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   In Dollar $avings, Addie, Coby, and Lola were browsing the shelves of knick-knacks and tchotchkes. There was quite the collection of small Halloween props and decorations.

   Coby held up a small, plastic Jack-o-lantern. “Why do people like Halloween so much, anyway?”

   “Because it’s awesome!” replied Addie, playing with a rubber witch's mask.

   Coby noticed the mask and asked, “Are you going to be a witch for Halloween, Addie? I thought you were going to be a cat.”

   “No,” replied Addie, “Felix is going to be a witch. Well a ‘warlock’. I don’t know how it’s different, he’s even wearing a dress.”

   “I think he would wear a robe.”

   “Whatever. Are you still going as a skeleton?”

   “Yeah, I figure if I’m scary, I’ll be less scared of scary things.”

   “That sounds like a good idea,” said Lola from behind Coby. Her sudden appearance caused Coby to jump and let out a small yelp.

   “Are you going out for Trick-or-Treating?” Addie asked Lola. She wasn’t sure if Lola would consider herself too ‘mature’ for such things, being a whole eleven years old and in the sixth grade.

   “Yeah, I probably will,” replied Lola, “I don’t know what I’m going as ye-” She was cut off mid-sentence by Addie pulling her out of the aisle and behind the shelf. “Uh, what’s up dudette?”

   “It’s Kamryn!” said Coby, as if Lola should know what she meant. The girls all leaned and looked into an aisle where a couple of girls were standing.

   “Oooh got you. ...Wait I don’t got you, whatcha talkin’ about?”

   The two other girls were silent for a minute before Addie began to explain, “Okay, you know those movies where’s there that girl that has, like, a posse and they’re really mean and stuff?” Lola nodded. “And you know how you think, ‘Well, it’s not like a person like that actually exists in real life. It’s exaggerated’?” Lola nodded again. “Well, Kamryn is a girl from one of those movies. Like she was brought to life through some weird magic thing like in a different type of movie.”

   Lola was silent for a minute before simply saying, “Huh!”
   
   She then headed back into the aisle. One of the girls, who was a little short with long blonde hair and wore sunglasses looked up. “Hey,” she said to Lola, “Isn’t that the uniform of those weird scout people?”

   “We’re the Beacon Scouts, dudette,” replied Lola, throwing up the peace sign with her hand.

   Astounded, and wanting to stop this scene before it could progress, Addie and Coby quickly stepped into the aisle.

   “Well, well, if it isn’t Addie and scaredy cat Coby,” said the girl with a high-pitched and lifted voice, pulling her sunglasses down a little, showing her green eyes.
“Kamryn,” Addie growled. Her eyes shifted over to the other girl, who was chubby with short black hair. “Emma.” Emma gave her a shy wave.

   “Sooo…” said Kamryn, eyeing the girls like a hungry shark, “What are you doing here?”
Before Addie or Coby could answer, Lola did, “We’re on an assignment to spend money responsibly, so we thought this was the best place.”

   Kamryn flipped her hair backwards. “That sounds like a lame assignment. I’m only here because this is, like, the only interesting place in this stupid mall.” Lola simply shrugged. Kamryn then looked at Coby. “Coby, you haven’t said anything. Scared?” She then made a quick movement causing Coby to flinch. “Scaredy-cat.”

   “Being a scaredy-cat isn’t so bad,” said Addie, stepping forward to defend her best friend.
   
   “I guess you’re right,” admitted Kamryn with a grin, “Better than being pyromaniac.”

   Addie’s face reddened through a combination of anger and embarrassment. “Fire setting is a perfectly normal behavior that lots of kid do and grow out of, like me!”

   “I’ve never set fire to anything,” replied Kamryn. “Have you ever Emma?”

   Emma looked up from the shelves she was examining. “Oh, uh, no, I haven’t. I don’t think a lot of people have.”

   Kamryn then turned her attention from the seething Addie to Lola. “You know, I think I’ve heard of you,” she said, just a little too sweetly, “Aren’t you like, on drugs or something?”

   “Nope!” replied Lola cheerfully, “I’m high on life! Don’t need grass or anything like that. Instead, we should just go with the flow as we journey through life, so that we can enjoy both the journey, and the destination. Don’t you agree, dudette?”

   All the girls, Addie and Coby included stared blankly at her. Finally, Kamryn, in a voice that was lower and slightly more raspy and natural sounding, asked, “What?” She had run up against the wall of strange hippiness that was Lola Bachchan, and she wasn’t quite sure how to proceed.

-----------------------------------------

   Ruth, Zuri, Jorge, and Lydia made their way through the crowds. Lydia groaned “Ugh, malls are supposed to dying. Especially this one! Why are there so many people?”
   
   “Halloween, I think,” replied Jorge. “Oh, we’ll never find it!”

   “We have to find it!” said Ruth, panic starting to seep into her voice. She turned a corner and bumped into someone. “Oh, sorry!” She looked down and saw a short girl in an over large green sweater, black leggings, a bomber hat, and huge glasses. “Maggie?”

   “Hi Ruth,” whispered Maggie. “I have information that might interest you.”

   “Are those new leggings?”

   “What? Oh… yeah, they are.”

   “They’re nice.”

   Jorge, Lydia, and Zuri rounded the corner to join Ruth and Maggie. “Hey, I know you,” said Jorge. Maggie nodded in greeting.

   “I don’t,” said Zuri, “Who are you?”

   “This is Maggie, she’s in my class,” explained Ruth. “She said she had information for me.”

   “I do, but I can’t tell you here, too public,” whispered Maggie conspiratorially.

   “Is it about Ruth’s backpack?” asked Lydia. Maggie hesitated a moment and then nodded. “Then you can just tell us here Maggie.”

   Maggie looked around, checking to make sure they weren’t being watched. “I know who took your backpack, and how to find them.”

   Ruth’s eyes grew wide. “Who, where, what?!” she stammered, the questions coming out at speed, her words tripping over one another.

   “A girl in the 5th grade, back at the store (I thought you were here for that part), and your backpack (again, thought you were here),” answered Maggie, addressing Ruth’s questions in order.

   “What 5th grade girl?”

   “Skinny, kinda tall, really long hair. Twitchy. Doing her best to lose you. Currently pretending to window shop to blend,” explained Maggie as if she was a soldier giving a report.

   “Wearing a stupid amount of pink?” asked Jorge.

   “Yep. Do you see her?”

   Jorge pointed to a girl that fit Maggie’s description. Sure enough, there was a tall girl with really long hair who wearing Ruth’s backpack and a stupid amount of pink. “Pink’s a great color, but you have to moderate!” huffed Jorge, “Especially when it’s that bright. Ugh, a normal pink is much better.”

   Ignoring Jorge’s little rant, Lydia approached the girl. “Hey, you!” she shouted. The girl turned to look and quickly ran off, zig-zagging through other patrons of the mall.
The three Beacon Scouts, Lydia, and now Maggie chased after her.

   “Maggie!” called a voice behind her, bringing her up short. She turned around to face a woman who bore a strong family resemblance. “Where are you going?” she asked, with just the hint of an Irish accent.

   “Uh…” answered Maggie articulately.

   “She with us,” replied Ruth, thinking quickly, “We wanted to show her something quick. ...Oh, I’m Ruth. Um...I’m in her class.”

   Lydia stepped forward, “Don’t worry, I’m chaperoning them.”

   Maggie’s mother glance back and forth between her daughter and Lydia. Finally she said, “Alright, but meet me back by the pretzel stand in ten minutes, alright?”

   Maggie nodded very quickly. “Yep, no problem, mom!” She hurried forward to Jorge. “Did you lost sight of her?”

   “Nope!” replied Jorge, “Follow me, I’ll lead the way!” He began to run forward and then stopped, letting her run ahead. Glancing in on the shops he muttered to himself, “Maybe I need new shoes.”

   Zuri sighed. “We’re doomed.”

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   In the Arcade, the electronic sounds blared from all sorts of machines. Fake car sounds also blared from Felix’s mouth as he raced around the virtual track. The sound from the fighting game was not a pleasant one for Dominic though.

   “PLAYER 2 WINS!” declared the game as the Beacon Scout grimaced.

   Noah smiled broadly and said, “I told you I would be able to tie to it up. You should block more.”

   “Blocking is for cowards!” retorted Dominic.

   “So, if you were a real fight you wouldn’t block?”

   “Of course I would. Blocking in video games makes you a virtual coward.”

   Theo had wandered back after an intense game of pinball. One day he would finally conquer a pinball machine. Today was not that day, but thoughts of beating a game got him thinking. “Hey, Dominic, can I talk to you a second?”

   Dominic looked Noah who said, “Go ahead, take a break. You need all the help you can get.” Dominic glared and walked over to Theo, who took them a little ways away.

   “So, about the game…” said Theo.

   “Yeah, he’s better than I thought,” admitted Dominic. He sighed. “I hate to say it, but he might beat me.”

   “That’s what I wanted to talk about,” replied Theo, looking a little anxious. “I think I know how you can win.”

   “Oh yeah? How?”

   “Well, this like a duel. And sometimes you can have someone duel on your behalf…” Theo looked at Dominic, who seemed to be following.

   “So, you’re saying I should let you fight a last round in my place?” asked Dominic. Theo nodded. “I’m not so sure…”

   Theo took a deep breath and stood up to his full height. “I know I might seem like a slightly pudgy nerd. And I am. But, I know I can do this. Give me this chance. I need you trust me, Dominic.”

   Upon hearing his inspirational speech Dominic smiled and placed his hands on Theo’s shoulders. Looking him in the eyes Dominic said, “Theo...I don’t trust you.”

   “W-what?” replied Theo, very surprised. He thought Dominic’s initial reaction was good. Behind them, the sound of game over music echoed from a machine.

   “No offense, but I actually don’t know you all that well,” explained Dominic. “We’ve known each other for less than two months and haven’t hung out a lot.” He sighed. “But, I want to actually save the rest of my money for food and stuff. It’s stupid expensive here. So, you may as well try.”

   It wasn’t exactly a stirring speech, but it was enough to motivate Theo. He hurried over to the machine with Dominic following behind. He began to insert quarters.
   “Hey, what are you doing, you idiot?” demanded Noah.

   “He’s subbing in for me,” Dominic explained. He grinned and folded his arms. “You could refuse to play him. If you think you can handle a fifth grader.”

   Noah glared, first at Dominic and then at Theo. “Alright, I’ll just kick your butt too.”

   The two combatants took their positions at their respective joysticks and buttons. They quickly set about choosing their fighters. Noah stuck with the fighter he’d been using. When he saw who Theo picked he laughed. “Seriously? I’m so good against him!” Theo said nothing, and just got ready to play.    

   What followed was a massive battle, an epic, something massive- Earth-shaking-
   “Arcades have changed so much since I was a kid,” remarked Scout Leader Steward. He was still sitting at the food bar, nursing an energy drink.

   “I feel you there” said the teenager, wiping down the counter.

   “Kid, I’m pretty sure you’re literally half my age.”

   “That’s what, I’m talking about. Even different then when I was a kid.”

   Before Scout Leader Steward could answer a big “YES” emanated from the arcade machines, traveling over the sound of games being played. Steward stood up and walked over to the see the commotion was. He found a smug looking Theo, and annoyed looking Noah, and an air-guitaring Dominic.

   “I should have chosen air hockey instead,” said Noah, the bitterness dripping from his voice.

   Dominic stopped air-guitaring and said with the utmost seriousness, “I would destroy you at air hockey.”

   “Do I even want to know?” Scout Leader Steward asked Theo. Theo shook his head no. “Okay, good.”

   “Hey,” said Felix from behind them. Steward, Theo, and Dominic turned to face him. “So, I just saw Zuri, Ruth, Jorge, and Zuri’s sister. They looked like they had teamed up with some weird looking girl to chase somebody. Want to see what’s going on?”

   Dominic shrugged. “Well, now I’ve got nothing better to do.”

   “And I better see what’s going on,” said Scout Leader Steward, with a heavy sigh.

-----------------------------------------

   Outside the arcade Lydia and her charges were in hot pursuit of Ruth’s backpack. “We’re gaining on her!” called Maggie. She ran forward only to pulled to the side by Ruth. “What are you-?” she began, but Ruth just pointed to a sad looking potted plant. The plant was plastic, and yet still somehow looked neglected. Maggie was about to make it look ever worse by running into it. “Oh, thanks.” Ruth nodded.

   From behind came Scout Leader Steward and the rest of the boys. “What’s going on?” Steward asked Lydia.

   “Some kid stole Ruth’s backpack, and we’re getting it back,” she replied, waving them forward, “Come on!”

   Steward followed, looking annoyed. “Then why didn’t you call the mall’s security? Let someone qualified handle this.”  

   “Well, first I thought someone had taken it by accident. Besides, this mall barely has any security left,” explained Lydia as they ran past several empty storefronts.

   “Aren’t you marshal, Scout Leader Steward?” asked Felix.

   “This is way out of my jurisdiction, Felix,” explained Steward. “How is this girl so fast?!”

   “She’s the fastest runner in all the 5th grade,” Theo said, lagging behind the others a bit.

   “Wait, you know her?” asked Jorge.

   “Yeah. She always hangs out with these two girls…”

-----------------------------------------

   Dollar $avings: Lola, Addie, and Coby were talking with two girls.

   “But that doesn’t make any sense!” cried Kamryn.

   “It makes sense if you think about it,” replied Lola calmly, “It is, like people say, far out.”

   “Literally no one says that any more!”

   Addie, Coby, and Emma had been following the strange conversation, turning from one participant to the other as they spoke. Whatever thoughts of shopping they had had long been forgotten.

   Finally Addie broke the silence. Speaking to Emma she asked, “Why do you hang out with Kamryn, anyway? She’s a jerk.”

   Emma shrugged. “She’s not so bad. At least to me. She never called me fat or made fun of my weight.”

   “Neither have we,” Coby pointed out.

   “Yeah, but you guys are super weird.”

   “So is she!” yelled Addie. She wasn’t exactly offended, since, even she had to admit, she and Coby were weird. Still, it was odd of Emma.

   “Well, a little,” admitted Emma, “But, it’s kind of cool. Like being in a movie. You two are just kind of dorks.”

   Addie was actually offended by this, but before she could object, the girl with Ruth’s backpack ran into the store and right up to Kamryn.

   “Oh, I was wondering if Skylar was with you,” remarked Coby.

   Kamryn turned around to face the panting girl. “Good you got-wait why are you panting?”

   To answer her question, the rest of the Beacon Scouts, along with Lydia and Maggie ran inside as at the same time Jana turned the corner into the aisle.

   “Are you about ready to-what’s going on?”

   “S-stop...thief…” panted Ruth.

   “Thief?!” asked a surprised Jana.

   Maggie didn’t bother with formalities. She walked up to Skylar and stuck a boney finger in her face. “That backpack doesn’t belong to you. Give it back!”

   Kamryn facepalmed. “Why did you run straight back here?! You’re supposed to lose them first, hide out, and then get back to me!”

   Steward motioned Dominic close. “Remind me to keep an eye on that one in the future,” he whispered. Turning to address the girls he crossed his arms and said, “I’ll let this go this one time, and simply give you a warning. Just give Ruth her backpack back.”

   Lola shook her head sadly. “Seriously uncool of you, dudettes.”

   Emma and Skylar looked appropriately ashamed, but Kamryn mostly looked annoyed. Skylar awkwardly handed Ruth her backpack back.    

   “What was in there that was so valuable, anyway?” asked Theo.

   “A free pizza pass for Hammurabi's pizza!” answered Ruth proudly and loudly. When she received mostly blank stares and she added quietly, “I won it in a class raffle. ...I thought it was cool.”

   “I think it's cool,” said Maggie reassuringly. Ruth gave her a shy smile.

   Emma just shook her head. “Well I think that’s pretty dumb.” She motioned for her two friends to follow her. “Come on, I don’t know why we even hang out at this lame place.” The three girls walked out of the store.

   “She does have one point,” said Jana, “Why did we go to this mall? There are a couple of malls around here that aren’t dying.”

   “Well I thought going to a mall with few people would keep you all out of trouble,”
explained Scout Leader Steward, “But clearly I can’t take you anywhere.”

   “It wasn’t a our fault this time,” Jorge pointed out.

   “Yeah, at we least we didn’t set anything on fire,” added Felix.

   “It would be pretty easy to do,” Addie chimed in. Then she quickly added, “Not that I would know how.”

   Coby looked at Maggie. “Who are you?”

   “This is Maggie,” said Ruth. Maggie gave a little wave. “She helped me find that girl and get my bookbag back.”

   Lola smiled. “That’s really cool of you Maggie. Maybe you should join the Beacon Scouts.”

   Maggie suddenly looked panicked as Lola smiled at her. “Uh...well not right now because I have to go meet my mom. I’llseeyouinclassRuth!” That flurry of words was followed by a flurry of movement as she hurried out the door.

   “Bye,” replied Ruth with a wave. “I like that girl.”

   “She should join,” remarked Steward. Under his breath he muttered, “Lord knows she’s weird enough.

   “So,” said Coby, “Maybe we should actually do some shopping. Since that’s what we’re here to do.”

   “It’s actually pretty late,” said Jana. “We should be leaving soon.”

   This brought groans from most of the scouts, with the exception of Dominic, Theo and Felix.

   “Told you the arcade was a good idea,” said Dominic. He and the other two boys had a three-way high five, which Theo somehow missed, hitting Dominic in the face.

   The Beacon Scout meeting was more or less complete. And the Beacon Scouts once again learned a valuable lesson. Not the one that was intended to be taught by Scout Leader Steward, but the outcome was, overall, positive.
Continuing on from last time, the plot thickens. New enemies are met, new friends are made, and the Beacon Scout get into some trouble.
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The ending was kind of rushed, but I'm decently happy with how the story came out overall.
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Special thanks to :iconfireblazedragon5: for editing, as always. Also special thanks to :icontheowlgoesmoo: for his reading and encouragement, even when I might have been annoying.
:iconfireblazedragon5:
FireBlazeDragon5 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 31, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've been thinking about how a robe is different from a dress. 1. Robes have wide, flowy sleeves. 2. Robes open in the front and must therefore be held shut by a belt of some kind.
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:iconbadguy101:
Badguy101 Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
I agree. However, these children don't know the difference.
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:iconfireblazedragon5:
FireBlazeDragon5 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
They need to read more books. .3.
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August 31, 2017
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