Wildtooth sniffed the air, and paced nervously. There would be more cubs within
the pack by morning, and he was extremely nervous. As he walked back and forth
and forth and back, he could hear some other Lupes do the same. He guessed that
everyone else was just as nervous. His good friend, Quickpaw (a red Lupe), pattered
up to him and sat next to the black Lupe.
"I think," said Wildtooth out loud. "That I will name one of my pups Moonlight,
since the full moon is out tonight."
"Moonlight is a popular name," said Quickpaw. "Give him something more exciting
for a title... like Lupe-With-Sharp-Teeth-And-Long-Tail."
Wildtooth eyed him. "I think that is a mouthful. Anyway, where is Stalker?"
"I don't know," sighed Quickpaw. "You might have to exile him from the pack.
All he does is think about chasing Chias, and rumour has it that he is going
to challenge you for the position of head-Lupe of the pack!"
Wildtooth sprang up upon four legs. "He wouldn't dare!"
The red Lupe nodded sadly. "It is true. I heard him talk to a couple of low-status
Lupes in the pack. He is going to challenge you in a big fight at the end of
the month... or so he says."
"Well," said Wildtooth, curling his bushy tail and sitting down again. "Let
that bag-of-bones corner me in a fight! Let me remind you that when I never
lost a battle."
There were some distant yelps and squeals of new-born puppies. Wildtooth sprang
forward to find his mate, Windeye, sitting there, with three puppies nestled
up to her, asleep. Windeye was a beautiful white Lupe, so one pup was white.
Another pup was pitch black like Wildtooth. The last one was a grey puppy.
"I have named them already," said Windeye. "The white one is Snowtail. The
black one is Nighthowl. The last one is Cloud."
Wildtooth puffed out his chest proudly. "Snowtail, Nighthowl and Cloud! Three
wonderful Lupe puppies!"
Windeye smiled, but it quickly turned into a frown as she saw a strange Lupe
coming over towards her. By now, all the Lupes of the pack were gathered around
to see the sleeping cubs. All but Stalker. Now, he was making the crowd part
as he slowly walked to see the new-borns.
He was an icy blue Lupe, with bloodshot eyes and yellowed teeth. Most of his
nights, he was out hunting Chias. He was obsessed with it. He never thought
of anything else, and he despised the fact that the pack was always resting,
when they could be in a glorious hunt against Neopia's weakest inhabitants.
"They are too small," growled Stalker, looking at the babies. "How do you
think they could managed against a fully grown Chia?"
"Not everything is about hunting," said Wildtooth sternly. "Take a break.
I am worried about you."
The old Lupe gave a cough-like laugh that made all the pack members shudder
and step back. Windeye stood up to defend her cubs in needed.
"Worried?" he said eerily. "About me? Wildtooth, it is you who has the problem."
"No, Stalker," growled Windeye. "I think it is plain to see that you are the
one with the problem. Night and day you leave the pack to hunt. And, what you
do hunt, you don't eat! That is breaking the Lupe Law."
"The Lupe Law," said Stalker quietly. "Will be changed when I am leader."
"Ahhh," said Wildtooth slyly. "So the rumour is true? Well, come on, Stalker.
Don't you want to be leader? Fight me!"
Windeye looked at her husband in horror. His fur was raised and he was scratching
the ground with his claws. Wildtooth bared his white fangs and they gleamed
in the full moon's light.
Without any delay, Stalker launched himself upon Wildtooth, and the fight
began. They were like blurs amongst the dust and dirt that flew into the air
as they fought. Windeye wanted to come in and defend the pack leader, but the
fight was too intense for a third Lupe. She was left there helpless, whimpering
in fear, and hoping that Wildtooth was winning. Lupes like Quickpaw began to
encourage the black Lupe while he threw himself upon Stalker again and again.
The battle took to the dark part of the woods, where no Lupe could see anything.
Finally, there was a loud, pleading yelp, and the scrimmage was over.
A dark shadow came forth from the forest. At first, everyone thought it was
Wildtooth, and cheered happily. But as the champion move forth into the moon's
dim light, they could see that his fur was not black, but an icy blue.
"Lupes of the pack!" he howled. "Bow to your new leader! Then get some sleep.
Tomorrow, we will begin our training!"
It was a year after the incident. Snowtail, Nighthowl and Cloud became
Snowtail, Nighthowl and Cloud plunged into the chuckling stream. Water splashed
across their fur as they ran around. Nighthowl, who was a great swimmer, would
dive into the water, and play-bite his sister's tail. Snowtail would then leap
up in fright, thinking that a Koi of some sort had bit it, before Nighthowl
came to the surface laughing.
Cloud, would just sit on a rock and look at his reflection. He liked the way
water moved. Slowly, he began to conduct a poem in his mind about water, when
suddenly harsh howling came from the meadow.
"Shoot," snapped Nighthowl. "I thought our break was thirty minutes!"
"Didn't you hear?" asked Cloud over his shoulder. "Stalker had cut it to fifteen.
Come on! You know what happens if we are late."
Cloud, Nighthowl and Snowtail quickly rushed out of the water and ran down
toward the meadow. They could see all the Lupes gathered around the leader,
Stalker. One of them was a beautiful white Lupe. It was Windeye. Age had taken
her, yet she still had magnificent beauty.
Stalker paced back and forth in front of all the Lupes. They stood to attention.
Since Stalker became the leader, he had set up Chia-hunting training everyday.
Even the cubs were taught to attack a Chia. And, being a very intelligent Lupe,
Stalker had set up a body guard system made up of very loyal Lupes. That way,
no one could challenge him, like he did with Wildtooth.
His bodyguards were lined up behind Stalker. All the bodyguards had mud smeared
across their face, so you could tell them apart from the other Lupes. The protectors
were supposed to be treated better then the other pack members. They were to
have the best meat of the hunt, the freshest water to drink, and they got the
best places to sleep. These were Stalker's rules.
The trio went into the crowd just as Stalker started to speak.
"Today," he growled. "We are going on a hunt. We are hunting a rare Chia,
known as the Faerie Chia. A scout of mine has said that he spied one on a hill
a couple of hours ago. This Chia, luckily, is alone, so we have an easy hunt."
Some Lupes began to wiggle with excitement, while others stayed motionless
with faces of disgust. Hunting an innocent, lonely Chia? This was not the way
of the Lupe! One of those motionless Lupes was Cloud. His brother and sister
were dancing happily, glad that they were going on a hunt.
"Remember your tactics, your training," glowered Stalker as he went through
the crowd. "No mistakes! It is important to be perfect in a hunt. If you don't,
your prey might vanish before your eyes! Let me remind you, that I have never
lost a hunt. And I don't intend to."
Stalker then went to the front of the pack once more. The captain of Stalker's
body guard (a yellow Lupe named Quester) came up and sat next to the leader
as he spoke.
"I want you all to act like this Lupe: Quester," explained Stalker. "Quester
has been a good hunter. He has never held back, and has never been afraid to
fight. I applaud him. However, if you act like... Cloud, then I shall personally
have to punish you!"
All the heads turned toward Cloud. The grey Lupe hung his head with embarrassment.
On the previous hunt, he had protested and did not participate. Stalker sentenced
him to starve for a week.
"Now, move out!" commanded Quester. The Lupe pack moved in a single, brisk
motion as they went into the woods.
"Cloud," whispered Snowtail. "Hunt this time. Don't make a big deal out of
Cloud shook his head. "I am going to find that poor Chia and warn him. This
is not right! Twenty-three Lupes against one Chia?"
Nighthowl pushed Snowtail away and spoke to Cloud.
"You know how Stalker is when he is mad. Just keep your muzzle shut and obey
him," ordered the black Lupe.
Cloud was sick and tired of listening to them, and moved away from the pack.
Slowly, he melted into the blackness of the dark woodlands, and went off to
find the Chia.
And, using his superb nose, Cloud found him! The poor little Faerie Chia was
sitting on a stump, all alone. The lost thing was crying too. Cloud felt a lot
of pity for the NeoPet, and edged toward him steadily.
But the Chia was the first to see the mysterious visitor. Quickly, he stood
up on his stump and curled his paws into fists.
"Stay back, Chia-chewer," said the Chia. "I am a Battledome champion."
"No, no," said Cloud. "I am friendly. Climb on my back and I will take you
The Chia still had his fists curled. "How do I know you won't eat me?"
The Lupe sighed. "I promise I won't. I give my Lupe word! There is a pack
of twenty-three Lupes searching for you, and they are going to hunt you down!"
This made the Chia scramble on to Cloud's back. When the Chia was safely on,
Cloud leapt forward into the dark shadows, sniffing the ground as he went.
Cloud had a superb nose that made even a Gelert admire him. With his trusty
snout, Cloud managed to weave in and out of the trees, finding the exact path
to the Chia's village. However, no to far off, he could hear Stalker giving
orders to the other Lupes. They had smelled them.
Cloud gasped in horror as he saw a glint of yellow fur between tree trunks.
It was Quester, on his trail.
"Hold on," cried Cloud, and rushed deeper into the forest. Branches scratched
his face, as he plunged deeper and deeper into the wood. Finally, the Chia told
him to stop.
"My town is close," said the Chia. "It's in a secret place... far away from
The Chia got off Cloud's back, and slowly lead the way toward his home. Cloud
was a bit more anxious, and kept on looking back to see if Quester was behind
them. Finally, the Chia showed a hole in the ground, that was almost completely
hidden by a fat bush.
"This tunnel leads directly to Chiaville," smiled the Chia. "If you ever want
to see me, just crawl through this hole."
"Thank you," smiled the Lupe, pleased that he had been told a secret. "I will
not tell anyone else. What is your name?"
"Chuck," said the Chia simply. "Just plain Chuck."
The pair jumped as they heard the gruff voice of Stalker. Cloud turned over
to Chuck and plucked a chuck full of hair from his head. The Faerie Chia winced.
"What did you do that for?" asked Chuck, rubbing his forehead.
"I am going to lead a false trail," said Cloud, between his teeth (still holding
the hair in his mouth). "I will see you later."
Chuck scuttled into the hole, while Cloud began to rub the bushel of hair
on the ground. The scent of the hair would lead Quester and his group away from
Cloud's head suddenly bumped into something soft, and furry. He slowly looked
up. It was Quester, with a smirk upon his muzzle.
"Oh, Cloud," he said mockingly. "What are you doing with that tuff of hair
in your mouth? I am sure Stalker would like to know about this... "
To be continued...