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Another Monday began. It had been the second week of August when everyone was busy with school and work.

But today, for students of Jefferson G. County Middle School who love Mathematics, math problems and tricks to get on someone’s nerve, this day would be definitely the best day ever in their life.

7:00 a.m. Monday…

Zane was sleeping comfortably on his bed. Normally, he would sleep well when he dreamed about unusual dreams, and the day before had been unusual for him. Having met a new friend and sort of accomplished an idea with Lola.

He deserved for 5 more minutes rest before…

Oh wait, someone was coming.

“TODAY’S THE DAY!” Lola yelled and Zane startled.

“Today’s the day! Today’s the day!” Lola repeated. “Today is… the day! You know what day?”

“It’s Mon-day, Lola. Mon-day,” he got sleepy again. “He must be proud of me.”

“That pillow fight that night between us and Madge must have made you tired…” she reminded.

“Yeah yeah, just assume it was like that, let me rest for five more minutes,” Zane was skeptical. “I always get up exactly after 5 minutes, not like 5 hours.”

“But did you forget what Amanda told us?” Lola revealed. “Today’s the Math Super Duper uh… something I forgot the rest.”

Zane quickly woke himself up. He knew sometimes he could forget something just as important, “Oh my, you’re right!” He gasped.

It was a rare occasion that he had to run downstairs, wash up, brush his teeth and get ready at the dining table in two minutes.

“Slow down, Zane! You may fall somewhere!” Lola advised him.

“Hey, what are you guys so excited about?” Madge questioned. She hadn’t been entirely awake yet.

“It’s a Math contest or something… that will be organized in our school today!”

“Meh, not interested in those things,” Madge stated much to Lola’s groan.

“But…” she continued. “It’s the day I will apply to Jefferson County Middle School, so I guess it’s worth a shot.”

“Now that’s the spirit!’ Lola pat on Madge’s back.

“Why do you seem so excited about this anyway?” Madge raised an eyebrow. “Math is hard and a dork like you… shouldn’t be too interested at it?”

“Forgive me, but…” Lola spoke closer to Madge’s ear. “When I think of something I can do with Zane, I just can’t calm myself!”

“Right…” girl knows girl of course. “You’re not technically a family. So it’s okay if you have a crush on him.”

Lola blushed and smiled, “You can call it something like that… And besides, Milo and Amanda are in this as well. They are my friends!”

“Wait, who are Milo and Amanda?” Madge asked. She didn’t know Lola and Zane could have more friends.


“See you guys later!” Milo waved goodbye to his father, mother and sister. School had been started recently and right after Milo parted the house, he had already sensed this new year would be exceptional.

It’s not like he hadn’t thought like that for years. But for this year, he knew things would be weird and disastrous, not just Murphy’s Law normally. Being a Milo, in your mind, you always have to look out for a new adventure.

Milo just needs to be Milo, and he will be extraordinary.

Meanwhile, not very far from his house…

“See you later, mama and papa,” Amanda said goodbye to her parents before she met up with Milo and went to school.

“See you later, niña,” said Bruno Lopez, Amanda’s father.

Being Amanda used to deal with a lot of pressure. Around her, everything had to be perfect, to be organized. Balloons in parties had to be in the perfect color scheme. It was tired, she admitted. But it was her lifestyle. She had learned her lesson and she couldn’t live without remembering that incident she had caused.

That wouldn’t be revealed for a long while.

But later, she knew Milo. And she knew he was exactly opposite to her. But at early of the school year, she was assigned to Milo for the Math Super Duper Ultimate Pop Quiz. She was expecting for someone like Lydia or Melissa. And Melissa would be likely paired up with Milo so she could be paired with Lydia again. And the old team would win the contest again.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Lydia was absent for having personal issues in her family. And Zack was a new kid in town and he was paired with Melissa, leaving Amanda with only Milo left in her class.

Milo could be nice but Murphy’s Law never failed to interrupt them. Once she decided to give up but Milo never did that. He had been ready to leave her if he had bothered her that much. And to think how much nce things he had done to her during days they had been paired, Amanda considered to try again.

It came out as the most logical decision she made. They worked in rhythm perfectly. Milo was an easy partner to work with. Milo worked with the strength and the positive fun he released. Amanda had the full knowledge and her obsession with perfection. She decided to loose herself up a little bit while still having the needed accuracy.

Milo had a newfound Melissa while Amanda considered Milo another Lydia.

That was the story of how they had been practicing together perfectly. The bond between them had been stronger since yesterday. They would work it out eventually.

“Hey, Milo!” she said and walked up to Milo on the other side of the road.

“Hey, Amanda! Are you ready to roll with it in the quiz today?” he questioned excitedly.

“If by rolling with it, you mean to win it and get our first prize this year then I agree!” she stated.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” he said as they high-fived. “Wanna come by to see Melissa and Zack?”

“I don’t see why not,” Amanda nodded.


Cut to Amanda and Milo standing in front of Melissa’s house. Milo kept knocking the door but no one replied. Mr. Chase could have been working around early morning but Melissa could depart even earlier.

“That’s odd. She always waits for me during this time of year,” Milo stated.

“Maybe she’s staying at Zack’s house,” Amanda informed. “I heard her saying something about night stay or… I guess I heard she said it… a few days ago. I think they were resting up yesterday just like us.”

“That might explain,” he nodded and stepped one step ahead to Zack’s house.

A few minutes later, the two had reached in front of Zack’s house.

“Zack! Melissa? Hello?” Milo rang the doorbell but again, no one replied.

“This is odd. Where could they go?” he questioned.

“Hold up, Milo!” Amanda warned as she looked at her watch. “It’s half past seven now. Thirty minutes more before the competition starts. That means we have fifteen minutes left to check in backstage.”

“But… I’m worried for Zack and Melissa,” Milo said. “What if they were into something?”

“Milo, as much as I value your concern, I can guarantee that they’re going to be fine,” she stated to him seriously. “Besides, they don’t have Murphy’s Law around them.”

“Well yeah, I know but-“

“Then hear me. Let’s check in before we late,” she commanded. “I’m sure they are waiting for us at the school right now.”

“Um… sure…” Milo could feel how tight Amanda’s hand was holding his. Suddenly he felt forced. But hearing Amanda’s explanation was logical, he just did what she said.


While Jefferson County Middle School was crazy and wild as heck from the yards, the halls to the rooms, there was only one place known for its peacefulness.

Milder’s room.

New school year started and Milder was still Milder, counting files restlessly and tediously as usual. The Math quiz wasn’t concerned her that much. She could only watch it through her television. The channel was going to live the event on TV. Between watching it live and watching it through the small screen, she… favored the second choice.

It wasn’t so bad to be honest.

Just moments away, the room would be filled and helped the halls be more quiet. They would be soon, as no one could disturb Milder and the big screen.

“Me and you, my fella,” Milder said seductively to the big, solitude, Sony television screen. “Now how does this remind me of Murawski and her desk?”

A silent moment was made. The principal didn’t care for it one bit, “Meh, probably not matter right now. Do your work, my screen!”

The woman exclaimed, “Oh yes… I see the colorful stage. Students are sitting on the bleachers and they have almost covered all of them up.

The cameras. Camera views on a camera, how irony…”

Someone knocked on the door of her room. The silence was broke, not in her rhythm at all.

Milder groaned, “Who is it?”

“It’s me, Madge Berdie!” the girl said after she opened the door, closing it and entering the room.

“Oh, I remember your name. Your father came yesterday and… he was kind of a rush or something,” Milder informed.

Madge took it unimpressively, “Of course he was. I know my father. Going to Europe and leaving me here. At least I have a new home.”

“Poor thing…” the principal exclaimed. “So anyway, he said if you came here tomorrow it meant that she came to apply to my school.”

“And here’s my application form!” the girl gave to Milder a piece of paper. Milder took a close look at it and signed her signature on the form.

“And that’s that. Welcome you to the Jefferson G. County family,” she announced. “Here, you can meet friendly friends. Some of them are… disastrous I guess.”

“I accept it all,” Madge said calmly. “As long as I can study here and work on my duty.”

“Rebellious, I like that,” Milder commented. “Anyway, I look up on the data and know that all of the classes are full except the…”

“7B,” the brown-haired girl replied. “The class has two students I know: Lola Sunderguard and Zane Cartner.”

“Yeah, 7B,” the principal confirmed. “The class does have both of their names. The 20th slot is missing… alright, you can join in. Deal?”

“Deal!” Madge agreed, as the two strongly shook their hands.


Not too far away, almost every competition has happened in the Gecko house and its sport fields.

“Local news!” some random newspaper kid reported to everyone about the event. “A Math competition is about to start in the Gecko house of the Jefferson County Middle School! Spread the news, and tell all of your fellas about it!”

“Oh, a newspaper guy!” the boy Norman appeared right next to him. “Can I have your job?”

“No… what makes you think I’m gonna give you the job?” he growled.

“I never meant my sentence in that way!” Norman stated. “But it could be a shared duty. Like, two mouths to yell are better than one right?”

“Huh…” the newspaper guy reconsidered. “Well yeah, that’s actually a natural question.”

They nodded and agreed to announce in unison.

“Get ready because it’s an event you have never seen before!”

“Are we making it a bit of exaggeration?” Norman questioned.

“I hope not…”


7:45 a.m. Monday

Cut to Lola who was having her own time to be prepared in the guest room.

There were a bunch of them and they were located at another house of the school, which contains about 18 classrooms. Once they have done prepared, they will come back to the Gecko house which was located just a few steps from it.

Anyway, Lola had her own classroom to get herself tidy. 15 more minutes, she and Zane were going to compete with 7 teams, and each team had two students. At least, that was she had been informed.

Still wearing her casual outfit, but for this competition, she had borrowed from Madge a diva jacket. Its main color is lightpink with sparkles on it. It suits Madge as the mysterious girl herself says, but it looks prettier on Lola too.

The sparkles are all around her. The jacket still remains the color of her shirt. Her light yellow skirt matches as always.

She was more delightful and excited than she could ever be.

But to her, excitement came with a bit of cautiousness.

Lola and Zane had always thought they could do it nicely, but what if it wasn’t supposed to be easy as they thought it was. Amanda would be a hard competitor. Milo could be a disastrous strength to his team. They are a perfect match in and possibly out the quiz.

What if it took more than just enthusiasm? Milo used to say he never worked out well with Melissa. And we all know how positive Milo is in every situation.

“Okay… no more worries, Lola…” she calmed herself by slowly inhaling and exhaling.

Her habit whenever she was worried: listing off actions she should do to overcome her problem.

“Firstly, meeting up with Zane.

Secondly, going out to the stage.

Lastly, winning this.”

A genuine smile appeared on her face. With a few steps to outside the room, she was ready.


At the same time Lola was preparing, Zane was in his own assigned room. He didn’t wear anything special for the event – just the usual outfit he usually wore.

His look was determined. Sure that he could know a little about Math. He didn’t nerdily invest in it. With him, he always makes sure he knows enough from each of the subject. He could do something – it wouldn’t be crazily hard.

No one ever cares a thing about the title of the event.

“Like me…” Jim stated sadly while entering the office station and started another day of his work.

Back to Zane.

Unlike Lola, he didn’t focus on winning as much as she did. She still had a bit of childish in her thought here and there.

Not that he wouldn’t do his best. But he had already thought of accepting if his best wasn’t enough.

Besides the secret meeting last evening, they hadn’t had more meetings to properly plan things out. They accept to join for the fun and… what else could be better to make your first impression on a new school than… joining a somewhat major mathematic ultimate quiz.

Their decision had been settled. They couldn’t change it anyway. Zane tried to be calm at his best.

He took a deep breath. Zane would try his best to assist Lola. They hadn’t prepared much, but they would get what they were deserved after all of those preparations.

Fearing the loss would sad Lola. He feared the competition would obviously be too hard for them. But she would learn something. He hoped she could accept any situations that would happen to them.

They would learn something.

As Zane was slowly emerging from his guest room, he had already met Lola.

They smiled and hugged each other.

“You look pretty…” Zane commented. “Where did you get this?”

“Thanks!” Lola took the compliment and revealed. “It was Madge’s new jacket. She gave it to me.”

“So… are you ready?” he questioned. The boy looked kinda worried though.

“Don’t worry. Remember? We’re just here for fun, and to meet some new friends. And we’ll learn something!” Lola stated. “And… we’ll work together for the win!”

Seeing Lola’s determination, he couldn’t help but keep silent. He wanted to warn her a bit, so that she wouldn’t stress herself out later.

He wished things could be simple as she said.


Also meanwhile, Milo and Amanda had already met our protagonists (in the AU). Milo was confident and smiling like he always performs. He promised not to fail all the hard work he and Amanda had set up for two weeks.

He was having some nice talk to Lola and Zane. They were fun. But he wondered where were his two best friends could be? Zack and Melissa. They would not want to miss this.

If he went out there and saw that they were one of the other six teams, things would be more relieved.

He felt something bad happened to them.

Then again, it was just like yesterday when he had been overprotective, cautious to Murphy’s Law. With Amanda’s advice, he had plenty more time to relax with his partner before really being attacked by a swarm of bees.

And luckily, none of them could sting them. They had survived inside the swimming pool so they could meet up in the quiz today. Milo could still sense the smell from the hypochlorous acid while they were walking.

He closed his eyes.

He paid attention to the mere lights in front of him. It’s like a game show anyway, so he wasn’t bothered that much.

He put a hand on Amanda’s shouler. Receiving her readiness from her nod was good enough for him.

They gained more confident and went forward.


Two weeks ago.

New addition of Zack in Milo’s class, same old annual competiton held by Jefferson County Middle School.

“Alright class, listen up,” Mrs. White announced. “We will announce three teams who will compete with other teams from other classes for the… um… Math Super-Duper Ultimate Pop Quiz. Am I saying it correctly?”

“Yes, yes you are,” all of the students in class 7A agreed.

“Our class is picked as the most strongest class for this competition, so there will be three teams in all of the eight other teams.”

“Oh, this is going to be exciting!” Amanda exclaimed. She won the first prize last year and therfore she had made her class be seeded as the most powerful candidate for the final win. “I wonder who my partner is going to be?”

She said humbly to herself, “If I were paired with Lydia, I will win for sure.”

“Um, Amanda, are you talking to yourself or something?” Melissa called her out.

Of course. Smartest girls in the class couldn’t help but have a little bit rivalry.

The ginger continued, “Um, I mean this seriously. Lydia said to me yesterday she hadn’t felt really well. She also asked me to announce to you and possibly everyone that she would out for this year’s event.”

“We’ll visit her later, right?” Amanda concerned. “Poor girl, with all the plays and scripts from romantic movies in her head.”

“Oh, not so fancy now, aren’t you Amanda?” Bradley teased her. “The last year’s champions won’t be able to join for the fullest second-time victory.”

“That doesn’t make you fancier either, Bradley,” the perfectionist shot back. “You can’t even reach to the third place last year. There has been a third place match though.”

“Sorry but I’m out of the competition this year,” he said while resting his feet on the table. “And by the way, Mort has some words with you if you say that.”

Mort stood up to defend Joni, “You have no rights to push her down.”

“Guys, stop arguing to each other,” Milo advised. “We should be excited about the competition. Show them all the true spirit of class 7A!”

“I think you don’t get to talk around here, Milo,” Bradley said knowingly. “You and Melissa came 5th place last year.”

“Last year or the year before the last year ain’t important!” Melissa growled. “What important is what we have accomplished after those competitions!”

“What are you guys all fussing about?” Zack entered the room after he had taken a short trip to the restroom.

Melissa, Amanda, Bradley stared at each other. Once could seen two’s spirit and determination.

“Mind to do the argument again?” Melissa offered. Bradley and Amanda nodded.

“NO!!!” Milo and a few other students yelled in unison.

Zack curiously looked at the busy group while walking to the seat next to Milo.

“Hey, do you know what they were talking about?” Zack whispered.

The Murphy boy didn’t want to reply. Mainly because Zack would not want to get involved in this.

Milo chuckled awkwardly, “You don’t need to know…”

“Class?!” Ms. White called them out. During the argument, they had no idea the teacher had changed her outfit. It was a black diva jacket, and purple sparkling pants. Also, she wore star-shaped glasses to make her way cooler than her usual standard.

“Shut all your words and listen up,” the teacher stated. “It’s time to get off track.”

“Uh… sure,” Milo agreed.

She twisted, sliding, jumping and rolling and finally pulling out a fancy box, “Inside, there are six sticky notes written six names on it. The first name to be called will be paired with the second one and so on. Although… I might have seen some pairs already.”

A few moments later, the first pair had been announced.

“It’s Mort and Joni.”

“As expected,” Mort exclaimed. He joined Joni for a high-five.

“The second one is Melissa…” the teacher announced carefully. “and… Zack.”

Melissa looked at her new friend. Knowing him for a short time and while he could be too cautious sometimes, working with him would be great.

“Hey, new friend of Milo,” she called him out.

“Oh me?” Zack said.

“Yeah, it’s nice to know that we will work together.”

“We definitely will,” the boy replied calmly.

“And the last pair, I think you all know who they are. Milo and Amanda!” the teacher exclaimed. “Ow, my back! I think I have showed up too much.”

“No worries, Miss White. I got ya,” Milo said, getting up and pulling the teacher out from his back. “Man, you’re heavy.”

Meanwhile, Amanda was shocked. She kept paying attention to Milo helping out Miss White.

That was impressive, but the thing that surprised her most:

Milo was going to be her partner.

He’s going to be her Amanda’s partner.

She wouldn’t mind all the mouths whispering around her ears if she had received the most shocking informtation in her life.

“Me and Milo? On a same team?”


“Isn’t this great, Amanda?” Milo said while wandering around her on the way to their homes. First thing first, they got to keep themselves interacting. “We’re gonna be partners. I know we can do great, like… Doctor Zone and Time Ape. Except the part where they’re secretly brothers.”

“Anyway, have I told you that we will be a perfect team?” he stated again.

“Yes…” Amanda sighed. “Like ten times in an hour.”

“What’s wrong?” he questioned.

“It’s just…” she began to confess, but fearing that her words might hurt Milo, she stopped.

“It’s okay. You can tell me anything,” Milo comforted her. “We’re partners now. I know what it’s like with me around.”

“No, it’s not like that,” Amanda stated. “Um… maybe a bit of that, but… you may know that I have too much obsession with perfection.”

“Uh-huh,” Milo nodded like he heard that for the first time. “I pretend like I just know it.”

“And…” she stammered. “There are many things coming before it, which means if you need perfection, you have to have these things like… perfect teamwork or… perfect rhythm and… deep bond… and… smartness too and…”

“And physical strength am I right?” Milo listed one thing. “Don’t the competition need that as well?”

“Yes, I know. And whenever I compete, I need to be unbeatable, perfect…”

“But you can’t just want to win here and there,” the boy stated. “Life is never a straight line ya know. Sometimes it is and sometimes isn’t.”

“But it’s my lifestyle. What else can I care about?” the perfectionist argued. She turned away from Milo, trying not to make any eye contact. “It’s not my fault that I’m being perfect. I’m afraid that you and I can’t work out perfectly. And yes, your Murphy’s Law could ruin my plan, that’s one bit of many problems.”

Milo looked at her from behind. She tried to stay away from him, but not wanted to leave yet. He knew how Amanda felt. It’s painful when someone tells you to be different from your own self.

He tried not to be that person. Amanda lives with perfection and order for a reason, just like Milo has Murphy’s Law for a living.

It’s not their fault that they are exceptional.

But… Amanda had to work with him. The two are total different people, like positive attracts to negative and vice versa.

From that point, Milo knew what they had to do.

They need to get along.

Although they don’t share much personalities, but the least they can do is to share the work, agree on important stuffs.

That’s what teams do.

And he can help her out too.

“Amanda? You’re…”

“I’m what…?” she turned her head.

“You’re… perfect,” he stated. “The magenta jacket really works out for you, but that’s not all. You are persistent, and always aim for the best. But… I’m in your team. And I am a Murphy,” Milo carefully spoke out all of his words. “And I can be a problem. But… I want us to win. You… want to win because you have to be perfect. And I… really want to win for once you know. I’m not… complaining or anything. I just want to help you out…”

“You mean it?” her full body then turned around to face Milo. “I-I must admit, I didn’t really give you a chance to try. Maybe… we can work together, who knows. I’m… sorry.”

“No… I have to thank you… for giving me a chance.”

They both smiled. That moment lasted calmly and peacefully, before Milo excitedly announced, “Now, who wants to win that competition in our team?”

“Me!” she raised her hands.

“Me!” Milo did that when he accidentally landed his hand under the sign of a bus stop.

“That really kinda hurts…”

“I know what I can do. I’ll use my skill of being perfection to counter your Murphy’s Law,” Amanda stated. “And you know what we can do next?”

“What…?”

“Practicing!” she replied.

Milo chuckled. Not really an answer but he was glad that she got better.

Amanda knew, meanwhile, that they would work together more perfectly.


Amanda recalled the moment they were paired together as partners, the moment where Milo convinced her to try. All the days they had worked hard and had fun, she could not fail both of them.

As a wiser, she kept the calmness flow in her blood.

She would be perfect.

Milo would be perfect as himself.

They would be perfect, and together, they were going to win it all.

When Amanda, Milo and two of the friends she just knew came to the room, it had already been filled with everything. Audiences, lights, camera men, competitors.

All of the audiences were neutral. They weren’t a true fan to any of the teams, not even the champion. They just came to cheer for everyone.

“Wow…” Lola gasped. “Is this going to be our stage?”

“Daijoubu, Lola,” Zane said. “We can do this. Shine as the ball, my girl.”

“Thanks…”

Meanwhile, Milo was paying attention to the teams. It looked like his team and Lola’s team had entered lastly. He looked around and saw some faces he had encounter, and a few he hadn’t.

There were one, two, three… ten students. That means five teams and them, which means there were seven pairs. One pair is missing.

“Where are they…” he raised an eyebrow. It was never delightful to see some weird absence.

Suddenly, he felt a warmth coming from Amanda’s hand. It was her hand holding his, “Ready? Let’s do our best together, okay?”

Milo couldn’t reveal his worriness right away. That would affect their whole competition that they had been working hard for.

He was worried for his two best friends.

But he couldn’t disappoint Amanda.

They were having a chance to make history of history.

“You can count on it!” he exclaimed.


“Here it comes, here it comes!” Principal Milder said. She and Madge were watching on the big screen since they couldn’t handle all the noise in the Gecko room. “That White lady is in the middle of an introduction. With all those cheering crowds and… teams, this year is going to be huge.”

“Just… how long has this been organized?” Madge questioned.

“For three years. This is the third one.”

Madge had been paying attention to the screen. She wasn’t interested to see it live. The camera men, in her opinion, had already recorded enough information.

The only thing she missed was the competitors. Except for Lola and Zane, she barely had any information on other students.

Miss White hadn’t introduced all the names yet, but she wouldn’t remember it all even after it happened.

“I just know two friends of mine,” the girl informed. “It’s hard to keep track even after the introduction.”

“I can help you with that,” Milder then gave her a large A3 paper. It had the names and the pictures of the students in Math Super Duper Ultimate Pop Quiz. “I know the design is weird. It looks like they’re in prison or something.”

“Weirdly specific, I like it,” Madge exclaimed.

“Don’t tell anyone about this though. Have it all you want,” the principal announced, “Because it’s time fooooooor…”


“First Round: Warming Up,” Miss White said. In the competition day, she had been back to her old… I mean, normal self.

Amanda sighed in relief, “Thank goodness she’s back.”

“Usually at this round, we will pick two teams to compete each other in the quarter finals, but there seems to be a team missing out…” she informed. “So in this round, each time will receive a 10-question pack. You have to answer all of them in five minutes. Four teams with the highest scores will be moved to the second round.”

Milo was concerned again. But he didn’t want to lose his focus, even if it was just the first round.

Lola and Zane picked a position next to Milo’s team.

From her right, Lola could sense Milo’s worriness – small but easy to figure out. She had to find out what was up to him.

Not for now. All of them had to perform the best in the 10-question pack.

“Ready!

Set…

Go!”

On a small computer screen, each team had received their questions.

“Hey,” Lola whispered to Zane. “What do you think about these? I think it’s simple. 2 ducks between two ducks, in front of two ducks and behind two ducks? And mom has to pay 20 bucks?”

“It starts out easy, but it’s getting harder,” the boy reviewed.

Two minutes had passed and all the teams probably had reached to the sixth question. The crowd suddenly went silent, much to Madge’s surprise.

“Where is the noise? Wasn’t it too loud just then?” she questioned.

“They need concentration, so keep silent,” Milder advised, even though both of them were in another room.

“Of course we do,” Madge smirked, knowing that was a joke.

Meanwhile, Amanda was whispering to Milo about the seventh question.

“How many ways to pick two students from twenty of them…” Amanda said. “This is getting harder.”

“I think I know the answer,” Milo stated. “Pick one from twenty, we have twenty ways. Pick one from nineteen left, we have nineteen ways. So there are 380 ways. Choose A.”

“Are you sure?” she said. “I think I remember something like that.”

“It’s something I have just read yesterday…” he grinned.

One minute left for all of the teams. And they all had received a shocking last question.

“There are two small packs. Each pack contains two milk cartons in it…” the perfectionist read.

“…How can we make one pack has twice the amount of milk cartons than the other one?” Lola whispered. “No multiple choices. Just type out your solution.”

“We can’t put one milk carton to another place right?” Zane explained. It seemed like he had known the way. “How about… putting one pack inside of the other pack?”

“I got it! That way, one pack will have two, while the other pack will contain two and one pack and make it four,” Lola stated. “You’re genius, Zane.”

“It’s still soon to celebrate,” he said. “We still have thirty seconds left. Let’s check our answers.”

8:15 a.m. Monday

Still in the same place. The bell rang, and the first round had been finished. During the time Miss White looked after all the answers…

“Okay, we’ve passed the first round and nothing bad happened,” Amanda said. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Why you ask?” Milo stated. “The last one was hard.”

“I didn’t think it was hard. I actually knew it but there were only thirty seconds left and I was waiting for you,” the girl blamed him. “I think Zane had got that one right.”

“Amanda, that one was really hard,” he said. “How could you think that I didn’t do my best?”

She sighed. That was harsh of her to think like that, “Right right, Milo, I am sorry. Let’s not argue right now. We have to focus.”

“Amanda… actually, I couldn’t help but concern for Zack and Melissa,” he revealed. “I’m sorry if I mess up.”

“Milo, I’m worried for them just like you,” she said. “I was just thinking of finding them right away but…”

The boy interrupted, “We must find them, but this is improtant for you. We can’t miss this. I promise to do my best. You do your best too.”

“Thanks, Milo…” Amanda smiled. They had finally found the right way to solve the solution.

“Come on, kids. Listen up!” Miss White announced. “Let us pay attention to the big screen. And here is the top 4.”

A scoreboard appeared. There were seven teams ranked from first to seventh. The best four teams were highlighted by the green color.

1st. Lola and Zane: 100

2nd. Milo and Amanda: 90

3rd. Team ‘Invisible Bruce’: 90

4th. Mort and Joni: 80

“I can’t believe it…” Zane exclaimed.

“We actually won the first round… Of course!” Lola cheered. “And you have managed to pull us off, Zane!”

“Nah, we have managed,” he stated. “I believe that we might actually win this.”

“Oh, they’re good…” Madge stated while watching from the principal’s television.

“We did it…” Amanda sighed in relief. “Now let’s win this all, Milo!”

The boy nodded yet again.

In the two next rounds, it was more than the competition.

It was the time to understand each other. Only the ones that work out perfectly could win it all.


The whole room started to be quiet again, as the second round or the ‘semi-finals’ began. Two teams will compete to each other by answering a quick question. The first team to answer correctly will get a point. Also, the first team to win six points will manage to go to the last round, or the final.

In each question, there is one minute at the longest in case of the challenging question.

As history has proved, it doesn’t matter about how smart or how accurate you can get. What matters is the intention to compete. This would be proved soon enough.

The first match was between team Milo and Amanda, and team Mort and Joni.

Both teams had had a short chat before going in.

“Amanda, you seem kinda worried. Is this about Milo?” Mort questioned.

“No, I’m not. Why do you ask?” Amanda said.

“He asked because he thought you couldn’t perform your best with a disaster magnet like Milo,” Joni teased her.

“First of all, do not insult Milo like that,” Amanda stood up to defend to her teammate. “He’s my teammate, and no matter how disastrous he is, he’s still my teammate.”

“Amanda, I-“ Milo was about to interrupt into the argument, but stopped because he couldn’t do anything else to interrupt. Instead, she reminded him of “Melissa…”

In the same pose, the same speech, different voice but both in serious tone. Milo didn’t think he could deserve such friends like them. Melissa has already been the best friend forever of Milo no matter what.

Amanda loves perfection, and she always does her best to be perfect. Even with Milo or someone else, she always tries to be perfect with them.

“Hey, Amanda,” Milo whispered to her.

“Yes, Milo?” she turned to him.

Milo revealed, “Thanks for defending me. And I’m thinking of something…”

“What is it, Milo?” Amanda questioned. “Because I’m thinking of something too and I don’t know if you’re thinking what I’m thinking.”

The Murphy boy said, “Let’s finish this off, fast.”

“That’s what I’m thinking,” Amanda said. They high-fived before Miss White started the match,

Their intention had been clear. If they want to get rid of worriness for Melissa and Zack, they need to shorten the time they compete.

“84 + 86?”

“170!” Amanda answered. The tick sound was heard, as her team gained a point. Mort couldn’t answer fast enough while Joni hadn’t even realized the question.

“The year the Statue of Liberty was dedicated is in which century?”

“The nineteenth century,” Milo answered.

Double-strike. Two correct answers.

“The sum is 48 and the difference is 12. What are the two numbers?”

Milo took the answer again, “30 and 18.”

“That is correct,” Miss White said. “3 to 0 for Amanda and Milo.”

And so, it kept on. Amanda and Milo worked in a lightning speed and the opponents couldn’t stand a chance. Their intention to win quickly had been going successfully so far. Finally, they had managed to bring six points in a row.

“You have it kids,” Miss White announced the result. “Milo and Amanda won with six points first. They will compete in the final round!”

“Thanks for that announcment, Miss White,” Amanda said.

“Hey guys…” Mort and Joni reached to Milo and Amanda for another chat. “We… we want to apologize. I guess it didn’t matter whether you’re afraid or not. We know you have your own goal.”

“I guess I’m sorry too, for insulting Milo just then. But we wll cheer you guys on in the final match!” Joni stated. “Whatever you guys compete for, I wish you the best.”

“Thanks, Joni. Thanks, Mort,” Milo accepted the apologies. “The past is the past. Let it go, Joni.”

“We’ll do our best for your loss. Just count on us!” the perfectionist stated. The two teams joined for some handshakes.


Meanwhile, Milder seemed to be sastified with the result.

“I couldn’t expect less from Amanda and Milo,” the woman smiled. “Such a perfect combination.”

“Oh, they’re strong indeed!” Madge said it impressively. “So this is Milo and Amanda that Lola mentioned this morning…?”


Shortly, the second match began. Lola and Zane went against… the two didn’t reveal their names so they were called ‘Invisible Bruce.’

Lola was energetic as always. The first round result had given her more confidence to go forward to the semi-finals. Seeing how well Milo and Amanda had accomplished, she wanted to be just like them.

Zane was opposite to her, in his intention. He was calmer and didn’t think of going further. Not that he was being pessimistic, but he couldn’t drop his cautiousness.

And he thought it would be a competition after all.

“Ready?” Lola waited for Zane to agree.

“Oh… yeah, sure,” he stammered. “I’m gonna try my best.”

The horn honked loudly, as the second knock-out match began.

With the first question asking about the normal body heat, Lola managed to gain the first point.

But the opponents didn’t give up so easily, because in the next five questions, the game had belonged to the Invisible Bruce. Those were practically normal but neither Lola or Zane couldn’t manage to get it faster.

Lola couldn’t feel delightful anymore. She was about to lose to two harsh opponents. She meant her and Zane was about to lose.

“Don’t give up, Lola,” Zane determined. “Even if it’s a small competition, you can’t just give them an easy win.”

She never expected things could go uneasy for her.

Staying and hoping for a miracle.

Accepting defeat.

Lola had to make a choice.

“I’m with you. Zane, no matter where you go, I’ll always go with you,” Lola confessed. ‘Till that point, she probably realized it was more than just a game. “This teaches us to never give up until the last minute.”

“That’s my friend,” he said. “You don’t need to follow Milo or Amanda’s path. You just need to follow your own path.”

Madge had seen it all. She assumed they must have been damage internally.

“Losing like that could be shocking,” Madge whispered. “Lola and Zane, I think you all will learn something useful in this competition.”

The principal agreed. She didn’t reply to pretend like she hadn’t heard anything while sitting behind the new student. Milder was glad that the students had valued their friendship more in the competition, and they had also learned some useful life lessons.

“Now this is the most important part of the game.”


8:39 a.m. Monday

One more minute until the final match: Milo and Amanda versus ‘Invisible Bruce.’

Lola and Zane had tried their best to pull off an even steven, but they only managed to get three more points before a girl in the same class as theirs ended the match. 6 to 4.

They couldn’t make it to the final, but Lola and Zane had learned important things.

“We’ve lost… But that was great,” the girl breathed constantly. That match was normally intense for most of the people but to Lola, her heart was really racing back there.

“Girl, I’ve got you…” Zane insisted on massaging Lola’s shoulders. “But we have done our best. I regret nothing, it’s… just a game after all. You feel that?”

“Yeah…” Lola exclaimed. “It’s a shame that we weren’t supposed to play Shining Bird. We could totally rock the whole stage.”

“So you’re not sastified with the result?” he questioned.

The girl replied, “A bit. I’m kind of tired right now… But let’s cheer for Milo and Amanda!”

“All the way!” they both said in unison.

“Children, prepare to meet the most important match of the history!” Miss White announced. “The pride and the champion of 7A, Amanda and Milo. They have to go against a new team from class 7B, ‘Invisible Bruce.’”

Later, the teacher announced the rules. They pretty much remained unchanged. There would be one more addition: the race.

In the sixth question, a race between each student from each team begins. They had to run to another side of the stage. The first person to ring the bell can take the right to answer and if they answer correctly, they will bring to their team a point.

From that, the two students remain their positions – being seperated with the other teammates. One can contribute a point to their team if answering correctly.

“Come on Amanda… You can do it,” Amanda repeated to herself. “You can do this. Milo can do this. Right?”

Milo nodded. Amanda was the wiser but Milo got calmer that she was, “We can do this!”

“Get ready, teams! And good luck,” Miss White said. “Come on! We will all count on three!”

“One!” the audience cheered.

It took a number longer than one second to be spoken, irl.

“Two!” Lola and Zane were counting as well.

“Three…” Madge whispered.

A loud honk was heard. The match began!

First question: 56 x 11?

“Six hundred and sixteen,” a girl from ‘Invisible Bruce’ answered. No doubt, that was correct.

The second problem: 9 + 11 x 73?

Amanda took a few seconds to answer it right, “Eight hundred and twelve.”

The first five questions had been tight. When Amanda and Milo took the lead, the Bruce duo made it even. They also managaed to answer the fifth question correctly.

“Twelve ways is the answer. And now, two students will join the physical challenge. This year’s challenge will be giant swings. You have to swing from one swing to another,” Miss White introduced. “And don’t worry if you fall. There are bouncy platforms beneath you in case of worst situations. It can also be used to bounce back to a swing.”

One of the Bruce girls and Milo had already set their feet on the start line.

“I hope you enjoy your last fun minutes in the match,” a Bruce girl teased him with a very challenging tone. “We will crush you both on the way.”

“How can you be so confident about that?” Milo whispered. He didn’t take that threat much in his heart. “We’ll see…”

The racing phase began.

Both of the rivals bounced on the platform and held on the swing by both hands. Their mission was to use force to swing from one swing to another one.

With Milo, this was rather tough for him. He preferred being in the circle of unexpected events to being in a real challenge. While he was holding the third of five swings, he fell down.

“Haha! So long, loser!” the girl said. She had already heard Milo’s fail attempt from behind.

“Milo…” Amanda whispered, being worried for her teammate.

Milo looked down for a while. But he wasn’t upset.

He needed a short time to realize a way to win the challenge.

He was born for the unexpected. And that’s what he was going to do.

Milo started to stand up, much to Amanda’s ashtonishment and cheerfulness. Everyone gasped before giving him a loud applause. Even that rival couldn’t believe what she had just heard.

He took one bounce. Two bounces.

The third bounce was a success. He had gained the third swing in his hand again. But that girl from Bruce team had already gone too far. The reason she hadn’t finished yet was because of the furthest gap between the fourth and the final swing.

The Murphy boy had already formed an idea in his mind. He used a small grappling hook from his backpack and pulled the fourth swing nearer to him. That is a legal move, as long as he doesn’t hurt his rival.

“Wh-what are you doing?” the girl was shocked. Not only she couldn’t manage to get to the final swing, but also she was stopped and pulled back by the boy behind her. Technically, he was pulling her closer and closer to his position.

“To do what I planned to do,” Milo smiled and replied to her.

After the swing had reached its limit, Milo cut the string. The swing was pulled back with a strong force. As it fell back down, Milo was ready for his next move.

He released his hand from the swing and with the force from his push, he jumped out far away and spinned and looped.

All the students dropped their jaws while watching.

Miss White couldn’t get any more different.

Amanda and the other teammate from the Bruce team had the same impression.

Madge and the Principal had taken a closer look at the television. With this scene, everything had been slowed down a little bit.

Milo’s jump made him fly pass the fourth swing and the strings holding the holder.

The scene’s speed had been back to normal when Milo’s jump was finished. He held his hands on the fifth bar and easily made his way to the bell.

The notable audience cheered for him on and on.

“Yes! Keep it going, banana boy!” Madge cheered.

“I always call him the disaster magnet, but that is a better nickname for him,” Milder noted.

Lola cheered loudly for him from a special seat, “Woohoo! Go Milo!”

She chuckled happily before losing her sene and fainted.

“Lola!!” he frightened. But later, he checked her breath and also saw the happy smile on her face. He smiled for her in relief.

She was probably too excited and her damn strength couldn’t take it. Zane didn’t blame Milo by the way.

This made him know Milo better – the bold move.

“Milo… now I know why Lola was so insisted to be your friend…” Zane thought. “No one knows how incredible you can be…

No one knows how incredible we can be if we try.

I guess no one will ever know deeply about you.

Except for Amanda or a girl named Melissa, I think…”


8:43 a.m. Monday

“Amanda, you okay?” Zane questioned after the match had been over.

“Oh, I’m… totally fine, no worries,” Amanda replied.

“Wow!” Lola exclaimed. “That scares me even more than your usual self.”

“We did win,” Milo stated. “But it was so close.”

Amanda confessed, “I-I just couldn’t believe it. Me and that girl went for right answers… but she was quicker. I mean… have I just got slower?”

The boy sighed. It was hard to stay totally positive in this situation.

He might have just known Amanda better – to know how she will actually feel.

“This annoys all of us, I get that,” Milo said. “But whatever the result is, we all have done our best. And…it’s not the end of the world right? We can try again next time.”

“You’re right. And we should be glad for the other team,” Lola stated. “They have done really well, beating all of us.”

As the audience cheered loudly for the champions of the year, the ‘Invisible Bruce’, Milo and his friends had an idea.

“Let’s congratulate them, guys.”


9:00 a.m. Monday

Most of the people had left the Gecko room, leaving only Milo, Amanda, Zane, Lola and the Bruce sisters.

“Great job, you two!” Amanda said. She gave both of them two congratulated handshakes. “Keep that trophy clean for me.”

“Thanks… we will…” one of the Bruce said. “I’m Ivy Bruce and… sorry for insulting Milo earlier.”

“No problem,” Milo smiled and forgave her right away. “We have been overexcited after all.”

Meanwhile, Lola took her time to congratulate and have a hug with the younger one in the other team, “That was an amazing performance! You sure are the brain of the team. I wish I could be like you.”

“It was nothing,” the girl was flattered. “My name is… Amy Bruce and I’m her younger twin sister. But if there’s one thing I can advise you, it is…”

She stopped mid-sentence, made Lola and Zane hanging on a cliff-hanger.

“Well, what is it?” Zane questioned. Dramatic end music notes played.

Amy pulled them closer and kept them away from a distance to Ivy, “It is… Ivy has been kind of interested on you and… Can you consider hanging out with her sometimes?” she offered. “Ivy asked me to tell this to you.”

Lola and Zane stared to each other. The offer was so sudden that they hadn’t prepared yet.

But Lola seemed to be supportive for him, “Go for it, Zane. You may know another girl.”

“I’m not quite sure… I’m not really opened up to everyone, ya know, things happen,” Zane confessed.

“Really? Because Ivy isn’t really a close friend to anyone either,” Amy revealed. “She has been interested on you and I don’t know why. It was the first time she did that.”

Lola smirked and elbowed her friend, trying to be supportive once more, “Come on, man. It’s your chance.”

“I guess… I could arrange my time and hang out with her,” Zane carefully put out his words. “When will be her free time?”

“She’ll reveal that to you tomorrow,” Amy said. “We’re all in the same class so just take it easy. Thanks for putting this up! Like ya, bye!”

Then the young girl left, leaving an excited Lola and a doubtful Zane alone.

With Zane, things would just get a lot harder. More stressed, and doubtfully there would be a happy outcome.

Credits Scene

9:10 a.m. Monday

“So what should we do next?” Milo wondered. “How about visiting Zack and Melissa, considering the free time we have while finding them.”

“That was an intense competition. Do you guys know what you have learned today?” Amanda questioned.

“What I have learned?! Because it’s embarassing. I was so excited that I couldn’t focus. It was harder than I thought and I have learned that positive spin isn’t quite enough,” Lola confessed.

“Maybe I was too much of a lifesaver,” Zane said.

“By the way, you guys want to help us find Zack and Melissa?” Milo asked the two.

“Of course!”

“We’d love to!” Lola exclaimed. “After all, we did see them back to the royal dimension.”

Today's Proverb

Spotlight AU today’s proverb is... to be honest I like this one

“No one knows how incredible you can be… No one knows how incredible we can be if we try.”
— Zane Cartner

Notes

  1. The lifeless principal and the underrated teacher have appeared. They are important again!
  2. Milanda's developments ween't supposed to be in this one. Then I realize it can be a big thing to the story itself.
  3. This isn't focus much on the competition. Instead, it shows us what the characters have learned after this competition, and from that, they will understand each other more.
  4. I'm sorry if this story wasn't released on the day I had promised. Having been busy recently with school but I'll finish this once and for all, that's for sure.
  5. Welcome Ivy and Amy Bruce to the AU! Ivy is originally to be a completed Irving's counterpart (ya know, the fanboy of Phineas and Ferb). In this case, she originally obsessed to Zane about his fashion knowledge. Now she's still, but less than obsession. It's more of a weird interest.
    1. How about Amy? You'll know her in depth in One-Shot 18: A Secret on the Road to School (which would take a long while).
    2. Meanwhile, Ivy will have one of the main roles in "Two Science Periods!" and I think you've all know what it's going to be about.

That's all for this story! See you in the next one!

And share your thoughts! I'd always love to hear your input.

-Tugiacat666

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