PhirosRugosa And The Ghost Lupe

By CrystalCattail

Disclaimer: I don't own NeoPets. If any of these names are names of your pets or something along those lines, it's entirely by accident.

It was a cold, dark night, far into the month of Gathering. The green kougra walked briskly down the dirt path. It was too late to be walking around the outskirts of Mystery Island, and PhirosRugosa knew it. He was heading back home from a costume party, and they had told spooky tales and legends. Now he jumped at every noise and thought he saw a sort of shadow creeping along behind him.

PhirosRugosa did not live on Mystery Island. He had a nice Neohome in Neopia Central, and had taken a boat to the island to come to the party. He chanced a glance behind him. The Kougra gripped the bag of candy he was carrying tightly in his paws and continued walking.

Sneaking up behind him was some sort of creature, a creature with big, glowing red eyes.

"Maybe if I pretend I haven't seen it, it'll lose interest and go away," the Kougra thought. He strolled for a couple more minutes, holding a torch so he could see where he was going. Then a sudden gust of wind blew up. The flame that guided him flickered and died. Phiros was left in complete blackness.

Crack, crack, snap. There was the sound of twigs breaking. Dropping his burden, the Kougra fled through the jungle vegetation, but he wasn't quick enough. The creature pounced and tried to sink his teeth deep into the Kougra's neck.

Phiros was a peaceful pet. He knew hardly anything about fighting. The only time he had ever battled had been with friends. He let his instincts take over - Kougras are strong warriors.

Phiros nimbly jumped out of the way. He whipped out an Improved Lightning Beam his owner had bought him, for occasions just like this, and ripped off the 100% fake Uni mask he had worn to the party, so it wouldn't get in the way. His keen cat-eyes began to adjust to the total dark around him.

The red, glowing eyes belonged to a sort of wolf-like creature.

"A Lupe!" Phiros exclaimed, startled. "You're a Lupe!"

There was a low snarl, and the creature readied itself for another strike.

"But why?" Phiros demanded. "Lupes are supposed to be friendly!"

"Not to the likes of you, islandscum! Cannibals!"

The Lupe pulled a huge, rusty sword out of a batted leather sheath that hung on his back and lunged at the young Kougra again. Phiros fired the lightning beam twice, dodging the swinging blade. He tried to run, but a large paw grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. It felt cold and slimy.

"Stand here and fight me, you coward!" the Lupe roared. "Not so high and mighty when there's only you and not twenty others in the brush, are you?!"

The Kougra fired the lightning beam again. Was this Lupe insane? He made absolutely no sense as he raved on, slashing at Phiros madly all the while.

He had skills for a lunatic. He lunged forward, taking Phiros completely by surprise, and knocked the lightning beam out of the Kougra's paws. Phiros grabbed a tree branch off the ground and began beating him with that instead. Every time he took a swipe, the Lupe's shield arm would go up, and the blow would bounce off.

The sun began to rise, its light filtering through the trees, but the two warriors took no notice as they battled on, slashing and thrusting, blocking and parrying, as if they were a couple of Meridell knights.

CrystalCattail looked at the clock on the wall of her Neohome. PhirosRugosa, her pet Kougra, had gone to a party at a friend's house. He was supposed to have returned on the boat three hours ago.

"He must've decided to stay overnight," she had told herself. This was the first time she had ever let him go off by himself, and she didn't want to think anything terrible had happened to him. A few more hours passed, and there was still no sign of PhirosRugosa.

"He must've gotten lost!" the anxious Neo-owner said. "DanielValentine, FratleyBurmecia! I'm going to go out for a while. Hold down the fort, okay?"

The Korbat and the Lupe nodded. CrystalCattail ran outside to catch the next ship to Mystery Island.

PhirosRugosa looked around wildly for an exit, but there was none. He had been running for hours, the Lupe hot on his tail the whole time, and now he was facing a huge, sheer cliff.

"Pretty long drop, isn't it?" a voice said behind him. PhirosRugosa whirled around. The Lupe was standing behind him, leaning on his sword. "You wouldn't like being thrown off there much, would you," he said mockingly.

PhirosRugosa collapsed on the ground, struggling to catch his breath. "No..." he managed to gasp.

"You shouldn't do things to other creatures that you wouldn't want done to yourself," he said, eyeing the Kougra pityingly. "I never forgot what you did to me that day...NEVER! And I won't rest until you're all dead and buried like you deserve! You hear that?!"

He howled up at the sky triumphantly. Phiros lifted his head up weakly and stared. The Lupe looked vague and translucent in the sunlight.

"Y...you're a ... ghost?" the Kougra gasped again, this time in surprise.

"What did you think I was, you savage?" the Lupe snapped.

"I don't know...what you're even...talking about!" the Kougra finally cried. "I just came here for a party and you attacked me!"

The monster seemed to hesitate. "You...you're not...you...you...You don't live on Mystery Island?"

"Of course I don't!" the Kougra was regaining his strength rapidly. "I live in Neopia Central!"

"But...but...you're a ..." the Lupe was definitely growing confused. Phiros waited patiently.

"But you're a Kougra!" the Lupe cried. "You're a species native to Mystery Island!"

"So?" Phiros asked. "Grundos are aliens from another planet, and lots of them have been living here for years!"

"Grundos? Aliens from another planet?" the Lupe stared at him. The anger had went out of those red eyes, and they no longer glowed. He dropped his sword and sank onto the ground beside the Kougra, shaking.

It was Phiros' turn to look pitying. "Who are you, anyway?" he asked. "Why are you hunting Kougras?"

"Haven't you ever heard stories about the Ghost Lupe who died trying to save his bride from the natives of Mystery Island?" the Lupe asked.

Phiros shook his head slowly. "No...is that you?

The Lupe nodded his ghostly head. "My name is Lionheart. I used to be a knight of Meridell, until one day..."

It was an extremely foggy night. Sir Lionheart stood on deck with Dreyfuss, the captain of the ship.

"This is incredible," he said, shaking his head. "I've never seen it like this before! Are you sure we're going in the right direction?"

They were returning from an exploratory voyage to the Lost Desert, where Sir Lionheart had met a young female Lupe named Maria. He was taking her back to Meridell, where they were to be wed.

However, the trip was becoming one difficulty after another. First, the ship had been attacked by a giant sea serpent, and then the captain had had to change course after a nasty run-in with some pirates with no respect for authority. Now supplies were dangerously low, and several crew members were suffering from Neopox and Sneezles. After a few more minutes of talking with the captain, he was about to head back below deck, when a Blumaroo who was perched in the crows' nest suddenly yelled,

"Cap'n! Cap'n! Land straight ahead!"

"Is it Meridell?!" Dreyfuss called back excitedly.

"No...I don't think so." the Blumaroo said. "But we can load up on supplies while we're here!"

"Great! Full speed ahead!"

Below deck, in the cabins, Sir Lionheart was strapping on his armor. Maria sat on the bed watching him.

"Can I come ashore, too?" she asked.

"No. Not until I scout ahead and make sure it's safe first." Lionheart said sternly.

"Please?" Maria begged. "I won't be any trouble! It's been ages since I've walked on dry land!"

"No one is leaving this ship until my knights and I search first." he said. "Once I'm sure it's okay, you can frolic on the beach all you want."

Maria turned away from him, sulkily.

"I'll be back as soon as I can," Lionheart said as he left the room. "I promise. You make sure to stay in here until I get back."

The island appeared to be deserted. It was covered in thick, jungle- like vegetation, and the Lupe knight had to slash at the trees to make a path. Mosquitoes buzzed incessantly. Lionheart swatted one as he asked,

"Dreyfuss, do you know where we are?"

The Skeith captain shook his head. "This island isn't on any map I've ever seen, mate. And I've never heard of such a place, either."

"Nothing seems to be here." Lionheart said. "Let's head back to the ship and tell the others it's all right to - "

There was a sharp, high-pitched scream from the direction of where they had left the ship. Lionheart froze in his tracks. "Maria!"

He ran as fast as he could, fully clad in armor, hacking with his sword at anything in his way. "Maria! Maria!"

Once he arrived at the beach, he stopped. The ship was covered in flames, and was slowly sinking into the waters. The crew and servantbeasts were chained, bound and gagged. Milling about were dozens and dozens of odd- looking creatures that resembled coconuts, and several huge, catlike animals with stripes, gold earrings sticking out of their heads. Every one of them were carrying long spears with beaten metal points.

"Praise Jhuidah, Pango Pango will eat well tonight!" many of them cried.

"No, stop!" Dreyfuss hissed, trying to keep Lionheart from rushing forward. "There's got to be another way, there's too many of them! They'll slaughter you!"

"Let go of me, you fool!" the Lupe Knight tore himself from the Skeith's restraining hold and ran into the crowd, swinging his sword. "Maria, I'll save you! Hang on!"

Lionheart fought valiantly, dodging and blocking the natives' sharp spears, but as Dreyfuss pointed out, there were far too many, and it really was a foregone conclusion. The Lupe Knight slashed at them, but he finally succumbed to a spear wound in his side. He passed out from blood loss.

It was a good week or two before the lupe awoke, chained up so tightly it hurt to breathe. A whole crowd of islanders and weird-looking coconut men milled about excitedly.

"This creature has angered the gods," an old, shriveled-looking Techo was saying. "We sacrifice him to appease them!"

Two strong Kougras picked the Lupe Knight up and threw him off the steep cliff.

Several months later, King Skarl called Sir Jeran to his chamber.

"Has there been any news about Sir Lionheart and his voyage?" Skarl asked.

Jeran shook his head doubtfully. "No, m'lord. Not yet. If they haven't returned by now, I find it very unlikely that they ever will."

The King sighed broodingly. "Ah, well..." he said. "It wasn't that important anyway!"

Sir Jeran bowed respectfully and left the room.

"So do you see how it is?" the Ghost Lupe asked. It was beginning to get dark again. "After finally hitting the bottom of this very cliff, I woke up to find myself a ghost. I swore upon my honor as a Meridell knight that I would get my revenge! For so long I've been haunting these forests. And now you say it's been for naught! Most of the pets I've killed...they might not have been island denizens at all! I'm no better than they were..."

Phiros patted the Lupe's scarred back reassuringly. His paw went right through him.

"Why don't you go to see the Brain Tree, or one of the Faeries?" he suggested. "They're very smart, and I'm sure they can help you. You can go to the Haunted Woods, too. You'd fit right in, in that place."

The young Kougra looked up at the sky and gasped. "I have to go find my way to the Harbor. My owner must be really worried about me by now."

"Go right down that path and take a left," the Ghost Lupe said.

Phiros headed down the path.

"Thank you, Phiros." the Lupe called after him.

It was pitch black before the Kougra arrived back at Neopia Central. He walked down Rainbow Lane until he found his house, and walked in the door.

"Where is everybody?" he asked, looking around. "Where's CrystalCattail?"

"She went looking for you ten hours ago!" DanielValentine cried. "She's going to be so mad when she finally gets back..."

"Don't worry about that." Phiros said. Following Lionheart's directions, he had found his Lightning Beam, candy bag and Uni Mask lying on the ground. "Want a milk chocolate Gelert?"

The End.