Dasher Soley's Final Flight: Part Five
Dasher Soley shook hands with the other team, nodding, their eyes connecting in menacing glares. Each team intended to sweep the floor with one another, but they still expected a friendly match. They both understood this, and nodded once more. Then they backed off and waited for the whistle to blow, and the game to begin. It rang out like a piercing shriek of the crazed Techo fan, and Dasher dove for the ball. He grabbed it and fell back to pass to Ealyn, the usual routine. He threw the ball to the Quiggle, who shot it instantly into the goal.
The crowd went wild, screeching in delight at the first goal, scored by none other than Krawk Island, while the other fans supporting the opposing team groaned. Dasher’s eyes narrowed in the light that the Fire Yooyuball gave the field as it shot out of the hole in the ground. He dove for the ball, but the other team was too quick for him, and they sped toward the goal. Garven Hale readied himself, prepared for the ball to fly toward him, and the team captain of the opposing team faked throwing the Yooyuball.
They snickered as Garven jerked forward, ready to catch a Yooyuball that wasn’t thrown. He growled, and suddenly, the ball had been thrown. Garven dove for it, but it sailed into the net right above his head, almost brushing his ears. Some of the crowd cheered, while the rest groaned at the tied game, at the very beginning of the match, no less. Straightening himself, Garven stood and waited for the next Yooyuball to come out, hoping that Dasher would score a goal with it.
The commentators were already making comments to Garven’s performance, no surprise there, and they echoed in the Bori’s ears. As the fans cheered, however, the noise was blocked out and Garven readied himself in case the ball flew his way again. However, Zayle managed to get the ball and passed to Ealyn, who passed it to Nitri, who passed it back to Zayle, who scored. The crowd roared in approval and groaned at the goal scored by Krawk Island; either way, Zayle was pleased with himself. He raised his fist into the air in a brief celebration.
The next ball, the other team managed to scoop up before Dasher could get it. They zoomed along the court toward Garven, who steadied himself, placing his feet firmly apart, an expert goalkeeping position. They fired it quickly toward one side, and he dove for it. His hands closed around it before it went in; he had saved it. Satisfaction filled him as the crowd cheered, and the commentators, who had been talking rudely of the Krawk Island goalkeeper, proceeded to stop talking. Snorting, Garven fired the ball at Dasher.
Dasher jumped up in the air for it, his arms outstretched, but was knocked aside by one of the opposing team members, who instead caught the Yooyuball. Dasher got up quickly, brushing himself off. The opposing team member shot it so fast that Garven Hale was knocked aside by the force of it. The Yooyuball sailed into the net and proceeded to perform a little victory dance to the cheers of the crowd. Win or lose, the crowd loved the Yooyus. The commentators proceeded to insult Garven some more, while the Bori wondered why he couldn’t manage to save a thing. It was really bugging him, too.
The next ball came out, and Dasher managed to score, bringing them ahead once again, to the cheering and shaking heads of the crowd. Garven smiled, attempting to block out the sound of the commentators. He couldn’t manage it, as the sounds of the crowd died down, and another goal was soon scored. Garven shook his head sadly as the Yooyuball danced around.
Nitri brought them ahead again, but another goal created another tie, to the disappointment of both teams. Dasher Soley shot his goalkeeper a questioning look, and the Bori shrugged defenselessly. Another Yooyuball was shot at the goal, and Garven caught it easily. He shot it again toward one of his teammates, but it was caught by the opposing team and fired into the goal. Garven joined in with the groans of the crowd.
The game didn’t get much better for Garven Hale, but Dasher managed to keep them ahead by scoring another goal. The time was running out, however, and soon the opposing team had scored again. The next Yooyuball came out of the hole in the ground, and the opposing team managed to get it again. The crowd groaned and cheered, while the commentators chatted away about the Bori goalkeeper, whose normally calm face was streaked with worry and sweat.
One of the opposing team members ran at him with the Yooyuball, grinning maliciously, knowing that they would take the lead once the goal was scored. Garven Hale gritted his teeth as the ball was thrown at the goal.
“He’s too old, that’s what I think,” the Grarrl was saying knowledgeably, nodding. The Ixi was bobbing his head with him in an irritatingly mesmerizing fashion.
“I completely agree with you,” he began, ready to make something else up about how awful Garven was, but was cut off by the loud gasp that echoed throughout the stands. The whole entire crowd of fans in the stands had gasped at once; Kreludor might even have heard it, and the Ixi leaned forward to see what had happened while he was blabbering on and on pointlessly.
“What happened?” he asked, unable to see anything through the crowd of people in the stands. The Grarrl squinted through the glass, biting his lip.
“I think they scored again,” he said nonchalantly, shrugging.
“Oh, yes, you’re probably right,” the Ixi agreed. One of the fans heard him and rolled his eyes. He happened to be for the opposing team; but no one really liked the commentators much.
Down in the field, Garven stood, the Yooyuball in his hands. His eyes flashed with triumph as he shot the ball expertly toward Dasher, who barged through the astonished team toward the goal. He faked left, then shot right, and the ball flew straight into the goal. The crowd roared in excitement as another Yooyuball came out of the hole; both teams had gotten back in their starting places.
Another opposing team member got the ball and raced toward Garven, but he was ready. He easily caught it and threw it at Nitri, who made a goal. The crowd went nuts, hopping up and down and shrieking. Garven caught the next two Yooyuballs that came whizzing toward his net, and Dasher scored with both of them.
The last thirty seconds of the game consisted of lots of cheering, shrieks and groans from the opposing team. Finally, the match was over. Garven looked over at the score board; they had won by four points.
“It was an awfully close match,” the Ixi commentator began, but no one was listening to him. Everyone was too busy shrieking and yelling congratulations at the team. Dasher walked over to Garven and smiled.
“Excellent,” was all he said. That was all Garven needed to hear, and he high-fived his friend, smiling.
“Nice working with you,” he said.
“Always,” Dasher agreed, nodding once.
Dasher and his team walked through the crowd of people toward the Altador Cup Committee, who held out the golden Altador Cup trophy. One of them handed it to Ealyn, who held it up to the cheers of the crowd. It was passed along until it arrived at Dasher, who held it up as well. The cheers rang in his ears; he would never forget this.
The second place trophy was handed to their opponents, and Dasher cheered as each team member held it up. They were all glowing exactly the way stars should; Dasher wondered if he was glowing as well. The names of the Krawk Island team were shouted as they walked away through the crowd, and Dasher suddenly stopped. He turned around and rushed back to the committee.
“I have just one small favor to ask,” he said, his eyes twinkling. They bent down as he whispered his request, while the crowd watched curiously. Garven smirked and walked away, but he was waiting for his captain to follow at the gate.
Finally, Dasher rushed to his friend’s side, smiling in a satisfied way. Garven said nothing about his request, and the two walked down the sidewalk. They took the long way; they were in no hurry to get home. Dasher insisted the Garven hold the trophy, but after a few moments of arguing, they both agreed that they could both carry it. Dasher held one handle and Garven held the other.
“I told you we’d do it, Dash,” Garven said with a smirk. It brought back memories of the dodge ball tournament, those words, but Dasher didn’t care. That wasn’t his history anymore; it didn’t matter that he’d come in fourth place in a dodge ball tournament. Instead of feeling empty at those words, Dasher Soley smiled.
“Yeah, and you’re always right,” he said. Garven chuckled, and the two continued along the sidewalk, shoulder to shoulder.
Eloise stood over one of her counters in her stand, cleaning the spilled slushie from it. She smiled, happy that Krawk Island had won the cup, but she was still a little bit sad, for herself. She slung the rag across the counter and sighed. That’s all she would ever be, ‘the Tuskaninny waitress.’ She wasn’t going to be a star, and she should just stop trying; it would get her nowhere.
Someone tapped her on the shoulder and she looked up into the kind face of an island Kougra. He held up a microphone to her, smiling. “Hey, I was hoping to get an interview. Your name’s Eloise, am I right?” His eyes twinkled.
Eloise blinked a few times, and smiled knowingly at him. The Kougra smiled innocently and waved the microphone. Sighing happily, Eloise took the microphone. “Yeah, my name’s Eloise.”
The Kougra asked her all sorts of questions and Eloise answered them gladly, and she silently thanked Dasher. Of course she couldn’t tell, but she was glowing at that moment, during the whole interview and even after the Kougra left to write his article. She was glowing. Just like a star would.
On a porch sat a figure, a lonely figure, but a figure who enjoyed being alone. A golden cup sat next to him, and he was looking up at the stars. The trees swayed in the soft breeze that cooled Neopia, and the grass whistled in the night. The moon shone high above the sky, bathing Neopia in a ghostly light.
Smiling to himself, the figure of Dasher Soley leaned back, placing his hands behind his head. He was still glowing; you could tell much better in the dark. He was glowing just like a star, and the grass whispered to him. They whispered his name, the nighttime insects seemed to hum it gently.
The breeze carried his name with it, and people in their Neohomes spoke it aloud. The trees continued to sway, but they spoke the most. They whispered quietly, but Dasher could still hear them.
They whispered it into the night, Dasher Soley, you’ll go down in history.
When you think of a star, you think of something great. Almost everyone wants to be a star, but not many have the potential of being a star. Stars can be different things, too. The star of a great war, a great evil star, anything you could imagine. Then there are the stars of Yooyuball and its teams. The game everyone knows about, the game that millions of people play and enjoy.
Then there are the teams of Yooyuball itself, great teams that have proven themselves worthy of being called stars. Teams that have won the cup, or came ever so close to getting it, or even moved up from last place, they’re all stars.
Then there’s Dasher Soley.