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!” announced Nitro’s R.I.B.B.E.T.S. 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,” whislted 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 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!
“Meanie approaches!” declared the R.I.B.B.E.T.S.s
“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.
“Penelope passes. Gloria’s turn.”
“Okay, let’s see if this works,” said Gloria.
“Gloria uses ‘SYMPATHTIC EAR’.”
“Tell me how you feel, Mr. Crab,” said Gloria.
“+4 HP to Grumpy Crab. 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.
“–12 HP to Gloria.”
“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’s turn. Penelope uses ‘GIFT’.”
“Mmmmm! My favorite!” said the Meanie as he reached down and grabbed the fish with his claw.
“It’s super-effective! +96 HP to Grumpy Crab. 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.
“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.