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Battle for Tomorrow

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"It wasn't very big," Match said, attempting to stifle a laugh, "but Flower went, like, crazy!"

Pencil snickered, crossing her legs as she sat on the grass.

"Oh my tree," Pencil replied, "Flower is really afraid of bugs!"

They laughed, Match kicking her legs up as she laid back next to Pencil on the ground. Pencil grinned, picking the grass out of Match's face. As the laughter died down, Bubble waddled over, carefully sitting herself onto the grass.

"Hoi, guys." She said, "What are you doing?"

"Talking, dummy." Pencil replied, picking gunk from under her fingernails.

"Oh."

Match glared at Pencil, and she looked away, frowning.

"Ugh, whatever." Pencil said as she rolled her eyes, "Does it matter? What do you want?"

"Oy, nothing." Bubble said, poking her fingers together, "I just…"

"Stop being such a, like, dorkus, Pencil." Match sighed.

"You know I don't like having my time wasted!" Pencil scoffed.

“I swear, it’s not a waste of time…” Bubble said, but nobody heard her.

"That's not, like, an excuse to be a jerksicle to our alliance member…" Match replied.

"It totally is!"

“Guys, this is an emergency…” Bubble said, still being ignored.

"Pence-Pence…"

"Listen, I like Bubble as much as you do, Match.” Pencil said, “Maybe even more. But, she probably doesn’t have anything useful to-“

Out of nowhere, Needle fell from above, popping Bubble. Her tip buried itself into the ground, trapping Needle on the spot, covered in soapy liquid. In the distance, Blocky laughed.

"Ugh, way to, like, go, Needy." Match sighed.

"Don't call me Needy!"

Needle slapped the air ineffectually, struggling to get up. Match rolled her eyes.

“Ugh.” Pencil huffed as she got up and wiped the grass off her eraser, “Now we have to go to the recovery center and make sure Blocky didn’t put it above a cliff or something. Great. Wonderful way to spend my time. Come on, Matchy-Match.”

Match lightly blushed as Pencil grabbed her hand and dragged her over to the recovery center, placed in the middle of an overgrown grass patch. They both stood there, waiting for Bubble to come out.

They waited, and they waited, but the machine did not move, did not glow. It didn't do anything, actually. Bubble was nowhere to be found.

“Ugh…” Pencil growled, “What’s wrong with this stupid thing?!”

She kicked the recovery center, wincing at the sudden impact.

“Ow.”

“Pence-Pence.” Match said, “I think it might be broken.”

“What? That’s crazy! How can you break an entire recovery center?”

Pencil walked around to the back of the recovery center, freezing as she looked at the machine from behind.

A large hole had been torn into the back of the center, wires and gears sticking out, smoldering from some kind of unknown heat, broken beyond repair. Pencil put her hand on the machine, only to wince and quickly take her hand away when she felt the heat.

Match came behind the machine, and was similarly shocked by the sight.

“Like… wow.” She said.

“Who would do this?” Pencil muttered, “Dangit! Now we have to get another recovery center down here to get Bubble back.”

“Isn’t the nearest one over near Evil Forest? It’ll take weeks for us to walk there!”

“Oh, we’re not walking there. Whoever did this is walking over there and recovering Bubble. But… who could burn the recovery center like this?”

“Hmm… Firey!”

“Firey?”

“Firey.”

“FIREY!” Pencil screamed, “I’M GONNA KILL YOU!”

Firey looked away from his slap-fight with Coiny at the sound of his name.

“Huh?” He said.

Slap!

He winced as Coiny hit him in the face.

“Haha!” Coiny snickered, “Firey, you’re so easy to slap!”

“And he’s also dead meat!” Pencil shouted as she tackled the ball of flame to the ground, ignoring the burning feeling on her limbs, “Why did you destroy the recovery center?!”

“I… didn’t?” Firey said slowly.

“Yeah, right! You’re just saying that so you don’t have to go and get another one! It’s all, like, smouldery! If you didn’t destroy it, who did?!”

“I did.”

Out of nowhere, a beat up metal box fell from above, landing gracefully in the grass. Pencil tossed Firey aside, and all the other objects gathered around the box, curious.

“And just who are you supposed to be?” Blocky asked.

The box said nothing.

“Uh, hello-?!”

“That’s not important.” The box said, “What is important is that you will all be competing for a prize.”

“Hold on!” Pencil shouted, “First, you destroy the only recovery center nearby, then you try and drag us all into a competition?! Who do you think you are, scrap metal?!”

“The recovery center is broken?” Ice Cube whispered, arguably the most delicate object besides the already deceased Bubble, “I want revenge…!”

“Well, what’s the prize?” Pen asked, “A new recovery center?”

The box said nothing.

“What’s the-“

“Dream Island.” The box said, “A luxurious island with a five star hotel.”

“I’m not competing.” Pencil hissed, “You straight up, like, wrecked the recovery center. Why would you do that?”

Everybody clamoured in agreement until Golf Ball spoke up.

“Guys!” She shouted, “Do you know how hard it is to destroy a recovery center by yourself? And none of us know who this box is! Point is, the thing could kill us all if it wanted to, and there would be nobody to go and recover us!”

It took a second for the implications to set in.

“You got a point, Bossy Bot.” Eraser muttered.

Everybody stared at him, confused.

“Y’know… like a bossy robot? A robot designed to be bossy?”

Flower rolled her eyes with a loud grunt.

“I am not entertaining this little fantasy of yours, weirdo box.” She scoffed, walking away, “Later, losers.”

Her walk was interrupted by her hitting an invisible barrier, one that lit up as she touched it. She growled, pounding on the field.

“Wait, what the-?!”

“Leaving the competition area is not allowed.” The box said, “Now, we shall do a challenge to pick teams.”

Time itself screeched to a halt and then suddenly snapped back to full speed, the contestants finding themselves on a large wooden beam suspended above water. Spongy looked down nervously.

“Uh-oh…” He muttered.

“Last two contestants on the beam get to choose teams.” The box said, “Go!”

Blocky went to shove Tennis Ball off, but Golf Ball screamed before he could.

“Wait!” She yelled, “We need to think about this logically!”

Tennis Ball sighed in relief while Blocky frowned.

“What is there to think about?” Blocky said, “We’re all gonna duke it out and fall in the water. No big deal.”

“I can’t go in water.” Firey said, “I’d die.”

“Exactly.” Golf Ball added, “We need to keep Firey as one of the team captains because he would die otherwise.”

“What’s the big deal?” Blocky said with a shrug, “He would just recover in… the… recovery center… Okay, yeah, now I get your point.”

“Who else can’t swim?” Leafy asked, “I can swim! I’ll jump down for you guys!”

“Spongy’s too big and fat and absorbent to swim.” Coiny sneered.

Despite the insult, Spongy agreed.

Tear Drop waved, concerned.

“You’d dissolve in the water.” Golf Ball said, “That’s three who can’t swim, while we only have two spots.”

“Guess we’ll have to sacrifice Spongy.” Snowball said as he went to shove Spongy off.

“Wait!” Golf Ball yelled, “Just because someone can’t swim doesn’t mean they can’t fall off! Someone could carry Teardrop or Firey! Spongy is definitely staying up here, he’s too big for anyone else!”

Spongy breathed a sigh of relief.

“I don’t think anyone could carry me.” Firey said, “I’m too hot, and someone could burn themselves and drop me.”

Panic spread across Teardrop’s face as she realized she would have to risk death.

“Either she would have to, like, stand on someone…” Match said, “Or someone could carry her with their arms.”

“I’m strong enough.” Snowball said, “I’m the strongest out of all of us.”

The idea of Snowball keeping someone from death was not comforting at all, but it was their best option.

“Fine.” Golf Ball muttered, “Don't let your teeny tiny little brain get in the way of our progress.”

Snowball rolled his eyes and jumped off the beam, creating a big splash as he hit the water. Golf Ball’s eye twitched, mortified.

“You idiot!” She yelled.

“What?” Snowball yelled back, “I did what you wanted, right?!”

If Golf Ball had arms and a nose, she’d be pinching her nose in frustration.

“You-! I was hoping you’d grab Teardrop then hop down! Now she’ll have to jump and pray that you’ll catch her.”

“Well, oops.”

“I have an idea!” Leafy said, “I’ll glide down and drop Teardrop in Snowball’s arms.”

Golf Ball closed her eyes, doing calculations in her head.

“Judging by the wind speed and direction, weight of Teardrop, competence of Leafy… 64.23% repeating with good execution or flat 33.33% with awful execution… Energy of launch against distance to ground, triangulation, Snowball’s average swimming speed… 45.20% flat.”

Golf Ball bit her lip as she finished calculating, looking over to Leafy.

“Leafy?”

“Yes?”

“Are you sure you’re okay with this? Can you take responsibility if Teardrop dies? Do you consider yourself confident enough to beat 45.20%?”

“I’m willing.”

Golf Ball nodded.

“Teardrop, Leafy.” She said, “You’ll get the best chance of success if you position yourself right here.”

She gestured towards the spot she wanted the duo to jump from.

“Hey, idiot!” She yelled at Snowball, “You ready?”

“I’m bored.”

“I’ll take that as a yes!”

Leafy held onto Teardrop’s sides, fingers dipping ever so slightly into her watery frame, getting the tips wet. Teardrop breathed deeply in and out, trying to calm her nerves.

Everybody watched as Leafy hopped off the beam, the wind beneath her body letting her glide towards Snowball, who had his arms up and ready. Golf Ball tried her hardest not to think about the fact that Leafy’s approach was shaky, or that her launch was less than stellar, or that her form wasn’t aerodynamic.

A collective sigh of relief could be heard as Snowball snatched Teardrop out of the air, holding her high above his head. Everybody cheered when they realized everything was okay.

“So, we’re all safe to jump down now?” Tennis Ball asked his best friend.

“Not yet.” Golf Ball replied, “Snowball, distance yourself from the beam!”

Snowball complied, swimming away from the beam, still proudly carrying Teardrop. Golf Ball grinned, then turned towards the other side of the beam.

“To reduce the waves on Snowball, we will all jump from this side of the beam.” She said, “Any objections?”

Despite the lack of audible objections, one object in particular objected a lot.

Everybody hopped off of the beam, hitting the water below without any hitch, leaving three objects on the beam.

“One, two, three…” Pen counted, “Hey! Why is Woody still up there?”

Between Spongy and Firey, Woody stood, petrified. He whimpered, nervously eyeing the water.

“Woody!” Leafy shouted, “There’s nothing to be afraid of!”

“Except for me!” Flower screamed, “Get down here or I’ll kill you!”

“Flower, that’s not helping!”

Sweat ran down Woody’s face as he stood there, frozen. Firey and Spongy looked at each other, a silent agreement coming between them.

Firey positioned himself behind Woody and pushed.

Woody screamed, arms flailing wildly as he stumbled off the beam, hitting Firey in the face.

Firey inadvertently stepped back, slipping off of the beam. Time slowed down for everyone as they watched both of their friends fall.

“Firey!” Leafy screamed, swimming towards where he would fall despite knowing on a primal level that she would never be able to catch him.

Time screeched to a halt as a body hit the water, and when it snapped back like a rubber band, everybody was out of the water.

“Firey!”

Leafy brought her still-alive companion into a hug, trying her best not to burn herself. Sizzling sweat ran down Firey’s face as he nervously panted, shook by his near-death experience.

“Woody, you absolute Neanderthal!” Flower yelled, grabbing him and pulling him up towards her face, “You could’ve killed Firey ‘cause you’re too much of a fraidy-cat to take a little dip in some water!”

Flower growled in frustration, tossing Woody aside. She crossed her arms, face boiling red with pure anger.

“Firey and Spongy are the new team captains.” The box beeped, “Spongy, because you were the last object on the beam, you get to choose first.”

Spongy nervously looked across the entire group. None of them particularly liked him, he knew that for a fact, the one exception was…

“Bleh!”

...Rocky. His best friend. Normally, this would be an easy choice, but…

He looked over to Golf Ball.

She saved his life. She was a little bossy, sure, but her bossiness let him live.

Would it be greedy to keep someone who could help prevent death from the other team? If he didn’t snatch her up now, Firey would. He grit his teeth.

“Firey, I have a question.” He said.

“Yeah?”

“If you were to choose right now, who would you have on your team?”

Firey hesitated.

“...Golf Ball.”

“Me too…”

Despite the sudden positive attention she was getting, Golf Ball felt awful.

“Listen.” She said, “Just because we’re all on different teams doesn’t mean we can’t help each other. As much as I loathe to admit it, we all have our respective strengths. Teardrop would be dead if it weren’t for Leafy and, I especially hate admitting this one, Snowball helping…”

Teardrop shuddered while Snowball smirked, satisfied.

Spongy bit his lip.

“I choose Golf Ball.”

Golf Ball stood beside Spongy, keeping her head held high despite the pressure.

“Firey?” She said.

“Yeah?”

“Choose Tennis Ball.”

“Huh?!” Tennis Ball said, “Why me?”

“You’re almost as smart as me.” She said, “If we get separated… You’re a great alternative, TB.”

“But I don’t wanna be on a team without you…”

“Don’t be dumb, TB. Don’t make me take back what I said.”

Firey looked over at Tennis Ball and nodded.

“Okay, Tennis Ball.”

Tennis Ball walked over next to Firey, wistfully eyeing Golf Ball.

“Rocky!” Spongy said.

“What?” Golf Ball asked flatly.

“Bleh!” Rocky chirped as he hopped on top of his squishy best friend.

“Leafy!” Firey said.

Leafy flapped her hands excitedly as she skipped over next to Firey, seemingly forgetting the weight of their situation.

Spongy hesitated, looking over who was left. He had Golf Ball, he had Rocky… He didn’t really want anyone else.

“Golf Ball.” He said, “Can you take it from here?”

Golf Ball smirked.

“Gladly.” She said, “Blocky, come over here. You’re strong and not entirely stupid.”

“Not entirely stupid?” Blocky said as he walked over, “What's that supposed to mean?”

“Pen.” Firey announced, “You’re cool!”

“Aw, I’m not with Blocky…” He said, “But that’s alright, I guess. Nothing says we can’t still be friends!”

Blocky gave Pen a thumbs up, and Pen gave one back.

“Coiny.” Golf Ball said, “Your friction with Firey could prove fatal if unchecked.”

“It’s not my fault he’s stupid.” Coiny scoffed.

“Well, you’re dumb!” Firey retorted.

“Stupid!”

“Dumb!”

“Stupid!”

“Dumb!”

“Stu-“

“Can we have Eraser?” Pen asked, “He’s one of my best friends!”

“...Fine.” Firey said.

Eraser joined his team, and gave Pen a quick high five.

“The teams are currently Spongy, Golf Ball, Rocky, Blocky, and Coiny versus Firey, Tennis Ball, Leafy, Pen, and Eraser.” The box said, “Who will be picked next? Tune in next episode to find out.”