Through Mechanical Eyes
The clock had started. Players were racing across the arena. With three minutes in every game and fast moving rounds, soon it would be my turn. Though many had told me that being on the field would be a wonderful feeling, I wasn't so sure. I was nervous, for my part may have been the simplest but it was a risky one. I didn't fear the crowd, nor the players... and I surely didn't fear getting kicked across the field. What I feared was something I had no control over, something that was all up to luck. I would only have one chance to show the world what I could do before that fear became a reality. Every Yooyu's dream is to be a part of the legendary Altador Cup. I guess I'd gotten caught up in it, despite the way I saw Yooyuball. Memories flashed through my mind as the clock counted down.
"We need a Yooyu, and you are the perfect one to take the place! Please, you have to!" they begged. I never liked the idea of the Altador Cup, it wasn't exactly scary but I just couldn't get excited about Yooyuball. To get kicked around until your head spun wasn't an entirely fun-filled thought for me. I opened my mouth to tell them I refused their plea, but for some odd reason I thought better of it and changed my mind in an instant, suddenly accepting the challenge.
Sometimes I wonder why I decided to go with them that day. Was it because I sought to gain attention? Or was it simply the craving to be a part of something larger than the boring life I had previously led? Maybe I felt sorry for them. Truthfully, I really don't remember. The decision did change my life though, I can certainly tell you that. I only truly began to regret it when I met one of the Yooyu caretakers, he was a strange individual who didn't hesitate to speak his mind. "Brave, aren't you?" he asked. "You know what happens to your kind, right?" And as if those words weren't enough to scare a Yooyu silly, he continued, telling me about the horrible truth of my role in this game. It was still possible, I could have quit right then and there. But... as scary as the truth was, I felt the need to see this through to the end, no matter the outcome.
Two minutes to go... I took a deep breath to calm myself as more memories came to me. Prep time, the few hours before the Cup's start, that was the time when every Yooyu was groomed and checked by doctors to make sure they were in tip-top shape. As I walked past the others, they gave me looks of pity, or just ignored my presence. My legs seemed to grow heavier as I approached the mechanic, who smiled at my arrival and urged me to sit down on the table. As I took a seat on the cold metallic tabletop, he gathered his tools and set to work, removing the key from my back and clearing a small hole underneath it. I gulped quietly as he picked up a device delicately and placed it inside the hole, rigging it to work correctly. I couldn't help asking about the device as he nimbly attached my key to my back again. "...It's a bomb, right?" I questioned.
"Well, yes... of a sort." the mechanic answered, seeming more delighted than I'd expected. "It's all in the name of a good challenge, though. And a good show, too!" he explained, returning his tools to a shiny iron box.
Only one minute left, my heart pounded in my tiny clockwork chest. "You're on," they said, winding up my key and pushing me forward onto the platform. It didn't matter if I was ready, my moment was approaching by the millisecond as I ascended into the center of the field. For show, I spun around and did some tricks I'd been taught as the crowd cheered. I suppose they thought I looked cool, but inside I had been a nervous wreck. My job was done. I curled up and waited for the players to fight over me. Kep Bonnefie was the first to snatch me up, speeding me to the other side of the arena and kicking me towards Tandrak Shaye, but the pass was intercepted by Garven Hale, who made a run to the Darigan Citadel goal, ready to shoot. But the clock was ticking and I could feel the fuse inside me burning, any moment now the bomb would go off. Garven must've been under immense pressure, for he made a premature shot, slinging me right at the Goalkeeper, Reshar Collifey. Reshar grabbed me and swung me off somewhere toward the middle of the field. It was too late- if only Garven had just waited a little while longer...! I scolded myself for coming here as the fuse fizzled out and everything went dark, my ears ringing loudly.
When I awoke, it took me a little while to remember what had happened. I tried to stand up but to my surprise, I could not move. Come to think of it, it didn't make sense that I was even alive. "Ah, I see you are awake," a voice said. For the first time, I noticed the strange looking Kookith standing near the table I had been resting on. His eyes were bright red, filled with a crazed look and his hair was gray and unruly, sticking out this way and that. "And you were... a Clockwork Yooyu, yes?" he asked, taking a pen from his lab coat pocket. I tried to speak, but I found I could not. "I'll take that as a yes," he said to himself, writing something on a clipboard. "Well then! We shall get to work returning you to your previous state, though that may take a while..."
My eyes widened; what did he mean? What was my current state? Reading my puzzled look, he raised his hand up and left the room, returning with small mirror. He held it in front of my face and I nearly fainted at what I saw. I was no longer a Clockwork Yooyu, but... a living pile of soot!? Now that I look back at that moment, though, I realize that it was far better an outcome than many things that could have occurred. In fact, it left me with countless opportunities. The Kookith that took me to his lab had a very strange and wonderful machine that could change the appearance of a Petpet completely, and though it took a whole day to charge up, it was a chance that I could return to my old self, maybe even be part of the Altador Cup again. Because even with the high risks, I found that I really had enjoyed my time in the arena and I wished to again be a part of Yooyuball. To feel the thrill of the match, not belonging to either side, but simply being the eleventh player felt so much better than I'd expected. Of course what I wish most no matter how long it may take me, is that someday I can once again see the world of Neopia through my own eyes, the mechanical eyes of a Clockwork Yooyu.
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|Stargazer: Part Five|
"Where are we?" Azurabel puffed the words out over the hammering of her heartbeat. She couldn't decide if she was more relieved or annoyed to see the faerie.