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It’s often said that arcanine are the best runners there are. Humans in particular seem fascinated by our prowess; when we run, they say, we seem to be flying, as though our forward motion has nothing to do with anything so clumsy or mundane as our paws pushing off from the earth.

Whenever I think about the awe the image of an arcanine soaring along full-tilt seems to conjure I always smile slightly to myself, silently amused. For no human has ever seen an arcanine truly run.

Battle-trained arcanine such as myself are often taught to harness their terrific speed, to channel it into an attack so blindingly fast that a foe cannot even react before they are under assault. Humans, ever fond of their neat, consistent labels, know it as extremespeed. It is an attack I have used often.

Extremespeeed has nothing to do with being fast. It is about throwing yourself forward in space but not in time, about being there before you realize that your legs have begun to move. It is knowing that all things are circular, but that the shortest distance between any two points on a circle is a straight line.

And it is dangerous. To perform extremespeed, and perform it correctly, you must brush up against the very limits of the universe, bend incredible possibility into mundane probability. For while humans believe that it must be difficult to go so fast, in truth it is most difficult to move so slowly, to reach the threshold but not give into temptation and accelerate across it. Arcanine are born to run, as the saying goes, and for us, no speed is too great. Our lives are spent slowing our blazing spirits to a crawl, lest we leave the world behind in our desire to run still faster.

But now my days of battling are over, my body slowly giving in to the pressure of a soul that wants to leave it behind now that it can no longer keep up. My creaking legs will no longer carry me into extremespeed.

Still, when at last I come to those last spare seconds of my life, I think that I will have enough energy in me for one last run.

I’ll run until the earth dissolves beneath me and light uncoils and I find myself in the dark place inhabited by those who move so fast they’re everywhere at once.

I’ll outrun Death himself and leave Memory far behind.

I’ll run so fast that I catch Time’s tail between my teeth and find myself, in the end, right back at my beginning.

And in that last moment before who I was becomes who I am, I’ll realize the true reaches of extremespeed.