Authors notes:

Dark Souls 2 Fanfiction! Instead of a mighty warrior, brilliant sorcerer, or devout cleric, the Undead who stumbles into Majula is little more than a chef. His only desire is to cook, and armed with a tome penned by his ancestor on the culinary arts and secrets of Drangleic, he'll traverse the ruins in search of food and fun.

His stats are that of a Wanderer. Starting equipment: Peasant Set, Dagger, Handmaiden's Ladle, Pyromancy Glove, Combustion Pyromancy, Wooden Shield, Ring of Resistance. Gift: Healing Wares (10x Lifegem, 3x Radiant Lifegem, 1x Old Radiant Lifegem, 3x Poison Moss)

Chapter 1: A New Arrival

Majula was a dreary place. To be sure, there were far worse area in Drangleic, from the poison infested mires of the Earthen Peaks to biting chill of Eluem Loyce to the seemingly endless rain around Vendrick's castle. But Majula was worse, somehow. For instead of monsters and hollows, what the ramshackle town held was hope. Hope that someday a cure for the Curse may be found. Hope that there was a better life away from the Undead hunts. Hope that a Monarch would rise and save the world. And hope always led to suffering.

And yet, Shanalotte the Emerald Herald continued to hope. For a cure. For a better life. For a Monarch to set her free. Day after day, year after year, she stared at the flames of the last true bonfire, waiting. She waited here, because everyone came to Majula sooner or later.

People always came to Majula. It was the crossroads to the rest of the blighted land. Long ago the town had been a major stopping point, with an inn, blacksmith, stables, and a whole host of other goods and services available. A port once stood nearby, but it currently lay decrepit and death filled. Here had the first battles against the invading Giants been fought. Here had King Vendrick and countless others first stepped foot onto Drangleic, to go on and become the names of legends.

And now? Majula was a ghost town, almost literally seeing as the only ones who were not Undead were Shanalotte herself and the cat. Undead came and went. Most never to be seen again. Only a few stayed. The Crestfallen knight, Saulden, who'd come so close to becoming the Monarch, only to suffer one set of tragedy after the other and give up. The large and nearly Hollow blacksmith, Lenigrast, whose only desire is to find and protect his daughter, and who occasionally locks himself out of his own workshop. And Maughlin, the timid armorer from Volgen, who often seems to forget that the currency used in Drangleic, souls, is almost worthless beyond its borders, and useless to all but an Undead and certain powerful beings.

Only these three remained now. Oh, and Shalquoir the cat, of course. Though not an Undead by any means. She was one of the reclusive Watchers, an old, old race of felines that had supposedly been around since the First Flame itself, when the gods were first born and actual dragons roamed the skies.

With only these people as companions, it was a miracle that Shanalotte hadn't been driven mad by loneliness! All she had was her mission to keep her sane. All she had was hope, no matter how painful it was.

The crunch of gravel broke the Emerald Herald's concentration. Looking up, she saw a new Undead entering the town proper from the hill leading from the forest and those three nattering old crones and her "sister," Milibeth. Stepping into the edge of town was a youngish looking man in simple peasant's attire, with an air of excitement about him. Nothing wholly unusual, more than a few Undead sought this land willingly, be it for greed, battle lust, or self-preservation. But the joy this man held seemed… wrong. Too pure. He didn't seem to be a warrior, yet his soul was strong and bright with purity. Physically, he did not appear to be anything special. His muscles looked moderately decent, and a thatch of black hair sat unruly atop his head. Some stubble graced his chin, and calm green eyes surveyed the ramshackle settlement. As for equipment? Besides his simple spun tunic, trousers, and wide brimmed hat, he carried a wooden shield, a familiar looking ladle, and a pyromancy glove. A large, gem studded ring graced his right index finger. And upon his back was a large strapped sack, full of metal objects judging from the clanging it made as he walked.

The Emerald Herald doubted this man would be the savior. But, for now, she'd do her duty. As she mused, his eyes lit up when he spotted her and the bonfire, and he rapidly approached. Shanalotte took a deep breath, and reached into her dress for the gift as she prepared her speech.

"Are you… the next monarch? Or … merely a pawn of fate? Bearer of the curse, I will remain by your side. Till this frail hope shatters. Take this with you. May it ease your journey. Go on, and seek the King. He who made Drangleic what it once was; he who peered at the essence of the soul. King Vendrick."

"Why, thank you so much! Really, is this for me? So kind of you!" Shanalotte was completely thrown by the new comers upbeat attitude, and by him shaking her hand vigorously after taking the dull green Estus flask from her.

"I'll admit, I was afraid I wouldn't find many people out here who aren't completely barmey! Not to be rude to the elderly, but those three grandmothers up the hill? Clearly playing without a full deck of cards, if you know what I mean. Though their maid seemed nice. Gave me this ladle as thanks for getting rid of a trio opf big ugly cyclops's!"

"You… killed three Ogres? By yourself?" The Emerald Herald was confused, and spoke the first thing that came to mind. Could she have misjudged him? The young man scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment.

"Not really. See, two of them chased me away from this coffin thing, but feel off of a cliff and died, while the third slipped in the mud near the creek and sort of impaled itself on a bunch of branches," the new comer admitted, to which the only response is a blank, disbelieving look from Shanalotte.

"You killed three Ogres by accident?"

"Yes. Oh, by the way, the names Erik Potts, chef extraordinaire of Lindelt! A pleasure to meet you!" The man, Erik, gave a bow to the stunned woman in front of him, before he took her hand and kissed it in greeting. The action snapped her out of her confusion and she yanked her hand away, fighting down a blush.

"Oh! Pardon me, I did not mean to make you uncomfortable," Erik mumbled despondently at her reaction.

"Bearer of the curse, seek misery. For misery will lead you to greater, stronger souls. You will never meet the king with a soul so frail and pallid," Shanalotte all but hissed. She was not happy. This buffoon was not the next Monarch. There was no chance in Heaven! Now, she just wanted him gone.

"I see, look, I do not fully understand what that all means. I thought that King Vendrick had died," Erik said, confused.

"If you want to find a cure for the Curse, then you will need to obtain powerful souls," the Emerald Herald uttered through clenched teeth. "Finding a cure will also save the world. Do you understand that?"

"Well, yes, but I'm not really interested in finding a cure or anything. I'm not the roving warrior type, after all. I'm just a cook."

"Then why are you here?"

"Well, you see, long ago my ancestor, Donovan Potts, came to Drangleic, and he too was a chef. He cooked fabulous feasts for not just King Vendrick, but also the Iron and Ivory kings. He compiled a book of recipes, and passed them on to his son. And now, generations later, here I am, to cook the dishes Donovan Potts once made! I shall scour the land to find the ingrediants he used, and I will make the ultimate meal, fit for a king!" Erik exclaimed, proudly showing the once more speechless Emerald Herald a worn, ratty book he removed from a pouch on his belt. On closer inspection, there were traces of magic in the parchment, which explained how it had not deteriorated with age. It was simple, but clearly well-loved and read.

"Oh ho! Such a rare soul indeed! One who'd rather cook than kill. Such a refreshing change of pace." A charming, melodic voice spoke up, causing the chef to blink in confusion before looking around. He looked down eventually, and came face to whiskers with a white and brown cat.

"Oh. Hello there. Did you just talk?" Erik inquired.

"Indeed I did, good sir. Are you not surprised?"

"Well, I can't die due to becoming an Undead being, I was dragged here through a magical whirlpool, and I somehow slew three monsters by accident. So far, a talking cat seems fairly normal."

A sweet, clear laugh swept the area, the cat having found it all very amusing.

"Oh, what a find! What a precious gem! I like you, young man! Let me give you some advice, since our dear Emerald Herald seems to be shell-shocked. Go north, to the forest. There, you'll find an old castle. Many an artifact can be found there, as well as a few potential ingredients. If you really do have dear old Donovan's recipes, you'll find what you need as you travel without much fuss!"

"Thank you very much, miss, uh…"

"Shalquoir is my name, young Undead. If you should ever need me, you can find me taking a cat nap in that house over there," the talking animal said with a chortle at her own pun. "I might just have some items you'll find useful. If you have the souls for them, of course."

"Thank you, miss Shalquoir, for your help! I'll be sure to take you up on your offer some day. And a good day to you, miss. And once more, thank you for the bottle. I'd needed something to store my liquids in!"

Erik Potts walked away in the direction the Memory Watcher had given him, and soon he disappeared in the distance, unaware of the howls of laughter coming from the cat, nor the piercing glare from the immortal at his complete misunderstanding of the green container.