2. Hilda's Rival Transcript

Transcript by Raina Harper
[Music plays, ‘Quest Friends! Hereafter Theme’ by Miles Morkri.]

Kyle
Hello, guests and ghouls! Welcome to Quest Friends! Hereafter, an improvised fiction podcast using the Under the Neighborhood roleplaying system. I am Kyle, he/him, and today I, my four best friends, and some dice are gonna tell you a story about the nightmare of school sports tryouts.

Ari
I am Ari, she/her, and I play Aurelio Enrique Hueso Canaca, but mostly known as Quique, who is the opportunist who adapts. He/him.

Tom
Hi, I’m Tom. My pronouns are he/him. I will be playing… I’ve gotta say this correctly now for the first time, because since last episode and this episode I learned that I’ve just been pronouncing my own grandmother’s last name wrong my entire life because my mom never bothered to teach us how.
[Laughter.]
Anyway. I will be playing Hilda Miszkiewicz who is also—
[Frustrated.] It’s not also. —who has she/her pronouns and is the guardian who pulls pranks.
[Exasperated.] I’m done… I’m done now.

Hallie
I’m Hallie, and I am playing Sparky Malarky, the intuition who investigates. She/her pronouns.

Kyle
What are your pronouns, Hallie?

Hallie
Oh, mine are also she/her.

Emily
I’m Emily, they/she, and I’m playing Booker, the book who books!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Emily
He’s a book!

Kyle
He/him.

Tom
[Softly.] Rekoob~

Kyle
Normally at this point we would jump pretty much straight into what’s happened since the last adventure because time in the show is pretty much gonna pass the way it is in the real show; a month in real life is a month in the show except for periods where time needs to be shorter or longer. But, because this is our first non-pilot episode, I kinda wanna sit down and go through all of the mechanics we do before the game starts.
[Elevator music begins.]
So, at the beginning of each adventure in Under the Neighborhood, we do a couple of things. The first thing we do is our Adventure Points which is kind of the currency you use to do cool things. If it is over 2, it goes down to 2. If it is under 2, it stays at that value. So, if hypothetically for example, Hallie had 0 Adventure Points at the end of her last adventure, they would stay at 0.

Hallie
That’s not very fair.

Kyle
Or if someone had over 3 or 4 or 5, it would go back to 2.

Hallie
Oh, that’s fair.

Kyle
We also have a couple of rolls that we do at the beginning of an adventure. Normally we won’t do this, like we won’t walk you through seeing Hallie roll four dice, but just so you kind of know what we’re doing, every time we introduce one of these new pre-adventure rolls we’ll do it.
We’ll start with Ari because Ari’s roll is the simpler one. Ari has a thing called Loaded Dice. She essentially rolls 2d6 and adds whatever her Slick modifier is, and she’s able to hold onto that result and use it in place of another roll. So Ari, what dice do you have loaded for us today?

Ari
Alright.
[Rolls.] That is… 7.

Kyle
Okay, 7, so that is a mixed success. That means at any point Ari can—and this includes after when someone rolls—take someone else’s roll and say “nope, that’s a 7 now.”

Hallie
Yeah, can Ari use—like, if someone rolls a 10, can she be like “no, you rolled a mixed success instead”?

Kyle
[Smiling.] She absolutely can do that.

Hallie
[A little uneasy.] Oh… okay.

Kyle
But she wouldn’t compete with any of our fellow party members, so I see no reason why—

Ari
No.

Hallie
No, she can’t. There’s not even any point in trying.

Tom
Hmm.

Kyle
Yeah, so you know…

Hallie
Yeah.

Tom
Don’t worry about it.

Kyle
Meanwhile, Sparky. Everyone typically has their four stats: Hearts, Books, Fierce and Slick. Most of them are preset. Hallie’s are not. Hallie is gonna roll 4d6 and, in order, she is going to use that to determine what her stats are.

Hallie
Yeah, there’s like a little guide. The ability is called True Wildcard. Alright, Heart!
[Rolls.] Heart, I rolled a 4, so Heart is +1 for me today. For Books…
[Rolls. Music ends.] I got a 2! So Books is -1 for me today. For Fierce…
[Rolls.] I got a 5! So that’s a +2. And for Slick…
[Rolls.] I got a 3! So that is a 0 in Slick. Alright! These are fairly balanced stats today.

[00:05:00]

Kyle
Yeah, you’re doing pretty well.

Hallie
This is better than I expected.

Tom
Perfectly balanced as all things should be.

Hallie
Yeah, that’s good. Good for me.

Kyle
Alright. That’s all the roll stuff. That’s all the very mechanical stuff where you roll dice and you get numbers and you can do things with these numbers. Now we’re gonna move away from numbers and we’re gonna move to what I think is Under the Neighborhood’s really unique mechanic which is Slice of Life Complications.
In universes like Under the Neighborhood, things like Amphibia, Gravity Falls, The Owl House… a big important part of those things is that even if your people can use magic or are frog people or are little gnomes that vomit rainbows, they’re still, at the end of the day, people with regular life problems. So, what we’re gonna do is, everybody has come up with a complication, the kind of thing that you would tell a friend, annoyed over a drink, or depending how annoying it was, multiple drinks.
This complication will then be weaved into the story. I have no idea what it is. So, they’ll all present one, we’ll decide which one or ones we like most, and then we will find those woven into our adventure. I specified that for this one because Hilda’s got “things” that she’s gotta do that this was gonna be specifically for Quique or Sparky. Who wants to present their complication first?

Ari
I had a complication and then I changed my complication upon hearing a better one today.

Kyle
[Grinning.] Oh no…

Ari
Hallie will realize what it is.

Hallie
What?

Ari
I want to give this complication to Sparky and say that…

Hallie
[Flatly.] No.

Ari
…Sparky has a mouse infestation and she has put traps for live mice.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
[Laughing.] But every time that she goes to check for the past couple of weeks, a new mouse is in the humane trap for mouse—for mice.

Hallie
Humane trap for mouse. That’s what it’s called.

Ari
That’s my complication. Credit to David from Catching Up David.

Kyle
If you’re interested in knowing the context for this, you can listen to our sister podcast, Catching Up David. It’s not a sister podcast, but Hallie does it.

Hallie
I’m on it!

Kyle
Specifically the Grinch episode where this is talked about in real life.

Ari
Yes. It’s a real-life complication.

Kyle
Hallie, what’s yours?

Hallie
Oh, mine? I was gonna say, this is kinda predicated on whether it’s in-character for Quique to be making a ship in a bottle. If it’s not, then he’s doing this for one of his children, one of his nieces slash nephews slash other children that he pretends not to love.

Kyle
He loves them. He pretends not to love you because he doesn’t.

Ari
Yeah.

Hallie
I guess that’s fair. I stand corrected. Regardless, the complication is that the little tweezers that you use to build the ship in the bottle fell into the bottle.

Ari
Oh no!

Hallie
Yeah, it’s horrible, right?

Kyle
He did a second pair of tweezers. Those are in there too. It’s becoming more tweezers than ship by the second.

Hallie
They came in the bottle. Nobody knows why they did it that way.

Kyle
Perfect.

Tom
My complication is also for Quique.

Ari
Of course.

Tom
Quique has been trying to get some much needed rest and relaxation…

Ari
Oh no.

Tom
…but unfortunately a Necromon has moved in near his yard.

Ari
No…

Tom
A creature known as a Kingpecker. It’s a bizarre, spooky heron-like creature with very long legs, but it pecks like a woodpecker.

Ari
Oh my god.

Tom
But with the force of a jackhammer. So it is just (harsh sound) grinding down logs with its pecking near Quique’s backyard and making it impossible to nap at any time.

Ari
Oh no.

Emily
That’s why he lost the tweezers.

Kyle
Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. And then Emily, what about yours?

Emily
Sparky’s coffee maker is broken.

Hallie
No~!

Ari
No!

Hallie
No!

Emily
[Giggles.] This was almost Quique’s problem.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Alright, so here are our four contestants. Sparky has a mouse infestation. She tries to do humane traps, but there’s always a new one.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Quique, his tweezers for the ship in a bottle are now also in the bottle.

Ari
God.

Kyle
Quique, he wants to rest and relax, a Necromon however keeps him from napping. It’s a Kingpecker. It’s basically a big woodpecker heron with the power of a jackhammer. I’m keeping that bird regardless of what happens.

Tom
Good. I spent five minutes designing this… five minutes ago.

Kyle
Then finally, Sparky, her coffee maker doesn’t work. What a bad day for Sparky. Do we have any preferences between those? Because they’re all so wonderful.

Hallie
I don’t think we’ve been able to successfully choose just one Slice of Life Complication so far.

Ari
Yeah.

Kyle
No, this is our second time doing them and we’re gonna end up with at least two.

Hallie
Yeah.

[00:10:00]

Emily
The thing is, I really like the idea of Quique trying to do the ship in a bottle with the jackhammer outside.

Hallie
Yeah, that feels like they go together.

Tom
Yeah, maybe we should merge them.

Hallie
Let’s merge both of Quique’s.

Ari
That bird may be the reason why the tweezers fell in the bottle in the first place because he got startled by it.

Tom
Yeah, I love it. Just “steady… steady—”

Kyle
[Makes the harsh jackhammer sound.]

Ari
[Makes the harsh jackhammer sound.] Great!

Tom
[Smiling.] Yes.

Kyle
Alright. Are we ready to get into our adventure?

Ari
Yeah.

Hallie
Yep.

Kyle
Hilda, I want you to tell me about your room.

Tom
Fuck you. I wasn’t prepared for this.

Kyle
Oh yeah, I forgot, I didn’t warn you about this. I considered warning you and then I thought improv will be fun.

Tom
Agh…
[Light, calm music with childlike whimsy begins.]
Hilda’s room is not fully set up yet, for one thing. There are still several boxes in the corner with things from her old place, but there are a few posters around of cutesy anime characters and Necromon.
To be more specific here, you might be thinking “oh, it’s a fun Necromon poster as if it were a famous brand from the real world like Pokémon.” No-no-no, these are like wildlife posters, the kind that are like “these are the regions you can find this animal in and here are their bones” and stuff like that. That’s the sort of Necromon posters that Hilda has up in her room.

Kyle
Anime and National Geographic, together at last.

Tom
Yes.

Ari
[Laughs.] Together at last.

Tom
That’s her energy.

Kyle
I love it. Alright, so you are… We’ll say the things are on the bed. I don't know if you’re sitting on the bed with them, but you are looking at a couple of things on your bed. You’ve got your clothes for the day set out to you by one of your moms. Next to that you have a welcome letter for the Valley Public Schools, or VPS, Junior High, welcoming you as a new student to Seventh Grade, because today is the first day of school. Like all the school stuff, that’s exciting, but the real exciting thing is what’s next to it.
[Music changes to action marching band music.]
Next to it is this clearly hand-made via Microsoft Word brochure for the school’s Necromon Dueling Club. It mentions how you’re the host of the International Necromon Championship this year so many times. But the big thing is, on front of it, you can see two pictures.
You can see this girl about your age standing, looking super serious off in the distance like one of those inspirational propaganda posters, and then behind her, ghostly, almost as if saying “this is my legacy passed on,” you see that large burly guy in the bandit mask.
[Music ends.]
Then, next to both of those, you see a book, Babcia Ania’s Revised…

Tom
…Book of Practical Jokes and Clownery?

Kyle
…Book of Practical Jokes and Clownery. An important book for you and also an important friend.

Tom
While Hilda gets ready she’s going to be idly stroking the spine of Booker.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob~

Tom (as Hilda)
So, today, um… we might get to meet other Necromon Trainers and other Necromon and see how they do, how they build their teams, how they train. It’ll be fun, maybe. Or scary. But probably fun.

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
Thanks bud.

[Chuckling.]

Kyle
Reminder, Emily, you have full control over Booker now. If you ever want him to do things, you can describe them.

Emily
Oh, okay! He pokes your hand with his little eyestalks.

Tom
I was imagining Booker, at being told about this, just sort of sticks the eyestalks out of the otherwise closed book and just does the (stretching sound) eyes over at the brochure.

Kyle
Yeah, because today’s the big day. It’s been about a month since you met Booker and that skeleton guy and then that other skeleton guy who tried to capture all of you. It was a weird day, but you met Booker which was nice.
[Mysterious magical music begins.]
When you first met Booker in that weird ethereal space, you noticed that he was missing pages, which every time he transforms from book form into full Necromon form those missing pages reappear, the ripped pages in the middle of the book.

Tom
Hmm.

Kyle
He just wasn’t really feeling there. It’s kind of like when you find a wild animal that’s not good in the wild, like it needs someone to take it in and nurture them. So, over the past month, you two… you’ve been training. What has training been like in the month between when you saw Booker and today, your first day of school?

[Music ends.]

Tom
I think it was mostly Hilda trying to tend to Booker’s injuries as best she could, taking him to the local Necromon vet.
[Ambling silly music begins.]
A center for Necromon, if you will.

Hallie
Ha!

[00:15:00]

Tom
Beyond that, I imagine a lot of it is Hilda trying to go to the library to find out what does a healthy book need to eat.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
What does a healthy book need to eat?

Emily
[Whispering.] Attention!

Tom
Snails. … Wait, what did you say?

Kyle
Attention. Snails and attention.

Tom
Once that’s taken care of, a lot of this is just exercise like making sure Booker gets to run a lot, make sure it can put weight on his legs again, and from there just seeing what sort of moves can you do, because Hilda has not heard of this type of Necromon before.

Kyle
He’s been able to do some. Nothing too exciting, no super powerful paper blast or anything like that, but you know, he can move around. He’s got crab legs.

Tom
[Makes a spider-like sound.] That’s the sound effect for skittering on crab legs.

Kyle
As you’re thinking about your training and getting ready, you hear one of your moms—who will have a voice eventually, but for right now, since I don’t have one, you just hear “WAH WAH WAH, WAH-WAH, WAH.” {like adults in Peanuts / Charlie Brown}

Tom
God damn you, Kyle.

Kyle
Which translates from adult speak to Hilda, “the school bus is here.”

[Music ends.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh shoot! Uh… coming, mom!

Tom
Hilda’s just gonna rapidly grab her backpack, stick Booker in the backpack, pile in the other school things—

Emily (as Booker)
[Grumbles, his face covered.]

Tom (as Hilda)
I’m sorry. Do you want me to put you somewhere else?

Emily (as Booker)
[Reluctant.] Rekoob…

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay. It won’t be too long. I’ll leave the backpack a little bit open.

Kyle
So Booker can stick out?

Tom
Mm-hmm.

Emily
Little eyestalks.

[Peppy rock music begins.]

Tom
And then, stick in her headphones…

Kyle
Yeah. You grab your book bag, you grab Booker, you stick him in but leave a little bit of space so he can breathe and smell and chase snails.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Tasty, tasty snails.

Ari
Hopefully they’re not venomous snails.

Emily (as Booker)
[Hungrily.] Reh…

Kyle
You open the door, you run out, and you run past a bunch of random boxes in the hallway, the only thing that’s up. You know those paintings of the sad clowns? It’s like that but it’s like a sepia picture of this very, very old dour-looking clown.
You run out and you run down to the bus stop. The bus stop is there. Cuts—
[Music ends.]
It’s a bus. You get in.

Hallie
If it doesn’t take off into the sky, I will be very disappointed. I will walk out. I will expect a refund.

Kyle
No, but actually, it isn’t on wheels. The bottom half of it is just sunk into the earth itself.

Hallie
I accept that.

Kyle
And it moves on this kind of ghostly slime across the ground.

Hallie
I will accept that because I don’t trust wheels.

Tom
But you trust ectoplasm.

Hallie
Yeah!

Kyle
You get in and you get to the bus and where on the bus do you sit?

Tom
The back. The back right corner specifically. Not like in the exact back corner, but like, near the back.

Emily
I don't know if you can tell, but Booker really wants you to roll down the window. Get a little breeze on those eyestalks.

Tom
Hilda will try to discretely crack the window a bit.

Kyle
Give me a roll, actually, to see how well you crack this. I would say, of the four stats, Slick is the most appropriate. No, Books. Books is the most appropriate.

Tom
Oh, I was thinking it was Slick. I was going to say, we are literally trying to keep Booker cool, if we want to wildly misinterpret.

[Laughter.]

Emily
[Squirms uncomfortably.]

Kyle
Alright, let’s go. Ah! Ah! Ah—Roll plus Slick.

Tom
I hoped I would get an AP out of that, but it’s fine.

Kyle
Take an AP.

Tom
You don’t have to give me a pity point!

Kyle
You get a pity point! Nobody else gets it, though. You get a pity point.

Tom
No, I refuse! I’m not taking it.
[Rolls.] That is… oh, eh, that’s a 5.

Kyle
Okay, that’s a failure for Keep Your Cool or Sneak or whatever it is. So, you’re working on it. You’re putting all the force you can into it, but the whole thing is… You know those two little bars on the side you gotta squeeze in and pull down on the weird bus windows?

Tom
It just seems like I’m gonna break it if I try to pull on this harder, but nothing’s happening.

Kyle
It’s all about the finesse, too. So we just hear (thuds and rattling) as you’re trying to move it and it keeps getting stuck. You had to get fully on your knees with your backpack pointing out to do that.

Tom
Oh no. No… please.

Kyle
As you’re working on this impossible bus window, you hear a voice from the seat across from you.

[Bus ambience begins.]

Kyle (as ???)
Yuna, I’m not gonna ask. No—
[Stammers. Sighs.] Fine. … Hey! Hey, hey… hey, wey!

Tom (as Hilda)
Um… do you mean me?

Kyle (as ???)
Yeah. Yeah, I got a question for you.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah?

Kyle
You turn over, Hilda, and you see, sitting at the seat across from you, two other students. The first one you notice is the one who is talking to you. They are on the far side by the window, and they’re “cool.”

[SFX ends. Cool funky music begins.]

Tom
[Uneasy.] Hmm…

[00:20:00]

Kyle
This teen is wearing a black leather jacket adorned with vibrant gems and rhinestones that reflects splashes of colors from the sun across their umber face which itself glitters with sparkling makeup, especially around their half-closed eyes which are partially covered by thick curly black hair.
Sitting next to this, again, very cool high-schooler is a young girl, probably eight, eight and a half years old. While the high-schooler could be described as ‘looking at you,’ this girl is staring. Her mouth is opened in a wide smile that shows all of her teeth, including an honestly adorable teeth gap, and her thick black eyebrows are raised so high that one would half expect them to fly straight off her warm tawny brown head.
This expression is a little less prominent on the girl’s right side. Here, she appears slightly tightened. Her arm is bent, her mouth a little less wide, and her fist constantly clenched, but her excitement in no way shines through less and definitely makes up for the much more “subdued” and a little bit embarrassed look from the older one who says to you:

[Music ends.]

Kyle (as ???)
Listen. I… I hate to ask. Yuna’s not—

Kyle
And the little kid just looks up and stares and nods at the older one and then looks back to you and gets a little bit closer.

Kyle (as ???)
Yuna’s not gonna let this go. Uh… that one, right?

Kyle
Yuna, the little girl, points at Booker in your backpack. The older one says:

Kyle (as ???)
That Babcia Ania, she’s not a Necromon Trainer, is she?

Tom (as Hilda)
[Nervous.] No… No. The book, uh, the book doesn’t have anything to do with Necromon. It’s just the book is a Necromon.
[Stammers.] This is—

Kyle
Roll me Take Action.

Tom
[Amused.] What?

Kyle
Roll me Take Action, or Keep Your Cool, either one.

Tom
But why?!

Kyle
[Smirking.] I’ll tell you.

Tom
Agh! Panic. Fear. I should have asked the heart of the cards last time. This time I’ll believe.
[Rolls.] That’s another 5.

Kyle
What noise does Hilda make when she’s very startled?

Tom (as Hilda)
Bah!

Kyle
So you’re doing your thing, you’re like da-da-da, I’m not—bah! Loud enough that everyone goes silent as this little girl practically lunges out of her seat towards you. She’s still in her seat, she’s using her left arm to keep her attached to her side, but she has not crossed over the center between the two seats and is just an inch away from your face and from Booker. When hearing that Booker was a Necromon, she just fucking lunged at you in excitement.

Tom
[Uneasy.] Hilda’s just gonna unzip the backpack and just… (movement sound) hold Booker up.

[Laughter.]

Emily
Booker is just looking like a book.

Ari
Aw!

Tom (as Hilda)
He’s sometimes shy. He doesn’t always like to come out when he’s scared. But, this is Booker.

Kyle
The girl leans over to the side, a little bit confused. She wobbles a little bit until the high-schooler behind her just kinda grabs her to make sure that she isn’t falling out of her seat, because she’s leaned over even more. The teen behind her is like:

Kyle (as teen)
Come on. Yuna, we gotta… you know. The book might be shy. We’re just gonna do our own—Oh?

Kyle
They make the “oh” sound as this child pops back into her seat, lifts up a finger, and pulls a holofoil Necrocard out of a sleeve from the lanyard hanging around her neck. Out of it, this little glossy Pik Pik just basically rises out from the card, replacing it with its little shy self.

Emily
… Oh no. Did I do the voice for the Pik Pik too?

Kyle
You did. It’s kip-kip.

Emily
[Strained.] I don’t remember. I don’t remember what it sounded like!

Ari
I think it was something like “kip-kip!”

Emily
Kip-kip!

Kyle
Yeah, it’s that.

Tom
Yeah, yeah, you did “kip-kip.”

Emily (as Pik Pik)
Kip-kip!

Hallie
[Laughs.] Nailed it.

Kyle
The Pik Pik looks around and it looks at the girl who nods at it, excited. It just kinda sits there and bounces around a little bit.

Emily (as Pik Pik)
Kip-kip?

Tom
Hilda’s gonna stare at the Pik Pik for a moment, gears turning.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah. Booker doesn’t like Necrocards, really. He just likes to do his own thing. He’s a very strange Necromon at times.

Emily
He pokes you with one of his little eyestalks but doesn’t do it to where anyone can see it, because now he’s decided—

Tom (as Hilda)
[Whispering.] Why are you being so rude?

Emily
He’s decided to be a jerk.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Whispering.] Booker, why?

Emily (as Booker)
[Hushed.] Reh…

Tom (as Hilda)
[Whispering.] Please?

[00:25:00]

Emily (as Booker)
[Whispering.] Rekoob!

Tom (as Hilda)
[Whispering.] Teens are watching.

[Laughter.]

Emily (as Booker)
[Whispering. Assertive.] Rekoob!

Emily
He pokes you harder.

Kyle
As you’re talking, the teen, trying to be nice, is like:

Kyle (as teen)
Well, Necromon, that’s pretty cool. You know, Yuna is one of the first Trainers in our family.

Kyle
Yuna looks up at them, cross, and she grabs her forearm cane that’s black and has death metal and skulls on it, and she points to a skull on her cane, and the older one says:

Kyle (as teen)
No, he’s not a Trainer. No, he’s not.

[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle
Hey Quique! I first want to know, what is Quique wearing? Because I’m assuming he doesn’t wear that big explorer getup while staying at home.

Ari
He does not. Quique wears different things for different occasions. Usually when he goes out he goes all formal, like he has a vest or a coat or things that are kind of old-timey like that. Then, he has what he always has, one of those old fashion Spanish berets. He also wears glasses. I think I maybe mentioned that last time too, but he wears glasses which is important.

Kyle
Yeah, you mentioned the wraparound glasses that he has.

Ari
Yeah. He has one of those pocket watches that’s old-timey too that has a chain, and he has it always in his pocket no matter what. The rest of the attire can vary depending.

Kyle
So he’s wearing his casual clothes today, not the kind of thing you would go out with?

Ari
Yeah, he’s wearing his casual clothes, so still a vest and some pants.

Kyle
So, where are you going to solve your tweezer problem?

Ari
Hmm… I was thinking first he was committed to doing it at his house because it’s just too inconvenient to go somewhere else and trying to do it.

Kyle
[Jackhammer sounds.]

Ari
Indeed. So, first he was just trying to look for a magnet or something.

Kyle
[Jackhammer sounds.]

Ari (as Quique)
Por el amor de- What is your problem?

[Silly ghostly music begins.]

Ari
He’s going to go to the bird and yell at it, like go outside, still probably holding his magnet that he was going to use to get the tweezers out of the bottle.

Kyle
You walk out of your building which, since you’re only sometimes here, this is maybe a house you share with some of your family. Maybe it’s multiple condos and you’ve got one of the condos in the house.

Ari
That’s actually pretty common.

Kyle
You walk out towards this little fenced yard and you see this bird. Are you trying to talk to this bird or actually trying to scare it away, or are you just kind of angry and yelling at it?

Ari
He’s trying to do both—talk to this bird, see what it’s doing, and if he can take the bird and move it someplace else. Why is it interested in this yard and not other yards? What is it doing in here?

Kyle
Okay. You’re coming out and yelling at this bird. The bird, which is this type of Necromon called a Kingpecker—it’s this giant heron with a big woodpecker nose and long legs—just turns at you. A little tongue sticks out of the side of its beak. I want you to roll See Into Their Heart, because you want to see into the heart of this Necromon.

[Music ends.]

Ari
Okay. That is plus… oh great, yeah, that’s fair. I do not have a lot of Heart here.

Kyle
I’m sorry, that’s what you described. You said “I wanna know—”

Hallie
[Singing.] I wanna know!

Hallie & Tom
[Singing.] Can you show me?

Ari
Hang on. I was trying to see if there was something else that I could use.
[Rolls.] What is this? Ooh, that is a 2.

Tom
Is it a natural 2?

Ari
No, it’s a 4, but I have -2 Heart.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Alright. If you had succeeded, you could have asked me a question about the inner thoughts. On a mixed success, you could have asked me a simple question and I could have given you some information. On a failure, your target gets important insight into you.

Ari
Oh gosh.

Kyle
The GM is able to ask you a simple question about your inner thoughts on behalf of this target which you must answer truthfully. What is the load-bearing wall of this house?

Tom
No!

Hallie
[Cackles.]

Ari
Oh no~! Oh…
[Groans. Drops something.] Oh god, sorry. I mean, I don't know, but this bird sure does. I cannot tell you because I don't know how houses work, but the bird sure does now.
[Smiling, pained.] Please, don’t do this.

Kyle
Were you doing work outside or did you like open…?

Ari
He was doing work inside and he opened the window of the house to yell at this bird and ask him what is your problem.

Kyle
The bird flies inside, just (whoosh) straight through the window. It should be too big to get in, but like, your head is nearly—or no, your head is taken off…

[00:30:00]

Ari
Oh no!

Kyle
…as this bird just comes in and (jackhammer sounds), just starts hammering into one of the walls of your little space where you’re working on this. The bottle, actually, you can see shakes and it falls on the side and it almost rolls off the edge of the table.

Ari
Oh no… So, does the bird currently have Quique’s head? Is that what’s happening?

Kyle
No, it just knocked it off. Your head is on the ground, your body is at the window, and your glass which has tweezers in it is now rolling towards the edge of the table.

Ari
Oh my god. Uh… Hmm.

Kyle
God bless the Slice of Life mechanic. Bless it.

Ari (as Quique)
Okay. Who says that Canaca Hueso can’t multitask here?!

Ari
[Laughing.] He’s going to send one arm after his head and send the rest of the body after the bottle.

Kyle
Roll me to Take Action.

Ari
Okay. Take Action…

Kyle
So that’s Fierce.

Ari
[Rolls.] That’s a 6!

Tom
You could give yourself—use your loaded dice to save it to a mixed success.

Kyle
A 6 is a failure.

Ari
Wait. Oh! It’s two dice. Never mind.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
Oh! Okay.

Tom
Wait. Have you been rolling one die this whole time?

Ari
Yeah.

[Delighted and pained shouting.]

Tom
It was physically impossible.

Kyle
It is always 2d6 unless I say otherwise.

Ari
Okay.
[Rolls.] Oh, then it’s a 12.

Hallie
God damn it!

Ari
I rolled another 6. I rolled two sixes.

Hallie
Well for fuck’s sake. This isn’t fair! “Oh, it’s two? Yeah, let me just roll another 6 here. That’s me.”

Kyle
So now, now that Ari has taken off the training restraints…

Hallie
“Let me just roll another fucking 6.”

Kyle
…and has revealed her true power and has rolled a critical success…

Hallie
Fuck!

Kyle
You can do a couple of things. You can gain AP. You can increase the impact of your roll, so you can have it super good as opposed to good. You can apply a status effect to a monster. That’s usually in confrontation, but you could negatively impact this fucking bird. Or, you could ignore penalty of the move you just used, but your move doesn’t have a penalty.

Ari
I want to intimidate this bird with this move. It’s something that is truly not seen every day, so I want this bird to be bamboozled by this weird gymnastics skeleton move and bamboozle it so that it stops doing things for a little bit here.

Kyle
[Makes jackhammer sounds and stops suddenly.] The bird looks over and it sees you with your head on your foot, the bottle in one hand.

Ari
Probably the head is also being like:

Ari (as Quique)
I would stop that if I were you, pajarraco! Stop doing whatever havoc you were thinking of doing!

[Action marching band music.]

Kyle
[Brief slurp sound.] The tongue goes back in as the bird’s eyes widen. Things are serious.

[Music swells and carries into the announcements.]

Kyle
Harketh listenereth, hereth cometh the announcemetheth breaketh for Hilda-eth Rival-eth… I’m still working on a new intro for the announcement break, so you’re just gonna hear me try new things until I find something that sticks. Hi. This is the announcement break for Hilda’s Rival!
Today we introduced a handful of new characters. Whenever we do that, I often consult with sensitivity readers. These are folks that will go in and read a little doc I have on either part of the world, a plot thing I have planned, or specific characters, and they’ll just provide feedback saying hey, maybe do this, maybe don’t do that. So, I want to take a quick moment to shout out those folks.
First off, we got some Mexican-American consultants for Yuna and her very cool older sibling, that cool teen. Thanks so much to Abigail Espinoza and Monroe Soto for providing really helpful feedback on those characters. We also got some consultation on hemiplegic cerebral palsy from Claerie Kavanaugh and Jillian Bleackley. Finally, I didn’t get a full consultation on this, but I did ask Minty Belmont of the Belmont System some questions about neopronouns, so I wanted to give daem a quick shout-out for dae’re really helpful answers.
[00:35:00]
If you need consultation done or you just wanna check out the work of any of those folks, you can find links for all of them in the description.
Additionally in the description, you can find a link for another show, because while the announcement breaks are actually announcements and not just ads, we will be featuring typically about one ad on the show for other products or more frequently other shows that we think you might be interested. So, I will let The Lucky Die take it from here and tell you about their show.

[Trailer begins.]

Volonda [Game Master]
You see, looking up from the ground, blood red clouds boiling across the sky.

Rethix [Voice Actor] (as Calinmourn)
[Deep and menacing.] You did ask me to bring the thunder. [Sinister laugh.]

Eyþór Viðarsson [Player] (as Squash)
[Desperate.] Daechin! Daechin! Help! I’ve got the chalice! Please!

David Ault [Voice Actor] (as Daechin)
[Calm and smug.] Well, if they’re following you, I guess that takes care of a loose end for me. [Chuckles.]

Volonda [Game Master]
All of you feel the earth beneath you shake and crack and break.

Arch [Player] (as Lafian Dath'Rodir)
I feel that I have failed both of you, and I am sorry for that.

Casey Edison [Player] (as Zaltanna)
This has nothing to do with you being a bad leader.

Volonda [Game Master]
Do you want a countdown? Oh, I think I want a countdown.

Neil Martin [Player] (as Rhal'Jakk)
I wanted to help. I always had a good intention.

Volonda [Game Master] (as Lindrin)
Three… two… one…

Neil Martin [Player] (as Rhal'Jakk)
I do not deserve to die.

Volonda [Game Master] (as Lindrin)
Now.

Neil Martin
The Lucky Die Podcast is a weekly 5e Dungeons & Dragons actual play podcast. Join our adventure every Monday wherever you download podcasts by searching for The Lucky Die.
[Trailer ends.]

Kyle
Alright. That’s all I’ve got for this week. Our next episode, Hilda’s Rival, Part 2, because most of our adventures are going to be two-parters, will be releasing on Monday, May 2. But if you’d like additional stories, podcasts, or behind the scenes videos, you can find them at Patreon.com/QuestFriends. I will see you there.

[Peppy rock music carries out of the announcements.]

Kyle
Hilda, you had your first day of school. There’s not much to say. The way Valley Public Schools work is it’s almost this compound where you’ve got the three buildings, elementary, junior high and then high school, all kind of together and then some of the shared spaces, like the gymnasium and the playgrounds and the parking lot, are all in the middle of the three buildings which make this kind of U-shape.
The buildings are… I don't know, it’s a public school. Brick buildings, big murals, overcrowded classes. Teachers who either work themselves to death or have worked themselves to death too long to care anymore. Standard stuff.
That being said, tell me a bit about what Hilda’s first day at school was like. How is Hilda as a student? How successfully did Hilda keep Booker hidden? How are things going?

Tom
Since Booker refuses to make any signs of life to anyone, I think it was probably pretty easy to keep Booker hidden as just another book.
[Laughter.]
Hilda’s a pretty decent student. She is able to sit and focus at times and do the mindless busywork that schools are so fond of. So, she gets along fine. She doesn’t have any problems with teachers, gets good grades, that sort of thing.

Kyle
It’s syllabus day. You know, hard to know what teachers are good or bad, except for of course Mr. Jimothy.

Kyle (as Mr. Jimothy)
Call me Jimbo. We’re gonna have a fun time. Let’s all just sit around together in like a circle, kids. We’re gonna just talk about the syllabus together.

Kyle
That was a bad time. Or a good time. I don't know how Hilda feels. He’s the kind of teacher that, when you came in, the seat was backwards and he was sitting on the backwards seat with his arms over the top.

Tom
He’s trying way too hard.

Kyle
Way too hard.

Tom
Very upsetting.

Kyle
So yeah, that was… Mr. Jimothy’s class was interesting. What did he teach? It was English. We all know it was English. There’s no option for him to teach anything other than English. So… yeah.
But, those are over. The dreaded circle of syllabus discussion has now ended and you are in the gymnasium between all buildings, the recently renamed Bandit Gymnasium.
[School gym ambience begins.]
As you’re inside, you can see that there is this kind of raised platform in the center. It looks almost like a wrestler arena or a basketball stadium. There are all sorts of kids around, and there’s of course a big banner saying:
[00:40:00]
“Welcome to Necromon Dueling Club! Proud home of the ScubaCorp International Necromon Championship.”
You can feel the aggressive energy of one of those office workers who’s just way too into this being like “this is great. This is gonna be your future because it wasn’t my future… and I need somebody to have a future.”
And yeah, how is Hilda feeling?

[SFX ends.]

Tom
Nervous, standing next to a wall and tapping her foot anxiously. She’s debating whether or not to put the headphones back in or if she’ll miss something important and feel worse.

Kyle
What does she end up doing?

Tom
[Sharp inhale, long exhale.] She’s gonna take a deep breath like that and say:

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay. What does boss always say? Act like you’re supposed to be there, because you are.

Kyle
[Chuckling.] She says that every time you’re outside of a thing that has an image of Sparky that says “banned from the premises.”

Tom
She’s gonna walk up to the aggressive office guy who looks like he’s maybe important.

Tom (as Hilda)
Um… hello. My name is Hilda Miszkiewicz. I am here to sign up for the… the Necromon Dueling Club.

Kyle (as man)
Hmm?

Kyle
The guy turns around to you and he’s just got a big old smile.

Kyle (as man)
[Enthusiastic.] Oh! Hilda Miszkiewicz, is that it? Wow, I’m so excited for you to be part of this championship! Are you gonna be the next Aggressive Bandit?

Tom (as Hilda)
I mean, I—

Kyle (as man)
Are you?

Tom (as Hilda)
That’s probably overstating things. I don’t—

Kyle (as man)
You are. You are gonna be the next Aggressive Bandit. That’s why you’re here. You’re here to be the next Aggressive Bandit.

Tom (as Hilda)
I mean, I don't know if I’m that ambitious, but yes? I do want to be the very best like no one ever was.

Kyle (as man)
Best like no one ever was. No one ever was. There’s no one that good. I mean, except for Irene, she’s that good, but nobody else that good.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle (as man)
You’re gonna do it, kid!

Kyle
He grabs a big star sticker and just slaps it on the first thing he sees which is Booker. He just slaps it on this book and says…

Kyle (as man)
Wait right there!

Kyle
…and walks away, never to be seen by the show again.

Hallie
Are we sure about that?

Emily (as Booker)
[Sad.] Rekoob…

Hallie
Are we sure?

Emily (as Booker)
[Sobbing.] Rekoob…

Tom (as Hilda)
Are you okay, Booker?

Emily
His pages flap a little.

Tom
What does the sticker actually say? Does it look actually official and important or is it just a sticker?

Kyle
I’m gonna do some retroacting. That guy isn’t an office worker. Mr. Jimothy, he showed off his sticker collection. That’s as official as any other sticker Jimothy’s got.

Tom
Hilda will gently peel off the sticker.

Emily
If you had told him it looked nice, he would have loved it and he would have kept it.

Tom
Aww. Booker sounded like he didn’t want it.

Emily
He was confused.

Hallie
Visual novel told you that you got the answer wrong this time.

Tom
Good thing that I can never now complete the Booker run. No matter what happens from here on out, we’re doomed to just never be able to reconcile truly as partners.

Hallie
You’re locked out.

Kyle
As you’re sitting here dealing with your failed Booker run, you eventually hear this sound on a mic, you know, like a loud “brrr,” tap-tap-tap.

[School gym ambience begins.]

Kyle (as ???)
Hey, uh… Hey everyone. So uh… is Mr. Jimothy there? No…? He left, didn’t he?

Tom
Hilda nods.

Kyle (as ???)
Alright, gather around. I guess I’ll run this again.

[SFX ends. Silly music begins.]

Kyle
You can see, standing on the raised platform, that cool teen from the bus ride earlier.

Kyle (as teen)
Alright everyone. So uh… my name’s Ariel. I am running this now, I guess. These are the tryouts for the Necromon Dueling Club… which is officially affiliated with the ScubaCorp International Necromon Championship.

Kyle
You can see they kind of roll their eyes as they have to say this “official” thing that was definitely added.

Kyle (as Ariel)
So, uh… I guess since Mr. Jimothy isn’t here, we’re just gonna do this how we do it every year. You’re gonna come up here. You’re gonna have a duel. When you’re done, that thing…

Kyle
And they point over to your school mascot which is this large bowl of punch with a backpack on and a Bandit’s mask, the School-Aid Man.

Hallie
[Delighted.] School-Aid!

Ari
[Delighted.] School-Aid Man!

Kyle (as Ariel)
…and uh, you know, it’s gonna give you a thumbs up, you’re in, thumbs down, you know…

Kyle
The mascot is doing the thing mascots always do where it does a vibrant thumbs up, excited, thumbs down, shakes head.

Kyle (as Ariel)
So uh, yeah, anyways… Walnut will run the card check-in thing, and then, yeah, just kinda get in line.
[00:45:00]
We’re gonna do it by grade, so First Graders come up here. Everyone else, get in line.

Kyle
As the First Graders push you out of the way, you can hear random things like:

Kyle (as Ariel)
Alright. Nope, no pushing. No shoving. Hey, no, you were in First Grade last year… and the year before.

Tom (as student)
[Silly.] This year it’s true.

[Laughter.]

Hallie
Which is it, Abe?

Kyle
It’s a small child with a mustache on. ‘This year it’s true!”
So yeah, you can see the rest of them are all assembling in line to get their Necromon cards checked. How do you pass your time in line as you’re waiting to get your cards checked?

Emily
Can I say that you didn’t figure out where to throw away the sticker? Like, you were just in a hurry to get to the line and stuff.

Tom
Yeah, sure.

Emily
Booker will start poking out one of his little eyestalks on the sticker and get it stuck and do a little weird eye twitch. He clearly wants “something.”

Tom (as Hilda)
Do you want this back on?

Emily (as Booker)
[Sheepish, as if saying “Please…?”.] Rekoob…?

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay. You can have it again. I’m sorry, I thought you didn’t like it. Is there anywhere you want me to stick it? On one of the covers? Actually, if you’re okay, maybe let’s stick it inside the cover so moms don’t see.

Emily
Booker seems very excited.

Tom (as Hilda)
So, when they say they’re checking your Necrocards… Necromon who aren’t bound to a specific card, are they still eligible for the tournament?

Kyle (as ???)
[Angrily.] Wait. You have what?!

[Energetic music begins.]

Kyle
The table in front of you slams and suddenly you’re in front of the line and this person is looking at you, this Seventh Grader. Normally I don’t explicitly mention pronouns. I will—In the character list that we have at the bottom of the description of every episode, I mention character pronouns in that, and we also through context will use he if it’s he/him, they if they’re they/them, a combination if it’s multiple pronouns. But because this character uses pronouns we haven’t used before on Quest Friends, I just want to quickly go over them.
So, neopronouns are essentially pronouns that people can use for themselves other than he, she, it or they. There are a bunch of them. The ones we’re gonna use today are dae and daem. If you want to check the character description, we have all the permutations of it. It’s dae, daem, daer, daers, and then all the things from, so daem turns into daemself.
An important thing to note for dae is that, even though it sounds like “they,” verbs conjugate in the same way they would with pronouns like he, she, and it. So, it would not be “dae walk,” it would be “dae walks,” with the S. I say this because I… I mess this up the rest of the session. It will be fixed in future episodes, but for this episode and for Hilda’s Rival, Part 2, just know that my verbs surrounding dae and daem are all sorts of wrong.
Anyways, Hilda is not thinking about pronouns because Hilda is staring straight at this person behind the desk. Dae are a Seventh Grader who is wearing the Necromon tournament outfit, so it’s like a gym outfit version of the ScubaCorp trench coat. It’s white, white shorts, white shirt, the ScubaCorp logo. This person has buzzed brown hair that fades into rough peach-colored skin. It actually has the texture of peaches. Daer large head is supported by a thin sturdy body like fruit hanging on a tree branch.
[Music ends.]
But, just like with that young girl Yuna earlier, you’re focused mostly on daer eyes which are not that far from you as they slam down on the desk.

Kyle (as Seventh Grader)
Wait. You have a Necromon that does what?!

Tom (as Hilda)
[Nervous.] yeah. My, um… My Booker doesn’t really like Necrocards, but we’re still a team. You know, I was wondering if maybe he was… he’s still eligible for the tournament, right? Even though there isn’t a card exactly.

Kyle (as Seventh Grader)
No card?

Tom (as Hilda)
Mm-hmm…

Kyle (as Seventh Grader)
That’s so… That’s so cool. That’s so cool! Freddie, Freddie, Freddie! She has what Irene has.

Kyle (as Freddie)
Hmm…? What was that?

[Slow friendly tuba music, Freddie’s theme, begins.]

Kyle
Behind this person, another person turns around. You can tell immediately that this is not a living person. This is an Intermortal exchange student. His face is vibrant green and his body is all rectangles, and he’s wearing a small ball cap.

Ari
Is it a Minecraft zombie?

Kyle
No!

[00:50:00]

Hallie
It is now.

Kyle
But yes.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
He’s got a cap. They don’t have caps. His body isn’t literally squares, but that’s the kind of general body shape he’s got. If the other person is kind of this beanpole with a large circular head, he is this solid rectangle-square all around.

Tom
Like the rectangle dog that lived next to us in Minnesota.

Ari
Oh yeah.

Emily
Aww, Ginger! The rectangle dog! I miss Ginger.

[Music ends.]

Kyle (as Freddie)
What was that, Walnut?

Kyle (as Walnut)
She doesn’t have a card. She doesn’t have a card!

Tom (as Hilda)
Is, uh… Is that gonna be a problem?

Kyle (as Walnut)
Is that gonna be a problem? That’s amazing. That’s incredible!

Kyle (as Freddie)
Yeah, only Irene does that.

Kyle (as Walnut)
That’s what I said. I said only Irene does that. Oh yeah, that’s no problem at all. Like, Necromons’ bodies are projections of their soul, right? They’re kinda like protective layering, like your head.

Kyle
Walnut knocks on the side of daer head.

Kyle (as Walnut)
That’s actually what Res Points track. They actually track how strong this protective barrier is.

Tom (as Hilda)
That’s good.

Kyle (as Walnut)
But, if we go too hard, and some people actually hurt the Necromon, actually hurt the soul of the Necromon… you know, they cheat like in that, uh—You ever see the movie The Necromon Kid?

Tom (as Hilda)
Yes.

Kyle (as Walnut)
Yeah. It’s like The Necromon Kid. If they cheat like that, then these cards will actually get pretty busted up too, because Necrocards hold Necromon souls. I forgot to mention that part earlier. Anyway. We just check to make sure that no foul play has happened. But you don’t have a card.

Tom (as Hilda)
So how do we check in that case?

Kyle (as Freddie)
Well, uh, how’s he feeling?

Emily (as Booker)
[Determined.] Rekoob.

Emily
He is ready.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Stammers.] Uh… great.

Kyle (as Walnut)
One to ten. How…?

Tom (as Hilda)
Uh…

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
Six?

Kyle (as Walnut)
Okay, six. Freddie! Freddie, mark that down.

Kyle
Freddie looks around.

Kyle (as Freddie)
I don’t… I don’t have paper?

Kyle
And dae just put paper in his hand.

Kyle (as Freddie)
Oh okay, I got six… feeling like a six.

Kyle (as Walnut)
Hey! I didn’t get your name.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Clears her throat.] My name is Hilda Miszkiewicz.

Kyle (as Walnut)
Hilda. Hilda! Hilda Miszkiewicz. I’m Walnut, and this is Freddie.

Kyle
Freddie just raises his hand.

Kyle (as Freddie)
Hi, I’m Freddie. I like to watch.

Kyle (as Walnut)
You know, I’m something of a Necromon Trainer myself. I’m raring to be second place of the Seventh Grade this year.

Tom (as Hilda)
Second place?

Kyle (as Walnut)
[Scoffs.] Well, nobody beats Irene.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh… Who is Irene? I’m new. This is my first day. I moved into The Valley just a little while ago.

[Sinister villain music begins.]

Kyle (as Walnut)
Irene Hawthorne is the most terrifying Necromon Trainer to ever face VPS Junior High. She has a perfect record; all wins, no losses. She comes once for tryouts and then she stays as long as she wants. The School-Aid Man… he can’t judge whether you’re in based on whether you beat Irene because you can’t beat Irene. He judges based on how long you survive.
[Music begins.]
Anyways. Yeah, so you don’t really stand a chance against Irene, but you know, if you’re new, I’ve actually been looking for a rival. We could be rivals.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh, uh… thank you? I need—I am still learning the ropes of Necromon training, because I’ve only just started.

Kyle (as Walnut)
Well, a rival’s how you get there. So, you and me, we’re gonna duke it out. Alright?

Tom (as Hilda)
[Nervous.] Okay? Cool. I… I think I’m gonna go watch some of the battles. See you around.

Tom
Awkwardly doing finger guns because she doesn’t know what to do with her hands.

[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle
So Quique, what did you do with that Kingpecker?

Ari
I don't know. Part of me wishes to somehow skip to a point where they reach an impasse where the bird isn’t leaving but it isn’t also causing any chaos. It’s just staring at Quique while Quique is keeping eye contact while he is finishing his boat thing. If the bird is maybe opening its mouth to make a sound, Quique just goes and stares at it so that it fucking does not fucking dare.
[00:55:00]
This has happened for some time while he… I assume he took the tweezers out with a magnet, but—

Kyle
Yeah. You figured out the tweezers. I’m not gonna make you roll for that. We’ll just say the hours have passed. It has been however much time—what, like seven hours in a school day, plus a couple more—where you’re still working on this thing. Yeah, occasionally you’ll look, the bird will slowly turn its head towards the wall to peck.

Ari
Yeah. Then Quique will glance at it, give that “don’t you dare” kind of glance.

Kyle
And it’ll just slowly move its head back. So, you’re sitting there with the bird. You don’t hear many sounds, but we hear enough that Editing Kyle is going to be mad at me.
[Matching sound effects accompany Kyle’s descriptions.]
We hear the tick, tick, ticking of the clock. The cars gently going down the road next door. Because I imagine, of the building, you’re on the side one that’s next to the sidewalk on the road. It’s not loud, you’re not on a main street, but cars go by. You hear cars.

Ari
Yeah.

Kyle
You could swear you hear something moving in the bushes, outside.

Ari
Well, he’s too preoccupied with this ship and with not getting this bird to do things, so if it’s not directly bothering him, it’s not his problem.

[All sound effects fade.]

Kyle
Okay… but we’re gonna check out the bush, because Sparky, you saw this hole in the fence.

Hallie
Yeah I did.

Kyle
[Smiling.] So what are you doing right now? Clearly going through the hole in the fence through the bushes, but like, give me the context around that.

Hallie
What is Sparky doing? Well, Sparky has recently come into possession of many Necromouses. So, she has a little traveling case where you put a lot of mice in from those humane traps, but she needs somewhere to release them that isn’t her house.

Ari
[Gasps.]

Hallie
What better place than the house she knows to be Quique’s, sometimes where he is.

Ari
[Smiling.] Oh my god!

Hallie
[Smiling.] And what better than to put little itty-bitty recording bugs on the Necromice?
[Slams her fist onto the desk.] Two birds with one stone! Because Sparky Malarky is efficient.

Emily
[Giggles.]

Ari
[Smiling.] You’re just giving him a mouse infestation.

Kyle
I can’t even think of a way to make you roll for that.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
I’m just gonna say you have mice with little recording devices on them. How much money did you spend on the recording devices?

Hallie
Um… it wasn’t mine, so it doesn’t matter.

Kyle
So you’ve got a bunch of Necromice…

Hallie
Sure do.

Kyle
…with recording devices.

Hallie
Yeah.

Kyle
You are slowly making your way into the yard and you don’t even have to roll stealth because Quique is not looking for you.

Hallie
Nah.

Emily
How are you gonna get them to go and stay in the house and not just record random people on the street?

Kyle
There’s a big hole leading back out of the bushes.

Tom
True, but mice do like being inside things.

Kyle
I feel like that was Hilda, not Tom but Hilda piping in to be like “but this is why boss’s idea is good.”

Tom
It’s what Hilda would have said were she here.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Hallie
Okay. She hasn’t thought that far ahead. She knows that she wants them in the house to pick up Quique’s secrets or whatever. Or at least just to annoy Quique, and then she can hear that and be happy. Even if they get out and scamper about as Necromice are wont to do, she will presumably hear other people’s secrets and that’s fine.

Kyle
Okay.

Ari
I will say, I hate how the complication of Sparky is now becoming a Quique complication.

Hallie
Oh-ho-ho! How the tables have turned.

Ari
How the tables have turned.

Hallie
How the turntables have… eh!

Kyle
You’ve got your—let’s say it’s half a dozen mice in this carrier case.

Hallie
Yeah, six mice. I’ve got six.

Kyle
So yeah, you look down, you got this case, you got your seven mice. How are you gonna let them out?

Hallie
Real gentle. One at a time so that it’s not too obvious. Because you know, if seven mice suddenly just dropped in from the ceiling, there’d be a lot of squeaking. There’d be a noticeable thump. Sparky is a master of stealth, so we’re not gonna do that. We’re gonna do one at a time at two minute intervals.

Ari
Precisely two minute intervals.

Hallie
She’s got a little watch! She’s got a little timer. So, she opens the hatch with the little Necromice in it and she does:

[Silly sneaky music begins.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay, Pepito. Go on, Pepito, go on!

Hallie
And she urges the first mouse through the giant hole in the wall, and then (bloop) disappears back into the bush with just a little bit of rustling.

Kyle
Alright, so squeak-squeak, squeak-squeak. You hear a little bit of squeaking, Quique, not a whole lot, but every two minutes it gets louder.
[Laughter.]
Sparky lets in the first mouse, the second mouse, the third mouse.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Pepito! Tanya! Wendy! Rolf!

Kyle
Takes out the fourth. She’s now halfway through her eight mice.

Hallie
[Giggles.]

Ari
I would say, around that time, at first Quique didn’t notice and then he looked at the bird.

Ari (as Quique)
Is that one of your kids? Do you have other bird things in here?

[01:00:00]

Kyle
The bird stares at you and it does the licking the lips thing as the tongue, which is poking out only an inch, slowly moves down its long beak, down the front and then back up the other side.

Hallie
[Laughs.] I hate it.

Kyle
And it looks out at the yard.

Ari
He’s going to stare at the bird and point outside so that he comes with Quique even though Quique does not own this bird. I didn’t think of having something like a rope or something, so this is all entirely to the bird, but…

Hallie
[Delighted.] It’s like the fucking toucan.

Kyle
Okay, roll me—

Hallie
[Squeaking in joy.] It’s like the toucan in Encanto! The thing that you have is like the toucan in Encanto!

Ari
No! No~!

[Music ends.]

Kyle
Roll me a Heart to Convince Somebody, but you’re gonna take a +1.

Ari
Oh, a +1! Okay, okay, okay.

Kyle
What’s your Heart normally, Ari?

Ari
It’s -2 usually.

Kyle
So yeah, now it will be a -1, because it’s +1 to whatever it was before.

Ari
Okay.

Kyle
That’s because you befriended the bird.

Ari
[Rolls.] What is this…? This is an 11, but then it’s -1, so it’s a 10.

Kyle
Yeah, so on Convince Somebody, the bird comes with you. The bird is interested. You understand each other. That moment of understanding the bird further is just enough that, it’s not gonna partially listen to you, it’s gonna fully listen to you.

Ari
Excellent. He’s now a Necromon Trainer. He somehow has his Necromon bird.

[Laughter.]

Tom
You somehow have a more emotional bond than me and Booker.

Hallie
With this random toucan!

Ari
This random toucan. That’s his name now, Random Tucán.

Kyle
So you come out with Tucán the Kingpecker…

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Sparky, as you’re trying to let out your last two mice, Quique, you see seven mice all around you.

Ari
Does he see Sparky at all or does he just see the mice?

Kyle
Sparky, roll me stealth.

Hallie
Alright. A stealth is gonna be Slick, right?

Kyle
Yeah.

Hallie
Oh cool, I have absolutely no bonuses in Slick.
[Rolls.] Eight.

Kyle
Eight.

Hallie
Eight!

Kyle
A mixed success.

Hallie
Yeah!

Kyle
So, you don’t see Sparky, Quique, but you do notice a little Necromouse come out from the bushes.

Ari
In that case, Quique is going to look at the bird and be like:

Ari (as Quique)
Hey Tucán, do you have any skills in catching mice? Just, like… get at them, boy. Get at them.

Ari
Then he’s going to approach the bush as he tells the bird to catch the other mice that are around.

Kyle
Sparky, Mouse #9 was just let out. You’ve almost got all ten mice out.

Ari
I thought there were six!

Hallie
Are you intentionally multiplying my mice? Because the number gets higher every time you say it.

Ari
Is this why you keep finding mice in your humane mouse traps? Because they multiply?

Kyle
RIP to Mouse #10 though, because you see this shoebill-looking motherfucker that also looks like a heron with a thin jackhammer nose dive into the thing and just get its head stuck inside the cage.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
No!

Kyle
As it eats it and it (aggressive flailing sounds), it knocks you out and just hits you with the cage, Sparky.

Hallie
Knocks me out in the sense of knocking me out of the bush, not unconscious, right?

Kyle
No, out of the bush.

Hallie
Okay.

Kyle
It eventually knocks the cage to the ground and gets its foot caught in it, so its foot is caught in the cage, but it’s going around and it’s gobbling up mice.

Hallie
Okay. As that happens, and the tenth mouse doesn’t make it out, Sparky’s gonna be like:

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Gasps.] Cristaudo… No, it’s fine, it’s fine. He’s already dead, he’s a Necromouse. Um, um, um…

Hallie
Then she’s gonna pick up the trap with the bird in it, throw it at the hole in the wall, and then run away. She knows when she’s busted, and this is usually it. When a bird flies into your trap.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
You’re going to pick up—?

Tom
Just bench press the bird and fling it?

Hallie
Yeah. That’s what you do. Birds can fly!

Kyle
Roll me to Take a Swing! That’s all I can think of is you are doing violence to this bird.

Hallie
Birds can fly! They like being thrown around.

Kyle
Regardless, you’re swinging the bird, so roll me Take a Swing.

Hallie
[Laughing.] I’m swinging the bird.
But I’m not trying to hurt it, I’m just trying to toss it. Just for clarity’s sake, for the listeners. Sparky isn’t vindictive, she just makes bad choices.

Kyle
It’s Fierce regardless.

Hallie
No, it’s Fierce, it’s definitely Fierce.
[Rolls.] With my modifier, that’s a 12.

Kyle
Quique…

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
Wait. No. Well, uh…

Kyle
You can. You can if you want.

Hallie
No! No, no, no!

Ari
Can I incorporate—?

Hallie
No, you can’t! I forbid it! I use an AP that I don’t have to block this! I will go into debt for AP to block this.

[01:05:00]

Ari
My Loaded Dice.

Hallie
Can I borrow an AP and then return it?

Kyle
No.

Hallie
Why?! That’s illegal. That’s capitalism. Come on, man! Come on!

[Laughter.]

Ari
I want to use my 7 to deny…

Hallie
Man! I don’t roll well.

Tom
Who does the bird hit?!

[Laughter.]

Hallie
I don’t roll well!

Kyle
Quique, you’re an opportunist. You’ve always got a way around things. You’re an adaptable guy. How does this adaptable nature or your ability to plan somehow get in the way of Sparky throwing a bird?

Ari
If Sparky got knocked out of the bush, I feel like Quique at first was just surprised and angry at Sparky somehow being responsible for this. So, he was looking at Sparky when she was about to throw this bird, so I think he was able to direct the bird to fly back at Sparky before it got thrown out.

Hallie
[Laughing.] Because they’re friends.

Ari (as Quique)
Hey Tucán, I bet she has more of those mice that you like chasing now.

Kyle
So, this bird… Sparky, you pick it up, and you must have taken it out of the trap or something because you don’t see it on its foot. You grab the bird and you throw it out.

Hallie
Yeah.

Kyle
It goes over the fence. You can’t see it. Then, Quique says “oh, she probably has more,” and then suddenly… the bird, from your opposite side, pokes up out of the bushes, tongue out, and looks at you.

Hallie
[Laughs.] That’s so scary. That’s so scary, man.

Kyle (as Tucán)
(Cluck… Cluck).

Hallie (as Sparky)
I see you’re back.

Ari
Quique’s gonna be like:

Ari (as Quique)
That’s a good boy!

Hallie
Sparky looks up and goes:

[Sparky’s theme begins.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Quique! Fancy seeing you here.

Ari (as Quique)
This is my house. I assume that you would see me here…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Really? Really?

Ari (as Quique)
…when I live here.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Haven’t been taking care of the place.

Hallie
[Laughing.] And she gestures to the hole in the fence.

Ari (as Quique)
You know, Sparky, it is a new fashion nowadays.

Tom
[Laughs.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
For fences?

Ari (as Quique)
But regardless of all of my artistic choices in my house, there’s one…

Ari
And he’s gonna point at her.

Ari (as Quique)
…that kind of doesn’t mesh with the rest of this décor. So, could you sort of explain what are you exactly doing in here?

Hallie (as Sparky)
… No.

Ari (as Quique)
No? That’s—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Uh, no. I am afraid that is classified information.

Hallie
She’s gently kicking the cage behind her, trying to get it out of the yard proper and just collect her things so that she can make a graceful exit.

Kyle
You realize it’s a bit harder to push, and Tucán makes a little alarm noise.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh—

Ari (as Quique)
You wouldn’t want to hurt my new friend, do you?

Hallie (as Sparky)
This isn’t the Necromon you caught. Didn’t you get a little card or something?

Ari (as Quique)
Uh… Did you come with a card?

Ari
He’s gonna look at the bird, at Tucán.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Tucán looks at you, (squawks), with its tongue out, a bit confused, and it cocks its head. Then, it turns over and looks across Sparky at itself, a Kingpecker that’s on Sparky’s other side which also cocks its head.
[Music ends.]
They just kinda shrug their shoulders and look back at you.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Did you have two before?

Ari (as Quique)
I… did not. So you do have a family!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
All three of the Kingpeckers nod their heads in agreement.

Hallie
God damn it! Sparky steps—to get away from them, she has to step a little bit further into Quique’s yard, the opposite direction that she wants to go.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I didn’t bring the mice in the first place, but I don’t have any more, so I don't know what you wanna do about these birds in your yard, Quique. Seems like maybe you have to, um… call somebody. I don't really know how to handle such things, but it’s your house as you have said and as I have been surprised by. So…

Ari
If Sparky’s trying to leave, I want to have the birds block the exit so that Sparky owns for her mistakes.

[Threatening music begins.]

Kyle
All four Tucáns block the way, and the fifth one that Sparky threw outside flutters up and stands on top of the gate.

Ari (as Quique)
There was only one bird before you arrived and brought whatever these mice these…

Hallie (as Sparky)
The Necromice, yes.

Ari (as Quique)
Yeah-yeah. So, I think that this is a problem that you need to solve, because I am not going to—

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Chuckles.] it’s not. Quique, Quique… it’s not my house.

Ari (as Quique)
Hmm. You know what?

Ari
He’s going to talk to the birds and tell them Sparky’s address.

[01:10:00]

Hallie
[Laughing.] No! Why do you know her address?!

Ari
[Laughing.] I don't know. Because it’s close?

Hallie
I mean, you should, it’s accurate, but…

Tom
Outplayed.

Kyle
Roll me another Heart to Convince.

Ari
Okay.
[Rolls.] So that would be a 6.

Tom
You got 6.

Kyle
Tucán has paid a lot of attention to you, Tucán really cares about what you think, but Tucán’s distracted.
[Woodpecker sounds.] You look down and you can see that in his leg is a little trap, and inside of it you can see little mice respawning inside of it. It’s going down, and it’s trying to grab the ones it can, but additional ones are pouring out. Sparky, you remember something. You remember, when you bought it, the person asked:

Kyle (as cashier)
So uh, what do you want this for?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh, I just wanna catch, uh… I’m having a mouse problem lately, so I want to be able to capture the mouse without killing it and then release it somewhere else that isn’t my house.

Kyle (as cashier)
Oh. Well, yeah, you don’t wanna use this model.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Why?

Kyle (as cashier)
Well, lots of people use it because it’s the cheapest…

Hallie (as Sparky)
That’s exactly why I want it.

Kyle (as cashier)
Well yeah, but it, uh… if a Necromon goes in it, it kinda rep—

Kyle (as owner)
Ah, don’t listen to them! Take whatever you want.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Heh, yeah, that’s more my speed. Thanks. Thanks. Yeah, I’m just gonna take this one. I left my checkbook at home, so here’s a ten. Give me change for nine dollars, please.

[Tense musical sting begins.]

Kyle
You notice as you stare at six Kingpeckers desperately trying to hunt down 30 mice…

Hallie
[Giggles uncontrollably.]

Kyle
…that this doesn’t just catch Necromon, it duplicates them.

[Music ends. Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Tom (as Hilda)
[Nervous.] I… I think I’m gonna go watch some of the battles. See you around.

Tom
Awkwardly doing finger guns because she doesn’t know what to do with her hands.

Kyle (as Freddie)
Yeah. You could come over here. I’ve got a great spot.

Tom (as Hilda)
Okay. Yeah.

Kyle (as Freddie)
I’m Freddie.

Tom (as Hilda)
Hilda.

Kyle (as Freddie)
Hi.

Kyle
He goes to shake your hand and raises his hand.

Kyle (as Freddie)
Alright. Let’s go sit down, and it’ll be nice and easy, and… oh no. Is that a GM Intrusion I see?

[Laughter.]

Kyle
Tom, take a GM Intrusion.

Tom
Coolio. I need it.

Kyle
Who do you want to give the other AP to?

Tom
Who indeed? I’m giving an AP to Emily.

Emily
[Gasps and yelps, hamming it up.]

Tom
It’ll come into play later, I’m sure.

[Explosion SFX.]

Kyle
You hear this (crash, crash) “AHH,” as this Necromon flies out of the battlefield and this Seventh Grader, like they do in Yu-Gi-Oh!, just cartwheels backwards off of the stage and hits the ground at the bottom of the steps.

Tom
There were mats down there, right?

Kyle
Yes, there are mats. They’ve been laid out there, but they weren’t there earlier. You can see a few people have started pulling out a few more mats to put in the place. Ariel’s voice goes over the microphone.

Kyle (as Ariel)
Hilda… Miszkiewicz? You’re up for, uh… next round.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh. Um, well, I guess I’ll come find you guys later, after my fight.

Kyle (as Walnut)
Yeah. Yeah. After…

Kyle
And you see Walnut and Freddie’s eyes, both in unison, dart to the kid on the mats who’s just being dragged out because they’re too tired.

Kyle (as Walnut)
After the match.

Tom (as Hilda)
[nervous.] Yeah…

Kyle
They both give you a thumbs up.

Tom
Hilda will awkwardly turn and head on over to the arena.

[Comically over-the-top organ horror music begins.]

Kyle
The steps, there are three of them, but it feels like an infinite staircase… like at the end of the castle in Super Mario 64, complete with the creepy music that scared me when I was five. The sun is starting to set, so the warm light is being replaced by this harsh cool blue, the blue you saw when you were at that Necromon pool where you met Booker. It surrounds this stage forming symbols that almost make the shape of a giant Necromon card. In universe, this is just a way to further help Necromon with their projection, help keep things safe, but it’s so new to you and scary.
[Music changes ghostly credits music.]
But what might be scariest of all is the unknown, unbeatable trainer standing with the light illuminating the bottom of her face like one of those scary flashlights you do when telling scary stories. … Irene Hawthorne.

Emily (as Irene)
Greetings.

[Music swells and carries out to the bloopers.]

[01:15:00]

Kyle
And yeah, this should be a different file. Tom, are you recording?

Tom
Yes, I am recording.

Kyle
Emily, could you say something to confirm that we’re recording?

Emily
Something to confirm that we’re recording.

Kyle
Ari, are you recording?

Ari
If Quique gets sick, would he get an-tibia-otics?”

[Laughter.]

Hallie
I tried to contribute, but all I could think is kneecap. That’s not a pun, that’s just me, “kneecap!” I wanna yell that at some point, the way I do ”Malata!” Maybe that’s what double ones are called. Kneecaps! Kneecaps!

Tom
God.

Hallie
Because they’re little dots, so they’re like kneecaps which are also little dots.

Tom
Whenever I get a bad roll, I’m gonna shout “Aw, knucklebones.”

Emily
Also, I probably should have mentioned, instead of just on my Zoom camera poking up my fingers, he’s sticking out his little eyestalks.

Tom
Look, it’s fine. I described something as doing the “eh” eyes, which I’m sure will be wonderful for our listening audience.

Kyle
It’s a fun sound. They get distracted by the fun sound. It’s how half the comedians get their business. Speaking of, we haven’t had a joke in a while.
[Shouts a silly sound.] Okay, now we’re good. We’re set for like another ten minutes.

Tom
Anyway.

Ari
Hmm. I’m trying to think… I’m just trying to think of what expression to use when being annoyed at this bird.

Hallie
Kneecaps!

Ari
No! I’m trying to think of a Spanish expression.

Hallie
Malata!

Ari
No! Give me a second.

[Laughter.]

Tom
Let her think.
I respect how no one even acknowledged Hallie dying over School-Aid Man.

Ari
Oh! I did. I was dying. I was laughing inside.

Tom
We all noticed it, but we just carried on.

Kyle
The worst part is this was Hallie’s pun. I got this from her.

Hallie
[Laughing, tearful.] I know! I forgot about it, until you said it.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
You said like half a year to a year ago, “the mascot of Season 2 is the School-Aid Man,” and I noted that down. I noted that shit down so fast.

Hallie
I know!

Ari
What I love the most is that there was a really soft “oh yeah” from Hallie as she was laughing. It was so soft, but yet I could hear it.

Hallie
[Weakly.] Oh yeah…

Kyle
Anyways. I gotta note down Mr. Jimothy, or Jimbo as he likes to be called.

Ari
The English teacher.

Hallie
Jimbo!

Tom
The English teacher and also I guess the advisor for the Necromon Club.

Kyle
Because you said the office worker put up the sign. I’m like, oh shit, they’re here now. I need to consolidate characters. It’s Mr. Jimothy.

Ari
In my mind, he just looks like Jimmy Neutron’s dad.

Hallie
Same.

Tom
I was fully expecting him to be the gym teacher, for there to be zero subtlety.

Kyle
Quique, take a GM Intrusion and tell me who you’re gonna give the other point to.

Ari
Um… I’m giving it to Irene? Can I do that?

[Laughter.]

Kyle
We introduced the character five minutes ago. She got AP before she was even introduced.

Ari
Yeah, she did.

Tom
Yeah. Yeah.

Hallie
That’s because she’s an overachiever.

Emily
It’s because I’m the best at everything.

Hallie
Yeah man.