Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 96,497,777 Issue: 189 | 6th day of Hunting, Y7
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Savak: The Redemption - Part Two


by zephandolf

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Savak paused in his travels as he reached a grassy knoll deep in the plains. Settling down next to an overgrown shrub, he looked back north along the path he had taken. With all that he had learned back at Jason’s, he began to wonder how he would cope knowing Jessie would not be returning to the plains. This bothered him greatly. Until the episode at Mystery Island, he hadn’t been away from her for more than a few days. Her staying with Jason would almost be like Murgoh’s departure from the pack, even though it was not nearly as distressing. When Murgoh left, he knew he would never see him again. Jessie would not be leaving him forever.

    Savak relaxed slightly as his pelt absorbed the warmth of the noonday sun. His thoughts drifted from Jessie to the medallion around his neck. He pawed at it as he thought of how much trouble he’d gotten into since he put it on. His medallion, the Medallion of Light, was created by the light Faerie Jearii to counteract a dark colored medallion, the Medallion of Submission. The shadow Lupess Kaylee possessed this medallion, and attempted to use its power to control all the packs on the plains. It was through this that Savak got his medallion in the first place. He found the medallion on the plains where the pack was captured. Murgoh had taken off the medallion when he realized that he could not be released from the cage he was in and was about to give it to one of the other pack members when they were ambushed. After Kaylee’s plans with the plains Lupes were shattered, she went to Mystery Island to try and control the natives there. Unfortunately, her attempts failed and she ended up getting her captured herself.

    Thinking back to the conversation Savak had with her after he was captured, he wondered, not for the first time, if Kaylee was originally ambitious enough to begin such a conquest, or if the medallion had altered her perception, amplifying the darker side of her personality. The way she acted as she spoke of her daughter, who she thought she lost, she seemed different somehow…

    Lilia, the newest member of Savak’s pack, was apparently on another part of the island when her mother found the medallion. Her reunion with the shadow Lupess was sudden, unexpected, and abruptly cut short when the Ghost Lupe took Kaylee away. Savak could only imagine what went through Lilia’s mind when she saw her mother for the first time since she was a pup. But he was sure he would fall short of what she truly felt in that moment. It was after that event that made Savak worry about the island Lupess. Lilia didn’t speak much of Kaylee after she joined the pack. He wondered how she really felt about her mother now.

    After reflecting on these thoughts for a while, Savak decided it was high time that he sought out the pack. The sun was rising high in the sky, and he imagined that Gerthen was running the others through the paces before the afternoon hunt. If he hurried, he stood a chance of catching up before the set out.

    It wasn’t until the sun moved past its zenith that Savak began to wonder exactly how deep in the plains the pack was. He It didn’t take him long to find a scent, and it was getting stronger, but it seemed as if, maybe, the pack was on the move. He couldn’t tell anything from the scent except that the pack had been by there, and recently. The thought of howling came to mind, but he reminded himself of how the territories on the plains were being disputed. Then again, this deep in his own territory, it wouldn’t be much of a problem. Agreeing with himself that it was the best course of action, he stopped in his tracks and raised his maw to the air.

    A massive explosion rippled through the air, causing Savak to crouch down where he was. He watched in amazement as a large, boxy looking craft took to the sky, not half a mile from where he stood. As it flew his direction, he caught sight of a large logo painted on the side of the craft. The image was the face of someone he last expected to see.

    Dr. Sloth!

    Savak had seen the good doctor months ago when the pack was locked in the factory during their first encounter with Kaylee. Kaylee was demonstrating to Dr. Sloth her ability to control the plains Lupes. The doctor was impressed by her ability and left soon after. Savak hadn’t seen anything from him since then. Last he heard, Dr. Sloth was concentrating his efforts on retaking Kreludor. But, if he was, why was one of his ships on the plains?

    Anxiety gripped Savak as the craft passed overhead, pitching its stub nose into the air to take a more direct route higher into the sky, the glare of its engines making Savak squint. As it flew farther into the sky, Savak ran to where the ship had taken off from. Somehow, he knew that that was where the pack was, or had been a moment ago. He couldn’t be sure.

    Coming over a final rise, Savak gasped, mostly with shock, to see two figures at the bottom of the hill. The first, a yellow Lupe named Kosek, was standing over the second, Gerthen the old silver Lupe, who was sprawled on the ground, unmoving.

     “Gerthen!” Savak exclaimed, running down the hill. Kosek bristled slightly at his approach. But when he recognized the white Lupe, he settled down slightly, returning his attention to the silver Lupe. When Savak reached them, he prodded the old Lupe gently. “Gerthen?” he asked. When the old Lupe didn’t move, Savak turned to Kosek. “What happened?”

    Kosek seemed a bundle of nerves, but he managed to gather his thoughts. “Gerthen was leading us along the plains,” he said. “When a group of mutant Grundos jumped us. Gerthen…Gerthen and I took a bit of a beating before they suddenly took off. It was then we noticed that…that Lilia was missing.”

     “They took her?” Savak asked, a slight growl fringing his words. Lilia had become a good friend of his since she joined the pack. Knowing how much Kosek cared for her, sympathy fueled Savak’s resolve.

     “When we realized she was gone,” Kosek continued. “Gerthen and I gave chase until we reached that…that ship. Then…they opened fire on us. I…I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve heard of lasers, but I didn’t know how brilliant they were. They pinned us down as they took off. It wasn’t until they were in the air that I noticed they had hit Gerthen…” his voice trailed off as he looked at the silver Lupe.

     “And what a hit it was. Knocked me clear off the ground.”

    Savak and Kosek turned suddenly to the old Lupe as he raised his head, amusement filling his eyes.

     “Gerthen!” Savak said. “You’re…”

     “Alive?” Gerthen finished. “Of course I am. I may be old, but I can still take a hit or two…uh!” He winced, wheezing slightly. “But, that last one may have been one hit too many,” he said sheepishly. He shook his head as Savak opened his mouth to speak. “I’ll be fine. I just need some rest.”

    Savak didn’t seem entirely sure, but he nodded to the old Lupe anyway. “Alright, rest now,” he said, watching as the old Lupe laid his head down again. Then, nodding to Kosek, Savak led the yellow Lupe away a few paces.

     “You’re going after them, aren’t you?” Kosek asked.

     “That’s right,” Savak replied.

     “Then I’m going with you. I’m not going to let those Grundos take Lilia without a fight. When I find them, I’ll…”

     “Kosek, I can’t take you,” Savak snapped. “And don’t give me any of those looks. I know you care about Lilia. I care about her too, though not as dearly as you do.” Kosek’s ears twitched self-consciously as Savak continued. “Look, if you come with me, who’s going to take care of Gerthen?”

    Kosek glanced at the old Lupe before he opened his mouth again. “But, Savak…”

     “No. I need you here,” Savak cut in. “Gerthen can’t come with us, that’s clear enough. And there’s no one else here to take care of him.”

     “Well, can we wait a few days?” Kosek asked hopefully. “See if Gerthen gets better?”

    Savak shook his head. “There’s another reason I didn’t mention. The pack’s already been captured twice this past year. I don’t want to put the pack in danger again. Understand? I’m going alone.”

    Kosek’s expression told Savak that he wanted to protest. But, then his features softened, and he nodded. “You’re the leader,” he said. “I can’t tell you what to do. But, do me a favor. Be careful.”

     “I will,” Savak said, looking over to Gerthen. “Keep him safe. Don’t let him follow me.” He looked at Kosek again. “And I promise you, I will bring Lilia back, safe and sound.”

* * *

    As the sun dipped toward the horizon, Savak pressed on, moving back north along the plains. The craft that took Lilia was strange to Savak, and he needed to know what it was. He thought Lukas would be able to help, so he was on his way back to Neopia Central. He remembered that Lukas had a number of friends that gathered information for him. It was possible they knew something of Dr. Sloth’s movements over the past few months.

    As he thought about this, the scent of a strange Lupe came to him on a southerly wind. Crouching suddenly, Savak crept to the top of the next rise and peeked over it. Sure enough, there was the Lupe. It was a blue Lupe, but it was too far away to tell who it was. Lupes from packs all around the plains were a variety of colors. Blue also seemed to be the most common one for both wild and domestic Lupes. The only way to tell friend from foe with this Lupe was to get closer.

    Keeping to the low ground, Savak weaved his way along the plains, pausing occasionally to check where the intruder was. He noticed that the Lupe wasn’t moving as fast as he expected. Maybe it was tracking something. Maybe it was tracking the trail he had left on his way into the plains!

    Savak put the thought aside as he moved closer. It wasn’t until he started to hear the footfalls of this intruder that the scent of it began to smell familiar to him. When he hear the Lupe’s voice, it became completely clear.

     “Oh, I’ll never find him like this,” Heysha muttered to herself.

    Surprised, Savak risked a peek around the next rise. Sure enough, there was the charm-laden blue Lupess, her nose to the ground, trying to track Savak’s scent, which was hours old at this point. The fact that she had tracked it this far impressed Savak. Sure, he had gone straight most of the trip, but the scent had to be stale.

    When Heysha moved past him, Savak silently followed a few paces behind her. He was curious. How much did she really know about tracking? The only way to find out was to watch what happened when she hit a crossing trail.

    When she went over another hill, Savak saw her stop immediately. Her tail twitched with bewilderment as she caught the much fresher scent of her quarry. She even spoke out about it. “Savak?”

     “Precisely,” Savak said. Shocked at his vocal announcement, Heysha spun around, her fur sticking out in all directions. “Yes Heysha,” Savak said nodding. “I’m here. What I want to know is, why are you?”

     “What am I doing here?” Heysha asked sheepishly. She sat down at the top of the hill, pawing at the end of her tail as she sought for words. “Well, I, uh…I was curious. I haven’t really been to the plains before. And, since I knew someone who lived there, I thought…maybe you could show me around?”

    Savak showed no expression whatsoever as he replied simply, “No,” as he turned and continued on his path south.

     “What do you mean ‘no’?” Heysha asked, chasing after Savak. “What’s wrong with taking me to the plains?”

     “Lots of things,” Savak replied without slowing his pace. “You’ve lived as a pet for most of your life, so you don’t know what it’s like out in the wild. You don’t know how to hunt. You know how to track, I’ll give you that. But on top of everything else…” He stopped, giving Heysha a calm, reserved expression. “It’s far too dangerous right now to bring in any…tourists.”

    As he padded away again, Savak began to wonder how Heysha would take that. He didn’t have to wait long.

     “Tourists?” she asked, chasing after him again. “You know, you have some nerve calling me a…”

     “Shh!” Savak said, cutting Heysha off as he listened. He had heard a strange humming noise on the air. It sounded somewhat familiar, but he couldn’t place where he’d heard it before. That is, until it grew louder. Savak remembered what the sound belonged to just as he spotted the Faerie Ferry Transport descending from the clouds and approaching him.

     “That’s a faerie craft,” Heysha muttered.

     “I know,” Savak replied. “The only question I have is why they’re coming here.”

    When the ferry landed, its pilot disembarked. The faerie nodded to the white Lupe as he approached. “Good afternoon, Savak,” she said. “Jearii had requested that I bring you to her sanctum.”

     “Jearii?” Heysha asked. With astonishment, she added, “You’re going to see a faerie?!”

    Savak ignored Heysha for a moment. “She wants to see me now?” Savak asked. “But…but why doesn’t she contact me herself?”

     “She told me she requires your physical presence,” the faerie stated. “Don’t ask me why, that’s all she told me.”

    Savak nodded. “Alright, but I hope she doesn’t keep me too long. I have something I need to do.” He looked to Heysha and sighed. “I might as well bring you along. I can’t leave you alone on the plains.”

    Savak boarded the transport, taking a seat on the far side of the craft. When he saw Heysha, he could tell she wasn’t pleased about his last statement. Sighing, he guessed she thought that he was treating her like a pup, which was true to a point, he admitted. After all, he was trying to keep her out of trouble.

    The faerie only smiled as she started up the transport again. A moment later, the transport lifted into the air and flew directly toward Faerie City. As he waited out the trip, Savak took in the scenic wonder around him. He didn’t often get a bird’s-eye view of the plains. The rolling hills he had grown so accustomed to flattened out as he drew away from them, becoming a rippling field of green grass, broken by scattered patches of snow. As he watched, the plains disappeared as the transport rose above the clouds. Savak turned from the plains, watching as the violet and pink towers of Faerie City appeared through the mist.

    When the city appeared, Savak looked to Heysha, wondering what she thought of the city. His enthusiasm suddenly dropped when he saw that she wasn’t watching anything at all but the deck plating below her, looking rather dejected. Sadly, Savak noted that he would have to make amends later. But right now, he had far too much to do.

    The faerie ferry landed a few moments later, not on the regular visitor’s path, but on a landing pad inside one of the towers. This surprised Savak a bit. He only glanced briefly at the transport’s pilot, who urged him on with a nod, before he disembarked. He turned to Heysha before he left, saying, “Stay here.”

    “What?” Heysha asked. “You expect me to come all this way and NOT meet this faerie that summoned you?”

    “This is something completely different,” Savak said. “I don’t even take my pack to meet her. This is a private meeting. I’m sorry.” With that, Savak turned and walked from the pad to the only passage leading away from the landing pad.

To be continued...

 
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» Savak: The Redemption - Part One
» Savak: The Redemption - Part Three



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