This was meant to be released back in March… god what am I doing with my life

"So… why are we at the shops again?" Ekolu asked as a rather rude old lady pushed past her.

It was roughly 11:30 in the morning and surprisingly, the Reef was only kinda packed.

Naruko let out a sigh "Marie's birthday is tomorrow.. and you are helping me pick out a present."

"Don't you two like..hate each other?" Ekolu murmured.

Naruko rolled her eyes. Yes they were still at odds… but Naruko always got Marie a gift for her birthday..

Though admittedly, when they were together her gift would be chocolates, a video game and a long night of passionate love making(i.e Marie got to be on top without having to fight for it… and she also put on an outfit of Marie's choosing if the mood struck her...)

"Ok, I seriously didn't need to know that." Ekolu said uncomfortably. Ah.. she said that last part out loud?

"Yes you did… you're still doing it by the way."

Letting out a soft laugh, Naruko ruffled the younger girl's tentacles. She rather enjoyed hanging out with Ekolu, she was like the younger sister she never had.

"Seriously who are you talking to?" Ekolu said as she looked around. But Naruko just grinned and kept walking, much to the confusion(and slight concern) of the younger girl.

A few minutes later Naruko and Ekolu walked into the local tabletop store. Naruko distinctively remembered Marie saying something about wanting to get some more Warhammer miniatures, but never had the time to get them.

"Never thought Marie would be into this stuff." Ekolu said as she looked at the various sets. Her mother had a few figures in her study… Something about painting them was relaxing and good calligraphy practice apparently. Honestly, she had no clue how that second part fit in but hey, her mum was weird… like, really weird. Like, she would eat Ramen for breakfast and Pancakes for dinner if she could, kind of weird..

Ekolu shivered at the thought of that horrifying combination of the two that her mother had made one time. Took her a month to be able to even look at a pancake again.

"Yeah Marie got back into this stuff during junior high. Tried getting Cal into it but she was more interested in painting the miniatures instead of playing." Naruko explained as she looked over two sets.

Trying to teach Callie all the rules wasn't actually that hard oddly enough. But the girl prefered painting them and setting them up in cool positions.

"My mums the same. Never had the time to learn, but enjoys painting the figures and such."

After a few minutes of looking at the different sets Naruko had no clue what to get Marie.

"Hi, is there anything I can help with?" A cheery yet very familiar voice asked from behind them.

"Hmm? Oh.. yeah i- Ysayle!?" Naruko shouted as she turned.

The pale blue haired inkling's eyes widened a fraction "N-naruko? What are you doing here?" She exclaimed in slight shock.

"I could ask you the same thing."

"Hmph. If you must know, my aunt owns this place and she needed me to man the shop." Ysayle said, crossing her arms.

"And there you go with the rudeness again.. gods damn it woman stop being a tsundere!" Naruko teased as she got a better look at her 'rival'

Gone was her usual Turf War attire and in its place she wore a simple indigo long sleeved shirt and a pair of long grey pants, with a pair of slightly beat up joggers instead of her usual dress shoes. And finally, to finish it off she had her usual glasses on and her hair hung loosely instead of in its usual style

"S-shut up!" Ysayle said embarrassed, before composing herself "S-so… what are you looking for? Are you thinking of getting into tabletop gaming? We have a variety of starter sets if-" Ysayle said before Naruko cut her off

"No. No, I'm just looking for a gift is all."

Ysayle nodded her head "Oh! Well we just got in some new stuff last week. What is the person you are buying for interested in? Warhammer Fantasy? 40k perhaps… LOTR?" Ysayle listed off rapidly.

"Warhammer Fantasy… it's uh... it's for Marie." Naruko admitted, full well knowing what Ysayle's reaction would be.

And by god she was right.

Ysayle's eyes widened massively "M-marie likes W-warhammer? Holy shit…" the bespectacled Inkling said in a daze.

"Yes, yes. Marie is secretly a massive nerd for fantasy stuff… hell, she used to have me, Callie and Pearl play D&D with her every Saturday… anyway, I'm thinking of getting her a couple of Tomb King sets." Naruko said off handedly. As if she hadn't just blown the poor girl's mind.

"O..oh. right!.. uhmm… let me.. let me go have a look?" Ysayle said as she scurried behind the counter and disappeared from view.

"Wow Naruko. You scrambled her brain." Ekolu chuckled.

"I know. And I didn't even have to use my tongue the usual way." Naruko said as she looked over some of the army sets on display. Ooh, they had the new Skaven one.


"Let's see, Skaven.. High Elves.. Warriors of Chaos.. Lizard Men… Morally ambiguous Pygmy's.. aha!" A moment later Ysayle came back out with several boxes in tow.

"Here's our current stock of Tomb King miniatures… man we really need to get some more in." Ysayle said somewhat limply as she placed the boxes on the counter.

All in all there were ten boxes.

Naruko nodded and looked over the selection..

A few minutes later Naruko and Ekolu left the shop with three bags.

-The next day-

Cuttlefish Cabin

"Happy birthday Marie!"

Marie was seated on the couch with various gifts next to her.

"Aww.. thanks guys… you really didn't need to-"

"Preposterous. You know we will never not celebrate a birthday squiddo." Craig said with a warm smile.

"Yeah Marie. Now hurry up and open your presents." Callie shouted excitedly.

"You just want cake." Marie said, rolling her eyes.

"Damn right!" Callie shouted, causing Marie to smile at her cousin's antics.

"Ok guess I should start with this one first." Marie said as she reached for the closest gift.

A few moments later she finally reached Naruko's gift.

"Y'know… you didn't have to get me anything…" Marie said quietly.

"Oh please, if I didn't you'd be pouting all week." Naruko bit back with a grin. "Besides.. I think you'll love this." She finished as she nudged the three presents forward.

"Oh? Would you say it's better then what you got me last year?" Marie smirked

"I don't know, how much did you like me in that maid outfit?" Naruko said without a care, causing Marie to sputter in embarrassment.

"Naruko, nobody wants to know what you two got up to in the bedroom… least of all me squiddo." Craig said blandly. Yeah he was gonna need a whiskey after this.

"Bedroom?" Naruko asked as she tilted her head.

Ok scratch that, four whiskey's.

"We were in the living room for the most part.. in particular, that couch Callie and Eko are sitting on."

Seven whiskey's!

"Naruko shut up!"

"Hey it was your idea. I'm not the one with the master/servant fetish."

Fuck it, the whole goddamn bottle!

Thankfully Pearl decided to put an end to this disaster "Hey look, this one is from Ekolu. Open it." She yelled as she slid the small box in front of the green/white Inkling.

"Hey!" Naruko shouted indignantly but was promptly ignored.

Marie looked at the somewhat poorly wrapped gift and then up at Ekolu who shrugged "I'm not good at wrapping things."

With a shrug Marie tore off the wrapping and was met with the pleasant sight of two boxes of Gourmet Chocolate from Ausila.

"Oh wow.. these are hard to get this time of year." Marie said somewhat flabbergasted.

"I know a place back home that ships stuff over here. My dad was actually a friend of the owner so it got here right quick." Ekolu explained.

"But still… this brand is hard as all hell to find here in Inkopolis… shit if I knew I could just order it from this place I would've done so ages ago." Marie lamented at the thought of all those hours spent in search of a box of said chocolate.

"Well now you know."

After a few scant moments of moping over time wasted looking for chocolates, Marie pulled over the last three gifts.

These were the ones from Naruko.

"Naruko I swear to god if one of these is a sex toy again…" Marie grumbled as she gently tore at the wrapping. Never will she forget the embarrassment of unwrapping a present, only for it to turn out to be a 9 inch orange and red dragon dildo that Naruko bought off Bad Kraken as a gag gift...a gag gift that she may or may not have turned on Naruko later that night...aaaand she may or may not use from time to time… but still, a gag gift nonetheless. Actually, now that she thought about it.. nah, that time Gramps found her bong was nothing like that.

Awkward as fuck, but not exactly embarassing… especially since the old man just shrugged and muttered something about how in his day youngsters knew how to roll a proper joint instead of doing it the easy way… Gramps was cool like that.

However much to her surprise, it was nothing of the sort.

"Holy..shit… N-naruko, is.. is this what I.."


Tearing the rest of the wrapping off revealed that the present was an unopened 1999 Tomb Kings Skeleton Warrior set.

"Yeah, I uh.. remembered that you said you were looking for some Tomb Kings miniatures." Naruko said as she scratched her cheek.

"How'd you find an older set? An unopened one nonetheless?" Marie asked as she opened the other gifts.

Inside them was a fresh set of paints and new brushes. As well as a Bretonnian Army set(she had been meaning to pick this one up as well).

"Ah.. yeah, turns out that tabletop store at the Reef has a pretty neat selection.

"No kidding…" Marie said softly

"I uhh… I also got you this.." Naruko said almost shyly as she pushed a small wrapped box onto the table.

Curiously, Marie gently tore off the wrapping to reveal a small, unmarked rectangular box.

Off to the side, Pearls eyes widened "Holy shit… she still had it made?" She whispered, causing Craig and Callie to look at her oddly.

Opening the box, Marie's eyes widened.

Inside was a silver pendant with a piece of polished deep sea bloodstone set in the middle, with four small polished aquamarine gems on each side.

"N-naruko what.. what is-" Marie stammered as she gently lifted the necklace out of its case.

"I uh… was gonna give you that for our anniversary.. but well…" Naruko said, looking away.

"I.. I didn't want it to be a waste so I told the jeweller to finish it… so uh.. yeah."

Naruko let out a sigh as she scratched the back of her head "I uh.. I guess it's kinda in poor taste?" She muttered. She knew she should've just gotten her something else, like that Black Dragon miniature to go with her Druchii army… buuut nooooo, she just had to give her the pendant she was getting made for her.

Looking back at Marie and saw she was tearing up.

'Oh great, made her cry on her fucking-' Naruko's thought was cut off by something colliding with her.

"It's beautiful.." Marie whispered as she held onto Naruko.

Naruko froze for a moment before awkwardly hugging her back.

She'd let things lie just for today…

Just for today.

So… yeah I don't know what to say. This was supposed to be put out around March 13th, but seeing as I am a lazy piece of shit I couldn't work up the motivation to write… something that I have noticed has been happening a lot lately.

So if the quality of this chapter is lacking I'm sorry. I've just been extremely uninspired lately and it's reflecting in my work… here's hoping inspiration hits me again eh?