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Shad and Saura: A Week in Bogshot - Part Three


by ssjelitegirl

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The bushes rattled, the Meowclops jumped into Saura's bag and there they were - suddenly dashing out of the shadows, the fog and the bushes around them. There were only five but they were huge, quiet and obviously very strong, surrounding them within seconds and towering above them like prehistoric furry statues.

     WereLupes.

     Sure, there were many of those in Neopia, especially after the avatar came out. They weren't different from other Lupes, except for the wearing-pants-and-having-green-eyes-part, and you could see them almost everywhere, including Mystery Island where the two brothers lived. But the difference between a nice painted Halloween Lupe and a real wild WereLupe was the difference between a sparkshooter and a Portable Kiln.

     Five pairs of cold eyes looked down at the two Neopets. Then one of them just grunted, "Let's go," and the group started moving, escorting Shad and Saura along as they didn't have a single chance to break out of the circle.

     "I smell a Meowclops," another one snarled. Saura's bag tried to look more like a normal bag.

     "Sophie's," Saura replied laconically. The WereLupe nodded and they carried on quietly. The path was long but the nature always seemed the same, bog-pools and muddy rivers still looked as ominous, the old trees still as gigantic and mossy, the fog still as thick. Shad couldn't smell anything now because the scent of five huge WereLupes blocked everything. He hoped that he would be able to find their way back... after and if they manage to get out of this mess.

     Suddenly the circle around them broke and without a single warning they found themselves staring at a huge plain filled with dozens and dozens of huge, menacing and very quiet WereLupes. They were all looking at the group, then the numerous heads turned to look at someone else at the other end of the plain.

     "Go," said the WereLupe behind Shad's back and so the two sneaked on alone, sticking side by side. Shad's ears drooped more and more with each step and Saura's back wasn't half as straight as usually. Hundreds of eyes watched them as they reached a bone chair, the only piece of furniture on the plain, and looked up at a greenish red-eyed Lupe who wore a necklace made of claws - the WereLupe King. The king looked down at them as his eyes narrowed. There was no single sound on the whole area when he examined them, taking his time and making the two feel like Mootixes. Finally his eyes stopped on Shad and narrowed even more.

     "Raise your head!" he suddenly boomed. The Lupe squeaked, jumped high into the air and came to attention like a statue. Saura's back straightened at once as well but the WereLupe King didn't seem to have time for him just yet.

     "You're a Lupe," he growled. "You should have more pride than that. No matter what the situation, no matter how many enemies you're facing, a Lupe must always keep his pride, you hear me?"

     "Yessir," Shad barked nervously, then loosened a little and asked: "Are you enemies?"

     The king grinned. "What do you prefer?" Then, without any previous warning or any more words, he turned to Saura. "You have a Meowclops in your bag."

     "Sophie's," Saura replied as before. The swamp witch's name seemed to be familiar there, and the king indeed nodded, looking back at Shad.

     "Fine then," he decided. "Talk."

     After hearing about the assignment at Sophie's, the missing kid and the Sleepyherb, the king nodded again. "I understand. Can't really blame you two either." He glanced at Shad. "You can smell the kid?" It was a statement, not a question and Shad's nod was merely formal. The king glanced at two nearby WereLupes who ran off at once.

     "He will be here soon," he said, leaning back and apparently switching his attention off.

     "Thanks," Shad muttered, feeling that he had to say something, and the two carefully moved away from the throne. The WereLupes didn't pay much attention to them, but they were everywhere, so it was still impossible to get out of sight and find a quiet little place to wait. Saura felt rather nervous. At least Shad was a Lupe too...

     "They don't like me more than you," Shad declared as if he had been reading his brother's thoughts. "They don't like anyone but their own."

     "They would eat us if you weren't a Lupe," Saura claimed.

     "No, they wouldn't," Shad grunted.

     "Yes, we would," one WereLupe remarked. The plain fell quiet for a while. The pack seemed to have all the time in the world, all WereLupes just lurked around, sometimes quietly growling at each other. Some were asleep.

     "How come you didn't eat that kid when it got lost in the swamp?" Shad asked eventually. WereLupes or not, they were under the king's protection. More or less.

     "Not much to eat," the WereLupe replied. "Not worth the trouble. Besides, we didn't want problems with the locals. The brat is from Bogshot. Couldn't you smell it?"

     "Right, that little accent of mud and pumpkins..." the shadow Lupe muttered. Explaining scents with words was usually very hard, so Shad didn't usually bother, but right now he was talking to someone who could understand him. Saura leaned his back against a tree trunk and took a nap. It was the easiest way to get his mind off a huge gang of WereLupes.

     Shad looked up at the WereLupe again. "Don't you usually live in the Haunted Woods? Swamps are not meant for Lupes."

     The other one shrugged. "We travel once in a while. It's useful to know farther territories."

     They talked for a while, though not much as wild WereLupes aren't very talkative. Shad still learned that the pack had very strict hierarchy, that none of the WereLupes had names as they could recognize each other well enough and that the pack members usually despised all owners in Neopia.

     "What's it like to have an... owner?" the WereLupe asked with a grim frown. "I can't imagine anyone bossing me around."

     Shad thought of Huntress. "Well, they're not all grumpy and bossy, you know..."

     "Ours is," Saura interjected, opening one eye.

     "But it's easy to get used to that," Shad remarked. "She's not that bad. Doesn't even pay much attention to us unless we're in trouble or something. And even then very rarely... she knows that we can take care of ourselves."

     Saura muttered something sarcastic under his breath and pricked his ears up. "They're coming back. I suppose they have that kid."

     The two WereLupes had indeed shown up again, this time on four legs and both covered in fresh scratches and bruises. A young Cybunny was riding one of them, terrified and freezing. The sudden sight of a huge WereLupe pack didn't make him feel better either.

     "Kastraliss," one grunted to the king when trotting past the throne. The king nodded and the two stopped in front of Shad and Saura. The Zafara stood up and took the huddling kid down.

     "Calm down, we're here to take you home," he said, then looked up at the WereLupes. "Thank you very much."

     "No biggie," they snarled before turning away. Saura placed the kid on Shad's back, ignoring his complaints.

     "Let's go," he said quietly. "I don't think they like having us around once we got what we wanted."

     Shad nodded and they both turned around to leave the plain.

     "Tell mommy to seal the windows at night, kid," one WereLupe suggested when they passed him. "Something's at large in this swamp. They avoid us so we don't know what exactly they are but they've been around for a while now."

     The Cybunny grabbed Shad's collar even tighter and kept quiet the whole way back. So did the two brothers, stopping only once to eat. It was evening when they got back and ran another half a mile to reach the village.

     The mother was, of course, overflowingly happy and by the time she stopped thanking the two, most villagers had shown up to watch. Saura used the chance to tell them what the WereLupe had said. Nervous whispering broke loose at once.

     "WereLupes? Here? In this swamp?"

     "Never mind them, they rescued Mindy's kid, remember? But something new and horrible lurking around here?"

     "Dunno, if they're afraid of WereLupes..."

     "Who isn't?"

     The villagers peered at Shad and Saura and decided to change the subject.

     "Don't worry, these two will protect us."

     "Yeah, they survived meeting the WereLupe King!"

     "Sophie really knew who to pick."

     Shad and Saura exchanged nervous glances. "Now I see why the Defenders of Neopia prefer to disguise themselves," the Lupe muttered.

     Saura yawned. "Let's just go back to the hut. I'm sleepy. It's getting late too and whatever it is the WereLupes warned us from, it has to be serious enough. We might need our strength."

     After getting back to the hut, locking the door and letting the Meowclops out of the bag they decided to find something to eat and go to sleep at once. The petpet had slept most of the time after hopping into the bag so he was now fully awake and refreshed, purring and begging for food. When the two went to sleep, he remained sitting on the windowsill and looking outside.

     "Even Clopsy seems to sense something out there," Shad commented, curling up.

     "He belongs to a witch, after all," Saura agreed. "Good night for now, we'll see about the whole thing in the morning."

     The two slept so tight after a long day that they didn't hear anything but the night was indeed restless. The cauldron in the middle of the room started glowing brighter than ever and the Meowclops jumped off the windowsill, hiding under Saura's bed for the rest of the night. There were also weird noises outside, some thudding, splashing and distant echoes that sounded like moaning. And they didn't fade.

     At about three in the morning Shad woke up and was about to go to the little Lupes' room when the sounds reached his sleepy head. The Lupe froze right behind the door and sniffed the air. He couldn't smell anything unusual but the moans and thudding were definitely there. Shad trotted to the window and peered outside.

     "Oh boy..." he muttered. "Saura! Saura, wake up!"

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Shad and Saura: A Week in Bogshot - Part One
» Shad and Saura: A Week in Bogshot - Part Two
» Shad and Saura: A Week in Bogshot - Part Four



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