Keno the Puppyblew loved to run. There was one problem, though. He was faster than everyone he ran with. And Keno loved to run with other petpets and neopets. He thrived on competition and could not enjoy his favorite pastime without it.
Every day he’d go out on a long jog with his owner Dante the Elephante, who could not keep up with Keno for the life of him, no matter how long his strides were. Keno’s lightning fast speed allowed him to gleefully dance circles around his owner as he waited for Dante to muster enough energy to catch up.
Keno was so fast that whenever he was racing his other Puppyblew friends, he would always emerge the leader, sprinting ahead of the pack, his tongue loose out the side of his mouth, ears flapping in the wind. All his pals would finish long after he did, gasping for breath as they collapsed in a heap on the ground. Not one to rest for even a second, Keno would nudge the others with his nose, eager to begin another race.
“What do you want *pant* Keno?” heaved Ripper who was lying on his back, eyes closed and panting very heavily.
“Let’s have another go! Come on, I promise, I won’t win this time, I’ll only go seventy-five percent speed, I swear!” pleaded Keno.
“Man, you’re crazy! You won’t win? You’re kidding yourself! Keno, your seventy-five percent speed is around the caliber of my one hundred fifty percent speed!” Tito gasped, grimacing in pain despite the fact he was attempting to muster a friendly smile.
“No, I promise! I definitely won’t be fast; I just caught a good wind, that’s all!” begged Keno as he wrinkled his eyebrows forming “puppy-dog eyes.”
“Caught a good wind... yeah, I’m sure that’s what happened. Keno, you’re just the fastest one out of all of us, and you run way too fast for us all to keep up, let alone have a chance of coming close to beating you!” Zippy groaned.
“No, you guys are all really fast too! I love running with you all because I know that one of you will beat me soon. Ripper, you’ll race me, won’t you? I know you want to... and my legs feel really tired, I don’t know if I’ll be able to even take it up to the seventy-five percent notch!” implored Keno.
“Okay, okay! Don’t get so excited. I’ll get up to race you home in a second. Tito will count us down,” Ripper consented as he rolled over onto his paws.
“Yes!!! Don’t worry, Ripper, I promise you, I’ll go real slow.” Keno waited as Ripper pulled himself off to the ground and labored over next to him. Ripper rolled his eyes and turned around to wink at Tito as Keno barked enthusiastically.
“Um, okay. So whoever makes it home first wins. You guys leave when I say the word go, okay? So, on your mark... get set... GO!” yelled Tito.
Keno took off so fast he almost tripped over himself. He flew through the air and kicked up bits of dirt wherever his paws touched the ground. Feeling on top of the world and knowing that he definitely retained a strong lead, Keno decided to take a look at how much ground he had gained on his competitor. Abruptly, Keno turned himself around and began to run backwards while facing his competitor. Yet, to Keno’s great surprise, Ripper was nowhere in sight.
Skidding to a stop, Keno looked around confusedly, calling out Ripper’s name. After a little while, Keno decided he better sprint backward toward his friends in order to make sure Ripper was alright. As he got closer, he could see the pile of Puppyblews lying on the ground where he had left them, the group rippling in laughter. Ripper was hopping around the group with his tongue out and eyes crossed, bursting into quick sprints then stopping as soon as the group erupted in laughter.
As he realized that he was the object they found so hilarious, Keno’s brow furrowed into a frown, and he began to walk slowly back home.
“I guess they don’t like running against me. But if they won’t race me, then who will?” Keno sighed in frustration as he trotted to the smoothie store on the way back home.
As Keno walked toward the shop, he passed by the bulletin board, plastered with every ad imaginable. Yet, one ad in particular caught his eye. A giant photo of a small puppyblew flying in the air toward a peanut. At the top of the poster were the words “Do you think you’re fast? Do you have what it takes? Come and win some cash at the 400m Peanut Dash!”
As Keno read the ad, his eyes widened and he nodded his head furiously in eagerness. His tail wiggled hysterically and he shot off past the smoothie shop back toward his home in uncontrollable excitement.
Reaching the Neohome he shared with Dante the Elephante, Keno ambled through the front door and called out Dante’s name. All of the sudden, a great rumbling sound came from the kitchen as Dante wobbled toward the main hall.
“Dante, Dante! I have the best idea! Guess what I saw on the way home? Guess!”
“Er, flying asparagus?” Dante pondered thoughtfully.
“No silly! Besides, Adam is away on vacation! Dante, I know how we can make lots of neopoints! All we have to do is sign up for the 400m Peanut Dash! All you have to do is shoot a peanut as far as you can and I’ll do all the rest! After a few goes, we’ll be rolling in the dough!”
Dante stared down his long, leathery trunk at his tiny, animated friend. He paused for a moment to think and then slowly opened his mouth.
“Well, Keno, that’s a very interesting idea. Yes, I know you would surely win every race. However, we cannot participate in a Peanut Dash.”
Crestfallen, Keno turned away as two big, round tears welled up in his eyes.
“But Dante... why can’t we?? I thought you would be proud of me for earning us neopoints!” exclaimed Keno.
Already halfway back in the kitchen, Dante leaned back toward Keno.
“Oh, it’s not that. But... I never told you? I’m allergic to peanuts,” said Dante matter-of-factly as he re-entered the kitchen.
Keno cocked his head in amazement.
The next morning, Keno rolled out of bed only to find a note stuck to his forehead. Confused, he shook his head vigorously until the small sticky-note became loose and fluttered to the ground. Peering down to the ground to read the note, Keno saw the words “Got you a racing partner. Check box found in safety deposit box.”
Curious, Keno skidded over to the safety deposit box and entered the code. He snatched up the box resting on top of the food, toys, stamps, weapons, books and other miscellaneous items. Tearing off the wrapping paper, Keno threw off the top of the box and reached inside.
“Eeeeeeeeeee!” exclaimed a wind-up zytch as it skidded across the floor, outside the house.
Howling, Keno ran down the street after the tiny toy, ready to take on his newest competitor.