Play the Game
“TAG!!! You’re it!”
Raff poked a black hoof into the flank of a yellow Ixi. The yellow Ixi spun around, but only a moment after did another Ixi call, “Stop!”
Everyone stopped. The last voice belonged to a brown Ixi named Flana. She continued, “Thanks a lot, Raff. Now Vanny’s it! She can’t catch ANYONE.”
Vanny, the yellow Ixi, stamped a hoof defiantly. “I can so!”
Raff was an Ixi with a red coat. He stated, “She was the one closest to me.”
The fourth Ixi, a striped one called Durno, argued, “Well, if Vanny can’t do anything, she’ll just have to sit out of our games of tag.”
“It’s not just tag,” said Flana, “It’s just about every other game we play: Gormball, Hide and Seek, Hopscotch...”
“...Potato Counter...” added Raff.
“I get it already,” huffed Vanny, “I’m not good at anything. Well, you know what? You’re not going to kick me out of your silly games. You know why? Because I QUIT first! Oh!” And she stomped off.
As she walked along, Vanny muttered to herself, “Humph. Not good at tag. What the heck are they talking about? Tag is fun to play. So what if I never win?”
The little Ixi knew she’d need to come up with something. She already figured that she was no good at coming up with ideas, so she’d get someone else to do it. Vanny skipped along, thinking of whom to go to for advice. She finally decided that she’d seek the wisdom of her closest sibling, her brother.
Vanny had parked herself in a bed of flowers, while her brother sat on the bench beside her. He cringed slightly as she munched on the flowers’ brightly coloured heads. Vanny said, “I need you to help me, Court. My abilities don’t match the abilities of the other Ixi. It’s not fair!”
Court nodded his ghostly Hissi head. “There are only a few ways to deal with an issue like that. I think... I think the most effective way would be to find something only you’re good at and challenge them with it!”
“Come on, Vanny! Invent something! Become a pro at it! Be an original!” Court punched the air enthusiastically.
“Yeah!” said Vanny zealously, her ears perking up. “I’m going to be an original! I’m going to show those Ixi what I can do! ...Wait, what can I do?”
The Hissi looked around for ideas. His eyes fell upon a Skeith who was walking a Spardel. “What about Petpet-boarding? Have your Petpet hold a set of wheels in his front and rear paws, and roll him down a hill...”
“Do you honestly think the PPL would approve of something like that?”
“Hmm... I suppose not.”
“Then what’ll we—”
“Hey, wait... I’ve got it!”
And as Court explained his plan to Vanny, a lone Weewoo fluttered down from a tree. It perched itself on Vanny’s head without her awareness, looked around, and flew away. Vanny’s grin broadened as she heard the plan. Once Court was done, she stood up—and grunted in disgust. Before she was to start the brilliant plan, she’d need some brilliant shampoo to wash away the present that was left in her hair.
A while later, Vanny returned to the field where she and her friends had been playing. They were still there, but now they were just finishing a round of what appeared to be Simon Says.
“Oh, look... Vanny’s back,” sneered Durno.
“You can’t play with us!” yelled Flana.
“I don’t want to play your stupid, unoriginal games,” said Vanny, “I invented a new one!” (Court had given her permission to take credit for his idea.)
“Oh, really?” remarked Raff, “Explain it to us, then! We’ll see whether it’s worthwhile or not!”
“Alright,” said Vanny. She produced four coloured balls. “Each one of us gets a ball,” explained Vanny, “and we have to run around, trying to hit each other. You have to throw the ball and it has to hit them. When you get hit, you’re out. You can catch somebody else’s ball, too.”
“Sounds good!” said Raff. “Let’s play!”
The balls were distributed amongst them evenly, and everyone picked a starting point. About three seconds into the game, Vanny was hit.
Durno picked up his ball smugly. “So... you fail to win your own game?”
“I wasn’t ready!” objected the yellow Ixi.
As the other Ixi called out their put-downs and mockery, Vanny thought to herself, No wonder Court told me to take credit for inventing this game! This game is so stupid he didn’t want to get caught making it!
“Face it, Vanny, you’re no good at anything,” said Flana.
“You’ll see,” said Vanny, not undetermined by their words.
Once again, Vanny went to Court for help. The Hissi sat on another bench in the park, licking the caramel off of a Candy Apple with his forked tongue. Vanny had a tchea fruit smoothie. Between slurps she said, “That idea didn’t work. Tell me again why we didn’t practice ahead of time!”
Court threw up his wings in protest. “Hey, don’t go blaming me for that! You were the one who said, ‘Come on, Court! I need to leave as soon as possible to show up those Ixi’! Ring a bell, by any chance?”
“Kick me while I’m down, why don’t you?”
“Sorry, Vanny. Just don’t blame me for your mess-up!”
Vanny sighed and took a drink of her smoothie. “You’re right. But I just have to prove my point somewhere! There has to be something I’m good at!”
Court closed his eyes in concentration. “Well, if it doesn’t offend you, intellect certainly isn’t your strongest aspect...”
“Ugh... I don’t even want to THINK about the mark I got on my math test. And spelling test... and science test...”
“I get the picture! ...Out of all your strengths, I’d have to say your physical skills are the most prominent. But we already know that you can’t beat the other Ixi at their games.”
“This doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere.”
“So... you’ll just have to...”
“WAIT!” Vanny leapt up so suddenly that Court accidentally dropped his candy apple. He scowled at Vanny, but the Ixi paid no notice and continued, “I’ve got the PERFECT plan! It’ll show those other Ixi who’s better... and all it’ll take is my awesome SKILL!!!”
And with that, Vanny leapt off in the direction of the field the Ixi were in. Court, confused at what just happened, watched her go. Then he looked down at his dirty candy apple, pulled a few Neopoints from his wallet, and went off to buy a new one.
Vanny trotted down the cobblestone road, her head high and spirits lifted. She bore a large smile, growing the more she thought about her clever idea. As she bounded down, her body shook with excitement.
The other Ixi looked with intrigue as she passed. Raff scoffed, “Hey, Vanny, you dared to show your humble face again. What the heck are you up to?”
“That smile is creeping me out...” muttered Durno.
“I bet you couldn’t guess,” said Vanny.
“Did you win the lottery?” asked Flana.
“Nope.” Vanny was still beaming.
“Did you get a trophy?” wondered Raff.
“What could be better than that?”
“I found something that I am good at and that none of you are.”
“Oh yeah? And what would that be?”
“The thing I’m best at is being ME, something that none of you can do.” And she skipped away happily, leaving the others dumbfounded in her dust.