Cuddles & Dragons: Nightshade Edition

Internet city sure was big. A bustling metropolis filled to the brim woth navis. Each one of them different, each one of them unique. The little feline navi was looking at this, then at that, than at that thing over there and then that other thing on the other side!

There was so much stuff to look at...until Nightshade's attention was captured by someone. The young speedster could feel the guy's energy from where he was. He hadn't seen anything like that before, not even Regalia was that insanely strong! plus, that guy was wearing some seriously kickass armor...something that he would die to try on himself.

Nightshade couldn't wait anymore. He couldn't contain his excitement any longer. He needed to meet that guy right now!

And so he did. The other navi sure would have a rather weird view in front of him. A small, young navi with feline features was staring intently at him. a bright orange with white belly and black stripes all across his skintight bodysuit, which looked like a tshirt and shorts fused together, made him look tiger-like. His boots were actually fuzzy paws, and the gloves the navi was wearing had padded paw pads on their palms and digits. A long, fluffy tail was wagging energetically at the other navi too, with cat ears on the helmet to complete the look.

The little navi stepped closer to the guy in armor. Something about the guy's energy was so...soothing to him. Without leaving much to be said beforehand, Nightshade just hugged himself onto the guy's waist.

Good thing his NetOp wasn't there at the moment. He couldn't stop him from hugging that super cool armored navi.
"Huh?" the large armored male navi turned his head and looked down at the cat-navi hugging him. He had just finished a bounty expedition and was hanging around in one of the main plazas when he was accosted from behind by an admirer. The three other people that were with him looked at the cat-navi with curious expressions. All were women, wearing similar armor as the man (some sort of scaled-plate hybrid), but with various adornments. They all looked related, with gray eyes and golden hair. Two even looked like twins, having the same height and facial features.

The oldest among them leveled a piercing and aloof gaze at the new arrival. Unlike her younger twin sisters, her golden hair was done up in a practical bun skewered with large, sharp, dagger-like needles. Her armor was also more spiky and ornamented than her younger sisters. She was also taller than her diminutive sisters, and more developed. She ran a hand over her blue-trimmed, fluffy fur cloak. "Seems we have an uninvited guest," she stated flatly.

"Aww, he's so cuuute!~" one of the twins exclaimed. She moved quickly, but gracefully toward Nightshade and tried to give him a big hug as well. If she managed to grab him, she would end up petting his head, and trying to play with his cat ears. She was dressed in a bright gray scaled-plate Netopian-style armor with golden highlights. Royal blue trim, made of various bits of cloth, came out here and there from under her armor. She laughed and giggled in a way that sounded like tinkling bells. And her light gray hood fell back to let her golden tresses out. She had her hair braided in twin ponytails that hung down over her ears, with the remainder of her hair flowing unbraided behind her.

"Who is your new friend DragonierMan?" the other twin asked as she began lowering one of her hands slowly. Clutched within her hand was a steel dagger with a cross-guard hilt, that gleamed in the sunlight. Clearly she had reacted to the cat-navi's near presence with hostility, before it was made clear that Nightshade didn't seem to be a threat, so she was lowering her weapon. She had a similar style of armor as her twin sister, but with dull black finish instead of a bright gray. She also wore a helmet with a single large feather drooping off it. It was not immediately clear what kind of creature the feather came from.

"Can we help you?" a light growling question floated on the air as it left the large armored navi's lips. He was a powerfully built man, over six feet tall and some change. His armor was various shades of gray, from bright to dull in various places. He wore a light gray tabard over the torso with a simple dark stone tower with three crenelations (which showed up on the chest piece of the other three). His helmet was in the shape of a dragon's skull, with similar looking pauldrons on both shoulders (like the top half of a cow skull, but if it was a dragon). One could see his pronounced canine teeth from the gap in his ornate helmet.

He tried to place a gauntleted hand on the cat-navi's hugging arms and gently, but firmly, pull it away from him so he could turn to talk to his assailant. He took a step back to get a better view of him. "I would suggest in the future that you introduce yourself before you hug someone. You may get a more violent reprisal next time. Thankfully, this time you are forgiven your affection." He extended his hand for a handshake, "The name is DragonierMan. You may call me Drago if you wish."

"Magistrate," the oldest sister said.
"Suzume," the giggling sister said.
"Aya," the dagger-wielding sister said.

Nightshade grabbed the armored navi's hand and squeezed it vigorously, a happy look in his eyes. "I'm Nightshade!" He replied, hopping on the spot. The hyperactive little feline would then happily accept any and all cuddles Suzume would give him, nuzzling his cheek into her chest. He didn't seem to mind the other two, simply waving his hand paw at them to salute both once they had made their own introductions. Turning back over to Suzume, he pointed at Drago.

"Is he your big brother?" He asked the nice lady. "His energy level is insane! He's so strong! And his armor looks soo cool! Can I try it? Please please please please!"

"NIGHTSHAAAAAADE!" A voice thundered from above as a screen opened up beside the little tiger. "How many times do I have to tell you not to bother other navis like this! I leave for five minutes to get your upgrades and you start bothering people!"

The little navi's ears splayed on the back of his head, as he ran behind Suzume. Apparently, the little feline had the behavior of a early teenager at most. "But, but...Drago's energy was so inviting..." He whined at his NetOp, pouting.

"Well, that is still no reason to bother someone." Shane quickly replied, before turning his eyes over to Suzume. "I'm sorry, ma'am. Nightshade can be a little brat from time to time, but he doesn't mean bad. He just sticks onto anyone and everyone that looks cool in his eyes."
"He is certainly affectionate," Aya commented as Nightshade shook DragonierMan's hand excitedly, and then snuggled into Suzume. She sheathed the dagger at her hip and crossed her arms. She was both happy that she wasn't being bothered by Nightshade directly, that Suzume had him held away from her, and mad that she didn't catch him on the approach. Her battle skills must be slipping. "I'll give him points for sneaking up on us in this noisy public place. He must have lots of padding on his feet to make so little noise," she said, trying to salvage her pride.

Suzume continued to chuckle at the antics of the affectionate feline. "No, he isn't my broth-" Suzume stopped suddenly in thought. "Well... I guess in a way we are related. We are support programs linked through Drago's core. Though I guess it would be more accurate to call us his daughters."

"Although our cores were initially independent of our Master's, so in another way we were wed to his," Aya added. Suzume's and Magistrate's faces quickly turned several shades of red at the implication. Aya coughed into her hand, her cheeks also turning rosy. "Ahem! Regardless, it is a complicated matter best left to scholars. Just think of us as coworkers to him." She pointed between the three women, "Though you can assume that the three of us are sisters."

"As for your astute observation, yes. DragonierMan can be considered a strong individual," Magistrate chimed in, her skin color slowly returning to normal. "As for whether or not you could try on his armor, you would have to ask him. However, I would point out that you are much smaller than he is, and it will probably not fit you well."

Before DragonierMan could make any comments, it was at that point that the operator window appeared, and made its declarations. The four armored individuals watched the back and forth between operator and navi passively, before continuing the conversation. "That is alright," Suzume began. "We weren't in a hurry when he showed up. And no harm was done."

"I find it strange that he would be attracted to Drago's 'energy' though," Aya began. DragonierMan turned towards Aya as she continued. "I would think most people would be scared of him. He doesn't give the most pleasant of first impressions." DragonierMan folded his arms across his broad chest. The whole look, of a big guy in heavy plate with a scary dragon helmet and pauldrons, clawed gauntlets, and other sharp and spiky bits all over gave a sort of menacing air about him to the casual onlooker. It would definitely not be someone you would want to see in a dark alleyway.

"But the way he was attracted to his strength reminds me of the way viruses tend to flock towards battle prowess," Aya continued. Magistrate looked between Aya and Nightshade as if weighing her words to his body language, and nodded. "I did not think of that," Magistrate mused. "Perhaps he also has a blend of viral code similar to Drago." Suzume tried to reach down to pat Nightshade on the head to comfort him. "There, there."

The little feline accepted Suzume's headpats with glee, gluing himself to her waist with another fuzzy hug. By now everyone would know: the little nave was a hugaholic, and a big one at that.

Shane's eyes turned over to the armored navi's SP programs. "I...honestly would not know. I kinda adopted him out of the blue. All his programming had been saved on a small disk of unknown origin. I guess he does kinda look like some of those old Cybeast the legends speak about...but I never noticed anything that would remotely suggest him possessing viral code within him. Speaking of code, I bought you another upgrade, Nighty. HP Mem, slot in...Download!

A faint pink light emeanated from the little cuddly tiger as his code updated, increasing his overall durability. The little navi turned over to Magistrate, while holding Suzume's hand with his paw for comfort. "I don't think...I'm a virus." He said, pointing at Drago once more. "His energy feels so warm and fuzzy. He has so much of it, you kinda get lost in it if you get close, but it feels like a hug. Plus, his armor looks just...sooooooo cool! I always like new outfits to try. Maybe if I can't try his armor I can get a set that fits me somewhere."

He then zipped over to the whole other side with the speed worthy of a speed navi...only to hug Drago's waist. "Plus he's not scary! He is very very awesome. He's probably got some super-amazing hyper attack!" He squealed, rubbing against the huge knight.

Looking up with all the curiosity and excitement of a child towards DragonierMan, the little feline's tail begain wiggling left and right pretty fast. "Right? Right? What cool powers do you have?"
Suzume lightly squeezed the soft paw that was holding her hand in reassurance. "I think you are the first one to ever refer to him as 'warm and fuzzy'," Aya commented on Nightshade's childish glee. Suddenly the little cat-navi zipped between Suzume and DragonierMan, hugging his waist. The four experienced fighters were able to follow with their eyes at this blink-and-you-would-miss-it speed, but it did slightly surprise them at the suddenness of the short dash. Suzume, bereft of the warm paw, clenched her now empty hand and brought it against her own waist. Drago looked down impassively for a moment, before trying to put a comforting hand on Nightshade's shoulder. Giving him a reassuring pat on the back.

"What cool powers do I have?" he asked with a spreading smirk, quickly warming up to the child-like navi. Clearly he was not above getting flattered and then bragging about his own might. "Let me show you, one sec," he said as he raised his hand from Nightshade's shoulder and unbuckled the cloak from around his neck. He brought the large light-gray cloak, with his shiny black embossed tower symbol on the back, down and tried to wrap it around Nightshade's neck. "Have a souvenir."

He then tried to take a step back from the cat-navi, before two great leathery wings erupted from his back, casting a shadow over the smaller navi. He reached forward to grab up the bundle of cloak and cat-navi into a great hug, his wings spread wide. The other three women stepped several feet back to give him room for what he was clearly about to do. "Hold on tight!" he laughed, assuming he managed to grab Nightshade, before shooting up into the sky like a rocket. The three women left on the ground suddenly whipped off their own cloaks, sprouted similar wings, and took off after the two.

"Ha, ha, ha! Isn't this great?" Drago asked as they flew through the air. He made a few rolls and loop-the-loops before straightening out horizontally. "But it gets better once you get up on my back," Drago promised just as the three sisters caught up. Suzume flew up beside as Drago tried to pass the bundle of cat-navi to her. "Go with Suzume for a moment. I need some room." Suzume reached out to grab Nightshade in another hug and then moved some distance away.

His hair began to grow out longer as his face distended. His skin turned scaly and black. His jaw elongated and his nostrils flared. His armor melted into his newly formed bestial hide. His arms and legs cracked audibly and stretched out unnaturally. And finally a thick tail sprouted from him and grew out, sweeping in a great arc around behind him, buffeting heavy winds about. Suzume had to fight a little to retain her altitude, her wings beating furiously against the strong wind. Within minutes though there was an actual, bus-sized, fire-breathing dragon where DragonierMan used to be.


Suzume flew up and set Nightshade down upon the large scaly back of the dragon, then moved off. The dragon beat its mighty wings and rose higher in the sky until they broke through the clouds, the three dragoniers following. The sun shown down on the five of them as the just let Nightshade have the time of his life.

Nightshade let the big navi go, allowing Drago to settle his on cloak on the little tiger's shoulders. He quickly wrapped himself inside the grey cloth, all giggly and happy. He could feel Drago's energy all around him now and that was somethig really amazing.

Then, his jaw dropped as two huge wings sprouted from the guy's back. If he didn't offer the little feline a hug he would still be standing there looking at those wings. The small little cat quickly hopped back into Drago's warm embrace, his feet paws indeed making next to no sount as he walked.

Then, after he got a comfy hold on the other navi, Nightshade felt his paws lift from the ground.

He was flying. That guy could fly. It did loops and tricks and everything. He was speechless. "W-wow! oh my god oh my god oh my god I'm flying!" He squealed at the top of his lungs, the rush of adrenaline hitting him so hard it made him euphoric. Then, Drago talked about getting on his back.

"Wait wha-"

Then, the three ladies caught up with them. They could fly too. That was beyond amazing. He quickly hopped at Suzume, leaping without the hint of a doubt. He trusted them all a great deal already. Quicly wrapping his hand paws around Suzume's neck and his legs around her waist the little feline squeezed her into a super awesome hug...before he saw a transformation taking place...

And his mind exploded. Again.

He was still somewhat shocked even when he was settled on Drago's back as he promised. The little feline wasn't at all heavy, but could hardly contain his excitement.

"Y-you're a dragon. You're an actual dragon." He mumbled, stuttering a little from the surprise. The scene was something straight out of fantasy. He was riding a fully grown dragon. Looking behind him he spotted his new cape flowing in the wind and the three ladies following behind. He studied the huge wings beating beside him, watched how Drago's powerful muscles tensed and relaxed. He gently stroked his paw onto the dragon's neck, feeling the thick rough scales agaisnt his soft paw.

"I'm riding a dragon...THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!" He shouted with so much excitement to almost lose balance.

Settling back down, he hugged himself onto Drago's neck, giggling non stop. "Does this make me a Dragon Knight.?" He asked the huge creature. "This...this...this is incredible!! You're huge! No wonder you're so strong!"
DragonierMan showed Nightshade the power of .GMOs that day, without actually naming the common navi program. They flew around a bit more, the three sisters circling around the large dragon like a flock of birds. They were easily able to keep up with the dragon despite their appearances. They even did some aerobatic flight patterns, dipping and twirling and zig-zagging around them. The dragon remained silent. Whether or not he could speak in this form was not immediately clear.

"I mean, you don't seem like much of a warrior to me." Aya admitted as she appeared suddenly, flying within arm's reach of Nightshade so he could hear her over the roar of the wind. "But I guess for today you could be considered an honorary dragon knight, since you are riding a dragon and all," she conceded. After she said that she veered off, quickly getting back into formation with the other two women.

A few minutes later, the dragon began to descend back through the clouds towards the ground. The three women followed, forming a triangle around the dragon as it lowered at a leisurely pace, like an elevator going straight down. They sort of hanged in the air as they descended, moving their wings very languidly, as if they didn't need to flap them in order to fly. Without the rushing winds around them, it was easier for them to be heard. "So how was the ride? You seemed to be having fun," Suzume perceived. "Though too much excitement can be bad for one's health," Magistrate commented. "The demonstration was sufficient I hope."

When they finally landed back where they started, in a place nearby that was big enough for them, Suzume and Aya helped Nightshade off the ride and back onto his feet. The dragon began to shrink, curled up, until DragonierMan was left. He took a moment to stand back up and dust himself off, his wings also gone. The three sisters' wings fell suit, burning up like dried leaves, and blowing away in the breeze. They all took a moment to stretch their necks and roll their shoulders, as if working the kinks out of their muscles. Having wings must be a little strenuous on the back.

"So how was that kid?" Drago asked as he straightened his back out and regained his full height. "Pretty cool huh? Though I wasn't always like this. As they said, I was once an average Joe Program, like most of the people here," he said, sweeping his arms around him to indicate all the standardized navis and progs all over the place. Going about their own lives. "Once was named SINN, well, and a few other deviations. Anyways, I've fought a whole bunch of viruses and got upgraded a whole bunch of times. I'm sure you know all about that kind of life huh? Sure you do."

"And it's a rough life, let me tell ya. We all get beaten up our fair share, some more-so than others. Those wounds leave marks over time. And some times, some of us get too many marks." He reached to the various buckles and fasteners of his armor and began popping them off. Suzume and Aya caught on quickly on what he was doing and rushed over to help him doff his armor. The plates and other pieces began to clatter around him as they were removed. "Eventually you get so much viral corruption that there are only three things that happen. Either you are deleted, purged and restarted, or blended," he counted off with three fingers on one hand as the last bits of armor fell away.

With all his armor removed, Nightshade saw that he wore a checkered-gray quilted vest over a light-gray woolen undershirt, and dark-gray trousers. He kept his boots and greaves on. His hands and head were bare, but he could see light gray scales on the backs of his hands and around the collar of his neck. His nails were more prominent, more like those of a raptor bird, with a slight curve. One could easily see him use those as an improvised weapon. His hair was a wavy, neck-length, dark cloudy-gray. His eyes were also the same color as his hair, much more visible without the helmet. Light scarring could be seen on all of his exposed skin and musculature.

He picked up the helmet and tossed it underhanded to Nightshade. "Here, you can have the set as a souvenir as well. Maybe someday you'll grow into it. Or you could see a specialist to get it resized. You'll have to get the boots yourself, assuming you cover up your feet," he continued. "Us hybrids got to stick together, right?"

The little navi quickly scurried over to Suzume, once again assoulting her personal space with a fuzzy hug. "It was AWESOME!" He told her, squeezing her waist.

"It...sure was something." Nightshade's NetOp answered for him. "I didn't know Navis could have such an incredlible and vast array of abilities."

Nightshade nodded in agreement, observing as Drago began taking off his armor. Once most of it had been taken off to reveal a whole number of battle scars and viral corruption. The little navi quietly hopped closer to his new big friend, quietly taking in every single word he said. Gently placing a paw on Drago's belly, the feline seemed lost in his thoughts. It was like something he had heard before. Something he had seen before.

He would quickly snap out of it as soon as his eyes cought movement of the helmet. Quick on his paws he catched what Drago had now declared his own helmet. There was just no words to describe his gratitude. The sheer happiness and respect he had for the draconic navi was very much apparent from how his ble eyes looked up to the giant and how his posture was all twitchy and excited as usual.

"T-thank you...Thank you thank you thank you thank you so much!" He bounced up on the spot, the cape still dangling on his back. His Netop took out a laptop and turned it on. "Here Nightshade, send me those armor pieces. I should be able to fit them to you. I learned some cool tricks from the time we met Regalia."

The little navi nodded, tapping with his paw to each and every one of the armor pieces, transferring all the data to his Netop. Then, as he sent off his new cape and saw Shane begin working, he noticed Aya standing behind Drago. While she still allowed him to be a honorary dragon knight, she still doubted he could fight at all.

He walked over to her and pointed up at her face. "I can fight well too!" He said on a whim. "I'm not strong as Drago, but I still have had my fair share of battles." He told the SP. "I can show you, right here right now and if I win..." he challenged, pointing over to Drago. "You have to admit I'm an actual Dragon Knight. Cause I just flied on a dragon's back and said dragon just gave me some super cool armor to wear." He concluded, pretty much firmly believing DragonierMan was an actual real dragon.
"Oh?" Aya raised an eyebrow at Nightshade's challenge. Suzume took a step forward to stop what was about to happen, but was stopped by Magistrate's arm. Aya waved Suzume to back off as well, clearly in control of her emotions. "Very well, I accept your challenge, but don't assume I am going to go easy on you." she said as a small sack appeared in her hands.

She dug into it for a moment. "Now... where was it. Ah! There." She pulled out a small, fist-sized, half-dome made of crystal. "This is what is called a Training Barrier," Aya explained. "It allows two navis to fight without fear of ejection or deletion. We have used this before to settle disputes."

Magistrate turned to the window of Nightshade's NetOp and tapped it with one finger. A program file with the tagline TrainingBarrier.DAT popped up on his screen asking if he wanted to download it. A notice of the program scrolled underneath it.

[Note: All within a Training Barrier are considered to have a permanent UnderShirt equipped. Even once a Navi is saved by the UnderShirt effect, more hits will not drop the HP of the Navi below 1 HP. An EJO is not possible while within a Training Barrier. However, if a EJO would happen (do to a hit that would otherwise cause an EJO if not protected by the Training Barrier), the Training Barrier will stop a fight immediately. All participants are restored to full, as if they had never participated in the battle, and the Training Barrier deactivates.]

Aya walked a little ways away from the group, to a nice open area, and set the crystal half-orb down. She pressed the sphere and it lit up in a rainbow of colors, before expanding and enveloping Aya and the small area in a glowing dome of energy. Those from the outside the dome could see into the dome, and vise-versa. Aya was starting to stretch, getting ready for a fight. She stopped a moment to cup her hands around her lips in order to amplify her voice. "When you are ready for me kid, step on in. I'll give you a moment to talk with your Operator and see if you want to continue. I won't hold it against you if you decide to not take me on," she chided.

[Requesting Battle Mod for PvP Battle. Aya.SP vs. Nightshade.EXE if challenge accepted.]

"Now. Now. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here." Shane was prompt on the reply.


"No buts, Nightshade. I am not allowing a fight to break out in the middle of Internet city. It's against the law. Plus, it's incredibly disrespectful towards our new friends here. They gifted you alot of stuff, so it would be rude to attack them."

Nightshade was about to retort but it was clear that Shane decision was final. "You better say sorry to Aya, Nighty." He stated in a serious tone.

"...Sorry Aya." Nightshade repeated, bummed out, if only for just a little. Still he couldn't disobey his netop,so his moment of glory was snuffled out prematurely. With his tail drooping on the floor,the little navi simply stood there, as his netop addressed Drago.

"Excuse the hussle. Nighty has a tendency of being quick on...pretty much everything. He's a good lil kid at heart."
Suzume put her hand to her chest and breathed a sigh of relief. Magistrate lowered her own arm, letting Suzume move forward. "You hear that Aya! Shut it off," Suzume called through the barrier. Aya tsk'd and walked over to the wall of the barrier, pressing against it with one hand. "Recall program: Training Barrier off."

With a shimmer of static, the half-dome of energy shrunk until the crystallized half-orb appeared on the ground in front of Aya. She reached down and picked it up, placing it back in her bag. "Maybe next time," she said as she rejoined the group. DragonierMan stepped forward and tried to place his fatherly hand on Nightshade's head, giving it a small pet and ruffle. "It is good that you have listened to your Lord," he said. "And it is good that you have learned restraint. You will grow up to be quite strong," he complimented.

He lifted his hand and then clapped his hands together. "I'm starving! How about you? Let's find something to eat around here," he said as he looked around the plaza for a food stand. "What do you think we should try first? My treat," he asked Nightshade.

Aya walked up to the NetOp window. "You can keep a copy of that program. Maybe it will help him out," Aya commented. "Besides, it is a common enough program, and easy enough to find. All true battlers should have it anyways," she said with a veiled affirmation, before moving past the window and joining the rest of the group.

Nightshade's ears lowered slightly as he gladly accepted Drago's headpats. He looked around lost. Sure, there were alot of places that sold food, but navis didn't necessarily need to eat. In the end all the food and drinks were disguised healing programs. Reaching up with his hand paw to grab both Suzume's and Drago's hands for comfort, the little feline thought for a moment.

He had been bothering the group for a while now, almost getting into a fight with one of them. Still, they were being so nice with him. They had offerend him a cape, a cool armor set and a ride on a dragon's back. He...he liked them. Not really for the amount of gift they were giving him but their affection they showed him, a complete stranger, just like that.

"I...I don't know..." The little navi mumbled, looking up at Drago like some sort of fatherly figure. "I...uuuh...I never needed to eat anything before." He told the huge navi.

Suddenly, DragonierMan's armor appeared in front of the cat navi. His NetOp had finished scaling it down so that he could snuggily fit inside. It had been slightly modified here and there to accustom for Nightshade's slim physique, but it would still make the little feline navi fit right into the group, making them look like a huge family. The recent scolding from Shane had kinda stifled Nightshade's glee.

"I'm...I'm still a honorary Dragon Knight...right?" He mumbled, looking up to Drago as if asking him permission to wear the armor and cape. From the looks of it, he would need some help with it as well. "You could...well...teach me how you do some stuffs. M-maybe you me get an SP too. I wouldn't mind having a partner like you do." He mumbled after a moment.

Suzume could feel her hand being squeezed tighter. The little tiger had grown to enjoy her presence a whole lot. It was clear from the way he always ran up to her that the little fellow thought the SP program as some sort of big sister figure. Looking up to her, the little navi added. "You can teach me how to be an actual Dragon Knight, right? Right?"

Shane didn't budge, holding a rather serious stare to Aya as well. "I would have thought a SP modelled after an adult would show a more mature behavior towards a little kid's innocent bickering." He replied. If she was going to throw shade at him and imply his inadequacy at battling, he would throw shade at her hot cocky head. "You should always remember that someone else holds the power you are so eager to ostentatiously show off." He concluded. "You should let Lady Suzume and DragonierMan settle things for you more often. They seems more well versed in dealing with others. It could spare you a visit or two by the ONB."
Aya smirked. It seemed that Shane missed the point of her veiled affirmation. The NetOp was currently blinded by Aya's attitude, and his own protectiveness of his navi, and did not hear the compliment she had given Nightshade. Likening the cat-navi to a true battler, and not just some green rookie. "I guess I'm the only one treating him as an adult then," she replied.

Magistrate nodded to Nightshade when he expressed his concern about not eating before. "Not all navis derive sustenance from food. A good deal of navis never even eat and do not have cravings. However, I have found that there is a certain amount of enjoyment in the taste and texture of a meal," she said. As she talked, the various smells of the food court began to drift into range as they approached. DragonierMan's tummy growled a little.

They halted in their tracks as a suit of slim plate armor appeared in their path. Drago and Suzume tried to push Nightshade toward the armor as he asked about it. "Of course you are," Suzume assured him. "Let's take a look," Drago said as he let go of Nightshade's hand and stepped forward to pick up the pieces. Magistrate and Aya followed his lead while Suzume crouched down near Nightshade and began to try to straighten out his hair and fur.

"Hmm... Yeah, this will work. Let's get him fitted then," Drago said as they moved toward Nightshade with the various armor pieces. They spent some time showing him how to don the armor. Teaching him how the various plates layered over each other. Explaining every strap and fastener. And it wasn't long until he was fully decked out, looking like one of them. Well, besides Drago, who was mostly unarmored.

"There, don't you look handsome," Suzume said as she brought the helmet up and attempted to place it on Nightshade's head. She fastened the straps securely so it wouldn't fall forward on his head. Then the four dragoniers stood back and looked down upon the new honorary dragon knight. "Not bad," Aya admitted. "Kid wears it well."

"Hmm..." Drago muttered as he placed a hand on his chin. "It's missing something." He brought his hand down into a clenched fist. "It lacks personal fierceness," he said as he bent his legs a little and drew up his clawed hands, half-clenched. His teeth were bared, before he roared directly at the cat-navi like a lion. "RRRAAARRR! Let me see it! The dragon inside you! Give me your best battle cry! Show it to me!" he commanded in a bestial growl.

Nightshade gently spread his arms and legs to allow Suzume and Drago to fit him with his new armor. He quietly and attentively observed and memorized the explanation on how to properly wear armor. It took them a little while, but eventually Nightshade was finally cfully fitted with DragonierMan's old armor and cape, the latter flowing lightly in the breeze. Then, a pair of open toed boots materialized, a little late to the party but still a welcome addition to complete the look. Slipping his feet paws inside, Nightshade feet would now also be protected while his claws could safely poke outside and be used to fight.

The little navi wiggled around a little, taking a few unsure steps at first then quickly transitioned to a slew of incredibly high speed acrobatics, zipping all over the place at even faster speeds than he had showcased earlier. The dragoniers could clearly tell he was once again overjoyed by how his tail was swishing back and forth and back again.

A heavy blush popped on the little navi's cheeks as Suzume complimented his look. He noticed she was holding what would be his new helmet for quite a while, so he quickly scurried over to his soon to be big sister. His ears lowered a little as he tilted his head forward to allow Suzume to slide the helmet over his head and fasten it tight so ti wouldn't fall off.

Turning his head over to Drago, he nodded in understanding. Puffing up his chest, he took a big breath. "RAWR!" He squealed at the top of his lungs. It didn't sound as menacing as Drago's own roar, but it was a start. The little feline navi could very well be considered a like little cub trying to sound imposing...only to look extremely cute instead.

Shane couldn't help but stifle a chuckle. "This almost look like some sort of initiation ceremony. I should probably leave you guys some time alone to enjoy all together. I know I'm leaving Nighty in good hands."
"Good, good," DragonierMan nodded as he straightened back up again. "The strength and power of the cry comes from the intent, the meaning placed behind it, not the actual sound." He gave a thumbs up to Nightshade. "Pour your heart into your endeavors. Attack your problems with full force. But also know when it is wise to withdraw to recover... Before attacking the problem again from a rested state." He kneeled a bit, and tried to give Nighshade a fist bump to the cat-navi's chest, where a human heart would be located. "Only then will you succeed."

He stood up again and patted his stomach while looking around. "Now about that meal... Ah there!" he said, pointing to a stall with a heated grill and plenty of meat-and-vegetable skewers. "Can't go wrong with Kebabs," he said as he hurried over. Suzume tried to take Nightshade's hand and lead him over, while Magistrate and Aya followed behind Drago. "Mmm mmm mmm, fresh meat!" Drago mused as he pointed to a few skewers. The prog at the other side nodded and began to place the desired items onto a small plate before handing it to him. He took a bite of what looked like lean mutton and brightened right up. "That is some prime Moloko," he beamed.

The others began to place orders as Suzume turned to Nightshade. "So, what do you want to try first?" she asked.

The newly declared dragonier giggled happily, jumping over in Drago's arms as he kneeled down to playfully punch his chest so fast the momentum almost making the two topple over.. The little navi wrapped his paws around Drago's neck and squeezed himself tight to the tall navi. Drago kneeling would be the only way for the little fluff to properly reach up to hug.

"Thank you..." He whispered in the dragonier's ear. "Thank you thank you thank you thank you! This...this means so much to me. You've all been so kind. I wanna stay here. I wanna be like you. I wanna be a dragonier too, I wanna stay with you!" He squealed, making it fairly clear that Drago was by now some kind of personal hero. The sheer amount of admiration he had for him was nearly infinite.

Sadly for him, he would eventually have to let Drago go. While the powerful navi was a kind and patient persona, keeping him there would just be rude. Besides, little Nightshade would have many more occasions to cuddle. Still, that didn't stop him from scurrying over back to Suzume, quickly finding her hand to hold and squeeze for the few moments he spent reading the menu. He didn't know what to get, he wanted to try everything. Then, turning his head over to Aya, which had remained in the vicinity and was choosing her meal, Nightshade stopped moving for a moment. In the end, even if she was kind of a hot head and rough around the edges she was a likable navi. If he were to be a part of the dragoniers, even if for a little while, they would have to do stuff together eventually.

Nightshade slowly walked over, his ears lowering the closer he got to her, shyly and nervously shuffling until he stopped in front of the armored lady. He hesitated for a moment, then he raised his armored paw up, and then pointed over to the restaurant Drago was heading towards with his other. By now it was clear what he wanted.

He wanted Aya to hold his hands and he wanted her to accompany him to the restaurant. In the end, as much as he yearned for Drago's and Suzume's attentions, he yearned for Aya's approval a little bit as well.
DragonierMan eyes widened a little as he was hugged. The little cat-navi was overly affectionate and it caught him a little off-guard. Not knowing how to respond, he just patted Nightshade on the back in what he thought was a comforting manner, until he let go. Then he stood back up and continued his meal appropriation. Chowing down after he had received his order.

Suzume squeezed back on Nightshade's paw as they looked at the food. "Why not get a sample platter if you want to try it all?" she suggested, flagging the food-stand prog down for one order of everything. "My friend and I will split a sample," she said to the prog. She then turned back to Nightshade. "I know it is a lot of food," she acknowledged. "But if we split it between us, it will be more manageable."

"Huh?" Aya questioned as Nightshade let go of Suzume's hand and shuffled up to her. She was not prepared for the little cat-navi to use weaponized cuteness against her, so she stammered a little while trying to glance away. Though her eyes drifted rapidly back and forth at the armored paw. Suzume watched the exchange with a worried brow, while Magistrate arched a brow. Finally, after maybe the tenth dart of her eyes, Aya gave out a sigh of resignation and let one of her hands dip down to let Nightshade grasp it. "... Fine."

"About your stated goal," Magistrate chimed in after that matter was settled. "If you are strong enough, you could take a mission for an SP core. When you have completed that task, you could flag us down and we could help you in the design of the being that the core would inhabit." She ordered two sticks of nothing but roasted vegetables. "We could use the template we have used for Drago's, Suzume's, and Aya's DragonForm.GMOs as the base for the appearance. Unless you have another chassis in mind."

Nightshade squeezed Aya's hand, hopping close. He didn't want to bother the hot headed lady a whole bunch, but it was really nice that in the end she too know how to be friendly. Once inside the restaurant, the little navi quickly wiggled into Suzume's lap and categorically refused to leave. He gave a nod at the Mr.Prog handing orders. He never ate anything before, so he was trusing his "big sis'" call.

When the food arrived, Nightshade went for the most colorful thing that attracted his attention. He took one hesitant bit off of it and munched of it for a couple of seconds...then he voraciously stuffed the rest of it in his mouth. He sure had the same appetite of a grown dragon. He turned his head sideways towards Magistrate, hearing her speech on a supposedly SP core to be tailored after...Aya's and Suzume's dragon form.

Dragon. Form.

"Waif" He balbbed with his mouth full, turning over to Aya. "YOF AFE A FRAGON?" He squealed. So Drago wasn't the only one with tha power! Looking up at Suzume, he was even more surprised. He swallowed. "Big Sis is a dragon too!?" He exclaimed, not even noticing he had referred Suzume as his sibling. The little armored cat folded his arm. "So if They are dragons...that must be Magi is a dragon too. No wonder your energies are all insanely high..."

Tipping over to grab another treat from the big plate he and Suzume were sharing, he turned his attention to the most analytical and composed of the dragoniers. "S-so I would have my own pet dragon?" He asked. "I mean...the Global Navi League classifies my overall power as a Level 6 on their scale. I think it's enough to chase a SP core mission. Still...wouldn't it be extremely difficult to tame a dragon? I all are very nice and I like you all alot. But not all dragons would be this nice no?"

He wiggled himself ccloser to Suzume, wrapping his tail around her waist. "Suzume! Suzume! After eating, can I see how you look like?" He asked. He seemed pretty hype about seeing how she looked as a dragon.
Through the power of a child's imagination, the open plaza benches and food stalls turned into a restaurant. "Oh!" Suzume exclaimed as Nighshade claimed her lap for his own. She grunted a little under the weight of him in his new armor, and was concerned about his leech-like attachment to her, but weathered it as well as any combat veteran could. "Ugh, Nighty, sweety... you are a little heavy. Could you perhaps move to sit here," she said, patting the seat next to her.

Aya chuckled into her skewer as Suzume tried to smile under pressure. If Nightshade did move off her, she sighed in relief. "That is correct," Magistrate responded. She left out that since becoming an SP she hadn't received any .GMOs yet. Not that she didn't have some .GMO slots available, just that she hadn't taken the time to register the standard assortment of .GMOs that the twins had. "Because we have a dragon form, but do not have it set as our base form, we refer to ourselves as 'Dragoniers'."

The four dragoniers ate in quiet as Nightshade expressed his concerns about his level and taming a dragon. Magistrate placed her skewer down on her plate. "Level five or greater is needed to do an SP core mission, so you are of the proper level," she assured him. "And no, that is not the way you should think about this situation. You are not out 'to tame a dragon', you are taking an SP core that will be linked to you, and creating a dragon construct to house the core. Now, unless you make the SP's personality to be a wild beast, the dragon will come pre-'tamed'. There will be no work involved to make it listen to you," she explained.