Andover's Quest: Part Six
Shaylee sighed. She missed Andover more than ever now. The
brown Lupess watched as Coron climbed up the hill again to roll down. The little
brown pup giggled gleefully as he sailed down the steep hillside and came to a
stop a few yards from the base. She glanced into the west horizon, just wishing
Andover would come over it and come home. She missed him so much now she felt
like she was going to crack in half. She just wanted him home. She wondered how
his mother and sister were holding up. She still hadn't left this hilltop except
to eat and drink. Coron had kept her company today, and Lex had come to talk yesterday.
It had been three whole weeks since Andover had left. She missed him so badly.
"Shaylee, watch this!" Coron called. Shaylee
smiled and looked over at him. He was standing atop a big rock. He jumped, curled
into a ball, and rolled down the hill that way. Shaylee laughed as he stood
up, dizzy and started climbing up the hill again.
"That was great, Coron," she said as he came
up to her and grinned, still a little dizzy.
"Roll down with me," he insisted, tugging on
Shaylee smiled down at him. "Okay," she agreed.
"But you'll have to teach me, I haven't done this for a while."
"You lay down like this, tuck your paws against
you and roll!" Coron shouted, starting to roll down. Shaylee shrugged and rolled
after him, closing her eyes and wishing, wishing that Andover was the one she
was rolling after. She opened her eyes and tried to focus her blurred vision.
She stood up uneasily on her shaky feet and
started back up the hill, swerving every now and then because she was so dizzy.
Coron giggled as he watched her, clearly amused.
"You look funny," he said, laughing harder.
"Oh yeah? How do you think you look now?" Shaylee
replied playfully. She gave him soft push and he went rolling down the hill
again, giggling and screeching the whole way.
* * *
"How do you feel?" Andover asked, concerned
The red Lupe lying in the bottom of the small
rowboat glanced up at the young electric Lupe sitting above him and grinned.
"Peachy keen," he said, grinning. Andover laughed
Kit glanced at Daedrin, still unused to his
new look. The green Kougra had been born a Lupe, she knew that because he'd
taken care of her when she was younger, but she still was used to calling him
Simon, and seeing him as a green Kougra, not a yellow Lupe. Now he'd revealed
that his name was actually Daedrin and he was the infamous side-kick of Moran,
the Lupe every pup in Neopia heard about at bedtime stories. And to learn that
Moran was Andover's father? Well that was just weird.
The striped Lupess sighed, feeling extremely
left out now. Daedrin was rowing the boat steadily, complaining just as steadily
about how hard it was to row all the way across the ocean and it was going to
take an extra two days if the tide changed. Andover and his father were laughing
and talking about someone called Gammot from their pack, and Kit was just sitting
in the bow of the boat all alone, shivering from the cold wind.
"Are we almost there?" Moran asked for what felt
like the millionth time. Just as he spoke the little boat bumped against the
dock in the harbor. Moran grinned and stood up stiffly while Daedrin tied the
boat up. He winced as he hopped nimbly onto the dock. "I'm not quite as young
as I used to be, eh, Daedrin?" he joked, rubbing at his aching paws. Daedrin
just grinned at him.
Daedrin was one happy Lupe. Since Moran had
been the 'Purest Lupe' he had acquired many a morphing potion in the last few
years and had managed to find a yellow one for his friend.
Kit hopped out of the boat with Andover and
Daedrin paid the harbormaster to watch their boat with some of Andover's leftover
money from Gammot.
"Shall we go then?" Daedrin asked.
"We shall," Andover replied, grinning. Side-by-side,
the four Lupes walked into the east where the sun was just starting to come
up. Kit stuck close to Andover, frightened of the plains in the dark. Who knew
what was out there after all?
"So, Andover. Exactly how did you get that gem?"
Moran asked curiously.
"Gammot gave it to me. He told me I'm the next
Moran nearly fell over at that. "He told you
Andover smiled, amused. "I … am … the … next
… Chosen One," he said slowly. He smiled at his dad's reaction.
"Are you serious?"
"Yep. Lucky me, huh?" Andover smiled as the
two gems still residing in his drawstring pouch changed temperature again -
one turning warm and the other turning cool. He wondered why they did that.
"Who's that?" Daedrin asked suddenly, gesturing
toward a hill where a Lupe was sitting alone. Kit had to strain to see over
the tall grasses just to look.
"I think it's Shaylee," Andover said uncertainly.
It was hard to tell in the semidarkness and with the sun behind her.
"She's grown," was all Daedrin had to say. Andover
grinned at him and took off running.
* * *
Shaylee stood up. Who was that? A spark of electricity
caught her eye. Could it be? Was it really? Shaylee let out a bark of excitement
and started running down the hill. "Andover!" she called. A bark of laughter
was all she got in reply.
When she finally game into view, Andover went
crazy. His best friend had been waiting for him. His best friend in the whole
world had not forgotten him. He tackled her happily and the two of them rolled
the rest of the way down the hill toward the other three Lupes still coming.
"Oh, I missed you," Shaylee said happily.
Andover smiled at her as they finally came to
a stop. "I missed you too."
Shaylee grinned and smothered him with kisses.
"I didn't think you'd come home," she said as they stood up. He smiled back
at her warmly.
"I told you I would. I promised I'd come home
- and I didn't come alone," he said as Moran, Daedrin, and Kit came up to them.
Kit was looking awfully sour. "Kit? What's wrong?" he asked her.
"Nothing," she sighed, forcing a smile. See?
He's not interested in you. Besides, he and Shaylee are perfect together. They've
known each other since they were pups. I've only known Andover for a month and
Andover smiled sympathetically at her as though
he knew what she was thinking. Then he turned back to Shaylee and his dad. "Shaylee,
I think you remember my dad," he said softly. Shaylee's eyes widened.
"Really? It's really your father?" she gasped.
She stood there a moment, just looking at him a while before Daedrin cleared
his throat and she looked at him. "Daedrin?" she said. The yellow Lupe nodded
and she smiled. "I knew you'd be back," she said, jumping him and smothering
him with more kisses. Daedrin smiled and shoved her off playfully.
A howl went up from the hilltop and the five
of them looked up to see and old silver-streaked shadow Lupe, looking down at
them, a soft smile on his dark features. "Welcome home," he said.
The five Lupes climbed over the hill and looked
down to see all the Lupes in the pack waiting expectantly below. Andover grinned
at Kit, who smiled uncertainly back. She wanted to go home now. She didn't like
being out here on the plains.
As they descended the hill, Andover was bowled
over by a blue streak that went straight into him. "Andover you're home!" Lex
cried happily. "You're home, you're home, you're HOME!"
Andover grinned. "Yup, it's me in the flesh.
A little tired, and sore, but I'm here," he said. Lex gave him a big sloppy
kiss across the face.
"I'm glad," she said, snuggling to his side
as they waited for the other four to catch up.
Andover noticed Moran's anxious look as he glanced
around curiously. "Lex, where's Mom?" he murmured.
Lex jumped up. "I'll get her! She'll be awfully
happy to see you." She ran off as fast as she could and returned about ten seconds
later with Monica at her side.
"Oh, Andover! I'm so happy to have you home!"
The purple Lupess hugged her son happily. Andover looked over her shoulder to
see Moran's pained look.
"Mom, turn around," he murmured in her ear.
The Lupess turned around willingly and looked straight at Moran. She nearly
"No. No, that's not possible. This is impossible,"
she murmured. "This can't be happening." She backed into her son as though afraid
of Moran. The red Lupe's eyes filled with tears of pain.
"Mom, it's really him. It's really Dad. I found
him, Mom. On Mystery Island." Andover gave her a gentle push and she slowly
"Moran?" she whispered. Moran blinked and nodded,
dumbfounded. "Moran, oh it's really you!" Monica said happily. She stopped in
front of him. "But why are you hurt? What happened?" she asked, concerned.
"Monica, not now. We can talk about my well-being
later. I'm not leaving you again," Moran said after a while, suddenly finding
his voice. "I've been gone too long; I've made too many mistakes. I'm not leaving
anymore. I'm staying here with you and Andover and Lex - and Daedrin."
Monica looked over to where Shaylee was leaning
against Daedrin, who had acted as her father when she was younger because her
real father had died soon after she was born. "Good to see you old friend,"
Daedrin said, smiling.
Lex sat down beside Andover. "That's really
Daddy?" she asked him. He nodded and her face changed. "He left us," she said
angrily. "He abandoned us and he shows up now and you and Mom are acting like
he never did a thing wrong!" she said, watching as Monica and Moran sat down
side-by-side and started talking. "He left us because we weren't as important
to him as himself!" The blue Lupess jumped up and bared her teeth at her brother.
"How can you act like he's the best Lupe in the world? He abandoned us, Andover!"
Moran looked up and stared at Lex. She turned
to him and snarled. "I HATE you!" she screamed. She turned and ran.
"Lex!" Moran called. "Lexi!" Lex looked back,
tears streaming down her face.
"I'll never forgive you!" she yelled. And she
ran off into the distance.
Moran stood up anxiously. "Let her go, Moran,"
Monica said softly. "She'll come back sooner or later."
"I can't just let her leave like that, Monica.
But I suppose you're right." The red Lupe sat back down and sighed softly. "I
suppose you're right," he repeated.
Andover stood up and started after her. "Andover,
wait up!" Kit called. She shot a challenging look at Shaylee and ran after him.
"Yeah! Wait for me too!" Shaylee called out.
She smiled at Daedrin and bounded after them both.
"You guys, I don't need your help," Andover
"I want to help," Kit insisted.
"No she doesn't, she just wants to be around
you," Shaylee snapped irritably.
Kit glared at the brown Lupess. "And you don't?"
"Andover is my best friend and I haven't seen
him for over a month. Yeah, I want to be around him. You hardly know him and
you've seen him every day since he got to the Island so you have had plenty
of time around him," Shaylee retorted. Kit seemed stuck there. That was true.
"I don't need either of you right now," Andover
sighed. "Just go fight somewhere else. I'm going to look for my sister."
And without another word to either of them he
loped off in search of Lex.
"Now you've done it," Shaylee snarled angrily.
She bared her teeth at the striped Lupess.
"It's not my fault he doesn't want to be around
you," Kit said, smirking.
"Yes, it is!" Shaylee crouched, ready to spring
at the Lupess but the sight of two brown eyes in the corner of her vision stopped
her. She looked over to see Andover watching them. Shaylee cocked her head curiously
at him, but he just turned to go. The brown Lupess's face fell and she sat down
where she was. What was he thinking? She wondered.
Kit noticed that Shaylee looked sad. She really
cared about Andover. But did he know that? Kit took one last glance at Shaylee
before running after his retreating figure.
* * *
"Andover! Stop!" Kit called out. "Just wait
up, will you?" she asked. The electric Lupe slowed some and eventually came
to a full stop.
"What do you want?" he asked, glaring at her.
"Why did you just walk away from Shaylee like
that?" Kit demanded, narrowing her eyes. Hey, if I can't have him, I might
as well stick up for the Lupess that can, she reasoned with herself stubbornly.
"What are you talking about?" Andover asked
her, trying to look like he had no idea.
"Oh yeah, like you don't know! Shaylee! You
just walked away from her and you haven't even seen her in over a month! Do
you have any idea how much she missed you?"
Andover narrowed his eyes back at her. "What
do you care? It's not like you actually like her in the first place. Why are
you sticking up for her?" he spat.
Kit felt like she'd been slapped. "Fine then,
I won't tell you," she snapped.
"Tell me what?"
"I'm not telling you now. You don't deserve
to know." She threw a glare at him and ran back to Shaylee, who was now lying
on the grass with her head down.
Andover continued forward, still looking for
his sister. What was that about? Why was Kit sticking up for Shaylee? They were
just fighting a minute ago! Girls…
"Lex?" he called out. "Lex, where are you?"
A sniffle from behind a tree caught his attention.
"Lex? Lex, is that you?" he asked cautiously. He approached the trees slowly,
looking around as he went. "Lex?" he asked again.
"Go away, Andover," she sobbed. "Leave me alone."
"Lex, what is with you? Moran's our father!
It shouldn't matter if he left us. He's back now and he's not leaving again.
Please come out."
"He said the same thing before he left the first
time! He said: 'When I come home again, I won't leave.' And he did! He left
us and he never came back! I hate him, Andover. I hate him, hate him, hate him!"
Andover walked around the tree and sat down
beside his sister. Her face was dirty and tear-streaked. "He's not leaving again.
He's made mistakes before but he's paid for them, Lex. He's staying here with
you, me, and Mom. He's not going anywhere."
"Do you have any idea how many nights I cried
myself to sleep because I had no idea where he was? He said he'd be home in
three months, Andover! Three months! And do you know how long he's been gone?
Six years. He's been gone for six years! And you're willing to let him just
waltz back in here like nothing ever happened? Like he hasn't missed everything
important that ever happened in our lives? How can you do that?"
"Because, Lex. He's our father. He deserves
another chance even if you don't think so. I know how you feel, Lex. But it
isn't nearly as bad as I felt when I found out who he was and I realized I'd
just tried to kill him. You have no idea how much that hurt me," Andover admitted,
glancing away and blinking hard. He would not cry in front of his little sister.
"You tried to kill him?" Lex gasped. "But why?"
"It's a really long story. Maybe some day I'll
tell it to you. But now, let's just go back okay? Moran is sorry. He didn't
mean to hurt us. Just like I never meant to hurt you."
Alexis inhaled sharply. "Don't think I didn't
know how much you hated that I had to leave," Andover said softly. "I didn't
want to hurt you. I didn't mean to. I'm sorry. And if you'll forgive me, I'd
be awfully happy."
Lex smiled up at him. "I forgive you, Andover.
Let's go home."
To be continued...