Pearl takes a deep breath, patting down a jersey that has Nix’s eye flower on the back and falling flower petals on the outside. “Alright, just my cute girlfriend cheering us on… in a game we’ve never played before, against a group of florets we’ve never met before.” She scurries out of the bathroom, looking over at Resin who’s seated on the couch. “Mixtress I’m ready!”
Resin smiles and claps. “You look amazing, Pearl. Oh Nix will be so thrilled at how cute you look!” it giggles. “Mind you that will depend on how well you can keep focused with how cute Nix will look too.”
“If I don’t keep on task I’m sure Jason will be on my case and get me back focused… and anyway, we have Tina and Wisp on our team! Those two can basically carry us in any sport.” Pearl rubs her arm, blushing lightly while she walks up and nestles herself into her owner's side. Trying not to get caught up fantasizing about her partner jumping up and down for her, giving those adorable little buzzes and yips… using the special pompoms that she’d made just for today.
Pearl blinks a few times as there’s suddenly a collar around her neck, and they’re walking out of the hab. Resin keeping her firmly pressed against its side, in order to make sure they’re both not late, and that Pearl doesn’t trip herself while she’s this caught up in her head.
Resin smiles down at Pearl. “You got that look when you think about Nix, and then we were just sitting there for almost half an hour. I got a message to let you know that this game will be kept in a private setting, so you are only going to see the other team and their owners as ‘new’ people today. Other than that, some of the other affini will be recording, and we will all get the ‘home movie’ and edited copies of the game.”
“Can you please ask them to record Nix too…” Pearl wiggles around, nuzzling up against Resin as she looks around the streets. Giving affini little waves as they make their way to the magrail station.
“Oh they will be, they are going to record everyone.” Resin playfully pets and ruffles Pearl’s hair. “They also like to make a…bigger game out of the game than just playing basketball. I think you all will enjoy it if I understand what they want to do correctly.”
Pearl raises her eyebrow, letting Resin pick her up as they get onto the magrail. "Okay, now I'm curious." She chuckles a bit nestling into her owner's lap as the rail takes off. Allowing her to get an all too rare view of the rest of the Equabloom, given there's normally very little reason to leave their little corner of things due to her anxiety. "But I'll do my best to wait for the surprise!"
Resin leans down and whispers. “Good dolly, being patient like this.” It gently rocks Pearl with a smile. Vines coiling around her limbs, giving a small massage to help Pearl relax before the game. “Also, behaving so nicely without your Class M’s. I’m so proud of you for doing this. I know you will have so much fun, and I know I will be in for a great show.”
Pearl squeaks, nuzzling up against Resin. Biting her lip, and keeping her eyes closed as the rail speeds along. Despite the small amount of anxiety sitting in her chest, having Resin’s praise for her behavior blanketing over that. “Thank you Mixtress.”
“You are very welcome, my precious dolly.” Resin blankets Pearl from being seen with her vines, letting her relax more. “Just breathe and relax, and we will be at the court soon enough.” They brush Pearl’s hair while watching through the window as they travel.
After a few minutes, the shuttle slides to a halt. Letting everyone on board out, and allowing the new passengers in. Pearl simply clings to Resin’s chest as they disembark, looking away from the other groups as they head through the halls towards the sophont sport enrichment area.
Resin holds Pearl close, getting away from others and making their way towards the sport enrichment area. Soon they see Anthurium and jog on over. “Hey there, do we have access to our private court? I think Pearl needs a little bit of time to wind down before we start.”
Anthurium nods with a smile. “We do, it’s court 201. There is a refreshment room that Jason is setting up, as well as changing rooms.”
Resin nods and starts to head inside. “I’ll see you in there soon then, I assume you are waiting for Sola, Celosia, and Nix?” At getting a nod, they head inside.
Once they’re inside, Pearl slowly rolls over. Seeing Jason relaxing next to a water cooler, and several different snack layouts from the Cyber cafe. Even a few cookies with the team’s logo on them.
Taking a deep breath as she’s let down out of Resin’s vines. “Hey Jason, so are you finally confident that you actually understand the rules? Or are you going to be flagging down for violations, every thirty seconds of the game.” She flashes a small grin, walking over and giving the boy a tight hug.
Jason chuckles and hugs Pearl back. “I know the rules well enough. Mistress got me to relax a little bit on going that hard into the rules.” He laughs a little bit before shaking his head. “I’ve read them all though, it is simple enough given we are not doing a tournament though. We should do fine, even if half our team has no experience. And you’re more than likely going to be distracted by Nix the whole time.”
Pearl puffs her cheeks out, crossing her arms. “I already promised that I’d stay focused on the game! And anyway, I wouldn’t wanna disappoint Nix with having us get stomped!”
As the pair bicker between one another, Wisp and Tina walk into the room. Both of their owners releasing them from their leashes.
Wisp stands a bit more awkwardly in the team’s super bright blue and red outfits, while Tina seems far more comfortable about their team look.
“Hey you two, so did you actually manage to get any practice aside from that one team day?” Wisp walks over next to Pearl and Jason. Feeling a bit out of place, given they’ve only met Pearl and Jason through Nix rather than being closely acquainted with either.
Jason smiles and nods. “Between my research on the rules, Pearl and I have had several practice days with Nix. We will do our best to win, and then we can feast on all the snacks we brought.” He gives a little fist pump. “I’m excited for how much fun we will have, though I will probably aim at passing to one of you two for the important shots.”
“That sounds good to me, according to Mistress the team we are playing against should be around our level.” Tina smiles softly, patting Wisp on the shoulder. “They apparently are one of the ‘sillier’ teams on board whatever that means?”
Pearl snickers a bit, shaking her head. “Who knows, if that’s the case we might be able to win after all.” She gives a small flex. “I swear though, Nix might be one of our best players with how she runs around me and Jason, and she’s not even playing!”
“Yeah, Nix has actually been playing against me and Tina after our owners are done with work for the day.” Wisp shrugs, looking over at the doorway. “I tried to convince her, but she’s way too excited to be the cheerleader to actually play.” They grin over at Pearl. “Apparently she wants to impress her girlfriend.”
Almost on que Nix bursts through the door, wearing a blue and red skirt, a half cut shirt with the teams logo on the front and back. Her hair tied back into a ponytail (apparently it’s some kind of style based on a fish tail?). “Hello Falling Petals!” She bounces up and down, wiggling her hands around a pair of blue and red pom poms covering them. “Is everyone excited for the game?”
Pearl blushes hard, staring at Nix with a stupid smile crossing her face. “I’m excited Nix!”
Jason rolls his eyes but smiles at Nix. “You are looking good, Pearl thinks so too.” He elbows Pearl gently, causing her to squeak.
“That too! You look amazing Nix, so cute!” Pearl gushed a little bit, wiggling in place as she takes in every detail of Nix’s outfit.
Sola walks in behind Nix, sighing as she pats Nix on the head a few times. “Petal you can’t just run off like that, you scared me and Celosia half to death!”
Nix blushes a bit, giving Sola a little half hug. “Sorry Mistress, I’m just so excited!” She almost immediately breaks away, pouncing at Pearl and pulling her into a bear hug.
Wisp grins at Nix’s behavior, shaking their head and sitting down. “Good to see you’ve got just as much energy as always. We’re really going to need it today!”
“I still don’t get why you had us learn morse code between practice games though.” Tina groans, rubbing her forehead. “I mean I get that you enjoy it, but it makes my head hurt just thinking about it!” She does an overly exaggerated shudder. “So many combinations.”
Nix twirls around, nuzzling Pearl all the while. “I promise, it was super important for the game you’ll see!” She snickers a bit, kissing Pearl on the cheek. “That and I like to have my friends be able to understand me when I’m non-verbal, so it was a two for one!”
Pearl giggles and nuzzles into Nix, hugging her tightly. “It took me a little bit to learn it, but it has been really helpful.” Pearl taps in code on Nix’s shoulder. ‘I love you sweetie’.
Nix snickers, giving Pearl a few light nips on her thicker scales before pulling back. “I love you too, now let’s figure out who we’re going to be playing against!” She starts dragging Pearl along towards the door. “I saw them arriving in a big group right behind me and Mistresses, there’s this cute bunny girl and boy, and a whole bunch of others!”
Wisp shrugs, looking over at Tina and Jason. “Well, there’s no stopping her when she’s in one of these moods, so I don’t see why not.” They look over at Alistor, who simply gives them a curt nod of approval.
“Yeah, that sounds good to me!” Tina gives double thumbs up, following behind Nix and Pearl with Wisp. Taking Wisp’s hand in her own as they walk.
Jason quickly walks up to Anthurium as she enters, giving her a firm hug before jogging after his friends, following Tina and Wisp to see the team they would be facing.
Pearl gulps a little bit, seeing the gathering group of florets with their affini, and the cameras being prepared. “I heard from mixtress that this team also likes to record and edit their footage to make fun videos, and that we will get copies. We can really see how well we do with that.” She looks over the two bunnies, a terran with black wings, and a pig chatting it up while the others get prepared.
Nix blinks a few times, looking back over their group. “Alrighty then… uh.” She looks over the other team. “Anyone wanna go up and try to talk to them… or should I take the lead?”
Wisp shrugs, looking over at Tina. “Uh… do you know these guys Tina?” They shuffle over to the side slightly, realizing it might be a little bit awkward to only have one extrovert on their team.
Tina nods slightly, scratching her cheek. “Uh… yeah I actually do.” She takes a step in front of the group. “These are… we’ll they’re the Terra team. They play games as a sort of joke thing? Like all their team is, once they start, hypnotized to think that they’re playing for the fate of terra, being pulled into the affini compact. They’re not known for particularly being great at the sport, but I’ve heard good things about them being nice?”
Jason takes a breath and walks up to the team, noticing that the male bunny seems to be the leader. “Hello there, thank you for playing against us. We are hoping to have a fun game while we all get used to the sport.” He holds out his hand to shake.
The bunny turns around, his silvery coat of furr bouncing slightly as he looks over Jason. “Nice to meet ya, I’m Thump!” He quickly takes and starts shaking Jason’s hand rapidly, quickly spinning the boy around to look back at the other team. “And I’m assuming you all are the Falling Petals right?”
Pearl nods and smiles. “We are the Falling Petals. Nix here picked out the name.” She gives Nix a little squeeze.
Tina grins a little bit, stepping forward. “So, we are just going to set up, then just play and have fun right? Is there any way you like to set up for before or after the game?”
“Neaaah, our owners generally take care of that.” Thump chuckles a bit, gesturing over at the door to the basketball court. “They’re actually already inside settin everything up right now!”
Nix gives a little wave, her pom poms wiggling in the process. “Well, if I’m being honest I stole the team name from the board game Jason made for me, so that’s where it really comes from.” She snickers, shaking her head. “Soooo, what do you say we all get inside so we can get this game going?”
Jason leads the team in a small cheer of excitement before leading the way to the court. Once inside, he looks over the smooth floor, the lines in the floor, and the precisely placed hoops. “Wow, the professionally constructed court is really nice.”
Nix rushes ahead of the group once they get inside, rushing over to the Petal’s side of the court. Starting to do a few practice routines that Sola had taught her, a beaming smile on her face.
Pearl lets out a little squeak seeing Nix do a few cheers. Finding the style to be very unique in comparison to what she’d see from most cheerleaders, instead it involved less leg movement while doing very precise movements with her arms. “Oh my stars.”
Thump and the rest of his team splits off, heading over to a group of affini that the group had never met before. All of the other team’s affini are dressed in outfits to make them look like a film crew, doting on the team and starting the class H session to get them all in the mood for the game.
Sola leads their group of affini in just in time to see Nix’s cheers. She lets out a little squeal and pulls out her pad to start recording. “Good girl! Your cheers are so cute!” She then leans down so Pearl can see the recording. “Don’t worry, I’ll send you some of these after the game.”
Tina chuckles and gives Wisp a hug. “Come on, lets get in place and be ready to win this game.” She gives Wisp a firm squeeze, before leading them further in.
Wisp blushes a bit, shaking their head as the group heads to the far end of the court. “Y-yeah!” They start doing a few stretches, leading the group through some warm ups to kill some time.
Anthurium, Alistor, Resin, and Celosia all quietly walk in. Closing the doors behind them, as Alistor splits off from the group to head into the control booth. “Have fun Little Flame! I’ll be rooting for you!” He gives Wisp a little wave, grinning as they tense up slightly.
Pearl rushes over, giving Nix a quick kiss on the cheek before following Wisp’s lead on the pregame warm ups. “So does the gimmick mean that we’re technically the good guys… or the bad guys?”
Jason grins and nods to the team. “Well, I’d suppose to them we are the baddies, and to the affini we are the goodies, playing in their stead for the fate of all the little cuties on Terra.” He starts to do his own pre-game stretches, making a point to appear extra confident as their opponents ‘take notice’ of them.
Nix finally loses her cool, starting to break down giggling at the thought of the game that the group is getting into. Covering her face with her pom poms as an attempt to not appear like she’s mocking the opposite team.
Thump walks up to the center of the court, his body language somehow even more confident than the short conversation that they’d had earlier. The rest of his team walking up behind him, looking around the same level of arrogance.
Several of the Terran Team’s owners positioning themselves throughout the room. Getting different camera angles ready for once the game starts.
Tina walks up with confidence, smiling as Sola slithers onto the court with a basketball in vine. “Thump, you stand no chance, Terra will belong to our wonderful owners when this game is over. That and I know several affini who will love to get their vines on you and your team.”
“Yeah right! I’ve created the ultimate team to defend the honor of terra! We’ll win this game, and send you all packing!” Thump grins, making a thumbs up before tilting it down. “So may the best team win.”
Sola clears her throat. “Alright cuties, you all play safe, play smart, and if anyone gets hurt we will step in right away to help!” She then tosses the ball up, watching as the game immediately breaks into a scramble.
Tina springs into the air, just getting her fingers on the ball enough to knock it towards Jason and away from Thump.
Jason begins to dribble, nodding at Pearl as they move through the opposing team, though he has to try to make a pass to Pearl when the duck gets in the way and starts yammering on while blocking.
The toss is interrupted by the cream colored bunny, rushing toward the defensive line. While Wisp keeps up with her, getting ready to block at the soonest opportunity.
Nix squeaks at all the movement, getting caught off guard by the buzzer, before starting to glance over each and every member of the opposing team. Trying to pick apart any weakness in their way of playing.
“It appears the Terran’s are taking an early lead!” Chirps over the intercom, Alistor’s voice echoing around the players. “But Wisp has Vanilla guarded, will she be able to score against such an adorable floret?”
Wisp keeps Vanilla on lockdown, shifting every way Vanilla tries to dodge around her. Eventually, the cream colored bunny goes for an overhead pass to the pig, who fumbles the ball, leading to Jason swooping by, spinning the ball on his finger before passing it off to Pearl.
Pearl immediately passes over to Tina, sliding over to interfere with Thumper chasing after the ball. Occasionally glancing over at Nix to watch her partners movements more carefully, a little confused by the type of cheering that Nix is doing.
Tina rushes forward shooting from a quarter court, and shoots for the hoop. Actually getting it in and taking a breath as a few points appear on their half of the scoreboard.
Alistor’s voice rings out from the speakers. “And with that, the Falling Petals make the first score of the game, but can the cute terran’s pull through, and get the win for their whole planet? In this announcer’s opinion, I’m going to say no.”
Jason grins before looking over at Nix, raising an eyebrow as he watches her closely. Soon though he grins, and actually moves to distract Vanilla, keeping her from being able to look at Tumper easily.
Nix grins, continuing her routine, as Celosia starts watching her a little more closely. Noticing that every movements of Nix’s arms have only two modes, thrusting her arm out, or swiping it in front of herself… meaning Nix is actually cheering in morse code.
Pearl nods slightly, going over to the black winged floret. Making sure they keep the majority of the court available for Tina and Wisp’s use. “And at a score of 30 to 14 the Falling Petal’s take a resounding lead! We will now have a nice break to make sure all you cuties are hydrated and healthy, before moving into the second half of the game!”
After a few runs back and forth, with the Terran team getting a few scores but being on the whole having the Falling Petals running circles around them. The buzzer sounds, alerting everyone that it’s time for a water break.
Nix chuckles a bit, flopping down on the bench, waving over at Pearl. “Soooo, are you having fun? I know I am!” She flashes Jason a coy grin. “After all, every team needs a cheerleader!”
Jason reaches over to give Nix a fist bump. “You are a wonderful cheerleader Nix, in fact, I’d say your cheers are some of the most informative I think I’ve ever witnessed.”
Pearl wraps her arms around Nix, shaking her head a little bit. “Nix, you are being so naughty, I love it.”
Tina looks over at Nix with her head tilted. “I think I was starting to understand…are you…using code? To tell us what you are observing?”
“Well thanks to Jason’s obsessive studying, I know it’s not against the rules!” Nix shrugs, a small grin on her face as she nestles into Pearl’s embrace. “And our team doesn’t have a ‘coach’ so I was doing that role on top of my cheering!”
“I hate that this makes a weird level of sense for your standards.” Wisp rubs their forehead. “I mean playing and reading your codes at the same time is a massive struggle. I guess that’s what I get for not really studying any of it outside of your little lessons though.”
Tina grins and rubs Wisp’s back. “Don’t worry, I’ll try to guide you on that. I’ve had a little more time to work on understanding morse code…though I am sure Jason and Pearl know it much more fluently.”
Pearl giggles and nods. “I gotta know all the ways my girlfriend likes to communicate, it also helps when I’m feeling non-verbal as well.”
Celosia leans down, passing water bottles out to everyone other than Nix. “It’s always good to see you all thinking technically, but I believe we might need to add this as a new rule.” She chuckles lightly, pressing Nix’s personal cup to her lips, letting her floret take greedy sips. “I know Alistor will love all that paperwork.”
Wisp chuckles lightly, taking their drink and starting to drink it. Taking occasional peaks up at the announcer booth, giving Alistor a little wave before going back to focusing on the game.
Wisp chuckles lightly, hopping from one foot to the other. “I know he will love it. It is probably his favorite pass time.”
Jason grins while sipping his water. “Well, I’m sure Nix will find some other way to communicate, but for right now, there is no rule against it.”
“Indeed there is not, and after all you have to make sure that terra is overtaken by our loving vines!” Celosia giggles, pulling the group into a light hug, as the buzzer goes off once again. “Alright cuties, you all go out there and have fun. I’ll do my best to help Nix back here.”
Pearl nods, running back out to the center of the court. Taking a position in the back this time given she’s a bit lower on energy than in the first half.
Wisp takes the head this time, ending up facing off against Vanilla at the beginning this time. “Soooo, are ya having fun?” They give her a playful wink as each team stays frozen in place waiting for the sound of the buzzer.
“We’ve got strategies to come back, isn’t that right Pinky?” Vanilla glances back at the half pig girl, getting a slight nod in response. “I’d be more worried about yourselves!”
The buzzer goes off, Sola tossing the basketball into the air and quickly getting out of the way. Making sure to keep on the edge of the court, keeping an eye on everyone to make sure none of the players are over extending themselves.
Wisp jumps as high as she can, but due to her still adjusting to her leg, she can’t quite get as high as Tina did earlier, causing Vanilla to get the ball.
Tina runs forward positioning herself in between Vanilla and Pinky, ready to intercept.
Jason is a little slower, covering the side so he can make sure he can still see Nix, just to see what she has to message.
‘Pinky is weakest member, exploit!’ Nix signs on loop, making sure her eyes stay locked on Pinky all the while. As the opposing team passes to them.
Pearl slips her way over next to Vanilla, dipping from side to side as Thump gets passed the ball and shoots at almost half court.
“And there’s another score for the Terrans!” Alistor leans up against the mic. Looking over the court as the florets continue to scramble around, trading the ball, and making sure not to hurt anyone. “Such a precious game, it would be such a shame to have these cuties win and not get to have them play like this all the time.”
Jason is the next one to get the ball, dribbling towards Ducky. “Hey there, I think I heard Thumper talking about you, couldn’t tell what though.” As the duck looks away briefly towards Thumper, he bounces the ball on the ground and to Pearl.
Peal quickly grabs the ball, making it to the Terran edge of the court, and jumping up tossing the ball into the net. Scoring another few points as she starts to slowly jog to the middle of the court.
The game continues onwards like this for a few minutes, Wisp and Tina mostly taking over offense while Pearl and Jason deal with defensive plays and communicating Nix’s tips about the different members of the opposing team.
“And that’s all folks!” Chirps over the intercom as the final buzzer goes off, the score for the game ending up as a dominant lead for the Falling Petals, while the Terran team has a respectable 28 points. “The Falling Petals have officially struck the final blow for the freedom of Tera, and now all you little cuties can go meet your new owners~”
Tina cheers and gives Wisp a tight hug. “We did it!” She plants a big kiss on Wisp’s cheek.
Pearl meanwhile gives Nix a hug as well. “Thank you for cheering us on so much sweetie! You did so well!”
Jason walks up and gives Thumper a hand shake and a pat on the shoulder. “Thank you for giving us a good match, we all had a fun time.”
Wisp goes stiff, leaning slightly against Tina. “Yes we diiiiid.” They chuckle nuzzling their head into Tina’s side lightly. “Thanks for encouraging me…”
Nix giggles, pouncing on top of Pearl and starting to take little nips at her cheek. “I’m glad I was able to help!” She plants a fierce kiss on Pearl’s lips, her tail flopping excitedly from side to side.
Thumper chuckles, shaking Jason’s hand lightly. “I gotta admit you’re all really good at this game!” He looks over at all of the affini who’d been doing the recording. “But I guess it’s time for us to go meet our new owners…”
Sola lets out a light chuckle, walking over with Celosia as their forms fuse back into one. “Oh don’t you worry little ones, I’m sure your owners will take great care of you, and who knows you might get to play against other florets in the future!” She gently leans down, scratching at the base of Nix’s neck fluff.
Thumper nods slightly, taking Vanilla’s hand and walking over towards the other affini. Immediately getting scooped up by each of their owners to have the hypnosis disabled.
Alistor walks out of the booth, walking over to sit next to Anthurium, Fir, and Resin. Grinning at Wisp in particular, more than a little amused to see them being loved on by Tina. “Well it looks like our florets may have a little crush on one another.”
Fir giggles, and nods. “I know right, they are so cute too.” She looks at the pair. “Wisp has really brought out so much of Tina’s excitement about games, that I know has always been there.” She gives Alistor a playful hug. “You have done a good job with them.”
“Indeed, it just took a little bit of effort, but once they let their walls down, they became just the sweetest little spark.” Alistor lightly returns the hug, watching as the group of their florets all start bouncing around and talking to one another.