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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 15th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 110 > Continuing Series > Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Two

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Two

by stoneman3x

I turned my head just in time to see the yellow Meerca making a final dash for the rainbow negg near the corner of the far wall of the Meerca Chase pit. I glanced over at the Acara at the control panel. Her jaw was set in scowling determination. Beads of sweat trickled down her forehead in glossy streams. The crowd went wild with boisterous anticipation of the Meerca snatching up a negg worth 20 points.

     I don't know what happened next. I don't know if the Acara simply didn't signal the Meerca to turn fast enough, or if the Meerca simply didn't react to the beep on his collar fast enough. All I know is that the Meerca slammed into the wall with a sickening thud. He toppled over backwards and lay sprawled on the ground on his back. All of the neggs that had been attached to his tail vanished into thin air faster than Dr. Sloth could zap a Darigan paint brush into a pile of sludge.

     Two burly Skeith medics in white jackets lumbered out into the arena carrying a stretcher. They didn't seem to be in any particular hurry. In fact, the one in front stopped momentarily to graze on some nachos that someone had accidentally dropped into the ring. My gaze shifted to the Acara at the control panel. She didn't appear too upset either. She had punched the "collect Neopoints" button and was smiling as she scooped up a hefty wad of Neopoints in her paws. She waved briefly in appreciation to the crowd who applauded her as she stepped down from the podium.

     My eyes darted back to the Meerca lying on the ground. He sat up groggily and grinned weakly at the crowd. The spectators in general seemed fairly disinterested by this, although there were a few polite claps scattered throughout the bleachers. One of the Skeiths snatched the Meerca up and plopped him roughly onto the stretcher. The two Skeiths then lifted him up and ambled back towards the gate they had come in from.

     I guess the Meerca was still woozy, because he tottered wildly back and forth on the canvas bed for a moment before rolling off. He hit the dirt face down. The Skeith in the rear snorted in disgust and grunted to the other one to stop. He scooped up the Meerca once more and dumped on the stretcher. The Meerca seemed even more dazed than before, if such a thing was possible. But the Meerca once again broke into a blank smile. This time the Skeiths stopped long enough to grudgingly fasten the restraining straps around their patient before plodding off.

     A fairly loud chorus of oooh's and aaah's from a pack of eye-batting, giggling she-Lupes erupted from across the arena. I followed their adoring gazes to the platform. My fire Lupe stood flexing his biceps and wiggling the fingers of his huge paws. He smiled smugly as he did it, so it was obvious that he liked the reaction to his limbering-up exercises. I sighed. It was bad enough that he had his own entourage. Now he had the head-swelling bonus of wolf-whistling females as well. And trust me, no one wolf-whistles louder than a wolf-whistling wolf.

     Another Meerca appeared in the entrance directly below where I was sitting. I ordinarily wouldn't have been able to see him because of the high wall, but he began to bounce on his tail in nervous, eager anticipation. His whole body launched upwards every few seconds and every time he appeared over the wall, he waved at the crowd. No one else in the stands even seemed to notice him, which I thought was rather strange. I mean, here was this butterball of fuzz grinning like he had just won the Neopian Lottery and springing straight up into the air. How could you NOT notice? I was kind of startled the first couple of times, so it wasn't until the third time that the Meerca did it that I waved back. He broke into the biggest grin I had ever seen and waved at me even more enthusiastically.

     "Hi!" he chirped happily.

     "Hi," I replied with a smile. Gosh, he was so darned cute.

     Stonewolf3x had apparently had enough admiration to satisfy him, because he positioned himself in front of the control panel and hit the start button with a dramatic flair. Like a bright yellow fireball launched from a Kacheek fire cannon, the Meerca exploded into action. He streaked out into the ring just as a negg materialized. In the blink of an eye, a yellow negg was dangling off of the Meerca's tail. I found myself applauding him.

     "Way to go, Meerca!" I shouted.

     Krawk shot me an odd look. Wolf shot me an odd look. I'm pretty sure the entire stadium shot me an odd look.

     After a moment of awkward silence, Krawk yelled, "Arr! Way to go, Cap'n!"

     I have to confess that I had to keep silently reminding myself that I was supposed to be rooting for my Lupe. But it sure wasn't easy. As the chain of neggs grew longer behind the Meerca, he slowed down considerably. This meant he had more time to look around the pit as he ran. So every time he ran past me, he looked up at me, smiled, and waved with utterly adorable simple-mindedness. I tried not to. I honestly tried as hard as I could. But I couldn't help myself. I waved back.

     The trail of neggs behind the Meerca grew to an impressive length. I glanced over at Stonewolf3x. He arched and rolled his neck for a moment and then massaged his stiffening neck muscles with his paw. But I was beginning to feel sorry for the Meerca. In order to avoid crossing the negg-chain and exploding, Wolf had him zigzagging all over the place. I could tell that the poor little guy was getting worn out from towing all those neggs.

     Krawk nudged me with his elbow. "Arr, but the Cap'n looks to be ready to leave now."

     I looked over at the large fire Lupe at the control panel. He looked incredibly bored. This was not a good sign.

     "Ummm... so will he just punch some sort of stop button?" I asked with what I now know was extreme cluelessness.

     "Arrr, but ye be funny, Man!" Krawk snort-chuckled. "These Meercas be brained-washed to never stop running until all the neggs be gone-- and there always be a new negg popping up!"

     "Well, how do you stop the game when you've had enough?" I asked, an uneasy feeling crawling up my back like a Spyder with suction cups on his feet.

     "There only be one way to stop one o' these Meercas," my pirate Krawk replied with a smirk. "Blow 'em up or knock 'em out."

     "What???" I gasped in disbelief.

     Krawk didn't answer. He nodded towards the figure at the podium. I followed his gaze to the fire Lupe standing there. Wolf had stepped back from the control panel. He folded his arms across his chest and looked up towards the ceiling.

     "What's he doing?" I asked nervously as I glanced back towards the pit.

     "Arrr, but my guess be that the Cap'n is ready to go try his hand at Poogle Solitaire. Them Poogles should be back from the races by now."

     The Meerca was heading straight towards the wall where I was sitting. I shot a look at Wolf, but he was now examining the claws on his paw with a complete lack of interest in what was happening in the Meerca pit. A wave of alarm not only washed over me, it used a scrub brush. I leapt to my feet.

     "Wolf!" I screeched. "Turn the Meerca! He's going to crash into the wall!"

     Even from where I was, I could see Wolf's eyebrows arch as he looked over at me. He simply shrugged.

     I swear that I was as surprised by what happened next as everyone else in the Meerca Chase stadium that day. I jumped into the pit. My brain was racing faster than a Gelert chasing a Cybunny. I didn't have time to really plan out what I was going to do, but I had a vague notion that if I placed myself between the Meerca and the wall, at least it would soften the impact.

     I really expected the little guy to plow into me, so I squatted slightly, stretched out my arms and prepared for the jolt. The Meerca's eyes got as big as blackened watermelons. He leaned backwards in a vain attempt to actually stop. He toppled over and skidded towards me feet first, like a baseball player sliding into home plate. Neggs scattered and rolled in all directions before poofing into a vapor of nothingness.

     The Meerca's mouth hung open in stunned amazement. I guess he was surprised to find me standing there in front of him in the pit. My mouth hung open in amazement too. But I was surprised for a different reason. I was surprised that I had somehow escaped being rammed headfirst by a speeding Meerca locomotive, complete with a negg caboose. I instinctively lunged forward, grabbed his stubby front paws and hoisted him to his feet.

     Dusting him off with my hands, I exclaimed, "Are you okay?"

     He nodded weakly, but he wasn't looking at me. The Meerca's eyes were darting all around the arena. He scooped up his tail in his paws and began twisting it nervously like he was wringing out a wet handkerchief. In my whole life I had never seen anyone look so totally lost and bewildered. Except maybe for the first time that Wolf played "Feed Florg" and he found out that the mutant Chia was supposed to eat the petpets, and that he was NOT allowed to eat the mutant Chia.

     I suddenly became aware that the spectators were going bonkers. All around us, owners and pets had leapt to their feet. Some were shaking their fists and snarling boos and hisses at us. Other were practically dancing with glee on the benches and cheering wildly. My guess is that the happy ones had bet that Wolf wouldn't get a very high score and were about to collect a pile of Neopoints from the angry ones.

     I was afraid to check out the reaction on my Lupe's face, but sheer dumb curiosity got the better of me. I glanced over at him. He was still behind the control panel. His nose was jutted upwards and he stood there with cool, regal detachment. He had absolutely no expression on his face whatsoever. I knew he was really ticked off at me then.

     The two brawny Skeith medics trotted out into the center of the Meerca pit carrying a stretcher and stopped dead in their tracks. They looked at the completely unharmed yellow Meerca standing in front of me and did a synchronized double-take. They exchanged glances that seemed to be a cross between confusion and annoyance. If they had planned on doing anything other than that, their plan was cut short by the appearance of a blue Kacheek blowing a whistle with a long shrill blast. I had a sneaking suspicion that he was the referee. I may not be Sherlock Neoholmes, but the fact that he was wearing a shirt with black and white vertical stripes on it was a definite clue.

     A loud voice boomed over the loudspeaker and echoed through the place like a five year-old brother repeating back everything you say.

     "Please please please remain remain remain seated seated seated... this this this game game game is is is under under under official official official review review review..."

     The Kacheek made a Buzz-line towards me with a scowl on his face that could have melted glass roses. The Skeiths dropped the stretcher and waddled behind him at a speed that seemed unnaturally fast for Skeiths. The Meerca was obviously petrified by the approaching mini-mob because he darted behind me and clung to the back of my legs.

     My relative size didn't faze the Kacheek referee one bit because he snarled into my kneecaps, "You will have to leave the arena at once, sir! You are not authorized to be here!"

     I didn't move a muscle. I tried to move a muscle, but it didn't work. I couldn't move because I had a yellow fuzzball locked around my calves. The poor guy was trembling so hard that he was making me vibrate. It was like being hugged by a washing machine. The Skeiths must have thought I was being defiant, because they moved towards me, with claws outstretched. If they had planned to remove me by force, that was another plan of theirs that fell through.

     I don't know how Wolf got down from the platform and into the Meerca pit that fast, but I suspect he used his "Lupe lunge" Battledome ability. One instant I was standing there alone, well... except for the Meerca death-locked onto my lucky green boots, and the next moment a very large and intimidating fire Lupe was standing next to me with bared fangs and an extremely displeased expression on his face.

     "Don't even think about touching my human," he growled in a tone so scary that it made the hairs on MY neck stand up.

     The blast of cheers, whoops, claps and stomps that had erupted from the stands with Wolf's arrival was deafening. The Skeiths were momentarily stunned, but they exchanged glances and nodded to each other. I guess they figured there were two of them against one Lupe, so the odds were in their favor. But Stonewolf3x simply smirked at them with a wry confident smile. The Skeiths stepped forward again in unison. They hadn't moved more than one step when they were stopped by the sound of an extremely gravelly voice using a clichéd pirate accent.

     "Arrr! Belay that mateys! Or I be laying ye six feet under the ground!"

     The medics spun around only to come face to face with a polka-dot bandana-wearing Krawk tapping a jagged Krawk blade against a very sharp and pointy hook. The instant they saw him, the spikes on their backs went dagger-rigid. The Skeiths then did something completely opposite to each other that seemed weirdly like they were doing the same thing. One of the Skeiths glanced at the fire Lupe. The other Skeith glanced at the pirate Krawk. Then they glanced at each other. I clamped my eyes shut. I did NOT want to see what was going to happen next.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part One

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Three

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Four

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Five

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Six

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Seven

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Eight

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Nine

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Ten

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Eleven

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Twelve

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Thrirteen

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