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"You know I'm going to win Isoje!" Enielda exclaimed. "My dragon is certainly the fastest."

"Ha, my Pegasus can fly just as fast and faster. I am going to win." Isoje retorted.

Eticia disagreed, "Isoje, your Pegasus is fast, but my oliphant is the fastest."

"You are all crazy," Noj Vidad objected. "My unicorn is the fastest animal in the kingdom."

Nehat and Mitym looked at each other and rolled their eyes. They too would be participating in the race, but they didn't see any reason to boast about winning. They knew that it would be a close race, and so they wanted to save their energy for when they needed it. Mitym carefully checked his seatbelt one more time to make sure all was well.

Nehat simply patted his dragon's neck and settled himself more firmly in the saddle. This race was to be the big finale to Princess Atamar's 17th birthday party. The winner was to have the privilege of sitting at the head table next to the Princess at the birthday banquet.

The presents had been given. Games had been played. The race would be starting soon. All of them were extremely excited. When all the hundreds of contestants were lined up at the starting line, the herald announced the rules.

"This race is for both fliers and runners. You can take the course in any order you desire, but you must go to the big oak at the edge of the wood and remove one of the green scarves hanging from it. You must also go to the lake and remove one of the red scarves tied to the cattails. You must also go to the Amethyst caverns and bring back one of the purple scarves tied to the gate. Take only one scarf of each color, and do nothing to hinder your opponents. Be the first to lay all three scarves at the feet of Princess Atamar and you will be the champion of the annual Scarf Race. When Princess Atamar drops the tri-colored scarf, the race will begin."

Everyone focused their eyes on Princess Atamar in eager expectation. Suddenly, a green, purple, and red scarf dropped from her hand. Isoje & Enielda were the first two into the sky. Nehat & Mitym were not far behind on their dragons. Eticia & Noj Vidad were the first runners off the starting line. Noj Vidad headed first to the Amethyst caves. Isoje & Eticia headed toward the lake. Enielda, Nehat, & Mitym headed towards the woods.

Each of them was determined to win and have the honor of sitting at Princess Atamar's side during the banquet. Each of them knew that this might be the last annual scarf race, because by next year, the kingdom might be at war...

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