Palia Alback for the Win!
"It still fits like a glove!” Palia Alback, the Faerie Xweetok, stood back from the mirror with a huge grin. With a quick fluff of her cloud shoulder pad, Palia turned to face her Faerieland teammates.
“Are you sure you don’t want a new uniform, Palia?” asked Captain Kakoni Worrill, the Faerie Bruce.
“Oh no, my dear Captain,” Palia replied, “I have always looked best in pink and purple.”
Before the Captain could reply, the locker room door burst open with the arrival of the Red Scorchio Referee. “Five minutes, Team Faerieland! Grab your gear and go.”
With a flutter of wings, Team Faerieland floated out of the locker room to enter the tunnel leading to the pitch.
Palia’s eyes widened as she felt the vibration from the yelling and stomping of the thousands of spectators filling the Colosseum. It was certainly not this loud when only sixteen teams participated in Year 7!
“Why is it so hot in here, Captain?” Palia asked. Sweat started to drip into her ruff.
As she looked around for the source of the heat, she saw the glowing members of Team Moltara exit their locker room to join them in the crowded tunnel.
“Oooo, Magma,” Palia whispered. This was the closest she had ever stood to those amazing residents from the remote land of Moltara. Two members of Team Moltara were Magma, two Fire, and one Purple. Palia shook her head at how that Purple Yurble could ever be comfortable around all that heat!
The door to the pitch swept upwards, distracting Palia from the heat emanating from the other team.
The roar of the crowd became even more thunderous as the announcer, Tobias Sigmir, the Disco Ixi, said over the speakers, “Give it up for the goalkeepers of Team Moltara and Team Faerieland!”
“It never gets old, Palia,” shouted Valtonous Rea, the Faerie Uni, as the goalkeeper ran out to take her position in the middle of the pitch along with Harlis Neyhbol, the Fire Grarrl, from Team Moltara.
The gate lowered quickly behind them as the remaining team members hurried into their lineup order.
“Palia, get behind me,” the Captain gestured. “Delma and Ciona, behind Palia.”
Palia smiled nervously at Delma and Ciona. The Faerie Zafara and Faerie Kyrie looked supremely confident in their purple and green.
“I still like pink and purple better,” muttered Pailia, once again fluffing her cloud shoulder pad. Her thoughts turned briefly and darkly towards that dastardly Xandra’s role in crashing Faerieland onto Neopia. How she missed her years among the clouds.
The gate swooped open again and the roar of the crowd reached a new decibel.
“Welcome Team Moltara!” shouted Tobias Sigmir as the two forwards and two defenders took the field. “Captain Aldric Beign! Tulah Kisner! Vere Polnicek! Zax Bannet!”
Palia enjoyed the rush of cool air as the smoldering members of Team Moltara exited the tunnel. She brushed another drop of sweat out of her ruff.
“Welcome Team Faerieland!” This time it was Hovri Sweet, the Red Grarrl, booming the announcement throughout the Colosseum’s speakers. “Captain Kakoni Worrill! Elbin Kroe! Delma Harrence! Ciona Broan!”
“Wait, what?” exclaimed Tobias. The crowd became hushed. “Where is Elbin Kroe?”
Palia chuckled as she fluttered near the center of the Colosseum.
Tobias cleared his throat. “Attention: We have just been handed an official notice from the Altador Cup Committee that the injured Elbin Kroe has been replaced by Palia Albeck! What a stunning turn of events.”
“Let the match begin,” commanded King Altador from the royal booth. The crowd erupted in cheers.
The two teams quickly took their positions. Valtonous and Harlis hurried to their nets. Captain Worrill faced Captain Aldric Beign, the Magma Kougra. Palia squared up against Tulah Kisner, the Magma Acara. Delma and Ciona backed them up. Palia assessed the Team Moltara defenders, Zax Bannet, the Fire Scorchio, and Vere Polnicek, the Purple Yurble.
Three minutes. Just three minutes to glory. Palia was ready. “I was born ready,” she declared with a grin.
With a wink at Tulah, Palia’s focus zeroed in on the Yooyu hatch in the center of the pitch. The hatch split open.
“Yooyu!” shouted Tobias,
With a quick nod to Captain Worrill, Palia raced past Tulah and Vere towards the Moltaran goal. With perfect precision, she received his pass and threw the Yooyuball into the right side of the net.
“Gooooaaaal!” Tobias shouted, barely able to be heard over the roar of the crowd.
A quick high-five to the Captain and it was back to the center of the pitch for the two teams.
Again, Palia rushed pass Tulah and Vere and awaited the pass from the Captain. She briefly wondered if the Snow Yooyu would melt if it crossed to near to one of those Magma or Fire Team Moltara members!
Catching it quickly with her sling, she wound up and gave extra momentum for the sluggish Snow Yooyu to sweep past Harlis into the left side of the net.
After a quick happy dance with the Captain, Palia joined the others back in the center.
“Fire Yooyu!” shouted Hovri.
This time, Palia was across from Captain Beign. She rushed around him just as she saw him scoop the Fire Yooyu from her Captain. Delma quickly stole the ball and started a bee-line towards Palia.
In the blink of an eye, Delma passed the speedy Fire Yooyu to Palia. It took just seconds for Palia to fling it past the diving Harlis.
Delma and Palia fist bumped on their way back to the center of the pitch.
“Hello, my beauty,” purred Palia. She had always favored the gracefulness of this gorgeous Yooyu. She knew just where she needed to be for the Captain to curve the pass to her as she quickly ran past the Moltaran players once again. She smoothly swept her sling to perfectly position the Faerie Yooyu into the right corner of the net.
With a quick wave at the Faerie Yooyu, she returned to the center with the others.
“Gooooaaaal! Faerieland is on fire!”
“Clockwork Yooyu! Will they score in time?”
Palia was pleased to see the special wing power-up appear. The Captain grabbed the wing and the Clockwork Yooyu as they all sped towards the Moltaran goal. Palia felt she was flying as she received the pass and scored the goal before any explosions!
Palia knew the faster they acted, the easier this mutating challenge could be scored. Captain Worrill smiled as they perfectly timed the pass and she scored before any mutations.
“Palia is giving us a master class on the “one-timer” goal!” declared Tobias. “She has been receiving those passes with ease and has shot them immediately for all those goals.”
Palia stifled a yawn as she quickly took the pass from the Captain and flung the Yooyu into the net. “Easy peasy!”
“Darigan Yooyu! Uh, oh: This one might be trouble!”
The crowd hushed as one and rose to their feet. Could she do it? With just ten seconds left, would Palia be able to “one-timer” all her goals?
Palia snorted at the cheeky Darigan Yooyu. Those were always the most pesky of the Yooyus: Undisciplined and stubborn. Glancing at the Captain, Palia once again made her way towards the Moltaran goal. The goal became enlarged as Ciona grabbed that power-up for Team Faerieland.
“Timing and position, timing and position,” Palia muttered to herself. She watched as the Captain secured the ball and avoided the Team Motara defenders has her hurried towards her location. As soon as he turned his back, Palia was ready for the backward trajectory of the Darigan Yooyu.
“Gotcha!” she yelled as she moved away from the goal. With a fling of her sling, the Darigan Yooyu zoomed behind her and passed by the outstretched arms of Harlis into the net. The Fire Grarrl did not have a chance!
“She did it!! “ screamed both announcers. The crowd, already on their feet, jumped up and down, applauding and yelling their approval.
“Tweeeeeeeeee! “ trilled the referee's whistle. He was barely heard over the din in the Colosseum.
Palia waved victoriously to the cheering fans, sending a special salute the the Blue Techo Fanatic leading the loudest of the cheers. Her teammates lifted her over their heads and she fluttered happily in the air.
“Palia, Palia, wake up!”
“Wha-what?” Palia opened her eyes in confusion. She blinked at Babolino, the Faerie Kacheek, as he pushed a frosty Jumbleberry Slushie into her hand. She blinked and looked groggily around the Altador Cup retirees box at the Colosseum.
“Palia, I leave for fifteen minutes to get our slushies and you decide to take a nap! You’re going to miss the opening match if you keep nodding off!” Babolino said, settling himself into his seat with his Zeenana Slushie.
Palia smiled wistfully as she sipped her pink slushie. “No. No, I won’t, old friend: I already saw the match.”