Richard and I had been on a few dates after the Vortech Wars. He's a really sweet guy, a bit of a romantic at heart. Even when we're at After Academy, he still plays the doting boyfriend. Of course, I play the doting girlfriend for him. We always enjoy each other's company. Right now, we were at After Academy, in our dorm, snoozing together in our bed. I always had my head on his chest. Listening to him breath helps me sleep soundly. He said he snores, but I'm a deep sleeper, so it doesn't bother me. His chest rose and sank in a calming rhythm as a voice from what I thought was the radio came to life. "Hey, Good Morning, After Academy!" it softly said. "It's now five after the hour of 6 AM in the school for both the living and dead. It's another day for another semester. Thank goodness for time differentials cause one semester here is less time for your native universe, ranging from one second to at least a week. Temperature's a balmy 18.3⁰ Celsius, 65⁰ Fahrenheit, perfect for those of reptilian origin and, hey, it looks like it's gonna be a perfect day to maybe lie in bed, sleep in, or...WORK OUT THE FLAB THAT'S HANGING OVER THE BED!" I started stirring with a "mwhuh?" "GET UP, YOU TWO!" The source of the voice then blasted an airhorn into our ears! We tumbled out of bed and Emily, the voice's source, grabbed us by the shoulders and shoved us into the closet. "Workout clothes! Come on, butterballs!" called Emily.

"I don't recall ordering a wake-up call, thorny!" snarled Richard as we got into our workout clothes.

"I can't say I ordered such a thing!" I snapped.

"Less talk, more getting dressed for working out!" called an Australian voice.

"You're in on this too, Joshua?!" protested Richard as we changed into a white tank top and black sweats. We left the closet and found Emily and Joshua in the same outfit as me and Richard.

"All right, pushup time!" called Emily. I will say this; she and Josh DO join us whenever we work out. We started with our pushups. "Come on, feel the burn!" she encouraged. "You guys call yourselves veterans of the Vortech Wars?!"

"Okay, Rider feet, Rider feet, Rider feet, SHOCKER MOOK!" We stopped running in place and hid behind an imaginary barrier. "Okay, Rider feet, Rider feet, Rider feet, MAIN BOSS!" We threw a punch.

"MOOKS ON TWO LEVELS!" called Emily as we kicked the appropriate places on the bags. "Oh, I thought I had you!"

"Okay, mates, let's do it!" called Joshua as he had a crudely drawn Shocker Combatman's face on a broom handle. As he swung the handle around, Richard and I swung wooden swords at the thing. "He's over here!" called Josh. "No, he's over here! Don't let him touch you!"

"I don't know, but it's been said," sang Emily as we pushed our stuff around, "I like scaring mooks in bed!"

"Come on, fight that plaque!" encouraged Joshua as we brushed our teeth. "Fight that plaque! Real heroes don't have plaque!"

"118," called Emily as we did pullups on the overhanging pipe. "Do you have 119? Do I hear 120?"

"I DON'T BELIEVE IT!" called Josh.

"I'm not even breaking a sweat!" replied Richard.

"Not you, mate!" argued Joshua. "The new advert's on!" He switched on the t.v. and we all stopped to see the new commercial with all the Vortex Riders in it.

"After Academy," began Death as a picture of the main campus castle appeared. "We prepare YOU for the future."

"Yes, education can be tough," mentioned Batman as he appeared, "but the cost doesn't need to be. It's a free school that offers only the finest in courses. Besides, even if you DO have a degree already, it doesn't hurt to have a degree from After Academy under your belt."

"And only we of the faculty know about where you actually went," continued Lacey. "Your degree will tell everyone else you went to the college or university of your choice."

"Another good thing about After Academy?" asked Richard in the commercial. "No crushing student debt. I know it's a worry for a lot of you. Believe me, I've been there. Thankfully, After Academy, its courses, and its services are free."

"Emmanuel used that shot?" asked the real Richard.

"After Academy," whispered Death in the commercial as we all gathered in our uniforms. "We will help you plan your future today!" The commercial ended and a full, three gold star rating appeared at the end.

"All three stars?" Joshua asked.

"All gold?" quizzed Emily. "We HAVE to congratulate Emmanuel!"

"I'll say we do!" I agreed.

We had breakfast, got into our uniforms, got our school hip bags, and headed out the door. "Trust me," bragged Emily as she adjusted her hairpiece, "with Emmanuel, you're gonna be seeing my face on t.v. a lot!"

"I don't think America's Most Wanted needs any new cameramen or new faces to watch out for," joked Richard.

"Har har, it is to laugh," said Emily in a dry voice. "You've been jealous of my good looks since kindergarten." We then spotted a red car.

"All right, mates, in we go!" called Joshua as he pulled out the keys and unlocked it.

"Nope! Nuh uh!" replied Richard. We started walking past the car.

"Oi! OI! Where are you going?!" protested Joshua.

"Guys, the car's right here!" called Emily

"Joshua, Emily," I explained, "there's a fuel shortage. We're walking."

"WALKING?!" wailed Joshua. We then managed to pull them away from the car, just enough so Joshua could lock it electronically. "Oi, mates," he asked, "you lot wanna know why I bought the car?"

"Not really," I muttered. Emily finished.

"To DRIVE it!" she said. "You know? With the vroom vroom, and the honk honk and going out onto the street with no walking involved?!"

"Wah, wah, wah! Give it a rest, you two!" I mocked.

"Come on," called Richard, "you two could use the exercise."

"I could use the exercise?!" protested Emily. "Look at YOU! You've got your own gravity!" We crossed the street and passed some first graders playing jump rope.

"Morning!" called one of them.

"Morning, kids!" replied Richard. The kid jumping the rope was distracted long enough to be entangled in the rope. We then approached a grocery store to see a tentacled Tarlaxian setting up the fruits and vegetables, humming to herself. A pair of her nineteen eyes moved their stalks when they detected us.

"Oi! Tentallia!" called Joshua.

"Hey, you guys!" called the Tarlaxian, Tentallia, owner and manager of Tentallia's Grocery Store. We made various noises like "badda-bing!" and "pop pop POP!" "I hear one of your friends just got picked for the best commercial broadcast today!" said Tentallia.

"We saw," I told her. "Emmanuel's probably over the moon!"

"Tell him Tentallia sends her congratulations," requested Tentallia.

"Will do!" promised Joshua as we turned.

"Hey! Wait!" called Tentallia. She then tossed us some fruit from her home. "On the house!" she called.

"Thanks!" I replied. We happily ate the fruits. They're called Grabeldas, one of the most nutritious and delicious fruits on Tarlax 14. After we finished, we deposited the cores into a compost bin. We then approached a fifty foot lizard woman in her school uniform.

"HEY! ANGELA!" called Richard. "GOOD MORNING!"

"Good Morning!" Angela called down to us. We waited at the crosswalk until the cars stopped.

"See, guys?" Richard pointed out to Emily and Joshua as we crossed. "Angela's walking to school."

"Big deal," countered Emily. "Girl takes five steps and she's there." We approached the main Campus Castle and checked in.

"See you guys later!" I called as we split off for our classes. My mind wandered a bit towards my future. Once we BOTH have our degrees, Richard and I will be married and soon bring Kaede and Kaitlyn into existence. Future with Richard, here I come!