The summer morning was somewhat hot, and the heat felt good to the two Lupes lying on the rock jutting out over the lake. Crash got up, yawned, and then set out to find a meal for them. To the left, there was a hillside of grass, and then a row of woods. Beyond that, there was the Neopets School, and then homes. To the right, there were woods, as far as the eye could see. The big, fearsome Lupe walked over to the forest. Before he entered, he looked back at the grey Lupess still lying on the heated rock. He sighed out of contentment, and then headed off to hunt.
Once Crash entered the forest, it became a part of him. Not one move, one sound, or one smell went unknown: he immediately became the forest himself. One movement in particular caught his eye. He sniffed noiselessly, and his nose informed him that it was a Pteri. Perfect. He tensed, and waited. As expected, the Pteri stepped out into the open. Suddenly, it took off. Crash looked up to see what had caused it to flee, and found himself face to face with the most unfriendly looking Acara. "You are not welcome here!" it said to Crash.
He stood up, knowing his cover had been blown, and asked in reply, "Why not?"
"Why, you are a Werelupe. Your kind is not welcome here," he simply stated.
"But I am in the forest," protested Crash. "The forest belongs to no one; therefore, I can roam where I want."
The Acara shook his head and turned to go. Just before leaving, he said, "Just leave us alone!"
Crash was puzzled by this sudden outburst, but headed home, pondering what the old Acara had said. When he got back, Key, the grey Lupess, was swimming in the cool lake. Crash went to join her, but decided against it. He sat there and watched, amazed by her grace, and frankly, her ability to swim so well. Before long, he heard the slight growl of the doglefox who came to deliver their mail. Crash loved to be there to meet him, so he set off at a brisk pace. When he got to the hole where the mail was delivered, he found the doglefox curled up and bleeding. Crash picked the bundle up in his mouth and ran back to Key. He was greatly worried about the poor little creature, and knew that Key would be too.
Crash and Key both cleaned and sealed the doglefox's wounds. They named it Ominoush. When done, they pondered what could possibly hurt the mail carrier. The conversation kept drifting into Crash's mind. Suddenly, he exclaimed, "I know what did this! A Werelupe."
"But Crash, you are a Werelupe, and you would never do that to Ominoush," Key contradicted.
"Yes, but other Werelupes would. Not all are well behaved and sane like me," he said, "and that is why we aren't allowed in a lot of places." That brought forth a question from both of their minds: Where is the other Werelupe? Almost as if on cue, they heard a bush rustle and saw a shadow cover them.
Crash turned abruptly and faced the other creature. Its eyes were deep set and yellow, very different from Crash's blue, glinting eyes. This other Lupe was very bulky, and, Crash thought, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Crash bent low, waiting for the first move. The opponent showed his fangs, which were a pale yellow, almost rusty looking. Crash showed his, white and gleaming in the bright sunlight. Crash noted that Key and Ominoush were going out into the water to escape harm.
"Rrrrur yarr arrro," the Werelupe said. Crash abruptly stood up. This other Werelupe had said that he dearly wished not to fight. However, he had said it in the ancient Werelupe language.
"Rarrrwr orrro warrr," Crash replied, meaning Okay, I did not either. After a bit of talking, they became instant friends. Crash went on to explain the situation, and how he had almost thought that the other Werelupe, whose name was Shimber (short for Shimeareuu), was attacking. Shimber went on to explain how he had thought that Ominoush was his doglefox that had been lost, and that he was sorry for frightening them. All the while, Key stood in the distance, head cocked, trying to decipher what was going on. Crash finally turned to her and explained about Shimber. The fact that Shimber only knew Werelupe intrigued her.
"Maybe we can teach him!" she exclaimed.
"Possibly," murmured Crash. He turned his attention back to Shimber. "Rarrr arroooo warrrw (You can stay with us)," Crash said to him.
"Rawwwrrrr srrrrawww (if it's ok with you)" was his response. Crash turned and asked Key if it was all right for Shimber to stay.
"Sure!" Key replied, with obvious delight.
That night, Crash and Key lay on their rock, while Shimber, who chose the protection of the overhanging rock, lay beneath it. It was a clear, moonless night, and every star showed bright, standing out from the inky blackness of the night sky. The pond reflected it beautifully, and once, a pine needle sent ripples across it in a wide and graceful arc. It was simply a beautiful scene. It was then that Crash saw the light. It was a flickering, and had an almost orange glow. Crash racked his brain with possible explanations. Only one word popped into his mind: fire. The word sent a chill down his spine. Fire. It seemed to echo in his mind. Fire. It was at that moment that the realization hit him. The fire was coming toward them. He saw the distinct shadows of neopets. He quickly shook Key, Shimber, and Ominoush awake. They ran to the right, away from the fire and through the woods. Crash had an idea, told Key and Ominoush to wait there, and took Shimber to circle around, and see what the neopets were doing.
As soon as they got close, voices reached their ears.
"I thought they lived here..."
"...lock them up..."
With the snatches of conversation, Crash learned this: They were here for him, and they were not here to have a glass of tea. Crash came up with a plan and told Shimber. They both drew themselves up to full height, and walked into the clearing. Crash howled, and all attention turned toward them. Every neopet gaped and stared. Shimber growled, and Crash said in a husky voice, "Get away!" Nearly half of them obliged. Both Shimber and Crash displayed their fangs and growled. Crash made a mighty leap, and ended up on the other side of the ever slowly decreasing crowd.
Meanwhile, Key had heard the neopets' screams, and had taken off, along with Ominoush, to see what was going on. The sight that met here eyes astounded her. Crash and Shimber had cornered the neopets, growling and barking. She could do nothing but stare as the scene unfolded. The two Werelupes advanced until all but one neopet had left. Crash reared up and roared. The remaining neopet almost fainted on the spot. Shimber also rose up and roar in the neopet's face, sending spit flying. That was the neopet's breaking point. It ran as though Sloth himself was after it. When they could no longer hear the screaming of the neopets, they erupted into fits of joyous laughter, which Key soon joined. Ominoush ran in circles around them, adding his little yips to the excitement. Shimber became a huge part of the family, and somehow, learned the common neopet language (even if it had a little growling mixed in). Best of all, the Neopians left them alone; no more warnings, no more invasions, nothing. Weeks later, Key, Ominoush, Crash, and Shimber could hardly remember being apart.
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