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Ch 3: Stop that Nini!

Jamal puts the map in his inventory and approaches the bakery. He goes to knock on the door, but a large round man and a small round boy come running out of the bakery. "Take cover!" The young boy screams as he dives into the bushes in the yard. The large man hides behind a street pole as Jamal stands in the same position, ready to knock on the already open front door. Jamal turns his head as an explosion erupts from the bakery. Tons of flour and smoke come gushing out of the house.

Jamal is covered in a white power as the boy and large man come out of their hiding places.
Jamal shakes and dusts himself off as the boy and man approach him. A name tag appears above the two after Jamal clears flour out of his eyes. "The baker and the baker's boy."

The two greet Jamal and invite him into the messy bakery. Jamal looks at the kitchen and it looks like a bomb went off. "What happened here?"

"That blasted bird of yours did this Henry! I told you to keep all live animals out of the kitchen!" The baker's face turns red as he yells.

Henry the baker's boy walks closer to Jamal and explains what happened. Henry has a pet named Nini. She came into the kitchen because she smelled he fresh cakes being baked in the oven. Before anyone knew it, Nini got into a bag of sugar. Sugar makes Nini extremely hyper! She began running around everywhere and breaking dishes. "Dad and I tried to catch her, but we forgot about the cake baking and it exploded."

"Wait a minute", Jamal says with a confused look on his face. "All of this damage was done because you left a cake in the oven too long?"

"We were making a bomba cake with bomba berries! If cooked just right it explodes with flavor in your mouth! But left too long and they can be a bit messy." Henry looks around the room. "Oh, but I don't see that bird brain anywhere. He probably ran into the field behind the house. There is a huge lake surrounded by tree where we like to go for walks. Could you please help me get Nini back?"

Jamal accepts his mission, but gets the weird feeling that his purpose in this world is more like a side quest itself. Jamal walks to the back door with Henry where the baker's boy spots a trail of foot prints. Jamal looks at the foot of the bird he's chasing. "You didn't tell me this bird was this big!"

Jamal follows the trail as it leads him through the field and to an oasis of water. In the distance, Jamal can see a large feathered bird drinking water. He calls out, "Nini, come here Nini." The bird stands up and looks at Jamal. It's neck easily towers over the young warrior. Jamal inches closer and closer, but Nini starts running away. "Agh!" Jamal yells as he starts running after Nini.

Jamal sprints as hard as he can, but nothing he does can close the gap with the bird. Jamal tries setting a snare trap and leading Nini towards the tree it's attached to. She runs straight into the snare trap and rips the rope off the tree. Jamal tried to hide from the bird, but his smell gives him away every time he tries. Jamal runs for hours to catch Nini, but nothing is working.

Jamal falls on the floor tired. He gasps for air as the bird plays in the water. Jamal thinks for a second, then smiles. He runs back towards the bakery and grabs some cake from the bomba explosion. He covers himself in the Camry mess and hides in a bush near Nini. The bird smells the cake and stands up looking at the bush. It approaches with a hungry look on it's face. When it gets close enough, Jamal jumps onto the bird and hugs its back ready for the ride of his life.

To Jamal's surprise, the giant bird didn't run away. Instead, Nini licks Jamal clean and shrinks to a smaller size. She fits right inside Jamal's hand. On the floor Jamal found a few more coins and a necklace. Jamal reads the item description that appears after picking up the necklace.

"Nini's favor: An item that temporarily increases your speed when running away from danger."

Jamal is disappointed. "What am I going to run away all day?" Suddenly, Jamal hears a small notification ping. He checks his stats and he sees an increase to his speed stat by +10%. It's as if the world is answering, "yes, keep running."

Jamal carries Nini back to the bakery and gives her to Henry. Henry is overjoyed and thanks Jamal with a cake. Jamal looks at the cake and asks, "that's it?" The door slams in his face the light's turned off. Jamal's jaw hits the floor until a sack of coins appears in front of the bakery door. Jamal here's a loud ding and a voice yell, "congratulations!" Jamal checks his mission status and see a green complete underneath his mission. A tear rolls down Jamal's face for the loss of his dreams.

Jamal stumbles down the road, following the map to a hotel nearby. He uses some of the gold from his reward to rent a room and logs off for the night.
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