Can you believe we keep coming back with more of these? And, I might be a bit biased but I think they are getting better as we go along. So, check out the next installment below and show Revis and I some love with some comments.
As the other team’s point after attempt was converted successfully, Plex berated his receiver, “What happened? That pass was perfect!”
The elf bowed his head in shame and responded quietly, “I don’t know. I was focusing on where the ball was going to be and my legs got tangled.”
Plex wanted to vent his frustration further but quickly calmed. If he hadn’t botched their previous drive himself, they wouldn’t be in this mess. And, how could his sister have so willingly driven up the score. Wasn’t she worried about him, her brother, getting eaten by the dragon?
Plex patted his receiver comfortingly on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry. Next time out, you’ll catch a touchdown pass. I’m sure of it. You’ve got good hands and you are faster than almost everyone else out here. I’ll make sure it happens.”
The elf nodded but said nothing in response. Plex looked across the field to try and pick out his sister. He expected to find her in some level of distress at least. Her team was on a path to send him to his doom. What he saw shocked him, though. She was still celebrating with her new teammates. They were boisterous and carefree.
Looking away, Plex saw Coach Sprout watching him closely. The gnome had that infuriating knowing smile on his face. The quarterback started to make his way towards the coach but got blocked on his way by the teams swapping out.
Plex caught sight of Glavven and said, “Now. Do it now. Ram it down their throats. Give this run everything you got and let’s return the kick-off for a touchdown. You’ve got this.”
The minotaur snorted, his nostrils flaring a darker shade of red than normal, and then the hulking running back turned and jogged into position. Coach Sprout forgotten for the moment, Plex watched the coming play with an intense need. It burned red hot in his belly. He couldn’t remember ever needing something so badly before.
Glavven pulled the ball out of the air on the five yard line and began running diagonally towards the far sideline. Their team was doing a great job of keeping the defense off him but then an orc broke free. Plex held his breath but then let it out in a large puff of excitement as Glavven straight armed the orc aside and sprinted on.
The minotaur spun away from another attempted tackle and then jumped over a lunging defensiveman. And then he was clear. Plex leapt into the air and nearly sprinted down the length of the sideline to celebrate with the runningback. The horde of his teammates wildly celebrating, in his way, was all that kept him from doing so. The whistle blew for the end of the first half just before Glavven crossed into the endzone.
The score now stood at 23 to 20. Coach Spout yelled for Plex to get in there and go for the additional points. If he could score that would put them back at only a point away. That would be good enough. He would take a defeat of only one point. But he knew that there was still a full half to play and given how freely both teams were scoring, he wasn’t sure if he could stick to his plan to not score on every drive.
He jogged onto the field and got his team in a huddle. Coach Sprout called a running play, but he could tell that Glavven was winded. The minotaur was taking deep, hurried breaths. “This play’s for you,” Plex said to his running back. “You going to be able to do this?”
“I’ve got enough left in me for a few yards,” Glavven managed between gulps of air.
Plex wanted to believe him, but he had been told that minotaurs were a prideful race. It was entirely possible that Glavven would claim to be okay even if he wasn’t. Converting on this two point attempt would give them a good momentum boost and lift his team’s confidence going into halftime. He didn’t want to risk blowing that because his running back was in worse shape than he let on.
A glance at Coach Sprout told him that the gnome was getting impatient about the delay. Plex was still uneasy, but he knew that he had to run the play as called. If he changed it up, all he’d do is anger both Glavven and Coach Sprout. There was still a half of football to play. It was too early to do his own thing right now.
His team got up on the line. Plex waited until the last possible second to call for the ball. The ball hit his hands and he hoped that Glavven had caught his breath. He turned and handed the ball to the big minotaur. Gilania’s team had expected this and had stacked the line of scrimmage. Glavven ran into a wall of bodies and Plex lost visual on him. The Honor Guard referees ran in to clear the pile and when they uncovered Glavven, the ball was laying on the goal line.
Plex and his teammates erupted into cheers, because that meant that the try was successful. The other team burst out in protest, claiming that Glavven reached it out after he was already down. The referees appeared to be confused. Not knowing what else to do, the head referee, the troll, looked to the dragon for guidance.
Everyone else in the arena did the same. Soon every eye was on Lavalandinarial, waiting for him to pass judgment on the play. The dragon was enjoying all of the attention, Plex knew. Lavalandinarial purposefully took its time to render the verdict. With a slow, lazy motion, the dragon gave a thumbs down. Gilania’s team jumped up in excitement while Plex and his teammates had to hold Glavven back.
“Don’t,” Plex yelled harshly as the entire offensive line worked to pull the enraged minotaur back to their sideline. He slapped Glavven softly across the face to get his attention. Once the angry eyes of Glavven were fixed on him, he continued. “Do you want to end up in the beast’s belly? Because if you do, we’ll let you go right now so you can be eaten.” That finally seemed to get through to the minotaur. “If you’d rather stay alive, I suggest you calm down and help us win this damned game.”
Glavven snorted but no longer pulled to get away from Plex. The two of them turned away and followed the rest of the two teams off to their sides of the field. Coach Sprout was having his assistants pass around a liquid that tasted sweet but was obviously mostly water.
When Plex raised an eyebrow questioningly, the Coach said, “The cooks have worked up this special brew that will replace a lot of the essential things your body burns during exercise. So, it should keep you sharper in the second half than if you didn’t drink it.”
Plex turned back to Glavven to give the runningback another confidence boosting talk but he felt a tug on his elbow and looked down to see Coach Sprout still standing there. “I need a word with you.”
The gnome walked away and Plex followed. They weaved through the throng of teammates, until the hit a patch of open sideline and then carried on for a few more yards until they were nearly at the goal line.
“Take a knee.”
Plex did as instructed. He was still much taller than the gnome but was as face to face as he could get without bending over further. He wouldn’t do that unless asked.
At first Coach Sprout said nothing. He just seemed to study the elf. Plex met the coach’s gaze easily. While he had initially been worried that he was in trouble and the coach was going to pull him from the game he decided that was unlikely. If Coach had been upset with him he would have been pulled immediately after the offending play. Or, rather, if Coach had trusted anyone other than Plex to drive the team to victory he would have already made the swap.
Finally, Coach Sprout said, “Don’t do it again.”
It was the elf’s turn to be silent. He would not make a promise he wasn’t sure he could keep. Elves could be every bit as prideful as minotaurs. He would not tarnish his honor by agreeing with Coach now while he might still potentially need to miss some plays to save his sister’s life.
“I know your sister is on the other team. I know you won’t want her to die. And I know you certainly don’t want to be taken out of the game where you will no longer have control over the results. So, I will say it once more. Don’t do it again.”
Still Plex said nothing. He wasn’t sure what he could say at that point. His mind scrambled for some way to placate Coach Sprout while leaving open the possibility that he could intentionally keep his own team from scoring.
“You are not the only person with family on other teams.”
Plex cocked his head sideways and studied the gnome. If Coach Sprout was referring to himself he made no additional indication, but still what the coach had said made sense. He and Gilania would not be the only siblings that had been split when the dragon mixed the teams.
Coach Sprout sighed and looked away. “Our defense is not strong enough to stop their offense. We will work on that if we can advance to the next round. I am certain that we can come back and win this game but that will only happen if you play to your best. I think you will do that. I think you have already started to realize that and so in the next half you will go out give your best.
“I need you to understand, though, that if you purposefully mess up one of the plays again trying to keep the score close, I will inform the dragon.”