>Anniversary EditionThe coastal town of Diamond Shoals, a popular tourist destination in the summer but otherwise relatively sleepy in the off-season. Occasionally though, there is some supernatural activity abound which is usually seen to by a few strange denizens of the town. For as unnatural as this activity might be though, it usually goes unnoticed by most everyone else. Usually.You've seen your fair share though and are starting to think you picked the wrong town to move to.
>>1466389The requirements have been met for multiple characters, so two are available for play. Owen, the ex-track star supermart worker or Lee, the Jill-of-all-trades waitress.>Please select your character!
>The continuation of an ongoing quest, with previous iterations available here;http://pastebin.com/E9Eu48Kz
>>1466393Guess we'll go with Owen.Wanna get his song done before we move on.
>>1466439Change mine to Lee.
>>1466421>>1466439>>1466469Will give a little chance more for a tiebreaker then, and will make a roll if not.
Rolled 2 (1d2)So a roll, 1 for Owen, 2 for Lee.
>>1466521You are Lee, a 21-year-old lifelong local of Diamond Shoals, and current waitress of a nearby restaurant. Having completed your shift for the day though, you're in the process of punching out. First have to get your work skates off though, not as dreadful having to use them after getting a gem pendant from Emma which keeps you balanced, forcefully and even in the worst situations. No more nasty spills or dropped food trays for you!"Hey Lee, are you off now? If you want to hang around for awhile, me and Justin, some of the others are going to drive over to the campgrounds and meet up with some people from Dauphine. Going to be sort of cookout, maybe you could bring your guitar?""Oh yeah? That's cool, I'll just- oh wait... I did kind of have something to do. I'll think about it though maybe?"Shauna, still on her shift, stopped by to offer you to tag along. Among all of the regular staff at the restaurant, she's the most popular one. Not by a lot though, you're easily the fifth... second most popular, definitely! And only because you don't want to be the most, yeah! But anyway, she's always got something going on with friends. So do you, you're certainly busier than her but your time is devoted more to hobbies and interests, while she's part of a large group of friends. She's not often asked you along though, she respects how busy you always are so you have to appreciate that, so you're a little surprised this time. Even if she's probably just interested in having someone along who can play music.>Maybe some other time, you actually do have an even scheduled for later.>That can wait, you suppose it wouldn't hurt to spend maybe an hour or four with the more sociable folks.>Actually aside of anything, you did kind of want to check in on Owen also. He was injured pretty badly on a recent gem mission, and you've sort of been taking care of him.>[Write-in.]
>>1466599>>Actually aside of anything, you did kind of want to check in on Owen also. He was injured pretty badly on a recent gem mission, and you've sort of been taking care of him.
>>1466599>Actually aside of anything, you did kind of want to check in on Owen also. He was injured pretty badly on a recent gem mission, and you've sort of been taking care of him.
>>1466607>>1466704As much as you'd like to tag along with Shauna, your friend and fellow human-in-arms against any gem threats takes priority. You decline her offer and apologize, but she takes it well which comes as a big relief. Besides, you didn't want to wait around for her shift to finish anyway, so stowing your work skates and finally punching out for the day, you head out in the direction of mainstreet. After ordering something to go that is, for Owen. Crossing the baseball field behind Holly's, you do wish you had a car though, something even some of the other waitresses can boast. Or at least reliable access to a car, while you're stuck with a bike and at the moment not even that after having lent it out.---The bookstore on mainstreet, Owen's apartment upstairs. You found out awhile back that he got lucky for some people in town to make a deal with Ms. Warren the owner, for him to stay, though you can't help but be jealous of him for it. Still, part of the perks of taking care of him, is getting the key to his apartment so you might as well live there anyway now. Greeting Ms. Warren who heard you enter through the front door, you talk for a little bit about things, though find out from her that someone else came by just a little bit ago. Another girl, similarly there to see Owen, she went up not fifteen minutes prior.You don't think much of it at first and simply thank her as you head for the stairs, but making your way up your mind starts to race. Owen doesn't really know too many people in town, definitely not well enough for them to know where he lives or come visit. You would know, you double checked and made sure. Could it be an assassin then, sent to infiltrate and poised to strike? No, not that... you think. Maybe one of the gems though came by?Reaching the door to Owen's apartment though, you try to swallow any suspicion but lean close to the door to listen, just in case. There's sound of some conversation inside, definitely a woman but no sound of Owen himself.>Walk in as casual as can be, like you own the place.>Knock and wait for a response, being polite of course.>[Lee] Kick open the door and roll in, taking on a fighting stance and ready to attack any threats or intruders.>[Write-in.]
>>1466847>>Knock and wait for a response, being polite of course.
>>1466847We should knock Then>[Lee] Kick open the door and roll in, taking on a fighting stance and ready to attack any threats or intruders.
>>1466946Whatever may be going on, you hope not to impose, since Owen has his own life to consider. You're not going to just turn around and leave, particularly since you brought him food, but you have the good sense to knock first. Hearing movement and speaking inside, you try to act naturally and remain calm even in the face of possible deadly assassins. Unfortunately the pressure is too high for you, and testing that the door is unlocked you kick it open and attempt to roll inside. Instead, the door flies open a little but slams against something solid and rebounds, hitting you and interrupting your roll. Shaking off the disoriented feeling, you're surprised when you're met simply with by a bear of sorts, completely unaffected by the door strike."Oh... hello Katja. What are you...?""Zdravstvuyte. You are delivery girl, of food, da?"She clearly doesn't recognize you, but when you refrain from simply handing over the food and leaving, she grabs the bag and pulls firm with enough force to drag you into the room and bump into her massive frame in the process. You get a sense from her, and her expression that you probably should have just let go but when Owen notices you he speaks up and defuses the situation."Oh hey Lee, I thought you'd be coming over later.""Nah, I actually-" with a reaffirmed effort you tug back at the bag of food, which Katja now less wary of your presence, lets go with ease. "-I actually have a thing later, a tournament actually. Dodgeball! I'm the team captain of the Hattrask Hitters, I figured I could stop by on the way though."Moving through his small apartment, you look around and see it's a little messier than yesterday. That's good, it must mean he's doing better, at least enough to be moving about. Either that or Katja just made a mess of the place when she showed up. Seeing Owen sit up though, lifts your heart over his recovery process."I brought your favorite today, wraps! Are you alright to be moving around though?""Probably not, but I was getting sick of laying on the couch for so long. I just want to run again, you know?"Removing the to-go box from the bag and placing it on the little table in front of him, you then sit on the floor beside the couch to watch him at first (since Katja takes the recliner), till he notices and offers you to sit on the couch which you gladly take him up on. It's great to him up and about, you know how frustrating it is to be put out of commission by an injury, when you too suffered one during an early gem mission you went on. Still, you wish you had been there, maybe you could have helped or have taken the hit instead of him.
>Ask him how it happened, you're still curious about what went wrong.>Try to make him feel better by relating your own story to him, of when you got the worst of a gem mission.>It's not running, but if he wants to get out maybe he could come with you to the tournament? Just to watch of course, and only if he's able to move as well as he seems.>[Write-in.]
Just a heads up, this will probably be my last post for the night. Will resume tomorrow as usual.>Thanks all for playing!
>>1467397>>It's not running, but if he wants to get out maybe he could come with you to the tournament? Just to watch of course, and only if he's able to move as well as he seems.
>>1467393actually change>>1467724to>Ask him how it happened, you're still curious about what went wrong.
>>1467724Seconding.And grab another bite to eat on the way home.
>>1467764>>1468340While sitting beside and watching him eat, you feel a little creepy because of it and wish to break the silence. Well, at least somewhat, obviously you don't want him choking because he tried to talk while eating. On the topic of gem related happenings, you're not sure how much you want to let on with Katja right there but figure you could be a bit vague."Hey Owen, you don't mind if... I've been wondering what happened to you? I only heard a little bit from Sarah last I saw her.""Eh, it was mostly my fault. While exploring some old gem place, I met this sort of... well it was like an answering machine almost, still trying to protect the place. I thought it was friendly but fell for a trap it set, and before I could disable the whole thing it blasted me."Taking to eating with one hand, he rubs at his shoulder with the other, lightly and where you can still see the bandages under his shirt. Probably remembering the experience itself, you remember hearing about it when they all returned from that mission. Owen had to be rushed to the medical center over in Dauphine, stayed for near a week until they even let him out. You remember though when they first brought him in, you rushed over on your bike fast as you could, it was pretty bad."Funny thing, I was worried for Sarah's sake, and Emma too... in the end it didn't even matter though. They weren't in any danger to begin with. After turning off the security system or whatever it was, they caught up to where I was and had been going nice and easy at their own pace, safe as houses."He laughs a bit at this, before getting his mind back to the present and continuing eating. You definitely wish you'd have been there, and you can't help feel more than a little upset that Emma put him in a situation like that, or allowed him to be in the first place. To be fair, she doesn't seem all there in the head, but she should have known better than that. A little bit of personal guilt though, even if you know it's misplaced, at not being available for when they went on this mission to begin with. You're a team; not just all of you as in the gems as well, but you and Owen are a team in all this. Maybe Sarah too, humans gotta' stick together against all this gem stuff."Well I said I've got to get to the dodgeball tournament later, but do you want to come with? Not to play or anything, and only if you're good to walk, but you can watch at least. A chance to get outside and all?""Oh definitely. You could tell me we're going to pick up trash and I'd be down."Hoping to make up for things just a little, you offer him to tag along to the tournament, which he is more than happy to accept after being cooped up here. Though, it's still awhile from now.
>Just head out now, taking your time and maybe wandering around a little to accommodate Owen's condition.>Actually you did want to head home first, to change out of your work clothes before the tournament at least.>Hang out here for awhile, till it's closer till the time to leave. Write-in suggestion for what to do, or topics of conversation, even with Katja if you care to.>[Write-in.]
>>1469636>>Actually you did want to head home first, to change out of your work clothes before the tournament at least.And get a spare set for after the tournament.
>>1469636>>Actually you did want to head home first, to change out of your work clothes before the tournament at least.
Third time's the charm!>>1469653>>1469899You've got time till the event so you hope not to have to play in your work clothes, meaning a stop home. Of course that also means Owen coming to your house for the first time ever, and you're wishing now you'd gone home after work first before checking in on him, but you can't change things now. Nor can you help being a little nervous."Th-That's great! Alright then, y-yeah! We'll probably want to head out as soon as we can then, I have to stop of at home first and change out of my work clothes."Owen seems fine with this and just wants a chance to get better dressed, trying to get to his feet and thanking you for your help, as he makes his way to his room. As good a chance as any then to speak with Katja, since you don't want to just drag Owen away from her. Or well, you do but you don't want to be rude about it."Do you want to come with us Katja? I don't mind, it'll be fun.""Nyet, I am here only to bring borscht. Is good for Owen, help him recover."Speaking plainly as can be, she also pounds at her shoulder with a fist as if indicating Owen's injury. You don't suppose you can argue with that, if anyone in town should know about toughness it's her. Why she cares as much about Owen remains a mystery to you, but it probably has something to do with the both of them being newer arrivals to town. Something which, being a lifelong resident yourself you can't share with them, but it would be silly to be jealous of as well.Either way, it's no matter. She won't be coming along anyway, so once Owen is better dressed and ready to go, apart from Katja carrying him down the stairs, you all say your goodbyes and part ways.---"You know, I've run all around the island since coming here but I've never been this way. None of the neighborhoods or further inland parts of town really, I guess.""W-Well it's nothing as glamorous as living right on Mainstreet, but it's home!"At Owen's slower pace, with your help though, it still takes a good thirty-odd minutes to cross town and reach your house. Still a decent amount of time till you have to be over a the community center for the event, but you still have to get changed and all. It still means spending awhile at your house, and with Owen. More and more, the closer you get you wish this wasn't the case or that you'd had a chance to prepare. You just have to hope things don't go badly and he doesn't get any bad impressions of you.So far so good... you think, as you approach the driveway and see the garage door closed, so it's not like dad is home working on any engines or cars or whatever else. Actually that might be worse, if he was busy you could probably sneak Owen by him without noticing. If he's home and not busy though... well, you start praying otherwise.
>Have Owen wait outside, you'll just be a couple of minutes as you change and grab spare clothes.>Bring him in but let him get comfortable downstairs while you take care of what you need to.>Try and help him upstairs if you can, to your room. That's easily the last place you want him, but you'd rather that than dad to get home and find a stranger in Owen sitting on the couch.>[Write-in.]
>>1470166>>Bring him in but let him get comfortable downstairs while you take care of what you need to.Just explain to father that we are keeping an eye on an injured friend.
>>1470166>>Bring him in but let him get comfortable downstairs while you take care of what you need to.
>>1472310>>1470424>>1470172As much as you may or may not want to take Owen to your bedroom, it would mean another flight of stairs and with him still recovering you'd rather avoid that. No guarantee of how long you'll be though, you finally decide to just invite him inside and leave him to the ground floor to get comfortable."Dad, you home? Dad!"Making your way into the house together, you walk between a couple of the rooms calling out for your dad, though Owen doesn't seem that concerned. You'd think he should be though, if he got found alone in here."Oh hey, this is pretty nice! Nicer than my place for sure, I'll take the couch if nobody minds."While you take a few things out of the fridge to fix yourself something up before you both leave again, you notice Owen looking around the TV for how to operate it, and you have to move over to the living room to show and give him the remote. After letting him know there's some food out in the kitchen if he wants it, which you'll come back to afterward, you decide to just head upstairs and get the clothes matter out of the way to begin with. So with Owen watching TV you're unobserved, and animal crawl up the stairs to get to your room and go about changing your clothes as quick as you can.---So far so good, as you come downstairs and still no sign of dad. Owen's moved to the kitchen and is looking a plate which you similarly have to show him, as the both of you get something quick to eat. He's fine to stand but you hop up on the counter to sit, as is a habit of yours, maybe a bad one. "You know this isn't the only event I go to, there's plenty others around town and with other people. You could... j-join along with any of them if you wanted to.""Is that why Sarah couldn't find you when we went on that mission last time? You were busy with something like this?"He rather deftly, and quickly dodges your proposition, instead wondering about your prior absence. While he is right about it, you get the sense he's deflecting, but at the same time if you were talking about a running club he'd be more than interested. You have to wonder then why he bothers with gem stuff, if he isn't even interested in something like paragliding or landscape painting, both local clubs of which you're the founder and president.>You don't have a lot of time before the two of you have to head out again, but you can spare it to talk about your frequent busyness.>He can't deflect that easily, but now you're more curious about the other thing. You never did figure out why he got into this gem stuff in the first place.>These are topics that can be discussed on the way! Ask if he can ride a bike, because that's how you're getting to the community center.>[Write-in.]
>>1472609>He can't deflect that easily, but now you're more curious about the other thing. You never did figure out why he got into this gem stuff in the first place.Let's rank up this s.link.
>>1472609>>He can't deflect that easily, but now you're more curious about the other thing. You never did figure out why he got into this gem stuff in the first place.
>>1473149>He can't deflect that easily, but now you're more curious about the other thing. You never did figure out why he got into this gem stuff in the first place.
>>1473149>>1473164>>1473166You've still got a bit of time, and are interested in getting something off your mind. Putting him on the spot isn't something you want to do of course, but it's obvious to tell that he's deflecting. "Something like this, yeah. If you don't want to join any though that's fine, but then why did you get into all this gem stuff to begin with?"He chokes and starts coughing a little at your question, and you know you're onto something. Quickly scrambling for an answer though, he tries to pass it off as not much a big deal."...well, you've lived here your whole life, right? Are monster attacks and problems a normal thing for you? Because they aren't where I come from. Running around the island enough, I've tripped over my share of gem problems, so I thought I'd help out."That's a pretty good excuse. He's not wrong though, and it's something you've thought about before. When you were kid, the gem problems, the monsters weren't really a thing. The actual gem folks themselves, Chalcedony and Sarah's mother had always been here, even before you were born. It was only about ten years ago however, when Soleil showed up in town and Sarah was born, did the gem problems start to happen. Now you wouldn't associate them with Sol or Sarah, but ever since you started helping them out, it's been a matter you've thought about more and more."Well they're a normal thing now, and other people trip over them too, but they don't agree to help this much or go on missions. Why out of anyone else in this town, is it just you and me that got roped into this?"You know for sure your own reason, you've got your foot in plenty of doors around town with all the clubs and activities your organize and run, this was just another thing to be involved with. At least at first, though when you actually went on missions and saw how amazing it could be getting to travel to faraway and mysterious places, well that was all you needed. Like your own little way of getting to see the world. Owen is a weird one to you though, an outsider to Diamond Shoals and yet he seems to want to be here more than anyone else. >...
>>1474694"I don't... it's..." obviously conflicted, it's almost like he's trying to decide if he trusts you? No that can't be it, but it's something like that. "...it's complicated. Look, I've been here for a few months, I never knew about any of this gem stuff. I only met them because I bumped into Sarah one day and offered to help her carry something home, I thought she was having trouble."It's strange that as long as you've known Owen, he's never seemed to have as much trouble speaking as now. He's definitely a more chill, or at least more easygoing sort, never one to trip over himself. Here he is though, stammering and having trouble putting words to thoughts."Sol asked me to, as a favor. So I said yes, that's how it happened."In the end he just gives up and mutters a very short response. Is it discomfort, or guilt? You can't tell, which is disappointing to you. Again, you didn't want to put him on the spot, but now you're left wondering even more than before you asked.>He's clearly uncomfortable, and in his condition he doesn't need this. Attempt to salvage things and just take it easy till you have to leave.>Things are getting too real, when you just wanted a quick and easy stop at home. Offer to leave, escape from this box of emotions.>Try to ease his discomfort, whatever the case you're glad he did get wrapped up in all this stuff. The gems are lucky to have his help.>[Write-in.]
>>1474699>>Try to ease his discomfort, whatever the case you're glad he did get wrapped up in all this stuff. The gems are lucky to have his help.Make him better.
>>1474699>[Write-in.]>Thank him personally for getting involved. Gem stuff is a strange and dangerous business to get into, so it's nice to have another human your age to talk about it with. He's doing a service not just to the town, but for you as well and he should know that he's appreciated.
Change mine>>1474733To this>>1474892
>>1474892Rather than withdrawing from the matter completely or pushing it harder, you decide to just try and level with him, person to person. It means a lot that he was willing to be more open with you, and at the very least you'd hope that he doesn't end up regretting it. And not just because you want to continue being able to spend time with him, whether it's for gem related issues or not.You try to put your hand on his shoulder, but forget about his injury, causing a wince. Not the best start to a heartfelt thanks, and you try to salvage the gesture but can't bring yourself to perhaps take his hand instead."Owen, I'm... I'm glad that you said yes. I know all this Gem stuff is weird and risky, but it helps to have another person along for the ride, another human. And not just for me either, I appreciate your help and I'm sure the gems do as well, but I also think it's important. I don't really get what it is the gems do, but I think it matters, and I feel like... I dunno, if we're involved they have more reason to care. About us, about people. I mean there's always Sarah, but I think they see her more as a gem than a human."It's true that you don't really know much of anything about the gems and what, or why they do what they do. All you've managed to glean from Emma's occasional ramblings or the answers Soleil choose to give to only some of your questions, is that they might have come from another place, aliens and that they've been here a long time. You're not even sure if there are any others like them, or if there really are only three of them left in the whole world. Three and a half, counting Sarah. From your experiences at least, their presence brings more harm than good, certainly the case with all the monsters. Seeing what they do though and how they respond to the problems, and helping out with it yourself, you get the feeling that at the end of the day it's for something good. That's what you hope, at least. Something you can feel proud of being a part of."I dunno, maybe I'm rambling, but I just wanted to say thanks. For getting involved, for always being there."It's about the best you can manage without notice, and you're amazed you managed through it while remaining at least somewhat intelligible. No stuttering or stammering at least, a big feat talking to him of all people. You're not sure what he thinks of it, but he does at least seem to understand, and isn't as on edge as he was before from your questioning. And really that's all you could ask for.Feeling a bit too serious for your liking then, you decide to change the subject and offer to return to the living room where you can hang out together for the short time remaining until you have to leave for the event. At least you can sit on the couch and watch TV, if nothing else.
A choice-less post? What madness! Will resume tomorrow after here >>1475434 with a transition, though feel free to write-in whatever you please or perhaps wish to do.>Thanks all for playing!
>>1475434>So what happened to Echo? Did she get stored away or something?
>>1476078Having taken to the road after spending enough time at home, what better method of travel to get across town than by bike! Not the first time either, Owen just stands on the back wheel pegs and holds onto your shoulders while you pedal and steer. In his condition it'd probably be better to walk even, but you didn't want to be late for the event.Pedaling along off mainstreet though and headed for the community center, you'd talked a little along the way but remembered something particular you were curious about. Between steady breathing though you manage to get it out."Oh hey *huff* I forgot to ask earlier *puff* but what happened to the security system?""Echo? Well I pulled her free of the system and everything went dead. When Emma found me though she took the thing, said she'd take care of it. I think Echo was a requirement for the place to run though, so maybe you'll get to see her if we ever go back."That would something to look forward t- well maybe not, thinking about how Owen got blasted. Maybe alongside one of the gems it would be safer than apart. Something to consider, as you pull into the parking lot of the community center, more busy than usual. You know some folks from out of town will be here to compete in the tournament, but you're still surprised to see as many. Along the way you wave to those you know, but upon reaching one of the bike racks, already some people are making their way over."I'll probably just... leave you to it then?""No way! You're the team manager for today!"Preventing his attempt to withdraw as usual and probably watch from the sidelines, you bring your arm around him with a strong grip for support. You apologize though from squeezing his bad arm.>Meet with the team here and put on a bit of a show for anyone watching, opponents and spectators alike.>Let your teammates know you're there if they don't already, but head inside to scope out the competition.>The most important step of all, check if the judge or judges from the National Dodgeball Association are here. If your team isn't checked in, you can't compete.>[Write-in.]
>>1477280>>The most important step of all, check if the judge or judges from the National Dodgeball Association are here. If your team isn't checked in, you can't compete.
>>1477297>>1477411As much as you'd like to gather up the team and whip up some team spirit and attention from others present, taking the trip home with Owen cost you too much time and you have to get on with the basics. Like registering your team, for starters."Well first thing's first-""Hi Owen! I didn't expect to see you here, are you on a team?"One of your teammates, Sudie, upon making her way over to join you notices Owen and rather cheerfully greets him. By contrast he was paying attention to your bike instead, but acts friendly towards her approach. Naturally you feel threatened by another girl being so open towards him and consider delivering a flying dragon kick to her head, but you soon learn that they're co-workers from the Mega World Mart. That's slightly better you figure, and decide to take the chance to go and look for any judges, leaving the two of them to catch up."I'm j-just going to go and register us for the tournament, try to gather anyone else on the team if you see them."Biting your lip as you turn and walk away, possibly drawing blood, you try not to wrack yourself with concern about whether your attempt not to appear possessive may actually cost you.---Having found that there were indeed three judges from the NDA present, you quickly got in the admittedly short line and managed to register your team for the event within the available time left before things officially start. It came close though you have to admit, though the judges are happy to see you, and meet you in person. You're probably the biggest reason the event is taking place here to begin with, after your efforts to build up interest and contact the association with requests for recognition.It's nice to feel appreciated, and you even find out that there are likely going to be six teams in total participating. Three from Diamond Shoals (including yours), two from Dauphine, and one from Waves. Good enough odds for your home town, you think, though you're worried about the northers from Waves and the southers from Dauphine. Either way, holding a few detail sheets stored in an Association info and rulebook, you move apart from the small group of people either asking questions or still setting things up for their teams. Sudie and some of the others on your own team though, with Owen in tow, catch sight of you upon their entering the community center and make their way over to you."Well, here's everything we need." you hold up the booklet, "We'll have to wait to see once everyone is registered, who we're up against first. Let's find a spot though and get things going."
>Have everyone gather any friends or family they brought as well, so you can get a supporting block in the bleachers.>Someone else can take care of that, for now you want to slink off and find out more about these out of towner teams.>The next most important step of all, gather the team and discuss your plans. Maybe even try out a little on the court here, you're all more used to playing in the gym of the high school anyway.>[Write-in.]
>>1477583Make sure that Owen is doing well, then rally the team's spirit and WIN THAT GAME!!!!!
>>1477601>>1477791Owen as always is your primary concern, glad you didn't say that out loud. You ask if he's alright on his own and with his seating. Surprise of surprises, there aren't so many people here to watch a dodgeball tournament, that he's elbow to elbow with anyone. So letting you know he'll be fine, he wishes you good luck for the games ahead.Feeling like you could take the world on after that then, you gather the team to bolster their spirits. No way you're going to let the town, and Owen down now. Well, there's no "I" in team but you sure as hell will carry this team on your back if you have to, in order to win."Alright everyone, we're going to get out there and show everyone, even the out-of-towners how Diamond Shoals does it!" you talk, as you gather them around and their hands in the center, "And by that I mean do whatever it takes to win. Remember, go for the biggest, baddest ones first. Leave the slow, weak ones at the end to humiliate!"Such great team spirit, such encouragement!---Not long after, later than the starting time was listed as though, the volunteer organizers start to herd people to where they should be so that the judges can do their thing. Calling to everyone's attention with a rather unnecessary bullhorn, they welcome and thank everyone for showing up and participating, giving a little talk about the event and the Association. They seem to care maybe a little more than they should about dodgeball, but then you can't really blame them when you're the ones actually playing. So finally they get to the actual standings of the teams, and who will play who in what order, the bracket determined by random drawing. Well it could be worse, at least there's guaranteed to be a team from town past the first round...Unfortunately your team didn't get a bye for the first round, though another team from Diamond Shoals did so that's a plus. You're not even the first match played either, slated for second. The first match though, the team of the Diamond Shoals volunteer firefighters against the coast guard team from Dauphine... well it's not embarrassing, the firefighters put up a good effort but go down valiantly. No pressure then, when it comes to your team versus the one from Waves. Wouldn't that be something, if two of the teams from town both lost in their first round? No way, you're not going to let that happen. But what sort of approach do you want to take against these guys? The teams from Dauphine you're more familiar with, this one though you've only heard by name.>Play aggressive, burst out the starting gate and show them who this court belongs to. Meet a handshake with a fist.>Play defensive, after the other team from town lost, you can't afford to be too careful. No risks, only guarantees.>Play wacky. try to mix it up and confuse not only everyone watching and the other team, but even yourselves. It may just throw them all off.>[Write-in.]
>>1493195Sincere apologies for missing the last few days. Got caught up in a move, only now getting steady comp access and time to post. Am making the post here to update, and will resume tomorrow full time again. Ready to play through this tournament, and see if Lee can make it through.
>>1493195Use tactics, bait them into aiming at one person, only too have another step in and catch the ball.Play with precision.Play without mercy>Play to WIN!
>>1493195And glance at Owen every so often.
>>1493195>>Play defensive, after the other team from town lost, you can't afford to be too careful. No risks, only guarantees.
>>1493195>Play defensive, after the other team from town lost, you can't afford to be too careful. No risks, only guarantees.We can't lose in the first round.
>>1494216>>1493590>>1493219Sure you have the town to represent, but more than that you can't be the one responsible for this whole tournament happening, and then lose regardless. No, the only solution is to play it safe and not risk too much this first game. You encourage the team to play well of course, and play hard, but not to throw themselves out there. So taking sides with your team against the Tidal Waves, you let the judges do their thing and prepare for the opening rush for the middle of the court, where all the starting balls are. Adopting a runner's stance, you glance Owen's way just before the whistle blows, for encouragement. ---Your team struggles through a tough game, these Tidal Waves know their stuff! You didn't know what to make of them before, but they certainly haven't disappointed. Your defensive strategy has really paid off though, and though it's taken longer and both teams are getting a little tired (different players at different rates of course), you've managed to gain the upper hand in numbers. Alright, if we can just avoid any of them being brought back in...There are only two of them left on their side of the court, while your team has four including you. For the Tidal Waves, their remaining two are their best dodger while the other is quite good at catching you've noticed. Your team also has the ball advantage though, so you can finally go on the offense.>Two for two, split the team to go for their remaining players.>Gang up on one at a time, then the other. Probably the better catcher first.>Continue with the defense, purposefully miss so they get a ball or two to throw back, which you can catch and send them out.>[Write-in.]
>>1495457>>Continue with the defense, purposefully miss so they get a ball or two to throw back, which you can catch and send them out.Sounds good.
>>1495469Keeping in tune with your defensive strategy, rather than going on the offensive you hope to lure them into attacking you. So hurling a few balls their way and purposefully missing, you try to give them incentive to make a push. After that it's just a matter of time waiting, till the two remaining opponents try for an attack. You're ready though and a good catcher yourself, so manage to take one out that way, and the other when your team does one final retaliation. It was a close one, and a tough game, but in the end the whistle blows again and the Hattrask Hitters stand victorious! Whew, that was a close one. Good way to start though, to get into the game.You go along with the rest of the team, and let the judges do their thing as they talk to everyone about the match results and the updated bracket, as well as thanking the other team with yours for the good game played. Any chance you get though your eyes are on Owen, to see if he's noticed. He doesn't look excited, but at least interested so that's a plus! Once everything is all said and done, you've all got a bit to gather up your stuff and clear off the court so that the next round of the tournament can begin. Some good news in that the other team from Diamond Shoals will be playing, and you're not sure who they are but hopefully they can do better against the coast guard team and maybe even beat them? Really though the main focus of your team is on your next opponents, the actual dodgeball team from Dauphine. Once again your match comes second so you've got some time to rest, but the other team got a bye so they'll be coming in fresh and ready to go.Then again, you also got the first game under your beat, a great warmup.>You're more familiar with your next opponents, so can actually plan against them. Take a step outside with the team to congratulate them on the win against the Tidal Waves of course, but also to discuss the upcoming match.>Go hang out with Owen, your main interest. Your team can do without you for one match, maybe, and you're dying to know what Owen thought of your performance. Or well, the team's performance, but really you only care about yours.>Find your opponents for the next match and try to showoff after your win, and maybe psyche them out before the game.>[Write-in.]
>>1496372>>You're more familiar with your next opponents, so can actually plan against them. Take a step outside with the team to congratulate them on the win against the Tidal Waves of course, but also to discuss the upcoming match.
>>1496372>You're more familiar with your next opponents, so can actually plan against them. Take a step outside with the team to congratulate them on the win against the Tidal Waves of course, but also to discuss the upcoming match.>Wink at Owen
>>1496461Yes, definitely wink at Owen.
>>1496786>>1496466>>1496461Unlike the Tidal Waves, you're familiar with you next opponents. The actual dodgeball club from Dauphine, the Dolphins, they're the closest thing to your team's rivals and you've played one another a few times before. This time though it's official, this time it matters. So gathering your team together, you lead them all outside the community center (since the locker rooms aren't reserved for this event) and try to figure out what to say. Some other folks outside recognize you or members of your team so you have to corral them all to one place, but eventually you've got the group together."Alright everyone, that was an amazing job against the Waves team! I'm proud of you all for pulling through against a team we've never played before, well done!" you encourage everyone to pat themselves on the back, give a round of applause, and other such things, "Next up is the Dolphins though, and we have played against them before, we know how good they are and they know how good we are. But! They don't know how good we can be, and this time it matters more than ever! So let's get out there, and show them who the best dodgeballers on this island are!"Your little speech gets a cheer from everyone, even bystanders just listening, fellow locals in support of the town team. Well, the main town team, the other two are good as well. So after getting everyone's spirits up, you quickly go over strategies of both your team and the opponents, taking and giving ideas on how to win against the Dolphins.Of course nothing beats good teamwork, so you're ever-encouraging of cooperation and group plans and plays.---It turns out you didn't get much time at all to plan, and the first match of the second round ends in a matter of minutes. Your team was all outside without knowing, that one of the judges even had to come out and fetch you all, asking if you were still playing. Quite strange to say the least, you would have thought the coast guard team from Dauphine were going to the finals for sure. Guess the other Diamond Shoals team must be really good, wouldn't that be something if the finals are between two teams from town? Whoever loses, everyone still wins!Ah, but first you've got to beat the remaining out-of-towner team and your rivals, the Dauphine Dolphins. But what sort of approach do you want to take against these guys? Not only are they at least as practiced and skilled as your team, but they even have actual funding. Enough to afford nice uniforms, and even an actual properly made, fancy logo! Not just one drawn by some loser QM running a Steven Universe AU quest on 4chan!
>Play aggressive, remind them of why you're rivals and send them home sore.>Play defensive, it worked well the first game and you know the Dolphins are a risky bunch.>Play wacky. try to mix it up and confuse not only everyone watching and the other team, but even yourselves. The best way to defeat familiarity, is to get weird.>[Write-in.]
>>1497766We know their skills and tactics, we can go for their throats.
>>1497766>Play wacky. try to mix it up and confuse not only everyone watching and the other team, but even yourselves. The best way to defeat familiarity, is to get weird.So what if they got better stuff and now how your team plays? You can still win this!
>>1497885Hmm, they do know OUR tactics too, so seconding.
>>1497885>>1497899These guys are the most familiar with your style, so you decide to mix it up and play unpredictably. At least that's the plan as you and the team enter back into the building to take your place on the court, the Dolphins all ready and waiting.Along the way you also give a wink to Owen, to let him know he's about to see some magic. Oddly though, he looks quite worried you notice, and was trying to get your attention. Gesturing and trying to say something, you can't tell what though or hear him over other folks spectating. It appears quite important, but it will just have to wait till the game is over.---And what a game it is! The opening rush alone is an intense amount of action back and forth. The Dolphins are on their top game for sure, but you can tell they were anticipating your team's normal style of play and strategies, because your new last minute idea to play all strange and wacky is working! Players are hit out and regained on both sides at an alarming rate, but you can tell you're starting to gain the upper hand when they've lost their best catchers from constant spinning low throws. Two versus two, I like those odds...Now it's just their designated throwers, against you and your other best player, Jomhod. Worryingly it's just two of you, but the both of you are all around strong players. The next play could be the last.>Gang up on them, one at a time.>Risk some dodges in order to exhaust them of the balls on their side. >Try to work together for a catch. It's too risky on your own but together, maybe a deflected thrown ball can be caught.>[Write-in.]
>>1498528>>Try to work together for a catch. It's too risky on your own but together, maybe a deflected thrown ball can be caught.You've handled gem creatures, this should be easy.
>>1498541It's quite a tricky move to pull off, but you've done it once before in a practice game. Letting him know the plan, Jomhod with a dodgeball at the ready approaches the centerline as if to throw. Rightfully expecting a response though, he reacts to a throw by one of the opponents, and moves both the ball and his body into place as fast and as best he can to deflect it. With a resounding *pang* of rubber against rubber, the opponent's ball bounces off of the one held in defense and soars into the air. The second opponent who didn't yet through, manages to him Jomhod and takes him out. You however, just barely manage to catch the deflected ball, and then swing it around as fast as you can to hit the opponent who took out your teammate. Not everyone watching catches what happened, but the judges noticed, as did your team and the Dolphins. The whistle sounds to many cheers, confusion and some upset, but it's a fair play as called by the judges; you catching the deflected ball took the first opponent out, and the your throw right after got the second. It came dangerously close, but you managed to pull it off. Letting out a huge sigh of relief as your heart hammers in your chest, you collapse onto the floor of the court, laying on your back. Not for long though, since your team rushes in and hoists you up in celebration. Maybe a bit overkill since the tournament is over, but you take the win, particularly as a chance to show off to Owen!Oh that's right, Owen. You look over to the spectator stands again, to see him still freaking out basically, trying to get your attention.>First thing's first, you have to accept the win by the judges and hear the final matchup.>That can wait, you want to see what Owen wants. He's probably freaking out over your amazing skills and win, and can't contain his adoration.>Rub the win in the Dolphins' faces, they can't honestly call themselves your rivals anymore after that.>[Write-in.]
>>1498627>>That can wait, you want to see what Owen wants. He's probably freaking out over your amazing skills and win, and can't contain his adoration.Yes, lets see how Owen reacts to skills.
>>1498650Really the only thing that matters, Owen. That is to say, you're worried about him in his injured condition! Yes, definitely that and no other reason. Leaving your team to celebrate and the judges to tabulate, you coolly make your way over to the bleachers, stepping a leg up on a low seat and nonchalantly flexing a little to show off your fitness in the sweat of victory. Owen though seems to be focused on more important things, to him at least."Lee you've got to quit the tournament. Forfeit, drop out, whatever it takes.""Wh-What? Why? We're in the finals, only one more to go and we win! Are you feeling alright?"You're confused and a little disappointed as to why he isn't happy or excited for you, and just wants you to give up now. You can't tell if it's a joke or if he's delusional from his injury, maybe it was too soon of him to be going out. To answer your questions though he simply points back to the court, where the judges are announcing your team's victory and announcing to everyone the final bracket, for the final round of the tournament appropriately enough."That's why.""Oh no..."There's your team of course, everyone still celebrating the win, even more now with the spectators cheering you all on for the finals. The other team though, emerges from one of the locker rooms in hopefully rehearsed synchronicity as they make their way onto the court in a timely step in order to strike an intimidating pose. At least three of them do, the ones you're worried about.The gems and half-gem, Emma, Soleil, and Sarah, all done up in war paint and fierce team uniform. The latter of which at the front cheering wildly and pointing from her eyes to yours with a threatening stare and serious look which causes your heart to sink. "Nononononono... NO!" you feel like tearing your hair out, "They're the other team from town? I didn't even see them earlier, did you know they were doing this?""I tried to tell you, they went against the Coast Guard team and... well they just destroyed them in like a minute. You went outside with your team though right after you won your first match."Association regulation requires six players to a team, so it looks like they just found some random people (probably on the way to the community center) to join in order to pass that requirement. You even think one of them is Joshua, the local surfer "mystic". Emma alone though is enough to make you fear for your team, as she easily fits a dodgeball entirely within one hand and even bursts one with an accidental squeeze while returning to a normal stance from the pose. Her attempt to laugh it off like a joke, gives you pause, and serious concern if she won't mistake the game and literally take someone's head off with a strong throw.Maybe Owen's right, about dropping out. He often is.
>Approach Sarah and the gems, try and figure out what the hell is going on!>You've come too far to give up now. You're not afraid of a challenge, even if it is against them.>You've come this far! No shame in bowing out for second place! You'll take that, over picking up your teeth from the ground>[Write-in.]
>>1498801>>1498804>You've come too far to give up now. You're not afraid of a challenge, even if it is against them.NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!!!
>>1498814You're not sure why they're here, perhaps only to destroy you in your moment of triumph and make your life just that much worse. You remember several days ago talking to Sarah about the tournament, and her asking to be on your team. You declined about as politely as you could, because while you'd love to have her on your side, you already had and have a full team by regulation rules. If someone dropped out, she'd be the first to know, but no one's dropped out. Maybe after this they might though, for what you're considering."...I can't give up. Not after coming this far, not in the final round. The team, everyone, they're looking to me... I won't force them to play, but I'll be the only playing if I have to."As much as you want to quit, and if you were on your own, you surely would. But you're not on your own, and you're not playing for yourself. You're playing for the Hattrask Hitters, and you're playing for a team. You don't expect the others to arguably put their lives on the line, but the captain goes down with the ship."Actually you know what, I think we're worrying too much about this. I mean it's just Sarah and the others over there, we're all friends. We'll just have a fun and friendly game, I may even have to go easy on them!"Feeling a lot more confident with logic in the picture, you brush off Owen's concerns and return to the court, answering Sarah's hostile showing with your own. Yeah, nothing to worry about at all.
>>1499059And alas, thread is about to drop off the board unfortunately! Will continue if the thread is still up when I return, but if not it'll have to end on a cliffhanger. As always, thanks to everyone for playing, hope you enjoyed it.And the usual, if not premature,>Credits Rollhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuDCTzqJc40