After setting out upon his search for his past, Lupo
encountered the one he'd been looking for: Balthazar. When Lupo was attacked
by Balthazar and nearly left for dead, he awakened to find himself in Illusen's
Glade, where he met Fortuna, who after she'd left, was revealed as Lupo's estranged
sister. Lupo could not wait to see her again, since he knew that he could unlock
his missing past at last. Unfortunately, there is more to Fortuna than Lupo
is aware of…
Morning came with the sun edging steadily above
the horizon. Its rays shone down upon the glade, blessing the forest with its
gentle light. The light began to shine into Lupo's eyes, and alerted him to
wake up. As Lupo rose from his make-shift bed upon the ground, his first thought
was to see if Fortuna had returned.
He made a quick scan of the forest around him,
and saw no one. Lupo sighed, with disappointment, as he settled down again.
He felt that he had no reason to get up, until Fortuna returned. But he could
not stay settled for long, for Illusen had emerged from the forest.
"Good morning, Lupo," she smiled.
But Lupo did not acknowledge her. He only stared
off into the horizon, waiting for a Faerie Lupe to emerge through the clouds.
Illusen is a faerie of kindness and limitless patience, but she did not appreciate
being ignored by Lupo, even though she knew why he was so restless.
"Be patient, Lupo. She will return. I promise
you," Illusen reassured him. Lupo felt confident that she would return, but
he would remain anxious until then. Illusen then gave him some mint-leaf bread,
which she promised would give him renewed strength. After consuming it, he indeed
felt better, and fully recovered. He could now get up and walk around without
It was around the time that the sun had reached
its apex in the sky, when Lupo heard a flutter and rustle from above. Lupo looked
up, and saw Fortuna descend from the sky to the ground in front of where he
stood. Again, he was taken aback by her sheer beauty, and could not find words
to express it. Yet, he was also filled with the immeasurable bliss of knowing
what news he bared.
"Hey there. Looks like you can walk again," Fortuna
grinned. Lupo smiled back, but said nothing. Fortuna saw nothing odd about this,
since she barely knew him. Lupo had rehearsed the speech that he would use to
inform her of their relationship many a time overnight, but now that the time
had now come, he was left speechless.
But looking into her caring eyes, and knowing
what she had done for him, he grasped his courage and prepared to speak.
"I… have something to tell you…" Lupo said, with
"What is it, Lupo?" she asked, wondering what
was making it so hard for him to get the words out.
Lupo continued staring at her, not sure of how
to continue. It's now or never, Lupo thought. He stared straight at Fortuna,
putting all forms of serious expressions upon his face, and broke his pause.
"I am your brother," Lupo quickly blurted out.
Lupo immediately breathed a sigh of relief, and
felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders. But when
he looked at Fortuna again, he realized that the difficulty was just beginning.
Fortuna stood quiet and still for a moment, not
moving a muscle, nor blinking an eye. She stood there evidently overwhelmed
and shocked at the notion that this Lupe was her brother. "Oh…" she whispered.
"So, you really are my brother?"
"Yes. I only found out yesterday, from Illusen,"
"Illusen told you this?" Fortuna said, much louder
than before. "She had said that I would meet family that I did not know…" Fortuna,
referring to Illusen, explained. "I never knew I had a brother…" Fortuna began
to whimper a little, as tears began to run down her cheeks.
Lupo strode up and comforted her. "It's okay…
I didn't know I had a sister either," he whispered.
Fortuna turned away from Lupo, and stared in
the general direction that she had flown to, the day before. She then swung
her head around and looked Lupo in the eye with a smile. "I'm saved!" she exclaimed.
Lupo confused by what she meant asked, "What
do you mean?"
Fortuna continued to mutter about her being "saved."
But Lupo had no idea what she was talking about.
"Did you know our parents?" Lupo asked, randomly.
Fortuna stopped her quiet celebration and paused
for a moment. She lowered her head dejectedly. "I remember them when I was very
young, but I know that they disappeared at some point before I was a six months
Lupo felt his entire body go numb. His thoughts
now rested with his parents. His sister, who seemed to actually know them, had
no idea what became of them. This thought depressed him even further. That
is irrelevant, though. I've found someone who is family, he thought, trying
to prevent his emotions from breaking him down.
"But you're here. You can get me out of this.
I know you can," Fortuna continued to ramble. Before Lupo had a chance to respond,
he suddenly felt his body being lifted into the air, as Fortuna clutched him
around his waist with her paws, and took to the sky.
"Where are you taking me?!" Lupo yelled, never
before seeing Neopia from the sky. Fortuna seemed to ignore him, as they sped
away from the glade to an unknown destination.
After what seemed like an hour of flying, Lupo
looked down and saw a familiar site: the Haunted Woods. Tension began to mount
in Lupo's mind, when he realized they'd begun their descent.
"Why are we landing here? This place is not safe!"
Lupo shouted, hoping Fortuna would cease her silence.
But she continued to ignore him, as they came
to a landing in a small clearing of the woods. Though there was still daylight
left in the sky, it was almost dark as night in the woods already.
The landing caused Lupo to stumble to the ground,
when Fortuna suddenly released him from her grip. She came to a landing right
next to him, still remaining silent. Lupo noticed that she seemed to be staring
at something in the darkness, but even a Lupe's eyes could not penetrate it.
"Why are we here?" Lupo repeated.
"You can come out…Father." Fortuna finally said.
A chill ran through Lupo's body. Hadn't Fortuna
just mentioned that their parents had disappeared? Lupo was unsure what to believe
at this point. Something wasn't right…
At that moment, Lupo saw a dark shape appear
through the tree-line, and quickly realized it was,
"Balthazar?!" Lupo stared in disbelief. Balthazar
was his father?
"Fortuna, my girl… I see you brought a friend."
He smiled wickedly at Lupo. "Here to get revenge?" he said looking at Lupo.
But Lupo could not say a word. He was still in
shock over the thought that Balthazar, the one who had nearly killed him, was
his actual father.
"It's over Balthazar! I will be your slave no
longer." Lupo got over his whimsy and saw Fortuna growling at Balthazar.
"Fortuna… What's going on?" Lupo asked.
"Disrespectful little pup! You are bound to me!
The pact lasts for the rest of your miserable life!" Balthazar snarled.
Many questions flooded Lupo's mind. He could
not understand what was happening. Was Balthazar really his father? Why was
Fortuna speaking so defiantly towards Balthazar? And what did Balthazar mean
by 'pact'? Lupo could only stand and watch, as the answers to his questions
"You cannot stand up to me, girl… I know all
of your tricks! That is why you wouldn't dare challenge me!" Balthazar continued.
But Fortuna continued to address him confidently.
"Not anymore, Balthazar… I've served you long
enough. Today is the day I go free!" she shouted, as she charged at Balthazar.
"No!" cried Lupo, as he watched her speed towards
him, with intense ferocity.
Not surprisingly, Balthazar easily batted her
away, with one great swing of his paw. "Foolish girl! Did you really think that
you could take me on?" Balthazar taunted.
Fortuna quickly recovered, and charged for him
again, and was batted away, yet again. Despite the heavy blows she took, Fortuna
continued struggling to her feet trying hard to strike Balthazar. But Balthazar
was simply too strong for her. Finally, after one hard hit, Fortuna fell to
the ground, and remained there, motionless. Lupo, who had sat idly by the entire
time, could not bear to watch this any longer. He did not want to see his sister
perish at the hands of Balthazar.
"Time to say goodbye, my pet…" Balthazar sneered,
as he approached Fortuna, who was lying helplessly on the ground. While Balthazar
was distracted, Lupo saw an opportunity, and took it.
He ran at full speed, and rammed Balthazar hard
in his left side; payback for his own injury. The impact managed to knock Balthazar
away, leaving him temporarily stunned. Lupo was relentless in his attack. He
didn't give Balthazar a chance to recover, as he continually rammed him over
and over again.
Eventually, Balthazar too, was knocked out, giving
Lupo a chance to check on Fortuna. Upon closer examination, he realized the
direness of her injuries. He knew that she needed help, but he also knew that
help was far away from them, in every direction. Whatever Lupo could do, he
would have to do it fast, for his sister's time was running out. The clock was
"I tried to free myself…" Fortuna's strained
voice said. "I wanted out of this life." Lupo still confused about Fortuna and
Balthazar, wanted to know why she did what she did.
"Is Balthazar really our father?" Lupo asked,
while looking over at Balthazar, still knocked out cold.
"No… He's my master." Fortuna answered. Lupo
shook his head a little.
"Master? Are you his servant, or something?"
Fortuna gasped in pain, as her injuries began
to manifest. Lupo knew he had to find someone to help her, and soon.
"Our parents… they disappeared a long time ago.
When I was born, they were quite thrilled, for they had always wanted a child
of their own. I was so young then… There was no way I could've known you were
there too." Lupo listened as Fortuna told him the story.
"I can't remember what happened… all I can remember
is suddenly finding myself in the Haunted Woods. I remember how I first saw
Balthazar… How scared I was! I remember being alone, when he came. I cried out
for my parents, but Balthazar told me that they would not come. He told me that
he would not harm me as long as I helped him in his captures."
"You mean faeries?" Lupo asked.
"Yes… He said that as long as I helped him, I
was safe. He never said how long I would be working for him, so this allowed
him to control my life." Fortuna managed to sit up a little, which was a relieving
sight for Lupo.
"But how did you get here?" Lupo asked, firmly.
"Because your parents had no choice…" Balthazar
groaned as he stood up. "Your parents loved to go out exploring for a short
time, everyday. Even if you were pups, they left you carelessly alone, in your
den. I just happened to seize the opportunity, and raid your den. But, I only
found you there." Balthazar looked at Fortuna.
"For some reason, the other pup wasn't there,"
Balthazar continued, while Lupo stood and glared, "It didn't matter. I needed
an assistant for my business, but no one would willingly help catch faeries.
So I resorted to kidnapping. And it proved quite successful in the end." Balthazar
laughed loudly, while both Lupo and Fortuna stood silent.
"When your parents managed to track me down,
I took them both on at once. Both fell at my feet, when I emerged triumphant."
Lupo felt hate and rage swell within his body,
and the only thought that ran through his mind, was anger. "You destroyed our
parents?" Lupo asked, growlingly.
"No… They ran off, leaving their beautiful daughter
in my care. I never saw them again." Balthazar glared. "I'd be amazed if they
could stand to look at their reflections, after what they had done."
Lupo had heard enough. The anger generated from
hearing about his parents, and seeing Fortuna on the ground, still hurt, made
him resolute in challenging Balthazar. Again, he prepared to attack Balthazar,
but found that he would not go down easily this time. Balthazar evaded the attack,
and tripped Lupo to the ground. With his gigantic paw, Balthazar pinned Lupo
to the ground by the throat, cutting off his air supply. Lupo tried to break
free, but Balthazar would not budge. When all hope seemed lost, a voice from
all around them rang out.
"Stop! Balthazar, enough of this! You have proved
yourself a dishonorable soul," the voice boomed.
"Who are you? I demand you to show yourself!"
Balthazar growled, releasing his grip on Lupo. Both he and Balthazar looked
around to see what the source of the voice was. They looked in every direction.
But there was no one there…
To be continued…