Battle Quills... ready! Circulation: 132,988,897 Issue: 246 | 30th day of Relaxing, Y8
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Victory is Ours in the End


by bubbles_98003

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The whistle blew. The crowd celebrated enthusiastically as the Haunted Woods Yooyuball team raised their fists in the air, causing the screams of the crowd to become more wild.

     The Kreludor team approached them, and they took turns shaking hands. Even if success hadn't come to them, they still respected the other team, so they congratulated them. "Good luck in the finals," Zenor stated, not showing any emotions on his face. Zo nodded. "Hey, you did a good job out there. It was a close game." Smiling genuinely, the fire Korbat turned and walked away with his fellow team mates.

     As everyone cheered on, the players in purple and orange trudged back into their own locker room. Having heavy hearts, they started removing their shoulder pads.

     "At least this time it wasn't a total embarrassment..." Derlyn stated, sighing and sitting on the bench. Upon hearing that, her fellow orange team member glared at her for bringing up things that happened in the past.

     "Hey, I already told you guys that I didn't mean to throw the Yooyuball into our goal last time! It just..." Qyldae paused, searching his brain for a reasonable answer but not able to find a good one. "... a mistake."

     Xila frowned, feeling the tension of their losses bringing forth an uncomfortable silence. Not wanting for the Grundo to feel bad, she murmured, "It's ok, Qyldae, we all make mistakes."

     "Thanks, Xi." Glad that she backed him up, Qyldae continued shoving things into his duffle bag. The pink Grundo smiled at her all too common nickname.

     It was an embarrassing ordeal last year. Even worse than being defeated is being thrown out for breaking the rules. Qyldae felt terrible and ashamed, and he didn't have the heart to talk to the rest of the team for weeks.

     And now, Xila was sure he felt almost as crummy as he did the last time they walked off the arena unvictorious. Just as all of her team mates felt. After all, they worked so hard this past year, and everyone had really wanted to win.

     Xila thought it'd be nice to win, but she didn't find it as important as the others did. She didn't play for the glory or shining trophies; though she did appreciate the fans. Her true reasons for playing was because she enjoyed it. And what confused her the most was her team's obsession about the things she herself cared so little about. Wasn't Yooyuball about going out there and enjoying yourself? Wasn't it about showing teamwork all throughout the game and being proud of yourself?

     In any case, the others seemed to think winning the game was what the whole Yooyuball sport was about. And if that was true, they were playing for all the wrong reasons.

     In any case, every single one of them found it hard to put all their things in their bags and leave the locker room. They would've wanted to see a crowd standing outside, to cheer them on. But unfortunately, everyone else was still in the stands, waiting for the next game to start.

     Walking through the corridors towards the exit, they saw the Haunted Woods team again. Flocks of people were around them, some congratulating them, others were wanting them to sign their shirt or hat, or some other branded merchandise. Passing them up, they left the stadium. The whole time not a word was spoken. After all, they had nothing to talk about.

     "H-hey! Wait!" a voice called out. Turning their heads, they all watched as a young purple Zafara ran up to them, panting heavily. After taking a second to regain her breath, the Neopet beamed brightly at them under her orange freckles that dotted her face. She held out a permanent marker to them.

     "C... can I have your autographs on my shirt?"

     They all blinked, exchanging looks. Xila reached out to grab the pen from her. After all, she wasn't confused like the rest of the team. Vignacio stopped her, though, and voiced everyone else's thoughts. "Why would you want our autographs? We didn't win... "

     Another smile that seemed to light up her face. "That's ok! It doesn't matter if you won or not, you're still my favorite team!"

     Surprise took over. They all stared at her, not knowing what to say to that.

     "Hey kid, what's your name?"

     "Merrellu! But everyone calls me Merle!"

     "...Merle, hang on for a second." Derlyn fumbled through her sport bag, pulling out her Yooyuball catcher. She handed the large equipment over to Vignacio. "Hold it still."

     The green Lutari did so, and Derlyn neatly signed her name on the piece of equipment. Holding out the pen, she waited for another team member to come up and sign.

     And they all did, taking turns autographing their names on it. As Vignacio finished signing it, Derlyn handed it to Merle. "There you go. From all of us."

     "Oh... are you sure I can take this?" The Zafara stared wide eyed at the signatures, then looking up at the team.

     "Of course, I've got a few extras back home." Derlyn grinned, winking.

     Merrellu smiled brightly again, almost hopping up and down with excitement. "Oh... thank you so much!"

     "No, thank you, Merle."

     Merle smiled, then ran off towards a girl that was waiting for her. It must've been her owner. A few other Neopets were with her, watching their sibling return with more than than they all expected. They talked to each other for a few seconds, then they turned and waved goodbye to Team Kreludor.

     They all had Kreludor team branded shirts on.

     The team watched them all head back to the arena, silent. But this time, it was a good silence.

     "Let's go home and get some hotdogs... " Zenor stated, looking up at them all with a grin.

     Vignacio looked down at him. "Hungry already? Didn't you have a bunch of nachos before we went out to play?"

     The blue Grundo looked up scornfully. "Maybe... but Yooyuball always burns down my calories! I gotta stay in shape somehow."

     A grin. "Don't you mean that you gotta feed your stomach that's as big as the sport you play?"

     They all laughed at that. Zenor lost his scowl and joined them.

     "Tomorrow... let's go play Yooyuball down at the practice field. And the day after that, let's play some more!" Qyldae said. "After all, we can't let a little defeat stop us from doing what we do best, right?"

     Zenor nodded, looking serious. "Yes! We have to train for next year's tournament! If... there is going to be one."

     Derlyn smiled. "Or we could say that... we're playing... because we want to."

     "After all..." Vignacio looked around, scoffing. "It is just a game. So no rules, no goals or objectives along the way! Let's just enjoy ourselves this year!"

     Xila jumped up, excited. "Yeah! Let's go!"

     They all smiled at each other, forming a circle. They raised their fists in the air and shouted, "All for one and one for all!"

     As they walked away from the stadium, they felt the mood around them change. They didn't feel sad or defeated anymore. In fact, it almost felt like there was a crowd around them, cheering them on. And that was just as good as the real thing.

The End

I hope you enjoy this story! No matter what Kreludor is still my favorite team!!

 
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