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Pet Name: WereLupe_The_Beast
The young Lord Bell sat in a snug window seat in the library, his favorite room of the manor. Outside, the wind was tugging at the leaves on the shrubberies. From a gap in the wall of greenery, the tip of a hat pushed through, followed by a head, and then an arm. Lord Bell was quite astonished when an Earth Faerie stepped fully through and paused in the garden to look around her. She idly brushed off her dress, and strode determinedly towards the house. Soon she had turned out of view of his window, but he knew she would be heading toward the front door, and hurried out to the front hall.
Sure enough, the bell rang, echoing through the manor, and Lord Bell heard the loyal old butler opening the door. Lord Bell heard the butler's low murmur but couldn't make out the words. The young Lupe stood quietly in the shadows behind a tall, decorative vase. The door was partially closed again, but left slightly ajar in deference to the esteemed visitor. Faeries were respected through all the Neopian lands.
The butler walked towards Lord Bell, but stayed in the middle of the hall, allowing the Lupe to choose between coming out into the open or staying silent and pretending he was invisible. Lord Bell noticed that the butler lowered his chin in satisfaction and approval when he decided on the former.
“A Faerie has come to call, My Lord.”
“Does she... require some... assistance?” Lord Bell asked, haltingly.
“She seeks shelter from the storm.”
An awkward silence ensued while Lord Bell pondered if it was at all possible to refuse. The butler raised one eyebrow slightly. It was unheard of not to aid a Faerie when the request was reasonable. She wasn't demanding that they hand over the family heirlooms in exchange for blessings of strength or speed. She was simply asking for a dry place to wait out the storm.
“I suppose... the rain. Does it dampen their wings?”
“I'm not sure, My Lord.” Unspoken, was the added question, “Does it matter?”
“Perhaps the... outbuilding?” At the butler's shocked look, the Lupe added, “The larger one. It is furnished... is it not?”
Catching himself, the butler cleared his throat. “It is indeed furnished, My Lord. The fire has not been lit, but I can send a maid. But...”
“You can say it.”
“My Lord, it is not quite... correct, to shelter a Faerie in an outbuilding when she is already at the doorstep of the manor.”
At this, the first flash of lightning lit up the sky, followed by a boom of thunder. Lord Bell jumped at the sound, and his eyes flew to the door, which was now fully open. The Faerie had taken it upon herself to cross the threshold before being formally invited in.
“I take it the young Lord has something against my presence.”
“N-n-no!” he answered quickly. “I simply... I'm only... I quite...”
The Faerie cut him off with a wave of her hand. “I understand the situation.” She fixed him with a stern glance. “You have no backbone. No spine. No conviction. You would leave a Faerie on your doorstep in a storm because you fear to have even a single stranger under your roof.
“You think you know what I am. One of those benevolent beings from that floating land full of rainbows and sunshine. You think I will do you no harm, even if you refuse a reasonable request. Well, you're wrong. I'm not a Faerie at all!”
And with a cackle and a burst of blinding light, the Faerie that was speaking to him suddenly became a green Zafara clothed in black robes and a pointy black hat.
“I am Edna, and I curse you! For the one who lacks a backbone, I will make him stand up straight. For the one who lacks conviction, I will set upon him this task. In order to break this spell, you must find the one thing that you will die for. Until you find this thing, it will be that which you will live for. Forever.”
And with another cackle, she was gone.
Lord Bell did not dwell on her words for just as she disappeared, he began to scream in agony. He felt as if his muscles were ripping apart and his bones were cracking from within. The old butler was pale as a ghost, he didn't understand what was happening and didn't know what to do. The screams brought all the servants running to the front hall, but they were equally helpless. They formed a loose circle around their master, faces drawn, hands clasped or clenched. It was over quickly, though it felt like hours had passed.
The young Lupe was panting and damp with sweat. The butler, who had been kneeling beside him, tentatively placed a hand on his master's arm.
Lord Bell turned his head slowly. Ever so slowly his gaze drifted from one servant to the next, coming back finally to the butler.
“What... what happened?” he croaked.
The cook, who had run to the kitchen as soon as the screaming had stopped, came back now with a glass of water for him. He gratefully took a sip.
“My Lord,” the butler began, but then halted. He looked up and down at his master's body. “You... you seem to have... grown?”
Confusion came over Lord Bell's eyes. He had always been small, but he was still young and his parents assured him he would grow. He had mahogany-brown fur that lightened to a more sandy colour at his belly and tail. What did the butler mean that he had grown? He tried to sit up to get a better view of himself and groaned at the effort. The butler quickly helped him into a sitting position, one of the maids running to fetch a cushion for him to lean against.
The first thing he noticed was that his pants were ripped. How did that happen. And his legs seemed thinner. Too thin. Had he grown... smaller? He reached down to touch his legs and noticed his arms were much bigger than they used to be. And somehow his shirt had disappeared. He shivered, and someone put a blanket around his shoulders.
Lord Bell looked at the butler once more. “She was... Edna,” he said wonderingly.
“It appears so, My Lord.”
“And... she cursed me?”
“It appears so, My Lord.”
“By... making my legs thinner and my arms bigger?”
“There's something else, My Lord...”
“What... no. I think I know.”
Slowly, ever so slowly, Lord Bell stood up.
The servants backed up a few steps as Lord Bell got slowly to his feet. The young Lupe felt the movement to be both natural and foreign at the same time. He had been looking at the floor, focusing on keeping his balance, but as he got his feet under him and straightened up, he raised his eyes. He had always been short, having still been in the lates stages of puppyhood, but now he towered over them. None of their eyes were at the same level as his.
“Yes,” Lord Bell replied, looking over at the butler. “You were right. I seem to have grown.” He considered his words, and then revised them. “Perhaps not grown, but... I seem to have been... rearranged.”
“My Lord,” the butler began again. “You are a Lupe, but Lupes...”
“Yes. It seems Edna has turned me into a... is there a word for this?”
“My Lord, she said she would make you 'stand up straight.'”
“It seems she was successful,” Lord Bell replied drily.
He turned to survey the servants gathered around him. Their faces held varying emotions. Some were filled with pity, others with horror, some with downright fear.
“I release you all from your obligations to the Bell family.”
A few gasps, a few sighs. All kept their eyes on him.
“I believe honor would have me say that you must not feel you are required to stay on in this household considering the abomination that is now your employer. A curse was placed upon me, and I would have you all go as far from me as you can, so as not to be sullied by association. I will give good reference and a month's wages. The reference may help if you act quickly, before word gets out about what has happened this night. I am a beast now. I would have you all go from me. Now. Please. I cannot bear to have you look upon me any longer. I am... a beast.”
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