Chapter Two

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Quotes from the manga are used along with names from the American release and English Translation-

~~~~

Power lines draped across Inkopolis Square like banners. Small brick buildings with vast neon signs lined up the left side of the nearly empty street. Advertisements were stacked on the fronts, nearly touching the flat roof. Towards the end was a golden bronze turtle. It's head barely peeked over the edge of the shop, staring down at the inklings and octolings passing beneath his nose.

Across the street were metal tiled like buildings. Two neon arrows diagonal from each other swirled to the center. Before the turtle was a light orange origami swan. Darken orange and pinkish-red splotches covered it like a giraffe's spots.

At the end of the road was a small shop. Two thin metal pillars hoisted up a canopy that held two arrows. Darken blue arrows crossed like an X, the ends split into three lines. Thin wires were heaved down from light bulbs peering over the canopy; two on each side of the arrows. Hoisted on top was a column of screens.

The wired like steel building was squared shape, one corner pointed towards the other end of the square. Squared and rectangular screens collaged the column, lighting up the entire square. On the bottom was a large, rectangular-shaped screen. Displayed on the screen were Pearl and Marina.

In the center was a white oval holding a rectangular screen. Pearl sat to the left in her light, lime green beanbag, dangling her legs. On the opposite side stood Marina at her DJ booth. Her fingers resting on the records, ready to spin them after Pearl finished speaking to the camera.

Aloha sealed his lips around the bamboo straw and slurped. He pinched the straw, squeaking the orange triangle flaps on the lid as he pulled it up and down.

"Aloha! Aloha!" Octoglasses snapped her fingers before Aloha's nose.

His eyelids snapped together as he perked his head up.

"We asked you if you think Mask will beat Blue Team?"

"It's not like you to be so out of it," Straw said, her voice low.

"Yo, what's on your mind? You were being very uncool during the Turf War."

"I'm always cool!" Aloha exclaimed. He swished the ice in his drink around before taking another sip. "I've just been thinking about a few things lately."

Resting his elbow on the table, Aloha nestled his chin into his knuckles. His eyes drifted away from the table along with his thoughts; wandering Crusty Sean's shop.

"Guess we can discuss tonight's party," Octoglasses said.

Straw exclaimed, "Yeah!"

Before they began to discuss, Aloha popped up from his sluggish position.

"I'll catch you all later!" He quickly said, ushering out of the plastic chair. "YO, JUNIOR!"

Shuffling out of the line of Crusty Sean's shop, was a dark-skinned inkling. A white jacket dangled to his calves that raised with the breeze as he walked. Light grey stripes glided down the milky white eminence jacket. Golden fabric wrapped around the inkling's elbows. On the back was a symbol.

The tip of the seal curled up like a triangle. The bottom golden lines curled like the body of an acorn. Inside, a thinner line traced the edges of the seal. Two lines, black and red slid across the middle. In the center was a squid-like shape. Three sharp points nearly touched the tip of the thinner line. The ends curled out like fins before dragging down to form three more sharp points at the bottom.

The inkling stopped in his tracks and turned his head over his right shoulder, as he drew it to his chest. His lips were pursed out as he slurped his bamboo straw. A wide smile spread across his face, the straw pinned between the points of his teeth.

"Aloha!"

Aloha dropped his voice as he caught up to Eging's side. "Hey, mind if we talked?"

"I don't mind a bit! What's on your mind?" Eging Jr. asked.

"Remember when you came to me about your feelings for N-Pacer?"

Eging nodded as he took another sip. "Yep, now she's my knight in shining armor."

"Aren't you starting to get all lovey-dovey?" Aloha laughed with a wink.

Once their laughs died down, Aloha whisked in a breath. "I think I have feelings for someone."

Eging's brow raised. "Well, who's the lucky lady? You flirt with a lot, did you finally decide to catch feelings-"

"It's Army."

"Army? Eging fell his arm onto Aloha's shoulder. "Well, isn't he a lucky guy?"

"I never felt like this with anyone before, I can't explain it. When I saw him watching my turf war I was caught off guard."

Eging nodded, sipping from his straw as Aloha's words whistled through his ears. "Ever tried asking him out?"

"No! He's probably straight, I see the way Forge is around him. And he probably just thinks I'm a party animal that swoons for every girl insight-"

Eging cut him off. "You are overthinking. Just be cool and start small. There's a battle between Blue Team and Cyan Team. I'm sure he'll be in the stands watching."

"You think I could talk to him?" Aloha asked as he slurped the last bit of his drink.

"You talk to him at the S4 meetings. Just pretend it's like that."

Aloha nodded. "Right. Oh, and Jr.," Aloha flicked his visor, the shadow drawing away revealing his pink eyes. "Please keep this between the two of us. Diver doesn't even know yet."

"You didn't tell about N-Pacer, I won't tell about Army. See you around Aloha!"

"See ya!" Aloha shouted back as Eging sped down the sidewalk.

~~~~

The stands shook as the inkstricks struck Cyan Team. Blue ink shot up from the stage, swirling like a tornado. Goggles shouted commands as Blue Team hastily began their counter-attack. Firing blue ink with every step.

" 'TEAM BLUE IS ON FIRE!' " Callie squealed into her microphone.

Army's pencil scratched the papers of his manual. His eyes flickered from Walleye Warehouse to his manual.

"Seems like I'm a bit late!"

His manual fell closed as Aloha's sing-song voice fluttered his fins. Aloha stood beside Army and slumped onto the railing.

"Yo Army, you're always writing in that manual. Why not take a night off?"

"A night off? Are you kidding?" Army questioned.

"Of course not! See- I'm having a party tonight and I was wondering if you wanted to join? I am also inviting Team Ridiculous, I'm sure you could interview them." He passed Army a wink.

Army muttered, "Well, I do need to get more insight on their movements." He sucked in a breath, "I'm not the party type."

Aloha batted his eyes, "Please! You don't have to stay the whole night if that's what you're worried about."

His orange eyes pinned upon Aloha. A smile was pulled tight in his lips as he grasped his fist together.

"I'll see if my team and I can go."

"Great! I'll text you all details."

Aloha shoved himself off the rails, rocking back onto his heels.

Army turned his head away as Aloha's footsteps began to fade. His fingertips tapped the tip of his cheek. It felt as if he was holding his hand out to a fire. Slowly, he dragged his fingers away as orange ink consumed his face. 

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