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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 28th day of Collecting, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 119 > Continuing Series > Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Eleven

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Eleven

by stoneman3x

I glanced upwards, as if I could actually see my Meerca through the ceiling. If the Chia police were the ones knocking on my front door, I was in deep trouble. There wasn't enough time for me to run up the stairs, grab Reallyconfused and hide in the vault before they got tired of knocking and broke the door down. I wished with all my heart that Stonewolf3x hadn't left. When you're surrounded by disgruntled Chias, there's nothing more useful to have around than an even more disgruntled Lupe. I walked out of the gym and cautiously approached the front door.

     After staring at the door for several moments, I called out in a slightly cracking voice, "There's nobody here but a bunch of lonely Puppyblews waiting for everyone to get back! Can I take a message?"

     It was kind of dumb, but I was hoping whoever was on the other side of the door would actually fall for it. I waited for a reply like, "Yeah, riiiiight... and we're a bunch of door-to-door medicinal toothbrush salesmen!" But there was no answer at all. Just silence. I hesitated with my hand on the doorknob. The silence was more unnerving than the idea of a mob of Chia police officers smashing through the door. I unbolted the lock and opened up the door a crack. I just HAD to see what was making all of that silence. Nothing. Nothing was making all of that silence. There was no one there. I stepped out of the door and looked around.

     "Hello? Is there really nobody here, or are you testing me to see if I'm really not home?" I called out.

     No answer. I sighed with relief. False alarm. Probably just some neighborhood baby Grarrls playing a practical joke, I thought. I gave my head a puzzled scratch and shrugged. Then I turned and walked back inside. I headed for Wolf's training gym on the other side of the kitchen. As soon as I located the battle duck and my fingers closed around it, I heard a loud crash-splash from upstairs. The battle duck in my hand slid off my fingers and bounce-squeaked across the floor.

     "RC?!!" I screeched. "Are you okay?"

     A series of thumping footsteps thundered along the corridor from the second floor. I tore back through the kitchen and bolted up the stairs, taking two steps at a time. When I reached the landing, I slipped on a puddle of water. My legs shot out in opposing directions and I did the splits before I slid nose-first into the wall. I toppled backwards and plopped on my butt in wetness. Stunned, I sat there for a moment rubbing my sore nose. A clattering noise arose from Wolf's bedroom and jolted me back to my senses.

     The patch of water on the stone floor had the same effect as walking on ice. I stumbled to my feet and slip-skid several feet like someone on skis. When I finally hit dryness and could run properly, I took off down the hall like a Cybunny with his tail on fire.

     "RC?!! Are you okay? Please answer me!" I yelled as I ran.

     When I reached Wolf's room, the door was wide open. Even before I entered the room, I could see that the window on the far wall was wide open too. I could feel my stomach leap up into my throat, which wasn't all that easy to do since it was tied up in knots at the time. I streaked to the window and flung my head out. A figure darted across the lawn of the back garden. It was hard to tell, because he was moving so quickly, but he appeared to be a green Techo. He seemed oddly Christmasy because he was green and wearing a red and white candy cane striped shirt. And the fact that he was carrying a sack over his shoulder made him look like some sort of mutant Santa's helper. But there was bulge in the bottom of the dripping wet bag. And when it wriggled, I REALLY panicked.

     "Hey you!" I shouted loudly with a nice squeak of hysteria added. "What are you doing? Bring back my Meerca!"

     The Techo not only ignored me, he kicked it into high gear and disappeared into a clump of towering tree weeds. I was actually tempted to follow him out the window, but two things occurred to me. Number one: it was a long drop to the ground. Number two: I didn't have the suction-cup fingers and toes of a wall-climbing Techo. I pulled my head back in from the window. That's when I spotted it. A piece of parchment paper was pinned to the wall by the window with a long, thin dagger. I had to twist the knife a little to yank it from the wall. The paper floated lazily down and landed at my feet. I picked it up and read the note with trembling hands.

If ye wanna see yer Meerca alive agin, don't follow me!
I mean it! I'm a desperate, bloodthirsty pirate!
And don't call the cops neither!
Sincerely yours,
Bug Eye McGee
P.S. -- Sorry about the mess on the floor.

     My knees started to buckle, so I made my way over to the bed and sat down. I read and reread the note a dozen times because I couldn't get my mind to absorb it. I just couldn't believe it. A vicious-- well, sort of vicious -- pirate had kidnapped Reallyconfused! I don't know how long I wandered around in a daze, but when I came out of my fog, I was downstairs in the livingroom with the shell phone in my hand. The receiver was on my ear and I could hear the beepity boop beep of the buttons being punched by fingers that obviously had the situation more in control than my brain did.

     "You have reached the law office of Wessle, Wrestle, Weasel and Palpus. How may I help you?" the nasally yet feminine and now-becoming-very-familiar voice greeted me.

     "I have to talk to Advisor Wessle right away," I said urgently. "This is an emergency!"

     "Any time someone needs a lawyer, it's considered an emergency," she replied crisply. "Advisor Wessle isn't in the office right now. May I take a message?"

     "Yeah," I said, trying to suppress my irritation at being taken so lightly, "Tell him his little yellow gold mine is gone, so he's out of a job."

     "Out... of... a... job..." she repeated back. "Is that goldmine with a capital G?"

     "Isn't there ANY way I can get ahold of him?" I whined. "This is Stoneman3x."

     "Well, you could put a couple of basic golden Nerkmids in the Mystery Island Trading Post and reserve them in his name. If you really want to get his attention, that always seems to help."

     I thanked her and hung up. Then I sunk down into my stone armchair and placed my face in my cupped hands. I was totally at a loss about what to do next. I even considered calling the Chia police. But the words on the note warning me not to do that held me back. Plus the fact that if the police found Reallyconfused, they would take him back to the Meerca Chase arena. I felt completely numb and exhausted. I guess my entire body took this as some sort of a hint, because it shut down. The next thing I knew I was waking up in my chair. It was completely dark.

     I sat bolt upright and squinted into the blackened room around me. I was disoriented for a moment and had to really think hard about where I was. I finally realized that I must have passed out for several hours and it was now night time. Reaching over to the lamp on the side table next to me, I flicked it on. That's when I got a real shock. Four Aishas in hooded cloaks and with poison tipped daggers hanging off of their belts stood in front of me. I froze. I could actually feel the retinas on my eyes shrink to the size of pin pricks as my eyes popped out.

     "W-w-w-ho ARE you? W-w-w-hat do you w-w-want?" I stuttered.

     "You don't remember us?" the leader said with a sly smirk, stepping forward out of the shadows.

     He tossed a square flat brown object into my lap. It was my wallet. Empty.

     "You're the guys that robbed me last night!" I exclaimed. "Are you here to rob my house, too?"

     "Actually, we're here to bring something back," the leader replied, motioning to one of his comrades still in the shadows.

     The Aisha stepped forward. He lifted a large sack off of his shoulder and gingerly laid it on the floor. A fuzzy yellow ball rolled out. The long tail wrapped around it unraveled as it rolled toward me. When it was several inches away, it jumped up on its feet, looked up at me and waved happily.

     "Hi, Stoney!"

     "RC!" I shouted with supreme joy.

     This time it was me who swooped in first. I snatched him up off of the ground and hugged him tightly to my chest. I had never been so giddy with relief in my life. I must have overdone it because my poor Meerca gurgled slightly from the squeeze-induced hold. I relaxed my grip and held him out in front of me so I could look at him.

     "I am soooo glad to see you, RC! Are you okay? Are you hurt?"

     He nodded and shook his head in rapid succession from my two opposite questions.

     "I'm glad to see you, too!" he chirped.

     Then I was almost drowned in a wave of bewilderment.

     "I don't understand..." I said, shooting a look at the Aisha thieves' leader. "Why... how...?"

     "There is an unwritten code of honor among thieves," he replied with a satisfied grin.

     "Where are my manners?" I asked outloud. "Please... sit down! Can I get you something to eat?"

     The other three Aishas smiled and cast eager, hopeful glances at their leader. But he shook his head 'no" and pretty much crushed their expectations into the dust.

     "No, thanks anyway," he replied. "It's dark now and time for us to get back to work."

     "At least explain to me why you did this," I said, taking a step backwards and sitting back down on my stone armchair. RC nestled himself comfortably into my lap.

     "It's quite simple," the Aisha leader replied breezily. "Your pirate Krawk helped us out with your wallet, so we were in his debt. Now the debt has been paid."

     For some reason, that actually made a weird sort of sense.

     "But how did you find him? How did you even know he had been Meerca-napped?" I asked.

     The Aisha leader gave his companions a knowing wink and replied, "We make it our business to know what's going on in the Neopian underworld. If it's a criminal activity, we know about it."

     I looked at the band of thieves in amazement. But what really amazed me more than the fact that they brought back my Meerca, was the fact I no longer saw them as dangerous robbers. They were welcome guests.

     "But there could have only been a couple of hundred Neopoints in this wallet," I said, waving the object in the air for emphasis. "You have to let me pay you some sort of a reward. I'm sure you could have sold him to the Meerca Chase officials for half a million Neopoints at least!"

     The three gang members suddenly got a startled expression on their faces and glared at their boss. He simply shrugged.

     "Okay," he said almost cheerfully. "What have you got?"

     I looked around the livingroom. I sure didn't have a lot of valuables lying around the house. Almost everything in it was made out of cheap stone. Then I remembered Stonewolf3x's training gym. There were some pretty expensive Battledome items in there.

     "Hold on a sec!" I said, leaping up from my my seat and dumping the Meerca that was on my lap onto the floor. "I'll be right back!"


I felt bad for a moment for jumping up so quickly that I dumped my Meerca off of my lap. But as usual, Reallyconfused bounced right back with a cheerful expression on his face. I trotted quickly into the kitchen and headed for the gymnasium on the far side of it. I scanned the room quickly. There, lying on the floor where I had dropped it, was the battle duck. It was a rare weapon worth a lot of Neopoints. It was a perfect reward to give to the Aisha thieves for returning Reallyconfused to me. I scooped it up quickly and headed back to the livingroom.

     The mob of hooded Aishas had fanned out and were wandering around the room. They seemed to be appraising my stuff, because they all had some object of mine in their hands. They were rotating and flipping around whatever objects they had for a complete examination. The moment I stepped back into the room, every single one of them stuffed whatever they were holding inside their cloaks or up their sleeves. I made a mental note to buy another Wock Til You Drop mug, swirly sand sculpture, wobbly pen and stone tablet. I walked up to the Aisha leader and shoved the battle duck towards him.

     "Here!" I said. "This is worth about 400,000 Neopoints. Please take it."

     He looked at me in surprise for a second, then snatched the item from my outstretched hand. The others seemed pleased by this and smiled broadly in approval.

     "You're a decent human being," he said, and then winked. "Which means you wouldn't last five minutes in our den of thieves!"

     They all laughed at this and in the blink of an eye, they vanished. It was a bizarre feeling to be standing there filled with admiration and gratitude for a band of cut-throats who had just robbed me at knife-point the night before. I looked down at the yellow Meerca at my feet. It suddenly occurred to me that he probably hadn't eaten since breakfast.

     "Are you hungry, RC?" I asked.

     He nodded enthusiastically.

     "Wait here and I'll go fetch us some dinner, okay?"

     He nodded enthusiastically again.

     By the time I got back from the kitchen with the dandelion and burdock drinks and the blueberry jam sandwiches, he was curled up on my stone armchair asleep. I smiled at him and tucked the Kau print throw around him. The poor little guy had obviously had a busy day too. I heard the sound of the back door opening and the familiar clicking of Lupe toenails on the kitchen floor. I sighed with relief. I was happy Wolf and Krawk were home. We would all be safe and protected now. The moment my other two pets and their petpets came into the room, I started babbling at them.

     "Oh, Wolf! You won't believe what happened today! A green pirate Techo kidnapped RC!"

     The Lupe's eyebrow arched and he shot a glance towards his pirate Krawk bodyguard.

     "Oh? Sorry to hear that..." Wolf began.

     I cut him off, gushing excitedly, "But everything's okay now! You know those four Aisha thieves that stole my wallet last night? They found out about the kidnapping and brought him back!"

     Wolf's whole body went rigid and Krawk's mouth flung open.

     "They brought him back?" Wolf said with astonishment. "Why would they do that?"

     "That's the funny part," I said, grinning triumphantly. "They said it was because Krawk handed the wallet over to them. Something about honor among thieves or something. Isn't that great? I hope you don't mind, but I thought they deserved some kind of a reward, so I gave them your battle duck."

     "YOU WHAT???" Wolf roared.

     I guess he DID mind.

     "Well... " I said, trying to think of something fast to calm him down. "The important thing is that Reallyconfused is home again, safe and sound."

     "You gave a bunch of thieves my battle duck after I paid three codestones to have him kidnapped in the first place?" my Lupe snarled angrily.

     It was now MY turn for my jaw to drop open.

     "You did WHAT???" I said, half in outrage and half in disbelief.

     Wolf looked away from me and thumped his tail on the hard stone floor in agitation. I turned towards his accomplice in crime.

     "What is going on here, Krawk?" I demanded. "You'd better tell me now or we'll be having Krawk pie for dinner!"

     He shot a startled glance to his captain, but only received a sullen look back. I guess he had never seen me totally ticked off, because he caved in and confessed.

     "Arrr, but it were me own idea, Man. Me Cap'n here weren't too pleased about having this Meerca about the place, so I contacted an old shipmate o' mine called Bug Eye McGee. He be that green pirate Techo you saw. Ol' Bug Eye be the sort who'll slit yer throat fer a Tiki Tack keyring. We paid him a few codestones to grab the Meerca and take him back to the Meerca Chase arena. We meant no harm to the wee fella. We just wanted him back where he belongs."

     "He belongs HERE!" I growled between clenched teeth.

     "No, he doesn't!" my Lupe countered, cutting in. "Do you even know what's going on out there?" He waved his paw towards the front door. "All of Neopia is up in arms about this stupid little Meerca. The king himself even demanded to see me about this whole mess."

     "King? What king?" I snarled back.

     "THE king," Wolf hissed. "The LUPE king. King Coltzan III. He summoned me personally. He said if I didn't take the Meerca back he would never bless me again."

     Wolf turned his face away from me. I had never seen him hang his head in shame before. It was very unnerving. I suddenly realized what was going on and I softened.

     "Geez, Wolf. We're friends. Why didn't you tell me? I didn't know you were getting hassled about this."

     "Because I figured you would keep him no matter what happened to me," Wolf replied in an almost whisper, still gazing at the floor.

     I suddenly felt terrible. Especially since I knew in my heart he was probably right. I walked over to my fire Lupe and placed my hand on his massive shoulder.

     "I really want to keep the Meerca," I said gently. "But not if it hurts you. I know how much these strength, speed and defense boosts from Coltzan mean to you and your Battledome career. We don't always have enough Neopoints to pay for your training, so these blessings are... ummm... a... blessing... obviously... Anyway, if this means I have to choose between you and the Meerca... well... I choose YOU, Wolf."

     He looked up into my eyes with sincere surprise.

     "You really mean that?" he asked earnestly.

     "Yes, I really mean that, Wolf," I nodded. "I'll take him back to the Meerca Chase pit tomorrow. I don't know how I'll break it to him, but I will. I promise."


The walk down Main Street in Neopia Central seemed painfully long. I had tossed and turned all night long in my bed trying to think how I would explain to Reallyconfused that he was going back to the Meerca Chase game. It was better for my Lupe if he went back. It was better for all of Neopia if he went back. But it wasn't better for me. I had only known him a couple of days, yet I had grown very fond of him. Taking him back was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. I had finally decided not to tell him until we actually got there. I couldn't bear the tear-filled eyes and a look of betrayal he was sure to give me, so I wanted to avoid it as long as possible. I had simply told him we were going on a shopping trip to Neopia Central. He was extremely happy about the idea and was bubbling over with excitement. So there we were, walking down Main Street. He bounced along on his tail, giddy with joy. I dragged my feet like my lucky green boots were made out of solid rock.

     "What are we gonna buy first?" RC asked with naive enthusiasm.

     "Well..." I said, looking away from his innocent eyes. "I was thinking we might go pay a visit to some of your old friends."

     He stared up at me quizzically and scratched his head.

     "You know," I added, hoping to jog his memory of life in the way distant past of three days ago, "Your friends... Meerca, Meerca and Meerca... down at the Meerca Chase arena..."

     RC clapped his paws together and squealed with delight, "Oh, can we? That would be so much fun! I haven't seen them in ages!"

     Ages, of course, being three days ago. I smiled weakly back at him.

     "Yeah, lots of fun..."

     He was so hysterically happy now that he began to do a dance-bounce on his tail and sing in a silly song-song voice.

     "Fun fun fun fun! We're going to have funny fun fun fun!"

     I thought I was going to hurl big time.

     "Ummm... RC?" I said, deciding to test the waters, so to speak, "Do you miss the gang at the old Meerca Pit?"

     "Oh, yes!" he gushed happily. "I miss them a lot! But when that mean ol' pirate grabbed me and took me away, I missed you even more." He stopped bouncing for a moment, held his paw to the side of his mouth and whispered in a serious tone, "I even cried a little."

     So much for testing the waters.

     "They will be so jealous of me when they see what a great human I have!" he gushed, quickly turning cheerful again.

     I was actually grateful when we finally arrived at the Games Pavilion. I was feeling so nervous and guilty that sweat poured off my temples like a waterfall. We headed for the entrance to the Meerca Chase arena. The scene there was exactly as it had been on the TV news the day before, only amplified a hundred times more. A bunch of yellow Meercas marched up and down in front of the entrance, blocking everyone from entering. But now they seemed to be joined by every Meerca in Neopia. Their supporters stood off to the sides, shouting encouragement to the picketing Meercas. I even spotted several famous Meercas in the crowd like Chuffer Bob and Meuka. The moment the crowd caught sight of Reallyconfused, a thunderous pandemonium of cheering broke out.

     "RC! Look! It's RC!"

     "Three cheers for Reallyconfused!"

     "Way to go, RC!"

     "Oh, Mr. Confused, can I have your autograph?"

     The yellow Meerca standing next to me beamed brightly and waved to the mob. The entire herd of Meercas grinned and waved back. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before this moment that my Meerca was now a Neopian celebrity. His rescue from the Meerca Chase game, and his refusal to go back was a big deal to a lot of Neopets. He had struck a blow for freedom for Meercas everywhere. The guilty sweat pouring off of me had apparently sucked all of the spare fluids out of my body because my mouth suddenly went very dry.

     An instant later we were surrounded by a sea of Meercas in every color of the Rainbow Pool. They shoved every imaginable object in Neopia at us and begged us to put our autographs on them. There is a definite advantage to being a wiry little Meerca, because RC was able to squirm through the crowd and make his way to the picket line. I was a tall human and not so lucky. I was completely locked in. But at least I towered over everyone so I could see what was happening.

     Reallyconfused bounded up to his friends and let loose a volley of "Hi, Meerca! Hi, Meerca! Hi, Meerca!" A volley of "Hi, RC! Hi, RC! Hi, RC!" shot back at him. I suddenly felt a surge of hope. If he realized how much he missed his friends, he might actually want to stay with them. While he chatted to his sign-carrying buddies, I struggled to disentangle myself from the annoying but well-wishing mob. By the time I managed to break free and head towards him, he was already returning towards me. I was surprised to see he was dragging his tail sadly instead of bouncing on it happily. He walked slowly up to me and tugged on my pant leg.

     "Can we go home now?" he asked in a pleading whisper.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part One

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Two

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 Twelve

Never Play Meerca Chase With a Lupe: Part Thrirteen

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