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Housepets: World of Fantasy 
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Post Housepets: World of Fantasy
The Decaying Mule was a moderately popular watering hole considering its location in one of the more… impoverished districts of the Capital. Bino mused this as he nursed the drink in his hand, his slipshod crew that was put together not even a day before bellowing with the bard in the corner. Bored curiosity caused Bino to look behind him at his temporary teammates. Most of them blended together, the same straps of leathers and pockets that often denoted someone of Bino’s profession. The Bard looked out of place due in small part of being a white rabbit in a part of town where most animals were dogs and cats.

The lapin Bard seemed tense surrounded by so many boisterous louts, but he maintained his smile as he continued to sing alongside his new ‘friends’, his lute playing faintly but no less pleasantly among the cacophony of the tavern.

With a huff, Bino returned to his drink. Tomorrow, these men and he would strike out for Duke Such-and-Such’s abode, grab whatever trinket the client was paying them for, and Bino would go home with another meal in his stomach. This intrepid group of thieves, burglars, and scoundrels put together by the Thieves Guild will have forgotten him in a week and Bino will have done the same in half that time.

However, fate decided it had other plans. As Bino was about to head home and turn in for the night, a new patron stepped into the establishment. An animal, going by his short stature, around the same height as Bino. His face was covered by a brown, leather hood that was attached to a half-cape that went down just above the stranger’s waist. His outfit screamed ‘outdoorsman’ to Bino, possibly a Ranger. All forest greens and mud browns, most likely to blend with his surroundings. Bino’s theory that he might be a Ranger was aided by the fact that the stranger had a bow and a quiver of arrows on his back. A Ranger’s weapon if ever there was one.

The stranger took a look around, spotted an empty seat next to Bino, and happily took it without a word, despite the fact that there were clearly many other seats far away from him, Bino thought.

The stranger lifted a finger to grab the Tavern-Keeper’s attention. “A round for everyone on me, I feel like celebrating.” With that, he produced a small sack with a telltale jingle from the folds of his outfit, placing it on the counter. The Tavern-Keeper took one look inside the sack before smiling widely, nodding profusely.

“Good news boys! Our friend here is buying us all a round!” The Tavern-Keeper said. The usual ‘Huzzah’s and “Hooray’s abound as the Tavern-Keeper got busy providing said round, even passing Bino a glass despite him clearly nursing a half-finished one. Not that Bino was complaining.

Perhaps it was the stranger’s generosity or just the close proximity, but Bino felt the need to speak on behalf of the patrons. “So what’s the occasion?” He asked the hooded figure. Bino could just see the slightest traces of a smile under his hood. When you’re in the line of work Bino is in, it helps to be able to read the most errant twitch in a face.

“A business deal that just ended very well for me. And hopefully another that will end just as well.” The stranger said.

Bino nodded, not really caring, just making conversation. He went to take a sip when the stranger spoke again. “You’re Bino, right? The thief?”

One comedic spit-take later, Bino was now staring at the stranger with hard eyes. “Listen, whatever game you’re trying to play…!”

“I want to hire you.” The stranger said. “Well, the person who’s hired me wants to hire you.” That got Bino’s attention. “I realise your guild has already tapped you for a job. What I propose is a little more dangerous, but a lot more lucrative.” The stranger raised his glass to his lips before adding “If that’s the sort of thing your interested in.”

Bino raised an eyebrow before turning back to his crew, they having completely forgotten the Bard (Seemingly to his relief) as they went to partake in the free round offered them. Satisfied that they didn’t even care to listen in, Bino returned his attention to the stranger. “Who’s the client?”

The stranger leaned back. “I’m sure you’ve heard of him: Prince Keene?”

Bino scoffed. “Prince Keene. THE Crown Prince of Babylon?” Bino shaked his head, now certain this must have been some kind of prank. “And why would the illustrious Prince desire a vagabond burglar like myself?”

The stranger ‘Tsk Tsk’d as he shook his head. “Don’t sell yourself so short. Are you the greatest thief Griffonrock or even the Kingdom of Babylon has ever seen? No, of course not. But you are skilled, and more than that, you want something the Prince can provide.”

Bino raised an eyebrow. “What’s that?”

“A proper job.” The stranger said. “You do this one job for Prince Keene, and he will provide you a full pardon for any and all crimes you’ve ever committed AND give you everything you need to become a proper Rogue.”

“A… A Rogue?” Bino said incredulously. “The Prince wants to make me, ME, into a King’s Thief?!”

Rogues were the Golden Ticket of the criminal underworld, A thief who worked for, and thus was cared for by the crown. Essentially a thief who stole secrets from corrupt nobles and lords, restored treasures to their rightful places. Any thief who became a Rogue of the Crown was seen as a Robin Hood of their era.

“What’s the catch?” Bino was many things. Brash, callous, paranoid, curt, even downright unpleasant when he wanted to be. But one thing he wasn’t was stupid. No opportunity this good ever comes from nowhere, especially not to him.

“The catch…” The stranger began. “Is exactly what I said: A dangerous job, perhaps more danger than what your used to.”

Bino thought for a bit. “How dangerous?”

The stranger smiled again. “Most assuredly life-threatening. But is the reward worth it? That is for you to decide.” With that, the stranger reached up and pulled his hood down, allowing Bino to see his face for the first time.

He was a brown dog, a mutt with small, dark-brown ears and a cream colored muzzle. His blue eyes surprised Bino due to how youthful they looked. All in all, he looked much younger than Bino was expecting.

“Peanut Sandwich of the 5th Ranger’s Regiment, at your service. If you decide the risk is worth the reward, come to the castle tomorrow at the crack of dawn. Ask for my name.” Peanut said, twisting his weight to get off the tall stool he had been sitting on.

“W-wait! That’s the same day as my current job!” Bino tried to protest.

Peanut simply shrugged. “Then you’ll just have to decide which job is worth more to you. I’m sure you’ll make the right choice.” With the same chipper smile that never seemed to leave his face, Peanut turned to leave. “If you’ll excuse me, there’s another potential recruit I need to talk to.” With that, he started to walk away from Bino and towards, of all people, the white rabbit Bard.

Left alone with his thoughts, which were racing in his head, Bino tried to rationalize the bizarre circumstances he now found himself in. Rangers, princes, quests, pardons, a chance to be an honest-to-god Rogue. He would never go hungry again… provided he lived.

But among all these thoughts, one question was at the center of his mind:
What kind of stupid name is Peanut Sandwich?


Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:55 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Interesting hook, I'm on board. Let's see where this goes.

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Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:09 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I like this. I'm keeping an eye on it

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Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:12 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Oooo, I'm down for this.

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Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:39 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
It wasn’t until Bino was halfway up the uphill path leading to the castle that he realised that this could be a trap.

In hindsight, it seemed obvious. Put out a lure to attract thieves and brigands like, say, a full pardons and a comfortable court job, then wait with a legion of guards to beat them senseless and drag them to a cell.

Two things kept Bino walking to the castle. One, that would be an awful lot of theatre to capture one single thief. If Bino were a Master Thief of some renown, like the Black Scoundrel or the Black Hawk or the Black…

It only just now dawned on Bino how many famous thieves had the word ‘Black’ in their names.

Anyway, then it would make more sense that this would be trap. As it stands, Bino just didn’t command that level of respect.

The Ranger, Peanut, wasn’t lying when he said Bino was skilled in his craft. But he had only done small time gigs, his biggest targets being minor Lords and Dukes from a massive cornucopia of nobility.

And even then, he was only ever the middle man. The Thieves Guild set up the jobs, dealt with the client, and exchanged the goods. Bino was just one of the many cutpurses in the Guild’s employ.

Which was the second reason Bino was committed to seeing this through. After today, he will have made an enemy of the Guild.

The Guildmaster, a man known only as ‘The Boss’ did not take kindly to members of the Guild walking out on jobs, which is precisely what Bino was doing. He had abandoned the crew he was set up with to pull the job without him, all so he could attempt this vain possibility of becoming a Rogue.

If Bino tried to crawl back to the Guild now, there would be… consequences. This way, if Bino did manage to become a Rogue, he would have the protection of the Crown at his side. The Boss may be feared in Griffonrock’s underworld, but even he wouldn’t risk angering the King for one turncoat flunky.

Bino allowed himself a small slice of optimism. Even if the absolute worst happened and this was a trap, well, at least he’ll get three meals a day in the relative safety of a jail cell.

Bino truly was at the point of no return when he finally found himself at the castle’s gate, where which two guards stood at attention. They clearly regarded Bino as he confidently, or at least he hoped he looked confident, walked up to the guards.

“I’m… here to see the Ranger, Peanut Sandwich?” Bino’s voice cracked. Apparently, the guards were doing the ‘intimidation’ part of the job well. “I understand he’s recruiting for a job.”

One of the guards nodded. “Aye sir. Come with me, I’ll escort you.”

Wisely choosing not to argue, Bino followed the guard inside the castle’s interior.

Bino had to admit, it was strange being in a place of such opulence and actually be welcomed inside. Usually, he would be here at night, sans a guard escort, and shoving everything not nailed down into a sack.

The escort was short as the guard led Bino into some kind of main hall or foyer, Bino honestly wasn’t sure. It seems he wasn’t the only one invited, nor was he the first to arrive.

Three other animals occupied the room. Two sitting on the couches in the center, one off to the side admiring a painting.

One of the animals on the couch Bino vaguely recognized. It took a few seconds of memory searching before realizing that this white rabbit was the same Bard from the tavern last night. Bino actually did recall Peanut going over to talk to him.

This made Bino think, what kind of ‘Job’ set up by a prince would require the talents of, among others, a Ranger, a Bard, and a Thief? Who else was involved in all this?

The other seated animal was a female dog, light tan colored except for her dark brown muzzle and paws. Her pristine, flowing white robes instantly denoted her as some kind of Holy Woman, though of what faith in particular Bino couldn’t guess. There were so many ‘Holy Order of our So-in-So, Exalted Father/Mother of the BlahBlah.’

One thing that Bino did take note of were her eyes, which were a stunning bright pink in color.

The final guest, the one eyeing the painting, was an all black male cat. Already, Bino grimaced at this. He didn’t enjoy working with cats as a general rule, they always found some way to annoy or bug him.

This cat in particular was noteworthy for the large chunks missing from his ear. From Bino’s admittedly small knowledge of wounds, it almost looked like something had bitten off parts of his ear. Whatever caused it, it certainly wasn’t pleasant.

His attire confused Bino somewhat. He was dressed in fine clothing, something one would imagine a nobleman’s son to be wearing, but it was all in terrible condition. The seams frayed, there were numerous dried stains, the colors were faded. It wouldn’t surprise Bino if he found out the cat literally digged his outfit out of the trash.

The guard behind him coughed, causing Bino to turn around. “I’ll have to temporarily confiscate any weapons or dangerous equipment you have. They’ll be returned before you leave.”

Bino’s eyes widened. “Oh. Y-yes of course.” Once again, Bino felt it wise not to challenge the Prince’s hospitality. The guard motioned to a silver plate on a pedestal just off the side of the door. Nodding in understanding, Bino produced the two daggers at his side before placing them down on the plate. He then unhooked his belt and placed that upon the plate as well.

The belt contained all the necessary tools for the common thief: Lockpicks, smoke bombs, caltrops, a small bag of pistachios.

Satisfied, the guard grabbed the plate and made for the door. “Peanut will be here soon to bring you to the Prince. I suggest you wait and mingle in the meantime.”

With that, Bino was left alone with these three strangers. Huffing to himself, Bino figured he may as well take up the guard’s offer.

Walking up to the group, making his presence known, Bino gave a half-hearted wave. “So, I suppose you’re all here for the same thing I am?”

The black cat looked away from the painting, a portrait of some notable person Bino was sure, to give Bino a wide, toothy smile. “Fortune, glory, and prestige? That’s certainly why I’m here.” The black cat walked up to Bino before extending an open hand. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, I’m Max.”

With some hesitation, Bino took Max’s hand and gave it a firm shake. He was surprised when Max grasped his hand tightly and turned it over to get a look at his palm.

“W-what are you…!?” Bino tried to protest but Max lifted a finger.

“Don’t worry, just doing a little reading.” Max said. He started to trace the lines on Bino’s paw pads. “I see. You haven’t lived the easiest life, have you?”

Max lifted his head to look Bino in the eyes. “I suppose any reward is better than what you have now.” Max said with a smile. Though there was something… wrong with his smile. Something that rubbed Bino the wrong way.

It wasn’t the smile itself, it was his eyes. His eyes had a softness that Bino hadn’t seen before. He…

He felt pity for Bino.

With a sharp tug, Bino wrested his hand from Max’s grasp. “Don’t… don’t pretend you know me charlatan.” Bino could feel his temper rising. He didn’t need this… cat’s pity. There was nothing about Bino to pity!

“Just trying to be friendly.” Max said easily, as if trying to calm a feral beast. It only had the opposite effect.

“Maybe I don’t want a friend. Especially some mangy feline they, apparently, pulled out of the trash.” Bino snapped.

Now, it was Max’s temper that was boiling. “You should be careful about what you say to strangers boy. You know what they say about burning bridges before you make them.”

“Then you should be careful whose business you butt into. I don’t need the pity of some filthy alleycat!”

Max’s eyes snapped wide, an enraged look flashed across his face. “Why you little…!”

Neither were sure when exactly their hands balled up, but both were clearly ready to use them. Bino raised his fists and Max returned the gesture before-

“Stop.”

The command was simple, but both Bino and Max felt the power behind it. It wasn’t even an order or a direction, it was a statement. The voice said Stop, and it was so.

“Step away from each other.”

Bino and Max obeyed. To do so otherwise would be unthinkable. There were no options, no possibilities, except what the voice stated.

“Sit-sit down…”

There. The authority of the voice faltered. Bino was compelled as before, but a voice, his own voice, commanded otherwise. He would not obey… He would not obey… He would…!

With a start, Bino snapped out of whatever trance he was in. He took in a sharp gasp of breath he didn’t know he was holding in. Looking up, he saw that Max was in very much the same state. But the white rabbit…

The rabbit was kneeling on the floor, clutching his head in obvious pain. He whimpered, more to himself than anyone else, “Please… stop.”

Bino recognized the rabbit’s voice. The same voice that held him so completely not seconds ago. “That… that was-”

“That was Charmspeak!” The female dog spoke, for the first time since Bino arrived. “That was incredible!” She said, clearly awestruck at the little rabbit.

“Incredible!? It was horrifying!” Bino screamed. He pointed an accusatory finger at the rabbit. “You tried to turn me into a slave!”

“No! No! Nothing of the sort!” The rabbit said, scooching further away from Bino. “I just… I just wanted you to stop fighting!”

“Heh… heh heh.” Despite himself, Max allowed a small chuckle to escape him. “A true Bard. Not just some singing minstrel, but an actual master of Bardic Magic.”

The rabbit blushed, looking away. “I’m no master…”

Bino, however was thoroughly confused. “Bardic Magic?” He asked, hoping someone would be willing to give an explanation.

The female dog spoke up again. “It’s magic that is channeled through sound that affects both body and mind.”

Max, having regained his composure, continued the robed dog’s explanation. “Bards, that being true Bards, have learned to focus their magic through voice and song. They practically invented the ‘travelling musician’ all in an effort to hone their craft.”

Bino shook his head, trying to chase away the last vestiges of the rabbit’s control. “And that… brainwashing thing?”

“Charmspeak.” The rabbit said, having gotten back on his feet. “Normally I can just… influence certain things. Make an emotion more powerful than others, or make an idea seem like a really good one.”

“But I sort of… overdid it in my haste to get you two to stop fighting. Normally, I shouldn’t exert that much control, it… it hurts.”

Max, seemingly having forgiven the young rabbit for the total invasion of his mind, gave the rabbit a comforting hand on his shoulder.

Bino was feeling much less forgiving. He marched up to the rabbit’s face and said in a low tone. “Stay. Out. Of my head.”

The rabbit said nothing, just gave a short nod.

With a huff, Bino turned around and sat down next to the female dog, while Max decided to urge the rabbit to sit in the couch opposite them with him.

The four sat there in an uncomfortable silence for a minute or two, though it felt like hours. Finally, the female dog coughed to get everyone’s attention and said with a chipper smile. “Well, I’m Sasha! Nice to meet you all.”

The rabbit, having apparently calmed down, gave a nervous “Hi Sasha.”

The female dog, either oblivious to the awkwardness or simply playing along, waved at the rabbit. “Hi… uh?”

“Zachary.”

“Hi Zack!”

Max, to his credit, looked over at Bino. “I don’t believe any of us caught your name?” He said, his sly grin returning as if it never left.

Bino contemplated giving a fake name, the less familiarity he had with these clowns the better, but he realised that might not go over so well with making him a legitimate Rogue, which was the one thing that was keeping Bino here.

“My name is Bino.”


Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:38 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I'm liking the group we have so far. wonder what their mission's gonna be or if they'll stay together after it.

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Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:42 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
“So, Sasha was it?” Max said, turning his attention to her. “Since our boy, Zachary, gave us such a fine showing of his talents, might I ask what it is you bring to the table?”

Bino rolled his eyes as Sasha giggled. Yes, such a fine showing of the the rabbit’s demonic mind-control, Bino thought.

“Well, you all can probably tell from my clothes that I’m from a church.” Sasha said.

Bino gave her clothes another look. “I did, but I couldn’t place what faith your from.”

Sasha blushed a little at that. “We’re a small congregation, but we do a lot of good charity work for Griffonrock. Maybe you’ve heard of us? The Church of the Emerald Dragon?”

Bino and Max exchanged a confused look, the name clearly drawing just as much a blank for Max as it did for Bino. Zach, however, seemed more knowledgeable. “I’ve never heard of the Church, but I do know of the Goddess herself.”

Zach paused as he suddenly felt all eyes on him, but he wouldn’t be a Bard if he didn’t know how to speak to a crowd, even just a crowd of three. “I’ve only heard stories of a great battle out towards the Western lowlands. A canyon there that was, supposedly, created in a titanic brawl between the Emerald Dragon and another god named the Storm Gryphon.”

A look of clarity suddenly crossed Max’s face. “Ah yes, I’ve heard this legend also. Supposedly, the city’s name even comes from this tale. The stone where the first King of Babylon held council with his Knights overlook this very same canyon. Thus the city’s original name translated to ‘Rock of the Gryphon’.” Max shrugged. “Or so the stories say, at least.

Zach nodded solemnly. “Even the most outlandish of legends have some basis in truth. Any Bard will tell you that.”

Bino’s eyebrows furrowed in thought. “Now hang on. I don’t know much about legends or myths, but something seems off there.” Bino said as he turned to face Sasha. “You say your congregation is a small one, yet the goddess you worship is tied to the naming of the city? Wouldn’t your faith be much more popular than you claim?”

Sasha shrugged. “The Storm Gryphon had much more influence on the city’s history than the Dragon. Plus, keep in mind that the Emerald Dragon lost that fight, so some might think she’s not worth worshipping in that regard.” Sasha’s light smile returned, however, as she continued. “But the Church of the Emerald Dragon is far more concerned with power of a different kind, that being kindness and love. Those are the tenets the Dragon passed down us, and those are the virtues we seek to spread.”

Max nodded. “So… you’re a priest then? Here to give us spiritual guidance when needed?”

Sasha shook her head. “Oh no! Nothing so useless!”

That surprised the other three. It’s not every day you hear a woman of faith call spiritual guidance useless.

Sasha, oblivious to her apparent faux pas, continued. “No, I provide a much more practical service through my faith. I’m a Cleric!” She stated proudly.

Bino huffed. “Great, another magic-user.”

“And very useful magic at that, friend!” Max said, narrowing his eyes at Bino. “It means she’s a healer. You’d do best not to slight that, else you’d be on the verge of death with only her mercy to bring you back.”

“Oh no!” Sasha said. “I would never deny my magic to an ally in need.” She said, giving Bino a side-eye. “Even if he deserved it. Besides, it’s not just healing. I can also cure sickness, dispel hexes and curses, exorcise demons. Essentially, if it’s a bad thing, I can get rid of it.” Sasha said, with no small amount of pride.

“Well, we’ll certainly be much safer with you by our side.” Max said, now turning his attention to Bino. “But as for you: You’ve been quite the contrarian since you’ve arrived. I can only assume this means you consider yourself all the talent we need.”

Bino scoffed. “Don’t put words in my mouth, cat. If you must know, I’m a thief. A thief hired for the potential of becoming a Rogue.” Bino didn’t care about stating this. His past would no longer be illegal once he got his hands on that promised pardons.

“A thief?” Sasha asked. “You know, I give great discounts on confessionals.”

Max gave Bino a hard stare, as if analyzing him. “Well, a thief’s skills could certainly prove useful for all sorts of jobs. If you truly have the talent, that is.”

Bino recognized a challenge when he saw one. “Then how about a demonstration then, since you seem so fond of them.”

Sasha turned to Zach. “Be ready to separate them again.”

“You’re on your own. I’d split my head open if I tried that again so soon.” Zach said.

Ignoring the two of them for now, Bino wiggled his fingers, readying them. “What do you have in that pouch on your belt?” He asked Max.

Max looked down at the pouch in question. “A few coins, enough for a spending spree at a market. Why?”

“I want you to get up and walk towards that far wall.” Bino said, pointing at the wall across from them. “Once you are at the wall, feel free to turn around whenever. I bet you half the coins in your pouch that I can lift every single coin in your pouch without you noticing.”

A sly smile stretched across Max’s face. “Challenge accepted. That said, if you fail, you must pay me back double all the coins in my pouch. Deal?”

“Deal” Bino stated.

With that, Max stood up. “Oh, and I will be counting every coin when you inevitably give them back.” He said before turning to walk confidently to the wall. As soon as he was within a foot of distance to the wall, Max immediately turned around, expecting to find a surprised Bino’s hand in his pouch.

Instead, Bino was still sitting on the couch looking quite pleased with himself. Without a word, he raised his hand which held a not too small pile of coins.

Sasha and Zach looked suitably shocked. “He didn’t even get up!” Sasha exclaimed. “He grabbed the coins just as you we’re leaving!”

Max crossed his arms. “Very well, I’m impressed.” His sly smile returned. “But you still failed the challenge.”

Bino raised an eyebrow. “Oh? How so?”

Max reached behind him and unhooked his pouch from his belt. “Lot of thieves on the open road. I like to keep some emergency coin hidden in a secret compartment in my pouch. You did say you were going to pinch EVERY single coin, did you not?”

Despite this claim, Bino didn’t look all that perturbed. “Oh, do you mean these emergency coins?” And with that, Bino raised his other hand revealing a somewhat smaller amount of money.

Eyes widening, Max quickly looked into his pouch and verified that, indeed, the supposedly secret compartment of his pouch was just as empty as the rest of it. Looking back up, Max saw a gigantic grin on Bino’s face as he placed half the coins on the table. “Here’s your share.” Bino said.

Without a word, Max marched back to the couch, scooped them up, and placed them in his pouch before sitting down. “Very well, perhaps you do have some skill.” He finally admitted.

Bino simple smiled as he pocketed his earnings. “Well, what about you Max? You’ve been very interested in all of us so far, but you’ve yet to prove yourself capable for this job as we have”

Zach and Sasha, who previously, and wisely, kept themselves out of the other two’s competition, couldn’t help but to turn their attention to Max, clearly waiting for his own ‘demonstration’.

Bino wasn’t exactly sure what he saw in Max’s face. He looked oddly downtrodden at Bino’s request. Not so much sad as… resigned. As though he knew this was coming and he wasn’t looking forward to it.

“Well… That’s actually a funny story.” Max said sullenly, clearly not seeing the situation as anything ‘funny’.

Any further chat between the four was interrupted when a newcomer approached with clanging, metal steps, not from the main hall as Bino did, but a side entrance just past a spiral stairway the newcomer descended from.

She certainly commanded attention due to both her attire and her hue. A purple cat, of all things, dressed nape to toe in heavy plate armor, which Bino noticed was similar to the Royal Guard’s armor.

Similar, but still altogether different. For one: It wasn’t quite as… Ostentatious? Ornate?

The Royal Guard’s armor made it no secret who they served, with the Royal Family’s crest of a blue gryphon emblazoned in all it’s glory on both the armor’s chest and on every guard’s shield. This cat’s armor was noticeably missing this piece of decoration. In fact, it had virtually nothing in regards to aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics. No gold filigree or trim, nor any colors signifying anything of status like rank or position within the guard. Just a pure, silver sheen on every metal surface.

Bino supposed it was a lot more practical and utilitarian than most armors, though part of him wondered if the absolute lack of any ornamentation meant she was significantly low on the Guard’s hierarchy.

Bino, in his nature, also took noticed of the black-handled short sword sheathed at the cat’s side as well as the solid steel kite shield propped on her back.

Her face, as she walked into the room, was buried in a small stack of papers. Without even looking up, she addressed the four animals in the room.

“Maxwell Byron?” She said simply, apparently waiting for a response.

The group that gathered looked amongst each other, searching for clarity, before Max cleared his throat and spoke up. “Yes?”

The cat didn’t respond, merely nodding as she went down what was clearly a list in her hands. “Sasha Hartford?”

“Present!” Sasha said happily. If she hadn’t been sitting, Bino was sure her tail would start wagging. So eager to please, this one.

“Zachary Arbelt?” The cat continued.

“Um… Yes, I’m here.” Zach said, even raising his hand, as though worried the cat wouldn’t see him.

“Foxworth Lindberg?” The cat said, confusing the recruits. That wasn’t a name they heard since arriving at the castle. The cat certainly took notice of the silence as she looked up at the group for the first time, realizing how many were actually present.

“Only four, huh?” The cat said, shaking her head. “We’ll wait a few more minutes before we begin. If he isn’t here before then, his loss.” The cat returned to her list, marking only one name left.

“Beano… No last name is listed here.” She noted, once again looking up. “Which one of you is Beano?”

Bino, sighing as Max was already chuckling to himself, stood up. “It’s Bino, actually.”

The cat took in Bino before shrugging. “My mistake. Why don’t I have your last name on this list?”

Bino crossed his arms, regretting this decision more and more. “No last name. Never knew it.”

The cat’s face twisted, clearly not expecting that. “I… I see. I suppose that’s not an issue right now.”

Bino was a bit confused by that. Right now? Implying it might be a problem later?

The cat finally rolled up her papers and put them away in a pouch on the backside of her belt. “A pleasure to meet you all. My name is Grape Sandwich, Knight-Squire to his eminence, King Milton.”

Ah, a squire. So not a true Knight then, only one in training. That certainly explained the very plain looking armor, Bino thought. He also took notice that she apparently had the same last name as the Ranger who recruited him last night. Certainly they weren’t related, considering they were entirely separate species. Though the only other explanation, Bino considered, was that she was his wife or otherwise related by marriage. And that thought didn’t sit well for Bino for much the same reason: They were different species.

His musing was cut short as Grape continued. “Peanut and I are to escort you to Prince Keene where he will… erm?” She hesitated as she looked around the room, apparently trying to find something, or someone.

“Where is Peanut?” She asked.

The four recruits shared a glance before Max spoke up. “We haven’t seen him today. We’re we supposed to?”

Upon hearing that, Grape let out a scoff and an eye-roll for good measure. “Seriously?! He’s late again! Doesn’t he know how serious this is?” With that, Grape turned on her heel, her metal greave scraping against the marble floor. “I’ll go retrieve him, I’m pretty sure I know where he is. You four… just… wait here for now.”

Without another word, Grape ascended back up the spiral stairs, leaving the recruits alone once more.

“I like her fur.” Sasha said suddenly, earning a look from the other three. “What? Purple’s a pretty color.”


Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:02 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
You can't just tease us with Fox and then leave him out :lol: :P
I'm enjoying this crew. Looking forward to future installments :D

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Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:34 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Obbl Wrote:
You can't just tease us with Fox and then leave him out :lol: :P
I'm enjoying this crew. Looking forward to future installments :D


Oh, don't worry, Fox will show up later. Let's just say there's a good reason why he's late...


Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:38 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Grape seriously did not need this today. Not only was she pulled from training a week ago because Peanut just could not go on this quest without her holding his hand, she also was put in charge of corralling a bunch of unknown civilians into a proper party of adventurers. All of this despite the fact that Grape has never been outside the city since she was a kitten.

Everything about Grape’s training under Captain Ralph has been focused entirely on defending the castle from invaders. The most she’d be able to contribute to the quest is an extra sword, but Peanut just had to recommend her ‘invaluable’ skills to the Prince.

And now, he couldn’t even be bothered to show up to greet the recruits he and the Prince personally handpicked, completely without consulting Grape despite her sharing leadership with Peanut.

Needless to say, Grape had some pretty choice words for Peanut when she found him.

She was absolutely certain she would find Peanut with the Court Mage, Tarot. Ever since they started their courtship, the two have been inseparable, and Grape had it on good authority Peanut had missed more than one meeting with the Ranger’s Regiment and she couldn’t help but partly blame the tiny pomeranian Archmage for that.

Why Prince Keene constantly fought tooth and nail to keep Peanut on the Regiment, Grape will never understand.

Grape sighed to herself, already wishing the day would be over. She loved Peanut like a brother, there was literally no one else on this earth she was closer to. But sometimes, just sometimes, she wanted to wring his neck and shake some sense into him.

As she walked down the hallway, she spotted a black cat walking toward her: Princess Lana’s Lady-In-Waiting, and more unofficially Tarot’s apprentice, Sabrina D’Angelo. Good, perhaps she’d be able to point Grape in the right direction.

Sabrina was as close as sisters to Tarot, so if there’s anyone who would know where Tarot is during the day…

Grape stopped Sabrina as they approached each other. “Good day to you Sabrina.”

“To you as well, Dame Grape.” Sabrina smiled, offering a casual tilt of the head out of respect.

Grape blushed at this. “I’m not a Knight yet, but hopefully someday. I wanted to ask you if you knew where the Court Mage was?”

Sabrina cocked an eyebrow. “I’m certain she’ll be in her study all day, she’s made it very clear she wants absolute privacy today. Apparently she’s in the middle of some intensive research.”

Oh, that cheeky little witch, Grape thought. “Well, unfortunately, this is urgent business. I’m afraid I’ll have to interrupt her ‘research’. If you’ll excuse me…”

With that, Grape made to pass Sabrina, but the black cat held her hand out to grasp Grape’s arm. “A moment first. Does this have to do with the Prince’s quest? Are the recruits here?”

Grape was certainly surprised at this. The Prince made it clear he didn’t want anyone uninvolved with the quest to learn about it. “How do you…?”

The question went unanswered as Sabrina continued. “Was one of the recruits a brown dog with green eyes?”

Grape wasn’t exactly sure what to say, or indeed what not to say. This quest was supposed to be confidential, to prevent the enemy from learning the Prince’s plans. If word somehow got to Sabrina, who else knows something they shouldn’t.

Not that Grape felt Sabrina was untrustworthy, she knew Sabrina was loyal to the crown. But the age-old adage rings true: The walls have ears.

But Grape saw something in Sabrina’s eyes, a kind of desperation she has never seen from the Apprentice Mage before. Actually, Grape did see it once before. Five years ago when…

Grape mentally shook the images away. Even today, the memories were still painful.

But here Sabrina was, eyes desperate, eager to hear Grape’s answer. Grape was sympathetic and she knew Sabrina could be trusted. However she learned of the quest, Grape would simply inform the Prince and trust everyone involved will keep tight lips.

“Yes.” Grape finally answered. “A plain-looking fellow by the name Bino.”

Sabrina smiled as she breathed a sigh of relief. “So he did come. I was so worried he would reject the Prince’s offer.”

Now Grape was intrigued. “You know this dog, don’t you?”

Sabrina allowed herself a small smirk. “Know him? I recommended him to the Prince.”
---
Bino’s ears were burning. If he were the superstitious type, he might be worried someone was talking about him.

Chatter between him and the other recruits have died down, now they were simply passing the time while waiting for Grape to return.

Zach apparently decided to entertain his new ‘friends’ with a bawdy tune on his lute. Bino had to admit, he was certainly talented with the instrument, though the more paranoid side of him wondered if it was just his Bardic Magic making Bino think the music was good.

Sasha merely laid her head back, eyes closed, content to merely bask in the music. Even Max was tapping his fingers and bouncing his head to the rhythm.

Bino wasn’t sure when it started, but he started feeling good, really good. Like he could run a mile, and Bino rarely ran anywhere if he could help it.

It took a second to realize it, so enthralled by the music he was, but Bino was suddenly very aware that everyone present save the rabbit himself had a very faint glow on their person, more a shimmer than anything else.

The music, Bino thought. The music is doing this!

Running more on instinct than conscious thought, Bino reached out a grabbed Zach’s hand stopping the music dead in its tracks.

Sasha’s head snapped forward, eyes awake. “Aw, what happened to the music?!”

“What were you doing to us?” Bino said plainly, voice low.

“I… I was just…”

“Oh, would you relax!” Max huffed, clearly perturbed. “Honestly, did a Bard kick you as a puppy or something?”

Bino snapped his attention towards Max. “I don’t recall him asking permission to run his magic through me.”
“It… It’s just a simple Inspiration Song. It’s just supposed to make you feel better, calm your nerves, that sort of thing.” Zach tried to explain, still trying to wrest his hand back from Bino’s grip which Bino reluctantly relinquished.

“Well, clearly our sticky-fingered friend is immune.” Max said. “If your going to jump and strike at Zach every time he strums his lute, then maybe we should invest in some wax for your ears?”

Bino said nothing but simply leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms. He looked away from the group, trying to send every possible message that he didn’t want to talk any further.

Clearly, the message went over some heads. “Were you hurt by a Bard?” Sasha asked, looking surprisingly compassionate towards the curt dog. “I know Max meant it as joke, but if there is some kind of… traumatizing experience, maybe we can help…”

“I was brainwashed.” Bino stated. Utter silence followed and Bino knew it would continue until he elaborated. He’s been here before, where people poke and prod and incessantly ask too many questions until Bino had to say something just to shut them up. Best to get it out of the way and then never bring it up again.

“Five years ago, I was once brainwashed by magic.” Without understanding why, Bino looked towards Zach and half-heartedly offered “Not by a Bard. I’m not sure what he was exactly, just some magic bloke.”

“I don’t know who he was or what he wanted or why he decided to use me. Point is, I was brainwashed by magic and made to do some… bad things. Things worse than just stealing. Things I’m still paying for.”

Don’t cry, Bino thought. Not here, not in front of these... strangers.

“So, yeah, I get ‘jumpy’ when I feel magic on me, in my mind. Especially without my say-so.”

The group was clearly having trouble digesting this. Sasha, healer she was, was racking her brain to find the best thing to say or do to make this better. Max was suddenly wishing he could take back some choice comments he made.

Zach took the simplest route. “I’m sorry. I promise I won’t use my magic on you again without your permission.”

Bino supposed he should thank him for the consideration. That’s certainly what he’s supposed to do now. That’s absolutely the socially correct thing for him to do.

“Whatever.”

The group returned to silence, with Zach’s lute laying on the floor against his leg.
---
“Tarot! Open up!” Grape yelled as she pounded against the door to Tarot’s study. She was long past cordiality at this point.

“AH! Uh… J-Just a second, please!” Grape heard Tarot’s voice through the door, followed by a series of rummaging and bumping sounds.

Finally, the door opened and Tarot shot an annoyed look at Grape. “Grape, I hope this is important. I made it very clear I was not to be distu-”

“Where is he, Tarot?” Grape interrupted.

A flash of panic crossed Tarot’s eyes. “I’m certain I have no idea what your talking about.”

“Oh really?” Grape challenged. Without waiting for permission, Grape strode right on into Tarot’s study. “Then you won’t mind if I look around?”

Tarot huffed and crossed her arms. “I don’t know what your expecting to find.”

Grape had enough. On any other day, she and Tarot could be quite pleasant with each other, but Grape was simply not in the mood to play.

“Peanut! I’m telling Mom you were late again!” Grape yelled out.

“NO!” The wardrobe cried.

Tarot shot a dark look at the armor-clad cat. “That was a dirty move, Sandwich.”

Grape merely shrugged. “Urgent business, Tarot. Take it up with the Prince.” With that, Grape pulled open the wardrobe and yanked out a very sheepish looking Peanut by the collar of his cloak.

“Peanut…” Grape said sweetly, in a way she knew very well sounded fake. “Why were you late to appraise the recruits?”

Peanut, to his credit, did look legitimately surprised at hearing this. “Wait, the recruits are already here?”

“Yes Peanut…” Grape said slowly, making sure Peanut got everything. “You told them to come at the crack of Dawn.” She finally let go of Peanut so that she could point outside the window at the shining sun rising from the east. “It’s cracking.”

Peanut rubbed the back of his, embarrassed. “Grape, I am so sorry! I just meant to come by to say Good Morning to Tarot and, well, one thing led to another and-”

“You ended up wrapped up in each other, cuddling for hours?” Grape guessed.

“Please don’t tell Mom.”

“For the record…” Tarot interjected. “I do not apologize.”

Grape let out a deep breath to calm herself. She supposed no harm was done. “We’ll have that conversation later. You…” She said, pointing at Peanut. “Follow me downstairs. I think we’ve kept the recruits waiting long enough.”


Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:32 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Really enjoyed everything that I read so far! What a nice fanfic!

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Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:31 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
After retrieving the recruits, Grape and Peanut started the trek up to Prince Keene’s personal study with the four in tow.

“Sooo… What kind of quest is this anyway?” Sasha asked, trying to fill the time.
“Best to let the Prince himself explain. Easier that way.” Grape stated simply.
“Easier for who?” Bino asked.
Grape and Peanut exchanged a glance with other. “Look, let’s just say this job involves some… sensitive information. Information best not divulged in the open.” Peanut explained.

The recruits were satisfied enough with that, enough that they didn’t pry further at least.

Max, however, had another query. “So, I couldn’t help but notice you two have the same last name.” He said to his escorts. “Yet I don’t see a ring on either of your hands. I can’t help but feel there’s a story there?”

Bino raised an eyebrow. He had been wondering the same, and would hedge bets that Sasha and Zach were equally as curious.
Grape simply shrugged though. “Not much of a story, we’re simply family.”

A silence passed.
“I’m adopted.” Grape said.
“Ah.” The recruits said.

Bino was still rather confused. “What kind of family of dogs adopt a cat?”
Without breaking stride, Grape turned to give Bino a hard glare. “Good people. That’s all you should care about.”
While Bino had several things he could say to argue that claim, he felt it best to be silent. After all, he was expected to work with not one but two cats for the foreseeable future. Bino could certainly judge in silence.

Finally, the party of six found themselves outside the door to the Prince’s study.
“Alright, couple of things before we begin.” Grape said, addressing the recruits. “Don’t worry too much about how to address royalty. The Prince doesn’t care much for that sort of thing.”

Bino scoffed to himself. Sure, the Prince is oh-so humble. He just wants to be treated like everyone else, that’s why he lives in a giant castle elevated above the masses. Bino knew this type of royalty all too well. Humility could be lorded over people just as easily as wealth or status, it just took a bit more creativity.

“That said…” Grape continued, passing a not-to-subtle glance at Bino. “There’s court manners and then there’s basic tact. Just don’t be abrasive or disrespectful, is all I’m asking.”

“M’lady, you wound us by even insinuating we’d be capable of such boorish behaviour.” Max said, making a show of clutching his heart.
“I dunno, Bino might say something jerky to the Prince.” Sasha said.
“Why is everyone singling me out!?” Bino exclaimed. It’s not his fault all royalty are pompous blowhards, regardless of how much they hide it.

Grape was about to open the door when Peanut held an arm out. “Wait a moment, we seem to be one dog short.” He said, making a headcount of the recruits.
“Where’s Fox?” Peanut said, turning to Grape.

Grape simply shrugged. “He didn’t show up. Guess he had better things to do.”
Peanut brought a paw to his chin. “Hmm. That’s not good. We were sort of relying on him for transportation.” Peanut turned to the recruits. “He has a boat, you see.”

Grape sighed. “Information that should have been brought to my attention much sooner. It doesn’t matter at this point, we can rent a boat at the docks.” With that, Grape opened the door, ushering the recruits in.

Bino wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when he heard ‘Prince’s Study’. He supposed it would be too much to expect a throne, but he was definitely expecting more opulence than this.

Not that the study was shoddy or poorly made. The furniture was definitely well-made, but designed more for comfort than beauty. Carved, oak and mahogany chair padded with plush, purple cushions. A sturdy wooden desk with all manner of papers and maps scattered across.

And perusing the papers was Prince Keene himself. A brown and cream colored ferret wearing what Bino could only describe as Casual Royalty. A white cotton shirt and purple, velvet vest that were immaculately cleaned, seamed, and pressed. In many regards, his attire was a direct opposite to Max’s clothes: Very simple and plain, but clearly made and maintained with great care, befitting a Prince. One thing Bino did note was the complete lack of a crown or any sort of headdress.

That, more than anything, made Bino reconsider his doubt at the Prince’s sincere humility. If there was one thing Royal’s loved more than anything, it was putting shiny stuff on their heads. Bino chased those thoughts away. No matter how ‘sincere’ the Prince may be, he was still royal born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Any show of ‘humility’ from him must always be taken with a grain of salt, as far as Bino was concerned.

Keene looked up from his papers as the six entered single file, making a line in front of the desk. Grape stepped forward to address both the Prince and the recruits. “Your highness, these are the individuals you specified for the quest.”

So the Prince really did handpick us? Bino thought, putting that info aside for later. How did he even hear of me? He thought.

Keene nodded, getting down from his chair to stand in front of the recruits. “One’s missing.” He said simply.
Grape, with a neutral face, said “He never arrived, your highness.”
Keene merely nodded again, this time addressing the recruits directly. “Gentlemen…” Keene turned to Sasha. “My lady, what I propose to you now is a quest of utmost importance. I do not exaggerate when I say the fate of the Kingdom itself may very well rest on your hands. It will not be without peril and, if the worst comes to pass, you may be asked to sacrifice your life. But I promise, you will all be greatly rewarded for this endeavor.”

A look of tension crossed Keene’s face and the four recruits, without realizing, held their breaths. “More than that, I cannot say until I am certain you will see this through to the end. If you cannot do this, there’s the door.” He said, gesturing to the door behind them.

Bino remained. He had already put all of his eggs in this basket before even arriving at the castle, though part of him wondered if the Prince already knew that. Besides, it wasn’t as though Bino didn’t already risk his life stealing from various dukes and noblemen. To their credit, the other three seemed just as resolute. Bino wasn’t sure what their reasons were, but they we’re entitled to their secrets just as he was entitled to his own.

Keene nodded, smiling for the first time since they arrived. “Good. Now onto business.” He said as he turned his back to the six, walking to an window overlooking the castle’s garden. “When you are royalty, everything you do is a reflection on your ability to rule. Our personal lives too quickly become the subject of discussion in court. Matters of the heart too quickly become matters of the state.”

He turned back to the recruits. “Let me just get this out of the way here and now. I have a paramour who… some within the kingdom might disagree with concerning our courtship. A commonborn man named Breel.”

Bino could see where this was going.

“As Crown Prince of Babylon, I am expected to continue the Milton name though a successor when I am King.” Keene continued. “Now, make no mistake. My father has given Breel and myself his full blessing. There are, of course, many ways to name a successor than the… usual methods.” A dark look crossed the Prince’s face. “But for some in the kingdom, that simply isn’t good enough.”

“A noble family named the Raineirs have kidnapped Breel, and issued me an ultimatum: Marry one of their daughters and elevate the family to royal status, or they will kill Breel.” Keene said. “Your quest is simple, but of absolute importance. Rescue Breel and bring him back to me.”

This was certainly a lot for the four recruits to take in, but Zach was the first to find his voice. “W-Why come to us? Don’t you have a legion of Knights for this sort of thing?”

Keene shook his head. “My Knights are effective guardians, but subtlety and infiltration are not their strong suit. I don’t want to put Breel in any more danger than he already is. More than that, the Raineirs are a family of some considerable influence in Babylon. I cannot ignore the possibility of them buying off members of the Royal Guard for information. If word of a rescue attempt were to reach them, they might just kill Breel in a panic.”

This time, Peanut stepped forward to speak. “The Prince took me in as his confidant and we worked together to compile dossiers on potential civilians who could be trusted, so as to keep the Raineirs ignorant of our plans.”

Keene spoke again. “Civilians who would be sympathetic to my plight.” He turned his glance to Bino. “Or at least ambivalent one way or the other.”

Bino supposed he could understand that. Still, none of this explained why he, out of every single thief in Griffonrock, was chosen.

“Once Breel is safely out of the Raineirs’ hands, I will send a full battalion of Knights to bring the perpetrators to justice. But not a moment before.” Keene continued. “And don’t bother sending word ahead. I will only believe Breel is safe and sound when he is here standing before me.”

Peanut picked up again. “Discretion will be our goal, not bombastic heroics. We go in, grab Breel, and get out with the Raineirs none the wiser.”

So, a Ranger and a Thief, two specialists in silence and infiltration, a Bard, who could convince a man to part with his trousers with little more than a smile, a Cleric, to keep them alive, and a Knight-Squire, to keep them safe.

The only odd man out here, Bino mused, was Max. Bino still wasn’t sure what, if anything, the black cat contributed.

Keene regarded the recruits once more. “You all had your chance to walk out. You’re committed now, and Breel’s life rests in your hands. I invite you all to rest and prepare here in the castle before you set out tomorrow, but I ask you not to leave nor divulge the nature of your quest to anyone save those who already know of it.” With that, Keene returned to his chair and the papers on his desk. “My apologies for cutting this short, but I have duties I must attend to and I imagine you all do as well. Peanut, Grape, if you could show them to the guest’s quarters.”

“At once, your highness.” Peanut said, giving a quick bow of the head. With that, the six left just as quickly as they entered.

Outside the door, the recruits were still processing everything they had heard. This was certainly much more than any one of them had expected. But as the Prince said, they were committed now. Not much else to do now but rest and prepare, as the Prince suggested.

Grape turned to address the group. “The Prince has assigned the role of leadership to both Peanut and myself. When we set out tomorrow, you will be expected to follow our directions. Understood?”

The recruits all gave their own affirmations to this, but Bino couldn’t help but worry. This girl clearly had no experience in leadership. Rule number one: Never just announce your role as leader, let your actions speak for themselves. More than that, Bino couldn’t help but grimace at the thought of a cat ordering him around. If Bino thought cats were annoying before…

Oh well, at this point, there was no sense worrying about it. Like Peanut said: Get in, grab Breel, get out. If he played his cards right, and Lady Luck feel kind, Bino would have his pardons and Rogue job in no time.

Peanut asked the recruits to follow him to his quarters, but Grape reached out to stop Bino. “Wait, may I speak to you in private?”

Bino was already dreading what this could mean. Some sort of disciplinary act, perhaps? Something to put the recruits in their place and establish dominance? Bino shook away those thoughts. If that were true, she would have the other three watch instead of following Peanut to their rooms.

Did Bino do something to irk her? He couldn’t recall anything in particular that would earn anything more severe than a glare. Unless Grape was just that vindictive and petty.

Then again, she is a cat, so jury’s out on that.

“What is it?” Bino asked, once the rest of the group was out of earshot.
“You know Sabrina, right?” Grape asked. “Sabrina D’Angelo?”

And just like that, the world became silent and still to Bino. Time seemed to stop as he tried to process exactly what Grape had just said.

Sabrina D’Angelo… That wasn’t a name Bino heard in a long time, and for very good reason.

“What…” Bino said carefully, eyes wide in shock. “What do you know about me and Sabrina?”
Grape wasn’t expecting that reaction, taking a step back and holding up her hands to try and calm Bino. “Only that you two know each other, and that she recommended you to the Prince for the quest.”

Sabrina… recommended him? Why? How? What? Bino figured he may as well throw in Who and Where for good measure. Why on earth would Sabrina D’Angelo, the person who by all rights should hate him more than any living soul on the planet, recommend his skills for a royal quest? Was this some kind of joke? Did she hope he would die? Did she forget what happened five years ago?!

Grape, seeing Bino’s face contort and twist as a thousand thoughts raced through his mind, placed a tentative hand on Bino’s shoulder. “Woah there, relax! Now look, obviously you and Sabrina have some sort of history, and what that history is is none of my business. I just wanted to tell you that Sabrina wanted to talk to you before you turned in.”

“Sabrina… wanted to talk to me?” Bino said.
“Yeah, she told me she was worried you wouldn’t accept the quest. I guess she wants to discuss it with you.” Grape grimaced. “Go ahead and talk about it with her since she already knows about it, just be careful who else you talk to.”

Bino nodded numbly, feet rooted to the floor.

“Do you… want me to take you to her?” Grape offered.

Bino nodded numbly, feet rooted to the floor.

“Oooookay?” Grape said, awkwardly grabbing Bino’s arm and pulling him to Sabrina’s room.
---
Sabrina was pacing about in her quarters. Their meeting with the Prince should be just about over now, meaning Bino might be on his way right now. Now doubt he had a million things to say to her just as she had a million things to say to him.

Sabrina wondered if she was making a mistake just confronting Bino all of a sudden without warning. But best they get it out of the way now than run the risk of them just bumping into each other in the hallways after five years of complete silence.

Sabrina sighed. The last time she and Bino spoke to each other… was not a pleasant memory for either of them. More than a few barbed and angered words were exchanged. And more than a few tears on both sides.

They were never friends, Sabrina could admit that to herself, but she didn’t want to be Bino’s enemy. She didn’t want to go into this next chapter of her life without saying she made the effort to patch things up with Bino.

Though part of her felt guilty. She wondered if she would even be bothering to do that much if it weren’t for Fido.

Finally, whatever mental preparations Sabrina could have made was cut short when she heard a knock on her door.
“S-Sabrina? It’s me…” Sabrina knew the voice. Older and more mature sounding, but she recognized it all the same. Sabrina took a deep breath and opened the door.

Moment of truth.

There he stood, looking just as curt and brash as he always had. Sabrina was taken aback a bit at his clothes. Sturdy, well-made leather armor built more for mobility than protection. He certainly looked the part of a Thief, a far cry from the dirty rags she had last saw him in.

She wasn’t sure if the expression on his face was one of sadness or anger, possibly both. He looked as though he were trying to keep his face neutral and failing miserably.

“What?” Bino asked.
“What?” Sabrina asked.

“What… What do you want from me?” Bino tried his best to keep his composure. He could admit, Sabrina had much more cause to be mad at him than he had, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t angry. To her credit, Sabrina didn’t look mad. She almost looked… scared. Scared of me? Bino thought. What could she possibly have to fear from me?

Sabrina merely stepped away from the door, gesturing Bino inside. “Please come in. I… think we have a lot to talk about.”
“You are not wrong.” Bino said under his breath.

Bino walked in, closing the door. Now he stood awkwardly in Sabrina’s quarters as opposed to standing awkwardly outside in the hallway. Progress.
“Please, have a seat.” Sabrina said, gesturing to couch in the middle of the room. Bino did so, never taking his eyes of Sabrina, clearly waiting for her to come clean about this ‘visit’.

“Can I… Can I get you some water or…?”
“Sabrina.” Bino interrupted. “Why am I here?”

Sabrina froze, holding her arms close to her chest. “I made a promise.” She said simply. “A promise to Fido I would look after you. A promise I haven’t been keeping for the last five years.”
Bino nodded. So that was it, then. Guilt. Just… nothing more than trying to atone for some ancient slight. Lord knows, Bino understood that.

“Well… thank you, but I’m just fine on my own.” Bino said, getting up to leave.

“Wait!” Sabrina cried. “Bino, I loved Fido more than anyone in this world, but he was your brother. When I married him, I accepted every aspect of his life into mine. Or at least I should have. Fido wanted us to be like a family, he never stopped wanting that. I mean, I’m technically your sister-in-law, and I never-”

“Stop.” Bino said, his voice growing cold. “Understand this: You are NOT my sister, in-law or otherwise. We are NOT family. I don’t care who Fido married or what he wanted, because it hardly matters now!” He pointed an accusing finger at Sabrina. “And this… What even is this, Sabrina?! A chance at redemption in Fido’s eyes? A way to put your own conscience at ease?! Well, I am not just going to be your source of therapy! Don’t you stand there and pretend you actually care about me!”

“Of course I care about you! I was angry at you for so long, but don’t ever think I never cared about you!” Sabrina screamed, her blood boiling just as much as Bino. “Why do you think I recommended you to the Prince!?”

Bino… had to admit. He had no response to that. “Why did you recommend me?” He asked, his voice more quiet but still just as biting.
Sabrina took a deep breath as she tried to calm herself. “Take a seat with me, Bino.” She said, sitting on the couch and patting the seat next to her.

Bino considered just leaving. He couldn’t imagine anything Sabrina had to say would satisfy him, but he sat down all the same. After what he did, he owed her at least the chance to explain herself.

“When Fido asked me to look after you, I’ll admit I was completely lost on how to do just that. After our… argument, you made it very clear you wanted to be left alone. And I could never find you to tell you how sorry I was.” Sabrina explained.

“You… You were sorry?” Bino asked.

“Every single day since you left.” Sabrina said. “Even Joey had no idea how to find you, you completely cut yourself off from the world.”
“You made it very clear you never wanted to see me again.”
“I’m sorry.”
“You keep saying that.”
“I mean it.”

Bino took a breath. “What does this have to do with the Prince?”
Sabrina nodded. “When the Prince was trying to find people for his quest, I figured if I couldn’t track you down, one of the King’s Rangers could. They’re good at that sort of stuff.”

“How did you even hear about the quest in the first place?” Bino asked.
“I have a friend in the castle named Tarot. She told me after Peanut told her.” Sabrina said.
So much for utmost secrecy, Bino thought.

“I… I figured given your, ahem, skill set that you probably weren’t exactly living a legal life after we parted ways.” Sabrina said. Bino… couldn’t refute that. “And I knew a pardons and a job as a Rogue would be just what was needed to draw you out of hiding.”

“So I’m just a charity case then.” Bino surmised. “Dump me with a job and pat yourself on the back.”
“For god’s sake, Bino. Will you please stop putting words in my mouth?” Sabrina tried to reason. “It’s not charity it’s… an opportunity. A chance for both of us to maybe get back something we both rejected.”

“And what’s that?” Bino asked, though he already knew what Sabrina was going to say.
“A chance to be the family Fido wanted us to be. To support each other and look out for each other.”

“At the end of the day, Bino.” Sabrina said. “I want to be your sister. Not just because I made a promise to Fido, and not just because I want to help you, but also because… I never gave you the chance to be my brother in the first place.” Sabrina placed a hand on Bino’s shoulder. “I never gave us the chance to be a family.”

To Sabrina’s surprise, Bino didn’t remove her hand, he simply sat there, absorbing everything Sabrina was saying. “That’s a two way street, Sabrina. It’s not like I was giving you much of a chance either.”

Despite everything, despite the whole circumstance of their conversation, Bino couldn’t help but chuckle. “Since the moment Fido first met you, I kept telling him again and again that it was going to end poorly. Dogs aren’t meant to be with cats, I said. She’s just toying with you like all cats do. I kept saying that until… until…”

“I miss him too.” Sabrina said, fresh tears on her face.
“I never said I missed him.” Bino said, fighting back his own tears.
“You don’t have to.” Sabrina said.

A moment of complete silence passed. Bino wasn’t sure if it was a few seconds, a few minutes, or if even an hour passed before he finally spoke again. “Okay… Okay… We can… We can give this a shot.”

Bino turned to look at Sabrina, her eyes just as red as his. “But I’m not going to be able to call you ‘sister’ right away. That… That is going to take some time.”
Sabrina giggled. “Fair enough.”

Sabrina got up and offered her hand to Bino, who accepted it with only a little thought. “And I suppose I should thank you for the… opportunity.” Bino said.

“Just… don’t die out there.” Sabrina said. “I don’t want to lose my sweet, little brother so soon.” She said, fluttering her eyes.
Bino scoffed. “Okay, now you’re pushing it.”

The shared a light chuckle before immediately returning to an awkward silence. They had just gotten finished baring their souls to each other, now where do they go from here?

Sabrina shrugged her shoulders. “Well, I suppose now is as good time as any to show you the OTHER reason I asked you here.” With that, Sabrina went to a room of the side of her own sleeping quarters. Bino was confused but waited for Sabrina, more curious than anything as to what else she had in store after that last little revelation.

When Sabrina returned, she was not alone. Holding her hand was a black kitten with brown spots on her ears. She was definitely very young, Bino surmised, and couldn’t be any older than… five… years… old...

And her eyes were a very familiar shade of orange.
She had Fido’s eyes.

“Bino...” Sabrina said through a nervous smile, clearly not knowing how exactly Bino would react to this. “I would like you to meet Salem. She’s… your niece.”


Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:54 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Great job on this next chapter! I wonder how Bino will be able to take uncle duties then? :D

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Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:46 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
So i've been trying to keep to a weekly schedule for updating this fic, but the family is getting busy with cleaning for Thanksgiving, so it might be another week until the next chapter.


Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:39 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
That is OK. We all understand. Take all of the time you need!

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Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:06 pm
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