"Look at em', getting all close and what-not." Allegra Sauvagess mentioned in the middle of her and Viggo Rolig's conversation. She finished strapping her gloves on and placed a pair of sassy hands on her hips. Viggo stuffed his hands in his jacket.
All contestants stood right behind the releases, getting set up for the first round of Snow Jam. There were several minutes before the race actually started, so past contestants were reminiscing with one another while getting to know the new competition.
"The veterans have been tight for a while, brah." Viggo peered down at the redhead in her cargo pants and t-shirt.
"Dude, aren't you like... Freezing or something?"
"Psh, nah." Allegra waved him off. "I like the chill against my skin when I ride. It gets me pumped."
"So, what are your hobbies?"
"Well, I party a lot..." He started with... They seemed to hit it off well.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the same for Griff and Mac.
Griff pranced right up to Kaori and Mac while they were being friendly and chatting away during the free time before the race started. He was instantly all over their personal space in a heartbeat.
"So, are you two dating? You're dating aren't you?"
Mac raised a brow. He looked over at Kaori and smirked. "Seems like the shrimp is a little slow."
Griff pouted. "I'm not a shrimp!"
"Yeah, keep telling yourself that." Mac pulled Griff's goggles over his eyes. "And we're not dating."
Kaori looked back and forth between the two. She could already feel another rivalry brewing with Mac. Griff pulled his goggles back up.
"Oh yeah? Then I'm gonna' crush you in the race! And then we'll see who the shrimp is!" He attempted at getting up in Mac's face. The brunette continued to stand high and mighty.
"Right, I'm shaking in my pants. Get ready for the smackdown, cause you're lookin' at the future king of Peak 1, baby."
"Lessee what ya got', shorty."
Kaori stood in between them, throwing her arms in between them. "Yamete, futari tomo!" [Stop fighting you two!]
Griff looked up at her; obviously puzzled. "What the heck? Are you from mars or something?"
That set off a fuse inside of Mac, and it was hard to get him to be defensive. "You retarded? It's Japanese, stupid."
"Mou, yamete-!" Kaori attempted at pushing Mac's chest. He didn't budge, nor acknowledged her existence at the moment. He was too frustrated at the grade schooler.
"Ooh, look at me, I'm from space!" Griff laughed rudely. He then pointed at her pigtails. "Look, she's even got antennas!"
Mac went to open his mouth, but Kaori shoved her way in between them and glared down at Griff. She gripped his cheeks and pulled on them.
"You do not treat others that way! It very rude!"
"Alien lady speaks English?!"
"GRIFF!" Nate had heard what was going on and marched his way over to the scene, ready to drag the blonde away by the collar and make him apologize for whatever out of control thing he was doing that time. Griff jumped at Nate's demanding tone and turned around after Kaori released his cheeks. He rubbed them painfully.
"Sorry, is he causing trouble?"
"Yeah, mind tellin' him that foreigners aren't Martians and to go back to school? Cause he obviously learned crap."
"Sorry, what?" Nate raised a brow at Griff. The blonde whined in his defense.
"It's not my fault she doesn't speak American!"
"Griff!" Nate said in a slightly scolding tone and put his arm around the kid. "Sorry, I'll get him out of your way."
"I'll get revenge, marshmallow!" Griff stuck his tongue out at Mac as Nate dragged him away. "Just wait until I pumble you in the snow! Then we'll see who's makin' out with your girlfriend!" Griff did not mean this as if he was going to make out with Kaori,
but that was precisely how Mac took it. He growled under his breath. Kaori sighed stressfully.
A man with a microphone stepped out of the right booth on the side of the starting lines and called out to the contestants. "First six contestants need to step up for the first heat!" He pulled out a clipboard and flipped through the paper, shouting out their names as they all turned an ear.
"Starting lineup; Allegra Sauvagess, Nate Logan, Psymon Stark, Kaori Nishidake, Mac Fraser, and Elise Riggs; step up to the lines."
They all strapped on their boards and hopped on over to the releases with ease, all gripping onto the sides and ready to push once the doors flew open and gave them free way.
"Knock em' out Nate!" Griff called from the back enthusiastically. Nate's focus was more fixated on the blonde on the far end of him. He flashed a white smile back at his new tiny buddy and got his game face on.
Kaori didn't know how to feel; considering Psymon was on her left, and Mac was on her right. She felt a swirl of negative and positive emotions. Mac tapped her shoulder; she jumped and faced her good friend.
"Let's wipe the floor with them!"
Kaori smiled and nodded happily. "Hai!"
Fireworks shot off above them, and the contestants all quieted down as they let the obviously female announcer speak into the echoing microphone.
"Hello and welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Snow Jam races! In the first heat, he competitors are, Allegra Sauvagess! Nate Logan, Psymon Stark, Kaori Nishidake, Mac Fraser, and Elise Riggs! This is a pressuring line up folks! But who will be the Peak 1 champion?"
All placed their headphones in with their secured Mcomm's; something that seemed to be an SSX tradition, since listening to Radio BIG gave them all motive and feeling while riding. All heads turned when they saw a man walk out with his Starting Pistol.
"Three, two, one!" He fired.
Everyone was instantly released and down the hill they went, already showing off and a few contestants in particular leaving the others in the dust.
Allegra and Nate's board's collided, the two falling down. Allegra was immediately back up and on the track. As Elise passed them, she called out to the redhead.
"Hey, Allegra! Nice move!"
"You'll see better, Riggs!"
Nate sighed and got back up, but he was determined to catch up with the rest. He hopped back onto his feet and caught up with Elise, who was apparently being smoked by Psymon, Kaori, and Mac.
Elise eyed Nate when he had already caught up with her. "Someone's fast on their feet! But not fast enough for this!" She crouched down and rode up on a rail, grinding it down the winding path and landed. She smiled with pleasure.
"Woohoo! Nothing but perfection, baby!"
Nate then gave her a challenged smile and went up the side of the winding path, holding onto the side of his board and spinning like a vortex until he was in front of Elise. He winked at her as he got ahead.
"Hey Elise! I think I like you!"
The blonde seemed surprised, but felt she shouldn't be. All men pretty much flirted with her - but this time it felt… Different somehow. She smiled at him and blew off his statement.
Leaving everyone behind as they ripped up the snow, was Psymon and Kaori battling neck and neck in a battle of speed and talent. Kaori was determined not to lose to him, no matter how much he called her out during the race. This being another one of those times.
"Hey, girlie! The thunder is coming to strike you! Watch out!"
Kaori rolled her eyes. Him and his weird verbal attacks. "Mou furo ni haire!" [Take a bath already!]
"Hah! Speaking pig Latin again? Wait until the fat lady sings babeh!" He stuck his tongue out and crouched down to speed up. Kaori did the same with an expression of fixation written in her eyes. She didn't want to win. She simply wanted to prove to Psymon Stark she wasn't as weak as he made her out to be.
They winded another corner, both in silence. The space got smaller and they were forced together as they both were trying to make their paths shorter. Psymon grunted in disgust and looked up behind him. The height of the corner was going to cover the camera.
This was his chance.
Mac cut the corner and saw the two in sight, reading the slay both of them with his blatant superior skill; mostly Psymon. Just when he was about to call Kaori's name and cheer her on, what he saw made his skin prickle with anger.
Psymon grabbed Kaori by the pigtail, dragging her head to the ground and going on ahead without her. Kaori yelped and fell face first, her head knocking into a nearby rock. She struggled to push herself back up, obviously in pain. Her goggles broke against the rough edge of the rock, and she was forced to take them off.
Mac gritted his teeth and continued to dash down the hillside. As he flew passed Kaori, he grabbed her arm and helped her back up, dragging her with his momentum to give her the extra push she needed to keep going.
"C'mon! Let's crush Stark until he's gotten a smackdown!"
Kaori saw stars as she rode with Mac. Nodding, she let him pass her when he released her arm. He took a shortcut over the hill and made a large jump, catching up with Psymon easy.
"Watashi no saki ni iku!" [Go on ahead of me!] Still keeping a faster pace ahead of all of the other participants, she clutched her forehead in pain; and when pulling it back, she gasped.
Blood stained her entire glove palm.
Mac knew the first two races didn't matter as long as he got a place in one of the top three. They just decided who would be passed into the final heat, and then that was the important competition. But because of Mac's pride and the current anger he held towards Psymon, he was determined to win. For Kaori, and more for himself.
However winning wouldn't be enough… He felt like he shouldn't have left her, she did seem like she was in pain after all.
But then again, Kaori was pretty strong despite her looks. He had confidence she'd catch up just fine.
The more important problem was Psymon Stark. They were both shot up from a ground rail and did some crazy tricks. When they landed, they glared at each other and pressed on.
"Psymon Stark and Mac Fraser are currently tied!" Shouted the announcer from the checkpoint. Fireworks blew off above them and the crowds went wild.
Allegra grinned when she saw a red coat in front of her. It was pretty Miss Asia, and she was ready to serve some failure on a golden platter.
The girl crouched and curved to the side, riding beside Kaori and smiled. "Hey Kaori! You best be watchin' out for-" She stopped mid sentence, her jaw dropping slightly at Kaori's face.
Blood was streaking down it.
"Hey girl, what happened!? You look banged up!"
Kaori turned her head with one closed eye and smiled. "Ah, ano…" She remembered that this girl probably didn't understand her Japanese like Mac and did her best to gather a string of English words in the middle of her delirium.
"I am okay. Do not worry."
"Ya' don't sound okay! You should hang back and get that looked at before something worse happens!"
"IE!" Kaori shouted with discomfort and rode on with nothing but the last of her strength and sheer will power, leaving Allegra to deal with Nate and Elise again.
"Crap, man… I'm not gonna' make it!' Mac thought to himself as Psymon and he raced to the finish line. Mac raced through the archway just an inch before Psymon. Taking second place.
Psymon stretched his hands up in the air and shouted manically. Almost incomprehensible words flinging from his throat like a catapult. Mac shook his head and turned when he heard another snowboard approaching the finish line.
Kaori sped into third and as soon as her body flew past the archway, she became dizzy and inevitably tripped, falling over on her face.
Mac gasped and undid his snowboard from his boots, rushing to Kaori's side. "Woah, K!" Just as he kneeled down beside her, Nate came rushing in and posing, slightly upset he came in fourth, but more concerned about where he was going to ride in on, considering a Japanese woman was collapsed in the snow.
He curved his way around Kaori's figure and twisted his board to come to a stop. When he saw the red droplets in the frozen water beneath them, he too took of his board and walked over to Kaori's side like the gentleman he was.
Mac rolled her over gently and cringed when he moved her bangs out of the way. While he glared back at Psymon. Nate removed her board from her feet and wrapped her arm around his shoulder. "We need to get her to a doctor." He lifted her off her feet.
Elise raised her hands in somewhat victory considering she was in fifth and Allegra groaned. Before the two could start complaining, the sight of Kaori with a bleeding forehead in Nate's arms and a hostile Mac caught their attention.
"I'll carry her, you can get a doctor." Mac said. Nate shook his head.
"We don't have time; you're probably a faster runner than me. Go, I'll put her down somewhere."
Mac shot one more glare at Psymon, preparing some insults to chew him out with as he started running, but found that the medics were already there. They had seen Kaori with the cameras and rushed their way to the finish line. Two opened a stretcher and approached Nate.
"Mr. Logan! Please set her down here."
"Thanks a lot, guys." Nate took one knee and placed the small girl onto the convertible bed. The medical team carried her off and left the rest to just stand there. Mac glared at Psymon, who finally turned around after all of his yelling.
Mac speed paced towards him and gave him one hard shove, making Psymon step back a bit by the sudden force.
"What's your deal, huh!?" He snarled at him viciously.
"Huh!? You wanna' go!?"
"Go ahead! Take me on, I'll be sure to pay you back for tossin' Kaori like that! She's not your toy that you can just jerk around!"
"Woah!" Nate got himself in between the two and faced Mac, pressing a hand to the center of his chest and gently pushing him away from Psymon to make distance. "Chill, okay?"
"Hands off, mountain man I'm gonna' tear this loser to tiny pieces!" Mac tried to step out of the way, but Nate moved himself in front of him again.
"Unless you want security running over here and disqualifying you both, I suggest you calm down. I don't understand why you're even lashing out at him."
"I was just messin' around. It ain't my fault the little piggy couldn't protect herself. She looks better with hair down anyway - hides her pudgy face." Psymon stuck a pierced tongue out and folded his arms; humored.
"You're going to be the one with a pudgy face once my fists are thru with you! Expect some black and purple rocketing your way!"
Nate started to get the idea. The reason why Kaori was in such a bad shape was because of resident psychopath, Psymon Stark. Nate turned around and swung his arm out to keep Mac back from jumping the lunatic.
"You put her on that stretcher?"
"Stop being a whining baby about it. It's just a little blood." Psymon picked up his board, walking off the set. "If she survives, lemme know. I'll give my condolences." He joked. He knew the hit she got wasn't bad enough to kill her.
Though he made a big mistake leaving two angry men standing there.
"Are you stupid? Why'd you stop me!?"
Nate sighed angrily. "Mac." He craned his neck towards the shorter guy. "Let's rip him apart in the next races."
"This just in, it seems that SSX sweetheart Kaori Nishidake was just taken by the medics because of a gnarly head injury. Oddly enough, I didn't see how she got the gash from my mountain cams, but services say she'll be just fine and needs to lie down. Unfortunately, she might miss the last heat which would suck big time considering she got third place and is qualified for it, but we'll just have to see how that goes. Keep fighting, Kaori."