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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 26th day of Awakening, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 5 > New Series > The Struggle: Part One

The Struggle: Part One

by whitechimaera

Kahliss was feeling pretty bored already when he woke up that day. He climbed out of bed and flew three times around his spacious room. Like most Scorchios, he enjoyed stretching his wings first thing in the morning. When he was done with that, he went downstairs to retrieve the latest issue of The Neopian Times on the doorstep. He always liked to read the paper while eating his breakfast of plantcake and sausages.

As he was rifling through the pages, a colourful ad for Fitey’s fire bombs (“our bombs are a favourite of the Sangre brothers, renowned Battledome fighters!”) caught his eye. Kahliss was struck by an idea. More importantly, a boredom-buster idea.

Quickly finishing his breakfast, he dashed out the door and down Bracknell Road. Arriving at a certain house, he was about to knock on the door when he happened to look up. There, on the edge of the roof, a large Eyrie crouched, his eyes closed.

“Uh…” Kahliss stared at him. “Kur, what are you doing?”

“Shhh. I’m concentrating.”

“Oh yeah, because it takes so much energy to sit there like a fat Skeith. Come down, I want to show you something.”

“Wait,” Kur said, eyes still closed. “It’s an experiment.”

“To see how long it takes for me to get annoyed and start throwing rocks?”

“I’m going to try to jump and land on the ground without using my wings to slow me down.”

“What!” Kahliss noticed for the first time that his friend had tied his wings against his body with thick rope. He stepped back and quickly evaluated the distance between the roof and the ground. “Kur, have you done the math? Because the way I see it, Kur + roof + jump = splat. And then I’ll probably never get my M*YNCI CD back.”

“You just don’t believe.”

“Oh I believe all right! I believe that I’ll be scraping you off your front lawn if you do this! Now cut it out and get down here! And not that way!”

Kur didn’t move. “Do you want me to come up there? Because then, you’ll be sorry.”

Kur opened his eyes and looked down at him dolefully.

“Aw, you had to make me lose my nerve, didn’t you?”

“How about we talk when you come down? You’re giving me a crick in the neck.”

Sighing, the Eyrie untied his wings and flew down.

“I don’t get it,” he started to complain once his paws touched the ground.

“Ansi, the girl who lives two doors down, can jump off her roof and land without a scratch.”

“Kur, Ansi is an Aisha. You’re not. It’s as simple as that. What’s going on with you?”

“Nothing.” He sighed again. “And that’s the problem. I’m…”

“Bored,” Kahliss finished his sentence. “No kidding. Well then, check this out.” He held out the fire bomb ad which he had carefully torn out. “It was in today’s Times.”

Kur took the piece of paper and studied it intently.

“Well, what do you think?”

“I don’t think we need one, Kahliss,” he said seriously.

“No, birdbrain. The Battledome. Let’s go watch some matches today! We’ll be able to see the fighters up close!”

“Ohhh. Cool.”

“So you want to?”

“Does a Grarrl eat petpets?”

“I’m taking that as a yes. Come on!” Kahliss led the way down the road.

“First let’s stop by my place to get my battle mirror. Maybe I can get it signed by a famous fighter at the arena.” Kur snorted. “Yeah, sure. Next, why don’t you get it encased in gold by the Faerie Queen?”

Kahliss was just working up a blistering retort that would surely reduce his friend to tears when he spotted someone flying towards them above the houses. As the shape drew nearer, he could make out four lean legs and a flowing mane. He poked Kur in the side. “Look who’s coming.” Kur looked up and nearly choked on his tongue. Kahliss grinned.

“Hey, if you don’t want to see her, you could always run back inside,” he suggested, knowing fully well that he wouldn’t, mainly because she had already seen them. “I’ll tell her that you’ve got the Sneezles or something. I’m sure that your sneezing and runny beak will just win her over completely.”

“Oh, shut up.” Kur glared and swiped at him with his heavy paw. Kahliss danced out of the way just in time. They both were distracted by the arrival of the flying creature.

“Hi, guys,” the doe-eyed Uni greeted them as she came to a graceful landing between them. She folded back her wings and tossed her head, her mane swishing. The white horn on top of her head gleamed in the sunlight. “What are you doing?”

“We’re going to the Battledome, Rahne,” Kahliss said before Kur could stop him. “Why don’t you come with us?”

Kahliss grinned as Kur shot daggers at him behind Rahne’s back. The three of them had known each other since they had hatched, but Kur had recently come to the startling conclusion that Rahne wasn’t a little Uni with whom you could play Let’s Dive-Bomb The Next Passerby anymore. As a result, Kur found himself curiously without speech every time he saw her. Kahliss was dubious at first. Cross-species relationships were not very common. But then, he was reminded of the legend of Jomeo and Ruliet, and their devotion to each other. And if a Lupe and a Chia could get along like that, well then, anything was possible.

“The Battledome, huh?” Rahne mused. “Okay, why not? We haven’t done much together in a while.”

“Great!” Kahliss said. Kur just looked trapped. Kahliss suspected that he was already plotting revenge. “Well, come on, I’ve got to go get my battle mirror.” Kahliss resumed the short walk to his house.

“Oh, are you going to try to get it signed by a fighter?” Rahne asked as she trotted beside him. “That would be really exciting. The whole neighbourhood would be jealous. Who do you want it signed by?”

“I’m not sure. Maybe Hun Attila. He won the last Battledome knockout competition, you know. But last I heard, he went to Mystery Island for a vacation, away from all the fans. Too bad he didn’t know that the natives on the island live and breathe the fights. Wait here, guys.” He went inside his house, leaving Rahne and Kur alone together. Kur, who was already feeling very not confident, was now into full-blown panic mode when he saw that Kahliss had abandoned him. And he probably planned that, too, he thought furiously. Well, I’ll show him. I’m not scared, ha ha, what a silly idea. I’m a rock. Yes, that’s it, a solid rock. A solid, unbreakable… Rahne smiled at him. His legs almost gave way.

“Are you OK?” she asked with concern.

“Oh yeah! Fine, totally fine.” He forced a smile. “Like a rock,” he mumbled.

“I’ve never seen a live Battledome match before,” she said excitedly. “Only on television. What about you?”

“What?” Kur had been distracted by the way she moved her head when she spoke, causing her mane to ripple. “Oh, er, I like TV too.” Rahne watched Kur fumble with amusement. She wasn’t used to seeing the big guy like this. But she could take a guess as to why he was acting that way.

She was about to speak when Kahliss burst back outside, clutching his shiny battle mirror.

“Okay, to the Battledome!” He glanced at his friends. Rahne opened her wings, preparing to fly. Kur was staring at him in relief, because he had come back, and with regret, for exactly the same reason.

Moments later, the three of them were soaring into the clouds, Kahliss’ battle mirror tucked away in his bag, having been shrunk to an optimal size thanks to a modified Downsize! charm. They were all experienced enough to know that it was useless to try and keep up a conversation while flying at the speed they were going. Instead, Rahne executed a series of loops, her feathered wings curling around her body like a protective cocoon. Kur joined in by pumping his powerful wings and pretending to zoom towards her on a collision course. She ducked low and, in a movement too fast to track, slipped behind him and nipped him playfully on the tail. Kahliss powered his own leathery wings forward and touched both of their tails. An energetic game of air tag ensued. It wasn’t until midday that they finally reached the Battledome arena. Set on top of a hill, the round stone structure was already teeming with eager fans. Kahliss and his friends swooped down and landed near the ticket booth. Soon, they were settling into their seats.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

The Struggle: Part Two

The Struggle: Part Three

The Struggle: Part Four

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