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Week 463
You are on Week 464
Week 465

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Four Hundred Sixty Four Ends Friday, June 18th

Lyeden looked at the items laid out on his bed and nervously wrung his hands. There's no other choice, he told himself. If you don't do this, you'll lose everything. Still, the Nimmo felt a nagging fear in the pit of his stomach. If he managed to pull it off, it would be the greatest scam in the history of Neopian sport, maybe even in the history of Neopia itself. On the other hand, if something went wrong, he'd have to face the Defenders of Neopia, the Altador Cup Committee, and thousands upon thousands of angry fans. He'd already been having nightmares about that Techo fanatic for weeks now.

Taking a deep breath, Lyeden picked up the Red Scorchio Morphing Potion from the bed and uncorked it. Well, here goes nothing, Lyeden thought. More like here goes everything. He closed his eyes, tipped his head back, and drank the entire potion in one gulp.

***

Lyeden crept through the Colosseum as stealthily as he could, which wasn't very stealthily at all, considering he was still getting used to his new Scorchio form. There had been no sign of his intended mark yet, but Lyeden knew it would be soon -- the match was starting in less than an hour, and there naturally had to be a referee for there to be a match.

"Psst! Psst!"

Lyeden jumped at the hiss and glanced around. A shifty-eyed Kau, lurking in the shadows, beckoned to him.

"Are you the referee?" the Kau whispered when Lyeden approached him.

"No," Lyeden said, in spite of the black-and-white shirt he wore and the whistle around his neck. He glanced down and then said, "Yes. I mean, maybe?"

The Kau rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Oh, the boss picked himself a real peach this time, didn't he?"

"Sorry," Lyeden mumbled. "I don't impersonate referees in order to fix the greatest sports tournament in Neopia every day, you know."

"SHH! Shhh! You're going to give us away!" The Kau glanced around nervously and then leaned toward Lyeden. "Now, I don't trust you as far as I could throw you, kid. You seem like kind of a sap to me, but the boss must think you're all right, since he chose you for this job. Now, here's what he wants you to do..."

Author: The Fix Is In
Date: Jun 14th
Reaching into his pocket, the Kau produced a small glass phial, an ominous black liquid swirling inside.

"Under your current circumstances," he started to tell Lyeden, glancing at the Nimmo’s new body, "it should be no trouble for you to enter the Darigan team's locker room unquestioned--"

"Oh, is that who's playing today?" Lyeden muttered nervously. Glancing over his shoulder, he just now noticed the purple and black tapestries draping one wall and the gold and blue adorning the opposite side. "Boss is a Lost Desert fan, huh?" Lyeden tried to joke, chuckling, but he quickly stopped when the Kau narrowed his eyes.

"Let's focus, shall we?" the Kau said, handing the bottle to the Scorchio in front of him.

"Right. What is this?" Lyeden asked.

At this, the Kau smirked. "Just a little something to give Vickles a nice... kick. He'll hopefully be sick as a Lupe, and we all know the Darigan team has no chance without their star scorer. Find his locker, and his water bottle and slip this inside. Talk to no one and make haste."

"What about the referee, though?" Lyeden asked, again glancing over his shoulder apprehensively.

"I'll take care of him," he heard the Kau whisper, but when he turned back around, the Kau was gone and Lyeden stood alone in the hallway, hearing the distant roar of the excited crowd.

He turned on the spot, panic slowly setting in when he realised the task ahead of him, but seeing no help in standing in the same spot dumbfounded, he started off down the stone passageway, starting to wonder how he was supposed to find the locker room, when a firm hand grabbed his shoulder...

Author: xx_neomania
Date: Jun 14th
Lyeden suppressed a gasp and smoothed his face into a placid mask before turning around, feeling the glass phial weigh as heavy as an accusation in the pocket of his trousers. He turned and found himself looking up into the eyes of an excited blue Skeith.

"I told you guys it was him," the Skeith crowed triumphantly before turning to beam at a motley group of fans, each decked out in either a Darigan Citadel or Lost Desert jersey.

"Well, he'd be the guy to ask," added a small Tyrannian Meerca with an emphatic nod of agreement.

"I'm in a bit of a hur..." Lyeden attempted to protest, but a blue Techo, the same Techo fanatic who had haunted his dreams of late, jumped forward from the crowd and waved his arms, interrupting with a voice hoarse and husky, yet somehow still loud and commanding as it echoed through the stone tunnel.

"We have a bone to pick with you." As he spoke, the Techo's hands clenched into fists, and his bugged-out eyes slitted beneath furrowing brows. His mouth curved into a sneer and spittle flew between the gritted teeth.

Lyeden was suddenly overwhelmed by the sense that this crowd could attack at any moment, that the bones picked over could well belong to him. The Scorchio threw his hands up in protest, but before he could speak, the Skeith stepped between him and the Techo.

"I just want you to know that I support your call," said the Skeith, shooting a look of disgust toward the Techo. "But some of the guys here would like for you to clear up the rules for us."

"The... um... rules?" Lyeden began to shake slightly. It had never occurred to him that he would actually need to know anything about Yooyuball to pull this off.

"Well, in particular," explained the Meerca, "the offside rule. Especially as it applies to that call you made against Mirsha Grelinek when Shenkuu lost to Virtupets the other day."

"Um, yeah," Lyeden hedged. "That was a tough call."

"Tough call?" the Techo screeched. "You didn't even see the play! How could you have called that offside? If you had seen it play out, you would have known that Grelinek was playing with a mutant Yooyuball and that was why it went behind her. She was never offside, and that lame call cost Shenkuu the game! Now I've got something for you."

Lyeden watched in fear as the Techo reached deep into his pocket, the Scorchio not knowing what weapon the other might be carrying. When the Techo pulled out a pair of oversized eyeglasses and threw them at his feet, Lyeden sighed deeply with relief.

Again the Skeith intervened, kicking the glasses indignantly off to the side. "Of course, some of us take the position that you can't have different offside rules for different Yooyuballs, what with them being random and whatnot. Offside is offside." As the Skeith turned to look at the group of fans, some nodded in agreement and others shook their heads in frustration.

"I say that the referee needs to watch every moment of play, and that offside calls are situational," the Techo stated and smirked with self-assurance. "And everyone here knows that I am the biggest superfan the Altador Cup has ever known. Therefore I am the leading expert."

An Island Zafara stepped forward and with a laugh said, "That doesn't mean you're the expert. That just means you're the loudest." As the others joined in the laughing, all except the now indignant Techo, the Zafara turned to Lyeden and asked politely, "Perhaps you could just clear up the rules on this issue?"

The Scorchio's mind swam with confusion and distress as he looked into the Zafara's earnest eyes. Why didn't I even watch that game? Lyeden wondered to himself. I should have known this would be too hard to pull off. As a matter of fact, when I was approached to do this in the cafe the other night, I could barely hear over the noise... wait a minute! Lyeden's face brightened with hope. In the cafe the other night, everyone was arguing about this same call. What was everyone quoting the disco Ixi and red Grarrl announcers as saying? Oh yeah...

Lyeden cleared his throat authoritatively and declared, "Whether you agree or disagree with my call, the integrity of the game demands that you accept it as fact." With a withering look at the Techo, he said, "As the referee, only my expertise is used to make the tough calls, and there is, of course, no recourse to change a call after the game."

As the group began to protest that their question had not quite been answered, Lyeden held himself erect with affected confidence and said, "I would suggest you all get to your seats. Today's match will be starting shortly."

As the group turned and walked excitedly toward the entrance to the seating area, Lyeden allowed himself to slowly release the breath he had not realised he had been holding. As he deflated and sagged against the wall, he noted the menacing glance that the retreating Techo shot him. Patting the phial in his pocket, Lyeden muttered, "Let's just get this over with."

The Scorchio turned, once more seeking the Darigan dressing room, not noticing that the Techo had now also turned away from his crowd of fellow spectators. Neither did he notice when the Techo...

Author: mamasimios
Date: Jun 15th
...put on the eyeglasses he'd thrown at Lyeden's feet, watching Lyeden intently through them.

That referee is up to no good, the Techo thought, glaring at the Scorchio. Any real ref would have answered that question.

When Lyeden began to disappear down the hallway, the Techo followed, silent for once. As risky as this was, he needed to know the referee's intentions for the good of all Altador Cup supporters.

The Techo followed Lyeden around a couple of corners and down a hallway when he noticed that they were in the section of the stadiums where the locker rooms were. It was silent, as all the teams were out practicing for the upcoming game.

The Techo's eyebrows knitted together in confusion. What is he doing here? There's no reason for a regular ref to prowl around empty locker rooms.

Suddenly Lyeden stopped, and the Techo dived behind a column. Peeking around it, he noticed that the Scorchio had stopped in front of the Darigan locker room. Lyeden gave the hallway one suspicious look around and darted in.

The Techo sneaked up to the door. He looked in just in time to see the Scorchio stop in front of Layton Vickles's locker, take out the water bottle, and pour the dark contents of a phial in it...

Author: newmoon653
Date: Jun 15th
The Techo burst through the doors screaming. "I knew it! I knew you were a fake referee!" He couldn't help himself; it was probably safer to report this to someone, but the Techo couldn't control himself.

"I don't know if you're helping or hurting the Darigan team, but you sure won't get away with cheating!"

Lyeden stiffened, knowing he was caught. The gears of his brain were in fast motion as he desperately tried to think of a way out of this situation. "Cheating? Why, I'd never! I am an official referee of the Altador Cup; how dare you accuse me of such falsities?!"

"Oh, you're a real ref, and you're not cheating, huh?" The Techo's tone was dripping with sarcasm. "Then why couldn't you answer a simple question, and why did you pour something into Layton Vickles's water bottle?"

"Well, I should think that should be quite obvious," Lyeden said, his voice almost condescending. On the inside he was reeling, desperate for an idea to make this problem resolved.

"And why is that?"

"Well, being the famous -- or infamous, depending on how you look at it -- Techo fan, I would think you would know everything about every team and its players. Apparently that's not the case."

"I know everything there is to know about the Altador Cup, each team, and each player. What could you possibly know that would be both new information to me, and explain this ridiculous and obvious cheating?" The Techo folded his arms across his chest and looked sceptically at the Scorchio.

With as much assertiveness as he could manage, Lyeden responded, "Well, I will only tell you this because you are the Techo fan. What I'm about to tell you must be shared with no one!" Lyedeon leaned in confidentially, and the Techo fan did too. "Layton Vickles has a nervous disease. This problem would prevent him from playing on the field the moment he saw all the fans. However, because he is such a good player, his team found a potion that would make him relaxed while he plays. He didn't want anyone to know, so he has the refs secretly put the potion in his water bottle before every game."

The Techo fan said nothing, scrutinising the Scorchio. Lyeden continued on. "If you don't believe me, I'd be more than happy to replace this water bottle with a regular one."

"Ok then, do it. Replace the water bottle."

Lyeden smirked slightly. His disastrous event had just become a great opportunity to play two pranks at once. "All right, if that's what you want." Lyeden switched the water bottle with a spare one in the locker room. "But," he said as he threw the tainted water bottle in the trash, "you just wait and see how Layton performs. If something goes wrong, this is all on your conscience."

The Techo said nothing and stormed away. As soon as he left Lyeden dug around in the trash and found the tampered water bottle, still sealed. He switched the water bottles in Layton's locker once more, so the poisoned bottle would be the one he would drink.

"Oh you'll see, Mr. Techo fan..."

Author: mstaylorlautner
Date: Jun 16th
***

Face flushed red with embarrassment, the Techo fan grumbled to himself as he approached his seat, which was in the first row and centre of the stadium. No one dared to even sit where he always sat; the Techo fan made it well known that his area was his, and no one ever questioned him. Surrounding the proclaimed super fan were hundreds of loyal Darigan and Lost Desert enthusiasts, showing off their purple, yellow, black, and blue colours that mixed together in the packed Colosseum.

"Hey, Techo super-fan!" someone eagerly shouted, and the Techo glanced to his right to see an ecstatic green Shoyru with a Layton Vickles jersey on. "Who are you rooting for today?"

The guilt began to sink into the Techo fan's soul. Did he really want to cost Team Darigan their match? "Uh," he wrung his hands together and sighed. "I... haven't decided."

"Decide soon," the Shoyru persisted as the crowd began to roar with applause. "Because the game is about to start!"

***

In the hallway, the two Yooyuball teams waited in silence as the pregame announcements blared throughout the arena. Some of the players were jumping up and down to get their blood pumping; others stretched and recalled the game plan for the day. Layton Vickles was leaning against the wall, eyes closed and breath steady. In a relaxed state of mind, he was meditating and recollecting his divine talents for the game. His team needed this win. A victory over Lost Desert would mean everything; Darigan would then use that momentum to carry themselves into the Finals.

Layton knew he needed to return to reality. The more he tried to wake, the more he was drifting to a state of peace. His thoughts began to sink into a blur; exotic colours swirled together to form serene pictures in his head. Layton smiled to himself as he saw images of his home when he was little. Then his mother and father appeared, smiling.

"Layton," his mother said with a smile, and the Hissi felt himself tear up. "It's time. Let's go."

***

"Why isn't he opening his eyes?"

"Vickles! Layton Vickles!"

"We have to go, Layton! It's time for the game to start!"

Layton did not move, despite desperate pleas from his teammates. Standing against the wall, he appeared in a sleeping trance. A smile had formed across his face, and his breathing pattern slowed to the point where he seemed to be sleeping.

"Should we get the medical staff?" Vonde Cayle from Team Lost Desert inquired.

"And tell them what?" Tandrak Shaye scoffed. "That Vickles is ignoring us? He does this before every game... meditation keeps him at ease. Nothing is wrong."

The announcements boomed, ready to introduce the teams. "And now, the first team in today's match... please welcome, Team Lost Desert!"

Concerned, the Lost Desert team looked back at Team Darigan, who urged them to go. The opponents nodded before they took to the field in front of a lively crowd.

"What now?" Tormo "The Terror" Frein gently gripped Layton's shoulder pads and shook him, doing nothing but making the team captain's head wobble back and forth.

Tandrak rubbed his paws together, the Gelert beginning to feel anxious. "There's nothing we can do. It's too late."

"Something is obviously wrong with Layton. What are you suggesting?" the intimidating goalie Reshar Collifey hissed. "That we just leave him here?"

"Not at all." Tandrak looked out to the stadium as they were introduced. "Unless any of you have a better plan..."

Author: crazy_4_sushi
Date: Jun 16th
***

The Techo Fan wrung his hands nervously in his lap as the announcer again called out the Darigan Team, but the flashes of purple and black remained unseen on the field. The fans sitting around the Techo began to turn to each other and whisper curiously, their cheers faltering slightly.

"What's the deal?" a Darigan Skeith with a purple jersey on yelled.

"Yeah, what are they waiting for? A red carpet?" a yellow Aisha sporting a Lost Desert team jersey called, and a small group of gold supporters laughed.

Frowning, the super-fan saw the black striped jerseyed referee lolling around on the field, and the Techo's anger at his audacity flared up. He wasn't sure if it was the legit ref or not, but the image of him dumping the black liquid in the water bottle came back, and he wondered what could be holding the team up.

As he watched, Tandrak Shaye ran out on the field, whispered something in the Scorchio's ear, and the two made their way back toward the hallway.

Not being the kind to sit still, he jumped up with a pang of guilt and hastily muttered apologies, made his way toward the exit, ignoring one golden Grarrl, who cried, "Where ya going, mate? Game's about to begin!"

***

"What's the problem?" the ref asked, upon seeing Vickles in his motionless trancelike state, noting the trickle of drool forming around the corners of his mouth.

"Not sure," Shaye said, now rather tense. "He never came out of his meditation. You know, he does that to focus on the game and--"

"So you're telling me," Lyeden said, loudly, as he saw the Techo fan come bounding into his peripheral vision. "Vickles took one look at the crowd and freaked?"

The Techo's face blanched.

"Uh, well, not exac--" Shaye began, but the Techo's spluttering made him turn in time to see the overdramatic super-fan thrust himself forward.

"It's my fault," he cried. "He didn't get his medication!"

"You mean 'meditation'..." Frein tried to correct, but the Techo was so distraught with guilt that Lyeden took advantage of his situation.

"It would be such a shame if Darigan wasn't able to compete in the biggest game of the year, and a team must have five players or be disqualified."

"He can't go out there like that," Collifey groaned.

"We can't just forfeit!" Shaye cried indignantly.

"I might have an idea." Lyeden grinned knowingly, reaching into his pocket and taking out a Darigan Hissi Morphing Potion.

Being ever the smart one, Shaye put two and two together. "You're not thinking of taking that, are you?"

"No," Lyeden said, turning to the Techo Fan. "He is..."

Author: xx_neomania
Date: Jun 17th
The Techo, feeling immensely guilty over Vickles's condition, agreed to take the potion and disguise himself as Vickles. Lyeden offered to return to the field and stall the match while the team prepared the Techo.

While the rest of the team helped the Techo get into Vickles's uniform, Shaye pulled Collifey aside. "Did it seem odd to you," he asked softly, "that the referee just so happened to have a Darigan Hissi Morphing Potion in his pocket?"

"Yes," said Collifey, frowning. "It's like he knew Vickles was going to get sick or something..."

"Exactly," said Shaye.

"Do you think the referee had something to do with it?" Collifey asked. "Why would the referee want Vickles to get sick?"

"Oh, I think the referee had everything to do with it," whispered Shaye, "and I don't think he's the real referee. Someone planned for this to happen; someone wants us to lose very badly."

"What are we going to do?" asked Collifey, glancing worriedly at the Darigan Hissi, who had formerly been the Techo fan. "Without Vickles, there's no way we can win! And the fake ref will probably make all calls in favour of the Lost Desert!"

"Don't worry," Shaye said. "I have a plan."

The roar of the impatient crowd was growing louder; the match couldn't be postponed any longer. The announcer's voice boomed out once more: "And now, after a slight delay, please welcome, Team Darigan Citadel!"

Together, the four Darigan team members and the Techo stepped out onto the field, knowing that the odds were stacked against them...

Author: alex313
Date: Jun 17th
The players took their starting positions, the Darigan team's faces grim. But before the first Yooyuball could be unveiled, a loud whistle captured everyone's attention.

"Excuse me, excuse me! Could I please have your attention? This referee is a fake!" Loud gasps emitted from the entire stadium as every pet turned to see a green Ixi strutting in. A red Scorchio in a referee uniform followed him.

"I'm the real ref! This fellow is an impostor," cried the new Scorchio. Lyeden started, but not because of the accusation. He knew that voice, and the Ixi was familiar as well.

"This referee is trying to cheat this game," the Ixi proclaimed. "But do not worry, we have the real ref here, so everything can proceed per normal."

"Wait a moment!" Lyeden shouted. "I am a certified referee of the Altador Cup. How dare you accuse me of being an impostor, when it is you who are faking?" As the Ixi and other Scorchio drew closer, Lyeden suddenly realised who they both were.

"You're the boss and that impudent Kau from before," he hissed. "Why are you throwing this plan?"

"Keep your voice down you, stupid boy!" the Ixi hissed back. "We're not. We've decided to throw in another twist."

"Another twist?!" Lyeden's hysterical voice rose an octave.

"Yes," he said simply. "We're going to have more and more 'real' referees come in any moment. Soon there will be 20 or so red Scorchios in uniforms running around the field. Everything will go into pandemonium."

"Why didn't you do this from the start? What was the point in poisoning Vickles?"

The Ixi's mouth twisted into a wide, malevolent grin. "Layton Vickles was causing me... problems. I needed him out of the way. I knew I wouldn't get many recruits if I told anyone this, so I only told them about this part of the prank -- the referee part."

Lyeden's face was a mask of horror. What had he done? What had he gotten into?

"However, I needed someone to get rid of Vickles, so I had to find someone completely uninterested in the Altador Cup. Someone who was also sly, quick on their feet, and willing to go the distance to pull a prank. I found you." The Ixi was purely beaming by now. "I couldn't tell you about this part of the prank, because you'd want to know why we also had to poison Vickles. So here's what happens now: more refs will come, you will be blamed for Vickles being sick, the greatest prank in the world will be pulled off, and Layton Vickles will be no more!"

"Di-did I kill him?" Lyeden asked hoarsely. He had to know. No matter what happened, he had to know the damage he had done.

"Of course not! Layton will wake up... eventually. Give him a year or so. Now, there's always the antidote, but I won't be telling you that." The Ixi looked off into the sides. Lyeden was struggling not to pass out.

"Ah look, more refs coming. The fans are getting quite antsy to. Let's see what happens, shall we?" The Ixi strode off, leaving the former Nimmo and the former Kau alone.

"Why would you do such a thing?" Lyeden asked.

"Look, there's not much time, you have to do something for me," the other Scorchio said...

Author: mstaylorlautner
Date: Jun 18th
He reached into the pocket of his shirt and pulled out a small phial of light blue liquid. "You have to give this antidote to Vickles while there's still time."

Lyeden's mouth went agape as he took the phial. "What? How..."

"Once I found out the boss's real plan, I couldn't take the guilt any longer. I snatched this when he wasn't looking," he explained.

Lyeden began to feel faint. "What did Vickles do to him in the first place?"

The former Kau anxiously flapped his new Scorchio wings. "Vickles didn't do anything. It was Team Darigan as a whole. But it's engraved in his mind that Vickles was the cause of the... incident. The boss had bet a lot on Darigan to win the last Altador Cup, for some strange reason. They didn't, and the boss is down quite a lot of money."

"And this is his revenge? Poisoning Vickles, creating chaos, blaming everything on me?" Lyeden shrieked.

"Erm, well, he was never really one to be considered logical and merciful."

Lyeden watched helplessly as three more imposter referees strode onto the field. The Yooyuball players had gathered in the centre and were trying to converse through the angry protests and confusion of the crowd. The Left Forward of Team Lost Desert, Vonde Cayle, broke away from the group and jogged over to where Lyeden frantically stood.

"What is going on?" Cayle hissed, eyes darting back and forth at the identical referees.

Lyeden stuffed the antidote in his trousers and turned to the Wocky. "I need you and Team Darigan over here, now! Something's going horribly wrong, and if it isn't fixed, Vickles is done for!"

Cayle glanced back at the other players, and motioned toward the disguised Techo fan. "But Vickles is right over--"

"That's the Techo fan. Look, I'll explain, just please round everyone up!"

Cayle, extremely confused, retreated to inform the players, and soon Team Darigan and Team Lost Desert were surrounding the two Scorcho referees.

"Listen up," Lyeden ordered. "I don't know if you guessed it or not, but I'm not a real referee."

"We knew it," Shaye roared. "You're responsible for this mess!"

"No! No, I'm not," Lyeden protested and pointed to the boss, who was idling along the sidelines, enjoying the spectacle that was unfolding. "That Ixi is! He came up with this terrible plan. He was the one who wanted Vickles gone."

"Is it because of him that you poisoned Vickles?" the Techo fan, still in the Hissi's body, questioned.

The Lost Desert team stared at the fan in Vickles's form, quizzical looks adorning their faces.

"Yes," Lyeden answered the Techo and then looked at Team Lost Desert. "And yes, that's actually the Techo fan in disguise, not the real Vickles."

"Vickles is still knocked out?" Leera Heggle asked.

Lyeden nodded. "Correct. And he will be for quite a while if I don't give him the antidote. I have it, but I need you guys to distract the crowd, the other referees, and that Ixi so I can do it peacefully."

Shaye and Collifey exchanged glances. "Actually," Collifey spoke up. "We know exactly what to do. Go save Vickles's behind and leave everything up to us."

Lyeden sighed, relieved. "All right. Techo fan, come with me," he instructed, and the two made their way toward the hallway where Vickles was. Glancing back, Lyeden noticed the players and the former Kau-turned-referee had rounded up the fake referees and were circling them. The two goalies of the game, Heggle and Collifey, had caught the Ixi boss and were holding him back in their iron grips. The crowd, seeing their favourite players and the dozen referees, presumed it to be some sort of entertainment act. They were cheering and laughing as some of the players taunted the referees and ran after new ones that were emerging onto the field.

The hallway was cold and damp as Lyeden and the Techo fan entered. Vickles was lying on the concrete flooring, completely gone from reality.

"Get the equipment off," Lyeden ordered the Techo fan, who started prying off his shoulder pads. The Scorchio took out the antidote and knelt down next to Vickles, gently pressing the phial to his lips. When the blue liquid was gone, Lyeden closed Vickles's mouth, stood up, and waited. Seconds went by, which seemed like hours.

Lyeden almost collapsed when he saw Vickles open his eyes. The star athlete sat up, rubbing his head and wincing from the headache he had developed from lying uncomfortably. "Where am I? And what's going on? I had the most wonderful dream..."

"No time to explain," Lyeden insisted and held up the Yooyuball equipment the Techo fan was throwing on the floor. "Put all of this on and get out there."

Vickles, still dazed, turned toward the field. Upon seeing the players and imposter referees with a cheering crowd coaxing them on, he smirked. "Is that a new halftime show or something?"

Lyeden and the Techo fan exchanged glances before chuckling. "Let's go with that."

***

The score was tied at 5-5, and the intensity of the game was growing. The players on both Darigan and Lost Desert were happy Vickles was all right, and the fans were just happy the game finally started.

Lyeden, who had miraculously managed to acquire a potion and change back into a Nimmo, was sitting next to the Techo fan, who was still a Darigan Hissi. "Close game, isn't it?" Lyeden said to him.

"It was even closer when the Altador Cup committee decided to let you off with a warning," the Techo fan snickered. "Glad they got the Defenders of Neopia to take care of that Ixi. I wonder what they did with all the other referees?"

"Who knows?" Lyeden said, intently watching a recovered Layton Vickles shoot at the goal. "But everyone thinks it was just a show, and we can only be relieved."

The crowd roared. Vickles had scored with five minutes left in the game. The score was now Darigan leading 6-5. After celebrating with his team, Vickles looked into the crowd at Lyeden and the Techo fan. He clapped and pointed at them, acknowledging their presence.

"Wow!" A bunch of fans surrounding the two began talking all at once. "Vickles just pointed you out! How lucky! What did you ever do to him?!"

Lyeden laughed while he leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes, and let a grin slink across his face. "You guys have no idea."

The End

Author: crazy_4_sushi
Date: Jun 18th



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