Hello and welcome back to Embers! I have two very special guests with me for this chapter: Kent and booze! Thanks to them, it's possible to read this chapter without cerebral hemorrhage. Once again, let's all extend our thanks to Kent for lending his very special brank of humor to this chapter.
I realized the other day that there are very few love stories primarily concerned with Garet in this entire section. And so you decided to remedy this with your own special brand of fan fiction. It seems, barring some exceptions, that Isaac gets most of the action in practically every romance fic. (I stand guilty as charged, of course.) Where are federal minimum sentences when you need them? I suppose that's since Isaac is our hero. (He's certainly my favorite male character anyway. I dare you to take a guess at my favorite female character! ^_^ Oh yeah, well, I double-dog dare you to stop writing this fic? ... What? A girl can try.) I didn't do a count, but I think Ivan has more romance stories than Garet too! Why is that, I wonder? He's neither a bishie nor shotacon. *Shrugs* Maybe it’s because poor Garet is just the goofy idiot sidekick? Well, going by your characterization, he certainly is. Although, come to think of it, he gets the short end of the stick more often than not in canon, too. At least he’s buff. Rawr.
Aw, don’t worry Garet. Even a dork like you has plenty of fans. I’m not sure if I should be offended by this or just glad that I don’t share the same opinion as Midnight.
Garet: Thanks, that makes me feel better…hey!
And look, we get more "witty" exchanges between Midnight C and the voices in her head. This questionable level of sanity bodes well for the rest of the fic.
*Mistakes* This whole fic is one big mistake…/ For instance, my reading this.
"Are we close to Tolbi yet?" Garet asked again five minutes later, causing the other Adepts to sigh. Still, at least he'd stopped singing "One Hundred Bottles of Beer".
Isaac studied the map carefully. In retrospect, it was a mistake to have drawn it in crayon. Was that "Lemuria" or "Lumeria?""Lemuria’s here, and we’ve been bearing south-southwest, so we must be…here." He pointed down at the ship's deck. "And Tolbi is right there somewhere under that coffee stain." The distance between the two spots was considerable and became more so when a sudden gust blew the map overboard.
"We’re nowhere near Tolbi!" Garet cried."Can we pretty please pull over? I really need to pee!""Isaac, I thought you knew where we were going!"The girls had suggested stopping to ask for directions, but no...
"I do!" Isaac insisted. "Babi’s Lighthouse isn’t far. If we sail northwest from here, it’ll be in sight within days. Actually, Isaac, given that, in canon, Babi Lighthouse is, if anything, slightly south of Lemuria, I must insist that you don’t know where you’re going. In the meantime, let’s get back on land and re-supply the ship. We’re running low on provisions again."
"That’s because someone’s been eating more than his allotted food rations," Ivan muttered, glaring at Garet.
"Why do you guys always assume that it’s me?" Garet demanded, crumbs falling from his mouth as he hid a half-eaten Pop-Tart behind his back.
"Because it is always you," said Jenna. "You eat like there’s no tomorrow. The world doesn’t end until 2012, Garet! Having you around is like feeding a small army!" Garet: Like Nac Mac Feegle, only with less sheep-stealing.
Garet made a face at her. "It’s not my fault I have a fast metabolism. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. It takes a lot of nutrients to keep this fine physique in shape, you know."
The others rolled their eyes. Jenna poked Garet’s stomach with her index finger. "Fine physique my butt. You’re getting soft, Garet. Too much food and not enough action will turn you in an even more useless tub of flesh." ITT: Jenna tries to cover up her own insecurities about her body by insulting others. Why don’t you see this cry for help, Garet?
"Here we go again," Sheba sighed.
"Soft?! What the heck is that supposed to mean?"
"That you’re getting pudgy around the edges, dummy." We call those “love handles,” Jenna. Not that you’d know about those since you’ve probably never gotten laid.
"Pudgy? You’ll be begging for my muscles if we get into a monster fight on land!"
"I can take care of myself just fine. My Psynergy is better than yours anyway."
"Yeah! And I’ve never set myself on fire before either." That’s… not really that much of an accomplishment, Jenna. Kindergarten children can avoid setting themselves on fire. Well, usually.
"That’s because you were too busy setting me on fire!"
"You should’ve ducked!"
"You didn't tell me we were playing Duck Duck Goose! shouldn’t have been practicing close-range like that! That’s stupid!"
"Which you’re the expert on, of course."
"Shouldn’t we break them up?" Ivan asked.
Isaac threw up his arms in frustration. "With allies like this, who needs enemies? Well, you. Without random encounters, your primary source of income would disappear, which begs the question of how exactly the slimes and vermin own more coins than the average villager, but...Let’s go." He, Ivan, Sheba and Mia made their way down the gangplank to the dock. It took several minutes for the bickering Garet and Jenna to realize that they were alone because, as all experienced warriors know, when facing an opponent you must completely block out the rest of reality, including the guy standing behind you with a sword the size of your torso.
"Where’d everyone go?" Garet questioned, looking around. "Did I eat them? Sometimes I can't remember..."
"Hey, guys!" Jenna cried, running towards the dock and tripping down the gangplank. "Wait up!"
The whole group made their first stop at the local inn to stay for the night, making sure to pick one with adult video-on-demand, since the sky was already turning red. Naturally, dinner became the primary objective Before asking all the other guests for quests? What kind of heroes are you?and the Adepts all ate with great gusto, devouring the food as fast as the inn's chef could prepare it. A freshly cooked meal was always far better than the rations they had to eat on board their ship, except for that one time when they killed and ate those pirates.
"Ah, much better," said Ivan. "I always feel like my Psynergy’s stronger after a good meal." Yes, but only if there were cookies involved.
Sheba nodded in agreement. "It wasn’t quite one of the feasts I used to have in Lalivero, where I also had a dozen ponies and my daddy would buy my anything I wanted but it sure was good."
"Uh, sir," the innkeeper began to Isaac. "Here’s your bill. In our village, a 150% tip is customary. You wouldn't want to be culturally insensitive, would you?"
"Thanks," Isaac said, taking the slip of paper. He glanced at it casually then immediately looked back at it and leaped from his chair. "WHAT?!" "Meet me behind the stables at midnight"? Had the inkeeper been looking at too much DeviantArt?
Everyone jumped into combat poses, except for Garet who was still too busy eating. "What’s the matter, Isaac?" Mia asked, crushing the chef's skull with her mace just to be safe.
He held up the bill for all to see, and their reactions were similar. "2000 coins?!" Yes, because it is entirely possible that one meal for eight people costs the same as a suit of chainmail. Maybe that's why monsters control the economy.
"Garet, you pig!" Jenna cried. "You’re going to eat us into Communism?poverty!" Same thing. :awe:
"Why is it my fault?" Garet asked with his mouth full of innkeeper.
Ivan looked at the huge stack of empty used plates in front of Garet. "I think the answer’s obvious," he sighed. "Did that break the bank, Isaac?"
"No," said Isaac. "But now we’ll have to earn some extra money if we’re going to properly re-supply our ship." I call bullshit. Who else has had tens of thousands of coins to spare by the time they hit Lemuria?
The others groaned. “I call not it on prostituting myself!” Sheba cried. She shuddered. “So… many… Lolita complexes… Never again.”Once again the fool has made our lives more difficult," said Sheba.
"Hey!" Garet said, swallowing. He pointed at Sheba with his mostly-eaten chicken leg. "I do almost twice the work around here, so I should get twice the food."
Sheba recoiled in disgust from the foot in her face. "Twice perhaps, but certainly not five times the amount! That's basic math, nimrod."
"He’s a bottomless pit all right," Jenna moaned in agreement. When you fall in a bottomless pit, you die of starvation! Times like these made her wonder exactly how she could love him so much. Same here, honey.
"There’s just no pleasing you women," said Garet. "And I even bought those pills off the internet! Maybe you’re always so grouchy because you never let yourselves experience the satisfaction of being full." Well, that’s a nice surprise instead of the expected PMS joke. He finished the meat in his hand *snerk* and shoved his last plate aside.
"Are you quite done?" Isaac asked, still slightly annoyed from the exorbitant bill.
"I think so," said Garet, sounding content as he rubbed his full stomach. Seriously, I think Midnight C was watching The Simpsons while writing this chapter and got Garet and Homer confused. An upcoming chapter will have me switching all instances of Garet's name with Homer's.
"Good," Isaac said. "Then you can help the innkeeper clean up." He swiftly headed upstairs with the others.
"Hey guys!" Garet called. "Guys?" He looked at the immense pile of dishes on the table and swore to himself. Suddenly stuffing his face hadn't seemed like such a hot idea after all.
Jenna stared up at the inn's washroom ceiling as she tried to enjoy her warm bath, if you know what I mean. Mars Adepts had a natural aversion to water which had kept their numbers low until the discovery of agriculture and then milk, but she liked the occasional long soak in the tub. And how else was one supposed to keep from feeling grimy and smelling bad? Febreze. The water also helped rinse away the sense of disgust brought on by watching Garet eat. That always left her with a certain queasy sensation, since it was like watching some ravenous animal consume everything in its path. No, that's exactly what it was. You might want to repeat your third-grade unit on metaphors. How could she love someone with such deplorable table manners? She was worthy of better behavior in her man, wasn't she? Just be glad he's not trying to eat you. If Twilight taught us anything, it's that women are meant to endure everything up to and including the possibility of violent death for the men they love.
But there were more dimensions to Garet other than his buffoonery. Specifically, they were the x and y coordinates of his pixels. Underneath it all was a kind, warm heart with a strong sense of justice and righteousness. You know, the same kind of justice that involved forcing others to subsidise your unequal consumption of resources. Not to mention that he was highly dependable, much like a large and unclean dog. He'd stayed by Isaac's side during this entire ordeal, even after seeing things that would've sent most people screaming for mercy. Like what, being showered with praise for solving every problem every village has ever had? And he was certainly handy with a sword and a brilliant fighter as well, albeit slightly impatient when the melees got particularly heated, which by all rights should have put him six feet under long ago, as anyone who has actually used a sword knows that the best time to strike is right after your opponent has gotten impatient and made a poorly-planned attack.
Garet had a tender side too, which always revealed itself at precisely the right time, usually when she was drunk and her standards were low. On many occasions after the storm in Vale, she'd seen him sitting with Isaac at his most distraught. And in those instances, Garet hadn't been running his mouth or attempting to crack jokes; he'd simply sat silently beside his grieving friend, using his presence as a reassurance of support and brotherly hot man love. He'd done that for her as well. A few times they'd been hanging out as usual, and something would suddenly trigger memories of her loss, causing her to burst into tears for no apparent reason, oddly enough about once every month. And Garet hadn't said a word. Rather, he'd pulled her into his arms and let her cry as much as she'd needed while he copped a feel.
Jenna smiled. Those things hidden under layers of clothing were what made her love him. They were often over-shadowed by his oafish exterior and hanging gut, but they were still there--one only needed to look for them to see them, particularly when there was an attractive woman nearby. And his oafish side had its charms as well, despite the bad manners and numerous brain cramps. He could make her laugh like no one else, and that was important too. However, like all women, she was willing to lie and say that a good sense of humor was more important than a man's equipment.
Now if only I had the courage to tell him how I really feel,she thought.Maybe I could put an anonymous love note in his armor. No, wait, he'd try to eat it. Why are those three beautiful little words so hard to say? Mia did it, so why can't I? Because you haven't yet experienced the wonders of death and subsequent deus ex machina. Don't worry, knowing MidnightC you'll get your chance soon enough. Alternately, because Mia's just a perfect Mary Sue who can do anything except finally die. She sighed and started rinsing the suds off of her skin, rinsing long and hard as she thought of Garet one last time. It was getting late and she needed a good night's sleep after that workout.
Down the hall, Garet had finally finished assisting the innkeeper with the pile of dinner dishes and had returned to his room. This inn hadn't had enough free rooms, so they'd had to bunk up as normal instead. Isaac was reclined on his bed reading Twilight and Ivan was sitting on the floor "meditating" on the latest issue of PlayAdept.
"Thanks for the help, guys," Garet growled lowly.
"You're welcome," Isaac said, not looking up from his book. "Of course, you really should be thanking yourself. If you hadn't run up such a huge bill, we wouldn't have had to exact our revenge."
"Consider it a way of paying your debt to us," said Ivan, opening one eye. "We could be demanding sexual favors, after all."
"Debt?" Garet questioned. "Speaking of sexual favors, I helped earn that money too!"
"Yes, but you seem to spend more of it than anyone else," Isaac said. "How many issues of Ninja Adventure Squad does one person need?"
Garet grumbled audibly at his friends, wishing that for once everyone would stop ridiculing him. Was loving food really such a bad thing? You're ahead of your time, Garet. In 2009 you could get your own show on the Food Network. And he certainly wasn't pudgy at all All muscle, baby, rawr. *hugs folder of Garet fan art*, so what was the harm in filling himself with Isaac? It helped him sleep and made it easier to focus on other matters. Whenever he was horny his stomach growled, he could barely think of anything else, even if he was in the middle of something important like a battle. At times like those, all he could think about was how similar Lizardman anatomy was to humans.
Ivan stretched and rose from his spot on the floor, strategically covering himself with the magazine. "You guys turning in?" he asked.
"To what?" Garet implored. Oh, goody, and I even brought real alcohol for this chapter! *drinks*
"That's such an old joke," said Isaac with a small laugh. He shut his book and yawned. "I suppose that would be wise. Tomorrow we have to find some extra cash and get going again. I guess we could always sell Jenna to a brothel. It's not like she's ever done anything useful."
"I'll be glad to put an end to all of this sailing," Garet said. "I don't care for being surrounded by water seamen day in and day out." He started for the door.
"Where are you going?" Ivan asked.
"Nature call," Garet replied, exiting. Jeez, he always came up with the lamest excuses to hide the fact that he was really Spider-man!
"He's something else, isn't he?" Ivan questioned.
Isaac nodded. "I'm still trying to figure out what though." Alien, time traveler, slider, or esper? He rolled onto his side to sleep when a blood-curdling scream suddenly shook the entire building. See? This looks like a job for your friendly neighborhood webslinger! Leaping to attention and grabbing their swords, he and Ivan dashed down the hallway, meeting accidentally impaling Mia and Sheba on the way, to find the source of the sound. The four of them found a dripping wet Jenna hastily wrapped in a towel hyperventilating with rage at Garet, who had fallen to the floor in order to look up her towel. Both of them had beet-red faces.
"GARET!" Jenna shouted at him. "Why didn't you knock?!"
"H-How was I supposed to know you were taking a bath?" he asked nervously, hoping she'd fall for the excuse that he was just stupid and not actually trying to peep. It had worked in the past.
"The door was closed! You should've knocked!"
The other shook their heads, trying hard not to laugh. "Garet, you idiot," said Ivan. "Basic courtesy dictates that one knock before opening a closed door--especially a bathroom door! Unless you're in a dungeon, of course. Hey, you remember that one time on Crossbone Isle when you-"
"Shut up. I didn't see anything, Jenna!" Garet insisted to defend himself. "I swear I didn't!"
Jenna's face was twisted in anger and embarrassment. Her temper was even hotter than normal over 9000 degrees? as she continued ranting at Garet. "You jerk! How could you! How could you!?" Well, it's pretty simple. First you turn the knob, and then... She unintentionally started to cry. She'd never been so embarrassed in her entire life. Not only had he caught her without a strip of clothing on but he hadn't even paid her for it it'd happened in a public place too!
"Jenna!" Garet said uneasily. He never liked seeing her cry and in this uncomfortable situation it was far worse. Dammit, why hadn't he had the good sense to knock? Because your only purpose in this fic is to cause contrived conflict to forestall the obvious and one-dimensional romance. "I'm sorry! I'm really sorry!"
"Come on, Jenna," said Mia gently, putting her arm around her as 70's porno music began playing. She led her back to their room, Jenna still sniffing audibly. Sheba winked and shut the door behind them.
"Well that was an unnecessary disaster," Ivan sighed. "As opposed to fun disasters like that thing with the boulder. You're a real winner, Garet." He went back to their room, intending to compare Jenna to this issue's "Martian Hotties."
"Are you all right, Garet?" Isaac asked.
Garet held his head in his hands. "That's one boner for the record books, isn't it? Jenna's never going to forgive me for this."
"Yes she will. Just give her a little time to get over the shock. It's actually kind of funny in a way, if you're mentally twelve years old."
"She certainly wasn't laughing!" He sighed. "I must be the biggest oaf in all of Angara. Yes. I can't believe I made her cry!"
Isaac tried to smile in reassurance. "It was an accident, plain and simple. Don't beat yourself up over it, Garet. We'll do that for you! I'm sure Jenna Jesus will forgive you in time. She's not the kind to hold a grudge indefinitely."
Garet wasn't so sure. She still yelled at him on occasion about that time when they were five and he accidentally stepped on her fingers. Even if Jenna did forgive him, he had a feeling this unfortunate incident would hang over them for awhile. And he'd actually made her cry! There was no way he could hope for deeper relationship with her after causing that. You're not supposed to make the one you love cry--he was certain of that. He'd blown his chances with Jenna for sure now. Why was this love stuff so hard? Right now it's a toss-up between "because it was written by a cretin" and "with how you've been characterized, you belong in a trailer park."
I hope that was at least mildly amusing. Well, now it is, just not in the manner you intended. It sure was fun to write mock, I'll tell you that! ^_^ You gotta feel sorry for Garet though. How does he get himself into these messes anyway? Besides being a one-dimensional joke of a character? Well, as Shakespeare says, the course of true love never did run smoothly! Leave Brittany Shakespeare alone!