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Previous chapter: 4. Power Pack

The town passed us as we approached the stony forest. We walked in silence for a good many yards. Then she broke it.

"So. What's new?"

I usually have a terrible time answering questions like those. There's so much you have to account for; you not only have to think of a recent event in your life, you also have to make sure it pertains to the person asking the question and that it's actually something they might find interesting. If you don't follow those three, you run the risk of starting up a flat conversation and possibly boring your companion. Of course, not responding isn't ideal either, as standing around hemming and hawing for long enough will undoubtedly achieve the same result.

Thankfully, I knew Mia well enough to know what to say. "Remember that Fossil Rock you sent me last year?"

"Yeah?"

"Turns out it was an O-Raptor (Head). I revived it today."

"Hey, that's pretty cool! Have you played with it yet?"

"Uh, what?"

Mia gave me one of her infamous cockeyed side-squints. "Played with it. As in, let it out of its medal and had fun with it?"

"Er, no. I haven't." I think I may have looked slightly sheepish.

"Well, what are you waiting for? Send it out!"

I nodded and reached into my coat pocket, grasping the medal securely between my thumb and forefinger. My hand trembled.

"Uh... How? Do I throw it? Flick it? Set it down and run?"

"Pretty much any way is fine. It's a choice of style, and the vivosaurs usually don't mind, so long as they land right-side up. Flyers mind even less, since they don't land." She winked and pulled out a medal of her own, which give a slight glint, even in the rain. She jumped and flung it upwards, twirling as she went. The medal went from glinting to all-out glowing white in less than a second, then vanished altogether, leaving in its place a majestic Quetzalcoatlus. It circled and descended gently, perching on the ground a metre away from where stood. "See what I mean?"

I had no answer.

She noted my stunned silence and said: "It comes with practice, don't worry. Now, ya gonna throw your medal or not?"

My head snapped back to the present. I took a quick breath, then flicked my medal out like a greasy nickel. It spun twice and flashed; a four-foot-tall navy blue chicken with a yellow-orange head appeared in its place. Its head swung around rapidly, as if it were trying to see from all angles at once. Looking at its claws it almost seemed to be shaking. Is it nervous, too?

I looked at Mia, who was lightly clapping. "Y'know, we both have vivosaurs out. Would you like to battle?"

I was caught off-guard once again. "Sure?"

Mia wasted no time. She pointed at my new partner and yelled "DIVING THRRRRUST!" Coatlus responded just as quickly. It flapped a few times to gain altitude, then powerdived. O-Raptor saw the danger coming, squawked pitifully and attempted to dodge. It failed. Right wing swept its legs out from underneath it; it flashed white and unceremoniously returned to its dino medal.

She smiled at me once more. This one seemed... grimmer than the others. Almost rueful.

"She who hesitates is lost. I learned that one the hard way back on Vivosaur Island. You see..."

She kept talking, but I was no longer listening. I just nodded absently and went to pick up my medal. It was sitting in the bottom of a yellow puddle. I'm not sure if the yellow came from the color of the cobblestone it was on or if it was... you know. Either way, I was hung up thinking about several things; almost all of them had something to do with how I would take care of my new partner. It's just like any other animal, huh? I realized. It's going to need food, water, shelter, and excercise. And what about love? That reminded me of a song, but I'd be darned if I was going to sing that one impromptu in front of my sister.

Mia unintentionally caught my attention by waving her hands as she spoke. "Full-scale BB invasion, that's what! I had been patrolling the Guild Area at the time, too! Oh man, I felt so guilty..."

Does she talk with her hands often? I mused. Anyway, yeah. Can this little guy die on me? ...I could never forgive myself if that happened. This O-Raptor is my charge now. I'll max its Rank and turn it into a strong fighter. I clenched my fist and looked at the sky. This I vow.

Mia checked her watch. "Hey, kiddo. Our half-hour is up. You ready for some Dino Chicken Nuggets?"

I was pretty hungry at the time. "Absolutely." Leading off towards the path I yelled, "Race you home!"

She beat me by a wide margin. Having a longer stride is such an unfair advantage.

Next Chapter: 6. Radio Rage

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