A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll! Circulation: 97,878,627 Issue: 186 | 15th day of Eating, Y7
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Moonlit Peaks: Part Two


by battlesunn

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Flurry began to pace in the snow, a frenzied gleam in his eyes. "Oh no oh no oh no... This isn't good at all, Zarrel! We're all alone on Terror Mountain!" The Lupe collapsed in the snow, throwing his paws over his face.

     "No..." he moaned. Zarrelian rolled his eyes and approached Flurry, giving him a sharp kick in the hindquarters with his hoof.

     "You're completely overreacting, Flurry. So we missed the taxi, who cares? After Bronsty realizing that he forgot us he'll come right back and pick us up. We'll be home before dinner. Now stop whining, it's so annoying." The Ixi seated himself in the snow and scooped up a pile of the stuff, stuffing it into his mouth and chewing contentedly. Zarrelian offered a clump of snow to Flurry.

     "You want some? It's not bad, you know," he wheedled. Flurry glared at him, appalled and a bit irritated at the Ixi's complete lack of concern for their dangerous situation.

     "What if they can't come back, Zarrel?" he pressed. "Look at the sky! There's already huge storm clouds gathering; in a few hours it'll start snowing, and then no one will be able to make it up here."

     Zarrelian leaned back, nonchalantly folding his hooves behind his head. "You worry too much. They'll be back before then."

     Flurry pawed the ground restlessly, his brow furrowing with concern as he eyed the darkening sky. The Lupe sighed, hanging his head and lying down in the snow beside the impassive Ixi.

     "I hope you're right, Zarrel," he murmured.

     Hours passed with no sign of their teacher or their owners, Flurry growing progressively more worrisome as each uneventful minute inched by. Finally, the Lupe turned to Zarrelian, fear clouding his gaze.

     "They're not coming, Zarrel." He stood up rapidly, shaking snow from his star-spangled pelt. "We're stuck here! We're stuck on Terror Mountain and it's all your fault!"

     Zarrelian snapped up. "My fault?" he exclaimed, pulling himself to his hooves. "How is this MY fault?"

     Flurry's eyes blazed. "How is it NOT your fault?" he roared. "You're the one who just had to go running off and get us separated from the rest of the class! If it weren't for YOUR idiocy and complete lack of self responsibility I'd be at home right now, sitting in front of a nice warm fire with my owner instead of on this freezing, Faerie-forsaken peak with YOU!"

     Zarrelian flared his wings. "Nobody ASKED you to follow me!" the Halloween Ixi retorted. "It was just your stupid Lupe bravado kicking in, wasn't it? You couldn't pass up the opportunity to be all brave and noble, could you? I was fine on my own; I was going to go back right then anyway! But when YOU came you had to give me a big lecture on paying attention to our blowhard of a teacher! It's your fault that we're in this mess, not mine!"

     Flurry reared up on his hind paws, rolling back his lips to expose his sharp teeth. "Don't you dare insult my species for trying to help you, you ungrateful little goat! Next time I WILL leave to freeze, how would you like that? You could be a little Ixicle!"

     Zarrelian lowered his horns. "I'd like that just fine, Lupey!"

     They glowered at each other for the next few minutes before Flurry finally conceded, slumping his shoulders and lowering himself back to the ground.

     "What's the point of fighting, Zarrel?" he asked wearily. "What's done is done. We can't change the past by arguing about it, we've just got to focus on the problem at hand." Zarrelian sniffed disdainfully.

     "The point is that I was right. And as for our 'problem', I don't see why we can't just stay here. Like I said, they will come to pick us up. Our owners are going to notice that we're missing sooner or later, and when they do, they'll contact the Neoschool and then Bronsty will be forced to come and get us."

     Flurry frowned, staring pensively into the distance. "That's one thing I don't understand," he murmured. "There should be someone coming up if our owners haven't seen us at home yet..." He glanced back at Zarrelian. "Are you sure that your owner's even there? Like, are you positive that she hasn't gone on a vacation or something?"

     The Ixi shook his head. "Not that I know of. Besides, I've got three siblings. They'd notice if I wasn't there." He sniggered. "I make my presence known, after all."

     Flurry bit his lip. "Then why," he asked, more to himself than Zarrelian. "Has no one come to get us yet?"

     ***

     Battlesunn, commonly known as Sunny to her friends and pets, waited anxiously by the door of her Neohome, a female Gelert by her side. Shelleylou, the island Gelert in question, yawned as she gazed hungrily at the ticking Techo Clock that was mounted on the wall.

     "I don't think that he's going to come back, Sunny. I mean, look at the time, it's already six." She nudged her owner's arm. "I'm hungry. Can't we have dinner?"

     Sunny gnawed on a fingernail. "I just don't know where he could be," she muttered. "He should've returned from that field trip hours ago."

     Shelly massaged her chin thoughtfully. "We could always try sending a Neomail to his partner's owner. Zarrel went on and on about Mr. Bronston's new buddy system, and how he had been paired up with some 'yuppie Lupe' called Killerflurry." Sunny brightened, snapping her fingers.

     "Great idea, Shelly! Grab me the address book, I need to get ahold of Killerflurry's owner." The Gelert loped off to retrieve the book. Sunny quickly thought of something else.

     "And get me Mr. Bronston's address, too. I'd like to have a word with both him and this Lupe's owner."

     Shelly returned moments later, staggering under the weight of the immense volume.

     "Here you go," she said, dumping the directory at her owner's feet. "I marked the pages with Killerflurry and Mr. Bronston's addresses. The Lupe's owner is some girl called Pup; she lives on Rainbow Lane, not too far from here. Mr. Bronston lives in the kind of grungy section of Neopia Central, near the Marketplace," the Gelert reported. Sunny nodded, already grabbing her pen and a piece of stationary.

     "Good work, Shelly. I'll send them both a Neomail right now. While I'm writing the messages, could you go and get an Airax or something to deliver them?"

     Shelly gave an ironic little salute. "Aye aye, captain," she said sarcastically as she trotted off to do her owner's bidding. Sunny rolled her eyes and began to write, hoping that she would receive some good news in return.

     ***

     "This is crazy, Zarrel! They're not coming, we have to go!"

     Flurry was standing a little ways away from Zarrelian, who was still attentively awaiting the arrival of his owner. The Ixi gritted his teeth.

     "They'll come, Flurry. We just have to wait a bit."

     Flurry rubbed his temples, doing his best to stay calm. "Zarrelian," he began in a level, reasonable tone. "Look at the sky. It's already getting dark. It's already started to snow, for Fyora's sake!" Indeed, a fine shower of powder snow had begun to sprinkle upon the two Pets, the steadily dropping temperatures ensuring a blizzard in the near future. Flurry stood with his paws splayed in the snow, the wind whipping his starry fur into a frenzy.

     "Zarrel, listen to me! If we don't go and find a shelter NOW, then we're both going to freeze!" He bounded back to the stubborn Ixi. "Okay, I might be able to survive. I've got a nice thick coat that's built for this kind of weather. But look at you! Ixi are meant to be in nice, warm glades, like Meridell or Neopia Central. They aren't BUILT for this kind of weather! Look at your wings and that spindly tail! You'll get frostbite and they'll fall off, mark my words. Now come on!"

     Zarrelian remained at his post, his leathery wings ruffling slightly in the chilly wind. "That's ridiculous, Flurry. If we go prancing off then we'll just get lost somewhere. It's much safer to stay where we are."

     Flurry was ready to start tearing his fur out in frustration. "We need to find shelter! Look, it's Terror Mountain, there's bound to be a nice warm cave somewhere!"

     Zarrelian looked up. "Like the Ice Caves?" he offered. The Lupe gave a harsh, barking laugh.

     "The Ice Caves? You'd be warmer outside then in! We've got to go looking for a little burrow or something. You know, like an old Bori den, something like that." He growled threateningly, advancing on the Ixi.

     "NOW, Zarrel!" he said sharply. Zarrelian whirled around to face him, his bright green eyes blazing.

     "Who made you the Faerie Queen?" he demanded, a mocking edge to his voice. Flurry snarled low in his throat.

     "Alright, fine. Stay here, freeze to death! See if I care! I'll go alone!"

     "Fine! Go ahead and leave, I don't need you!"

     "I WILL!" Flurry turned on his heel and began marching off, head held high. The Lupe didn't get far before he slowed down, feeling guilty. Flurry stopped and turned back.

     "Come on Zarrel!" he pleaded. "Please, we have to go. They aren't going to come and I don't want your death on my paws."

     Zarrelian sighed exasperatedly, lifting himself out of the snow and plodding resignedly over to the Lupe.

     "Fine, fine, we'll go. But you'd better find a really nice shelter."

     Flurry closed his eyes, hoping that he'd made the right choice. "Believe me, Zarrel. No one hopes that we find a shelter more than me."

     They set off, trudging doggedly through the mounting snowdrifts. The storm was beginning to pick up, sleet and snow driving down against them, forcing them back. Flurry clenched his teeth, steeling himself as he continued to march forward. Zarrelian followed in the Lupe's wake, Flurry's bulk forging an indomitable barrier between him and the ferocity of the winds.

     Flurry forced himself to keep his eyes open against the pelting storm. The Lupe's gaze roved around the mountain, desperately seeking out a suitable shelter. Flurry froze. He had seen something on one of the peaks. A brief flicker of movement, maybe nothing more than a tumbling snowdrift, but... He looked closer, straining his vision to its full capacity. There! He saw it! It was a Lupe, he was sure of it! A shaggy white Lupe, prowling around the one of the icy crags.

     Flurry shuddered. The sight did nothing to calm him. If anything, it was a very bad reminder of what they could run into. He had heard of the wild Lupes in the region. They were vicious beasts, and probably wouldn't think to spare one of their own kind. Zarrelian was at a particular risk. He was a herbivore, a natural enemy of the wild Lupe. Natural prey... He mentally shook himself. The lone Lupe was probably just that. A vagabond, an outcast, a loner with no pack of their own. At least, he hoped that that was all it was.

     The starry Lupe checked behind him to make sure that the Ixi was still there. He wouldn't mention the white Lupe to Zarrelian, that would only put him into a panic, and a panicked Ixi was the last thing that he needed.

     Flurry continued forward, pitting himself against the relentless storm, the howling gales whipping his fur in the air. Flurry paused. He flared his nostrils and sniffed, tensing his muscles as the hair on the back of his neck began to prickle.

     "Zarrel, come here, stand beside me for a second," he whispered. He heard the Ixi come trotting up to him, the snow crunching softly beneath his hooves.

     "What is it?" he demanded. Flurry gulped, eyes roving around nervously.

     "I thought that I smelt something... Zarrel, look out!"

     Flurry grabbed the Ixi around the scruff of his neck and dived to his left as a huge, brawny red Lupe crashed into the exact spot that they had been in not a second earlier. Both Flurry and Zarrelian scrambled to their feet and gaped open-mouthed with terror at the sight before them.

     It was a wild Lupe pack, with no fewer than thirty members. The red, who was obviously their leader, stood and gave his rust colored coat a rough shake, spraying snow all about his impressive form. The pack assembled around their leader and glared hungrily at the two Neopets, their teeth gleaming as slippery ropes of saliva dangled from their open jaws.

     Flurry moaned and shielded his face with his paws as the pack began padding towards them...

To be continued...

 
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Other Episodes


» Moonlit Peaks: Part One
» Moonlit Peaks: Part Three
» Moonlit Peaks: Part Four
» Moonlit Peaks: Part Five
» Moonlit Peaks: Part Six
» Moonlit Peaks: Part Seven



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