The group got into battle formation as the giant Meanie approached.
“Darn! I didn’t have time to finish programming C3H5N3O9,” said Dexter.
“We have bigger problems. Where’s Lance?!” said Penelope.
“Oh no!” said Gloria, putting her hands to her mouth.
“We just have to do our best. We can always run if he’s too strong, right?” said Nitro.
“I guess so,” said Dexter.
Dexter uses ANALYZE!
“Lvl. ? Old Grouch. Happy Points: -???” said Dexter shakily. “G-Guys… H-He’s a B-B-B…”
“A box turtle?” interjected Nitro.
“A Big Meanie! A boss!” screeched Dexter in fear.
“So much for running,” said Penelope.
“Crud…” said Nitro
Penelope uses GIFT!
“I got this for you!” said Penelope, holding out a rock with a red bow on it. There was silence.
Old Grouch is unaffected!
“Did you just pick up whatever was nearby?” asked Nitro.
“Look, it’s the thought that counts,” answered Penelope.
“You put no thought into that!” said Nitro. Penelope tossed the rock into the water.
Gloria uses SYMPATHETIC EAR!
“What’s the matter, Mr. Turtle. Why are you so angry?” asked Gloria.
Old Grouch gains 20 HP!
“My beautiful pond is polluted with garbage. As if that weren’t enough, your friend hooked me in the mouth!” shouted the Old Grouch. Nitro shrunk back.
“Oh… heh… yeah, sorry about that,” said Nitro.
“Alright, let’s do this,” said Nitro.
Nitro spread his feet apart and put his hands together at his side just like Teach did in the tutorial. Faint red light started to emanate from his hands. It slowly grew brighter and began flickering.
“Hey, Old Grouch! I think your eyebrows are cool!” shouted Nitro as he thrust his hands out in front of him.
Nitro uses HAPPYBEAM!
An unimpressive beam of thin red light shot out from Nitro’s hands with a slight sizzling sound. The laser of Nice Energy struck the Meanie’s shell and bounced off. Nitro scratched his head with a finger.
“I get the feeling that Teach may have exaggerated in those tutorials,” said Nitro.
Old Grouch gains 44 HP!
“Not bad, frog,” said Penelope.
Old Grouch’s turn!
Old Grouch uses FIST SHAKE!
“Get off my lawn, you punks!” shouted the Old Grouch, waving his fist in the air.
Dexter loses 40 HP!
Penelope loses 37 HP!
Gloria loses 41 HP!
Nitro loses 42 HP!
“Oh snap!” said Nitro.
“One more like that and we’re goners!” said Dexter.
“Where is Lance?” said Gloria
Dexter uses ROBOTICS!
“I have to finish programming C3H5N3O9 so he can help us,” said Dexter.
“Can we come up with a shorter name for that robot?” asked Penelope, irritated.
“Well, rather than name a Frog-like Robot Optimized for Graciousness, they are often assigned a series of letters and num…”
“FROG. Got it,” said Penelope
Dexter grumbled and went back to programming FROG.
Penelope uses GIFT!
“HAHAHAHAHAHA!” laughed Penelope.
Old Grouch gains 6 HP!
“What was that?” asked Nitro.
“The gift of laughter,” said Penelope, proud of herself. Nitro, Dexter, and Gloria fell over with a crash.
“I hope this helps,” said Gloria.
Gloria uses REFRESH!
Gloria passed out glasses of lemonade to everyone.
Dexter gains 20 HP!
Penelope gains 22 HP!
Gloria gains 15 HP!
Nitro gains 17 HP!
“Mmm, delicious,” said Penelope.
“All this programming was getting me thirsty,” said Dexter.
“Thanks Gloria, we needed that!” said Nitro, smacking his lips.
Nitro is recharging!
“Aw what?!” said Nitro, surprised.
“All right, Dexter!” cheered Gloria.
FROG uses THE ROBOT!
FROG started dancing and moving his arms in a rigid jerky way.
Old Grouch gains 80 HP!
“Hey, that’s kinda catchy,” said Nitro, imitating the robot’s dance moves.
Suddenly, FROG started to swing its arms around erratically! Everyone ducked as it spun out of control. Then, it creaked loudly and came to a stop. Nitro poked it with a finger and it fell over, breaking in half. Hundreds of termites poured out onto the ground.
“My baby!” shouted Dexter, diving to the ground. He lifted up FROG’s frying pan head and set it on his lap. “You were so young. Only just built,” lamented Dexter.
“Oh please! Cut the drama, Dex. You can rebuild it if we aren’t turned into Meanies,” said Penelope, rolling her eyes.
Old Grouch’s turn!
Old Grouch uses BORING STORY!
“Did I ever tell you youngsters about the time I… snore,” said the Old Grouch, falling asleep.
Old Grouch misses!
A collective sigh arose from the party.
“Oh, thank goodness,” said Penelope.
“Yeah, I don’t need to hear about how a candy bar used to cost a nickel,” said Nitro.
“Huh?!” said all the frogs at once.
Lance uses LET’S PLAY!
“You didn’t think I’d miss all the fun did you?” came Lance’s voice from the forest.
The gray frog came bounding through the trees with a wooden tennis racket in one hand and a blue ball of energy in the other. He tossed the ball of Nice Energy high into the air and leapt up after it. With a mighty swing, he struck the ball, sending it blazing toward the Meanie. The blue energy ball smashed into the Meanie’s shell with a loud crackle. A giant cloud of glittery pink smoke filled the sky above the pond as Lance landed next to Penelope.
Old Grouch gains 183 HP!
Old Grouch is happy!
The party gains 65 experience points!
Nitro gains an extra 33 experience points!
Dexter is now level 3!
+7 HP +4 Nice +3 Tol +3 Spd!
Gloria is now level 3!
+4 HP +2 Nice +2 Tol +1 Spd!
Penelope is now level 3!
+7 HP +3 Nice +4 Tol +2 Spd!
Nitro is now level 3!
+8 HP +6 Nice +2 Tol +2 Spd!
Lance is now level 2!
+4 HP +4 Nice +3 Tol!
“OHMEGOSH WE DID IT!!!” shouted Gloria, jumping on top of everyone.
“We’re alive!” said Dexter with tears in his eyes.
“Phew!” sighed Penelope.
As the pink smoke cleared, a very small, very ancient turtle crawled out of the water. He was about waist high to Nitro and dripping wet.
“Thank you! Thank all of you for restoring my happiness,” said the old turtle.
“Any time, pops!” said Nitro. “Ouch!” Penelope stomped on his foot.
“How did your pond get so polluted, Mr. Turtle?” asked Gloria.
“Please, call me Sir Levi,” said the wise turtle.
“Fancy, so what happened, Sir Loin,” asked Nitro. “Ouch!”
“Show some respect, flatfoot,” said Penelope.
“Er, well. Come with me. We can talk along the way,” said Sir Levi.
The five frogs followed Sir Levi through the forest. Everyone quietly walked behind the incredibly slow-moving turtle wondering when he would explain what had happened. Suddenly, Sir Levi stopped and turned around.
“Listen carefully, young ones. Someone is spreading bad feelings on purpose,” stated Sir Levi.
“What?!” said the frogs.
“Who would do such a thing?” asked Gloria.
“I-I don’t know,” said Sir Levi. “Whoever it was, polluted my pond and transformed me into a Meanie. If it has reached this far… Listen young ones. Have you ever heard the Legend of the Golden Frog?”
“I’ve read about that,” said Dexter. “Supposedly, anyone who finds true happiness will transform and have incredible power to stop bad feelings. The legend says that one frog discovered true happiness and saved the world from misery. Of course, that’s just a legend.”
“No, young one, it isn’t just a legend! I knew the Golden Frog,” said Sir Levi. Everyone gasped. “And what’s more, he’s still alive!”
“Wait, wait, wait. If that’s true, then you’d be over 400 years old,” said Dexter.
“That is correct, young one,” said Sir Levi.
“Wow, now I know why you were so grumpy,” said Nitro.
“If we find the Golden Frog, then we can stop whoever is spreading the bad feelings,” said Gloria, hopeful.
“I believe that to be so,” said Sir Levi. “However, no one has seen him in over 200 years.”
“Then how do you know that he’s still alive?” asked Penelope.
“Because,” started Sir Levi. “True happiness lasts forever. Go talk to Sir Nutz, the squirrel librarian of Keloko Island. He may be able to help you.”
“Where can we find him, Sir Levi?” asked Gloria.
“I don’t know. You think I know everything?!” snapped Sir Levi. Gloria flinched and sucked in her lips. “Now, it’s time for my nap.” Sir Levi slowly walked into a nearby spring and disappeared beneath the water. Everyone was silent for a moment.
“So, let me get this straight. A senile old turtle wants us to meet with a crazy squirrel so that we can find a legendary frog made out of gold and save the world?” said Nitro.
“Yeah, that’s about the size of it,” said Dexter.
“How are we supposed to find Sir Nutz anyway?” asked Penelope.
“Teach,” said Lance.
The other frogs nodded.
© Tyler M Deal. All Rights Reserved.