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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 29th day of Hunting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 103 > Short Stories > Never Confess Anything To a Lupe

Never Confess Anything To a Lupe

by stoneman3x

I was really raw and green back then. It's hard to look back now and remember a time when I didn't even know who the ghosts were or what a Pant Devil was, and walked blissfully around Neopia with all my Neopoints and valuable items with me, never giving a second thought to the chance I could be robbed. Not that I had a whole lot to be robbed. I had just enough Neopoints to buy a piece of land in Tyrannia. I was so poor that the idea of living close to free omelette every day appealed to me.

     So, there I was, a clueless newbie who owned a postage stamp-sized chunk of Chomby trampled dirt in Tyrannia. But I wasn't living in Tyrannia at the time. I was living on Terror Mountain. I wasn't crazy about living on a Polar ice cap. I couldn't wait to start building my NeoHome in Tyrannia where it was always volcano warm -- just the way I like it. But I had to raise some Neopoints first. And that's why I wound up living on the frostbitten nose of Neopia.

     I had checked into the Ski Lodge because rooms there were ridiculously cheap. Not as ridiculously cheap at the Fleapit Motel or the Cockroach Towers, of course. But even a guy living on a budget of 25 Neopoints a day was willing to pay a little extra for a place where you didn't have to fight a swarm of Mootix for the pillow on the bed. And at the time, I was able to get a room at the Ski Lodge for half-price at 15 Neopoints a night.

     I was a little suspicious about getting such a good deal on a room there, so I actually asked around about it. It seems a couple of involuntary assisted suicides occurred in a short period of time at the Lodge. At least that's what the guy at the front desk called them. All of the shopkeepers on the mountain called them murders. So I guess that's why everyone was a tiny tad bit nervous about staying at the place. Usually I would have pretty much followed the gut instincts of everyone else in Neopia, but my empty wallet won out over common sense. It was all that I could afford and still have Neopoints left over to buy a couple of boxes of Wheat Flakes to eat.

     Then came that fateful day when my life got permanently interesting. The Igloo Garage Sale was just a few steps away from the Ski Lodge so I liked to go in as often as I could. Mika and Carassa, the Chias who run the Igloo Garage, were always friendly to me. Sometimes I would even help them drag stuff down from their attic to sell. I liked their shop because I could get good bargains on stuff-- especially wildly extravagant luxury items like soap and toothbrushes.

     That day, as I approached the Igloo Garage, I spotted an enormous blue Lupe sitting just outside the entrance.

     Whoa! This is NOT good! I thought with alarm.

     I may have been totally clueless about how Neopia worked, but I had heard about Lupes. Lupes were notorious for having big barbecue picnics and grilling up shish kebabs. CHIA shish kebabs. Since Mika and Carassa were Chias, I was suddenly worried about their safety. I approached the Lupe cautiously, trying to look as casual as possible. After all, if he really was waiting to snatch the unwary Chias, all I had to defend them was a plastic butter knife.

     "Hi there," I nodded to him with the friendliest smile I could manage to make. His eyes shifted in my direction but his head didn't turn. He made no reply, but I could hear a faint growling sound coming from him. I swallowed hard and tried again.

     "Waiting for someone?" I asked.

     He snorted slightly and looked away from me. My first reaction was to rush inside and tell Mika to bolt the doors and hide Carassa in the attic until the Lupe left. I paused for a moment, not sure what to say or do. Finally, I thought I might try giving him a hint to leave.

     "You know, this isn't a very good place to sit. Pets come in and out of here all the time. Big pets. Grarrly pets. You could get stepped on sitting here," I said with what I hoped was a sincere, helpful tone.

     His eyes widened for a moment but he quickly caught himself and shrugged nonchalantly. So I decided that maybe my first reaction -- to tell Mika and Carassa about the Lupe parked on their doorstep was a good idea after all. Just as I reached for the doorknob, a husky voice spoke.

     "No."

     I turned and looked at the big blue Lupe in confusion for a moment.

     "No?" I asked. "No what?"

     He swiveled his eyes and stared at me for a second with an exasperated look.

     "No. Not waiting for anybody."

     His large, piercing eyes narrowed on me intensely. He really was looking hard at me and it made me uneasy. I liked it better when he was ignoring me and pretending I wasn't even there.

     "Oh," I replied.

     I had forgotten the question I had only asked a moment ago, and I felt like an idiot. I stood with my hand on the doorknob for what felt like ages, desperately trying to think of what to add to "oh". My mind was racing so fast that when he spoke again I almost jumped.

     "You like to eat Chias," the Lupe said matter-of-factly.

     I was flabbergasted. Why would he say that to me?

     "No I don't!" I sputtered defensively.

     The Lupe cocked his head and looked at me in bewilderment.

     "You have a half-eaten one in your pocket, though."

     I stared at him in disbelief for a second and then it dawned on me. He was absolutely right. I DID have a half-eaten Chia in my pocket. A half-eaten CHOCOLATE Chia.

     "If you don't like to eat Chias," he sniffed coolly, "Then why don't you just toss it away?"

     I quickly dug into my pocket and pulled the chocolate Chia out. The only good thing about the cold is that you can carry chocolate around in your pocket and not worry about it melting. I had been eating the chocolate Chia a little at a time. They cost a lot so I was savoring it slowly. The Lupe eyed the Chia in my hand. It was at that moment that I realized that the slight growling sound coming from the Lupe was his stomach growling. He was HUNGRY! Without thinking, I thrust the blob of chocolate towards him.

     "Here," I blurted out, "You can have it if you want it."

     He hesitated for a moment. I could tell he really wanted it.

     "Well..." he drawled with an air of indifference I knew was fake, "If you don't like Chias, I'll take it off your hands for you."

     He lunged forward and the chocolate Chia vanished instantly. I hadn't even seen him swallow. The only way I could be certain he ate it was that he licked his lips and rolled his eyes with satisfaction. I stood there frozen for a moment. I had really wanted that chocolate Chia but it made me feel good to give it to someone who was really hungry. I waited for him to say "thank you" or anything else at all. But he just sat staring off into the distance again.

     "I guess I'd better get inside before all the good stuff gets sold," I said.

     I paused, waiting for an answer. None came so turned went into the Igloo Garage. Despite the fact that it wasn't very crowded, the Chias looked quite busy. I navigated around a maze of junk-filled tables to the bookshelf. I managed to snatch a book before a snarling Skeith could take a bite out of it.

     I walked up to the table where Carassa sat collecting Neopoints and chatting with the buyers. Mika, on the other hand, was rushing madly around trying to keep stuff stocked on the shelves. It was a losing battle. Everything except a bottle of green sand and a Wheelie was quickly sold. I waited until everyone else was gone to take the book I had up to Carassa. I wanted to talk to her when no one else was around.

     "Inside the Mind of a Lupe," she said and smiled broadly. "I learned a lot of helpful things from that book!"

     I looked at the cover of the book in amazement. Of all the books to grab, it seemed too much of a coincidence that I had managed to get that one. I had planned to tell her about the Lupe outside the Igloo Garage and now that the subject was on Lupes, the timing seemed perfect.

     "Ummm... Carassa... there's something I think you should know..." I began hesitantly.

     "Yes?" she said, only half listening because she was scribbling something down in her sales ledger.

     "Well... there's a really large and extremely hungry Lupe outside your shop door..." I said slowly.

     The yellow Chia turned a greenish shade of yellow.

     "Oh?" Carassa replied, her eyes darting towards the door. "Mika?" she called out with a slight squeak in her voice. "Stoneman3x says there's a really large and extremely hungry Lupe outside our shop door..."

     Mika responded by falling off of the ladder he was on. Several items followed him down and clattered on the floor around him. But he leapt up quickly and began running in circles around the shop.

     "A Lupe? A Lupe? What do we do? What do we do?" he screeched in terror as he rounded the used clothing rack for the third time.

     "Mika, don't you think we should verify this information before we panic?" Carassa said calmly but firmly.

     The blue Chia stopped galloping and nodded. "Yes... yes... verify this information..." he muttered and crept uneasily towards the shopfront window.

     "Well?" Carassa asked.

     "Yes, there does seem to be a gigantic blue Lupe sitting on our doorstep," Mika replied.

     He crossed over to the door and pulled it open a small crack.

     "Excuse me sir," Mika called out hoarsely. "Would you happen to be hungry?"

     "Yes, as a matter of fact I am," a deep voice rolled back.

     "Thank you," Mika said politely and closed the door again. He looked over at Carassa with wide eyes.

     "Is it okay to panic now?" he asked.

     "Yes," the yellow Chia replied. "Now would be an excellent time to panic."

     Instantaneously and simultaneously they both leapt up and began dashing around the Igloo Garage, screeching gibberish at the top of their lungs. It could have been Chia-ese, but it sounded like Snorkle squealing to me. Mika pulled down an grating of iron bars across the window while Carassa flipped the sign on the door that said "OPEN" to "CLOSED".

     Mika shoved me roughly towards the door, bellowing "Out! Out!"

     I tripped over the doorjam and somersaulted through the entrance, landing face-down in a snowdrift. I could hear the loud click of the door being bolted and the snap of the shutters being closed.

     "That wasn't a very smart thing to do," commented a baritone voice next to me.

     I pulled myself to my feet and dusted the snow off of my pants.

     "I didn't do it on purpose!" I grumbled.

     "You didn't buy that book on purpose?" the Lupe asked, one eyebrow arching.

     "Book?" I echoed.

     He nodded towards the volume sticking sideways in the snowbank.

     "Inside the Mind of a Lupe," he sneered. "That's has to be the most boring book in Neopia. It wasn't even written by a Lupe. You just wasted your Neopoints."

     "Oh," I said, lifting the book out of the snow and brushing it off. I suddenly felt like an idiot again. It was beginning to become a weirdly normal feeling.

     "Of course, you can sell it in your shop and make a nice profit," he added.

     "Shop?" I echoed.

     "You don't have a shop?" he said more as an incredulous statement than as an actual question. "I suppose you don't have a NeoHome either," he said shaking his head.

     "Not yet," I replied. "But I have a piece of land in Tyrannia..."

     "Tyrannia? Really?" he said with an actual spark of interest. "I was born there. It's a great place. Of course, there are the hazards, but they're not a problem to anyone who knows their way around."

     "Hazards?" I echoed. I seemed to be echoing more than Coral Canyon.

     "Fissures mostly. Big cracks that open up in the ground and swallow you up, hurtling you down into a chasm of fiery molten lava where you writhe in agony for what seems like an eternity until you are grateful for the relief that death brings. Hazards like that."

     My eyes popped out of my head farther than a Quiggle's.

     "But I'm sure you know your way around Tyrannia," he said with a shrug.

     "Ummm... not really..." I replied uneasily.

     "Stone, right?" he asked, cocking his head slightly as he looked at me.

     My jaw dropped open. "Yeah," I said with amazement. "How did you know my name?"

     He shot me a perplexed look. "Your name? I was talking about your NeoHome. You're planning on building it out of stone, right? Because if you use anything else in Tyrannia, it pretty much melts."

     "Oh," I said again. And still feeling like an idiot.

     There was a long, uncomfortable pause. Finally, the Lupe looked thoughtfully towards the horizon and said, "You know, I went to the Island Mystic yesterday and he gave me an interesting fortune."

     "Interesting fortune?" Dang echo.

     "Yeah," the Lupe said with a slight smile. "He said I if ever came across a golden meal ticket Noob, I should grab on with both paws."

      "Huh? I don't understand what that means..." I replied, trying to figure out what a noob was. I had the impression it was something like a lottery ticket.

     "Okay, here's the deal," the Lupe said, a mysterious smile breaking across his lips. "I come and live with you. You give me three decent meals a day and a solid roof over my head. In exchange for that, I keep you from wandering into big cracks that open up in the ground and swallow you up, hurtling you down into a chasm of fiery molten lava where you writhe in agony for what seems like an eternity until you are grateful for the relief that death brings."

     I thought about that for a moment.

     "Sounds good to me," I replied.

     The huge blue Lupe turned and began walking down the street. I didn't know where he was going, but I followed him anyway. I didn't know his name, but it didn't seem to matter. We didn't say anything, but for some strange reason it was an easy, comfortable silence. After a few minutes, I felt compelled to say something that was on my mind.

     "Ummm... I have a confession to make," I said hesitantly.

     "Yeah?"

     "Yeah. The truth is, when I first saw you sitting in front of the Igloo Garage, I thought you were waiting for the Chias to come out so you could eat them."

     The Lupe burst out laughing. It was such a deep, booming laugh that it was infectious. I started laughing, too. Pretty soon tears of mirth were rolling down from our eyes. I finally managed to catch my breath.

     "Yeah, that was kinda funny," I chuckled, wiping away a bead of water from my eye.

     "Here's something funnier," the Lupe said with a broad grin.

     "Yeah?"

     "I was."

The End


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