Chapter 5(Edits need to be made)
The judges were all discussing amongst themselves at their table while everyone was waiting for the next match to be announced.
"Where did Chase run off too?" Katherine asked.
"Probably to finish watching his show. He's got a bit of an obsession for cartoons." Max chuckled.
"Oh, almost everyone is here." Chrissie walked through a crowd of people and stood in the group with Max, Lucas, and Katherine. "Hello."
"Hiya." Max waved back.
"What did I miss?" she asked.
"Chase won his match. I don't know who the others were." Lucas shrugged.
"Medina and Kaleb. Those names ring a bell?" Max asked.
Chrissie crossed her arms and looked up with her eyes closed, deep in thought. "Is Kaleb a kind've nerdy looking kid?" she asked.
"Very." Katherine nodded.
"Oh! I think he works with me at the electronics store." she opened her eyes after remembering. "I haven't been working there for long, but I know that Kaleb is one of the other employee's names."
"Where'd he go anyway?" Max looked around for Kaleb only to see his father giving himself the Heimlich and promptly ignored him.
"Found him." Lucas pointed out the kid sitting on a bench, holding his phone in the air to get better service.
Chrissie squinted her eyes to better see Kaleb. "Yeah. That's him. How'd he do?"
"Well…" Max started to explain.
"Would Kaleb and Medina step up to the platform?" Mr. Brown folded the newspaper he was reading and adjusted his glasses so he could see better.
Kaleb hopped out of the bench he was sitting on and started to walk up onto the stage, cell phone still in hand.
Medina was the first to get to the stage. Her jacket was tied around her waist. She wore a cream colored tank-top as she kept holding herself from being nervous.
"Both sides ready? The winner of this round will go against number four, Chase Cole." the skinny judge announced.
Medina nodded quietly, then faced Kaleb.
Kaleb gave a thumbs up. "Gotcha."
"This round is 10 minutes long. Same rules apply as before." the female judge announced as she started a timer. "Start."
Kaleb crossed his arms. "I insist, you go first." he gestured.
"N-no. I saw what you did last round. You used the other person's Crystal to your advantage." Medina shook her head. "That's bad."
"Nah. It's just like hacking into a computer." Kaleb cracked his fingers.
"So you steal a person's crystal?" Medina started to let out a light mist of crystal dust along the stage.
"Well, there are limits to what I can control. Like anything bigger than a house is too big, but something smaller than a pebble won't work." Kaleb flicked various specks of scarlet Crystal into the ground, but nothing happened. "See?"
"So if I keep it like this? You can't do anything?" Medina asked while she made two towers of silver dust spiral around each other.
"Hmm. Good question." Kaleb flicked three Crystal shards into the spiral. They fluttered in the spiral, doing nothing.
"Doesn't seem like it." Medina concentrated on keeping the continuous movement of the tower.
"Crystal Armament: Hacking." Kaleb snapped his fingers and parts of the spiral froze and fell to the ground in scarlet chunks. Kaleb crossed his arms. "Yeah. Your Crystal is too small for me to take it over." He turned to the judges. "I give up." he waved to them.
Medina looked confused. "Why would you just give up like that?"
"Well, I'm just looking at it strategically. There's no way for me to win in style against you if I can't take over your Crystal." Kaleb hopped off the stage and pulled out his cell phone and started texting away. "You need the right equipment to fight a boss."
"Well, that was anti-climactic." the skinny judge scratched the top of his head.
"And I noticed Number 4, Chase, left after his match; Medina wins the elegance round by default." Mr. Brown clapped his hands.
Everyone followed Mr. Brown's clap and applauded Medina.
Medina's face turned a flush red. She hid her face in her hands from embarrassment as she walked off the stage.
"Medina, if you would come to the judge's desk for your reward before the end of the competition, it would be appreciated." The female judge spoke calmly. "But there will be a short break before we start the strategic round. Everyone who is competing in this round get ready. We will explain the rules during the first match."
"Anyone here in the next round?" Max asked, looking at Lucas and Katherine's numbers.
"Nope. I'm red." Lucas held up his red number 3 paper.
"Same." Katherine held up a red paper with the number 4 on it.
"I'm in the strategic round, but I don't know if I'll do well." Chrissie held up a green paper with the number 4 on it.
"C'mon. You're crazy smart. You'll do fine." Max assured.
Saidu walked into the park carrying Chase over his shoulder. Chase was flailing rapidly while shouting.
"Saidu! Be a good person! Let me see how they finish the episode!" Chase grabbed the park bench tightly in hopes to stop Saidu.
"You're the one who told me to drag you away from that TV store, man." Saidu pried Chase off of the bench.
"And you are such a great friend for doing that! I would've missed my match if you didn't bring me here in time--"
"You didn't get here fast enough, you lost by technicality." Lucas interrupted Chase's rant.
"Eh?" Chase looked at Max. "Say it ain't so."
"It's not so." Max smiled widely.
"Really?" Chase gave a sigh of relief.
"No. It's true. Kaleb forfeited and you weren't here, so the girl won." Max laughed.
Chase fell to pieces as his body went limp on Saidu's shoulder. "All that money." he grieved. "Gone!" he sobbed. "I could've bought so many collector's items! Goodbye cardboard cutout of a sexy maid!" he became very quiet.
"Will he be alright?" Katherine asked.
"Chase." Max tugged on his pants.
"Yes?" Chase still remained motionless as he head was hidden behind Saidu.
"Yep." Chase perked back up as Saidu set him down. "You win some you lose some."
"Sexy maid?" Lucas asked with his interest peaked.
"Yeah man. It's this cardboard cutout of this hot maid from one of my shows. She has all of the right sizes where it counts and she has red hair just like--"
"Chrissie?" Max interrupted and pointed to Chrissie.
"Yeah! Just like Red! That's the reason I wanted to get it in the first place." Awkward silence fell between the group as Chase made eye contact with Chrissie.
Chase's face was frozen in a nervous smile. "Crystal Armament: Snare." he formed a drum between his hands bashed his face into the orange and red drum. Chase sat down on the ground with his face hidden in extreme embarrassment.
"Embarrassed, Chase?" Max laughed loudly at Chase's reaction.
"What happened? I was spacing out." Chrissie shook her head.
Max's laughter weakened from lack of oxygen. "That's hilarious!" he placed his hands on his knees.
"I want to die right now." Chase muffled in the drum.
A man was standing on a tall building several blocks yards away. He had a pair of binoculars held against his eyes while speaking into a headset. He wore a solid black fedora and a black cloak. He held two fingers against his headset to turn it on.
"Sir, it's even worse than you thought. We'll have to take even more drastic measures." he zoomed in on the random bystanders at the park and watched as they used their Crystal. "I'll report back once I have a definite number of how many I have seen." he took his fingers off the headset and resumed observing the stage as Steven, Chrissie, and two others attending the strategic match.
"Because there are only four of you in the strategy round, we decided to put you all in the same round." The female judge explained.
"The challenge for this is…" The skinny judge said as if listening to a drum roll. "Learn everyone else's name." he finally said. "You can use whichever means necessary. The first person to find out three names is the winner. If you guess wrong three times, you're out. Everyone understands the rules as I explained them?" he looked at everyone standing on the stage.
"What if we already know someone else's name?" Chrissie turned to Steven.
"Then I guess you have a one point advantage." Mr. Brown smiled.
"Start. There is no time limit." The female judge waved her hand.
Everyone on the stage looked at each other with question.
Steven observed the two people across from him and Chrissie.
"Well. I can assume you two know each other." The one boy crossed his arms. He wore a number 3 sticker on his chest. "But that doesn't change anything." his hair was short, matted, and brown. He wore a rather bulky brown hooded jacket.
"Uggh. Why couldn't this be something more arithmetic like?" the other boy adjusted his heavy glasses. He had the number two on his shoulder.
Chrissie cupped her hands around her mouth. A neon orange glow seeped through her fingers. She opened up her hands and a small orange cube rested in her palms. She gave it an underhand toss to Max.
Max caught the Crystal and looked at Chrissie with a raised eyebrow.
Chrissie tugged on her earlobe discreetly then walked towards the center of the stage.
"What's that?" Lucas looked at the bright orange Crystal Chrissie produced.
Max held the Crystal up to his ear for a few seconds. He chuckled lightly. "Hold on, I need to go talk to people." Max walked away from everyone.
"Oh. Alright?" Lucas wondered.
"Hey, man. It's not nice to keep secrets, Y'know?" Saidu wagged his finger.
"Don't worry. I'll explain it in a second." Max assured.
"Would you guys tell me your name?" Chrissie asked innocently.
"You already know my name is Albert." Steven said with a straight face. "And yours is Rachel."
"Ha! Idiot! You shouldn't of told us your names!" the boy with glasses snorted. "So your names are Albert and Rachel!"
"And my name is Bert." the other boy waved.
"And his name is Bert! That means I win!" he laughed nasally.
"Number 2, you guessed wrong too many times. You're out." Mr. Brown flipped open his newspaper again. "But you other three can still guess his name though."
"What!?" Number 2 stomped off the stage. "But they told me their names!"
"We obviously lied." Number 3 snickered.
"If you're going to guess, guess with a more accurate method." Steven touched his fingers to his forehead. "Crystal Armament: Rewatch." a halo of various shades of blue Crystal formed around Steven's head.
"You have the same type of Crystal style as me." Number three touched his fingers to his head. "Crystal Armament: Rewind." The same halo formed around number three. His Crystal was a dark and dull red.
Chrissie looked at the both of them. "What are you guys doing?"
"Tracing all memory I have to see if I've seen him before." Steven kept his face hidden in the halo.
"As am I." Number three looked around inside his halo.
Silence stayed on the stage as Steven and the other boy continued to review their own memories for the other's names.
Chrissie looked outside the stage. "Where'd Max go?" she asked herself.
"Hey!" Max called out, he had his arm pulled back as if he were ready to throw something.
Chrissie turned to Max to get hit in the forehead with the small orange cube that she'd lobbed to him.
"Sorry!" Max apologized with a slight smile. "I didn't mean to hit you!"
"It's alright. Thanks." Chrissie held the orange cube up to her ear. "You know Steven. The guy he's going up against is Vincent. Then you know your own name, so that makes three." Max's voice spoke from the Crystal.
"He's Vincent, He's Steven, and I'm Chrissie." Chrissie said to the judges calmly.
"W-what?" Vincent's Crystal shattered.
"Wow. Chrissie, Number 4 wins." Mr. Brown adjusted his glasses. "That was smart. Using Max to gather figure out the other boys names while you simply waited. That's a handy Crystal to have in that situation." he thought to himself.
"I'm a little lost on how she guessed it correctly right away." The female judge scratched her head.
"Her Crystal records her voice." The skinny judge explained.
"Still, that was faster than I thought. This Crystal tournament is flying by. We should organize these more often. It really inspires the kids to control their Crystal more." The female judge talked to the others.
"Wait a second! She only guessed two names! She never got the dork's name!" Vincent pointed to the boy with the glasses.
Steven sighed. "She guessed three." Steven dispersed his Crystal and massaged his temples. "Her own name counts."
"What? They never told us that!" Vincent complained.
"They never told us it was against the rules either." Steven shrugged. "Good job, Chrissie."
"I really won?" A smile stretched across her face. "Yippee! I can take the week off of work!" she walked off the stage and towards the judges.
"Congratulation Chrissie." Mr. Brown handed Chrissie a check for a hundred dollars.
"Well, I can take a few days off, at least." she chuckled to herself. She thanked the judges and returned back to her circle of friends.
"Good job, Chrissie." Lucas nodded his head.
"Did the Crystal pick up my voice well enough?" Max asked. "I couldn't tell which end I needed to speak in."
"Yeah, what was that orange Crystal, man?" Saidu asked.
"Oh. I can use my Crystal as like a recorder. It can record things and play it back." Chrissie explained.
"Have you ever tried to use it in a more effective way?" Steven joined the group.
"Effective? Huh?" Chrissie asked.
"If you can make more than one, you could use it like a cell phone." Steven suggested.
"Oh! I never thought of that!" She held her hands together. "What would I name it though?"
"Oh yeah. Everything needs a name when you practice it, man. That way you get a better image in your head, man." Saidu nodded. "I use mine on my body so much, I forgot, man."
"Crystal Armament: Communicate?" Chase spoke up.
"Hmm. That could work." Chrissie tried to picture it in her mind. "Can I test it on someone? I know that sounds weird."
"No way. Those stories of Crystal going horribly wrong? What if that happens to me?" Steven took a slight step back.
"I was just gonna hold your hand to see if I can create a--" Chrissie started to mimic without bringing her Crystal out.
"I happily volunteer!" Chase held out his hand toward Chrissie.
"Really?" Chrissie tilted her head. "You don't mind?"
"Not at all!" Chase held his hand with Chrissie's. "Her hands are nice and soft." he thought to himself.
Chrissie closed her eyes to concentrate as she squeezed Chase's hand slightly. "Crystal Armament: Communicate."
A bright orange glow emitted between Chrissie and Chase's hands. Both of their hands Crystallized over in a neon orange Crystal.
"Wahh! I'm so sorry!" Chase heard Chrissie's voice.
"Nah, don't sweat it. It doesn't hurt." he said out loud.
"Who were you talking to?" Max asked.
"Chrissie." Chase pointed with his noncrystalized hand.
"I didn't say anything… Out loud." she clarified. "Oh!" she looked at Chase. "Telepathy." she said mentally.
"Oh. So that's how this works. So technically, we're all alone?" Chase thought to Chrissie.
"I'm sorry, but you're not my type." she smiled on the outside, but she said bluntly on the inside.
Chase lowered his head. "Shot down." he said out loud. He fell to his knees.
Chrissie made her Crystal disperse.
"Shot down?" Max looked at Chase. "Oh." he patted Chase on the back. "It's alright."
"I guess I need to practice a lot more." Chrissie clapped the Crystal dust off her hands, exhausted from the Crystal she used.