#1: Day one in Inkopolis

I look around. The day is bright and sunny. There are many Inklings milling about the square.

Suddenly there is a little music and everyone looks at the big screen. I look too.

Two girls, that are easily recognizable, pop on screen. The first one has black tentacles and is named Callie. The second has white tentacles and is named Marie. The cousins are the Inkopolis news girls. They also write music for their band called the Squid Sisters.

Callie grins. “Hold on to your tentacles!”

“It’s Inkopolis news time!” Smiles Marie.

“Let’s unveil the current regular battle stages!”

“Alright!” The two proceed to tell about the stages Arowana Mall and Kelp Dome. They also talk about two more stages for ranked battles.

“Until next time…”

“Stay fresh!” The girls say in unison, then the news is over. Everyone goes back to what they had been doing.

I wander around, looking at the different shops. There is no money in my pockets, but cash can be earned by participating in the turf wars.

I turn to head towards the Lobby and a small gasp escapes me. A tall Inkling boy catches my eyes. It has been two years since I’ve seen that kid.

“Tri!” I exclaim and run up to him. He looks for the one who called his name.

He has tan skin, dark blue tentacles, and green eyes. He just stares at me.

A grin spreads across my face. “Tri! It’s so good to see you!”

At first he says nothing, making me wonder if I made a mistake. Then he speaks. “… Wait…” The boy studies me closer, “Splat? Is that you?”

Delight explodes inside me. “Yeah!”

His face breaks into the expression of excited surprise. “Oh my gosh! Splat! It has been forever! Hey! Coral! Clam! Come here!”  Two Inklings come over.

The girl has light skin, like me, blue eyes and light blue tentacles. The boy is black, has pink eyes, and tentacles to match.

“What’s up, Tri?” The girl asks.

“Splat?!” Cries the black one.

“Clam!!!” I throw my arms around him. These two boys had been my best friends a couple years ago.

The three of us share hugs and tell each other how much we’ve missed them.

Then Clam asks happily, “Oh man! What are you doing here?!”

Naturally, I am evasive in my answer, saying only that father sent me.

The girl Inkling, who I believe is called Coral, steps up. “Hey, Bae,” Coral addresses Tri, “who’s your friend?”

“Oh,” Tri laughs, “This is Splat. She’s from home.”

“We haven’t seen each other or talked in two years!” Clam adds.

“Clam’s right.” Affirms Tri, “We three were best friends back then. We were the town trouble makers.” He seems way too pleased with that title. The girl smiles at his his satisfied look then turns back to me.

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Splat. I’m Coral.” She holds her hand out for me to shake.

“Nice to meet you.” I do shake hands with her, but something about the girl bugs me. Not sure what, though.

“So, Splat,” Tri suddenly gets serious, which is not a good sign, “how is your mother? Is she doing ok?”
I jolt.

“Hey, yeah! How is she?!” chimes in Clam. my gaze shifts to my feet. I’m not sure I’m ready to talk about mama yet. Her memory causes tears to swell in my eyes.

Tri bends down and wipes a tear from my eye. “Splat?” Before I realize, I’ve throw my arms around him.

“Oh, Triton! She’s gone!” Time almost stands still.

“Oh no.”

He wraps his arms around me and holds me close. Two years ago, he had done that when I had cried. Clam also used to comfort me, as he does now. They lead me over to a bench and we sit together.

Brokenly, I tell them what has happened since they had gone.

“I cannot believe that man!” fumes Clam.

“You’re father has really changed. I’m so sorry for you…” Triton tells me. A minute later he looks to the girl, “Hey, Coral. Can you do me a favor and go get some ice cream for us? Her favorite is vanilla.”

She smiles sympathetically. “Sure, Babe.” She goes off.

“You still remember my favorite ice cream?” I ask, in mild surprise.

Clam grins at me. “Never forgot! That was always your comfort food.”

We sit quietly for a few minutes.

“So…” Triton begins again carefully. “I was wondering if, after we eat, you would want to participate in a turf war? It’s a really fun experience.”

“A turf war?” My mood brightens a little. At least I’m distracted from all the bad.

“Yep!” He says, “If you’re up to it.”

It does sound like fun and turf war was on my mind during the train ride here.

“Sure!” I reply without hesitation.

Now Triton is smiling again. “Cool! You, Clam, Coral, and I form a full team. This’ll be great!”

“What’ll be great, Bae?” Coral is back with four ice cream cones. Everyone takes one and Triton explains the planned turf war.

After we eat they take me to the Lobby. There we are put into a team of four. Our weapons get filled with purple ink and our tentacles become that color too.

We each have a different weapon. Tri has a Splattershot. Clam wields a Krack-on Splatroller and Coral is using an Inkbrush. I hold tight to my Splattershot Jr.

It turns out my friends are on pretty high levels. Triton has hit 50 and Clam is at level 48 now. Coral is at 32. Of course I am level 1, but I’m gonna change that!

We’ll be going up against a dark blue team, who’s levels are all above 25, but lower than 45. After accepting the challenge, we are sent to our starting point in Arowana Mall. Then the fight begins.

My friends scatter.

Unsure of where I should go, I decide to follow Clam and help defend him. Together, we run up a side path. The song “Ink em'” is being played in the background.

We ink up all the territory around us as we go and soon come to the path end. We are looking over the battlefield. It’s a mixture of purple and blue.

“Look!” I point to where Tri and a Blue are dueling. At any moment Tri will be splatted.

“Go help him!” Clam orders.

“Me!?”

“Yeah!” He tells me, “You’ll get more points!”

My voice displays how unsure I am. “… ok…”

I ink some turf and jump down in squid form. Carefully,  making my way around the Blue Inkling, nearly gets me splatted. When I’m right behind him I pop up out of my ink and unleash the fury of a Splattershot Jr.!

He’s gone and doesn’t know what hit him. He’ll be back though. He is respawning.

My friend’s eyes rest on my small form. “Thanks, Splat!” Gasps Triton.

“No prob! Woah!” Ink flies right past me and almost hits Tri.

“Come on!” Triton grabs my hand and leads the way. Together we fight through, into enemy territory.

We ink up as much as possible, the two of us going deeper into our rivals’ base. Then we reach their spawn point.

An enemy has just respawned. He is so not happy to see us. Triton and I dive in different directions when the Blue throws a bomb. The kid throw another at me. I can’t move in time and am gone.

Being splatted and respawning is the worst. First it feels as if I’m being squeezed. Like a hundred rubber bands around a watermelon and I’m the melon. Then I burst like a balloon and feel nothing. After five seconds wake my eyes open to see our spawn point.  It takes me a moment to get my bearings before I turned into a squid and join the fray again.

I super jump to Tri and gasp as I fly over the field. We are losing, badly. Our base is nearly covered in Blue Team’s ink.

I land and splat the Blue who is attacking Triton. That’s twice I’ve saved him now.

He’s relieved to see me. “Th- thanks!”

“Don’t mention it. We’ve got a problem.”

His expression darkens when he hears what I saw.

“Oh no. There’s only one minute left. If we’re gonna do something we’d better hurry.”

“Yeah…” An idea comes to my mind. “You could go up that path and I’ll go up the other. Then we can throw bombs from above.”

Triton nods. “Ok. Good luck.”

“You too.”

We split up. The time is running out. I do all I can. About two bombs get thrown before the whistle blows. It’s over.

After leaving the stage we wait breathlessly for the end result. The map appears on screen and my group groans. Our team has been destroyed. The score total confirms it. Our team: 20.5%. Their team: 70.5%. We lose.

The four of us leave the lobby, feeling very depressed. I know I was the reason we lost. Being a noob stinks.

Then Tri smiles at me. “You did good for you first battle,” the boy says with a grin.

“Really?”

Clam agrees. “Yeah! Sure we got beat, but we can’t win every battle.”

That makes me smile. He’s right. It was only my first fight, so I can’t be too hard on myself.

A few minutes later we join another battle. We battle all day. It’s fun.

Our team doesn’t win many, and I know it’s because of me. Each time we lose though, Clam and Tri reassure me and convince me to try again.

“You only improve if you battle.” Clam reminds me, “Don’t ever give up!”

When we do finally win one, I am so excited. It had been close, but we prevailed. My first battle that I have won. Triton and Clam share my enthusiasm.

By the time evening comes my level has gone up to 2 and tiredness overcomes me. My friends take me to a hotel where I get a room with my newly acquired funds. Soon I’ll try to get a real home, but it’s too late now.

They leave and I tumble into bed. As soon as my head hits the pillow I slip into a peaceful sleep.

Prologue ~*~ Next Chapter

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