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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 21st day of Sleeping, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 31 > Short Stories > Clowns

Clowns

by skysorceress

Brazen Ice was just about the toughest Lupe ever. He was known all over Neopia for his fighting skills in the Battledome. From the tough to the tougher to the even tougher still, Brazen Ice had fought and beat them all. Brazen was so famous that his original name had been forgotten by most and he was known by his opponents and fans alike only as Brazen Ice. Yes, Brazen Ice was truly a living legend. Flawless. Fearless.

Well, perhaps that's not quite true. Because Brazen Ice had one huge, gigantic and completely understandable fear.

"CLOWNS?" Ralainia, a blue Shoyru, stared at Brazen Ice. Brazen Ice nodded miserably. Ralainia, one of Brazen's closest friends, burst out laughing.

Brazen growled. "Oh, quiet. It's a completely reasonable concern and--"

"CLOWNS?" Ralainia repeated, and laughed again. "You, Brazen Ice, who had the Snowager cowering at the end of battle... you are afraid of CLOWNS?"

"Yes!" Brazen said. "Clowns! I am afraid of clowns, okay? Now do you see my problem?"

"Hmm," Ralainia said thoughtfully. "Is it that you're a wuss?"

"Hey! The problem is I'm expected to fight the Chia Clown in an hour! There will be masses of Neopian citizens there and... and... Ralainia, I just can't do it!"

"Of course you can," Ralainia said sensibly. "Don't let some silly, if entirely hilarious, phobia make you tarnish your record. You're famous. Chias even tell their children to be good or else you're going to come and teach them a lesson. I mean, think about it, Brazen... If you lose... to that Chia Clown..."

"Yeah. I've thought about it, okay? That's just the problem... I can't go out there and face that... that..." Brazen Ice turned his face. "I can't say it."

"Clown?" Ralainia offered happily. Brazen sighed. "But if I don't everything I've worked for will be gone."

"Oh, Brazen," Ralainia said sympathetically, although she was still smirking.

"Just think of it as fighting yet another Chia... only this one happens to have an odd choice in make-up... and a really strange sense of fashion."

"B-b-but... Lainia, it's NOT just a Chia with bad taste... it's a... it's a..." Brazen's eyes darted around the room conspiratorially. "Clown," he whispered finally. "It'll be painted bright colours and it'll have this huge fake smile plastered on it's face and a scary red nose and a..." Brazen shivered. "A laugh. A horrible horrible laugh." Ralainia grinned and began taking out weapons. "All this time your opponents have wondered how on Neopia they could beat you. And all they had to do was laugh at you."

"You don't understand," Brazen said in a small voice. "It's not the laugh. It's the way they laugh."

"Oh, well then, that makes much more sense," Ralainia said, rolling her eyes.

"Don't worry Brazen, you'll be fine. Now c'mon, we'd better get going. There's probably a huge crowd waiting for you to pummel that clown already." When Brazen didn't move Ralainia sighed. "Honestly, Brazen. Stop being a coward and start walking. After all, it's not like you're really facing anything dangerous. It's just a clown."

"JUST A CL--" Brazen started to shout in disbelief, but Ralainia was already dragging him out the door.

***

The cheers and shouts of the crowd filled Brazen's ears as he stood in the stadium. The mood wasn't particularly suspenseful. Everyone was expecting the Lupe to win, but Brazen was so much fun to watch that many had shown up despite the nearly predetermined outcome. Brazen remained unresponsive to the crowds enthusiasm. However, when a high-pitched maniacal laugh began to be heard, Brazen jumped about eight feet into the air and then hid his face in his paws. The crowd laughed. Brazen was such a kidder sometimes. As if he was really scared of the clown!

Chia Clown entered the arena and continued laughing. However there was a slight edge to the laugh and it was obvious that he was reluctant to fight Brazen. Like the crowd, he was well aware that there wasn't chance for much of a fight.

However when Brazen Ice did not move the clown grew bolder and began to approach. "Hiya!" Chia Clown said to Brazen with another laugh. "Wanna hear... a JOKE?"

"N-n-no th-th-th-thank you," Brazen managed to stutter. .

"Are you... suuuure?" Chia Clown said. He grinned widely to the crowd and suddenly Brazen Ice saw a whirlwind of bright blinding colours running towards him. Brazen froze and was down in an instant.

The crowd, which had been cheering wildly, was silent but for the steady laughter of Chia Clown, although even the clown seemed a bit stunned.

"It's a joke!" someone in the stands yelled out suddenly. The crowd quickly murmured in agreement. Brazen slowly staggered to his feet. He should attack... But he was too scared! Why couldn't his legs move?! WHAM! Brazen was down again and Chia Clown started to hit him with bad pun after bad pun! Brazen couldn't take it. Again and again Chia Clown attacked and Brazen Ice seemed unable or unwilling to defend himself. Was he going to give up?! the crowd wondered. Chia Clown seemed to be thinking the same thing. He began dancing around, juggling, performing amusing antics for the crowd. The whole crowd began to laugh, the other Chias laughing hardest of all. Even some Lupes started to join in.

Their laughter... Brazen Ice thought dimly to himself. It sounds almost like... clowns... Hundreds upon hundreds of... clowns... He had to get out of there! Brazen Ice leapt to his feet, wavering slightly from Chia Clown's attacks, the attacks which were supposed to be so easy to fight against.

NO! The whole crowd... they were starting to all LOOK like clowns too... This couldn't be happening! It was a nightmare!

Dazed and disoriented, Brazen Ice began looking for a way out. There was none! He had to get out of here before the clowns closed in on him! In a panic Brazen Ice charged blindly forward, running on pure fear. He had to escape! Suddenly... WHAM! Brazen had ran right into something and was pushed to the ground from the impact. He waited for his vision to clear, then looked down at what he had hit.

It was Chia Clown. And he was lying very still.

"HE WON!" somebody shouted in amazement. "BRAZEN ICE WON!"

***

The crowd was still cheering as Brazen Ice left the stadium. Ralainia herself was cheering.

"Wow, Brazen!" she gushed. "That was incredible! I mean, I thought for sure you had lost, the way you were staggering around! Chia Clown isn't nearly as difficult as some of your opponents but still... You had almost no energy left and you beat Chia Clown with one move of pure physical force!" She laughed. "You shoulda seen him fly in the air when you rammed into him! How'd you get the energy?"

"I was scared," Brazen mumbled. "I was just trying to escape."

"Nonsense! You were incredibly brave! The crowd loves you!" Brazen smiled. "Maybe you're right," he said. "I guess I was pretty great! When I got that Chia in one hit and all... besides, I was just pretending to be scared the whole time anyway. Really had you all going there, didn't I?" Brazen Ice smiled smugly. That's when he heard a small voice behind him.

"Brazen? Brazen Ice?"

It was Chia Clown. He had a few bandages wrapped around him, but other than that he seemed okay. He offered a weak smile to Brazen Ice and Brazen smiled back.

"Well," Chia Clown continued, "I just wanted you to know that... you were great. At first I wasn't sure but now... well, you really are a legend!" Chia Clown patted Brazen awkwardly on the shoulder. "Good job!" And then Chia Clown laughed.

Brazen stopped at the sound. He looked deep into those large painted eyes and the shrill laughter of clowns filled his ears.

Brazen Ice fainted.

The End


Author's note: And the moral of the story? Face your fears! Well, I guess Brazen Ice didn't really face his fears, did he... How about, if you can't face your fears, try charging at them! That usually works. At least, it did for Brazen.

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