The five frogs rested in a forest clearing near a pond. No one had escaped Penelope’s wrath. Lance’s head was covered in lumps, making him look like a warty toad. Nitro and Dexter got a lump each, and even Gloria received a small one for not helping Penelope. Penelope was in a much better mood and skipped off to the edge of the clearing.
Tears streamed down Gloria’s face as she rubbed the lump on her head.
“Oh! Balmwort!” said Gloria, drying her eyes.
Gloria strode over to a circular patch of short herbs growing at the base of an old oak tree. The leaves were heart-shaped and green with a blue tinge around the edges. She picked a handful of the herbs.
“What’s that for?” asked Nitro, rubbing the lump he got from Penelope with one hand, while rubbing the lump he got from the cooking pot with the other.
“For the lumps,” said Gloria.
Gloria uses COOKING!
Gloria dropped the Balmwort into the cooking pot. The water bubbled and boiled. Then, poof! A cloud of steam engulfed the cooking pot. When the steamed cleared, a small jar sat on the ground.
Gloria picked up the jar and turned it around.
“For external use only. Do not apply to eyeballs. Huh. Well, who’s first?” she asked, unscrewing the lid. Everyone was silent. Then, Lance raised his hand.
The lumps disappeared one by one as Gloria put the ointment on Lance’s head.
“Thanks,” said Lance, smiling slightly.
As Gloria finished treating everyone’s lumps, Penelope walked up wearing a dress and hat combo made out of leaves.
“Hey, Penelope, did you fall out of a tree?” asked Nitro, snickering along with Dexter. Penelope struck a pose and stuck her nose into the air.
“Humph! I wouldn’t expect you to understand high fashion.”
“I… LOVE… IT…! CAN YOU MAKE ME ONE RIGHT NOW?” shrieked Gloria with stars in her eyes. Penelope took a step back.
“Of course, darling,” said Penelope.
Penelope uses TAILORING!
There was a static pop as a round tin sewing kit appeared and dropped into Penelope’s hand. She gathered some leaves from a nearby tree and went to work sewing them together.
Obtained Leaf Hat!
Obtained Leaf Dress!
Gloria squealed as she put on her new clothes.
Gloria equips Leaf Hat!
+2 Nice +1 Spd
Gloria equips Leaf Dress!
+2 HP +2 Nice +1 Spd
Gloria and Penelope batted their eyelashes and posed.
“Hold on! Those clothes made your stats go up? Make me some too!” said Nitro, excitedly.
“Uh, no. Besides, these are female-only,” said Penelope. “Just get the ‘TAILORING’ skill and you can make your own clothes.
“Or the ‘BLACKSMITH’ skill. Then, you could make armor,” said Dexter.
“I like the sound of that!” said Nitro, pointing to Dexter. “I only have two skill points left though, and I need a ‘NICE’ skill. Hmm…” Nitro pulled out his R.I.B.B.E.T.S. and started scrolling through the skill lists. “… ‘Happybeam-Blast Meanies with a laser beam of Happiness Energy… from your hands!’ AWESOME!”
Nitro pressed the “LEARN” button and watched as the skill demonstration played out in his mind. Teach was locked in battle with a gigantic monster of a Meanie. The boss Meanie made fun of Teach’s mom, and Teach dropped to one knee after being hit by the wave of Mean Energy. A drop of sweat poured down Teach’s face as he panted, exhausted. Then, Teach stood back up, spread his feet apart, and put his hands together at his side. A ball of blue light grew around his hands until it was blindly bright. Then, Teach shouted, “Your mother is the nicest woman I ever met!”, and thrust his hands forward. A wide beam of blue light exploded from his hands and engulfed the giant meanie! Nitro squinted as the light became too bright to look at. Then, there was a poof, followed by a cloud of glittery pink smoke. Teach stood, breathing heavily with his hands still stuck out in front of him as the smoke cleared. A cute little squirrel snickered and scampered away.
Congratulations! You’ve learned HAPPYBEAM!
Nitro had stars in his eyes, and he was drooling as the image faded from his mind.
“I love you, Teach…” whispered Nitro.
“What was that?” asked Dexter.
“Uh, oh, nothing,” said Nitro, clearing his throat. “So, I wonder what other skill I should get. Doodoodoo, cough.”
Nitro continued looking through the skill lists until something caught his eye.
“… ‘Increase Experience-Gain more experience than usual.’ Alright! I could level-up way faster with this!”
Nitro tapped the “LEARN” button. This time, things were a lot less interesting. Teach was just sitting in a recliner reading a book.
Congratulations! You’ve learned INCREASE EXPERIENCE!
Nitro nodded to himself, smiling.
“Wait, I forgot about ‘BLACKSMITHING’! Argh!” shouted Nitro.
“Well, you could still make some accessories. They increase your stats and all you need is the crafting skill to make them,” explained Dexter.
“Haha, of course. That was my plan all along! Hey, I wonder if I could make a necklace out of shark’s teeth. I’m about to find out,” said Nitro excitedly as he headed for the edge of the pond.
“Well, yes, you can, but sharks don’t live in…”
Nitro uses FISHING!
“Oh, forget it,” said Dexter. Nitro clearly wasn’t listening.
Nitro had found an old tin can by the pond and started filling it with worms. After eating a few himself, he eventually filled it up.
Obtained Can of Worms!
“Alright, sharks, protect your women and children, because I’m comin’ for ya’,” said Nitro as he cast his line into the pond.
A few moments later, the bobber sank and his line jerked. Nitro pulled back on his rod and started reeling.
“Oh ho ho! This is a big one! I’ll have that Sharktooth Necklace in no time,” chuckled Nitro.
Nitro pulled back mightily on his rod. A frying pan came flying out of the water with a splash and flew through the air in slow motion. Nitro thought about that hermit crab as the pan glided toward him. “I’d hate to be that guy”, he had said. Nitro sighed. Bonk!
Obtained Frying Pan!
“Thanks, Gloria,” said Nitro as Gloria put some Ointment on the huge lump between his eyes.
“You’re welcome. I guess you could call that a flying pan, huh. Hahaha!”
“Haha, yeah…” said Nitro.
“By the way, I made you this!” said Gloria. She handed him a headband made from braided grass with a huge hawk feather stuck in the front.
“Wow, thanks Gloria! It’s really cool,” said Nitro.
“OH MY GOSH! I’M SO GLAD YOU LIKE IT!” shrieked Gloria with a fit of laughter. Nitro looked at her uneasily and put on the headband.
Nitro equips Feather Headband!
“Oh yeah, who’s the frog?” Nitro gloated. As Nitro strutted around and Gloria laughed, Dexter came running up.
“Hey, Nitro, can I have that frying pan?” asked Dexter.
“Sure. What for?” asked Nitro.
“You’ll see. You’ll all see! BWAHAHAHAHA!” Dexter walked off, laughing maniacally.
“What was that all about?” said Nitro.
Before long, Nitro was fishing again. He caught a tin can, a tire, a rubber boot, a book of clichés, and a “Beetle Champions” trading card. Aside from being waterlogged and having a hole in it from the hook, it was in mint condition. Nitro stuck it in his pocket.
As Nitro cast his line out again, Dexter started laughing maniacally. Nitro set his pole in the crook of a tree and went to see what was going on.
“Bwahahahaha!” laughed Dexter. “It’s alive! Alive! Bwahahahaha! Well, almost. I still have to finish programming it.
Dexter had built something that looked like a frog out of forest materials. The body was crafted from an old tree trunk, the arms and legs were bundles of sticks, and the head was made from the frying pan Nitro had caught with rocks for eyes.
“Look everybody, Dexter made a friend,” jeered Penelope. Nitro snickered.
“Oh yes, laugh if you must. C3H5N3O9 activate!” said Dexter.
Suddenly, the thing rumbled and turned its head. Dexter had built a robotic frog!
“Hello. How may I assist you?” asked the robot.
“Whoa!” exclaimed Nitro.
“‘Whoa’ indeed,” said Dexter. “C3H5N3O9 will help us to fight against the Meanies. It even has a built-in Meanie sensor.” At that moment, the robot started beeping loudly.
“What’s that?” asked Gloria.
“That’s the Meanie sensor. It must be malfunctioning. I need to finish working out all the kinks,” said Dexter.
That’s when a loud zizz! came from Nitro’s fishing rod. Nitro ran back and grabbed it. The line was screaming as it was being pulled out. Nitro took hold of the crank and set the hook. He was nearly pulled in by the strength of the fish.
“Whaaaa!” screamed Nitro as he slid towards the water.
“I’ve… got… you!” said Gloria, straining to hold on to Nitro. Dexter grabbed on to Gloria, and Penelope took hold of Dexter. The four frogs heaved and started to gain some ground against the fish.
“This is it! We’ve got ‘em!” grunted Nitro.
The water started to bubble and swirl and swell. Suddenly, whoosh!, a pillar of water shot straight up into the sky. A tidal wave splashed the frogs and knocked them flat against the bank.
“I’ve had enough of you polluting my home! This turtle is about to come out of his shell!
Gloria screamed as a giant Meanie rose up out of the water. He was ten feet tall with sharp spikes covering his shell. A fearsome beak stuck out from beneath two furry gray eyebrows that were turned up at the ends, giving them the appearance of horns. A whirring sound and battle music came from the R.I.B.B.E.T.S.s.
“Good job, Nitro. You did it again,” said Penelope.
© Tyler M Deal. All Rights Reserved.