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King Bodhi and I hop on our surfboards and begin our greatest duel.

I am clearly superior in fighting skills. My physical strength outmatches almost anything that the humans of Earth can muster. But this—this is a completely different battlefield. It is a battlefield of style and grace, of water and waves.

It is the Surf Off.

Thanks to my high [Viscosity] stat, my board and I remain affixed to the water so long as I wish to remain so. I can perform any number of tricks, such as the ollie, or the kick flip. I perform moves that send the crowd cheering and booing simultaneously, as they are not only impressed by my skill, but horrified and shocked to see a pink-haired man like me holding his own against their beloved monarch.

However, King Bodhi is clearly winning the Surf Off so far. Due to my own efforts, I cannot fully focus on her as she darts across the waves and slides gracefully through the little loopy areas. But it is obvious to me that she takes to the waters like an otter. Her powers are so immense that it is as if the sunrise light beams off her board and back into the sky, creating a wholly new source of light to brighten the match.

I turn my head to my miniature [Transmigrated Spirit] companion, Matt, who has rested gently on my shoulder this entire Surf Off up to this point. “Is there any way for you to do something like that?” I ask.

“I... I have no idea,” says Matt. He leaves the comfort of my shoulder and begins floating around my head. I am surprised he has the speed necessary to keep up with my body and my board. “What should I do? Boil the water around you and make a cool steamy thing?”

“Yes! That sounds like an excellent idea indeed.”

Matt raises both of his tiny hands and bursts of flames erupt from the water below. Being water, of course, it all evaporates and extinguishes the flames, which causes an eruption of steam that surrounds my every move. It’s a dazzling sight that few could truly comprehend but most will surely enjoy.

But then King Bodhi, still on the other side of our tumultuous arena, does the exact same thing without the help of any sort of magic. She leaps in the air with such a force that her board goes spinning like one of those “helicopter” monstrosities I have seen in the sky on occasion. It moves with such rapid force that a whirlpool forms, and then settles out as the water begins to steam up, just like it did for me.

She lands on the board, taking immediate control of the spinning until it slows and stops.

I need to top this. And I do so with my next move: I climb up to the top of a new wave, circle around a few times by spinning my board, and then leap onto the edge of the wave. I grind railing this makeshift railing, hopping on and off my board in extravagant poses as I continue to rack up style points as best as I can.

And then, halfway through my grinding attempt—

An arrow whizzes past my face.

King Bodhi lowers her weapon and grimaces. She missed.

“You gonna be alright with that chick?” Matt asks.

“Have no worries,” I say. “She cannot adequately maneuver with her two-handed grip. She is like a sitting beaver ripe for me to pluck off.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean... I will use my ONE-handed grip.” I poof my bow and arrows out of my inventory, and using only one hand to both reload and fire, I zoom across the waves in attack mode.

At the same time, my spirit companion shoots small fireballs in the same direction. Often, we combine these two into a fire arrow attack.

King Bodhi zips and ducks around, dodging the attacks, but so long as she is forced to avoid being hit, she cannot draw her own bow or else lose her balance.

I, on the other hand, have a whole free hand to utilize. I am nearly invincible!

But... this isn’t working. Both Matt and I can see it. King Bodhi is too strong. Too fast. Too quick, too nimble when she needs to be. It’s almost as if can float through the air and climb up invisible trees. When the people chose her, they did not choose wrong; with a skip and a hop she’s one cool King.

No matter how many frontside pop shuvits I can blow off, it won’t be enough to stop her, not in this current state.

“I can’t do this,” I say mostly to myself, as I lower my bow and poof it back into my inventory.

Matt does not respond, as he is too busy shooting fireballs as fast as he can.

“The only way I can defeat King Bodhi.... is to Rank Up!”

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A note from Thedude3445

Y'all have just GOT to read ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture. I have published like 13 chapters so far already in the past five days. It's getting real awesome in here.


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Thedude3445

Bio: I like to watch movies.

Avatar art by Steely Dan

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