Chapter 14

The crowd cheered as each rider galloped into the arena.  Alys waved, looking around for people she knew.  The majority of the stadium was cheering for her, since she was riding for this kingdom.  They lined up, Alys the youngest rider.

"On your marks!" the announcer yelled, "Get Set!" then the gong was hit and Bruno shot forward.  Alys barely had to steer him, he was so well trained for races.  

They started out in first, but were soon passed by an albino and it's rider, then a chestnut and rider as well.  They made a sharp turn and the albino's rider fell off.  Neck in neck they were for the first two laps.  At the beginning of the third Alys began to fall back.  

"What are you doing!" she heard shouted from the crowd, then she shut it out.  She knew exactly what she was up to.  

The rider of the chestnut turned back and saw them lagging behind.  He smiled as he crossed the line for the final lap, slowing down just a tad.  eh thought he had the win in a bag.

As Alys crossed the line Bruno shot forward, almost tripling their previous pace.  Soon they had caught up to the chestnut, who was three-quarters around the track.  Alys turned back and laughed as she crossed the finish line.  The rider of the chestnut was gaping, almost at a complete standstill, inches away from the finish line.  Other riders cantered past, but still that rider stared. 

Alys heard the crowd cheer.  She had won the race, now the first second and third place winners would compete in the hurtles.  She had fifteen points to her advantage.  However, if she didn't win hurtles she would have a hard time raking up enough points in the final challence.  She was slightly worried about them, but she pushed her doubts out of her mind as they lined up.

The gong boomed again, and Bruno started.  He jumped the first hedge fine, as well as the second.  However, he stumbled badly on the third, so much that Alys lurched forward, nearly flying off her mount.  She managed to hold on tightly, and was able to help Bruno regain his confidence as well.  He jumped the fourth hurtle fine, but they were lagging behind.  With seven more to got, the other riders were on their sixth and seventh hurtle, out of eleven.  Alys spurred Bruno, willing him with her mind to perform spectacularly.  He jumped the fifth, sixth and seventh hedges with ease.  They were catching up. Eight nine and ten came easily as well.  There was a long stretch before the last hurtle. Alys sped up, hoping to pass at least the second place horseman before tjumping the last hedge.  She barely didn't make it.  bruno jumped a second too late, and they came in third place. She gained ten more points, but the other two gained fifteen. S eh was tied with one horseman, and only five points ahead of the other.  her body shook with anticipation.  She could see the crowds worried faces as well.  They all wanted her to win as much as she did, and she had performed poorly. 

The final round of the competition was more testing the relationship of horse and rider than the skill. 


The End

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