It was a sunny day, like always, in Dan’s dimension. The dolphin seemed to be busy as he bounced and popped around the place, seemingly preparing for something. Then, a portal opened next to the central fountain of the island, and Shane appeared.
The dolphin squeaked in surprise, and like a popped balloon, haphazardly flew right up to him.
“Welcome, Shane! Oh boy, are we going to have a lot of fun!” He shook his hand with his fin.
“It’s not often that someone comes to visit, so it makes me really happy to see you took Paree’s offer! Now, what kind of surfboard do you like? Blue, green, red, a color not seen on Earth?”
Smiling as Dan excitedly came over and began asking questions, Shane shook the hand. ”Well thank you for providing the chance to come. Hmm, I would like green I think." He looked up at the clear blue skies. Certainly was a nice change to the cold of winter. ”Oh yes, I invited Gaia as my date.” She should be just behind him through the portal.
“Ahh… This certainly is refreshing,” Gaia would say with a contented sigh as she stepped through the portal. “Thank you, once again, for inviting me, Shane, and thank you for having us, Dan,” she added, giving both a dazzling smile. “I am certain we shall have a most splendid time.”
“You brought a friend!? Smashing!" Dan was so happy on seeing Gaia that he ended up flying on the green surfboard he had summoned for Shane, circling the two. “Would you also like a surfboard, Gaia?”
“That would be wonderful,” Gaia told Dan, unable to keep a melodious giggle from escaping her lips as she watched the whimsical dolphin fly around her. “Perhaps an electric blue one, to compliment Shane’s choice.”
"Coming right up!" The dolphin flopped down to the ground, and began to roll in place, soon becoming a blue circular blur, not unlike a certain hedgehog character. Soon, electricity built up, forming a surfboard with a radical look to it.
"There, made with blue electricity," the Lesser Force stated, and handed it over to Gaia. "I can also give out surfing lessons if this is your first time on the waves."
“Thank you for the most generous offer,” Gaia said with an appreciative smile. “But I do not believe it shall be necessary. Thanks to Mother’s blessing, my reflexes are greatly enhanced while in this form,” she explained. “Thus, I am confident that I can provide Shane with a suitable challenge, despite this being my first time upon a surfboard.”
”I’ve never surfed before. Usually kept my feet on dry land where my magic was more useful.” He would look at the surfboard for a moment. Despite never having touched one he had a sense that he could use it to great effect. An oddity as a result of the Red Coin he used. Though up until now he hadn’t even had the chance to test it out. ”Huh. Well I could probably use some pointers.”
"Excellent. Let's get this radical rendezvous underway!" Dan squeaked. Dan clapped his fins together, and the three of them teleported to the sandy beach close to the shoreline.
"Now then, the most important thing to remember is to keep a steady footing on the board."
Dan had turned into a beautiful blue-skinned woman, a colorful surfboard on the ground before her. She stepped on the board, and bent her knees. "Lowering your point of gravity and bending your knees are the basics of keeping balance, as is spreading your arms to better control which direction you're shifting your weight." She smiled. "The rest comes from experience."
Laying the board down the boy would stand on it while it was on dry land. He would do what he understood from Dan’s instructions. And from his form he seemed to have picked up on it right away. ”Like this?” He would ask to be sure.
Dan looked down at Shane’s feet with furrowed eyebrows. “Hmm...You’re bending a bit too much, Try straightening your posture a bit...There we go, that’s it!” She gave a thumbs up.
“You’re ready now. Have fun!”
”Cool. Thanks for the pointers.” Hopping off he would pick up the board and put it under one arm. Heading to the water he would get about waist deep before slowing down and waiting for Gaia to join him.
Catching up to Shane, Gaia grinned at her date as she ran her fingers through her verdant tresses. “You know, this place truly is a paradise,” she observed, sighing blissfully as she basked in the warm sunlight. “It’s hard to imagine that it’s still winter back in Penrose.”
”It is. But that’s what makes getting to visit all the better.” He would say as they waded out further and began to make their way out into the white water where they could begin catching some smaller waves to start. ”Alright, let’s give this a shot.” Moving along with the wave he would drift a bit along. Feeling confident with how it felt he lifted himself up and planted his feet on the board. Shifting a bit based on what the Mount perk told him he was off on his first go even if it wasn’t all that wild. ”Ah, so that’s how that works.” He hadn’t tried riding or driving anything since his transformation.
“Looking good, Shane!” Gaia commended, clapping her hands at the magical boy’s efforts. “Now, let the Daughter of Mother Earth try her hand!”
Paddling out into deeper water, the verdant girl waited for a large swell, before leaping onto her board and riding across the wave’s length like a pro. Giving voice to a melodious laugh as she rode through the tube, the botanical beauty reached out her hand and let her elegant fingers run through the water.
“Mother’s Mantel! I have never experienced anything so exhilarating in my life!” she exclaimed with a brilliant smile upon rejoining Shane. “I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to have this experience!”
Shane would watch the girl surf like it was natural and ride for quite a ways. We're this any average beach trip he would be inclined to one up the competition. Though that wasn't exactly why he was here and Gaia and her excitement of getting to come was more than enough to distract from that. "I'm glad you accepted. I'll be honest, I wasn't really sure who to ask until we got the chance to work together." He would say with a slight blush. Walking back out to take another go as they spoke. They would stop on a sand bar so they could talk just a bit though.
“Tell me, Shane,” Gaia asked with a slightly mischievous smirk as she leaned over on her surfboard and rested her head on one hand. “Out of all the girls in Penrose, why did you choose me? Was it simply for convenience’s sake? Or was there some characteristic of mine that you found appealing? My exotic appearance, perhaps? Or maybe my polite and serene disposition? Honestly, I really am quite curious,” she added, her smile widening as she gave voice to a small giggle.
He somewhat expected this question to come up sooner or later. So it didn’t take him all that long to answer. ”A little bit was convenience, but really a number of things. My magic kind of gives me some insight into people and the kind of things they like. So it doesn’t really take me long to get to know someone. I love your unique look, but your personality and how you conduct yourself were a bigger factor. The fact that you serve Mother Earth and not some entity that is out to take over whatever is significant too. And I spent a lot of my magical career with a pretty close connection to the earth. I feel like that’s a big thing we have in common. After all that I figured the only way I’d know would be to try.” He would hold his board and sit across it from Gaia.
“The thing is, Shane,” Gaia replied hesitantly. “I’m not sure if you really do know me. I can’t help but wonder… Will you still find me as attractive when I am no longer acting as the Daughter of Mother Earth?” she asked, a look of concern in her eyes. “You know, I’ve… never been on a date before,” she continued. “When I am in my mundane form, I can be a bit… rough around the edges. It was always hard for me to form relationships. The boys I liked were always intimidated by me, and the boys who liked me were lecherous assholes who got to learn the hard way why the nicer guys were scared of me. Wow…” she added after a moment. “I very rarely swear while in this form. I guess it shows just how much that whole situation really bothers me.”
He gave it some thought. None of those things were significant red flags for him. ”Well… I’ve never really been on a date either so this is new for the both of us. When we first actually met though you were untransformed so I got some read on that side as well. I didn’t get the impression you were that difficult or anything. Really though, we’ll never know if we don’t try. I'm not expecting to be an item after one date. That's not how people work, magical or otherwise." He did his best to reign in expectations. Some people dive right in and get themselves into a mess. Wasn't really what he wanted to do.
“True enough,” Gaia agreed with a smile. “And I feel the same way. It is nice simply hanging out and getting to know one another like this, although,” she added after a moment, her voice taking on a slightly more playful tone. “I do believe my dearest Connie would be very disappointed if you and I failed to share a single kiss before this date is over. She is such an adorable romantic,” Gaia went on. “You should have seen her face when I told her that I would be going out on a date with you.” She giggled musically. “I do not think I have ever seen her so happy in all the long years I’ve known her.”
"Aww, Connie sounds like a sweetheart." He would laugh a bit from the girl's description of the reaction. "Maybe I should see you home once we're done here and we'll share that kiss. So long as you're okay with that." He would offer a smile.
“Yes,” Gaia agreed. “She certainly is. And that sounds absolutely lovely, Shane,” the verdant girl added with a warm smile when the magical boy mentioned escorting her back home. “You know, the Daughter of Mother Earth cannot give her first kiss out to just anyone, but I believe you have already proved yourself to be a most worthy recipient,” she told him with a playful giggle.
"It's an honor" He would grin. Their trip here was only just starting though. With that taken care of he would look out over the water. He would point out a spot where the waves were a bit bigger than what they've tried. "Well while we're still out here let's make the most of it." The two would head out over the water and begin to make several passes, just enjoying themselves on the surf. After a while Shane began to get more and more elaborate and risky with tricks. Despite the difficulty he managed to keep his footing. It was a blast to do though. Admittedly he enjoyed watching Gaia and how excited she was to be surfing as well.
After a good amount of time surfing, the two would make their way back to the shore and where Dan was waiting for them. "Man, that was a lot of fun. I never realized what I was missing." He would look over to Gaia beside him. "Though it was a lot more fun with you. You were really good out there."
“You have become quite the skilled surfer yourself,” Gaia replied. “And now that we have both mastered the art of riding the waves, we can have a proper competition when next we visit this tropical paradise,” she added.
”Oh, you’re on.” He would chuckle as they came up to Dan.
The dolphin was sitting on a beach chair, a big pair of sunglasses over his eyes and holding a folding sunscreen tilted to reflect the sun's rays to his blue about. He lifted them up as the two approached him. "Well, wasn't that a lot of fun?"
“It was indeed,” Gaia told the dolphin warmly. “Thank you again for hosting us. I do not wish to speak for you, Shane, but I, for one, cannot wait to return here for our next date.”
Raising his eyebrows for a moment. ”Our next date? Well…” He wouldn’t finish that thought for effect. He would turn to Dan. ”It was great. I don’t know what else you had planned but I’m looking forward to it.”
The dolphin stood up on his tail and clapped. “Excellent! I know just the thing: hang gliding!” He clapped his fins, and the group found themselves at a very alarming location; they were on a platform situated on the rim of a dormant volcano. There were hang gliders resting on the corner of the platform, as well as skydiving suits. “You can use the thermal updraft from the volcano, and really soar the skies!”
“Oh, my…” Gaia observed, as Dan brought them to the location of their next activity. “I must say, this isn’t exactly what I was expecting…” Then, her emerald lips curling into a smirk, she added, “Do we need to sign a waiver for this?”
Dan dismissively waves his fin. "Oh, you don't need to worry, it's 100%, completely safe...I think!"
A puff of smoke manifested around him, and he appeared to wear a red and yellow onesie. "Now, let's do some extreme sports! Woohoo!"
Looking down the mountain it was a good way down. This was quite a bit different than the boy expected as well. He felt that he would be fine doing this activity. Actually it might be a whole lot easier for him. His boo… er, sandals quartered his weight. ”Wow.” He would laugh a bit. ”Funny enough the first time I ‘flew’ it was on a boulder of all things. Now I get to actually try with some proper equipment.” He would walk over to the equipment and look it over. Not that there was a lot to it mechanically. This time though he would fully use his magic since falling out of the sky didn’t sound like a fun idea. ”Alright. Have you ever used one of these Gaia?
“I can’t say that I have,” the verdant girl replied. “But if Dan says it is safe, I believe we should take his word for it. After all, it would reflect rather poorly on him as a host if we were to get injured while doing one of these activities,” she added with a grin. “Would you like to go first, Shane?”
”Sure thing. But let me explain how this works first.” He would begin going over the various parts and ways in which you control a glider. He also had some pointers for a few scenarios. One could have mistaken him for an instructor.
“My, my…” Gaia observed with an approving smile as Shane showed her the ropes, as it were. “You are quite the expert! Am I to assume you’ve done this sort of thing before?”
Chuckling nervously he would rub one arm, something he did more as Shannon than currently. ”Eh, no. I have a particular magic that allows me to expertly control and ride things. I wouldn’t be doing a very good job as a gentleman if I didn’t try and keep you safe.”
“What a fascinating ability!” Gaia marveled. “I can see how that would be a very useful skill to have,” she added, before striking a pose of exaggerated shock. “Why, Shane!” she gasped, while placing an elegant hand on her chest. “I had no idea that boys these days could be so chivalrous!” Treating him to a dazzling smile, she glided over and wrapped her arms around him. “If my heart knew any fears about our upcoming aerial excursion, they have now completely departed,” she told him as she gazed affectionately into his eyes.
At first Shane was amused by Gaia’s overacting. She seemed to enjoy playing up her responses. He didn’t think what he was doing was all that significant. He was going to downplay the complement when the verdant girl moved in close and embraced him. Looking back into her eyes he would put an arm around her as well. ”Of course. I wouldn’t want any harm to come to you.” He would say in a softer tone. He wouldn’t push his luck right now though and just give her a comforting hug as it were.
Allowing Gaia to take a step back in her own time, he would move them over to the suits. ”We’ll want to wear these. It can be a bit chilly and the wind a little harsh.” He would take up one of the suits and hand Gaia hers as well.
After taking a moment to playfully run her fingers through his hair, Gaia slipped away from Shane and began donning the flight suit the boy had handed her. “It sounds as though it shall be quite the exhilarating experience,” the verdant girl noted. “Although it is a shame these suits cover up so much of my stunning body… Especially since I know how much you enjoyed feasting your eyes on it,” she teased, giving him a playful wink. She had never flirted with a boy to this extent before, but it was clear to see that the nymph-like girl was very much enjoying herself.
”Kind of hard not to.” He would tease back a bit. He would get dressed into his own suit. On returning he would take his glider and point out a few other things before he would demonstrate launching off into the air. He would be able to glide fairly slowly while he waited for Gaia to catch up.
Keeping in mind everything Shane had just taught her, Gaia also took to the sky. Soon she was soaring high above the ocean, giving voice to an exuberant laugh as she felt the wind blow through her verdant hair. “This feels absolutely amazing!” she called out to Shane as she pulled up beside him. “And what a view! I can see the entire archipelago from up here!”
”Yeah... I’ve never been this high up before!” For a while he would just glide and look down at the earth below. You don’t really know what you’re missing until you could see it from overhead. And the area was beautiful, just like what you would expect to see on a postcard. After a while he would begin to try swooping and rolling. Head back in the air he would begin to have more fun just flying through the air.
Dan soon followed after them in his own tiny glider, swooping around like a hummingbird.
“YEAAAAAAHHH! Flying with friends is the best! It’s so exciting I could explode!”
In an ironic twist of fate, that’s when it began; Shane and Gaia heard a rumble slowly build up from below them alongside a plume of smoke that began to rise up; the volcano was turning active. Dan squeaked. “Whoah! Even O’l Smokey’s getting fired up!”
“Uh, should we be concerned about that?” Gaia asked the dolphin as the volcano below them seemingly prepared to erupt.
“Uh, no need to panic, you just have to-WATCH OUT!” At that moment, the volcano erupted, causing magma to burst forth from the depths of the earth, as well as a shower of flaming rocks.
“Dodge the rocks!” Dan shouted as the debris shot out towards them.
The volcano erupting surely was not on their list of activities. Dan confirming this wasn't just some thematic event. Shane pulled up a bit with his glider to get above the others. "Stay close! I'll deflect the rocks." Using his Earth magic he would start redirecting incoming rocks so they would curve to the side enough to miss the trio.
Shane successfully redirected the rocks, causing them to fall down into the ocean. However, magma was now beginning to spill from the volcano.
“Oh no! My island!” Dan squeaked, and with a clap of his flippers teleported out of there. The two could see how he had appeared back at the platform, now mustering his magic to create a tidal wave that swept over the volcano, cooling the magma and turning it into volcanic rock.
“Mother’s Mantel!” Gaia exclaimed as the volcano violently blew its top. Clearly alarmed by this unforeseen development, Dan frantically instructed them to dodge the flaming rocks spewing from it, something Gaia managed to accomplish quite skillfully. “I once played a video game with a similar premise,” she told Shane, once she’d joined him at a higher altitude. “But I never thought it would serve as training for the real thing!”
A moment later, the Earth mage employed his magic to redirect the molten boulders away from their small squadron, before Dan used his own magic to extinguish the volcano completely.
“Nice work, Shane!” Gaia commended. “You too, Dan,” the verdant girl added as she glided down to where the dolphin was waiting. “I only wish I could have done something to assist you. Unfortunately, my magic usually isn’t too helpful when it comes to dealing with volcanoes…”
Following the rest to the ground he would look around to see what might have been impacted by the blast. Given this was Dan’s world he was a little curious how such a thing could happen without the patron realizing it beforehand. Concentrating his magic he would feel out the earth for the cause and if there would be further eruptions. ”Is this a normal thing?”
Dan wiped the sweat off his brow with an oversized napkin, and sighed in relief when the activity finally ceased. He then turned to the two with a droopy nose.
“I-I’m sorry...” He fidgeted in place. “I’ve recently been experimenting with magically altering this world, you see. Some of that magic ended up embedded into the fabric of this reality, connecting it to me and my feelings.” He teared up.“I-I got too carried away by excitement, which caused the magic within the volcano to respond, nearly hurting you-!” He then began to cry loudly, his tears coming out like tiny fountains. “ I ruined your vacation! I’m a terrible host!”
Shocked by Dan’s anguish, Gaia rushed over to the dolphin and gave him a big hug. “Shh… Shh… It’s okay,” she told him while gently patting his head. “We all make mistakes. And you have been a most splendid host,” she added, giving him a warm smile. “Our vacation wasn’t ruined, it was simply made more interesting and memorable. Don’t you agree, Shane?”
Having what happened explained to him, he would stand back up. He would give the dolphin a pat on the head. ”Yes. It’s all good Dan. We’ve had a great time so far and no one was hurt. I think now maybe we can just relax and enjoy the sounds of the ocean.” He would assure the aquatic patron.
Dan squeaked when Gaia gave him a comforting hug, and calmed down. He wiped his tears and nodded. "Th-Thank you, Gaia, Shane. Allow me to make ends one last time." The Lesser Force clapped his fins, and they teleported back to the beach, back to their beach wear and sitting on beach chairs. A table with drinks was set right next to them.
Dan then bowed. "Now, please relax, and enjoy the rest of your visit. I'll be going now to work on my little project, but I'll come running if you call me. See you later!" He then disappeared with a puff of blue smoke.
For the next hour, the two simply relaxed and chatted about various things, getting to know one another a little better. Soon enough, it would be time for them to head back, and Gaia took Shane’s hand as they approached the portal.
“Thank you again for such a wonderful time,” she told him. “I do not think I shall ever forget this for as long as I live.”
"It was my pleasure. I'm glad you agreed to join on such short notice." He would lead them through not far from Gaia's place at the orphanage.
“Sadly, I believe this is where we must part ways for the evening,” Gaia observed, before wrapping her arms around him. “Although I also believe this is where we share a farewell kiss,” she added with a smile.
Giving a slight chuckle Shane would put his arms around the girl as well. He would lean in and give her a kiss, holding it for a few seconds. After a moment he would draw back. "Maybe next time we could go out as our mundane selves. Get a feel for that side too hmm?" He would put the idea forward.
Gaia closed her eyes as she felt Shane’s lips touch hers. It was the verdant girl’s first kiss, after all, and she wanted to enjoy the sensation to the fullest. After several blissful seconds had passed, they slowly pulled apart. Shane then went on to ask about the possibility of going out as their mundane selves.
“I… Think I would enjoy that,” Gaia said after a moment. “Although I don’t know of too many places we could go, what with Penrose in its current state,” she added with a slight frown.
Shane could think of a few things still around to do. How exciting or whatever was harder to say. "Well give it some thought and let me know what you'd like to do and we'll figure it out from there. That sound good?"
“Yes,” she agreed. “That sounds like a splendid idea. You know, I am quite fond of playing video games,” she added. “So if you can find a good arcade that is still open, that might be most enjoyable. Worse comes to worse, we could always play some games here,” she noted, gesturing to her room at the orphanage. “If you don’t mind Connie being there, too, of course.”
”Not at all. I don’t think I’ve actually played a video game in years.” He would muse slightly. Being a wanderer since joining the magical world he didn’t really settle anywhere to play all that much. Maybe he did play something at one point, but it was such a rarity he all but forgot about it.
“Wonderful,” Gaia replied. “In that case, I greatly look forward to it. And I promise to go easy on you for the first few games,” she added playfully.
”I look forward to it. I guess I’ll see you again soon at the Christmas party. Oh and let me know how Connie reacts to our date. I’m sure it will be adorable.” He would give her a quick peck on the cheek. ”Have a good evening.” He would step back to leave.
“I shall certainly do so,” Gaia told him warmly as she stepped onto a lowered tree branch and allowed it to raise her up to her window. “And a most pleasant evening to you as well,” she added, blowing him a kiss before slipping through the window and disappearing from view.