the innovation only Chili's can provide

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[Q&Q]

Listen: major drama on the TL in the form of a controversial announcement. It's happening: Chili's and Ancient Tasteberry are teaming up to bring you the latest innovation in protein delivery vehicles: the passion spice cold brew winterbean triple-wrap. All the wisdom and flavor you've come to expect from Ancient Tasteberry, merged with the innovation and seasonality only Chili's can provide.

This is unbelievable. How could this happen??? Qynka scrolls the TL, trying to catch her breath. She's on her way into High/Low High but WHO cares right now. The TL shows the two brands talking back and forth to each other, exchanging cute messages and heart emojis. They were sworn enemies a few hours ago? Since forever? Everyone's freaking out. Qynka just feels like this is all happening way too fast.

Like, OK: Ancient Tasteberry is a spin-off of SoulFeed, which in turn is part of Power+Sanity, one of the biggest brands in the city. But Chili's is such a localized, artisanal shop. They only have like 5 locations? And passion spice is one of their most essential locally-sourced flavor innovations. Their whole identity was NOT being SoulFeed. Was Chili's going to get subsumed by the larger brand? They would ruin the menu, destroy everything that made Chili's such an authentic experience.

AND. PLUS. A bunch of people have been engaged to participate in the news-breaking, posting personal stories about how excited and personally affected they are by this new partnership. ONE OF WHOM is Sydrifase? How had they not mentioned this at all? Like NDAs are one thing but what about friendship? What about trust? Sydrifase knew this announcement would throw Qynka for a loop and yet had said nothing! This was a betrayal on multiple levels!! An attack from all sides!!! Sydrifase. Chili's. How could you. Drama!?!

Qynka does her best to physically shake off her stress and anguish as she walks through the High doors to High/Low High. She needs to focus up. It's her first day of school and frankly she does not need this sh*t.

She enters the lobby, which is pristine and white and sparkledy, hoping Qannen will be there waiting for her as promised. Instead she finds herself stopped dead in her tracks, face to face with a life-size bright golden statue of Lamantine. Her dead girlfriend, gilded and posed in the center of the lobby, with a plaque that reads SOME BRANDS ARE ETERNAL. People have placed all kinds of food and flowers and trinkets around it.

It's a very gutting, emotion thing to experience at whatever time of day this is and Qynka feels like her heart has been ripped out of her chest. It's way too much. Is this supposed to be a message of some kind? Why did no one mention this to her. Why is no one telling her anything today?

She can't breathe. She feels dizzy. She stands almost motionless in the foyer as students stream past her, moving swiftly towards the safety of their homerooms. Qynka's eyes stay locked on the statue of Lamantine. It's a good likeness; she looks timeless, graceful. The futuristic spaceship curves of her impossible body immortalized forever. Qynka stays transfixed until eventually, slowly, she realizes the lobby has gone quiet. Everyone is gone, except for 3 students, who are all staring at her. They're all wearing TopSlash overcoats in bright, bold prints.

Qynka blinks herself back to the present. "Um hi good morning I'm kind of experiencing emotional trauma right now, can one of you direct me to the student infirmary. I'd like to peruse the chemical selection."

"We'll direct you to HELL, Qynkacyde!!!" one of the people responds, as they all drop their overcoats, revealing pretty crummy ForeverChic twin sets. They're Underclass?

Qynka takes a step back. "What do you want? You're not supposed to be here."

"What we want is to trade your body and clothes for resources," one says, as they advance on her.

"And YOU'RE not supposed to be here either," another adds. "Lamantine should be here but you killed her. Why should YOU get exist while our queen remains only in memory?"

"Umm but she was Upperclass," Qynka says. "Why do you even care, you would have been fighting against her."

"We still looked up to her!"

"Ramilams forever!!!"

And with that the 3 students attack, all at once. None of this multiple-foes-attacking-one-at-a-time thing you see on shows all the time. They descend on Qynka, who gets in a couple good jabs, but then someone kicks her from behind and she's on the ground and they're on top of her, punching, kicking, stomping her anywhere they can. Qynka curls up, trying to protect herself, but there's nothing she can do, nowhere she can go. She tries to at least keep her face hidden, so she can still take good selfies while the rest of her body heals. Assuming she even survives this ordeal.

Then there's the 3 quick sounds, like a sword slicing through the air, and then the sound of 3 bodies falling to the ground, and then nothing. The attack is over.

Qynka slowly uncurls herself and raises her head to look around. She sees her 3 attacks unconscious on the ground, with a small girl standing over them. She has long black hair and a fitted DemonRealm bodysuit in charcoal. She has pure white orbs for eyes, and black makeup that radiates out from each one like an exploding star.

The girl reaches out her hand to Qynka. "Come with me if you want to maintain the sanctity of your brand."

///

WHOA who is this chick she seems badass? The next chapter will feature 100% more of her. MORE ⚡️ SOON ⚡️ OK ⚡️  ILU ⚡️

 MORE ⚡️ SOON ⚡️ OK ⚡️  ILU ⚡️

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