It's a peaceful day in Hibiscus Village, nothing truly out of the ordinary. The sun peaks through the trees, casting a soft pink hue on the concrete pathways. Dakota skips through the city, the sea green sundress she has swishing against his thighs like waves. She follows a slim sidewalk, her smile unmatched even by the brightness of the sky, carefully taking in her surroundings so she doesn't get lost. Not that she would mind being lost in such a beautiful city, but she's on a mission right now. After spending a few weeks communicating via lacrima with her blue-haired charming, she's finally going to be able to see him in person again, which is what keeps her pace more brisk than usual.
She arrives in front of the guild hall a few moments later and knocks on the large door. A tall, green-haired woman opens the door, a smirk settled naturally on her face. "What'cha need?" She asks, leaning against the doorway. "I'm here to see Gryphon Hayashi," Dakota responds, looking up towards the woman who is much taller than she is herself. Somehow, she isn't intimidated, her smile never fading. Seneca lets out a snort of laughter, assessing the short girl before her. "Isn't it illegal to date a minor?" She asks, and Dakota's cheeks puff up in offense. "I'm not a minor, I'm 18!" she retorts. "And we're not dating either." Seneca just laughs, standing up to her full height to step away from the doorway. "He's somewhere in the guild," she says, waving her hand around. Dakota huffs a short breath, her smile returning as she begins to look for Gryphon.
Gryphon finds Dakota waiting in the main hall. He had forgotten the tickets and had to run back to his room. He sees Seneca standing nearby and prays the green haired girl hadn't given Dakota a rude welcome. Waving his hand to catch her attention he quickens his pace to meet her. "Dakota! It's great to see you in person again. How are you?" He asks beaming.
Dakota hums delightedly when she sees Gryphon, closing the distance between them with a short hug. "I'm glad were able to meet up again! I'm doing wonderfully, especially now that I get to see you again! How about you?" She asks, lacing their fingers together. She is practically glowing, her thumbs lightly brushing over the back of his hands.
"I'm absolutely perfect now," he said, giving her hand a light squeeze. "You always bring the light and beauty of the dawning sun wherever you go." Though Seneca could be a pain in the butt, he was glad she pushed him to see Dakota again. The girl was a burst of new life for him, a happy and energetic ball to contrast his dulled daily routines. And she really did look stunning. They walked through the sea side town hand in hand until they reached the resort. "Hmm I don't think I asked, but have you ever been here before?"
Dakota's face is dusted with a faint blush at his compliment, her smile growing impossibly wider. "Thank you," she says, following Gryphon as they exit the guild hall and head towards the resort. She swings their hands between them, humming a slightly off-beat tune as she walks. At his question, Dakota shakes her head. "I've actually only ever travelled out of Onibus town a handful of times, and I've never been to the ocean either. Of course, I've been to lakeside beaches a bunch of times, but it's not really the same ya know? That's why I was really excited when you said you had tickets to Akane Beach Resort since I'd be able to spend time with you and get to try something new." Dakota easily gets distracted by the grandeur of the resort, her footsteps slowing until she came to a stop, gazing at the large building. "Wow..." She whispers, before kickstarting back into her normal personality. "Thank you so much for bringing me here!" She exclaims, turning to hug him tightly in gratitude.
The hug startles him initially but he quickly returns her hug. "Well I hope this day will live up to expectations," he replied with a laugh. "Since this is your first time is there anything you would like to see right off the bat?" Gryphon fishes out the resort map he had gotten from his pocket and hands it to Dakota. Small colored shapes mark different areas and attractions and a matching key sits in the bottom right corner. "Today is your oyster m'lady."
Dakota takes the map, looking over the locations with unmasked curiosity. "Hmm... Well, we should probably go to the beach first. The amusement park will be open late, and it'll be even prettier once they turn all the lights on!" She exclaims, throwing her arms up. "I have my bathing suit on underneath this, so I don't have to change, but we should probably go check in before we go. I don't wanna carry my bag around everywhere..." Dakota says, looking at the entrance to the building.
"Of course," Gryphon says. He takes her bag for her and they walk towards the building. "I hope you don't mind but when I booked the room I ended up getting a suite. They're supposed to be superb here." When they arrived at the front desk Gryphon gave his name and the concierge checked them in. The nice middle aged gentleman escorted them to their room, explaining it's interior on the way. "There's two bedrooms, each with private baths attached. They are connected by the central room which has the kitchen just to the right of the dining area. You will enter just to the right of that in the foyer. To your left directly after you walk in is the lounge, which can be converted to a media room with the push of a button, and behind this the entrance to one room. The other room is across the lounge. Both are equipped with a queen sized bed and luxurious linens. The cabinetry is imported wood and in the bathrooms there are also granite counter tops. Plush bathrobes and slippers are in the separate linen closets along with towels and extra blankets. The large jacuzzi tubs can adjust to have colored water and bubbles. The wet bar is right next to the sliding glass doors leading to the beach. If you wish to change your room's appearance, simply write down the description on the provided parchment, exit, and reenter. Please enjoy your stay Monsieur and Mademoiselle."
Dakota nods, following Gryphon as they are checked in. As the man begins explaining their room, Dakota's eyes only grow wider and wider with every spoken word. She nearly loses her cool when he claims that their rooms can be changed as easy as that, her jaw dropping open slightly. When they reach the entrance, she's almost too shocked to enter but regains her composure fast enough so that nothing seems amiss. She reclaims her bag from Gryphon's grasp. "I'll take the room across the lounge," she says, making her way over. Even though she'd been told what to expect, it's still a surprise when she actually enters the room. They pulled out all the stops when designing the room, each piece of furniture having a unique and intricate design and decorated in rich colors. She sets her bag beside the bed, grabbing her beach towel and then steps out of the bedroom, closing the door softly behind her. "Ready to go whenever you are!" She calls, walking back over to the entrance of the room.
In Gryphon's room the decor is soft pastels and delicate designs. He's distracted until he hears Dakota's voice calling out. Rushing out without grabbing anything is manageable since he placed everything he would need in his requip storage. Being the gentleman he is, he opened the sliding door for Dakota and bowed slightly as he gestured for her to go first.
"Thank you," Dakota says, stepping through the threshold. She walks onto the small deck, slipping off the dress to reveal a navy bikini with a white floral design. She pulls her hair into a tight ponytail and then puts her shoes and dress on a beach chair. "Wow," she muses, watching the crashing waves as she steps off the deck and onto the sand. Her feet sink into the sand, and before she can step forward, she slips her flip flops off, tossing them on the deck. "Race you to the water!" She exclaims, already sprinting towards the ocean, kicking up the sand behind her. If she was called on her cheating, she wouldn't care much, so long as she got the water as fast as possible.
"Oh that's not even fair!" He shouted after her halfheartedly. Taking off after her, Gryphon realized he wasn't going to catch up. His feet barely grazed the soft sand before darting off it once more. It was warm but not as to burn their feet. Dakota hit the water first with Gryphon right behind her, realizing a millisecond too late that he forgot to change into his swim suit. In his haste to requip he tripped and landed in the shallow waters surrounded by a white light. He shook the water out of his hair and looked at Dakota with the tips of his ears turning bright red. Chancing a joke he grinned and said,"I guess you could say I just fell for you."
Dakota laughs, turning around when she hits the water. "All's fair in love and war, my dear," she teases. But her triumph was short-lived, because as soon as she turns to face him, she's greeted with a large splash of water from when he'd fallen. Wiping the water from her face, she gives him a coy smile at his remark, crouching down in front of him. "You're gonna have to try harder than that," she says, a daring look in her eyes as she leans forward, lightly pecking his cheek, "If you wanna keep up with me." She finishes, rising back to her feet, offering her hand to help him up. Now that she isn't distracted by his pickup line, she can now look over her partners choice in clothing. Not only is Gryphon dressed in nothing but some swimming trunks, but he's glistening in the sun because of the water, and a dark blush covers her own ears. She clears her throat audibly, willing herself to look away but not quite wanting to. She finally averts her gaze to look into the water, immediately spotting a shell near her foot. "Since our last contest wasn't as fair, how about we have another one? Whoever collects the most seashells in a designated period of time wins. Of course, magic is prohibited, since it would give us various advantages over each other. And the winner will also need a reward..." She trails off, thinking of possible things she'd want, and what she wouldn't mind giving up in case she lost. "The loser owes the winner a favor, which can be traded in for anything, within reason," she decides, looking to Gryphon to make sure he is okay with the idea.
Satisfaction rings through his mind seeing Dakota at least a little flustered and the light kiss was a nice touch. After hearing the proposed contest and prize, Gryphon agrees and waits for her signal to start. "With that incentive, how could I resist?" It echoes in his thoughts on how beautiful she is as a new determination alights her face. The way the vibrant sun shines through her blazing hair. The delicate shells beneath the water, buried partially in the sand were no comparison to her. She was beautiful... "In ways she doesn't even know," he murmurs.
Dakota nods her head, creating two identical small jagged pieces of ice with her magic. "As soon as these melt, time is up!" She says, handing it over to Gryphon. "And don't worry about any magical advantages, I promise mine will melt just as fast as yours," she adds, then she steps over to his side, though faces in the opposite direction. "Ready, set," She pauses, waiting a few long heartbeats before shouting "GO!" She then drops down onto her knees, picking up nearby shells as she begins slowly shimmying forward. Her knees and hands unearth shells from beneath water, and she belatedly realizes that maybe the no magic rule was a mistake on her part. Her hands are small, just like the rest of her, and holding more than a few shells causes them to spill over, especially because of the icicle she has to carry. "For goodness sakes," she grumbles to herself, and then moves back to the shore. She creates a shallow hole a few feet away from the water, making sure the tide can't pull them back in. When she gets back in the water, the ice has melted about half way, and she begins searching for more shells, making several hurried trips back and forth between the water and shore to deposit them.
Gryphon never doubted her honesty and hit the water less than a heartbeat after her. His hands were bigger and could hold more but he also had to be careful not to break any. Long delicate fingers pushed through wet sand and gently picked up the calcium shields. He places them in the pockets of his swim trunks with care and sees the icicle has melted just past halfway. He took Dakota's example and made a quick hole of his own, depositing his spoils... only about three quarters of what Dakota had. He plunged back into his work with new energy. Unfortunately he ended up breaking the few shells he collected and had to wash his hands off and begin again. His fingers hit a large lump that he glanced at, checked to make sure Dakota hadn't noticed, pocketed, and hurriedly worked to catch up.
The last vestiges of the ice disappeared, and Dakota stood up from the water, depositing the shells with the rest of hers. Eagerly she counted them, coming up with 27 shells. Most were white, with faint touches of orange or pink. She found a few vibrant red ones, one with golden bands on it, a couple orange ones, and a black one with faint white stripes. She carefully shifted through the shells, making sure she didn't miss any, then shouted, "I've got 27," over to Gryphon. She began lining the shells up, placing her favorites closest to her, and then working outwards.
In the remaining seconds of ice, the bluenette dove his hands into the sand and scooped out a large handful,. He quickly rinsed them off and deposited them into his pile. As Gryphon counted his own he arranged them in a spiral and stopped when he got to the last one in his hand. A grin cracked over his face as he laughed out," 32. Those last few seconds caught me up and more. Do you want to check to make sure or do you trust me?"
Dakota looked over to him in disbelief. "You got 32!" She exclaims, jumping up and running over to his side, crouching down to look at the shells. "Man, I was gonna use my favor to make you buy me an ice pop. Oh well," she shrugs, glancing over to her pile. A bright smile appears on her face as an idea pops into her mind. "Pick out your favorite three, one big one and two smaller ones about the same size," She says, moving over to her own arrangement of shells. She picks a bright red one, one with golden bands, and the black one, before moving back over to Gryphon. She creates a small drill of ice, then creates small holes on the end of each of her shells. "We can make necklaces with them!" She says excitedly, holding up the three shells to show him. "We just need to find a string, and then tie 'em together," she adds.
A bright flash and there's an assortment of different colored strings resting in his palms. He offers them to her, letting her pick what colors she wanted then picking his own. He braided red, blue, and lavender together to create a cord and added his shells to it.
Dakota makes a small hum as she thinks moving to sit down in front of him on her knees. She picks a teal one then ties her shells to it. The large red one rested in the middle, with the other two about an inch away from it on either side. After checking her handiwork, she slips it over her head. "Alright, Gryphon, what's your wish?" She asks after a moment. "There really isn't that much I can think of that I wouldn't do. Just nothing too over the top or bizarre." She has shifted onto her stomach, kicking her feet in the air as she looks up at Gryphon.
"Hmm. Well then I hope this isn't too bizarre for you," he states. Before Dakota can ask what he means, Gryphon moves forward. His mouth lightly presses to hers in a gentle kiss. It takes a lot of will for the requip mage to keep it brief, no more than a few seconds and he pulls back with a lopsided grin. His hand hooks around the back of his neck as the smile becomes a bit sheepish. The hope that he didn't royally screw things up only now rings through his mind.
Dakota is slightly shocked at first, but returns the slight pressure against her lips after a moment. When the blue haired mage pulls away, she smiles brightly. "You didn't need a special favor to do that," she says, shifting back up into a seated position. "But if that's what you're gonna use it for, does that mean I can't kiss you?" She asks, her eyes gleaming deviously.
"Oh trust me, if that's what you want you can kiss me anytime you'd like," he purrs. "But I guess this means we're all tied up in competition wins.
Dakota squeals delightedly, leaping forward to pull Gryphon into a kiss. It's rather harsh at first due to her misjudging the strength she needed to get close enough, but it smooths out after a moment. After she pulls apart, she keeps the distance between them a mere inch. "How are we gonna break the tie?" She asks, locking her gaze on his. She can't help but be reminded of the sky, and a soft mutter of "Beautiful" escapes her lips.
Gryphon chuckles a bit but places a gentle hand to her cheek, his thumb resting on her cheekbone. He looks at her mischievously and replies, "Not sure how to finish our tie, but you look a little too dry." In one fluid movement he scoops her into his arms princess style and stands up moving quickly towards the water. Once he's waist deep, he dunks her halfway into the water and drops her feet to the sand below its crystalline surface.
Dakota begins to laugh uncontrollably when she's swept off her feet, trying halfheartedly to get out of Gryphon's grip. "Hey wait, this isn't fair!" She shouts, though from the tone of her voice, it's easy to tell she doesn't care. Once she set down into the water, she makes a small movement with her hands, but keeps her eyes up towards Gryphon's, smiling sweetly. She splashes him by kicking her foot above the surface, but most of the water floats harmlessly past him. She flicks her wrist upward, which causes a bucket made of ice to float above Gryphon's head. It spills over, absolutely drenching him in water. "You looked a little too dry yourself, so I thought I would help. Too wet?" She asks, feigning innocence as she tilts her head and bats her eyelashes.
Gryphons hair is flat against his face, dripping wet from Dakota's move. He dramatically shakes the shaggy locks out of his face and glares at her in a way both know that he means no actual harm. A small smirk plays over his lips and he ducks lower into the water so his hands and arms can skim the top. Having quite a bit of practice, Gryphon knows the exact place to place his hands and the force to apply to absolutely soak the small redhead in front of him. True to his mark the wave he creates as he whips his arms, hands skimming the water, is big enough to bend over Dakota and come splashing back down. He plays innocent just as Dakota had done. "Oh goodness, it seems the waves are quite unpredictable today."
Giggling uncontrollably, she wrings the water from her hair. "Guess they are," she affirms, finally regaining her composure. She looks towards the shore, a slight gleam in her eyes. "Alright, I have an idea. We have to build a sandcastle for the last contest. Magic is totally allowed for this one, and then we'll ask a stranger to pick the best one. The castle has to be made entirely out of sand, unless you add little flags to the top or whatever. Any mold I use will be available to use as well, so the only way you can cheat is by knocking the other person's sandcastle down, which will result in immediate disqualification. Loser has to buy the winner lunch." She says, looking back towards Gryphon.
"Hmm I like the sound of that. Is there a time limit?" he asked, scoping the beach for a good spot to build what he had in mind. His artistic eye could be of particular use in this contest. An assortment of buckets and molds appear, stacked and clean, with a flash. "Requip comes in handy for carrying things, wouldn't you say?"
"Well, how about... 45 minutes?" Dakota says, making a sundial. "In two minutes it'll be 11:45, so then we can be finished by 12:30, get judged, and be back at the room by 12:45 and have a late lunch afterward." Dakota copies the buckets and molds that Gryphon pulls out, a small smirk playing on her lips. "So does maker-magic." She then proceeds to make a mix of buckets and pails so that they have some of every size and shape. Once the sundial reaches the 12 mark, she shouts, "Go!" and then races down to the shore, scooping the largest pale that she made on the way. She fills it with water then carries it back to her spot on the beach. She grabs a hoe and begins to smooth the ground out until it's flat and compacted. She then tosses the tool back over to the pile then grabs a tall, round bucket, filling it with sand and drizzling some water in to make it more compact. She flips it over, lifting the bucket off and revealing the perfect replica of the bucket in sand form. She then repeats the process in three other places, making the corners for her castle. She the begins to build up walls between the walls, leaving the front part open. With that side, she builds the wall but stops leaving space between the left and right wall. She then grabs a flat and thin mold, and places it in between, which will serve as the door. She then grabs a standard bucket, filling it with sand and placing it in the center of the walls. She then makes a moat around the entire thing about four inches from the edge of the walls. The moat is about three inches wide itself, though she leaves it dry for now.
With her base finished, she begins working on small details, grabbing a pencil-like utensil with a fine tip. She makes windows and spirals on her towers, and each wall has a stone-like pattern etched into it. The windows each have a person etched into them as well, however, simplistic and somewhat cartoonish. The door is decorated with a tall and broad tree, with the branches hanging low with moss and laden with tiny flowers. The inside tower has a spiral design like the outer ones, though small floral patterns decorate it as though it is a vine climbing up the tower rather than any stone. The top of it is also cone-shaped instead of flat like the other ones, with the cone being decorated like a sun, with its rays shining down towards the tower. She then makes a small bridge across the moat she made, making small and shallow lines across the top so it looks like a series of wood slats. She moves back to the shore, filling several buckets with water and pours them into the moat, which takes several trips as the water continues to be drained into the sand. Time is quickly running up by this point, and she makes small crocodiles along the edge of the moat, some crawling in or out depending on the direction she faces them in.
Gryphon slides to a stop, largest bucket also filled with compacted sand, and flips it out onto the smooth sand. He uses a few long, skinny molds for turrets and begins detailing the castle with a stone pattern using a stick. He had figured out a method that made the projects time very short and applied it here so he could work on detailing the rest. His thin fingers made the childish mold creation become life like with doors, windows, and even vines made by seaweed strips he grabbed from the water being carefully strung down the sides. Small houses are formed with another small mold to create a village surrounding the kingdom and he even adds paths in between them. Digging around reveals a few sticks and pieces of paper that become flags on the five turrets and he picks up the small twig he had used for detailing before to add decal to the roof. Not only does a moat surround the castle but a small 'river' runs through the entire city. Gryphon builds a wall around the mini kingdom and makes entrance and exit arches for the water out of precariously balanced rocks and takes a bit of time to line the river and moat indents with the small stones as well. In the last few minutes he creates a few people out of sand to be the royal family. They're slightly crude with only a little detail but it's obvious there's supposed to be a king, a queen, a prince, and a princess. He steps back from his creation and takes in a deep breath he hadn't allowed himself before in fear of destroying something.
When the time is over, Dakota backs up from her castle, looking over it with pride filling her features. After a few moments to study it, she begins scanning the beach for a random passerby. Once she spots one, a young woman with dark hair, she begins ushering Gryphon over towards her. "We can't tell her which one belongs to who, because she'll either pick me because I look like a kid, or pick you because you are the embodiment of beauty. Got it?" She says before they fully reach her. Once they do, Dakota smiles widely, blinking her eyes cutely a few times for the full effect. "Would you mind picking the best sandcastle?" She asks, gesturing towards the two sandcastles that they had made. The woman ponders confusedly for a few moments, and then nods, most likely convinced by Gryphon's existence and involvement in the activity. Shouting in glee, Dakota begins marching towards the sand castles again. The woman studies both of them, walking around them and crouching down to study the workmanship. "Well, they both have impeccable detail. But, I have to say, I like this one better." She says, pointing towards Gryphon's. A look of disappointment flashed over Dakota's face at having lost, but it is quickly replaced when she realizes what she can do now that he's won. She smirks over at the girl, then saunters over to Gryphon, and reaches up to his shoulders. In one quick and fluid movement, she dips him down and plants a kiss on his lips, which lasts about five seconds. She then pushes him back up to his feet, smiling happily. "Time for lunch!" She cheers, lacing her fingers with Gryphon's as she began to walk back towards their room. The other girls reaction, mouth agape and eyes wide, isn't missed by Dakota, who now has two reasons to be smiling gleefully. Nothing could ever beat the feeling of having something that somebody else wanted, not ever in a million years.
Gryphon walks along side her, grinning wide as they return to their room. Dakota was unpredictable, a wildfire he didn't want to control, and he had to admit that being able to kiss her was definitely a perk. Watching the sun light her hair with a shining fury and seeing her mischievous side poke out was absolutely captivating. "Nei tuoi occhi c’è il cielo, diavoletto," Gryphon chuckles, not realizing he slipped into another language. She was the sun and he was walking on light. "Where would you like to go?"
Dakota's head tilted curiously when Gryphon started speaking gibberish. "What was that?" She asks, a deeply puzzled look on her face. At his question, Dakota shook her head. "No, you won, so you get to choose and then I, the loser, has to pay," She proclaims. As they walked into their room, she quickly parted from Gryphon's side, heading over to her room. She gathered her clothes, quickly showering and then changing so she wouldn't leave Gryphon waiting. She left her hair down, allowing it to cascade down to the small of her back. The red locks had the typical wavy appearance after one leaves the beach though adding this with the normal appearance of her hair made it about twice as hard to comb. However, not combing now it meant it would be even more difficult to detangle later. She began separating her hair into several sections, coming through each one quickly to get the majority of the tangles out, knowing full well more would just pop up the longer she brushed it. After that, she did it in a half up half down braided crown and then stepped out into the lounge area of their suite. She had chosen a long, pastel orange tank top with white shorts and tan sandals as her apparel.
Gryphon unequipped everything they wouldn't be needing, equipped things for later, and then headed for his own showers. He changed normally and attempted towel dry his hair, but it was still damp after his efforts. Light grey low-rise jeans hung low on his hips but was compensated for in length by the looser forest green tee shirt. A dark brown wristwatch and black high top flat bottoms completed his look as he walked out to wait for Dakota. She looked absolutely stunning in his eyes and he couldn't help but grin at her. He was head over heels and was so freaking glad his feelings were reciprocated. "So I know this place for lunch, it's a bit small, but it's nice and the food is great," he promises as he pulls out a map and points to a small building labelled as 'Café de Estrelas' or a fancy way to say Cafe of Stars. "Would you like to go?"
Dakota smiled happily when she saw Gryphon, a light bounce in her step as she walked over to him. "That sounds lovely," She purrs, rolling from the balls of her feet to her heels. She laces her fingers between Gryphon's after he puts the map away. Subconsciously, Dakota worried about how hot her hand was, as well as the rough callouses on her fingers. Usually, she'd just brush these things off, but she wondered if perhaps Gryphon was a little weirded out by it. Girls were supposed to have smooth, soft, and delicately warm hands weren't they? There was also the fact that Dakota didn't have an especially effeminate structure, being relatively boxy and flat chested, with skin often marked by bruises, scratches, and minor scars. Dakota's worry doubled. Now she felt like she wasn't feminine enough, or very feminine at all. She doesn't voice her thoughts though she seemed to grow smaller, her grip loosening on Gryphon's hand. "Let's go," She says, a small smile on her face as she begins to head out of the suite in hopes to leave her negative thoughts there too.
Though he didn't know why, Gryphon felt Dakota's hesitation and the loosening of her fingers in his grip. He gave her hand a light squeeze and brought her fingers to his lips so he could brush them across. The boy decided to give it a little time to see if she was just tired or if it was something more. In his mind he was so very lucky to be graced by the radiance that was Dakota. Giving her a small smile, he led the way to the small cafe. When they arrived they were led to a table for two, covered in a delicate white lace table cloth and gleaming silverware already placed on the table. Soft sunlight lit the room and a whisper of a breeze ruffled the thin curtains that adorned the windows. Gryphon pulled out Dakota's chair for her before even going towards his own and then picked up the menu to pick out a drink. He settled on the house specialty of a Mixed Melon Smoothie and then internally questioned if that came off as lame. But he brushed it off, knowing Dakota probably wasn't the type to care.
Dakota allowed herself to be led through the streets, simply feeling comforted by Gryphon's presence. While she hated being small in every other situation, it felt nice for her hand to be encompassed by his, to walk in his shadow. Perhaps it was because she didn't feel like she was being forgotten beneath him, but protected and safe. As they approached the cafe, a childish smile overcame her face. The decor was pleasantly simplistic, sweet pastels and lovely warm colors. She looked through the menu, her smile only growing larger at Gryphon's choice of drink, and she ordered a Peach Mango Smoothie. "Melons?" She teases lightly, hiding her goofy smile behind her menu in an attempt to come off as semi-serious.
His cheeks tinged pink as he replied, "I happen to enjoy fruit concoctions, especially melons, thank you very much. Don't judge the melon lovers of Fiore." He stuck his tongue out at her playfully to let her know he wasn't serious about being offended. The gem in front of him was beautiful, but had her own edge which he loved about her. She was strong, silly, and didn't mind that he wasn't mature 100% of the time. "Do you have any idea about what you would like to order? If not I can give you a few suggestions since this place has a branch just down the street from where I used to live with my parents."
Dakota giggled, an amused look glowing in her eyes. "I judge who I please, thank you very much," She quips, lowering her menu so she could get a clear view of Gryphon. "Also, if you don't keep your tongue in your mouth it might end up in mine," She adds, a confident look that explained she planned on going through with her plan even in the completely public restaurant. The woman feared no one, not even strangers whom would endlessly judge her for as long as they remembered her. At Gryphon's suggestion, she nodded her head. "No melons," She said with a wink, barely holding back a laugh at her own genius remark. "But other than that, I'd love to hear about salads they offer," She says, neatly placing her hands on top of the table and folding them together.
"My personal favorites are the Springtime Pasta Salad and the Seaside Toss that they only offer during the summer. The first offers a variety of veggies including lettuce, cabbage, radishes, and carrots mixed in with soba noodles. The second is a lettuce blend with a variety of seafood pieces tossed in. They also have a build your own if you don't see any mixes you like. They offer a garden lettuce blend and up to 8 mix ins of your choice." Gryphon tells her, face barely containing the blush that would have taken over his face and turned him brighter than Dakota's hair had he not caught it. But he leaned on the table, lacing his fingers together and using his fingers to balance his hands as he continued with, "The great thing about this cafe is you get to choose what you like until you're satisfied. You get to decided when you're pleased, and when you are, you see stars." He added a mischievous smile to his innuendo to respond that he really would not mind making out with her in a this little building filled with people.
Dakota listens to the salad options, her scarlet gaze wandering through the small cafe as she did. As Gryphon wrapped up, Dakota pondered for a moment, and then mentally decided on the Seaside Toss. Luckily, Gryphon's blush had been perfectly managed, and Dakota was much to distracted by the ambience of the building to see even the slightest hint of one. However, as he shifted forward, her attention did as well, focused solely on the teal-haired boy. The innuendo was not missed on her, and her previously complacent look shifted into complete public indecency, and Dakota bit the inside of her cheek to keep herself from stretching over the table and wiping that suggestive smirk off of his face. "I'm not interested in seeing stars," She says, "I've already memorized every feature on your face. I wanna taste the stars." It was true that Dakota had committed every plane and angle of the young man's face to memory, much too infatuated with him was she to imagine anything but his sharp jawline, slim nose, striking blue eyes. "Though I'd like to eat my salad first," She says after a moment. "After all, dessert comes last, right?"
"Hmm I'd be happy to oblige, but I agree on the later part. After all, our waiter has been too intimidated to approach with our drinks. I fear we would be asked to leave before we received our drinks, much less ordered," Gryphon pointed out. He was right, their waiter was standing not too far away with their drinks balanced on a tray and his ears bright pink. The blue haired mage waved him over with a cheery smile and placed his own order of the Springtime Pasta Salad. He joked, "Now don't fluster the poor boy, I don't know if he could handle teasing at the hands of a lady as beautiful as yourself."
Dakota nods along to what he says, only just now realizing the waiter despite her distracted gaze moments ago. As he steps up, she places her order on the Seaside Tossed Salad and hands the young man the menu, careful to avoid any unnecessary contact. She knew Gryphon would think nothing of a quick touch of the hand of a stranger, however, the boy looked ready to combust at a moment's notice, and she quite liked the idea of not having to find another restaurant to eat at. After taking their orders, he quickly scurried away, and Dakota held back her laugh until he was out of sight, a smile splitting her face. "Gryphon, do you think we got a little carried away?" She asks between her chuckles, trying to recall the man's face, especially after he was caught staring at them. "At what point do you think he began regretting serving us?" She adds, still unable to control her laughter, her mirth causing her vermillion gaze to glow even brighter.
"I wouldn't say we were to carried away, distracted maybe, but not carried away. I'm betting it was the stars part. That's not our fault though, we're a match made in heaven." He jokes with a wink. "Minha querida, you have created temptation beyond the rules of what is to be allowed in terms of affection in this little cafe. Unfortunately I am not a man so noble and selfless as to brush it off." Gryphon lightly lifts Dakota's chin and presses his lips to hers, ignoring the drinks they had been served in favor of something sweeter. He had to admit that he loved the adorable look of slight confusion that past over the girl's face when he slipped into another language. Taking note to do it more often, he pulled back ever so slightly to gauge her reaction to the very public kiss.
Dakota scrunches her nose at Gryphon's joke, holding back her laughter. "Heaven's a bit far out of reach by this point, isn't it?" She asks bawdily, her fingers tiptoeing across the table until they rested over Gryphon's, tracing gentle figures on the back of his hand, never once shifting her gaze from his for even a moment. Lucky enough for her, the hand that came up to rest under her chin was the opposite one, still allowing her to continue, however, her fingers stilled anyways, faintly pressing into the skin as he kissed her. Dakota was not one to ever sit still, though, and she pushed back, almost too zealous, especially considering she was kissing him in broad daylight for no particular reason. As Gryphon pulled back, Dakota's eyes flicker open slowly. "Your such a tease," She claimed, voice breathy despite the brevity of the kiss. To hopefully press this mood down, at least until the threat of being kicked out of a restaurant disappeared, Dakota swiped up her smoothie, leaning back in her chair and took several sips from the straw. However, Dakota's ever curious and mischievous self didn't quite like the atmosphere, as it had nothing to stimulate her at all. After she took her sip and set the cup down, she did probably the worst thing one could do in a situation like this; she stared keenly at Gryphon and licked her lips. And perhaps that wasn't the issue, but rather how long it took her to do it, starting at one corner and slowly, methodically travelling over the curve of her lip to the other side, just to repeat it the opposite way on her bottom lip. Not once did her gaze leave Gryphon, watching and gauging his reactions to her lewd action. Sure, Dakota had never been in a romantic relationship before this, but that wasn't to say she didn't know anything. Her younger and equally curious self had learned quite a bit from older girls who talked about their boyfriends, movies, and books, as anything targeted towards females—especially those who ranged from their teens to adulthood—generally had an element of romance.
The teasing smile dropped from Gryphon's face and he swallowed hard. Holding his breath, he followed the very deliberate action with lightly raised brows. Gryphon had had a few relationships before Dakota, but none of them were so bold or captivating as the little devil in front of him. He tipped his head down, covering his eyes with one hand and whispered, "Lord forgive me" before looking back up at the woman. He pointed an accusing finger as he said, "Just remember, diavoletto, you brought this on yourself." The man scooted his chair closer to hers, put a hand to the back of her neck, and tilted her head up and forwards to kiss her again. He could taste the Peach Mango smoothie on her lips and lost his train of rational thought. Normally Gryphon could control himself, normal he kept all boundaries for the first date, normally he wouldn't dare to do anything beyond timidly hold hands. Dakota was anything but normal. She was courageous and passionate and had the sweetest smile and gods damn him if he couldn't help but break every sense of normalcy he had once known. She was a breath of fiery fresh air in his stuffy life. He lightly tugged on her bottom lip with his own before pulling back to take a breath. "How strange it is when the teasing become the teased."
Dakota pressed back insistently, her hands immediately winding around the back of Gryphon's neck, one of them softly running through his hair. Unlike Dakota, Gryphon hadn't had a single sip of his smoothie, and still tasted distinctly of salt water, the briny tang of his mouth clashing against the previously sweet taste she'd had, making her savour the kiss all the more. There was a line between a cute couple in a cafe and things that couple should save until they had gotten to a more secure environment, and the pair was currently playing jump rope with that line. As Gryphon pulled on her bottom lip, Dakota responded with a quick nip to his top lip, however, their kiss came to a close after that, and Dakota could feel her heart racing. "Better get used to it," She breathes out, staring longingly at Gryphon's lips.
A moment later the pair heard plates come crashing to the ground, and Dakota whipped around, expecting to see some sort of beast attacking the cafe. Instead, it was their waiter, face beat red, stuttering out something incomprehensible, pointing and flailing at them. It was quite easy to tell what had happened, Dakota's arms wrapped around Gryphon's neck, Gryphon still holding the back of her neck. "Uh oh," She whispered under her breath, quickly untangling herself from Gryphon, smiling as innocently as she could muster with her face flushed. "Don't mind it sir, we'll cov—" She was cut off, watching as he practically sprinted around the corner. Moments later he returned with a tall and stern looking woman, and despite all her bravado, Dakota felt a shiver run down her spine. "Please leave," the woman said, sounding much more demanding than her please led Dakota to believe. Nonetheless, she wasn't going to argue with her, quickly snatching a few hundred jewel from her wallet, handing it to the woman and bowing deeply. "We're ve—"
"I don't want to hear your empty apologies," She snapped, grabbing the payment and turning around. "You young people have no sense of shame anymore," She claimed, heading back around the corner. Dakota headed towards the exit as quickly as she could without running. As soon as they got outside, her was face surprisingly neutral despite the situation. "I'm not actually sorry for kissing you in the open like that. I'm also not sorry that I want to do it again. However, the couches at the resort looked very comfortable, much more comfortable than any restaurant chair, so I'm willing to kiss you in the comfort of our room too," She says quickly, bouncing from foot to foot. Her eagerness to do just as she said was evident, as she hadn't ever really looked at Gryphon, rather at his lips. They were red, especially his top lip, and almost without thinking, Dakota's tongue darted out, the slight action bringing the taste of saltwater back, and made Dakota want to ravish him even more.
"As tempting as that sounds, I think there's plenty of time for that later. Meanwhile, the sun is still high and the day has much more to offer." He pointed out with a grin still apparent on his face. Dakota, he realized, was more than just a breath of fresh air; she was exhilarating. She took him out of his comfort zone, made him want to go out of his comfort zone and even when things were off balance, it was a new, exciting thrill. For once he didn't have to be so uptight and formal. Gryphon was allowed to speak his mind, listen to another's words that were not just commands, and actually kiss the brilliant woman who stood before him. He did not miss the eagerness that practically radiated off her, but he did want her to experience as much of the entertainment that the resort could present. "Come, ma cherie, there is much to behold here yet. Would you like to go to the amusement park? Otherwise I believe there is the activities directory just a ways to our left that offers areas for everything from archery to volleyball."
Dakota slowly stopped in her bouncing, her eyebrows knitting together in thought over Gryphon's preposition. Admittedly, the theme park did sound very appealing, and the thought of going there was exciting. Her mind began working as she thought of the various attractions the place would hold within it, and how many possible ways she could get another kiss from Gryphon. She appeared to focus back in on Gryphon then, a bright smile covering her features. "The theme park sounds great!" She cheers, sliding over to Gryphon's side, lightly touching the back of his hand with hers before entwining their fingers, feeling the pleasant warmth radiate from his hand. "Why do you always switch languages?" She asks, looking up at him with wonder. She was entranced by the enigmatic air that surrounded him. He was flawless, smooth and beautiful in a way she couldn't really wrap her mind around but knew she loved. He was considerate and passionate, looking at her in a way that made her feel so important and special.
"It tends to be an accident. I used to travel a lot and picked up a variety of languages, eventually they became almost second nature. Plus, there aren't enough words in the English language to convey what I want to say to you." He answered, bringing her hand up to kiss her fingers lightly. "If you ever catch me slipping or are curious to know, I'd be more than happy to translate." He playfully swung their hands between them as he steered them towards the amusement park. He knew Dakota was a free spirit, but wondered if she had any limits or fears when it came to thrill rides. "Are there any particular rides you like? Any we should stay clear of? Or would you like to try their famous Dragon's Ascension to the Heavens, the roller coaster with the highest drop in Fiore?"
Dakota nods along to what Gryphon says, her heart thrumming in her chest with the simple action of him kissing her hand. She wasn't embarrassed, the young woman had done a bit too much in the last hour to even come close to it. It was more like excitement, to know he sought physical connection just as much as she did herself, a thrill to know her feelings were reciprocated in a similar intensity. At his question about the rides, Dakota's smile brightened. "We have to save the best rides for last, so no Dragon's Ascension to the Heavens yet. We should do the tame ones first, that way when we get to the big stuff it's even cooler!" She says with excitement, her grip tightening on Gryphon's hand with the surge of energy. She quickly spews out a "sorry!", running her thumb over the back of his hand in apology, staring intently at Gryphon to ensure she hadn't truly hurt him. "I guess I got a little carried away," She said with a sheepish grin.
Letting out a light laugh, Gryphon commented, "I may be a former model, but I'm not as delicate as you may think. Though, I like your enthusiasm and you are quite strong, but don't worry, it's all peachy here." His grin slipped lazier and more lopsided to show his sincerity. They had arrived at the entrance, various cars and rides zipping by as screams of delighted terror rang through the air. The sun caught on the glass art outside the house of mirrors and flicked small rainbows on the surrounding ground. Squeals and thuds came from the nearby bumper cars and a bouncy house could be seen from the opposite sides of the grounds, its giant inflatable turrets peeking through the ferris wheel spokes. "The park is your oyster, shall we explore it, my pearl?" Gryphon said, adding a nonsensical spin to the common saying.
Dakota breathed a soft sigh of relief when Gryphon stated he was fine. Just to be sure, she lifted his hand, pressing a soft kiss to his hand, smiling widely as she allowed their hands to swing between them again. When the entered the amusement park, Dakota's gaze darted around the various attractions up front, her face lit up with excitement. The first thing she truly focused on was the house of mirrors, with its stained glass reflecting beautiful colors onto the walkway. A short snort-laugh made its way from the back of Dakota's throat at Gryphon's saying, her nose scrunching up in mock distaste. "You're so fancy with your speech," She says, lightly elbowing him in the ribs as she guided him towards the large building. As they entered the first room, a long hall of curvy and bent mirrors lay ahead of them, and Dakota heard another group of people not too far ahead of them. With a mischevious grin on her face, she lifted a finger to her mouth in the universal silent gesture and began creeping forward as quickly and quietly as possible. She made sure to peek at Gryphon's reflection through the mirror, nearly blowing their cover a few times with barely restrained laughter at his distorted image. Continuing onward until they were just behind the group, Dakota placed her hands together, a light fog emanating from her two hands, and thus wrapping around Gryphon's hand as well, a welcome cool compared to the rather high temperature outside. She created seven little spiders, which crept forward at a quick pace until they reached the people ahead of them, crawling up their legs. The group, which were presumably teenagers a bit younger than Dakota herself, all let out screams of absolute horror when they discovered the arachnids scaling their bodies, frantically pushing them off and then sprinting off down the hall. Dakota howled with laughter as they ran, releasing the blue-haired man's hand as she leaned against a mirror for support. "Gry—Gryphon, did you—did you see the look on their faces?" She says in between gasps of breath and laughter.
"Oh. My, God." The male practically wheezed with laughter. A few tears compiled at the edges of his scrunched up eyes, some even escaping and rolling down his face to leave a wet trail. Once he thought he had himself under control he looked up only to be met by the distorted image of the two in an adjacent mirror, sending him back into another laughing fit. He manages to finally reign it in once his ribs begin to ache, but he couldn't keep the smile off his face. Grabbing Dakota's hand once more, he tugged her through the rest of the mirror house with only the occasional muffled snort breaking out. "We better hurry in case those kids didn't take to the joke to nicely." Something large and spinning caught Gryphon's eye the moment they stepped back out into the open with fresh air and bright light. The shining ferris wheel with carts that could turn in a full circle stood before him, and gosh darn if that wasn't his favorite ride from childhood. Eyes blowing wide and a wordless plea on his face, he looked at Dakota and simply motioned to it to ask if she too would like to give up all remaining sense of maturity and flip themselves upside down in an metal egg-shaped cage attached to an oversized metal wheel. After receiving conformation, the pair raced to the contraption in time for the next set of riders. Gryphon practically bounced in his seat as the attendant strapped them in and the ride began to go up. He tested the carts response to movement by leaning forwards and then whipped back quickly, happy when the cart moved almost effortlessly with him. With as straight of a face as he could manage, he turned to Dakota and asked: "Fancy going for a spin?"
Dakota follows Gryphon towards the giant wheel with no lesser enthusiasm, clambering so quickly into the seat that she ended up sprawled in the bluenet's lap. Quickly scrambling into a seated position, she vibrated in place, causing the worker to look at the young pair with exasperation as he locked them into place. Mumbling about children these days, he started the ride, allowing the spinning ride to begin its ascent. As Gryphon had begun shaking their pod, Dakota gripped onto the pole that locked them in place in a white-knuckled grip. "Hells yeah," She says in response to his question, repeating Gryphon's movement from earlier, though with a lesser effect due to her smaller stature and lesser weight. She scrunched up her nose in distaste, looking over to Gryphon. "On the count of three?" She asks to which he nods. "1...2...3!" They count in unison, before leaning forward and back in quick succession several times over, building momentum until they ultimately flipped their pod over, allowing it to spin on its hinges three times before it slowed. Dakota's laughter and excited screams filling the small space, her hands flying up in excitement. Luckily she hadn't hit Gryphon, though from a faint breeze that would fly past his nose, she would have been extremely close to it. As their pod began losing momentum, Dakota's hands returned to their spot on the bar as she glanced back towards Gryphon, and they began the tilting their seat again. They had gotten their seat to flip over no less than thirty times during the Ferris Wheel's turning, and Dakota's head was starting to spin from the constant spinning they had done. No less, as soon as they got off the ride, Dakota had stumbled only a little before regaining her balance and eyeing up the various rides the park had yet to offer them.
While off a fair distance, the rocky formation behind the casino building had been built into a ride of its own, though it was all underground, and the only way to tell it was there was a sign that read, "Mining Trail: An Underground Adventure." With a title like that, Dakota had immediately been entranced, and she glanced over to Gryphon. He looked at the sign, giving his consent, allowing the pair to traverse towards the ride. The closer they got, the easier it was to tell that the ride was thrilling. Screams could be heard from the opening of the ride's line, which meant it was either a fast-paced ride or one meant to scare those who got on it, and either way, Dakota was okay with it. As they stepped into the maw of the cavern, small lacrima torches lit their path as they head towards the line, deeper into the cave. There was only a small group of people waiting for the ride, which took only a few short moments as the next cart pulled up. Dakota quickly sprinted towards the back, as the front was already occupied and that was the second best thing. She pulled the lap bar down, securing them in place. After the worker had ensured they were locked in tight, he sent the ride off, and a mere few seconds after it started, they plummeted into a realm of complete darkness, something so surprising that Dakota lets out a scream of mixed confusion and excitement. The ride went through several sharp turns, rises, and dips, and even went backward, only the occasional lacrima torch lighting up the area they were in. Dakota was laughing nearly the entire time, both because of the people screaming ahead of her and her general enjoyment of rides like this one. Once the ride came to a slow stop a few feet away from where they had begun, the lap bar lifted up, allowing them to get off the ride. She hopped out of the cart, turning to Gryphon with brightly shining eyes. "That was so fun, wasn't it?" She asks, her body still buzzing from the excitement.
"It was great!" Gryphon laughed, absolutely breathless. The ride Dakota had chosen had him laughing and whooping with jubilation and he felt like he was walking on air when they got off. He hadn't had so much fun or been so overjoyed in such a long time and though he could speak more than ten languages, he would never manage to tell her just how much she means to him. This was the most real emotion he's ever shown someone in one day and all of it had been fantastic. Dakota was an exhilarating adventure that he had been graced with meeting and yanked him from a boring, repetitive existence. He loved his guild, but that feeling could never compare to the wildfire absolutely dancing in front of him, her light outshining that of the warm sun above them. Something he could do however, is make sure that this trip is just as enjoyable for her. Spotting a few games just down the way, Gryphon laced his fingers with Dakota and gently tugged her towards the stalls. One in particular caught his eye and he couldn't help the small smirk the decorated his face as he lead them over. The man running the dart stand was not prepared for a sharp shooter with a keen eye. The archer closed one eye and bit his lower lip ever so slightly as he positioned his wrist with dart in hand, flicked it, and sent the dart flying. Each balloon popped with the dart dead center in the board behind where each colorful air sack's middle had been. His widened eyes simply gestured at the prize rack behind him, everything being an option with the score Gryphon obtained. The male himself turned back to Dakota and let his lopsided grin slip onto his face once more. "The choice is yours, diavoletto,"
Dakota watched Gryphon as he began flinging the darts into the balloons on the wall, fascination glowing in her eyes. After he had pinned all the darts to the wall, Dakota cheered and began looking over the prizes hanging on the wall. She ultimately decided on a large shark. When the man got it down and handed it to Dakota, she discovered it was even taller than she was and it's gaping mouth did not stop at its head. No, the hole extended down into the body of the shark and Dakota smiled in delight at having such a great eye for stuffed animals. "Thank you," She says, shifting the shark in her arms so she could peak around its massive gray body and give Gryphon a toothy grin. "Now it's my turn to play." Dakota begins walking down the path of game stalls, looking each one over. She stops at a strength tester, and a man stands beside it with a hammer in his hand. "Can you hold the shark please?" She asks, and Gryphon takes the shark, allowing Dakota to grab the hammer. The man looks at her skeptically, and Dakota smirks. "What happens if I break the game?" She asks him, to which the man scoffs. "If you can somehow manage to break this game, then we'll replace it," He adds, rolling his eyes. "Will you charge me?" She adds, and the man considers her, as though he's begun to believe her, though he shakes his head no. Dakota nods, a satisfied smile on her face as she walks in front of the game, resting her hammer over the top of the metal-plated target. It was fairly obvious at that point that people very seldom got the weight to reach the bell at the top, though Dakota was all about breaking free of the norm. "No magic," The man says, almost as an afterthought, and Dakota nods her head in understanding. "Not that I'd need magic anyway," She says, before swinging her arms up and then back down to the platform. The force applied to the weight on the game was so hard and quick that it's nearly an untrackable blur as it slides up the pole its secured to before smashing into the bell at the top, the ring resounding through the area. The weight falls back down, though the bell is dented and cracked at the bottom. "Pick your prize," She says to Gryphon with delight, handing the hammer back to the man, who's looking at the petite girl in front of him with a mixture of fear and admiration, his mouth gaped in shock. She simply bats her eyelashes innocently as she turns back to Gryphon to grab her shark so he may pick from the shelf of prizes the strength tester has next to it.
Gryphon applauded his small, yet still mighty girl had baffled and stunned the man. He accepts her gesture, handing her back her shark with a smile and looked over the prizes. His eyes locked onto a specific reddish-brown plush that caused him to let out a little snort of laughter as he pointed at it. The man raised his eyebrows at the choice of plush, but Gryphon was delighted as he had never felt the need for amusement to be limited to your gender and wrapped his arms around the koro koron hamster with another small laugh. When he realized Dakota had no idea why he couldn't contain his giggles, he turned to explain while one side of his mouth quirked into a grin again. "My mother never let me have pets, she hated animals unless they were a fur skin for her designs or important for a shoot. When I was about seven I snuck a hamster into the house and kept it for about a week until the darn thing escaped his cage and wiggled into her bed while she was sleeping. Needless to say, she did not appreciate to the hamster butt in her face when she woke. I can only imagine the horrified look her face would take on if I could say I got another hamster, especially if I leave out the stuffed animal tidbit of that fact." Reimagining that expression sent him into another small fit of laughter and it took him a moment to get his breathing back under control when he finished. "You haven't seen anything until you see a middle aged woman with a mint green face mask and rollers run from her bedroom at six in the morning screaming at the small animal now nested in her hair. My dad, who's supposed to be a proper and model gentleman, spit coffee all the way across our dining room table."
Dakota listened to Gryphon talk, staring up at him. When he explained his childhood situation, she reached towards him, lightly resting her hand on his arm. As he continues telling his hamster smuggling tale, she listens with peaked interest, snickering a bit as she pictured two dignified and well-refined people who did the things he was telling her. "I can't believe there are people who actually don't like pets," She says, acting personally offended by Gryphon's parents. "Doesn't matter, though, because as long as you agree to it, we're gonna adopt all of the pets and raise them in a nice house somewhere really remote so they have plenty of space to roam free." She says, nodding her head to the wild proposition. "I think your hamster is really cute by the way. My shark is cuter, though," She says, waving the shark to and fro so it appeared as though it was dancing.
"All the pets, huh? That sounds like a challenge." Gryphon chuckled. He picked up on the way that that comment kind of sounded as if she were suggesting they'd live together in the future. "Your shark may be cuter than my hamster, but you are the cutest of all." He replied, bumping her shoulder lightly and snagging her hand as they walked to intertwine their fingers. Spotting another ride Gryphon asked, "How do you feel about another competition?" There was a mini go kart track with colorful cars prepped and ready to go. He had a suspicion Dakota would enjoy the fast paced activity. As they neared the ride's entrance Gryphon spotted the 'You-Must-Be-This-Tall' sign and thankfully Dakota cleared it, but he was not prepared for the ride's attendant coming up to them.
"Sir, I'm sorry, but children aren't allowed to ride alone. Your sister will have to either ride with you or wait out here." The lady gave a cheeky smile and bent down to be closer towards Dakota's level. "So sweetie, would you like to ride with your adorable brother here, or stay out by me while he goes in?" Gryphon bit his cheek, both trying to hold in more laughter and from trying to not say anything and let Dakota react in her own way.
Dakota nods, a bright smile adorning her features. "Life isn't fun without challenges," She says in return. As he compliments her and swoops up her hand, she turns her head and bumps it into his arm. "You're such a goob," She giggles. "I do agree that I am the cutest, though," She says, a smug grin splitting her face. "But you're definitely the hot one," She says, pretending to lick her finger, reaching over and then touching her finger to his skin, making a tsss sound. "See?" She adds, before falling into a fit of giggles. At the prospect of the competition, she nods rapidly, her pace accelerating somewhat. When they are stopped by the woman, however, Dakota goes stalk still, as though she's been frozen in place. You're an honorable mage in Koma Inu. You're an honorable mage in Koma Inu. You're an honorable... She repeats it, several times, in her head, taking a deep breath in and slowly letting it out. "I plan on kicking his ass in a racing competition, so I'm not doing either of those things," She states. Well, maybe honorable was a strong word... She shifts her right thigh forward, gesturing towards the navy blue mark of her guild. "I just fought in a war, lady, and I broke your strength tester. I'm going to get in that go-kart, own this pretty boy in a race, and then I'm going to claim whatever prize we decide on," She claims, staring up at the worker with crossed arms, fiery determination glowing in her vibrant gaze.
At her words the other woman's mouth dropped open, face turning pink after realizing her mistake. The attendant's attempts at apologizing never quite formed actual words and instead she just waved her hand towards the entrance as permission to ride. Still snickering as they passed Gryphon commented, "You might wanna close your mouth darlin', you never know when it could be attacked by insects looking for a place to set their brood. That's what my momma always told me." He managed to keep his laughter subdued until they rounded the corner where two lines of cars awaited, rumbling in preparation to go, go, go. After they were out of hearing range Gryphon's smile took over his face again and the drawl he had accidentally slipped into from earlier still settled low in the back of his throat. "So, m'lady, now that you've been approved to run with the big kids, how about a friendly lil race now? We'll have to see if you can put your money where your mouth is and own up to that earlier statement." There were a few other patrons there, but Gryphon was focused on Dakota, finding them the first spot with open cars side by side so they'd start in the same position. Once the rest of the small vehicles were filled the second attendant motioned for them to start driving forward and onto the track. The archer looked across from himself and shouted out a quick, "Good Luck!" towards the redhead, drawl gone but smile as blinding as ever. Gryphon's car started on the outside, but with all the twist the track held it wouldn't be a hindrance if he timed it right
Dakota nodded to the woman before continuing towards the entrance of the ride, the pep in her step returning. At Gryphon's words, she turns around, stopping just in front of him and placing her hands on her hips. "Well, my mom always told me to speak up against injustices. Being short isn't my fault, but being a pushover is, and I refuse to be a pushover." She then turns on her heel, her red hair fanning out behind her as she saunters over to the waiting karts. "I'll try to remember we were racing at all when I reach the finish line and you're still trying to get your go-kart to start," She says, a confident smirk on her face as she moves over to the open cars. As they drive up to the starting line, she returns the good wishes with a blown kiss. She then tightens her grip on the wheel, staring at the track ahead. She was in the middle of the track, and the person on her other side was someone at least five years her junior, so she'd probably be able to move to the inside if she needed. The lights above the track went from red, yellow, and once they reached the final green light, a loud horn blared. Dakota stepped on her brake and gas at the same time, waiting until the people in front of her got moving before releasing the brakes, allowing her to shoot forward. The first turn came quickly and sharply, and Dakota was able to slide into a drift, cutting off whoever was behind her and allowing her to keep nearly the same speed as she continued forward. She repeated the same pattern all through the track, having passed quite a few people though she was never able to get ahead of Gryphon without him passing her up the next turn. It was frustrating beyond belief, but she was able to channel her frustration into her desire to win. She didn't even know what she'd get if she won, but she knew something that depended solely on her skill wasn't something she was about to lose.
Gryphon had little idea as to what he was doing, but felt he was being rather successful by mimicking the actions of the other racers.Whenever Dakota whooshed past him, he would recreate the gesture by taking her back over at the next corner. However, there were only so many corners on the track and they could play ping pong with the lead all they wanted, but when it came to the final straight stretch before the path narrowed to a one care lane, the pair would duke it out for the win. Unfortunately for Gryphon, the last corner had been Dakota's turn to overtake him and she executed it perfectly, her flaming hair whipping by a clear indication of her passing. The archer let out a mock disappointed huff as their cars began to slow so they could be once more pulled into the starting positions. As they stepped from their vehicles and began to move towards the exit once again, Gryphon hopped his way over to her and picked her up to spin her around thrice. "Impeccably amazing, as always mi diavoletta. Though I'm sure I can beat you next time." He jested, returning her to the ground once more. "Do you have a prize in mind?"
As Dakota crossed the finish line, she raised her fist and pumped in the air, hollering in triumph as the cars began slowing down and approaching the starting point again. Hopping out of the small vehicle, she couldn't help but giggle uncontrollably as Gryphon picked her up and spun her around. "I don't win just to lose the next time around," She retorts, a challenging lilt to her voice. When she was placed on the ground again, she stretched her arms above her head, appearing to contemplate the answer. "Hmm, what could I make you do?" She wonders aloud, a sly smirk pulling at her lips as she thought of the possibilities. "Well, I'd rather not get kicked out of the theme park because that could have longer-lasting repercussions considering it's connected to the resort. But," She pauses, her finger tapping against her chin as she rested her arms at her side again. "Something simple like a piggyback ride would be fine, right?" She asks, a sweet enough smile on her face. True enough, she didn't fully intend to do anything beyond hitch a ride on her boyfriend's back, though she also knew there was quite a bit she could say to Gryphon when she was that close and there wasn't much he could do to stop her. Well, he could drop her, of course, but she suspected the gentleman within Gryphon would prevent such a thing.
"Of course m'lady!" He exclaimed and kneeled with a grand sweeping gesture in front of her to allow her access to the broad expanse of his back. "Your chariot awaits." Gryphon held completely still to allow Dakota to position herself before hooking his arms around her legs and quickly standing, causing the lady to pitch forward a bit into his shoulders. He nearly purred his next words, reminding her to "Hold tight, mi diavoletta, wouldn't want you to fall" and chuckling until a small noise of protest issued from his stomach. "Alas, it seems my body has remembered its necessity for food and that that was lacking from our afternoon... escapades. Shall we find a place to grab dinner before heading back to the hotel? That way we can enjoy our food without fear of being removed from the premises."
Dakota climbs onto his back, lightly pinching his shoulder when he stood up so quickly. "How rude," She giggles, resting her head on his shoulder so she could see ahead of them. When he mentions food, Dakota's own stomach rumbles, only getting a sip of her smoothie earlier and not having a hearty breakfast beforehand either. "Sounds great!" She asserts, turning her head after so she can whisper to him directly. "I think if we head back to the hotel we can skip out on getting dessert. Since you're such a treat," She says, trying to hold back her laughs at such a statement, turning her head back to his shoulder and resting her forehead there to hide the hysteria threatening to bubble up to the surface.
The pair arrived at a take-out restaurant with very few bumps in the road, Dakota only occasionally whispering stupid puns or innuendos after Gryphon said something. The sign outside advertised Authentic Asian Cuisine and Dakota slid off of Gryphon's back and the pair straightened their clothes before walking in. The pair ordered, paid, and got their food without incident, walking out of the building and back to the resort with similar patterns to when they had walked to the restaurant. Once in their room, Dakota sat on the couch, pulling out her broccoli beef and rice and her plastic fork because Dakota did not have the patience or finesse for chopsticks. "How authentic do you think this is, Gryphon?" She asks, generally not believing self-advertisement despite her somewhat gullible nature.
Gryphon used his own chopsticks to poke at his chicken and seemed to question the food's response before looking up at Dakota and replying. "The "authentic" part in the sign looked like it was there to desperately try and convince us instead of a proud proclamation, but I suppose it could be. It probably has influence at the least so good enough for me." He twirled the wooden utensils between his fingers once before breaking them apart and digging into his food. After deeming it pleasantly edible, he sat on the opposite edge of the couch and tucked his knees up beside himself so he could face the redhead on the other side. "So I've told you the tale of my first and only pet, but I never heard about you. You seem to like animals but have you ever had one as a pet?"
Dakota nods her head. "Seems like a reasonable assumption," she says, shifting towards the center of the couch to face Gryphon, crossing her legs in front of her. When he asks about past pets, Dakota quickly swallows the food in her mouth to speak of her childhood companions. "Well, my moms’ and I have had a few family pets, three cats and two dogs over the course of about two decades. When I was twelve, though, I demanded that I get a pet tarantula. It took three days of deliberating and quite a few loud conversations before we eventually saw eye-to-eye. And by eye-to-eye, I mean my mothers got so tired of me I am certain they might have tried to have smother me had we not reached an agreement. I had to pay a third of the funds to get it and I would have to handle all the spider's needs on my own after that, as well as never take or let it out of my room. I named the spider Lady, and after getting my own apartment she moved right with me, but right now she's at my moms’ so someone can look after her while I'm gone. She's about as big as my hand, maybe a little bit longer because of her legs, so handling her is difficult for me, especially because of how fragile and skittish she is. She's nice to look at, with her vibrant blue-green and orange body.” She smiles happily at the remembrance of her treasured pet, the generally docile creature a lovely addition to her life and home, as any good furry companion was. Despite the vast majority of people finding her arachnid creepy, scary, ugly, or otherwise, Dakota loved the creature and had little mind to question how Gryphon would feel about her tarantula, expecting tolerance at the very least. “If you could choose to get any animal as your pet, what would you choose?” she asks, figuring as long as they were on the topic, she might as well ask. The pet of choice could tell a lot about a person, and she tried to determine what kind of animal the bluenet before her would choose, just to see if she could guess correctly.