Now with 50% more useless text Circulation: 155,374,162 Issue: 219 | 9th day of Celebrating, Y7
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The Poogle Racer: Part One


by phoenix1000

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"Cala, get out of my way!" shouted Blaze, as he shoved the yellow Uni. "I have places to be! Unlike you!"

      Calamity glared as the fire Poogle began to do some exercises to warm up. She was tired of him bossing her around. She especially hated the days when Blaze raced at the Poogle Stadium. He acted even worse on those days.

      Then a slightly chubby and pink Poogle, Gretchen, walked into the room with a sneer on her face. "Still dreaming of being a Poogle, Cala? Even if you were one you'd stink at racing."

      Calamity just shook her head and left the room with a sigh. Nobody understood her. Jen, their owner, had adopted her from the pound when she was younger. Lost in thought, Calamity was startled when Belinda walked by her saying, "Hi, Cala."

      Belinda was the only one who actually was nice to Calamity. She had once raced too…a long time ago. "Wait, Belinda, do you know where Jen is?"

      Pausing a second, Belinda turned around. "I think she's upstairs…"

      Calamity nodded and ran upstairs. Jen was sitting on a couch, reading the Neopian Times newspaper. As usual she was reading the Faerieland's Sports pages. "Uh…Jen, I need to talk to you about something…it's really important."

      Jen waved her hand casually, and replied, "In a second. Hey, look, there's Blaze!"

     Calamity leaned over to see the newspaper and saw a picture of Blaze, holding a trophy with a grin on his face.

     Jen continued to talk. "That was from last Saturday when he came in third place! Remember? I know he's going to do great in the race this afternoon!"

      "Please, Jen, it's really important!" Calamity said impatiently. She walked in front of the lamp, making the room dark enough that Jen couldn't see what she was reading.

      "Cala, I can't see what I'm reading! C'mon! I need to finish reading this…I was getting to the part about Blaze's running."

      "Will you listen to what I have to say first? Please, Jen?"

      Jen gave her an annoyed look and grumbled, "Fine."

      "I really want to be a Poogle. I know I could be just as good at Blaze in races. Please?"

      Jen looked as though she was trying to hold in her laughter. "You're getting a little ahead of yourself! As good as Blaze? Do you know how much training it takes? I'll think about it."

      "But…Jen?"

      "No! I told you I'd think about it, alright? Now move away from the lamp!"

      Calamity dashed out of the room, and ran downstairs, out into Faerieland. She continued to run, to nowhere in particular. She looked up to find herself by the Healing Springs.

      Camelot, one of her few friends, was getting healed by the faerie there. He often battled other neopets, and was one of the best out there. With false cheerfulness she shouted, "Cam, how are you?"

      He walked over to her, his sharp claws, digging into the ground. "Great. I just won against…you don't look too good, Cal. What is it?"

      "I…nothing. I'm good." Calamity regretted the fact that she couldn't hide her true emotions and tried to avoid Camelot's gaze.

      "Cal, I've known you long enough to know when you aren't doing that great. Tell me what's up. I might be able to help you…"

      "Fine. I will. But don't laugh, okay?" She shifted uneasily. "I want to be a Poogle, but Jen won't let me."

      Camelot just shook his head, as though he was disappointed that she hadn't simply asked, and said optimistically, "I have a solution to that. Just follow me, Cal!"

     So with that, the shadow Kougra, flicked his tail, and began to run ahead of her. Calamity easily caught up to him. "Where are we going exactly?"

      "You'll see…" he replied vaguely.

      After a while, Camelot stopped in front of a dark looking cloud. "Hey, Jhudora, you there?"

      Calamity heard a chilling voice from the cloud. "Yes, what do you want?"

      "I'll tell you when I get up there."

      Camelot, looked back, and nodded for Calamity to come forward. "Do you know who that is? Why does she let you treat her like…. that?" Calamity instantly whispered.

      "She's a friend of mine. I've done many quests for her, and she owes me a favor."

      Camelot continued to walk to the cloud fearlessly, with no doubt. Calamity nervously followed behind him. What she saw shocked her. She had already known Jhudora was a dark faerie, but nothing she had been told, made her prepared to see Jhudora. She sat stiffly on a large chair, looking extremely wicked, dressed in dark clothes, with a sneer on her face.

      "Hello Jhudora. I didn't come to do a quest for you today. Instead I ask a favor of you. My friend here wishes to be a Poogle. Can this be done?"

      "Of course it can. Your friend would have to drink a potion of mine, however. The potion is not perfect though. It can be slightly faulty…" Jhudora's voice trailed off, as though she was letting them imagine the possibilities that could go wrong.

      Camelot turned to her. "Do you still want to…"

      "Of course I do," replied Calamity determinedly, cutting Camelot off. "I accept your offer, Jhudora."

      Jhudora waved her wand, muttering something, and a potion appeared in her hand. "Here you are. Drink it now."

      Camelot took the potion from Jhudora, and handed it to Calamity. She took a deep breath, then ripped the cover off of the vial the potion was in.

      Calamity gave Camelot a nervous glance, then forced herself to drink the potion. It was a dark greenish color, and it both tasted and smelled vile. Within a minute, she finished the whole potion.

      Suddenly, Calamity felt herself shrinking lower to the ground. Her hooves disappeared, her ears became longer, and her coat became a bright green color. "I'm a Poogle!" She yelled happily.

      Jhudora flinched at the noise. Camelot just stared at her. "What is it, Cam?"

      "Well, Err…You look different …"

      "So? That was a morphing potion! What did you expect?"

      "Thanks, Jhudora." Camelot nodded at her and left.

      Calamity smiled. "I can't wait until Jen sees me! I can enter the Poogle races too!"

      Calamity began to walk. Then she fell flat on her face. "It's hard to walk, Poogle legs are so short…I guess I'll get used to it though."

     She continued to stumble along, struggling to maintain her balance. Then she noticed a Shoyru giving her an odd look. Other neopets were stopping to stare at her too. "Cam, what are they staring at?"

      "I guess you look a little awkward, that's all."

      "Oh…I better get going Cam. I promised I'd show up at Blaze's race. Thanks for everything."

      Camelot nodded and watched as Calamity walked off.

     *****

         By now, Calamity was really nervous. "What will Jen think of me?" she muttered. She felt especially embarrassed at the fact she couldn't even walk without tripping or stumbling.

      She felt the gazes of everyone in the crowd on her. Calamity saw Jen in her usual seat and gave a relieved sigh, "Hey, Jen!"

      "What? Who are you? I don't know you…."

      Calamity began to walk towards Jen. It seemed obvious to her now that Jen couldn't recognize her in Poogle form. Once she was close enough she said, "Jen, it's, me, Calamity."

      "What? Oh, of course you can have my signature." The curious glances that had been directed at Jen turned away to watch the race. "Cal, go home. Now. I mean it," Jen whispered harshly.

      Calamity looked at Jen, completely confused. What had she done wrong?

     *****

      Once Calamity got back, she figured she might as well read the Neopian Times Jen had been flipping through earlier. As she flicked the opened the newspaper, she saw Jen nodding and smiling, with Blaze beside her, holding his first place trophy on the 2nd page.

      It included a paragraph with a reporter asking Jen questions. One that annoyed Calamity was: "How do you think Blaze will do in the Poogle Nationals?"

      "Definitely excited. We're sure Blaze can win this easily." That's so typical of Jen, being overconfident, Calamity thought to herself.

      The paragraph continued for the next 5 pages, with Jen answering questions. Calamity ignored all the writing, however. One picture caught her eye. In the background, behind Blaze and Jen in the photograph, she saw a mob of other people and their neopets, shoving forward for autographs. Calamity started to feel a twitch of jealousy…

      "I'm not reading this anymore."

      Calamity tossed down the newspaper and ran downstairs to wait for Jen. She needed to know why Jen had been so angry with her…was it just because she had become a Poogle without asking? Or was it something else…

      As Calamity continued to wait for Jen, she heard loud clapping and yelling.

      "I wonder what's happening," Calamity said quietly to herself.

     She looked out a window and saw that a crowd was still surrounding Jen and Blaze.

     "I have to go now! See everyone at the Nationals, I hope!" Jen waved her hand and Blaze nodded at the crowd.

     Jen came in and shut the door. Blaze saw Calamity and began to laugh. "You're a Poogle? No kidding!"

     Jen glared at Blaze until he became quiet. "We need to talk Blaze, come upstairs with me."

     Calamity sighed. She figured this conversation with Blaze would somehow involve her. Gretchen walked into the room, stared at her for a second, then left, giggling madly to herself.

     "So, you're a Poogle now, right?" Belinda watched her from the doorway.

     "Yeah. I have a feeling that Jen isn't too happy about it, though. "

     Belinda didn't look surprised by that. "Yeah, she…never mind."

     Jen entered the room, with Blaze following close behind. "Calamity…Blaze and I decided something. It'll be for the best…"

     Calamity stood in shock as she heard Jen's words.

     "You don't belong here anymore…there's no room for another Poogle here. Blaze is to be known as the best Poogle racer out there, not for having a adopted sister who became a Poogle racer. Unheard of! We have to get rid of you. You can't ruin Blaze's chances of becoming the greatest Poogle racer ever. My friend is taking you to the pound…I'm sure you'll meet someone nice there. Bye, Calamity."

     With that, a blue Shoyru walked inside, picked her up, and flew off with her. Calamity felt the bitter wind hit her face, as they got higher. She felt even colder at the thought of where she was going, and at what Jen had just done to her.

     The blue Shoyru began to head lower to the ground, as a dreary, gray, and old building came into view.

     "That can't be where Jen's leaving me," she whispered, as her tears blinded her.

     The blue Shoyru said nothing and handed her over to a mean looking yellow Scorchio, who glared at her with gleaming red eyes. The Scorchio promptly shoved her into a cage, locked it, and began to walk down a long hallway.

     As the Scorchio walked down the hallway, Calamity peeked out of the cage, staring from between the metal bars. Cages were piled on top of each other and tired, bored, and sad looking neopets stared out hopelessly.

     Calamity's cage was then tossed down roughly. Calamity looked around her, once again. Her eyes landed on a moody looking blue Kougra, who cage was next to hers.

     "Hey what's with the sad face?"

     The Kougra jumped, and his fur fluffed up.

     "You actually talked to me? I've been in this pound for months. You're a Poogle, though, so you'll be adopted quickly."

     Calamity continued to stare at him and felt sorry for him…He had lived in this horrible place for months?

     The Kougra stretched, and continued what he was saying, "All anyone wants is painted pets. I'm not good enough for anyone. Hey, here someone comes."

     He looked a little more hopeful now, and perked up. He sidled forward to the front of the cage, and put on an adorable sad face. It looked as though he had been practicing this act for a long time.

     Calamity looked closer at the girl who was walking through the pound. She wore black boots, and dressed casually, with a brown ponytail that fell around her shoulders.

     The girl was now getting closer. She leaned in front of every cage, studying its occupants carefully.

     As she reached Calamity's cage, she let out a squeal.

     "You're adorable! I've wanted a Poogle for ages! My dad won't let me get one though. He's says I'll never be able to train a Poogle for the races. He owns a Poogle racing farm."

     She scooped up Calamity's cage, and began to carry it to the front. Calamity turned around to see the Kougra nodding at her.

     She smiled at him. He had been right. Poogles were one of the first neopets that went at the pound. Exhausted, Calamity fell into a doze.

     *****

     "Daddy! Look what I got at the pound! Isn't she adorable?"

      Calamity blinked as she woke up. It was now morning. She jumped back when she saw a bunch of Poogles surrounding her.

      "Hey, don't be shy," a cloud Poogle shouted out at her.

      "Uh…hi," Calamity muttered.

      A man, the girl's father, she assumed, then walked into the room.

      "You lazy bunch! You're supposed to be training!"

      A couple of the Poogles began to stretch as he said this, although they still watched Calamity out of the corner of their eyes.

      "What have you got here, Arabella?"

      "Oh, Daddy, I found her at the pound! Remember you said I could get my first neopet yesterday? Well, I got her! I'm sure she could do great at racing!"

      Arabella's father bent down and studied Calamity. Calamity felt herself blushing as he stared at her.

      "Well, Arabella, she would do well enough in races, with proper training… Has nice sturdy legs…looks healthy."

      Calamity spoke up. "I'm Calamity, but you can just call me Cala. I would really like to enter a Poogle race…"

      Her father laughed slightly. "It took you long enough to say something. I suppose we could give you a chance in Poogle racing…it would be a lot of work though. Start training with Belle. She's new too."

      Arabella hugged her father and bent down to talk to Calamity.

      "You're going to be the best Poogle racer ever Cala! You can call me Ara."

      "Err...Thanks, Ara," Calamity replied, feeling awkward with her new owner.

      A prancing brown Poogle then walked up to her, saying, "Hi Cala! I'm Belle! We're training together! Isn't this awesome? I think Blake is training us…. He's standing over there, you know, the silver Poogle, everyone says he's tough…"

      Belle continued chattering as they walked towards Blake, and Calamity thought her mouth never stopped moving. As they got closer to Blake, she could see him carefully examining them with cold and empty eyes. Calamity shivered slightly.

      "You two stop talking and listen up. One lap around the outer edge of the course; we won't do any jumps today."

      Belle replied by running off towards the track, then turning around, teasingly saying, "Yes sir."

      Blake's face began to turn red. "An extra lap for you and your friend Belle. I need you to be serious. No fooling around; this is training time, not let's pretend to be a Poogle racer time."

      Now it was Belle's turn to blush slightly, and she began jogging on the track without a word. Calamity began to run faster to catch up with her.

     *****

      By the time they had gone halfway around the track, both Belle and Calamity were starting to slow down. "Must…keep going," Belle panted under her breath.

      They continued at their slow pace, getting slower and slower as they reached the finish line. Blake, who had a watch, glanced down at their time with a disapproving glance, and shook his head.

      Calamity admitted that half way through the second lap, she might as well have been walking. Her current pace was like a fake jog; she only lifted her legs a little higher than she would have when walking.

      It seemed hours later, that Belle and Calamity crossed the finish line. They both instantly fell to the ground, exhausted.

      Blake looked down at them and shouted, "Get up, you two! What do you think you're doing? We have a lot of work left to do, and your time on your first lap was incredibly slow! At this rate, you'll never become Poogle racers! Now, get some water!"

      Calamity and Belle dragged themselves off the ground and walked towards the bench, where they had both placed their water bottles. Calamity gulped down half of her water bottle thirstily and whispered, "Wow, he is tough."

      Belle ignored her and walked back out to where Blake was waiting for them. Calamity shrugged and followed her; figuring training couldn't get any worse. Blake then said, "Now, we're going to practice your jumping form." He nodded to a small log. "That's our jump. Any questions? Good."

      Belle went back a few feet from the log, and then headed for it at a speedy rate. With extra effort, her body flew over the jump, and she landed on the other side neatly. Blake nodded at her and said, "That's good form. If you can do that 100 more times perfectly, then you'd be ready for any jump. Of course, jumping isn't much good to you if you aren't fast enough…"

      Calamity nervously headed back from the log, afraid of completely messing up. She continued to run towards it, building speed as she went along. Then she pushed off with her back legs and her front legs folded underneath her as she cleared the jump, landing a couple feet away from the log. Blake stared at her.

      Then, shaking his head, he said, "Where did you learn how to jump like that? It looked as though you were jumping like some Uni. It still works though…I guess."

      Calamity just shrugged, not wanting to talk about it…Then Belle was waving her paw in front of Calamity. "You still there, Cal?"

      Calamity nodded, saying, "Yep."

      Blake had them go over a couple more jumps, and then said; "I think we'll have a break now. See you two tomorrow, right before dawn."

      Calamity walked back with Belle, and then asked, "So what do we do for the rest of the day?"

      "Whatever we want. Hey, do you want to see what all the elite Poogle racers are doing? Follow me!"

To be continued...

 
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