Shad and Saura: A Week in Bogshot - Part Three
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
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
"They would eat us if you weren't a Lupe," Saura
"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
"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
Saura muttered something sarcastic under his
breath and pricked his ears up. "They're coming back. I suppose they have that
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
"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 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..."
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
"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
To be continued...