Still thwarting Sloth's mind control... Circulation: 118,221,339 Issue: 237 | 2nd day of Hunting, Y8
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Flight to Freedom

by dragongirl860


"Salnara, get up!"

      I raised my head and shook my mane, glancing around.

      "Come on, you'll be late if you don't," said the blue Kyrii standing beside my bed.

      "No, Halnora," I groaned. "I don't want to fly today. Or run, for that matter."

      "Allison's going to be mad…" said Halnora, trying to pull me out of bed. I pointed my horn at her.

      "I don't care, I'm tired of racing around Neopia Central every day in those stupid Uni Races, and I feel like a Poogle." Still grumbling, I pulled myself out of bed and raked a brush through my mane, gazing at myself in the mirror.

      It wasn't anything extraordinary that looked back at me, I was just a green Uni whose owner made me race various other Unis around in the sky or on the ground so I could go faster on journeys to Faerieland and places like that. She was moderately kind, but I would rather be in the pound then with her, though I'd never dare admit it.

      I hated to race like this, what I really liked to do was explore and search for treasure. I liked the occasional romp on the shore of Mystery Island or a quick game of tag (whether on the ground or in the sky). I absolutely HATED being forced to fly at top speed at least every half an hour or so.

      If Allison, my owner, couldn't supervise the rides (meaning she would sit on my back), Halnora (who was my sister) would coach me in my races and training sessions, whichever one I was doing that day. Today would be a sky race against Asaln, a large brown Uni who'd raced me a few times before. We tied once, and the other two times he beat me. He was a gentleman, but quite a jerk when he was in a temper. He was quick in short bursts, but I was faster during long distances. Allison kept saying that she had the fastest Uni in Neopia and wanted to prove it. I think she's obsessed with the races.

      "Salnara!" Halnora called. "Let's go!" I sighed as I clopped downstairs where Halnora gave me some breakfast and then we went outside where Asaln was waiting with his rider: a yellow Gelert named Garnan. Garnan is Asaln's cousin, so I knew him.

      Halnora vaulted onto my back, entwining her fingers into my mane and gripping my sides with her legs. She pulled out a stopwatch and yelled, "Three, two, one, GO!!!!!" And I was off, jumping into the air like a Mynci swinging from the trees.

      I flapped my wings and rose above the ground. Asaln was right behind me, literally on my heels. I rocketed forwards, nearly unseating Halnora.

     And so we went around and around, until finally I touched down at the finish three seconds ahead of Asaln. I was so relieved to have my legs holding up my body again that I reared up, prancing around. Asaln knew what I was doing and did not care. He too was trotting around the yard. Garnan had hopped off Asaln and was chatting with Halnora, who had jumped off of me the moment I landed.

      "Good race, you're getting better," said Asaln. I smiled at him.

      "Thanks, but I hate racing."

      "Really? Why?"

     "I… I just hate tearing around everywhere at top speed every half hour every day except on weekends. My owner wants me to be some mad sort of transportation machine that will get you anywhere that you want to go quickly. It drives me nuts," I replied. Asaln shrugged.

      "I put up with it because it helps me improve my speed so that I can make a fast getaway if needed. It'll pay off, trust me."

      I nodded, but my brain was going in overdrive. He said fast getaway… getaway… I knew he meant running away from enemies, but all of a sudden, I knew what I could do. Next chance I got, I was OUT of here.

     * * * * * * *

     Over the next few weeks, I trained hard and long, preparing myself for what was going to come. I persuaded Allison to place straps over my back with weights in them during training so I could be stronger and fly away with my items, although she thought it was for endurance and back strength. I let her think that for now, but in my head, I said, "You wait and see…"

      Finally, another race morning arrived. Allison, who would be home this time, was running around, making sure she had the right time, that I had eaten a good breakfast, that sort of thing. I told her that I wanted to wear the weights during the race, and she agreed. I had really put my items, like food, Neopoints, toys, and my brush, into the pack, but obviously, she thought they were the weights.

      "Will it be a sky race?" I asked over breakfast. Allison nodded.

     "Yes, you need to have more of those; you've had plenty of ground races."

      I tried to appear unconcerned, but my stomach lurched at her yes. It would mean a better getaway, but Halnora would be riding me, so I would have to buck her off and pray that she didn't get hurt. If it was a ground race, no one would be riding me. I hated having to risk hurting her, but you have to do what you have to do.

      As we exited the house, Halnora on my back, my stomach was fluttering and I felt a little sick. If I failed on my escape, I wouldn't get a second chance and I'd be in HUMONGOUS trouble.

      A green Eyrie was waiting in the front yard. Upon his back was a red Kacheek. I groaned.

      The Kacheek, Eric, I had nothing against. It was the Eyrie, Rondo, whom I hated. He was a pompous, self-absorbed jerk who cared for nobody but himself. He thought everyone else was below him, and he treated them like that. He now sneered at me as I approached.

      "Hi, loser," he said. "Ready to be defeated?"

      Usually, I would snap back at him, but this time I just smiled. "I don't care if you beat me or not, Rondo. I care about something more than this race." That wiped the smirk from his beak, and he turned, scowling, to face the front. Halnora, meanwhile, ignored him as Eric cast us an apologetic look.

      Allison was standing nearby with a stopwatch in one hand and flag in another. "Three… two… one, GO!" she yelled, bringing the flag down and pushing the stopwatch button.

      I rocketed up and forwards, letting Rondo pull ahead. If I let him keep in front, he'd think he was faster than me, and he'd keep going as fast as he could. I would speed up just enough to keep him in sight. He'd look back, see me, and go faster. Eventually, he would tire himself out, and I'd take the lead.

      This tactic worked quite well as we flew around and around. My training helped my wings toughen, so they weren't as tired as before. I kept up a steady pace, letting Rondo shoot ahead. I saw he was tiring, and I could see the finish line up ahead. It was time.

      I took a deep breath. Gathering up my courage, I plunged ahead, nearly unseating Halnora. She grabbed my mane.

      I pumped my wings, pushing myself forward. I called on all my speed and streaked towards the finish line. We were one, flying closer… closer… I plunged past the two posts that marked the finish line. I turned to Halnora, tears welling up in my eyes.

      "Salnara, what's wrong?" she asked.

      "Nothing," I replied.

     In reality, my heart was breaking, knowing what I was about to do.

      "Halnora, I'm so sorry…" I reared up in midair and gave a huge buck. Twisting and turning, I wrenched Halnora off of my back. She fell towards the ground. My eyes blurring with tears, I watched her hurtling down, down… and then she safely landed in Allison's arms.

      Relieved, I wheeled around, ignoring Allison's yells.

      Then, it hit me. I never knew how much I loved my sister until that moment, when I left her behind, falling into her owner's arms. I may not ever see her again, because nobody knows where I am going. Nobody knew what I was doing, and now it was too late. I knew that I was doing the right thing, but I felt my heart shattering. Halnora was about to become a part of my past, as was Asaln, Allison, and all the other pets and owners I'd ever met. I felt even worse.

      "I'm sick of racing! All you cared about was me winning! Well, I've had enough! I'm leaving; you can't find me, not now, not ever!" I yelled at Allison, half-crying. Looking down, I whispered, "I'm sorry, Halnora… I'll find a way to see you again one day, you can count on it."

      Sobbing, I flew up, up into the sky, away from the life I hated; away from everything I'd ever known… flying free, at last.

      And somewhere, across the cloud-strewn sky, I heard an echo of Halnora's voice… "I'll be waiting for you."

The End

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