"YOU'RE WORTHLESS! YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO AMOUNT TO ANYTHING!"
The words burned through the inkling's mind for the millionth time, as she dreamt of her childhood. She was only 9 years old when she first heard her mother yell those words to her, before beating her across the head with a bottle. All she had done was break a vase while trying to look at it, but it was all her mother needed to abuse her least favorite child.
Now 15 years old, Amethyst Fox was living alone, on the streets, after running away from home as soon as she gained her squid form. Every day since then was a struggle to survive, getting barely enough money to feed herself from daily shifts at Grizzco. Up until recently, she had no reliable place to sleep, and would often have to sleep on benches she could find. They were cold, uncomfortable, and Amethyst never got much sleep. But anything was better than being with her mother, even if it meant nearly freezing to death during the night. When she first ran away, she tried asking random inklings if she could move in for awhile, until she got on her feet, but no one accepted. After awhile, Amethyst gave up, and decided to just sleep where she could.
As of late however, an abandoned storage building a few miles from Inkopolis Square was serving it's purpose as a home for Amethyst. It was one room, floor-to-ceiling brick, with a single lightbulb illuminating the perhaps 10 foot square of floor space. But for her, it was enough. She had tried to make it more "homey" by finger painting designs on the walls with her ink, but her lack of artistic talent saw that the designs were more like scribbles.
As she lay on the cold cement floor, with a thin bedsheet trying to keep her warm, Amethyst awoke from her nightmare, and instinctively covered her right cheek, where her mother had cut a large gash when she was 12 with a broken bottle. While she had recovered from the physical trauma, the relentless emotional abuse she endured while growing up is what hurt Amethyst the most. From constant reminders of how worthless she was, to how she had to purpose in life, she thought she had heard it all. But during the last time her mom abused her before she ran away, her mother screamed one last insult that broke her.
"No one will EVER love you!"
Amethyst couldn't handle those words. The thought of never being loved by another scared her to death. Since she was a little squid, she was excited for the day she met a boy to call hers, and she wasn't going to let her mom tell her any different. She couldn't imagine growing old alone, and now that she was older and hormones were kicking in, she realized she was also scared of dying a virgin. When her mother had screamed out those words, Amethyst lost control. She had shoved her mother into a large cabinet, and she had hit her head, knocking her out.
She had wanted to participate in ink battle every day, (after all, everyone knows Turf War is the best place to meet cute boys) but because she had ran away before her she was registered, she was not allowed to participate. Plus, it would also be another source of income.
As Amethyst tossed and turned, trying to get back to sleep after her nightmare, she couldn't help but wonder if her mother was right about her. Maybe she was worthless. Maybe she was indeed never going to amount to anything. And maybe she was never going to be loved. As tears began to form in her eyes, Amethyst tried telling herself that all those things her mother said to her were false. Her attempts to enlighten herself were in vain however, and like many other nights, she cried herself to sleep.
Despite almost no light entering the unit, Amethyst knew that it was morning. A quick check of the light seeping in from underneath the door confirmed her suspicions, and she groggily began her daily routine: wake up, stretch, work at Grizzco for most of the day, get something to eat with the money, and go to sleep.
As all of her spending money went towards food, Amethyst didn't have any clothes to change into or out of. She had to sleep in the regular garb she had been wearing the day she ran away from home. She wore a beanie upon her purple tentacle hair, a tie-dye shirt that showed her belly , and a pair of purple sneakers. Her tentacut was the recently trending cut-off, with long bangs and hair, and tentacles cut off just before the end. Normally she wouldn't have been able to pay for a tentacut, but the hairstylist felt bad for Amethyst after hearing part of her story, and gave the tentacut for free. Despite being free, Amethyst gave the stylist her food money for the day in appreciation.
As she walked through Inkopolis, Amethyst passed the library she sometimes visited. While she didn't have a membership, she could still read and use the computers there, just not take anything "home". Recently, she began reading about witches, and how they shaped inkling culture back in the day. Amethyst was naturally intrigued, and soon it was all she read about. With assistance from the internet, she soon found out that supposedly, the magic these inkling witches possessed was first taught to them by the Octarians. It may have sounded like a fairy tale, but several scrolls depicting the witch lifestyle had been discovered in recent years, lending credence to these witches perhaps actually existing. These scrolls had been photographed and were publicly available for viewing on the internet, but the text written on them was neither inklish or octolish, so all attempts to decipher their text were fruitless.
When Amethyst finally arrived at Grizzco, she took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. Against all impressions, Grizzco had a unique, clean smell to it, despite nets full of eggs a few paces from the door. Some said it was because Mr. Grizz kept an air freshener somewhere, so potential employees weren't turned away. Others said that it was the chemicals that he used to treat the eggs that caused the smell. In the past, inklings had asked the only link to the boss himself, the bear radio, what the smell came from. He always replied "None of ya business, kid" in the rough-as-gravel voice of his.
Amethyst made her way to the blank terminal to the left of the large bank of TV screens, displaying various logos and art, and inserted her Grizzco ID into a thin slot below the screen, before quickly removing it. The dusty old screen made a few crackles and pops, but still displayed nothing. A small beep, and a pre-recorded "Right on time, kid. I've got work for ya" from Mr. Grizz signaled to her that she had successfully clocked in.
When Amethyst first started working at Grizzco, inklings would talk to Mr. Grizz directly (through the radio) to get queued up for work. But with the recent rise of inklings working the suspicious job, Grizz needed a better way to handle shifts, and installed the crappy old terminal in the back to handle clock-ins and outs.
After the terminal's confirmation, Amethyst made her way to the set of double doors that led to the locker room, where inklings changed into their work gear and waited to be called for duty. After stepping through the heavy door, she first saw an inkling boy in his underwear pulling his up his issued pants, and Amethyst darted her eyes in embarrassment. She wished Mr. Grizz would put up a wall or curtain between the boys and girls side of the locker room, so it would prevent situations like that. On numerous occasions she caught boys staring at her while she was changing. One had even sneaked up behind her and pulled back the waistband of her panties, then let go, snapping it against her while she was putting her shorts in a locker. He promptly received a fist to the face, but after filling a complaint to Mr. Grizz, nothing had changed.
After averting her vision from the boy her vision immediately darted to a familiar green tentacled inkling girl with short tentacles. She was sitting on a bench towards the door, pulling on her work boots. When Amethyst had walked through the door, the inkling glanced up, and a look of happiness painted itself on her face.
"Hey bitch!" she exclaimed in a gleeful tone. It was obvious to anyone who heard her that she was calling Amethyst a bitch out of friendship, not anger.
"Oh hey, ya slut" Amethyst returned in an equally friendly tone. The inkling in question was Faye Dillons. Her and Amethyst had first met during a shift, and after they both saved each other multiple times, hit off a friendship. After their first shift, they went to a cafe to hang out, and inadvertently earned their nicknames for each other. Faye had earned "slut" from the fact that her day-to-day clothes left very little to the imagination. A very low cut top showed off the fullness of her average-sized breasts, and she often had to readjust her top so it she didn't begin to spill out of it. Amethyst often said to her "Why don't ya just let ya titties hang out if you're gonna wear that" Faye also wore probably the shortest and tightest shorts that Amethyst had ever seen, and as a result, a little bit of butt was always peeking out from the shorts. Unknown to her, she genuinely made Amethyst question her sexuality, and she had eventually decided that although she originally wanted to get with a boy, she would take Faye in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself.
According to Faye, Amethyst had earned the nickname "Bitch" just because she looked like she had that personality, and she agreed it was probably true.
The two inkling boys on the other side of the room glanced up momentarily at the commotion the two girls caused when they saw each other, but went back to getting dressed for their incoming shift.
Several minutes after all four inklings were dressed and ready, the intercom finally came to life, and through the static, they heard Mr. Grizz tell them, "Time to get to work. You're going to Lost Outpost. Boat leaves in T-minus 3 minutes, so get hopping." As the group of workers headed to the boat, they talked about the provided weapons, and how the shift may go.
As the fishing boat's engine sputtered to life, releasing it's toxic black fumes into the atmosphere, Amethyst watched Inkopolis get smaller and smaller, until it was no longer visible.
At last, the fishing boat pulled up a few hundred feet away from the area known as "Lost Outpost", and the 4 inklings went to the table near the front of the boat where the provided weapons lay. Amethyst grabbed the Slosher, and looked over to Faye, who picked up a pair of Glooga Dualies. The boys each grabbed one of the remaining weapons: an H-3 Nozzlenose, and a Splat Charger. Once everyone finished checking their weapons to make sure everything was good, one by one they superjumped to the designated point inside of the old building in the center of Lost Outpost, and began spreading as much ink as they could. Amethyst heard her radio hiss to life, and Mr. Grizz began the countdown until the wave started.
"0. Go make me money!"
Amethyst readied her bucket, but became confused as nothing was coming out of the water. Suddenly she heard one of the boys yell "This Way!" and she promptly made her way to the front of the outpost. She hated when they came from this side, she always had to remember to be very careful when turning into squid form, so she didn't accidently land on the grating and fall through. Faye quickly ran past Amethyst, and onto the grate, shooting up the regular samonids while the Charger was preparing to aim at a Steelhead. She quickly joined the fray, and for the first handful of seconds, everything wasn't too bad, as the Steelhead was quickly dealt with, and the 3 other inklings delivered the eggs to the basket.
As Amethyst was throwing bucketfuls of ink at the salmon, she begun to feel the grate she was standing on shake, and turned to see a Steel Eel driving out of the water, making a beeline towards her. She hated Steel Eels the most; something about them creeped her out more than any of the other salmonids. She turned around and began to run towards the basket while yelling "Steel Eel!" as the metal monstrosity followed, along with Cohocks and a scrapper. Her teammates quickly ran returned and ran around her to deal with the eel. After it's glorious golden eggs were released, Amethyst helped clear the cohocks and scraper, before taking one of the eggs to the basket. Once she deposited the egg, she noticed she had a green circle around her feet. A sign of an imminent Flyfish missile strike. She dove out of the way, and saw her co-workers also dive out of the way, and look towards the right entrance of the Outpost. Floating in the air, powered by it's green sludge exhaust, was a Flyfish. From her position next to the basket however, Amethyst could see a Stinger was climbing it's way onto the platform, along with an unending stream of misc salmonid.
"There's a Stinger too!" she yelled out, and they quickly got together to form a plan.
"Alright, Dualies and Charger, go take care of the Stinger. Me and Slosher will work on the Flyfish" the H-3 Nozzlenose user ordered. Amethyst did as she was told, and ran after the boy, while they splatted salmon along the way. Once they were just below the flying pair of dumpsters, they cooked any salmonids that came there way, while waiting for the Flyfish to open it's hatches. Amethyst watched Faye and the charger user shoot out the pots from under the Stinger, until it landed in it's fire, before bursting into 3 eggs. As they swam towards basket, she heard the inkling next to him yell "Now!" and she turned to look at the Flyfish, before expertly throwing a splat-bomb into it's left dumpster, while the Nozzlenose user tossed one into it's right. After a couple seconds, they detonated, and the missile-shooting salmonid came crashing to the ground, rewarding it's assailants with it's three golden eggs. As they swam to the basket, she heard her radio come to life again, and listened to the countdown until the end of the wave. Amethyst only just got her egg into the basket before time ran out, and since it was only her and the nozzlenose, the third egg from the flyfish vanished without a trace.
Out of habit, all 4 squids began rapidly flopping about, filling the air with sounds of "Woomy" and "Ngyes", celebrating a completed wave.
The second and third waves went with only a couple hitches, with each inkling getting splatted and revived twice. As the third wave ended, Amethyst chased after a smallfry that was running through the center building. However, when it got outside the doorway, it suddenly turned right and made a beeline towards a hole in the planking. To her humor, the tiny salmonid was too fat to fit in the hole, and she pulled it out of the hole by the tail before stomping on it, sending salmon guts everywhere. When Amethyst wiggled her foot to get the eye sticking to it off, she thought she saw something in the hole. She kneeled down and put her arm in the black space, and to her surprise, her fingers brushed against what felt like a small box. She grabbed ahold of it, and forcefully pulled it out, breaking more of the planking.
Amethyst was astounded. The box appeared to be made of a dark wood, with soft edges and rounded corners. There were ornate swirls and spirals decorating the lid, which was held to the body with rusted hinges. She wanted to open the box, but when she heard Faye call her by her nickname, she realized she was going to miss the boat home if she didn't get moving. She stashed the box in her overalls pocket, and ran to meet up with the rest of the inklings, before superjumping to the boat, ready to go home.
At last, the 4 inklings were back in Inkopolis, in the Grizzco locker room. Amethyst removed the strange box she found from her overalls and put it on a shelf in the locker, while she removed her gear. As she was grabbed her usual pants from her locker, she felt someone slap her left ass cheek with a loud smack, startling her. She was just about to elbow her assaulter, when she heard Faye behind her say "Good job out there, bitch." As she blushed from her sudden attack on her butt, she turned to a grinning Faye, standing in only her undergarments.
"Uh, thanks Faye," Amethyst replied, rubbing the now-sore spot on her butt cheek. "What are you still doing here though?" she asked. Anyone still being in the locker room was odd. Amethyst intentionally made sure she took a long time undressing when she got back, so that by the time she was down to her bra and panties, everyone was gone. She took a shower after every shift since she had no way to clean herself otherwise, but as the showers had no doors, curtains, or even walls separating them, there was no privacy. She was too shy to be naked near other girls, and there was no way in hell she was going to be naked in front of boys. Her only option was to wait until everyone had left before taking her shower. Luckily, there was a 20 minute window between shifts, and the double doors automatically locked from the outside during this time so no one could enter.
"Cause I'm gonna take my shower here from now on" she replied. "I've realized that there's no reason for me to bloat my inkwater bill showering at home, when I could do it here for free. Plus, I've been running a little low on money lately, so I'm thinking I might do a shift everyday for a bit."
"Well, uh, I mean, um," Amethyst stuttered. She could feel herself blushing even harder, and her face getting warmer.
"You, uh, okay there girl?" Faye questioned.
Amethyst looked down to the ground, twiddling her thumbs. "Uhm, I was actually getting ready to shower too." she said quietly.
"You do realize there's more than one shower head. So we can both shower at the same time," Faye replied matter-of-factly. Amethyst squirmed at the thought. Normally this was already bad enough; she would have to be nude in front of another girl. But this girl was not only her best friend, but the one that she was gay for.
"N-no, Faye. I'm not comfortable being naked when there's other people around." Amethyst whispered, trying to avoid eye contact with Faye.
"Oh come on now, we're both girls." Faye retorted, and without warning, pulled on the center of Amethyst's push-up bra, unclasping it, and it fell to the floor.
"FAYE!" she hissed, immediately covering herself with her arm. "What are you doing!"
Faye shot a serious look to her. "Amy, it's not that big of a deal. You're going to have to get used to it. But if you wait for me to leave, you won't have enough time left before the next shift starts to finish your shower. And I'm pretty sure you don't want to get caught naked in front of a bunch of random inklings when that happens."
Amethyst weighed her options. She had to shower, that was no question. She couldn't imagine what filth she picked up at Lost Outpost. But would she rather be naked and see naked her best friend and potential love interest, or get caught naked in front of at worst, a bunch of boys that walked in for their shift?
After quick thought, she decided that she was going to just shower at the same time as Faye, as much as she didn't want to. "Fine," she said half grumbly, half scared, and let her arm fall, no longer hiding her breasts. She forced herself to remain calm, but inside, she was screaming.
"See, it isn't so bad is it?" Faye questioned, as she reached around her back, and started undoing her bra. Amethyst stepped around her, and began walking towards the shower, when she heard Faye call out, "You're panties are still on!" Amethyst froze in her tracks. Not only was that said louder than it needed to be, but she was right.
"Oh, yeah, you're right" Amethyst said with an extreme discomfort in her voice. She took a deep breath, and shakily grabbed the waistband of her squid-patterned panties, before slowly dragging them down her legs, and stepped out of them. She was now completely naked, and she felt like she wanted to pass out. She slowly continued walking towards one of the showers, and heard Faye begin to walk towards the showers as well
"Oops, I guess I did leave a mark earlier. Sorry about that" she heard Faye tell her, and again Amethyst froze. The mark on her ass from when it was slapped. Faye was looking at her bare ass!
She tried saying something, but she was too scared to get anything out, and instead turned on the faucet, letting the hot, translucent, sky-blue ink rain from above. It felt good, but she was too nervous to appreciate it's warmth. As she let the cleansing ink run down her body, she saw Faye out of the corner of her eye, stand under the showerhead right next to her. "Why couldn't she have chosen a different shower," Amethyst screamed internally. But it was too late now, and she would have to deal with it.
As Amethyst went to reach for the bottle of soap that normally was on a shelf, near the showerhead, she realized it wasn't there. Curious, she started looking around, and accidently got an eyeful of Faye's butt, as she was reaching for a soap bottle. Amethyst couldn't help but gawk at the ass that was before her. It was so round, so full, so juicy. As if it wasn't already tantalizing enough, Faye dropped the bottle, and bent over to pick it up, giving Amethyst a full view to her lady bits. Amethysts jaw dropped, and she wanted to stare forever, but when Faye stood back up after retrieving the soap from the floor, she turned away, reminiscing in the sight she just witnessed. But she quickly realized that she still needed the soap, which Faye possessed. She mustered her courage, and turned to look at the inkling next to her. "Hey Faye?"
"Yes Amethyst?" she replied, and turned her body. For the first time, Amethyst saw her best friend's breasts, and they were beautiful.
"Don't stare at her boobs don't stare at her boobs don't stare at her boobs" Amethyst repeated to herself. She could feel her hearts beating heavily, and she tried swallowing the lump in her throat. "Um, could I have the soap?"
"Yeah sure," she replied, and handed it off. Amethyst tried to take the bottle as casually as possible, and squirted some of the foam onto her hand. As she began to lather her body, she thought about the situation she was in. Naked, covered in soap, and now horny, the inkling next to her seemed oblivious to the gravity of the situation in Amethyst's eyes. During their shower, she secretly glanced many times over at Faye, admiring her body.
While washing her tentacles, Amethyst heard the shower next to her turn off, and heard Faye walk away to grab a towel. Not long after, Amethyst was finished washing herself up, and turned off her shower as well. She walked over to the towel rack, and grabbed one. While Faye's face was covered as she dried her tentacles, Amethyst gave the inkling's butt one last look-over before beginning to dry her own tentacles. Faye apparently dried her body before her tentacles, as once dry, she walked over next to her best friend's locker and picked up her stupidly tight shorts. As she struggled to pull them over her plump rump, Amethyst watched though the towel, virtually salivating at the sight. Once she got them on, Amethyst returned to drying herself off.
By the time she was dry, Faye was already dressed, and preparing to walk out the door. As Amethyst made her way to her locker, Faye was leaning against the doorframe, her hands in her pockets. While Amethyst was getting dressed, she dropped a bombshell in an appreciative tone before heading out the double doors, leaving the half-dressed inkling stunned.
"You weren't being sly. I know how much you gawked at me."
As Amethyst walked into the storage unit she called home, strange box in tow, she had millions of things going through her mind. How did Faye know that she had been stared nearly the whole shower? Was she creeped out? Did she like it? Was their friendship ruined?
Still horny from the sight of a beautifully nude Faye, Amethyst had no choice but to relieve herself of her sexual frustration. With the images fresh in her mind, it took less than a minute for her to get off, and once she cleaned up, she shifted her focus to the mysterious box she found at Lost Outpost. With the hinges rusted shut, she was forced to smack the back of the box against the concrete floor, until they broke. Opening the lid, Amethyst saw that the only thing in the box was a piece of old paper, folded several times to fit in the box. As she unfolded it, she began to get excited. The paper looked like the same material scrolls were often been written on, not modern paper.
When it was unfolded, Amethyst screamed as loud as she could, though with her mouth shut to muffle the sound. The scroll looked to have something to do with the old witches! As her eyes perused the text written on the scroll, her mouth dropped lower and lower. It was written in inklish; she could read it!
"In order to prove to the Order your commitment to the Cause, ye must complete the listed ritual, in order to gain the insight to the language of Hoxic. Follow these instructions carefully, for failure could see your soul abolished to the deepest reaches of the underworld.
"1. Upon a wall of any material, scrawl the following hexes in blood: 0x0000000FC, 0x0000000FD, 0x0000000FF.
2. Ingest a handful of your own blood, ensuring most reaches your stomach.
3. Remove all clothing items from yourself, placing them in a circle around where step 4 shall be completed.
4. Kneel down, keep your head down and eyes shut, and repeat "I Submit"
"The results shall speak for themselves"
Amethyst was intrigued. The scroll mentioned a language called "Hoxic". She wondered if perhaps this was the language that the rest of the witch scrolls were written in. Either way, if this was a genuine piece, she could sell it for zillions, and actually live in a real house, and sleep in a bed. But another thought crossed her mind: What if the text of the scroll was real? What if magical witches existed, taught by this scroll. And most important to her: what could she do if she had those powers?
After very careful thought, she decided that it the rewards outweighed the risks, and began to scout the concrete floor of the building, looking for a sharp piece of something she could use to cut herself. Because the storage room was old and had been heavily used, there was debris everywhere, and within seconds an extremely sharp piece of concrete was found. After removing her shirt to prevent it from getting ruined with blood, Amethyst located a relatively blank section of wall, surrounded by ink doodles, where she could work. She took a deep breath, and ran the edge of the concrete piece across her left arm, causing a decently sized gash. "Son of a bitch" she swore, and dropped the concrete, before dipping her fingers in the blood oozing from her arm, and beginning to paint the hexes on the wall.
Once they were written, she stepped back, and admired her work. With the strange writing now decorating the wall, it was time for the unsavory part of the ritual. As Amethyst brought her cut arm up to her mouth, she paused, and thought to herself, "Am I really about to drink my own blood because a piece of paper told me to?" She ushered the thought away, and reminded herself that even if this was all untrue, she could still sell the scroll. Reluctantly, the inkling put her mouth over the gushing wound on her arm, leaned her head back, so the blood would pour into her mouth. Just as she expected, it was disgusting. It was warm, and tasted like metal, but she pushed on, eventually swallowing two mouthfuls before her arm stopped bleeding.
With that horrid ordeal, it was time for the last phase of the ritual. Walking to the center of the room where she tossed her shirt, she removed her shorts, then bra, then panties, and neatly laid them in a circle around the center of the room, each a couple feet from center. With the storage unit having no heating, Amethyst was already cold when she was fully clothed. But being naked for the ritual, she began to shiver. She forced herself to continue, and kneeled down, while beginning to chant "I submit".
Still nothing. She had been doing this for almost a minute now.
"I submit," she said, louder.
Amethyst was beginning to get disappointed. Maybe all this was just Hocus pocus. But it couldn't be. There was so much proof that these witches existed. It should work. It had to work
"I SUBMIT," she yelled out, as loud as she could without attracting attention.
"I SUB-" was all Amethyst could repeat, before she was struck with an impossibly painful migraine. She bit her lip and began to hyperventilate; she couldn't scream as it would bring people to the storage unit, and she would lose her home. She had no choice but to force her eyes shut and squirm on the floor to distract herself from the pain.
After what felt like an eternity, the migraine suddenly left as soon as it appeared, but Amethyst remained motionless for a few more seconds. "Did I die," she wondered to herself. "Did I fail the ritual?" As she sat up, she opened her eyes, and immediately noticed something unique. All her ink doodles that she had drawn on the wall for decoration were gone, and appeared to be on the floor, in a large purple ink ring surrounding her. The purple inking was excited, but scared. Did she do something to the ink?
Concluding she hadn't died, she decided to try something. Holding her hand out in front of her, she closed her eyes and imagined Inkopolis Tower, which she often saw on her daily commute. Not hearing anything, Amethyst opened her eyes, and yelped when a miniature version of that very tower had manifested itself in purple ink, making a perhaps two-foot tall recreation in front of her. Her shock however had made her lose concentration, and the small model quickly collapsed into a puddle of ink. Smiling ear-to-ear, she once again imagined Inkopolis Tower, and without even sticking her hand out, watched as the structure quickly rose out of the ink.
Amethyst once again started hyperventilating, but this time out of excitement. She had seemingly gained the powers of a witch! She could control ink, albeit only temporarily. Thinking of witches, she remembered the other scrolls that were available to read online. If she was a witch now, then theoretically she should be able to read that "Hoxic" language that was written on them. Knowing it was midday at the latest, Amethyst shakily put her clothes back on, and checked how much cash she had. She was going to have to forgo her meal for the day, so she could pay to print copies of the rest of the scrolls from the library.
As she made her way to get the scrolls, Amethyst tried to keep her excitement in check. She was now the most powerful inkling in Inkopolis, and no one knew. She could hardly remember the visit to the library, as she paid the fee and printed out photocopies of the scrolls, telling the attendant it was for a project. Glancing at one while walking home, Amethyst nearly detonated in exhilaration. She was able to read the strange language on the scrolls like it was her first language. Her saunter turned into a sprint as she booked it to her storage unit.
Sitting in the center of the room, Amethyst looked at each scroll, her enthusiasm doubling every page. These scrolls weren't documentaries on the witch lifestyle; they were instructions on casting ink-based spells! Starting with an easy spell, she read the text detailing the power to change any ink's color at will, regardless of where it was located. Amethyst focused intently on the puddle of purple ink that previously had been taking the shape of Inkopolis Tower, and imagined the color green. After trying to think about it in a few different ways, the puddle suddenly changed to a bright green, just as she imagined it! Amethyst involuntary squealed in joy, and tried combining spells. She imagined Inkopolis Tower in constantly shifting colors, and like clockwork, the ink formed a perfect copy, that was changing it's color based on her thoughts.
For the rest of the day, Amethyst played with her powers, focusing on trying to learn how to formulate ink out of thin air, as one of the scrolls described. In the following weeks, she gradually increased her skills in the craft, and began to formulate a mischievous plan.
"You say I'll never amount to anything mom. We'll see about that," she giggled. Her giggles soon erupted into crazed laughter, and as ink swirled around her, she plotted how she would make her mark on inkling society.
Two months earlier
"Agent Eight, this is Agent Three, come in, over," the mint tentacled agent said into her radio. While she awaited a response, Three took in her surroundings. Just a couple hundred feet behind her lay salvation for the octoling known as Agent Eight, who was currently making her way through the last chamber of enemies. To her front was an old turnstile that she leaned on, as she waited for the octoling known professionally as Agent 8. During Agent 8's journey through the old subway system, Three communicated to her over radio, giving her tips and instructions. Despite not ever actually seeing each other, they developed a close friendship, often cracking jokes to lighten the mood.
Three's radio began to cry sounds of static, and as she lifted the speaker towards her ear, she could hear inkfire in the background. "Um, little busy Three, what is it," the octoling asked annoyingly. Three cringed, maybe she shouldn't have gotten ahold of Eight at this exact moment.
"Sorry. I just wanted to let you know that according to my radar, you're in the final chamber. After this, you're free." Three told her. Three's spirits were lifted when she heard the octoling on the other end start crying, and exclaiming her excitement. With one last burst of inkfire, the audio stopped, and Three looked up to hear the sounds of running footsteps. Not long after, a maroon-tentacled octoling turned the corner, and looked at the swash of auburn light flooding in from the outside through the exit, before looking at Three. The third agent jumped over the turnstile to congratulate the octoling, but before she knew it the recently escaped Eight pulled her into a tight hug and began to cry on Three's shoulder. The octoling was saying words, but they were unintelligible through her sobs. Three just rubbed and patted her back, and softly shushed her, letting her know the hardest part of her life was over.
Finally, after a couple minutes, the octoling pulled away, saying "Thank you Agent 3. Thank you so much. You can't understand how happy I am right now."
"Eight, your free. We're no longer on a mission. You can just call me Cynthia" the inkling agent remarked. Eight returned a shy smile, and went into thought.
"O-okay. I'm, umm. Oh no, I don't remember my entire name," the octoling began panicking.
"Shhhh, it's okay. What's the part you remember," Cynthia asked, trying to keep Eight calm.
"Uh. It starts with E i think. And I think the second letter is V," she returned, evidently racking her brain for each detail. "That's all i can remember. I'm sorry."
"Okay, that's a great start. Let's see here, what names start with Ev," the inkling told her. She began to list off names she could think of that started with those letters.
For each name, the octoling shook her head sadly.
"Wait," the octoling shouted. "That one sounds familiar!"
"Which one? Evelyn?," Cynthia questioned.
"Yeah. YEAH," the octoling exclaimed proudly. Cynthia couldn't help but smile at Evelyn's beaming happiness, and suggested they finally get to the surface. Evelyn dashed past the inkling, who slowly followed. When she got to the top, the octoling was leaning on a rail, overlooking the large expanse of ocean that separated them from Inkopolis in the distance.
"It's so beautiful" Evelyn said aloud as the inkling walked up beside her. "But what will the inklings think of me? I'm an octoling; I'm you're enemy. People might want to think I'm there to hurt them. Especially with this getup."
Cynthia grabbed the octoling's shoulder and reassured her, "Hey, don't worry about it. You know that other octoling that helped you along your journey? She's a pop star here. So you'll do just fine. As for your second problem, look over there."
Evelyn followed her gaze to what the inkling was pointing at, and on a bench several feet to their left, lay a large bag with logos from the various galleria shops decorating it. Confusedly, she walked over to the bag, and began to dig through it, before she released a large gasp, and pulled out a plain gray shirt. "Oh my cod, thank you," she exclaimed, and pulled out the rest of the items in the bag: a bandana to wear on her head, a pair of shorts, and a pair of black sneakers
"Go ahead, put 'em on. I'll turn around," Cynthia told her, and faced away. After a minute full of the sounds of clothes rustling, she felt a tap on her shoulder, and she turned around.
Right behind her, was Evelyn wearing her brand new gear, bandana tied around her head. All in all, she looked very cute. "How do I look?" she asked.
"Well you're the prettiest thing I've ever seen," Cynthia complimented. Evelyn blushed, and pulled her into another hug, and to the inkling's surprise, kissed her on the cheek.
"Sorry. In our culture that's a common way of expressing gratitude," Evelyn told a violently-blushing Cynthia.
"W-wow. Um, thanks," she quietly said. "So uh, you ready to see Inkopolis in person, Evelyn?"
She took a nervous swallow, and replied "Yes".
"Alrighty then. Follow me," Cynthia told her, and walked towards what appeared to be a sewer entrance. She jumped over the grate covering the hole, and turned into squid form, falling through the mesh. A second later, Evelyn heard a "sploosh" and gave one last look to the subway system she came out of, before doing as the squid did, jumping into the sewer.
When she emerged from the sewer, Evelyn realized she was in Octo Canyon, not Inkopolis. Cynthia was standing next to the sewer exit, waiting for the octopus to arrive.
"We had to make a quick pit-stop here, so I can change back into my street clothes. After all, us Agents are supposed to not exist," Cynthia told her. When she turned around, Evelyn saw two inklings near a hut with a green roof. One had white tentacles and was wearing a kimono, parasol in hand. The other was wearing nearly all pink, and had long black tentacles, with bits of pink at the ends.
Evelyn felt a jolt of fear strike her, and she wrapped her arms around Cynthia's midriff, and hid behind her. The inkling jumped in surprise, and looked at the octoling holding onto her for dear life.
"Evelyn, what's wrong," she asked curiously. What could have scared her so badly? As Callie and Marie got up and began to walk towards them, with looks of concern, Cynthia realized that Squid Sisters had scared her. When they were within a few feet of them, the octoling whimpered, and squeezed the inkling even tighter.
"Please don't hurt me!" she cried out.
Callie looked shocked, while Marie just looked sadly disappointed. "Honey, we're not going to hurt you. No one's going to hurt you. You're safe," Marie told the fearful octoling.
"Yeah! We just wanted to congratulate you on escaping! This is a big moment for you," Callie piped up. Evelyn peeked around Cynthia to look at the inkling cousins, and they each returned a warm smile. Slowly, she began to pull away from the inkling she was clutching, and stood up.
Nervously, she said "I'm sorry. I'm just not used to inklings. Please forgive me."
Callie happily as ever replied "No problem!"
"Alright, I'm going to get changed," Cynthia remarked, and went into the hut.
After a bit of small talk between the Squid Sisters and Evelyn, Cynthia emerged from the hut, wearing a white sweatshirt, a pair of yellow sneakers, and some small red earrings. She walked over to the group, and leaned on Evelyn's shoulder and asked "So, are you ready?" The octoling nodded, and after saying their goodbyes to the inkling cousins, began walking back towards the sewer entrance.
"Hey Cynthia? Where am I going to stay in Inkopolis? I don't have any money."
The inkling chuckled, and said "Well you're gonna live with me. You can stay as long as you want. Wink wink," and playfully nudged Evelyn. Cynthia broke away from her, and once again jumped into the sewer, the octopus soon following.
Evelyn emerged from the sewer, into the corner of a bustling square full of inklings, Cynthia standing in front of her, waiting.
"Welcome to Inkopolis Square Evelyn," she exclaimed, and gave a large smile to the octoling. Evelyn scanned over the inklings, and was amazed at the variety of fashion they possessed. Crazy hats, unique tentacuts, and cool shirts, these squids had it all.
"Ready to head to my place?" Evelyn snapped out of her daze, and looked to the inkling, who was extending her hand towards the octoling. "You can hold my hand if it makes you feel better." Graciously accepting the offer, Evelyn tightly squeezed her hand, and Cynthia returned a reassuring squeeze in return. As they walked through the square, Evelyn's eyes darted around the inklings, seeing if any were looking at her. To her surprise, they all seemed to be oblivious to the octopus in their homeland. She felt better, and began to swing her hand holding arm, feeling more relaxed.
When they entered Cynthia's apartment, Evelyn's jaw dropped. It was so pristine: beige walls accenting a carpeted floor, and a white ceiling. A handful of feet from the door to the left, was an elegant kitchen with new appliances, and a bar to sit at, facing the living room, which lay to the right of the entrance. In the living room was a dark couch, with a couple squid-shaped throw pillows on either end. A midsize TV was placed on a stand across from the sofa, and to it's left was a large window that oversaw Inkopolis Square.
Directly in front of the door, past the living room and kitchen, was a hallway with 3 doors, two on the right, one on the left. At the end of the hallway was an E-Liter 4K resting against the wall.
"Holy carp, you live here?," Evelyn asked in amazement.
"Yep! Wanna see your room?"
The octoling followed the inking, and stopped in front of the first door on the right. It was shut, and Evelyn looked to her roommate.
"Go ahead, open it," she told her.
She cautiously grabbed the door handle, and turned it, then pushing the door open, and she felt tears begin to fill her eyes. The room was painted a brilliant, dark purple, and a large bed sat against the left wall, sporting a complimenting bedsheet, patterned with little octopus symbols. At the head of the bed were small throw pillows similar to the ones on the sofa, except they were octopus-shaped instead of squid-shaped. A dark synthetic-wood dresser was against the opposite wall in the far corner of the room, with a mirror resting on top of it.
"How do you like it," Cynthia asked, bouncing on her tiptoes, hands behind her back.
"I love it!" Evelyn exclaimed, and ran to her bed and fell onto it, bouncing a couple times as a result of the forgiving springs. Cynthia followed her in, sitting cross-legged in front of her, near the head of the bed. The excited octoling flipped over and sat up, taking a similar sitting position in the end of the bed
"Cynthia, I know you just met me, but I want you to know how much you mean to me. You basically saved my life. And there's no way for me to adequately express my gratitude. And, and," Evelyn began, but never finished, as she began crying into Cynthia, throwing herself onto her. The inkling was toppled over, and was now laying on her back on the bed, Evelyn crying into her chest. Cynthia cood the octoling, petting her head and trying to calm her down. This time however, there seemed to be nothing that would calm her, and for over half-an-hour, she bawled her eyes out, murmuring her happiness and gratefulness.
Finally, her tears began to slow, and she seemed to be calming down. Cynthia started pushing herself up, in an attempt to get up and get the octoling off her, but was met with a hand grabbing her tear soaked sweater, and Evelyn shakily saying "No. Please don't go."
"Do you want me to stay with you tonight, Evelyn," Cynthia asked, and was answered with quick nods in agreement.
"Well we should at least get under the covers, then, " Cynthia said. She got off the bed, with Evelyn doing the same, and they tossed the octopus pillows aside and pulled the covers down.
"Aren't you going to get in pajamas," the octoling asked.
"I just sleep in my underwear, so I'm always wearing my pajamas," she replied, as she pulled her tear stained sweater off her body, before removing her baggy shorts, leaving only a tank-top and panties on her body.
"Oh. That's uh, usually how I sleep too. Mostly because I had nothing else under my armor, back in the subway," Evelyn replied. As Cynthia got into the octoling's bed, Evelyn untied the bandana around her head and tossed it onto the dresser, before wiggling herself out of her shorts. As she reached for the bottom of her shirt she realized she wasn't wearing anything underneath it; she had discarded the tight-fitting vest she normally had when she was putting her new clothes on.
"Hey Cynthia? Do you have a top I could borrow? I don't have anything on underneath this shirt," she asked.
"I've already bought you clothes and pajamas, look in the second drawer," the cozy inkling responded. Evelyn opened her dresser, and immediately found something she liked. It was a gray T-Shirt made with super soft fabric, with an Off the Hook logo on it's front.
Evelyn pulled it out of the drawer and held it up to herself in the mirror on the dresser, checking how it would look, then put it down and pulled her shirt off. Cynthia didn't realize Evelyn was going to change in front of her (albeit facing away), and started to look away to be polite, but the octoling's back caught her attention. It was riddled in old cuts and scars. The inkling grew worried; Evelyn never told her about any injuries she got in the subway system, and the wounds didn't look to be caused by any ink-based weapon.
Cynthia opened her mouth to say something, but decided against it, fearing it could bring back unwelcome memories. Once the octoling got her shirt on, she straightened the wrinkles out and looked at herself again. The OTH shirt was ridiculously oversized, and the bottom of it hung down at her thighs. Cynthia didn't want to admit it, but Evelyn looked adorable.
As Evelyn got into bed next to her, Cynthia turned over and shut off the lamp that sat on a nightstand to the right of her. Turning back over, she was looking into Evelyn's eyes, illuminated only slightly by the dim blue nightlight that glowed in the hallway. Cynthia felt embarrassment wash over her, sleeping next to someone in just her underwear. She realized she probably should've been more professional and probably got regular pajamas on, but it was too late. Besides, Evelyn also seemed to be strangely comfortable sleeping in her underwear next to an inkling.
"Good night, Evelyn."
"Good night, Cynthia."
A few seconds after she shut her eyes, Cynthia suddenly felt a kiss on her forehead, and smiled. "Thank you," she heard Evelyn whisper, before turning over and falling into a long-deserved slumber.
Two Months Later: The Present
"So what's on the agenda today," a curious Cynthia asked, wearing her Hero Suit. On her right, Evelyn stood beside her, wearing an identical outfit. But because of her rounded ears, compared to the inkling's pointy ones, she had a custom-made version of the Hero Headset fabricated for her, with rounder cups. As per agent uniform, both Cynthia and Evelyn had their tentacles colored a mint green.
In front of them, Marie sat on the cushioned seat in front of the hut, where she stayed when she was in Octo Canyon. Callie apparently had something to do, so she wasn't present for the agent meeting. On the ground in front of the white tentacled inkling, sat a large cardboard box, held shut with tape that had small outlines of Sheldon's head. The box had multiple red stamps starting "CONFIDENTIAL", "TOP SECRET", and "EXPERIMENTAL". Both agents figured that whatever was in the box had something to do with their mission today, and Marie soon confirmed their suspicion.
"Good morning guys. As you probably have already guessed, this box is your mission today. Specifically, what's in the box. Today you will be doing testing for a special type of shoe Sheldon begged me for you to test. Supposedly, it can mimic the grinding of an inkrail in midair, effectively allowing you to fly."
Cynthia remained unmoved, while Evelyn began jumping up and down in excitement. "Down girl, down," Cynthia playfully told the bouncing octoling, holding her down. Marie reached down, and used the tip of her parasol to cut the tape on the top of the box, until the flaps sprung up. Both agents reached in to grabbed a pair, and looked them over. They looked similar to the Hero Runners they were already wearing, however they had a taller sole, to make room for a rail-shaped crescent running through the side of the sole.
"According to Sheldon, these shoes recycle their ink, so they never need filled up. Now I have no idea how these things work, and I'd rather go on a date with Crusty Sean before listening to Sheldon explain it, so don't ask me any questions about them", Marie told them.
"So, how do we control these things then," Cynthia questioned as she pulled the mysterious shoes onto her feet. "Are we just going to have to grind everywhere we want to go?"
Marie scoffed, and said "Actually no, though that would be pretty rad. Do you see those white gel looking pads that are where the side of your big toe should be?"
Both agents located the described artifact on the sides of their shoes, and touched it. It did feel like a gel thing.
"When you want to toggle the inkrail, bump those gel things together with your feet. If you're already in middair, the shoes will immediately begin working, and you'll suddenly feel like you landed on an inkrail. If you're still on the ground, they'll wait until both of your feet are off the ground to activate. Now, Sheldon gave me these confusing instructions for controlling yourselves. Your leading foot controls your speed, by moving your foot closer or father from the other foot. The trailing foot controls your direction. By turning and tilting your foot, you will turn based on how you moved it."
Both Cynthia and Evelyn stared at Marie in confusion, before Evelyn blurted out "Well we're only gonna learn by trying!" She took a few steps backwards, and jumped up in the air, hitting her feet together at the peak of her jump. To everybody's surprise, the octoling was suddenly floating in midair, her shoes spraying large drops of mint green ink onto the ground. Cautiously, she turned her head to her left, and while leaning forward, moved her left foot slightly. Adding onto the amazement, Evelyn slowly moved forward, and when she turned her back foot left, began to turn left. Giggling, she smacked her feet together again, and fell to the ground.
"That was the coolest thing ever! You gotta try this, Cynthia," she exclaimed.
"Remember, when we're on mission, we're to refer to each other by our number" Cynthia told her.
"Oops. Sorry Three."
Three walked towards Eight, and repeated her actions, and within seconds, was floating, even though it felt like she was standing on an inkrail. Flying in circles, Three quickly learned how to control the shoes, and make quick adjustments to her speed or direction. While Eight and Marie watched, the inkling rode up to a few dozen feet in the air, doing little tricks along the way. Out of the blue however, the shoes suddenly sputtered, gave out, and Three fell roughly three stories onto the hard pavement below.
"THREE!" both Marie and Eight cried out, and rushed to the fallen inkling's side. She had landed on her back, and wasn't moving.
"Oh my cod Three, are you okay," Eight asked in concern, and grabbed Three's hand. The agent let out a pained groan, and a held breath.
"I'm going to get the medkit," Marie said, and retreated into the hut, emerging seconds later with a small box.
"What happened up there," Eight asked, both in curiosity and to check that Three was responsive. Marie kneeled down and helped Three sit up, and bit her lip upon seeing the injuries. When Three hit the ground on her back, her head naturally went with the momentum and smashed against the pavement. The carbon-fibre connecter on her headset had shattered, and left several bleeding gashes on the back of her head.
"Ugh. Everything huuuuurrrrrttttssss," she replied, and went to hold the back of her head, but Marie grabbed her arm and held it away while she used her other hand to hold towels against the bleeding wounds. When Marie saw a bit of color leave Three's tentacles, she realized she wasn't going to be able to treat the agent with just her med kit.
"We need to go to the hospital," Marie told them. "But I don't trust Three to be able to swim through the sewers," she continued.
Eight looked at Marie and said "Well what are we going to do then? We can't just leave her here!" Marie nodded, and instructed her to hold Three up so she could get help.
Marie pulled out her radio, and began to fiddle with it, while telling the octoling, "We're going to have to get an airlift."
"But isn't this location secret? Won't our cover and existence be blown if we go to the hospital?" Evelyn retorted.
"The hospital we're going to secretly serves the New Squidbeak Splatoon. The doctors and nurses who'll help us are sworn to secrecy, and I have a direct radio link to one of them, who can dispatch a helicopter to us," Marie stated, and started talking into the radio.
"Alert. Alert. Call-sign Two coming in, requiring assistance. Please respond, over."
After a couple seconds, Eight heard a static-filled male voice begin talking, but she couldn't make out the words.
"Agent 3 has been injured while doing testing of experimental equipment, and is losing color. She's bleeding from the head, and may have incurred other damages. We're at my hut in Octo Canyon, and we need an airlift", she heard the white tentacled inkling continue.
More indistinguishable voices from the radio.
"No I haven't." Marie covered the microphone on the radio and looked to Three. "Hey Three. Do you remember your name?"
Painfully, Three replied "Cynthia".
Marie uncovered the radio's mic, and said "Yes, she does," into it. After a few more interference laced words, Marie said "Thank you," into the radio, and turned it off.
"Help will be here soon, hold tight," Marie assured both Three and Eight. Just under a minute had passed since help had been called, when Three suddenly throw up, and she nearly fell over into her vomit. Luckily, Eight caught her as soon as she started going limp, and prevented her from landing in puke.
"She's getting worse," Eight commented.
After just over 10 minutes, Three had puked again, and her tentacles were noticably less bright then they normally were. But at last, the sound of helicopter blades could be heard in the distance, and both Eight and Marie looked to the arriving help. Even though the pilots probably already saw her, Marie waved her arms to get the chopper's attention. When it was over the center of the sector where the boss kettle had previously been, it began descending, and before it even had landed, the side door opened. Multiple jellyfish hopped out, one carrying a manually supported stretcher over it's head, and rushed over to the group of agents.
With a combination of unparalleled speed and delicacy, they placed Three on the stretcher, and whisked her into the helicopter, with Eight and Marie following in pursuit.
A couple of minutes into their flight, Three suddenly asked "What's going on", as if she only had just then realized she was in a helicopter.
"We're bringing you to a hospital; you're hurt pretty bad, " Marie told her.
Without warning, Three located and grabbed Eights hand, and started running her thumb across the back of it. Eight, who had been gazing out the helicopters window, looked to the inkling holding her hand. Three had her eyes shut, but a weak smile on her face was all Eight needed to see to know she was going to be okay.
Half a day at the hospital later, Three was checked out, after being treated for a severe concussion and all the gashes on the back of her head. She had been instructed by the doctors (to her dismay) to not do any ink battle for at least a week, and especially no dangerous agent work for longer. As much as she didn't like it, she knew that failure to follow the profreshonal's advice could lead to other medical problems. According to the doctors, there was a possible chance that she could have died if she hadn't received medical attention for her injuries.
While Cynthia and Evelyn may have become close during their time together, they became much closer after the incident. Within the month, Evelyn was no longer sleeping in her own bed, instead opting to sleep with her inkling roommate. Cynthia herself was the one to suggest the idea one night, and Evelyn agreed without hesitation. That moment unofficially was the start of their serious relationship, and from then on, the inkling and octoling were inseparable from each other.
"Don't Get Cooked... Stay off the hook!"
Pearl and Marina struck their signature poses, before putting their arms down and sitting, after their midday stage announcements. Pearl jumped back and landed in her oversized beanbag chair, while Marina pulled out a regular chair from the table, sitting opposite to the petite white inkling. Like every day, they began to discuss stage dynamics and upcoming events, occasionally pausing to wave to the inklings that approached their window.
Overseeing the square full of inklings, Marie stood on the entrance to Octo Canyon, shielding herself from the sun with her parasol. Seeing as Agent 3 had recently gotten injured and was still recovering Agent 4 was temporarily filling in for her. Currently she was on a surveillance mission to gather intelligence about what DJ Octavio's troops were developing, while the octopus himself was trapped in a snow globe. Unfortunately, the octarians technology development sector was too deep underground for radio signals to penetrate, meaning that Marie had no way to communicate with Agent 4.
Marie was thinking about what the magical fax machine would suggest as the next Splatfest. Suddenly, what sounded like an explosion loudly rattled the square, eliciting a collective shriek from every inkling. Marie went on the alert, discarded her parasol, and ran to check if anyone was hurt. Along the way, she noticed that all the screens in the square were off for some reason, and a quick glance into the shops revealed that all the lights were off. It appeared that whatever the caused the explosion made the square lose power. Looking up, the Great Zapfish was nowhere to be found, likely scared away from the noise.
Marie first approached an alone female inkling, who was looking at her wrist, on the verge of tears.
Upon every inkling's wrist, they wore a tight fitting metal bracelet known as a Respawn Band. This bracelet was a mini computer that wirelessly connected to the nearest Respawn Pad, or a designated pad in ink battles. If the inkling was ever splatted outside of battle, the band would ensure that they respawned. Respawn Pads were often inside hospitals, so the inkling could get medical attention once they spawned. Luckily, almost no inklings needed to use it, as Inkopolis was very peaceful, and splatting outside of battle carried maximum punishment.
"Are you okay? What's wrong, why are you so focused on your wrist," Marie questioned.
"M-my Respawn Band... That explosion broke it," she cried out. Marie grabbed the inklings wrist to look at the band, and sure enough, the small screen that normally displayed connection status and time blank.
"Hey, mine's broke too," another inkling yelled out. One by one, more inklings began to panic as they realized their Respawn Band was no longer operational. Within seconds there was mass panic, and Marie felt true fear for the first time in years.
"Marie, what the fuck just happened," she heard yelled from her radio, sounding like Cynthia. Marie pulled out her radio.
"Cynthia, I know you're still recovering from your injuries, but I think you and Evelyn need to get down here in your gear. Superjump to me when your ready."
"Yes ma'am," Agent 3 responded. After a of pacing around the square, fruitlessly trying to calm inklings down, Marie's radio came to life again.
"Marie, something's seriously wrong. I can't sense you or your radio to jump to. I can't even sense the permanent beakon in the square! We're going to just have to sprint there," Three told her.
"Shoot. Make it here as fast as you can. I'm going to get Callie, so she can help. Marie out." Marie returned, and ran to get into Octo Canyon, where her cousin was napping.
With the square full of panicking inklings, everyone was shushed when the ground began to shake, it's vigor increasing every second. Everyone collectively looked to the ground, and another shriek of panic cried out as large sections of the pavement began cracking. When the shaking suddenly stopped, all the inkings held their breath, waiting for what was next.
Suddenly, every manhole in the square shot off at lightning speed, and a plume of black ink erupted over a dozen feet into the air from each. At the same time, black ink was flooding out from the cracks in the pavement, supernaturally flowing towards the edges of the square. Hysteria was at full, as inklings began running in all directions, panicking. Their attempts to escape were suddenly cut off, as black ink created an ever-growing fence preventing entry or exit out of the square.
Blood-curdling screams and deafening cries filled the square, as inklings were running around, trying to find an escape. Every second that passed, more and more black ink flooded the square, reducing the walkable area significantly. Within 2 minutes, all the inklings were huddled together in the center of the square, crying and screaming. Too focused in their panic, no one saw the mass of black ink rising out from the ground in front of Deca Tower...
Running as fast as they could, agents 3 and 8 turned the corner to Inkopolis Square. They both were forced to halt in their tracks, nearly everything in the square was covered in black ink. Three began walking on the ink, her movement only slightly hindered, as her shoes had been infused with ink resistance abilities. Eight followed behind, and they both raised their weapons, ready for conflict. As the center of the plaza came into view, a colorful mass of something caught Three's attention, and upon realizing what the mass was, she dropped her weapon and covered her mouth with her hands as she gasped loudly.
The mass of color was in fact, a large pile of assorted headgear, shirts, and shoes. Everyone knew that when an inkling was splatted, their clothes blew off and fell to the ground. However, upon respawning, the discarded apparel would disintegrate into ink, and vanish. The fact that all this gear was still piled on the black ink meant that none of the inklings had respawned.
They were all dead. Splatted permanently, never to return.
Three teared up, and embraced Eight for comfort. "We were too late," she said with a shaking voice. Eight patted Three on the back, trying to comfort her. Their emotional session was cut short however, as the ground began to shake violently, the epicenter in front of Deco Tower. Three withheld her tears, and looked with Eight to the source of the shaking.
Menacingly, something was rising out of the black ink. As it rose, what appeared to be arms became distinguishable parts of the ink, and soon after, the rising chunk of ink split into two parts. By the time it was finished, Three and Eight were looking at a two-story tall... Creature, thing, made entirely of ink. It didn't appear to have a mouth, yet the creature released a roar loud enough to shake the ground.
"what tHE FUCK IS THAT THING" Three screamed out, and picked up her weapon from the ground. She carried the Hero Blaster, modified for rapid fire with extremely long distance shots. Next to her, Eight carried a pair of Hero Dualies.
When the creature turned it's "body" towards the agents, Three screamed "FIRE" and began unloading her blaster into the monster. Eight shot a puddle of ink around her and her partner, so they could refill their ink when they ran out. Once there was sufficient ink coverage, she began running trying to distract it, her dualies sounding like machine guns. However, the creature seemed to be unaffected by their shots, and began to lumber towards Three.
"THIS ISN'T WORKING," Three yelled out. She quickly submerged in her ink to refill, and tossed a splat bomb when she emerged. It landed next to the creature's left leg, and when it detonated, it blew off it's leg. The monster fell to it's side, but within seconds stood back up, with another leg. It gave another deafening roar, and when Three saw what looked to possibly be a mouth at it's top, she got an idea.
"EVELYN! GET OVER HERE!"
The octoling quickly returned to her partner.
"I have an idea. I'm going to use the inkrail shoes to get near that thing. When i tell you to, throw as many splat bombs as you can at it's feet. When it opens it's mouth to roar, I'm going to toss a couple down it's gullet," Three told her.
"Three! Why do you still have those shoes," Eight scolded.
"NEVER MIND THAT JUST DO WHAT I SAY," the inkling commanded. Three could tell that Eight wanted to protest, but instead she just nodded, and pulled out a splat bomb. Three looked at the monster walking towards them, and activated her inkrail shoes, taking off at high speed to begin circling the abomination. Holstering her blaster, she pulled out two splat bombs and triggered them to inflate, so they were normal size. While she was flying around the monster, it constantly swung at her, but quick reflexes allowed Three to just dodge it's attacks.
Gradually, the creature turned around, facing away from Eight. When she heard Three scream "NOW", she threw the bombs she was holding, dove into her ink, and continued to throw. As planned, once they began detonating, the monster let out a roar, and a beak-like mouth opened on it's top. With perfect accuracy, Three threw the splat bombs into it's mouth, and raced away from the creature while the bombs were getting ready to explode.
Just as Three landed, she heard the bombs go off, and felt several blobs of ink hit her back. It hurt, but after quickly diving in and out of her ink to wash herself, she was fine, and turned around to see how the creature was doing. To her relief, the monster had a large hole in it's torso, and a couple seconds later, the creature lost its form, melting into the ground.
"We... We did it," Three said, panting. However, no sooner did they begin celebrating than something else, much smaller, began to rise out of the ink, where the monster previously was. Upon seeing skin tone, both agents realized it was an inkling, with black tentacles. Upon further wait, the inkling had several really long tentacles, easily 12 feet long. The inkling looked like it was using ink to form it's clothes; a long trenchcoat. It was somehow floating several feet in the air, with no apparent reason.
"Witch..." Three said quietly, and Eight shot her a confused look. Her attention was forced back to the floating inkling as it began to speak.
"Now did you have to kill my pet? He was doing nothing wrong, just swimming in his ink."
Three was overcome with rage, and yelled "WHO ARE YOU? DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY YOU'VE KILLED, YOU MONSTER!"
The black tentacled inkling scoffed.
"My name dearie, is Amethyst. And no, I didn't keep a body count."
Eight was the next one to ask questions. "HOW ARE YOU DOING THIS", she screamed, but Three answered her question.
"She's a witch, Eight."
"Oooh, someone's done their homework. Tell me agent, how did you know? If you tell me, I may give you and your friend a painless death," Amethyst said, switching into a position like she was laying on her stomach, but still floating.
"Because I'm a witch too"
Amethyst and Eight both gave Three a shocked look, and she knew she was now the center of attention.
"Sure honey, you're a witch. Real believable. Y'know, I don't care for liars, and you just lied," Amethyst beckoned, and a beach ball sized blob of ink formed out of midair in front of Amethyst. "Any last words?"
Three braced herself, and remained silent.
"Silence. I like it," Amethyst said, and propelled the blob of ink towards the agents. Eight cowered and put her arms up to defend herself, not that it would help. With her eyes forced shut she wouldn't see it hit her. But when nothing happened, she opened one eye, to see a ten-foot tall wall of mint ink shielding her and Three, who had one hand extended towards the barrier.
"Holy carp, she is a witch" Eight whispered to herself. Once a couple seconds passed, Three put her hand down, and the wall of ink fell to the ground, leaving a thin line of mint ink in front of them.
"How the..." Amethyst began, evidently flabbergasted. "You can't be a witch! I have the scroll," she cried out.
"There's more than one ritual scroll, Amethyst. Do you really think the octarians would only write one for all wannabe witches to share?"
Eight wanted to say something, but she was too shocked to speak. Her race created this magic?
"And I can bet that you're a newbie at this witch stuff, aren't you? You couldn't even summon your golem properly; it was deformed" Three continued. She lifted her hand into the air, and a large pool of mint ink formed in the sea of black ink, and another creature began to rise from it. Amethyst and Eight watched in awe as an ink golem formed, with a pointy head featuring the beak from Amethyst's golem, but smaller and properly placed on the front of the head. Continuing to rise, sharp shoulders and elbows emerged, along with complete five-finger hands, and claws.
When it was finished rising, the golem looked infinitely better than Amethyst's, looking like it was wearing armor, with clearly defined features, compared to the black blob from earlier.
"You angered the wrong squid, kid" Three said aggressively, and pointed at Amethyst. Suddenly Three's golem lept forward with incredible speed, and before the inkling had time to react, the golem punched it's massive fist into Amethyst, destroying her instantly. A cloud of black smoke puffed from where she was, and when the golem pulled back it's first, there was nothing left.
Three let out a breath she had been holding and fell onto her hands and knees, her golem instantly losing its form and the ink that made up it's body falling to the ground. Eight rushed to her side, and held onto her, crying.
"Cynthia! You saved us! You saved Inkopolis!"
Cynthia was breathing heavily, and Evelyn realized the ink that covered everything was fading away. Within seconds, there was not a speck of ink on the ground anywhere in Inkopolis Square. After a few minutes of rest, she stood up, and looked to a tearful Evelyn. Without warning, she grabbed Cynthia and pulled her into a kiss. The inkling was shocked at first, but swiftly returned the hug and shut her eyes, absorbing the bliss of the octoling's affection. After several still seconds, they pulled away, and looked deeply into each other's eyes.
"I love you Cynthia."
"I love you too Evelyn."
Chapter 7: Epilogue
The restoration of Inkopolis Square was slow and painful. With the EMP that Amethyst created with her magic, nearly all electronics in a mile radius were fried, including the Respawn Bands that would've saved so many. Overall, over 200 inklings lost their life in the massacre, many trapped in buildings that became flooded with black ink. With no power to their bracelet, they could not respawn from being splatted.
Around a table near the Squid Sisters hut a day after the attack, sat the sisters themselves, along with a handholding Cynthia and Evelyn. Pearl and Marina also sat with the group. Seeing as they were agents 5 and 6 respectively, they had to come to the debriefing. According to them, they had immediately fled the square as soon as the shockwave hit, saving them from the incoming black ink.
"So... You're a witch huh? How did you even become one," Callie asked, though the question was on everybody's mind.
Cynthia took a deep breath, and began to explain.
"Back while I was saving the Great Zapfish the first time it went missing, I came across this old shack in Sector 4 I think. When I went to investigate it, it was covered floor to ceiling in strange symbols, written in what looked to be blood. And laying facedown on the floor, was the body of an octoling. Her tentacles had no color to them, and clutched in her hand was a scroll of paper. I removed it from her, and begin to read it. It was a ritual scroll that described how to become a witch.
"Now, I was young and naive-"
"That was two years ago!" Pearl blurted out.
"Anyway, after the mission, I secretly took the scroll home with me, and began to do research on what this 'Order' was. I eventually found that it was a clan of witches. Looking at what I possessed, my ego got the better of me, and I wanted to become a witch just so I could show my friends cool tricks."
Cynthia placed her hand face up on the table, and out of nowhere a wireframe ball of mint ink formed, hovering over her hand. The rest of the agents watched in amazement.
"After I had completed the ritual, I was suddenly struck with an incredible headache, and when it subsided I realized that I could suddenly read the symbols I had copied from a scroll on the internet. Striving for perfection, I read and practiced every spell that I could find. A year later, when summoning an ink golem for fun, it suddenly hit me how dangerous I could be. I tore the ritual scroll into shreds and burned it, and from that moment on, I swore to never use or practice this magic ever again. But when Amethyst emerged, I realized that the only way I was going to save us and beat her was to use my magic."
"Woah," everyone at the table replied. Trying to move the focus away from her, Cynthia asked Marie "Wait, if the shockwave destroyed all electronics, then how did your radio survive so you could call me?"
She just shrugged, and replied "Maybe the tech it's made with is too old to be affected."
Marina, who had been mostly quiet and observant through the conversion, pulled the topic back into witches when she said "About the scrolls... I think we should force the Inkopolis Document Archive to remove the copies of the scrolls from the internet immediately. There's no telling what could happen if another witch arises and finds those spells." Everyone unanimously agreed amongst themselves.
Marie stood up with a stack of paper in hand, and began to pass them around the table.
"Unfortunately, it's time that we face the reality of this situation, agents. This has been the most destructive attack in Inkopolis, and the first of this scale. But more importantly, we have failed the inklings of Inkopolis Square. According to initial count, 226 inklings have been killed. This number is only based on the number of Respawn Bands found so far."
Marie swallowed nervously
"A mass funeral will be held exactly one week from today to remember the innocent squids who lost their life to the emotionless, uncaring monster known as Amethyst Fox. According to her record, or lack thereof, she grew up with a violently abusive single mother until she gained her squid form, at which point she ran away. We don't know where she stayed or how she sustained herself, however we might have a lead, as we believe an inkling by the name of Faye Dillons may have been a friend of Amethyst."
Marie turned to the next page in her packet, and the others did the same.
"Moving on, Inkopolis Square is ruined. Compounded with billions of coins worth of damage, the square and surrounding areas also suffered structurally. It is unknown how severe it is, but preliminary reports suggest that it may not be as bad as first thought. However, until they are deemed safe, affected locations will be off limits. Any questions?"
No one spoke up, too saddened by the report to think of a question.
"Then this briefing is dismissed," Marie announced, and everyone else stood up to began walking to the sewer entrance. The exit in Inkopolis Square was blocked off, so the agents would have to emerge somewhere else. As they headed to their destination, everyone made light talk about the immediate future, scared of what might come next.