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||You are on Week 658
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-Eight Ends Friday, May 30
|Tonie Plessix watched from the net as Team Maraqua passed the Yooyuball with grace and precision. He nodded, observing and calculating as Elon scored against the Practice Team. Sweet! The Koi then thought that maybe he could do the same.
Either way, those Jelly Chias never saw it comi--
Before he realized what had just happened, a clockwork Yooyuball whizzed past Tonie's head and into the goal.
He groaned. "Not again."
The Scorchio referee blew the whistle. The game ended, 3-3.
Maraqua's team captain ran up to the goalie. "Tonie," Elon pleaded, "please try not to get distracted. This is the fourth practice game in a row where you've let one in during last minute." He frowned and stared contemplatively at the ground. "At least we didn't lose this one."
The Koi released a forlorn sigh. "Sorry, Elon. I just see all of you downfield: playing, having fun, and I--"
"And you what?" the Acara interrupted with a hint of worry. He didn't like to see anyone on his team upset, especially this close to an actual game. Who were they up against first? The Lost Desert?
"I just... well, I want to be up there, where the action takes place." He frowned. "I've been a goaltender my entire career."
The Acara's mouth made a neutral line. "You're good at goaltending, though. You like goaltending."
"I used to like goaltending," Tonie admitted with a shrug. "Now, however, I long to be part of the activity, to handle the Yooyuball more so than just in passing it off..." His eyes became wide. "I want to score a goal..."
Elon frowned, and then a barely perceptible smile reached his lips. "Alright, Tonie, I'll tell you what. We have one more practice game today before an actual game tomorrow. How about if you take over for me, and I'll play goal?" He smiled wider... more devilishly. "Who knows? Maybe, if you do well, we can pencil you in as a forward backup." He paused as he took in the slightly oxymoronic statement. "Er, as a backup for me as the starting forward." That wasn't much better; he shrugged.
The goalie grinned. "When does the game start?" he asked.
"In three hours," Elon replied with a more genuine smile. "Practice your moves and meet us back here."
"Excellent! I won't let you down, captain!" the Koi exclaimed with the chipper enthusiasm of a child.
The captain stifled a sigh and watched as his goalie ran off to train...
Date: May 27th
...Tonie tried to act cool, but inside he was more excited than a Baby Koi with ice cream. He'd never spoken up before about his true feelings. The Koi had always worried what his team might say. He loved his team and Maraqua with all of his heart, so he did not want them to think he was being selfish or ungrateful for his spot on the team. He just wanted to see what it was like to step out beyond the net, to hear the crowd roar as he made a goal (instead of stopping one).
Oten Runeu had heard Elon talking to him and wanted to help.
"Hey Tonie, congrats on the chance to be Elon's backup! Personally, I've always thought that your position was the best. Do you want me to help you practice?" the Maraquan Skeith asked while tossing a fire Yooyuball up and down on his tail. "I could be the goalie..."
"Sure! That would actually be pretty awesome of you, Oten! I've never seen you play goalie before, not even during practice. Are you sure that you know what you're doing?" the Koi asked as he wondered if Oten even knew where to stand.
"Heh, well, Yoris Obbles is actually my neighbour, and during the off-season he taught me the basics," Oten said with a smirk.
"Wow, really? What luck! He's a great goalie. This is perfect!" Toni replied as he went to take off his goalie gloves and armour.
Then, just as the Koi was running back from the benches and ready to go, he saw the two famous Altador Cup commentators arrive...
Date: May 27th
..."What did I tell ya, Tony Tipster? My Ixi senses are never wrong. I knew I sensed a scoop in this very stadium!"
"You were right again, Sammy Scoop! This surely will be the headliner for tonight! 'Hughlis's Fins Fail, Forced To Give Position To Goalkeeper,' end quote."
"I was thinking more along the lines of, 'Maraqua Meets Its Match, Tries Crazy Strategy To Confuse Lost Desert,' end quote."
"Ooh, that's good, too! Maybe we need to keep it short and sweet, though. 'Hughlis Out, Goalkeeper In,' end quote."
"I like it!" The two commentators furiously scribbled out their ideas on their notepads. "Oh, how about--"
Tonie finally interrupted. "You two have got it all wrong. Elon isn't hurt and Team Maraqua isn't just trying to confuse its opponent. I just asked Elon if I could try being a forward and he gave me that opportunity."
The Ixi's eyes widened. "This is even a bigger scoop than I expected! 'Most Selfish Player In Cup Selflessly Gives Position To Goalie,' end quote."
"This has got to be The Greatest Scoop of All Time! Everyone is sure to be talking about Team Maraqua tomorrow!"
"They'll be talking about me?" Tonie asked.
"Sure, kid. You and all of Team Maraqua will be the sure-fire headliners tonight!"
Plessix couldn't hide the exuberant smile that spread across face at the prospect of making the news as Team Maraqua's new backup forward. "Let me just show you some of my moves! Oten, toss me a Yooyu!"
Tonie focused on the goal, determined to make a magnificent shot that would prove he had what it took to be Elon's backup. Then, with a quick flick of the fin, he sent the Yooyu flying straight into...
Date: May 28th
...the goal with amazing force. Oten stared in awe at the Yooyu that had just flown past his head.
"Wow!" Oten exclaimed. He looked back toward Tonie. "What was that?" He stood there scratching his head.
"W-was that me?" Tonie asked, dumbfounded. He knew what he had just seen, but he just couldn't believe that he was the one that did it. "I think it was just beginner's luck..."
"That was amazing, kid! Can we see more of that?" Sammy asked.
"S-sure, I guess," Tonie replied. He wasn't too sure if he could repeat what he had just done.
Tonie stood there focused on the Yooyu and began thinking to himself. I can do this. Just do what you did before. He closed his eyes and tuned the outside noises out, imagining all the fans in the audience cheering and chanting his name. Then, with a swift motion, Tonie sent the Yooyu flying straight into the goal again.
"This is unbelievable! I think we've got a new story on our hands. 'Tonie Plessix: Future Team Leader?,' end quote." The Ixi and Grarrl started to scribble hastily on their notepads.
"Wait, what?!? You can't be serious about that, right?" Elon asked as he walked up with his arms folded and a stern look on his face.
"You never know! He's showing a lot of potential," Sammy started. "More than you showed when you first started..." he then whispered under his breath.
"What?!? This is unbelievable..." Elon stated, staring straight at Tonie.
"Well, we must be going! We will definitely be looking for you in the practice game today, Tonie!" The two Altador Cup commentators rushed off while tossing more ideas back and forth for their headliner.
Tonie let out an excited squeal and leaped in the air. He was finally playing in the spotlight -- and playing great at that! It was finally his time to shine!
Without a word or glance, Elon walked away from Tonie and Oten. "Are they really thinking about replacing me with that... that... goalie?" Elon asked himself in disbelief. "This is ridiculous! I've got to fix this somehow." He stopped and thought for a second before beginning to chuckle. "I know just what to do..."
Date: May 28th
...With a grin still affixed to his face, Elon turned back to his teammates.
"That was some nice shooting!" he said, mustering all the fake sincerity he could muster. "Still, though, anyone can get lucky with one shot."
"That seemed like genuine skill, Elon," Oten replied. "I think he's got what it takes to be a forward. Besides, that was two shots."
The Acara shook his head.
"One lucky shot doesn't prove anything. Even two can be a fluke. Anyone can get lucky once. Do you remember that one game back during AC V when Fanetti on Team Haunted Woods scored a goal?"
Tonie remembered that moment. It had been a close game between Team Haunted Woods and Team Mystery Island. There was a Fire Yooyu on the field that their goalie had caught. As it just happened, he had overshot the toss to one of his teammates and the speedy Yooyu went right through their defensive line... and Mystery Island's defensive line. Lor Benneveldt was caught off-guard and the Yooyu just barely entered the goal.
It was a moment that Tonie remembered well. He actually recalled the commentators thinking that -- with a shot like that -- he might join Zo Junior as a forward, but he admitted it was dumb luck and, since then, no goalkeeper had ever scored a goal again.
"Yeah, I remember that," the Koi said.
"Exactly." Elon nodded, then said, "The name of the game is consistency. If you want to be a forward, then you need to be able to score like that all the time, and in much different circumstances. If you want to prove that you can hang on the offensive line, then you'll need to step up your game."
Elon went to the Yooyu grabber and pulled out a sinister-looking purple one. Even just from seeing its coloration, Tonie gulped. Many a game in the Altador Cup had ended with a score of 1-0 just because of the Yooyu the captain was holding.
"A Darigan Yooyu?" Tonie questioned.
The Darigan Yooyu gave out a sinister tone that sounded suspiciously like an evil cackle.
Elon nodded, wearing a grin that wouldn't look out of place on the Yooyu he was holding.
"You want to prove yourself, then get a goal with a Darigan Yooyu," Elon said, walking over to Tonie before placing the Yooyu right in his fins. "Let's see if lightning strikes thrice and you can sink him with one shot."
"Oh, come on Elon!" Oten protested. "Not even you can sink a Darigan Yooyu in a single shot all the time!"
The captain glared at his Centre Defender.
"Fine," Elon said. "Three shots."
The Acara crossed his arms in defiance.
"Just try and impress me..."
Date: May 29th
..."Stand back," Tonie said, nervous. "Actually," he declared with a smile, "don't stand back."
If I want to be Elon's backup, then I need to be confident, Tonie thought. Confident.
He shifted his weight a little and tossed the Darigan Yooyu between his hands, getting used to the feel of it and trying to gauge how it would fly through the air. He took a deep breath and threw the Yooyu with all of his might.
It sailed through the air, directly to his right, and smashed Oten square in the jaw.
"Like I thought," Elon said with a smirk.
"You said he got three shots," Oten reminded Hughlis as he peeled the Darigan Yooyu off his face and handed it -- carefully -- back to Tonie.
Tonie looked down at the purple ball in his hands and his heart sank. He was never going to get the Darigan Yooyu in the goal. He couldn't even keep them out of the goal, though thankfully they were very rarely near there in the first place. The Koi started to hand the Yooyu back to his captain, defeated, but a word echoed in his ear: Confidence. Instead of reaching toward Elon with the Yooyu, he turned his step into an elegant spin and sent the Darigan Yooyu flying... straight into the net. Elon's jaw dropped.
"The first shot was just a warm up," Tonie said as he smiled.
"Let's see you do that again," the Acara said, untangling the Darigan Yooyu from the back of the goal. "Darigan Yooyus are wildly unpredictable. For all we know, you would have missed if it were a Fire or Snow Yooyu."
"Tonie passed your test," the Skeith protested.
"You're right. He did." Elon's mind started to race. Tonie hadn't given him an excuse to keep him on the goal line, and the Acara desperately needed one. "However, shooting goals for practice is so much easier than getting them past real defenders and goalies."
As Elon spoke, a Meerca emerged from the doorway to the Haunted Woods locker room and started toward them.
"I didn't think anyone was scheduled on the pitch for another hour," Fanetti said. "It's bad enough I lost my practice time yesterday to Garven Hale!"
A smile spread slowly across Elon's face. "I think we can work things out. How do you feel about helping Tonie practice his shooting?"...
Date: May 29th
...The professional goalkeeper blinked as he looked from Elon to Tonie. "Practice his shooting?" Fanetti repeated, his red eyes surprised. He was familiar, as they all were, with the team structure of the other Cup squads as a long-time player. Turning to Tonie, he said, "I assume, then, that you're trying out a new position. Interesting." It was the obvious conclusion to draw as goalkeepers didn't, at least usually, have opportunities to score as both knew all too well.
"Something like that." Tonie fought the urge to cringe at the combined scrutiny of Elon and Fanetti and lifted his chin. He needed to be confident, he reminded himself, and met Elon's defiant glance with one of his own. Mindful of its spikes, he reached out to take back the Darigan Yooyu, self-assurance bubbling up from his core. Tonie couldn't let the Acara get to him -- especially not now, when he was proving himself as a forward.
"Well, whatever," Fanetti said with a shrug and, adjusting his gloves, moved in the direction of the goal as Oten lumbered to his usual position in the field as Centre Defender. "Suits me just fine." He looked back, however, a moment later. "Might I ask," the Meerca began, "why?"
It was Tonie's turn to blink and, shaking his head to clear it, he re-voiced his earlier explanation. "I want to be where the action takes place." Fanetti, as a goalkeeper himself, would surely understand. "Goaltending is the least exciting position on field," he went on. Tonie wanted to be involved in the activity.
He was wrong about Fanetti and the Neopet raised an eyebrow, frowning. "I can't agree with that," Fanetti mused. "The goalkeeper," he continued, pitch rising with each word, "is central to Yooyuball; the heart of the team, in a way, as he -- or she -- plays a crucial role in the game. The other team members are responsible for scoring goals but the goalkeeper is the one Neopet, really, whose job is to save them." Fanetti paused for a breath. "It's a pretty special, humbling position."
Tonie felt his jaw drop and he gaped. The Koi reflected while, regaining control of himself, he watched Lamelle Turow and Barit Jowes, Maraqua's other defenders, take places on either side of Oten. What the other goalkeeper had told him reminded him of his own feelings when he'd first started out goaltending. "I... I guess that's true," Tonie admitted, somewhat shaken up by how passionate Fanetti was about the position.
Fanetti shrugged again, though Elon appeared delighted by Tonie's response. The 'pet stretched his arms before calling out, "Okay, Tonie. Let's do this."
The Maraquan goalkeeper found his voice with some difficulty. "Right..."
Date: May 30th
...Mustering all the confidence he could, Tony threw the Darigan Yooyu... right at the wall!
Shutting his eyes, Tonie thought, Oh no, I didn't mean to throw it there! Tonie prepared for the jeers of Elon.
When he opened his eyes, everyone was silent in disbelief. "I'm sorry, everyone. I..." Tonie started, when he noticed Elon was was also silent. Glancing at the goal, Tonie saw that the Darigan Yooyu had somehow made its way into the goal.
"But how.." Tonie began when everyone but Elon started roaring in applause.
"Remember, Tonie? The Darigan Yooyu doesn't always go where you expect it to!" Oten exclaimed.
After thinking back, Tonie remembered how he could never block them himself when he was the goalie. "I think I speak for the rest of the team when I say that you, Tonie, should be the new forward for Team Maraqua!" Oten said.
"Here, here!" the team cried.
Tonie saw that Elon was on the verge of tears.
"I'd love to," Tonie replied, "but trying to score was a lot more tiring than I thought it would be. Therefore, I think it would be better if Elon remained our starting forward."
"Really? That's too bad. You would have made a great forward," Oten said.
With that, Fanetti, Oten, and the remainder of Team Maraqua left the field to get some rest. Elon stayed behind with Tonie.
"Hey, thanks for letting me keep my position on the team Tonie, and I'm really sorry about earlier," Elon said quietly, almost in a whisper.
"It's alright," Tonie said. "Besides, after hearing what Fanetti said, I remembered why I liked being goalie so much. It's nice to be able to have everyone's back."
"Well, if it's all right with you, I could show you some tricks next time at practice," Elon offered.
"Sure, that'd be nice," Tonie replied.
Together, the two walked off the field, talking about the tricks that Elon would show Tonie. The next day, Team Maraqua won 6-0, thanks to the great goal keeping skills of Tonie and the great shots made by Elon.
Date: May 30th
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