Courage Town: Personal Best
Carrie is training hard to be the best flyer in Courage Town, but she'd rather be in Scale City cheering Hanna on...
Today’s story follows Princess Hanna’s best friend, Carrie, back in Courage Town as she works with her bald eagle trainer, Eagle.
Here’s a link to the full Princess Hanna and Courage Town series:
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While the good dragons of sleepy old Courage Town were going about their casual business under the midday sun, Carrie was in the forest, working through her stretches with her bald eagle coach, Eagle.
“Take this time to focus in,” said Eagle.
Carrie tried to follow Eagle’s advice and leave her thoughts and worries about everything else behind. This was her opportunity to get in the zone. For the next few hours of training, she intended on temporarily forgetting everything else she knew. She had to leave everything else behind – all her anxieties, big and small. “Concentration is everything,” Eagle would say.
After going through her stretches and practising her mindful breathing, she felt her world coming into clearer and clearer focus. Her mind was becoming quieter and more peaceful, ready to be filled with the thrills and action of flight.
Eagle and Carrie had set up a racetrack through the forest with little signs for where to go. Carrie had been doing the racetrack every session, slowly improving, getting faster and faster.
Carrie and Eagle stood by the starting line, Eagle perched on a branch.
“Ready?” Eagle asked.
“Three… two… one… go!”
Carrie leapt into the air, kicking up a swirl of fallen leaves behind her. She stretched out her broad wings and started flapping. As she had trained more and more under Eagle’s tutorage, her flapping had become slower, stronger, more controlled. The muscles in her wings were strengthening and becoming more coordinated.
She zoomed between the trees, flying low enough to high five any critter of the forest floor. There was a look of total concentration on her face. She was completely in the moment.
Carrie was on track for a fantastic race time. She was pushing herself. She took each turn as tightly as possible, going so close her wings would clip the leaves on the branches. She’d then give an extra strong flap of her wings to speed herself back up.
As she passed Eagle for her final lap, she could hear him counting aloud. The feeling of being on the home stretch made her push that little bit harder, to make a last sprint of effort across the finish line.
Taking the final turn, Carrie bolted for the finish. As she approached, she stuck out her head in front of her to cross the line. Time!
Eagle stopped counting.
Carrie had to flap her wings to slow herself and land back down. She then hurried back to Eagle to hear how she had gone.
“Personal best,” said Eagle.
Carrie lit up with a grin. “Yes!”
“You know what, I think it’s time we have a race,” he said.
“Sounds good to me,” said Carrie.
“Here’s the goal,” said Eagle. “I’m going to fly off and you’re going to try and catch me. Simple enough?”
Carrie nodded, becoming more serious again.
Eagle and Carrie each got set to take off.
“Ready?” said Eagle.
“Yep,” said Carrie.
“Three… two… one… go!”
He sprung into the air and darted off, Carrie going straight after him. Still staying low to the ground, the pair of them raced across the forest.
There was no racetrack this time. It was just a simple game of chase.
Carrie was going all out, just barely keeping close to Eagle. His turns were sharper and his acceleration felt instantaneous. Carrie kept going though, giving it everything she had.
Her efforts were paying off and the gap was closing. Carrie reached out as far as she could. She stretched out her claw as far as it would go. Only just, she was able to barely tap Eagle’s foot. She then tumbled to the ground…
As she dusted herself off, she found Eagle just nearby.
“We need to find a trophy for you to win,” he said.
After training, Carrie went home and only got there just in time for dinner.
As she saw her mums in the living room, she had to remind herself that she was grumpy with them. She had been nagging them for days to go to Scale City so that she could cheer on Hanna in the Fire Carnival.
Judie and Annie couldn’t take her to Scale City, not at that moment. They were busy with work and couldn’t just take time off. Carrie told them that she could just fly straight there on her own, that it would only take half-a-day for her to get there, but they wouldn’t budge.
“I’m sorry,” her parents would tell her. “It just won’t work.”
That Sunday Carrie’s mum, Judie, went to the local Courage Town markets to stock up on fruit and veg.
The markets were in the town square, all of the town’s farmers there to sell their wares.
Judie was picking out some food when she saw a familiar face that she had not seen in a very long time.
It was James, the King’s brother, stocking up on fruit and veg.
“James!” called Judie.
He looked up and a happy smile came over his face when he saw Judie.
“Judie!” he said.
The two old friends gave each other a big hug. They chatted by the fruit and veg about this and that. It had been half-a-decade since they had seen each other.
Many years ago, when Carrie and Hanna were very small, James had been their babysitter. Carrie’s parents and Hanna’s parents were all close friends and it had often been James who they had turned to for a babysitter.
“How’s Carrie and Lily?” he asked. “They probably don’t remember me.”
“Maybe not knowingly,” said Judie. “But kindness leaves a mark.”
There was a brief moment of quiet.
“I heard you’ve been working with Hanna for the Fire Carnival,” said Judie. “Any idea how she’s going so far?”
“Well,” said James, “I’m actually going to go to Scale City tomorrow to see for myself.”
Suddenly, Judie had an idea.
“You know what, I have an enormous favour to ask,” said Judie.
On Sunday evening, Carrie sat down for dinner with her mums and her sister. It didn’t take long for her to notice a strange look on her mums’ faces. They had little cheeky smiles like they were kids with a secret they had zero chance of keeping.
“What is it?” Carrie asked.
“Any chance you’d still like to go to Scale City?” asked Judie.
Carrie leapt to her feet and let out a crystal-shattering squeal of delight.
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