Iris tried her best to keep her face determined as she walked
with Rhea, Coach and some mechanics toward the racing area. She saw a red and
white flyer on the other side of the area and a spotted Gelert about to step inside
that flyer. Iris gulped down her breakfast that was sneakily trying to climb out
of her stomach, but the sound she made was louder than she had intended.
"Calm down, Iris! That Gelert won't have time
to see what hit him," Coach said and laid his arm on Iris's shoulders. He was
smiling when he looked down at Iris, but when he turned away, his smile faded.
Encouraging, but he didn't look too certain. Oh boy… Iris thought.
Rhea poked her pet with her finger and gave
Iris her helmet. The helmet was also blue-violet and it was especially made
for an Acara, with holes for her horns and all. Iris smiled a little grin and
put on the helmet.
Rhea checked that the helmet was on well and
then held Iris's hand for a few seconds.
"Good luck!" she said and quickly stroked Iris's
"Alright, you better hop in, Iris," Coach said
and pointed at the blue-violet flyer. The mechanics had declared the flyer faultless
and had stepped out of the way. Iris climbed inside and took hold of the control
sticks. Coach peered inside and held his thumbs up to Iris because his voice
would not have been heard over the commentator's.
"It seems like the contestants are ready. And
in… three, two, one… GO!"
Iris's flyer shot out of its spot and straight
towards Anabor's. They were both speeding straight on, who would dodge first?
The crowd cheered and Iris's opponent kept on flying forward. Come on… dodge
will you…? she begged.
But she had to move. Scared of colliding, Iris
turned her flyer to the left and Anabor moved to the opposite direction soon
after. She then headed back by turning a tight right. Anabor was flying at the
other end of the area and was also turning to face Iris.
Once again the two were flying straight at each
other, but this time Iris would not be the one darting out of the way. The distance
between them was decreasing, only about ten meters left. Don't dodge, keep
on flying, don't move…! Iris told herself.
When there were only a few meters of distance
left, Iris panicked and moved away… but not before Anabor did the same. A little
earlier than Iris, Anabor moved his flyer to his right, and Iris accidentally
followed him by turning to her left.
They were now flying side by side with Anabor
a little in front of Iris. 'He could easily wall me in like this' Iris pondered
and kept a sharp eye on the red and white flyer in case it would start turning
and blocking her way with his cloud line. She had predicted well, because the
other flyer then turned to the left and flew right in front of Iris. She quickly
moved away and luckily got out of the unfinished circle.
She was breathing real fast now and her heart
was pounding hard against her ribs. 'That was close' she thought. Anabor was
now on her right side and was flying to the reverse direction. Iris decided
to go around the almost-circle-like cloud line that Anabor had made and surprise
him by coming in front of him.
As Iris started to circle around the remains
of her narrow escape, Anabor had decided to do the same but from the other direction.
Fortunately Iris saw him and prepared herself to move out of the way when the
appropriate time would come.
She was flying on the side of the area where
Anabor had begun, meaning the opposite wall of where Coach and Rhea were standing.
Iris could see Anabor flying fast towards her but when they were very near each
other; Iris assumed that the Gelert hadn't been expecting Iris to face him.
Anabor tried to move away, but Iris had already flown in front of him, blocking
It seemed that Iris had won, that Anabor would
crash into her blue cloud line and that the audience would cheer for her victory,
but no. Anabor was able make a tight turn and fly out of the prison Iris was
building him. It was pretty much the same situation where Iris had escaped,
but this was much more impressive.
Iris had to quickly move out of the way when
Anabor zoomed past her. They were, for a second time, flying neck to neck with
Anabor on the right side and Iris on the left. They were heading for the place
where Anabor had flown out of and where the mechanics that had worked on his
A little before the wall, Anabor turned to the
left and forced Iris to do the same. They were still flying level to each other
with Anabor close to the wall and Iris next to him. Iris was watching the Gelert
carefully in case he would try the same forcing turn again. When she quickly
glanced ahead of her, she noticed the wall coming closer and closer. 'This could
be my chance!'
Anabor also detected the wall and tried to shove
Iris out of his way. But Iris kept her head and pushed back at him, neutralizing
his pushing, and flew onward towards the wall up ahead. 'Just a little more….'
Right before her flyer would have hit the wall,
Iris turned to the left and blocked Anabor's path with her cloud line. She looked
behind to see the red and white flyer crash into the wall. Iris's lips stretched
into a victorious smile and she whispered: "Yes!"
She turned to the left again and saw Anabor
getting out of his non-flyable flyer, which lay on a shred of cloud. The flyer's
tip was touching the wall and it had been broken in half. But Anabor, however,
"And the winner is Iris!" thundered the commentator's
voice from the speakers and the crowd cheered. A group of Lennies at the bottom
of the stands were standing up and chanting: "Iris! Iris! Iris!"
"She had many close calls but eventually her
luck turned to her advantage! An amazing turn was that last one, especially
from a beginner!" complimented the speakers. "Iris, come and claim your prize!"
Iris flew once around the whole area inside
the walls, and then landed on the cloud next to Coach and Rhea, who practically
pulled her out of the flyer. When she had gotten out, Rhea hugged her and Coach
shook her whole arm.
"Congratulations Iris! I knew you could do it
all the time!" Coach said and was almost crying, but Rhea whispered to her ear:
"Hate to break it to you, but he was about to rip off his mustache for a while
Rhea then let Iris go and looked at her with
a smile nearly as wide as Iris's decorating her proud face, "But congrats! You
won! You won!"
"The judges are waiting for the winner," announced
the commentator and three air faeries stepped on a small platform. The first
one had a bouquet of flowers, the middle one a medal and the last one a small
"I'll wait here," Rhea said. "You and Coach
have an appointment with the judges, and I'd very much hate for you to miss
Iris's smile widened on each step she took when
she made her way to the faeries. Coach was walking next to her with his beak
held up high and his chest pumped up to make him look thinner and stronger.
Through the crowd Iris could see Anabor standing in the middle of mechanics
and talking to a girl whom Iris assumed to be his owner. They caught each others
eyes and Anabor smiled a weak smile and lifted his thumb up as a sign that they're
cool. Iris kept on smiling, put up her thumb and winked at him.
Iris and Coach walked past the air faeries, first
by shaking their hands, then receiving the prize. The last faerie, who gave
Iris her trophy, said, "Congratulations." Iris was happy to see a real faerie
speaking and smiling to her.
"Hold up the trophy," Coach said in a quiet
tone and Iris obeyed. She straightened her arms and lifted the small but beautiful
trophy above her head, like she had seen many master racers do. The crowd cheered
for her, Rhea was jumping around and Anabor was leaning on his demolished flyer
with a friendly smile on his spotted face.
As she held the trophy for all to see she thought
to herself, It wasn't a dream…
* * *
Three days later that trophy was decorating a wooden cabinet in Rhea's and
Iris's living room. The medal hung around the trophy and the flowers were on
the table in a vase and still alive and fresh.
Rhea and Iris were sitting on the living room
couch playing cards when someone knocked on their door.
"I'll get it," said Iris who was sitting closest
to the door. She got up and jogged to the door. Behind the door stood Coach
who had an issue of the Neopian Times in his hand.
"You know they list the winners of the faerie
cloud races in here?" he said as he stepped inside, "You're on the list of course,
but they mention you again in a small article."
"They do?" Iris said eagerly and peered at the
paper. Rhea walked over to have a look, too.
"See here: 'A couple of the most impressive
races were the ones between Myana the Aisha and Naero the Nimmo and also Iris
the Acara versus Anabor the Gelert,'" Coach read and glanced at Iris. "'It was
difficult to tell who was the better flyer; Iris or Anabor?' Well, I think we
know the answer to that one. 'In the end Iris was able to keep her opponent
straight and steer him against a wall. It was an impressive and steady move
from a newcomer.' And I couldn't agree more," Coach finished. Iris felt her
face warming. Why was Coach being so flattering?
The Bruce probably noticed her odd expression
and said: "There's a new race coming up. It's not as big as this one", he lifted
the paper, "but it's not for very beginners either. Do you think you'd like
to give it a go?"
Iris didn't even need to think, "Sure, of course.
When is it? And where is it? What's the prize? What kind of opponents will I
And so this story ends happily. Thank you for
reading, and good night.