So, I finished another chapter, and decided to post it. With this chapter, I'll delete the old version of the story soon, making this the true, definitive version. I think. Is that how it works?
Eh, let's answer some reviews in the meantime:
* Yeah, I have some fun ideas for the Banzai Blasters later on.
2) Well, Epithets are found at different points in life: some do it while they're kids, other as adults, a few when they're much older, and a number never find out what they are.
There was another review here, but I had to delete it since it asked people to ask Jello for more episodes, which I hate to burst your bubble, but that's not going to help get more episodes out. Instead, it might drain Jello until they decide to stop the work. So, write fanfics, buy the merch, do anything else to support the show, please.
And now, let's head to the chapter!
When the next day came, Lincoln was determined to not screw things up. He watched his step, looked at his surroundings thoroughly, and tried to place himself in a safe distance from his classmates.
Despite this, however, he still wound up crashing into someone.
"Oh, sorry!" a female voice called. "Did you get hurt?"
Lincoln looked up, and got a better look at the person he stumbled upon.
She was a dark-skinned girl with Brown hair, with some of her locks styled like bear ears. She was wearing a bear-themed hoodie, though he only noticed that when he looked at the head of it at the side.
"Y-Yeah, but it's fine, I've been through worse," Lincoln chuckled nervously. "Hey I don't remember seeing you before. Are you new in town?"
"Yup" the brunette extended her hand towards him. "I'm Molly! Molly Blyndef!"
Still reeling from the pain, Lincoln took a deep breath and bared with it, shaking her hand as he answered:
Molly tilted her head. "Why the pause?"
Lincoln scratched the back of his head. "My family is currently on, the complicated side of things."
"Oh, I see, my family's on the complicated side of things too," Molly folded her arms and raised an eyebrow. "Although, our type of complicated is... different."
"Heh, I can imagine," Lincoln took a deep breath. "Anyway, I should go to the infirmary to get this shoulder checked. Wouldn't want it to get worse than it already is."
"Right! You're right, you need to get checked," Molly blurted. "D-Do you want me to come with you?"
"No, it's fine, I can reach the infirmary by myself."
With that said, Lincoln waved goodbye with his good hand and began walking away, Molly returning the wave with a little smile.
"Well, I gotta say I'm impressed, Lincoln," the nurse spoke. "The day's just started and you already dislocated your shoulder! That's gotta be a new record!"
"I don't mean that as a compliment!"
Lincoln lowered his head and frowned. "I know."
The nurse frowned and crouched down to the boy's height.
"Listen, Lincoln, I know you've probably heard this a million times before, but you have to be extra careful. Being one of the few Inscribed whose Epithet passively affect themselves, you're weaker than the average person; if you're not careful, you could be sent to hospital, or even worse-"
But right then, the nurse stopped. Maybe it was Lincoln's apologetic look, or the tense atmosphere around them, or her own hard experiences with the concept itself. But she just couldn't finish her sentence.
"I'm gonna heal you now."
Lincoln nodded, and with a quick use of her Epithet, Healing, Lincoln's shoulder was back to new, alongside a feeling of revitalization.
"Thanks, Mrs. Santiago."
"No problem, kid, now be on your way," the woman said. "I'd normally call your parents to pick you up, but they're both busy right now. Besides, you'd rather avoid another chiding from your mother, right?"
"Yeah," Lincoln grimaced. "Definitely."
"Well, be on your way, the bell's about to ring."
Lincoln nodded, gently got off the bed, and left the infirmary, taking a few steps as carefully as he could.
Lincoln stopped, and turned, meeting the gaze of an old... friend? of his: Ronnie Anne.
"Oh, h-hi Ronnie Anne," Lincoln smiled nervously. "Do you need something?"
"I heard you crashed into someone on the way to the academy and had to go to the infirmary to get checked," the girl smirked. "You weren't planning to try go to the classroom on your own instead of asking for my help, right?"
"What?! No! Never! Why would I ever do that?!" Lincoln rolled his eyes. "It's not like I'm an independent being who can take on life on his own."
"Precisely! Your Epithet makes you too weak to do that, so you need someone by your side to stop you from heading to the hospital!" Ronnie Anne walked to Lincoln's side and grabbed his hand. "And that someone just so happens to be me! I'll take it from here, alright?"
Lincoln sighed. "Sure."
"Good boy. Now, Home Base!"
Ronnie Anne raised her hand, and a purple shield surrounded her and Lincoln, the girl keeping her hand up as the duo walked to their classroom.
"I thought you needed both hands up for this to work?"
"I've been training on my spare time."
Though she said that, Lincoln quickly noticed Ronnie Anne's hand was shaking, and her face was scrunched in concentration.
Part of him felt bad for her, but another part was glad that he wasn't the only one having trouble using his Epithet.
Regardless, the duo eventually arrived at the classroom, and they went to their desks, Ronnie Anne flashing a thumbs up at the boy as she sat down.
"Alright class, good morning. Before we begin, I'd like to let you know that, starting today, a transfer student from Sweet Jazz City High is going to join our class," the teacher, a redheaded woman in a green sweater, spoke. "I'd like it if you could give her a warm welcoming."
One of the students immediately summoned a fireball.
"Paige, we've been through this; giving someone a warm welcoming doesn't translate to pelting them with fireballs."
The student, a blonde girl with long hair, dissipated the fingerball with a flick of her fingers and pouted. "Fine."
Lincoln quickly raised his arm. "When's this new student going to appear?"
"She should be here right about..."
Suddenly, the door opened.
A girl entered the classroom, and as she walked to Ms. Johnson's side, Lincoln couldn't help but feel she seemed... familiar.
"Alright, kiddo, face your classmates and introduce yourself."
She obliged, and once she did, something clicked on Lincoln's head: she was the same girl he crashed into this morning!
"I'm Molly Blyndef, from Sweet Jazz City!" Molly scratched the back of her head. "My family owns a toy store that does relatively well, and I like bears!"
Molly tilted her head, and flashed a little smile.
"Nice to meet you all!"
Classes went like normal soon after, except for one little detail; Lincoln kept an eye on Molly the entire time.
It was odd; first he crashes into her at the entrance, and then she turns out to be on his classroom? That sounds a bit too... convenient.
Well, he'd have to think about it later, as the sound a whistle being blown snapped him back to reality.
"Alright, everybody lineup!"
The students got in a straight line and waited for their coach to stand in front of them.
A coach that just so happened to be Mera.
"As you all know, we got a new transfer student coming from Sweet Jazz City," Mera stated before inspecting the lineup. "Could that student take a step forward?"
Molly obliged and raised her hand. "That's me. I'm-"
"Molly Blyndef, yes, I know, the principal told me about you," Mera interjected. "I'm going to whip you into shape like the rest of these kids, so I'm hoping you take this class seriously, understood?"
Molly slightly lowered her hand and smiled nervously. "Y-Yes."
"Okay class, today we'll have the transfer student showcase her Epithet, and then we'll recap what we did last class before the proper exercise begins," Mera clasped her hands together. "Everybody got that? Good. Molly, come up here, tell us about your Epithet."
"My Epithet is called Dumb. It gives me the ability to cancel sound, whether by encasing myself in a bubble or by dumbing down the sound itself."
"Okay, understood," Mera scratched her chin, then turned back to the students. "Now, I'd like it if someone could come here for a demonstration."
Somebody pushed Lincoln forward, and the boy rubbed his back while looking at whoever had pushed him.
Then, a shadow loomed over Lincoln, and looking up, he saw it was Mera looking down at him with a stern expression...
And then she looked behind him.
"Interesting way to volunteer yourself, Chandler."
Everybody turned to the guy behind Lincoln, a redheaded guy wearing a green long-sleeved shirt and black pants.
"Wait, what?!" Chandler snapped. "Lindsay clearly took a step forward!"
"My name's Lincoln!"
"Besides, your Epithet is called "Attention." Mera added. "Therefore, I assumed you pushed him in order to bring attention to yourself."
"That's not what I did at all!"
"And therefore, you've disappointed me. Now come with me before you disappoint me further."
Throwing his hands in defeat, Chandler walked to Molly's side alongside Mera, who spoke:
"Now, Molly, I want you to use your Epithet on Chandler."
"Huh?!" Molly flinched. "I-I don't know, I'm not supposed to use my Epithet on people..."
"And you're also not supposed to anger an Epithet Coach," Mera pointed out sternly. "Pick your poison, kid."
Hearing that, Molly turned back to Chandler and sighed, "I'm sorry."
Then, she touched his shoulder, surrounding him in a green bubble.
Chandler tried to say something about it... but while his mouth moved, no sound actually came out.
"As you can see, while something's surrounded in the bubble, any sound that would normally come out stays inside, with the added bonus that no sound can enter the bubble either."
"So, in short," Lincoln remarked. "You can render a person both mute and deaf with your Epithet."
Molly frowned. "Yeah, I, think you could say that. I'll release him now."
With a single poke, the bubble around Chandler burst, finally allowing him to speak again:
"About time! I was starting to worry I'd run out of oxygen!"
"My bubbles don't absorb oxygen, they simply affect sound; everything else is left alone."
"So, all you can do is make things quiet? Lame."
"Okay, Chandler, that's all for now. Go back to the line with Molly."
The duo nodded and obliged, and as they did, Mera spoke:
"Now, you've all seen one of the many ways "Dumb" can be used Epithet, but there are several more meanings attached to the word."
"Yeah, one of those meanings is someone being stupid!" Chandler stated.
"And I remember this other meaning that just said "Chandler," Ronnie Anne scoffed. "I wonder why."
"Point is, that any word that becomes an Epithet have their versatility determined by the number of meanings said word has, and the user's creativity," Mera continued, shooting a glare at the duo before continuing, "A word could have a single meaning, or it could have half a dozen. Those meanings won't mean anything if its user can't think outside the box."
Mera then eyed the lineup of students.
"An Inscribe who becomes a slave to their comfort zone is doomed to be weak, no matter how much they train their Epithet. The only way for it to grow stronger, for the Inscribed to grow stronger, you have to get creative. You have to take risks. And if you falter for even a second, if you delude yourself into thinking your comfort zone is good enough, you'll get nowhere. Have I been understood?"
The students got ready to answer, but Mera blowed her whistle again.
"Don't tell me you understood, that's what your Epithets are for! Instead, show me that you understood! Let's get the proper exercise started!"
Molly and Lincoln looked worried as the other students replied "yes!" with firm voices...
The day had come to an end, and Lincoln was walking alongside the other students back home. He wasn't as worried as before towards crashing into someone, since his classmates knew exactly how easy it was to send him to the hospital with a single clash.
That, and Ronnie Anne's Home Base helped a lot.
As they walked, however, Lincoln noticed Molly walking among their classmates, but she was notably upset about something.
"Hey, Ronnie Anne, could you take me to the new girl there?"
"Why?" Ronnie Anne smirked. "You wanna ask her out on a date or something?"
"Of course not. I just wanna see what's bothering her."
"Hmm... she does look rather upset. Sure, let's go."
Ronnie Anne moved alongside the students, and eventually reached Molly's side, startling the girl.
"Hi there," Ronnie Anne said with a smile.
"Hi?" Molly frowned. "D-Do you need something?"
"Not really," Lincoln replied. "I just wanted to know what's bothering you."
Molly hummed, but after seeing Lincoln and Ronnie Anne's reassuring smiles, she decided to let them know...
After they had gone to sit at a bench far away from the students.
"Sorry that I made you sit here first," Molly frowned. "I'm just really sensitive to sound. I don't like it."
"Something tells me she wouldn't get along with your birth family," Ronnie Anne whispered, earning a gentle jab from Lincoln."
"... Birth family?"
"Don't pay attention to what she says," Lincoln interjected. "For now, tell us, what's bothering you?"
Molly lowered her eyelids and looked away. "I didn't enjoy P.E. as much as I thought I would."
"Why? You actually got to participate," Ronnie Anne remarked before pointing at Lincoln. "Unlike Lame-O here."
"I know, but, after showing off my Epithet, I felt... sad, for some reason."
Lincoln lowered his eyelids. "Mera's words struck a chord with you, didn't they?"
"She said that an Inscribed that doesn't think outside the box is doomed to be weak forever."
"But you're nothing like that! Your Epithet is "Dumb" and yet you use it to make things quiet, rather than make people stupid!"
"But that's just one way to use it! And I'm expected to find a different way from it!" Molly twiddled her fingers. "B-Besides, you heard her when she said to not make an Epithet Coach angry! What if I make her angry because I'm not comfortable making people stupid?!"
"You don't need to worry about that," Ronnie Anne smiled. "There are a dozen more legitimate ways you can tick her off."
"What Ronnie Anne's trying to say," Lincoln interjected. "Is that Mera may seem tough and unapproachable, but she only wants what's best for us as a teacher. And sometimes, she has to scare people into learning their lesson."
Molly hummed and frowned. "So, she's not being scary with me because she's angry with me?"
"She's scary with everybody because she cares."
Molly lowered her head, resting her chin on her palm. "I think I get what you're trying to say, but she still scares me."
"That's alright, everybody's also afraid of her," Ronnie Anne shrugged. "But we're still just starting this thing. Who knows, maybe deeper down the line, she'll loosen up a bit."
"Either that, or she'll get scarier."
"Eitherway, Molly, the same lesson is learned," Lincoln said. "Gather up the courage to go beyond your comfort zone, or else Mera will scare you into doing so."
Molly eyed the duo, and after staring at them in silence for a few seconds, she giggled. "I feel this conversation's all over the place."
"But, you feel better right now?"
"... Yeah, I believe so."
"Then it wasn't for naught," Ronnie Anne stated.
"What wasn't for naught?"
The trio turned around, and saw Mera approaching them. More specifically, she approached Lincoln, and grabbed his hand.
"Anyway, let's go, Lincoln. Indus is going to get worried if we don't return home soon."
"Return home soon?" Molly grimaced. "Wait, so... his mother isn't going to pick him up?"
Mera raised an eyebrow. "I'm his mother."
Molly eyed Lincoln, her expression positively screaming with confusion.
"Adoptive mother. I had to be given up for adoption since my birth family grew too big, and she and her... roommate? Adopted me."
"Oh, so, that's what the girl meant when she mentioned your birth family..."
"Um, I got a name, you know? It's Ronnie Anne."
"And we need to get going," Mera said, rubbing her forehead. "I can already feel Indus freaking out over the fact we haven't arrived yet."
With nothing else to say, Lincoln bid farewell, and he and Mera walked away while holding hands, leaving a smiling Ronnie Anne and baffled Molly behind.
"How does someone so scary adopt such a nice guy?"
"That's what we call an enigma, girl. Anyway, I should get going too. I hope the talk we had helped you."
"Oh, it did, don't worry."
Bidding farewell, Ronnie Anne left Molly alone to think.
The boy she crashed into not only had Mera as a mother, but his Epithet seemed to be oddly identical to hers, despite not being related.
Maybe it was just a coincidence... or maybe not?
She had a feeling her mission was a about to get a whole lot more complicated.