Bane Fifteen – Double
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Stray Cat Strut (A cyberpunk system apocalypse!) - Ongoing
Fluff (A superheroic LitRPG about cute girls doing cute things!) - Ongoing
Love Crafted (Interactive story about an eldritch abomination tentacle-ing things!) - Completed
Dreamer's Ten-Tea-Cle Café (An insane Crossover about cute people and tentacles) - Ongoing
Cinnamon Bun (A wholesome LitRPG!) - Ongoing
The Agartha Loop (A Magical-Girl drama!) - Hiatus
Lever Action (A fantasy western with mecha!) - Volume One Complete!
Heart of Dorkness (A wholesome progression fantasy) - Ongoing
Dead Tired (A comedy about a Lich in a Wuxia world doing Science!) - Hiatus
Sporemageddon (A fantasy story about a mushroom lover exploding the industrial revolution!) - Ongoing

Bane Fifteen - Double

We had to get ready for the double date.

The problem was, that while we had some time (Aunt Semper had slipped Esme a note saying that the date would take place in a week’s time) we didn’t know how to use that time well.

My speciality was making monsters and... I guessed using dark magic pretty well? Neither of those things were useful when it came to preparing for a date.

Worse, it wasn’t a real date. I had even less experience with fake-dates that were meant to help someone else with their romantic life. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to help. Mom’s lovelife was none of my business.

Well, maybe it was a little bit my business.

I kinda really wanted to make it my business, but I was a good and respectful daughter and Mom gave me plenty of space, so it was only fair that I did the same for her.

“Is this good?” Esme asked. She raised a dress off the rack and turned with it. The dress was very fluffy, with many frills.

“Too poofy,” Felix said.

I nodded. “Way too poofy.”

Esme sighed, then shoved the dress back onto the rack. “I don’t know what to do then,” she said. “We don’t have anything that fits. All of this stuff is too... too much.”

“I don’t know why you two are bothered by all of this,” Felix said. She was lounging on a lounge chair, feet hooked over the part of the chair meant for sitting and body splayed out across the seat with her arms above her head, holding a book up. “Just go dressed like normal. Maybe clean up a bit before. Take a bath.”

“I don’t know if we can go on a date just wearing normal clothes,” I said.

Felix shrugged, then turned a page in her book with a flick of her thumb and a tiny use of wind magic. “I don’t see the point in getting all prettied up. You’re dating each other, yeah? It’s not like you don’t know what you look like.”

I pursed my lips. She wasn’t wrong, but still. “It’s... symbolic,” I said.

“Sure,” Felix said. “Not as if any of us know what we’re doing here, I figure it’s better to go simple and not worry about it.”

“Do you think Mom’s going to ‘go simple’” I asked. “That doesn’t sound like her at all.”

Felix tilted her head back to glance at me. “Your mom never does anything simple. But you’re not your mom, and Esme isn’t Semper or whatever. Besides, it’s a fake date, right?”

“It is,” Esme said. “Just a fake date between me and Valeria, that’s all.”

“Right,” I agreed.

“Well, there you go. You don’t practise fighting while wearing all your nicest gear, that’s just silly. Besides, Semper and Luciana both know that this is a fake date, right?”

I shook my head. “No, no. For us it’s just a fake date so that we can learn how to do that, but we’re trying to make it so that mom and Semper’s fake date becomes a real one,” I said.

Esme perked up. “That’s right. If this is just a ploy to get the two goddesses together, than what we do and how we look doesn’t matter that much. We’ll still want to be presentable, of course. Semper will be there, after all.”

I nodded. Esme’s enthusiasm about impressing Semper was pretty much a constant with her. It was kind of cute though. She reminded me of some of the smarter monsters I made... but nicer. I wasn’t going to voice that aloud or else her hair would get all frizzy and she might zap me.

“We don’t even have a plan, do we?” I said.

“Oh, Semper, we don’t,” Esme said. She looked like she wanted to panic, but she frowned and balled her hands into fists and shook her head. “We just need to figure things out, mark out some clear objectives, then find a way to work out how to reach those.”

I glanced around the room. This was one of Mom’s closets. There were a dozen of these hidden around the castle, all filled with dresses from different times and eras. Mostly they were all black (mom had a theme), but once in a while we’d find something more colourful.

“Want to go to one of the planning rooms?” I asked.

Felix kicked her legs out so that she could sit down properly, then she bounced to her feet. “I wouldn’t mind walking a bit,” she said.

“Just count yourself lucky that you’re not coming on this date,” I said. “Or else you’d have to worry about all of this stuff too.”

Felix grinned. “Come on, as if I wouldn’t worry for you if I thought you were in trouble.”

“You don’t look worried,” Esme pointed out.

“Because I know you’re both smart, so you’re not really in any trouble,” Felix said.

Esme crossed her arms, but the way she held herself a bit straighter... I think she was a bit proud of the compliment. “We’ll just do our best, I guess. We know the subjects well, so it can’t be that hard. Between your knowledge of your mom, Valeria, and my studies into Semper, we probably have a great image of the two.”

I nodded along. “Mostly we’ll be relying on you though. I don’t really have the mind for this kind of thing.”

“Right, don’t worry, Valeria, I’ll do my best.”

We headed out of the clothing room, then up a flight of stairs and to one of the rooms we used for magic lessons. The walls were covered in blackboards covered in notes and chalk designs. A few work tables filled the centre of the room, and of course there was a corner for reading with some sofas on it.

It was a nice, serious place for us to dissect and figure out how new spells worked, and if Felix had left some doodles on some of the walls, well that was part of the charm and in no way detracted from the serious nature of the work that went on in there.

Esme and I gathered up some chalk, papers, and even a few notebooks. Then we hesitated. “I, ah, don’t know where to start,” I admitted.

“Well... Semper said that a good date was one where everyone comes out of it having a good time,” Esme began. “So, I imagine that that should be our main priority. Having some fun while on this date, and ensuring that Luciana and Semper are amused as well.”

“That won’t be too hard,” I said. “Hanging out with you is always fun.”

Esme nodded seriously. “Yes, likewise,” she said. She noted that down.

Felix snickered behind us, but when I turned her way she shook her head and waved me away. “What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Nothing. It’s just... you two.”

“What about us?” Esme asked.

“You’re being very scientific about this whole date is all,” Felix said. “I think it’s funny.”

“If we’re going to date, then we’re going to do it correctly,” Esme said with a huff.

“So you’ll end it with a kiss?” Felix asked.

“I... well... That’s a bit much for a fake date!” Esme said. Her hair snapped at the air.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “It’s a bit much. That’s something we’d do if we were actually dating.”

Esme glanced my way. “You’d kiss me if we were dating?”

“I... well... anyway, we’re going off topic,” I said. “This isn’t about us, this is about Semper and Mom.”

Felix nodded. “Yeah, but they think it’s about you, right?”

“They think it’s about us going on a fake date to learn more about real dating,” I said.

“But neither of them seem all that bothered by the idea of us dating,” Esme pointed out. “Or at least, Semper didn’t.”

“I don’t think Mom would mind,” I said. “What we need to see is if Mom and Semper would mind dating each other.”

Felix shrugged. “I think you’re thinking too much. If they like each other they’ll just naturally want to be with each other, right? Like, we all like each other, so we all stick together.”

“Yeah, but this is different,” I said. “This is romantic liking.”

“No, I think Felix is onto something,” Esme says. “What if one leads to the other?”

I narrowed my eyes. “I guess. In that case... what we need to do is make sure that they’re good friends, then just shove them into romantic situations until something sticks?”

“That’s exactly it,” Esme said with a nod.

For some reason, Felix found that immensely funny, but no matter how much we teased her, she wouldn’t tell us why.

***

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