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A note from Skwrepb

Barely got this done before the day was over! 

Thanks to all of you who have followed, rated, and reviewed. I greatly appreciate it. 

Lucky was up before dawn, Girl slept peacefully as he went over to the window and peered outside. The sky was clear and the moon, low in the sky, was nearly full. He carefully climbed back up onto the bed, settling his bulk next to Girl’s feet. Lucky was a big dog, more than eighty pounds of fluff and muscle, but he was careful with his weight.

 

Now, how do I figure out what everything does? He wondered, crossing his front paws. Like I mean [Polyglot] told me what it was, but what were the other traits?

 

He puzzled over that for only a few seconds before he was rewarded with another grass-colored screen.

 

Lucky Lachlan

Primary Class:

None

Miscellaneous Canine

Secondary Class:

None

Traits

Athletic 

Escape Artist 

Polyglot

Rentless 

Squirrel Friend 

 

His blue eyes went wide as he studied the grassy window. “Miscellaneous Canine?!” He woofed, “What does that even mean?”

Behind him on the bed, Girl unleashed a groggy groan. “Whazzit?” Her voice was fuzzy and thick.

 

His ears went down and he ducked his head with embarrassment. “I’m sorry, Girl. It’s nothing, go back to sleep.” He murmured quietly.

 

For a moment, there was just confused mumbling behind him and then she was quiet once more, breathing softly. Lucky turned his attention back to his traits. Okay, [Polyglot] helps with language. What does [Athletic] do?

 

[Athletic]

You are no stranger to physical activity. You have gained three physical skills in a single day.

Your body is a well oiled machine, your physical skills are easier to master.

 

Now that sounded useful. He thought. [Escape Artist] then?

[Escape Artist]

No gate can keep you bound, no fence can bar your way. You have bypassed three restraints in one day.

Your refusal to be caged has been rewarded. You gain insight into how restraints work, be it a latch or a leash and can more easily understand how to bypass them.

 

A panting laugh escaped him and his curling tail wagged behind him rapidly. He hadn’t gotten caught escaping in years. He felt like he was finally getting the hang of whatever the grass-words were. [Squirrel Friend]?

 

[Squirrel Friend]

Word of your kindness and bravery has begun to circulate among squirrelkind.

You have gone out of your way to help a creature without obligation. Squirrelkind will automatically view you as non threatening. Maybe you should stop barking at them?

 

There was a certain pride to the idea that squirrels thought he was a hero, Though one brow arched up at the idea of not barking at squirrels? “Ever?” He wondered aloud, “Or just not often?” Barking at squirrels was one of his favorite pastimes.

“Lucky?” Came the incredulous voice from behind him.

 

The dog in question ducked like someone had threatened to smack his head and turned slightly so he could regard Girl from the corner of his eyes.

 

“Are you…” She trailed off, rubbing her sleepy leaf-colored eyes. “Are you talking?

 

Lucky blinked slowly and wagged his tail just a little. “Yes?” He ventured softly, almost like a whine.

 

Girl’s eyes went wide then blinked rapidly several times. Her mouth opened and closed like a goldfish’s. She slowly reached one hand across her body and pinched her other arm. A little hiss of breath escaped her. “Not dreaming? Have to be dreaming.”

 

Lucky shook his head and sat up, slowly scooting his butt around so he could face her directly. Their eyes met and he almost-whined again. “Not dreaming.” He tried to reassure her, leaning forward to lick her face.

 

Her smile was automatic as were the hands that came up to pet his cheeks for a moment. She pushed his face away, gently and looked at him. “Are you really talking?”

 

“Yes?” He ventured questioningly again.

 

The sound that she made was… unspeakable. It was a high pitched squeal that only teenage girls seem capable of producing. She leapt out of bed, tangled herself in the sheets and fell to the floor with a crash. Lucky leapt to the ground, ears twitching as the shriek continued.

 

“Issa?” Man’s deep voice boomed from down the hall. “Is everything alright? Are you hurt?”

 

“Dad!” Her eyes went to the door then darted back down to Lucky’s multicolored face. “ l-I’m fine. I’m fine. I just fell out of bed.” She called back to him.

 

Lucky could hear his footsteps coming down the hall. He was almost at the door.

 

“Why were you screaming?” He asked as he opened the door, his careworn face popping into view.

 

“I had a dream.” She said.

 

“A bad one?” He asked.

 

The dog was at a tennis match, looking from one person to the next. His tail wagged merrily. Girl looked down at him and he smiled back up at her, tongue lolling.

 

“No, not a bad one.” She rubbed at her face, still looking down at Lucky. “What time is it?”

 

“Almost six.” Pine needle eyes several shades darker than Girl’s, crinkled at the edges as he smiled. “Might as well just get up.”

 

“Crumb.” Girl cursed.

 

“See you at breakfast, kiddo.” Man said, turning away and pulling the door closed.

 

Girl looked down at Lucky and he couldn’t read her expression. It was troublesome, troubled, excited, and afraid. The dog whined softly and pawed gently at her leg.

 

“Lucky?” Her voice was vibrating with emotion.

 

“Girl?” He responded and pawed at her leg again.

 

She crouched down, a smile flickering across her features. “Am I crazy?”

 

He nuzzled his nose up next to her face and chuffed out a breath, tail wagging gently. “Not crazy. I think. Mid-day yesterday, I saw a grass colored box. It didn’t have any smell, but it had words. I couldn’t read it at first. Then I heard a voice that gave me [Basic English] and I could read it.”

 

She ran her fingers through Lucky’s long, soft coat and scratched him gently. His tail wagged quickly from one side to the other, flicking fur across his back. “What did it say?” She asked.

 

“Greetings Lucky Lachlan! You have been chosen. The End is coming, prepare yourself!” He quoted.

 

Girl swallowed audibly and Lucky could feel her shudder. “The End?” Her voice trembled as much as her body.

 

“Don’t worry, Girl. I will keep you safe.” He promised. “I have been preparing and I will continue.”

 

She wrapped her arms tightly around him and buried her face in his fur. “I promise.” He said, leaning his head against her.

 

Girl stayed like that, hugging Lucky tight as she tried to make sense of what he had told her. He made comforting murmurs, reassuring her that it was okay. He drew in a deep breath and pulled back to nuzzle her cheek. “You have to get ready for school.” He reminded her.

 

A cracking laugh escaped her. “If the End is coming, what does it matter?”

 

Lucky tilted his head and regarded her curiously. He took a moment to scratch at his one flopping ear while he thought. “What will Man think?”

 

Girl frowned as she sat back, wiping her eyes. “Man?”

 

Lucky looked toward the door. He understood now that humans had names just like dogs did, but he didn’t know what Man’s name was and Girl would always be his girl. “Your sire…” He shook his head, “No, your dad.” He nodded.

 

“Dad? You mean, what will he think if I skip school?” Girl asked.

 

Lucky nodded.

 

“Does it matter?” She asked again. “We can work together to prepare. We’ll be better prepared if we do that.”

 

She has a point, he admitted to himself. “What about Dad?”

 

“There are perks to being a good kid.” She said with a wink. “Um… don’t talk to Dad, okay?”

 

“I won’t.” Lucky said.

 

“Good, I’ll get ready, you go do your morning thing.” She told him as she walked toward the closet. He was halfway out the door when she spoke again. “Lucky, I’m going to want to know everything.”

 

“I wouldn’t keep secrets from you.” He said.

 

She turned sharply to look at him. “You were keeping it secret that you could talk.”

 

“I was going to tell you later today. I still don’t understand what’s going on and I wanted to before I dragged you into it.”

 

“That’s fair.” She conceded. “But I can help, we can help each other.”

 

Lucky trotted down the stairs, tail wagging behind him and jogged out the doggy door. After taking care of his business in the usual spots, he looked around for Quick. The squirrel was nowhere to be found, but it was still dark outside and squirrels were mostly daytime creatures. He’d have to tell Girl about Quick too. Maybe she could help him figure out how the grass-screens worked.

 

He took a thorough sniff around the yard, refreshing the hotly contested territory along the fenceline he shared with Vinny. By the time he got back to the kitchen, Girl was already seated at the table with Man, eating breakfast. Kibble was already waiting for him in his bowl, but he went and laid his head on Girl’s lap. She had eggs and bacon for breakfast and the smell in the kitchen was a little bit of heaven.

 

“Anyway, Dad, I was wondering if I could have a mental health day today. I haven’t missed any school yet this year and we’re halfway through second semester.”

 

Man leaned back in his chair and picked up his cup of coffee. He sipped slowly before responding, considering her request. “I won’t tolerate you making a habit of things like this.” He began. “However, I know you’ve been working hard, your grades show that. Do you have anything due today or any tests?”

 

She shook her head. “Nothing. I know it’s a big ask, Dad, but I need the day.”

 

He thought for a while longer, watching her across the table. His eyes flicked to the clock and he heaved a sign. “Alright, Issa. I have to get going, but I want you to understand some things first. First, I like that you asked for a mental health day instead of taking one without permission. It’s always okay to ask. Second, we’re going to talk about what’s going on when I get home from work.”

 

Dimples flashed in Girl’s cheeks when she smiled. “Thanks!” She got up and gave him a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek. Man gave Girl a hug and then ruffled her hair before he headed to the garage. As soon as he was gone, Girl heaved a sigh and cleared the table. She scraped the leftover bacon and eggs onto one plate and set it on the floor for Lucky.

 

“Okay.” She grabbed a notebook and pen out of her backpack and sat down heavily at the table.

 

The dog busily scarfed the proffered breakfast. He never got table scraps.

 

“Okay,” She said again. “Am I crazy or can you talk?”

 

Lucky stopped, mouth full of eggs, mid gulp. He looked between her and the barely touched plate of food and whined. Girl frowned but she said, “Go ahead and finish breakfast. I guess I can wait.”

 

It didn’t take long for Lucky to finish, just a few gulping bites and his plate was cleared. “Now, prove I’m not crazy, because I’m either crazy or I had a really strange dream.”

 

He watched her for a moment, thinking of all the things he could tell her, of all the words he had never been able to say. “We aren’t crazy, I hope.” He said at last.

 

She blew out a breath he hadn’t realized she was holding. She bounced in her seat with a squeal like steam escaping a tea kettle. “This is so AWESOME!” She yelled.

 

Lucky’s ears flicked back and then forward. “Awesome?”

 

“AWESOME!” She yelled back.

 

“This is like the best thing that has ever happened.” She continued, leaning forward eagerly.

 

The dog’s eyes narrowed slightly in a frown. “Best thing ever?” He asked.

 

“For sure!” Girl answered. “I mean, yeah, ‘The End’ sounds frightening and bad, but you’ve been chosen! How freakin’ awesome is that?”

 

Lucky tilted his head to the side. “I mean, it has been pretty heckin’ fun.” He admitted at last.

 

“Luckarino, you have no idea!” She pulled herself closer to the table and prepared to take notes. “So you saw the green window and it said there were three days before the ‘End’, right?” At his nod, she continued. “What else have you learned?”

 

“When I thought about the traits I had earned yesterday, it showed me a window with traits. I have five.” He puffed out his furry chest proudly.

 

“What are they?”

 

“Polyglot, Escape Artist, Athlete, Relentless Pursuit, and um…” He looked away, only watching her from the corner of his eye as he said, “Squirrel Friend.”

 

She was writing diligently until the last one, then she looked up. Her eyes were twinkling merrily and she snorted a chuckle. “Did you earn that from saving those baby squirrels yesterday?”

 

“Yes.” He admitted. “I can talk to them too.”

 

“Is that what polyglot does?”

 

“No. I earned polyglot after I learned their language.”

 

“Wow. So what does polyglot do?”

 

“It says that I can understand every language with at least pidgin fluency.”

 

“Holy cow! Are all the traits that good?”

 

So he told her what they all did while she wrote it down. He was able to read them right off the screens to her. She looked over her notes and made a few more before she spoke up. “These traits give us some information about whatever system has given you the screens.” She chewed at the end of the epencil for a moment. “There have to be Skills and Attributes as well as Traits.”

Lucky Lachlan

Primary Class:

None

Miscellaneous Canine

Secondary Class:

None

Attributes

Base Resistances

Strength

10

Physical

9.52

Endurance

12

Magical

7.6

Dexterity

9

Mental

5.75

Reaction

7

Enchantment

8.33

Intelligence

3

Wisdom

5

Special Resistances

Willpower

8

None

Charisma

12

Lucky Lachlan

Primary Class:

None

Miscellaneous Canine

Secondary Class:

v

Basic Skills  

Combat Skills

General Skills

Active Skills

Dig

1

Bite

1

Negotiation

1

Body Slam

1

Parkour

1

Intimidating Bark

1

Survival Skills

Passive Skills

Scent 

2

Style: Dog Fighting  

1

Foraging

1

Stealth

1

 

He told Girl all about the grass-words he pulled up when he thought about attributes and then skills. She nodded along as he read off the list of attributes and their values, but she was frowning. “This seems like a really complicated system.” By the time he finished reading everything off, she sighed and leaned back in her chair away from the table and the notebook filled with scribbling. “I wonder how many skills there are and what type of skills we can get you.” She tapped her bottom lip with the pencil, “It really matters what kind of End this is.”

 

“What do you mean?” He asked, stretching himself out after so long sitting.

 

“It could be a war end or a magic end or any number of ends. Heck, it could be a zombie end.”

 

He headed for the doggy door, he needed to start working on his preparations. “I don’t think it’s going to be a peaceful end.” He admitted.

 

“I’ll be out in a little bit, Luckenstein. I’m going to make a list of things we should try.”

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About the author

Skwrepb

  • Iowa

Bio: Hi! My name is Skwrepb (pronounced Jen, I swear). I'm a stay at home mother of three with not enough time on my hands. I've been writing since I could hold a pen and I have so many stories to tell!
I'm an avid reader and The Wandering Inn is what brought me to Royal Road. I have been devouring stories here ever since.

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