been born only a week before. He was dark as night,
and playful as a Meerca on Neonip. As dusk began to fall, the waxing moon shone
brighter above Evan's head. He cocked an eye and peered up at the shining sphere
in the sky, wishing he was back in the forests of Mystery Island where he had
been born. As far as Evan knew, he was the first Lupe to have ever been born
on Mystery Island. His owner ladyofsylla told him that it was because he had
a destiny, but he didn't really believe her. Now all he wanted was to be wandering
the dense jungles, sniffing out his helpless prey: the wild Chia. All Lupes
were fantastic Chia hunters, and Evan longed to be the best Chia hunter in Neopia.
The hunter's blood was running in his veins.
Feeling more and more agitated, Evan grabbed his blue Chia plushie in his jaws
and shook it as hard as he could. Stuffing flew everywhere, and a spring popped
out and shot across the yard. The plushie had already been ripped in half, and
didn't resemble anything like a Chia anymore, but Evan wouldn't let ladyofsylla
give it away. He had grown attached to it.
Just then, Evan's eldest brother Reginald_Poindexter the Blumaroo appeared
in the doorway of their two-room NeoHome. He was holding a book called Know
Your Neggs, and looking very annoyed. "You're out after your bedtime," he
Evan gave his plushie one last shake and spat it out on the ground. "I know,"
he replied, "but I'm waiting for ladyofsylla to come home. And it's going to
be a full moon tomorrow!" He wagged his tail energetically.
"Just don't leave the yard; and Mischmasch can't find his purple Moehog plushie.
You wouldn't have anything to do with it, would you?" Reginald squinted at Evan,
trying to see if the Lupe was guilty or not.
"Nope, I have no idea where his plushie is," Evan replied. "Good night!"
Reginald grumbled to himself and went back inside. Evan grinned and turned
to face the dark lane that wound its way through Neopia Central. There was no
light in the street except for the moon's silver glow. Evan wondered why his
owner ladyofsylla wasn't home yet. She had always been rather distant and elusive,
but in the past she always came home on time. This wasn't like her. Finally,
after five more minutes of waiting impatiently, Evan decided to go look for
her. He assumed she was either wandering about in the Lost Desert, or hanging
around the Art Centre with her friends.
The moon's brightness gave Evan a burst of excitement, and he trotted purposefully
down Soup Alley. Of course he hadn't thought very far ahead. If ladyofsylla
wasn't in the Art Centre and she was in the Lost Desert, he would have to walk
the entire way there, which included a journey through Haunted Woods. But Evan
didn't consider this as he made his way to the Neopian Bazaar. There it was
lighted by street lamps, and Evan could see the shopkeepers locking up the stores
and going home for the night.
Evan finally came to the Art Centre, just past the Rainbow Pool. Unlike the
rest of the shops, the Centre was inviting and full of life. He made his way
to the Coffee Shop, hoping to find ladyofsylla in a corner with a mocha and
a book. But when he entered the shop, he saw no sign of his owner's green and
blue feathered hat. Sighing, he went back into the throng. He pushed past several
NeoPets and their owners, and finally spotted the campfire. There was a crowd
of people and NeoPets gathered around it, and they were all speaking at once.
It seemed they were debating about something.
Suddenly a fluffy blue feather appeared above the crowd. It was followed by
the short black hair and serious expression of Evan's owner, ladyofsylla. She
was standing on tiptoe, trying to get the attention of the group before her.
As she gazed around at them all, she caught sight of Evan_Eggplant, standing
at the edge of the crowd and wagging his tail crazily.
"Evan!" she called, grabbing the attention of the few people that were right
in front of her. "Evan, what are you doing?" Ladyofsylla snatched her bag of
scrolls and quills, and shoved her way through the throng. When she reached
Evan, he jumped up and licked her face. He was glad she wasn't in the Lost Desert.
"I was worried," Evan said with a pathetic look on his face. "You weren't home
at your usual time."
Ladyofsylla sighed and patted Evan on the head. "I was sharing my poetry with
the others at the campfire, until it turned into a free-for-all debate. I really
meant to come home earlier, I just got so preoccupied..." She turned on her
heel and made for the exit. "Come along now Evan dear, it's time for bed." He
came leaping along behind her, too proud of himself to do otherwise.
The night was as clear as it had been only a short while ago, but seemed extra
refreshing after the heat and noise of the Art Centre. Evan let himself breathe
deeply of the night air, and longed once more to be tracking the small, scurrying
form of a Chia. All of a sudden he stopped, sensing something ahead of them
in the darkness. Ladyofsylla saw him, and frowned.
"What is it?" she asked. Evan had a good sense of smell, and could easily see
and hear things she couldn't. "It's not anything... evil, is it?" She clutched
her bag of poetry as if to protect it from the unknown danger.
Evan sniffed the breeze, and caught a scent. It wasn't much, just the smell
of the night with a tint of evil. He pricked his ears and scanned the road ahead
of them with his keen yellow eyes. Then he saw it, the small patch of shadow
flitting around the street lamps and coming closer to them with every second.
It was most definitely the Shadow Usul, a dreaded minion of evil.
Growling low in his throat, Evan stood in front of his owner in order to protect
her from the impending danger. He knew even he couldn't defeat the Shadow Usul
with a show of courage and strength, but it was all he had as defence. He crouched,
ready to spring. The Usul was only a few feet away, and had paused as if to
relish its triumph in finding two unprotected Neopians in the dark of night.
Then it moved forward, and was revealed in the bright light of a street lamp.
Even in the yellow light, it was still a smudgy shadow in the shape of an Usul.
It had tiny fangs which it bared menacingly. Evan could feel ladyofsylla tense
behind him. She hadn't known what was in the shadows, only that it was evil.
Now she knew what it was, and she was terrified.
All of a sudden there was a sound behind them. It was the sound of running
feet, a soft pad-padding on the paved ground. Even having never heard it before,
Evan knew immediately what it was. It was the sound of Chia-feet in the night,
quickly closing in behind them. He didn't know what to think, and he was as
confused as a Lupe could be. Should he go after the Chia, or stay to protect
his owner? Why was the Chia even out at this time of night? He stood his ground,
The look on the Shadow Usul's face changed from menacing to one of complete
fear. It laid its ears back and flattened itself to the ground, trying to hide
from the light pouring down on it. Perplexed, Evan turned his gaze to the Chia.
It had come up even with Evan, and was threatening the Shadow Usul with a lightning
gun. Evan knew that the Shadow Usul hated to be attacked by light; and as if
in answer to his thought, the evil thing slunk away into the night, leaving
no sign that it had ever been there.
Ladyofsylla let out a loud sigh of relief. "Thank goodness that's over!" she
said. "What a dear little Chia you are," she crooned, turning to the Chia. It
was small and yellow, but it looked frightened despite the fact that it had
just saved them from the Shadow Usul.
The Chia's wide eyes looked at Evan and back at ladyofsylla. "My name is Bartholomew,"
it said in a high voice. "I saw you cornered by the Shadow Usul as I was walking
home from the Art Centre." It gulped, glancing once more at Evan. "Luckily I
had my lightning gun with me, otherwise we would all be victim to the Shadow
Usul." Bartholomew shuddered.
"Thank you ever so much!" exclaimed ladyofsylla. She patted the little Chia's
head, and smiled. "We really can't repay you enough for your help."
All the while the Chia was talking, Evan was thinking. It had occurred to him
that maybe not all Chias were simply mindless creatures, running from danger
and cowering at the thought of a fight. Perhaps Chias were courageous and intelligent
Neopians, but living in constant fear of the larger and stronger Lupes It was
not the Chia's fault he was small and weak, just as it wasn't Evan's fault he
was big and strong and loved to hunt. Things seemed a lot clearer now, and Evan
Bartholomew saw the smile, and apparently thought it was a snarl. He cringed,
and stared at Evan with big, frightened eyes. Ladyofsylla laughed. "He's not
going to hurt you," she assured the Chia. "He's only smiling. I'm sure my dear
Evan is as grateful as I am that you saved us."
"Thank you," Evan said to Bartholomew, "for saving us. I don't believe I could
have taken the Shadow Usul on my own."
Then, Evan's voice having been much for the Chia, he scurried away with his
lightning gun and into the night. Evan sighed. It had probably been the most
eventful night of his life; which wasn't saying much, since he had only been
alive for a week. But at least he would have something to tell his friends in
the morning, and now he had a whole new perspective on Chias. All of a sudden
his desire to hunt was gone, and in its place was a longing for knowledge. If
he had learned so much in a single night, think what he could learn in a lifetime!
Wagging his tail happily, he and ladyofsylla made their way back down Soup Alley,
and finally they were home.
Evan fell asleep thinking of Chias, but this time they weren't running for