Double Down: In Blackjack, after being dealt the first two cards, a player can double their bet and be given an additional card. This is called, "Doubling Down."
When Joe regained consciousness, the first thing he noticed was that he was lying on grass. As he started to rise up, he looked at the ground a little more closely. No, this isn’t grass, Joe thought. These are leaves…that means… Joe looked up, but did not see anything. The darkness of the night was too great for him to make anything out, since his eyes had not yet adjusted. He stood up and started to shiver from the night breeze. Being in the dark, naked and outdoors had started taking his body for an uncomfortable ride. After a few minutes, his eyes began to adjust to the darkness. From what Joe could tell, he was in a clearing of a forest. Starting a conversation in his head, he began to come to grips and make an understanding of how he managed to get into this predicament.
Okay Joe, think…How did you get here?
I woke up here, stupid.
No, I mean what is the last thing you remember before you woke up here?
I was asleep in my bed.
And that was it?
There was nothing else?
No…wait…that black thing.
Yeah, it sucked me into it…then I wound up here.
“That makes a lot of sense,” Joe stated aloud to himself. “A portal, a ripple in the fabric of space and time, carried me here. Wherever that may be.” Oh well, I’d better start calling for help. “HELP!” Joe shouted to the top of his lungs. “IS ANYONE THERE? I’M NAKED AND COLD AND MY ASS HURTS SOMETHING FIERCE! IS ANYONE AROUND? HELLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOO!”
After another minute of shouting, he gave up and sat down on a nearby log. Christ, Joe thought. This just gets better and better. The big man in the sky must really hate me to pull something like this. Joe closed his hands and put them under his chin, as his elbows sat on top of his knees. He tried to be as comfortable as one could be…in an unknown forest, naked, and in the dark. I just hope there aren’t any animals out here that are my size or could kill me, Joe thought. The human continued to sit on the log, deep in thought. It was not until he heard the leaves and forest underbrush that someone, or something, was just on the edge of the clearing.
Alia awoke to a voice off in the distance that seemed to be shouting. That must be Jade or Mabella calling me, the Catgirl thought. Sniffling, Alia got up and began to listen to the noise more closely to figure out where it was coming from. The small light breeze was blowing in her face as she put her nose and ears toward the refreshing night air. She breathed in the gust and listened more closely to the noise. Suddenly, her eyes lit up brightly from the moonlight and shock. That’s…no. It can’t be. Alia darted towards the shouting as fast as she could. This can’t be happening…
As Alia moved closer to the noise’s origin, she started to become more confident in what her first thoughts were. This is Den-Mar’s scent, and it sounds like his voice. But how is this possible? The scent was weak, but she was confident that it was Den-Mar’s; the Catgirl would know his smell from anywhere. Moving closer to the source, Alia could make out some words that were being shouted, “HHHHEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOO! JUST COME ON OOOOOOOOOUUUUUUT!” She was about three minutes away from reaching the origin of the noise, with her mind racing to what all of this could mean. Is this really Den-Mar or am I losing my mind? Gods, I hope this isn’t a dream!
The clearing was just up ahead and Alia slowed down to see who was shouting. The Catgirl also wanted the person not to be able to see her. She was trained not just to jump into any situation alone without scoping out the scene first. That was one of the first tactics that Den-Mar had taught her. As Alia stalked her way to the clearing, she caught sight of the man who was shouting. He was sitting on a log near the center of the clearing. Alia also noted that the man was also stark naked. After looking at him for a few seconds, the Catgirl lost all feeling within her body. She just stood in the darkness of the forest with a “deer in the headlights” look, along with a slightly dropped jaw and her hands balled up and covering her chest. Despite the brown hair and the lack of muscles, she was looking at Den-Mar. It has to be my Den-Mar, Alia thought. But how? My Den-Mar is dead.
Alia started to debate the subject in her head. My Den-Mar is dead, but…who is this imposter? But I can smell him from here, and it’s definitely my Den-Mar’s smell. Alia made one small step towards Joe, completely lost in thought. Any cat-type pokégirl would have been ashamed at the way she was making so much noise approaching a “target.” Joe heard the noises coming toward the clearing and stood up, not having a clue at what to expect. “Hello,” the human called out. “Is someone out there?”
Alia froze in her tracks. He even sounds like Den-Mar. He…he…he must be Den-Mar. Oh…oh Den-Mar, I love you. Alia started to walk out of the darkness slowly and stopped at the clearing’s edge. Tears were now coming down her white cheeks and she almost started to sniffle. “Oh…Den-Mar,” Alia whispered.
Joe stood as still as he possibly could. He saw something white come out into the clearing of the forest, but his eyes could not see the details in the moonlight. At first, he thought it was another human, but the human did not know if it was a man or woman. A woman would have probably run off if she saw a naked man in the forest alone with her, Joe thought. He was about to call out to the figure, but then he saw something move behind the person. Wait…is that thing moving back and forth…a tail? A TAIL!? Oh, FUCK! It’s a Goddamn jungle cat! It’s the size of me…
If Joe needed to urinate, he would have done so right there. FUCK! Joe’s mind was screaming. I’m soooo DEAD! I can’t run from that thing. It probably can climb trees too…hell…jump up the Goddamn tree limbs! Shit…shit…SHIT! With that last curse in his head, the cat rushed at Joe on its hind legs. He could not move; he was too struck with fear. As the cat leaped straight, with her hands about to make contact with Joe’s shoulders, the human saw his life flash before his eyes. Now anyone that had met Joe and talked to him about death would know he always said one thing. That one thing was, “If I had to see my life flash before my eyes, I’d fall asleep from the boredom.” Joe was half-right; as the cat made contact with his shoulders and he proceeded to fall toward the ground, Joe fainted.
“What was that noise?” asked Jade. The NurseJoy
was boiling the water so she and the rest of the harem could drink “fresh” water in the morning. Jade did this because she was never too sure that the water the group came across in their travels was clean and free of any bacteria. By boiling the water, this insured that it was clean. Being the “mother” of the group, as Den-Mar joked to her constantly; this was a chore that she took pride in doing. She loved caring for humans and pokégirls alike.
“I don’t know,” Mabella answered. “But it sounded like someone shouting.” She looked at Jade. “Should we go check it out?”
Jade nodded to her harem sister. “Yes, if someone is in trouble, we need to help them if we can.” The NurseJoy
and the Firecat made their way to the source of the noise. The Firecat made sure to stay next to Jade, since the NurseJoy
did not have night vision. Mabella was trying hard not to jump into the tree limbs and Jade was trying not to fall or trip on the path. As the two pokégirls got closer to the origin of the sound, Mabella started to sniff the air.
"What is it," Jade asked. "What are you doing that for?"
"I think," Mabella started. "I think that my nose is playing tricks on me. I can't be absolutely certain, but I think that I can smell Den-Mar..." She looked into Jade's green eyes. "Jade, what's going on? Why do I smell Master?" She looked like she was about to cry. Jade could not see the tears beginning to form in the Firecat’s eyes, but she could hear the distress in her harem sister's voice.
"I don't know," Jade reassured the Firecat. "You’ve been under a lot of stress, we all have. You’re just missing Master, that's all." Jade gave Mabella a hug and started to rub her back. "Let's just find out what is going on."
"Okay," Mabella whispered. She wiped a tear away from her eye. "Let's go Jade. I'm ready." The two were on their way to the source of the shouting when Mabella caught Alia's scent as well. "I can smell Alia too.” Jade nodded.
When the two pokégirls made it to the clearing, Jade and Mabella did not understand exactly what was going on. They saw Alia lying over someone, but it did not look like the person had any clothes on. When they got ten feet away from her and the person, Jade was taken for a surprise. She and Mabella saw the person was a passed out, stark naked man and Alia was lying on top of him. And to top it off, Alia was licking his face. “Alia,” Jade started. “What are you doing? What has gotten into you? Have you gone feral?”
Alia seemed to be ignoring what the NurseJoy
had said and did not stop licking Joe’s face. In fact, Mabella needed to grab Alia and pulled her off of the passed out human. The Catgirl struggled and growled at first, but Mabella succeeded in her task. “Just what is the matter with you?” asked Jade.
“It’s Den-Mar!” exclaimed Alia. “See? He’s right there. Look!” Jade and Mabella looked down at Joe’s face and they both gasped in shock. Beside the fact this man had brown hair, since Den-Mar’s was silver, and lacking muscles, this man was a perfect replica of their former tamer.
“Oh my Gods,” Mabella whispered out. She looked at Alia square in her violet eyes and asked. “Alia, did you dig Master up?”
Alia scowled at the Firecat and shouted, “No! I heard someone shouting and I came to investigate. When I got here, I found him. It’s Den-Mar, I know it is.”
“How is that even possible?” Jade inquired. “Den-Mar is dead. This can’t be Den-Mar. And why is he sleeping when he was shouting before?” She looked at Alia when she asked that. Alia blushed at this.
“Well,” Alia started, looking a little embarrassed. “When I saw him...I kinda jumped on him...and...uh...I guess he fainted.”
The three pokégirls looked down at the human, trying to decide what to do with him. “Well, we can’t just leave him here.” Jade explained. “Let’s pick him up and bring him back to the campsite. When he wakes up, we’ll find out what we need from him. Maybe he actually is...” She did not want to state it, but Den-Mar may just have come back to them.
A black vortex opened up over the same forest fifty miles away. A few moments later, a naked man was lying on the ground underneath the anomaly unconscious. After a few minutes, he stirred and opened his eyes. His black hair reflected the moonlight as if it were glossed over. The black haired man stood up and looked into the night’s sky. He staggered to his feet, as if he had forgotten how to use his legs or if they had not been used in a very long time. So, The Dark Haired Man thought. This is what using legs are like. It is much different than I thought. He chuckled to himself as he started to walk around.
A chilly night’s breeze blew over his body. Ah, so this is what cold feels like. The man started to walk and jump around all over the path he had found, testing out his legs and agility. The man then saw a sturdy branch in his way. After looking at it for a few seconds, the black haired man made a fist and smashed it with his fist. The branch broke in two and the man smiled. His fist started bleeding from the impact, but the man did not seem to mind. After looking at the blood trickling down his fist, he smiled to himself. That didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I think I’m gonna enjoy this. After he thought this, the Dark Haired Man laughed viciously up toward the moon and into the night.