Chapter 7: The Surface

The bright lights illuminating the arena were the first senses he gained access to. After that, he remembered his location. His predicament.

Leon looked to his left as a bright white circle formed beside him. Slowly materializing from thin air was the dark purple jacket and black jeans of Bibi. The neon-punk rock girl took to her surroundings quickly as she locked eyes with Leon. He saw her eyes wobble while her fingers flexed but her body refused to move.

"The hell's going on?!" she asked with a frustrated tone.

Leon was going to respond but a voice chimed in from behind, "Relax Bibi. We're probably just waiting for Primo to start the match." Leon turned to see Poco with his guitar in hand and a patient smile on his face. They all looked around as they processed their current location. On both sides of their turret were bushes with clay walls behind them. From Leon's position in the middle, he could see more bushes on the far right and left. No one could see past the large wall directly in front of their IKE Turret.

Leon watched as Bibi's arms flexed, her knuckles growing white around her bat. "Primo! What's taking so long?!"

The sound of static and coughing rung through the arena, "Hello? Ehem! Yes, sorry, how's everyone doing?" Bibi growled at his nonchalant banter. "Now I will only say this once. There are up to three sieges during each match. The team that collects more bolts at the start of each siege-"

"Shut up already! How many times you gonna say the same shit!?"

Primo pushed the mic away from his mouth. Inside of their skybox, he turned to the other students with a smile. "I like her." He brought the mic back to his face, "Yes of course Bibi. You must be eager to start the match."

Bibi was practically foaming at the mouth as she listened to his smart remarks. Poco tried to run damage control, "Calm down. We need to stay focused."

"Ah yes of course," Primo began, "Your classmates are watching everything, Max." The sound of several students cheering rang through the arena.

"So, they can hear everything we say, but we can't hear the enemy team," Leon deduced through Primo's statement.

"Don't worry we are looking after your bodies… Jessie, Nita, Penny! Get away from him!" Leon felt a chill run down his back. "So, you just focus on your match. Oh, as a final note, your holograms have been given the special ability to communicate with each other no matter the distance. So, use that to your advantage." Primo pressed a button on his panel, "Ready?"

Leon and Poco looked to each other, a silent agreement made with their eyes. When they looked at Bibi, they realized she was not on the same page. "Bibi," Leon spoke up, "You with us?"

"3!"

Bibi turned to them confused, "Whadya mean?"

Poco decided to take the lead, "We are going against Shelly, Max, and Brock. They have us beat in range and damage."

"2!"

"We need to form a plan of attack."

"I already have a plan."

"1!"

"Attack!"

"Go!" they felt their bodies loosen as they rushed forward. The two boys watched as Bibi darted ahead, her focus on winning, not planning. Poco followed behind while Leon made his way to the far right. Bibi and Leon were usually similar in speed, but with her star power (Home Run) Bibi flew into the distance. Arriving in the middle of the map just before the enemy team.

"25 seconds before the first siege!" Primo called over the intercom.

Bibi saw the first bolt, picking it up without any confrontation. She was going to hold it in her hand but the bolt began to levitate around her head. "Cool…"

"Get Down!"

Bibi looked back at Poco. His warnings falling on deaf ears as she tried to understand his fears. To her right, she saw Max trying to make a push for the middle. Leon had her surpassed matching her range but her damage defiantly a little more effective with the distance. Just as she was going to turn back to Poco she heard the bushes ahead of her shifting.

From the grass, she was greeted by the barrel of Shelly's shotgun. "Hola~" The feeling of the hot lead entering her chest was shocking. A white-hot pain she hadn't experienced in years. However, the healing sounds of Poco's Da Capo attack kept her stable. She reached as far back as she could and swung with malicious intent.

Shelly was sent flying back into range of her IKE turret, leaving Bibi on critical health as Poco tried to top her off. "Try a little harder next time spice rack," she taunted. Bibi watched as the bolt she collected floated away from her.

"Oh by the way." Primo chimed in, "Since you are holograms killing each other is completely legal. I even let you keep your nervous system so that you could properly react to a threat."

Just as Primo said this Poco attempted to play another note to help Bibi out. He watched in horror as a rocket collided with her chest, exploding into a puff of smoke. A small circle of fire was the only thing left of her, "Bibi?"

"So, your saying…" Brock turned a corner. A small smile on his face as he turned up a dial on his boombox, "I don't have to hold back?"

El Primo smiled in the skybox, he looked to his students, "Who'd like to do the honors?"

Jacky stepped up to the microphone, "Shoot to fucking kill!"

Brock flicked his shades on, "Turning up the boombox!"

Brock let another rocket fly forcing Poco to hide behind the wall to his left. Shelly, seeing the advantage, took over the middle of the field. "Leon, we got a problem!"

"Yeah~, I bet I can show you a bigger one."

Poco looked in his direction as he watched two bolts float from Max's head over to their IKE turret. "Oh… crap baskets."

"Aaaaannnnndddd that's a level 2 Siege Bot for Speedy Beating!" Primo called over the intercom. The sound of mixed responses to the first victory for Speedy Beating rung through the arena.

Poco and Leon converged on the center-right side of the map. Directly on the edge of their IKE turrets range. "Where's Bibi?" Leon asked.

His answer was provided by the sound of scraping metal. They both turned around as they saw Bibi walking towards them. Her eyes were hidden under the shadows cast by her pompadour. They could see her mouth, but even that didn't show any emotion. Instead, they sensed it.

Her rage.

"cowards…" she whispered before smashing her bat against the ground. "Hiding in bushes, waiting for your girlfriend to do all the hard work."

"She's not my girlfriend!" Brock called from the left.

"I'm…" she clenched her bat. "I'm…" she gritted her teeth. She finally showed her eyes. They looked extra sharp in each corner like she could cut diamonds with her stare. "Watashi wa anata no zugaikotsu o haretsu sa semasu!" (私はあなたの頭蓋骨を破裂させます)

She ran full tilt forward; all sense of reason had been thrown away in her mind. All she wanted, was revenge. Just before she made it to the main fight Poco jumped in her way. Stopping her in her tracks, "Down girl… you can bust their skulls later, first…" he pointed ahead of them.

Making its way down the middle of the map was a giant robot the likes of that giant boss bot they fought just two days ago. The only difference being the spiked gloves replaced with the normal gloves of a professional boxer.

"Help us bust that."

As the three members of Semi-Slambulance tried to think up a plan they watched as another bolt floated away from Brock's body. Poco kept a mental count of the score, 1 bolt each, and a giant bot heading their way.

Poco took over as the leader, "Leon, hold off Brock. We can't let his incendiary ammo hit our turret." Leon nodded before rushing off to the left. The sound of explosions plus metal crashing could be heard in the distance. "Bibi… hide behind that wall," he pointed to the large wall in the middle of their IKE's range.

"No way! I'm not some coward like them!"

"Don't think of it as cowardly… think of it as… defensive combat?"

"Defense is a coward's combat."

The IKE turret started firing volleys over their heads. Signaling the giant Siege robot's proximity. Poco was getting frustrated, "Damnit! Listen to me or I won't heal your explosive ass!"

Bibi was taken aback. Leon (overhearing the outburst through their holographic link) was taken aback. Everyone sitting in the skybox that heard his outburst was taken aback. If Emz were here, she would have lost all self-control at the scene.

Bibi stood still for a second, processing the statement. She turned away from him, pouting out of his vision, "Fine…"

Poco felt a little calmer. Finally, she was listening to reason. He turned around as he tried to think up what to do next. His thoughts were cut off by the massive fists of the enemy Siege robot. The gargantuan gloves knocking him on his butt. Bibi called out to see if he was okay, but Poco was paying more attention to the enemies.

Behind the Siege robot, he saw Max and Shelly with sinister smiles. Shelly speaking up first, "Now that you're done with your little breakdown, how bout we break you?"

Poco looked to Bibi, "Bust their skulls!"

Bibi, with a ghastly grin, came from behind the wall with lightning-quick speed. Before the two girls could react to her appearance, she slammed them and the giant robot away from their IKE turret.

Max and Shelly were stunned for a second, but their plan was undeterred. Max pulled out one of her energy drinks, using the new trick she learned in the hallway with Sandy, she smashed the drink against the ground. The green liquid soaked into Shelly and her skin, speeding them up to blinding speeds. "Let's Go!"

The duo rushed forward, ready to finish the IKE turret off in a single attack. But they didn't plan for one thing. Max's drinks didn't work on the siege robot. The two girls rushed forward blindly, by the time they noticed their mistake it was too late. Max was the first, running directly into Bibi's bat face first. She could feel her nose break just before the IKE turret erased her from the field. Shelly, seeing her mistake, began to backpedal. It was already too late though; the IKE turret was able to land a shot on her. The damage just enough to weaken her for Poco's mediocre damage, but very impressive range. The last feeling she remembered was the tiny teeth of his living music biting away at her flesh.

Bibi and Poco had a mini celebration before they remembered the overarching threat. The giant siege robot now closing in on their IKE. "Bibi! Spitball!" Bibi stood to the left of the IKE lining up a shot. She took a deep breath, using every ounce of oxygen in her lungs to blow a massive pink ball of bubblegum. She lined it up as the bot started to wail on the IKE turret. With a stance a major league batter would be proud of, she batted the ball towards the robot. The gum piercing through the robot as it bounced off the wall. The ball rebounding as the damage stacked up.

The spectators watched on as the ball seemed to be chipping away at the bot's exterior. Piper turned to Bea, "Tell me darling… what is that gum made of?"

"Beats me. When we met, she always had it. Something about, Japanese engineering being the finest in the world."

On the battlefield, Poco and Bibi were trying to stop the bot before it could do any more damage, "Leon!"

The silent assassin turned around leaving Brock to his own devices. The combo of damage from Bibi's bubble, with Leon's super sharp spinner blades, Poco's sentient songs, and the IKE's raw power ripped the bot to shreds. The three brawlers, taking a collective breath of fresh air, turned back to the main fight.

Leon with his superior speed was the first to make it to the frontlines. And instantly ate three rockets right to the teeth. The sound of Leon's pained scream was like torture to Penny and Jessie's ears. Penny ripped the mic from Primo's hand, "I'll fucking kill you, Twinkle Toes!"

"Hey… gimme back that mic!" The sound of Primo and Penny struggling could be heard in the background. When he regained control of the mic he made his announcement, "Very well done by Semi-Slambulance! That was a wonderful defense but now the fight for bolts begins again. 45 seconds are on the clock. Who's gonna get the next Siege bot?"

Primo felt a tug on his arm. He turned to see Jessie at his side, "Umm… Mr. El Primo sir?" Primo felt his heart melt at her adorable blue eyes. "I meant to ask you… what does I.K.E. stand for?"

"Oh well, that's easy." He had his eyes closed as he crouched down to her level, a warm smile on his face. He revealed his bright white eyes with a sinister smirk to match his next words, "I Kill Everything~" The students all backed away from their haunting teacher. Jessie just fearfully thanked him as he returned to his console. "Oh, I almost forgot the scoreboard."

He pressed a few buttons causing a hologram to appear above the arena in several locations. The translucent images showed the amount of time remaining in the match and between each siege. The readings also showed the health of each respective IKE turret. The blue IKE showed a health reading of 100% while the red team had 79% left.

While the students and Primo had their interaction high above the action Bibi and Poco had taken over the middle. During the rush for mid Bibi suffered heavy artillery fire from Brock and Max. She learned her lesson from last time and decided to avoid standing directly in front of Speedy Beating's grass in the middle.

Poco's constant healing and impressive range kept her attack uncontested in the middle. Shelly's constant advances being snuffed out by the serenading skeleton. Max was able to charge up another speed boost gifting Brock some necessary speed to cover the distance. While most of the action took place on the left, Leon took over the right uncontested hoping to bank some bolts for their next siege.

Bibi took notice of the double push from Max and Brock opting to retreat closer to her side of the map. Her absence from the middle gave Shelly the opening she wanted. Instead of staying in the middle, Max and Brock ran past her deciding to use their impressive range to take over the mid and stunt Semi-Slambulance's bolt gain. Shelly was left alone with Bibi on the left in a stalemate. Neither wishing to overextend and give up control of the left side's bolts.

With control of the middle firmly in Speedy Beating's possession, their bolt gain started to skyrocket. The bolts were tied at 5 all with both teams now playing very carefully in hopes of snagging a lucky spawn before the timer ran out. They all were frustrated when they saw the spawning circle appear on the right between Leon and Max.

In a last-ditch effort, Leon looked to Poco. "Cover me!" He rushed forward fast as he could towards the final bolt. Max saw his push and matched him in intensity.

The two fastest fighters (without the help of abilities) met in the middle trading blows. Max fired several lasers from her wrist launcher which Leon pushed to the side with his forearm. The assassin pulled out four blades, aiming for her chest but the girl quickly jumped over his head.

They both threw a wild punch that missed its mark, their backs now facing the opponent's spawn. Leon felt his body ignite as one of Brock's rockets collided with his back. The fire that was left beneath his feet was like firecrackers in his legs. Max nailed him with four direct hits from a single burst of her launcher. Just before she could finish him off a wave of notes ripped and tore at her body. The secondary effect of the music tapped Leon off just enough to stay in the fight.

He quickly turned to her with four blades burying into her chest as Poco refused to relent. Meanwhile, Leon began to combo dodging Brock while attacking Max in a perfect balance of offense and defense. Max didn't stand a chance with the combined might falling to Leon in seconds.

Leon quickly swooped up the last bolt. He tried to retreat to Poco but was obliterated by a stray rocket from Brock.

Jessie took the mic this time, "You're walking on thin ice, Dosey Doe!"

Penny stood behind her with her arms crossed. A dark glint in her eyes, "You're really loving this match huh?"

Jessie nervously chuckled at the slip-up. Politely nodding her head as she backed away from the console. Primo snatched the mic from the two girls, "Where's the respect for your elders? EHEM! And that is a tie! A tie means no Siege robot for this round. 45 more seconds on the clock! Who's gonna win it all?"

Poco, hearing the declaration, made another attempt at taking control over the mid. His short rush to the bolt was dangerous but he was able to fake Brock out and dodge a few rockets. On the left Bibi and Shelly's stalemate began to turn into a slugfest.

As Shelly grew tired of Bibi's cover, she tried to run around the outside of the map to get to her. Thanks to Bibi's impressive speed with her Home Run star power she flew past the middle without Brock even having time to react. Shelly was frustrated, enraged even. Without a second thought, Shelly loaded up her golden slugs and obliterated the wall between her and Bibi. The power of her Super Shell star power slowing her down substantially. However, in her rage, she failed to realize their positioning. The power of her Super Shell destroyed the walls and grass that her team used for cover in the middle.

She rushed forward to finish Bibi off but was blasted backward by her impressive swing. She rushed towards the right, Poco seeing this tried to pincer Brock with her but he slipped behind a wall into the range of his IKE.

On the blue team spawn, Max was coming back to life. "Okay. Once was reasonable. But twice!? I am not gonna die twice and lose when Brock and Poco haven't even died once!" She slammed her energy drink on the ground in rage. The adrenaline rush from her speed boost combined with her newfound rage was causing her body to shift into overdrive.

She used their ability to communicate from any distance to relay her plan. "I'm running back right now. I'm way faster than Leon could dream of being. We move in now while he's gone, and we finish this match!"

Shelly and Brock voiced their agreement as they pushed for the middle. To their surprise, Bibi and Poco didn't back down. Instead, they screamed right back at them. The duo didn't show an ounce of fear. They charged in matching their aggression.

In the skybox, the students cheered for their respective teams. Nita jumping on Penny's shoulders shouting, "I put 100 gems on you! You better not lose!"

As the action played out in slow-motion Bibi could be heard roaring between her battle cries, "Bring it on! It's 3v3, Anata baka! (あなたバカ)"

Shelly broke out into hysterics, "3v3?! You must suck at math! It's 3v2!"

"No…" the feeling of cold steel sinking into her back caused her mind to go numb. The cold heartless voice behind her woke her up shortly, "You're just missing a variable."

In a cloud of smoke, Leon appeared from behind. Shelly crashed to the floor in a heap disappearing from Leon's destructive damage. With his sudden appearance, Brock and Max focused their firepower on him. The short-statured boy would have crumbled under their combined effort had it not been for another clutch Encore from Poco.

The duo turned back around as the green wave washed over them. They were greeted by the sadistic smile of Bibi and her metallic companion she deemed Mr. Bat.

"Kon'nichiwa" With an unrelenting strike, she smashed both of their faces inward. Poco was able to finish off Max with Leon's help causing her to disappear in a cloud of smoke. All that was left was Brock. Groveling on the ground as he realized his fate. "You haven't died once this entire match. I wanna make your death special." Bibi put the barrel of her bat against his chin, "Which of your legs do you like more?"

"B-Both?"

Bibi dropped her bat across both of his knees at the same time, shattering them and bending the legs in the opposite direction. "Wrong answer…" Brock screeched in pain as he felt his mind grow numb. "Huh… not dead yet? Hey Leon, he killed you twice right? Got any personal frustrations you need to let out?"

Leon pulled out four blades in each hand, "Less than you think… more than you know."

The rest of the students and Primo watched as the Semi-Slambulance slowly finished their biggest problem off. Brock's pained screaming filled the room as the sound of rending flesh churned their stomachs. Bea noticed how Rico and Carl seemed unfazed by the brutality. She figured it was due to their programming, but it brought up another question.

"Umm… Ricochet?"

He snapped his head in her direction. His singular eye shifted from its normal oval to an upside-down smile, "Please call me Rico."

"Right, Rico. Umm… does it bother you?"

"Does what bother me?"

"Seeing robots being used for our combat? Our training? I mean… we kinda just… sacrifice their lives for our own personal gain. Doesn't that… grind your gears? No pun intended."

Rico looked back to the action. In the arena Bibi and Leon were rushing back and forth, gathering as many bolts as they could. Rico didn't look phased as he gave his response, "They were programmed to serve you…" he looked back to Bea. "I was programmed to surpass you."

Carl peeked his head from behind him, "Affirmative."

Primo was amazed by the personalities these students hid behind their facades. As he remembered the horrors he witnessed in the arena, he wished they kept some of them hidden. The fanfare of the siege bot spawning regained his focus. "Ladies and Gentlemen this is the final siege. Team Semi-Slambulance is approaching with a- OH MY HOLY HELL LOOK AT THAT THING!" The students looked to the red team base at the monster they spawned. Rushing through the arena was a giant super bot standing several buildings above the sky. The bot glowing a dark red as it radiated an intense heat. "That is a level 15 super bot folks. This match might just be over!"

The fight was finished before it even started. Though they tried their best, Shelly and Max couldn't withstand the outstanding damage the super bot was outputting. That alongside the extra damage coming from Semi-Slambulance was far too powerful for them to stop. They weren't even able to keep the IKE alive to the end of the round.

When they saw the IKE turret explode into a million pieces they celebrated in the rubble of their defeated friends. Poco and Bibi were hopping up and down with joy while Leon just threw his hands in his pockets. Penny and Jessie had their focus locked on Leon as he looked up at the sky. They couldn't tell if he knew where they were, but he looked up at their box almost on instinct.

He put his index and middle finger up to his lips, blowing a kiss up to the students. Penny and Jessie lost their minds imagining him aiming the sign of affection their way, "How'd I do Nita?" The girls froze as he continued his sentence, "Your brother's pretty cool huh?"

Nita jumped up to the mic, "You're still lame to me." Leon laughed up at his little sister. Penny and Jessie calmed down from the misunderstanding.

The students continued to cheer for the amazing match as the competitors in the arena continued to bask in the bliss of their epic battle. Bibi and Poco were still celebrating like crazed children. Without a warning, Bibi lifted Poco by his black tux. The skeleton locking up as his pearly white teeth met her soft lips.

The spectators lost their minds as they cheered for the duo. Bea chimed in, "Atta girl! Took you long enough!" While the rest of the crowd went crazy, Penny, Jessie, and Nita just stared in awe.

Their bodies locked up mid celebration as they felt the clear bubble encompass them once again. The world blacking out for them as their consciousness' returned to their true bodies.

When they woke up, they were still locked in their chairs. "Well done students. That was an amazing match." Primo and the rest of the students applauded them, "Now let me just release those restraints."

He pressed a few buttons on the console, the sound of metal clanging sounding off as they were released from their seats. Bibi looked to Brock; he was staring at his legs with a nervous grimace. "Hey, no hard feelings, right?"

"You broke both my legs and proceeded to slowly gut me like a fish."

"Yeah but, it was funny."

"I'm not laughing."

Bibi would have tried to calm the waters between the two after the match, but she was more focused on her teammates. Poco had a nervous blush on his face as a group of girls whistled and catcalled the skeleton. Bibi, sensing competition, took his head from behind. Burying him deep in her chest. The smaller male looked up to her, "Your all mine now~" she said with an airy tone.

"Umm… El Primo," the students looked back to the metal seats. Leon was still sitting with his restraints on, "Little help?"

"That's strange, should have worked."

Leon sat patiently waiting for him to fix the mistake. He looked out into the crowd of students. Most talking to one another vacantly. Then he saw it. A pair of eyes watching him closely like a lioness stalking its prey.

'Oh god no, please.' He thought as he noticed her hungry gaze. Like a pink blur, she jumped the distance to him, flying through the sky as she jumped into his lap. The weight from her impact knocking the air out of his lungs.

She nuzzled her face against his cheek, "You did sooooo good out there." Penny circled her index finger around his chest.

"Help m-"

"Sshh~ I think we both know no one's gonna help you." She placed her finger against his lip as she pulled out her Plunderbuss. "They know better." Leon whimpered under her grip as he tried to think up a way out of this predicament. He didn't see a way out. "Now how should I reward you? Maybe you want a homemade meal when we get back to the dorms? Or would you like me to reserve the hot tub at the RAC?" She leaned in close her lips just centimeters away from his, "Or would you like… me~?"

Leon's restraints snapped loose without warning. Primo chimed in from the side, "Got it," unaware of what was happening behind him.

Leon slipped under Penny's legs hopping past Bibi and hiding in the rafters. Penny tried to find him in the dark ceiling, but his assassin lifestyle made him disappear with ease. "You get back here and get your reward!"

The students continued to laugh and joke as they congratulated all the competitors for their hard-fought battle. Meanwhile El Primo fixed the arena for the next match. Re-growing the grass and rebuilding all the walls again. When the arena was back in working conditions again Primo turned to his students with a simple question, "Okay kids… Who's next?"


"Pah~ Aye ye landlubbers might have a point with the whole, 'warm shower' thing."

"Like, I have so much to show you." Emz and Penny were sitting on their respective beds. The natural light from the sun leaking through the cracks of their blinds. Emz spent the entire day sitting in the dorms. Passing her time watching tv and drawing up designs in her notebook.

She also took the time to think about yesterday. The things she saw, what she should say. She decided that she should introduce the idea slowly. The only question, how? "Penny?" The pirate princess took a break from brushing her hair to acknowledge her, "How was class today?"

Penny took a deep breath, "Give me a second." She finished brushing her hair before switching into some comfortable clothes. A pink teeshirt with bright blue tights. Atop her head was the same pink bunny hat she wore to bed most nights. Penny silently sat down beside her roommate, then swiftly took Emz's arms in her grasp, her eyes sparkling as she talked, "It… was… amazing!"

Penny began gushing about all the events of their class. Recalling their match against 'The Painiacs' and how they narrowly lost to Bea and Carl's combined damage. She exaggerated the size of the siege bots from her excitement, but the general idea of the experience was not lost on Emz.

"We would have had it if Nita didn't rush in like a banshee."

"Yeah, that sounds like her." Emz took a second, choosing her next words wisely, "What about Leon?"

"Don't even get me started. He was like a thief in the night. He even blew me a kiss!"

Emz was flabbergasted, "Seriously?!"

"Well… he blew Nita a kiss, but it was in my direction so…" Penny told her about how Semi-Slambulance made their last-second come back, recalling Leon's oneliner alongside Poco's sudden outburst. Thinking about Poco made the images of their celebration come to life. She stopped her gushing before she made a fatal mistake.

When she looked back to Emz, her eyes were sparkling as she imagined the scene of Poco asserting his dominance. After a little trip to Lala land, she remembered her goal, "What about Jessie. What was she like today?"

"Jessie? Eh, normal I guess."

"Really. She didn't do anything… odd?" Penny rubbed her chin, running her hand through her hair as she got up from their seat. "Penn?" The pirate princess made her way for their door without a word. Emz (sensing the change in mood) decided to just say what was on her mind. "Jessie came with us to music class!"

Penny stood still with her hand against the knob.

"When we went into the room, she snuck in through the backdoor. At first, I didn't care but… the whole time… she was standing under Leon." Emz was scared to look at Penny, fearful of her rage. "I saw her-"

"You have a class soon, right?" Emz looked up at her roommate. Penny turned to her, her face not showing anger. Her voice soft and smooth. She seemed, content. "You should shower before you go." Penny opened the door, putting a foot in the hall. "Maybe try the cold water?"

As Penny made her way out the door, Emz started gathering her toiletries. Her body running on autopilot while her mind moved a million miles an hour. Did she do the right thing? Was telling Penny going to ruin their friendships? Did she ruin everything?

Her questions were halted when their door cracked open once again. Penny peeked her head inside, her eyes sunken as she softly spoke, "You might wanna keep your eyes on Bibi." Then as quick as she returned, she left again, leaving Emz staring at the door as she comprehended the warning.

Penny took her time walking down the hallway. Emz's words weren't a surprise to her. She had suspicions but she didn't know how to act on them. As she turned the corner she saw Jessie snapping pictures with her puppy-themed phone. Her mouth vacantly chewing on a white stick while she seemed to fawn over something within the room. The technician signaled for the pirate to join her, Penny walking in against her better judgment. When she entered, all her prior problems seemed to evaporate like the morning dew.

Sitting in the main recliner were Leon and Nita. The younger sibling curled in her brother's chest as they silently snoozed. The two girls watched as she lightly kicked the air like a dog in a dream. On instinct Leon wrapped his arms around her, seeming to soothe her disgruntled dreams.

Penny and Jessie lost all self-control at the adorable scene. The two working together to get the best angles for photos to share with their friends. After a minute of picture-snapping, Penny came up with a devious idea.

She ran back to her room, grabbing a pair of dry erase markers. When she returned, the duo began to graffiti Leon's face. Random pictures like skulls and hearts peppering his cheeks and forehead. Penny writing in big bold letters, "Leon Loves Penny", a skull with heart eyes on the end. Content with their work the two girls pulled out their phones to snap more pictures.

Until the sound of Leon groaning graced their ears. He started shifting in his seat, a wobbling frown appearing on his lips as he started to wake up. The two troublemakers rushed out of the room. Silently shutting the door as they watched from behind a wall.

The two watched Leon look around the room, scratching his face as he repositioned in his seat. He felt Nita moving in his arms, the younger girl seeming to push him back down in her sleep. All he did was chuckle as he drew his sister in deeper, the two embracing as they went back to sleep.

Penny and Jessie were swooning from outside as they observed the two's interaction. Penny glancing down at Jessie, the younger girl seeming just as enamored as her. "Hey, Jessie?" the younger girl didn't look away but acknowledged the call. "You've been getting pretty close to Leon recently huh?"

Penny looked down for a reaction, but her face was still facing Leon. She decided to continue, "Reminds me a lot of Emz. Ya'know. The way she was when she first started crushing on Poco." She paused letting that statement sit in the air, "You haven't felt something similar?"

Jessie finally looked away from Leon. Her back still facing Penny. She waited for a response, but the younger girl remained silent. "Aye. On the ship, whenever Darryl feels like someone is threatening to take over, he throws them off before they have a chance to form a plan." She slowly reached for her Plunderbuss, "You wouldn't be planning a mutiny, would you?"

Jessie stood tall with her back turned to Penny. Her red and yellow cap sitting low on her head. She slowly turned around to face the older girl, her eyes hidden beneath the brim. When she looked up, she had that same sickly smile she always put on. Penny once saw that face as a sign of friendship. But now, she couldn't get a read on her.

"Penny… How many times do I have to say this…" she took off her hat, untying her pigtails as she let her long red hair flow freely. The hair going down to the small of her back as she smiled up at her. "A mind too bright to be distracted by boys." Jessie looked back to Leon checking to see if he was asleep.

She walked past the commons room towards the hall her room sat on. Before she left she turned back to a frustrated Penny, "Though if I were you. I would hurry up, he's not gonna be single forever." She winked to Penny as she made her way down the hall.

Penny stood behind the wall looking where she disappeared. Her knuckles whitening under the grip she had on her gun, "Then it be a mutiny."

Within the commons room, Leon started shifting again. His hand lightly touching his lips as if looking for something. He didn't give it much thought, he just wanted to enjoy the peace and quiet of resting with his sister.

Down the main hallway, Jessie swiped through her pictures with Leon. Her mouth chewing on the white stick absently as she walked to her room. Among the many pictures of Leon and Nita, she had a few with Penny and her taking a selfie with the sleeping siblings. But before all those, there was one picture hidden in her gallery.

An image of Leon (without the scribbles on his face) sleeping soundly as Jessie stole a kiss from his lips. She snickered softly at the victory she stole from Penny. Her free hand pulling the stick out her mouth. And revealing the cherry red lollipop that was attached to the end.

She remembered the words Penny left her with, 'Darryl throwing people off the ship before they can form a plan? That's why he's the captain… and you're just some imaginary princess.' She sighed happily as she closed her door. Falling into her sheets as her mind imagined a future with Leon.

One thought escaped her lips as she curled up in her covers, "This is going to be a fun year."


A/N:

I'm done. This is it. We are finished. Ranto Academy is over...

Which I think is good. Finishing the story here is good. It leaves a lot up to your imagination. I think for a story like this... an idea like this... it's better for the readers to let their imagination run wild. So before you stop reading let me say a few things.

Thanks for reading. I know everyone says this but seriously, thank you. Seeing those views rise keeps me writing every day.

If you enjoyed reading, why not give me a fav (The Story, not me... unless you want to fav me). And if you want to leave a review, go for it! Honestly, I am always looking forward to reviews and I may just respond to your review in my next story. However, if you have a negative review you want to leave... give me everything you got. I would love to give a story like this another try. Hearing some critiques of what I did wrong and could have done better will only make my writing grow. So let me have it! Drop some brutal honesty.

Very Quickly: I wanna thank a few people since this the story has ended. First, AmrutaV. Thank you for reading. Your reviews have kept me writing knowing that there is someone who wants to keep reading. Next, Phoenix Wright of Fiction. Get trolled bro. No, but honestly, I felt like a fight there wouldn't be right. But if you want to read a pretty awesome fight scene involving El Primo, go give A Fighter's Story a read. I think you will be very pleased.

Last (But most certainly not least) my good friend Queenbookerly. First off, give her story "Hey now, you're a brawl star (working title)" a solid read! It's a more serious take on the characters within Brawl Stars and honestly, I love it. If you love a serious story and fun intriguing deep characters give it a read! More important than that, thanks for all the love and support. Kinda wish I got some more negative/critical reviews but at least I know I have multiple constant readers. Now seriously go give her story a read.

Finally, since you just finished Ranto, why not give my other stories a read. At the time of finishing this story I have written an unfinished story, "A Fighter's Story", and (big reveal) have begun working on my latest creation, "We're Keeping Her!" (Keep your eyes out for that later)

Thanks for reading another one of...

Sammy's Silly Scripts