Running Faster than Destiny: Part Six
“Queen Fyora herself!” Kari gasped. “That sure doesn’t happen very often.”
“It certainly doesn’t,” agreed Gar, “but something had to be done. Twitch had confronted Onyx directly, but the sorcerer had refused to remove the spell. Now, everyone that Twitch had raced against was just going to become slower and slower.”
“Onyx is sure scared now!” Kari said. “So, what is Fyora going to do him and is Twitch going to get into trouble as well?”
“Well, Fyora had just transported both Twitch and Onyx to her castle up in Faerieland and both were waiting what she had to say...”
Slowly, Fyora turned her gaze from the Twitch to look upon the trembling Onyx, who was bowing before her on the floor. “Arise, sorcerer,” she commanded, “for the time has come to hear the punishment for your crime.”
Onyx jumped to his feet as his face paled. “Punishment, oh Queen?” he asked. “But why? I am merely a humble sorcerer who only does the bidding of others. Surely, my crime is no greater than those who ask me to grant their wishes.”
“Then you deny that you sought to mislead this young Cybunny with the exact nature of the spell?” Fyora asked.
“Perhaps he allowed himself to be misled,” Onyx suggested. “He never asked how the spell worked, after all.”
“He did not ask,” Fyora consented, turning her attention to Twitch. “What have you to say of this accusation?”
“Queen Fyora,” Twitch began, “I am sorry for what I’ve done. I allowed my own desire to win override my own values. I honestly never meant for all this to happen, but I didn’t really consider the consequences of my actions at the time.”
“See!” Onyx cried. “He confesses to his crime! Please, let me go, for I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“It is my decision who has done wrong, sorcerer,” the Faerie Queen stated, “and I shall be the one to decide punishment.” She stood up from her throne, and advanced towards Onyx. “You have misled a youth,” she said, “and purposely tried to cause heartache and chaos. From this point forward, your magical abilities shall be stripped from you and never again will you be able to call upon magic.
“Furthermore, your gait shall be slowed so that you will walk like one much advanced in years. Your spell created a similar slowness, and such a slowness you shall suffer for the remainder of your time.”
“Have mercy, my Queen!” Onyx cried, but it was too late. A silvery light slowly enveloped the sorcerer and when it had vanished, Onyx had also disappeared.
“And now, young runner, stand before me to hear your judgment,” Fyora announced.
Twitch stepped forward and tried to remain brave as he stood there. He knew he had done wrong and he was willing to face whatever punishment she saw fit. “Will I be allowed to race again?” he asked, hesitantly.
Fyora walked over to him and gently placed her hand beneath his chin, raising his face so that they could see eye to eye. “Should I take that ability away from you?” she asked.
Twitch didn’t want to answer, but he knew that he should. “I did do wrong,” he said, “and that is the thing I love most.” A single tear escaped as he spoke. Racing was truly the thing he held most dear, and it seemed the most appropriate punishment.
“You know what you did was wrong,” she said.
“Yes, Queen Fyora,” he answered.
“And you have punished yourself with guilt,” she continued, “a punishment far greater than I can inflict. You also tried to correct the situation and admitted your own crime.” Smiling, she knelt beside Twitch and wiped away the tear. “You are a brave one,” she said, “and you have realized your mistake. There shall be no punishment from me.”
He was so surprised; he couldn’t speak for a few moments, until Fyora placed something in his paw. Looking down, he saw the crumpled, second-place ribbon that he had given Onyx.
“Do you know why he wanted that?” she asked.
Twitch shook his head as he examined the ribbon. “I wondered,” he said.
Fyora softy touched the corner of the ribbon as she explained. “This ribbon was obtained through hard work and determination. Such items are in high demand to a sorcerer for use in spells, and can be difficult to find at times.” She paused as she studying Twitch’s face. “Do you remember why you began racing?” she finally questioned.
“Because I love to run,” Twitch answered immediately, “but I think I lost that love somewhere.”
“You didn’t lose it,” Fyora said. “You had just forgotten about it for a bit. Let me tell you something very important about competitions: it’s important to do your best and to strive to improve, but never let someone’s glory be your shame. We all have our moments to shine. We just have to patient and push for our personal best. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” he said quietly. “I feel so ashamed, Queen Fyora.”
“Don’t be ashamed,” she said. “Many have been tempted and you are certainly not the first to fall to temptation – nor will you be the last. What’s important is that you realize that what you did was wrong. That’s how we grow.”
“Thank you,” he said, his voice brimming with emotion.
“But we still have one problem,” Fyora said. “There was a race in which magic interfered with the outcome. The race must be run once more so that the true winners can be honored. Are you ready, young Cybunny?”
“Yes, Queen Fyora,” Twitch answered. “I’m ready.”
She smiled softly as she raised her arms above her head. So beautiful and so powerful; Twitch saw lavender clouds gather about her as she cast a spell that sent him back in time. He closed his eyes for only a second, just to blink. Yet, when he opened his eyes, he realized he was no longer in Faerieland. The spell had been cast and now he was standing at the starting line of the final race. He glanced over at Greysoon, the green Pteri focused intently on the track before him. “Good luck,” Twitch whispered and he truly meant the words.
“On your mark!” cried the Quiggle judge, “Get set! Go!”
Twitch sprang from the starting position, his feet pounding on the track as he ran with all his might. Fyora was right. He hadn’t lost his love for racing. In fact, he was just now remembering it.
“He won this time, didn’t he?” Kari asked leaning forward, “This time he was actually able to beat Greysoon on his own?”
“Perhaps,” Gar said, stretching out his words, “but there’s more to the story and you can’t hear the rest right now.”
“Why?” the island Xweetok pouted.
“Because,” the royal Cybunny explained, “it’s time for your race. If you wait much longer, you’ll be late.”
“I had almost forgotten about the race!” Kari exclaimed, jumping up. “I have to run. I’ll be back later. Will you finish the story when I get back?”
Gar nodded. “Of course,” he said. “Now, hurry along.”
“I will!” Kari shouted, running through the house, almost running into her grandmother who had just returned from shopping.
“Where was Kari going in such a hurry?” the red Ixi asked, placing her shopping bags upon the floor.
“She has a race to run in,” Gar answered in a soft tone, “Will you reach me the small box I keep in the top of the closet, Illith? I think it’s time I showed Kari something.”
Illith gave him a small smile, for she knew exactly what it was that he had been talking about with Kari. “Of course,” she answered, making her way over to the closet and pushing aside a few hats until she found the small red box, laminated by dust.
“Thank you,” Gar said, as she handed it to him. “I think we need to go watch Kari compete now.”
Kari positioned herself at the starting line, her eyes purely on the goal of the finish line before her. She knew that Roth was just to her right, the Krawk preparing for another victory. Yet, Kari wasn’t as concerned about that. After all, it was racing that she truly loved. She had just forgotten that for a minute.
“Go!” shouted a Quiggle.
Kari leaped forward, her feet striking the ground in rhythm as the world begin to slide by fluidly. Colors blended together as the wind whipped about her. Everything was beautiful and lovely as she crossed the finish line.
She hadn’t won. Roth had still beat her, but only by a few seconds. Still, she didn’t care nearly as much as she accepted her second place ribbon and found her grandfather in the crowd.
“I didn’t win,” she said, “but I did have a lot of fun.”
“That’s good,” he responded, as he handed her the red box. “Now, I have something to show you.”
Confused and curious, Kari opened the box only to find a crumpled second place ribbon. Her eyes widened as she looked up at her grandfather. “You’re Twitch?” she asked.
“I happened to have a bit of a cold my first day of Neoschool,” he answered, “and I couldn’t quit wiggling my nose. Before the day was over, all my classmates were calling me Twitch, and the name stuck until I became an adult.”
“So, finish your story,” she requested. “Did you win after Queen Fyora reset the race?”
He smiled slyly. “I took second,” he answered.
“Grandpa, that’s not how the story should end,” she complained, but her smile remained.
“Why not?” he asked. “It’s what happened. Besides, you know the story doesn’t end there. I kept running, but this time I never forgot my love of racing. Eventually, I began to win. We all have our turn. Now, let’s hurry home. I think your grandmother bought some treats from the Chocolate Factory.”
Kari’s smile was mischievous. “Race ya!” she shouted, as she began to run.