Chapter 10: Siberia, Race it on Vapor Trail

Helicopter to Vapor Trail

Alex and Griff were in their separate helicopters, on their way to the next drop, the Race it event on Vapor Trail. Alex was laying on the bench, taking a rest before the next challenge starts.

"You did really good my friend." the pilot said proud.

"Thank you, it's a wonder how a bit of help from someone can benefit you." Alex said happy.

"I know what you mean, keep it up, and your team will lead to victory." Sam said.

"I know we can win, how long until we arrive?" Alex asked

"Just a couple of minutes." the pilot said as Alex looked out of the window.

"Alright..." Alex said tired while laying on the bench again

Meanwhile in Griff helicopter, Griff was waxing is board as he didn't look disappointed at his recent lose at all. The pilot thought it was a little suspicious that Griff didn't care much and wanted to know why he didn't.

"Griff, may I ask you something?" the pilot asked.

"Let me guess, you want to know why it does not bother me that I lost?" Griff said while knowing about the pilot his question.

"Yeah, when you raced Zoe, you got angry, now you lost to Alex and it does not bother you at all." the pilot said.

"Hey hey, take it easy, I'm giving them all I have. If I win, then it's because of my talent." Griff said suspicious.

"I don't get it, what are you planning Griff?" the pilot asked.

"I'm not planning anything, promised, but let me tell you this, after a couple challenges, this whole competition will be mine. Two people will help me with that. I have found Team SSX's fatal weaknesses and now I have a great idea to get them down on their knees." Griff said sinister.

"Team SSX their weakness? What weakness, and which two are going to help you, one of SSX? I don't see how SSX will help you out after you bailed on them." the pilot told him.

"Hehehe, I'm sorry but I can't tell you everything, are we there yet?" Griff asked.

"Uh, yeah just a couple more minutes, I'm trying to keep up with Alex." the pilot said as Griff looked sinister again.

SSX Resort

Back at the resort, SSX had settled down their celebration and sat down to watch Alex her next challenge.

"You think Alex has enough strength to make it?" Zoe asked to Atomika.

"You got me there, she put out a lot of energy, let's just hope she pulls through." Atomika said worried.

"Should we ask her, we always forget that we have headsets to communicate with her." Elise said.

"Yeah, you can ask her if you want to." Atomika said.

Elise grabbed her headset and puts it in her ear, she turned it on and spoke up.

"Alex, hey?" Elise said.

Alex heard a noise in her ear and turned it on.

"Elise, is that you?" Alex asked.

"Yes, your team wants to congratulate you with your finish, we watched the live stream and you did great." Elise said proud.

"Thank you, that's so sweet." Alex said happy.

"We wanted to know, do you have the energy to continue the challenges?" Elise asked.

"Of course, in fact, I think I want to do the Survive it challenge too, I'm feeling all pumped up and full of energy." Alex said hyper.

"Wow, that's extreme, let me ask Mark if that is such a good idea." Elise said. "Mark, is it good for Alex to do the Survive it after this?" Elise asked.

"Absolutely not, doesn't she remember what I told her, she needs enough preparations, rest and energy, especially for the Survive it challenges. They are very risky and dangerous, almost life threatening. Only with enough preparations may she be able to ride them." Atomika said.

"Okay, I'll tell her what you said." Elise said. "Alex, Mark thinks it's not a good idea, you need enough preparation and energy to do them. It's too dangerous to just ride them unprepared."

"But I know what is waiting for me, I know the mountain from the internet, and I am full of energy. Please, reconsider." Alex said.

Atomika grabs Elise's headset and puts himself through Alex to talk to her about her irresponsible decision to continue riding.

"Alex, you can't ride Mount Berlukha East! After you're done with the race, you head straight back to the resort and take some rest. It's either this, or risk your life out there for nothing." Atomika said understanding.

"Alright, I understand, I'll head back when I'm done. The race is going to start, so I need to get ready." Alex said disappointed.

"Good, I'm sorry Alex, but this is for your own safety, and for the team not to lose a valuable member. Do your best out there." Atomika said understanding.

"I know, thanks Mark, you are just looking out for me, I won't disappoint you all." Alex said as she got ready and waxed her board.

Vapor Trail

After a half hour of flying, Alex and Griff finally arrived at their destination, Vapor Trail.

"Can you hold the helicopter still, it is shaking too much." Alex asked while the chopper was shaking around.

"Sorry kid, but this mountain is a bit more windy, get ready." the pilot said.

Alex and Griff both opened their door and got ready to start.

"Okay, 3... 2... 1... Go!" the pilot yelled as both Griff and Alex jumped out of the helicopter.

Before Alex hit the ground, she did some small tricks to get some more speed. She took first place and started to race down the mountain with Griff. Griff took the tunnel next to the jump while Alex took the jump Griff just passed.

Back at the resort, team SSX was watching the live stream carefully as they saw right at the beginning that something was wrong.

"You guys saw it too right?" Zoe asked.

"I saw it, she didn't look for the shortest ways, does she even know what she is doing?" Elise asked.

"We should trust her, maybe she has something in mind." Tane said understanding.

Back at the race, Alex was confident about herself as she was only looking for high jumps and did tricks around the mountain. Griff, however, was just nonchalant racing and not paying attention to Alex and her actions. She was not aware that Griff was way ahead of her. For Alex, it was probably not even clear what the best way was to do a Race it challenge as she only focused on the points.

"Go on Alex, you can win this and make everyone proud." Alex said while doing tricks on the jump she saw in front of her.

Griff however, was way in front of her, only taking small ways and sticking to the ground. When Alex started to go faster, she saw that Griff was in the far distance.

"What, how is he that far?" Alex asked herself. "Did I do something wrong?"

Griff saw Alex behind him and smiled.

"Haha, is that all you have, you are such a rookie" Griff said.

"I'll show you who's a rookie!" Alex said.

While they were still racing, the team was watching the tv and saw that Alex was not doing well.

"No, she is losing, we have to talk to her right away." Elise said worried.

"I'll do it, Alex listen, you started good but you gave away the lead by hitting that big jump, Alex!" Zoe yelled as she didn't get a response back.

"Let me try it." Elise said as she turns her headset on. "Alex, stick to the ground and no more big jumps. Try to look for the fastest and the shortest way around the mountain!" Elise said but Alex still did not respond.

"It's no use, she can't hear us, we just have to watch her and hope for the best." Atomika said as everybody looked worried.

Vaport Trail ¾ Done

The race was coming to its end, Alex still has not managed to catch up to Griff's lead. Griff just got out of the mountain area and went right to the industrial park as Alex still had to go through the rock area.

"This does not look good, what have I done." Alex said bummed and angry at herself.

In the resort, the team also saw that the race was already over for her and that there was nothing she could do about it.

"It's over guys, we lost this one. We have to hope for Alex to beat Griff at the last challenge." Tane said as he stood up and broke the news.

"Even if she lost, she has to finish what she started, even though she can't hear us, we have to cheer her on. Come on Alex!" Mac yelled as he also stood up and cheered her on.

"He's right, we have to support her." Ty said.

Everybody stood up from their seat and started to root for Alex.

Alex was still riding, but then with her head down from disappointment, she then thought about what Mac said. She then imagined what he said while they were talking to each other in Mac's room

"The reason I became so good at tricking is because I forced myself to get better." Mac said inside Alex her mind.

"Hmm... Even if I lose, I can't let it haunt me, I have to force myself to finish the race. The last challenge will be mine." Alex said as she went faster.

But unfortunately, the race was coming to an end after Griff past the industrial area and Alex passed the rock area.

Griff finish first and looked behind her, he didn't see anyone and immediately crossed the finish line. He then stepped proud his chopper in and took off.

"I left her in the dust, that was easier than I thought. Pilot, bring me back to the resort, I'm done with her." Griff said as his helicopter took off.

Alex was riding on the cable line and jumped her way to the finish, she saw her helicopter and stepped in.

Alex ended second, losing the race and tying with Griff on a 1-1 for the region Siberia. When she went inside the vehicle, the pilot saw that there was something wrong with her and spoke up.

"What happen out there kid?" the pilot asked.

"I... don't know, I thought I had that race but Griff surprised me. He is better than I thought he was." Alex said.

"Even though you lost, you gave it your best. That reminds me, do you have your headset on?" the pilot asked as Alex checks her ear and noticed that her headset was not on.

"Hey, where is my headset, it's gone." Alex said worried.

"So, that's why you couldn't hear your warnings from the team. They tried to contact you on what you did wrong, but I'll explain it to you." the pilot said.

"Please tell me, where did it go wrong?" Alex asked.

"Zoe said that you started good, but when you hit that jump, you literally gave away the first lead." the pilot said.

"Oh, I have totally forgotten that racing is not the same as tricking." Alex said.

"Elise said that you have to stick to the ground and look for the fastest way around the mountain. The fastest way is the best way to win in a Race event." the pilot said.

"I have messed up pretty bad, hey would you mind lending me your headset until I have a new one, please?" Alex asked.

"Sure kid, here you go, you can talk to your crew if you want to." the pilot said.

"No not now, I'll need it during the last challenge. I need a way to break the news to the other. Can you please bring me home, I need some rest." Alex said.

"That's why I am here for, back to the resort it is." the pilot said as he took of back to the resort.

SSX Resort at night

After four hours of flying and speeding, Alex made it back to the resort at 23:36 pm. She stepped out of the helicopter, but was afraid to enter the building. The pilot stood behind her and gave her a pat on her shoulder.

"Come on, don't be scared now." Sam told her.

"Okay, here it goes." Alex said as she opened the door.

To her surprise, the team was welcoming her, and celebrating her victory at the first event and her overall progress.

"Good job Alex, you did great1" everybody yelled as they surrounded her.

"Aren't you guys mad at me?" Alex asked.

"Mad, why would we be mad? We are a team, we help each other no matter what happens. So what if you lose, we will be here to help you." Tane said.

"You guys are the best." Alex said relieved.

"At least you won the first event, you have become better than before. Great job on the Trick it, such a progress is something this competition needs." Zoe said proudly.

"Let's just say, I had some good advice from a friend." Alex said while winking at Mac.

"Aah yeah you see, you see? One of my excellent words has changed someones style into a professional. Now Alex won the Trick it event with ease, Mac's Way." Mac said with a thumb up.

"Come on, you are not that good. Now you are just getting cocky, you should put some ice on that hot head of yours to cool off." Kaori said teasing with her finger on his forehead as everybody laughed.

"You know what? I think I should, but let's not forget that the Japanese girl next to me had 4 times fewer points as I had on R&B, and I was just sleep riding the way through." Mac said as comeback while pointing at Kaori with his thumb.

Everybody, except for Alex, laughed as Kaori puts her hands folded and closed her eyes. Elise puts her hand on her shoulder and Kaori started to smile again.

Alex saw how Mac reacted towards her and walked up to him.

"You, come with me, now!" Alex said as she pulled Mac with her around the corner.

"Wow hey, you are stretching my shirt. Watch the elastics." Mac said while being pulled.

Alex and Mac were both around the corner, away from the others.

"What is wrong with you, why did you do that?" Alex asked.

"Calm down, just some friendly trash talk, I don't mind. Hell, the team makes fun of me all the time, but as long as we respect each other, it's okay." Mac said.

"I did not know that, but that is not really my thing to do. I don't know, maybe I'll change my mind some day. So, have you given her the news?" Alex asked excited.

"Not yet, I need to look good and..." Mac said as Alex interrupted him.

"Who can help you better than me... a French supermodel... me! Come with me, I'll help you out, first we will get you some clothes, the one you are wearing now is... well... and your hair is... forget about it, come with me." Alex said as they both appeared out of the corner, grabbed his hand and pulled him with her.

"Hey, where are you going?" Kaori asked.

"Oh just... uh... Alex a little help here..." Mac asked to Alex.

"We are going to talk about make-up, we will see you guys soon." Alex said.

"Hey wait, I don't want to talk about... Mhmmm." Mac said as Alex covered his mouth.

"Video games then, we will see you later!" Alex said as she left with Mac.

"I thought woman were crazy, but I never knew they play video games, why didn't anyone tell me!" Ty asked mad.

"Ty, you do know that they are going to do something different right?" Elise asked.

"Uh, yeah... I guess." Ty said as he walked away.

"Elise are you coming with me, I'm tired so I think I'm going to bed." Kaori said tired.

"Yeah me two, later guys, we are off, see you tomorrow morning." Elise said as she left with Kaori.

Meanwhile in Mac and Ty's room, Mac was getting ready for his big confession. Alex went through Mac's clothes to see what was more suitable for him to wear in this occasion.

"Hm, no, no, no." Alex said while going through his clothes. "Nothing... Do you have anything that makes you look like a... Gentleman?" Alex asked serious.

"No, I do have them but I didn't think I needed them, they are at home and that's pretty far away. Think about it, when would I need them in a snowboard competition." Mac answered.

"Fine fine uuhh... Okay, put this black vest on and a white T-shirt. It is like a tuxedo." Alex said as she handed over his clothes.

"You sure about this, I actually don't like to get dressed by someone." Mac said.

"Trust me, okay that looks good, now take of those blue jeans and put on this black one." Alex said.

"What, I'm not taking of my pants!" Mac said while blushing.

"Just take them off, blue jeans don't go with black and white, at least the clothes you are wearing now." Alex explained.

"That is not the problem I was talking about..." Mac hinted Alex.

"Oh that, I see. What if I turn around?" Alex said as she turned her back towards him.

He then puts the jeans on.

"How do I look?" Mac asked while wearing the black vest with the white T-shirt and the light black jeans.

"Good, but nervous. What is wrong?" Alex asked.

"I have had a lot of girls, but to ask Kaori is a whole different story. What if it ruins our friendship?" Mac asked concerned.

"It won't, listen, just keep cool and the words will slide out." Alex said.

"Yeah, yeah right." Mac said.

"You are ready for it, go get her." Alex said as Mac wanted to leave his room. "Wait a second..." Alex said as she licks her hand and tried to change his hair from curls to straight.

"Wow, you can stop right there, you can dress me, and put me some pants on, but the hair stays!" Mac said while holding Alex her hand.

"Alright alright, the hair can stay." Alex said as she opened the door for Mac. "Now Go, go, go. Your woman is waiting for you." Alex said as she pushed him out of the room with the bouquet and present in his hands.

Elise and Kaori's room

Meanwhile, Elise and Kaori were getting ready to sleep in their room, Elise was getting in her sleeping clothes while Kaori was taking care of her hair before sleeping.

"You know which night it is right?" Elise asked.

"No, which one?" Kaori asked sarcastic.

"Mac Night, don't tell me you forgot about that." Elise said.

"Elise, why do you think I went to sleep... early? I can stay up as late as I can." Kaori said with a smart face in the mirror.

"Ooohh, smart girl, you were well aware." Elise said as they both laughed.

"Yeah, I hope he is going to make the first move." Kaori said excited

"But it's still a bit early, wanna play a game?" Kaori said.

"Which one?" Elise asked excited.

"Truth or dare maybe?" Kaori said.

"Always up for that, I want to go first. Truth." Elise said.

"Okay... What do you think of... Let's take Ty?" Kaori asked.

"Ty, I don't know, he's a nice guy and all but is a bit weird at times like a couple minutes ago, you know?" Elise said.

"He seems kind of nice, a bit unusual at times, but hey, being all perfectly and normal is boring too, so it wouldn't hurt to be weird at times. I won't mind if I knew someone who was being crazy certain times, if you are too normal it would be so boring." Kaori said.

While the girls were playing truth or dare, Mac was walking towards the girls room, practicing his line.

"Hey Kaori, Mac here... no that is not it... Kaori, hi there... no, that one neither... Kaori, wassup though... What am I thinking, no!" Mac said as he almost arrived.

While Mac was still on his way, Kaori and Elise continued their game of truth or dare, with Kaori next.

"Okay, I'll take truth." Kaori said.

"Okay, which one of these guys is the perfect date for you, Griff of Mac." Elise asked.

"Really, you are going to ask me something like that, it's obvious about who is the best one, the worst is definitely Griff." Kaori answered.

Mac finally arrived near the wall and saw the door a couple of meters away.

"Alright, I'm almost there. Hey, what are those noises?" Mac asked himself.

As he was next to the wall of the girls room, he heard loud noises coming from the room, and decided to hear out the conversation between Kaori and Elise. He then heard Kaori's voice and decided to listen.

"And what about the other one?" Elise asked.

"Oh, the other one you say, mhm." Kaori reacted harsh.

"They are probably talking about me." Mac said as he listens carefully.

"He has been such a jerk lately, I don't know what made him change that much." Kaori said.

"It really annoys me, I hate people who act like that. What hormones all can do for one person." Elise said.

As Mac heard her talking, he got surprised by her outburst.

"What, what are saying?" Mac asked himself worried.

"In the third tournament, he was a really nice boy, but over the years, he had become such a hot head and annoyingly cocky. He is living proof that people can change from nice, to jerk." Kaori said.

Mac remembered in the recent discussion with Kaori that she called him a hot head and cocky. He continued overhearing the women as he was shaking from anger and looked at the ground.

"Are they talking about me?" Mac asked himself.

"You know Elise, he was a really good and nice friend in that tournament, but now, I don't even trust him anymore, maybe I never will after this competition." Kaori said.

That moment when Mac heard her say that, it was the last straw for him. He stepped away from the wall and walked away from pure anger, not saying anything or even knocked on the door.

Kaori and Elise heard a noise coming from outside their room.

"You heard something too Elise?" Kaori asked.

"Why won't you take a look?" Elise asked as Kaori went to the door and opened the door.

When Kaori opened the door, she saw no one, he hallways was all empty and abandoned. She then closed the door out of confusion

"There was no one at the door? That's weird, you think it was... you know who?" Kaori said as she walked back to her.

"Maybe he got nervous and went back to his room, sometimes he does let his emotions take him over." Elise explained.

"Well, I hope he didn't try anything like chocolate and flowers." Kaori said.

"Why not, that's one of the most romantic things a man can do to prove he likes you." Elise said.

"I know, but it's too cliche, if he would just ask me, I would really appreciate it more than stinky flowers, and I don't even like chocolate." Kaori said.

"But I guess Mac got too nervous again to approach you, that's so Mac. Act all cool but when he wants to do something sensitive, he backs away like a child." Elise said.

"Hey, I actually think that's cute." Kaori said worried.

"Should we ask him tomorrow morning?" Elise asked.

"No, then he knows we were expecting him to ask, we just have to see what he is going to do tomorrow." Kaori said.

"Let's go to sleep, it's really late." Elise said.

"Good idea, good night." Kaori said as they both went to sleep.

Meanwhile, Mac went back to his own room, angered and confused at Kaori's words towards him. He arrived at his room and opened the door, he saw Ty getting dressed into his clothes and changed himself very quickly.

"Hey dude, where have you been?" Ty asked.

"I don't want to talk about it!" Mac said quickly and angered.

"Wow, that does not sound good... Are you okay bro?" Ty asked understanding.

"I'm tired and I'm going to sleep!" Mac said as he lays in his bed and turned his back towards Ty.

"You are so not okay, I see it. If it's about those chocolates under your bed, I'm sorry but they were so delicious, especially the sea animals and..." Ty said but before he could finish his sentence, Mac interrupted him and turned around to him

"I said I'm tired, I'm going to sleep! Leave me alone would you!" Mac said as he turned his back on Ty again.

"Fine, have it your way, I'm only trying to help." Ty said as he also layed in his bed.

They both went to sleep for tomorrow. Mac layed in his bed, thinking about Kaori, he then tried to forget about his best friend and former love interest.