"Absolutely! I promise," Ember cried excitedly as she pulled out a note from her pocket. "Here. Take a look at this!"
She handed the note over to Ria and Ellen and they read through it together.
"Someone filled the Gormballs with different Transmogrification Potions?! Who on Earth would do that?" Ria gasped, looking at the note in disbelief. "No one could do something that cruel."
"Well, as it turns out, allegedly some researchers in the Virtupets Space Station have been studying Gormball juice the past two years and discovered some... VERY interesting properties," Ember replied, looking around suspiciously before proceeding with a whisper. "Word on the street is that it might be the biggest breakthrough since the Healing Springs!"
"I heard about that!" Ellen said, her eyes lighting up. "Ria here always said my obsession with the Neopedia would never come in handy. But why would someone replace it with transmogrification potions?"
"I have a hunch that the research isn't quite done yet... and they need a new cohort of test subjects to monitor the effects," Ember replied, excited that the two Poogles were onboard. "And since the transmogrification potions were Dr. Sloth's original creation, I'm thinking they're planning to convert the League of Gormball Champions to mutants so that they can sneak us on board to continue their research."
"That's ridiculous!" Ria retorted, crossing her arms indignantly. "Dr. Sloth hasn't been up to anything nefarious in years. Besides, why focus on the Gormball champions? No one even pays attention to that anymore!"
"Exactly! All eyes are on the Altador Cup these days, so if we all suddenly went missing, no one would bat an eye," Ember said. "But I was thinking about it, and I realized that after every Gormball tournament, my athletic skills would increase exponentially for a few days! Like, not just regular post-game adrenaline, but almost superhuman."
"So you're saying..." Ellen paused to think for a moment, "the researchers are likely siphoning the Gormball juice to capitalize on its strength building properties?"
"You got it!" Ember smirked.
"So what do you need us for? Can't you just use your faerie network to expose the whole scheme?" Ria said, still suspicious.
"Well, the problem is... No one knows what happens to a faerie who comes into contact with a transmogrification potion!" Ember said, sighing. "I'd hate to give up my chance at the championship, as I've been training hard with water balloons all year. But I was hoping... that you'd take my place in the competition, Ria!"
Ellen and Ria share a glance, then Ria storms off in tears.
"Oh no," Ellen cried softly, "I don't think that's a good idea. Ria hasn't played Gormball in two years. Ever since... the accident..."
"What accident?" Ember inquired, genuinely concerned.
"She'll tell you if she wants you to know," Ellen replied, "But let me go get her. Maybe I can convince her!"
Ellen and Ember chase after Ria. Unbeknownst to them, however, a mischievous Grundo was hiding in the bushes, bouncing a Gormball in its hand. "I've got eyes on Ember," the Grundo speaks into a headset. "Should I proceed ahead of schedule?" His headset beeps and chirps.
"Alrighty, here goes nothing!" The Grundo reels his arm back and tosses the Gormball directly at Ember!
Ellen notices the ball speeding towards them.
"EMBER LOOK OUT!" Ellen cries as she JUMPS in the way of the speeding Gormball.
Ria turns back just in time to see the commotion. "ELLEN NO! I can't lose you too!"
How will this story end?