In The Yooyu Cage: Part Four
Faerie tumbled down the Yooyu chute, gasping. "OMIGRARRL!" she yelled at the top of her lungs, squeezing her eyes shut and collapsing on the floor. Everyone jumped and stared at her in silence. When nothing happened after a couple moments, Faerie opened one eye, squinted around her, and asked, "Like, why aren't you dead?"
There was a confused pause, broken by Mutant bursting into laughter. "Why aren't we dead? What, you thought Darigan would massacre us all? Just because he knocked out Fire?"
"What? You mean, like, Fire's not dead?"
"Just a scratch!" Mutant cackled. "He's sleeping it off."
"And why did he like attack Fire?"
"LIKE attack Fire? He didn't LIKE attack Fire. He attacked him."
The Mutant Yooyu opened his mouth to make some scathing remark, but was interrupted by the mechanical claw, which grabbed him and shoved him onto the Yooyu platform before he could say a word.
Faerie, deciding that the situation needed more drama, fell on her knees in front of Darigan and cried, "Oh, please don't hurt me! I don't deserve an untimely death! Please, please don't cut my beautiful life short!"
"For the last time, NOBODY is going to cut your beautiful life short," muttered Darigan, edging away. Thank goodness Mutant was out of the way for a while. What a relief.
Faerie pouted and marched off in a sulky huff to go reapply her makeup.
"What happened?" came a voice from behind the Darigan Yooyu.
Darigan turned and saw the Normal Yooyu sitting nearby the chute, blinking drowsily and gesturing towards the corner containing Snow, Fire, and Clockwork.
He sighed again. "You," he told Normal, "missed a LOT while you were sleeping."
She looked at him warily.
"Fire was knocked out by Clockwork exploding because I attacked Fire and pushed him into Clockwork because Fire said everyone was inferior to him," he said rapidly.
"Oh." Normal glanced over at Snow and Fire, glanced back at Darigan, decided that she wanted to stay away from him for a while, and walked over to the corner.
Darigan saw her talk with Snow, and look down at Fire. Then she turned around and came back toward him with a determined expression on her face.
"Snow's as depressed as a grey paint brush," she said angrily, "and Fire's bleeding all over the place. You may be an evil, violent bully, but that does NOT give you the right to rip open a Yooyu's stomach just because he was bragging."
Each word stabbed at him painfully, and he flinched. "You really think I'm an evil, violent bully? Believe me, Normal, I deeply regret my actions. I lost control. I shouldn't have done it. But that is the ONLY time I have EVER been mean to or hurt another Yooyu. You're just making assumptions based on my appearance."
Normal stared at him. She seemed taken aback.
"Doesn't that sound familiar?" Darigan pleaded. "You're judged by your appearance as well. You don't LOOK special, so they think you're not special INSIDE. That's why I attacked Fire."
Normal whispered, "I... I'm sorry."
He shook his head. "I'm the one to blame."
The Normal Yooyu cracked a smile. Then she said, "Clockwork's in bad shape. I better get to work."
Normal walked thoughtfully back over to the corner and began fixing the robot, thinking in wonder, "Darigan's not so bad after all- he's actually really nice."
Snow watched her friend work. Normal was tougher than she thought. Even in a crisis, she kept calm and worked diligently. She even confronted Darigan. Meanwhile, Snow sat by Fire and did nothing. She wasn't strong inside like Normal.
Suddenly she heard a groan coming from the orange Yooyu slumped at her feet. Snow whipped her head around so fast she got a crick in her neck. Fire's eyelids were fluttering, and his skin was starting to glow more brightly.
"Normal- NORMAL! Fire's waking up!"
"Are you serious? Fire! FIRE!"
"Shhh! Be quiet!"
"Fire, how do you feel?"
The Fire Yooyu heard this conversation from a long way away. His head was throbbing, and his body ached. He felt a stabbing pain in his gut. "Ow," he moaned.
"Um, I guess that means he doesn't feel too well."
Those voices... he knew them from somewhere. Both were female. He struggled to remember and a vision of the clockwork Yooyu swam under his eyelids.
"Clock?" he asked stupidly.
"Maybe he wants the time."
"Well, Clockwork's a wreck. It'll take me around an hour to fix it."
"Clockwork," said Fire. "Why is Clockwork a wreck?"
"Uh... well, it exploded. And knocked you unconscious."
"Oh," said Fire. "Who checked the time?"
"What?" said both voices in confusion.
"Snow!" said Fire triumphantly, remembering at last. "And Normal." He opened his eyes and saw the two Yooyus gazing down at him in concern. "I was right!"
Snow burst into tears.
"Um," said Fire, sitting up. "Don't cry, Snow. You'll put me out." He felt a rising sense of compassion for his fellow Yooyu, and suddenly ignited into a real, roaring flame. Snow leapt back and cried, "Don't DO that! I'll melt!"
"Oh, don't worry, Snow," said Normal, giggling. "That shows that Fire is recovering. It's a good thing, too, because without Clockwork we can't let our trainers know that a Yooyu is hurt."
"You can let the trainers know a Yooyu is hurt through Clockwork?" asked Fire, leaning back and sighing in discomfort.
"Yes, there's a button you press that alerts them. You'll have to stick it out for an hour while I fix the robot, but you're doing pretty well. It looks like you've stopped bleeding."
"Bleeding?" Fire looked down and saw blood on his stomach. He felt sick. "That's right. Darigan..."
"He didn't mean to, really," interrupted Normal in a rush. "He... he just lost his temper, because... well... you were acting..."
"...conceited," Fire finished.
"Well, yes," said Normal apologetically.
"How do you know this?" asked Snow. "You were asleep."
Normal laughed brightly. "Isn't that funny?" she said, addressing Fire. "I only just woke up a few minutes ago, into a world of COMPLETE confusion. I'm still not sure of everything that happened. And while I slept through it all, Snow apparently kept silent vigil over you the whole time." She laughed again. "Darigan told me all this," continued Normal. "He's actually really fair and just and kind, and he's just thought of as evil because of his appearance... and... and..."
"And he's eternally grateful for such a positive description," came Darigan's deep, growling voice from behind her. Normal jumped and grinned sheepishly at him.
"Fire," the Darigan Yooyu said awkwardly. "You're awake."
"Yeah," said Fire, because he couldn't think of anything else to say. The last thing he wanted was a cheesy drama.
"Are you... doing okay?"
"Yes, yes, I'm fine."
"I’m not," admitted Darigan, "I feel horrible. I never meant to do this. I'm really, really sorry, Fire."
Fire grinned weakly. "I probably deserved it." Normal had been right. Darigan wasn't half bad. He WAS fair and just and nice. Fire, on the other hand, was NOT fair, NOT just, and definitely NOT nice to the other Yooyus.
His eyes went to the Normal Yooyu, who had gone back to work on the robot. How could he have thought that she was inferior, stupid, and dull, just because her shell was a simple brown? Normal was extremely intelligent and shone brighter than Fire ever could.
And as for Snow... Fire owed everything to Snow. She was kind to him and willing to help, but he took her for granted. She had sat with him while he was unconscious. She really cared about everyone, but Fire didn't care about her. He would have to fix that straightaway. The flaming Yooyu smiled at the frozen one, and she blushed.
"I know that I've been an idiot," he told Darigan. "I'm really sorry. From now on, I'll do my best to treat all Yooyus equally." At that moment, Mutant came rushing down the Yooyu chute, cackling madly, and Fire hesitated, then added reluctantly, "Even Mutant."
As Darigan stared at him in surprise, Faerie finally noticed that Fire was awake and ran over to join the group, squealing. Mutant noticed as well, and bounced over, shouting, "The fool has regained CONCIOUSNESS!"
Friendly conversation and laughter gradually bubbled up from the small group of Yooyus. Darigan slipped out of the circle without anyone noticing and stood back to watch, a smile slowly spreading on his face. What he had wanted most- friendship and equality among Yooyus- had finally happened, only because Darigan had broken his vow and had shed blood. How ironic. He shook his head.
The Darigan Yooyu saw the eyes of Snow and Fire sparkling as they looked at each other. He saw Faerie chatting happily to Normal about the latest fashions; he saw the Yooyus laughing for the first time at Mutant's crazy jokes.
And he saw the mechanical claw opening and reaching down towards him, and he reached up towards it. The claw gently took him in its arms and carried him upwards.
The Normal Yooyu shook herself as Faerie droned on and on, trying to understand what she was saying AND concentrate on fixing Clockwork at the same time. Having no success whatsoever, she desperately looked around for a distraction and saw a dark purple shape being set on the Yooyu platform by the claw. "Thanks to him," she thought gratefully, "I'm finally what I've always wanted to be: accepted; wanted; an equal. And Darigan made that happen." She watched the platform rise into the tube. Just before it disappeared, she thought she saw the glint of red eyes looking back at her.
The Yooyuball was thrown from player to player. The timer clicked down to zero, and the referee blew his whistle. The game was over. Someone had won, but none of that mattered. Something had happened that day that was infinitely more important than the actual game. It had happened below the court... in the Yooyu cage.