Ryuichi stirred in his sleep. Though still asleep, he is vaguely aware of noises being made off in the background. Unfortunately, old habits have held strong and that was enough to wake him. He opens his eyes and quickly becomes confused. He went to sleep in his personal quarters, so why was he sitting in his throne. Then he realizes it doesn’t feel right. His eyes are blurry and he strains them to look over the ornate chair with scrutiny “This gaudy thing is not my throne.”
“Sound check on the boom mike 3. One, two three.” A man’s voice calls out. A woman responds that it still isn’t working and asks to get the back-up microphone. Ryuichi grabs a handkerchief and rubs his eyes. It helps but his eyes and mind are still hazy. Someone tapped his shoulder and gave him a cup of water. He thanks them and took casual sips as everything starts to clear up.
He now found himself on a, what are they called? A stage? No, the real name was on the tip of his tongue but he couldn’t seem to recall. A green haired cat girl in a black suit with pink hearts ran up to him holding a microphone. “Oh good, you are awake.” She said with a little excitement in her voice.
The man’s eyes continue to roam the large room where he found himself. “Where am I?” He asks, still trying to figure out what is going on. “You are the star of the show, Royal Date Royale. Now don’t act, just be yourself and go with the flow. We should have this rapped up in a half hour.”
“We are on in thirty seconds!” Announced a man with a clipboard.
“Hold on, I do not understand. What is the meaning of all this?” The man continues to demand an explanation but is soon silenced as the countdown continued.
“We are live in Three. Two. One.” The clipboard man counted down.
A musical jingle begins playing and a green Nekomata walks out to the center of the stage as an off screen audience is applauding her arrival. “Nyaaa~ And thank you for joining us on the first episode of Royal Dating Royale!” She says to the camera facing her and the applause returns once again. “I am your host, Nyu Nyu and today we will be helping one lucky man find love.
The camera focuses on Ryuichi. He is a man in his late thirties with an average build but fit as an ox. He is wearing a polished steel breastplate with a modest amount of medals and honors over a white officer’s uniform. Over all of that is a sky blue silk robe from Zipangu. His face is stoic but his eyes are showing a mix of emotions including surprise, fear and curiosity.
“This charming man here is quite famous for being the only man born from a Ryu, or any Mamono for that matter! That’s right, our star is Prince Ryuichi of Zipangu, though everyone watching in Uwhal and Glilia know him as King Frederick. He went on a pilgrimage around the world but stopped dead in his tracks to help the villages of the ungoverned Glilian territories with their bandit plight, then remained their to turn the contested lands into the respected kingdom it is today.”
As Nyu Nyu narrates, the screens show paintings of him growing up in Zipangu, fallowed by a painting of his younger self leading a village militia against a hoard of bandits. The montage ends by showing a little farming village from when King Frederick arrived and shifts to a map of the capital city that the village has now become.
“It was in the un-ruled land of Glilia that His Majesty met Margareth. This beautiful human become his wife and helped him through the struggles of leading a newly formed nation and gave birth to his son, Prince Richard.”
Nyu Nyu’s voice becomes very somber. “But tragedy struck just two years ago when Lady Margareth became sick and died from an illness that the royal apothecaries and physicians could not cure. With no one to stand by his side, King Frederick marched forward with a stiff-upper-lip to raise his 4-year old son and rule over Glilia alone as best he could.”
The camera is looking over Nyu Nyu’s shoulder at the King as he tries to maintain a neutral expression. “But you shouldn’t have to go on alone. You have mourned for your queen for long enough. That’s why you were nominated as the first monarch for this new hitch-athon, and before you decline-” Metal restraints come out of the throne’s arm rests as soon as Nyu Nyu says ‘decline’ and locks Frederick’s arms in place. “Our sponsors want me to tell you that this going to happen no matter what!”
The Prince of Zipangu and King of Glilia struggles against the bindings. “How could my Palace Guards allow me to be spirited away and forced into this foolishness?” He asks while not entirely believing it could happen.
“That is a trade secret.” The cat eared host winks at the camera before disappearing from one spot and ‘poofing’ beside the regal contestant. “Now on with the show, there are four lovely single ladies that have been chosen for you. I think you all will get along very well! The rules are simple. One of us will ask the ladies questions and see how well you interact with them. Now, due to some convenient formality nullifying incantations, you and the ladies will only be able to talk the way you would in private. The audience will then vote for the one they think you should be with!”
The King is only half heartedly listening but his curiosity is piqued as he tries to think who the female contestants might be.
“Alright now lady contestant 1 is a fellow monarch. She rules over a lush oasis kingdom to the south just as she did centuries ago before her ‘deep slumber.’ This dark-skinned cougar widow is experienced as a sovereign and as a wife. She holds the Continental Board Game Championship title. Ladies and gentleman give a warm welcome for-” Before the Cheshire host can give a name, Frederick interrupts her.
“Neb? She is on the show?” He looks pleasantly surprised as a curtain with a ’1’ that looks like a single blue brush stroke opens to reveal Egyptian style throne ornately detailed with hieroglyphs of gold and polished obsidian.
Occupying the chair is a woman of refinement with silky black hair going down to her curvy thighs. Two lifetimes of being kissed by the sun have left her looking like a bronze statue forged by a team of skilled artisans. Her intricate jewelry of gold, emerald, turquoise and her staff made with lapis and pearl are only dim when compared to the confidence that she radiates so brightly.
“Ah, well met, Second Best. Ready to loose another game?” She asks with a gleam in her ruby colored eyes. The caption on the screen for her name reads ‘Pharaoh Nebibit the Second of Deshret’
“Actually, hes the only guaranteed winner in this game but never mind that.” Nyu Nyu holds up two green fuzzy didgets. “Contestant 2 is your guardian angel. A strong, cheerful woman that is always there watching over your family from above. She is the best gardener on the continent and the only one awarded the first class honor for bravery. Two pussies for the price of fun. Monsters and prey, give it up for Captain of the Palace Guard, Erika!”
The ‘2’ on the second curtain was made to look like a tail with a spiked bulb at the end. It opened to reveal a Manticore in the full dress uniform of the Palace Guard with what looks like a tiger lily flower accentuating her red hair. She is in her mid 20s and has a deceptively care free air about her even as she looks over the room for potential threats. “Let not your heart be troubled, my king. For this beautiful flower is strong enough to keep you safe. Always.” The name caption on screen reads ‘Erika Marseille Von Leopold’
Despite floating in the air above the king, she looked like a cat perched out on top of a table.
“When you have the strength to rampage through, and destroy, a castle with a claw tied behind your back and a smile on your face…” Nyu Nyu began. “Or when your tribe has kept a Union of nations safe for 500 years… or when you’re a five star gourmet chef, you have the right to overbearing pride. Contestant number 3 is all of the above! Her family has a rich history of badassery and she is next in line to be the tribe’s Matriarch. Her hoard of rare spices is said to be worth more than her gold pile. Knights and Dames, pay your respects to General Yrzita!”
The curtain with a Draconic numeral ‘III’ that looks like 3 vertical claw marks opened. There sat a throne carved from a single piece of marble with gold inlay. Yrzita, if standing would be a head taller than the other 3 contestants. She has crimson red scales with black hair. Her chest plate is a jet black metal highly detailed with red engravings that mix between indecipherable runes and what looks like a Celtic knot style design. Her heterochromatic eyes stand out in defiance to her red and black appearance like twin emerald and topaz gems. The Dragon drums her claws against the arms of her throne and smiles in amusement.
“Today, the Dragons shall be united with their Eastern kin. But of course, you all are hence invited to our grand wedding. I shall prepare a magnificent feast on a measure the likes of which has never been seen!” She proclaimed for all to hear. The name caption on screen reads ‘Yrzita of the Red Plateau Tribe.’
“Will there be Uwhal beef steak?” Nyu Nyu asked as she wiped away drool from her lips. “Ehem! I mean who can argue with a decree like that? But you can’t sway votes so easily with a high speech skill or bribes of evenly seasoned cutlets. Besides, we still have another contestant to be introduced!.”
The green haired Cheshire leans forward over the back of the king’s throne, letting her breasts rest on top of his head. She pretends to not notice his reaction. “Now then,” she begins. “In Zipangu, the people are very spiritual and in tune with the world around them. The King knows this very well since he grew up in one of the largest temples in the island kingdom. Contestant number 4 knows this, too. Coincidentally, she was also raised in an important temple and is being trained to be it’s next high priestess. Need any more hints?” Nyu Nyu said as she uses her Cheshire voodoo force powers to float in the air and holds eye contact (Though upside down) just inches away from the king’s face.
“You are joking.” He shakes his head in disbelief.
“You were both thick as thieves, both studied under the same tutors…” She trailed off. “She is really here?” He asks with a raised eyebrow.
“That practically makes you both high school buddies.”
“Katsumi-chan!” He shouts louder than expected. Nyu Nyu teleports to the ground and does some silly little dance. “Ring-a-ding ding! We have a winner! A shrine maiden training to take her mother’s place as the high priestess of the family’s temple. She was always too shy to tell you how she felt. But the Arachne of fate weave a strange web and so now she gets another chance. Fluffy and scaly tail fans alike, please show some love for Katsumi!”
The final curtain, one with the Zipangun numeral for ‘four’ painted on as if by a giant brush, opens to reveal the final contestant. The silver haired Kitsune looks toward the audience with her warm red eyes. Her hair is held in place by a pair of brass bells. Each one sits just bellow her ears. The shrine hakama she is wearing struggles to keep her generous bosom in check. Down below, the hakama is cut like a skirt that only leaves a few inches of skin exposed before the thigh high stockings take over. She shifts her attention toward the king and she gives him a coy smile. “Hello Ryuichi-kun~ We used to be such good friends and now we hardly get to see each other anymore. But I know how we can fix that…” In an instant her coy smile turns lewd and she gives him a wink.
“Ara ara. Better watch out, Sire. That feisty predator chased away the shy fox and now her sights are set on you.” The Cheshire warns in mock terror and a few cat calls break out amongst the audience. “Now you might have noticed. Yes, you know all four contestants and get along with them really well. So lets get this started and see who wins the ring!” The audience breaks out into cheers and applause.
Nyu Nyu holds up a small stack of cards. “Now. You and I, I and you…” She sits on his lap and wraps her fuzzy paws around Ryuichi’s neck. “Us?” Cheers and cat calls intensify. The four contestants show how amused they are by directing glares and growls at the Cheshire cat.
“Jk, Jk! Sheesh, do you really think being a queen would suit me? I got my sights set on a certain Corporal, anyways.” Nyu Nyu takes a moment to teleport away from the king and clear her throat.
“You and I will go back and forth asking them the questions. I’ll start things off by asking them to describe their idea of a perfect date.”
Nebibit puts a finger to her lips for a second before coming up with an answer. “Well, a day at the river side palace. A midday of swimming, fallowed of course by an afternoon of board games and then have dinner. Then we start the night right with dessert where I grab the honey and pour it all over my-” Nyu Nyu cuts her off in mid sentence.
“Woah! Pharaohs sure know how to keep it sweet in the bedroom! Well, its Erika’s turn to respond.”
Erika closes her eyes and smiles. “We would spend the day at my parents vineyard in Southern Uwhal. Picking grapes together, walking hand in hand through the cellar as we choose a wine for our picnic together in the field full of wild flowers. Then return to the plantation and have a candle lit bath together in a tub full of rose petals and lavender before we go to bed for a long, long night.”
“Damn… How has this Romanticore not swept up a man already?” Nyu Nyu faces contestant 3. “What about you, Yrzita. What would be your perfect date?”
The Dragon goes without missing a beat. “On the horizon lies the quincentenial anniversary of the Uwhal Union. The celebration is expected to last for the whole week. I shall fly you across all the nations of the Uwhal Union to enjoy the joyous festivities with our daughters. Then we can spend another week having our own celebration at the plateau.”
Nyu Nyu, wearing glasses to go with her teachers uniform with more than a few buttons undone and wearing a short, short cut skirt, is tapping a piece of chalk against a green board with poorly drawn phallic sketches and other scribbles. “So, class, by my math that’s seven days of merry making and another seven for baby making!”
The chalk board disappears in a puff of smoke and Nyu Nyu is back to wearing her host uniform. “Katsumi, don‘t be shy. Tell us your perfect date idea.”
The Kitsune crosses her arms, this had the bonus effect of pressing her breasts together. “For the honeymoon, we would go to Koshyu next month when all three moons will be together in the night sky at once. It won’t happen again for another two centuries. After we spend our night cuddling in your favorite hot spring, we shall retire to my family’s vacation home on the shore. I have to make for lost time with you so if I don’t get my second tail by the time we leave then you will never be forgiven.” She gazes upon the king with the same hungry look that a fox gives to a hen house.
The curious Cheshire cat pulls out a small tablet and begins talking into it. “Google, how many fucks does it take a Kitsune to level up and gain another tail?” It beeped and she stares down at it for a moment before the results showed up. “No answer. Science has failed us. Someone needs to figure this crap out because these are the types of questions we need answers to.”
“So it is my turn to ask them a question?” The king asked. “Yep, oh this is a nice and simple one.” Nyu Nyu holds up a card for him to read.
“Ladies, If you could do any job, what would you like to do?” He asks them.
The Pharaoh doesn’t need much time to respond. “I would start a game company, I have heard stories from Earth about ‘video games.’ It sounds like a great idea and would be popular here, too.”
“E3: Come for the games. Stay for CEO Nebibit‘s caramel coated eye candy.” Nyu Nyu looks at the camera with a raised eyebrow and a knowing smile.
“Erika?” The host gives the gesture for the Manticore to answer.
“Ah, though I already enjoy my job.” Erika responds simply. “I am the gardener for the most beautiful flower arrangements in Glilia.”
“And here I thought you were going to mention being the leader of the ornery, abusive father of the SAS, SEALs, and the KSK?” Nyu Nyu playfully chides Erika.
“Non, that is a side job.” Erika answers rather nonchalantly.
“And you spar with Yrzita for fun. Tough bitch for sure…” The host trails off. “Speaking of, it’s the good General’s turn to answer.”
“I would open up my own luxurious restaurant and we would serve the best dishes from around the world.” She says cheerfully.
“Uwhal beef steak? I mean, No! Don’t temp me, foul serpent!” Nyu Nyu looks away to hide her face that is turning red from embarrassment. “Foxy, it’s your turn.”
“I would become a Dragoon. Then me and Minerva could fly through the air whenever we want to. That would be exhilarating!” Katsumi’s eyes lit up at the thought.
Nyu Nyu’s lecherous smile died as if she saw her nine lives flash away in an instant. “A Kitsune lobbing fire and lightning spells from a Wyvern’s back… that’s terrifying to think about…”
“Your turn.” The king gets her attention back in focus. “Oh, sorry. Anyways.” She grabs the next card and her mischievous smile returns. “If you could commit any crime and get away with it, what would you do?”
All four jumped up from their seats as if trying to be the first student to be recognized by the teacher.
“Steal the ‘Chrysanthemum’ throne!” -Erika
“Steal the rights to Fire Emblem!” – Nebibit
“Hijack a Black Bird!” -Katsumi
“Subjugate Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz.” -Yrzita
Nyu Nyu rolls her eyes and throws that card aside. “And I’m sure those answers weren’t premeditated.” She says with a heavy dose of sarcasm.
“Next question,” The king declares as he looks at the new card. “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?”
Nebibit looks like she is lost in thought trying to chase down an answer. “Ok we will get back to you on that. Do you have an answer, Erika?” The king asks.
“Well…” she pauses. “It’s alright, we are friends. You can tell me.” The king assures her.
“Oh, this is so embarrassing… but I would like to be… more than I am.” She says hesitantly.
“Well, that is a rather vague response.” The king looks at her quizzically.
“She wants bigger bewbs.” Nyu Nyu remarks.
“Ta gueule. These melons are magnifique!… but my tail could be a little longer.” She says as her ears press down somberly.
“Don’t be upset, Erika.” Nebibit cuts in with a calming voice. “The only thing holding me back from being an Aspara is a complete lack of dance skills. I want to be a good dancer. There. I said it.”
Yzrita shrugs. “A bigger gold hoard?”
“I cannot change my past. However, my shyness once cost me my crush. If I had known flying would help me get over my timid nature, I would have done it years earlier.” Katsumi stares off into the distance and ponders what might have been.
Nyu Nyu gives a slow nod to their answers. “Don’t worry ladies, Ryuichi seems like a cool guy so I’m sure he would accept you all as you are. BUT, reversing the position for the next question, If you were given the opportunity to mold your potential partner here,” She sets a fuzzy paw on the king’s shoulder. “The way you wanted, how would you mold him?”
The four women looked over the king as if examining a painting. Soon they started muttering amongst themselves. It almost took the contestants a minute before they faced the Cheshire host and king.
“Ryuichi-kun is pushing 40 but still retains a youthful appearance.” Katsumi starts off. “And, Since he puts himself through the same training as the Palace Guard, is in excellent physical shape.” Erika points out.
“He can actually be a challenge when he plays any strategy games so his mind is rather sharp.” Nebibit admits.
“And he has proven to be daring leader on the battlefield and a just and benevolent ruler for his people.”
Yrzita began before holding up a clawed digit. “However, I believe a few battle scars would give him a more ruggedly handsome appearance. Katsumi thinks he could use a pair of wings, and I second that. Nebibit suggested a darker skin tone free of tan lines, and Erika thinks he just needs to show more skin.”
All four of them nod in agreement on that last part. Nyu Nyu gives the king a look over. “Adding wings, a tan, and scars and removing the chest armor and shirt to reveal the chiseled abs underneath would definitely make you a sexy badass.” She holds out the card for him to read.
“I will keep that in mind.” He dryly remarks while looking at the card. “This is an interesting one. If your friend could not have a child, would you carry her child for her?”
“If Kelora asked me to, I could not say no.” The Manticore looks out at the audience and waves at someone. A camera aims at the audience member in question, a Lilim in an Admirals uniform, just in time to see her shout out “Same for you, schwester!”
“No! Not being able to have children would crush Minerva’s heart. I would be glad to.” The silver haired shrine maiden nods her head emphatically.
Yrzita raises an eyebrow. “Does this friend not have the option of adoption? If not then I have no objection.”
Nebibit is visibly confused. “So, would I be giving birth to an Apophis…?” Her voice trails off as she looks down at her belly. The other three can tell she is trying to visualize giving birth. “Aww. She would be such a beautiful baby.” And that confirms it for everyone else.
Cheshire holds a paw over her mouth as she tries to kill off her giggle. It takes her a moment before she prevails. “Ok I’m good now.” Nyu Nyu clears her throat. “Ok so that’s a yes for all 4. Next question is, If you had a chance to choose a poor man as a husband from your culture or a rich man from another culture, which would you choose?”
Nebibit, Yrzita and Erika all declare in unison “Rich man from another culture.”
Nyu Nyu is not amused. “Alright ladies look, just because Ryuichi happens to be wealthy and from a different culture doesn’t mean… know what? Never mind. Katsumi, what is your answer?”
The Kitsune nods her head as she thinks for a moment. “Ryuichi-kun has been in such a poor state since Margareth died. As his oldest friend and the heir to my family’s temple, It is my duty to help mend his heart the only way our shared Zipangan Culture can.”
“Clever vixen. Very clever.” Nyu Nyu is smiling but her tail is swishing back and forth very slowly. Like a cat that is upset at loosing the mouse. ‘Pissed’ might be a better word choice. “She beat me. I admit it. Now moving along to the next question.”
“If you had an accident and had to be at home to recover for a long time, what would you do to relieve the boredom?” Ryuichi feels padded cat paws begin to massage his scalp as he finishes asking the question. The jealous expressions of the contestants are deadly but Nyu Nyu just smiles and sticks her tongue out in response.
Yrzita said she would teach the king how to cook. Nebibit said she would come up with a new board game to try with the king. Erika said she would instruct the king on how to maintain the garden, and Katsumi said she would work on her calligraphy for paper talismans.
But of course, all of them also mention Buck’s twin brother, Fuck, when saying how they would pass the time with the king.
“If the whole world was listening,” Nyu Nyu begins. “What would you say?”
“Let us join together to achieve a measure of prosperity and wellbeing unprecedented in all of history.” Katsumi spoke softly and optimistically for all to hear.
“Salut! This is your gentle flower, Erika signing on for 117.0 Palace Radio. We’ll begin with the top ten songs of the month fallowed by the ‘Talk to The Tail’ dating advice segment. Now don’t touch the dial!” It only takes a beat after she finishes before the Manticore breaks out into a fit of laughter. “That is so much fun!”
“Holy Alliance, repent. For if you had not committed great sins, the Chief Goddess would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.” Yrzita’s badass boast was well received by the audience.
“I am Queen Nebibit the Second of the kingdom of Deshret. My chief adjutant, Shakal, is a 17 year old Anubis. She enjoys swimming and tai chi, has a knack for geography, and is looking for a mate to put down roots with. Any potential suitors are to send a reply to my palace.”
“These girls are all fun.” The Cheshire Cat remarks. “But it’s not over yet, even though the last question has already been answered. Before the show, we asked the four contestants to write a single sentence response to an invitation to have tea with the King of England. Here is what they wrote.”
“Erika’s rely was ‘It would be an honor.’”
“Katsumi’s reply was ‘Allow me to bring a blend from home for you to try.’”
“Nebibit MK II wrote ‘I accept your gesture of good will.’”
“Yrzita’s response is ‘I shall prepare sandwiches for the accession.’”
Nyu Nyu rips the question cards up and throw them up in the air like confetti. “And that’s the end of questionnaire!”
Prince of Zipangu and King of Glilia rubs his wrists after the restraints release. “Remind me again how the winner is chosen.”
Nyu Nyu is floating through the air above the audience. “These fine people shall vote for the winner. Erika the Manticore? Nebibit the Pharaoh? Yrzita the Dragon? Katsumi the Kitsune? It’s up to the audience to choose and their decision will have a definite impact on the outcome of future events. That’ll kinda make the Mamono at War series a CYOA for the TFT community.”
Nebibit asks what everyone else on the game show set was thinking. “What are you talking about?”
A pale, semi-transparent woman appears on the stage and raises her hand. “I vote for all four.”
“Margareth?!?” The King shouts in disbelief. “You are alive!”
“Her Highness the Queen is back from the dead!” Erika cries out.
Nyu Nyu is unphazed by the late Queen returning as a ghost and is thinking over her suggestion. “Uhh, sure. All of them could marry him I suppose. Alright, yeah! We’ll do it!”
The Cheshire teleports beside the four contestants. “Vote for one or all, it doesn‘t matter. Type your choice in the story comment section or send the author a message over on the Discord chat. Remember, the voting ends on the 17th of this month. That should be more than enough time. Then on the 18th we shall come back and announce the winner… or winners.”