Rose's ElecTown based High School

Paying attention was one thing. Genuinely caring was entirely different. The former wasn't an issue for any good student, the latter was an issue for this particular good student in this particular class. She persevered, though, and somehow lasted until the bell. Her things were already under her arm and she was in the hallway in a split second.

"Hey Rose! Over here!" Called a particularly enthusiastic pal. Said pal was standing a bit further down the hall, and was hopping and waving with excitement. Rose decided it was in her best interest to get there as soon as possible or risk causing a scene.

"Hey, what's up?" She asked the girl.

"Did you hear?" She asked, now quieter, and looking at Rose expectantly. Rose was a master of information gathering, but she hadn't been looking. And no one could doubt Ayumi's gossiping ear.

"Hear what?" Rose echoed, now growing more excited, too.

"Hear that we're having a Surprise test today in NetBat." Rose's face clearly showed that she wasn't amazed yet, so Ayumi picked up on that and went on. "It's not just any test though. It's a competition. We're going to be Marathon battling. Grades will be based off the normal stuff, you know. But there's a twist."

Ayumi stopped here, waiting for prompting from Rose. The gossiper loved to keep a captive audience, and she knew when she had them all locked up. Rose had no choice. "What's the twist?"

"The twist, " she said with a devilish smile, "is that the winner, between all the classes, get's a 50,000 zenny scholarship. " Rose could feel her jaw metaphorically drop. She nearly gasped even. It was hard to believe, but Ayumi was a trusted source. Even so, Rose had to wonder if it mattered.

"Well, that's great, but what are our chances of actually winning?" She asked. It seemed very unlikely. Her friend didn't seem as worried.

"Actually, we have a chance. A slim chance, but a chance all the same. It's limited to our grade, and our school, so we have that. Also, we're the last class going in to it." Rose raised her eyebrows at this point, so Ayumi corrected herself. "Well, we're the last honors class. The other class that happens during this period might as well be remedial, so they won't be getting it, I'm sure."

Rose wasn't sure she agreed that the other class was that far behind, but she continued to listen anyway. "And the current record is 19 battles. Shinji from third period got it before giving up." She may not have guessed that. She didn't know much about this Shinji kid.

She actually had never been much for Net Battling. She had only kept it at honors level because she was in that level for everything else. It was fun, sure, but Rose was far from a natural. "Ayumi, I don't think I could make it that far. I mean, 19 battles is a lot." Her friend wouldn't hear of it.

"You might as well try. It'll be fun. I mean, I'm sure I'll beat you, but you might as well aim for second, right?" Ayumi ender her line with a challenging smirk. The comment had been in good nature, and Rose felt a bit better now. "But we better hurry."


"Because," Ayumi explained, as she began to hurry off with Rose following, "We need all our stuff." This surprised Rose a bit. Usually they were given their materials in order to make it fair.

"Are you sure?" She asked.

"Would I lie to you?" It was true, Ayumi was a good friend. "Now come on!" She chased after her friend and they made their way to their lockers. While Ayumi fiddled around with her own locker, Rose grabbed everything she needed for busting. She hadn't expected this at all.

"Oh, so you're ready to do some real busting?" SummonerMan asked, rhetorically.

"I guess so, Summ. You excited?" She asked, pulling her things out and closing the locker behind her.

"I haven't tried out those new chips yet." He answered with a shrug. Rose then rejoined her friend, who glanced beyond her at a clock down the hall.

"Oh darn! Let's run!" She exclaimed, breaking into the run she'd mentioned. With Ayumi setting pace, Rose followed, and they made it to class just in time. It was a pleasant surprise. They were close. "This sort of thing happens when you spend time with people like Ayumi, though. Or Sabrina, for that matter. Exciting people."

Making her way to her seat, she had time to observe the class. The desks were set up in rows, facing each other, which was abnormal. There were about 30 students here already, which was the full class. The teacher seemed a bit off, too.

More accurately, the teacher seemed positively giddy. As soon as the bell to begin class rang, she closed the door and began to speak. "Everyone is here. Figures, the one day I'd want people missing they'd all show up." She couldn't call herself surprised though. It was a class full of good students and there was a cash prize to be won.

"Oh good, good, good!" The teacher shrilled. "Everyone appears to be here." She then went over to the front of the classroom and yanked down on what had been a rolled up sheet of paper. The paper announced the same thing the teacher went onto, in large colorful letters.

"It's time for our very own Class Wide Net Battling Tournament!" In retrospect Rose decided that if possible, these words would indeed have been written in large colorful letters, too.

She quickly outlined the rules, and Rose listened intently. It was a bit more difficult with the general murmur raising up from the peanut gallery, but she managed. Everyone would be battling in Netopia Net. You would go as long as you could without stopping. You could keep all your own rewards. People were to battle alone, no partners or assistance. Other subchips, SPs, Crosses, your own Chip Folder, and any Navicust arrangement were allowed.

Suddenly there were issues. "What if we didn't bring our folders?" "Subchips?" "That's not fair," and other similar cries went up. The teacher just smiled.

"Sorry Class. That's called always being prepared." Rose shot Ayumi a wink, and the girl returned it with a smile. She was truly lucky. Once the rules had been all explained, the teacher explained what their goal was: like Ayumi had said, the current lead was 19 battles. So with everything outlined, the class made their way to their seats and jacked in at once.

"Alright Summ. You wanted to test out your stuff. Here's your chance." Rose said as she jacked her Navi into the Network. He was enthused. Or as enthused as the cool Navi got.

"Jack in, Summ!"

[Jack in!]
"One down, 19 to go," Rose thought, with a shrug. "It'll only get harder, though, so it's a good thing it was easy." It would have sucked if she had lost their first match.

She looked around the room quickly. No one seemed to have lost yet. It figured. She couldn't have expected anyone to lose the first round. There were some people who hadn't finished yet, but she was sure they'd finish just fine.

"Yes!" came a voice, familiar in its excitement, from across the room. "Ayumi's doing well, I guess. That's good. For now. I still need to beat her." This made her smile once again.

SummonerMan hadn't lost any of his health, and the SP..."Shoot!" Rose snapped. "Summ, you never summoned the card. Do that before the next fight, please." she was rubbing her eyes now. This was slightly embarrassing. "I shouldn't let it get to me, it was an honest mistake. But if I'm making mistakes like this, how am I supposed to get to battle 5, let alone battle 19?"

Rose didn't get too upset though. She kept her cool. SummonerMan did as he was told and announced his plans to continue, so she stayed on her toes.

Rose found herself sighing a bit in relief, seeing how well the battle went. She caught herself before it was too obvious, though. Sadly, the kid sitting next to her had still caught it.

"Getting in over your head already, huh? Are you even on your fourth battle yet?" Rose didn't approve of this comment, and it made her suddenly much more competitive. "What an obnoxious comment. Not to mention his voice. Gah, loser, I'll show hum." She quickly turned to face him.

"No, I'm not. Sorry," she said, with a pleasant smile. "I guess not everyone finishes as quickly as you do." There was a backhanded stab in there somewhere, but she'd said it happily and innocently, before returning to her own screen. The boy was uncertain as to whether he'd been insulted or not, so he ended up doing nothing. His Navi did take a few hits while he'd been distracted though.

Rose regained focus. She could see that no one had gotten out, still, so she wasn't ready to admit any difficulty yet. She snuck a peek at Ayumi, who was blazing forward, excitedly as always.

After adjusting a hair and tucking it behind her ear, she spoke to her Navi, making sure he was ready to proceed. Once he'd given her a thumbs up, the three continued on.
The battles still weren't too serious, and few people were travelling quickly enough that they were into rough waters yet.

Rose smiled as she received a new chip, happy about the rules that allowed them to gain and keep chips this time. She could only assume others were starting to notice the benefit of this rule. Especially those who hadn't properly prepared for class.

As if on cue, she heard a very defeated sigh coming from somewhere behind her. Since SummonerMan wasn't currently in battle, she afforded herself this chance to turn around and check it out.

It seemed that someone had been defeated. It was Jin, a boy in her class who she would have placed somewhere around mid line. She wondered how such an average net battler had managed to drop out so early. A quick adventure in eaves dropping informed Rose that the poor guy hadn't brought any of his chips, so he had been at a severe disadvantage.

Rose once again silently thanked Ayumi. She could have been out too is she hadn't stopped back at her locker to make sure she had everything.

Even the indisputably worst net battler in the class, Haru, was still in, though Rose could see him fumbling and sweating in his own seat, so she could only assume he wouldn't be able to keep it up much longer. Rose likely would have assumed Jin was around her skill level, so she became even more grateful to Ayumi knowing with a bit of bad luck she could have been out before even Haru was fairly discouraging.

The jerk sitting next to her who had so rudely commented on her Net Battling earlier, Ken, seemed to be doing fine. From the excited encouragements on the other side of the room, Ayumi seemed to be enjoying herself still, as well.

SummonerMan appeared to be getting into something, though, so Rose regained focus, and turned back to her terminal.
Rose had been getting fairly into her battle. After it was over, she took a moment to look around. Ayumi seemed to be doing very well, but there weren't any substantial changes in the competitive pool.

She didn't have much time to appreciate everyone's hard work, though. Before she could get far, the fire alarm began blaring. "Everyone, please remain calm and exit the building in an orderly fashion," the teacher instructed. It was fairly routine. Rose couldn't believe it though. Someone else managed to cough up the question before she could get it out.

"But what about the competition!?"

"We'll have to cancel it for now. It should be rescheduled for some later point, if we have time to fit it into the lesson schedule."

Ayumi had, by now, caught up to Rose. "Sucks, huh?" she posed, rhetorically.

"Right. You were doing pretty well, weren't you?" Rose responded.

"No big deal. We'll get them next time." Ayumi grinned, accompanying the optimistic view with a fist pump. The two made their way out of the room, and continued on with their fire drill and their fairly routine school day.