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Sugar Ruse

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"HEY! RANCIS!" The blond racer turned to see who had yelled at him. As he did so, there was a flash of orange that was promptly obscured by a glob of taffy. It splatted against his face nicely.

He sputtered, and immediately started trying to frantically pull it off before it set. "Gloyd! You piece of licorice! How many times have I told you, NOT IN THE HAIR?!" He flailed. "Gah! IT'S STICKING TO EVERYTHING!"

Gloyd smirked evilly. "Stop being such a box of raisins. What are you, a girl? Even Taffyta doesn't primp as much as you do. It'll come off."

Rancis yanked some of the taffy off his face and threw it at Gloyd, cutting him off in mid-chortle. "I'll get you, you... you...!" He tackled Gloyd, knocking him into the chocolate swamp. Gloyd retaliated by sending a wave of chocolate at Rancis, and it quickly degenerated into a splash war.

"Um. Guys?" They froze in mid-fight, with Rancis poised to fling a double handful of brown sugar sand at Gloyd. Vanellope was standing near the edge of the swamp, trying not to laugh. It was just as well that she'd elected to not come out in her dress, because there was chocolate EVERYWHERE. "I know you're busy, but..."

Gloyd immediately dropped the the pocky reed he was considering beating Rancis with. "Sorry, Princess."

Rancis tried to act like he wasn't conscious of how awful he looked. "We just got carried away, Princess."

She giggled. "You guys might want a bath," she said. "I think there's a Frogger game somewhere in the arcade. Anyway, I just wanted to introduce you to someone." She indicated the figure standing next to her. Judging by his monochrome outfit, he was from the eight-bit era, but beyond that, his art style wasn't too different from theirs."He used to have his own racing game here, but they pulled the plug on him and he's just been hanging around ever since. He wants to see what our courses are like."

The eight-bit driver grinned. "You know, since you just got plugged in and all. Racing's in my code, and I really miss it. Princess Vanellope said it would be okay to take a spin on your tracks while the arcade was closed." He started to hold his hand out, considered all the chocolate on the two racers, and thought better of it. "I'm Turbo."

Rancis tried to look dignified despite the chocolate and taffy coating him. "Rancis. And the idiot is Gloyd."

"Hey!" Gloyd glared at Rancis, then waved at Turbo. "Always nice to meet a fellow racer." He smiled, but it wasn't heartfelt. Something about Turbo seemed... off. Gloyd didn't exactly trust him, though he couldn't entirely explain why. He just seemed... sneaky. He knew what sneaky looked like, after all. He was, of course, the king of epic practical jokes. He didn't quite get the same vibe off Turbo, but he didn't know what to make of him. He was probably just imagining things, anyway. Vanellope and Rancis didn't seem to have a problem with him.

Vanellope nodded. "Anyway, I'm showing him around. He's going to take make a few laps on Cakeway before the race."

Rancis made a strangled noise. "AUGH! We're going to miss the race!" He grabbed Gloyd by the jacket and shook him. "THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!"

"Woah, woah, woah! Who said anything about missing the race?" Gloyd tried to pull him off. "Don't lose your filling!"

"I. REFUSE. TO. RACE. LOOKING. LIKE. THIS," Rancis said, shaking Gloyd again.

"So race tomorrow night. Get off me."

Rancis pulled him close. "I have to go off-game to get a bath. And if I'm going to miss the race, SO ARE YOU, CANDY CORN." He shook Gloyd once again for good measure.

Turbo looked confused. "Race?"

Vanellope shook her head. "The Random Roster Race," she explained. "Our game has a new lineup of racers every day, so when the arcade closes, we have the Random Roster Race. First nine across the finish line get to be in the line up for the next day." She stuck her tongue out at Rancis and Gloyd. "And maybe with you two missing the race, someone else will have a shot at it."

"Taffyta will never let me hear the end of it," Rancis said mournfully.

Vanellope giggled again. "Well, get going, and maybe you can make it back before the after-race party~" She made a shooing motion, then turned back to Turbo. "Come on, I want to introduce you to the others~!" She grabbed his hand and pulled him along.

Gloyd shook his head, then started walking in the direction of the game station. "Come on, let's go find Frogger so we can get this washed off so you'll stop crying and we can get back for the party."

"I'm not crying!"

They continued bickering all the way up the roll-up road and almost to the game station. As they approached the tunnel, another boy jumped down from a rock candy spire. "So. Let me guess. Fist fight in the swamp?"

Gloyd nodded, grinning. "Hi, Swizzle. Splash war, actually. And now Rancis is being a baby about it, so we're gonna go find a place to wash up."

"I still blame you for missing the race," Rancis grumbled.

"Cool." Swizzle grinned. "Can I come with?"

Gloyd blinked. "Sure, I guess so, but then you'll miss the race too."

Swizzle shrugged. "There'll be other races, man. I can handle not being in the lineup tomorrow. I wanna go explore! I haven't been off-game yet!" He paused. "Actually, I'm not sure anyone has." Something occurred to him, and he grinned maniacally. "SO I'M GONNA BE THE FIRST~!"

"Ah, butterscotch. Did you have to get him started, Gloyd?" Rancis said, annoyed.

"Better him than you, raisin brain!"

Swizzle had run ahead, cackling maniacally. "Come on, slow-molasses! Let's go!"