This is The Real Deal presents:

This is Spirit: defective souls

Chapter 1: New beginnings

"Oh man I'm so late!" A dark skinned boy slid down the guard rails on a flight of steps, startling all the people walking down it. A little girl who was eating ice cream got knocked over, falling hard onto her rump. She scowled hard, barely registering the pain, and then looked down on the splattered puddle on the floor that was her ice cream. Her mouth opened wider than her head and she let out a terrifying, ear splitting scream. The boy stopped, got off the rail and while jogging on the spot, turned around.

"Not again!" He said. "It's like the faster I run, the longer it takes to get there!" He turned around and sprinted back up the stairs to the parents. He brought out a few notes labelled Malawi Kwacha and hurriedly handed them to the parents apologizing in-between the parents chastisement. He then continued sliding down ignoring a parents protests.

He reached the bottom of the rail, not seeing where he was going and crashed in a heap on the floor, almost instantly bringing himself together and sprinting off again. He jostled past the crowds, not caring for the shouts and curses that followed him on his mad journey. An elderly man nearly fell over as he shot past. The old man looked at him and said in his native language, "the youth these days...".

He ran across the road without checking for traffic and he was lucky to not get smashed across a windscreen. He reached a dip in the road, like from a hill as it bent down to a lower level to reach his school. He stopped dead in his tracks, seeing the road was under construction. It would take too much time to try and convince them to let him past and there were heaps of dirt scattered around the edges of the street, making it hard to cross quickly. There should have been a sidewalk. But the boy understood that there was little chance of the sidewalk ever being constructed until the road was already finished, despite it being an easy job. That wasn't bad though. There were minibuses parked around the edges of the road where people should have been crossing.

Only in Malawi, he thought, acknowledging that he was in one of those countries were minibuses were in abundance. Thinking quickly, he saw a house to his right, opposite a tall, thick brick wall through a gap in the wall. The house's base was on lower ground to the road he was on, level with his school on the lower end of the street.

"Alright DC, I have two choices. I either climb over the wall and sprint through clean lawns, or I take my chances at the seriously ticked off minibus drivers." He looked up at the top of the wall and saw a lizard touching the barbed wire on top. Suddenly, in a flash of sparks, the lizard burnt to a toasty crisp and toppled off the wall. DC paled, an unusual trait for someone who's black. "Ok, the minibuses."

He shot off through the road, stopping only to ask if he could be let through. After about thirty seconds of arguing, he was let through safely. He sprinted in through the main gates in exhaustion from all the running he had done.

He nearly collapsed on the floor, but managed to stay on his feet long enough to announce his arrival.

"People! I have arrived!" The small crowd of kids turned towards him.

"Oh, it's you."

"What took you dude?"

"We were about to start without you!"

"I thought you got lost."

"Please, I'm a ninja!" DC smirked.

"A ninja who trips over their own shoe laces?" Everyone started laughing hard. DC was glad for his skin colour as his face would nearly never go red. DC looked over himself after the whole incident.

He was, in actual fact, a complete wreck. His hair was covered in twigs and leaves from his run through bushes. The front of his body was covered in dirt from face planting onto the ground multiple times. The red cap on his head was dirtied and the black Fubu jacket had seen better days. His black tracksuit pants were covered in grime and had ice cream smeared on them.

"So I don't look so great, but that's because I wouldn't miss this for the world!"

"Well you were about to miss it!" One of the only light skinned boys said. "Do you even know how important this is?"

"Worth missing your lunchtime over?" The wreck of a child offered helpfully. "But I wouldn't bargain any more than that."

"No! Robattling is a way of life! It is a career in its own sense! It is the very essence of our childhood!"

"Really? I bet you don't earn much from it though!"

"What? Don't you know?"

"Well how do toys, as awesome as they are, earn you money?"

"Somebody, please slap him," The frequent pale speaker said. A skinny boy stepped forward, cracking his large knuckles. "Not really!" The kid stepped back dejectedly. "Well D.C, it looks like I have to re-explain to you what a medabot is, and what robattling is."

"Aw come on Will, I know what those are!" DC whined. The pale skinned Will continued anyway.

"The year is 2019; we live in Zomba, Malawi in Africa..."

"I'm not an idiot Will! I know these things! You think I'm in pre-school?"

"You act like it sometimes!"

"Are you trying to start with me?"

"Don't worry I'm just messing with ya. Talking about medabots here. One of the most popular strategy sports nowadays is called robattling. Robattling is a sport which involves competitors, or medafighters, controlling artificially intelligent 'medal oriented robots,' or medabots for short. They have real emotions and most medafighters say they even have souls. They're your friends and partners in everything you do."

"Right. Got it... I know this already!"

"Don't worry, I'm just passing the time. Anyway,you probably don't know what their medals are, do you?"

"I do, but I don't quiet get how they work."

"Geez D.C, do I need to explain eeeeverything? A medabot has three main compo... parts. The..."

"Tin-Pet, medaparts and medal, I know!"

"But the best medafighters are the ones who understand the medal perfectly! The medal is..."

"Hey Will! I'm ready!" An unknown voice rang out. Everyone turned to the front gate where the sound came from. A tall boy, possibly 13 years old walked into the car park. He was wearing what looked like a high school uniform. He had blue trousers, black shined shoes and a white buttoned up shirt with black stripes. His left hand had a black sports watch on it. A medawatch. DC turned towards his pale skinned friend, Will, and noticed that he had his usual light blue and white medawatch on him, as usual.

"Will, you said you'd tell me the last part, remember?"

"Not now, I'm about to robattle."

"But you said..."

"Don't worry. I was only telling you that stuff until my opponent would arrive. I'll tell you after."

"But Will... you know what? Never mind. I've got to see this for myself first! Robattles are always cool!"

"Of course! That's why you came here, right?"

The guy in the striped uniform walked to the gang if ten year olds.

"So it looks like you got my challenge, right?"

"Yeah, but it looks like you forgot to put your name down." Will said, staring him down. "Who are you?"

"Oh I didn't say my name?" The dark skinned teenager asked in mock innocence. "That's my bad. I'm Matthias. Matthias Chilongozi. I heard an interesting little rumour from this place. I've just showed up to find out if it's right."

"So you're challenging Primary school kids?"

"I heard you were the best."

"Alright then. I guess it's about time then. Hey DC, another lesson!" DC's ears twitched slightly like a dogs as he listened. "A robattle isn't decided by power and medaparts alone. A robattle is something much greater altogether! A robattle can only be decided by the souls of the medabot and medafighter combined! As long as you have a strong connection with your medabot, you can always fight for your rights!" as one both medafighters yelled out, ;

"Transport, medabots!" A blue electrical sphere floated in front of each medafighter as they prepared to battles. The blue spheres of energy crackled and shot electricity out everywhere rapidly. Two figures looked like they were forming in front of the people. The ground underneath the spheres shot out from the wind pushing down on them. Finally the electricity balls sparked themselves out, and in their place were two robots, both about one metre, twenty centimetres. (Sorry. I live where a British Curriculum and stuff like that are used, so I tend to use the metric system a lot as I'm used to it. You know the height of a medabot so it doesn't matter! This also means there may be plenty of English spelling like colour instead of color. Please excuse it, I try my best!)

Both kids pulled a shiny golden hexagon shaped coin from their pockets. They both had a green gem in their centres and had a pattern etched into them. DC couldn't see clearly what the pattern was.

I know that, it's a medal! DC thought to himself. Isn't the medal like the heart and soul of a medabot? Like its brain? Will was gonna tell me how it worked wasn't he?

They put the golden medals in the hatches on the back of the robots. Both of their eyes lit up, the teenager's robot's eyes green, and Will's purple.

The robot, or medabot, in front of the teenager was a red and black humanoid medabot with two small antennae on the back of its head and wheels on its heels. Its hands looked like pincers that were glued together with the top pincer being black and the bottom one being red. It had a blue glass-like visor instead of eyes. Data about it flashed on everyone's medawatches.

Stingarray

Medafighter: Matthias

Specialty: Laser beams

Signature: Chase laser mode

The medabot in front of Will looked like a snowman made of metal, as weird as that sounds. The difference was that it had a pink hair ribbon on its bald head, its base was a semi-sphere instead of a whole sphere, with tank tracks to move, and it had dark black glass eyes and a blue bow tie. Where there should be buttons there were bolts and there was a small panel on its back.

Snowbro

Medafighter: Will

Specialty: Ice combat

Signature: Ice touch

"Alright, on the count of three," Will said.

"Right" Matthias confirmed.

"One..."

"Two..."

DC looked at them, feeling the tension rising. None of them were willing to say three unless they were certain they had their game plan right. They stared each other down for at least twenty seconds until the air was too thick with apprehension to move in. The air felt hot and burnt everyone's throats. DC shifted uncomfortably, feeling like he was sitting in honey from it all.

"Ahh I can't take it anymore!" someone screamed out. "Three, three, let's go!" The combatant's eyes snapped wider open and the battle rushed in.

"Snowbro, we're taking no chances, Ice touch now!" Snowbro dashed forward, bringing his arm up to punch Stingarray.

"Stingarray, get some distance and blast him!" Matthias shouted just before Stingarray could be hit. Stingarray ducked underneath a swiping arm, barely escaping with his head. He kept dodging more slaps and punches, always coming close to a hit. "Stingarray, burn rubber now!" The wheels on his heels skidded as he prepared to move. He shot forward, knocking Snowbro aside, denting both of their armour in the process. He skidded around like a roller skater and brought his closed pincers up towards Snowbro's face. The black area of the hand began glowing green before it released a large green energy beam, blasting it directly in Snowbro's chest. Will's medawatch showed him the damage being done to his medabot, with a female voice narrating it as well.

Warning. Head medapart at 25% damage.

"Snowbro, drive into the bamboo forest! He can't hit you there!" Will commanded. Snowbro ignored the burn mark on his chest and drove on his treads into the woods.

"If you think that'll help you then you seriously suck," Matthias snickered. "Stingarray, blast him!"

Stingarray aimed his lasers at the forest and let loose two laser beams from his hands, but none of them hit the target. Snowbro narrowly avoided them both, but two bamboo stalks fell from the lasers. "Stingarray, you're too far away to hit him, drive closer!" Stingarray shot forward into the forest, trying to cover the distance, but as soon as he got deep inside, he stopped moving. "Hey Stingarray, what's wrong?"

"Sorry boss," Stingarray answered in a semi-robotic voice. "I can drive in here, but not very well, and it's hard to aim."

"What? Ok, don't drive around, just walk and run and stuff. As for aiming, Snowbro's white like snow, he won't be too hard to spot!" The shooting continued again as Stingarray searched for his opponent.

"Snowbro, do you see that mud puddle over there?" Will asked. "Drive into it now before he gets you!" Snowbro drove deeper into the quite thin forest and into a muddy puddle that was left over after some rain. He quickly drove out again, slowing down from the muck ruining his systems. The filth covered him completely, not even leaving a speck of white showing.

"You've just slowed yourself down!" Matthias squealed, struggling to control his laughter. "I can't believe you! I guess you're not all that you're cracked up to be! Stingarray, enter Chase laser mode!"

"Oh oh," One of the spectators said. DC looked towards them.

"What, what? What is it?" He asked impatiently.

"Chase laser mode makes Stingarray twice as strong. But he becomes slower and goes berserk. Eh, Snowbro doesn't stand a chance!"

"No way!" DC yelled.

"Yes way!" a girl said. "I don't like seeing medabots get broken. That's why I don't robattle. But if Snowbro gets hit, he won't robattle again!"

Stingarray brought his laser arms up and in a frenzy, fired a barrage of small laser bullets, looking a lot like a cowboy. Bamboo trees fell down and were shredded in the barrage. Debris was tossed high into the air as the attack intensified. Finally, Stingarray dropped his arms exhausted, leaving the part of the forest in front of him destroyed.

"Aww man, Mrs McCloskey is gonna kill us for this!" DC said worriedly.

"And it looks like that's the end of Snowbro!" Matthias celebrated. "Well that was actually pretty..." He never finished as a brown, dirtied, but as of yet untouched Snowbro ramped up and out of the fallen trees.

"Yeah! Snowbro, end it!" Will screamed. Stingarray was taken completely by surprise, and couldn't do anything when Snowbro smashed his open hand into Stingarray's face before landing. While still holding his face, he squirted a pale-blue gas into his face, instantly freezing it, and then his whole body. Stingarray, now a block of ice, fell over without a word. The ice instantly melted again, turning to a gas as it flitted away. But Stingarray's insides were frozen completely. Matthias's medawatch beeped information as he screamed out in defeat.

100% damage to head medapart. Functions ceased.

"I... I lost." Matthias said dejectedly. The crowd all cheered at the victory, with a few kids running to Will and lifted him high into the air.

"Yeah, I told you Will wouldn't lose!" DC shouted. "You see?"

"Weren't you also saying Will would lose?"

DC stayed silent as he remembered the feeling of hopelessness that had pervaded his thoughts. Matthias ignored the commotion completely.

"But how did I lose?" Matthias asked. "Stingarray's chase laser mode has never been beaten by anyone!"

"Well you can't learn until you lose," Will said with a smug grin as he was lowered to the ground again. "You've gotta understand that in a robattle, nobody cares if you have fancy moves, if you've been unbeaten, or even if you're older than them! Nobody cares about your skin colour, if you're a boy or a girl, where you're from, how big your muscles are, none of that matters! In a robattle, we're all the same! That's the purity of Robattling, and why the medafighter community is so close knit. Go home and think about how you lost, your strategies, and how to counter them. When you're ready, come back and face me!"

Matthias nodded his head and went to retrieve his beaten down medabot. He picked it up, shivering from the cold steel that had been frozen.

"Hey Will, you're strong, that is true. The rules of an official robattle state that the loser gives up one medapart, so here is Stingarray's right arm." He pushed a button on his medawatch and a thin laser beam connected itself from his medawatch to Wills.

Registration in progress... Registration complete.

"No, I don't need that medapart. Snowbro can't use guns."

"Just take it," Matthias growled. "Mercy is for the weak. You won fair and square and you're getting your prize!" Matthias unscrewed the bolts on Stingarray's arm and took it off, handing it to Will. Will grudgingly took the medapart and Matthias jogged away slowly, back the way he had come. DC ran towards Will.

"Hey, Will, how come you won? Well, I know you're strong, but what strategy did you use?"

"Simple my little friend," Will began.

"Hey, I'm the same age as you so don't call me little!"

"Whatever, I'm more mature!"

"So? I'm still your age and height!"

"Do you wanna hear my strategy or not? Good. Now Stingarray is a shooting type, and Snowbro is a hand-to-hand type. So I obviously have to be close to him to attack."

"Obvious dude, skip to the meat of the matter!"

"Ok. If I tried to attack with Snowbro, as you saw, I would be too slow. Stingarray dodges everything with those wheels of his. So I now have two options; either break his wheels so that he slows down, or get him into chase laser mode and surprise him."

"But chase laser makes Stingarray stronger!" someone else cut in as the crowd gathered to hear the strategy.

"But he slows down to cushion the blast recoil. Snowbro can't shoot down his tyres, and she would die if Stingarray hit chase laser mode. So I got Stingarray into Chase laser safely and got rid of the tyres by driving into the forest. Snowbro has treads, so a forest is no problem to her, but Stingarray finds it near impossible to drive in there. Plus, I drove Snowbro into the mud to make a type of camouflage."

"So that Stingarray wouldn't be able to hit you, and he couldn't run away!" Someone yelled out.

"Yeah, and while in the forest, there are too many trees for Stingarray to hit Snowbro properly, so he would try and obliterate him in one shot!"

"The Chase laser!" DC yelled out as the plan dawned on him.

"You've got it my friend! Stingarray might be stronger than Snowbro, but I can handle Snowbro's power better!"

" Stingarray was a sitting duck," a girl giggled.

"Just one question though," DC asked. "You keep calling Snowbro a 'she'. Isn't Snowbro a guy?"

"Nope. He's a she!"

"What? But it's called Snowbro! Note the bro!"

"Yeah, so?" Snowbro butt in. Her voice was, like Stingarray's semi-robotic, sounding just like an ordinary human female's, but as if they were speaking through a machine, or a phone. "I'm not allowed to have bro in my name?" she continued. "What's your problem bro?"

"But, but, a whatever!"

"Hey Will," Someone cut in. "You don't normally win like that, usually you have to try really hard, and you lose a lot to, so why did you win so quickly?"

"Why else? Matthias wasn't strong, that's all." The crowd slowly dissipated, fading away like ghosts leaving just DC and Will.

"Hey, one thing I've gotta ask, when are you gonna get a medabot anyway?" Will asked.

"My mom says they're too expensive so I don't know," DC sulked.

"Well that's true," Will said in thought. "What can you expect from a fully operational medabot? I know a place where you can get 'em cheap though. Four dollars a medapart!"

"A medabot has four medaparts, right?"

"Yup. Pretty much."

"Four dollars a medapart? That's about... sixteen dollars."

"Yup. That's right."

"Hold up, can we work in the currency here? I've lived in Malawi all my life so I can only understand prices in Malawi Kwacha, not US Dollars."

"Oh, right. Sorry. One dollar is about two hundred kwacha, right?"

"I think so."

"So that means three thousand and twenty kwacha? That sounds massive!"

"You're new to this place, that isn't too much money."

"Just one problem though, those four dollar medaparts are really, really bad. They wouldn't last a second in a fight. A basic medabot can be as much as fifty dollars in working condition."

"Awww. I'm not getting a strong medabot, am I?"

"Nope."

DC hung his head, realising it would be way too hard to get any medabot soon. He would just stay an outcast to the rest of the kids, never being anybody, just another student in class. Will said goodbye along with everyone else. DC stood there for a moment later and then walked away grumbling.

DC looked up at the sky and saw what looked like a remote control plane flying in the sky. It looked like a fighter jet. "Is that an F-15?" The RC plane did a loop in the sky, spiralled up, and then once he was as high as he could get, U-turned and shot down to the earth. Just before it hit the ground, it unfolded like a transformer and landed on the ground as a medabot with wings. The medabot looked up at DC.

"Alright, good job, Sky High!" a girls voice rang out. A ten year old girl ran into the gates to the medabot. "With flying like that we can't lose to those bullies!" She ran towards it and picked it up to hug it. DC looked at the two of them.

"Wow, that medabot looks sooo cool!"

"Thanks," She said with a half smile. "Sky High is awesome! My dad got him for me in the US. He's a pilot so he goes a lot of places. I want to be a pilot too, but I don't want to wait until I grow up to do it. So we're gonna become pilots together at the annual aviation fair! So it's not flying across continents yet, and I'm not flying myself either."

"The aviation fair?"

"Yup! It's where young flying enthusiasts meet up every year with RC planes, RC helicopters, flying medabots, everything! We meet up and talk about this stuff, trade with each other, the usual. But the main event is the Zomba air race! It's the qualification round for the nationals! I need to get across the country cheaply and this is the way to do it!"

"So with this Zomba air race, your medabot flies across the city against other planes, helicopters, etc, right?"

"Pretty much! It's a bit longer than you think but that's pretty much it!"

"Just one more thing though, where did you buy that medabot?"

"In the shop by the filling station just down the road."

"Thanks." He wasn't gonna go off and buy a medabot, he knew he didn't have the money for a good one, but a plan was beginning to form in his mind. If I can just get a medal...

On that note, he set off for his long journey home with the sunset ahead of him, the fingers of the suns light warming everything they touched, turning the dullest of objects into a dramatic movie scene. DC basked in the light of the sun, but unlike Will, he didn't feel like a hero, or a real winner. He just felt empty. Every day he'd come with all his friends and watch someone robattle. Sometimes it would be Will fighting, sometimes the new kid, sometimes his brother. Once it was even little Michelle. But never him. Along the whole way, the scene kept on getting ruined in his mind's eye as he thought of these things, and excuses to his parents for his ragged appearance.

Well, it's a remake of the first time I made this chapter. I'm not really at my best writing ability right now but that won't stop me! Not until I'm the best author in the world! I let myself down last time... And I must say thanks to autobotgirl for being the first reviewer, and giving me some pointers as to why my writing is not very good lately. I'm doing way better now but it's still not good. Just cheer me on please and I'll get there!