Lassie closed her eyes, trying to forget that she was in the Haunted Woods,
but there was no forgetting that. Suddenly, a paw reached out and grabbed her.
"Quiet," came a stern voice. Lassie stopped suddenly and looked up to see
a Lupe at least twice her size. It was the same one that smashed her cage in
the Pound. "Follow me."
But Lassie stayed still for a moment. "What do you want with me?" she asked.
"Why'd you scare me half to death at the Pound? I thought--well, can you help
me? Can you help me find my friend? Well, he wasn't really my friend, but he
was the closest thing I ever had to one. I wanted to help him, but now I can't...
it's all my fault--"
"I understand," the Lupe replied, walking away.
Lassie followed him into the deepest part of the forest. She had never been
there before, and after tonight, would never want to. It looked exactly as it
had in her dream: dark, spooky, and eerie. Finally, they came to a clearing
lit by torches.
"Halt," commanded the silver Lupe "This is our destination."
"There's no one else here," she said.
Suddenly, she saw a shadow, and standing in the centre of the clearing was
a Lupe More followed until there were at least a hundred. Then two hundred.
More and more came out from the shadows until there must have been nearly a
thousand, Lassie guessed.
"I am the leader," said the silver Lupe, "of the rebel Lupes. My name is Silverclaw.
We were driven out of Neopia because our owners didn't want us. I myself was
abandoned at a young age, and formed a safe place for Lupes suffering of the
"Safe?" Lassie asked angrily. "What do you want with me?"
Silverclaw's response was calm. "We want nothing of you but to help you."
"You don't appear to be showing it," she retorted.
He didn't seem to hear her, and he looked up at the dark sky. "Young one, you
must be tired. Please, come with us and sleep."
"Why? How can I trust you?"
"Unless you want to go back to the Pound," he said, "you'll come with me."
Lassie was angry, but out of the two situations, she'd rather be where she
was. Silverclaw led her inside a little hut, where there were two cots.
"You can sleep here," Silverclaw told her.
Lassie couldn't speak--she didn't know what to say--but Silverclaw understood.
Lassie collapsed into her bed and fell fast asleep.
Outside, Silverclaw met another Lupe: the Lupe of Names, or Muna.
"Master," said Muna, "the girl Lupe needs a name. It is a custom that no rebel
Lupe keeps his or her original name. It would remind them of their past. Should
she choose it herself, or do you wish to?"
Silverclaw looked upward toward the starry night sky. "Skye," he said. "Skye
shall be her name."
"Yes, sir. And... why?"
"The night sky... it reminds me of something. An old legend that told of a
hero..." he looked at Muna. "She is brave, that one. An honour to Lupes It is
too bad that she was tangled up into all of this."
"Then that is her name. Good night, sir."
In the morning a few hours later, Lassie was awakened by a voice. "Arise, Skye.
Lassie looked up. Did he mean her?
"You, come here," Silverclaw commanded, looking straight at Lassie. "Your
name is now Skye."
"What if I don't want it to be? I have a name... it's Lassie," she said irritably.
For a second she thought it was all a dream... but Silverclaw's response snapped
her back to reality.
"It cannot be changed now. You belong here."
Much as she disliked his lack of friendliness, Lassie couldn't help but admire
his determination. "You're going to help me with nothing in return but changing
my name?" she asked.
"That's the basic plan."
For a moment, she thought she saw Silverclaw smile.
Meanwhile, back in Neopia Central, Bob the yellow Chia was furious. "Gone?"
he yelled. "GONE? How could she be gone?"
They were all standing in the police station, the morning after the Lupes invaded
the Pound and Lassie was found to be missing.
"We have a lead," said a Chia Police officer. "Her companion, a blue Grundo,
tried to escape, and would have succeeded if we weren't fast enough," he laughed.
"Of course, Grundos aren't that fast--or bright."
"Very well," Bob replied, "bring him to me." The officer left the room, and
Sam began talking softly to himself. "A revolution among us Chias against the
Lupes has been brewing for awhile now. Lupes claim they have no representatives
in the Neopian Government. But when the general public heard about a Lupe attacking
a Chia for no good cause, we knew we had won before the battle began, didn't
we? And now she goes and runs off on us?"
The officer emerged again with the Grundo The Grundo sat down and looked at
"Tell me, Grundo, what is your name?"
"Philosophy_Phreak0_2," he replied.
"And I believe it is safe to guess you ended up in the Pound after coming
to Neopia from your home planet?"
"Yes. I'm not a native of here."
"You speak our language so well. You must have seen a great many NeoPets,
am I correct? Could you tell me something about your last companion?"
"She was adopted a week ago," the Grundo said. "My cagemate was a yellow Acara."
But Philosophy wasn't at all abashed. "Oh, now that I think of it, it was a
week and two days ago," he said. "Check the log yourself. I was in cage 0413."
Sam, still eyeing Philosophy, reached for the copy of the log on his desk,
and read it. "Yes, a yellow Acara was adopted a week ago... a Grundo was missing
and recovered, that's you... and the Lupe She's still missing." He looked at
Philosophy. "How did you manage to escape the Pound?"
"Yesterday, there was an attack of five Lupes on the Pound. They battered
the cage I was in, and I ran out fearing for my life."
"Did you see a red Lupe running out?" Bob asked.
"No, but there might have been one," Philosophy replied. "It was hard to tell,
to be honest. There was so much confusion, and everyone was yelling."
"Very well," said Bob, obviously disappointed. "Philosophy, you are--how old
"Five months, in Neopian time," replied the Grundo
"Then I see no reason why you should not be released," said Bob, who, under
his real name of Sam Smith, was the President of the Chia Police and Leader
of the Underground Chia Rebellion. "You will be given a Neolodge room and some
food. You have answered all of your questions thoroughly. Thank you for your
cooperation. Do you have any other questions?"
"One," Philosophy said. "I want to know why you're so concerned about finding
a red Lupe"
"Ah, a good question to ask," Sam said, shaking his head. "She attacked a
Chia and was never punished for it. And any pet that escaped from the Pound
is in danger; they're too young to be off on their own. We're doing this mainly
for her own safety."
Philosophy nodded, understanding. But Lassie, attack someone? It didn't seem
like something that fragile pet would do, unless provoked, and these Chias were
rather annoying. But maybe they were trying to help her....
Philosophy was allowed to leave, trying not to smile about how he'd slightly
"edited" the Pound Log during all of the confusion after his cage had been broken.
"But one more thing," Bob called to him, looking at the log. "This says that
a female red Lupe was missing, but it doesn't say when she was brought to the
Pound or what cage she was in. Would someone be wanting us to believe
she's missing? Or that she was never really there? Several NeoPets saw her at
the Pound, and she obviously isn't there now. Could it be that someone--" he
looked at Philosophy-- "changed the log?"
To be continued...