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A Game in the Hand is Worth Two in the Head

The students looked out of the windows in amazement as they knew that they were in a city that only people like them knew about. The buses stopped at a station in the middle of downtown. They all exited the buses and they drew in the sights. Rikki looked up and say the sky filled with streaks of light. It was people flying.

"Isn't it amazing?" Suzy asked.

"Yeah," Rikki breathed. "It is." They all stared in amazement at all of the Gift variations and combinations that the citizens had. All of the colors of the neon signs and the fascinating buildings and shops.

"Now remember the main reason as to why we are here," Jack said to the students. "But do feel free to enjoy yourselves a little. Meet back here at 5." The groups went off in all different directions. Rikki and them went to the nearest shop they could find. It was just a little gift shop. Rikki opened the door and it swung into a small overhanging bell.

"Welcome," the shopkeeper said. It was a tall and nicely handsome man in at least his mid 30's. "Is there anything I can do for you kids?"

"Just browsing," Rikki said. He walked throughout the shelves while Suzy was standing at the counter talking with the man.

"We're visiting this city for the first time," she said to him.

"Well then, welcome to Secret City," he said with a smile.

"I was also wondering if you could tell us about daily life here."

"So it's information you want?" he asked with a light laugh. "Well, there's plenty of that here." He went on to explain what he did and why he did it. Rikki was still just skimming through the shelves. He came across a book. It was titled: The Secrets to Secret City. At first, intrigued, he picked it up off the shelf and he opened it to a random page. It just showed a schematic of one of the skyscrapers. He frowned and placed it back on the shelf.

I have no interest in architecture, he thought to himself as he moved on. Suzy was still at the counter talking to the man.

"...and that's why I decided to run this little gift shop," the man said. "I'm just that small business type of person."

"I see," Suzy said.

"So can I ask where you kids are from?"

"Oh, from all over the world," Luuk said to the man looking over a stack of wooden trinkets.

"Hey, your voice is pretty cool. Are you from England?" On the other side of the store, Lotus couldn't help blushing.

"I'm from Denmark actually," Luuk said walking up to him and he shook his hand.

"Wow. What's Denmark like?"

"Well, it's like any other European country. It's just cold there longer than it is in Belgium."

"Interesting. It's nice to talk to people from across the world. You can learn so much." Just then a woman came out of a doorway from behind the front counter.

"What's going on out here?" the tall blond-haired woman asked in a friendly voice. She was dressed in a similar fashion to the man and she had a nice black bow on top of her head.

"Oh, Emmalyn, we have some customers," the man said.

"Hi!" she said with a wink. "I see you've met my husband Damianus."

"Yeah," Luuk said. Back on the other side of the shop, Rikki was looking for Aoi and he found her staring transfixed at a small statue of what he thought was a human.

"Hey," Rikki said tearing her from the weird figure. She gasped and turned around nearly knocking him and some merchandise over.

"Sorry," they both said.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Can I have some of my money back?"

"Wha… wait, why?"

"Well, I don't want to see all these great places broke." She sighed angrily.

"Fine." She gave him $100 back. "Use it wisely," she said in an almost seemingly parental tone but she still held the angry expression.

"Sure thing, Mom," he said jokingly putting emphasis on the word 'mom'. Rikki grabbed a simple Secret City refrigerator magnet and he brought it to the counter. Luuk and Suzy were still talking to the man.

"I can help you over here," Emmalyn said to Rikki as she walked over to another cash register. Rikki handed the magnet to her and she rang it up. "That'll be $1.03." Rikki handed her $2. She gave him the magnet and the change. "Anything else for you nice, kids?" she asked.

"No thanks," Jaylen said. "It was nice meeting you though,"

"Same here," Damianus and Emmalyn said as they walked out of the store. Rikki had to run back to where Aoi was still staring at the weird figure. Rikki grabbed her arm and he nearly had to drag her out of the store.

"Nooooo!" Aoi whined like a child. "I want iiit!"

"Come on, we can come back later," Rikki told her.

"Such kind people," Suzy said.

"Yeah," Cass said. "Emmalyn was nice. She gave me a free piece of candy cause, she said I was cute." Rikki looked at the magnet and he placed it in his pocket. Luuk then pointed out an electronics store. They walked inside. Rikki noticed that the group Dan was with was also in there. It was Dan as their leader with Kora, Max, Alex, and Rey. Rikki and Luuk however had made their way over to the televisions.

"Which one?" Rikki asked.

"We need one that's HD," Luuk said. A store clerk came over.

"Can I help you guys?" he asked.

"We need an HD TV for gaming, but not too big, cuz we're living in a college dorm," Rikki explained.

"Well, I'm your man. A lot of my customers just like you prefer the 48-inch LCD flat screen. Now available in 4K resolution."

"Alright!" Luuk said. "How much we talking?" he said rubbing his fingers together, making the hand gesture people make when they talk about expensive items. The man directed them to the display model which was showing the preview for some kind of movie.

"This is the baby, I'm talking about, right here. Man, she is a beaut."

"I agree," Rikki said.

"But how much we talkin'?" Luuk asked again.

"These go for $899.99 apiece."

"Deal!" Luuk said.

"Okay, okay," the man said. "Settle down please. I'll hook you up in the front."

"Alright." Luuk said as he walked with the man.

"I'll see you there," Rikki called after him. Luuk looked behind him gave a thumbs up. He walked back over to Dan who was looking at digital camcorders.

"Nothing interesting," he said as he moved over to the video games. It was a separate area with a separate check out desk for the video games. He walked up to the counter to ask for the newest releases. There was a person with a pink colored hair that appeared to be asleep in a chair behind the counter.

"Hey," Dan said to them. The person didn't budge. Dan got angry and he grabbed a game from off the counter and he threw it at them. It bounced right off the persons head and then sighed angrily. Rikki could tell it was a girl.

"What?" she asked with an Irish accent. She looked up. Dan's heart skipped a beat. This girl was the most beautiful person he had ever laid his eyes on. He then sighed dreamily. "Oh, customers. What can I-" she stopped herself. "No, actually. Which one of you arseholes threw this at me?" Rikki instinctively pointed at his brother. She looked at Dan who was red-faced. Not with embarrassment, but with love. She knew what he was feeling. He looked at her with love, and for some reason, when she looked at his face, she fell in love too. "You-you threw this at me," she said blushing and looking away.

"I-I-I'm s-sorry," Dan said blushing and also looking away.

"I'll leave you two alone," Rikki said with a big grin on his face and he walked away laughing. When he found Luuk who was having Jaylen help him to carry the TV, he was still laughing.

"What's so funny?" Luuk asked him.

"You…" he said between rolls of laughter "you sh… you should've seen it!" He was almost on the floor laughing. "Dan's face!" he laughed. "It was priceless!"

"Calm down and tell us what happened," Aoi said. Rikki was doing his best to catch his breath.

"Okay. Okay. I'm sorry," he said with his laughter dying. "Dan was at the game counter, and this girl who was runnin' it… okay, so she was like asleep, and so Dan threw some game at her and when she looked up, they then both instantly fell in love." His laughter was coming back. "It was so hilarious!" He continued to laugh all the way to the bus where Luuk put the TV in the storage compartment above his seat. He came back out and Rikki was still laughing.

"Come on man, it couldn't have been that funny," Luuk said.

"It was, though!"

"Seriously?"

"Yes!" he laughed. He laughed for another moment until something hit him on the back of the head. He turned around and looked. Standing there was Dan and the girl, who was tossing some handheld games in her hands.

"Nice shot," Dan said.

"Thanks," she said in her Irish accent.

"You didn't tell me she was Irish," Lotus said. Rikki shrugged.

"I didn't think it was all that important."


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