Chapter Two: Did you get the name of that Truck??

Ashtah eyed her Mom suspiciously. There was no way Mom could not be mad about the couch. Mom LOVED that couch! It was her favorite piece of furniture in the house. Ashtah trotted along with her family and, lost in thought, began to fall behind.

“Ashtah!” Dral hollered. “Keep up! Or we are going to leave you behind!” Dral took quite a bit of pleasure in saying that last part. Normally Ashtah had to say that to HER! Or Ginger. Mostly Ginger. Geeze, that grarrl was so slow… “Ashtah!” She hollered again. Dral’s voice trailed off as she watched her older sister. Ashtah was standing stock still in the middle of the path with her head cocked. A faraway look was in her eye… Dral turned and bolted up to Mom and rapidly tugged on her sleeve so hard it almost came apart at the seam. “Mom! Ashtah hears something!!” Dral said frantically. The last time Ashtah looked like that one of the local swamp ghouls had wandered too close to the house. “Hurry! I think it’s a ghoul!!” Dral began to twist her hands and huddled close to Ginger. Ginger took one look at Ashtah then he too took a fighting stance. “Ya, like Ginger can do anything...” Dral thought to herself. She crouched low and began to call up some dancing motes…

Mom tilted her head in the direction that Ashtah was looking at. “What do you hear?” Mom really relied on Ashtah’s hearing when traveling. She began to root around in her traveling bag for a weapon to use as she walked up to her flotsam. Ashtah swiveled in place and focused on a spot about 20 yards from the path. She took a step and looked up at her owner.

“It’s a pet.” She looked again at the spot. “And it’s hurt!” With that, she started running toward the spot. Mom was close behind. Dral and Ginger looked at each other and shrugged. “Maybe we better follow…” Ginger’s voiced trailed off. Dral waved lightly. “Like we could do any better than they could.” She looked up at Ginger. “Do you really think there is anything they cannot handle??”

Ginger relaxed. “Good point.” He settled himself down on the path and scooped up a handful of local plant life and rocks. “Yum. I’m hungry…” and proceeded to shove the whole mess into his mouth.

“Ick!” thought Dral and she turned away from her brother. “Gross Ginger! Can’t you wait until we get to town???” Ginger just shrugged and continued shoveling plants and rocks into his mouth. “Want some?” he asked. When Dral turned to face him, he dangled a wriggling grub just in front of her face. Dral shrieked and backed away in disgust. Ginger began laughing so hard he actually was rolling on the path with tears in his eyes. “You are such a sucker” he cackled as he wiped his eyes. “If you were not so big…” Dral started towards her brother. She froze at the sound of a shriek in the air.

Both pets were now on their feet. “That was Mom!” shouted Ginger. Both pets thudded off after the sound of Mom’s voice. Ginger pulled ahead, ripping trees and shrubs out of the way. Dral was in hot pursuit, dancing motes began swirling and sparks began flying from her fingertips as they burst into a clearing. Both paled at the sight before them.

Mom was huddled over something, protecting whatever it was. She was bruised and had some cuts and scrapes on her arms and legs. Dral and Ginger gasped. Someone attacked an OWNER??? Both looked around frantically for Ashtah. Surely she was not….

A thudding crash startled both of them. Looking towards the sound, they both watched in horror as Ashtah was hurtled through the trees and came to a stop in a dirt furrow easily as long as Ashtah was tall. Shaking her head, she groggily stood up and looked at her two siblings. “Get mom and that gelert outta here!! NOW!!” With that, she charged up her psychic blast, truly an impressive sight when she was this angry, and proceeded to turn a section of the clearing into mush. “You heard what I said!” She shouted “GET OUT of here NOW!!” Both pets shook themselves and ran over to their owner.

“C’mon Mom!” Dral whimpered. When Ashtah was like this, it was best to do what she said or end up looking like those poor melted trees and shrubs. With wide eyes, she looked at her owner and grabbed the traveling bag. “Ashtah said to get out of here.” Tugging on Mom’s arm, Dral started to drag her owner through the clearing towards the path. Mom tugged back. “Wait” she said, “That gelert is really hurt…”

“I got ‘em” Ginger scooped up the green body and carefully carried him after Mom and Dral. They began heading back towards relative safety. Dral knew there was a police phone near where they left the path. Maybe the Neopian Police Department could send someone to help them…

Another shuddering thud rocked both pets. Spinning around, Dral watched as her sister was locked fin to arm with a… swamp ghoul?? It can’t be! She shook her head. Those guys are little wusses compared to Ashtah. This guy was nothing short of monstrous! He just cackled as he effortlessly threw Ashtah aside, like so much trash and turned to look directly at Dral. She shuddered as she made eye contact. Never had so much evil…

“Will you just GO!” shouted Ashtah. “I can’t power up fully unless I know you guys won’t get caught in the blast!!” Ashtah struggled to her feet. She was really a mess, bleeding from cuts and scrapes all over from where the monster had hit her.

Dral turned to run. If Ashtah was getting this beat up, there was no way Dral was going to have a chance! She started to run and then felt herself lifted up into Ginger’s arms. With Mom and the gelert in one arm, and Dral tucked in the other, Ginger raced back to the main path. Dropping Dral, Ginger turned and hunched over Mom and the hurt pet. Dral raced to the police phone and began dialing as fast as her fingers could go.

“Neopian Police Department. May I help you?” A cheerful voice spoke on the other end.

“My Mom!” Dral panted “My sister! Huge monster! Hurt bad!! HELP!!”

The voice turned serious. After a pause, she spoke again. “Okay, judging by your location the closet crime-watch pet would be Ashtah and her owner. Let me just call them to help you…”

“THAT’S WHO IS GETTING HURT!!” Dral shrieked. After another short pause the now very serious voice spoke again.

“Gotcha. Help will be there in just a couple of minutes. Are you hurt?” A buzzing started coming from the distance. As Dral talked, the buzzing grew louder.

“I’m okay, but my Mom’s hurt and we are protecting a really hurt gelert…” Dral was becoming more frantic. This was taking too long! Where was the help?? She knew it was only a couple of minutes, but it was a long couple of minutes! Turning around, Dral watched in horror as Ashtah stumbled back onto the path. Ashtah was battered and bruised; she limped to the center of the path and collapsed in a shuddering heap. “OH NO!!” Dral shouted. Dropping the phone Dral bolted over to Ashtah and began to check her older sister. It was bad. Really really bad.

Wringing her hands, Dral began to power up her Healing ability and tried to turn it towards her sister. Cuts began to heal, but Ashtah was just too badly hurt for this to be effective. Whimpering, Dral looked over at the now-dangling phone receiver. Someone was talking from it. Running over, Dral picked up the phone and started to shout into it. “We need a doctor!! We need a doctor!!” She was sobbing hysterically. The buzzing noise was really close now. Looking up, she watched as a three pets and a male owner swooped down and landed next to her. She recognized the four of them from Ashtah’s crime-watch scrapbook. They were friends of Ashtah and Mom who had banded together to make this area of Neopia safe for traveling. The three pets raced off into the woods while the owner bent over Ashtah. A serious look spread over his face. Looking back at the tearful Dral, the owner popped out a couple of salves and started to gingerly spread them on Ashtah. The cuts and bruises healed so fact Dral could only stand and stare at amazement. Nodding to himself, the man walked over to Ashtah’s Mom. They huddled together and whispered at each other. Finally, he walked over to Dral and Ginger. “We have an ambulance on its way” He smiled “Everything is going to be okay.” Sure enough, sirens filled the air. In the blink of an eye, so it seemed, Ashtah and the gelert were carefully put in the ambulance and soon were speeding towards the city.

Ginger and Dral looked at each other. “So much for shopping,” Ginger said softly. Dral nodded slowly and burst into fresh tears.

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