002: Outside the Yordle Academy of Science & Progress
By Victor Flores
The dwindling sunlight glinted off her highly polished golden armor as Leona adjusted the tiara holding back her hair. Even after years on the battlefield, through countless victories, she was still apprehensive and careful as she approached the volatile, deadly, blue-haired, and questionably sane woman she knew as Jinx.
“Have you been cleaning your weapons in unventilated spaces again?” said Leona.
The girl, staring fixedly at the array of weapons and gadgets she could turn into weapons, only gave Leona half of her attention.
Jinx waved longingly to the yordle inside, as she wasn’t allowed in the Academy anymore. It was partly due to her criminal activities and partly due to the fact that she had blown up an entire wing of the building the last time she was inside—both were well worth it to her, though.
Jinx knew the yordle Professor must help her, she just kne… oh! As one thought interrupted another, Leona is still talking… I should probably listen. Or maybe I should say something? Her face was a bit absent as she exhaled, “Uh… Nope?” OH! That was not the right thing to say! Leona looks pissed now!
Leona signed, “Case in point,” as she shifted her armors weight, arms folded. “I asked why you were so unfocused on the Fields of Justice today?”
Her seemingly painted on smile didn’t completely disappear, but she did manage to keep her attention long enough to hear most of the question.
“I don’t know,” Jinx replied, “that’s why I came straight here after the battle. It’s like sometimes ZAP! ZAP! ZAP! I’m spot on. And you know I never screw up. Ever, never in practice. Nope. But on the battlefield I feel on edge. Like I know I’m on target and at the last second my shots go off in some random direction and hit nothing. WHY WOULD I WASTE BULLETS SHOOTING AT NOTHING?!”
Her shoulders relaxed a little, and her posture loosened as Jinx sighed, “I know Heimy can help, he’s the smartest yordle ever. And shhhhhh… I think he’s kinda cute. But if you tell anyone BOOM! All that pretty armor, and no one to wear it!”
Leona ignored the childish threat, but knew part of Jinx’s paranoia wasn’t simply her everyday insanity. Deep down she knew something was wrong. She had wanted to consult the Solari, but didn’t dare until she was absolutely certain something was wrong.
She knew Heimerdinger was the most capable person in all of Runeterra to handle something like this. As she turned to walk into the Academy she said, “Heimerdinger will find some way to show the difference between a champions performance in practice and on the Fields of Justice, if there is such a discrepancy behind standard judgment errors.”
This made Jinx—the maven of destruction, the blue-haired devil of Piltovers nightmares—feel like a keg of dynamite dropped into a volcano and joyously yelled, “That would be totally AWESOME! And can you ask him to make it a gun? A really, REALLY BIG gun. With other guns attached to it. Or maybe something explosive?”
Leona halfway turned back, opened her mouth, and after a long pause closed it, turned back in the direction she was going, and walked into the Academy.
Professor Cecil B. Heimerdinger, headmaster at the Yordle Academy of Science & Progress, famed inventor of the tridyminiumobulator, and other amazing feats of technology, was laboring over notes on his newest device.
The Hyper Phasic Teleporter was not just a device; it was a revolutionary piece of technology that would forever change the Fields of Justice. Imagine, he thought, saving all that time walking back and forth out there. The ability to arrive wherever, whenever, you wanted to be—SIMPLY BRILLIANT! But he found himself having trouble concentrating. There was an incessant noise. Not consistent enough to be mechanical… but it didn’t sound like any device he’d ever made before.
Jinx giggled as she watched Leona attempting to get Heimerdinger’s attention. She was banging her shield against some unseen barrier and looked so frustrated—it was hilarious!
“HEIMERDINGER!” shouted Leona, for the umpteenth time.
Startled, and a bit annoyed, Heimerdinger looked up from his notes, corrected his glasses and began to exclaim, “Leona, why didn’t you just say something? There’s no need to shout. I’m right here in front of…” He paused, blushed, and pressed one of the hundreds of buttons within his arms reach.
“Funny, maybe that’s why I haven’t had many visitors since I installed the Distraction Inhibitor,” he said sheepishly, “my apologies, m’lady.”
Unfazed by his oversight, Leona proceeded to explain the anomaly she had discussed with Jinx.
“Another thing I fear is that a champion has found a way to cheat,” said Leona sternly, “and as everything in the Light of the Sun should be just and righteous, I cannot bear the thought of foul play.”
As the yordle took some time to ponder, Leona noticed Jinx hopping up and down outside of the window, making faces and waving her arms. This frustrated Leona beyond words, but she would never show it.
“I believe I have a device which may show if there are indeed anomalies to a champions performance. Although it comes with the risk of many errant… well…” he rubbed his temples to relieve tension, “there will be more deaths on the battlefield. And it would take hundreds, if not thousands, of sessions to ensure accuracy.”
Jinx, still hopping up and down outside the window, was fascinated with the lab coat worn by the yordle. Each time she jumped high enough she was able to count a new gadget attached to it. There were so many doodads and whizz-bangs she estimated she could make at least 1,013 explosive just from that one lab coat. Or maybe it would be more effective to just shoot the lab coat when the enemies surrounded him… she thought. “One for five sounds like a fair trade!” she yelled.
Back inside the Academy, Heimerdinger gestured over to a large green box labeled ‘L.A.G. DANGER. TOP SECRET.’ clarifying, “I’m not taking responsibility for the consequences of its use. Once you have completed five hundred and forty-two battles I will compile the data. I’ll send you a summons when they are ready.”
As Leona left the Academy she had the sinking feeling that whatever was inside this box was going to bring a darkness to the world of Runeterra, unlike any seen before. But her need to root out any deceit practiced on the Fields of Justice was far greater.
Jinx, who was at her wits end by the window of the Academy, nearly tackled Leona as she ran up to her in excitement.
“BE CAREFUL YOU IMBICILE!” shouted Leona, who had been so tense holding this box she hadn’t seen the insane girl charging at her.
“Oooooooh. This MUST be good if it’s made you so grouchy!” exclaimed Jinx happily.
Leona huffed, regained her composure, and, with Jinx in tow, walked out into the city square adjacent to the Academy building.
“Listen careful Jinx. I have a feeling this device will cause widespread and volatile changes to our world. Heimerdinger warned me that casualties could be caused by its use. It’s not a toy, and should be used with great respe…”
Jinx swiped the box from Leona’s hands, ripped it open, and tripped over her own braids all in one graceless maneuver. The contents tumbled out, spilling across the cobblestones with a pinging noise.
Leona had instinctively lifted her shield to brace for an unknown explosion, but after a few moments of silence, peered over the top. She saw Jinx curled up like a kitten, giggling insanely, holding something very small in her hands.
The ground began to shake as Jinx kept whispering, “Boop! Boop! Boop! Boop!”
Leona widened her stance defensively and shouted at Jinx, “What are you doing?!”
“Nothing. It’s just a little cylinder with a big red button. But it’s suuuuuper fun to push and makes a really neat sound!”
Leona heard no sound, but the more Jinx pressed the button, the more the ground shook. The air itself grew an intensity that Leona hadn’t felt in a long time. The hair on her arms stood and she could feel the skies darken, although its color did not change.
Leona’s head began to swim with a level of anger and frustration that apparently knew no bounds. She put her hands up to the sides of her helmet and began to wobble as her knees weakened.
She snapped back to an upright stance, braced her shield in her arms and whacked Jinx across the head, knocking her out.
The sky seemed to brighten almost instantly.
Runeterra itself seemed to sigh in relief.
“This is going to be an arduous journey,” she said as she lifted the cylinder out of Jinx’s limp fingers. And what was the sound Jinx had been hearing when she pressed the button?
This is an original story written by Victor Flores and edited by Vaughn Reynolds. It takes place in the fictional world of Runeterra, which was made popular by the game League of Legends.