The inside scoop on Jelly W-argh! *choke* Circulation: 155,374,162 Issue: 219 | 9th day of Celebrating, Y7
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Run Your Heart Out

by duckymoose


A green Kougra bounded up the staircase of a small neohome, chasing after his sister. The blue Pteri flew out of sight, and the Kougra padded softly through the hallway, listening closely to any sound to give him a clue to where she might be.

     "Pteri… my favorite snack," he chuckled, turning a corner and glancing into a room. "Come out, come out, wherever you are, Kay!"

     His ears twitched for a second. He could hear even the tiniest sound made from anywhere in the house with those ears. He smiled maliciously and quietly slithered into a room. He waited for a moment, until he had spotted the exact location of his prey. Then, spontaneously, he pounced on top of the lumpy comforter, which was ruffled on top of the bed. The blue Pteri screamed, and scuttled out on to the floor.

     "Fine… you caught me, Taelaiden," she said to her brother, sighing. "You're pretty fast, you know that?"

     "Of course," the green Kougra grinned proudly. "I'm the fastest one in my neoschool class, Kaytella."

     "Impressive," Kay replied flatly. "Let's go see what Kate and Chaimie are doing."

     Kaytella and Taelaiden made their way downstairs and into the kitchen, to find their sister, a red Aisha, doing a crossword puzzle. She had a pencil behind her ear and she was biting her tongue in a nervous sort of way.

     "Hi Chaimie!" Taelaiden shouted in her ear. She jumped, and in the process, fell over backwards in her chair. She glared up at her brother, gritting her teeth.

     "Tael!" she screamed. "You made me lose my train of thought!"

     "Err, sorry," he jested. "I just had this strange urge to shout in your ear."

     "CHAIMIE, KAY, TAEL, TIME TO GO TO SCHOOL!" came a shout from upstairs by their owner, Kate, who was most likely still in bed. The three siblings ran off to gather their things, and hastily went out the front door.

     It was springtime in Terror Mountain; the snow was still as cold as it was all year round, and birds chirped their tunes of delight all day long. The walk to neoschool was long but entertaining. The good thing about living in Terror Mountain was you could have snowball fights or eat snow anytime you wanted. Taelaiden would constantly chuck balls of ice at Chaimie's head until she threatened to give him a wedgie, so, of course, he would cease.

     The three of them finally reached PineRiver Neoschool after about a half hour of walking through the cold snow. Their toes were numb and their arms were full of goosebumps. There were lots of other Neopets around, most of them playing in the snow and building snowmen. Chaimie ran off to chat with her Aisha friends, and Tael and Kay went inside to get warm.

     They went to their lockers, which were very close by to one another. Kay transferred all of her papers and books from her backpack into her locker, and was sharpening a pencil with her Babaa Pencil Sharpener when a sign on the wall caught her eye.

     Join PineRiver's track team today! Practice starts on the 13th Day of Running. Sign up today in the main office! Sign-up deadline is the 10th day of Running.

     "Hey, Tael… you should join the track team," Kay said, pointing to the poster. Tael took a look at it.

     "Track team… I'm not joining any track team," he snorted.

     "But why not? You're really fast… besides, you said that you were the fastest one in your class. Why not give it a shot? I bet you'd do well."

     Tael thought about this for a moment. His sister did have a point. He would probably win every race he entered. "All right… I guess I will," he sighed.

     "Yay!" Kay exclaimed. "Um, well, I've got to get to class. Don't forget to sign-up today. It's the last day you can," and she scurried off to her class.

     All day long, Taelaiden daydreamed in his classes about himself running races and winning every time. He saw himself being thrown up into the air by his fans, and then someone came towards him, holding a great shining golden trophy. He would take the trophy and then wave to a group of excited female Kougras, who would faint, and then he would be asked to have his picture taken for the Neopian Times.

     "Taelaiden… WAKE UP!"

     The green Kougra jumped, looking around frantically, until he saw a starry Gelert standing in front of him, who was looking down at him curiously. "Oh, it's just you, Jason."

     "Yeah, come on, class has been out for three minutes now. We're going to be late for our next class," he explained, and Tael quickly got up. They ran out of the door and into the hallways. "I almost left you when I tried hitting you on the head a couple of times with my math book, and you didn't wake up, but I figured you would be mad at me afterwards."

     Taelaiden went to scratch his head, and felt a large bump starting to form on the top of it. "I see," he rolled his eyes at Jason. "Oh yeah, do you want to sign-up for track with me today? I don't really want to do it on my own."

     "Track? Sure," Jason agreed. They arrived at their next class just moments before the bell rang.

     After school, Tael and Jason signed up in the main office together. The attendant reminded them that the first practice would be in three days, right after school.

     Those three days quickly came and went, and soon enough, it was the day of the first practice. After school, Tael got dressed in his gym sweats and met the team outside on the track. There were at least two hundred other Neopets there, and Tael had a hard time trying to find Jason in the crowd. Finally he spotted him and the two friends met up.

     The coach, who was a tough-looking female pink Lupe, had them warm-up by doing a few sets of jumping jacks and crunches before she set them off to jog. Being on the top of Terror Mountain, it was obviously extremely cold, so lots of pets were dressed in several layers of coats. Taelaiden and Jason made fun of the ones running with so many clothes on that it looked like they were waddling like overweight Bruces.

     After they had completely warmed up and stretched, the track team split up into groups. There was the long distance group, which Jason went with, the hurdles group, the field group, and the sprinters, which Tael joined.

     When the sprinters started racing each other, Tael found it hard to keep up with them. He ran as fast as he could, but they were always a lot faster. He got quite discouraged. His legs couldn't move any faster even though he wanted them to so badly.


     "So, how was your first day of practice?" asked Kaytella, who was lounging comfortable down in a chair with her feet up on the kitchen table. She was sipping a can of NeoCola. Tael had just come home. He threw his backpack down on the ground.

     The green Kougra glared at her. "Just fine… except one thing. It's not that I'm fast… it's just that everyone in my P.E class are lazy and ridiculously slow! I can barely keep up with the slow ones of the group at practice. I thought I was a good runner, but I guess I'm not."

     "Well," Kaytella sat up, looking him straight in the eye, "I guess you could quit. But that's if you don't give a care in the world for running. If you really like to run, on the other hand, then you should keep doing it. What I mean is, if you are passionate about running, you can only get better if you continue to do it. You should never give up something you are passionate about. You make the choice. Either quit, or keep getting better."

     Taelaiden considered this. "You do have a point," he smiled and the blue Pteri. "I'll keep doing it. I do like to run, after all."

     And he truly did. It made him feel free. It made him feel like he was leaving all of his worries behind when he ran. So Taelaiden kept going to the practices, and ran on his own whenever he could. He even shoveled the snow out of the street all on his own so he could have a flat surface to run around on.

     When the first track meet came, he was a little nervous, so naturally he went to Kaytella to ask for advice. "I just don't feel like I'm fast enough to beat them. I bet I'll come in last place or something," he sighed, as he was warming up for his first race, which was the one hundred meter dash.

     "Well, I'm no expert on running. But I guess I could try and give you something inspiring…" said Kaytella. "Hmm… well, I'll tell you this. Keep your eyes on the finish line. Don't look back. Let your body go loose, and let your legs go faster and faster. Don't let anything else grab your attention. You want to win. Tell yourself that you want to win. That's all you need to think about while you're running this race. And other than that… just run your heart out."

     "All right," he nodded, and thanked her, and she then flew back into the stands next to Chaimie to watch the race. Tael stretched a little more until it was time for the race to begin. He took his mark next to the other seven racers. His heart was beating rapidly. It felt like it was going to burst out of his chest as he waited nervously for the sound of the whistle.


     He took off, looking straight at the goal. He relaxed, and let his legs go faster and faster on their own. He couldn't hear the crowd cheering, or the footsteps of the other racers behind him. He could only think of one thing: the finish line. He wanted to win. He wanted to win. He would win. He continued to pick up more speed, passing each runner one by one, until he had reached the finish line. He panted, and looked up to find a yellow Chomby in front of him, holding a ribbon. He snatched it, looking over it excitedly.

     Third place.

     He smiled. It didn't matter if he hadn't gotten first place. He did better than he thought he would. And most importantly, he had done his best.

     He had run his heart out.

The End

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