The week before sign-ups of the Altador Cup, my little sister started bugging me once again. She wanted to go to Altador during the cup to meet the players. She really wanted to talk to everyone that she could. That included her favorite, Tandrak Shaye. I heard that name enough to remember it. The few things I did not know was what type of pet he was, or his team.
"Please Danny. Can we please go to Altador?" she would beg me. After a while, she would add her puppy dog eyes. That was her way trying to get me to break, though it never worked. "I want to meet the players."
There were a few different reasons I did not want to go. First off, was that I really did not want to go meet the jocks. My opinion of them was stereotypical. I had seen pets that were into sports. They were stuck-up, looked down on anyone that was not athletic, and sometimes were bullies. These guys and girls in the game were in the big leagues. I was sure that would elevate these qualities ten-fold.
The second reason was that I knew there would be large crowds there. There were a lot of pets that loved Yooyuball and everything about it. I am not that good with crowds. I like to try to stay where a lot does not gather. That was another thing that helped my first point. Hundreds of screaming fans, and they could still do. It had to feed their egos. I know that I could not stand that.
The third and last reason was that I was not a fan of the sport. I have never been into sports, or that athletic. Unless one actually counts entering the Battledome a sport. I did not understand the rules of the game, or different aspects of it. For one, was why that used a petpet instead of a regular ball. It looked to me like it would hurt the Yooyu. Especially when the robot one would explode after the passage of time.
This year, I could not come up with a good enough of an excuse. Either that or Flairein had gotten wise to my lies. She was not going to let it drop. I finally had to take her. That was the day before all the sign ups began. We agreed that we would go the next morning. That way we could see the teams arriving.
"Why don't we ask Jintury to come with us?" I asked her.
"Yeah! He would love to come along with us! He likes the Altador Cup too! We can all meet all the players!" Flairein said happily.
Jintury was a friend of ours. He was a striped Gelert. I knew he liked the Altador Cup. I sent him a Neomail. The response came really quickly. He was up for going with us. He did not have anything else to do for a while. With him going along, I thought I might could hang back now and then and let them look for players or even the games.
Night soon came and we got to sleep. It did not seem long before something was bouncing on the bed and on me. I opened my eyes to see the hyperactive baby Gelert. She had on a purple and black shirt had the Team Darigan Citadel logo on the front. Then she had on black pants to go along with it. Thankfully she had yet to put on the black and purple shoes that went with it. I glanced to the clock then to see it was only six in the morning.
"Get up Danny! Get ready to go!" Flairein called out excitedly.
"It's too early. Go back to sleep for a few hours," I replied, still groggy.
"No get up now! I cannot sleep anymore!"
"Alright. I am awake."
Flairein jumped off the bed and ran off to the living room. I quickly got up and got ready for the day. The outfit was a pair of blue jeans. Then I did put a plain blue t-shirt on, even if those did annoy my wings. I then headed down to meet my sister. It was well that we got up early, Jintury came over shortly after I got up.
The three of us headed out to eat breakfast. Flairein and Jintury talked the entire time. They were going on and on about getting to meet the players. As well as talking about their favorite player and team. To tell the truth, I kind of zoned out of their conversation. I was not really interested in any of that.
Afterward, I flew them over to Altador. By that time, the sun was just getting high above the city. It was warming everything. Then there were pets around, though nowhere near in the numbers they would be in later. There were teams that were already there. One of which was Team Altador.
The first couple of days was not too bad. Not too many teams or pets were around. The rest of them were going to take a little longer to get there. Some I figured liked to procrastinate. Flairein and Jintury got to meet a few of the players. There were those who acted stuck up. I am not going to say any names or anything.
As the week started to progress, there were more and more pets and more teams that came in. I started sitting out and letting Flairein and Jintury explore and be able to meet some more of the players. Neither one of them was going to complain about it since we were finally there.
It was the last day of sign-ups, when I once again let the two go ahead. I slipped into a small little café, since most of the people were hustling around the town. I figured it would be a good way to get away from some of the others, especially since there were no other pets in there. I found a place to sit down.
Before long, I noticed another pet coming in. He was another Darigan Gelert. Because of that, I was on my guard. I could not be sure who he was. This Gelert had on a black and purple striped shirt. It had a torn bottom and a few holes in it. He had on black pants and some somewhat odd black and purple boots with a built-in shin and knee guards. He came over to where I was and sit down.
"Escaping the crowds?" he asked.
"I am. I am going to guess that you are doing the same," I replied. I would not be rude and ignore him.
"For a little while. It's kind of good to get away from everyone once in a while."
"Tell me about it. There were a lot of pets around outside it."
"Certainly are. There is always a huge crowd for the Altador Cup. I declare it keeps getting larger and larger every year. More pets want to come see it for themselves. Though that is definitely a good thing."
"There is that."
"Some weather out there, huh? Wonder if there will be any rain during the games."
"Yeah it certainly is. Surprised me how warm it could be. Then it very well could. There are always pop up showers."
Anyone that knows me, knows I am not much of conversationalist. Though this Gelert would not stop talking. Here, it was not necessarily a bad thing. I did get a bit of company. I would have sat in there by myself. The conversation went to many topics. There was a little more about the weather, some of the places around Neopia, and a few other things. Neither of us said anything about the game. I was actually pleased about that.
Things changed though when he asked, "So what actually brings you, here? You do not seem the type that knows much about the players."
"That would be correct. I am just here because of my little sister. She has wanted to come to meet all the players, and maybe see one game. We brought one of our friends along to. The two of them as still looking for her all-time favorite player. We have not found him, or any of his team for that matter."
"Interesting. Do you know who that is?"
"Yeah. Tandrak Shaye." That was when I noticed a goofy smile on his face. "Don't tell me that you are him."
"The one and only!" he said proudly. He then put his hand to me, "And you are? I just realized we never got each other's names."
I started asking questions then to try to figure out why we had not run into them. It turned out we were just not in the right place at the right time. They were out talking to fans and other teams. I had just figured that they thought they were too good to do that. He seemed level-headed too. He did like the attention. Maybe a little too much as he liked being the center of it if he could. Though he also liked normal conversations that every pet had.
"Ooh! I got idea! Kep, the guys, and I are always pulling pranks on one another. I got the perfect one to get them back. They will never see this coming. I need your help, Danny," he said.
"I'm not so sure about that," I replied.
"Oh please? All we need to do is trade places for a bit. You go to the team and I will go to your sister and friend. Then we will lead them to the same place where we can show it."
"Won't they catch that, if we do not act like us."
"I doubt it. Come on! Let's do it!"
I got up to go along with him. I told him the names of Flairein and Jintury and what they looked like. Then I had to get a quick rundown of the team. First was that Tandrak played as the right forward. Then there was Layton Vickles, a male Darigan Hissi, played as the left forward and team captain. Next in line was Tormo "The Terror" Frein, a male Darigan Bruce, played right defense. Kep Bonnefie, a female Darigan Buzz, played as left defense. Then finally there was Reshar Collifey, a male Darigan Jetsam, who was the goalie.
Once we had that settled, we changed clothes to look exactly like the one. I then headed off towards the hotel the team was staying at. I really could not believe that I was doing that. I had never thought I would pull off a switcheroo. Not to mention along the way, pets really thought I was Tandrak. They really went into 'fan mode.' I was able to stay away from most of them and find the rest of the team in one room.
"Tandrak! Where have you been?" I heard call out. It came from Reshar.
"Oh just around," I replied, trying to keep up the charade. It seemed to work since I had the size and frame of the real Yooyuball player.
Reshar instantly started into their game play for the first upcoming game. I thought I was in huge trouble then. I did not understand the first thing about it. I stayed quiet, tried to keep up with them, and nodded at the right times. Kep ended calling me out for not adding in when normally Tandrak would be putting his two-cents. I made up an excuse about my throat being scratchy, which seemed to work.
Once the time came up, I gladly distracted them from that. "I forgot to mention, I ran into some fans earlier..." I stopped to give a small cough, as if my throat was still bugging me. It filled the purpose of my lie. "...They wanted to meet the rest of my team. Time to head out now."
"Nice, let's head out then," Layton hissed.
I lead the way to where we were to meet with Tandrak, my sister, and Jintury. I hoped he was able to find them. Thankfully, he was able to. Flairein was happily bouncing along beside him. Jintury followed along as well.
"Oh my gosh! It's them! It's Team Darigan Citadel! Tandrak! Reshar! Layton! Kep! Terror! It's really them!" Flairein called out happily.
"Hello, young one," Layton said.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Flairein and Jintury," Tandrak said.
"Huh?" Flairein asked looking up at him.
She and the others started looking from me to Tandrak and back again. They were trying to figure out what was going on. The Yooyuball player did not help anymore as he continued to confuse them even further.
"Danny, I think you have finally lost your marbles. This heat must have affected your mind. You are confusing us all," Jintury finally said to Tandrak.
"Actually, Jintury," I came in now. "I'm Danny. This is Tandrak."
"Sorry about the confusion. I just wanted to pull a prank on my team. Seems both of us pulled off our part real nicely."
Layton did get after Tandrak for that. Though it seemed all in fun. I headed back over to my sister. She happily gave me a hug. She was still really bouncy getting to meet her favorite player, and the rest of his team. I finally got to change back into my normal clothes so no one would mistake me for him.
We ended staying during the entire season. Tandrak was kind enough to give us a season ticket to everyone of their games. During that I got to learn a lot about Yooyuball, whether I wanted to or not. Then I also learned that I should not judge all the sports players. Some of them really were kind.