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||You are on Week 655
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 Six Hundred Fifty Five Ends Friday, May 9
|Kavi the orange Kiko bounced along the water's edge, holding his rubber buoy lightly under one arm. He was so glad that summer was finally here. Now the season of tubular racing could begin in earnest!
Tubular racing was not quite as popular as Yooyuball, but it was still a legit summer sport and Kavi was proud to be a part of it. He had initially tried out for Kiko Lake's Yooyuball team, only to be told that he was not suited to the sport. He'd gone back, dejected, to the suburbs of Kiko Lake, to swim alone in the stream and to think. It was then, out of nowhere, that an old ex-racer had spotted him from the bank and told him he had a real talent for tubular racing.
So, three years later, here he was, in Kiko Lake central, preparing for his very first tubular race.
His warm-up this morning had gone pretty well. Coach Jimma had said she was confident that he would do well, as long as he executed their game plan without any major mistakes. Kavi went through it again in his head just to make sure. All the moves were there, as familiar as a memory. He couldn't wait.
Two more hours until the race.
Kavi decided to head over to Kiko Lake Treats and get himself a pre-game snack. The little red shop was just five minutes away. Its circular windows glinted in the sun.
Crisp, sweet smells rose to meet Kavi as he entered the door, which was framed by two pots of flowers and seaweed. Inside the shop, there were shelves upon glass shelves of pretty Kiko Lake snacks. The shopkeeper, a purple Kiko with a soft-looking white chef's hat on her head, beamed at him.
"An Orange and Lime Rock Stick, please," Kavi said, shifting his rubber buoy to his other arm.
"You like 'em sour, hey?" the shopkeeper asked, ringing up the total. "That will be 900 Neopoints, please."
"Yeah, as sour as possible. I've got a big game coming up this afternoon, you see," Kavi said...
Date: May 5th
..."Tubular racing is a fun sport. I used to be a pretty good racer, myself, back in the day," the shopkeeper said proudly.
"How did you--" Kavi began, but then stopped himself from asking the shopkeeper how he'd known he was a tubular racer upon realising that he was holding his rubber buoy right in front of him.
"Yep, I saw your buoy. It's easy to spot," the shopkeeper said to Kavi with a grin on her face.
"You'll have to give me some tips sometime, ma'am," Kavi said as he handed over the 900 NP.
"Naw, you can keep your Neopoints. It's on the house, buddy," the shopkeeper said, handing the orange Kiko back his change.
"Wow, really? Thanks a lot!" Kavi said, surprised but very thankful.
"Anything for a fellow tubular racing fan," the shopkeeper said as she wrapped up the rock stick for Kavi.
Kavi smiled as he took his candy and waved gratefully to the kindly purple Kiko. He then checked his watch, stuck the rock stick in his mouth, and ran off to practice.
Just as he was about to jump off the dock he heard the shopkeeper yell something to him...
Date: May 5th
..."Hey!" she said, "You might see my uncle out there! His name is Jarett, and he's a spotted Kiko!"
"Old Dare Jare?" Kavi asked, his mouth suddenly going dry. Old Dare Jare was one of his tubular racing idols. He had a habit of winning when the odds were horrendously stacked against him, twisting rules to the limits in ways that astounded and awed many.
"Yeah! Uncle Jarett got me into racing in the first place," the shopkeeper said, smiling at some fond memory. "He kept going, though, after I was done. He'll probably keep going no matter what, even if he were to ever become a zombie or ghost! It's his passion."
Kavi gripped his buoy a bit tighter. He tried to gather his thoughts. Old Dare Jare, was he competing this year? "Is there something you want me to say to him?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said. "Tell him Kihnan says hi, will you?"
"Sure!" he said, smiling at her. He then waved before bouncing into the water. He splashed in, the water exhilarating him, and situated himself on the buoy. Kavi waded through the water in the direction where he and Coach Jimma had agreed to meet pre-race, his thoughts situated on what the shopkeeper had said.
Old Dare Jare. He was a highly-esteemed tubular racer, even with his growing age. Kavi found him an interesting role model. The possibility of Old Dare Jare being in this year's competition made him nervous.
"Hey, Kavi!" Coach Jimma said...
Date: May 6th
..."Are you ready for your first race? What's the matter?" she asked, noticing the concern on Kavi's face.
"Have you heard? Old Dare Jare is supposed to be competing in the race today!" Kavi exclaimed. "How am I supposed to compete with a tubular racing great like him?"
Coach Jimma chuckled. "It's your first race. Just go out and have fun! Don't get too hung up on winning... besides, rubbing elbows with the best is the fastest way to get better."
"I suppose you're right... I shouldn't get too ahead of myself," Kavi said with a smile.
Coach Jimma patted Kavi on the head. "Now, let's get that warm up in!"
Just then, Kavi spotted a figure striding toward them from afar. Could it be? Kavi's mouth gaped open...
Date: May 6th
...as the other Kiko drew close. "Old Dare Jare!" Kavi exclaimed in a hushed whisper. He was too new to the tubular racing scene to have seen him before but, even from afar, the legend couldn't be mistaken for anyone else. Tufts of white hair sprouted from the Neopet's hairline to fringe the same steely set of eyes that stared at Kavi daily from the poster he'd tacked to his bedroom door.
Kavi's stomach dropped as that gaze met his. It slipped past him a moment later to rest on his coach. "Jimma!" the spotted Kiko shouted, clapping Kavi's coach on the shoulder with his free paw, and Kavi blinked. "I thought I saw you here. It's been a long time, pal." Old Dare Jare re-adjusted his other paw's hold on his racing buoy as he pulled Coach Jimma in for a brief, one-armed hug.
"Jarett!" Coach Jimma was beaming. "It has been a while," she agreed, turning to Kavi with one of her chuckles. "This is my charge, Kavi." She gestured at Old Dare Jare. "This, Kavi, is Jarett, of whom you've heard." The Neopet gave him a quick nod. "We used to race together some time ago," she went on, fighting down her smile, and Kavi blinked a second time. He'd heard about that once before but forgotten it completely.
"Old Dare Jare." Kavi hadn't meant to say the words out loud, but they slipped between his lips once more. He shook his head hastily as the other Kiko grinned, emptying it of as much awe as he could manage. "Your niece, Kihnan, told me to say hello."
"She did, did she?" The light in Old Dare Jare's eyes grew as fond as his niece's had done. "Kihnan, too," he said, voice pensive, "used to race with me, once. She fell out of it after a few years but, boy, we had some good times." He focused again on Kavi. "It's always great to see newcomers. You haven't raced before, have you? I'd have recognised you."
"This is my first race," Kavi admitted, feeling his heart flutter. It was incredible, if scary, to know, as he did now, that he'd make his debut in a field that included the racing veteran. "I can't wait."
"He's about to start warming up in a minute," Coach Jimma interjected, peering at her watch. Her glance narrowed good-naturedly as it shifted from Kavi to Old Dare Jare. "Got any helpful tips for a newbie?" she asked, giving her ex-rival a playful nudge.
"Hmm." Old Dare Jare cocked his head as he appraised Kavi, evidently deep in thought. "It'd be better," he began, jerking his chin at the currents, "to show you." He straightened. "Ready to see how it’s done?"...
Date: May 7th
...Kavi's heart jumped, and he felt a mix of eagerness and anxiety wash over him. Old Dare Jare was going to warm up with him? It was a chance to see his hero in action -- and, very likely, to observe the manner in which he would be defeated when the race commenced later in the afternoon.
"Come on," the old Kiko said, dropping his tube into the shallows where Kavi was paddling in place. Coach Jimma stood on the riverbank and watched them. "Let's head over to the starting line, kid."
There were a few other racers in the water warming up, surveying the course. They all moved aside for Old Dare Jare. "You make quite an entrance," Kavi said as he trailed slightly behind the veteran.
"They're hoping my tube will pop," Jarett said with a bit of a smile. He pushed his white hair back with a dripping hand. "None of these racers are happy to see me."
"I was," Kavi said, and then he blushed and hung back. "Anyway, I'm sure they'll all be watching you warm up."
"To see if I've still got it."
They arrived at the banner marking the start of the course. A small crowd, mainly coaches and other racers, was assembled on the grass. A few Kikos were stretching and taping their wrists. Everyone seemed to be watching out of the corner of their eye. Jarett and Kavi positioned themselves at the starting line, and Kavi glanced over at the snack shop. He wondered briefly why Kihnan didn't just take a few minutes off and come watch her uncle race, rather than relaying a message through another racer.
"Let's go," Jarett said, and with that they were off, the old Kiko's limbs flying like motors as he burst through the water. Kavi leapt out behind him and did his best to keep up.
"The trick," Jarett shouted over his shoulder, "is not speed, but accuracy." He swung his arm out to grab a floating stick marked with a ribbon -- bonus points.
"I know the point of the game," Kavi said, laughing a little. He sped up and lunged for a bottle of red potion, just barely snagging it before a whirlpool pulled him slightly off course.
"Kavi," Coach Jimma called as they passed her on the bank, "don't strain yourself. Forget the bonuses and just warm up like usual."
Kavi looked ahead and watched Old Dare Jare navigate toward an accelerating current, which swept him forward and out of range. "Still there, buddy?" the old Kiko called. "Stay with me, they're starting to fire the arrows up ahead."
Kavi sped toward the current and felt it rushing beneath him as he launched forward. "Right behind you," he called, even though it wasn't exactly true. Jarett was pulling away.
"I'll slow down for you."
Kavi looked up from the water to see the old racer treading water ahead. He'd turned around and was facing Kavi. "It's just the warm-up, after all. If this were the real race, well..." He laughed and pushed his hair back.
At that moment, Jarett's tube twisted at an odd angle and Kavi saw in an instant that the veteran had backed up against a whirlpool that had been hidden in the reeds. There weren't supposed to be whirlpools during warm-ups, but further downriver Kavi could see the race organizers positioning the small rotor devices that kept the vortexes in place on the course. Evidently feeling his shift in direction, Old Dare Jare tried to correct his course by paddling deep on one side, but the whirlpool only seemed to gain strength, pulling him toward it, and Kavi watched helplessly as the old Kiko leapt off his tube in an effort to escape the current...
Date: May 7th
...Kavi sprung into action. He paddled toward the spotted Kiko in an attempt to save him. Kavi felt his tube getting pulled into the whirlpool, but he kept paddling as fast as he could to keep control.
Once Kavi got to Jarett, he offered an arm to him. At first he didn't take it, but as he got pulled closer, Old Dare Jare grabbed it. Pulling him on his tube, Kavi had trouble keeping it from the vortex. The tube wasn't made for two.
Jarett paddled with Kavi to shore. The pair of Kikos were able to reach dry ground, and once they were there, they didn't hesitate going onshore. Kavi grabbed his tube before it went downstream.
"Thanks for helping me out," Jarett said, slightly out of breath.
"It's nothing," Kavi replied, even more out of breath.
Jarett looked at the whirlpool, then at his tube floating downstream. "I don't think I'll be in this race."
Feeling bad for his hero, Kavi offered, "Use mine."...
Date: May 8th
...Jarett spun around quickly, his white hair flying wildly with his sudden action. "What?" he asked.
Kavi smiled softly. "Use mine," he repeated. "We both know that I didn't have a chance to win this race, but you have a real chance. It would be wrong if you didn't enter." He handed his tube to the older Kiko, who only looked at it for a few minutes in stunned amazement.
"You don't have to do this," Jarett finally said. "I've been in many races and I've won my fair share. Don't you want your chance to be in the winner's circle?"
Kavi shrugged. "I'll still have my chance to win a race," he explained, "but I'll never have another chance to help the legendary Old Dare Jare. Take it and do your best to win."
Jarett smiled. "I will," he said as he took the tube and walked back toward the starting line.
Alone, Kavi sat on the bank as he considered what he had just done. He knew it was the right thing to do, but there was still a part of him that wished that he could still race.
"That was an amazing, selfless thing you just did," a voice nearby said suddenly...
Date: May 8th
...Kavi turned to see Kihnan standing on the bank nearby. She plopped down on the grass next to him, smiling.
"What are you doing here?" Kavi asked, surprised to see her.
"The treat shop was slow, so I decided to come down to the river and watch the race. What you did was really nice of you," she repeated.
Kavi shrugged. "I probably had no chance of winning anyway."
Kihnan rolled her eyes. "You're just being modest. I saw how you rescued my uncle. It took amazing swimming skills to do that."
The orange Kiko grinned at the shopkeeper. Her compliments were appreciated, but they only brought back the realization he was not going to get the chance to compete. Sighing, he said, "It doesn't matter now, I suppose. I don't have a tube."
"I have a tube," Kihnan mused. "I kept mine in the shop after I decided to quit." She popped up, excitedly. "Tell you what -- you get to the starting line and I'll grab the tube from my shop and meet you there in two minutes!"
Before Kavi could protest, the shopkeeper had scampered off and he was alone again with only the sounds of rushing water.
What am I doing? he thought. Kavi scrambled up the bank, racing for the starting line...
Date: May 9th
...Coach Jimma was waiting, and when she saw Kavi, she quickly hurried over.
"You have to get ready, the race is about to start--" She paused, noticing Kavi's empty hands. "Where's your tube?"
Kavi explained what had happened. "It's okay because there are other races," Kavi added, a small hint of disappointment in his voice.
Before Coach Jimma could respond, the whistle sounded. "All right, Kikos to the starting line!" the starter, a blue Peophin, shouted as he raised the checkered flag, signaling for all the racers to get in position.
Coach Jimma turned to Kavi. "I'm impressed, Kavi," she said. "That's a very generous act you did, and I'm certain Jarett appreciates it tremendously."
They looked over to where the spotted Kiko champion was. Jarett was positioned in the middle of the starting line. His eyes were focused on the course; his concentration was already on the race.
As Kavi watched the Kikos get ready, his own excitement began to build up again. He was reminded of his many hours of practice, of the exhilarating feel of gliding on water, the adrenaline that comes after avoiding a close obstacle and feeling the splashes on his face. Kavi then realized that the reason he loved tubular racing was how much fun it was. It wasn't about winning.
Oh well, Kavi thought as he sat down on the grass next to Coach Jimma. At least I get to watch my role model win the race. Perhaps he could even learn tips from Old Dare Jare.
"Hey! Hey, champ-in-making!" Kihnan's voice called.
Kavi turned around and saw the purple Kiko running toward him with a bright blue racing buoy. Yellow lightning bolts decorated the tube.
"Its name is Old Electric," Kihnan said, panting for breath. She handed the tube to Kavi. "Old Electric hasn't had any practice in a while, but it's as good as new. Now, go race."
Excited, Kavi hurried over to the starting line. He found a spot on the edge beside a green Kiko and got in position.
He'd been just in time. The starter blew his whistle and waved his flag. Half a second later, eleven Kikos were splashing down the stream.
I'm racing! was Kavi's only thought as the crowds around them hollered and cheered. He shifted into racing mode, focusing his attention on his path and nothing else, just like he'd been taught at every practice. Before long, Kavi realized that the only other Kiko in front of him was Jarett himself. A bit puzzled, Kavi glanced back and saw the other racers were far behind.
"Go Kavi! Come on, Kavi!" he heard Coach Jimma shout from the bank.
A whirlpool was straight ahead. Kavi barely managed to dodge it. Panting, he glanced up and saw Jarett was only one buoy's distance away.
Motivated by this fact, Kavi paddled harder. He sped up and, to his surprise, he managed to glide right past the professional racing champion. Kavi thought he saw a look of surprise on Old Dare Jare's face.
"Hey, may the best win!" Kavi called, giving Jarett a thumbs-up.
Old Dare Jare's surprised expression didn't disappear, though. It was only then that Kavi realized his buoy had snagged upon a pile of sharp, jagged rocks -- right beside a hidden whirlpool.
The buoy Kihnan had lent Kavi began to hiss as the air seeped out. Around them, the crowds gasped and groaned. Kavi struggled to release the broken buoy from the rocks while fighting off the strong currents of the whirlpool. All too soon, the tube had been reduced to a flat, limp piece of rubber in his hands.
The orange Kiko began to panic. He'd never had a tube deflate in the middle of a stream before. Kavi then felt someone grab his hand.
"You swim alongside and I'll steer us to the finish line," Jarett instructed, pulling Kavi away from the rocks and whirlpool.
The two Kikos paddled toward the finish line, though now they slowed way down because the buoy wasn't made for two. One by one, other racers glided past them, but Jarett didn't seem to mind, and neither did Kavi.
At the finish line, Kavi was immediately greeted by Coach Jimma, who hugged the orange Kiko proudly and said, "Excellent work. Some of the best tubing I've seen."
Kihnan was also standing there. "Nice work," she said sincerely.
Kavi would have, normally, been mortified; the Kavi from this morning would have said in devastation, "I ruined your tube and lost the race, though!" The old Kavi would have been humiliated about how his first race went.
Now, however, Kavi just stood there grinning as crowds came up to congratulate every racer. He glanced over at Jarett, who nodded and grinned in response.
"There's more to life than winning, kid, and until today, I'd forgotten that," Jarett told Kavi. "Your sportsmanship and character -- well, you're the type of racer that makes tubular racing such a fine sport. Thank you."
Before Kavi could answer, Jarett was surrounded by groups of fans eager for the professional Kiko's autograph. Kavi turned to Kihnan.
"Sorry about Old Electric," Kavi said sheepishly, handing over the deflated tube.
Kihnan laughed. "Do you know how many times I've accidentally ripped this tube? Luckily for me, Uncle Jarett has special glue that mends racing tubes." She patted Kavi's back. "Hey, you did well for your first race. I mean it. You were going to get first place."
"Yeah, but I got something even better. It's not every day that you get to race alongside your role model!"
"That's very true. Let's go back to the sweet shop and celebrate, compliments of the house. Invite your coach, too."
Kavi nodded excitedly at the thought of orange-and-lime flavored rock sticks. "I'm there!"
* * *
Kavi the orange Kiko bounced along the water's edge, holding his rubber buoy lightly under one arm. In the pocket of his swimming trunks was the participation medal he'd gotten from his first race.
He stretched, smiled, and jumped in the water. The second race of the summer was less than two hours away.
Date: May 9th
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