Chapter 32:

Vol. 2, Ch. 7: More Valuable than Life or Cake

The Integrity of the Super Club [Beta version]

Duff Luck Diner was a thematic nightmare on the interior with designs and artwork of all denominations crashing together into a jumbled mishmash. The aggressive aesthetics, however, generated a disgustingly appropriate setting for the establishment specializing in coffee, pizza, ramen, enchiladas, beef wellington, and prostitution.Bookmark here

The four Super Club members sat at a square-shaped booth around the table, joined by their two hosts, Duffy Blaster and Marmalade Propergrudge.Bookmark here

Duffy was a short, fat, middle-aged man with dusty glasses, a self-depreciative comb over failing to cover his greasy bald spot, and unkempt facial hair littered with something resembling bits of hard candy. His belly rolled out from underneath his tight, stained T-shirt, his dirty jeans were unbuttoned and unzipped to fit, and his sneakers were missing the shoelaces.Bookmark here

He stared with beady eyes across the table at the Super Club members.Bookmark here

“Duffy commends Rover.” His speech was quick and weak, as if his words crawled from the cellar of his lungs to die on the table in front of the guests.Bookmark here

“Th-Thank you, Mr. Blaster,” Rover said, failing to smile.Bookmark here

“Call Duffy ‘Duffy.’”Bookmark here

“Okay…Duffy.”Bookmark here

“Duffy is pleased,” he said, nodding. “Rover is worthy of Duffy’s challenge because Rover defeated Marmalade in an augmented reality match.”Bookmark here

“And without cheating.” Although Marmalade’s housewife mannerisms and motherly voice were in full-on Lovable Maiden Mode, something icy still swam behind her façade, and it pierced Rover’s gut when she spoke.Bookmark here

“Well…” Rover began, but that was all he said.Bookmark here

Lumpy avoided eye contact with everyone, drumming his fingers on the table. Adele shifted her gaze around and hoped desperately for a magical portal to appear and whisk her away from the place.Bookmark here

Quintegrity was, of course, Quinn Integrity.Bookmark here

“We are honored by your acknowledgment,” she said with absolute grace, her expression warm enough to melt frozen candlewax.Bookmark here

“Has Duffy spoken to the pretty girl?!” Duffy howled, ripples of anger flowing through his blubber. “Duffy thinks nay!”Bookmark here

Rover was scared, caught off guard by Duffy’s doglike reaction, but Quintegrity politely bowed.Bookmark here

“My apologies, Duffy,” she said, her voice gentle.Bookmark here

“No apologies, only actions.” Duffy slid from the booth seat, losing a few centimetres in height as his feet hit the poor, poor floor.Bookmark here

The tubby little man waddled around the table and stood right next to Rover and stared.Bookmark here

And stared…Bookmark here

And stared…breathing harder by the second…Bookmark here

“Yes?” Rover grunted. “What is it?”Bookmark here

“Duffy likes Rover,” Duffy replied.Bookmark here

Sweat formed on Rover’s face. “Oh…uh, cool.”Bookmark here

Marmalade glared at Rover, somehow doing so without lessening her smile, but her eyes were like shark eyes.Bookmark here

“You should be grateful for Duffy’s praise,” she said, practically giggling, but circling Rover’s soul with those shark eyes of hers. “Not everyone is offered free beverages here like you’ve been.”Bookmark here

Said drinks went untouched as Lumpy and Adele held their breath, watching Rover tremble with anxiety as he turned back to the staring, wheezing Duffy.Bookmark here

“Thank you for your praise, Duffy,” he said.Bookmark here

“Rover is worthy of the chance to obtain the three Special Number items in Duffy’s possession.”Bookmark here

“Thank— Wait…three?Bookmark here

“Does Rover like Duffy?”Bookmark here

Oh no… Why this question???Bookmark here

From where he sat, Rover was trapped and essentially a hostage in a foreign land. Negotiations were his lifeline.Bookmark here

“Yes.” His confidence was overbearing and forced beyond comprehension. “I like you…Duffy.”Bookmark here

Duffy’s stare intensified through his dusty glasses. Yet, he remained standing next to Rover, just staring.Bookmark here

“Duffy’s and Rover’s relationship has been established,” he said swiftly, finally backing away. He lifted his arms over his head and turned away from the table. “Henceforth…it will be!”Bookmark here

When Duffy shouted his proclamation across the schizophrenically ordained restaurant, people cheered and clapped for some unknown reason—the Super Club members assumed it was because Duffy had spoken with so very much conviction.Bookmark here

Rover was loathe to ask, “What will be henceforth…?”Bookmark here

In a sudden surge of rage, the little fat man whirled around and slammed his porky fist on the table, rattling the mocktails and root beer floats nobody had touched. Rover, Lumpy, and Adele jumped from fright.Bookmark here

How does Rover not know what Duffy means?!?” Duffy’s hippo mouth dribbled as he yelled, and his entire body shook the way a swimming pool does when a whale falls into it, splashing the lifeguards. “The Glove Alien Fight match, Rover! The match! The entire reason why this encounter exists is to discuss the match!! The email said so!! Has Rover forgotten the email?!”Bookmark here

“Ah! N-No, no I haven’t forgotten!” Rover’s hands were up in physical defense—he imagined Duffy attacking him, swinging his porky, greasy fists and sinking his stinky teeth into Rover’s skin and not stopping until Rover was fully ingested.Bookmark here

Duffy’s mood made a complete turnaround.Bookmark here

“Rover is funny. Duffy likes Rover.” He laughed, his face still staring and emotionless, the laughter sounding like steel wool caught in a box fan. “Tomorrow at Jurbnolton Area, same place where Rover played with Marmalade. Seventeen hundred hours. Duffy will play with Rover, and Rover will play with Duffy.”Bookmark here

“S-Sounds, uh, good…” Rover chuckled from nervousness.Bookmark here

That made Duffy chuckle, which in turn made Marmalade chuckle. Soon, everyone at the table was chuckling. The awkwardness was astronomical.Bookmark here

Then Duffy stopped. They all stopped. Time stopped.Bookmark here

“Now go,” Duffy said. “Leave Duffy’s sight before Duffy wants more.”Bookmark here

Nobody questioned what “more” Duffy was referring to, and they bolted posthaste from Duff Luck Diner.Bookmark here

32!32@32#32$32%32^32&32*32(32)32_32+32Bookmark here

“I need a shower after that,” Rover whimpered as he rode the bus with the other Super Club members back home.Bookmark here

Adele gave a weary smile. “After that…y-yeah, I need to wash that whole encounter off me.”Bookmark here

Bouncing with giddiness in her seat, Quintegrity said, “Ooh! You can use the shower at the Super Club penthouse! It’s divine! It’ll wash away all your woes. It works for me.”Bookmark here

Rover’s temperature soared as he suddenly imagined his girlfriend lathering herself from head to toe with frothy soapiness, and he was rendered unfit to speak as she moved closer to him.Bookmark here

“Get all scrub-a-dub-dubbed up!” Quintegrity rubbed her hands together, grinning. “Get an armor of cleanliness on your skin. You’ll need to be in peak condition to take those Special Number items from Duffy.”Bookmark here

The boy returned to normal as he thought of the task at hand: getting Duffy’s Special Numbers.Bookmark here

“He said he has three of them,” Rover said in a flat tone. “I find it hard to believe.”Bookmark here

“It’s not impossible,” Lumpy said, “but he doesn’t seem like the type to be that good at Glove Alien Fight.”Bookmark here

Snickering, Adele said, “Maybe he paid his girls to obtain the Special Numbers, then had them forfeit the matches against him so he could easily take them.”Bookmark here

“Also not impossible.” Lumpy shuddered, massaging his arms. “I almost forgot…Duffy is a pimp. He’s surrounded by women who, like, ‘work’ for him.”Bookmark here

Rover leaned back in his seat, his neck not wanting to hold up his head.Bookmark here

“Yeah,” he muttered. “What is wrong with this twisted world…?”Bookmark here

32!32@32#32$32%32^32&32*32(32)32_32+32Bookmark here

When Rover arrived at Jurbnolton Area on Feefee-day, there was a much bigger crowd than what had gathered for the Marmalade battle. Plenty of pro-Duffy signs accompanied the anti-Rover ones that people held over their heads.Bookmark here

Lumpy looked around. “Hey…just what in the world is Jurbnolton Area, anyway?”Bookmark here

“I dunno.” Adele shrugged, scanning the area through her magnifying holoshades and examining the surrounding houses, buildings, and structures. “Just a place? I don’t even know how to describe Jurbnolton Area.”Bookmark here

Lumpy scratched his chin. “I sure would hate to be someone trying to write about it, then.”Bookmark here

“Not if they’re lazy,” Adele quipped.Bookmark here

A van pulled up and parked by the curb. When Rover noticed the van’s elaborate decals, he frowned and sighed—it was the van for Olds News, a major televised news company in Thugwood.Bookmark here

“Great,” Rover grunted with an eye roll, “here comes the press.”Bookmark here

He recognized the middle-aged field reporter Odysseus Jr. Without delay, the reporter and a cameraman hurried straight over, and Rover soon found a big microphone stuffed in his face.Bookmark here

“Rover Chork,” Odysseus Jr. said, “what has your notoriety as a Glove Alien Fight mod-user done to ruin your life?!”Bookmark here

Adele whispered to Lumpy, “That was blunt.”Bookmark here

After a few seconds, Rover turned away. “No comment.”Bookmark here

“He clearly would do it again,” the reporter said into the camera. The anti-Rover spectators booed in response.Bookmark here

“Hey!” Rover snapped. “I didn’t say that!”Bookmark here

The reporter ignored the statement. “What are your thoughts on this match against the established business mogul Duffy Blaster?”Bookmark here

“Um…he’s an established business mogul?”Bookmark here

Odysseus Jr. turned back to the camera. “Rover seems to be speechless that he is soon to confront the one and only Duffy Blaster in a Glove Alien Fight augmented reality match for not just one, but three of the coveted Special Number items.”Bookmark here

“How do you know so much already?” Rover’s jaw tightened. “But yeah, I guess you could say I’m lost for words.”Bookmark here

As the reporter made his rounds through the crowd for interviews, Duffy’s decrepit station wagon rolled up to the curb. A beautiful woman dressed in barely enough clothes to avoid a fine in public exited the driver’s seat, and she opened the backseat door. The little, fat man emerged, wearing the exact same dirty T-shirt and jeans from yesterday. He was met with an unnecessary level of cheering from the bystanders.Bookmark here

“He already looks worn out,” Rover snickered, watching Duffy pant and wheeze as his sexy escort closed the station wagon door.Bookmark here

An incoming call took Rover’s eyes off the approaching swine of a man. The caller information was unexpected: Benedict Torrent.Bookmark here

Oh no, what’s this about?Bookmark here

“Hello?” Rover answered.Bookmark here

“Mr. Chork!” Benedict greeted. “It’s been a while.”Bookmark here

“Not really.”Bookmark here

“Ha-ha! Yeah, true. Listen, I’m watching your match against Duffy Blaster in a livestream right now and on the news. But first, screw you for cheating against me and all the others.”Bookmark here

“Thank you.”Bookmark here

“No matter.” Benedict didn’t sound very upset. “I’m over it. You paid me the hundred thousand thuggoons, and that match was my highest-ranking video yet. In reality, I applaud you for being ballsy enough to use such obvious mods in front of everybody like that.”Bookmark here

“It was more of a reflex than a decision,” Rover said. He paused. “At first, at least.”Bookmark here

“Well, whatever. Like I said before, I see something in you, and I believe you don’t need those special Glove Aliens to beat this fat ass piglet. Ha-ha!”Bookmark here

Rover smirked, watching Duffy waddle over and stop to catch his breath. Still, the crowd chanted Duffy’s name.Bookmark here

“Sounds like you aren’t a fan of Duffy,” Rover said.Bookmark here

“Oh, hell no. He’s a crook, his ‘business mogul’ persona is a sack of lies, and… Well, if you’ve already met him, need I say more?”Bookmark here

“You needn’t. Trust me.”Bookmark here

“Take a look at his fans there.”Bookmark here

“I have,” Rover muttered. “There’s a lot of them.”Bookmark here

“True, but look closer. Notice anything about all of them?”Bookmark here

Rover examined the crowd as they cheered for Duffy. Lumpy and Adele wondered why Rover squinted to check out the individual people.Bookmark here

“It’s mostly younger people, I think,” Rover said.Bookmark here

“That’s right. Men and women in their twenties, dressed nice, in good shape.”Bookmark here

“Hmm… Seems kinda artificial.”Bookmark here

“Because it is,” Benedict said. “Duffy is a businessman—a dirty one, inside and out. A real conman. There are rumors of him hiring audience members to support him during public outings. I suspect the same here. This may also be a ploy to discourage you by enlisting so-called haters to give you a hard time today.”Bookmark here

“Ah, I gotcha.” Rover watched the news team approach Duffy. “That explains why this crowd is so big. He hired these people to improve his public image and put me at a disadvantage.”Bookmark here

“Correct. I also have reason to believe he contacted Olds News and The Daily Thug for this, playing up his own worth with a not-fully-true pitch…maybe even slid them a few thuggoons under the table. While it’s true he’s a somewhat well-known businessman, I think he really isn’t all that famous or wealthy…”Bookmark here

Rover’s smirk stretched into a jagged sneer. “Just a cheater.”Bookmark here

Benedict chuckled. “Exactly. I’ll leave the rest to you, Rover.”Bookmark here

“What was that about?” Lumpy asked Rover after the call ended.Bookmark here

“Just a hello from my biggest fan.”Bookmark here

“Benedict Torrent?”Bookmark here

“Yeah,” Rover said. “He told me this crowd was possibly hired by Duffy to make him look better than he is.”Bookmark here

Lumpy nodded. “I’m not surprised. I did my research on him last night. He’s best known for his notoriety and, like you just said, hiring people to save face.”Bookmark here

“A real slime ball,” Adele muttered, baring her teeth. “Give him hell, Big Bro.”Bookmark here

Cracking his knuckles and sneering, Rover said, “I plan to.”Bookmark here

Duffy’s interview with the news team drained his energy, and his fatigue was visible from a distance, swaying and bobbing his head. His beautiful escort retrieved a two-wheeled dolly from the back of the station wagon, placed it down for Duffy to stand on, and wheeled him like the fat sack of luggage he was toward Rover. Lumpy and Adele chuckled, not bothering to hide their amusement.Bookmark here

Duffy stepped off the dolly a few metres away from Rover, his beady eyes and sweaty face already making Rover’s blood boil.Bookmark here

“Duffy is here,” Duffy said in his quick, sharp way of speaking.Bookmark here

Rover held out his arms in a provocative gesture. “And Rover is here, too.”Bookmark here

The little eyes narrowed behind the dusty glasses. “Is Rover trying to intimidate Duffy?”Bookmark here

“Yes.”Bookmark here

“Good. Duffy likes a fighter.”Bookmark here

“Then…uh… I don’t even know what to say to that.”Bookmark here

“Say Rover likes Duffy.”Bookmark here

“No.”Bookmark here

“Good. Fight hard.” He leaned in uncomfortably close, saying quietly, “Also, Duffy has an offer.”Bookmark here

“Ya don’t say?”Bookmark here

“Let Duffy win,” the greasy man said. He gestured at the scantily clad woman as she posed for the crowd and news camera, using the dolly as a prop. “If Rover loses, Rover will get Esmiette for the night.”Bookmark here

Chuckling, Rover said, “I’m gonna win this match. Take your hooker with you when you leave without your Special Numbers and consumable items.”Bookmark here

Duffy stared and stared and stared at Rover like a gargoyle, not moving or looking away for the next few minutes while Rover put on his VR headset and prepared the match. Lumpy and Adele took their holoshades and tablets from Rover’s backpack, bidding Rover good luck before they stepped aside.Bookmark here

Dude, Rover thought as the game selected a Deathmatch round, this freak has a hell of a staring problem! And I can, like, hear him breathing from all the way over here! His breaths are like rats trying to claw their way up an air duct… Ha! That was a good simile.Bookmark here

“R to team, do you read?” Rover said into his communication earpiece.Bookmark here

The others replied through the earpiece.Bookmark here

“L here.”Bookmark here

“A here, too.”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

Rover glanced up at Duffy, who was now sweating profusely but hadn’t budged. “…Q, do you read?”Bookmark here

“Q here! Sorry, but Rubber Ducky is quacking hard today.”Bookmark here

Rover flicked his eyes toward the partly cloudy sky. Other than the imposing Thugforce Militia helicopter making its rounds over Jurbnolton Area, nothing appeared out of the ordinary, even through the VR headset, which Rover knew didn’t mean much—the Cohort Squadron’s AR cloaking was only visible through advanced or jailbroken devices.Bookmark here

“Stand by, team,” Rover said. “Today’s match is a Deathmatch. No support is needed.”Bookmark here

“Aye-aye, R!” Quintegrity answered. “Signing off.”Bookmark here

“Stay safe, Q.”Bookmark here

No response.Bookmark here

Duffy’s escort tapped the fat man on the shoulder, and he snorted and jolted from the touch. With a smile that Rover could only hope was fake, the woman handed the little man his tablet, which he snatched away from her.Bookmark here

The pre-match timer reached zero, and the game began. Rover controlled his character to flank to the right as Duffy’s character charged straight ahead.Bookmark here

“Bad move,” Rover muttered under his breath. He fired an Incendiary Artillery Shot, landing a direct hit on Duffy’s character, dealing significant damage and setting it on fire.Bookmark here

When Duffy’s character recovered from the heavy-hit animation, it charged ahead again, running right along the line of fire on the ground left from Rover’s fiery attack.Bookmark here

What’s he got up his sleeve? Rover wondered, bringing up his equipment menu. His idiotic tactic is hiding something. He’s a conman, after all…full of tricks!Bookmark here

Rover switched to his Scribbly Glove Aliens, sacrificing some attack power for an added speed boost. As Duffy continued charging forward, Rover had his character dash in to attempt a mid-range shockwave attack on Duffy’s character. However, it seemed Duffy did nothing in anticipation for the strike. The shockwave effect rang through the speakers of every AR device tuned in to the match—Rover had landed a second direct hit on Duffy’s character, dropping it to the ground.Bookmark here

As if the onscreen prompt wasn’t enough for Rover to believe he’d won so easily, the booing from Duffy’s hired audience backed it up.Bookmark here

“H-He really didn’t have anything up his sleeve…” Rover murmured under his breath. Pushing the VR visor up, he couldn’t even laugh. “An actual idiot, I guess.” Finally, a smile found his lips as he shook his head. “Don’t tell me his prior opponents all lost because he bribed them…”Bookmark here

Through the roar of angry spectators, two voices cut through to cheer Rover on.Bookmark here

“Yeah!” Adele hooted. “You mopped his ass asunder!”Bookmark here

“In your face, Duffy Blaster!” Lumpy shouted.Bookmark here

Rover held his arms out in a prolonged, exaggerated shrug, a combination of legitimate confusion from the outcome mixed with cocky boasting toward the anti-Rovers.Bookmark here

From nowhere, Duffy’s sweaty, greasy, jiggly face popped up in front of the boy.Bookmark here

“Whoa!” Rover jumped back, startled.Bookmark here

*Sniiiffff*Bookmark here

The little man drilled into the boy with the patented gargoyle stare. “Rover smells different when awake.”Bookmark here

Repressing a gag, Rover said, “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.”Bookmark here

“Good job,” Duffy said, sounding less indifferent than a hog grunting at a stump.Bookmark here

Rover gave a wry smirk. “Mostly because of your bad job.”Bookmark here

Duffy added, “Rover can’t level up anymore because Rover’s at the maximum level of nine hundred ninety-nine. But Rover took Duffy’s Special Number items.” He still didn’t move while speaking, standing stiff and staring. “Special Number 6 was Duffy’s reward for reaching level nine hundred ninety-nine after Rover. Rover inspired Duffy to work hard.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’m sure you worked very hard,” Rover retorted with an exceptional eye-roll learned from the great Olaf Thumdiggles, King of Sarcasm.Bookmark here

“Special Number 3 was acquired when Duffy defeated an unworthy pleeber.”Bookmark here

“I bet.”Bookmark here

“Special Number 7 was acquired when Duffy pillaged and plundered with Duffy’s charm.”Bookmark here

“Uhh…” Rover looked at Adele and Lumpy, begging them for assistance with his eyes. They merely shrugged, choosing to stay away from the encounter.Bookmark here

“Duffy is happy to give Rover Duffy’s treasures.”Bookmark here

“That’s…a weird thing to say, man…”Bookmark here

“A deeper relationship is born.”Bookmark here

Rover blinked and trembled. “Wh-What…?”Bookmark here

The hog moved closer. “Join Duffy for a private session.”Bookmark here

“Heh-heh…I-I impolitely decline.”Bookmark here

“Balderdash.” Solid speckles of something spewed from Duffy’s mouth as he grabbed Rover’s wrist.Bookmark here

“H-Hey now!” Rover jerked his arm back, but couldn’t break free. Duffy Blaster, as it turned out, was very strong.Bookmark here

“Private sessions are the reward,” he told Rover, licking his lips. The dusty glasses approached, showing the void within the beady little eyes—hungry and lustful. “It’s a reward more valuable than life or cake…and Duffy loves cake.”Bookmark here

“Stop! Help!!!”Bookmark here

However, Lumpy and Adele stepped away, the fear evident on their faces. The hired pro-Duffy crowd turned a blind eye to the matter.Bookmark here

“Rover will be Duffy’s reward, too.”Bookmark here

“W-Wait! Hold on, Duffy! I have a girlfriend! And we’re both guys!”Bookmark here

“Duffy don’t care about gender.”Bookmark here

Noooooo!!!”Bookmark here

In an instant, Rover caught a glimpse of rose petal lemonade hair just before his arm was freed and vision went dark from sheer terror.Bookmark here

32!32@32#32$32%32^32&32*32(32)32_32+32Bookmark here

At the Super Club penthouse later that day, Rover spent an hour and a half in the divine shower, scrubbing himself sterile and praying. The other three members occupied the living room, sampling new confectionary masterpieces Quintegrity had concocted.Bookmark here

“You really saved Big Bro’s hide, Quinn,” Adele said, taking a piece of candy off the tray Quintegrity had presented. “Duffy was getting, uh…a little pushy.”Bookmark here

“It was no problem.” Quintegrity replied humbly. “I sensed a disturbance in the funk, so I switched on my communication earpiece just in time to hear my dear Rover in the throes of forced romantic anguish. I freed him from Duffy’s hand, which had a surprisingly strong grip, all while operating within my narrow window to avoid the Cohort Squadron. It was very challenging!”Bookmark here

“Duffy’s getting what he deserves,” Lumpy muttered. “That fat bastard is heading for the Vast Penitentiary. I thought he was a moron for how easily he lost the match, which he might’ve thrown on purpose, but to sexually harass someone right under the Thugforce Militia’s nose was the stupidest thing ever!”Bookmark here

“He’ll be charged for all of his other crimes, too,” Adele added through a mouthful of candy. “Good riddance.”Bookmark here

When Rover entered the living room, fresh and reborn, Quintegrity applauded. “How’s the conquering hero feel?”Bookmark here

“Better now,” Rover replied with a smile. “That shower really is the best ever. The water shoots right outta the walls!”Bookmark here

“So,” Lumpy said, turning to Rover, “that makes seven Special Numbers you have now?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. Only three more to go.”Bookmark here

“And then,”—Quintegrity put one foot on the sea-marble coffee table, flexing her arm— “we’ll break into the School Dungeon and wreak havoc on the secrets within! Maximum exposure! It’ll also be good publicity for the Super Club. I’ll make a bunch of funk-a-licious posters to spread the word when we crack open the School Dungeon. People will flock and beg to know what’s going on, and we’ll awe them with our groovy duties.”Bookmark here

Rover raised his eyebrows. “That’s a really vague and overly ambitious goal, babe. We need to keep it a secret when we go in.”Bookmark here

“You know that’s impossible,” Lumpy told him. “People are gonna know real fast when we go in. You can’t be too greedy.”Bookmark here

“True,” Rover said.Bookmark here

“So,” Lumpy continued, “we should go with Quinn’s plan and leverage the event. If everyone knows you’re one of the first in the School Dungeon, Rover, it could help with your reputation.”Bookmark here

“Or make people even more jealous,” Adele muttered.Bookmark here

Rover shrugged. “Whatever.”Bookmark here

For the next hour or so, the Super Club members ate weird candy, drank sparkling tea, brainstormed designs for the School Dungeon poster, and filled the penthouse with merriness. Not long before the curfew’s encroachment, Rover’s phone alerted him of an email, and he promptly checked it. His confused expression piqued curiosity in the other members as he studied whatever was on his screen.Bookmark here

“What’s up?” Quintegrity asked Rover, looking up from her paper with crayon-colored poster concepts. “You have an addled aura.”Bookmark here

“This person wants to meet me at the Nu Clear R-Cade,” Rover said, staring at the email.Bookmark here

Adele swallowed some candy. “…And? Is it about an AR match?”Bookmark here

He shrugged with wary uncertainty. “That’s all it says. I, like, don’t even know who they are.”Bookmark here

“It’s a trap!” Lumpy chuckled. “Just kidding.”Bookmark here

“Sounds suspicious to me,” Adele said.Bookmark here

“I’m replying to them now.” Rover typed away on his onscreen keyboard. “I’m asking them who they are and what they want.” He sent the message. In seconds, a reply came back. “They say they’re my supporter and have some ‘juicy bits’ about Glove Alien Fight to share with me…” His face soured. “Hmm…”Bookmark here

“Ooh!” Quintegrity’s eyes widened as her fingers groped the air. “Juicy bits!”Bookmark here

Before Rover could voice his objections, he received another email.Bookmark here

“And they said to bring my three teammates.”Bookmark here

“At least that makes it less suspicious,” Lumpy said. “You’re not going alone.”Bookmark here

However, Rover shook his head, his face stern. “No. It’s more suspicious.”Bookmark here

“How so?” Adele asked.Bookmark here

Rover looked up from his phone, gathering everyone’s eye contact at once.Bookmark here

“If they said my three teammates, then it means they know about Quintegrity’s involvement with my matches.”Bookmark here

*******Bookmark here

<<<STATUS>>>Bookmark here

Rover… Lvl 999Bookmark here

AthletaCom Points… 3Bookmark here

All Money… {T}11,505Bookmark here

Allowance… {T}10,505Bookmark here

Food Slip… {T}1,000Bookmark here

<<<EXPENSE GOALS>>>Bookmark here

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

<<<CURRENT EQUIPMENT>>>Bookmark here

Weapon… ScribblyBookmark here

Armor… Brutal SuitBookmark here

Acc. 1… Second Chance BangleBookmark here

Acc. 2… Heist HoovesBookmark here

<<<PERIPHERALS>>>Bookmark here

ControllerBookmark here

VR HeadsetBookmark here

<<<SPECIAL NUMBERS>>>Bookmark here

#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7

Bookmark here

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