Exposition Brigade

“Any questions before we go in?” Jessie asked. The pink-haired monk and her group, a ninja, wizard, and chef, stood near the large mouth of a cave. The cave burrowed into the side of a jagged black mountain that they could not see the top of. The deep black of the cave interior matched its outside; they could not see how deep the cavern extended. Andy raised his hand.

“Yeah, why is there a chef in a dungeon party?” he shrugged. “Seems dangerous.” Jessie shook her head, but Mark spoke up before she could answer.

“Yeah, and why are we here at all? You said this was going to be a derby team.” Jessie nodded. Her pink ponytail bounced with the motion.

“If you can’t use your skills in combat you’ll have trouble using them on the track,” Jessie said, then she looked back to Andy. “That goes for both of you.”

“Why does the Zero get to sit out?” Mark asked.

“Her name is Margo,” Rana said. The aqua green-haired ninja took offense for her friend. “Her parents are still getting used to what happened on their Earth. Margo wanted to stay close to her parents so they wouldn’t worry about her,” Rana smiled. “Besides, she’s a tailor; craftsmen can skate on the dance track.

“What’s the dance track?” Mark asked.

“Wait! Why is there a chef here if they can use the dance track?” Andy’s whined the question. He looked at Mark, then back to Rana. “Yeah, what’s the dance track?

“The dancer class gets their own track in a derby match so the other team can’t knock them down. The non-combat classes, like merchant and craftsman, can skate on the dance track so they can do their craft in peace,” Rana explained. “But they don’t get any laps if they’re not on the main track.”

“I want to choose the dance track too!” Andy, the chef, said to Jessie. The monk shook her head.

“Mark, Rana and I can’t support two crafters; we’d never get to use our own skills,” she smiled at Andy. “But if a crafter…,” Jessie poked his shoulder. “You, earn two laps every time you cross the start line on the main track. You’ll be sharing your resources with her.”

“Hey!” Mark stepped forward. “It sounded like you almost said ‘..if a crafter skates they’ll earn two laps’. Why can’t it be Margo?” He looked at Rana. “Sorry by the way. I didn’t mean ‘Zero’ to be offensive. I just learned about Uniques about a month ago; I thought that’s what we called them,” he shrugged. “I don’t want to sound like I don’t like her but why can’t they take turns or something? Is she getting special treatment because she’s a Zero?”

“Okay, no sweat,” Rana patted Mark on the shoulder. “She is getting special treatment, but Jessie’ll tell you why.” She nodded at the monk.

“I was going to say: ‘If a crafter skates on the main track they have different bonuses based on their specialties’.  But I didn’t want to explain all of them,” she shrugged. “So I skipped to yours. I am sitting Margo out because she’s a Zero,” Jessie grinned. “Because that’s what everyone expects. A good tailor can be pretty amazing in derby but I want them to think I won’t let her skate on the main track.”

Them? Them who?” Mark asked. Jessie rolled her eyes.

“The other teams, duh. We’re competing! Dana Sharp’s having a big tournament this year to show off her own derby team. I want to show her what the Academy can do.”

“So why’d you get us?” Andy asked.

“If the Academy’s worst,” she patted her own chest. “myself included, can beat them. She’ll be dying to find out what our best can do.”

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