“This is what happens when I leave you alone,” Fruity sighed as he continued to poke the black dragon laying in the middle of the serving area. Plates and bowls of food surrounded the two of them. Big Slick let out a deep belch before patting her stomach, causing their few watchers to quickly scatter. “You were supposed to collect the food.”
“I did. In my belly,” Big Slick chuckled.
“You know, this is why I trust Tank more than I do you,” Fruity muttered as he laid the bag of food he had taken beside him. Big Slick reached for it only to be slapped away by a frigid claw.
“Please. Tanky’s just as inclined to food as I am. He’s probably already stirring up a fuss,” Big Slick muttered.
“You mean the same Tank that’s eaten goat for the last three years?” Fruity asked. “I’m pretty sure he’s doing an infinitely better job than you.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” Big Slick sighed before a wizard flew past the two, her robe blazing in a red-hot inferno. She landed a few feet away before frantically trying to pat out the flames. Fruity and Big Slick looked from where she came from, where Tank was going wild and spraying fire against an entire party mobilized against him. “Told you.”
“Oh, what has that idiot gotten himself into,” Fruity muttered. He quickly dashed towards his green friend, leaving the bag of food behind. Big Slick reached for it, before feeling the same frigid claw from before dragging her away with him.
“Unhand Chef Marco!” a warrior clad in steel armour shouted before he was blown away by an exploding fireball at his feet.
“Only if he gives me his restaurant!” Tank roared, spewing a cloud of flaming gas towards the group in front of him. “Only with his verbal approval will I stop!”
“He’s bloody out!” a rogue in a green tunic cried out, gesturing towards the unconscious from fright chef in Tank’s claw. “How do you expect to get his verbal approval?”
“I don’t know!” Tank admitted, before slapping the rogue away with his tail. “I’ll just wait for him to get back up. In the meantime, get out of my eventual restaurant!”
“Some of us are trying!” a dwarf crowed, using a table to block the incoming fiery breath. “You just didn’t give us a chance to leave!”
“Well, I’m sorry then!” Tank yelled, pausing his flame spewing. “Let’s take a quick breather. If you want to leave, then do so now.”
Many of the adventurers that had been hiding behind tables and chairs peeked from their cover to see the waiting fire dragon. Without any delay, most of them quickly packed their things and departed from the restaurant. Very few stayed, and most only did so as their boss was still stuck in the dragon’s grasp. They still took the moment to grab a few refillable drinks before returning to their battle.
“Tank, what are you doing?” a very angry looking Fruity asked as he pulled Big Slick behind him. The black dragon waved. Tank waved back. “And why do you have the chef in your hand?”
“I’m trying to take over this restaurant,” Tank explained.
“Because I want to be a monster chef, and a monster chef needs a place to cook.”
“A monster chef?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Fruity shook his head once before looking back at the completely serious Tank. “Please, Tank. Explain to me why the hell you want to become a monster chef.”
“Oh, you wouldn’t understand,” Tank said, shaking his own head.
“I know. That’s why I’m asking you.”
“Something has sparked within me, Fruity. Something I had long forgotten.”
“Is this about the goat? I’m sorry we make you eat it,” Fruity apologized. “Look, we’ll give you a portion of whatever we hunt from now on, okay?”
“Oh, this has gone past goat now, my dear friend,” Tank said, waving Marco towards Fruity.
“Please put down Chef Marco,” Fruity asked.
“But then I lose my bargaining chip,” Tank argued.
“Is there any way I can convince you to give this up?”
“Fine. One way. Give me once chance, and if I can’t convince you to help me, then I’ll go back with you.”
“Alright. I’m not going to accept anyways.”
Tank clapped his claws in delight, accidently squishing Marco. He paced back and forth for a moment before turning back to his friend, a glint in his eye.
“Tell me, my dearest companion. Do you remember the years gone by, when were just young’uns?”
“Your old timey voice isn’t helping your case.”
“I know. I thought it’d be good, but after hearing it, I see it didn’t work. Anyways, remember when had just met. I was roasting a wyvern Eimriantag had shot down, and then you came by, on the brink of starvation, arm in arm with the dragon right next to you.”
“Well, yeah. It’s where we met each other. How could I forget it?”
“Then you remember the wyvern, right? How crispy and juicy its leg was. How tender its spine was? You practically scarfed down the most out us all.”
“I don’t remember it like that but go on.”
“I roasted that wyvern with the same passion as I have right now. The same passion that’s pushing me to become a monster chef. If you help me, I can make as many delicious and memorable meals like the one that brought us together.”
“That…is a tempting offer. Unfortunately, we’re just going to create more problems by staying here than just going back. I’m going to have to say no, Tank. That was your one and only chance.”
“Hm? Oh, Fruity, that wasn’t my attempt to convince you. This next thing is going to be my attempt.”
“What are you talking about?” Fruity asked as Tank pointed next to him. He turned to see Big Slick, standing upright with an open, watering mouth.
“Well, you’ve convinced me!” Big Slick exclaimed as she walked over to Tank’s side. Fruity watched silently as he was unknowingly betrayed by the other dragon that hadn’t followed his orders.
“Fruity, here’s my offer.” Tank grinned, only squeezing Marco again. “If you help me become a monster chef, then Big Slick here won’t pound you into the ground. What do you say?”
“You can’t be serious,” Fruity gasped, looking between his two friends. “Big Slick, you aren’t going to betray our friendship just for a bit of food, are you?”
“Yeah, Tank. This seems a bit excessive,” Big Slick said with growing concern.
“I’ll give you some top-quality meat if you do,” Tank offered.
“Meat…” Big Slick whispered, as though she were in prayer. She stood on her hind legs before pounding her right fist into her left claw. “I’m sorry that this is how we part ways, but I don’t regret it.”
Fruity just stood in wait as Big Slick slowly approached him. He looked at Tank, speaking through his grit teeth. “I didn’t know you were such a cunning bastard, Tank.”
“You know, there’s a very easy way out of this,” Tank reminded.
With no other option besides being pulverized into the ground, Fruity hung his head in defeat. “Fine. You win. I’ll help you take over this restaurant.”
“I knew you’d see it my way,” Tank hummed in glee as he spun around once.
“No, I was threatened into it,” Fruity muttered. “That’s why I’m only going to help you reluctantly.”
“Still better than nothing,” Tank said, grinning. He stood in front of the crowd of adventurers still on break, cleared his throat, and made an announcement. “Are you guys fine with picking up where we left off?”
The crowd of adventurers looked between each other. Many were heavily battered and burnt by the fire dragon and could only last for a couple of minutes at most. Despite that, there wasn’t much else they could do to prepare, as there was no healer around to treat their wounds. With reluctance, many nodded while pulling away the most injured of their comrades.
“Perfect! Oh, and, uh, a few late comers. This is Fruity, and this is Big Slick,” Tank said, gesturing to the two dragons behind him. Some of the adventurers greeted them with respect, albeit in a cacophonous discord. “They’re going to be on my side of the fight.”
As soon as Tank had said that, Big Slick jumped ahead and crashed into the nearest table wall, knocking away the few warriors huddled behind it. The adventurers, who had barely kept up with Tank, realized they couldn’t handle a second, let alone a third.
The following few minutes were a massacre as the three dragons cut their way through the crowd of adventurers. Tank and Fruity let out twin cones of fire and ice, taking out the flanks, while Big Slick, with her monumental strength, pushed past the iron-covered warriors and swiped away at the group’s artillery.
The adventurer’s efforts were valiant; they communicated effectively, had good composition and formations, and even tried to keep damage to the restaurant to a minimum. The warriors risked their lives trying to lure Big Slick away from their artillery, and the mages strained their magical skill to their breaking point just to keep the fire and ice dragons at bay. Many of the rogues and archers used their quick wits and mobility to help escort any injured off the premises, limiting casualty deaths to an extent. For such a randomly put together group, they acted as one, trying their best to take down even one of the dragons. Perhaps, if they weren’t up against the pinnacles of monsters, then maybe they could have stood a fighting chance.
During the middle of the chaos, Marco stirred back up, wondering why he was being pulled this way and that. As he opened his eyes, the first thing that entered his vision was the underside of Tank’s jaw. He let out a girly scream, trying to pry himself out of the green dragon’s grip.
“Oh hey, you’re awake!” Tank exclaimed, craning his neck towards the chef. Marco froze up once again as he was left face to face with the dragon for the third time. “Hey. Hey! Don’t sleep again! We’re in the middle of something here!”
“W-w-what is it?” Marco stuttered, feeling the grip of the claw around him tighten up.
“Well, you didn’t answer before, so we ended up in a little mess as a result of it,” Tank explained.
“What k-k-kind of m-mess?”
“Oh, just a second.” Tank paused his conversation with Marco to let loose a mouthful of molten slag onto a few barbarians chopping away at his side. He winced a little in pain, but thanks to his scales, the wound was only skin deep. “Sorry, I’m back. See, I wanted your restaurant, but you fell unconscious before you answered. So, I started a hostile takeover without you.”
“Hostile takeover?” Marco asked in astonishment. The green dragon couldn’t mean that, right? His doubt was subsequently addressed as a paladin charged up to the two and started to swing her massive great sword at Tank’s tail.
“You’ll never take the restaurant!” the paladin shouted before being swatted away like a bug. Marco fully realized what was happening as the black dragon Tank had come in with charged past the two, a few of the bodyguards Marco had hired in its mouth.
“Please! Stop this!” Marco begged. He would have gotten on his hands and knees if he wasn’t currently being held up a couple of feet in the air. “I’ll do anything! Please, just let my patrons go!”
“Even giving me your restaurant?” Tank asked.
“Especially giving you my restaurant!” Marco exclaimed in confirmation.
“Great! Everyone, pause for a moment!” Tank yelled. The adventurers and Fruity paused their battle as they turned to face Tank. Big Slick ignored him, instead digging her way through an unfortunate armoured fighter. Many assumed him to be a lost cause, and decided to leave the two alone. Tank cleared his throat, belching out a bit of fire as a result, before addressing the crowd. “Chef Marco has agreed to my terms and conditions. Now, the restaurant is mine!”
“Seriously?” one of the rogues asked Marco. “We’re fighting for you!”
“I don’t want to see any more bloodshed,” Marco began, tears welling up in his eyes. “You’re all just my customers, yet your risking lives. No restaurant in the world is worth more than what you guys have done for me today. Just leave. It’s only a building. I can do without it just fine.”
“Chef Marco,” some of the adventurers gasped, moved by his words.
“Yeah, yeah, now scram,” Tank ordered, pushing away two nearby warriors. The adventurers departed from the building, taking a few last glances back at Marco. The chef reassured a couple of his bodyguards that their paychecks would come in at the end of the week. They promptly left afterwards. After a few minutes, the place had become completely empty, save for Marco, the three dragons, and the warrior Big Slick had torn into pieces.
“Can you, uh, let me down now?” Marco asked Tank.
“Oh, sure,” Tank said, dropping the chef onto the ground. Marco crawled back onto his feet as he beheld the damages done to the Wild Boar Buffet. The flames Tank had spit had started to burn away the north wall of the building, while Fruity’s ice had done irreparable damage to the foundations. Tables and chairs had been destroyed, the dining rooms had become unrecognizable, and even the few fancy statues Marco had commissioned had been ruined. The restaurant had become a disaster.
“You guys tore it down. You really did it,” Marco said, falling to his feet and almost laughing in pain. “Damn you! Damn you all to hell!”
“Monsters don’t go to hell. You should know that,” Big Slick said, overhearing the chef while using the warrior’s arm guard as a toothpick. “Yo, Tank. Cook something up, would you? That’s what a monster chef would do, right?”
“It’d be my pleasure,” Tank said, walking towards the kitchen. His two friends followed him, leaving Marco to wallow in sadness alone inside of his ruined livelihood.