Rune Lake, New Berengaria, Rune Lake High School
It was the middle of the day and several students were already milling about around the school grounds. Some were snacking, some studying. It was an unusual sight, considering that school was still in session. Kaoru, Jaze, Toma, Adell, and Mitani sat at one of the tables, snacking on chips they bought at a nearby food stall.
Adell: Think Mr. McFadden will be alright?
Kaoru: I hope so. I never liked history class, but I never wanted to get out of it like that.
Jaze: I've never seen a teacher go to pieces so suddenly before.
Mitani: He'll be fine. Probably stress or something. Anyway, it's not our business. I'm just glad to have some free time.
Adell: I'm not. I was looking forward to today's class.
Mitani: You were... looking forward to class?
Adell: Yeah! Don't you remember? We were going to go over the third constitutional convention and Lord Veritas's farewell speech from when he resigned.
Adell smiled and started reciting parts of the speech.
Adell: For the dreamers who look to the stars and see the shining lights of neverending possibility, this is your nation!
Mitani: Ha ha! You are such a nerd!
Adell grimaced as he looked over at Mitani, genuinely offended.
Adell: I'm not a nerd! I'm a slut!
Mitani: You're that too, but you're mostly a nerd!
Toma watched the exchange in confusion. He was hesitant to say anything even though this argument seemed very strange to him. For all he knew, this was normal behavior. However, Jaze rolled his eyes and confirmed Toma's suspicions.
Jaze: You're both idiots!
Adell smiled and shrugged his shoulders. Mitani turned away and the others weren't sure if he was genuinely annoyed or not.
Kaoru glanced at the wristband that he was still wearing.
Kaoru: Well, at least I can have some peace and quite for an hour.
Jaze: Why are you still wearing that thing anyway?
Kaoru: It's locked somehow. I don't know how to take it off.
Suddenly, they heard the shrill, maniacal voice of Artemis. They looked up and were horrified to see him coming their way.
Artemis: So what are you guys doing out here?
Adell: Teacher problem. I was just wondering the same thing about you.
Artemis: Me? Just gym class. I'm skipping it again. You better run, Kaoru! Johanna usually skips too! If I found you here, she will too!
Kaoru, for all the good it would do, reflexively grabbed the armband.
Kaoru: Oh god... Look, you invented this thing! Do something about it!
Artemis: Mwa ha ha ha! I thought you'd never ask! C'mere.
Kaoru complied as Artemis pulled a strange looking tool out of his pocket. He began working on the armband.
Artemis: Rule number one of being an evil genius; always make sure your inventions have a failsafe in case someone tries to use them against you! There, that should do it.
Artemis backed off. Kaoru examined the armband. He had hoped that Artemis would take it off, but it looked no different than before.
Kaoru: What did you do? It looks the same as before.
Artemis: It's going to be more fun this way. Just wait!
As if on cue, they heard a second, even more shrill voice behind them.
Johanna: Hey! I thought I told you to stay away from these cretins!
Johanna fished around in her pocket and pulled out her remote control. Kaoru braced himself for another shock.
And this time, it was Johanna who collapsed on the ground.
Artemis: Mwa ha ha ha! I built in a rebound.
The others looked at the steaming heap of Johanna laying on the ground. They almost felt pity for her. Almost...
Kaoru: Artemis, can you take this off?
Artemis: Of course! Gimme.
Artemis grabbed Kaoru's arm and began tinkering once more. In a few short moments, he succeeded in removing the armband. Kaoru helped Johanna stand.
Kaoru: Let's go somewhere where we can talk in private.
Kaoru led Johanna to a corner of the annex building where nobody was around. He held out the armband he once wore and put it in her hand.
Kaoru: Here. I think it's best if you don't come around us anymore.
Johanna sniffled a little.
Johanna: But why? We have fun together!
Kaoru: I'll admit, some of it was nice. I really don't care for getting shocked six times a day though.
Johanna: Okay, then we just won't use the armband anymore!
Kaoru: To tell the truth, I really don't want a girlfriend right now. I'm perfectly happy just hanging out with my friends. Besides, you're only with me to make Artemis jealous, and it's not working.
Johanna sniffled some more and a tear rolled down her cheek.
Johanna: But... but... I need a boyfriend!
Johanna: I just... It's just that... I need a boyfriend!
Kaoru: I think you should think hard about that for awhile. It's not going to be me though.
Kaoru: Goodbye, Johanna.
Without another word, Kaoru turned and walked away, back towards the table to rejoin his friends. Johanna just stood where she was, unsure of what to do.
Note to readers: For the record, Artemis won the bet. :)
End of Volume 3. Stick around for Volume 4!
All city images from SimCity 4.