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The Talking Frog Was Right

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Maggie quietly snagged an ice cold water bottle out of the small cooler and quickly headed out of the backdoor of the shop. Her aunt's workplace, a fine jewelry store, wasn't exactly Ground Zero of the wreckage but it had suffered tremendously from a golem being thrown through the large front window. Maggie was only being paid in pizzas and soda for her efforts to help clean up and take inventory. It wasn't hard work, but the tediousness of sifting through the shattered glass and jewelry wasn't exactly her idea of a good time, especially after a massive, worldview shifting, monster attack. Yet, when her aunt had politely asked, Maggie wasn't going to say no to a perfectly reasonable request from the woman who was gracious enough to house and feed her.

Maggie lazily hopped up and took a seat onto a nearby trashcan then leaned her back against the brick wall. The cool shade combined with the breeze off the ocean felt good after the stifling, sun baked, plywood covered storefront. She took a deep breath and drained half the water from the bottle while closing her eyes. Though she had been away from the danger the day before, just knowing there were enormous golden monsters and actual real-life Transformers somewhere out there completely terrified her. The giant green crystal that had been found under the Krispy Kreme was now gone, taken away by the mega-Transformer without any explanation. The loss of the famous shop was a devastating blow to the residents of the town, but since Maggie had yet to even step foot into the establishment, she didn't feel she had lost anything. Just another thing that set her apart from the everyday crowd.

"Hey, Maggie, think fast!" A familiar voice suddenly echoed off the alley walls.

Her eyes popped open just in time to see Eugene fake a toss of a sub toward her. She pointedly did not flinch and with a half-smile, she raised her hands in front of her and he actually pitched it at her. The toasted sandwich was still warm, and her stomach rumbled eagerly for the food. "Thanks," she said gratefully as she hurriedly unwrapped the hot ham and cheese.

"Welcome. Think I should I just drop these in the doorway and run while I still can?" He jerked his head down, the movement calling attention to the rest of the hot sandwiches still within the bag in his hands.

Maggie shrugged with a laugh as she replied. "I don't know, do you want your mom to feed you tonight?"

He sighed and hung his head as he decided he didn't want burnt mac and cheese, again. Being the son of the shop owner meant more than being trusted enough to not fuck up everyone's lunch order; it also meant being asked to do a lot more difficult work than Maggie would ever have to expect. The door closed behind Eugene as he headed back into the disaster zone and Maggie switched her focus to rapidly filling her empty stomach.

When she finished, she hopped off the trashcan and figured she might as well get back to work. At that moment, the noon sun shining high from above glinted off something half hidden within some litter on the ground of the alley. She tossed her empty wrapper and bottle into the trashcan she just jumped off, wondering if someone had actually tried to loot the jewelry shop after all.

Maggie moved closer and squatted down to investigate. The strange palm-sized piece of glass-like crystal certainly wasn’t a pendent, and there was something that screamed abnormal about how it looked. The slightly translucent, deep green core seemed to glow, even when covered by her shadow. Carefully, she picked it up and was surprised by how cool it was in her hands despite having been laying in the sun for hours. Quickly looking around the trashed alleyway, Maggie couldn't figure out where or what it had come from.

Looking back on that day, Maggie would later understand why she had absent-mindedly slipped the odd disk-like rock into her pocket. She would understand why she had never showed it to anyone, and never questioned the strong Lord of the Rings “One Ring” vibe. She didn't know it at the time, wouldn't know anything concrete for roughly a week, but she had been chosen in that brief moment.

Years later, Maggie would sometimes wonder just how damaged the Green Ranger Power Coin really was, after all was said and done.

  ~*~

The next morning before school, Maggie sighed and rolled her eyes in disgust and annoyance when she saw Colt Wallace picking on a freshman. She supposed it made sense, in his addled little brain; Colt got his ass handed to him by another senior, so now he had to rebuild his reputation on the far smaller students to keep his place within the bully hierarchy. It was such a fragile system. Maggie made sure none of Colt's buddies were around before yanking back on his coat collar-

And amazingly sending him flying clear across the hall and hard into the lockers.

Everyone within the semi-crowded hallway instantly froze. Jaws dropped open in shock and awe, the birth of new rumors about what had just happened so potent you could almost see them hanging in the hushed air.

Maggie snapped her mouth shut, like she wasn’t just as stunned as everyone else, before turning to the unknown freshman. "You good?" Her eyebrows raised, almost daring the kid to ask what she couldn't possibly answer.

The kid nodded, a tiny grin starting to form at the sight of Colt, who was now slumped against the slightly dented lockers on the other side of the hall .

"What is the meaning of this?!" The yell echoed off the walls, reverberating through all the other students, who suddenly had somewhere else to be and scattered like something was on fire.

Maggie groaned when the teacher the voice belonged to stepped into the hall.

The little freshie piped up instantly. "He was shoving me against the lockers!" The kid motioned toward Colt, still slumped over and not moving on the other side of the hall. “She was the only one who gave two shits to stop him!" The freshman's defense slipped closer and closer to a high pitched childish whine with each word he said. Maggie could almost see him stomping his feet and pouting at the unfairness of it all in his next breath.

"Language!” The teacher scolded without hesitation, and he took a quick breath before continuing. “Bullying doesn't mean he deserves to be knocked unconscious! Principal's office, both of you, now!" The tone in his voice left no room for further protest, and the volume of his shouts had drawn two other teachers who quickly moved to check on the flattened bully.

The bell rang and the few remaining students dispersed to their own classes. Maggie rolled her eyes at Colt being helped to his disoriented feet and fell in line behind the teacher with the reluctant freshman. Honestly, she didn't intend to knock out Colt; maybe trip him up and confuse him so he wouldn't want to waste the time, give the kid the time to book it down the hall and escape. Thankfully she hadn't seen any blood leaking out of his head, or she would be in even more trouble.

Twenty minutes later, she was headed towards her first class with a single Saturday detention. The freshman had been a feisty supporter, going on about it wasn't fair for Maggie to be punished for stopping Colt from terrorizing other students. The principal had grudgingly cut the three detentions down to just one, given her actions had been in the defense of another student. She was cautioned to keep out of any further confrontations, however, especially if she was prone to knocking out others instead of using her words.

Maggie handed the hall pass to her teacher without a word and fell into her desk in the back of the room. Her aunt wouldn't give her too much trouble for having earned detention, given the circumstances. Still, Maggie was going to have to figure out just how she had easily tossed a bigger guy across an entire hallway with enough force to dent metal.