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Tales of Ezagros I - Devoured by Fate, Part 2: Your Pudding, Sir
Right after we figure nothing is broken, except perhaps Clere's dignity, I hear more undead shuffling their way towards us. Since we're low on spells, this means we need to get out. At first we try to climb out through the trapdoor we came in through but it's in the ceiling and even if we could reach it, there's no way Izumi would be able to pull herself up. So, we start looking for a secret exit - these undead had to have been put here somehow. Clere apparently has had enough of the others making fun of her so I put the little dragon on my shoulder for now.
As I crawl along the wall, examining the stones for hints of an exit, Clere crawls over my back and starts raiding the sandwiches in my bag. I can't help but ask her. "Clere, can't this wait? Also don't you have your own?" I can't see what she's doing, but it feels like she's sitting on my back, eating my sandwiches while I am crawling through the dirt. "I ate mine." Her voice is muffled, presumably due to her mouth being full of salami and whole wheat. "How can you possibly..." Surprised that she is able to eat all that at her current size, I start to ask her but then find the exit. It's some kind of mechanism with a lock, but since we can't unlock it the proper way with our locksmith a dragon and occupied with my sandwiches, we have Izumi demolish the door. As we make our way out the undead arrive, tumbling through the open trapdoor like mindless puppets, then getting back up once they hit the floor. There are quite a lot of them, we'll need to find another way in when we return.
It's an hour or so back to the surface - without undead in our way we can move much faster. Izumi can't help but occasionally saying "Coochie-coochie-coo." to Clere, who in return casts really angry glares at the barbarian. Once we get outside we take a few moments to get used to the light and warmth again - this is always the best part of exploring dungeons: returning to the surface. Jonas suggests we return to the capitol. "I say we go back to the teleport circle and return to Cupiditas so we can get the magic marble identified and sold. With the money we get new gear and crush the remaining undead in the dungeon." I frown and can't help but correct him. He just doesn't take it seriously. "Jonas, I explained it before. It's not a teleport system, teleportation is impossible, it's a warping effect that switches what's in two locations, be that air or people. And it's not a magic marble, it's an artifact with more magical energy in it than all our gear combined." Jonas shrugs. "Whatever. As long as it gets us closer to a hot meal and getting filthy rich."
Half an hour later we're back in the capitol checking into a fancy hotel. Jonas sure is confident the 'magic marble' will sell well. While he and Izumi go and get it identified, Clere and I place orders for our victory feast and go check out our room. It's pretty big, with a nice fireplace, and it even has some magic devices for clothes cleaning and a bubble bath. I dump my incredibly filthy clothes into the washer, changing into my one clean set of shorts. Meanwhile Clere climbs onto the communication pedestal by the door and uses it to order food to our room. It's not like her to squander money... "Clere, you know everything you order here is going to be crazy expensive, right?" She looks back at me, perched on the pedestal. She has an odd look in her eyes, like she's not entirely stable. "Sure it's more expensive, but it's also much better quality." She taps the center button on the pedestal again. "Roomservice? I also would like pork ribs, two servings, steak, pork chops... Hey Theodore, what should I order for you?" I pause for a moment I hadn't expected her to order for me as well. "Er... I'll have roast chicken with potato salad and er... jello pudding for dessert if they have it."
I spend a little while inspecting my equipment - and that of Clere - oiling leather and weapons and such, until food arrives. The others aren't here yet so it's just Clere and I. Or rather, it's just Clere. As soon as edible things are placed before her, she practically buries her snout in it, gobbling everything up with frightening speed. The same look as before is in her eyes, something has definitely come over her. It takes her less than a minute to eat our entire order - including mine, save for dessert, which hasn't arrived yet. And she has been getting bigger too. All that mass must have been instantly absorbed. She seems to take notice of it, but rather than linger on it she rushes back to the pedestal to order more food.
I run after her. "Clere, come on, you need to stop. We need to figure out what's going on with you." No response. She orders a litany of food items, using the word 'more' at least twelve times. She all but barks and hisses at the pedestal to feed her, until I pick her up, though she tries to hang on to it with her foreclaws. She's gotten a lot heavier since she sat on my shoulder. Her eyes clear for a moment and she looks back at me, blushing. "Oh... sorry Ted. Sorry about eating your dinner. Your next meal is on me, I promise." I put her on one of the chairs and facepalm. "Clere, you just ordered food for an army. We don't have enough money between the two of us to pay for it." She just sits there, grinning, leaning her head back to look at me. "I'm sure the others will return with enough money... and now that we ordered it we can't let it go to waste." The 'look' returns, though she's a bit more calm this time.
When the food starts arriving she stops being calm though. I had no idea they had so much meat. Clere scarfs it all up, apparently her jaws can unhinge like a snake's. Unfortunately for her, she has only been a dragon for a few hours and doesn't quite know how what she can swallow, and she gets stuck on a big beef loaf. I roll my eyes and help her - I first intend on pulling it out of her so I can cut it into smaller pieces for her, but when I try, her eyes narrow and she gives me an angry stare. I guess everything only goes one way, with her. I help her by forcing the meat into her mouth, and for a moment she looks comically bloated, legs barely touching the chair, before there is a creaking and groaning - the same sound when she first transformed, and before my eyes she grows in size. The bulge in her belly is all but gone, though it looks like she grew a little plumper too. She blushes again, panting. "Thanks. That was almost too big for me." She rears her head up - quite a long neck she has now - and quickly kisses me on the cheek before sniffing one of the turkeys. "Do you think you could help me with that? Oh, and put a little sauce on it." With no obvious way out of the situation, I give in and help her. It turns out, she only needs my help early on. Before long she only really needs my help to eat without making a mess - the larger items she can swallow whole without a problem but sometimes she needs me to empty a plate in her mouth. More food arrives, and the process accellerates. She likes that I'm helping her though, she nuzzles me a few times while I'm emptying cups of very expensive sauce on trays with very expensive meat. Before long Clere is the size of a pony, standing on the chair and table, gulping everything up I put in her mouth.
All good things come to an end though. The last thing I have left is a jar of cherries. I carefully put one on the pork chops in her mouth - the last pork chops, I might add - before she swallows. I have no clue how these guys know when the main course is done, but then the waiter shows up behind her, with my dessert. "Your pudding, sir."