As the sun rose, the sheet of darkness lifted and a new layer of light took its place. The shadows of night were replaced with rays of morning. One ray reached the hazel eyes of Nightpool. They opened at the sense of morning but quickly shut from the intensity of the light. The Lupe slowly got to his paws and stretched each individual leg, his claws unsheathing and scraping the earth. He shook the loose dirt and leaves from his fur and the sun made it glow a soft blue. He raised his nose to the wind to take in the crisp morning air. He sighed and looked at the image before him. The trees were bright green, the rocks were a shimmering gray, and the lake was a shining blue-green. Nightpool walked slowly toward the lake, a small breeze blowing against his fur. When he reached it, he took a few laps of water, leaving nothing more than some ripples behind him as he walked toward a large hill. He raised his head toward the sky. The clouds were small white puffs, like a Cybunny’s tail. They moved along the sky, slowly separating into different shapes and forms. Nightpool smiled and continued to walk to the top of a hill.
His large paws glided over the grass, occasionally squashing the petals of a daisy. Visions of the greatness that appeared over the hill filled his mind. The young Acaras, Cybunnies, Ixi, Kaus, and Poogles would all come out to play in the large clearing, surrounded by beautiful oak trees. On the western side was a small stream that led to the lake that Nightpool usually drank from. On the eastern side was the thickest part of the forest, filled with pine, oak, and maple trees. A large smile appeared on Nightpool’s blue face as he imagined this. He had always enjoyed watching the other neopets; you see, Nightpool was the only Lupe in this valley. He used to be in a larger pack of them, but wandered off and came here. The other neopets welcomed him warmly and he decided to stay. He has always thought of them all as part of his “pack”. He was almost at the top of the hill now.
He took another deep breath, the scent of flowers and trees filling his nostrils. He stopped. He sniffed again; a new scent troubled him. He raced to the top of the hill and gasped in horror at the sight that lay before him and his hazel eyes grew in shock. A huge creature was coming out of the forest. It was brown with eyes as yellow as corn. Its teeth were as sharp and long as fangs.
Nightpool gasped, “What is that thing!” He looked around quickly to see if any of his friends were out. He didn’t see anyone at first, but then a red Ixi, Acorn, appeared at one side. Nightpool couldn’t risk saying anything, but if the beast saw Acorn, surely it would eat him. He noticed that the massive brown creature was moving rather slowly and didn’t seem to take notice of Acorn. Nightpool had to think fast. More neopets would be coming out soon and if any of them got eaten.... Nightpool shuddered. He climbed on top of a large gray rock and looked towards the sky, looking for a sign possibly or maybe just to calm himself. The bright sun was slowly being engulfed by a cloud, but quickly shone right through it again. Looking at this, Nightpool thought of something.
Nightpool jumped off of the rock, lifting his face upwards toward the sun. It warmed his face and turned his creamy muzzle into an almost white. “If the sun can shine through the cloud,” he thought aloud, “then maybe I can defeat this beast.” His eyes shone bright and he was about to head down the hill when he stopped. “What am I doing?” he thought. “I’m sending myself to death!” He sat down where he was and dropped his head and it hung low. His soft blue tail fell to the ground and the sun went behind another cloud, turning Nightpool’s blue fur to gray. He looked up; hoping to see the sun come back through the cloud, but this cloud was gray. His hopes dropped and a raindrop fell upon his nose.
The rain started to come down harder now. Nightpool looked for some cover. He found a tree with some low branches and he ducked beneath them. As he did so the wet leaves of the branched hit his back and left it dripping. Where he was sitting, he could still keep an eye on the beast. It was moving closer to Acorn now, and Acorn didn’t seem to notice. Now other neopets were coming out of the forest. Nightpool noticed Smudge, the black Acara, Penny the green Cybunny, Apple the red Poogle, and Woody the brown Acara. He knew that he should go down but he was too scared. He didn’t know what to do. He felt like a bottled faerie, knowing that he had to help, but just couldn’t. He dropped his head even further. “Why am I so scared of things,” he thought to himself. “I’m supposed to be a brave Lupe. I should have never have left my pack!” He let out a large howl and it echoed across the valley. Nightpool looked up and tried to find the beast again. It was a little closer to him this time. This time he noticed what it was. It was a Werelupe.
Nightpool let out a gasp and a harsh wind blew past; the once sunny day was being overtaken by a large storm. A flash; Nightpool looked up at the now gray sky. A large lightning bolt stretched across the sky. He ducked his head from instinct. A crash; an explosion of thunder seemed to rip the valley apart. He scrambled to his paws and attempted to shake himself dry, but the blowing rain kept soaking his fur. The valley was now growing darker because of the storm. The Werelupe blended into the darkness and he slinked off. Nightpool couldn’t stand it any longer; he had to try and help his friends. He bolted down the hill into the curtain of rain. He didn’t have much of an idea of where he was going, but he tried to find the glowing yellow eyes of the Werelupe. He knocked into something. “Please don’t let it be the...” Nightpool thought as he turned his gaze upward. His hazel eyes met with the largest pair of yellow eyes he had ever seen.
The Werelupe grinned and showed his shining fangs. Nightpool’s fur was on end and his eyes were twice their size. He ducked beneath the beast's legs, just missing a blow to his head.
Once on the other side, he tried to pounce onto the back of the Werelupe. He did, but only managed to get some fur on his claws. The Werelupe turned and swiped at Nightpool, sending him flying against a rock. A flash of lightning lit the sky. With the flash of light, Nightpool could see the Werelupe charging at him, its yellow eyes blazing. Nightpool ducked and jumped into the beast’s stomach. His attack didn’t seem to do much damage but it seemed to shock him. Nightpool was happy with his attack, but didn’t realize that it didn’t do much to the beast. Nightpool held his head high but was quickly knocked to the ground by a powerful blow to the head. He skidded across the now damp grass. He was turned toward where his friends had once been. They were no longer there; Nightpool was all alone.
Nightpool now had four long claw marks across his face. He was also bleeding from his sides and was breathing heavily. He wobbled to his paws and tried to jump at the beast once more. This time he went for one of the legs, hoping to unbalance it. All he got was a mouthful of brown fur. The Werelupe bit down on Nightpool’s tail and threw him to the side. He got closer now and Nightpool could no longer move. He closed his eyes tightly and started shaking.
Out of nowhere there were dozens of howls and barks. Nightpool’s hazel eyes shot open as he saw Lupes pouring out of the forest like a waterfall. One that stood out in particular was a bright white Lupe. Nightpool remembered him well; his name was Star and he was the leader of the pack. Although he recognized Star, it still didn’t occur to him that this was his old pack. He was injured badly and couldn’t think straight. His eyes shone in gratefulness as he saw the pack attack the Werelupe. He tried to get up but fell to the ground and the scene before him blurred and he fell into darkness.
As he awoke he saw Star before him. Nightpool got up to his paws and sat before his former leader.
“We have found you!” he exclaimed. “We have been searching for you for moons!” He came over to Nightpool and rubbed his muzzle in his fur. “The entire pack was worried when you went missing.” He stepped back and Nightpool now noticed some of his old friends. Moonbeam, a light gray Lupe, Sky, a blue Lupe, Shimmerlight, a light yellow Lupe, and Mud, a dark brown Lupe.
Nightpool was overjoyed to see his old friends, but out of the corner of his eyes he saw Acorn, Penny, and Smudge. He turned his attention back to Star and he spoke to Nightpool, his amber eyes gleaming.
“Nightpool, we want you to join our pack again. What do you say?” He smiled and stepped back.
Nightpool’s first reaction was to of course say “Yes!” but he paused. He couldn’t possibly leave his old friends. Nightpool looked at his other neopet friends and saw how sad they were. He couldn’t bear to leave them behind, but he also felt that he should go to his old home. He would have asked the pack to stay in the valley, but Lupes travel all around and he couldn’t just make them stay. He had already gotten used to staying in one place. This decision ripped Nightpool’s heart in two.
Nightpool heard a voice behind him. Acorn had come up behind him. “Go on, Nightpool,” he said, “you really should go back with your real pack.” He stepped back with the other neopets.
The word “pack” hit Nightpool and he knew his decision now. “Star,” he began, “I would love to come back with you,” he paused, “but I’m going to stay here. This is my real pack now. These neopets behind me aren’t just my friends; they’re my pack and I couldn’t dream of leaving them.” He bowed his head to Star and limped back to Smudge, Acorn, and Penny.
Star bowed his head and gathered the pack. They barked a goodbye and headed off into the forest. Nightpool’s friends were ecstatic; they jumped all around him and cheered. Nightpool finally realized that this was where he belonged and as the sun began to set he limped up the hill to where his day began. Once he finally reached the top the now bright pink and orange sky was once again covered in a sheet of darkness and Nightpool sleepily closed his hazel eyes.
Author's Note: This is my first short story I entered into the Neopian Times; hope you like it!