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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 13th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 26 > New Series > Rebirth: Part One

Rebirth: Part One

by solargriffin

I am a cowboy Lupe. I patrol the harsh desert lands, protecting those in need and fighting those who threaten the well being of others. My name is… well my name is insignificant. After all, names can change as fast as we think new ones up. They vary with the time of day or with the sway of our emotions. All that you must know for now is that I am a male starry Lupe, strong and brave, in my late twenties. For five years I have wandered alone across the barren landscape, defending others as I leave my past far behind me. However, if you stay a while, I will tell you about my life, and my rebirth.

It began six years ago. Like every young Lupe, I was strong, courageous, daring, and terribly headstrong. I was a loner, wandering the desert day after day seeking adventure and laughing at danger. I felt I needed no one, no pack or family; that I could face life on my own.

At the time, I had wandered into a particularly hostile part of the arid landscape. As I rode on, the cacti and other flora became less and less numerous, until even the short grasses and scruffy plants vanished all together. The day wore on and the heat became unbearable. I pulled down the brim of my cowboy hat to shield my eyes and loosened the green bandana around my neck, but this did little to improve my state.

The sun was scorching the back of my neck and my horse began to stumble in his exhaustion. He longed to stop and rest, but I knew that to pause now, with no shelter from the heat, would prove fatal. We had to keep going until we found a canyon or outcrop with some shade. By chance, I looked up and caught a glance of a large rock formation up ahead. Relief washed over me, I knew there must be some type of cave or overhang that could provide proper shielding from the sun.

"Come on, boy," I urged my steed. "Only a little farther."

We continued to plod slowly towards the rock, until we finally reached the foot of the hill it sat upon. I dismounted and led my horse up the slope. The climb was slow and tedious, and I feared my legs would give way any minute, but I somehow made it to the top. My effort spent, I collapsed onto the ground and lay there panting. After a minute or so, I sat up.

"Well," I said, "we made it."

No sooner had the words escaped my mouth than I felt a sharp, cool blade slide across my creek and press firmly under my jawbone.

"Friend or foe?" questioned a light, feminine voice from behind me.

I sat rigid, and cursed my negligence. I should have known a camp would have been made near the rock, being the only shelter for miles. I turned slowly to face my assailant, careful not to make any sudden movements. Before me stood an elegant cloud Lupess with strong pale blue eyes. She held her arm steady, the dagger still inches from my throat.

"Friend or foe?" she reiterated, a bit harsher this time.

I narrowed my eyes. "I am a friend to all who are abused and wronged, but a foe to all would harm the innocent," I stated firmly.

It was a very stupid thing to say, a statement that could have easily left me in the desert for good. However, it must have pleased the Lupess in some way, for she smiled and sheathed her weapon.

"Welcome, you are in Quataro lands now. You are free to rest here and regain your strength."

With that, she turned and made her way back to a cave in the rock. Huh, I thought to myself. I had never heard of the Quataro Pack; I didn't even know there were Lupe bands way out here. I stood up and made my way over to my saddlebag. The long journey and left me extremely thirsty, as well as terribly hungry. I stuck my paw inside the bag and felt around. I only just began to wonder why it seemed so empty when, to my great dismay, I saw my starred paw pop out of a rather large hole.

"Oh no," I moaned, wiggling my fingers. How was I going to survive without food or water?

"Is something wrong?" asked a quiet voice right next to my left ear. The sound so startled me that I jumped and spun around in a panic. I came snout to snout with the cloud Lupess. She looked at me questioningly and had a worried expression in her eyes.

"Oh no, nothing's wrong," I lied. I could tell she wasn't buying my act.

"You're dehydrated, you should really drink something," she told me.

"Oh, yeah I know, but…" I scratched the back of my neck, feeling very awkward indeed. In order to save my pride, I was about to make a stupid excuse about not needing water or something tough like that, when she peered over my shoulder and spied the ripped saddlebag. She sighed and rolled her eyes before grabbing me firmly by the wrist and leading me to the cave.

"Follow me," she said in an exasperated voice. She brought me though a low passageway and into a large cavern. Once inside, the Lupess released my arm and walked forward while I allowed my eyes to adjust to the sudden darkness. I looked around the grotto and my jaw dropped as the contents came into focus. Inside were enough supplies to house at least fifty Lupes. I was still standing flabbergasted when the cloud Lupess returned holding a various assortment of canned foods.

"What would you like?" she inquired kindly. "Peaches? Chicken soup? Baked Beans?" I stood stunned.

"I can't take your rations," I replied earnestly, gently pushing away the cans she offered me.

"Nonsense," she laughed, dumping all the provisions into my arms. "We have more than enough. If you won't choose, then just take them all!"

With that she handed me a large canteen and left the cavern carrying oats, water, and an apple (no doubt to feed my poor horse). Even as I watched her leave, I still stood dazed by the remarkable hospitality she had just shown me. Who wouldn't? Not five minutes ago the same Lupess had held a knife to my neck. I shook my head in amazement and shifted my gaze to the food in my arms. As chivalrous as I was, it did not change the fact that I was still famished, and, seeing as the Lupess would not allow me to return the provisions, I knew no reason why I should starve myself. So, I sat down on the cool cavern floor and opened a few of the cans.

A while later, empty and half eaten tins lie strewn about. I took a long swig from the canteen and placed it down with a sigh. My hunger satiated and my thirst slaked, exhaustion caught up with me. My eyelids grew heavy and my head began to nod. Unable to fight my fatigue, I curled up on the rock floor of the grotto for a long rest. I was asleep before my head even touched the ground…

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Rebirth: Part Two

Rebirth: Part Three

Rebirth: Part Four

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