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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 17th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 9 > Short Stories > Proving Myself

Proving Myself

by Strata_skywolf_200

(also by Indigokitten)

I moved into this town a week ago, and everything seemed nice then, but when it came to Neopian High School I thought I'd never last! See, just the other day was my first day at my new school. Had I known the kids were plotting against newcomers I would've stayed home, claiming I was sick with the Grumbles or something. I just hope I can prove myself to them, somehow! I wasn't going to be called a wimp, permanently. There was a kind of rank system in the school... the chain went from the older kids, at the top, to the younger pets at the bottom of the scale. There were also the usual geeks, freaks and general outcasts. But I soon discovered that the 'New Kid' was the lowest of them all! They didn't even call me by my name - which is Shiro, by the way - most of them just said 'Hey - Aisha! Get outta my way!' Well, I don't like that - who would? - So I came up with a plan to make the name of Shiro as well known as the most popular pet...

"You what?" Flamieric, a fire Lupe and the best athlete in the school, looked at me with a mixed expression of disdain and disbelief.

"You heard me," I said to him, trying to sound tough, "and I could beat you at any sport! I really could!" There was a rumble of smug laughter from the group of pets standing behind Flamieric; the older, popular kids; cheerleaders and members of the school sports teams.

"A widdle Aisha like you?" one voice called, "Isn't he that weedy New Kid?" another said.

Flamieric turned to his friends, "Hey! Hush, you guys... let's give the kid a chance, shall we?" He turned back to me, "Okay, then - I'll play against you, any sport - and the loser has to do a dare... We’ll play the sport in six days from now, to prepare"

“Fine with me – I’ll announce the sport I choose to defeat you in tomorrow,” I said, with determination in my voice.

“Big words for such a small fry,” I heard someone whisper.

As I walked home, my house is just a few blocks from school; I kept hearing whispers from behind me. A lot of them mentioned my name. I didn’t turn around to see who it was; I just kept walking straight to my house. Once I got home I did my homework – as any good student would – and tried to think of a sport to challenge him to. I decided to read a magazine since I couldn’t think of much. Just then it hit me! RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIP! I tore the page of the magazine out and read the rest of it; it was about racing. It said Aisha were the second fastest out of all Neopian species (first was the Uni). Lupe was in fourth place – beat by the Gelert.

I started exercising for the competition. After all, I couldn't win by mere statistics - I'd just have to hope that, because speed was in my genes, which would make it easier for me. Boy, was I wrong! After jogging halfway down my road, I was tired out and stopped to take a sip of water from my flask. As I tilted my head back to drink, I saw - out of the corner of my eye - somebody watching me! Another Aisha... I thought I recognised her from school... hadn't she been standing with Flamieric when I challenged him? Maybe she was a spy! She started walking towards me... and I choked on my mouthful of water, coughing and spraying it everywhere.

"Eww... er, are you all right?" asked the girl, a pretty white Aisha, as she wiped a drop of my watery spit from her face. "ER yeah, I think so..." I'd just about recovered from by surprise, and hoped that she'd think the reddening of my face was due to exhaustion rather than embarrassment. "You're that new kid, aren't you? The one who challenged Flamieric..."

"Yes... aren't you... you're a friend of his, right?"

"Well, I'm actually... well..." she paused and looked at the ground, turning a little pink herself, "I'm his girlfriend. Sort of... but it's only 'cause I help him with his homework sometimes!" she spoke her last line quickly, as if excusing herself, and looked up at me shyly. I was beginning to think maybe not everyone at my new school was that bad...

“Oh! I forgot to tell you my name!” she said, “My name’s PureSnow, Just call me Snow!” She looked up at me as if waiting for something. Oh duh!

“My name’s Shiro,” I spat out quickly, since she had been waiting for so long. I must have stood there talking to her for hours; at least it was a lot darker than it had been. We'd chatted about everything... she was in my class but she sat at the back so I'd never noticed her before... she pretended to be Flamieric's girlfriend because he needed tutoring in math and didn't want anybody to know she was helping him - they were just friends. She was very interested in why I'd challenged him - when I'd explained, she even promised to help me train! Wow... she seemed so nice and friendly, and I forgot I'd ever been suspicious of her!

“Well, if you’re going to get in shape to defeat him you’re going to have to practice everyday, and probably go on a diet,” she said to me, as if an order. I just nodded and stood there. “Get going! Run five laps around this circular block of neighbourhood, I’ll time you with my stopwatch,” I started to jog around the place, she shook her head. “This isn’t good enough to beat him you know, he’s been beating almost every zippy Aisha that thought it could beat him in a race,” Snow said. Almost every...? So he'd been challenged like this before? Weird... then what had happened to all those other Aishas? I decided to ask Snow.

"Ah, well... it's quite sad, really - they all moved to different schools. Couldn't take the embarrassment! But you... you're different. You've got a point to prove and you're willing to work hard for it. Aren't you?" I didn't answer. I was beginning to doubt myself...

Time flew, and soon the six days were up. After class, the whole school trailed down to the track to watch Flamieric and I race. It was just like a professional sporting event; there was a buzz in the air and some pets were even betting on which one of us would win! The money (or, in some cases, candy and comic books) put on me was noticeably less than what people were betting on Flamieric, but I tried not to let that discourage me - I knew I would win. I waited nervously near the track, waiting for Flamieric to appear. I was also looking around anxiously for Snow - she said she'd be cheering for me, but where was she? My question was answered when I turned to see the little white Aisha pushing through the crowds, shouting something.

"Shiro! Shiro, guess what?" She skidded to a halt just in front of me. Everybody went silent as she spoke. "Flamieric's got detention! He failed another math test, and he's got to stay after school. He'll have to forfeit the race - you win!"

I definitely wasn’t satisfied when I heard this. I was not going to win by a forfeit! I had trained too much for that! A sudden call rang out, “I don’t forfeit! I’ll race you!” Everyone turned to see Flamieric walk through the crowd. Snow stared at him. “What happened to you?” I asked as if Snow hadn’t told me. “I got a stupid detention – but I got out on good behavior! I’m ready to race, are you?”

“Of course I am, let’s go!” I got poised to start in front of the track. I waited for the race to start. It was a five-lap race. There were cheers for Flamieric and some for me too! Suddenly I heard the beginning shot and took off like a speeding bullet. Flamieric was rushing, using all his energy at once. He kept sprinting, while I remained steady. He started to slow down, even stop every once in a while.

It was the last lap. I was going full speed now. I lightly touched the track as a ran across the stadium. I felt as thought I was flying away. I started to slow down. Then looked over my shoulder, Flamieric was quite far away from me. I crossed the finish line! I had won! I looked around to see that no one had noticed. There was a big crowd in the middle of the racetrack. I rushed over to find that… Flamieric had collapsed!

***

"Shiro!" yelled Flamieric. It was about two weeks later, at school. Snow and I were sat talking, with some other friends of ours, when the fire Lupe walked over. He looked pretty angry... "I only got a B on my latest math test! Can you believe that? My standards are slipping..." We both laughed. Yes, we're friends now - after Flamieric collapsed at the race that day, I rushed over to help him (it's a good thing I learned about First Aid at my last school)! In the end, we called it a draw - although Flamieric admitted I would've beaten him anyway. In the end, I proved myself by helping someone instead of beating them in a race.

***

Snow walks out holding little notes and stops by the microphone* She taps three times on the microphone and says, “Testing – 1, 2, 3.. Testing! Okay, well it seems to be working… Umm, This story is dedicated to TAP, The Aisha Pack and those people who reach for their goals. Of course it’s also dedicated to the people in the story right? WHAT? You say we’re make-believe?! Noooo…”

The End

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