Girl vs Boy: Unis in the Battledome
The sword came right at my shoulder, clearly meaning to strike me in the foreleg and push through to my heart. Any other Neopet would have tried to dodge out of the way.
Not me, though. I stood firm, knowing that my attacker had made a critical mistake. Sure enough, the sword bounced harmlessly off the enchanted armor I was wearing. Even better, the shadow Zafara wielding the sword had put every ounce of his strength into that swing, so he was now off-balance and partially stunned.
I spun around and lashed out with my hind legs, and my armor-clad hooves nailed my opponent square in the chest. That blow took the last of his hit points, and he collapsed in the sand, knocked out. The arena bell rang, and I was in the finals of the Lost Desert Charity Battle Tournament.
“You did really well out there,” my owner, BG, said to me as I removed my helmet and shook out my mane.
“Thanks, BG,” I said gratefully as he took the helmet and tucked it under his arm.
We headed for the champion’s booth, a small enclosed set of seats high in the arena. Only the two finalists were allowed to use the booth. However, the other finalist who would face me had not been decided yet. That match would start in a few minutes.
The two Krawks guarding the booth snapped to attention as BG and I approached.
“Urasina, you’re the first Royal Girl Uni to compete in this arena,” one of them said to me. “Your fighting skills are a sight to behold.”
The guards opened the door to the booth. Once BG and I were inside, I took a quick look around.
“This place is so luxurious,” I remarked. “It’s almost like the Neopians who run the tournaments here want the finalists to relax too much and lose their edge.”
“Then don’t relax,” BG replied, moving over to the large window that looked down into the arena.
I nodded at his suggestion and joined him at the window. I was still wearing most of my armor, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to relax. The two contenders for the other spot in the finals had just begun to fight. One was a Royal Boy Uni. One was a Faerie Eyrie.
“Who do you think is going to win it?” I asked my owner.
“I’m guessing it will be the Royal Boy Uni,” he answered. “He’s got a pretty good technique there.”
I had to agree with that. The Royal Boy Uni was moving around quite a bit, which was unusual for his species/color combination. He’d dodge the Eyrie’s attack, retaliate, and then swiftly move out of the way. Most Royal Boy Unis that I’d seen in previous battles had the tendency to stand their ground and defend themselves until the opponent made a mistake they could capitalize on.
And to be honest, I had never faced a Royal Boy Uni in battle before. If this one won the round, then the finals match would be interesting, to say the least.
“The Eyrie’s about to lose his temper,” BG pointed out. “This match could be as good as over if he does...”
I watched intently. Sure enough, the Eyrie made a crazy charge at the Uni, flailing his forelegs. But the Uni simply stepped aside, then lashed out with a kick just like the one I had used to win my fight. The Eyrie dropped.
The finals match was decided.
A Royal Girl Uni versus a Royal Boy Uni!
This would be a tough one.
“Are you ready for this?” BG asked me.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” I replied as he adjusted my cape.
“Remember, your opponent may talk you down. Don’t listen to him. Channel that into your own fighting skill, but don’t lose your temper.”
“If he’s anything like most other Royal Boy Unis I’ve met, he’ll be totally patronizing, and see me as a helpless princess or something like that. That might make him too confident, and then he’ll make the first mistake.”
BG seemed to agree with this.
“Give it your all. And don’t worry about shaming me. Win or lose, you’re still my little girl, and I’ll always love you unconditionally.”
I gave him a grateful hug and headed for the arena gate. The Gnorbu guarding it nodded to me.
“Are you ready, Urasina?” he asked.
“Let’s do this!” I announced firmly.
He nodded again and opened the gate. I marched regally into the arena to thunderous applause and cheering.
The Royal Boy Uni came in through the other gate, prancing about, shaking his mane, and swishing his tail. He was being a total show-off. But when he saw me, he froze and stared intently. Obviously, he hadn’t seen my previous match, and had thought that he’d be up against the shadow Zafara I had pounded.
I moved into the small ring at the center of the arena and waited for my opponent to come to me. Once we were both in the ring, the match would start.
The Royal Boy Uni came right up to the edge of the ring, but then he stopped.
“A princess should be back home in her tower, letting her knight do all the fighting,” he said haughtily.
I glared at him.
“Are you afraid to face me?” I snorted. “Get into the ring and we’ll settle this.”
He was shocked. He obviously wasn’t used to Royal Girl Unis talking back to him.
“Don’t you have a knight?” he taunted. “Or are you one of those runaway princesses who disguises herself to learn how to be a knight?”
I was plenty angry, but I was able to keep my temper down.
“Maybe I’m not a princess?” I spat at him. “Maybe I’m just a commoner, painted to look like a princess?”
Now HE was angry too. But he was full of pride, so he tried to hide it.
“Well, I’ll make a deal with you, then,” he said. “Surrender, and I’ll take you on as my squire. You can learn to be a REAL knight!”
“No deal, buster,” I retorted. “Now get into the ring, or you’ll forfeit the match!”
He finally did so. The countdown began, and we glared at each other with eyes full of wrath. When the arena bell went off, I surged forward, intending to use my horn as a lance on my opponent’s unprotected hide.
The Royal Boy Uni managed to get out of my way, but my horn ripped a part of his cloak. He hadn’t expected me to lash out that fast.
“What was that for?” he yelled in frustration, realizing at last that he had severely underestimated me.
“For my honor!” I yelled back, charging again.
He charged to meet me, but I twisted my body away from his horn and struck his flank with a front hoof as we passed. It wasn’t a terribly strong blow, but his hit points went down.
We turned to face each other, slowly circling like hungry Lupes on the hunt, each of us trying to psyche the other out.
“My father will never forgive me if I lose to a princess!” the Royal Boy Uni cried suddenly.
“It’ll be worse than that!” I replied harshly. “I’m not a princess, so you’ll be losing to a commoner! How’s THAT going to go over with your father?”
He lunged, but I jumped over him and brought all four hooves down hard, knocking him face-first to the sand. That blow really knocked his hit points down.
The crowd was going crazy. They were really getting into this match. I had no idea if my opponent was well-known or not, but this was my first “big” tournament, so I was the underdog. And I was giving the crowd a real show.
The Royal Boy Uni hauled himself to his hooves, but before he could fully recover, I slammed him back to the ground with a powerful shoulder tackle. Now he was on his last legs, and he knew it. He stared up at me in desperation as I circled him, just savoring the moment.
“How... can I... lose... to a... a... a princess...!” he wailed, avoiding my glare.
I didn’t even bother answering him. I simply walked up to him, reared onto my hind legs, and brought my front hooves down with all the force I could.
The Royal Boy Uni sagged to the sand. His hit points were depleted, and he could go no further. This match was all mine.
“You sure showed him a thing or two,” BG said warmly as I trotted back through the arena gate.
I smiled up at him.
“He tried to patronize me, all right,” I replied happily. “But he basically ruined his own chances at winning because he underestimated me.”
I rubbed my head against my owner’s legs.
“But I can’t help but laugh now,” I giggled. “He kept thinking I was a princess! I mean, come on! I’m only painted this way; I have no royal blood in me!”
“Almost anyone who didn’t know you well enough would make that assumption,” he replied.
I was about to answer, but the three arena judges approached us. One carried a trophy, which he handed to BG.
“Congratulations, Urasina,” the judge, a Xweetok, said warmly. “You’ve won the tournament.”
I smiled and nodded.
“Now, you know that all the entry fees, ticket sale profits, and concession stand profits go into a winner’s purse that the winner of the tournament can present to one of the Lost Desert establishments,” the judge went on. “The only thing left to ask you is: what establishment do you want to give the money too?”
I looked up at BG, who nodded. We had discussed this before the tournament began.
“Well, I want to give it to a friend of mine,” I began, idly pushing some sand around with one front hoof. “She’s working so hard to keep her shop going, but she’s only one Neopet, and there are a lot of things she has to do.”
The Xweetok nodded.
“So, I’m giving the winner’s purse to Peopatra,” I finished. “With all the Petpets she has to take care of, goodness knows she needs the Neopoints to feed them all.”
All three judges smiled. Then the Xweetok spoke up.
“We’ll deliver the prize tomorrow morning,” he said. “You’ve made a good choice.”
They walked away, and I leaned against BG with a happy sigh.
“Peopatra will be so happy,” I said contentedly.
My owner nodded.
“Let’s head for home,” he suggested. “You deserve a long rest.”
I nodded and followed him as we left the arena.
I planned to go see Peopatra early the next morning, so I could be there when she received the winner’s purse. I couldn’t wait to see her reaction. She and I go back a long way, ever since the day I saved her from an out-of-control mutant Lupe. We were pretty firm friends, and I knew that she would be beyond delighted to receive the Neopoints.
But at the moment, I was just happy to have won the tournament. It was my first “big” one, and I hoped to see many more such wins in the future.