Chao: Alright team. We’re here. I can hear the crowd through the ceiling. You all know our game plan.
Dexter: Our gameplan… yeah, right…
Chao: Dexter—not now, man.
Beth: Yeah Dexter, zip it man!
Chao: Beth, don’t come asking for favors up there, I know you will need them!
Eliezer keeps Dexter and Beth from causing a commotion.
Chao: Come on guys, people are watching! Listen, we agreed that for our first real battle we were going to be patient. We’ll hold back and react to our opponents’ blending. Only by doing this will we—
Dexter: —use our blending combinations optimally. Yeah yeah, understood, captain. I’m telling you man, those Notorious Nocturnas, I’ve seen them before… We’ll have a very short time to come up with a perfect course of action.
Chao: We’ve practiced a lot! Whatever they throw at us, we’ll bring our A game!
Battle Blending Official: Are you all ready?
Chao: Alright guys, we are up!
Eliezer: Oh man, I feel like a bag of nerves.
Beth: Don’t worry Eliezer, you will shine like a Shine Minister, I just know you will!
Eliezer: Thank you for believing in me Beth. He tries to hide his blushing.
Dexter: Urgh, oh lord help us, I hope he will be more useful than a Shine Minister.
Chao isn’t listening. By now they have entered the elevator to the battle arena. Chao’s eyes and thoughts are fixated on the open air and the noise above them.
Official Elevator Operator: Good luck!
And the lift starts going up. When they enter the stadium, the noise is overwhelming. They all look in awe from this perspective. They had been to battles before, but standing here, in the middle of it all, is something altogether different. For our heroes, at this very moment, words fall short.
Commentator through speakers: LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! TODAY WE MAY HAVE A VERY SPECIAL BATTLE PLANNED FOR YOU! IN THE ARENA WE HAVE A NEW TEAM WHO CALL THEMSELVES THE CAPTIVATING CAPRISUNS! WILL THEY BE UP FOR THE CHALLENGE? WILL THEY BE ABLE TO DEFEAT THE CHALLENGERS WHO WE ALL KNOW AND LOVE!? …LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE NOTORIOUS NOCTURNAS!!!!
The crowd goes wild as the opposing team is lifted into the stadium. The intelligent leader Dimitri, the athletic Lester, the sneaky Yumi and the very scary Dhruv. Chao has studied the Nocturnas. He has tried to watch their games, but they always come up with new strategies. What he has figured out is that charging these guys head-first never has favorable results. The Caprisuns have to react, not act.
Chao knows he needs to react quickly. Even though Dexter said it sarcastically, he understands his friends regard him as their captain. They trust him. Which adds more pressure to the already wild situation they got themselves in. “No, we chose to be here.” Chao says to himself. They have trained to be here, they are ready to be here! So he calmly addresses them.
Chao: Are you guys ready?
Beth, Dexter, Eliezer: YES!
Commentator: ARE YOU GUYS READYYYYYY!???
The countdown timer lit up. Three, two, one… BANG!
Immediately after the signal, the opposing team blazes into action. Lester sets his sights on Beth and starts running like the wind toward her. At the same time, all other Notorious Nocturnas light up their wristbands to transform themselves into their first blend of the match.
These wristbands contain battle-hardened gems. Battle hardened gems are gems which are earned by completing difficult challenges across Gemlandia. What makes these gems special is their use in combat. Normal gems cannot endure the strain of rapid blending and deblending. Since this is a minor league battle, only three gems are allowed per person. Only in the major leagues, where the toughest gem blenders battle it out, five different battle-hardened gems are used. With the right training, for each gem your wristband holds, a Gem Blender can transform into every blend combination possible with those gems. However, once a blend gets deblended, a Gem Blender is not able to blend using that blend’s specific gem combination again for the duration of the battle, because the gem matrix energy is exhausted. For this reason, minor league battles generally do not last as long as major league battles.
Our team of heroes thought they were prepared, but this sheer display of aggressive team coordination catches the whole group off guard. While Lester is still sprinting like his life depended on it, the light that the other Notorious heroes produce shows which gem combinations they use. Beams of violet light shine brightly, meaning they all have chosen to transform into Nocturna-blends. No surprises there. Chao knew they would, he had studied all possible combinations. He is ready. But right as the first shock subsides, he is hit with a second.
He sees Beth stumbling backwards. Why is she stumbling? Then he realizes: she had tried to blend in response to Lester, but out of the lightshow of the Nocturnas, it appears that Dhruv has blended into a Signal Corruptor, practically disabling Beth’s wristband. That is an impressive display of blending. Using a blend’s effect before the blending light has even faded is difficult. Furthermore, Chao sees that Dimitri has blended into a Capacitor. This blend is known for buffing the attack power of other blended heroes. But buffing a Signal Corruptor doesn’t make sense. So why did he…? Right when it hits Chao, it’s Lester’s time to light up. While running, a flash of green, turquoise, and purple light transforms Lester into a Wood Ghost. These blends are no joke. Wood Ghost is notorious for its agility and hard hits, especially against unblended heroes.
Chao has figured out their gameplan, and his brain fires up. As he sees Dimitri’s Capacitor charging his buffing shock, he yells at Eliezer to protect Beth, whose muscles have frozen. Without hesitation, Eliezer sprints towards Beth while producing a flash of green and brown light. At the same time, the buffing electrical shockwave of Capacitor flashes and crackles across the arena, boosting the Wood Ghost into something truly terrifying. Right before Lester is about to knock Beth out of the arena, his electrified axe is blocked by the hardened skin of Eliezer’s Guard, catapulting both Eliezer and Beth backwards. His arm smoking where it was hit, Eliezer immediately scrambles to his feet, ready to keep Beth out of harm’s way. Beth, who is clearly shaken, regains her senses. Knowing they are going to be alright for now, Chao yells at Eliezer.
Chao: You can hold him, right!?
Eliezer, not about to give up protecting Beth that easily, yells back.
Eliezer: Don’t worry about me!
That’s why Chao loved that guy. Chao turns to Dexter. For a guy who is normally very tough, Dexter is staring blankly at the scene happening in front of him. When Chao makes eye contact with him, Dexter unfreezes and his face starts to fill with rage.
Chao: Yes Dexter! Use that! Go take care of Dhruv’s corruption!
Chao looks across to the other side of the battlefield. Capacitor Dimitri is just finishing charging up, about to send another shockwave across the arena. Chao notices that he isn’t seeing the sneaky Yumi anywhere! Remembering his studies and the light flashing moments before, Chao panics and he screams to his allies.
Chao: Guys! Yumi is a Fever Virus! She has shrunk herself. Don’t let her touch you!
Dexter: Too late… I could use some help here…
As Capacitor Dimitri’s electric shock increases the force with which Lester slashes into Eliezer, Dexter screams in agony, grabbing his wristband. Yumi had got to him. She had flown across the arena, as a tiny Fever Virus, on the first electric shockwave of Dimitri. Fever Viruses lie dormant on a blender’s body, infecting them and causing intense pain when they try to blend.
Chao realizes he has waited long enough. The time of observing is done, now he has to react. Flashing green, rose, and white light, Chao blends into a Pollen Angel. He flies up into the air and starts covering the area around Dexter with Pollen. Knowing that the lucio-enriched pollen damages any nocturna-blend, Yumi deblends, puts a new lollipop in her mouth, and starts racing back to her side of the arena. Free of the Fever Virus infection, Dexter quickly transforms into Ram and starts chasing her and Dimitri’s Signal Corruptor.
However, it is too late. Even though Beth has joined the fight with her bare hands, the electrically buffed Lester hits Eliezer so hard he flies back, leaving Beth wide open. Lester does not hesitate and hits Beth with a critical blow, causing her to get knocked out of the game. Seeing this happen, Chao flies towards Lester and hits him with a whirlwind of cutting air and luciogenic pollen which sweeps Lester off his feet. Lester falls to the ground face first, and deblends. Eliezer’s very heavy Guard sees his opportunity and sits down on him, knocking Lester out.
Chao and Eliezer now look to the other side and see another light show.
Realizing that Lester is done for, Dimitri has deblended his Capacitor and blended into a Bolt Ram. He now charges an invisible electrogem and sends it hurling towards Dexter to protect Yumi. Knowing a Ram isn’t made of feathers, Dexter takes the hit and keeps on charging forwards. Dexter, knowing that Yumi would quickly transform into a throwaway blend to deblend-to-block his attack, transforms into a Skull Ram whose horns are unaffected by any gem energies. He makes the right decision. Without time to look behind her, Yumi blends into a Mage. Unfortunately for her, she and her lollipop fly their separate ways after Dexter hits her from behind with all his built-up anger.
But not knowing when to stop, Dexter instantly turns and starts running towards Dhruv’s Signal Corrupting. Since a blended hero cannot have its signal messed with anymore. Dhruv’s attack has no effect on the incoming Skull Ram, so he deblends and reblends back into a Corruptor, a blend you do not want to touch directly. Right before Dexter gets to him, Dhruv skilfully dodges at the last second and touches Dexter’s Ram gently on his side, corrupting his wristband and ability to blend. Losing control of his blending energies, Dexter deblends and has no time to react before an invisible gem from Dimitri’s Bolt Ram hits him squarely in the face, knocking him out.
The crowd goes wild with this adept display of blending and deblending. After the dust settles, the battle looks like it is coming to an end. Pollen Angel Chao and Guard Eliezer are left against a Corruptor Dhruv and Bolt Ram Dimitri. Both teams have started to show hints of exhaustion.
Chao evaluates the situation. On one end, he isn’t happy that he has to show his most powerful blend. On the other end, he is very proud of how far they have gotten against the Notorious Nocturnas.
Chao’s concern is understandable. Are they going to pull it off?
To be continued…