[Vol. 6 pt. 2]
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“I know that this is going to look edgy, but I can’t resist. It speaks to me,” Fenrir thinks as he changes in the small shop’s dressing room.

He was surprised that it even had a dressing room in the first place.

“Onii-wan,” Saya says.

“Yeah?”

“Why do you have to be so edgy?”

“I’m a guy who’s playing a character with wolf ears and a wolf tail named Fenrir. What did you expect? I’ve been edgy from the very beginning.”

“You’re not wrong, but I don’t want to admit that it’s been obvious this whole time.”

“You know that it’s going to look awesome.”

“We’ll see about that.”

“You really don’t have to double down on the whole wolf thing, onii-wan.”

“Too bad.”

“There’s probably a reason why this was hidden in a corner and why nobody has bought it…”

“Don’t care.”

“Onii-wan, don’t forget that I’m the one who has to also see everybody’s reactions to what you’re wearing.”

“Enjoy the suffering.”

Saya sighs before giving him a moment to finish putting on his new armor.

When he does finish, he and Serra leave their dressing rooms at the same.

Though, only the head of Fenrir comes out from behind the curtain since he notices Serra coming out at the same time.

He doesn’t want his reveal to distract from hers.

“You look perfect!” Ants declares, looking at Serra.

King Cat nods along while Fenrir checks out his girlfriend’s new style.

Serra, being the least combat-involved member of his group, has never cared much about new gear. She never needed anything too protective, either, so she has always worn rather simple clothes that did the job of covering her up and nothing else.

But now that has changed.

Starting from the top, she has her new, black pirate hat that is just as oversized on her as her previous hat was. However, it being oversized only adds to the cute factor despite the rest of her outfit not looking quite as cute.

In fact, Fenrir would even say that she looks kind of badass which is something that he never would have thought she’d look like.

Over the rest of her clothes is a black leather pirate jacket that looks like something out of a classic pirate movie, but its shoulders and cuffs are long, white feathers to add a dramatic flair. Under that is a tight, still black shirt that reaches halfway up her neck and stops right where her pants begin. Made of a black linen, since the whole outfit is obviously going to be black at this point, the left pant leg is intact and goes into her boot while the right pant leg is torn just halfway down her thigh.

Then there are her boots that look more like they’re made for kicking than walking. They reach up to her kneecaps and tightly hug against her. While her legs normally look thin and like they would probably break if they tried to kick anything, the boots make them look dangerous – fast and deadly.

And of course, she has a pair of black gloves on that stop halfway up her fingers.

All in all, “You look like a badass gothic pirate,” Fenrir says.

Serra might look like a badass, but she still gives him the same cute smile upon hearing his praise.

And, upon thinking about it, her new outfit makes sense.

In reality, she likes to wear dark, ripped jeans, graphic shirts that usually make references to horror movies or bands that she likes the appearance of, and she has always dressed sort of like a punk despite her personality being the opposite of one for the most part.

“Nell is going to be all over you now,” Fenrir says.

“I bet Cass Cass will like it,” Serra replies.

“Yeah, I can see that.”

“I should have done this sooner.”

“True, but then we might not have gotten it for free.”

“Free is the best.”

“I might’ve given it away for free even if the cat here didn’t call in a favor!” Ants says. “It’s not like anybody else was interested in buying what you two’ve picked out.”

“In that case, I’ll take the favor back,” King Cat says. “Since it wasn’t needed in the first place.”

“Nope. Too late for that. I don’t owe you a thing anymore.”

“Was worth a try at least.”

The two men laugh together before turning their attention to Fenrir.

“Come on and show us how you look!” Ants says. “Can’t let your girl be the only one showing off.”

Serra nods and says, “Yeah, do it.”

Fenrir suddenly doubts whether he should really be trying out his new look. It matches with Serra’s and looks awesome but showing off something as “dark” as he’s wearing is kind of embarrassing now that he’s being put on the spot.

But, with a gulp, he steps out from behind the curtain.

Before, he looked somewhat like a wannabe Viking. He had chainmail, some light armor over that, and was more or less fully covered from toe to neck.

He was stuck looking like an RPG character still in the leveling process wearing whatever basic, average-looking armor that he could get. It had a mass-produced and generic look to it.

But now?

Now he looks more like an endgame character who has actually managed to get his hands on some cool gear.

Of course, cool is subjective, and there are just as many people who would never be seen wearing what he is as there are people who would love to wear it.

Still without a helmet or any sort of hat, his long hair flows over the back of his new, black cuirass.

He has traded in looking like a Viking to looking like some sort of Roman hero.

The black metal cuirass covers only his torso, allowing his muscular arms to be shown off for once. Unlike in reality, his in-game arms are full of powerful muscles pressing up against his skin. They are impressively obvious even if they are not on the same level as a professional weightlifter.

On his arms are metal braces that cover the tops of his forearms, secured around them by leather straps on the undersides of his arms. For somebody who likes to get into close and physical fights, they will be perfect for blocking attacks.

From his waist to about halfway down his thighs are short tights. Now, while he would not want to wear something that could be called “tights” normally, especially not on their own, they look too good with his outfit to not wear. Hanging over top of the tights are the “feathers” of the pteruges that are composed of leather almost as black as the metal armor.

And finally there are the boots. While Serra’s boots are tight and sleek, Fenrir’s are heavy and metal while reaching up just as high as hers. His, too, look more like they’re made for kicking than for walking.

“Well, it looks unique,” King Cat says.

“At least somebody wants it,” Ants says.

The only thing missing to make Fenrir look truly edgy is dying his hair black. As it is, his white tail, ears, and hair contrast pretty strongly against his black armor.

His tail nervously wagging behind him also takes away from the edginess factor.

But, fortunately for Fenrir, there is somebody who appreciates his new look.

“Well?” Fenrir asks, looking down at Serra.

“Awesome,” Serra says with a thumbs-up and sparkles in her eyes. “You look like a metal guitarist.”

“That’s not exactly what I was going for, but I’ll take it.”

“I love it.”

His tail wags a bit faster.

“You look super cool.”

And faster.

“And everybody’s gonna love it. You look like a bad guy for Nell, mysterious for Cass Cass, and dark for Azawaza.”

His tail wags as fast as it possibly can, taking every last ounce of edginess away from his new style.

There is just nothing edgy about a man wearing all black while having a tail wagging as fast as his is.

“And we match,” Serra continues, stepping up next to him so that they can stand side-by-side.

Fenrir’s armor might be all black, but his white hair makes up for the lack in color. Between his armor and his hair, he really does match Serra’s new black attire with its white flairs. Plus, having white hair herself works.

“We look awesome,” Serra says again.

“A pirate and an epic hero type. I’ve got to admit, it does work pretty well together,” King Cat says.

“Yeah. Never expected them to match so well,” Ants says. “That’s the power of color theory. Doesn’t matter what you’re wearing as long as you’ve got good colors. Anyways! So, you two happy with what you’ve got?”

Fenrir and Serra look into each other’s eyes before looking back at Ants and nodding.

“Great, because that’s all you’re getting. And now I don’t owe you,” Ants looks at King Cat, “anymore.”

“I know. You’ve already said that a few times,” King Cat says.

“Thanks a ton. Both of you. We really appreciate it,” Fenrir says.

“Thanks,” Serra joins in.

“No problem!” Ants says. “I’m just glad somebody finally wants all that. It’s a pretty unique style that uh, not too many folk around here appreciate. But as long as you like wearing it, that’s all that really matters, right?”

“Right!” King Cat says. “Now, before I let you two leave, I’ve got a bit of discussing to do with you,” he says to Fenrir.

“Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten,” Fenrir says. “Want to go over it now?”

King Cat nods and says, “We’ll go over it at my place and talk over some coffee.”

Serra’s concern as soon as she remembers King Cat’s coffee is obvious… to everybody other than King Cat. Even Ants can see Serra’s worry.

“How about tea?” Fenrir asks. “I went through a bit of a coffee phase in reality recently, so I’m not sure I could stomach to drink more coffee.”

“Ah! Fair enough,” King Cat says. “It’s because of pumpkin spice season, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. I just can’t resist pumpkin spice coffee,” Fenrir lies, though it’s for the sake of somebody incredibly important to him.

And the one he is lying for is immediately appreciative of his lie.

Serra looks up at him and wraps her arms around his side, hugging him and mentally promising to do lewd things to him later in exchange for saving her from more of King Cat’s coffee.

She’s going to really have to bust out his favorite services for him.

Though, she’s going to need the cooperation of their other girlfriends for that.

But it is worth it.

Giving her boyfriend a night of harem service to thoroughly satisfy his every desire is something that she will gladly do for him if it means being saved from King Cat’s coffee.

Then again, she would do it even if it were not for being saved from coffee.

Which is exactly why she does do that.

At least once a week.

Sometimes twice a week.

Occasionally three to four times a week.

Not-so-rarely, every single night of the week.

The new privacy from having a house built at their fledgling town has been great for their relationship’s sex life.

At King Cat's house in the center of Catsville, Fenrir and Serra are seated at his meeting table as he pours them both a cup of tea. Each cup gets shaken just a little bit to swirl the tea around before they can drink it.

Serra looks apprehensive when it comes to tasting it since she knows what his coffee is like… but she finds the courage to take a sip.

And…

It’s alright.

It’s nothing special, but the fact that it’s nothing special is more than she could have hoped for when it comes to King Cat.

“Nothing special” also means that it’s not especially bad.

Serra sighs from relief.

“That good, huh?” King Cat asks with a proud smile.

Serra nods as Fenrir takes a sip of the tea himself.

And then it hits him.

He never thought the coffee was as bad as Serra thought it was… but the tea?

The tea is truly, truly disgusting.

It is the most bitter, taste-bud-assaulting thing that he has ever tasted.

But for the sake of his girlfriend, he drinks it.

“Something wrong?” King Cat asks.

How does he know that something is wrong?

Fenrir is making sure to keep a brave, neutral face in spite of the foul substance filling his mouth.

“No, why?” Fenrir asks.

“Your ears are low.”

Right.

Fenrir might be able to control his facial expressions but he cannot control his ears and tail.

“Oh. No, just remembering something sad,” he lies.

While he normally despises lying and believes that it should never be done… there is a difference between white lies that are for the sake of somebody else and selfish, serious lies.

He must lie for both his girlfriend’s comfort and King Cat’s pride.

Unfortunately, his lie doesn’t work.

“Hah! You two are tough, I’ve got to admit it,” King cat says.

His lie didn’t work because they were both seen through from the very beginning.

“What?” Fenrir asks.

“Sorry. I know that it’s an asshole thing for me to do, but I like to mess with new people around these parts by giving them drinks like that to see what sort of characters they are. But last time, I saw that you weren’t bothered as much as the pirate there, so I felt challenged to make something really special for you.”

“So… you were testing us by purposely giving us horrible drinks?”

“Yep! Asshole, I know, but it’s been my favorite prank ever since I was a little one. I just can’t resist it.”

“Mine isn’t that bad,” Serra says, looking down into her tea.

“That’s because you’ve already suffered. You see, I didn’t want you to go through it again, so I had to think of how to prank him without pranking you. That’s why I made a pretty bland tea… but if you look into your cups, you’ll see the difference.”

Fenrir and Serra compare their cups.

The tea in her cup is clear.

The tea in Fenrir’s cup is cloudy.

“What’d you do?” Fenrir asks.

“I put a bit of special powder in your cup before bringing it out to you. Then I just had to pour the tea in and give it a bit of a shake.”

“So… you basically drugged me.”

“Don’t worry, it’s harmless. The powder just makes whatever it’s mixed into taste like absolute fish shit.”

“Isn’t messing with food one of the big no’s when it comes to pranks?”

“Yeah. That’s why I’m an asshole for it. But, I promise on our friendship that I’ll never do it again.”

Fenrir sighs and says, “Promise that you’ll never prank any of my girlfriends or friends with that again.”

“But some of them haven’t suffered yet!”

“I know. I want to keep them from suffering. So, promise that and I’ll forgive you for drugging my tea.”

“Alright, alright. It’s only fair since I always feel bad after doing it. I just can’t resist…”

“Wait, does everybody around here know about it?”

“Yeah, I always confess to everybody after doing it.”

“So then they all knew. The guy that brought us to you at first, Ants – they knew what you were doing to us.”

“Yup! They don’t want to be the only ones to suffer, so they keep their mouths shut.”

“You’re all fucked up.”

“Hah! I know. We might not be raiders or griefers or anything, but we have plenty of fun around here pranking each other.”

“At least that’s as harmful as you are. Plus it’s not like we’re around enough to always be getting pranked.”

“Shame.”

“I’m not so sure about that.”

“Hah. Now then, let me go get you two some real drinks. I promise that they’ll taste good. What’re you in the mood for?”

“Water,” both Serra and Fenrir say.

“Come on. I promise that it’ll be good. No pranks.”

The two sigh.

“Tea,” Serra says.

“Coffee for me,” Fenrir says.

“What? I thought you were tired of coffee?” King Cat asks.

“You saw through that, didn’t you?”

“No. Did… you lie to me?”

Fenrir doesn’t know whether he should feel bad or not. Seeing how hurt King Cat looks… only hurts Fenrir until King Cat starts smiling.

“Hah. Just kidding. I figured it was a lie,” King Cat admits.

Fenrir glares at him.

“Alright! Let me go get you two those drinks.”

Fortunately, when the host returns a few minutes later, he has delicious-looking drinks for both Serra and Fenrir.

Serra’s green tea is garnished with fresh herbs and has a sweet aroma coming from it.

Then there is Fenrir’s coffee which has a perfect layer of foam on top, looking more like a latte.

The two try their drinks and… are instantly relieved.

They’re so relieved, in fact, that they start melting into their chairs from just how good the drinks are.

“How can you go from making something so disgusting to something so good?” Fenrir asks.

“I’m a man of many talents,” King Cat says with his arms crossed over his chest.

“So good,” Serra sighs. “I feel… I forget the word.”

“Rejuvenated?”

“Yeah.”

“Good! That’s the point. Those herbs are grown by one of the ladies here in town. They’re both relaxing andenergizing. They calm your soul while boosting your body.”

“Sounds useful,” Fenrir says. “Maybe we’ll need a large batch of this tea for everybody before the battle.”

“Right. On that topic, we might as well have our discussion about it.”

“That’s why we’re here.”

“Not to visit me? I’m hurt.”

“If you always give us drinks like this then it’ll be to visit you.”

“Hah, deal. Alright. Anyways, how’re the preparations on your end coming along?”

“Pretty good. We’ve got the basics for ourselves set up, so houses, a few garden patches, a drawbridge to cross the river with, and the coastal defenses are being worked on. Breakers for waves, defensive positions, walls that can be shot through – all that. We’re also building up a stockpile of healing potions and other buffing items that we’ll be able to use. Should only take another couple of weeks before we’re ready.”

“Sounds like everything is going well. As for us, you probably already saw when you came in, but we’re making good progress with arming all of our boats. Cannons, ballistae – we’ll be ready. Though, we’re all going to feel pretty stupid if they don’t attack where we want them to.”

“They should fall for our bait. I don’t think they’ll be able to resist a serpent and our boat harassing them.”

“You sure?”

“Pretty sure. Tabs has even figured out a way to really piss them off.”

“And what would that be?”

“Depth charges.”

“You’re kidding me. Seriously?”

“Nope. We’re going to sail right over them and drop depth charges. We’re only going to be able to make a couple of them because of how many rare resources they take, but that should be enough to really kick the hive.”

“I’m sure.”

“The other towns will probably be attacked, but I’m confident we’ll be able to bait the main force to ours. Plus, I’m sure that the towns will be safe if you all leave some good fighters behind at them. You’ve got fighters who can handle some oversized fish, right?”

“Of course we do! We’re masters of fishing up here. Some oversized fish aren’t going to be able to break through us… well, as long as there aren’t too many of them. I don’t think we’d be able to handle a zombie apocalypse of oversized fish.”

“That’s what our fortress is going to be for. Marija’s group is building one impressive fortress back at our place. It’s going to be like climbing through Hell just to reach it from the coast.”

“Sounds like there’s going to be a lot of experience waiting for us.”

“I think the traps are probably going to take away most of that experience, but anybody with a ranged specialty should have a good time increasing their skills. Us melee fighters are just going to have to wait until they try to get up the walls.”

“I’ll miss our house,” Serra says.

“We’ll rebuild it once it’s over, and we’ll make it even better. Don’t worry.”

“What’s going to happen to it?” King Cat asks.

“You’ll be there, right?”

“Of course I will be! I’m not going to miss out on this battle.”

“Then you’ll see what happens to it yourself.”

“Keeping it secret, huh? That’s no fun.”

“It’ll be great.”

“If you say so! Anyways, how many on our side are we looking at?”

“Rainbow Afro said thirteen crewed boats and fifty players on the ground. Marija committed four boats and ninety ground fighters. Then we’ve got the dragons who said they’ll be able to commit twenty to thirty fighters. You said forty boats and a hundred fighters, so… including us, that makes fifty-eight boats and about two hundred and eighty fighters at the fortress.”

“Right. I keep on forgetting about those dragons you befriended. Maybe they’ll finally want to do some trading with the rest of us after fighting together.”

“Maybe. They’re a lot friendlier than you all seem to think they are. I’m just hoping I’ll be able to befriend their original dragon.”

“Ah, the giant one?”

“Yeah. The real dragon. We’re going to have a meeting with it at the festival. If we can convince it to help us out, that’s going to be a huge boost to our ranks.”

“Never would have thought I’d be participating in such a grand battle before, but this one is starting to sound like it’s going to be even more dramatic than when they tried tackling the Southern Serpent!”

“I don’t know about wanting it to be dramatic, but it’ll definitely be epic.”

“Dramatic, epic, same thing.”

“Either way, it’s not going to be a battle that anybody wants to miss. I’ll feel bad for whoever gets chosen to stay back and defend the other towns.”

“Don’t worry about them. We’ve already had enough volunteers choosing to stay back and defend. Nobody wants to lose what we’ve got here, so they know that somebody has to be around while everybody else is off in the main battle. What’s the point of waging war if there’s nothing to come back to?”

“Good point.”

“We’ve got NPCs in our towns, too. To them, these towns are their homes where they’ve got their families. It’s all they’ve got. So, don’t worry about them. There are more than a few who are happy to stay back and defend their homes. No matter how the battle goes, as long as our towns are still standing, we’ve got something.”

“Now you’re the one making things dramatic.”

“Like I said, it’s going to be a dramatic battle. No way around it.”

“Fair enough. Anyways, once we’re ready, all the fleets are going to have to sail south and combine there.”

“How far south are we talking?”

“Pretty far.”

“Why?”

“Well, think about it. The battle is going to be south of here. All of you are north. The enemy will be coming from the east. Because they’re sure to send small forces to the other towns, there’s a strong chance of the boats being intercepted on the way here. That might cause the monsters to divert their course away from us to go and take out all the easy targets in the water. But, if you sail from south where they won’t be sending any monsters, then you’ll be able to sneak right up on them and get into firing range without them expecting anything.”

“Luring a bunch of fish onto land to shoot them from the water. You sure that’s a good idea?”

“It probably won’t be as effective as just having the crews on the ground to help us fight, but I think it’ll work. It’ll cause chaos among the enemy and cause them to panic. If they’re in the middle of attacking a fortified position, and then they start getting bombarded from behind, that’s going to fuck them up. Plus the walls are being built to resist cannon fire, so it won’t matter if you accidentally hit the walls. Hopefully.”

“Aren’t we just going to draw attention to us after firing at them? What about the rest of the monsters in the water?”

“Our serpent is going to meet up with the combined fleet to protect you as you kite them away. They’re definitely going to send some monsters to try and deal with the fleet, but as long as you kite them, our serpent should be able to pick them off with the help of any magic users in the fleet.”

“Makes sense. This is starting to sound like a good plan to me! We’ll get in a surprise attack and then switch to crowd control.”

“Basically. There’s only one thing to worry about other than that.”

“The big serpent itself.”

“Yeah. If it attacks… we don’t really know how to deal with it. If we’re going to assume that it’s like our serpent but a few hundred times stronger, it could probably melt through our defenses like they’re nothing. This is when having a giant dragon on our side will come in handy.”

“A friendly serpent, a giant dragon, five factions working together, and a fleet of ships. This really is going to be one epic battle.”

“Getting excited?” Fenrir asks with a smile, leaning over the table.

King Cat matches him and says, “More and more by the minute.”

Serra looks at the two men sharing a moment and realizes that she’d be fine with seeing them hook up.

Though, she can’t decide who would be better on the bottom and who would be on the top.

Fenrir is a wolf. King Cat is a cat but not really.

Wolves and cats are both dominant.

This is something that Serra will have to give great thought to, preferably together with her girlfriends.

“And then, once the battle is over, things should be peaceful and we can relax with a ton of fishing,” Fenrir says.

“How’s a fishing competition sound?” King Cat asks. “We’ll host it if all goes well!”

“A friendly fishing competition without any trying to kill each other, right?”

“Right.”

“Sounds perfect.”

“We’ll even get some trophies made! Ants is always looking for a reason to make more trophies for people. He likes to act like a sort of achievement-giver.”

“There are going to be a lot of achievement trophies from this battle.”

“He’ll be kept busy. That’s for sure.”

“I just thought of something else. How’s a festival sound? After the battle, we’ll have a festival of our own to go with the fishing competition.”

“What, is one festival not good enough for you?”

“There’s no such thing as too many festivals.”

“Hah. Alright, then we’ll have a festival! That’ll give us a good opportunity to distribute all the loot from the battle, hand out achievement trophies, and share a good time together with some fishing.”

“Sounds perfect to me. Is there anything else you want to discuss?”

“Not for now, wolf. I think that about sums everything up.”

“Then until next time,” Fenrir says, standing up from the table and offering a hand.

King Cat stands up, shakes his hand, and says, “Until next time, Fenrir. Make sure to let me know how that dragon festival goes.”

“Will do.”

“And you! Make sure to become the most fearsome pirate on this coast,” King Cat says to Serra.

“Will do,” Serra says, copying Fenrir but adding in a thumbs-up.

After saying their goodbyes, Fenrir and Serra leave King Cat’s house to head back down to The Shoebill.

That’s when Serra tugs on Fenrir’s arm to get his attention.

Fenrir leans over for her to whisper into his ear, “I’m doing lots of lewd things to you later. As thanks for trying to save me from coffee.”

“Do you even need to tell me that you’re going to do lewd things? Lately, I’ve been expecting it to happen every day anyways.”

“But we’re going to let you be super selfish. It’s going to be all about you this time.”

“That does sound pretty nice. I won’t say no to it.”

“Good boy.”

“I still don’t know how to feel about those words making my tail wag.”

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