The Legend of the Lupe: Part One
Thalion stirred restlessly in his sleep. His bushy white
tail swished from side to side furiously, faster and faster with every passing
moment. Suddenly, Thalion was still, and then he suddenly sat up, panting heavily.
Cold sweat trickled down the side of his snout, slowly collecting on his whiskers.
Thalion's bloodshot eyes flickered frantically, erratically moving from side
to side, taking in all that was around him. Nothing stirred, nothing moved.
The only sound in the silent night was his own breathing. Thalion's clenched
muscles relaxed, and he visibly calmed. He flopped back to his original position,
and curled up, convinced that all was well. A shadow flickered across the wall,
and Thalion, even though he did not see it, sensed it. He slowly turned over,
fearing what he might see. But there was nothing. Just a blank wall. Once again,
Thalion relaxed, and drifted off into a fitful and restless sleep. Above him,
a shadow flickered on the ceiling.
Thalion tossed and turned in his sleep, unaware
of his physical surroundings. All he knew was that there was a haunting cry,
calling him, always calling. The cry, sounding so pitiful, so needy. So vulnerable.
He could not understand what the cry was saying, but in the universal language
of emotion, he could tell it needed help. His help. Thalion continued sleeping
though the night, always turning restlessly, plagued by those haunting cries.
Thalion woke up to the distant cry of a Peadackle.
He rubbed his eyes sleepily, no memory of any disturbance the night before,
his body feeling like lead. He padded into the bathroom, and cupped his paws
beneath the flowing tap. He splashed the water onto his face, savouring the
cold shock that refreshed his body. He walked down the hall and into the kitchen,
pouring himself a bowl of cereal. He switched on the radio, and now fully awake,
listened to the presenter's cheery drone. Living alone was not difficult for
Thalion, although the traditional Lupe instincts called for large packs for
safety and hunting purposes. Thalion preferred to live alone in his two-storey
NeoHome, with no others for company. He liked the tranquility, the silence,
the solidarity. The one exception to his rule of solidarity was his best friend,
Polador. He munched on his Wheat Flakes, planning on the activities for the
day. He had plans to go to the park with Polador that day. Thalion and Polador
were the best of buddies, friends since they had first met, a long time before
as mere pups. That meeting was truly memorable, for the instant they had first
talked, they had both started arguing. Although they tended to have different
views of the world, they shared common interests, and this was what kept them
bound. Their disagreements only served to bond them closer as they debated.
They both enjoyed their debates, their non-competitive arguments, which both
felt helped understand the other's point of view. Thalion often called Polador
an idealistic optimist. Polador would just as often retort that Thalion was
a hopeless pessimist. As always, Thalion would respond that he was in fact just
a realist. And so it would go on and on, their constant friendly battle of the
wits. Thalion was a white Lupe that felt some people you couldn't trust, and
that they were just plain no good. He had no qualms about beating others to
a pulp, as long as there was a good, justified and honourable reason for it.
Polador was a fire Lupe, and a pacifist, but was not someone you could treat
as a doormat. He believed there good in everyone, and was always willing to
give someone a second chance. Thalion sometimes felt protective of his friend,
marveling at how he could trust the shadiest of characters. But sometimes the
trust paid, off, and those shady characters did turn out to be okay. But other
times the trust did not pay off, and it was times like that Thalion's fighting
prowess came into play.
This particular day, Thalion was to meet Polador
at the park for a walk. As usual, when Thalion arrived, Polador was already
there. Without a word spoken between them, Polador stood up from the bench he
had been resting on, and they both started walking down one of the many paths
winding through park. The park was calm and pleasant, the cries and yells of
little Neopets playing occasionally breaking the peace. Shady trees provided
respite from the rays of the sun, placed strategically here and there. Scattered
along the side of the paths were flowerbeds containing assorted plants, and
shrubbery also put in the occasional appearance. They passed little Neopets
playing ball, others dressed up in costumes pretending to be Garon or even Jhudora,
zapping each other with imaginary weapons. Polador chuckled as he passed a particularly
boisterous Mynci duo, who were wrestling playfully. Thalion smiled at the sight
too. Whenever he was around Polador, he found it hard to be sad or depressed,
for whenever Polador was around, it felt that the world seemed to light up,
and colour seemed to return to the usual dreary scenery. They came to a cross
path, at which a young female Usul, clothed in an outrageously bright and over
the top dress, was pretending to be damsel in distress, crying out in a high
pitched voice for help. A young Kyrii, riding a pole topped with a stuffed toy
Uni head, rode up, pretending to be riding a faithful steed. Polador laughed
heartily at the scene, but Thalion did not.
Polador sensed something wrong with his friend,
and asked gently, "What troubles you, my dear Thalion?"
Thalion, not one to easily open up and share
his feelings, merely shook his head and assured his friend that everything was
fine. Even if he wanted to, Thalion could not have said what was wrong, for
even he did not know what worried him. All he knew was that whenever he looked
at that Usul and Kyrii playing their game, he felt a twinge, a stirring of some
long-forgotten memory. Polador looked concerned, but could do nothing. They
continued their walk, and agreed to meet again the next day. For the rest of
the day Thalion was bothered by that strange feeling, but always the memory
remained just out of his reach. That night, Thalion prepared himself to go to
sleep as he always did. He got into bed, pulling the blanket up to his chin,
and closed his eyes. An hour passed. Then another. But Thalion could still not
sleep. Usually he fell asleep within 15 minutes. He got up, and walked around
his NeoHome, ears pricked, eyes alert. He felt unnaturally nervous, and twitched
at every shadow, every threatening silhouette. He gulped down a glass of Kau
Kau Farm Milk, and returned to bed. This time he fell asleep straight away.
Immediately, his mind was filled by the haunting cries for help. In his mind,
he ran as fast as he could from the sound, but he was trapped within a black
void, and no matter how fast or how far he ran, he always stayed in the same
place. He fell to his knees in despair, and blocked his ears with his paws,
straining to rid himself of the sounds. Suddenly, the landscape around him shifted,
twisted, transformed into something entirely different from the dark void it
had been just moments before. Thalion found himself inside an extremely small
room. The front wall consisted of a convex, transparent material, probably crystal.
Through it Thalion could see an ancient stone room, the image blurred and fuzzy.
The narrow strip of floor in his prison curved up on either side of him, meeting
seamlessly with the narrow curved walls, which in turn met with the arched ceiling.
It appeared that the sides, ceiling and floor were all melded to become one
circular surface. The back wall appeared to be shiny gold. Thalion was forced
to stoop, and fear gnawed away at his heart. He tried to gingerly tap on the
crystal wall in front of him, but nothing happened. He began to panic, and began
thrashing desperately against walls, but merely ended up hurting his paws. He
felt claustrophobic, trapped, in his unusual prison. The cries for help continued,
louder and stronger than ever before. Thalion, having no choice but to listen
to the howls, suddenly found himself starting to grasp what the voice was saying.
He focused, and discovered that the cries, while not yet translated, were starting
to become more and more familiar. Thalion strained to understand, on the brink
of understanding, as one could stand on the edge of a cliff, and be on the brink
of falling. And as abruptly as it had appeared, his prison started to melt away,
disappearing in a swirl of light. Once again he was in the empty black void.
The voice faded back to its usual soft volume, and once again, Thalion strained
to understand. And that was when he woke up. He sat bolt upright, breathing
heavily. So close to understanding! He cursed, and tried to stop panting. His
breathing gradually returned to normal, and he relaxed. Like the night before,
he slowly drifted off to agitated sleep.
For the next few weeks, Thalion's sleep was
plagued with the cries for help, and visits to the empty void and inevitably
the strange container in which he would be imprisoned. Every time this happened,
however, Thalion found himself staying a little longer, a little closer to understanding.
Every time the message became a little clearer, and soon, Thalion knew, he understand.
Finally, came the night when Thalion finally understood. Thalion, inside the
strange prison, began to translate snatches of the cries that poured in. Slowly,
he pieced the message together in his mind, and found that cries said: "Help!
Please help! Release me from this prison from which I have wrongfully confined!
I have done nothing wrong! Help if you are true and just!" Thalion, once having
understood the message, awakened from his slumber.
"I know! I understand!" he shouted at the top
of his voice, dancing around his bed with glee. He heard several discontented
protests from his next door neighbours, and quieted down somewhat. But nonetheless,
he was happy. Suddenly, he heard a voice.
"Please hurry and help!" the voice said. Thalion
spun around looking for where the voice was coming from. But he could see nothing.
He opened his bedroom door, and peeked out. Still nothing.
"Fool!" the voice thundered. "I am communicating
telepathically. Please help me. I have been imprisoned in an ancient trap, although
I have done nothing wrong. If you are true and noble, please help."
Thalion, feeling a little silly speaking to
nobody, said, "I'll help. But where are you imprisoned?"
"I will explain in all due time. Now you must
rest, for you have a great quest tomorrow."
Thalion got back into bed, closed his eyes,
and for the first time in weeks, slept perfectly peacefully.
He woke up the next morning feeling refreshed
and energetic, a particularly pleasing combination after the last few weeks'
poor rest. Thalion lay in bed, just being lazy, when he remembered the previous
night's revelations. He was on the verge of dismissing the memories as a few
remnants of dream, when he heard that mournful voice once again.
"I am pleased to see you have rested well. I
would be ever grateful should you release me. You have not the slightest clue
of what it feels like. I have been imprisoned for many a long year, and I yearn
to be out. Perhaps I should introduce myself. I am Farolt, a noble Lupe warrior,
captured by evil fiends in the heat of battle," the voice said.
Thalion sat up, not quite trusting his own ears.
Suddenly, the memories of the night before came rushing back, recalled in perfect
detail. Remembering his manners, he said, "I would also like to introduce myself.
I am Thalion."
The unseen Farolt boomed, "I know this already.
I have watched you, Thalion. You are brave and noble. That is why I chose you.
Now, please hasten."
Thalion, not wanting to waste any time, jumped
out of bed. Without bothering with breakfast, he rushed out of the NeoHome,
then realised he didn't have the slightest idea of where Farolt was imprisoned.
Feeling a little silly, he asked, "Uh, I never asked where you are held. Could
you tell me?"
"Certainly. I saw little of my location when
I was captured, but I do know that my place of imprisonment is on the sandy
shores of Mystery Island. Before I was captured, and fighting against the odds
as I was, I had little time to take in details. But I do know I distinctly saw
jungle. Most likely I am somewhere hidden not to far into the jungle, not at
all far from my place of battle. I do seem to recall three young saplings, placed
around a large, craggy rock. The stone room which I projected into your dreams
is the same underground room in which I am forced to stay. I remember no more."
Thalion pondered his problem. It would definitely
be hard to pinpoint Farolt's location when the description was so vague. There
were hundreds of beaches and vast stretches of jungle of Mystery Island. The
saplings around the rock would narrow down the search enormously, but to then
he would be forced to search every single beach. And that would take years.
Suddenly, Thalion thought of something. He would fetch Polador! No doubt his
intelligent mind and sharp eyes would greatly help in the search. Thalion remembered
the age-old joke he had often shared with his friend. "What's better than a
Lupe?" he would ask. Polador, having known the answer through countless repetition,
would always reply, "Two Lupes!". And then the two would crack up and roll around
laughing. It had been a long time since Thalion and Polador had shared a joke
like that. Even if the joke was so old and repeated it had hardly any entertainment
value anymore. Thalion rushed out of his house, and sprinted down the street.
He weaved through traffic, taking no notice of the various protests and urges
to slow down. He turned the corner, and then another, crossed the street, and
found himself just outside Polador's house. The two-story house, made of sturdy
brick, had a front garden filled with bright flowers. A white picket fence separated
it from the path, and a tree lazily swayed in the light wind, shading the path
leading through the garden. Thalion tried to stop panting from his dash, and
walked up the stone path. He knocked on the door, and waited eagerly for his
friend to answer. A small slot slid open at around eye height, and a pair of
eyes, ringed by black fur, peeked out. The door was quickly opened, and Polador
"What brings you here, buddy?" Polador cheerfully
asked. Thalion stepped inside, and walked into the lounge room, where he sat
on a comfy armchair. He motioned for Polador to sit down on the chair across
for him, and Polador, intrigued by his friend's strange manner, did so.
"Polador," began Thalion excitedly, "You will
not believe what has happened to me over the past few weeks." And so Thalion
began talking, telling his dearest friend about everything that had happened,
from the initial haunting cries to the final translation. Everything poured
out, even the location of Farolt's prison and Thalion's appeal for help. Polador,
knowing that Thalion was not excited easily, listened carefully, and a the end
of the speech, Polador said uncertainly, "Thalion? Are you sure about this whole
"Of course! Why not?"
"Well, did it ever occur to you that you might
be, well, you know." Polador spun his finger around in the air next to head,
making the sign of insanity.
"You think I'm loony? Is that it?" Thalion cried
a little angrily.
"Well, the dreams are perfectly normal. Maybe
you just hallucinated the voice."
"I don't think so. Polador, I am real. I exist,
but I am trapped. Heed Thalion's words. Please release me, and I would be forever
Polador jumped from his chair and spun around,
eyes darting frantically from side to side. "Who was that?"
"It was I, Farolt, the noble Lupe warrior,"
the voice boomed.
"So you do exist!" cried Polador. He settled
back into his chair. "Could you please speak a bit more quietly? I don't want
to alarm the neighbours."
"There is no need. I am communicating by thought
alone. Only those who I wish to hear will hear, and no one else."
Polador turned back to Thalion. "It seems I
owe you an apology, my friend. I'm sorry I didn't believe you."
Thalion waved a paw in the air dismissively.
"Don't worry about it. If you had come to me with a tale as tall as mine, I
would have doubted you too. Now, we'd better prepare. We're going on a long
To be continued...