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A True Champion

by racingwolf


On a Mystery Island beach, crowds of people and their Neopets watched in anticipation, for the Aquarace practice was about to begin. Even though it was just a practice, it was almost as exciting as the real thing.

      Twenty or so water Neopets were lined up by the waves, ready to race. A Kacheek blew a whistle and waved a flag. The twenty or so Neopets shot into the water. They headed toward a large sandbar in the distance. One Neopet was already far ahead-a sleek blue Peophin, his sides heaving with exertion as he sped faster than any of the others. He was nearing the sandbar with every second.

      When he did reach the sandbar, before turning back, he held his head high and gazed at the audience. They stared back in admiration. He swam back towards the shore, purposely knocking over a Tuskaninny in his way. He reached the shore faster than seemingly possible. The Kacheek with the flag waved it again and cried out, "Seastorm is the WINNER!" The onlookers cheered. So far, Seastorm was the undisputed Aquarace champion.

      "He's sure to win in the finals!" the Peophin's owner later stated proudly to the Kacheek with the flag. "He's won every practice race, there's not a doubt in my mind that he'll win this year's Aquarace." The Kacheek with the flag nodded in agreement.

      Seastorm looked proudly at the audience, then looked with disdain at the other Neopets who had finished the race. "You call yourselves competition?" he hissed at them. The Neopets shied away-they knew better than to pick a fight with Seastorm.

      The audience had been cheering wildly, but none of them had been so excited as Typhoon, a red Jetsam, who had been watching the race from the shore at a distance.

      Typhoon was taking a risk by being there. Jetsams were hated in the village. Thought to be nothing but pure evil, they were avoided at all costs. If a lone one got too near, it could easily be attacked by trained fighters like Seastorm. This didn't stop Typhoon from watching the races-it had always been his dream to enter the annual Aquarace. He knew though that he had to be content with just watching, because his owner wouldn't let him enter.

      Typhoon's owner had moved to the island village a year before. She didn't seem to care at all about Typhoon. He was usually left to fend for his own.

      Despite this, he wasn't nasty and mean-in fact he was kind, or would be if anyone had the courage to approach him. So far, few had, but that day was different. That very day he had his chance.

      He had been so caught up in the race he hadn't noticed a young boy walk up to him. He heard him make a noise as if he were about to speak. Typhoon turned to look at him.

      "Hi," the boy said, smiling.

      Typhoon wasn't used to kindness. He was at a loss for what to say, so he just smiled back.

      "What kind of pet are you?" the boy asked, "What's your name?"

      Typhoon was astonished-this was the last thing he would have expected.

      The boy reached out and stroked his fin. "My name's Justin," the boy said.

      "I'm, um, Typhoon," said Typhoon awkwardly.

      "Are you a wild Jetsam? I'd love to have a pet like you."

      "Justin!" someone shouted, "Stay away from that Jetsam! You know they're dangerous!"

      "Emily!" Justin protested, but he did as he was told. He looked back at Typhoon again as he and a girl walked away. Typhoon faintly heard Justin say, "Why do sisters have to be so bossy?"

      * * *

      Later that day, Typhoon slowly went back to his home. He stopped in front of the door. It was wide open. He went inside but there was no sign of his owner. None of her belongings were there anymore. Typhoon suddenly realized with shock that his owner had moved, and left him behind.

      It didn't come completely as a surprise to him; his owner had never liked Mystery Island any more than she liked him, but it made little difference anyway, now that he thought about it, either way he was on his own.

      Typhoon swam into sea and dived to his secret underwater cave. He wished Justin could have been his owner; he wanted an owner's love, not just an owner who would call him her pet yet make him live like a wild Jetsam. Typhoon sighed. That girl, Justin's sister, would never let him keep a Jetsam. It seemed he would never be given a chance to show what a great pet he could be. He swam out of the cave and looked up at the sparkling surface above. "It just isn't fair," he whispered to himself.

      * * *

      People in the village were getting more and more excited. The final Aquarace was soon to begin. Posters informing people about the race were put up all over the village. Owners and pets alike could be heard talking about it. A few pets even made bets on the outcome of the race. "I wouldn't waste your Neopoints," a green Zafara advised a red Lupe betting on a green Koi known as Tidalwave, "Seastorm could swim the scales off that Koi."

      Typhoon had swam near the main part of the village in hopes of seeing Justin again and caught sight of a poster that read, "Annual Aquarace Official Competition this Saturday."

      "Saturday's only two days away," thought Typhoon.

      A crazy idea formed in Typhoon's mind. "Well," he thought, "Justin's sister won't let him have an evil, vicious Jetsam, but she just might let him have an Aquarace champion…"

           * * *

      Typhoon spent the next day and a half training for the Aquarace. He planned to sneak in line with the others as the race was about to start, and take off with them before anyone could stop him. It was a crazy plan, but he thought it would work. He was swift already from swimming long hours in the sea, and having to hunt from time to time. By the end of Friday he settled down to sleep. He hardly could for excitement, but he managed it in the end.

      * * *

      By morning practically the whole village was on the shore of the beach. Seastorm tossed his mane proudly and smiled at his admirers, then held his head high in the direction of the sea. The other pets in the race were solely determined on beating him. To them, just one pet winning against Seastorm would be almost like a victory for all of them.

      Meanwhile, Typhoon stayed hidden in the ocean nearby. "This is it," he told himself. Each Neopet was lined up-a variety of Tuskanninies, Flotsams, Peophins, and the occasional Koi-all ready to race.

      The Kacheek who announced the starting of the race held up the flag. He waited a few seconds then brought the flag down with one swift movement. The Neopets darted forward. Typhoon swam out of his hiding place and alongside the others.

      "A Jetsam!" someone screamed. There was cause for alarm- a lone Jetsam had seldom come so daringly close to a village Neopet before, and never had one tried to swim in a race.

      Oblivious to all the chaos was Seastorm, who, like he had previously, sped out in front of the others. Typhoon speeded up, and the faster he swam, the closer he was to the leading pet.

      "Typhoon wants to race!" Justin told his sister Emily as they watched.

      "Typhoon?" pondered Emily.

      The audience stood, aghast, as Typhoon gradually caught up with Seastorm.

      Seastorm, however, was not frightened at the sight of the Jetsam. He was too angry to be frightened. This Jetsam was ruining his glory! Typhoon was right behind him- and gaining. Seastorm lashed his tailfin at Typhoon, but the Jetsam made a swift dive underwater and reappeared closer, level with Seastorm's tail.

      Seastorm exerted himself to greater efforts, but Typhoon just caught up. It wasn't long before they were neck and neck.

      The crowd watched, spellbound. Never in Seastorm's history had he raced a Neopet who could match his speed.

      They had reached the sandbar and were now heading back. Justin could no longer contain himself and yelled out, "Go Typhoon!"

      Typhoon and Seastorm were nearing the shore. Seastorm put on a final burst of speed. Typhoon did likewise. They were still neck and neck-neither one could seem to out-swim the other.

      The shore was just ahead. Typhoon put all his remaining strength into the final lunge. He glided through the water past Seastorm and into the sandy shallows of the beach.

      Seastorm skidded on the wet sand and did an awkward sort of halt in the ocean shallows. For the first time in his life of glory, he had been beaten.

      Typhoon could hardly catch his breath when he was scooped into the arms of a boy-Justin. Instantly his sister ran towards him, but stopped when she realized the Jetsam wasn't trying to rip him apart.

      Justin let go of Typhoon and stood there, beaming at him. "I heard about that one girl moving away. I heard she left behind a Jetsam," he said.

      Suddenly a crowd of Neopets and people were standing all around Typhoon, unafraid for once. Many were complimenting him on his race, including the others from the race, with the exception of Seastorm. "See, Emily, he's not dangerous," Justin assured his sister.

      The Kacheek who waved the flag stood staring at the Aquarace winner medal, as if unsure who the winner really should be. A green Lupe approached him. "That belongs to Typhoon," the Lupe stated.

      "Who?" questioned the Kacheek

      "The winner," the Lupe replied.

      "The Jetsam wasn't entered," the Kacheek told her.

      "Come on, Typhoon deserves it-he won against Seastorm," A blue Kougra who had been listening told the Kacheek

      The Kacheek walked over to Typhoon and put the medal around his neck. He put a silver one around Seastorm's neck, and a bronze one around the neck of the green Koi, Tidalwave. Seastorm hung his head. He acted as if the silver medal were a symbol of shame, not glory.

      Emily walked up to Typhoon and stroked his fin. She was smiling. "He doesn't have a home anymore," Justin explained.

      "He's welcome to stay with us," Emily told Justin.

      Justin was overjoyed- he finally had the pet of his dreams!

      * * *

      That day, Justin walked home, with a new pet beside him. Both of them had gotten just what they wanted. Justin had found a friend. Typhoon had found a home.

The end

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