By Tyler Deal
“Nitro! Yo, Nitro! Wake up!” shouted Teach. Smack! Teach slapped the napping frog with a wet mackerel.“Ouch! What’s that all about?” cried Nitro.
“You were napping again!” shouted Teach as he tossed the mackerel back into the ocean.
“Now, everybody listen up! Today, you graduate from Teach’s Life Training! Some of you did better than others!” Nitro withered under Teach’s glare. “It’s time to choose your skills! Choose carefully, you only get one shot at this! When I call your name, step forward and get your R.I.B.B.E.T.S.!”
“Isn’t this so exciting?” asked Gloria, a pink frog.
“Yeah! I can’t wait to get my skills! I’m going to be a master fisherfrog like Teach!” answered Nitro with stars in his eyes.
“Penelope!” shouted Teach. Penelope, a sassy purple frog in a tutu, claimed her R.I.B.B.E.T.S. She turned the small red tablet over in her hand.
“Thank you, Teach!” she said, prancing back.
“Dexter!” shouted Teach. Dexter, a blue frog and King of Nerds, retrieved his R.I.B.B.E.T.S.
“Why thank you, sir,” said Dexter, adjusting his thick glasses.
“Nobody likes a suck-up, Dex! Next, Gloria!” shouted Teach. Gloria practically floated over to get her R.I.B.B.E.T.S.
“THANK YOU, TEACH!” said Gloria over-enthusiastically.
“Lance!” shouted Teach. Lance, a gray frog of few words, collected his R.I.B.B.E.T.S.
“Teach,” nodded Lance.
“Lastly, Nitro! Try not to break it right away,” said Teach, momentarily losing his usual enthusiasm for shouting. Nitro, a typical green frog, snatched up his R.I.B.B.E.T.S.
“Thanx, Teach!” shouted Nitro.
“Excuse me?! I don’t think I heard that spelling correctly! Let’s try again!” shouted Teach.
“Oops. Thanks, Teach!” Nitro corrected himself.
“That’s more like it! If you have any questions, refer to the ‘HELP’ menu! DO NOT ASK ME! Good luck with life, cadets! I’m going to take a nap,” said Teach, exhausted.
After Teach had gone to lay in his hammock, the five young frogs chattered excitedly over their R.I.B.B.E.T.S.s. Nitro turned his over and over, tapped it, shook it, and sighed.
“How does this thing work again?” asked Nitro.
The other frogs fell over. This was going to be a long day.
Chapter 1: I Got Skills!
“Why is it called a R.I.B.B.E.T.S. again?” asked Nitro. A collective sigh arose from the group.
“Amateur,” chided Dexter. “Remote Instantaneous Blackhole-Banking Electronic Transfer System or R.I.B.B.E.T.S. for short. It uses blackhole technology to transfer physical objects between A.I.M.S.(Amphibian Inventory Manufacturing and Storage) and your current reality. It’s really quite amazing. In 736 FD…”
“Okay, now I remember why I don’t care,” interrupted Nitro. Dexter grumbled in irritation. “Just show me to the skills list.” Penelope smacked her lips.
“Do you see the button on the touchscreen that says ‘SKILLS’? Yeah, it’s that one,” said Penelope, rolling her eyes.
Nitro tapped the ‘SKILLS’ button. A list of buttons appeared on screen.
“Alright, now we’re talkin’,” said Nitro excitedly. He tapped the “NICE” button. A list of Meanie battling skills appeared on the screen. “Gift, Happybeam, Party Time… This isn’t what I’m looking for.” Nitro tapped the back arrow, then the “LIFE” button. Another list appeared. “Cooking, Crafting… Ah ha! Fishing!” Nitro ecstatically tapped the “LEARN” button.
There was a sudden cool electric rush in Nitro’s brain as the information on fishing came flooding in. In the frog’s mind, he saw Teach casting a line out into the water. He watched his technique as Teach jigged the bait back and forth. There was a whirring sound as Teach’s rod bent over. Teach fought the fish, reeling and pulling until… Whoosh! A great white shark flew out of the water! Nitro’s eyes watered at the glorious sight as the shark glided through the air in slow motion. The giant fish crashed onto the beach and thrashed about, throwing sand into the air! Teach dodged its massive teeth and smacked it square on the head with his fishing rod. The shark’s eyes turned into Xs and it fell flat. Teach puffed out his chest and put one foot on his vanquished foe as the word “CONGRATULATIONS!” flashed over his head. Nitro looked down at his R.I.B.B.E.T.S. as an electronic voice rang out.
Congratulations! You’ve learned ‘FISHING’!
“That… was… AWESOME!” shouted Nitro. “Let’s do this!”
Nitro tapped the “USE” button next to “FISHING”. There was an electric buzz in the air as a fishing rod materialized in front of him and dropped into his hands. It was tricolor yellow, orange, and red, just like Nitro’s shirt. There was a bobber painted with flames, and a plain hook hung from the end of the line. Nitro was drooling over his new rod when his expression suddenly changed.
“Hey wait. Where’s the bait?”
“It doesn’t come with bait. You can try to find some, but I would suggest getting the ‘GATHERING’ skill to make it easier. You’ll have a better knowledge of what you’re looking for. Of course, you could get the ‘CRAFTING’ skill. That would teach you how to make lures. ISN’T THIS SO EXCITING!” said Gloria with flames in her eyes.
“Hmm…” Nitro weighed the options. “I’ll just get both!”
After both tutorials played through Nitro’s mind, he looked around at his friends with a giant grin. Then he began laughing maniacally.
“Hahaha! Do not feel ashamed. It isn’t your fault that you aren’t masters like me. Keep trying, you’ll get it one day. Hahaha!” Every frog stared at him like he was insane. “Now stand back and watch the master at work!”
Nitro looked around the beach. He felt as though he had super detective powers as objects jumped out at him. He grabbed a forked stick from the sand and spun it through a spider web he saw glistening in a nearby almond tree. His R.I.B.B.E.T.S. suddenly called out.
“Hahaha!” Nitro laughed again as everyone watched.
Nitro leapt into the ocean with a splash and returned with a single tiny shrimp wiggling in the net.
Obtained Tiny Shrimp!
Nitro put the shrimp on his hook and tossed it into the ocean. Everyone watched as ten minutes went by. Nitro started to fidget uncomfortably.
“C’mon, fish. Don’t make me look dumb. Here, fishy fishy,” Nitro whispered to the ocean.
Suddenly, the bobber bounced and sank! Nitro snatched the rod back and started reeling. “This is it! Oh, it’s a giant shark! No, a whale! Here it comes!” With one last great pull, the fish came flying out of the water. Nitro watched in horror as a miniature sardine glided through the air in slow motion. It landed inaudibly on the sand. There was no sound except for the gently breaking waves. Then…
Obtained Miniature Sardine!
Nitro quietly flicked the fish back into the water. There was an eruption of laughter from the group. Gloria patted Nitro on the shoulder.
“You just need to practice and level-up your skill. Then you can catch bigger fish. It was pretty neat how you made that net though.” Nitro nodded resolutely. He was determined to do just that.
“I WILL be a Master Fisherfrog!” he declared and leapt into the ocean for more bait.
Chapter 2: Meanies Attack!
Gloria, Dexter, Penelope, and Lance perched on the limbs of a giant, twisty, driftwood log; the remains of a massive mango tree. Nitro continued fishing vigorously as they discussed which skills they would choose.
Congratulations! ‘FISHING’ is now level 2!
Everyone looked up as Nitro approached with a huge froggy grin on his face and a sea urchin in his hands.
“Thank you, thank you,” said Nitro, bowing.
“Good job, Nitro!” exclaimed Gloria. “I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU! OH MY GOODNESS! IS THAT A SEA URCHIN?!” Nitro drew back a bit. Gloria tapped on the touchscreen of her R.I.B.B.E.T.S.
Gloria uses COOKING!
There was a static buzz as a campfire appeared on the sand, followed by a metal rack and stand. Nitro leaned forward to inspect it.
“Cooool,” whistled Nitro.
There was another buzz as a heavy iron cooking pot materialized over his head. Bonk! Nitro rubbed the lump growing on the back of his head.
“Sorry, Nitro. I should’ve warned you,” apologized Gloria. “Let me have that urchin.” Gloria dropped the urchin into the pot. Everyone watched as the pot bubbled. Suddenly, a cloud of steam puffed up around the pot. When the steam cleared, a single bowl of soup sat on the sand where the fire and pot had been.
Obtained Urchin Soup!
“Wow, it worked!” exclaimed Gloria. “I LOVE COOKING!” Nitro bent down and picked up the bowl.
“Mmmmm! Gloria, this smells delici… Ahh, that’s hot!” Nitro squealed and tossed the bowl into the air. Everyone watched in silence as the bowl sailed through the sky.
A little way down the beach, a small fiddler crab looked up at the bowl as it flew towards him. He tucked his eye stalks in and pulled one large claw over his head. The bowl landed upside down with a boiling splash over the unfortunate crab.
The frogs looked on in horror. Nitro finally broke the silence.
“I’d hate to be that guy. Know what I’m sayin’?”
Suddenly, the ground began to shake! The bowl exploded, and a cloud of sand launched into the air. An ominous whooshing sound and battle music came from the R.I.B.B.E.T.S.s.
“I don’t like the sound of that,” squeaked Dexter.
The dust cloud cleared, revealing the fiddler crab. He was now two feet tall, red, and covered in spikes!
“Good job, Nitro,” Lance spoke for the first time. The frogs leapt to their feet and assumed a battle formation. Lance and Penelope stood in the front, Nitro in the middle, and Dexter and Gloria in the rear. As the crab began to come closer, R.I.B.B.E.T.S displayed the battle order.
“Alright, let’s see what you’ve got,” said Dexter.
Dexter uses ANALYZE!
A pair of green-lensed goggles appeared on Dexter’s head.
“Lvl. 3 Grumpy Crab. Happy Points: –84. My skill level isn’t high enough to see his Tolerance, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s pretty high,” said Dexter.
“Bah, I’m not prepared! I have ‘GIFT’, but I don’t have anything to give him yet,” lamented Penelope.
“Okay, let’s see if this works,” said Gloria.
Gloria uses SYMPATHTIC EAR!
“Tell me how you feel, Mr. Crab,” said Gloria.
Grumpy Crab receives 4 HP!
Grumpy Crab’s turn!
Grumpy Crab uses INSULT!
“How do you think I feel, lady? You’re stupid soup scalded me!” shouted the Meanie. Gloria looked mortified.
Gloria loses 12 HP!
“That is one grumpy crab,” said Dexter.
“Wait, I didn’t learn any ‘NICE’ skills yet!” said Nitro.
“I have an idea,” said Lance. “Nitro, use your ‘FISHING’ skill.”
“What good is that going to do?” asked Nitro.
“Just trust me,” said Lance calmly as the crab got closer. Nitro shrugged.
Nitro uses FISHING…?
Nitro cast his line out and soon pulled in a small sea bream.
Obtained Small Sea Bream!
“Okay, give it to Penelope,” said Lance.
“Huh, why me?” Penelope was taken aback by the suggestion that she should touch an icky fish.
“Your turn is next since you passed last time. I apologize in advance,” said Lance.
“Wha… Hey, wait!” shrieked Penelope.
Lance uses FRIENDTHROWER!
Lance picked up Penelope and launched her at the approaching crab. A wave of tears flowed from Penelope’s eyes as she soared through the air, clutching the icky sea bream.
She landed with her mouth open in the sand in front of the Grumpy Crab. He stopped and sniffed at the fish in her outstretched hand.
Penelope uses GIFT!
“Mmmmm! My favorite!” said the Meanie as he reached down and grabbed the fish with his claw.
Grumpy Crab received 96 HP!
Grumpy Crab is happy!
With a poof of glittery pink smoke, the Meanie turned back into a fiddler crab and happily scuttled away with his meal. Victory music played from the R.I.B.B.E.T.S.s.
The party gains 30 experience!
Gloria is now level 2!
+4 HP, +2 NICE, +1 TOL, +1 SPD!
The word “LEVEL!” bounced above Gloria’s head in a glowing green.
“YEEEEEES, WE WON!” screeched Gloria excitedly.
“Hey, why is Gloria the only one who leveled-up?” complained Nitro.
“Everyone levels-up at different rates,” explained Dexter.
“Ptoo!” Penelope spit out sand and cleared her throat. Her eyes burned with blue flames. Everyone fell silent.
“Run,” said Lance.