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File: DOG.DAYS.OP.2.jpg (1.69 MB, 2514x3296)
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The sun shines brilliantly across Biscotti Lake. The last of the morning fog hanging over the lake evaporates in the noon-day radiance. It's hard to think that, just a week ago, there existed a barren valley where the lake now stands. It's a tough change to get used to. That used to be the valley that you would use to train your magic and your morning meditation. It's not an unwelcome change, and in fact many have expressed joy in having a new body of water just a stones throw from home.

One of those whom you're certain are appreciative is the owner of this restaurant. Before the battle, this establishment was considered to be on the 'poor' end of town. Great food, but not much in terms of scenery. There was an alleyway on one side of the overlook, and a field on the other.
Now there's a massive lake on one side, and hundreds of pop-up vendors and stores on the other. Needless to say, the change has brought quite a bit of curiosity to the town. With that curiosity; brings quite a bit of money to be spent.

Your mind races for other things to think about. The weather? The temperature? The water? How about the battle? Maybe you can think about the bugs that are out right now? Something, anything to distract from the cute girl who is sitting across from you.
You are Dorje of Carancha, and you are trying to keep yourself from having a panic attack in front of a whole bunch of people. Saying that you're unprepared is an understatement.
Kayda stares off into the distance, and pays little attention to you. Her hand idly plays with her hair, and twists some of her straight black locks into curls.

This whole 'date' thing was a terrible idea, but it's not like you exactly had a choice. For you, it all started like so:
--
Knock, Knock
"Ugh, Louise?" The past-you rubs your scalp after being rudely awakened, "What's wrong?"
"Dorje! Good news!" Louise seemed as happy and full of energy as ever, which should have been the warning sign. "Kayda agreed to go on a date with you!"
"W-wha? When?"
"An hour! See you there!"
--

-And that is why you're currently sitting here feeling nothing short of absolute embarrassment over not knowing what to do in front of said cute girl. Do you act tough? Act natural? What is natural? Certainly not how you're acting right now.

What was it that Cassata told you earlier when you asked about this?
"Just be yourself."
Yeah, thanks Cassata. You're really feeling like 'yourself' right now.

The waitress approaches your table. Thank god, maybe this will take your mind off of this for a few seconds.
"Can I get you something to drink?"
"Tea, please." Kayda acknowledges the waitress only for the brief amount of time. She even manages to smile, for a second.
"And you, sir?"

>Water.
>Coffee?
>Tea, also
>Oh god oh god OH GOD
>Say something classy?
>Alcohol?
>Other?
>>
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>>
>>1955119
>Tea, also
Safe option.
>>
>>1955119
>Coffee?

Dorje could use a pick-me-up
>>
>>1955119
>Coffee?
>>
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"Coffee, please." You successfully manage to say what you wanted to drink without having an aneurysm. Good! That's a good start to a fine morning meal!

The waitress smiles and then walks away. You can almost feel yourself sweating bullets. Kayda doesn't seem to have noticed anything off about you, yet. So your job should be to calm down, and keep her occupied with something.

"So, that battle yesterday." You think of the most obvious distraction imaginable, "That was, quite scary, huh?"
"Hmm, yeah." Kayda sighs.

"Very good job with the boulders. I didn't think about using fire to melt them." You laugh, awkwardly.
"Yeah, I'm surprised with how well it worked." Kayda still doesn't seem to be looking in your general direction, "We have to try it again sometime."

Yes! That's a good start!
"I know, right?" You feel your face beaming, "I could control the lava just before it cooled as if it was solid rock."

"The only problem is the 'holding hands' part." Kayda sighs, "I don't want to do that again, so we'll have to find a way around it."

No.
Kayda, no.
That hurts worse than anything that happened yesterday.

You feel a dry cough escape your throat.
"W-well, I liked holding hands."

She eyes you with her almost emotionless expression.
"..Really?"

"Yeah, I did! Holding your hand helped me concentrate." Yes, that's a good answer!

"Mm, you should try to get stronger without my help. Relying on others is bad for you."

No! Kayda, No! no.
No.

The waitress comes by once more, and sets down a cup of coffee in front of you. Kayda takes her tea, and starts drinking from it intently.
"Food will be out in just a minute." The waitress smiles, and prances away.

You can tell Kayda has a lot on her mind, but doesn't want to talk about any of it. You have a lot on your mind, too. It's just mostly involving how badly you're doing on this date.

You need to escape this rut.

>Talk about Jack. Ask what happened to him
>Bring up another subject, maybe about her magic?
>Ask whatever happened to the Konditorei thing.
>"So, uh, nice weather."
>Talk about the battle yesterday some more.
>Ask why she agreed to this date if you're boring her so much.
>Other?
>>
>>1959412
>Bring up another subject, maybe about her magic?
>Having your own power and working together is both important probably no one can do everything.
Or as well as we can get that out there.
>>
>>1959412
>Bring up another subject, maybe about her magic?
>Talk about Jack. Ask what happened to him
>>
>>1959412
>"So, uh, nice weather."
>>
>>1959412
>Crazy how a massive demon was just living under Biscotti
>Talk about the battle yesterday some more.

Might have to bust out the H.A.D. formula if were getting nowhere
>>
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"So tell me a little more about your magic, then."

"Well, it's fire. It burns things."

You feel a sigh escape your breath. You did ask, and you did receive an answer.
"Anything else it can do? I know you and Louise were working on some kind of secret attack. What was it?"

"Oh, that was nothing much." Kayda smiles lightly, stirring her tea. "I found that I can make bullets and arrows explode on impact by manipulating the fire within them, but Louise can make them follow things with her electricity. So the thought was for me to shoot flaming bullets, and have her guide them."

"Bullets that follow people which explode? That doesn't seem like 'nothing much'."

"It wasn't as impressive as it sounds."
"That sounds pretty impressive!"

"Well, it wasn't that good." She gently sips at her teacup. "One of us had to shoot AND channel magic at the same time. It was best just to throw lightning and fire at things."

"Still! That's pretty impressive. Having your own power and working together are both important. No one can do everything themselves!"
"Except Jack, apparently." Kayda grumbles. She's been sort-of sore that she didn't have more to do with slaying that monster. Atlas has assured you that there are plenty of demons in the world to slay, but that doesn't seem like much consolation to someone who was training for almost a solid month up until this point.

"Crazy how a massive demon was just living under Biscotti, huh?" You try to nudge the subject along.
"Yeah, I wonder if there's more." Kayda taps the table with her fingers.

"Atlas says there are, but probably not as powerful as that one. That one has apparently been underground for a long time."

"Until Jack woke it up."
"Speaking of which-" That reminds you of something, "How is Jack?"

"Still recovering."
"Really? It's been like five days, now."

"I asked Aligot and he said both him and Atlas had it pretty bad." Kayda sits up straight in her chair, "Atlas can still stay awake about an hour a day, and Jack has had a private nurse looking after him."

"A private.. nurse?" You feel puzzled by that revelation.
"Yeah, I don't get it either. I'm sure he's not doing THAT bad. Where would he even find a private nurse, anyway?"

--

>Cont.
>>
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--

Uugh.
The morning sun shines through the window and reflects rudely against your eyelids.

"Whar time issit?"

You slowly inch upward in bed, and feel the weight resting against your eyes shift to your head. It feels nothing short of trying to balance a cannonball against your forehead.

You are Jack Albator, bedridden adventurer, too tired to think of anything witty, and this makes the third or fourth time you've been awake in the last few days.
Apparently, that fight took a lot out of you. You talked to Aligot, and he thinks you may be sleeping this one off for a few weeks, at best.

You don't have time to stay bedridden for weeks, you got a kingdom to lead! You have a unit to manage! You just gotta get a pick-me-up from the old thing that always picks you up.

You reach over to your bed-stand and grab a glass bottle filled with the one thing in the world that always puts the fire in your veins. Oh, and it makes you motivated, too.
The bottle tilts backwards as the alcohol contained within flows into your mouth. It starts as a slight twinge, and then bites at the inside of your mouth with its hateful fury.

That's the good stuff.

You look over to the other, smaller bed in the room, and notice that it's empty. Keiko must have went downstairs to get breakfast. Which is fine, you should consider doing the same thing once the liquor kicks in, and once your head stops trying to fall off your shoulders.

Knock knock

"S'open." You lazily slur with what little exists of your wits right now.

The door to the room creaks open, and-

"..Madeleine?"
"Mm, there's a doctor in the house." The good snake-doctor pokes her head in with an almost devious manner. She slowly enters the room with an almost seductive dance. "-and she's coming to check on her patient."
That's when you notice her tail reach up and aptly lock the deadbolt on the door behind her.

Oh.

"Heya, err, how long have I been out?"
"Too long." Madeleine is smiling, "You've been really know how to make the doctor worry."

"Ah, sorry about that, it's a- kinda thing aye do. Passin' out occasionally, aye mean. Er, Madeleine, if ye don't mind me askin'; where'd ye get that shirt?"

A silken, white shirt with hemmed sleeves clings tightly to Madeleine's chest. It's clearly undersized for her voluptuous form, and you admit that's pretty damn hot.

"Just somethin' the doc threw on for her patient. You know, I've been waiting a long time to give you your treatment." Madeleine inches closer to your bed.
"Heya, aren't ye worried about Keiko comin' back?"

"She's out with Atsuko today. Which means you're in my care for now." She licks her lips, "Come on, let's get started with an injection."
She slithers onto the bed, and gently pulls the covers and sheets off of you.

"Don't be shy."
with a smile, you reach up and grab the collar of her tight-fitting shirt. With a yank, it comes off with little resistance.

--

>Cont.
>>
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--

"Anyway-" Kayda continues, "Whatever it may be. I don't envy him."
"Yeah. I'm kind of glad he told us to not overdo it, now. Spending days in bed must be horrible." You drink your coffee, now that it's cooled off enough to put to your lips.

"It would drive me insane." Kayda grumbles. "Just sitting around all day, not doing anything."

"Well, come on Kayda. It's Jack we're talking about. I'm sure he's doing something."

"Yeah, yeah." Kayda yawns.

You look out the window to the brilliant reflection off of Biscotti lake. The sky is blue, and the temperature has never been more fitting for winter. It's a little cool, but not so cold that you need a cloak.

"Great weather, huh?"
"I used to love days like this." Kayda smiles, gazing at the scenery.
Ha! She smiled! You must be doing something right, here!

"Really?" You ask a dumb question, but maybe she can follow it up with something.
"Yeah, my father used to take me hunting on days like this. The dew would eat straight through my shoes, but he always said it was the best time to hunt. The cool morning air meant that animals weren't as fast to react as they normally would."

"Oh, I didn't know that."
You can't say you relate, as you did little to no hunting before coming here.

"Maybe that's the best time to hunt demons, too."
"I don't know. I rather not think about it much more after yesterday."

>Change the subject.
>Why not?
>How did Louise get you to agree to this, anyway?
>Admire the scenery until food is served.
>Other?
>>
>>1960734
>Why not?
>>
>>1960734
>Change the subject.
>Ask about hunting she used to do, instead of demons.
>>
>>1960734
>Change the subject.
>>
>>1955119
oh shit its finally ending?
>>
Writing!

>>1963913
That's right! Last thread we wrapped up the main storyline. Now we're on the victory lap.
>>
>>1963929
huh

sad to see it go... that just leaves house and dominion hive queen and DATS from the /tg/ days.. which is really crushing because once those end i will have no reason to come here
>>
>>1963940
He said he's going to run some kind of sequel though, I think.
>>
>>1963940
Sorry to hear that. I'm sure the spirit of writing still remains. I hope you do check in for any future projects I might have in mind!
>>1963945
Welll, It's not going to be a sequel. It's going to be another quest. Just like CPM, it doesn't mean DDQ is over, it just means I'm letting the characters rest for a while until I can think of someplace new to take them.

The new quest probably won't have anything to do with DDQ at all.
>>
>>1963952
Ah, didn't catch that the next thing wasn't the future DDQ thing.
>>
Update postponed until morning. Having some connectivity issues.
>>
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"Why not?" You would think Kayda would like to reflect on the events of the day, "Was it upsetting?"
"Worrying, more like." Kayda looks down at her cup of tea, "The thought that there could exist giant, slimy monsters just below our feet at all times of the day. It.. I don't want it to keep me up at night, that's all."

Well when she puts it that way, then it does seem to send a tiny chill up your spine.

"Don't worry about it too much! I can see underground. I've felt the center of the Earth. If there were really monsters right below our feet, I would have-"
"Then why didn't you see this one?"

Well, that's a good question.

"Uh, um. Because it was in water. I can't see in water."
"Mm."

She takes another sip of her tea, and stares wistfully out the window.
You probably should just change the subject.

"I didn't do a lot of hunting when I was young." You think of somethign else to distract from that less-appealing line of thought. "What's it like? Is there something you like hunting?"

"Well, yes." She sighs, "When I was young my father taught me how to hunt rabbits, and then gradually went up from there. Soon it was deer, and then ducks. After that he was going to teach me how to hunt and skin bear, followed by bison."

"Then you were.. summoned, right?" You try not to talk about it much, you're not sure how comfortable she is with it.

"No."

Uh oh, something you just said made her visibly upset. Even if it's just a little; you can still see her discomfort. She breaks eye contact and looks back out the window.

'Did something happen with your father?'
NO, NO, NO, DON'T ASK THAT.

Whew, you almost blurted that out without considering how that would make Kayda feel.
Her father is clearly a sore point for her. Instead, you'll try to steer the topic back onto hunting.

"So what have you been hunting afte your were summoned?"
"Nothing much, really." Her attention turns away from the sea and toward you once more. "I haven't been waking up as early as I had been, so no early-morning hunts."

"Oh, is it because of the training?"
"That, and.. I've been having problems when I go out into the woods alone."

What?

"Problems?" That's a curious way to describe the woods.

"Well.. It's embarrassing, I don't want to talk about it."

>C'mon, try me.
>It's not embarrassing.
>Are you scared of the woods?
>Tell her something about yourself in return
>Change the subject
>Other?
>>
>>1966889
>C'mon, try me.
>I promise not to laugh or anything.
>>
>>1966889
>Tell her something about yourself in return
>Change the subject

We can give her a freebie and laugh a little about it before changing the subject, and let her decide if she wants to go back to that question herself.
>>
>>1966889
>C'mon, try me.
>Tell her something about yourself in return
>>
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"Really silly?"
"Yeah." She is blushing, slightly. "You probably don't want to hear about it."

"No, it's fine." You try to be reassuring.
"Well, it's not-"

"Try me." You smile at her.

"I don't think it's very.. I don't want you telling anyone, okay?"

Well that just makes you even more curious about it.
Let's try a little tit for tat.

"You know, before I was summoned; my father taught me everything there was to know about my family's martial arts."
"What was that like?" Kayda blinks.

"Intense." Yeah, that's a good word for it. "We lived a difficult, trying life. Our home was way up in the mountains, so invaders and bandits couldn't find us. Every day he would wake me up at dawn so we could meditate."

"That doesn't sound so bad."
"Dad's meditation was something else." You try to downplay the actual strenuous nature of meditation. "I remember every day, twice a week, he would have me sit below a waterfall."

"Below a waterfall?"
"That's right, he had a flat rock that sat just below where the water hit. We would take off our clothes and sit under it for three hours a day."

"Three hours?!"
You laugh. "Three hours. He said it was to re-align my chi. I almost drowned a time or two when I sat in the slightly-wrong place on the stone."

"That's.." Kayda has the right word in mind for it, but semes like she doesn't want to insult you. You'll say it for her, then.
"Stupid?" You laugh, "The funny part about it happened after I was summoned, because I took his cleansing rituals very seriously. I did them every morning."

"What did Eileen say?"
"I did them in secret for about a month after being summoned." You feel yourself starting to blush, it's really embarrassing. "Until one day when Eileen followed me to the river I was meditating at. She watched me take off my clothes, and walk straight into a waterfall, then sit down. She watched me for maybe twenty minutes before coming out of the woods and asking me something that changed my life."

Kayda is trying to hold back a smirk, "What did she say?"
"She look right at me sitting naked under a freezing waterfall and asked, 'What are you doing?'" You feel yourself feeling a little nervous about it, "I said 'I don't know', stood up, put my clothes on, and then followed her back to town. I haven't done any of dad's meditation since. It's really silly, when I think about it."

Kayda loses her composure, and starts laughing. You giggle along with her. It's a funny story when you think back on it. Embarrassing, but funny.

"Now, want to say that your story is sillier than that?" You smile.

>Cont.
>>
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"It's not that it's silly, it's more, scary." Kayda tries to describe it with hand motions.

"Come on, try me."

"It's hard to- remember when I had the ring in my neck?"
"Of course I remember." How could you forget? "I had to carry you back to the castle while you were spitting fire."

"Mm, Right." Kayda gets noticeably uncomfortable, "Well, before it happened I started hearing voices. Aligot told me that the ring let people talk to others who were far, far away. I stopped hearing them after the ring was gone."
"So what's the problem?"

"I'm still hearing things." Kayda says, without a hint of sarcasm, "Not like.. voices though. It sounds like, things that are happening. Things that will happen. The trees, the woods, the stones, the rivers, all of them tell me things. I don't know how to describe it. It only happens when I'm alone in the woods."

Woh.
How do you even follow that one up?

"You don't think I'm crazy, do you?"

>Of course not.
>Have you told Aligot about this?
>What do these things say to you?
>Maybe you should keep that a secret.
>Other?
>>
>>1969670
>Of course not.
>What do these things say to you?
>Have you told Aligot about this?
>>
>>1969670
>Of course not.
>What do these things say to you?
>That could be useful if the voices are telling you about the future.
>>
>>1969670
>Of course not.
>Have you told Aligot about this?
>What do these things say to you?
>We live in a world with magic everywhere, can't discount anything.
>>
>>1969670
>Of course not.
>Have you told Aligot about this?
>Or even Atlas? I think he really likes teaching magic and being outdoors.
>What do these things say to you?
>>
>>1969670
>Of course not.
>Have you told Aligot about this?
>What do these things say to you?
>Do they say anything good?
>>
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"Of course not!" You try to remain perfectly serious, and not change your demeanor at all. "I mean, we live in a world of magic now. Maybe it's magic?"

"It's annoying magic, if it is." She takes a sip of her tea.

"What do these voices say to you? Do they say anything good?"
"I guess." She seems uncomfortable talking about it, "They don't say the things the ring used to say. It's more like.. they're having a conversation, and I'm walking into it."

That's must be a weird feeling.
"What kind of conversation?"
"About, uh. The birds, the trees, the future, the past, the weather, all of it. I guess. I try not to think about them too much, because I don't want to look crazy."

Hang on.
"The future?"
"Well, forget I said that."

"Can they tell you the future?"

"M-maybe?" She seems nervous all of the sudden. "It's more like, I see things, and then they happen."

"That's so cool!" You're really interested, now. "So you really can see the future!"
"W-well, I rather not." Kayda seems nervous.

"Why?"
"Because I don't think anyone should have the power to see the future!" She seems slightly angry about this, even. "I don't want to be known as that crazy girl who listens to voices that aren't there and sees things that haven't happened yet. Do you know what they used to call those kind of people?!"

Your mind blanks, "No, no I don't."
"Witches, Dorje! Psychics, shamans, mentalists!" She seems almost a little upset. "I don't want to be like that!"

"Why are you looking at it like it's a bad thing? Maybe it's just a side effect of your magic. I've started to feel things vibrating. I can hear footsteps that are miles away!"

"T-that's nice, but I rather not speak to voices that aren't there."

"Think of it as a gift, Kayda!"

"Please. I don't want to think of it that way."

"Have you at least told Aligot about it?"
"Of course not."

"Why?"
"Because! He's prodding and annoying and he might ask me to do it more or something for research. I don't want that."

>How about this, later let's go both visit Aligot and get his opinion.
>Let's go to the woods later, maybe you can tell me what they're saying?
>Change the topic.
>Okay, that's fine.
>Other?
>>
>>1973691
>Aligot might have answers, and you can ignore anything that bothers you.
>Let's go to the woods later, maybe you can tell me what they're saying?
>But let's not worry about it for now.
>Change the topic.
>>
>>1973691
>Aligot might have answers, and you can ignore anything that bothers you.
>Let's go to the woods later, maybe you can tell me what they're saying?
>>
>>1973691
>Aligot might have answers, and you can ignore anything that bothers you.
>Let's go to the woods later, maybe you can tell me what they're saying?




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