Earlier this morning, Ronnie proposed a vote to go to the beach later in the afternoon. And once he did, both Monty and Rika's hands shot up quicker than a pair of firecrackers. Majority rule, no way the three would pass up the opportunity to visit the shores of Dim Some on a tepid summer day such as this one. The three strolled together on the light, creamy brown sand, decked out in different outfits to accommodate the intense heat. Monty swapped out his army-green elbow-sleeved top for a white and light green basketball jersey, still rocking his khaki shorts and black flip-flops. Ronnie also felt the need to bring out his own pair of white flip-flops, going along with his white shorts and blue-striped tank top, matching the hue of the ocean. No colorful hairclip in his hair this time; a matching blue-striped headband pulled back his feathery midnight-blue hair. Lastly for Rika, she had on a flowy light pink tank top with spaghetti sleeves, white mini-shorts, red flip-flops, and her hair styled in a spiky bun. All three were definitely summer-ready, but were they ready to endure the relentless heat awaiting them?
Out in front, Ronnie walked backwards as he grinned at his two best friends. Being out in an almost tropical, sunny setting with the two people he most enjoyed hanging out with never failed to brighten his mood.
"Ahhh, what a bea-utiful day! The sun's out, the seagulls are flying above us saying hello, caw caw, hello! I'm looking extra cute in my outfit and the best part is we're all enjoying it together, like the bonafide besties we are!" chirped the feathery-haired boy, arms lifted to the clear blue sky.
"Tch, I'd be enjoying it more if it wasn't so muggy out... I don't mind a little heat but holy crap. It'd never get this hot when I used to stay in Playa del Caramelo." sighed Monty, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
"Oh, stop whining for once. Yeah, it's hot out but at least it's nice to get a little fresh air instead of being cooped up at home." reasoned Rika.
"Eh, I guess..."
"But what are we doing talking about how hot it is? We're at the beach, for crying out loud! We should be thinking of things to do, eat, and see! Oooh, and smell!" Taking a huge whiff of the air, Ronnie let out a satisfied sigh. "Ah, I love the smell of the ocean in the middle of the afternoon. It's just so... ocean-y!"
"Yeah, brilliant way to describe it, Ron." snarked the half-Hispanic with a small smirk.
"But if neither of you haven't decided on what to do, why don't we go pay Lili a visit? Then, she can hook us up with free snow cones." grinned the girl in pink.
"Oh, right, I forgot Lili lives around here. Well, fuck it, let's grab some."
"After all, the best snow cones are free snow cones!" added Ronnie.
"So it's decided! Now, let's..."
Before she turned on her heel, Rika found an elderly woman in a tattered trenchcoat and boater hat, fishing by the edge of the shore.
"Uh, Rik, you cool? We're supposed to be nabbing free snow cones, remember?" Monty pointed out.
"What are you looking at... oh! Aw, how cute, that old lady's trying to catch some fishies! We should wish her good luck!" suggested the boy in blue.
"Dunno about wishing her luck, but we should say hi to her at least." said the bluenette.
"Alright, fine. Let's put off an opportunity to stuff our faces with snow cones to meet some old lady. Yeah, great idea, guys." the spiky-haired boy rolled his eyes, exasperated with the twins' friendliness.
"Stop complaining for once and come on!"
Walking over to the elderly woman, being careful not to disturb her during her fishing, the three saw her snatch her line out of the water with a disappointed scowl.
"Ah, drat, another one got away! These fish are quite feisty today, I tell ya..." the woman then faced the three teens and greeted them with a warm smile. "Oh! My, I didn't see you kids here! Why, hello there! What brings you to the beach on a fine day like this?"
"Uh, actually, we just wanted to see how you were doing with your fishing. Seeing that this isn't the most ideal fishing spot." Rika chuckled a bit.
"Well, it actually is if you're looking to catch the illustrious fish known as the prism pike."
"The prism pike?"
"Wait, prism?! Does that mean if it shines in the sun, it makes a rainbow?! Oh, my gosh, please tell me that's true! That sounds like such a cool fish!" gushed Ronnie.
"Ron, don't encourage this old chick's nonsense. What are you talking about, old lady?" Monty curtly asked with a glare.
"Gosh, such bluntness. And to answer you, blue-haired boy, you are a hundred perfect correct. I only wanted to inform you about the prism pike and why it is one of the most treasured fish in the country. It's actually one of the rarest fish in America too, mind you. So rare that catching one shall bring you many years of luck and happiness, especially in terms of enjoying fine cuisine." explained the elderly woman, bushing the platinum blonde hair out of her eyes.
"Pfft, sounds like bull to me..."
"That it does. Ma'am, not to sound rude but I think you've been spending a little too much time around the ocean. Too much chlorine isn't good for you, after all." sneered Rika.
"Oh, brush off my information all you want but soon, you will all see that nothing I've told you about the prism pike was a lie. Why not try to catch one for yourself! Then, we'll see who has the last laugh..." the woman chuckled a little eerily.
"Uh, sure... anyway, good luck your fishing. We'll see you around, okay?"
"Alright but if you wish to learn more about the prism pike, you know where to find me!"
"Okay, see ya, ma'am! Guys, call me crazy but what if she's not making this up? What is the prism pike actually exists?! We should go-" began the bubbly blue boy, following his sister to the other side of the beach.
"Ronnie, just forget about it. Everything that old lady told us was just a myth, it can't be true." replied the girl in pink.
"Oh, YOU don't think it's true but I do! 'Cause I'm a believer of all things!"
"And that's not something to be proud of..." snarked Monty.
"Says you, you... non-believer of things!"
"Whatever, let's just go see Lili and forget we ever spoke to that old lady. The more we talk about her and her nonsense, the more she'll get in our heads." reasoned Rika.
"Okey-doke! Say, shouldn't we get a snow cone for her too?" asked Ronnie.
"Nah, she'd probably use it as bait to catch that fake-ass prism pike." sneered the half-Hispanic.
"What did I just say about talking about her?!" shrieked the bluenette, glowering at the two frightened boys.
"Sheesh, our bad..."
"Sorry, Ri-Ri... my, someone needs some snow cones in her diet." the blue boy muttered under his breath.
"What did you say about me?!" Rika glared directly at her brother.
And since then, Rika wanted to forget that quirky old woman and her frivolous tales ever existed. But later that night, it seemed her skepticism came back to haunt her. Tossing and turning in bed, the bluenette dreamed about herself in a dark empty room, still in her pink nightgown.
"Hello? ...is anyone there? Can someone hear me?!" She called out, hoping she wasn't the only one in her current situation.
"Rika… Rika…" a whimsical, yet mysterious voice whispered.
"Who's there?! And how the heck do you know my name, answer me!"
"Oh, little girl, no need to be frightened…" Out of nowhere, a slender, long fish with glowing, colorful scales floated over. How it managed to get around without water was beyond Rika's understanding. "It is I, the legendary sea creature known as the prism pike. I have been told that you don't believe that I truly exist in your world, is that right?"
"Well, duh. I mean, according to that crazy old lady I was talking to, you exist but I don't think so." Rika simply folded her arms.
"But you are able to see me and speak to me… so, to some extent, that woman you spoke of is probably telling the truth."
"Get out of here with that. Just because I'm chatting with you in my mind, doesn't mean you exist outside of it. You're just a myth, that's all there is to it."
"Oh, is that what you believe? Then, tell me, little girl, what else did that woman tell you when she spoke of me?" the prism pike asked.
"Eh, something about catching one will give you years of luck and happiness and all that hooplah." shrugged the bluenette.
"Hmmm… then, you know what you must do, Rika. Go out there and find me in the waters… I shall be waiting for you."
"But why would I waste my time trying to catch something that's not even real?! You're sounding just as ridiculous as that old lady right now!"
"Ridiculous or truthful… that is up to you to decide, little girl. With that, I bid you farewell but we shall meet again. I'm sure of it."
"Pfft, fat chance…"
"Oh, and Rika? I have one more thing to say…" the fish then blurted out in Ronnie's voice. "GERONIMOOOO!"
Waking up to something falling on her, Rika was unpleasantly surprised to see a grinning Ronnie on her lap, shoving him away with disgust.
"Ugh, Ronnie, was that really necessary?!" She shrieked.
"Well, waking you up with my body slams of love is an important part of your morning routine, so… yeah, they ARE necessary!" Her twin brother smirked, seeing his sister yawn as she rubbed her eyes. "Gosh, looks like someone didn't have sweet dreams last night…"
"No duh, just had the freakiest dream of my life."
"OMG me too! Did it involve pickles too? 'Cause in mine, I was held hostage by these pickle aliens, right? And they were seconds away from turning me into one but then, this boy and girl, who looked like twins, showed up and saved me! And get this, they were using kung-fu just like us! What if they were us in a past life?"
"Uh, yeah, interesting… but no, it was nothing like that. It was about that stupid prism pike that old lady was yammering about." replied Rika.
"Oooh, what happened?! Tell me, tell me, TELL! ME!" urged Ronnie, nudging his sister's side.
"Nothing really happened except it kept bugging me to catch it."
"Well, are you gonna catch it?"
"No! Ronnie, you still can't believe that stupid fish really exists, do you?"
"Someone's gotta be the optimistic one around here since you and Monty wanna be a literal couple of negative naysayers." huffed the bubbly blue boy.
"Pfft, whatever, I just need some breakfast to take my mind off this…" the girl in pink sulked out of bed with her brother following her.
"And for a little energy boost when you'll go out and catch that prism pike later!"
"Ronnie, cork it!"
Later in the afternoon, the three met at the twins' backyard to play a little field hockey with plastic hockey sticks and a taped empty can of cat food as a makeshift puck. Having scored a few goals between them, Rika and Ronnie thought it would be the perfect time to tell Monty about her dream.
"So, lemme get this straight, this so-called prism pike actually told you to catch it… even though, it probably doesn't exist." Monty recapped from the explanation.
"Well, that's what YOU and Rika think! I, on the other hand, think we should find this prism pike since it's clearly a sign we need to! Ow!" Ronnie chirped, elbowed in the side by his sister.
"Ronnie, will you just shut up already? I'm not going out of my way to look for some non-existent fish, so just drop it." Rika demanded.
"Okay, fine, I will… for now."
"Shoot, for all we know, there could be another meaning to that weird-ass dream you had, Rik." the spiky-haired boy brought up.
"What do you mean?" asked the bluenette.
"For starters, I heard from my abuela that if someone dreams about fish, that means they or someone they know could be pregnant."
"Oh, gosh. But if that's really the case, that could mean… ooooh!" the feathery-haired boy cooed along with Monty, staring slyly at a blushing Rika.
"B-Both of you get out of here with that! There's no way I could possibly be pregnant, that's just not possible! And you'd have to be pretty stupid to think it is!" the bluenette growled back.
"I dunno, all those reality shows about teen moms say otherwise. But we weren't talking about you, stupid, we meant Ms. Sage. What if she's the one having a baby?" described the half-Hispanic.
"Oh, please, I seriously hope you're wrong about that…"
"Mama's having another baby?" At the thought of it, Ronnie couldn't help but squeal with delight. "Eeeeee, I'm finally gonna be a big brother! ...oh, wait, that's right. I already am, but at least you'll finally get to be a big sister, Ri-Ri."
"Very funny, Ron…" snarked an unfazed Rika.
"Why don't you just check in with your mom and see if she's really pregnant or not? Just to be sure." insisted Monty.
"Fine but if you're right about this, Monty, I swear…"
"Please, like I got a reason to be scared."
But the bluenette could already think of several and she couldn't mull over them for long when she and Ronnie came back inside from their game of field hockey. The twins stopped by their mother's room, catching her munch on a slice of watermelon.
"And you're asking me if I feel any different because…?" Sage asked with a raised blue brow.
"No reason, just wanted to check on our beloved mother since she's working so hard these days. You never know what your hormones can do to you given your age." Rika immodestly answered.
"Small talk aside, can we just talk about that glow you're rocking, mama? I'm not sure if it's the heat or another health issue concerning your hormones, but you are glow-ing!" gushed Ronnie with a huge smile.
"Okay, what's all this talk about my hormones and another thing, I'm not as old as you're making me out to be. What is going on and why are you both being so weird right now?" the rosy-cheeked woman wanted to get to the bottom of the twins' hints.
"Uh, well…" began Rika before her brother spouted out.
"Rika had this really weird dream about a fish and we told Monty about it and he told us that dreaming about fish means someone's pregnant so obviously, we suspected that you're preggers and hopefully, we're right! Are you pregnant, mama? Please tell me you are! Ow!"" rambled Ronnie before his sister elbowed him in the gut.
That's when Sage sighed, looking calmly at her children, "Guys, I'm not pregnant and I'll never be pregnant again. I'm already satisfied with you two, why would I want to add another kid into our lives?"
"But you don't actually have to be pregnant to give us a little brother or sister, just adopt a kid!"
"Ronnie, that's not what I'm interested in doing. I already have two beautiful children and they're right here in front of me. Don't think I would ever want another child 'cause taking care of you guys is no picnic," the older bluenette chuckled. "Now, both of you wash up so we can grab something for dinner, alright?"
"Got it, mama!"
"Yeah… sure, mom." Rika nodded weakly.
She felt relieved to hear her mother wasn't having another child, but it still made her anxious about her peculiar dream and now, she was in the midst of having another one. Finding herself locked in that same empty, black room with that eerie, mystical voice whispering in her ears.
"Rika, my child… find me… go out there and find me, little girl…"
"No, leave me alone, you dumb, fake fish!" cried the bluenette, covering her ears as the prism pike "swam" around her.
"But that's just it, I am not fake… I am as real as you secretly believe…"
"But I don't believe you're real!"
"Lies, little girl… the only way you can seek the truth is if you find me… find me, Rika… find me…"
"I said no!"
"And I say yes!" grinned Ronnie, lying beside his sister when she bolted herself awake in bed. "Lemme guess, you had another freaky dream about the prism pike, didn't ya?"
"Obviously. I just want him to get out of my head and stay out. If I hear his creepy, monotone voice saying, 'Find me.' one more time, I'll punch the scales off of him!"
"But maybe this could be a sign, Rika."
"A sign of what, that I'm on the brink of insanity?"
"That! And you should probably try to find the prism pike for yourself, it's an omen, Ri-Ri… an omen…" the feathery-haired boy spoke in an eerie voice himself.
"Geez, please don't speak like that again, you sound just like that dumb fish. ...but still, you might be onto something, Ron." sighed Rika.
"When am I not?! The Ronster knows these things, sis! Plus, the sooner you find the prism pike, the sooner you'll stop having those weird dreams about him!"
"Huh, you might be right…"
"Girl, I'm ALWAYS right!"
"Debatable… but alright, prism pike, you're finally about to get your wish, you dumb fish."
Later that morning, the twins were on Rika's laptop, having a video chat with Monty.
"So you actually wanna go through with this? But I thought you didn't believe in that old lady's crap." questioned Monty.
"I still don't, but maybe finding a prism pike might be the only way to stop having these weird dreams about it." reasoned Rika.
"And Ri-Ri can go back to having nice, pleasant fish-free dreams!" Ronnie chirped.
"Welp, can't argue with that but you do realize you'll need some stuff in order to go fishing, right? Like a boat, life-jackets, fishing rods, bait, and all that." the half-Hispanic brought up.
"Yeah, Monty's got a point, Rika, where are we gonna find that stuff?"
"Simple, we'll just ask someone to get that stuff for us."
With a smirk on her face, the bluenette gave Pepper a ring requesting what she needed for the fishing trip and hours later, she, Monty, and Ronnie were by the docks on a yacht.
"Thanks again for letting us borrow your parents' yacht, Pepper. I owe you big time." Rika chatted on the phone with her best friend.
"Oh, don't worry about it, you don't owe me anything. But it would be nice to hear why you needed the yacht since neither of you strike me as the fishing type." replied Pepper.
That's when Ronnie interrupted again, "It's 'cause Rika's been having these dreams about this super rare fish called a prism pike and since it's fate that we have to catch one, that's what we're about to do! By the by, Pep, have you heard of the prism pike before?"
"Er, no, this is the first time I've learned about it. I might have to do a little research myself." answered the Chinese girl.
"Don't bother, you're not gonna find shit about it." sneered Monty.
"But we'll see you later, Pepper, thanks again for everything." said Rika.
"No problem, let me know how everything goes, alright?" requested Pepper.
"Will do. Welp, that's that, time to find this prism pike once and for all!"
"Yaaay, fishing time, fishing time, fishing time!" chanted Ronnie, pumping his fist.
"...this is gonna be such a huge waste of time." grumbled Monty.
With that, the trio set sail to the middle of the ocean on their borrowed yacht. Casting their lines in the water, they began their fishing quest in finding the rare prism pike, hoping their efforts wouldn't be in vain. The first to snag a catch was Monty, struggling with his rod for a few short moments before an involuntary sneeze made him lose it. Shortly after, Ronnie had his hands full with his own catch, lasting much longer than Monty did in terms of reeling it in but couldn't gain the upper hand. Whether it was actually the prism pike toying with them or not, those encounters did little to ease Rika's anxiety.
"Geez, this prism pike is no joke. Maybe we should've brought some better bait or stronger fishing rods so we'd have a better chance." Ronnie tried to remain hopeful.
But Monty still didn't care for anything going on right now, "Pfft, what difference does it make? We're just wasting our time going after something that doesn't exist. Can't we just head back to shore and call it a day? And let's grab a bite to eat while we're at it, all this fishing's got me starving."
"Well, Mont, all your complaining's got me-oooh!" Before she knew it, Rika's rod got a hold of something, cueing her to make her attempt at reeling in her catch. "Do you think this is it?! Do you think this is the prism pike?!"
"I doubt it…"
"We won't know 'til we find out, reel that bad boy in, Ri-Ri!" encouraged Ronnie with a huge grin.
"But you guys can't just stand there! Get your phones out now!" shrieked the bluenette.
"You want us to take photos or record you?" asked Monty, taking out his phone.
"Both, I don't care!"
The two boys didn't waste any time flashing photos of Rika wrangling with the fish once it splashed out of the water. It was difficult to tell if it was actually the prism pike since it made swift, tricky movements. But despite all that effort, it dove back in the water and swam away from the yacht.
"Aw, dang it, I really thought I had it! Guys, you better have some good photos of it so we can show it to that old lady. Monty, gimme your phone!" demanded the girl in pink.
"Uh, I don't think…" the half-Hispanic glanced at his phone with a nervous expression.
"Fork it over now!"
"Fine, fine… don't say I didn't warn ya."
Looking over the photos on her friend's phone, Rika was shocked to see how blurry and indistinguishable they appeared. Like they were snapped with little thought or care.
"What the heck… these look horrible, there's no way we can show these to that old lady! Monty, you stinkin' klutz! Is it so hard for you to take a decent photo?!" She punished him by punching him in the arm repeatedly.
"Shit, you can't get mad at me for having a hard time trying to get pictures of that stupid fish! It was all over the place!" Was Monty's excuse.
"Then, you could've tried harder! Ugh, so useless… Ronnie, please tell me you got some good pictures, please…"
"Got ya covered, Ri-Ri!" For a moment, Ronnie looked so excited to show his sister his photos until he got a better look at them. "Wait… what the…? Why is it facing… oooh! Heh heh heh, whoopsie daisy! I musta left the camera in selfie-mode since I had my little photo op last night, my bad-ow!"
And Rika just bopped her brother upside his head with a blank stare, "You are the worst, both of you! Gah, this is so annoying! That could've been the stupid prism pike and now, there's no way we can find it again! And to make matters worse, we don't have any proof it actually exists!"
"Uh, that's because it doesn't, Rik. That's what I've been trying to tell you and didn't I say that this was all a waste of time? Didn't I say that?" spat Monty with narrowed eyes.
"Just shut up, Monty, you're not making things any better!"
"So, what do we do now? Should we try to catch it again or…" wondered the feathery-haired boy.
"No… let's give everything back to Pepper and forget we ever did this. To think I actually believed in that weird old lady's lies..." scowled Rika, disappointed in herself.
Taking their stroll on the shore, the three ran into the same elderly woman they found fishing days ago and she was still at it, having her line dipped into the water.
"Ah, if it isn't the three skeptics I've met the other day! Finally decided to see the truth for yourselves?" She asked in a teasing tone.
"Yep but for the record, I'm not a skeptic unlike these two!" Ronnie pointed at his sister and best friend, neither of them looked amused.
"Quiet, Ron! But if it'll really make you happy, we did try to catch the prism pike-" began Rika.
"And failed, which isn't a surprise." snarked Monty, nudged in the side by the bluenette.
"Yes, I saw! And I don't suppose you're going to give up on trying to catch it so soon, are you? The prism pike is a rather tricky one." the old woman spoke.
"And you're not wrong… about that, at least. But as interesting as it was to learn about it, we'll just leave the fishing to the pros." said Rika.
"Oh, is that right? Well, if that's your decision, I won't stop you. But I was hoping I'd stop you to commend you for your efforts, here." the elderly woman handed the three some neon yellow fliers.
"The hell is this?" asked Monty.
"A flier about a new Korean restaurant that just opened up. It's not too far from here but please check it out! They've got a spicy seafood noodle soup that will literally blow you out of the water!"
"Hah hah, good one, ma'am!" giggled Ronnie. "But we'll totes head over there, just for you!"
"Yeah, a little fishing can work up an appetite. We'll see you around, ma'am." the girl in pink waved as she left with her friends.
"And stop freaking people out with your nonsense!" hollered the half-Hispanic.
At that, the elderly woman just chuckled again, "Such charming kids…"
All of a sudden, a ferret in a fish costume splashed up next to the older female, speaking in a Boston accent, "Heh heh, we sure got 'em good, didn't we, boss?"
"That we did, Dixie Jr., that we did!"
"Mum! Mum, I know you're out 'ere!" cried a young voice with an Australian accent.
Coming up to the woman was a girl with sandy blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, donning a white and blue elbow-sleeved sailor dress.
"Oh, Taffy!" gasped the woman, now speaking in a more youthful voice. "I thought you were at the restaurant, what are you doing here?"
"Funny, I should be asking you the same thing, mum. You weren't at it again with that whole prism pike schtick, were you?" the girl asked, putting her hands on her hips.
"Hmph… so what if I was?"
"Ugh, mum, even I being a pranking expert knows when a joke gets run into the ground. Well, in the sand, in this case. But I won't get on your case about it for too long. Now, get out of that awful getup and come back to the restaurant, dad's waiting for ya!"
"Alright, Taffy, just give me a few seconds."
"Fine but only a few seconds. Not a minute, you slowpoke."
Once the girl jogged away, the woman laughed to herself once more.
"Welp, you heard her, boss, gotta get back to business!" the ferret hopped onto her shoulder.
"Right, right… not a smart idea to keep impatient ol' June-Bug waiting."
Hey, guys. As I've mentioned a while ago, there will be another DLD spin-off coming soon and I'm happy to announce that it will be posted August 12th. It's called Cookie's Cupcakes, it takes place after the second arc of DLD but it won't have much to do with food-fighting. It's basically about a girl and her group of friends who call themselves the "Sugar Squad" and set out to find rare, supernatural ingredients in New Pork City, which will be baked into cupcakes. As of now, I'm halfway done writing the first arc of the story, so I hope you're looking forward to checking it out.