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Achieving Flight

by lost_desert_girl


She would never fly. No matter how rich her owner was, no matter how hard she tried; she would never be able to fly. She wanted to fly; oh, how she wanted to! But she wasn't like all the other Pteris. She was a plushie. And a plushie could never fly.

     She was the youngest of her owner's pets, created just three months ago. Created as green Pteri, created with the desire to fly in her heart. And, just when her young wings were strong enough to lift her off the ground, her owner took her to the lab ray.

     Her owner had grabbed her wing that day. Told her they were going to a magical place where she could be painted pretty colors. She had always wanted to be painted, and came along willingly. She had stepped into the place, that awful place. A ray gun was pointed at her. Then she had been scared. What was going on? She cried out - "Mommy! Mommy!" - And then - then, before she knew what was happening - she fell asleep.

     When she woke up, she was back in her own bed. She sighed. Just a dream. Today, she was going to fly, she thought excitedly. As she passed her mirror, she saw purple out of the corner of her eye. "That's funny…"she thought. "I don't remember being painted purple…" She looked in the mirror. And that was when it all began.

     "A Pteri that can't fly. How stupid!" As Mai was recalling these events from her past, Carla, a beautiful cloud Pteri, was making fun of her. Again. "I mean really," Carla continued loudly, showing off for the Pteris playing Cheat under a tree. "A plushie Pteri? Honestly, how dumb can you get? I know who won't be winning the Jr. Pteri Flying championships this year!"

     The Jr. Pteri Flying Championships - two months after the real one was the junior one, for Pteris not yet old enough to fly the entire distance. The 'juniors', as they were called were only two weeks away - and Mai still couldn't fly. "Flightless Pteri, flightless Pteri!" And still, Carla reminded her of it. Carla's friends joined in. "Flightless Pteri, flightless Pteri!" It beat through her head over and over and over again. "Flightless Pteri, flightless Pteri!" Would it ever stop? The chanting grew louder, louder. "Flightless Pteri! Flightless Pteri!" Louder, louder - their words hurt like buzz stings - and still louder! "Flightless Pteri! Ha, ha, flightless Pteri! Flightless Pteri! Flightless Pteri! HAHAHA!" "Please," Mai thought. "Please, make it stop!" "Flightless Pteri, flightless Pteri!"

     "Stop it!" One of the males from under the tree stood in the middle of the circle. "It's not her fault she can't fly! Leave her alone!" And everything blacked out.

          "Are you okay?" Mai blinked. A handsome orange Pteri was looking down at her. It was - no. Could it be? The one who had saved her? She realized he wanted an answer. "Yeah… I'm fine."

     "Those girls were so rude. I can't believe them! Honestly, I mean it isn't your fault the lab ray turned you plushie!"

     "H - how did you know it was the lab ray?"

     The Pteri grinned. "Your owner and my owner are in the same guild. You know, Wild Tsunami?"

     After a second of thinking, Mai remembered. A new member had joined the guild… a member with an orange Pteri.

     "My name is Byrd. What's yours?" the Pteri continued.

     "M- Mai."

     "Well, Mai, I've come to a decision. I'm going to teach you how to fly."

     "But… that's impossible. Plushies don't fly, and you know it. We're too heavy."

      "That's all you think."

     Mai still had absolutely no idea what Byrd was talking about, but she had no time to ask as her owner called her.

     "I have to go…" she murmured and ran to her owner as fast as her plushie legs could carry her.

     For the next week, Mai only saw Byrd twice. Once was at a guild meeting, where the members discussed the next poll, and the other time he was playing Sutek's Tomb. Strange… Byrd hated Sutek's Tomb. He claimed the only time he had ever played that game was to get the avatar. Oh well. That wasn't a big deal. Mai was more interested in finding a way to at least watch the Juniors. She didn't have the Neopoints to buy a ticket, and her owner wouldn't give her any. "You'll just feel worse about being painted plushie," her owner had said.

     But she wanted to go. Flight was something every Pteri wanted. Like all Pteris, Mai had a desire, a burning desire in her heart. The desire to kiss the ground goodbye, to spread her wings and fly. But, plushie as she was, this desire could never, never be satisfied. To her, just seeing other Pteris fly was enough.

     The day before the Juniors, the doorbell rang. Absorbed in "How to Make A Pteri Plush Doll" Mai let her sister Berry answer it. "Mai!" Berry shouted. "It's for you!"

     Mai's beak dropped. "What…" she stammered.

     "It's a flying machine!" Byrd cried happily. "I made all by myself! It's for you!"

     Mai stared. Byrd had used Blue Yarn to tie two scorchio wing shields to a beach chair. There were three levers - one attached to each wing, and one in back. The entire thing was painted with Sparkly Blue Paint.

     "See? You push the lever in back to turn the brakes on and off, and you can push the levers next to the wings to make them move up and down. What do you think?"

     Actually, Mai thought that it was the most absurd thing since Dung Petpet Paintbrushes. She highly doubted the "flying machine" would even get off the ground. And, even if it could, it would never support her weight. After all, she was a plushie. But, she thanked him anyway.

     "Let's try it out now!" said the excited Byrd.

     Mai really didn't want to crush his hopes, but she didn't want to crush his machine, either. Eventually, she agreed to go to the park with him and try it out.

     Mai gingerly sat on the machine as Byrd lined the entire area with pillows. A host of young Pteris had gathered around to watch. Mai thought grimly that they would soon be laughing.

     "Okay, let's try it!" Byrd cried. Before Mai knew what was happening, Byrd had switched off the brake and she was pushing the levers. She was up in the air! But, no! The beach chair couldn't take her weight. The chair ripped, and she fell…fell…and - oh miracle of miracles - managed to hit the pillows. The Pteris watching burst out into laughter. Tears filled Mai's eyes, not from pain but from humiliation.

     "Oh…darn." Byrd looked disappointed. As she watched Byrd trudge away, Mai was suddenly filled with emotion. She could live with the embarrassment. She was used to it. But… Byrd. He had tried so hard to get her to fly, and all his efforts had resulted in failure. Silently, she picked up the scorchio wing shields, the levers, the yarn and the sparkly blue paint, and headed for the shop wizard….

          It was the day of the Juniors. Byrd filled his water bottle sadly. All that annoying Sutek's Tomb was for nothing. All that planning…all those neopoints…all for nothing.

     The referee gestured to him. The Juniors were about to start. Bird flew to the starting line. If only Mai could be here…

     "Hey, Byrd!"

     Byrd turned sharply. It was… Mai! And she had the flying machine… only it was different. Instead of a beach chair, she had used a wooden garden bench.

     "I used all of your Sparkly Blue Paint. Sorry."

     "It's…it's okay." Byrd was stunned. Would this one work? Or would it be just as mortifying as last time?

     "On your marks," yelled the referee.

     "Get set." Mai turned off the brakes.

     "GO!" The ref blew his whistle.

     Mai pumped with all her might. The machine got off the ground, and, slowly, Mai began to move forward, using the steering lever she had added after crashing into a tree.

     She was far behind. She could barely see the Pteri in last place. "C'mon, c'mon…" she muttered. She pushed the levers harder, faster.

     Faster, faster - she passed one Pteri, two Pteris.

     Harder, harder she pumped - she was in fourth place now.

     Higher, higher - She passed Byrd. Now only Carla remained in front of her.

     Faster she pumped. She and Carla were neck and neck. Carla glared angrily at her. Mai just grinned.

     Now the finish line was just yards away. Mai was getting tired. Then she remembered how badly Byrd had wanted her to fly, and with her final ounce of strength she pushed the levers and passed Carla! She had won! She could hardly hear herself think from the sound of cheering. A medal was put around her neck. Byrd landed and cried "Mai! It worked! You won!" Mai smiled. She had finally achieved flight.

The End

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