"Iris really has the game in her control, ladies and gentlemen!"
boomed the strong voice from the speakers. Hundreds, perhaps thousands even, of
Neopets who sat in the large spectator stands watched closely as two cloud flyers
flew all around the racing area, leaving behind them blue and pink cloud lines.
Most of the audience was cheering for the blue-violet flyer that was now curving
around the other green and white flyer.
"…And Iris locks her opponent in a tight circle!
This game seems to be at its end…!" echoed the speakers, and as the green and
white flyer collided into the blue cloud line left by the flyer Iris, you could
practically see as the speakers stretched from the power of the voice when the
commentator yelled out in triumph, "Iris wins!! Iris wins thanks to an impressive
The audience stood up and cheered form the top
of their lungs and as long as their breath lasted. When the blue-violet flyer
landed on a cloud's edge near the judges and the spectator stands, the people
flooded out of their seats like waves of an army wanting to get their hands
on the winner.
The racer stepped out of her flyer and pulled
off her blue-violet helmet to reveal her purple and cute Acara's face that shone
with joy over her victory. She reached out her hands towards the sky and let
her fans grab her and lift her up on their shoulders. The crowd screamed, yelled,
shot their fists in the air, and blew their party horns as they carried the
winner to the judges, who were waiting with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and
a large golden trophy.
"I'm not dreaming!" Iris yelled out as her insides
swelled up from joy, "This is real! I won! It's not a dream!"
The next thing she new, was that she was laying
on her stomach on her room's floor with her bed covers covering her eye sight.
She lifted the covers from her face to see her own little room, lighten by the
"Oh… it was a dream," she sighed and let the
covers bury her face again. She had been dreaming about a faerie cloud race
where she had won. She was actually competing in that same race today, so in
the midst of all the stress over the race, falling asleep had been a real pain
"Iris! It's five minutes past eleven! You better
be awake!" Iris's owner's voice was heard all the way from downstairs, but slightly
muffled by the walls. It took Iris about one point five seconds to register
the information her owner had just told her. 'Did she say eleven?! But my race
is beginning at twelve…!'
Iris swiftly kicked away her covers and made
a beeline to the bathroom to do her usual morning washing routine which included
brushing her teeth, emptying her bladder and combing her hair. In about fifteen
minutes, Iris was downstairs and anxiously looking for something to eat.
"There's bread in that big cabinet," Iris's
owner advised from a nearby bathroom, where she was ironing her racing suit,
"on the third shelf down. We should still have some butter in the fridge and
there's also cottage cheese."
"It's good for you, there's protein in it. You
can put it on the bread or eat it separately." Iris's owner was a girl called
Rhea. Rhea used to have a Kougra before Iris was born, but he was killed after
being lured in by a dark Faerie. Rhea had mid-length chocolate brown hair and
glasses. She didn't have the thinnest body but she wasn't fat either. Rhea had
always encouraged Iris to practice cloud racing and kept all of the little trophies
and medals she had won, even the ones she had gotten for merely participating.
Today's race was the biggest one Iris had ever competed in; the other competitions
had just been between different schools.
Iris took two pieces of bread, spread butter
on them and laid some slices of cheese on them. She poured herself a glassful
of orange juice, sat down on the table and began to devour her breakfast.
"Be careful that you won't choke," Rhea warned
as she walked out of the bathroom with Iris's suit in her arms, "and hiccups
are nasty, too."
"Fut I'mf im a furry," Iris mumbled with her
mouth full of bread.
Iris swallowed with a gulp and repeated, "But
I'm in a hurry."
"Well then, why did you sleep so late?" Rhea
asked with one eyebrow raised.
"Why didn't you wake me up?"
"Because you've always been able to wake up by
yourself and I never seem to come 'at the right time' if I do wake you," Rhea
said with the corners of her mouth twitching a bit. She sat down next to Iris
and put the suit on the table. Iris rolled her eyes smiling a little smile and
then commenced wolfing down her food again.
Iris's plate and glass were empty after about
a minute and she and Rhea were outside marching on the sidewalk that was edged
with cloud terrain. They lived in Faerieland, of course, because it would be
hard to be a cloud racer somewhere else. It was a sunny day with a few shreds
of cloud dotting the blue sky. This was really good weather, but the sun might
be a problem if it would shine in the racers' eyes.
They had to walk to the race track because they
didn't have wings like faeries do. The track was about a ten to fifteen minute
walk away, so they had to hurry if they wanted to be there in good time. As
they walked, Iris went over all the important little details she could remember
and at the same time beckoned her feet to walk faster. 'Keep your eyes and mind
awake', 'tight circles around the opponent are always good', 'giving the opponent
a chance is not an option' and so forth.
"It seems we're not the only ones going to the
cloud racing track," Rhea pointed out and Iris followed her owner's gaze to
see all kinds of Neopets, faerie and non-faerie, walking (or flying) in the
same direction as they were. Many had whistles, horns or picnic baskets with
them. Some had even painted their faces in a shade of the same blue-violet that
Iris's flyer was colored.
"Looks like you've got some fans," Rhea said
and nodded her head towards a group of Neopets that walked close to them; all
had blue-violet paint at some part of their bodies. This sight really killed
the silently bubbling feeling of nervousness inside Iris and her face lit up
into a thrilled smile.
But nervousness appears to have many lives,
because the closer Iris and Rhea got to the race track, the more space that
uneasy feeling conquered inside of her. For about ten minutes they had been
walking the vast Faerie Lane, where are located a couple of important buildings,
such as the Employment Agency and an arts school known as The Coloring Pages.
This lane also led straight towards Faerieland's main cloud racing track, where
Iris today has the honor of racing in.
* * *
They were finally on the separate cloud that held the spectator stands and
the garages. Iris's face was beginning to twist into a panicking expression
while Rhea's curled into an encouraging smile. But this smile didn't ease Iris
enough to stop her from panicking.
"Ah, Iris, it's about time!" Iris was suddenly
being pulled by her arm towards one of the many garages and felt a strong hand
holding her arm.
"… Don't tell me you overslept again. We've
only got a couple of minutes before your turn and you've still got to change
in to your suit and all…." a low but strong voice muttered these words as a
rather obese green Bruce with a brown mustache and wearing a blue jacket tugged
the purple Acara forward as Rhea jogged right on their tail.
This Bruce was Iris's coach. His real name was
Adam, but pretty much everyone just called him Coach. He used to be a cloud
racer himself until he had a bad crash during a competition. His back was injured
badly enough to prevent him from racing. But that was already nearly ten years
ago and he's been working as a coach since then. Iris was his fourth project.
"Alright, get this quickly on and then we'll
go over a few details about your opponent," Coach said and took the suit from
Rhea's hands and chucked it into Iris's arms.
"Um… where do I change….?" Iris wondered and
looked around the garage to see some kind of a fitting room.
"There's a bathroom right over in that corner.
See the white door?" Coach said and pointed to a white door at the back of the
room. "Change fast then, will you?"
Iris nodded and hustled over to the door and
twisted the brass handle. She stepped inside a small bathroom with a tiled white
floor. She pulled her blue-violet suit on and spared a look in the smudgy mirror.
She noticed a strand of her orange hair curled around one of her horns and pulled
"Okay, I don't look that bad," she told herself
and straightened her suit. She then stepped out of the small room and walked
over to Rhea and Coach.
"You've got a Gelert up against you, Iris,"
mumbled Coach and handed her a piece of paper with a picture of a spotted male
Gelert. The paper was filled with text that told information about this neopet.
"His name's Anabor and he's about the same level
as you. But I asked around a bit and they say he's pretty serious about winning.
He's lost only one game and that was his first one, too," Coach explained as
Iris read through the paper.
All of a sudden screaming and whistling filled
the air around them and an enthusiastic voice bellowed from the speakers: "And
the winner is Laika! Coming up next are two newcomers! Anabor the Gelert versus
Iris the Acara! Contestants, get to your places!"
"That's our cue. Ready yourself Iris, the game's
about to start," Coach said and patted Iris on her shoulder and went to give
the mechanics instructions. It felt as if Hasees were bouncing inside Iris when
she looked at the looser of the previous game. A red Mynci was walking next
to his flyer and was holding an ice pack on his head. The flyer wasn't in a
state to actually fly. It had been crushed on its right side and the right wing
was practically torn in half.
Rhea knelt down next to Iris and gave her a
hug. Once she let Iris go, she looked into her nervous eyes and smiled: "What
are you so worried about? That Gelert is also a newcomer in this track and I'm
sure he's not the only one who wants to win, now is he?"
Iris pulled herself together and imagined a
big golden trophy being held to her and then remembered her dream.
"No, he isn't."
To be continued...