Chapter 1: [Battle] Queen Queso - "Order in Chaos"
“Order ready!” Inti shouted from the kitchen. “Oh, Sigrid isn’t back yet. Paiko, you mind getting that?”
The drakon scrambled to the counter and slapped his hand on the bell. “Order up! Number… uh…” He squinted at the ticket, then looked back towards Inti with a distressed expression.
“Oh right, sorry! I forgot you can’t read. No worries!” Inti glanced at the order screen. He took a deep breath, then bellowed, “WHOEVER ORDERED CHEESE-LESS NACHOS, IT’S AT THE COUNTER!”
Paiko winced, resisting the urge to cover his ears, not while his fingers were still sticky from cleaning up the condiment station. “T-thanks Inti.”
“No problem, Paiko! I can keep calling orders from here, if you just keep doing what you’re doing.” The 8-foot tall drakaima grinned and waved at Paiko, his other pair of arms having never ceased cooking that entire time.
Fine with Paiko. As long as he didn’t have to talk to people, or read things, or touch anything in the kitchen. He scanned the dining area, spotting a recently vacated table with empty paper plates and cups waiting to be thrown out.
He brought his wastebin over to the table and began clearing the tabletop, sweeping the trash away with his tail and wiping down the surface with the wet towel in his hands. The door chime jingled, and his ears perked up.
“WELCOME TO FIREFRY’S, HOW CAN WE SERVE YOU TODAY?”
Inti’s hearty, exuberant greeting was followed by an urgent, determined silence from the customer who’d just entered. A maroon and gold tiger woman with bright blue eyes, bent over and panting as if she had just run a great distance to get here. In one hand, she held a paper receipt.
“Order 884,” she managed, finally straightening her posture. Her eyes caught Paiko’s gaze, and the drakon quickly looked away, polishing the table with a renewed vigor.
Inti exclaimed from the kitchen, “Oh! You’re the one with that huge special order! Lilith, right? Paiko, do you mind grabbing those boxes in the back? Or maybe it’s too much for you–”
“No, I can get it!” Paiko streaked back to the kitchen, glad to have an excuse to not be awkwardly under the tiger lady’s gaze. She was probably very nice. But he still wasn’t used to being around people of the feline kind, without the feeling of always having to look over his shoulder.
Shards, but this was a huge order. A pizza box, a hot dog, that looked like a burrito down there, a box of onion rings (better not touch those), and the largest potato fry he’d ever seen. What a curious selection of fast food.
He balanced the box and bags in his arms and went out to deliver. “Here you go, Miss… Lilith?”
“Yes. Thank you.” She relieved Paiko of his delivery, then caught his lingering glance on the amount of food. “Supplies,” she explained, “To fight Queen Queso.”
As the tiger lady waved one last time before exiting, Paiko tilted his head, imagining a silly food fight where Lilith flung fast food at the cheese queen. Or perhaps the food was to feed the fighters. That would make sense.
The table was now spotless from Paiko’s absentminded polishing.
“WELCOME TO FIREFR- oh hi, I know you!”
“Inti! Quick question. Do you take custom orders?” The newest customer, a tall well-built man with dark hair and green eyes, marched up to the counter with a sketchy blueprint that looked like it had been drawn on parchment paper.
Paiko vaguely recognized this man. He was that guy - Adrian, if his memory served well - who sat in the broody dark corner of the Guild, wearing a falsely anti-social facade that invited many to talk to him and share a drink.
He didn’t seem the kind to dine at a fast-food chain. But who was Paiko to judge based on appearances? He ducked back behind the counter and proceeded to sort condiment packets.
Inti left his frying station for the first time during that shift, though his four hands remained ever busy and efficient, as they swept fries into tiny paper take-out boxes. The drakaima squinted at the paper, made a few faces, gave a few hums and haws.
Finally, Inti shook his head sadly. “You should go to a proper blacksmith for this. It’s a very cool weapon design! I pity those who are unlucky enough to fall under its blade! But we probably can’t do it justice here.”
Adrian rolled up the parchment with a sigh. “I thought as much. This was an ambitious design.” He leaned on the counter and drummed his fingers idly for a few moments. “I may visit that folf blacksmith. Thank you anyways, Inti.”
“I’m not sure how I helped, but you’re welcome!” He beamed, then held out a cup of fries. “Fuel for the road? Or a drink?” Inti handed Adrian a tall paper cup. “That soda machine has EVERYTHING. It’s amazing!”
With the cup already in his hands, all Adrian could do was to accept and chuckle. “An unnecessary but greatly appreciated gesture. I’ll check it out.”
Paiko’s ears twitched. He poked his head above the counter to call out, “Don’t get the pink lemonade. The machine will throw a tantrum.”
“Noted. Do you perhaps have something with a little. . . kick? Or spin?”
“We do not serve alcohol on these premises. If that’s what you mean.”
The phone rang. Inti picked it up with his usual energetic greeting, “Hello, this is Firefry’s! What can we get you today?... oh, Lilith, it’s you again!... Mmhm… two more pizza boxes, you said? Must be quite an army you’re feeding!”
Inti’s voice got quieter. “... oh, not army? Armor? To go with your sword and shield. Ahh. AHHHH. What a fantastic idea! Maybe I should send Adrian over to you.” He covered the phone receiver and looked around for his customer. “Hey Adrian! Adrian? Where’d you go?”
Paiko pointed at the door. “I think I may have said something wrong.”
I wasn't able to get these battle entries finished in time, but I still wanted to carry out my duocast (multicast?) plans, so... here you go! Part One of a fun fast-food AU, with a couple of little references sprinkled throughout.
Thank you to Wyverntoots (Inti), Uncanny-Illustrator (Lilith), and Minimaid (Adrian) for your characters!
Also, credit for some references to other battle entries go to Uncanny-Illustrator and penguinparty ^-^
Part Two coming soon to a Firefry's near you!
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