ACXIII JN Staff Tourney - The Story
'Twas the night before the Altador Cup, and throughout the hall, not a staffer was stirring, except for... them all? Despite the late hour, the scene inside Jellyneo HQ was lively, with the industrial techno beats of Yes Boy Ice Cream being piped through the sound system courtesy of a DJ booth manned by Sara.
Yes, as Will had astutely pointed out, it was long past bedtime for the competitors in the next day's tournament. The party to celebrate the fine weather had gone long into the night, yet the entire Jellyneo staff was still awake, talking, dancing, and generally having a good time. In the center of the room was a large papier mache volcano, at the base of which Jen was trying to teach Monica and Emily to hula dance, Gen doing her best to follow along without spilling her tropical smoothie. Aurora occasionally peeked out the top of the volcano, hurling foam magma rocks at anyone that looked like a worthy sacrifice, while Jenny appeared to have appointed herself the role of waitress. She was wandering around with a big platter of hors d'oeuvres, waiting until people were at the best parts of anecdotes to offer them.
Before she could complete that thought, Skylar was pelted in the head by a foam rock. She paused, stared as it bounced away, cleared her throat... and took off for the volcano at full speed, arms outstretched and screaming. Max narrowly avoided her as he approached, some kind of fancy fruit tart in his hand and a sour look on his face.
Amanda gestured out towards the patio. Kayla, Chesu, and SirCabbage were all lounging around in a ball pit that they'd made to look like a giant salad bowl, calling out for Ellie and Leaf to join them. The pool had largely been abandoned after sunset, the last swimmer remaining being Angelique, who was bobbing around on an inner tube and occasionally tossing a melon rind in the general direction of the garbage cans. Rosie and Suzuka, meanwhile, seemed to be constructing some kind of idol to appease the angry volcano, Dave looking on approvingly. An uneven voice drifted down from the roof of the building.
With that, Ellie gathered up as much cheese from the snack table as she could hold, leapt over a short hedgerow, and disappeared down the hill beyond it, a few cheese wheels bouncing along beside her.
SirCabbage pulled himself out of the ball pit and made his way towards the sound booth, sidestepping Skylar as she flew by with a melon rind on her head. After a few seconds of negotiating with Sara, he pried the microphone away from her and planted his free hand in the middle of her face to hold her back. He turned down the music, ignoring her cries of indignation and the grabbing motions she was making for the microphone.
There was a pause followed by a low murmuring, as everyone checked the time and began to bid each other good night. The participants in the next day's tournament were the first to go, finishing off their snacks and hurrying to the punchlines of their jokes before heading to bed. Jessica looked alarmed at the sudden foot traffic as she crept along the back wall, pausing to make sure that her floral sundress was blending in with the wallpaper before continuing to make her way towards the door to the Uni stables. Melissa was unphased by the change in atmosphere, slowly sinking into an over-stuffed armchair in the corner, seemingly connecting to the Doglefox in her lap on some incomprehensibly deep level.
Morning came all too soon, sunlight streaming through the windows and glinting off of the acorns and Diet Terry cans that littered the floor. Even the earliest of risers were slow to wake, drowsily staring at clocks that were still somehow pointed at "party time". Herdy was the first to notice just how high in the sky the sun was.
The rest of the Jellyneo staff began to stir, rubbing their eyes and blinking in the morning light. Steve picked up his alarm clock and shook it next to his ear, listening for the sound of loose gears rattling around or any other indication that it was broken.
Everyone was gathering in the room that had held the party the previous night, still in their pajamas and stifling yawns.
All the noise in the room woke Aurora, who had apparently spent the night inside of the papier mache volcano. She peeked her head out just long enough to see what was going on.
She began to throw out foam rocks at random, a few of which bounced off the faces of unimpressed-looking staffers. As Suzuka entered the room, a Plumpy plushie clutched in her arms and a sleepily blank expression on her face, a magma rock went careening straight at her head, which she reflexively blocked with the toy. The rock dropped to the floor, and after a moment, so too did the Plumpie's golden halo. Suzuka stared at it for only a second before turning to the volcano, her eyes flashing dangerously.
Dave didn't have a chance to dissuade her before she snatched a pillow from a barely-awake Sweep and threw it at the volcano as hard as she could. The impact was just enough to send the flimsy structure toppling over, spilling Aurora out onto the floor.
His objection was drowned out as a large plush toy came down on his head, a grinning Quail on the other end. She then lifted it up again and tossed it at Rylon, who nearly spit out his tea in surprise.
After carefully setting his tea down on a nearby table, Rylon strode up to a crate of Yooyuball supplies, pulled out a plush practice Yooyu, and without warning threw it directly at Quail. She dodged it with a surprised grunt, allowing the toy to sail right over her and hit a passing Skylar square in the face.
With a roar, everyone dove for the supply crate, pulling out plush Yooyus and swinging or throwing them in self defense. Herdy swung his dressing gown around and knocked incoming dolls out of the air, while Leaf went with a simpler approach, zipping himself up inside a sleeping bag. Despite being right in the center of the fray, Rosie appeared to have fallen asleep.
The pillow fight continued to rage, but now people were starting to strap on knee pads and slings, using the Yooyuball skills they had practiced to assault one another with stuffed Yooyus and pillows. Knowing when to start making the best of a hopeless situation, the more reasonable members of staff began to shepherd the rest out the doors and towards the stadium, still in their pajamas and still flinging pillows at one another.