Summer Abroad – Part 01

by: Jason Tandro

Author's Note: The third part of my "Year of Eos". This began with the pretty popular Winter Camp and was followed up by the less successful Spring Rains. This third part Summer Abroad will be considerably more light-hearted than the other two. Rather than being a story of survival or fighting monsters it will be a different sort of struggle focusing on Prompto. Consider this a fun little side adventure before things wrap up quite dark with Autumn Twilight. Thank you all for continuing to support my strange experiment here.

Note: You do not need to have read either Winter Camp or Spring Rains to understand this fic. While the stories are linked it is a self-contained adventure. Also note that this story will contain mild plot spoilers for the game's Chapter 9 and 10 though it won't focus on those moments.

CLICK!

The whirring of Prompto's camera woke Ignis from his slumber. He rolled over on his bed to see the young man scoping out the seaside, eagerly capturing every inch he could in the device. The warm salty air permeated every inch of the room, a gentle breeze capturing the drapes and setting them about in a hypnotizing dance that lulled Ignis back to sleep.

Prompto had been up for a while now. He still didn't quite have the right one yet. He scanned through his photos trying to find out exactly what was missing from all of these pictures. There was no pop to them, nothing that made them unique. A million other photos existed of every shot he'd taken himself. No matter what filter or lens he used he wasn't able to create something unique out of the tapestry of nature afforded to him. At least not at this very moment.

He sighed and set the camera down on the hotel desk, leaning back in the chair and trying to think. The only other person up at this hour was Gladiolus but he was out doing his morning training on the shore. Ignis wouldn't be properly up for another half hour or so and Noctis would definitely be longer still. They'd been in Galdin Quay for the past two nights now staying at the lavish, and quite expensive hotel as a sort of treat. They were flush with gil after a series of difficult hunts and had decided to treat themselves – despite Gladiolus mentioning how much Cup Noodle they could have purchased with the money.

They had one more night here and then would be heading down the coast towards Cape Caem and eventually, and finally, on to Altissia. After months of traversing around the continent they were finally able to move towards what had been at their goal at their initial outset. They were only able to finally able to formulate a plan with Cid to repair an old boat of his to bypass the travel restrictions and even then the timing had to be just so. It made sense to take these last few days to rest and relax in preparation for what would probably end up going poorly – if their previous adventures were any indication.

Prompto sighed and decided that dwelling on their problems would only exacerbate them. He grabbed his camera and made his way out to the restaurant. This early in the morning there wasn't much activity, just a few old timers enjoying an early cup of coffee on the docks and a group of chatty early birds sitting in a far corner.

"You got a Sunrise Special ready?" Prompto asked the cute server.

"I can have it ready in just a moment," she nodded with a smile.

Prompto handed over some gil and she set to work, first handing him a glass of orange juice. There was some movement behind him and Prompto turned, expecting Gladiolus but finding a tall stocky man with a flashy fauhawk.

"Hey Dino," Prompto said, greeting their perennial acquaintance. The freelance goldsmith looked to be in good health and even better spirits, but then he always wore a conspiratorial smirk of self-assurance.

"You enjoying the early morning too, eh?" Dino asked.

"I will as soon as I get some bacon and eggs in me," Prompto replied. "How goes the shiny things?"

"Shiny things always sell well," Dino laughed. He rapped on the counter and the server turned, though her smile seemed a bit more forced upon seeing him. "I'll have what he's having."

"You got it," the server replied curtly.

"She still won't go out with me," Dino whispered. He then gestured to one of the waiters who was pouring coffee for chatty table. "Neither will he."

"Hard luck, huh?" Prompto asked, taking a sip of his juice.

"Well, I'm thinking about moving on to greener pastures. Maybe try to find some way out to Lestallum. Could use a little more spice in my life," Dino sighed leaning back in his chair. "But what would I do without this place?"

"Maybe annoy less of the patrons," Prompto replied.

"You're cute," Dino said, patting him on the back. "I do have that last piece you guys commissioned by the way."

Dino reached into his satchel and pulled out a brilliant circlet of silver with two small but perfectly cut sapphires on each end. Whatever his other flaws, Dino was truly a master at his craft.

"This is great, man!" Prompto slid the wristlet on. The power from the gemstones seemed to ripple through his body for a moment before eventually settling into the back of his mind.

"What can I say, you guys pay for quality work and you get quality work," Dino nodded.

The server walked up to the counter with two plates of sunny-side up eggs, bacon, sausage links and toast. The two men took a moment to begin devouring the meal. The server then handed Dino his orange juice and grabbed a small liquor bottle.

"I trust you want yours 'special'?" She asked.

Dino nodded and the server mixed in a bit of the clear liquor. She stirred it casually and then took Dino's gil.

"To living the life of an artisan. We may never be rich in coin but we will be rich in spirit," Dino said raising his glass. "Although I probably will be rich in coin too."

Prompto met the salute with his own glass. "To living the life of an artist. I'll die penniless and forgotten and my work will be misinterpreted and labeled 'derivative'."

"Good to set some goals for yourself, eh?" Dino chuckled, downing the beverage in one gulp. "Lady! Another one, if you please!"

"Getting drunk already?" Prompto asked.

"If you're drunk at 6 AM, you're not drunk already, you are drunk still," Dino replied. He downed another glass in one gulp and then stood up. "Well buddy, I have wares to go peddle. I'll be at the usual place if you want to chat. Or buy something."

Once Dino had left the area the server leaned over to Prompto and in a half-whisper said. "You keep strange friends, you know."

Prompto shrugged. "You have no idea."

She looked down at Prompto's camera and smiled. "Take any good shots today, Prompto?"

Prompto immediately felt self-conscious that he hadn't memorized this girl's name yet despite how long they'd been there and he tried to surreptitiously glance at her name badge.

"Uh, not really Cockatrice," Prompto blustered.

The server rubbed her forehead and then overtly held her namebadge out for Prompto to see.

"Sorry, Coctura," Prompto chuckled. "Blame it on... my own stupidity."

"You're lucky you're cute," Coctura sighed. She then returned to the original subject. "Anything to show me?

"Like I said they're really not that great," Prompto said, though he handed over his camera anyways.

Coctura scanned through the landscapes he'd taken earlier that day and made various impressed sounds. "They all seem pretty great to me."

"They're technically proficient. But they're missing something. They don't really have the right soul you know?" Prompto explained.

"Photographs have souls?" Coctura teased.

"You know what I mean," Prompto chuckled. "I'm putting together a scrapbook of our journey with all these photos I've taken. I plan to give it to Noctis as a wedding present once this is all over and done with. You know to remind him of our journey. A lot of these shots are really great but they come at the expense of pouring through sometimes hundreds of shots. Every place we go I try to get the shot. You know – the perfect photo."

"Sounds pretty ambitious. I'm sure Noctis will be happy with anything you give him." Coctura said, refreshing Prompto's drink.

"Maybe he will," Prompto nodded. "But I won't be satisfied unless I know I've given him my best work."

"Well you've still got some time. I'm sure you'll find something around here," Coctura said. She then turned the camera towards herself and made a weird face before snapping the picture. "There's a good candidate right there. On the house, but signatures will cost you 20 gil."

Prompto chuckled. "Thanks Coctura."

"Don't you mean Cockatrice?" She said handing his camera back.

"Not gonna live that one down am I?"

"Nope."