Chapter 13:

Vol. 1, Ch. 13: Curb Stomped by Deliciousness

The Integrity of the Super Club [Beta version]

“You lost?!” Adele clutched her head. “How did you lose?!”Bookmark here

Rover sat on a swing in the Gwoid Park playground, staring at the dirt beneath him and gripping a bottle of mango-flavored Wisewater he’d bought. His hair and clothes were matted with sweat. Quintegrity stood behind him, massaging his shoulders, alleviating his woes.Bookmark here

“Tallyhawk had one more ring than me,” he said with a sigh. “I knocked her character out, but it didn’t end the match because no matter what, the player with the most rings after forty minutes wins.”Bookmark here

Lumpy sat on the swing next to Rover, pushing himself back and forth with his feet on the ground. “Now you know to work that into your strategy next time.”Bookmark here

“Yeah.”Bookmark here

“Man,” Adele murmured, “not only did you lose all your consumable items, but you didn’t get any experience for the match.”Bookmark here

“I know.” Rover stared at his phone, the screen off. “Pretty much a huge waste of time. I need to reach level nine hundred ninety-nine as soon as possible to get a Special Number item…and face Benedict Torrent.”Bookmark here

“So,” Lumpy said, “that means you’ll need to play as much Glove Alien Fight as possible at pretty much all times.”Bookmark here

“No worries.” Rover cracked his knuckles. “I have a plan to reach the maximum level as fast as I can.” He stood up from the swing, straightening his back and clenching his fist, staring bravely toward the horizon. “I’m dropping out of school!!!”Bookmark here

That earned him a swift punch in the arm from his younger sister.Bookmark here

Hey!”Bookmark here

“Don’t be a dingleberry,” Adele said in a flat tone. “School’s more important.”Bookmark here

“Maybe we can cheat the system,” Lumpy suggested. “I’ll face you in a bunch of AR matches and let you win each time.”Bookmark here

“Won’t work,” Rover said, shaking his head. “You can only face the same person every ten matches.” He chugged the rest of his Wisewater, letting out a refreshed, mango-scented breath. “Let’s get something to eat. I worked up an appetite.”Bookmark here

Quintegrity hopped with excitement. “Ooh! My favorite deli is close to here, so let’s go there!”Bookmark here

Lumpy agreed. “Yeah, sounds good. You should take a break, Rover. You played hard today.”Bookmark here

Smiling at the late afternoon-painted sky, Rover said, “I sure did. If anything, I give myself props for that.”Bookmark here

13!13@13#13$13%13^13&13*13(13)13_13+13Bookmark here

Quintegrity showed Rover, Lumpy, and Adele the way to Me Luv Good Stuff Deli. Tantalizing aromas wafted out to the sidewalk as they entered, luring them in with the smells of baked bread, sliced meats, cut cheeses, coffee pies, spice-stuffed crumpet rolls, and cream-filled melon jellies. Long, glass cases were loaded with assorted goodies Rover had never heard of, many with names he couldn’t pronounce. When he looked at the customers dining in the cozy chairs filling the quaint interior, he realized how fresh and tasty everything appeared.Bookmark here

“Prepare yourselves to be curb stomped by deliciousness!” Quintegrity told them. With a twisted grin, her face was scary enough to send shivers down the spine of people who weren’t even in the building (which actually happened). “Put your mouth on the sandwich… Now say goodnight…”Bookmark here

She chomped down, making sure her bite was audible, then giggled.Bookmark here

“Uh…” Rover felt a drop of sweat roll down his cheek. “You aren’t selling me on this place…” He looked at Adele and Lumpy, who each had their own single bead of sweat run down their cheeks.Bookmark here

The man behind the counter, who had hair like wilted ferns and a cleft chin, greeted Quintegrity with a big smile.Bookmark here

“Hey there, Miss Integrity! I was wondering when I’d see you again.”Bookmark here

“Ahoy there, scalawag!” she replied. “Keeping the business afloat, are ye?”Bookmark here

“Haven’t burned it down, yet!”Bookmark here

“That’d be a disaster!”Bookmark here

“Don’t tempt me!”Bookmark here

They laughed heartily.Bookmark here

Adele stared at them. “Um…is this their usual relationship?”Bookmark here

Lumpy shrugged. “Guess so.”Bookmark here

“What’ll it be, Quinn?” the deli worker asked.Bookmark here

“The usual sandwich, please!” She was way too excited and…proud?Bookmark here

The man sighed. “Really? I can’t get you to try my other stuff?”Bookmark here

“Nope. You’ll fail like the jabroni you are. I know what I want.”Bookmark here

“Not even a slight change? You might discover a new favorite.”Bookmark here

Quintegrity swung her hips in a rhythm as she rapped her answer:Bookmark here

“Turkey and bolognaBookmark here

In a deli matrimonyBookmark here

And no phony mortadellaBookmark here

You jabroni deli fella!”Bookmark here

The man chuckled and shook his head, rustling his wilted-fern hair. “Only you’re allowed to insult me, Quinn.”Bookmark here

Quintegrity cackled with her hands on her hips. “I have that kind of authority!”Bookmark here

They laughed heartily again.Bookmark here

The girl turned to Rover and the others.Bookmark here

“Get what you want, guys,” she told them with a smile, unsheathing her Mythril credit card. “It’s on me!”Bookmark here

“Thanks, Quintegrity,” Rover replied, returning the smile.Bookmark here

Quintegrity pulled him close in a one-arm hug, giving him a flare-up of anxiety.Bookmark here

“I’m treating my boyfriend,” she told the deli man. Her smile faded. “He needs to eat his sorrows away; he’s suffering from a loss.”Bookmark here

The man gave Rover a slight bow of solemn condolences. “I’m very sorry to hear that.”Bookmark here

Rover’s face twitched. “Hehhh… I-It’s really not that serious…”Bookmark here

“Not all losses are created equal,” the man replied. “It’s best to take it for what it is—all of its pains and lessons—and keep moving on. That’s how we get stronger.”Bookmark here

Rover considered that.Bookmark here

It’s totally out of context, he thought, turning back to Quintegrity’s beaming expression as Adele and Lumpy placed their orders. But even so, he’s right.Bookmark here

He smiled at the deli worker and pulled Quintegrity closer. “I’ll have what my girlfriend is having.”Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

<<<STATUS>>>Bookmark here

Rover… Lvl 703Bookmark here

All Money… {T}34,700Bookmark here

Allowance… {T}34,700Bookmark here

Fundraiser… {T}0Bookmark here

<<<EXPENSE GOALS>>>Bookmark here

Benedict’s Payment… {T}100,000Bookmark here

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

<<<CURRENT EQUIPMENT>>>Bookmark here

Gloves… BeelzebubBookmark here

Armor… Ape Laser ArmorBookmark here

Acc. 1… Grand Shyster’s ShoesBookmark here

Acc. 2… Hound Doggo ShnozzBookmark here

<<<SPECIAL NUMBERS>>>Bookmark here

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