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Housepets: World of Fantasy 
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Sorry the next chapter is taking so long. Getting ready for CHRISTMAS!
(ohboyohboyohboyohboyitsalmosthere :D :D :D :D )


Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:44 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I really can't believe how fast Christmas has come this time around. It seems like it was only yesterday we were celebrating Christmas last year.

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Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:27 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Three Years Ago...

Fox would like to say he had been in worst binds than this, both figuratively and literally, but he was having trouble thinking of any due to his cousin, who was chained up right next to him, talking his ear off.

“Oh, piracy isn’t so bad, Bailey!” The blue and white husky said, doing a rather unflattering impersonation in Fox’s opinion. “It’s not exactly work to be proud of, but we’re fed, cared for, and allowed to go where we want! At least we’re not slaves!” Bailey said, kicking Fox in the shins for the umpteenth time.

Indeed, contrary to Fox’s earlier assurances to Bailey, which Fox was certain didn’t sound so arrogant when he said it, the two were chained up inside the hold of a slave ship, heading towards one of the more lawless communes of the open seas. Once there, they were told by the captain of the slave ship that they would be sold to the first offer, just to get them out of his hair.

“You want to know what’s really getting to me?” Fox said, doing his best to ignore Bailey’s glare. “That scabber of a captain isn’t even gonna try to get a good deal off of us! ‘First offer’ my tail…”
He turned to his cousin. “What do you think I’d be worth? At least 50 sovereigns, right?”

Bailey turned her nose up. “I’m still mad at you.”

“Meh, I’d go for a few silvers. You did get caught after all.” A new voice spoke out.

Turning to the voice, Fox saw a corgi he had barely noticed before while he and Bailey were getting accustomed to their new quarters, about half his height and just as chained up as Bailey and himself. “Good gods, you can actually talk!” Fox said, surprised. “You’ve been so silent that I assumed the crew cut out your tongue or something.”

“Haven’t had much to say what with, y’know…” The corgi held up his chained wrists. “The obvious.”

“Chances are we might be a package deal when we make port. So we might as well get to know each other.” Bailey said, shrugging her shoulders. “I’m Bailey Lindberg, this is my cousin Fox. What’s your name, stranger?”

“King.” The corgi said plainly.

Fox raised an eyebrow. “King… What?”
“Just King.”

“Can you give me more than that?” Fox said. “Like, are you a king or is King your name?”
Bailey huffed. “Ignore him, for he is annoying.”

“How did the two of you even get in this predicament? I overheard something about piracy.” King asked, side-eyeing the two huskies.

“Ah, yes, well…” Fox cleared his throat. “It’s a rather standard tale. A couple of street urchins become sea urchins stowing away on a merchant vessel. Vessel gets attacked by pirates, my cousin and I get shanghaied into their crew, pirates get attacked by slavers, they offer us in exchange for amnesty, and here we are.”

“Huh.” King said.

“What about you?” Bailey asked. “What’s your story?”

King narrowed his eyes as he stared at the ground. “When I was a pup, my brothers ran away from home and kidnapped me for insurance. After years of treating me like a slave, they sold me to a slaver camp to pay off a bar tab so that someone else could treat me like a slave.”

Fox gave a blank stare. “Oookay, you win on the tragic backstory. Yeesh…”

King leaned back, closing his eyes. “Look, you seem like nice guys, and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other in whatever coal mine we end up in. But I’m gonna try to catch forty winks before we get to wherever we’re heading. Probably be the last chance I get to get some decent sleep.”

Fox smiled. “Oh, I don’t think you want to do that. You’ll miss all the fun!”
King opened a single eye. “Fun?”

Fox shrugged. “Surely you didn’t think my cousin and I would be so cavalier to this whole situation. We’re planning an escape, want in?”

King turned to face the two. “And you’re certain your plan will work?”

Fox and Bailey shared a glance before giving King a pair of twin smiles. “50-50, at least.”
---
Moments later, one of the slavers entered the hold, carrying three bowls of what could be charitably described as ambiguously brown slop.

“Mealtime, worms.” The slaver said, placing two bowls at Fox and Bailey’s feet. When he did the same for King, Fox cleared his throat.

“Excuse me? Large, brutish, monosyllabic fellow?” Fox said, getting the slaver’s attention.
“When you were fished out of the sea by your Captain, did he remember to scrape off the barnacles or did he simply enjoy your natural musk?”

The slaver scratched his head. “Whas you goin’ on about, worm?”

Bailey rolled her eyes. “He called you smelly. Also stupid beforehand, in case you missed that too.”

The slaver stood up, causing Fox to realize just how big he was. “Wha!? I’ll bust your nog, I will!”
Fortunately, any busting of nogs was forgotten once King gave a hearty kick to the back of the slaver’s knee. The sudden shock made the slaver fall to his knees only for another kick to the back of his head to send him careening to Fox’s waiting arms.

Fox acted fast, wrapping his chains around the slavers throat to keep him from screaming. He held the slavers head up towards Bailey, who quickly and swiftly brought the edge of her manacles on the poor slaver’s already throbbing head, knocking him out cold.

“Well…” Fox huffed as he relinquished his hold. “That went better than expected.”
Fox reached down and grabbed the slaver’s keys from his belt, undoing his own manacles before releasing Bailey and King.

“We should grab his weapons and chain him up, in case he comes to.” King said, already grabbing the slaver’s flintlock from his holster.

“Five steps ahead of you.” Bailey said, tearing a sleeve from her cotton shirt to bind the slaver’s mouth. “We sailed with pirates, this isn’t our first escape attempt.”

“I’ll defer to your expertise then.” King said. “So what’s step two?”

“Take a look outside the window.” Fox said, doing so himself. King and Bailey poked their heads out and quickly saw what Fox was talking about.

“Oh, wonderful…” King grimaced. “It’s a fleet.”

Indeed, the three were only on the smallest ship in a fleet of three ships, sailing comfortably in the back of a line. The second ship just ahead was the largest, with multiple decks dotted with barred windows. The final ship, at the front of the line, was a modest galleon that was clearly more opulent than the others, with a hull of royal blue and white.

Fox smiled as he stared at the galleon, already forming the rest of his plan.

“All right…” Fox said as the three pulled their heads back in from the windows. “Step two, we make our way to the big ship. That’s definitely the prison ship where they’re keeping the majority of the poor souls in the same situation we were in. Once we break them out, we charge the galleon en masse and capture it! We sail away in the chaos before the other ships even now what’s happening.”

“That’s a long step two.” Bailey said.

King folded his arms. “It’s also much easier said than done.”

“It will get easier with every slave we rescue.” Fox maintained. “Bailey, I know I don’t have to ask you to follow me.”
“Well, no, but you could still extend the courtesy…” Bailey mumbled.
“But what about you, King?” Fox said. “Care to sail with us?”
King shrugged. “Better you lot then them. What are we waiting for?”
---
Their first priority was to establish a route to the prison ship. The newly-made trio started with procuring weapons from some ‘helpful’ slavers they were able to isolate and pick off, until all three carried a cutlass and flintlock each.

Then came time to make way to the prison ship, using the slavers own boarding ropes, making sure to rappel down the side of the hull so as to keep any of the slavers from noticing three swinging escapees.
A bit of bad luck occurred when the prison ship yawed suddenly towards them, while Fox and Bailey were able to get a grasp on the hull’s many handholds, King wasn’t as skillful as he smacked face-first against the hull. King’s prospects would have been cut short had Bailey not grabbed his wrist at the last moment.

“Ah! T-Thanks…” King said, dangling by his arm as Bailey kept a deathgrip on him.
Bailey smiled, pulling King to a handhold. “Better watch yourself there, handsome.” She said, earning a blush from King. “H-handsome?” King said.
“Hey, flirt when we’re not dangling off the side of a man o’ war.” Fox chided.

After the three made their way to the deck, King grabbed the other two by the wrists, pulling them behind a stack of barrels.

“Okay, we need to get our next action figured out.” King whispered. “How are we going to get to the brig and how are we going to release the prisoners?”
Fox poked his head over the barrels, taking note of the guards among the slavers. One slaver in particular, a scrawny beanpole of a raccoon, was currently looking out towards the sea, clearly enjoying the seabreeze.

“I’m gonna go make a new friend.” Fox said, emerging from the barrels and walking briskly towards the raccoon. The raccoon barely had any time to react before feeling the barrel of a flintlock pressing against his back.

“Keep quiet, eyes forward.” He heard a voice behind him say, and he very wisely obeyed.

Fox motioned for King and Bailey to come join him. The two walked as casually as they could, doing everything they could not to draw attention to themselves. If any of the other slavers looked at the group, they would appear to simply be four members of the crew enjoying the view.

“Congrats, friend.” Fox said to the raccoon. “You’ve just been drafted into our escape plan.”
“Oh joy…” The raccoon grumbled. “Let me guess, help you or I get an iron supplement to my diet?”
“Nice to see your smarter than the last slaver. I don’t want to pull the trigger, but I will if you make me. Understood?” Fox warned. The raccoon nodded.

“Look, I’ll do whatever you want. On one condition.” The raccoon said.
Fox huffed. “You’ve got guts to be negotiating from your position. What is it?”
The raccoon turned his head slightly, earning another press of the flintlock into his back. “When you guys get out, you take me and my brother with you. I don’t care where your heading, anywhere is better than with these psychos.”

Fox looked to his two compatriots who both nodded after some deliberation. “Alright, you’ve got a deal.” Fox said. “But the flintlock stays where it’s at until we’re home free. Call it insurance.”
The raccoon nodded. “What’s the plan, then? I’m assuming you have one since you got this far.”

“Break out the other prisoners, take the galleon and book it like Davy Jones is on our tails.” King said, risking a look behind him to see if any of the other slavers suspected anything.
The raccoon ‘hmm’d to himself. “You’re gonna need to arm your impromptu army. Luckily, I know where the guards stockpile most of their swords.”
Fox raised an eyebrow. “What’s your name, friend?”
“Falstaff.” The raccoon said.
“Falstaff…” Fox smiled. “I think we’re gonna get along just fine.”
---
With that, the group made plans to split up, Fox and Falstaff making their way to the brig while King and Bailey procured their means to the galleon.

As luck would have it, the former party managed to run into Falstaff’s brother, a short, chubby raccoon named Truck, on the way to the brig.
He needed very little convincing.

“Hey, Fals! Hey random guy I don’t know!” Truck said jovially as they approached each other.
“Hey Truck, long story short, this guy is holding me at gunpoint. We’re gonna stage a breakout and take the lead ship for ourselves. Let’s go.” Falstaff said.
“Cool, being a slaver pays well but man is it unfulfilling work.” Truck said before turning to Fox. “Do you want to hold me at gunpoint too?”
“Uhh… No, I think that will be okay.” Fox said.

Falstaff rolled his eyes. “Look, just head to the armory, grab as many swords as you can carry, and meet us in the cells.”
“Will do, sir!” Truck saluted before jogging past them.

Fox watched the smaller raccoon go before turning back to Falstaff. “You two… seem very eager to do this.”
Falstaff shrugged. “Look, Truck and I have been wanting to get away from these scabbers for quite some time now. You and your mates were just the first ones to have enough of a backbone to get the ball rolling. Plus, if this fails, I can just say I was held against my will. That technically isn’t untrue.”
“How canny.” Fox said. “Well, as long as you and your brother do your part, we’ll all be sailing free in no time.”
“Truck will pull through, he’s more capable than he acts.” Falstaff said, the two of them continuing their march towards the brig. “I’m more worried about your mates. How well do you know them?”

“Well, Bailey and I have been surviving together since we’ve been old enough to talk.” Fox said, a slight smile on his face as he recalled some of the more pleasant memories from his and Bailey’s childhood.
“King, on the other hand, I just met today. He seems a good sort, if nothing else he wants off this pit as much as any of us.” Fox shrugged. “Bailey seems to like him.”
---
King and Bailey weren’t exactly sure how they were going to get to the galleon, especially procuring a means for however many prisoners Fox and Falstaff were currently freeing. Any boarding ropes would not give them the element of surprise, as the prison ship was a good deal taller than the galleon.

Course, any subtlety in their plan will be immediately lost the second the crew of either ship see a horde of escaped slaves brandishing irons against them. None of them had any delusions that as soon as those shackles were released, this escape attempt was going to turn into a battle for freedom.

But the linchpin to victory was moving the battlefield from the prison ship to the galleon. The sooner they took the prize ship, the sooner they could break for the horizon. The prison ship wouldn’t be able to keep up with the galleon at full sail, and the sloop trailing behind will have been utterly ignorant to the whole thing until it was too late.

To that end, King and Bailey made their way to the upper deck at the bow of the ship, hoping to find some means of bridging the gap between the two ships. Providence smiled on them, as the two discovered a harpoon launcher, positioned right at the edge of the hull and pointing right at the galleon.

“We can use that to give us a zipline to the galleon. By the time they even realize what’s happening, we’ll have already swarmed them.” King said, already fiddling with launcher to get a feel for it.
“Wait!” Bailey hissed. “Someone’s coming.”

Sure enough, the two heard boisterous chatter coming up to the upper deck where the launcher was stationed.

“We need to look natu-hMMPH!!!” King tried to say before Bailey grasped him by the shoulders, silencing him with a rather forceful lip-lock.
King’s mind raced a mile a minute as Bailey pushed him against the mast, deepening the kiss. He barely heard one of the two slavers coming up the deck speak up.

“Oy! Wotcha!?” The slaver said, pointing a cutlass at the two.

Bailey pulled away from King with an irritated look on her face. “Wotcha wid youse? Canna lass get sum private time wit her man!?”
The two slavers looked sheepishly at one another. “Surry, mum.” The slaver said, turning his friend around and walking back down to the lower deck.

Bailey kept her grip on King until she was certain the two slavers were out of earshot. As she let go, she looked back at King to see the absolutely shocked look on his face.

“You, uh… You alright there?” Bailey asked. “Sorry about that, seemed the best way to get them to leave.”
“That…” King said, shell-shocked. “That was my first kiss.”

Bailey looked surprised. “Oh… Oh! Oh, I am so, so sorry! That was…!”
King held his hands up as he shook his head. “Oh, nonono! It’s fine! It was… It was nice.”

The two stood there, awkwardly, until King coughed. “We should… we should prep the harpoon.”
“Right, right, of course.” Bailey said, stepping aside to let King at the launcher.

King worked in silence while Bailey kept watch over any other intruders, both of them doing their best to hide their blushes from each other.


Sun Dec 16, 2018 11:15 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Really great addition to the story! I look forward to seeing what else is gonna happen!

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Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:32 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Don't keep us detached from the present too long - but this aside is quite exciting and clever. ;)


Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:16 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
NHWestoN Wrote:
Don't keep us detached from the present too long - but this aside is quite exciting and clever. ;)

Yeah, not gonna lie, this flashback was supposed to be only one chapter, but the escape plan got a little too big for that. We'll definitely get back to the present after the next chapter though.


Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:26 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I can't wait to see what happens in the present!

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Sun Dec 16, 2018 9:55 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Wave 2

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Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:03 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
This is so cool!
Have you ever thought about posting these up on the fanart topic as well?


Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:28 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
maybe when everything is done

also there was supposed to be bailey but she didn't fit properly in the canvas

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Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:04 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Dang Fox and Bino sure do look adorable in those clothes! Nice job!

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Mon Dec 17, 2018 1:21 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Aw thanks, btw I was able to finish off bailey and just because I am having way too much fun with these have a little extra of a certain cat getting the Rez treatment when he gpes "demon mode"

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Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:40 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Max sure does look buff when he enters demon mode. XD

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Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:50 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I like the idea of a cape turning into his wings.


Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:26 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Very interesting flashback, I'm wondering why we haven't seen any of those characters but Fox in the present day yet.

Great batch Krytus, Demon(?) Max looks specially awesome


Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:07 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Love the new threads and capes! Nice illustrattz.


Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:55 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
MERRY CHRISTMAS, ONE AND ALL!!!
Sorry I haven't updated in a while. The holiday season has been pretth hectic. But the next chapter is coming soon!


Tue Dec 25, 2018 11:53 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Happy Holidays! And there is no rush, this times should be used to share wonderful memories with those u care ^^


Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:51 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
A few moments and some close calls with patrols from the guards later, and Fox and Falstaff were now facing the brig, a single large, yet cramped cell filled with just over a dozen prisoners and slaves, waiting to be sold off.

Fox had to admit, at least the slavers didn’t discriminate. The prisoners were made up of many different races, all of whom looked at a glance to come from all walks of life. Some seemed dangerously malnourished, Fox making a mental note to make sure they stayed in the center of their rush towards the galleon while marking the more able-bodied prisoners to hold the perimeter and protect the others.

One of the prisoners, a giant of a black dog, looked up at Fox and Falstaff with distaste.
“I hope you can all sleep well at night, making your ends on the lives of others.” The black dog said, glaring.
Fox smiled. “My friend, I’m going to be able to sleep like a pup after I do this.”

The black dog and the other prisoners looked on, confused, as Fox stepped up to the cell’s door. “Where’s the key?” Fox said, turning to Falstaff.
“You never mentioned needing a key.” Falstaff said,
“What? You mean to tell me we went all this way and you don’t have a key!?” Fox hissed, trying to keep his voice down.
“Why would I have a key? I’m just a cabin boy!” Fals argued. “Besides, I thought you had a plan to get them out without a key, seeing as how you never mentioned getting one.”
Fox huffed. “Do you see a lockpicking kit on me?”

“Um, excuse me?” The black dog said. “But am I right in reading the situation that you two are attempting to free us?”

Fox grimaced. “Well, ‘attempting’ is the right word to use, but yes. I need your help to take the slaver’s galleon so we can all make a break for freedom.” Fox turned to snarl at Fals. “That is, we would be if someone thought of mentioning he didn’t have a key!”

Falstaff returned Fox’s snarl, butting his head against the husky’s. “Well, someone should have mentioned needing a key!”

“Ahem!” The black dog exclaimed, getting their attentions. “If I may, I believe I have a solution. Do you see that lantern hanging on the wall there?”

Fox turned to the light fixture in question before grabbing it. “This?”
The dog nodded. “Yes, now put out the fire and pour the oil on the hinges of the door.”

Fox smiled. “Ah, I see where you’re going with this!” Fox did so, making sure to get as much coverage on the hinges he could. “Falstaff?” Fox said. “Do you think you can claw these out?”

Falstaff smirked, raising his hand before unsheathing his claws. “Step aside.”
Working carefully, Falstaff gingerly plucked the pins from the hinges.
“There.” Falstaff said. “Now we just to find something to leverage the door so we can lift it up and out.”

“Oh, no need.” The dog said before standing up, causing Fox to realize just how freakishly tall the man was. “Please stand back.”

After seeing all the other prisoners back away from the dog in a panicked frenzy, Fox and Falstaff very wisely did the same.

The dog stretched, spat on his hands, then gripped the bars of the cell door tightly, instantly tearing the door off its hinges with the sickening sound of metal scraping against metal echoing across the empty brig. With little fanfare, the dog hoisted the door above his head before chucking it over a ducking Fox and Falstaff, smashing open the door to the brig and squashing a pair of slavers who were coming to investigate the noise.

Fox and Falstaff both looked up at the dog with wide eyes, Falstaff’s eyes were wide with fear but Fox held only wonder and awe for the black dog.

“How… did they catch you?” Fox asked, bewildered.

The dog smiled, brushing dust off his shoulders. “With a really big net. The name’s Mungo, by the way.”
Falstaff scoffed. “Of course it is! What else would it be!”

Fox stood up, helping Falstaff to his feet. “Go over to those guards and restrain them in the cell, I’m gonna see what kind of army we have to work with here.”
As Falstaff got to work hauling the the slavers into the cell, the other prisoners started shuffling out, eager to leave and allow the slavers to take their place.

However, as the prisoners were walking out, Fox noticed one of the prisoners, a pink husky, remained inside, huddled in a corner with her back turned to the world. If she had any idea as to the events going on around her, she gave no indication as to such.

Fox turned to Mungo. “What’s wrong with her?”
Mungo shot a sad look to the husky. “I don’t rightly know. When they brought her in, she was screaming and crying. Physically, she seems fine, but they must have traumatized her horribly. When she finally stopped screaming, she just went into the corner and shut everything else out. I want to help her but…”

Fox stared at the husky for a while, debating with himself. “Let me talk to her.”
Mungo raised an eyebrow at Fox. “Do you know what your doing?”

Fox gave out a short, sad laugh. “Most days? Not really. But I do know trauma.”
Without really waiting for permission, Fox marched into the cell, towards the husky, doing his best to ignore Falstaff’s grunts as he tied the slavers to the bars of the cell.

When he reached her, he knelt down to her level, reaching a hand out but stopping short of actually touching her. “Hey.” Fox said, as gently as he could.

With a start, the husky girl shot her head up and gave frenzied glance towards Fox before looking all around her, apparently just now realizing the cell was a little less occupied, and missing a door.

“Who-!? Wha-!?” She said, or at least tried to say, breathing heavily.
“It’s okay! It’s okay…” Fox said, raising his hands to try and calm her. “I’m a friend, I’m going to get you out of here. I’m going to get all of us out of here.”

The husky seemed to calm a little, but panic and frenzy gave way to tears. “Please… Please, I’m… I’m not supposed to be here!” She said, choking through her tears.

“I know.” Fox said. “We’re going to leave. We’re going to leave this place and you’ll never see it again. I promise.”

“No! You don’t understand!” She screamed. “I’m not supposed to be HERE!” She pointing to the floor, trying to get her meaning across. Fox just shot her a confused look.

“This… This is wrong. I am wrong! I’m not supposed to be here, like this!” She gestured to herself, pulling at her fur as though she were disgusted with it.

“Hey, hey! Stop!” Fox cried, trying to grasp her arms to keep her from pulling off any more fur. “Look, I don’t… I don’t really know what your talking about. But if you come with me, I promise I will keep you safe. Then, when we escape this place, we can figure out how to help you.”

The husky looked up at Fox, her eyes were still just as tear-strained but Fox saw what he hoped was some hope of her own. “I… I need to find my sister.” She said. “Summer, she can help me.”

Fox nodded. “I don’t know where she is, but I can help you find her. But before I can, I need you to help me get everyone here to safety. Can you do that?”

The husky looked past Fox at all of the other prisoners, scared and anxious in their own ways, but still resolute enough to fight for their freedom. “Helping people… saving people…” She muttered. “That’s… That’s what I do. It’s what I’m here for.”

Fox smiled. “That’s good. I need someone like that.” With that, Fox stood up and offered a hand to the pink husky. “Are you with me? I didn’t catch your name?”
She looked up at Fox, looked at his warm, confident smile, and grasped his hand.

“Spring.” she said. “My name is Spring.”
Fox helped Spring to feet, holding her steady until she could stand on her own. “Fox. Pleasure to meet you.”
The two stood there, gazing at each other until...

“I GOT SWORDS!!” A voice rang out followed by the sound of clanging metal hitting the hard wood floor, shocking the two out of their succor.

Fox glared back at the smiling Truck, a pile of swords at his feet. For some reason, he also had a small barrel strapped to his back.
“Way to kill the mood, little brother.” Falstaff said, rolling his eyes.
---
King and Bailey maintained position by the harpoon gun, waiting for Fox to come charging out with their impromptu army. King felt a nudge against him as he turned to face Bailey, who was brandishing two long-barreled muskets.

“Found these slumped against the railing over there, along with some shot and powder horns. They should really keep better track of their things. Here, they’re gonna need covering fire while they get down the zipline.” She said, offering one of the muskets to King.

Accepting the musket, King turned back towards the lower deck, expecting the sounds of fighting to start any second now.

“Can we…” King started, trailing off. “Should we… talk about that kiss?”
Bailey blushed. “What’s to talk about? We needed to look natural, so…”
King huffed. “We could have started rigging the ropes by the railing or…”

Bailey waved her hand, dismissing King’s suggestion. “People get awkward around affection. We needed them to leave us alone and not ask questions.”
King shrugged his shoulders, apparently accepting Bailey’s reasoning.

A moment of silence passed.

“It was nice, though.” Bailey said.
“Wha…” Whatever King was going to say was interrupted by the sound of a loud rabble coming from below deck. Seconds later, the trapdoor to the hold literally exploded off its hinges as a massive black dog burst from the hold, a pair of slavers trying desperately to grapple him to the ground, dangling off his arms.

Falstaff leaped forward, grasping one of the slavers hanging off of Mungo and slashing him across the face with his claws, making him lose his grip.

With the weight off his arm, Mungo grabbed the other slaver and tossed him clear across the deck. Mungo charged forward, allowing the rest of the prisoners to charge after him, Fox and Falstaff bringing the rear.

“Head towards the bow of the ship!” Fox yelled out, the prisoners being followed by a horde of slavers who were kept at bay by the prisoners trailing behind the group, slashing and clashing their swords but constantly moving towards the bow.

“Don’t waste time fighting! The galleon is our prize!” Fox cried out, slashing at a few slavers himself for good measure.

Back at King and Bailey, King wasted no time launching the harpoon at the galleon, a sturdy rope tied to the harpoon providing their route to potential freedom.
“King!” Bailey yelled out. “Archers!”
King turned his attention back towards the deck and saw that there were indeed two slavers at the sides of the deck, getting ready to take potshots at the prisoners with their crossbows.

King and Bailey acted fast, firing their muskets just in time to put the archers down before they shot a single bolt.
“Nice shot!” Bailey said, smiling at King.
“You too. Reload and keep a sharp eye, we’re not done yet.” King said, already pouring gunpowder into his musket.

Back at the prisoners, the open deck allowed them to make a break for the bow, the slavers struggling to keep up. “There!” Fox said, seeing King and Bailey’s solution for the group. “Use your swords to slide down the line!”

The group needed no more convincing than that, rappelling down to the galleon one at a time as Fox, Falstaff and Mungo turned back to fight off the slavers and buy the others time, Bailey and King working to pick off reinforcements.

“HEY! GUY I DON’T KNOW!” A voice rang out among the cacophony. Fox risked a look behind him and saw Truck holding the barrel that was strapped to his back over his head. “SPECIAL DELIVERY!” Truck said, throwing the barrel into the thick of the slavers.

Realization dawned on Fox as he immediately drew his flintlock. “GET BACK!” He screamed, as Falstaff and Mungo both leaped up to the upper deck with Bailey, King, and Truck.

With only seconds before the slavers surrounded him, Fox closed one eye and focused on the barrel. Holding his breath, Fox prayed to whatever gods were watching over him and pulled the trigger.

The pellet from the flintlock flew true and struck the barrel dead-center. A not-to-modest explosion erupted from the barrel of gunpowder, catching a majority of the slavers in its epicenter and sending the other slavers flying through the sheer force of the explosion.

Fox himself also felt a wave of force hit him like a thousand fists, knocking him off his feet and sending him flying backwards. Luckily, Mungo stood on the upper deck waiting to catch Fox, shielding the others from the force of the explosion with his body.

Without a word or second thought, the rest of the group rappelled down to the galleon, Mungo holding on to Fox as they rappelled together. As Fox and Mungo were the last ones to reach the galleon, Fox wrested himself from Mungo’s grip, drawing his sword and slicing through the rope to prevent the slavers from following them.

With their escape secured, Fox turned to find the battle between the prisoners and the slavers had already begun. While the slavers had the advantage in equipment and simply being in better health, they were outnumbered by their prisoners and taken completely by surprise.
Fox was happy to see that the other prisoners had taken his advice to overwhelm the slavers with their greater numbers, engaging each slaver with two prisoners at least.

The slavers were certainly holding their own, but with each of their own they lost, that was another prisoner to overwhelm them. It finally came down to their captain, a scarred and very perturbed looking wolf-dog, cornered at all sides and brandishing his twin cutlasses at any prisoner who came close to him.

“Ingrates! Filth! What gives you the right!? How dare you raise irons against me!” The captain screamed, practically frothing at the mouth.

“What gives you the right to trade in lives!?” Fox yelled out from within the crowd of prisoners. The other former slaves parted to allow Fox through, as he marched up to face the captain.

“I’ll give you one chance to surrender.” Fox said. “The ship is ours and your crew has been defeated. Accept your defeat and you may just live.”

The captain instead just continued his ranting. “A plague on you, bilge rat! Plagues and pestilence and all scourges the devil can create! I would sooner sink this ship and all aboard it to the locker before giving it to living trash such as you!” Without warning, the captain tightened his grip on his cutlasses and charged at Fox. “HAVE AT YOU!”

Mungo readied to defend Fox, while the rest of the prisoners poised to swarm the captain. “No!” Fox called out. “He’s mine!” He said with a snarl, drawing his own blade.

While conflicted, the prisoners respected Fox’s wishes for an honorable duel. Bailey and King stood ready with their muskets should the captain attempt anything underhanded.

Fox admitted, he was no master with a sword, all of his training coming from whatever pirate felt bored enough to teach him for an hour before growing bored with that too. Most of what Fox knew was self-taught, improvisations born from desperation the few times he was called to draw a blade.

Which, frankly, was working to his advantage right now. It’s clear that the captain was a very traditional sword-fighter, and thus expected Fox to wield his sword and move his feet in a very specific way. When Fox failed to comply, it threw the captain off, forcing him to re-evaluate. Whereas with Fox, improve was his bread and butter.

It didn’t help that the captain was growing angrier and angrier as the duel continued on, his rage at this impudent slave refusing to lay down and die distracting him as much as it was fueling him.

The former prisoners started cheering as it became clear that Fox was getting the upper hand, but Fox noticed the captain smirk as he went to punch Fox with the guard of his cutlass. Raising his cutlass to block the blow.

It was then the captain sprung his trap, and Fox noticed a mechanism in the hilt of the cutlass. What looked like a flint hammer connected to a trigger in the handle of the sword, a trigger the captain pulled.

Instinct took over as Fox jerked his head back, feeling a rush of air as the bullet fired from the hilt of the sword whizzed past his face, then a sharp and stinging pain in his ear.

“AAARGH!!!” Fox cried out, breaking away from the captain and clutching his ear. A feeling of shock ran through him as he looked down at his hand to see it stained red.
He looked up and saw the captain readying his cutlass once more to fire again…

A shot rang out, and the cutlass flung itself from the captain’s hand. Surprised, the captain turned to face King, a smoking musket in his hands. “So much for a fair fight…” King muttered under his breath.

The captain clenched his teeth, then pulled back his other cutlass for a wild, desperate swing at Fox. Fighting through the pain in his ear, Fox drew back and flung himself forward, leaping over the captain’s blade and grabbing the pistol-sword from the ground.

Somersaulting back to his feet, Fox twisted around and fired the pistol-sword, striking the captain’s leg and bringing him to his knees.
With a flourish, Fox rose to his feet and spun his blade, bringing it to a hair’s breadth of the captain’s neck. The captain became deathly still as Fox held the blade close to his throat.

“Yield.” Fox hissed.

The captain jerked up, earning a knick in the neck from Fox. A tiny trail of red spilled out.

“Yield!” Fox demanded, louder.

The captain’s rage was palpable in his eyes, but he finally tossed his other cutlass aside with a beastly growl.

The cheers from the now freed prisoners could be heard all the way back on the prison ship, where the remaining slavers sat and waited, refusing to come to their captain’s aid.
---
After some time sailing far enough away from the rest of the slaver fleet. The new crew of the galleon was ready to deal with their last few loose ends.

The captain and the surviving members of the former crew were rounded up on one of the lifeboats and shipped away. As the boat drifted into the distance, Fox called out from the deck of the galleon.

“Let it not be said I cannot show mercy! Leave with your lives, and never commit these sins again!” Fox called out to the captain.

The captain, in response, let out a roar. “THIS IS NOT OVER!! I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH!! YOU WILL NEVER KNOW PEACE SO LONG AS I DRAW BREATH!! MARK MY WORDS, THERE WILL BE DAGGERS IN THE BEDS OF YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN!! SO SAYETH-”

Whatever further curses the captain had for Fox was cut short as a monstrous and gargantuan tentacle burst forth from beneath the waves, grasping and hoisting the lifeboat into the air. The captain and his surviving crew had just enough time to scream in terror before the tentacle dragged them beneath the surface, bringing the waters to a complete silence.

A silence that pervaded Fox and his new crew as they all looked on shell-shocked at the sight they had all bore witness to.

“Right!” King said, turning towards the captain’s quarters. “I’m going to see if there are any maps of these waters so we can mark them and NEVER sail these parts again.”
---
Time passed and, after high-tailing it far away from whatever they had saw, the new crew of the galleon spent no time getting things situated for the voyage to a mainland for repast and recuperation.

Fox looked out across the horizon, brought out of his musings as King, Bailey, Mungo, Spring and Falstaff marched up to him, eager to hold counsel on their next move.

“Well…” Bailey said. “We have our own ship now. I never would have imagined something like that happening when we were pups.”
King nodded. “That begs the question though: What do we do now?”

Fox ‘hmm’ed to himself. “A lot of us have been prisoners in one fashion or another for quite some time. This is the first time in a long time I can remember having the freedom to do whatever I wished.” A sad chuckle escaped Fox. “I’ll admit, I’m a little overwhelmed as to what I should do.”

Mungo coughed into his hand. “Well, if I may bring up an option, it seems that a majority of the crew want to stay on-board… with you as their captain.” Mungo said, gesturing to Fox.

“Me?” Fox said, surprised.

“Oh, don’t act all shocked.” Falstaff said. “You’re their liberator, the guy who came in and gave them the freedom they all craved.” A look of embarrassment crossed Falstaff’s face. “That we all craved.”

Falstaff shook his head, apparently trying to shake out the sentimentality. “I told you before Truck and I would go wherever you go. We… don’t really have anywhere else. So if that means calling you captain, then so be it Captain.”

Spring nodded. “I… I don’t want to leave. I want to stay and… keep helping.” Spring turned to look at Fox. “If you’ll have me… Captain.”

Fox turned to Mungo. “And you?”

Mungo gave an exaggerated bow. “I owe you my freedom, and I pay back my debts. Though, I hope that one day I can call you my friend as well as my Captain.”

Fox turned to Bailey and King.
“Oh, like you even need to ask.” Bailey said with a smirk. “But only if King gets to come with us.”
“Just like that?” King asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Just like that.” Bailey said, smiling down at King. A smile that was returned, with a blush on top from King.

Their gaze at each other did not go unnoticed by Fox. “Uh, what did I miss?” He said with a smirk.
“I’ll tell you later.” Bailey said, turning her attention back to her cousin. “Right now, there’s a bigger concern.”

“Which is?” Fox asked.

“What are we gonna name this boat?” Bailey asked. “It already has a name, but it’s a name tied to a group of slavers. Probably not the best idea to be associated with it.”

“What’s the name?” Fox asked.
“Charon.” Bailey replied.

Fox ‘hmm’ed again, walking past his newly minted ‘inner circle’ as he pondered. “In myth, Charon is the boatman who ferries lost souls to eternal torment. A fitting name for when this ship was in the hands of slavers. But now we’re changing course, and heading towards paradise.”
A wide smile stretched across Fox’s face as he turned towards his crew, his friends.
“From here on out, we are Heaven Bound!”
---
Present Day
Captain Fox smiled to himself, gazing at the pistol-sword mounted on the wall of his quarters he took as a prize on that fateful day, along with the rest of his ship.

He had finished chartering a route to Coraggio sometime ago, and was now simply enjoying a drink and reminiscing of days gone by. Eventually, Grape and the others will want to speak with him regarding their mission, so Fox was taking the time to relax while he still could.

A sharp knock at the door told Fox that that wasn’t going to be as much time as he had hoped for.
“Come in.” Fox said with a sigh.

His mood did brighten a bit when he saw it wasn’t any of their ‘guests’ from Griffonrock, but his quartermaster and cousin-in-law, King.

“Captain…” King started before being shushed by Fox.
“King, you’ve been my best friend for three years and your married to my cousin. You’ve earned the right to NOT call me Captain.”

“I call you Captain so that you know when a situation is urgent.” King responded. “Which it is.”
Fox put down his drink and got up from his chair, putting his heavy leather coat on. “What’s going on?”

“There’s a royal blockade in our path.”


Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:55 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I love how this chapter turned out. It was fun, and heart pounding even though I know most of them survive till present day. I also like how their ship got its name.

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Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:54 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
This chapter has come out very beautifully and I love how it was done! Can't wait for more from this story!

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Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:31 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
This was a neat adventure on it own, nice.
I'm kinda surprised with Summer not being part of the crew, will that come to bite us later on??


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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Grape supposed she shouldn’t have been surprised to find a bar in Captain Fox’s ship, nor could she really say she was disappointed, as that would imply she expected better of him.

But she could say she was disappointed in herself, when she realized how relieved she was to see the bar. Oh, if Captain Ralph could see his squire now, giving in to the base urge to chase away her stress with a bottle.

With a huff, Grape walked up to the bar and took a seat, taking note of the bartender. She immediately figured the bartender was related to the Captain. A husky of similar colors and facial features, only a more steel blue where the captain’s silver fur would be.

Not wanting to waste time with small talk, Grape held her fingers close together to indicate a small glass. “Something strong enough to calm me down, but no stronger.” Grape asked.

The bartender tittered. “If you’re stressed honey, Mungo gives great massages.” she said.
Grape grumbled. “You can’t drink a massage.”

The bartender gave a half-lidded glance to Grape before grabbing a bottle from the racks behind her. “Your with that group we picked up in Griffonrock, right? Those brigands must have roughed you up more than we thought.”

Grape let a dark chuckle escape her. “No… No, this is a more… internal problem.”

The bartender poured Grape’s drink, a little less than what Grape requested though she didn’t say anything. “It’s a barely kept secret bartenders make the best therapists. If nothing else, you can chew my ear off if you just want to vent.”

Grape raised an eyebrow as she brought the glass to her lips. “What’s your name?”

The bartender gave a smile. “You can call me Bailey. I’m the First Mate of this fine ship and cousin to our blowhard of a Captain.”

“You just… casually call your Captain a blowhard often?” Grape asked.
“Well… I’m of a select handful that can. And he knows it.” Bailey said, chuckling. Grape couldn’t help but chuckle with her.

“So, wait, the First Mate of this ship is also the one tending the bar?” Grape said.
“We’ve got a pretty good crew.” Bailey said, with no small amount of pride. “They don’t need me breathing down their neck constantly, so I need something to keep me busy in my inbetween hours. Besides, I like talking to people.”

“Clearly.” Grape said, taking another sip.

“My husband’s the same way. He pulls double duty as both Quartermaster and the ship’s cook. Though, the latter’s mostly because he got sick and tired one day of eating nothing but naval rations.”

Grape took the time to look around the room they were in. It seemed the bar was only a small part of a larger mess hall, filled with long tables and rows of chairs along the lengths of each one.

“Anyway, enough about me. As I recall, you came down here looking like you wanted to set fire to something, or someone.” Bailey said, cleaning a glass. “Tell Auntie Bailey all about it.”

“It’s… a professional issue. Nothing I can’t handle.” Grape said.
“She said, nursing a half-finished drink and clearly wanting another.” Bailey teased.

Grape sighed. “No. No, that’s a lie. I can’t handle this. I don’t even know how to begin to handle this. Did you know I was made the leader of this intrepid group of adventurers?”

“And the burden of leadership is a bit more than you thought it would be, is that it?” Bailey asked.

“No, It’s exactly what I thought it would be. That’s the problem. I knew I wasn’t ready to lead this party, I have no experience in leadership whatsoever. Plus, we’re all strangers to each other. They don’t know me from a hole in the ground. This is a position that was assigned to me, without any conversation as to my thoughts on the matter.”

Grape looked down at the last few sips of her drink.

“The first hard call I had to make as a leader, I tried to have one of our own imprisoned. I thought I was doing the right thing but… But I was wrong. I tried to put an innocent man in chains because of my own fear and paranoia. How am I supposed to believe I can make a better judgement call the next time it really matters?”

Grape huffed. “And now, I’m faced with a terrible choice. I either admit I was wrong, admit that I have no idea what I’m doing, and lose whatever minimal respect of authority I had. Or I keep to my guns, and run the risk of making a bigger mistake later that could potentially cost us lives.”

“And I…! And I…” Grape sighed. “And I really think you should take this away from me.” Grape said, pushing the half-finished glass back to Bailey.

“No kidding.” Bailey said, letting out a whistle. “Honey, you weren’t just blowing smoke. I gotta admit, I thought it was something like a bad break up, not… That.”

“Yeah well, I kinda wish all I needed was some relationship advice.” Grape said.

Bailey pondered for a moment. “Well… I do have some advice for you.”
Grape looked up, half-hopefully.
“It may come as a bit of a shock, but the truth is…” Bailey whispered, looking to her left and right, making sure no one was listening in. “Our Captain… isn’t the greatest leader ever.”

Grape brought a hand to her mouth, stifling a gasp of shock. “No! Say it isn’t so!”

“It’s true!” Bailey said, giggling. “Ol’ Fox has made his fair share of mistakes. Some… have cost us more than others.” She said, her smile dropping a little.
“But we haven’t mutinied against him… yet, because we know it just makes him like everyone else. A leader isn’t someone smart enough to never make a bad decision, those people don’t exist. And if there’s someone who claims to be one of those people, then they’re usually one of the biggest idiots out there.”
Bailey gave Grape a kind smile, placing a hand on her shoulder. “A leader is someone who is brave enough to make those kinds of hard choices and accept the results, good or bad. Fox has made a lot of mistakes, hun. A LOT of mistakes. But he never hides from this, never tries to pretend it’s on anyone else but him. And he always promises to do better, to be better next time. And, for the most part, he does.”

Grape looked up at Bailey’s kind face before sighing, settling her resolve. “Can I finish that drink? I need some liquid courage.”

Bailey smirked before gulping the remains of the glass right in front of Grape. “Sorry, hun. This is all on you.”

Grape scoffed. “And here I thought we were having a real moment.”
---
It didn’t take long for Grape to find Max in the hold, apparently having gone right back to his board game with Mungo.

When Grape walked up to the two, Max cursed under his breath as Mungo sat upright, a smug smile on his face.

“Three over one. You sure you’re good at this game?” Mungo said.
Max huffed. “Give me a break, you taught me the rules yesterday. And I’m holding onto that one win! That numbers gonna rise in time, big guy!”

Mungo laughed before noticing Grape standing a respectable distance from them, clearly waiting for them to finish their game.

“Well, I should probably make myself busy before King finds me playing games.” Mungo said, grabbing a leather satchel from the floor at his feet.

“Ah, come on! One more game! Maybe for something a little more… lucrative than bragging rights?” Max said, wiggling his eyebrows.
“Hmm, tempting, but I’m gonna have to pass. Seems you have a visitor.” Mungo said, gesturing behind Max.

Max turned his head, surprised to see Grape just standing there. He tried to get a good read on her, figure out what she wanted, but she kept that same stoic mask he’d come to associate with her. Though he couldn’t sense any of the hostility that was at the trial.

“I’ll leave you two alone.” Mungo said, flinging the satchel over his shoulder and walking away.

A moment of silence passed before being broken by Grape.

“Can we talk?” She asked.

Max shrugged and gestured to the seat Mungo had been occupying seconds ago. The ‘seat’ in question was little more than a crate with a fur pelt cover for added comfort. Grape nodded, sitting down at the game table.

Grape did take a quick second to look at the game board properly for the first time. She certainly didn’t recognize it. The board itself was a wooden plank with 45 small holes arranged nine by five. Each hole was connected to other holes around it by lines going vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. And each hole, save the most central hole, contained either a blue or green glass bead, arranged so that each half of the board was a single color.

Grape tilted her head. “You and the big guy have been glued to this board ever since we got on this ship.”

Max shrugged. “Mungo said he picked it up from some traveller in a port town. Poor guy’s been trying to find someone to play with since. I first, I just did it to be nice, but I’ll admit I’ve been getting way more into it than I thought I would.”

Grape nodded absentmindedly, letting an admittedly awkward silence fall over the two.

“Do you… want me to teach you how to play?” Max said.
Grape looked up, surprised. She… honestly wasn’t expecting that.
“I mean, we can still talk like you wanted. We can just talk while we play.” Max offered, a small smile working its way to his face.

“Ah… sure.” Grape said. “What’s this game called, anyway?”
“Mungo calls it ‘Fanorona’, definitely foreign.” Max said. “The idea is to take you opponent’s pieces by moving your pieces towards or away from theirs. Any time you do, you take every piece you moved towards or away from in a straight line. But it has to be adjacent to your opponent's piece either before or after you move, and you can only take the pieces in a straight line that are adjacent to each other.”

“I get it.” Grape said, nodding. “So if one of my pieces broke the line, I could only capture your pieces up until my piece?”
“Exactly.” Max said. “Now, here’s the tricky part: Every time you make a move that results in captured pieces, you can make another move with that same piece to capture more pieces if a legal move is available, and then another move, and then another move. The only limitation is that you can only move one piece per turn. Loser is the first player to lose all of their pieces. Oh! And you can only move pieces to empty spaces. Do you want to go first?”

Grape shrugged, taking one of her blue beads. At this point in the game, she could only make one move to capture one piece, or three moves to capture two pieces. Without thinking about it much, Grape moved her middlemost piece to the center of the board, as it was the only empty space.

Max nodded, picking up his two beads and passing them to Grape. “The first move always seems the simplest, but it sets up the rest of the game in a million different ways.”

Grape raised an eyebrow. “You’re really big on games, aren’t you?”
Max nodded. “You need to remember that I’m one of the People. The People of the Open Road. I’ve been all over in the Kingdom of Babylon, and many nations beyond. And in all of my travels, of all the people I’ve met and all the cultures I’ve experienced, one thing remains a constant force of the universe: Everyone loves a good game.”

With that, Max moved one piece a single space, then moved it again, taking a total of four of Grape’s pieces, including the one she had just played.

“How did you…?” Grape trailed.
“See, this is where the game gets interesting.” Max said, his smile now stretching from ear to ear. “With every empty space that appears, more and more opportunities arise for multiple captures like this.”

Grape huffed. “At least give me a chance to learn the game before you start punishing me.”

With that, the game commenced. And Grape will fully admit it, Max was slaughtering her. Every turn ended with Grape taking one or two, maybe three pieces while Max made multiple moves that ended with her having half of the pieces she started with.

“So, what was it you wanted to talk about?” Max asked, after a particularly devastating maneuver.

“Right, that…” Grape said, half hoping Max would have just forgotten about that and stay focused on his game. “The truth is… I wanted to apologize.”

“Oh?” Max said, feigning ignorance. At least, Grape thought he was feigning.

“I… I acted too brashly. I let paranoia get in the way of reason and tried to start a witch hunt against you.” Grape offered.

“Well…” Max began. “Technically, it was a demon hunt, but I get your point.”

“You have to understand, I was just trying to do what was best for the group but…” Grape grimaced. “But I’m in completely over my head. I’ve never had a position of leadership before, I don’t know the first thing about being a leader, and I-!”

“You made the right call.” Max said.

Grape looked up, surprised to see Max so calm and collected during all of this. “Wh-What?”

“Oh, not in the game, mind you. That was a terrible move.” Max offered. “But you made the right call to put me in that trial.”

Grape didn’t know what to say. “But… But you were innocent. I tried putting an innocent man behind bars purely because of my own fears.”

Max scratched his chin, trying to find the right words to explain himself. “Let’s look at the facts from your perspective: You saw a guy you hardly knew suddenly grow horns and wings, speak in a deep, booming voice and throw exploding fireballs around. What exactly would any rational person think in that situation?”

Grape sighed. “I get what your saying, but I still…”

Max continued, interrupting Grape. “Then, instead of just tossing me in a cell and throwing away the key or running me through with a sword, you decided to hold a trial to allow me to explain myself to everyone so that everyone could understand what was going on.”

Grape looked away, embarrassed. “The trial wasn’t my idea. I DID want to lock you up without giving you a chance to explain yourself.”

Max shrugged. “Yeah, but… you didn’t. You heard someone else give an alternative, and you decided to go with it. Then, when it didn’t go your way, you still respected it. So there, that’s two times you made the right call as a leader.”

Max looked Grape in the eyes, almost reaching for her hand but pulling back before she noticed.
“Making the right call doesn’t always have to be some grand strategy or show of heroism. Sometimes, making the right call just means stepping back a bit, taking a closer look, and letting heads cool. Quite frankly Grape, you made a choice that not many would make in your situation. And… I have to thank you for that.”

“So! To recap…” Max began. “I don’t accept your apology. Because in my mind, you’ve done nothing wrong, and so there’s nothing to apologize for.”

Grape said nothing for the longest time, merely reflecting on everything both Max and Bailey had said to her.

“Do you think…” Grape began. “Do you think I could be a good leader?”
“I think you’re already there.” Max offered, smiling.

Grape smiled as well, before looking down at the Fanorona board. “Well, I can’t be any worse a leader than I am a player.”

Indeed, looking at Grape’s side of the Fanorona board, to call it pitiful would be polite. Grape was down to her last piece while Max still had at least nine of his left on the board.

“What do I do if there are no legal moves?” Grape asked.
“You can just move your piece to any adjacent empty space.” Max said.
“Yeah… Or I could just concede.” Grape grumbled. “I don’t see this ending my way.”
Max chuckled. “Don’t say that! There’s always a chance to bounce back. But I’m not gonna torture you.” The two shared a light laugh with each other as Max got busy resetting the board.

“So…” Max started, getting up from his seat. “Mungo told me that the crew has a communal dinner in the mess. Would you like to join me? If it’s not too much to ask, I would like to know more about your story with those demons.”

Grape was getting up too when she froze, the shock of what Max had just said getting to her. “How… How did you know about that?”

“Ah…” Max trailed off, realizing his blunder. “Uh, Peanut told me. I’m sorry, I thought he told you that he did.”

Grape’s eyes narrowed. “No. No, he didn’t.”
Grape crossed her arms, looking away from Max. “He shouldn’t have told you. That wasn’t his story to tell.”

Max scratched the back of his head. “I’m sorry. All the same, he did. So… If you ever just want to talk about it.”

Grape sighed. “Maybe… another time. You do deserve to know after what I put you through. But… not tonight.”

“I see.” Max said, dejectedly.

“That said…” Grape offered. “I will still take you up on that offer for dinner. We can just… talk about other things.”

Max smiled. “I’d like that.”

Unfortunately, dinner would have to be put on hold as Fox and King chose that exact moment to come racing down into the hold, making a beeline straight for Grape.

“Miss Grape…” Fox began. “We have a problem.”
Grape raised an eyebrow. “What’s wrong?”

King looked to her, skipping introductions for now. “We were hoping you could tell us. There’s an entire fleet of Royal Navy ships waiting for us.”


Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:54 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Actually really enjoying this part! I can't wait to see what more will happen!

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Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Witty banter is truly a delight :D
It's good to see Grape working through all of this. Though considering this was a stealth mission, I am curious as to the reason behind the royal navy's appearance. :? <---and concerned

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Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:13 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
I hope that it means that things aren't gonna go too horribly...

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Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:10 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
It's always unnerving when the Royal Navy shows up.


Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:51 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Whenever the military is involved, it means things are gonna escalate.

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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
“Okay.” Peanut began, looking across the waters from the Heaven Bound’s deck. “That could be a problem.”

True to King’s word, a blockade of around six Royal Navy vessels had positioned themselves in a line barring any further passage for the Heaven Bound.

“Why are they even here?” Bino asked. The rest of the party had been gathered and brought to the deck for an impromptu meeting on how to proceed. “Don’t they already know about us?”

Grape sighed. “No, they wouldn't. Remember, the Prince wanted this mission to remain a secret incase anyone in the Royal Army was on the take. That includes the Navy. That also means we can’t tell them about our mission.”

Peanut shrugged. “Well… It shouldn’t be that much of an issue. I’m still part of the Ranger’s Regiment, got my pin right here.” He said, pointing to a golden pin on his cuirass. “I can just tell the Captain of that fleet that we’re on Royal business.”

“He’ll still want to check with the Prince to make sure. That will eat up time we don’t have and risk leaking the details of our mission to the rest of the Royal Army.” Grape argued.

“Which brings me back to my previous question: Why are they here?” Bino asked. “If our mission is supposed to be a secret, than why would they even be bothering us?”

Grape and Peanut were silent, trying their best to find an answer to Bino’s query… and coming up short.

Zach coughed to garner attention. “Well… With all due respect to our hosts. Maybe they’re not here for us?”

Zach’s words were enough for the group to turn their gazes towards Fox and King, clearly waiting for an explanation.

Fox rolled his eyes. “Oh blast it all… Yes, there is a… slight chance that blockade is meant for me.”

Grape folded her arms as she scowled at Fox. “Explain, now.” It wasn’t a request.
Fox gave a tired sigh. “The truth is I actually recognize the flagship of that fleet. I didn’t want to think that it was until I actually saw it. The Captain of that ship and I have… history. Simply put, he doesn’t exactly take kindly to our work.”

“And what work would that be?” Max asked, raising an eyebrow.

Fox coughed nervously. “Trade, mostly.”

“Trading what?” Grape’s eyes narrowed, knowing the answer already.

King stepped in, trying to get some of the heat off his Captain. “Luxurious goods to… interested parties through… unofficial channels.”

Grape slapped her palm to her head, the resulting smack heard clear across the deck. “I knew it! You people are bloody pirates!”

Fox and King shared a look. “We prefer the term… Nautical Treasure-Hunters.” Fox replied. “It’s just that said treasures sometimes already belong to someone else.”

“Brilliant!” Grape exclaimed, throwing her arms into the air. “Just… Brilliant! A squire of the Royal Guard and a member of the Ranger’s Regiment are going to be discovered in the company of a band of pirates, and we won’t be able to explain why!”

“Now hold on!” Fox said, raising his arms in exasperation. “We’re not pirates! Well… Technically. We’re Pirate-Hunters. We accept contracts from various clients to attack and sink pirate ships and return ill-gotten gains… for a modest finder’s fee, of course.”

“Of course.” Grape said, folding her arms.

“And I’ll have you know, this isn’t the first time your Prince has hired us for our services. Just the first time he asked us to bring others along.” Fox said before pointing at the fleet, bringing everyone’s attention back to it. “But the scabber Captain of that fleet hates us for ‘Refusing to operate on official channels’. He doesn’t like anyone taking on pirates for the crown that aren’t part of the Navy. Personally, I think he’s afraid we’ll make him look bad.”

Sasha raised a hand. “So, uh, what does that mean for us? If you’re not actually pirates, can the Royal Navy really do anything to us?”

Fox shrugged. “If we try to pass through the blockade, chances are that barnacle-head of a captain will force us to weigh anchor for an ‘inspection’. Basically his chance to harass and demean me and my crew.” Fox looked over to the fleet hopefully. “But no, he couldn’t actually do anything. Legally speaking, we’re a civilian ship so long as we’re not under contract. We could just pass the rest of you as new members of my crew.”
Grape nodded. “Very well. It’s a pain, but better to just go along with it and keep going. We’ve wasted enough time as is.”

“Um… There might be a bigger issue.” Bino suggested. “Me.”

Max looked at Bino, confused. “What do you mean?”

“I haven’t received my pardons yet, meaning I still have my criminal record.” Bino said. “If this stickler of a captain recognized me from a Wanted poster or the like, he’s going to want answers. Answers we can’t provide.”

“Oh shoot.” Grape sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Can we… Can we hide him in some kind of smuggler hold or…?” Grape offered, shooting a pleading look towards Fox.

Fox shook his head. “No good. The captain knows all the hiding spots on this ship and makes a point to check each one.”

“CAPTAIN!!” A new voice called out from above them. With little warning, a rope suddenly descended from the Crow’s Nest, with a skinny raccoon tangled in it, dangling upside down and facing Fox.

“Captain, couldn’t help but overhear and I’d like to make a suggestion.” The upside down raccoon said.

Fox nodded, not missing any stride despite the others in the group still reacting in shock to the Raccoon almost breaking his neck with his stunt. “I’m all ears, Falstaff. What do you got for me?” Fox asked.

Falstaff pointed towards the starboard of the ship, towards a large rocky outcropping jutting out of the ocean. “You can’t see it from down here, but I saw the entrance to what looked like a cave within those rocks. Best case, it’s a tunnel that can lead us past the blockade. Worst case, we can hide inside the cave until nightfall and try to slip by under the cover of dark.”

Fox nodded. “Canny as always, Falstaff. Thank you for the intel.”
Falstaff gave an upside down salute. “Of course, Captain. Now, if you don’t mind?”

Without missing a beat, Fox pulled out his flintlock and fired at the mast behind Falstaff, severing one of the weights to the rigging ropes, sending Falstaff shooting like a bullet straight back to the Crow’s Nest.

Blowing the smoke from his flintlock, Fox turned back to the group. “It seems Lady Luck has come through for us. Miss Grape, shall I take us into the cave then?”

Grape, as well as the rest of the group, stared slack-jawed straight up towards the Crow’s Nest. “That happen often, then?” Grape finally asked.

“Yes.” Fox replied. “Falstaff has always had a weather eye for this sort of thing.”
---
With no small luck, it seemed that the Royal blockade had not yet taken notice of the Heaven Bound, allowing Fox to sail the ship into the outcropping, careful to mind the big rocks that threatened to carve open the ship’s hull.

“There’s the cave!” Bailey called out from the bow, having been brought up by King. For tight, treacherous terrain such as this, Fox felt better having both his First Mate and Quartermaster on the deck with him. The rest of the group stood at the ready to aid however they could.

“We’re in luck!” Bailey called out. “I see a current, that means there’s probably a second entrance!”

“But is it an entrance the ship can pass through?” Grape asked.

“Hard to say, we’ll have to go in and find out.” Bailey replied.

“Deckhands at the ready!” Fox called out to all on the deck. “Mister Bino! Mister Max! Standby the rigging and prepare for Half-Sail!”

With the group busying themselves with Fox’s orders, it’s a shame that no one noticed the driftwood from a previous ship that tried to brave the cave, nor the bleached skeleton clinging to it.
---
All considered, the majority of their trek through the cave was without incident. But at the same time, the group couldn’t shake off this feeling of unease. The feeling only started to get worse when they could hear something from deeper in the cave.

“Does anyone else hear that?” Peanut asked, straining his ears to try and make out the sound.

“Could just be an echo?” King suggested.

“No…” Bino said. “It’s too… pretty.”

Sure enough, the noise became more and more melodic as the ship travelled closer. A clear timber and cadence resounded throughout the cavernous walls.

“Singing?” Bailey pondered.

“You’re right, Mister Bino.” Fox began, his eyes starting to droop. “It is… very pretty.”
“We should…” Peanut began, rubbing his eyes and slapping himself. “We should… get closer… find out what’s making that… heavenly sound.”

“Peanut? Are you okay?” Grape asked, waving her hand in front of Peanut’s face who barely reacted.

The ship suddenly lurched forward, knocking down most of the group. “What the-!” Grape shouted, looking towards Bino and Max who had released Full Sails.

“What in the gods’ names are you two doing!?” Grape demanded. “You’re going to smash us into the rocks!”

“Have to… get closer…” Max droned, clearly not listening to Grape.

“King? King!?” Grape heard Bailey yell behind her.

Turning around, Grape saw King almost walk right off the edge of the ship, and would have had Bailey not caught him at the last moment.

“King, what is wrong with you!?” Bailey screamed, trying desperately to hold her husband down as he struggled to escape her grip.

“Let go! I have to… I have to get to Bailey!” King ranted, eyes crazed and practically foaming at the mouth.

“I’m right here, King!” Bailey cried, tears in her eyes.

“No! I hear her! She’s singing! She’s calling to me!”

“GRAPE!!” Grape heard Sasha call out to her. Turning to face her, she saw Sasha pointing to a turn in the cave. A turn Fox clearly had no intention of making as he drove the ship towards the walls of the cave.

“Captain Fox! Stop!” Grape called out, trying to race towards the helm.

Luckily, Spring beat her to it. The ship’s doctor appearing quite suddenly behind Fox and knocking him unconscious with a frying pan. “You there!” Spring shouted, pointing to Grape and grabbing the ship’s wheel. “Grab those two at the rigging! Sasha, grab the Ranger and the Bard!”

Grape nodded, adrenaline helping her speed up her though processes. She made her way to Bino first, though not without noticing the trapdoor to the hold mysteriously locked with someone pounding from the other side.
Grape managed to reach Bino, though not without difficulty given how much the ship was rocking against the suddenly turbulent waters of the cave.

“Bino…” Grape tried, knowing it was in vain.

“Sabrina… Salem…” Bino muttered under his breath, staring at nothing.

“Oh, wow, we do not have time to unpack that!” Grape said, before hooking her arm around Bino’s waist. Surprisingly, he didn’t fight her nearly as hard as the other men were fighting against Bailey and Sasha.

Unfortunately, as Grape turned to face her other charge, she was horrified to see Max standing on the railing, ready to jump.

“No!” Grape yelled. Without a second thought, she tossed Bino aside, hoping he would be too disoriented to try and jump himself. Thinking fast, Grape untied a loose rigging rope from one of the mast’s posts and threw it like a lasso, just barely managing to catch Max’s arm.

Without a second to lose, Grape pulled on the rope hard, bringing Max down from the railing and clumsily to his feet where he stumbled into Grape’s arms.

“What is wrong with you!?” Grape yelled as she held Max up to face her.

Instead, Max stared at Grape with half-lidded eyes and a goofy grin. “Let me show you…” He said in a low tone, before cupping Grape’s face in his hands and pulling her into a deep kiss.

Grape stood there, shell shocked, as Max leaned forward, deepening the kiss. Finally, she pulled Max away with a ‘pop!’ and punched him in the jaw.

The adrenaline of the danger mixed with the sheer embarrassment made Grape momentarily forget that her hand was still clad in a steel gauntlet, resulting in Max flying backwards and smashing his head into the mast, knocking him out cold.

“Oops…” Grape whispered, hoping she didn’t just kill Max.

Grape heard Spring call out from the helm. “Tie them to the masts! Quickly!”

Grape shook off her flub, getting to work doing just that to Bino and Max, made a little easier with Max being unconscious.

With her work done, she risked a look to the other two women and their charges. Bailey had succeeded in tying King to the mast up near the bow, though the little corgi was still thrashing against his binds, compared to Bino who was oddly calm though still just as bewitched.

Sasha, of all things, was actually wrestling both Peanut and Zach to the ground. Grape had to assume that whatever spell this infernal singling was casting on the men, that it must have taken away much of their fighting prowess. Else Peanut would have been quite the poor Ranger to be held down so easily. With King secured, Bailey helped Sasha tie the last two of the male members of the group to the third, middle mast.

Grape breathed a sigh of relief, believing to be past the worst of the ordeal. Now all they had to do was escape the cave before…

But then Grape saw something that made her heart sink. She saw the other entrance to the cave, so close yet so far. But the singing was starting to increase in volume to truly monstrous levels. The sheer noise was tearing the foundation of the cave apart as stalactites started to fall from the roof of the cave, threatening to skewer the ship. The cave’s entrance began to crumble into rocks, pooling at the bottom and blocking their escape.

“We’re not gonna make it…” Grape uttered.
---
Spring gritted her teeth, her unconcious Captain still resting at her feet as she fought against the falling debris. She knew what she had to do, she was just afraid of what might happen should anyone see her do it.

She looked down at her Captain, still blissfully unaware of anything going on. She looked to the deck, everyone there either entranced or preoccupied with keeping those entranced alive.

This ship was her home. It’s crew was her family. She would do anything to protect it.

Anything.

As Spring made her decision, she released the ship’s wheel, hopeful that she aligned the ship enough with the cave’s exit. She turned her back to the wheel and walked over to the ship’s stern.

“Please…” Spring silently prayed. “Don’t let anyone see.”

With that, Spring unveiled her giant, feathery wings and gave a single flap, the force of wind from her wings giving the ship the extra push it needed to clear the cave’s exit before the cave-in came crashing down on their heads, silencing the singing.

The Heaven Bound drifted back into open water, the sun starting to set over the horizon and the Navy’s blockade behind them. The ship was damaged from the constant smashing into the rocks, but still floating. But, more telling were the large number of claw marks along the hull of the ship.

Spring quickly withdrew her wings back in before anyone could see them before heading down to the deck to assess the damage.

With the singing having finally ceased, the spell on the men was starting to subside as they became conscious of the world around them.

“Ugggghhhh…” Peanut groaned. “Wha… What happened?” He tied to get up only to notice that he, as well as all the other men of the group, were bound against the ship’s masts.

“Okay, I’m sure there is a very good explanation for all of this.” Peanut said. “But I would really like to know what it is.”

Grape was about to offer one until a voice rang out.

“COME AND GET IT LADIES!!” A voice yelled from above them before a grey and brown blur raced past the starboard of the ship, splashing into the water.
---
“They're called Sirens.” Spring explained as the women were helping the men out of their binds. Fox himself was sitting on a crate with an ice pack to his head. “Horrible monsters who lure sailors into their lairs by hypnotizing them with their singing. First they make you love them, then they eat you. With a smile on your face.”

The group glanced among each other as it started to dawn on them just how close they came to the end.

Spring shook her head. “Fortunately, their singing only seems to work on men. Bad news for ships who think sailing with women is bad luck, but it worked in our favor.”

“No kidding.” Fox groaned. “I have never been more happy to be so forward thinking.”

Spring scoffed. “You weren’t being forward thinking, you were taking whatever help you could get.”

Fox raised a finger as her leaned back, closing his eyes. “You got me there.”

“I…” King began. “I could have sworn I heard Bailey, calling out to me.” He said, rubbing his head as Bailey wrapped her arm around his shoulders.

“It’s one of their more devious tricks.” Spring said, solemnly. “If simple seduction doesn’t work, they impersonate someone dear to you. Someone you truly love.”

“Your wrong.” Bino barked, crossing his arms as he glared at Spring.

Spring gave Bino a cross look. “I beg your pardon?”

“You said these siren things impersonate people you love. That’s not what I heard.” Bino said. Grape rubbed her arm, trying to forget what she overheard.
Max didn’t seem to catch on as he remarked “What did you hear?”

Bino blushed as snapped back. “Someone I’m not in love with! That’s for sure!”

Spring rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t have to be romantic love, you dolt. Just someone the sirens could use against you. Someone you might become desperate to see, if the sirens prey on that desperation.”

Bino growled and marched off towards the trapdoor to the hold. “You have no idea what your talking about!”

Spring stared gobsmacked as Bino slammed the trapdoor behind him. “What’s his problem?” She asked the group.

Grape sighed. “Family issues. It’s a personal matter, so I’ll ask you not to bother him about it.” With that, Grape turned back to Spring. “So… Everyone’s fine now? No more hypnosis?”

Spring nodded. “With the exceptions of some headaches, yes. As long as we don’t listen to anymore singing, the sirens will have no effect on you.”

“Talk about headaches…” Max muttered. “I feel like I took a cannonball to the face. Did anyone see what hit me, by chance?”

“Oh! Uh…” Grape stammered. “You… slipped and hit your head on the railing.”

“Ugh, how dignified.” Max said before standing up. “If anyone needs me, I’m gonna be sleeping this off like a bad hangover. Wake me up when we reach Coraggio.”

Fox put down his ice pack as he got up as well. “I think that’s a marvelous idea. In fact, I’m hereby ordering everyone who got whammied by the sirens to turn in early to get it out of your systems. Bailey, would you…” Fox’s words died in his mouth as Bailey clinged closer to King.

Fox let a small smile escape him before turning towards Spring. “Spring, since you did such a fantastic job getting us out of that cave, would you care to sail through the last leg to Coraggio?”

Spring gave a small nod. “It would be my honor, Captain.”

Fox nodded back, then turned to the group. “The rest of you, I will see in the morning.” With that, Fox turned on his heel and made way for his quarters.

The rest of the group dispersed, either to sleep, to eat, or to enjoy the night air. Grape was among the latter, leaning against the railing of the deck as the seabreeze washed away the last of the adrenaline.

“Ahem!” A voice called behind her. Turning around, Grape found herself face to face with Sasha, who sported a coy smile.
“Sasha?” Grape began. “Um… Can I help you with somethi-?”
“I saw.” Sasha said, her smile widening.
Grape’s face flushed as her eyes widened. “You… You saw?”
“Mmm-hmm!” Sasha exclaimed, leaning forward. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. I just want to know one thing.”
“What?” Grape asked, fearing what the devious dog had in mind.

“How was it? Before the punching, I mean.” Sasha asked.
Grape turned her back to her, turning her nose up. “That’s… That’s absolutely none of your business!”
“Hmm?” Sasha pondered, her wry grin never leaving her face. “Yeah, you liked it.”
Seemingly satisfied, Sasha turned and left Grape alone with her thoughts.


Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:58 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Congratulations Grape! You just gave your possible boyfriend a massive amount of head trauma! And made yourself look like a numpty in the process. :mrgreen:

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Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:57 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
Congratulations Grape! You just gave your possible boyfriend a massive amount of head trauma! And made yourself look like a numpty in the process. :mrgreen:


Well, Max should know early on that you can't be Grape's boyfriend without at least the possibility of bodily harm.

Luckily, Max is no stranger to pain and Grape is more than worth the pain.


Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:23 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Still I hope that there isn't any permanent damage done.

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Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:12 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
That's a magnificent story to read so far with everyone doing their roles that you might think they're playing Imaginate...hmm ;)

It's scary that you don't get any reveal on what the Sirens look like.

Amazee Dayzee Wrote:
Still I hope that there isn't any permanent damage done.


With Max's status, I don't think it's possible.

Will there be fanarts of Sabrina, Grape, and King?

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Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:35 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
There may not be anything that Max has to deal with in the long term, but I'm sure his ego has been beaten with a baseball bat. 8-)

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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
“Taking all bets! Taking all bets, everyone!” Max shouted, passing a bucket to everyone on the deck. Both members of the ship’s crew, including Captain Fox, as well as the other members of the team were all gathered on the deck, surrounding Grape and Peanut who faced each other in the middle.

“Is this really necessary?” Grape asked, placing the flat of her practice sword to her forehead. Peanut stood across from her, smiling sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his head. A quiver of rubber-tipped arrows on his back and his bow in his hand.

“Hey, you two decided to spar in clear view of everyone.” Bino remarked. “It’s not our fault you drew in a crowd. We’re just taking advantage.” With that, Bino deposited a single silver coin in the bucket. “A silver on Grape.”

Zach leaned against the starboard railing next to Sasha. “What do you think?” He asked the Cleric.

“Grape’s got this in the bag.” She said. “Look at all that armor!”
“I don’t know…” Zach pondered. “I’ve seen Rangers fight. They’re canny, and they know how to exploit weaknesses.”

“Those sound like bets to me!” Max said, holding the bucket to the two expectantly.

Zach shrugged, placing a handful of copper coins in the bucket. “Fine, ten bits on Peanut.”
“Pff, cheapskate.” Sasha chided, dumping her own money in the bucket. “Twenty bits on Grape.”

Grape groaned at the display around her. “Sorry about this Peanut…” She said.
Peanut just gave her a warm smile. “Hey, if they want a show, I saw we give them one!”

Grape smirked. “May the best one win?”
Peanut held out his hand which Grape took without hesitation, giving each other a firm shake.

“Aw, how sweet. What a great display of sportsmanship.” Max said, placing his hand over his heart. “Now kick the crap out of each other, already!”

The assembled crowd cheered in agreement, eager to get the show on the road.
Bailey pushed her way through the crowd, holding her hands up as she stood between the two combatants.

“Alright, alright! Everyone pipe down!” Bailey yelled out, causing the raucous shouting to die down to a murmur.

“This match will go to the best of three rounds. The round will end when one combatant makes what would be a lethal blow with a real weapon. Their fake weapons have been coated with lipstick to make them easier to mark. A strike to the head, throat, or heart takes precedence over any other. Armor will be put into account when deciding a lethal blow.” Bailey announced, making sure both combatants and spectators understood the rules.

Grape nodded, more to herself than anyone else. These were all the same rules for when she spared with the other squires in the Royal Guard.

“Alright! Combatants…” Bailey announced, raising her hand and stepping out of the way. “Fight!” She said, bringing her hand down.

With that, Grape and Peanut immediately readied their weapons. Peanut wasted no time, firing an arrow right at Grape’s face.

Grape brought up her shield easily deflecting the arrow. She noticed that Peanut didn’t bother to draw his bow all that much, so she knew the arrow was just a distraction. Sure enough, she brought her shield down just quick enough to see Peanut charging towards her.

Grape let loose with a wild swing of her sword, which Peanut blocked with his bow. Now close to her, Peanut pushed his weight against the blade before hooking Grape’s arm with the crook of the bow. Grape barely had time to react before Peanut pulled with all his might, pulling Grape off balance as she tumbled to the ground.
A collective “Ooh!” went around the crowd at Grape impacting with the floor of the deck. Grape was a little too dazed getting up to notice Peanut nocking an arrow behind her, firing it at the back of her head.

Grape let out a yelp as the rubber ball at the end of the arrow bounced off her head, a rather bit more painful than Grape was expecting.
“Seriously!?” Grape said, shooting a glare at Peanut.
Peanut shrugged. “Where was I supposed to hit you? You’re covered foot to neck in metal!”

Bailey raised her hand in the air. “Round One goes to Peanut.”

Grape rubbed the back of her head, nursing what she was sure was going to be a bruise. Sure enough, when she pulled her hand back she saw it was stained with pink lipstick, no doubt from Peanut’s arrow.

“Come on, Cat!” Bino shouted over the cacophony of the crew. “I’ve got a whole silver piece on you!”

Grape shrugged off the loss, eager to take the next round as she readied her sword.

Bailey lowered her arm again. “Fight!”

This time, Grape went straight for the offensive, leaping forward before Peanut could nock his first arrow. Swinging her sword halfway into a feint, Peanut predictably brought his bow forward to block, leaving him open to a shield strike from his other side.

Though Grape pulled her blow somewhat, the hit was still hard enough to knock Peanut to one knee. Without missing stride, Grape followed through with her feint, bringing her sword to Peanut’s neck and slashing downward, leaving a vibrant pink streak across his throat.

The crowd cheered as Peanut and Grape stepped back from each other, Peanut chuckling as he rubbed the lipstick off his neck. “Nice move!” He said, earning a grin from Grape.

Bailey raised her arm once more. “The second round goes to Grape!” She announced, earning a fresh round of applause from the spectators.

Bailey was about to call for the final round, when Spring started calling out from the helm.
“Captain! Coraggio Island in view!” She yelled, directing everyone’s attention to the bow.
Indeed, a not-too-insignificant island with clear signs of a town settled on it was coming closer and closer from the horizon.

Fox nodded, turning to his crew. “We’re cutting the show short, everyone get to your stations and prepare to dock!” He called out.
While some in the crew groaned and griped over not seeing the end of the match, their complaining was quelled by Bailey snapping them to attention.

“You all heard the Captain! Move! Falstaff, get up to the nest and keep us posted on any naval guard! Mungo, get below deck and help the hold-hands secure the cargo!” She yelled, getting everyone squared away on their duties.

As she did so, King walked up to Fox. “Shore party, Captain?”
Fox gestured to Grape and Peanut, who were in the midst of trading their practice weapons for real ones. “Ask them, this is their mission. While on dry land, we’ll defer to them.” Fox said.
King nodded. “Understood, Captain.”

With that, King left Fox to his own prep work and made his way to Grape and Peanut.

“Miss Grape.” King said, getting Grape’s attention. “I need to know who you plan on taking with you into town.”

Grape nodded. “Just your Captain and the rest of our group from Griffonrock, so seven in total.”
King nodded. “I’ll let him know.”
---
With some luck, the ship was able to dock at the Island’s port-town with little difficulty. It helped that the ship was technically flying civilian colors, so the Island’s Naval Patrol probably just thought them tradesmen or fishermen come to sell their wares.

As the gangplank was set, Fox turned to Bailey. “You’re in charge of the ship till I get back. Take good care of her.”
“Hey, I live on this boat too.” Bailey said. “Of course I’ll take care of her.”

Fox smiled and held out his hand, causing Bailey to scoff, pushing away his hand and scooping her cousin into a tight hug.

“Aw, come now Bailey.” Fox said, returning the hug. “I’ve got a reputation to maintain.”
“Oh, hush!” Bailey said.

While this went on, Max sidestepped closer to Grape, pulling a cotton cloth from his sidepack. “You still got some pink on your head.” He told her. “May I?” He asked, holding up the cloth.

“Oh-uh, yes, by all means.” Grape said, turning the back of her head towards him. As Max rubbed the offending stain off, Grape couldn’t help but notice Sasha giggling quietly to herself, something she put a stop to as Grape shot her a warning glare.

With that, the seven walked single file off the gangplank, Grape and Fox heading the line, as they marched towards the town.
---
Coraggio was a port-town like any other, with many of the housing being slapdash in arrangement, clearly made wherever there was space and where they wouldn’t disrupt commerce. A good deal of shops and the like were located right at the docks, providing services to everything from ship maintenance and care to fresh fish.

Grape flagged down a dockworker to grab his attention. “Excuse me! Excuse me! Hello, I was wondering if you could point us in the direction of an Inn or the like?”
The dockworker pointed northwest of the docks. “Just follow the main path and you’ll find yourself in the commercial district. Look for the name Patty’s Inn.”

“Patty’s Inn.” Grape repeated, committing it to memory. “Thank you.” She said, leaving the dockworker back to his business.

As the group continued their trek, Grape turned towards the group while still walking.
“Alright, Peanut and Bino. You two are gonna separate from us for a bit while we get our lodging squared away.”

Bino raised an eyebrow. “I take it you want us to scout out the Rainier estate?”

Grape nodded. “Exactly. We still don’t have any info on the estate, so you two are going to get us that info. Reconnaissance only! You scout the place, then meet the rest of us back at Patty’s to go over the rescue plan.”

Peanut nodded, readjusting his bow across his chest. “You can count on us. Let’s go, Bino.”

With that, the group separated as Ranger and Thief disappeared into the crowd.
---
It didn’t take the two long to find the estate. Per Bino’s suggestion, the two tried a path leading away from the town into the woods. Sure enough, a sizable mansion was there at the end of the path, tucked away in a clearing surrounded by small, grassy hills.

On one of these hills, Peanut and Bino crawled on their stomachs to the edge of the hill, making sure to maintain a safe distance from the mansion and shrouding themselves in the shade from the tree.

“What did I tell you. Put a bunch of nobles on an Island paradise, and they’ll want to get away from every single person they can.” Bino said, gesturing to the isolated mansion.

Peanut gave an affirmative nod. “Alright, well done on your part. Now how do we get in?”

Bino shot Peanut a look. “You’re asking me?”
“You’re the future Rogue.” Peanut said. “This is going to be your whole job once we rescue Breel. This is supposed to be your area of expertise.”

Bino scoffed. “No pressure or anything. All right, let’s see.”

The mansion itself was large, but led itself to be more compact than most mansions Bino was accustomed to. That alone made for a bit of a wrinkle. The tighter spaces could be just as much and advantage as a disadvantage, if used properly.

“It looks like they’re getting ready for some kind of party.” Bino remarked. Indeed, a good deal of people were making their way up the path themselves and being greeted at the front door by the two guards stationed there. The guests in question were all dressed to the nines in elegant finery.

“Probably just a wine and dine with some fellow high-class snobs, talking about how great it is to be rich.” Bino scoffed. “Annoying, but we may be able to work with that.”

“How do you figure?” Peanut asked.

“If it stays a simple dinner party, we can probably expect most of the guests will stay on the lower floor. Meaning most of the guards will be on the lower floor as well.” Bino said.

“Ah, which frees up more of the second floor for us.” Peanut said.

“Only to start.” Bino said. “Sooner or later, we’ll have to make our way to the basement.”
“Basement?” Peanut asked.
“Look at the way the earth is sinking around the foundation. Telltale sign of a basement or otherwise underground room. If I were a betting man, that’s where we’ll find Breel.”

“So why bother with the second floor then?” Peanut asked.

“Two reasons. One, never use the front door. Especially if it’s guarded. If we infiltrate from the second floor, we’ll have less chance of being spotted. Two, any thief will tell you that it’s easier to search a house from the top-down than the bottom-up.” Bino said. “That way, if Breel is somewhere other than the basement, we’ll have a better chance of finding him if we enter through the second floor window.”

“The window?” Peanut looked over to the second floor. From this angle, he could spot three rectangular windows in a line across the second floor. “How do you plan to get us through those?”

“You’re a Ranger, aren’t you? Couldn’t you, say, fire a line of rope through the window that we could slide down.” Bino pointed to another hill just across the clearing. “That should be a perfect vantage spot.”

“I could…” Peanut began. “But the sound of breaking glass might tip them off.”

Bino shook his head. “No, because we’re going to have someone on the inside open the windows for us.”

Peanut shot a confused look towards Bino. “We are?”

A familiar smile crept across Bino’s face. A smile he often wore while planning his capers. “Well, they’re having a party, aren’t they? What do you say we provide them with some entertainment?”


Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:08 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Definitely enjoyed reading this chapter! Wonderful job with it!

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Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:45 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
This is very well written, I especially like how you created a new world and how you assembled the group and gave each member a distinct identity. Your art is very good as well, I look foreword to reading more.

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Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:55 am
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
trekkie Wrote:
This is very well written, I especially like how you created a new world and how you assembled the group and gave each member a distinct identity. Your art is very good as well, I look foreword to reading more.


Thank you so much! But I do have to point out that the art was done by another forum user, Krytus the Dreamer. All of the praise for that should go to him.


Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:05 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
Does Krytus read this story so he knows his artwork is being put to good use?

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Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:08 pm
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Post Re: Housepets: World of Fantasy
You've literally commented to Krytus about his pictures in this thread :P

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Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:46 pm
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