When Fenrir and Azalabulia return to the others, they are not met with teasing nor knowing eyebrow wiggling.
Instead, everybody seems too busy discussing something. Going by how not a single one of them is smiling, and the serious expressions on their face, it is clear that something is going on.
“What do you think is wrong?” Azalabulia asks, the seriousness of the group even snapping her out of her mumbling and giggling.
“I have one idea,” Fenrir answers.
And that idea of his gets confirmed once they make it up to the others.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Fenrir asks the group who’s all standing together in a circle.
“Oi, how come ya didn’t think of tellin’ us this sooner?” Tabitha asks.
Fenrir looks over at Nell.
She nods and says, “I told them like you told me to, my hero.”
“Right. Thanks. Anyways, uh, I just didn’t bring it up because of everything else going on. Plus I only just recently found out,” Fenrir says.
“So, ya decided to go and have some fun while havin’ her break the news for ya?” Tabitha asks.
“Well… when you put it that way, it does sound pretty bad.”
“How’d it go?” Oleander asks, leaning in.
“Yeah. How’d it go?” Serra asks as well.
“W-we can talk about that later,” Fenrir answers.
“The-there’s nothing to talk about!” Azalabulia claims.
Oleander and Serra look at each other and then back up at the other two to give them some thumbs-ups.
“Anyways… sorry, Tabs. I just didn’t have a good time to bring it up before,” Fenrir says.
“Ya could have said somethin’ last night or earlier!” Tabitha shouts. “Ya didn’t think it’d be a good idea to tell us right away about some mysterious underwater army?!”
“Well, it might be an army, but it’s not like it’s marching this way or anything. It’s just sort of standing around on the bottom of the ocean.”
“And for how long do ya think it’s goin’ to stand around doin’ nothin’?!”
“I know you’re used to bein’ spoiled what with havin’ four girlfriends and all that, but don’t ya think that this might be a bit too much wishful thinkin’?”
“N-no? I mean, maybe it’s only going to do anything if anybody tries attacking the serpent or going too far east. Why else would it just be standing around doing nothing?”
“I don’t know, but it sounds like somethin’ that should be seriously considered when we’re supposed to be buildin’ a city!”
“Alright, you’re right. It’s not like we can just ignore a major potential threat like that when it’s there. I wouldn’t want us to build a city only for it to get wiped out by some random underwater monster army’s attack.”
Then Fenrir remembers something.
Back when he first visited the town to the north, he was told about how the walls built around it are for more than to protect them against storm surge.
“—raging storms and the creatures that come in with them.”
“Just gotta worry about the storms and what they bring.”
Is that what they were talking about?
Though, even if that does turn out to be the case, the sheer size of the army that Fenrir was shown could easily wipe out that town regardless of what defenses it may or may not have.
They also said something about dragons, prompting Fenrir to look up at the mountains.
“What if,” Fenrir thinks to Saya, “you could be a puppy-dragon hybrid? Like, you would still have puppy ears, but you’d also have horns and wings and a dog tail.”
“No,” Saya answers, “and don’t you have way more important things to be worrying about right now?!”
Fenrir sighs and looks back down to Tabitha. “I heard about creatures that come with storms. That’s why they have those walls built up there and nothing is built outside of them,” he explains.
“Great, so ya had even more information that ya thought would be wise to leave out!” Tabitha groans.
“I wasn’t purposely hiding it or anything. Though, thinking back to it… it was pretty ominous sounding.”
Tabitha smacks her face into her palms.
“It’s okay, Fenny,” Oleander says. “I heard all that stuff too back then and didn’t really think it’d be a big deal. You know who wouldn’t have been able to shut up about it though?”
“Bone,” Fenrir answers.
“Yep! If he were still here then he wouldn’t be shutting up about how there are monsters to kill.”
Fenrir chuckles and says, “You’ve got that right. He’d be working on defenses and weapons and training for whatever fight is coming.”
“If there was one thing he was good at, it was getting ready for a fight.”
“Yep. And then there was you who’d always be the one coordinating everybody and making sure everything ran smoothly. Nobody is better than you when it comes to battle plans.”
“Give yourself some credit, Fenny! You were always the one who could make everybody get along and work together, and nobody could out-diplo. You knew how to make everybody trust us, and you knew how to piss everybody off!”
“Yeah, but I could only do that because I had you two to back me up no matter what. I always knew that there’d be a raging Russian and a smart trap to back up my words.”
“Ah… those were the days. Hey, remember that time when—”
“Oi,” Tabitha interrupts.
All of Fenrir’s girlfriends sigh.
“This ain’t exactly the time to be reminiscin’ over the golden days!”
“Damn, that was my first time hearing them talk about that stuff. I was kind of interested in hearing more,” Rao says.
“It’s hot when Fen talks about his old days,” Serra says.
“Yeah right. We were just some nerds with no lives playing video games all day,” Fenrir says.
“Says the guy who used to lead one of gaming’s most infamous groups that literally made it into the news of every major gaming website,” Cassiel says.
“You were the Divine Brigade leader!” Azalabulia says. “I could listen to you talk about your exploits all day!”
Fenrir forgot about how hard she fangirled the first time she heard about him leading the now-disbanded Divine Brigade.
“And now I’m with the Soaring Wolves,” Fenrir says. “And before Tabs hits us all with her hammer, we should probably start thinking about what to do about that army.”
“Really, bro, the only thing we can do is run. We’re only a few people with a boat against an army,” Rao says. “We’re better off just setting up somewhere else.”
“Only a few people?” Fenrir asks, earning a smile and an excited nod from Oleander. “Who do you think you’re talking to?”
Oleander stretches and cracks his knuckles. “I guess it’s time to get serious then, Fenny,” he says.
“We can’t know for sure that we’re even going to get attacked, but since Tabs is right about this being something we should think about, I might as well. Olly, work with Tabs to come up with some defenses. Rao, take Shogun up to the town and check with King Cat to see if we can have a meeting. Let him know what we know. Nell, try to get in touch with our serpent out there and tell her that we need more information and for her to keep an eye out for us.”
Tabitha takes a step back. She hasn’t seen this level of confidence and seriousness come from Fenrir since the tournament back in Port Tugator, and this is completely different from then. He’s even more confident now, and that makes her smile.
“And this is why I’m still with ya, Fenrir,” Tabitha says.
“Don’t smile too much. If you want us to prepare against a potential invasion, that means I’m going to be working you into the ground,” Fenrir replies.
Tabitha crosses her arms over her chest and smiles even wider.
“Is this even worth it? What if nothing even happens?” Cassiel asks.
“Well, I’m in a good mood, Tabs is right, and it’s been too long since anything like this has happened.”
“What? I’ve only burned down a single village since I started playing. How can I relax and spend time fishing if all I can think about is how much I want to defend against an invading army of fish monsters? Actually, now that I think about it… we could just say that this is some really extreme fishing.”