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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 15th day of Sleeping, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 26 > Continuing Series > Legends of the Seasons: Part Two

Legends of the Seasons: Part Two

by tdyans

Achilles81 and I lounged in the bleachers, breathing in the cool, thin air and each keeping one eye on Moeioe as he wandered around. It was Moeioe's 200 day "birthday," so as a treat we were spending the day in Faerieland. Achilles and I had taken a Uni-drawn carriage up to the floating world and Moeioe had flown beside us until he got tired about half way up and decided to conserve his energy for the day ahead. Now he was definitely putting that saved up energy to use. We had already visited the Wheel of Fortune, winning back only 56 Neopoints after spending 100 but it didn't dampen Moeioe's excitement, and as he helpfully pointed out we'd be able to try again later before we went home. Then we'd gone to the Faerie PetPet Store and Moeioe had gawked at the Barbats and Harrises in wonder for a few minutes. Now we were at our last stop before we headed into Faerie City itself--the Poogle Race Track. This was probably Moeioe's favourite place in all of Faerieland.

The little Moehog was lining himself up beside the gate that separated the bleachers from the race track so that he was even with the five Poogles who were now taking their places at the starting line, stretching and tossing idle challenges at each other. As the referee called out "Ready!" and the Poogles lined up and tensed themselves for their start, Moeioe did the same, narrowing his eyes and biting his tongue in utter concentration. "Set, Go!" the referee called. The Poogles, kicking up dirt, took off, and so did Moeioe, pretending that he was in the race also. It wasn't long though before the clattering of Moeioe's little hooves fell far behind the pounding of the Poogles feet. He slowed down and finally came to a stop, panting and hanging his head in resignation as he walked back to the starting point.

"Come on and sit with us, Moeioe," Achilles called to him. "Relax and enjoy the race." Sighing, Moeioe complied, climbing up the steps to reach us and sit between Achilles' cloud-covered body and my own grass-green one. Something was bothering Moeioe, Achilles and I could both tell, but we kept our silence, giving him time. We watched the Poogles race around the track a few times before Moeioe finally piped up.

"How come I can't run as fast as a Poogle?" he asked.

"Well Moeioe," Achilles chuckled a little, "You can't expect to be able to keep up with them. Poogles are the fastest pets in Neopia, and those guys are professionals."

"Yeah, but why? Why are Poogles so fast? I mean, they've got even shorter, stubbier legs than I do, so how come they can run so fast and I can't?"

"Oh," Achilles said, "Well, I think that's a question for MaxKanine."

He and Moeioe both turned to me expectantly, knowing what was coming. "Well," I said, not about to disappoint them, "That is, in fact, a very interesting story." The busy racetrack and cheering fans faded into the distance as I began...

***

As you know now, there was once a time when there was no time in Neopia. Nothing ever changed, and everything was the same, including all of the NeoPets. But this all changed because of the noble Lupe, and because of the Faerie Queen, who granted him and all of the other NeoPets the gift of time. The perpetual winter that had hung over Neopia for as long as any could remember melted away to glorious spring and the Month of Awakening. The NeoPets, every tribe, spent this month enjoying their new freedom--frolicking in the sun, lying in the grass, staying up late each night talking and laughing.

But by the time the month was over, the novelty of simply enjoying spring was already beginning to wear off. The NeoPets cast about for something to do, something that they had never done before, something challenging and entertaining. Finally, someone, and nobody could ever remember exactly who had first come up with it, suggested that they have a race. This new idea rekindled the excitement of every NeoPet. Each tribe leader would participate in this great race across Neopia, and their people would watch and cheer them on, hoping that their leader would bring triumph and pride to their tribe by winning.

Although they all had found that they enjoyed running and playing for fun, however, none of the NeoPets was really equipped for such a difficult challenge, so they decided to ask the Faerie Queen for help. She very happily complied, offering to grant one wish to each tribe leader. Whatever wish he or she believed would help to win the race would be granted to that leader as well as the entire tribe. So the NeoPets came to her one by one. Gelert asked for long legs to make great strides, Lupe asked for strong legs to give him endurance, Uni asked for tough hooves to run over rough terrain, Cybunny asked for long feet propel her forward, Blumaroo asked for a strong tail to bounce on, and so it continued until every creature had made his or her wish except for one.

Poogle wanted more than anything to win the race and bring honour to his tribe. He knew that his wish had to be special and unique, but he didn't know just what that could be. As it came to his turn to make his wish, he hesitated and then finally asked in a timid voice, "Faerie Queen, I don't know what to wish for. May--may I make my wish later."

Some of the other pets gaped and laughed, but the Faerie Queen just smiled knowingly down at Poogle and said, "Of course you may. It's very wise to take your time to decide what it is you truly need. You'll know when you've found the wish you must make." With that the Queen disappeared once again, and each NeoPet, looking a little shocked, headed home through the sunset to prepare for the race that would begin the next day.

Morning arrived, and every NeoPet came out of their homes to gather along the wide path that stretched across all of Neopia, which had been chosen as the course for the Great Race. Each tribe leader lined up at the starting point, all ready and excited to go and each confident that he or she would be the victor, all except for Poogle, who had yet to make his wish.

The Faerie Queen had deigned to start the race off herself and act as the referee. She stood, regal as ever, before the line of racers, wished them all luck in her melodious voice, lifted her wand into the air and brought it down quickly with a swishing sound. The racers took off at this signal, and those who had wished for long legs, strong muscles, large feet, or anything else soon left Poogle far behind and struggling to make his way through a cloud of dust.

As hopeless as he felt at the sight of all the other NeoPets disappearing into the horizon, Poogle prodded on the best he could, all the while lamenting that he had not made his wish before like everyone else and that he still could not think of anything good enough to wish for. Finally, the first day of the race was drawing to a close, and through the crimson and violet shades cast by the setting sun, Poogle caught sight of another NeoPet up ahead. Perhaps he hadn't fallen so far behind after all. As he drew nearer, though, it became clear that something was wrong.

The other NeoPet was Cybunny, and the reason that Poogle was catching up to her was that she was not moving. "What's the matter?" Poogle called to her as he approached.

Cybunny looked at him as though wondering if she should answer and then finally said, "My foot," gesturing down helplessly toward the ground. Looking down to where she pointed, Poogle saw that one of those big, strong feet that he had so admired and envied at the start of the race when she had taken off at lightning speed was now caught in a narrow crack in the rocky terrain that she had been crossing. The idea of taking his advantage and getting ahead before Cybunny freed herself flitted across Poogle's mind, but he quickly dismissed it. Cybunny was obviously in pain and as there were no spectators in this region and no other racers behind him, he was the only one who could help her.

Poogle first grabbed Cybunny's front paws with his own and tried to pull her out of the hole, but her hind foot stayed firmly lodged where it was and Cybunny howled with pain until he had to stop. He then tried knocking on the rock to see if perhaps he could dig some of it away so that Cybunny could pull her foot out, but he found it far too solid. And so it continued that idea after idea had to be dismissed until Poogle began to feel that it was hopeless, but it was then that he realised what he had to do.

No sooner had the thought climbed into his head than the Faerie Queen, her radiance illuminating the growing darkness, appeared before the two NeoPets. "You summoned me Poogle," she said. "Are you ready to make your one wish?"

"Y-yes," Poogle replied with difficulty. "Cybunny's stuck and hurt very badly. I-I w-wish for you to free her and make her better."

Cybunny looked at Poogle with a shocked expression even as the Faerie Queen raised her wand above their heads and said, "It shall be done." In a matter of moments, the crack in the rock had disappeared, Cybunny's foot was freed and as good as new. Cybunny looked at her new foot, wiggled it experimentally, and then turned to smile at

Poogle. "Thanks," she tossed at him as she hopped off into the night, anxious to catch up with the race.

Poogle hung his head dejectedly. "Why what's wrong Poogle?" the Faerie Queen asked. "You've just done a very noble thing."

"I know," said Poogle, "But now I'll never have a chance to win the race. I may as well give up."

"Oh, but no good deed goes unrewarded my little NeoPet For your generosity, you deserve the best wish of all the racers, that special one that you have been searching for all along, and I've already given it to you. When I was rescuing Cybunny I was rewarding you also." Poogle looked up at her with hope gleaming in his eyes, but then looked down at himself to see that nothing had changed. "Oh, it's nothing you can see," the Faerie Queen continued, "But only something within you, which is the greatest gift. Though you have none of their individual gifts for speed, or strength, or agility Poogle, you are now the fastest of all the NeoPets in any way."

Poogle could find nothing to say to this before the Faerie Queen had already vanished back into whatever place it is that she stays when she does not show herself to us. And then he decided to test out this gift that he had been given. So he set off again on the race course, and suddenly he found himself becoming faster and faster as he went. His legs were still short, his paws were still stubby, his body was still less than lean and muscular, but somehow Poogle found a speed that he had never experienced before, a speed that defied all of these outward things, that seemed to come from within him.

He sped past Cybunny and continued on, he flew by Blumaroo, and Lupe, and Gelert, he passed up even Uni until he had overtaken every NeoPet in the race, still never tiring. As he passed each one, they looked at him in shock, wondering how he could be beating them, what possible wish he could have made. None of them knew or understood that because he had shown himself to be good on the inside, he had been given an inner gift that could surpass all of the outer gifts that they had ever thought to ask for. Poogle won the Great Race, of course, bringing honour to his tribe. And ever since that day, in the Month of Racing, Poogles have always been the greatest racers of all...

***

My story ended, and the small group that had gathered around the three of us to listen in began to slowly disperse back to their seats to watch the rest of the races. When we were alone again, I put my paw on Moeioe's shoulder. "So you see, Moeioe, that is why Poogles are such good runners, and none of us can ever hope to equal them in that way." He nodded, and I continued, "But, we each have our own unique inner virtues just like the Poogles do, things that cannot necessarily be seen on the outside but which make us all special in our own ways."

Moeioe paused and looked down at the racetrack in contemplation for a few moments. Then he looked back up at me and asked, "Even Moehogs?"

I chuckled and tightened my paw about his shoulders as we turned back to the race. "Especially Moehogs."

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Legends of the Seasons: Part One

Legends of the Seasons: Part Three

Legends of the Seasons: Part Four

Legends of the Seasons: Part Five

Legends of the Seasons: Part Six

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