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The Battledome Queen


by funkymunky111277

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"Bye, Mom!" called Ariel as she ran out the door. The cheerful Xweetok was on her way to the Training School. From a family of powerful Battledome warriors, she was looking forward to her first day.

      As she ran, she combed her fingers through her blue fur. She wanted to make a good first impression on Ryshu the Nimmo and the Techo Master, not to mention her peers.

      She arrived early, just as she'd planned. The Level 12 group was still practicing. Ariel watched, awed, as fists flew and Neopets sharpened their skills. One battle in particular caught her eye. It would seem like a one-sided fight, an Acara versus a Kiko, but the Kiko was holding its ground. Ariel gaped as the tiny, adorable Neopet spun around fiercely, knocking the Acara to the ground with its paw.

      Then the bell sounded. It was time for Ariel's group. As the other pets poured out, the Level 1s ran in.

      Most of the boys found their buddies and started punching at each other, then spinning away at the last possible second. The girls chatted away with each other. Ariel realized she was the only person here who seemed serious about battling.

      The Techo Master walked in. He had been observing them from his meditation room. His apprentice, a red Cybunny, shadowed him.

      "Welcome to the Training School," he announced in a loud, rumbly voice. "I shall warn you. This is not the place for you if you battle for the glory, or for the trophies, or the respect. This is a place for those who battle for the love of battling." He paused to let this sink in. "Many excellent battlers fight only because they love attention. That attitude will not get you far in here." He paused again. "Inside these walls, legends were born. Some of the most famous Neopians trained here. I am not saying you will become a legend. I am saying that this training will help you if it is your destiny to become great."

      Ariel looked around at her fellow students. Girls were whispering and giggling, boys were doing pathetic karate chops. Nobody else seemed to care what the Master was saying. Ariel shrugged and turned to face her new teacher.

      The tall Nimmo spoke again. "Inside these walls, I am Sensei. Outside, you may call me anything you like, although if I am around, I am sure you will be properly respectful. But now I am Sensei."

      He turned to face his apprentice. "Molly, will you teach them the first lesson? I am tired." The Cybunny nodded silently. "Thank you, Molly," he said, and entered his meditation room.

      Molly turned to face the new pupils. As soon as the Techo's door was closed, pets began whispering and pointing at her. "We don't wanna be taught by a GIRL!" yelled a tall Chomby.

      Molly's peaceful blue eyes flashed. "All right, then," she said, in a low voice. "Is this a challenge?"

      The Chomby who'd spoken whispered with his buds. He turned around defiantly. "Yup," he said. "You and me, right here, right now. You're gonna get beat, girl!"

      "Stand back," said the Cybunny. She and the Chomby circled each other. Suddenly, the Chomby attacked, his mouth ready to bite. The Cybunny spun away and hopped onto the Chomby's back. As he turned to snap at her, she leapt off, landing in front of him. She slid directly into a smooth kick between his front legs, then leapt to punch him lightly between the eyes. He fell backwards with a thump. Ariel giggled at the sight.

      The Chomby knew when he'd been beaten. He stared angrily at the unflustered Molly sitting on his chest. "All right," she said, jumping off. "The first lesson begins. If anybody in this room is prejudiced, be it against females, Kikos, petpets, or mutants, they might as well leave now. You will fight against every species and every color. Some of you may even battle Petpets." She glanced around the room, stopping the soft spread of chuckles. "There is nothing wrong with battling a Petpet. They are as skilled as Neopets, simply smaller. A small disadvantage, not enough to lose a battle. Prejudice will bring you down in here, as this Chomby so helpfully displayed. That is the first lesson you must learn. Your first class is over."

      "Aren't we going to learn to fight?" asked a whiny Aisha. Molly smiled. "In time. But this is the most important of the lessons taught within these walls."

      The bell rang. Ariel hung around to talk to Molly. As soon as the others were gone, she approached the powerful Cybunny. "Um, can I have a word, please?" she asked.

      Molly nodded. "Better make it quick. The Level 4s are coming in soon."

      Ariel took a deep breath. "I thought you were awesome today, fighting that Chomby."

      Molly laughed. "Oh, that? That was nothing. I wouldn't have wasted my time on him if it hadn't been relevant to my lesson."

      Ariel nodded. "Well, see, I was wondering if maybe you would battle me?" She blushed as the Cybunny laughed.

      "Me, battle you? You WANT me to battle you?"

      Ariel nodded again. "For training, you know," she said quickly. "In the Water Arena? Just a private battle, something for me to practice. Go easy on me, okay?"

      Molly agreed. "See you there," she said, pushing Ariel out the door.

      The next day, at the Water Arena...

      Ariel walked in to find Molly already warming up. "Our battle isn't for half an hour!" she exclaimed. Molly nodded. "I have to stretch and warm up my muscles every time, even if I'm not fighting my best." Ariel nodded and started her own warm-up.

      Half an hour passed quickly. Before Ariel even realized it was time, the master's Cybunny apprentice was getting into stance. Ariel leapt into the stance her mother had taught her before she was old enough to go to the Training School.

      "Begin," said the Krawk who was serving as the referee. He did not seem very interested in the match.

      Ariel began her much-practiced routine: fake punch to the left, spin away to the right, attack from behind-

      "Time out," said Molly. She eyed Ariel suspiciously. "You've been trained before," she said.

      Ariel nodded. "A little," she admitted. "Just my mom." Molly signaled to the ref. "Time in."

      Molly leaped away from Ariel's attack, twisted to face her, and leapt. Ariel figured she was trying to get behind her and spun around, ready. Molly landed and kicked up from a low position. Ariel grabbed her leg, stopping the kick. She spun the Cybunny around before tossing her down.

      The Krawk ran forward and shoved Ariel's hand in the air. "Winner!" he announced grandly, as if there was a huge audience. He walked away again, bored as ever.

      Molly got up, breathing hard. "Good job," she said. "You belong in Level 7, I think. I'll tell Sensei to move you up."

      Ariel smiled at Molly. "Thanks," she said.

      About fifty years later...

      Ariel smiled, watching her grandchildren entering the Training School, now taught by her. She had risen above all others in the Battledome and was nicknamed "The Battledome Queen." As a respected member of the community, she had added two new Battledome Arenas: the Everyone Arena, created for those who hated prejudice, and the Joy Arena, for those who battled for the love of battling. Both of these were dedicated to the Techo Master, a much-missed member of Neopia. Ariel wiped a sentimental tear from her eye as she thought of the Sensei.

      She remembered the ceremony, called the Crowning of the New Master. She stood to the side with a line of other Neopians vying for the spot. It was a tournament entry. She had battled a Koi, two Grundos, a Zafara and a Warf. She easily dominated the other entries. That week, she was moved up in Neopia from Respected Citizen to Training Master. They gave her a certificate and a crown of flowers since she was female. It was a simple ceremony.

      Molly stood up as the Crowner. "We are gathered here today," she began, "to celebrate another milestone in Battledome History. The Crowning of the Next Master is a well-known procedure we are forced to do after the...retirement of a Sensei. Our new Master is Ariel the Xweetok!" Molly placed the crown upon Ariel's head.

      As soon as it touched her, Ariel felt power surging through her, from her claws to the tips of her tail. "Thank you," she sobbed, half crying with joy, "thank you!" She blushed as the audience clapped energetically. The crowd was a giant mixing pot. Haunted Foresters, Tyrannians, Faeries, Centralers (the pets from Neopia Central), Space-pets, Kreludor pets, Meridell residents, Brightvalers, and even a few Maraquans. The Techo Master would have loved the diversity.

      Erika, Ariel's youngest granddaughter, entered the school, looking much like Ariel had on her first day. The aged Xweetok smiled. Another legend was about to be born.

The End

 
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