The Little Giant
Evrem's eyes danced through the crowded seats of the Colosseum.
Pets of all species shouted encouraging words towards their favorite teams, the
opposition being pelted with jeers. Foam Fingers were waved, and flags fluttered
high above the stands.
The young Tyrannian Scorchio sighed as he leaned
forward from his place on the bench. He folded his blue arms in his lap and
turned his gaze onto his fellow Tyrannian teammates, standing just in front
of him. Wila seemed to be having a dispute with Scrap. Evrem cast his ears towards
the seemingly heated conversation.
"No, Wila! We should go with the three plus
one formation. It has always helped us in the past. Didn't we cream that pathetic
practice team using that very set up?" Scrap argued, tossing back his coarse,
brown Moehog mane.
Wila merely rolled her emerald eyes at the Moehog's
pitiful attempt to change her stubborn Tonu mind. "We really should try something
new. Besides, the Roo Island players are much... more skilled... than the practice
team. Not to mention those overly-perky Blumaroos!" Wila shivered. "Who knows?
We could win with something new. We should obviously go with the one plus three
Scrap muttered his retort under his breath,
Wila smiling smugly at her latest victory.
"I like the two and two idea myself," Evrem
said, rising to his feet and approaching his team mates.
"Oh don't be a Grundo," Wila said. "That hasn't
worked for anyone in this whole tournament. Really, Evrem, you ought to know
"It seemed to work for Faerieland in the practice
rounds," Evrem replied, trying to keep his voice from shaking with rage at Wila's
"But those sissy creatures don't have a chance
at the cup, now do they?" Scrap said, kneeling down to adjust his shin guards.
He began to flail his hooved front legs and jump into the air, an accurate imitation
of the Faerieland team.
Evrem let out an exasperated sigh. Why was he
here if he couldn't even suggest an idea without it being shot down? Why couldn't
he be accepted by the fans, or even his own teammates?! Evrem could feel a bubble
of anger rising through his small body, feeling as though it were about to burst.
He returned to the bench, where he had spent most of the tournament, though
it was just the first round. Had he not proven himself at the training camp?
Now, here in the distant Altador, he hadn't played a single game. Nor did he
expect to play today, the first official match of the tournament.
Only a few moments later, the lights began to
darken. The crowd stopped chanting and booing, as though a wave of silence had
swept over them. Only one light was still on in the Colosseum, a spotlight shining
in the middle of the arena, where the symbol for the Altador Cup was painted
cleanly on the stone surface.
A star shaped figure emerged right where the
spotlight was pointed. It looked to Evrem like a snowflake, a mixture of a crisp
white and light blue. Of course he knew what it was, a Yooyu. The petpet leaped
into the air, rolling itself into a compact ball.
Dayla of Roo Island took the Yooyu first. She
held it under her bright red wing as her clumsy, yet speedy, Lenny feet led
her toward the goal. Loryche, captain of the Tyrannians, cut Dayla off just
as she was about to reach the goal. Dayla struggled to throw the Yooyu over
the towering Chomby's head. But she managed to succeed, and it was caught by
Fenny Vail. Her brunette pigtails bobbed behind her as she sped towards the
goal. Faking it to the right, the Usul scored to the left side of the goal.
She ran to greet her teammates in the center of the arena, as they patted her
on her back and smiled down at her.
Before Evrem knew it, his team of Tyrannia had
responded with a scoring of their own-done by Scrap, who now seemed rather satisfied
with Wila's suggested formation.
The game went on and on like this. One team
would score, and the other team would follow up with another goal. The game
finished as a tie.
"A tie? With Roo Island?" Wila screeched as
she returned to the Tyrannian bench. "I can't believe it."
"It's alright, Wila. We'll get 'em the next
time-the tie breaker," Harlis, a bulky Grarrl, replied comfortingly. He placed
a fire-printed, clawed hand on her back.
"You should be one to talk! That first goal,
you should have gotten that wimpy Fenny. She's an Usul, for crying out loud!"
Wila hissed. "It's all your fault!"
The moody player stormed from the arena with
her fists clenched. Her chocolate pony tail swished from right to left violently,
following the motion of her body.
"What was that all about?" asked Loryche in the most
captain like way she could muster, as she approached her teammates. Her yellow
face was flushed pink with the effort she had put into the match.
"Wila's just frustrated that we tied with Roo
Island, that's all," explained Scrap.
"A tie is better than a loss, though," Evrem
added to the conversation. All three remaining teammates turned around and glared
at him through narrow eyes.
Suddenly, a high pitched scream rang through
the Colosseum. It bounced off the sturdy stone walls, a deafening sound.
The crowd gasped as a familiar face was carried
from the Tyrannian locker room on a stretcher.
"She just fell down the stairs, we suppose,"
said the on-hand paramedics nonchalantly.
"Wila!" Loryche said to the Tonu lying on the
stretcher. She then asked one paramedic, "Can she play tomorrow?"
"Not a chance. She'll need at least one day
of rest, and then she should be able to compete. This could become severe if
we don't treat it right away. But we are, so you still could win." The paramedic
glanced at the Roo Island team, standing on their team bench and accepting items
from the audience. "That is, if you can beat the Roo Islanders," he finished,
taking the stretcher from the arena.
"Now what?" Scrap said impatiently. "Who can
replace Wila? She was, no doubt, the most stable player on this whole team!"
"We must go have a team meeting," commanded
Loryche. "Harlis, Scrap, come on."
The Grarrl and Moehog trotted at the Chomby's
heels from the arena. Evrem remained planted where he was, having not been invited
to go to his own team's meeting.
Evrem returned to the Inn where his team was
staying throughout the tournament. He found all teammates, except for Wila,
gathered around a small round table, hovering over a white board.
"We'll use this formation, it'll work!" said
Scrap, picking up the old argument and reviving it, this time with Harlis.
"No, it won't." answered Harlis in his stern,
deep voice. His red pupils scanned the white board, thinking hard.
"You two! Stop!" Loryche bellowed, looking up
from her work written on the white board. "There are only three of us left,
and right now, the formation doesn't matter. We need to find a substitute until
Wila can play again."
"We'd have to go back to Tyrannia for that.
No one is going to want to help us win now that everyone has already decided
a team! Its too late, the tournament has already begun." Scrap pointed out.
"That's true," Harlis agreed, nodding his colossal
"Evrem... what are you doing in here?" Scrap
jumped in, gesturing to the Scorchio in the door way, where he had remained
for a good fifteen minutes before being noticed.
"To see what you had come up with regarding
tomorrow's tie breaking match," Evrem said coolly, sitting down in the left
"We were just thinking of a replacement for...
" Harlis was cut off by the excited cheers of Loryche.
"I've got it!" she hollered. "I've got it! Why,
of course, Evrem could play. He's already here in Altador, isn't he? He's already
got a contract! Why didn't I think of this sooner?"
"Evrem?" Scrap asked, almost as though the word
were toxic to his inners. "Evrem?"
"Yes, of course! Evrem!"
"He's much too little, Loryche. Have you gone
off your rocker?" Harlis insisted.
"He can't play Wila's position of Left Forward.
He can't shove those Roo Islanders around like Wila can. I agree, he's too tiny,"
Loryche pondered these comments for a moment.
"Scrap is right. Evrem can't play Left Forward, no. He must play goal keeper!"
"Goal keeper?" Harlis and Scrap whispered in
"That's my position!" Harlis screamed.
"Are you out to ruin us?"
"Think about it, guys," Loryche said calmly.
"He's fast, he's nimble. We need someone of your size out there on the front
line, Harlis. By no means is this permanent, just until Wila recovers. A mere
"A game that decides if we stay in the tournament!"
Harlis argued. Loryche ignored this last comment. She turned to an ecstatic
"Now, you better hurry off to bed. We need you
fresh and prepared in the morning."
Evrem nodded, not being able to let words reach
his dry lips. He was finally getting a chance to play in the tournament! His
mind was racing. But he was just too excited-not to mention nervous-to think
Evrem awoke the next morning to the blaring of
"Wake up, wake up, WAKE UP! We only have two
hours until the game and we still have to practice, hurry, Evrem!" screamed
Loryche. "Hurry, hurry, hurry!"
Startled at this foolishness for not setting
his alarm, Evrem scrambled out of bed, leaving his warm sheets behind. He raced
for the closet and threw on his team jersey and put on his armor-like wrist,
shin, and other guards, for safety.
Evrem scuttled after his teammates to the Colosseum,
where team Tyrannia had scheduled a practice. Though the match wouldn't be starting
for hours, fans had already begun filing into the seats to watch practice. They
were eager for autographs or photographs of their favorite athletes.
As Evrem approached the goal, his new position,
he heard a rather loud and obnoxious fan behind him say, "They're putting him
in? He's too small for such a game. He's smaller than my youngest!"
Evrem tired to ignore the rude spectator, but
this soon proved a difficult task. He knew this would just be one in a series
of sharp insults still to come from the stands. Their beloved Wila was injured,
and he had been put in to replace her. Had it really been that big of a mistake
to come here to Altador, to try to make his name mean something more?
The Tyrannians began to practice. It went fairly
well, and only two Yooyus got past Evrem. He was quite pleased with his performance,
but despite his slightly boosted confidence, he couldn't help but feel anxious.
He supposed that it was only natural.
Soon enough, the lights began to disappear,
and again, the crowd grew silent. The familiar Altador Cup symbol on the floor
of the arena began to split open. Evrem swallowed hard and clenched his moist
palms into fists, determined.
The Yooyu this time was of the faerie variety
and it soared through the air. This time, Scrap grabbed it first and started
off towards the Roo Island goal. The Moehog gave it a hard throw, but it was
blocked by Clutch Billaban, a green Pteri with eyebrows that resembled two baby
Buzz. Swearing under his breath at his failed attempt, Scrap tried to rebound
the Yooyu. Instead, the defender, Gordo Gunnels used his height advantage to
snatch it from midair.
All the while, Evrem could hear the crowd shouting
at team Tyrannia.
"How could you put him in?"
"That's what you call a replacement?"
"We want him OUT!"
"Get Wila back in already!"
Evrem regained his focus as he realized that
the bouncy, yellow Lilo of Roo Island now had the Yooyu and was fast approaching
him. Evrem stretched his body as big as it could go as the Yooyu flew into the
air, headed right at him. The Scorchio caught it just as it almost hit the back
of the goal!
The crowd erupted in an explosion of applause
and cheers for Evrem as he threw the Yooyu back into play.
Unlike the last game, this match remained scoreless.
The game was to be over soon, and it appeared almost as though a tie would yet
again take place.
Fenny Vail, that "wimpy" Usul, had taken possession
of the Yooyu. She dodged and ducked away from the Tyrannian players and was
only a few feet away from Evrem.
SLAP! The Yooyu hit Evrem square in the face!
The Yooyu fell and rolled into the goal!
"No!" Evrem yelled as blood trickled from his
large nostrils. But it was too late. Roo Island had scored victoriously. The
Buzzer signaling the end of the game was ringing. Roo Island had won.
The spectators in the arena were just as unhappy
as Evrem. They all knew that what should have been a penalty, had cost Tyrannia
the match. They were eliminated.
Evrem buried his face in his hands. He knew
that he would never be playing Yooyuball again, having lost the game for his
team. Everyone had been counting on him, and he had let them down. He was surprised
to see all of his teammates gathered around him when he looked up.
"Evrem, you did excellent."
"You really showed us what you can do."
"I'm very proud of you."
Evrem was alarmed. Excellent? He had lost the
"Everyone knows that Fenny was playing unfairly,
Evrem. You played an excellent game and only let up one measly goal! It was
us, the offense, who truly lost. We couldn't touch that pesky Yooyu. You did
very, very well. And we're eternally grateful for the effort that you've put
in, and your determination, not to exclude skill," Loryche said, smiling.
"But we're eliminated!" Evrem wailed.
"Yes... but we see a star in you. You played
beyond expectations, did more than what was asked of you. You proved yourself
for that. You are the true winner-the champion." Scrap slapped Evrem on the
back. Though it was meant to be comforting, it was more painful then anything.
"Despite your size, you played like a giant.
Way to go, Little Giant," Harlis said.
"Way to go, Little Giant!" Loryche and Scrap
And with those final words being said, team
Tyrannia headed home.