Chapter 6:

Vol. 1, Ch. 6: Graduated from Supremacy

The Integrity of the Super Club [Beta version]

Graphite’s Goosepack reached its time limit, and he griped when his avatar fell from midflight, taking falling damage.Bookmark here

“I thought I had more time with it!” he snarled at his phone screen with what little breath he had from chasing his avatar.Bookmark here

I misjudged, he thought as he ran along the second-level walkway, and my HP went down a little from the fall. My character can get hurt during this match, so I wonder if zero HP means I’ll be disqualified…Bookmark here

He slowed to a trot, catching his breath and taking a gander to find his avatar, peering over a guardrail.Bookmark here

“I didn’t see where it landed!” he whined. “How am I supposed to keep up on foot with a Goosepack?!”Bookmark here

His three lackeys hobbled up to him, equally winded from running.Bookmark here

Isho pointed while still looking through his phone. “It fell to the ground level way over there. I can’t see it from here, though.” His lip piercing caught the sunlight as he frowned.Bookmark here

Frustrated, Graphite growled and dashed off to find his avatar.Bookmark here

6!6@6#6$6%6^6&6*6(6)6_6+6Bookmark here

Shoppers and commonfolk were catching on to the event, watching through their phones and tablets. They moved aside as Rover and Quintegrity rushed past, understanding why the two were in a hurry. Some even cheered the couple on.Bookmark here

Rover noticed Graphite’s avatar below on the lower walkway.Bookmark here

Graphite’s character! But it isn’t moving. Is he too far away for it to work? No, he probably just can’t see it, so he’s not controlling it.Bookmark here

Rover had his character climb another part of the guardrail and leap to a picnic area below. It landed on a table’s parasol with a gold bagel resting on top, then devoured the item.Bookmark here

“Yeah!” Rover yelled. People who’d been watching applauded him. “That’s eleven rings. Five more, and I’ll have more than half.” However, he saw Graphite’s avatar moving again. “Oh man, gotta keep going!”Bookmark here

Tallyhawk had purchased a novelty telescope and held it up for Graphite to aim his phone’s AR camera through. It was a novelty item, but offered enough magnification for Graphite to see his character from farther away…yet, he didn’t like what he saw. Rover was already on the move, his avatar much too fast to catch.Bookmark here

“Damn…” He lowered his phone, looking on with his own two eyes.Bookmark here

“What’s wrong, dude?” Hodge asked.Bookmark here

Graphite bit his lip. “I can’t catch Rover.” He looked around through his phone again, and spotted something peculiar with his Clairvoyant Radar. “Hmm?”Bookmark here

“What’s up?” the dark-skinned girl asked.Bookmark here

“There’s a ring Rover passed up, Tallyhawk,” Graphite replied. “If I can’t get the other rings over there, then I might as well get one more over this way!”Bookmark here

6!6@6#6$6%6^6&6*6(6)6_6+6Bookmark here

Underneath a porcelain statue of a giant folding chair, Rover claimed his twelfth ring.Bookmark here

His thirteenth was inside a sabretooth koi tank, one of many aquatic displays littering the shopping district. Controlling the character to swim was challenging while Rover stood outside the tank, but the ring was his in the end.Bookmark here

Thankfully, the sabretooth koi aren’t part of the game and don’t notice the character, Rover thought as a couple of the large, bright fish stared at him, dragging their protruding fangs against the fish-proof glass. He flicked his eyes at Quintegrity, who hadn’t stopped smiling and dancing. Or can they see the AR, and just not care…?Bookmark here

“Found you,” came a weary voice. Lumpy jogged up to Rover, Adele panting loudly behind him.Bookmark here

Rover wiped his sweaty forehead on his sleeve.Bookmark here

“I’m on a roll!” he told them, already heading for the next ring.Bookmark here

“Onward and upward!” Quintegrity chimed in as she jogged away.Bookmark here

As Rover and Quintegrity pushed on, Lumpy chuckled while his body felt ready to collapse.Bookmark here

“Where…do they get…their frickin’ stamina?!”Bookmark here

The fourteenth ring was on the ground in front of a sleuth store. The fifteenth was hanging from a karaoke parlor’s sign, tied with another in-game item called a Rope.Bookmark here

“One more, one more to have over half of the thirty-one…” Rover waited for his Clairvoyant Radar to show him the direction of the next ring. When it pulsed, he groaned. “I gotta backtrack for it! Wow, what a sham…”Bookmark here

He thought for a moment, then laughed, piquing Quintegrity’s curiosity.Bookmark here

“I see what’s going on here,” he said with a snicker. “It’s the one I couldn’t reach before. In the subterra locomotive canal station.” He checked the countdown timer on his screen. “Only a few minutes left…”Bookmark here

“Do you need to go back to it?” the girl asked.Bookmark here

Rover grinned and watched Graphite’s avatar running in that direction.Bookmark here

“Yeah, but not to get it.”Bookmark here

When he and Quintegrity made it to the locomotive station platform, Graphite was already on the scene, making a scene, shaking his fist angrily at the light fixtures and trusses.Bookmark here

“Who did this?!” he roared. “I can’t reach that one!”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah?”Bookmark here

Graphite turned to see Rover approaching, wearing a sly smirk, Quintegrity by his side. One by one, Lumpy, Adele, Tallyhawk, Hodge, and Isho staggered down the stairway to the station.Bookmark here

“Out of Goosepacks, Graphite?” Rover mocked.Bookmark here

“Grr…” Graphite glared at the out-of-reach ring. “I am, but it was worth using them all to get as many rings as I did.”Bookmark here

“How many did ya get?”Bookmark here

“You’ll see when the match ends. We’re in the last seconds.”Bookmark here

Many of the bystanders and Ring Hiders had followed into the subterra station, awaiting the final results. When the timer ran down, Rover, Graphite, and the Ring Hiders had the words “TIME UP” appear on their screens.Bookmark here

The results were tallied:Bookmark here

[PLAINTIFF] Graphite Condor: 15 Rings.Bookmark here

[DEFENDANT] Rover Chork: 15 Rings.Bookmark here


Gasps and murmurs were aplenty. Both characters’ health were reduced to one HP.Bookmark here

It was now a battle, one-on-one.Bookmark here

Crap!” Rover swung his phone to focus on his opponent. “I don’t have time to change my equipment!”Bookmark here

Graphite moved and aimed his phone, capturing his and Rover’s avatars on his screen at once. “Now this is what I wanted from the beginning! A battle! Even if it’s one shot, it’ll be a much-earned defeat, Rover!”Bookmark here

Rover watched the opposing character raise both hands. Its fists ignited above its helmeted head, showcasing the effects of its equipped weapons.Bookmark here

It has the Flaming Glove Aliens equipped. Not good, it has great long-range attacking.Bookmark here

Among the speculating crowd, Adele chugged a bottle of water and dried her sweaty face on her handkerchief. She and Lumpy watched the sudden death round unfold from almost nowhere.Bookmark here

“Graphite’s fireballs are fast,” Lumpy said, watching Rover’s AR avatar run, flip, and climb to avoid the attacks. “They’re also setting the AR place on fire.”Bookmark here

“Crazy…” Adele breathed, transfixed on her phone as the virtual flames overtook the action.Bookmark here

Rover stayed close to his own avatar, trying to keep all of the incoming fireballs onscreen at all times.Bookmark here

I can’t hit him with my Butler Glove Aliens on, he thought. And there’s an AR fire spreading in here. If I take the slightest burn damage, it’ll knock me out.Bookmark here

Adrenaline loosened his fingertips, making his sweaty thumbs struggle with the slippery touchscreen controls. All exits from the sub canals were blocked by fire, forcing him to retreat farther into a dead end. There, he scrolled through his equipment settings as the flames encroached.Bookmark here

I have to change my weapon!Bookmark here

The equipped Butler Glove Aliens were wonderful close-quarters weapons, specializing in Mach-speed slaps, backhands, and intimidating finger gestures. They also increased dexterity, which was the speed of Rover’s character’s arms and hands, quickening many actions. However, that advantage was purposeless now.Bookmark here

I didn’t want to use my best Glove Aliens like this and let people know I have them…but it’s either spill the beans or lose them all to Graphite!Bookmark here

He replaced his weapon with the Beelzebub Glove Aliens, steering clear of the spreading fire from Graphite’s character, who remained at a safe distance. Four new onscreen buttons appeared on Rover’s smartphone—his actions provided by the equipped weapon.Bookmark here

There’s my chance! Rover thought, seeing a small clearing through the virtual blaze. I just gotta get a tiny bit closer!Bookmark here

Rover’s character charged toward the opponent, its weapons appearing as skeletal matter clumped around both hands with extra-boney knuckles and spurred fingers.Bookmark here

He tapped an action button labeled “Winter’s Sepulcher.” Unlike all other Glove Aliens, his character showed no animation to hint at his actions.Bookmark here

And Quintegrity stood in place, trapped in astonishment. Her breath caught, eyes widening while utterly speechless.Bookmark here

Every person whose AR device was tuned in to the event saw the same thing: a screen entirely full of ice crystals—they had burst up from the virtual floor and occupied over half of the locomotive platform.Bookmark here

The glistening weaves of winter-hued ice crystals branched in all directions. Up close, they were quite detailed for the mobile video game’s graphics, but the size of its entirety was the real spectacle to behold.Bookmark here

All those serenely cold, perfectly carved daggers…Bookmark here

The thunderous rattle still reverberating through the AR station…Bookmark here

Glimmering, glittering, flittering flurries of snow and frozen mist…Bookmark here

…Those had taken Quintegrity’s breath away, anchored her feet to the ground, and tethered her mind to stupefaction.Bookmark here

I knew it, Rover thought as he saw his girlfriend’s reaction to being engulfed amid the virtual cluster of wintry splendor. You really can see the augmented reality!Bookmark here

“Hey.”Bookmark here

Rover’s voice pulled Quintegrity out of the moment. He offered a smile. She gawked at him, speechless…frozen from surprise where she stood—very fitting for the virtual icescape around her.Bookmark here

His grin stretched from ear to ear. “You like that?”Bookmark here

Dazzling, mesmerized eyes were her answer, the expression on her face replacing the need for a vocal reply.Bookmark here

“What the???” Adele’s hands shook as she stared at her phone. “What’d he do?!”Bookmark here

Lumpy found his voice. “I…I don’t know.” He looked up, seeing how everyone was equally dumbfounded. “Rover was already, like, the supreme Glove Alien Fight player, but now…I’d say he just graduated from supremacy!”Bookmark here

Inside the ice, above Graphite’s avatar, a bloody number appeared, referring to the damage the crystalline eruption had dealt (a number more than twice that character’s maximum HP).Bookmark here

“WINNER: ROVER CHORK!!!” appeared on everyone’s screens.Bookmark here

The onscreen message conjured a robust ovation with cheering and chanting of Rover’s name. Total strangers swarmed him, shaking his hand and exchanging online gamebuddy requests.Bookmark here

“That…was…cool!” Quintegrity applauded her way through the crowd. She stopped in front of Rover and stared with fascination. “And you won!!!”Bookmark here

Rover grinned. “I’m just a ruthless, goose-less bagel-snatcher!”Bookmark here

Quintegrity’s laughter was hearty. “Wrong! Your little game dude was that!”Bookmark here

“Meh.”Bookmark here

“But you’re something even better.”Bookmark here

Her smile softened as she stepped up to Rover, keeping eye contact. Rover really tried to reply, but his speech was clocking out for the moment. Quintegrity scooped him up in a hug, then hoisted him over her head with both hands.Bookmark here

“You’re my boyfriend!!! Ha-ha-ha-haaa!”Bookmark here

“H-Hey! P-Put me d-down!”Bookmark here

6!6@6#6$6%6^6&6*6(6)6_6+6Bookmark here

“Hey there, Lumpy’s little game dude!” Quintegrity waved at Lumpy’s augmented reality avatar as he had it run and jump around an alleyway. “And Adele’s, too!”Bookmark here

Adele almost choked on air. “I-I can’t believe it… She really sees the AR objects?!”Bookmark here

“That’s crazy,” Lumpy said under his breath. “How do you do that, Quinn???”Bookmark here

“The power of funk compels me!” she replied, grinning and snapping her fingers to the rhythm in her soul.Bookmark here

Rover gave her a serious look. “Really, tell us. You gotta have some kind of cybernetic enhancements in your eyes.”Bookmark here

“Nope!”Bookmark here

“Then…you’re a mutant…?”Bookmark here

“I’m just a regular human.”Bookmark here

Rover deadpanned toward Lumpy and Adele. They shrugged.Bookmark here

“Ugh,” Rover grunted. “It’s hard to believe you, Quintegrity.”Bookmark here

“It must be.” Nodding, she said in a quiet voice, “I very well know why you don’t believe me.”Bookmark here

Lumpy chuckled. “I’d say it’s mutual, Rover. She won’t tell us how she sees the augmented reality, and you won’t tell us where you got those Beelzebub Glove Aliens.”Bookmark here

“I wanted them to be a secret,” Rover replied. After a moment, he added, “I can’t have people knowing…especially with this player-versus-player feature. I never planned on using them like this…” His voice trailed off. “Now people know I have them…”Bookmark here

“So be it.” Adele gave a shrug of reluctant acceptance. “You both have your secrets. When the time is right, you’ll let each other know. Just leave it at that.”Bookmark here

Rover and Quintegrity looked at each other—Lumpy and Adele could see their agreement in that silent exchange.Bookmark here

“Kinda suspicious,” Lumpy whispered to Adele, “don’t ya think?”Bookmark here

Adele’s face flattened. “Honestly…whatever my brother does and who he dates is none of my business. But yes, it’s still suspicious as hell.”Bookmark here

“Suspicious, but proud!” Quintegrity exclaimed haughtily.Bookmark here

“Wah!” Adele jumped back. “She heard us…”Bookmark here

6!6@6#6$6%6^6&6*6(6)6_6+6Bookmark here

After Graphite’s defeat, public humiliation, and forfeiture of all in-game consumable items, Rover and Quintegrity continued their date as originally intended. With Lumpy and Adele, they killed the next few hours at Nu Clear R-Cade, munching on cheese-char popcorn, snacking on turducken nuggets, and sipping Fizzy Nifty soda pop, all while making the rounds on arcade games of all varieties ranging from cutting-edge to prehistoric.Bookmark here

“I wanna see the games you like best, Rover!” Quintegrity told the boy.Bookmark here

As Rover’s anxiety put the squeeze on his sweat glands, Lumpy patted him on the back.Bookmark here

“Here’s your chance to spend some more one-on-one time with her,” Lumpy whispered to his friend.Bookmark here

Rover gulped. Without the thrill of a Glove Alien Fight match, his nervousness was given free range to wreck his mental state.Bookmark here

“R-Right,” Rover replied, quelling his jitters to some degree.Bookmark here

His girlfriend was happy and eager to watch him play, although she didn’t seem to understand the games’ concepts. She refused to participate in playing, claiming she’d break the machines if she got too involved.Bookmark here

As the sun set and the blanket of night skies was pulled over the horizons, the teens caught the bus back to their residential area before the Curfew Crusade began their patrol. Rover had learned firsthand that the Curfew Crusaders packed painful teenager prods, which were basically cattle prods with adolescent-strength reconfigurations (Rover’s acne had practically been singed off from the zap).Bookmark here

They exited the bus at their stop and took to the neighborhood on foot, chattering about Rover’s triumph in the AR match. The houses were closing up for the night, electric glows of TVs peeking out from the hundreds upon hundreds of windows as the residents settled in with their favorite shows and video games.Bookmark here

Coming up to the Chorks’ house, Quintegrity, grinning wide, wrapped her arms around Rover.Bookmark here

The boy broke out in an instant sweat, which shone in the bright moonlight.Bookmark here

“Goodnight, Rover,” she said sweetly. Even her voice, not just her breath, was warm and steamy…or perhaps that was just Rover’s reaction to her voice.Bookmark here

“G-G-Googoo…” Rover sputtered. Being pressed against the girl’s body unplugged his tongue.Bookmark here

“Awww!” Quintegrity cooed, squeezing Rover tighter. “You’re babbling like a baby.” She laughed. “You’re so goofy. I’ll see you all tomorrow morning, then. Goodnight, peeps!”Bookmark here

Rover still had no control over his words when Quintegrity let go. She skipped away without him telling her goodnight.Bookmark here

Adele, however, hunched over in laughter.Bookmark here

“Gawd, what a chump, Big Bro!” she chortled as mirthful tears filled her eyes. “What was that baby babbling you just did? Ha-ha-ha! You really were so worked up over that hug that it bitch-slapped the vocabulary right outta you.”Bookmark here

“Shut up, Adele!”Bookmark here

Rover looked down the street in the direction Quintegrity had left, seeing her pirouetting beneath a streetlamp down the hill before she skipped into the darkness.Bookmark here

A breeze blew up, making him shiver. “Brrr! It’s chilly.”Bookmark here

“Well, you’re covered in sweat.” Lumpy grinned. “Dude, you turned the color of a baboon butt when Quinn hugged you! Liked it, didn’t you?”Bookmark here

“Heh-heh…” Rover did like it. He really did. “It w-was…cool.”Bookmark here

Adele stepped in front of Rover, resting the back of her head against both of her hands, snickering.Bookmark here

“You better apologize to your girlfriend for not telling her ‘goodnight’!” she said. “After blowing three thousand thuggoons at that arcade, you better not let her down by forgetting simple, important things.”Bookmark here

“I did tell her!”Bookmark here

“Not in plain Anglo-Thugwoodian. We’ve already lost five thousand thuggoons to her, and you’ve only progressed this far!”Bookmark here

“Will you drop it?!”Bookmark here

Another mild breeze passed by, carrying Adele’s and Lumpy’s laughter down the hillside street and into the skies above the neighborhood. Those jubilant voices were the last to be heard in the streets that night before the bedtime hour.Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

<<<STATUS>>>Bookmark here

Rover… Lvl 686Bookmark here

Allowance… {T}35,000Bookmark here

<<<EXPENSE GOALS>>>Bookmark here

Anti-Grav Skateboard… {T}499,999Bookmark here

<<<CURRENT EQUIPMENT>>>Bookmark here

Gloves… BeelzebubBookmark here

Armor… Brick JacketBookmark here

Acc. 1… Grand Shyster’s ShoesBookmark here

Acc. 2… Hound Doggo Shnozz
Jio Kurenai
You can resume reading from this paragraph.