Chapter 29:

Vol. 2, Ch. 4: A Dynamic Discovery of Wily Wonders & Wanton Woe

The Integrity of the Super Club [Beta version]

Headmaster arrived on the scene at the Big Tower, stumbling through the dusty entrance to find himself at the foot of destruction. Rubble littered the ground around a crater in the center of the lobby, and twisted, mangled remnants of useless furniture were scattered about like monuments of pointlessness. He hobbled on rickety legs through the ruckus and hubbub of people to inspect the situation, noticing the coordinated efforts of students and teachers helping evacuate and clean the debris away from the exits.Bookmark here

Before he could put his thoughts into words, the person responsible for the mess popped up in front of him.Bookmark here

“Hi there, Headmaster!”Bookmark here

“Quinn Integrity!” he exclaimed. “What in da heck happened here?!?”Bookmark here

“Sorry, sir.” She bowed down in apology. “I had an accident.”Bookmark here

Headmaster’s eyes darted around at the damage. “You did all dis???”Bookmark here

“Yes. I fell over the railing and did this when I hit the ground on the first floor.”Bookmark here

Although shaken and disgruntled, Headmaster’s expression showed he acknowledged that explanation, nodding and crossing his arms. His eyes met Rover’s, and the boy could see the question in the older man’s expression.Bookmark here

“It’s true, sir,” Rover said. “She…uh…turned into a fireball…”Bookmark here

“Ah, right, I see,” Headmaster replied, looking around some more. “Dat’ll happen. How far didja fall, Quinn?”Bookmark here

“From the seventh floor.” Quintegrity pointed up.Bookmark here

Headmaster rubbed his chin. “Yeah…makes sense it bein’ from dat high.”Bookmark here

“I meant to make a proper landing…” the girl continued, bowing again, “but the freefall felt too good, and I got lost in the funky grooves.”Bookmark here

Rover wanted to facepalm at that answer, but the school authority figure merely nodded.Bookmark here

Grunting, Rover said, “Sir, you are waaay too unsurprised by this.”Bookmark here

“Nah,” Headmaster said, scratching his snowy hair under his headmaster bandana. “Quinn breaks things when she falls, ain’t dat right?”Bookmark here

“Hee-hee! Yep!”Bookmark here

“But ya shoulda landed on yo feet!!!” Headmaster barked. “Whatchoo thinkin’ goin’ all meteor-mania on dis shiznit?!”Bookmark here

The girl yet again bowed down in apology. “I’m sorry, sir. I was too caught up in the moment and became irresponsible.”Bookmark here

Headmaster let out a dry, gravel-paved sigh and beckoned to one of the faculty members aiding with the evacuation, Mrs. Big Tower Clerk.Bookmark here

“Any casualties?” Headmaster asked Mrs. Big Tower Clerk.Bookmark here

“Nothing serious,” she replied. The middle-aged woman wiped the dust from her glasses on a microfiber towel. “Some bruises and minor cuts. More underwear was damaged than flesh, but morale seems to have taken the biggest blow.”Bookmark here

“Very good,” Headmaster said. “Morale can be patched up wit dessert an’ partyin’. We’ll contact da Cleanup Team, get it all fixed up an’ stuff. Should be back in order ’round a couple days, like nuthin’ even happened.”Bookmark here

“Yes,” Mrs. Big Tower Clerk agreed. “The Cleanup Team are miracle workers. Also, students are already competing in approved competitions to do the most cleaning. At this rate, it’ll be back to normal in no time.”Bookmark here

Among the busy, helping students, Rebekah Paddaloonga was moving chunks of flooring to clear the pathways to the exits. The pain from her ribs showed on her clenched expression, but she was cheered on by the girl with braces and the girl with big earrings. Rover scowled at the sight, clicking his tongue.Bookmark here

“Headmaster,” Quintegrity said.Bookmark here

“Yes, Quinn?”Bookmark here

“I have a request.” She pointed into the crater at the large, metal, vault-like door. “I would like to see what’s in there.”Bookmark here

The elderly authority figure peered into the hole. After a moment, his contemplative face morphed into one of surprise.Bookmark here

“Sir?” Quintegrity asked, curious about the man’s facial responses.Bookmark here

“Absolutely not!” Headmaster replied, waving his hands in a “no-way” gesture. “It be too dangerous. Do ya’ll have any idea ’bout da legends of our School Dungeon?”Bookmark here

Rover blinked. “Uh…we have legends of a School Dungeon…?”Bookmark here

“Dang it.” Headmaster winced at his own words. “Shouldn’t’ve said dat…”Bookmark here

“What are the legends?” Rover pressed.Bookmark here

“I dunno. Some crazy stuff, all just stories, though.”Bookmark here

Half-lidded, Rover said, “You don’t know…about a massive door hidden under your school?”Bookmark here

“Somethin’ like dat was brought to my attention by people I can’t tell ya ’bout, and they was plenty secret wit da explanations, too. But I know dis,”—Headmaster pointed at the door— “dat door fits da description in da legends. Big ol’ metal vault door, loaded wit high tech thingamabobs, tucked away somewhere under da school…”Bookmark here

“Then I wanna explore it!” Quintegrity jumped up and down. “Spe-lunk-ing! Spe-lunk-a-roony! Please-a-doodle-doo? Beg-a-saurus Rex?!”Bookmark here

“I says no!”Bookmark here

An innocent smirk found its way to her mouth. “In the name of the Super Club,” she said, pulling Rover close to her, “I demand you let my team explore the School Dungeon!”Bookmark here

“Dang it. Okay.”Bookmark here

Rover raised an eyebrow.Bookmark here

That’s all it takes for her to do what she wants around here??? Do I have that power, too, being in the Super Club…?Bookmark here

“Headmaster, sir?” Rover said.Bookmark here

“Yes?”Bookmark here

“Bring me some chocolate milk.”Bookmark here

“On what grounds, boy, do ya have to demand such nonsense from me?”Bookmark here

“In the name of the Super Club—”Bookmark here

“Dang it. Okay.” He snapped his fingers, and Sir Butler stepped on to the scene in a lickety-split. “Sir Butler, fetch dis fool some chocolate milk.”Bookmark here

Sir Butler bowed. He was a chiseled, formal, middle-aged man with a slicked hairstyle; he looked like a hunky vampire baron. “Aye, Headmaster.”Bookmark here

Rover was stunned. Holy crap, it worked?!Bookmark here

Quintegrity used her Militia-grade cell phone to call Adele and Lumpy to the crater site. When they arrived, they glanced questioningly at Headmaster, then at Rover as he received a thermos of chocolate milk from the school’s mysterious butler.Bookmark here

“Ahoy, team!” Quintegrity said when all four Super Club members were present. “We have made a dynamic discovery of wily wonders and wanton woe!”Bookmark here

“Both wonders and woe, huh?” Lumpy asked, shaking the dust from his exploded-pumpkin hair.Bookmark here

“Step up to the big door,” Quintegrity told them, sounding like a gameshow host, “and find a way to break in! Ha-ha-ha-haaa!”Bookmark here

Headmaster announced to the onlookers, “Keep away, ya’ll! Nobody get inside dat crater, just da Super Club.”Bookmark here

Students and faculty members halted their cleanup efforts and gathered around the edge of the crater, getting as close to the action as they were allowed to while the Super Club explored the site. As expected, the metal bulkhead was very sturdy. There were indecipherable inscriptions etched in it, and electronic components were attached to it and the wall, but there was nothing recognizable as far as both modern and outdated technology.Bookmark here

“This is weird,” Rover commented, running his hands over the irregular textures and designs on the door. He sipped from his thermos of chocolate milk, scrutinizing the relic. “I don’t get it. No keyhole, no panel…nothing I can make out.”Bookmark here

Lumpy knocked on different parts of the door, wall, and even the floor. “What’s this made out of? Metal? Stone? It all seems to be made of the same stuff.”Bookmark here

“No idea,” Adele said, shaking her head. Her phone vibrated in her pocket, alerting her of a received notification, which she checked. “Oh, cool. My pickle farm in Glove Alien Fight has bred new brining breeds.”Bookmark here

“I never figured out how the pickle farming works,” Lumpy said, still knocking on the door.Bookmark here

Adele shrugged. “It’s goofy, but I kinda like doing it.”Bookmark here

The instant Adele opened the Glove Alien Fight app, Quintegrity perked up.Bookmark here

“Hey!” she said. “Part of the door lit up!”Bookmark here

The others stared at it.Bookmark here

“I don’t see anything,” Rover said.Bookmark here

“Really?” Quintegrity blinked, then pointed at three parts of the door. “Those spots there, there, and there. You don’t see that? Maybe it’s augmented reality.”Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Adele pointed her phone camera at the door, looking through the Glove Alien Fight AR function. “No…there’s nothing there. I’ll try another AR app.”Bookmark here

“Oh, wait!” Rover said, aiming his phone’s AR camera at the door as well. “I see it! Those spots there, right?” He indicated to the places Quintegrity had pointed out. “They say one, two, and five.”Bookmark here

“What are you talking about?” Lumpy asked, looking through his phone. “What AR app are you using?”Bookmark here

Glove Alien Fight,” Rover told him, checking Lumpy’s phone screen.Bookmark here

“That’s what I’m using, too.”Bookmark here

“Me, too,” Adele said.Bookmark here

Only through Rover’s phone did they see the AR indications.Bookmark here

“Hrrghh.” Rover scratched his head. “Doesn’t make sense…although…” He looked at Lumpy, whose expression suddenly shifted to match Rover’s. “One, two, and five…”Bookmark here

“In the game,” Lumpy said, “don’t you have Special Numbers 1, 2, and 5?”Bookmark here

“And there are ten insignias on the door!” Adele added.Bookmark here

“No way.” Rover gawked at the door, both through his phone and with his own eyes. “Does that mean…to open the door—”Bookmark here

“Somebody needs all ten Special Number items!” Adele squeaked, clamping her hands over her mouth to keep the other students and faculty from overhearing.Bookmark here

“Impossible.” Rover tried denying it. “Glove Alien Fight came out half a year ago, and that was way before CEO Claudius made this stupid quota for it. This school has been around way, way before that.”Bookmark here

“That doesn’t necessarily mean this door wasn’t added just recently,” Lumpy said, tilting his head. “It could’ve happened over summer break…”Bookmark here

“How ya’ll doin’ down thurr?” Headmaster called from the edge of the crater. “Find anythin’?”Bookmark here

Rover erected himself to speak to the man in charge of the school. The entire brim of the crater was lined with students and faculty members, their eyes and ears on Rover and the other three.Bookmark here

“Uh, nothing we can see, sir.”Bookmark here

Lumpy and Adele gave him quick, unsure looks, which he returned to them.Bookmark here

“Welp, if nuthin’s happenin’, get back up here, got it?”Bookmark here

As the Super Club walked away from the big door, Rover whispered, “Don’t tell anyone about this being related to the Special Numbers.”Bookmark here

With a flat look, Adele replied, “You wanna keep it under wraps and check it out for yourself, huh?”Bookmark here

Rover smirked. “You know it.” He chugged the rest of his chocolate milk, then proceeded to climb out of the crater.Bookmark here

29!29@29#29$29%29^29&29*29(29)29_29+29Bookmark here

Classes were canceled for the rest of Mondee-day as the Big Tower situation met the criteria for a pseudo-emergency disaster. However, because of the Interschool AthletaCom, students were still permitted to hold official competitions if they could enlist a faculty supervisor. For Rover, afterschool club activities continued as usual.Bookmark here

When Lumpy arrived in the Super Club penthouse after his detention with Mrs. Astrological Literature Teacher, Quintegrity conducted the meeting with a PowerPunch slideshow on the 254-cm TV.Bookmark here

“Excellent job on today’s earnings!” she said, displaying the profits and tips for Operation Ramen Conquest. “We sold out and made some tips!” A sentimental expression washed over her as she turned her eyes toward the living room chandeliers. “So many of our competing comrades have had their vigor replenished and reinforced by our power ramen… Our low fee made our provisions easy to procure… Consider yourselves saviors, team!” She turned back to the slideshow. “Now, we need to decide where the proceeds will go.”Bookmark here

Rover’s hand shot up. “I have an idea.”Bookmark here

“Yes, my dear?”Bookmark here

“Well,” Rover said, looking at Lumpy and Adele, “I’d like to pour our resources into Glove Alien Fight—”Bookmark here

Knew it,” Adele mumbled, rolling her eyes.Bookmark here

Quintegrity pondered the notion. “To ultimately defeat CEO Claudius and lift the daily quota mandate?”Bookmark here

With a firm look, Rover replied, “Yes, that’s right.”Bookmark here

“Then I’m all in!” The glowing girl unsheathed her notebook and pencil, cuing the other members to do the same. She clicked her pen a million times a second as she thought. “Hmmm… What will we need, specifically?”Bookmark here

“Hardware,” Rover said. “Benedict Torrent had that virtual reality headset. If I had one, then it’d make the AR battles much easier. Winning the AR matches is crucial so I can get all ten Special Numbers, unlock the School Dungeon door, and…uh, see what’s inside.”Bookmark here

“Whatever’s in there,” Lumpy said, “it’s gotta be related to Glove Alien Fight. Why else would it have a lock mechanism based on in-game items?”Bookmark here

Adele added, “If that’s how you actually unlock it. We’re really guessing, but it’s better than nothing.” She stared at her notebook with a wrinkly grimace. “I just can’t believe the urban legends were true—there really is a frickin’ School Dungeon underneath one of Thugwood’s schools!”Bookmark here

“Hey, Quinn?” Lumpy turned to the girl. “Do you know anything about the School Dungeon legends?”Bookmark here

Quintegrity thought about it for a moment, her head teetering rhythmically from side to side. “Well, I’ve heard our school isn’t the only one. Supposedly, all five Thugwood high schools have one underneath them. But, if so, why hasn’t anyone else from other schools found theirs?”Bookmark here

Rover forced a smirk. “Uh, because they probably didn’t blow craters in their school campus.”Bookmark here

“Haaa…” Blushing, Quintegrity scratched her cheek with her index finger. “Yeah… Oopsies…”Bookmark here

Adele spoke, sounding as if she were telling ghost stories around a campfire. “I, too, have heard each school has their own dungeon.” Her eyes narrowed as her grin widened. “I’ve also heard they manufacture well-behaved students down there to act as role models and raise the academic scores.”Bookmark here

“I’ve heard they manufacture teachers there,” Lumpy added.Bookmark here

Manufacture people???” Rover’s face lost some color. “You mean…like a b-brothel…with a birth center???”Bookmark here

“No!” Adele snorted. “Like clones! Or androids! Get yer brain outta the dump.”Bookmark here

“Clones or androids…” Rover repeated under his breath with a serious face.Bookmark here

Nobody spoke for a bit.Bookmark here

“So,” Lumpy sighed, “other than the existence of a doorway that might lead to what the legends talk about, we don’t know anything for sure about the School Dungeons.”Bookmark here

Rover cracked his knuckles. “That’s why we’ll need to just get in there and see for ourselves! Quintegrity!”Bookmark here

“Rover!”Bookmark here

“Add a VR headset to our list of hardware to buy!”Bookmark here

Quintegrity jotted down some notes. “Okay! What else?”Bookmark here

“Anti-Grav skateboard!” Adele threw her answer out there before anyone else could speak. “That skater girl Quinn scared was using one to hide those rings in hard-to-reach places.”Bookmark here

Grunting, Rover said, “That won’t do any good unless I’m hiding rings, which would mean I’m not in the actual match itself. And if I have the VR headset, I won’t need to physically get around.”Bookmark here

“Hmph.” Adele crossed her arms, pouting. “I just want an Anti-Grav skateboard already…”Bookmark here

“How about a game controller?” Lumpy suggested. “Benedict had one, too.”Bookmark here

“Yeah,” Rover said, “and big tablets for Lumpy and Adele so they can scout for rings and enemies easier, like what Captain Pretentious’ team used.”Bookmark here

“And another pair of solar-blocking, magnifying holoshades for Lumpy,” Quintegrity added, her pen soaring across her notebook page, “so he and Adele will both have a pair. They’re nice to have just in case. Okay…anything else?”Bookmark here

Everyone exchanged shrugs.Bookmark here

“I think that’s good for now,” Rover said.Bookmark here

“Let’s look up prices online,” Quintegrity told them. “We’ll estimate the total for all of these things and see what we have funds for right now.”Bookmark here

“Not to sound rude,” Adele told her, “but the way you sling your credit card around, Quinn, I think you should help with some of these purchases.”Bookmark here

“Sorry, I can’t,” she replied. “It’s true I have a coveted Mythril credit card, but my thuggaccount type is for essentials only, like food and living expenses. I’ve already damaged my credit score with some nonessential purchases, so I gotta be careful…especially if the bank learns that the billing address I gave them isn’t my residency.”Bookmark here

One more way she’s walking on eggshells, Rover thought.Bookmark here

“It’s all right,” he told his girlfriend. “We’ll just shop around for sales.”Bookmark here

Rover, Lumpy, and Adele searched for the items online with their phones, and Quintegrity used the bulletproof tablet. During this time, Rover received an email. He immediately checked it—he’d been waiting for this particular message.Bookmark here

He snickered. “I finally got a response from the person who has Special Number 4. They challenged me to an AR match the day I beat Benedict, but I haven’t heard from them since.”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah?” Lumpy looked up from his phone. “What’d they say?”Bookmark here

Rover’s face flattened as he read the email. “Seems like they don’t care if I, uh…‘cheated like the cowardly piece of trash that [I] am’…”Bookmark here

“Sounds tactful,” Lumpy said, cracking a tiny smile.Bookmark here

Rover sighed. “Anyway, they agreed to have the match at Jurbnolton Area two days from now. Let’s try to get as many of these hardware items as possible before then. I want to bolster my gaming abilities right away and have at least one day to get used to the headset and game controller.”Bookmark here

“Of course,” Quintegrity said, nodding. “I’ll make Headmaster give us the day off school tomorrow to procure these things.”Bookmark here

“Heh.” Adele leaned back on the couch with smug satisfaction on her face. “I wonder what this person will think when you show up with a bunch of new tools?”Bookmark here

“Who’s the opponent?” Lumpy asked Rover.Bookmark here

“A woman named Marmalade Propergrudge.”Bookmark here

“Sounds like a dessert,” Quintegrity giggled. “Like a marmalade with propylene glycol fudge.”Bookmark here

“Uh,” Adele chuckled nervously, “please don’t make something like that, Quinn.”Bookmark here

“The kitchen appliances are already on it, love!” Quintegrity tapped on her bulletproof tablet, swaying her hips around the living room in a jazzy ballet boogie. “They’re all operational from an app on my tablet. Efficiency saves time saves money saves lives. Ha-ha-ha-ha!”Bookmark here

While Quintegrity tended to her mad scientist’s laboratory of a kitchen, the other members totaled up their costs for the new hardware.Bookmark here

“All right!” Rover pumped his fist as they went over the numbers written in their notebooks. “We have enough to buy all of these things tomorrow!”Bookmark here

Lumpy tapped his pencil on his chin. “But only if we find some good deals. The online prices might be different than what the stores carry on their shelves.”Bookmark here

“I ain’t scared!” Rover said.Bookmark here

“Ugh, we’re gonna be broke,” Adele griped, staring at the financial calculations in her notebook.Bookmark here

Quintegrity leapt into the living room, her fingers covered in sweet goop and her face covered in smiling splendor. “When the marmalade de la propylene glycol fudge cools and sets, who wants to be my lab rat?!”Bookmark here

Rover shuddered as Quintegrity put her goopy hands on her hips, grinning mischievously at him—she was clearly singling him out.Bookmark here

“Uhh…” He gulped. “N-Now I’m scared…”Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

<<<STATUS>>>Bookmark here

Rover… Lvl 999Bookmark here

AthletaCom Points… 3Bookmark here

All Money… {T}112,000Bookmark here

Allowance… {T}62,100Bookmark here

Fundraiser… {T}48,900Bookmark here

Food Slip… {T}1,000Bookmark here

<<<EXPENSE GOALS>>>Bookmark here

VR Headset… {T}13,999Bookmark here

Game Controller… {T}3,499Bookmark here

(2x) Tablet… {T}49,998Bookmark here

Magnifying Holoshades… {T}32,999Bookmark here

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

<<<CURRENT EQUIPMENT>>>Bookmark here

Weapon… ScribblyBookmark here

Armor… FASCAR ShirtBookmark here

Acc. 1… Candle BadgeBookmark here

Acc. 2… Heist HoovesBookmark here

<<<SPECIAL NUMBERS>>>Bookmark here

#1, #2, #5
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