My first year in Inkopolis passes quickly. I end up sharing Coral’s apartment. It… has it’s ups and downs.
On the upside, I have a place to stay. On the down side… Coral is a jerk. I hate her. She is really, really mean.
I can’t figure out why Tri likes her, but he is smitten. He’ll do literally anything for that girl. I’ve also noticed that he tends to be a bit rude to me and Clam when he’s around her… which is nearly all the time.
“Don’t worry about it.” Clam had told me, “He’s just a bit protective, now that he has a girlfriend again. At least he isn’t depressed all the time. Like he was when you two got split.”
I remember how embarrassed I had felt when he’d said that to me. Tri and I have never been a couple. No way. We were great friends, of course, but not that way.
Anyway, I don’t like Coral. Not one bit.
I stand there, gazing at my feet, silently taking the abuse.
“That was really pathetic. I can’t believe anyone is as bad as you are with a sniper gun.” Her blue tentacles flash in the evening light. “You should go back to the Splattershot Jr. It’s the only weapon for someone of your skill.” Coral turns on her heal and stalks off.
“I’m… not that bad…” I tell myself, “I’m level ten now… I’m doing good…” Somehow, it doesn’t help like it used to. I slowly follow her. I want to get to bed and cry.
She turns and sees me. “What are you doing? I don’t want a looser like you on my flat. Find someplace else to stay.”
I stare at her a moment then nod. I can’t fight her. She’s too strong. “I’ll get my stuff and-”
“What did I just say?”
“I don’t want you at my place.” She repeats, “Beat it.”
I begin to protest. “But my things-”
“Mine now. Bye.” I watch as she walks away. I’m dumbfounded. Most of my clothes and money are there. Fortunately, I still have my locket with me, but that’s all I have from home now. Not one part of the last gift from my dad.
I turn around and make my way to Tri and Clam’s place. Clam opens the door for me. He knows immediately that something is wrong.
Slowly, bit by bit, he and Tri get the details out of me. I am very reluctant to tell them, but I do. Up to this point, they didn’t know about Coral’s cruelty to me.
Clam became livid. He could not believe how mean she was. Tri, on the other hand… just got really quiet. Clam rants for a while then turns on Tri. “You sure are quiet. What do you think? She’s your girlfriend.”
Tri does not reply for five minutes. Finally he does. “What if… Coral is right?”
I sit there. His words ring in my ears. Then I feel my heart shatter into a million pieces.
“I mean, all of us, when we hit ten, were way better. Before you came, we had a forty-three battle win streak. You made us loose it. I know I blew it off as nothing but it-”
“I can’t believe you!” Yelled Clam, “Splat has been our best friend since we were kids! Now she’s been thrown out by your girlfriend and you think- huh? Splat what’s wrong? Splat.”
I had stood and picked up my Splatter Scope. I leave without saying a word. I don’t want to be part of the fight between those two. I hate it when they argue.
I wander aimlessly for an hour. At some point I sit down and fall asleep. When I wake, I find that I’m tucked away in a corner of Flounder Heights. I stand wearily.
Suddenly, a noise behind me catches my attention. I whip around. I see nothing at a glance. Then I notice a bird and a knocked over bucket. I sigh.
“Stupid bird.” I start to go back to the Plaza, but turn around for some reason. For a moment I think I see a person, but decide against it. No one is ever up this early.
I walk on quietly. When I reach Booyah Base the first thing I want is food. I don’t have much cash with me. Just enough for today if I’m careful.
As I eat, I watch this morning’s news. Tower Control at Blackbelly Skate Park and Arowana Mall today. I don’t pay attention to what the regular battles are. I’ve decided to only do rank today. Gets me more cash.
I go directly to the lobby after breakfast. Clam and Tri are there and they are not talking. Clam sees me just as Coral joins them. I ignore Clam, when he motions me over.
Instead I join a group of level 10 to 14s. We go on to the field and have a rough fight for the tower. My team wins, by a point. I spend the rest of the afternoon getting my but kicked and ranking down. I quit after that.
I’m sitting on a bench when I hear my name. Clam plops down next to me. “Hey.” He says.
“Are… you ok?”
“I got thrown out of my only place to stay, lost all my things, had my best friend agree that I’m a looser, spent the night in the cold, epicly failed at Tower Control, and am nearly broke. I’m great.”
Clam winced at my tone. “Hey, don’t worry. Tri will come around and see sense. He always does.”
“He always used to.” I correct him, “I get the feeling that he won’t this time.” Clam did not say anything.
This rubs me the wrong way somehow. I get up and find my was to Black Belly Skate Park. There, I locate a good spot to watch the battle unfolding. I’m just getting into it, when I notice someone sitting a little way down from me.
They notice me too. I can tell that it’s a girl, even though I can’t see her tentacles. She wears a really strange outfit that covers most of her face.
“Hello.” I say lightly.
“Hi.” She responds, “I saw you battling earlier. You were good.”
“I lost ever round.” I scowl.
“Doesn’t matter.” She told me and looked back at the battle, “You got more splats than anyone else you were battling with.”
“Doesn’t matter if we lose the tower.”
“Life isn’t just Tower Control, you know. Sometimes, splats are what matter most.”
“What do you mean by that?” I ask, “None of the battle types are splat focused.”
“Maybe not… however, in a life and death situation, you need, not only to be able to splat, but to know who to splat and who to spare. My grandpa keeps telling me that…” The girl sighs a little, then looks back at me. “Life’s not easy kid. Hope you never learn exactly how hard it is.”
I look at my feet, thinking of my life up to this point. I start to say something, only to discover that she has left. “Strange.” I murmur, “I didn’t imagine her.” I shrug my shoulders and watch the next battle.
It’s evening when I finally leave Black Belly Skate Park. There had been some pretty good battles and I had not seen the girl again.
I have a quick dinner, using the last of my money, then curl up on a bench in the Plaza. I think I’m dreaming when a blanket is laid over my shoulders and I hear my father say, “G’night, Love.”