Ura High School

With her bag slung over her shoulder, Sofia stepped off of the bus with a heavy yawn. It felt kind of weird to bring a PET to school, after coming from her high-profile Netopian boarding school that had banned them. She had never had a PET before, due to how scarce her living conditions were prior to moving in with her aunt in Electopia, so it was a new experience on a lot of fronts. Though she technically had already completed a full course of education at her earlier school, a bit of an incident had caused it to shut down just before they had their big, certificate-granting examinations. Thus, she had to repeat a year in Electopian high school as a transfer student after moving. Luckily, the curriculum wasn't all too different from what she had learned, and it felt like a more laid-back resting year.

"Good morning, Langley!" "Hey, Langley!" "What's up, Langley!"

"Good morning!" Sofia repeated, to most of the greetings that were sent her way. It seemed like she had accrued somewhat of a following, being a foreign transfer student from Netopia and all. It wasn't all bad, but it was a bit tiring to respond to each one, as she didn't want to accidentally miss a greeting. Many of them were eager to talk to her, but for the most part, she dearly missed her old friends from her Netopian school, and it was slightly lonely to think that she wouldn't be able to spend more than a year with any of the people she talked to.

It was compounded by the fact that she had transferred into the senior year, where most students preferred to forego co-curricular activities and focused more on their examinations. Having peeked into most of the clubrooms after school, she found that many of them had very few senior students. Though the school didn't seem to have a kendo club, which would have been her first choice, it did have a karate club, which she had attempted to join. Unfortunately, her senior year schoolwork load often had her overburdened, and she had to quit early, much to the dismay of many juniors in the club. As a result, she was persuaded to simply join in as an unofficial member, where she would bring in her schoolwork, and observe passively while she did her work. Then, after she did her work, she would join in. It was a bit of a weird setup, and Sofia thought that if she wasn't as popular as she was, it wouldn't really have turned out the way it did.

"Hopefully today goes by fast!" she said to herself, as she entered through the front entrance.


As she had hoped, the day went by fairly quickly, with the exception of the last period, which was math. Calculus had never been her strong point, and she had received a hefty-looking pile of practice sheets to be sent in. She looked down at her bookbag, which contained the dreaded worksheets, and shook her head slightly, to keep her mind off of it. Sofia walked through the hallways, and out into the courtyard in order to make her way towards the Ura High's karate dojo. Even though it was a Monday, and practice was on Tuesday, she liked to visit the dojo anyway. It was always open to anyone who wanted some peace and quiet, and wanted a bit of fresh air compared to the library.

Sofia looked up at the impressive-looking building as she took off her shoes at the entrance. She was always somewhat surprised that they had an entirely separate dojo, since as far as she knew, Ura High never really had a strong karate team. Maybe the financier of the school had some kind of affection for the martial art. Sliding open the traditional folding screen doors, she called out to no one in particular. "Excuse me..."
Well, this was awkward. Leslie stood just outside the gates, with a rare feeling of nervousness. "I've walked through these gates a thousand times...why am I nervous about this time?"

"Well, it's your first time since you graduated. And this time it's about maybe getting a job. One that'd pull you a bit away from the dojo, no less."

"...Rhetorical question."

"Oh...sorry. But you know as well as anyone sitting around wringing your hands won't help. Just go on in!"

"Yeah...but it's weird. It's not like I've been gone that long. There'll still be a lot of people that know me...ah, fuck it. I'm going in." And into the courtyard she went. There weren't that many students, but any and all upper-classmen turned her way after noting what looked like a weird karate girl entering the corner of their eye.

"Whoa, is that Battle?"

"I think so...what's she doing here?"

"How should I know? ...She's not here to beat us up, right...?"

"Nah, she would've already done that if she was going to. ...I think."

"Don't make eye contact and we won't have to find out."


Despite being a well-known recent grad, everyone seemed to be going out of their way to avoid acknowledging her. Though, there weren't any faculty around...they'd probably be warmer to her, though whether that was because she was genuinely closer to them or out of kindness wouldn't be evident until she actually ran into one.

...Speaking of running into one, there was someone else in front of her headed for the Karate Club dojo. She couldn't tell from there, but...she didn't seem to be the kind of person to normally head there. Also, she couldn't tell who it was...odds were she was either a first-year, or a transfer. Not that she cared...but she was kinda curious about why she was going there...especially since there was a small chance it was going to be her club in the near future. Let's just sneak in behind her, and see what happens...

Not much happened, though, aside from the other woman taking a look at the building as she took off her shoes. Time to intervene. She walked up (unintentionally still being very quiet) to her, and took a look at it herself. She might have never joined the club, but she knew the story of this building well. "Nice, isn't it? It's officially known as the Hayate Batoru Dojo, after a student who saved the school from a shooting by subduing the attacker. Because karate was near and dear to that student's heart, the school built an incredible dojo to serve as the Karate Club's headquarters. That student never joined, though...said it would only hold him back. Still, they named the building after him, and even to this day, they make sure to keep it in amazing condition. I dunno why, the man's dead. Maybe they don't wanna piss off his son or something."
Sofia jumped slightly as an unfamiliar voice snuck up on her, and began to monologue about the dojo's history. Her hand nearly went to the extensible metal rod she kept hidden at her hip at all times, before pulling herself back. "O-Oh, I see. I'm... er, yeah, it's a really nice building. I don't think I've heard that story before. Thank you for telling me?" she said, slightly awkwardly. Who was this girl, and why did she just start rattling off like that?

Despite looking young enough to be a student still, she certainly didn't seem like she was from the school itself; Sofia didn't recall seeing someone like her around the school. Another reason for her doubt, of course, was the extremely odd attire she appeared to be wearing: the top half of a white karate gi outfit, along with what appeared to be some kind of skintight shorts peeking out of the bottom.

All in all, the girl looked a little bit like some errant delinquent kid who stole her father's black belt, which was, incidentally, the same color as the belt around the girl's head. Her jacket, dangerously left belt-less, felt rather liable to just pop out if she moved wrong. Maybe she was an older student? Even then, why was she in that strange outfit? "Um, sorry, but are you... from the school? I don't think I've seen you around here, though I did just transfer in."
"Well, you're welcome! There probably aren't many who still know that story nowadays." Leslie folded her arms, a little sad at that fact. "I bet you're wondering, 'who's this chick, and why does she know about the dojo?'...actually, I'm that student's granddaughter! Name's Leslie Battle...or Batoru, if you really like the Electopian pronunciation. I don't, but whatever floats your boat." Now that she could see her front, the girl definitely was a student, but definitely wasn't someone she recognized...ah, a transfer student? Made sense. "Ah, nah, I graduated with the last class. But it seems like they wanna hire me on, for some reason...I dunno why, but I thought if I came here I could find out."

She reached out and stretched for a moment, causing herself to pop out...if it wasn't for that pink sports bra, that would've been quite the introduction. Even so, Sofia would definitely know who the bustier of the two was. "So, who're you? No offense, but you don't really look like the Karate Club type...then again, maybe you do, I never joined it. Sure, I probably could've filled their trophy case, but I don't do it for the glory." She had had enough issues fitting in with everyone else without sapping the fun out of the Karate Club...after all, what good was trying to climb the ranks when you'd peak at a distant #2?
As she listened to Leslie's introduction, Sofia nodded slightly. The girl's explanation made sense, but, well, she didn't really think that it was a sensible way of dressing much. But if the school wanted to hire her, then she must've been some kind of karate prodigy, especially if her claimed heritage was to be believed. Though it wasn't difficult to believe, as she saw Leslie stretch out, exposing her midsection and showing off her muscular form. Well, if anything, she certainly was confident in her own body, she thought, as she tried not to focus on the slightly larger upper torso part.

"Ah, pleased to meet you, then, Ms. Battle. Or, uh, should I just call you Battle?" said Sofia, slightly uncertain as to how close she was supposed to be with this new person, if they were supposed to be an instructor. "My name's Sofia Langley, class 3-B, I'm from Crescent City in Netopia. I'm not really an official member of the club anymore, I was just asked to stick around by the juniors. Back in Netopia, I studied a bit of a mishmash of stuff here and there, but--" she started, as she took out the extendable metal rod she kept at her hip, and allowed it to project to its full six-foot length. "I've focused a bit on bojutsu, and some other similar arts. It's always interesting to see what you can do with just a stick. I always keep this rod around, though, it's kind of a keepsake."

Sofia then returned the rod to its place, and looked back at the dojo, and at Leslie. "Oh, I was just going to hang around here for a bit. Practice is tomorrow, Wednesday, and Friday, so on days like these I just use the place to do my homework, since nobody ever really comes around here when the library's air-conditioned. If you're going to use the place for something I could leave, I don't want to be a bother."
"Well, I'd rather you call me Leslie. I'm not exactly much older, ya know." Leslie finally got greetings of her own, as Sofia introduced herself. "Nice to meet ya, Sofia! 3-B, huh? I was 3-A, myself. Mrs. Yukashita was weird...nice enough, but she had this thing where she'd leave, then the second anyone started something, she'd pop out of nowhere to tell them off. Creepy as hell, be glad you don't have to deal with that...Crescent City? Not a clue where that is. Geography wasn't really my strong point. Me, I'm from right here in Yoka. My family's lived here for centuries...so I don't really need to know much of that crap, anyway."

Hmm. Not an official member? "Really? Why...oh, right, probably have to worry about exams and crap. I didn't have to worry about college, though...my career was decided the day I was born." For better or worse...Sofia then pulled out a metal rod, revealing it as a weapon. "Bojutsu, eh? Not bad. I like the concept of the bo: the simpler the weapon, the more versatile it is. I'd take it over a sword, that's for sure. Though if you ask me, the ultimate weapon is the human body. With training, you can do just about anything with it!" Or almost anything, at least. "Keepsake? Of what? Someone give it to you?"

Hmm, so she was just going to relax here? Kind of a weird place to relax, but whatever. "Ah. I just went home, myself. My father's not even there half the time, so it was more quiet than anywhere here. Anyway, knock yourself out here if you want. I can't exactly tell you to go away, even if I wanted to, can I?" She said, having already noted that her family was responsible for it existing. "I don't think anyone's in there...they said they'd be expecting, so you'd think they'd say hi or something if they heard me." She casually opened the sliding door, revealing the complete and utter lack of humanity within. "Yep, no one's here. Either I'm early, they're late, or they didn't think I'd actually come over so no one bothered to show up. ...Yeah, any of those sounds right."

Well, since she had nothing else to, might as well talk to the other girl. "So, if you're an unofficial member...how much do you know about karate, exactly? A little? A lot? Not a damn thing? A damn thing? ...Just curious, mind you."
"Ahaha, all right, then it's Leslie, then," laughed Sofia, as she walked in past the strange girl, and headed into the training hall. Flicking open the lights, she found it a bit empty, which was expected of a Monday. She headed past the main hall into a side door, and pushed it open, in order to look out into the side garden. A gentle breeze blew through the opening, and Sofia took a deep breath in appreciation. "This is much better than the stuffy air-conditioned library, I've always thought," she said, as she sat down on the edge of the little steps that would lead out into the side garden.

"Anyway, uh, I don't know much beyond having practiced the basic punches, kicks and blocks, I guess? I'm not really sure how much that is in terms of an expert black belt. You could teach me a thing or two while I'm here," said Sofia, waving her legs about a bit on the steps, and looking back at Leslie. "Oh, and that part about the keepsake's a bit of a secret I'll keep for now. Maybe if you buy me lunch," she giggled.
Leslie watched Sofia walk on in, and turned the light on...unsurprisingly, it resembled the training hall back home, though with more emphasis on people being comfortable...that did not sit right with her. "Wha?! This really is a nice place...it's too nice! How are you supposed to toughen mind and spirit when you've practically got a friggin' spa going on in here?! I'm surprised there isn't a manicurist on call in here...yeesh, no wonder Ura never wins anything, this place is turning them into total pussies!" To the average observer, that might come across as a bit strange, considering there didn't actually seem to be much in the way of amenities. But, chairs? Tables? There was even a computer in the corner...a true birthplace of warriors had no need for such things.

"I wasn't sure about taking that job, but seeing this...I think I might have to, for the sake of all martial arts." While she'd ranted, the other girl had opened the side door and sat down on the steps. Wait, was that a..."There's a garden here? ...Please tell me there's a gardening club I don't remember that takes care of that, and not the karate club." Because if they did...hmm. Actually, maybe that's why they wanted her to come there, to convince her to join up. It was definitely working, if it was.

So, she claimed to know the basics. Leslie nodded, but she certainly wasn't getting her hopes up. "Well, no offense, but if you learned them here, you probably didn't learn anything at all. Think you can give me a quick demonstration? Just show me a basic punch. You don't have to hit anything, I just want to see your form." ...Karate form. Nothing dirty.

...Ha. Buy her lunch. That was a good one. Leslie couldn't help but snicker for a moment before continuing. "Yeah, I'll pass on that, thanks. I don't overly care, anyway." That would require having money, and that was something she didn't have. That she even had what she did was a rarity. Though, she WAS a little curious, if Sofia wasn't just spilling the beans about it...
"Ahaha, well, a free lunch is always worth an attempt, I always say," joked Sofia, as she stood up from the steps. Tilting her head back, she looked back at the garden; it wasn't by any means the fanciest arrangement. Some hardy plants, a few small flowers here and there, and a rock arrangement. "Also, um... as far as I know, Kazami-sensei takes care of the garden? She saw the place full of weeds in the back and decided to just up and knock the place out one day. We water the plants, but she takes care of most of the work by herself. She sometimes watches practice." Leaning in towards Leslie slightly, she added in a whisper, "I mean, you know, she lives by herself and all, so it's hard to say no."

Sofia then cleared her throat, and faced Leslie, starting with a brief bow. She then turned towards the front of the dojo, and widened her stance, planting her feet firmly on the wooden floor. With both palms outstretched, she took a deep breath, as she crossed her arms over each other, and drew a fist close to her side. For a few moments, her eyes were locked onto the picture of the old man at the end of the dojo, before sharply throwing her fist forward in a quick jab. As quickly as the punch came, she straightened back up, and turned to Leslie.

"Okay, how was that?" she said with a smile.
As soon as Sofia mentioned who was tending the garden, Leslie nodded in understanding. "Ah, her. Gotcha. ...So long as you're not doing more than watering when she can't." Now, for the punch. Please, please don't suck...and there it was. It...was less awful than she was fearing, honestly. "That's not bad, for a beginner. Quick, strong, and decisive...once you actually did it. I dunno about that arm crossing crap, though, that was totally unnecessary. But other than that, you've got some potential, I think. But, I think I can improve your speed and form right here, right now. Watch this."

She walked over, such that she was standing in front of, but about 15 feet away, from the other girl. She quickly assumed a stance, in which both her arms were raised in front of her, her left a bit ahead of the right. "All right, I'm going to punch now." And so she did...with enough power and speed to break the very air. She held the pose; she wanted Sofia to notice something about it. "Now, look at my arm. ...Not the one I punched with, the left one. See how it's a bit to my side, fist ready? If you punch, then keep your other arm like that..." She proceeded to bring the other arm forward, somehow managing to produce a wallop even faster and stronger than before. "See? It was in perfect position for a follow-up attack. And now my right arm's in that same position. Think of it as holding onto a pulley. When you move one arm forward, move the other one back. When you move one back, move the other forward. That way, you've always got another move at the ready. This also works with thrusts, chops, and similar arm attacks, so you don't even have to punch, if you don't want."

Leslie got out of karate mode, and took a good look at her impromptu student. "What do you think? Wanna try it? It's just a tip, really...I can't really make you try it out if you don't wanna."
Sofia crossed her arms as she nodded along to Leslie's explanation. Her head tilted slightly at times, as she tried to understand what her upperclassman was teaching. Though the speed at which Leslie's punch was slightly unnerving; she could've sworn she heard an audible whip in the air from just the first punch. "Hm, okay, so it's like... like, uh, what was that thing in physics class where everything is harder to stop once you get it moving? Mersher... Marsher... Sherber... Nersher? Um, something with a 'shur' at the end... or middle. I can't remember. Ugh, Electopian terms are weird," she said, shaking her head to avoid thinking too hard about it, lest her brain exploded.

She got back into her stance, and took a few light swings to get a feel of what she had just been taught. It was true, her punches were feeling a lot more fluid once she followed them up from a previous motion. It sort of felt like how she moved with large sweeping motions with her rod, to allow the rod's weight to assist her in performing them. "Well, let's just try it out and see how much I can practice with your tip," she said, taking a deep breath, and drawing back one fist to her side. With a quick exhale, she thrust her fist forward. It didn't have the same blustering shockwave as Leslie's did, but she followed it up anyway with her other fist, chaining into a one-two. Indeed, her fist felt slightly more pronounced with the second punch, and the third jab was mostly for fun at that point.

She pulled back into a lighter stance, and waved her hand slightly. "I think that was a little better!" she grinned. "I think we might need to stretch if we do anything else though. Dad always harped on about pulling a muscle and whatnot."
"Yeah, exactly! It's all in, uh..." ...Crap, what WAS that word? Sofia was ringing a bell, but...meh. She wasn't thinking too hard about it, and so neither was she. "Anyway, you've totally got it. It's like that." Hmm, looked like she was going to try it. Leslie crossed her arms, and watched...afterward, she smiled and nodded. "Yup, that's it! It's a very simple technique, but it's also very effective. Don't try it with non-arm based attacks, though...you need super good balance to pull it off with kicks, and it makes it really easy for your opponent to knock you over."

With that, the martial artist took a quick look outside...didn't look like anyone was coming at the moment. Lame. Sofia seemed like she was okay with continuing, but she shook her head at that idea. "Nah, I don't wanna keep you from your studies. I just wanted to show you that, maybe you'll surprise a few club members the next time you participate in practice. ...Though, your dad's big on stretching too, huh? Mine always made me warm up and cool down whenever he was teaching me something...didn't matter if I ran 10 miles right beforehand, I was doing some pre-lesson stretches."

Naturally, this segued right into her...sitting down cross legged. "I'll shut my hole so you can do homework or whatever. But, if you get bored, I'll be right here. Just...don't expect me to be a big help if you get stuck on a problem or something..."
"Hmm, alright, I guess I'll do my homework," said Sofia, making sure that the tone of disappointment in her voice came through. If she had someone telling her to practice some moves instead of doing math, especially someone who was supposedly going to teach soon, she could've used that as an excuse. Also wow, Leslie's dad sounded a lot stricter than her dad was. At least, as far as she remembered, besides the martial arts classes, her dad spoiled her pretty hard. Only when she had to take care of his failing health did she realize how much she had been coddled, and she learned a bit of independence.

Looking around, Sofia picked a comfortable looking wall, and sat down against it as she pulled out the handouts from the bookbag. Placing one of them out in front of her, she could already feel the lethargy setting in as lines upon lines of complicated-looking formulas stared back up at her. Even the first question was blanking out on her already. Leslie didn't sound like she was an expert in calculus either, so there was only one avenue of assistance that she could turn to. Taking out her white PET from her bookbag, she turned it on to find her purple-skinned bandage-wrapped Navi still asleep on the displayed holographic figure.

"Scourge, wake up, hey, wake up."

The Navi's image blinked groggily as she yawned, stretching out on a floor Sofia couldn't see. "What the hell do you want..."

"Hey, Scourge, could you help me with this bit? Says something about 'piecewise integral'. Ugh, I hate integrals," asked Sofia.

The Navi blinked incredulously, as she lazily looked at Sofia's face, and the exercises on the paper. "... I'm not your damn calculator. Should've paid attention in class," rebuked Scourge, much to Sofia's disappointment. Even as the teenage girl pouted, Scourge simply rubbed one of her eyes, hidden behind a fallen bandage, as her other eye wandered about the room. It was then that she saw their cross-legged companion. "Who's she? She looks super serious, sitting like that."

Sofia's face brightened slightly. "Oh, she's supposed to be... uh, teaching here soon, I think? Her name's Leslie Battle. Leslie, this is Scourge, my Navi."

"I'm not your Navi either! Gah! I'm just-- staying here for a bit, until I can find out whose," retorted Scourge, before realizing that she was probably supposed to have done something. Turning to Leslie, she continued, "Oh, yeah, uh, hi, I guess."
...Okay, she was sitting down. What now? She should probably look like she was doing something serious or something...ah, she could just close her eyes for a bit. Then she'd look like she was meditating instead of just being bored. Yep, that'd do it. Good thing she wasn't sleepy.

Oh, and nice try, Sofia, but you weren't guilting her into getting you out of your homework. That was important, too. No matter how much it sucked. That said, she noticed the other girl was starting to talk someone, so she opened up one eye to see who...ah, just her Navi. She was a little disappointed it wasn't a human, that'd give her something else to do...

...As she listened in, the term managed to draw in Leslie's curiosity. She got up, walked over, and took a quick peek at Sofia's handout. Piece...what? "...The fuck is this?! I don't even know what subject this is supposed to be! What are you, in the gifted program?"

"Real smooth, Leslie." Leslie's PET screen suddenly turned on, revealing the even curvier martial artist inside. "...Whaaaaat?! Is that even English?!"

"I know, right? How is that even high school...whatever it's supposed to be? If I had to do that, I think I'd just quit school...uh, not that YOU should. Pretty sure you're better at this than me. I mean, you can at least pronounce this crap, right?"

And then, Navi introductions! "Scourge, huh? ...No offense, but you don't really look like a scourge of anything." ...Unless it was a scourge of barbers. Bandages for hair would put them out of business fast.

"Sorry about her, she's not usually this...dense." The pink dressed Navi scratched the back of her head, deciding to be embarrassed enough for the both of them. Heaven knew Leslie wouldn't be. "I'm Martia! Nice to meet you, Scourge, Sofia!" ...For some reason, even though Scourge looked like she was all set for Halloween, Martia was finding her oddly relaxing. Maybe it was the fact that for once, she didn't have to worry about her getting breast envy.

"Oh, and I'm MAYBE teaching. Probably not. I just wanted to find out why they picked someone that hasn't even been graduated for a year."
As Leslie expressed her apparent disbelief in her math homework, Sofia smiled awkwardly. Well, at least the martial artist girl wasn't kidding when she mentioned her not being a big help. "U-Um... I don't think this is any different from the regular course? At least, I don't think Yamitaro-sensei would teach us anything outside of that... But maybe his Navi printed out the wrong handouts?" said Sofia, attempting to rationalize the rather difficult questions she had been burdened with. Sifting through the papers, she definitely recognized some of the squiggly lines and letters as having been on the blackboard in class, but the secret to transforming them into coherent thought inside her head was undoubtedly missing.

Scourge stared down the Navi that was opposite her. Some kind of martial arts-focused one, no doubt, judging from the getup. Though for some reason, her operator had a problem with her name? "Huh? You got a problem with my name?" she said, showing off a row of teeth as she grit them in anger. A few of her bandages started to unfurl and laid themselves across her hand, and Scourge stretched them out rapidly to make a whip-like sound. Despite how fragile the bandages looked, it didn't snap at all, and made a very loud sound that wouldn't be out of place from an actual scourge.

Luckily, Martia seemed to be polite enough for the both of them, and she mellowed down slightly. The screws about her person emitted some purple smoke, and she appeared to scale down slightly in size, if anyone cared to notice. Scourge herself did, and grunted. Looking up at Sofia, she complained, "Man, you woke me up to do your math homework? Could've used a brawl or something. I could choke down some viruses right about now. S'not like you're getting anywhere with that homework."

"But.. I... Yeah, but," murmured Sofia, as she looked at her PET, and the stack of papers. Certainly, everything in that handout was currently alien to her. And it wasn't due until next week anyway, but...

"If anything, you can see how she fights too; I think she's got some fight in her," said Scourge, gesturing towards Martia, who certainly looked like she'd be able to display some nice martial arts, with actual targets too. Sofia looked rather conflicted, and turned to Leslie wordlessly for confirmation.
"Problem? Nope. It's just...meh, I can't really put it into words. Never mind." Maybe there was some definition of scourge she didn't know? Leslie shrugged, making no attempt to elaborate further.

"Ugh, I am SO sorry about my operator!" She glared at the martial artist, but soon softened as she returned her gaze to the fellow Navi. "Ooh, battling! Sounds like fun!"

"Uh, we could, but..."

"I, for one, think Sofia could use some after school fun before getting down to business! And I don't exactly see anyone coming this way, so it's not like we're gonna get interrupted!"

"...All right, whatever. I guess I could go for some Net action." Leslie looked over at the other operator, who was...looking back at her. "Honestly, you should probably make sure that actually IS your homework before actually doing it. Because seriously, look at it. It's like someone just threw up a whole bunch of letters onto that paper."

"Besides, I bet you can learn a trick or two from me! I'd say I have even better technique than Leslie!"

"In that she's completely flawless. ...When it comes to martial arts technique, I mean." She was perfect in other ways, too, though. "But yeah, if you wanna, I'm up for it. Question is, where should we do it? Electopian, foreign? Doesn't matter to me, so you can pick."
"I-I mean, well, I can ask Yamitaro-sensei about it tomorrow, I guess. I don't think the handout is due until next week...?"

"Great, more time for battling for me then. Though I'm flat-out bored by the network in Sofia's backwater neighborhood," spat out Scourge, rebinding her bandages from her makeshift whip onto her hand. "What's the next town over? At least that'll give me something to flex over."

Sofia appeared to give it some thought, as she bobbed her head from side to side. "Umm, I think Kotobuki is pretty close? Does Kotobuki have a net? Can you even go into a net without going there for real first? I don't think we have enough time to get there on the Metro before dinner if we do."

Scourge's palm met her face briefly. "No, I mean-- just jack in directly, I can pick out the exit node before I get uploaded."

The operator's comprehension seemed to shut down gradually as the words "exit node" and "upload" traversed her brain. She shook her head before looking around the room, trying to find a jack-in point for them to use. Luckily, the old man's picture at the front of the dojo appeared to have one. It wasn't really the most respectful place, when one really kind of thought about it, but Sofia wasn't about to question the architect's sensibilities.

"Uh, okay, let's see..." muttered Sofia, as she pressed some buttons on her PET, while pointing it at the picture. "Jack... in?"

[Next Thread: Kotobuki Net]
"Wait, that's not due until next week? And you're starting NOW? ...Wow, you've got more get up and go when it comes to homework than me." Leslie meant that as a compliment, but...well, it hardly seemed like it. Scourge's remark caused her to scowl at the Navi, though. "My family's lived here for centuries, and I happen to like this 'backwater neighborhood', ya b-"

"Boon companion! Yep, that's what you are, since we're gonna bust together! And I'm finishing my operator's sentence! Totally a thing I do, and she wasn't going to say ANYTHING ELSE." Martia gave her operator a glare of her own. "Hmm, next town over...I dunno if I'd say Yoka has anything that really fits that, but-" Sofia interrupted, and added in her suggestion. "Kotobuki works. Its area had been down for a while, but they finally reopened it not too long ago!"

"Which is great and all, but I always got a bad feeling from that place. I dunno why, but that part of the Net always freaks me out a little."

"Oh, come on. I know you're not scared of it."

"Not scared. It's just...like I get a bad vibe from it. I dunno, it's probably just me. Whatever. And yeah, you can access any area from any jack in point. Martia says it's a little bit of a pain if you go to an area besides where you are, though."

"A little bit, but nothing to worry about."

"See? So, guess we'll just-" The martial artist was interrupted as the other girl jacked in...the picture? Really, not that computer in the corner? Granted, it looked kinda old. Really old. Ancient. Yeah, the picture was probably better, come to think of it. "In we go! Jack in! Martia, Execute!" Click! Pew! Infrared beam into the port, for the win.

As the battle concluded, Sofia exhaled in relief, and wiped her brow with her arm. Her eyes widened as she was surprised to see that it was covered in sweat. Apparently they'd forgotten to turn any fans on beforehand, and virus busting was a lot more intense than she had given any thought to. Engrossed as she was in the activity, she hadn't noticed (nor did Leslie, it seemed), and was now shielding her eyes from the late afternoon sun that was beginning to come in. Her Ura High white uniform blouse felt thoroughly soaked with sweat, and she groaned to herself in frustration.

"Wait, ugh, we forgot to turn on the fans, I'm sweating like a hog here," complained Sofia, fanning herself with the neck of her uniform, though it didn't seem to work too well with how sweaty it was. "You wanna call it quits, Leslie? I think I'm gonna see if I can sneak into the gym showers or something. Screw walking home in this."
Well, that was...fun? Somehow, seeing Martia fight tentacle monsters wasn't as great as she was hoping. "That was, uh...quite the experience. Glad things like that don't exist in the real world." Especially not as mind controlling robots. Nope, those DID NOT EXIST AT ALL. ...Huh? The fans? Again, what kind of a dojo was this? "Really? You think this is hot? ...Ah, damn." Leslie wiped her forehead with her fingers, and was dismayed upon seeing how much liquid was now on them. "Great, I don't wanna be sweaty for that meeting..." ...Uh-oh. Better look down...phew. Her chest still left something to the imagination, despite her increasingly moist exterior. "This was nice and all, but now I could use a quick shower."

Fortunately, Sofia had the same idea. "I dunno about sneak, but that's where I'm headed." Get in, wash herself off, get out. Nothing fancy. "Looks like the Navis'll be fine without us, so let's go!...But you oughta lead, what with you still being a student here."