The Rise of The Dragon Queen-Chapter 4

The next morning came and Vixia and I were shunned once again. We made our way over to our table and sat down with our breakfast, like usual. The tiny dragon was perched on my shoulder, hidden by my long hair. He quickly scrambled down my arm to sit on the tabletop instead. He stared at our food, unblinking.

“Do you think that maybe the little guy is hungry?” Vixia asked.

“Probably.” I was about to tear off a scrap of meat to give to him when Darius walked up to us.

“Here, I brought this for the tiny one.” It was almost as if he had read our minds. He put a small dish of meat down in front of the little dragon as he took his seat. The tiny creature immediately began to gobble down his breakfast, acting as though he was starving.

“How did you know that we had him?” I asked. Darius chuckled as he took his seat across from me.

“I saw his scales poking through your hair. Hide him better next time.”

“Oh, right.” I looked back at the tiny dragon. “I wonder if he came in last night because he could smell the food.” I watched him scarf down a scrap of meat and lick around his mouth with his long tongue. Darius nodded as he took a bite of his own breakfast.

“Probably.” We continued eating, but we didn’t have enough time to finish before Nesryn showed up, giving everyone their duties for the day.

Vixia and I listened carefully, and while our expectations were low, hearing “chore duty” after our names was not what we were hoping for. The rest of the guild got up and left to get ready for their quests, just like the day before, while Darius, Vixia, the little dragon, and I continued eating at our table. After she was done giving everyone their assignments, Nesryn walked up to us.

“You two are on chore duty again today, but I have a special request.”

“What is it?” Vixia asked.

The guild master pointed at the tiny dragon.

“Find out how he got in and seal it up. That’s all. If you need anything, I’ll be in my study.” And with that, she left. We finished our breakfasts and got to work.

I helped Darius with cleaning dishes and tending to the kitchen while Vixia looked everywhere for any sort of crevice that the tiny dragon could have squeezed through. I was taking a break when she finally left the kitchen, letting out a defeated sigh.

“How did you get in here, little guy?” she asked, crossing her arms and looking in my direction. The little dragon, who was sitting in front of me on the table, turned to look at her but did nothing else.

“When he first showed up last night, it looked like he may have gotten in through the window,” Darius began, stepping out of the kitchen behind Vixia, “but I closed it as soon as I was done cooking. There’s no way that he got in from over there.”

Vixia groaned and the tiny dragon tilted his head at her. Darius turned and walked back into the kitchen, letting out a sigh. My eyes wandered back to the dragon and an idea popped up in my mind.

“Maybe we should give him a name,” I suggested.

“Hmm . . .” Vixia rested her chin against her knuckles, leaning against the doorway. The tiny dragon blinked. “I have no clue. Do you have any ideas?”

I shook my head.

“Hey, Vixia, could you help me real—” Darius’ voice was interrupted by the loud clang of a metal pot hitting the floor. The dragon in front of me jumped and his throat puffed up. He stretched out his wings in what I assumed was an attempt to make himself look bigger. Vixia rushed into the kitchen to help Darius and the tiny creature slowly calmed down, huffing a little and transitioning back to what he looked like before he was startled.

“Puff,” I said quietly.

“What?” Vixia wondered aloud, poking her head out of the doorway.

“His name should be Puff.” My wife shrugged at my suggestion and returned to the kitchen. The tiny dragon, Puff, scuttled across the table and leaped off the edge. He quickly headed into the kitchen after her.

“Wait, where are you going?” I asked as I got up and followed.

When I entered the kitchen, Vixia and Darius were pulling out ingredients for that night’s dinner. Puff had already made it halfway across the room and quickly slipped out of my sight.

“Puff?” Vixia and Darius both watched me as I walked toward where I last saw the small creature. He was nowhere to be found since he had headed toward a dead-end.

“Did you lose him?” Vixia asked.

“I guess so.”

“Puff!” she called.

We heard a quiet chirp and I spotted him pulling himself out of a small crack in between the stones in the wall. He scampered over to Vixia and stared at her, blinking a few times.

“That’s how you got in!”

Darius chuckled from behind us as he pulled a full bag out of the trash can. “I’ll go ahead and seal that up for you guys,” he offered. “Ketsuna, can you take this out, please? The dumpster is outside at the western side of the building.”

“Yeah, I can do that.” I walked over and took the bag from him and left the kitchen.

I walked outside, trash bag in hand, and started heading toward the dumpster. The sky was a bright blue color since it was past noon on a clear day. I was almost to the dumpster when I heard a familiar voice. I stopped and crept around the side of the guildhall. When I peered around the corner, I saw Sparrow and his party mates standing around, chatting and laughing.

What the hell are they doing here? It’s not even lunch yet.

“Hey!” All three of them jumped as I headed over to them, eyes narrowed. “What are you doing? Aren’t you supposed to be helping keep watch for more dragons right now?”

“We’re just taking a break,” Sparrow groaned. “Besides, aren’t you supposed to be inside playing maid or something?”

I dropped the trash bag in my hand and started storming closer.

“Look, I’ve been doing the best that I can with the job that I’ve been given, but that’s something that you could hardly say. You guys are lazy at best and negligent at worst.”

“Who are you calling lazy?” Sparrow snarled, staring me down.

“That’s enough!” Sparrow and his buddies were suddenly looking past me and I turned around to see Nesryn walking over to us, her eyebrows furrowed. “Sparrow, what are you guys doing here? You’re supposed to be halfway across the city right now.”

“Um . . .” Sparrow struggled for an answer, but couldn’t find one. He looked over to his friends, who just shrugged. I could tell he was panicking. “I wanted to challenge Ketsuna to a duel!” I raised an eyebrow at him.

Oh boy, you just screwed yourself over.

“A duel? Like practice sparring?” Sparrow nodded and Nesryn continued with, “Why didn’t you bring it up ahead of time?”

“I didn’t know how to submit the information to you,” Sparrow lied, glancing over at me. I kept my eyebrow raised while I stared at him. He took note and looked back at Nesryn.

“You know, I should reprimand you for this,” Nesryn growled. Sparrow appeared to cower for a moment. “But I’ll allow it,” the guild master finished. “A duel would be fun to watch and it would be great practice for you to spar against one of our best dragon-slayers anyway.” She then turned to me. “Ketsuna, would you be up for it?”

“Sure,” I answered with a smile.

I went and got my armor and weapon and the other remaining guild members came outside to watch, including Vixia and Darius. We relocated to a sparring area behind the guildhall, which was just a large patch of dirt with some white markings on the ground, and suited up in our gear. His armor appeared to be blunkier than mine and he was wielding a two-handed sword with a broader blade than mine.

I have the advantage here.

Nesryn stood before the crowd as Sparrow and I stood on opposite sides of the battlefield, facing away from each other. I wasn’t really listening to her until she began to list the rules.

“No brutal injuries, no attacking private areas of the body, no lethal force. When I say go, both opponents will turn around and the duel will begin immediately. May both opponents have the best of luck.”

This is way different from a dragon fight, I thought to myself as the guild master began counting down.

But I knew that I wouldn’t lose.

[Manga review] I Hear The Sunspot (Vol. I)

Hello everyone!

This pride month, I decided to pick up a new LGBTQ+ manga series to check out in order to celebrate. A few weeks ago, I made my way to my local bookstore and headed to their manga section. I was fairly disappointed by how much of their pride month section contained 18+ manga despite there being several great titles that are clean. (For the record, I have nothing against 18+ titles, I just wanted something more tame.) I tried looking for ones that had been recommended to me, but I couldn’t find any of them either. So, I went back to the main display and spotted the one that I will be talking about today: I Hear The Sunspot. As soon as I read the back cover, I knew that it was going to tear my heart apart, which means that I had to read it, right? (Just agree with me here.)So, without further ado, here is my opinion on the first volume of I Hear The Sunspot as a reader that walked into the series with no prior experience with it.

(Also, this article has spoilers so beware. If you want to avoid them, please skip to the verdict section at the bottom of this post.)

About The Manga

I Hear The Sunspot (also known as ひだまりが聞こえる/Hidamari ga Kikoeru) is a BL manga that was written and illustrated by Yūki Fumino. The first volume was released in (date) and follows Taichi and Kohei, two college students who happen to accidentally meet one day. As it turns out, Kohei is hard of hearing and needs a notetaker, which is a role that Taichi attempts to fill. This begins the formation of a friendship between them, which evolves into more as the story goes on. I will describe these characters more later on in the review, but that is a basic description of what the manga is about.


The story begins with Taichi searching for a job and being turned down. This is when he accidentally stumbles upon Kohei’s usual lunch spot. Kohei gives Taichi his lunch and leaves, which causes the food-motivated Taichi to seek him out the next day to give him back his lunch box. They meet again and it is revealed that Kohei needs a notetaker and Taichi takes the job in exchange for food.

After Taichi becomes Kohei’s notetaker, the two grow closer and Taichi finds that Kohei is not the kind of person to seek help for his problems. Kohei is also antisocial and treated poorly by other people, but doesn’t do much to fight against it. This leads to Taichi defending him a few times throughout the manga.

However, things become more dramatic when Kohei’s hearing begins to deteriorate further. Upon learning that he may go completely deaf, Kohei pushes Taichi away since he eventually won’t be able to hear Taichi’s voice anymore. This is heartbreaking for Kohei and Taichi confronts him about being cut-off. This leads to Kohei’s true feelings for Taichi being revealed and a surprising amount of character development for Kohei in the end (which I will go over later).

Overall, I found the plot of I Hear The Sunspot to be enjoyable and easy to keep up with. Each event in the manga happens for a reason and it utilizes its limited pages wisely. The only problem that I had was with the pacing of the romance portion of the manga. It was very rushed, which Fumino acknowledged in a note at the end of the manga, stating that it was mainly because of a push from the publishing company to make the main characters “get together” sooner rather than later. I think more hints at Kohei’s feelings would have helped to make the romance portion of this manga feel a little more realistic and less rushed.

Even so, I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series goes.


One of the things that I enjoy most about reading in general is getting to know the characters and seeing how they change. Over this volume, Taichi doesn’t change much at all, but that isn’t a bad thing because he is already a genuinely likable character, in my opinion. We learn right away that Taichi is a reckless young man who has a hard time holding down a job, which is illustrated at the very beginning of the manga when he is turned down for a job due to his aggressive tendencies. However, as you watch how Taichi’s behavior comes into play in the story after he meets Kohei, you quickly learn that his heart is in the right place. Taichi often defends Kohei from others, which is seen when Taichi punches a guy that talks badly about Kohei behind his back and when he shouts at a girl for trying to romanticize Kohei’s position (which I thought the manga did a great job of handling since it is a common problem). He is willing to do just about anything for food, which is shown when he agrees to become Kohei’s notetaker in exchange for lunches and when he takes a friend’s spot at a baseball game in exchange for a meal. We also learn very quickly that Taichi is one of the few people who does not pity or look down on Kohei for his disability. I enjoyed Taichi’s character because of his good-hearted nature, which makes his lack of development okay for me.

On the other hand, Kohei changes a lot in this volume. In the beginning, Kohei avoids people and refuses to learn sign language, saying that he doesn’t need it. Over the course of the volume, he grows closer to Taichi and enjoys being around him because he has an easier time hearing his voice compared to other people’s. However, the largest shift in his character begins when his hearing worsens. He cuts himself off from Taichi, only for Taichi to pull him back in and ends up confronting his growing feelings for his notetaker. After this happens, we see Kohei become more social and open to seeking help with coping with his disability, which includes learning sign language. This change is also shown when Kohei decides to get a haircut, which reveals the hearing aids that he had hidden underneath his long hair before. The shift in his character at the end of the volume is meant to show that Kohei is finally accepting his disability and doesn’t see it as a weakness like other people make it out to be. I personally enjoyed seeing this shift in Kohei’s character in this volume.


As you can tell from looking at the cover, the art in this manga is very detailed on most of the pages. The mangaka took great care in making the characters’ facial expressions easy to read and the backgrounds and establishing shots are very detailed. In the faster-paced moments in the manga, the drawings tend to get a little more scratchy or appear less detailed, but I believe part of the reason why they are drawn that way is because the reader is not supposed to spend much time on those pages anyway. I especially like the details of the settings, but the art in this manga was enjoyable overall.

The Verdict

After reviewing the manga a few times, I have decided that I would definitely recommend it to BL manga fans. This volume of I Hear The Sunspot makes the rest of the series seem very promising and I can’t wait to read more. The plot was interesting and easy to follow, the characters were amazing and entertaining, and the art was pretty nice as well. If you need a new BL manga to read and are searching for a sweet one that you can start very easily, I would recommend that you pick up the first volume of I Hear The Sunspot.

Thank you so much for reading through my first manga review post. I know that this probably wasn’t the best review ever, but I am hoping that they will get better as I get back into writing these. I can’t wait to share more reviews soon and I hope that you check out the first volume of I Hear The Sunspot.

The Rise of The Dragon Queen- Chapter 3

The next morning, Vixia and I were woken up early to the sound of a ringing bell. I groaned as I rolled over, opening my eyes. Sunlight poured into the room from the window since the blinds were open and it made the white of the walls too intense to look at. I rolled back over and I could just barely see Vixia rubbing her eyes through my own blurry vision.

“Good morning,” she said groggily. Her ears shifted back as she yawned and stretched, flinging one of her legs over me. I smiled.

“Morning.” I gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and pulled her into a hug. She buried her face into my neck, her soft ears brushing against the sides of my face. We stayed like that for a few minutes, almost falling asleep again before there was a knock at the door.

“Time to get up! Breakfast is ready!” It was a masculine voice, one that I didn’t recognize. Vixia’s ears perked up at the mention of food and she lifted her head.

“You don’t have to tell me twice,” she mumbled, letting go of me and rolling away. I laughed at her and sat up. She quickly got out of bed and headed for the closet to choose her clothes for the day.

“I wonder what kind of quest they’ll send us on today,” she began. I stretched and climbed out of bed, following her.

“Me too,” I replied, reaching around her to retrieve my tank top. “Can you pass me my pants?”

Vixia handed them to me and picked out her own clothes as I got dressed. She laid them out on the bed as I pulled on my tank top.

“Have you seen my brush?”

“I put it in the chest yesterday. Here.”


It wasn’t all that different from how our mornings started at home, but at least when we were there we had some idea of what our day was going to look like. Now we were at the command of the guild, and Nesryn and Queen Evelyn would dictate our schedule for us.

I buttoned my pants and pulled the hem of my tank top down over my hips as Vixia did a quick twirl in her outfit.

“How do I look?” she asked. She was wearing a red skirt with a white, long-sleeved tunic and black socks that reached the middle of her thighs. She had tied her hair up and put on her combat boots as well. She was staring at me expectantly, waiting for what I said every morning.

“Adorable,” I answered with a smile. In comparison, I was wearing a navy-colored tank top with baggy, black pants and similar boots. I usually wore light clothes to keep my mobility even after I put on some armor.

“Should we put on our armor and grab our weapons?” Vixia asked. I shrugged.

“Last call!” the same voice from earlier shouted. Vixia and I looked at each other, then immediately rushed for the door.

As soon as we left our room, the sound of numerous voices met my ears. We rushed down the hall and toward the staircase to find that a majority of the guild was already seated at the tables downstairs, eating breakfast.

“Crap! I hope we didn’t miss the food!” Vixia whimpered. I laughed at her and we headed down the stairs. The smell of what was cooked led us to the bar as soon as we made it to the main floor. The counter was lined with different foods, from vegetables to porridge to thick slabs of meat. After we grabbed our plates and heaped them high with food, we began our search for a table.

“I can barely see,” I grumbled, my shortness thwarting my efforts at looking over the crowd. Vixia, on the other hand, was much taller than me and could see just fine.

“Over there! There’s a little table over by the wall.” I quickly followed her and we sat down. It was a relatively small, round table with three seats. It could probably seat four, but it was pushed up against the wall so that there was no room for another chair. It was a little far from the other tables, but that was fine with me. I clearly spotted some people glaring at us as they ate, but I didn’t see Sparrow, which was a plus. We only got a few minutes to eat before Nesryn’s voice called out over the crowd.

“Attention please!”

Conversations died away gradually and within a minute or so even the faintest of whispers had disappeared. Vixia and I watched silently as Nesryn, who was standing by the bar, began to speak again.

“Good morning, everyone. I hope that you have slept well. Today is going to be a busy day for many of you. So, here are today’s assignments.”

I wonder what we’re going to get.

She looked down at a list in her hands and began reading off the names of different party members and telling them what they would be working on for the day. As soon as they were told, many got up from their seats and began preparing to leave. Chair legs scraped against the floor and silverware clattered against tables and dishes. Unfortunately, due to the ruckus of everyone moving and how far away Vixia and I were from the guild master, we could hardly hear her.

“Ketsuna, can you hear what she’s saying?” Vixia asked, slumping in her seat. I tried my best to listen, but never heard our names get called. Eventually, the last group was summoned and most of the guild members had left, their dishes abandoned at the tables.

“Let’s go ask her what our assignment is for the day,” I suggested. “I’m sure she’ll understand.” I stood up from my spot, bringing my plate with me as Vixia did the same. We headed toward Nesryn and I was the first to speak.

“Hey, guild master.”

“You can call me Nesryn.”

“Oh, um, okay. Nesryn, we couldn’t hear you call our names from where we were sitting.”

“That’s because I didn’t call your names,” she responded. “You aren’t being sent out today. You guys have cleaning duty.”

Vixia and I both stood there, stunned. I blinked.


“Why?” Vixia inquired.

“The queen has requested that you two stay close in case of an emergency. Sometimes our guild members are gone for days on their quests since we send them all over Zaledrid. We can’t afford to do that with you.”

“But, ma’am—”

“I trust that you will make this guildhall spotless by this evening,” Nesryn said, interrupting me. “You can start with your own dishes, if you’d like.” And with that, she turned around and walked away. I looked back at Vixia, whose ears were folded back. It was clear that she was just as disappointed as I was. That was when I heard laughter from the doors of the guildhall.

I looked back to see Sparrow and his team mocking us on their way out. They slipped outside before I got a chance to say anything and I turned back to look at the tables, which were cluttered with dozens of dirty dishes.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Vixia and I stayed behind for the day and our first task was to clean up the dishes that everyone had left behind. We split up the effort and Vixia started washing the dishes while I cleared the tables and wiped them down. After I was done, I helped her with the remaining dishes and we got started on cleaning the floor. By the time we were done, it was already an hour or two past noon and we decided to take a break before continuing with our chores.

“Man, this is a pain,” Vixia sighed, taking a seat at one of the tables near the kitchen. She leaned back against the chair, her ears shifting toward the sides of her head rather than staying forward. I sat down across from her and realized that she had also closed her eyes and was resting her head against the wall behind her.

“Yeah. They could have literally given us anything but this.”

“Excuse me.” Vixia and I both jumped at the sound of a voice calling out to us. We both looked toward the kitchen to see a large, muscular man standing in the doorway. He had short, ashy brown hair and looked as though he would be fit for combat if he wasn’t wearing an apron over his short-sleeved shirt and pants. Despite appearing to work in the kitchen, he was wearing boots.

“Would one of you be willing to help me cook dinner?” he asked. “I can do the main parts, I just need someone to chop up the vegetables.”

“I can help,” Vixia volunteered. She stood up from her seat and followed him into the kitchen. I did the same, finding a new seat by the door.

Even the kitchen was bigger than I expected and it had everything that you would expect. The walls were made of stone like the ones in the main room, but here they were lined with shelves, each displaying dozens of bottles of seasonings and sauces. There was a large sink right below a large bay window, a few different stoves and ovens lined up side-by-side, and plenty of counter space. There was also a sizable pantry annexed to the side of the kitchen and it was almost big enough to be its own room. The man emerged from it when I sat down, carrying a large bowl of vegetables and some hunks of meat.

“Were you put on chore duty, too?” I asked.

“Nah, I basically picked this job,” he answered, putting a large pot over one of the burners on the stove. He lit it with the ease and swiftness of a seasoned chef, dumped the meat into the pot, and then turned to hand Vixia the large bowl full of vegetables. “The guild members love my cooking and I prefer to hold down the fort when everyone is gone. It’s much more peaceful during the day.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right.” I finally realized that it had been mostly quiet since everyone had left.

“What’s your name?” Vixia asked. She had already started slicing what she had been given.

“Darius,” the man replied with a smile. “It’s nice to meet you two. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“I bet,” I said with a sarcastic tone. Vixia giggled and they both went back to cooking.

The guildhall was flooded with people again by the time evening began and Vixia and I decided to sit in the same spot that we did in the morning to eat. Darius and Vixia made a stew and just the smell of it made most of the guild members drool. Because we were on chore duty, Vixia and I were able to get our food first. We were sitting together when I started to get an odd feeling in my chest. I grabbed my shirt and heaved a sigh. Vixia took notice.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just have a bad feeling,” I replied.

“Like when we saw that dragon the other day?” I nodded.

“Yeah. Keep it down, though.” Just as I said that, Darius walked up, holding his own bowl of food.

“Mind if I sit with you guys?” he asked.

“Go ahead,” Vixia chimed, pushing out a chair for him as I nodded. Another guild member noticed Darius sitting down with us and stood up.

“Darius, what are you doing with the likes of them?” He was staring directly at me and Vixia, and for a moment I could swear that his eyes had narrowed in specifically on my ears.

“What business is it to you?” Darius snapped, his brow furrowed. The shift in his tone made me jump and I looked to Vixia, who was equally shocked. We turned our attention back to Darius.

“Nothing, man. I just wanted to know—”

He was interrupted by a scream that came from the kitchen and I felt the inside of my chest clench. Everyone looked toward the kitchen doorway just in time to see flames shoot out of the opening. More screams followed and Darius was the first to get to his feet and run toward the fire. Vixia and I quickly followed.

When we made it to the kitchen, a crowd gathered behind us. One of the guild members was on the ground, staring toward the large window that I had noticed before.

“Dragon!” he shrieked, scooching backward across the floor. Vixia and I dashed into the room while Darius picked up the guy, dragging him to safety.

“Ketsuna, where is it?” Vixia asked. I looked around the room and my chest tightened again when I looked toward the shelves.

“There!” I pointed toward it just in time for a stream of flames to shoot toward me. I snatched up a pot from the stove and deflected the fire as best as I could. It stopped just as quickly as it started and I dropped my makeshift shield. I rushed for the shelf, knocking a couple of bottles over to find a tiny dragon crouched there. It leaped off the shelf, trying to get past me.

“Temporal halt!” Vixia yelled, throwing out her hand in its direction. The tiny dragon seemed to freeze in mid air and the other guild members stared in astonishment. I noticed an empty jar on the edge of the stove and captured the little beast. After the lid was sealed, Vixia lowered her arm and the dragon was free to move. I let out a little chuckle as it began scratching all over the inside of the jar.

It was covered in wine-red scales and had a cream-colored underbelly. Its eyes were a mesmerizing blue color, but the slitted irises that appeared at their centers were as black as obsidian. However, this dragon’s eyes weren’t empty like the last one’s. There was a glimmer of light that I had never seen in a monster’s eyes before, something different. When its eyes met mine, it stopped scratching and sat down. We stared at each other for a moment while the rest of the guild marveled at us.

“What are you doing?” one person cried, breaking the silence. “Kill that thing!” Vixia stepped closer, but she didn’t take the jar from me.

“I don’t know,” she began hesitantly, looking from the tiny dragon to me. “This isn’t one of the man-eaters that we normally get rid of.”

So she can tell something’s different, too.

“Vixia, Ketsuna.” We both looked over to see the crowd thinning and Nesryn walking toward us. She finally made it to the kitchen and time seemed to stand still.

“Please come see me. I would like to speak to you two privately.” She turned and left, everyone else watching as she went. Vixia and I looked at each other.

What do we do now? After a second of hesitation, we walked through the path that was created through the crowd and headed upstairs.

We came to the door of Nesryn’s chamber and found ourselves standing there for a while, wondering if we should even go in.

“Are we in trouble?” Vixia asked.

“I don’t know.” I looked at the tiny dragon, which was still captured in the jar in my hand. “I think she’s probably going to have us do something with him.”

The dragon tilted his head, still staring at me. I took in a deep breath and heaved a sigh.

“Let’s get this over with.”

I knocked on the door and slowly opened it. I peeked inside to see Nesryn sitting at a large desk and facing the door. She was looking through some papers, reading them intently through the lenses of her glasses. She glanced up at us before looking back down at the documents.

“Come in.” We did as she requested as she filed away the papers. We stood there for a moment, looking at the chairs across from her as she took off her glasses. She folded them and set them on the desk before she realized that we were just standing there.

“Come, sit.” Vixia and I did as we were instructed and took seats across the table from her. “How was your first full day with the guild?” she asked.

“I guess it was all right,” Vixia answered quietly. I shrugged, looking down at the jar. I heard the guild master shift in her seat.

“May I see the little thing?” I looked up to find that she had her hand outstretched toward me, waiting for me to hand her the jar. I felt my hands begin to tremble. She must have noticed, because she added, “I’m not going to hurt it. I just need to assess if it is a threat.”

“Okay.” I finally handed him over and Nesryn eyed him carefully through the glass. She then handed him back to me.

“It’s very small, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I will allow you to release it if you take it to the fields outside of the city.”

“Actually, ma’am, I’d like to keep it,” I admitted quietly. She and Vixia both gave me puzzled looks. “I-I mean, there’s just—”

“Fine, I’ll allow it,” Nesryn said, handing the tiny dragon back to me, “but only if you can keep it out of trouble and out of sight. Any damage caused by it will be on your wallet, though.”

“Thank you!” I replied, beaming.

“You are excused.” She put her glasses back on and began to resume reading through her paperwork. We got up and left.

That night, we let the tiny dragon out of the jar. He immediately curled up in between our pillows and fell asleep, his wings wrapped around him like a blanket. After he settled in, Vixia and I crawled into bed.

“Well, today was disappointing,” my wife began.


“I know that neither of us want to be here, but today was not what I expected.”


“Are you listening to me?” I rolled over to see Vixia looking at me.

“Yeah, I’m just really tired.”

“All right, I guess we can talk about it tomorrow. Love you, goodnight.”

“Love you too. Goodnight.”

Vixia rolled over and somehow managed to fall asleep long before I did. I wanted to sleep, but I was too busy thinking about the guild.

This has to be some sort of joke. Why would we be asked to join if we aren’t allowed to do anything?

I sighed, staring at the glimmer of moonlight coming off of the tiny dragon’s scales. I decided to let my frustration go and fell asleep.

The Rise of The Dragon Queen- Chapter 2

No matter how many dragons I faced or adventures I went on, there was nothing more intimidating than standing before the front gates of Queen Evelyn’s palace. Vixia and I approached them the next morning after we received the queen’s letter and I swallowed the knot in my throat as I gazed at the solid gold bars of the gate’s doors, each one topped with a sharp spike to deter intruders. The rest of the castle’s perimeter was lined with tall walls made from white brick. The roof of the tall palace poked up into sight above the walls and I could remember wondering why a dragon hadn’t attacked it, seeing that it was a large target. We stopped in front of the gates when two guards, clad in matching uniforms, marched over to us.

“Are you Ketsuna and Vixia Wynstar?” the first asked.

“We are,” I replied as Vixia nodded.

“Queen Evelyn has been expecting you,” the second informed us. “Follow us, we’ll take you to her majesty.” Vixia and I nodded in unison as the duo turned around toward the gates. We exchanged unsure glances as the guards opened them. They beckoned for us to follow and closed the gates behind us.

“Right this way, please.”

We were led across a massive yard full of lush grass and we followed a gray stone path that approached the front of the castle. It was as grand as I imagined that it would be. The roof of the castle was a deep blue color like the other roofs in the city, but the shingles were made of a different, higher-quality material. The castle itself was made of thick stone bricks and tall towers were built into its sides. More guards were perched there with crossbows, keeping a lookout. Even the windows were framed with metal and had intricate designs woven throughout the glass, which I assumed to be both for aesthetic and security. We came up to the entrance and there were two large double doors made of what appeared to be solid mahogany. The guards with us looked to one of the towers, giving them a sort of hand signal. As soon as the guards in the tower saw the signal, the doors were pried open and we followed them into the main hall.

Two spiral staircases stood at either side of the room and the whole floor was covered in white tile. The walls were also a pristine white, lined with gold and covered in expensive-looking decorations. Vixia and I looked around in awe at our surroundings, then at each other. That was when both the guards bowed, catching our attention.

“Hello there, dragon-slayers.” Vixia and I both looked over to see Queen Evelyn standing on an indoor balcony above the staircases. We immediately fell to our knees and bowed.

“Your majesty! I am so sorry for our disrespect—”

“Be calm, Ketsuna,” she instructed, her voice soft. “You have brought me no disrespect. You two are an asset to this kingdom. You may lift your heads.”

We both did as instructed and looked at her. This was when I noticed her long, black hair and her intricate dress, which was primarily blue and white with adorning pieces of gold. A matching crown sat atop her head, but I didn’t realize how large it was until she began her descent down one of the flights of stairs and I was amazed that she didn’t have to hold it still.

“I shall meet you in the drawing-room,” she insisted. “I will lead the way. Guards, please see to it that the proper preparations are made for our guests.”

“Yes, your majesty,” they said in unison before they left. She finally approached us after a moment, the heels of her hidden shoes clacking against the tile and echoing off the walls. She offered a hand to Vixia and me. A sweet smile crossed her face.

“Please, follow me.”

After we stood up, Queen Evelyn led us through a wide hallway toward the western wing of the palace and into a large room at the end. My eyes traced the edges of the walls, which matched those in the main room but were now lined with large bookcases that almost stretched to the ceiling, and then scanned the light tiled floor, each square sharing the same freshly-polished shine as the rest. It was decorated much like the main room, but now there were couches and tables scattered around the room, much like a library. I stared at the bookshelves in awe for a moment before I caught Vixia smirking at me.

“Wish you would have married the queen instead, huh?” she joked in a hushed whisper. “Then you would have all of the books you could ever read.”

“Of course not,” I answered just as quietly, rolling my eyes at her. I looked away from her for a moment, adjusting my wedding ring on my finger nervously as we followed Queen Evelyn to a large cedar table at the center of the room. She took her seat in a massive leather chair, resembling a throne, on the opposite side from us.

“Please, sit.”

We did as we were told and took our seats, which were two very comfy chairs that were just slightly smaller than hers. After we sat down, I noticed that her deep blue eyes were focused on both of us.

“You’re probably wondering why I have invited you here today,” she began, “so I will get straight to the point. You two are top-notch dragon-slayers in a kingdom that needs them right now. I have a request for you.”

“Does it have to do with the attacks, your majesty?” I asked.

“Precisely!” Queen Evelyn cheered. “However, not as much as you probably think.” Vixia and I exchanged worried glances as she added, “This mostly has to do with my guild, the Ironscale Hunters.”

“We apologize for any trouble that we may have caused, your majesty,” Vixia interjected, bowing her head. “But we have found that the guild does not respond to attacks as quickly as we can and we cannot stand aside while people are in danger.”

“Lift your head! There is no reason for you to apologize. That is precisely why I invited you here.”

We both stared at the queen in confusion as she smiled again.

“I would like to make you an offer that you cannot refuse, my dear dragon-slayers. Join my guild and I will give you a hefty reward for your trouble.”

Vixia and I exchanged unsure glances, then looked back at the queen.

“I apologize, Queen Evelyn, but we cannot take your offer,” I answered. “I fear that your guild would not be welcoming to us, based on past experience.” The queen’s polite smile grew into a smirk and her eyes narrowed as she stared at us.

“Ketsuna, you are not from this kingdom, right?”

Those words sent a jolt through my body. I averted my eyes and stared down at the floor. I reached up to touch my ears, the main feature that made me stand out.

“No, your majesty, I am not.”

“And you are aware that your marriage to Vixia does not grant you citizenship, correct?”

“Yes, your majesty, I am aware. We learned that long before we even got married.” The grin on the queen’s face widened with that remark.

“You see, this is why I said that it was an offer that you can’t refuse. If you join my dragon-slayer guild and help get rid of the problem, I will grant you permanent citizenship. If you refuse, I will have no choice but to send you back to the land from which you came. Draladen, right?”

I slumped in my chair as the reality of her words sunk in. I still took it better than Vixia, though. She surprised us both when she slammed her palms down on the table, her face turning several shades of red over the course of a few seconds.

“Your majesty, that is ridiculous!” she shouted, standing up from her seat. “Ketsuna hasn’t done anything wrong! How could you risk the lives of your citizens by sending away one of your strongest dragon-slayers?”

Queen Evelyn’s expression fell flat and indifferent, but it only lasted for a second.

“Vixia, it’s okay.” I stood up next to her, staring the queen straight in the eyes this time. “Queen Evelyn, it appears that we have no choice but to accept your offer. Where do we begin?”

Less than a week later, Vixia and I had packed up most of our things in suitcases. It was a bright, early morning when we set out for the guildhall. I locked the door to our home after we stepped outside, admiring it for what would be the last time for a while. I remembered the words of the queen.

You will need to pack your things and live in the guildhall for a while. The guild master and I have made arrangements for you to have a shared room instead of bunking with the other guild members. Do not worry, this is not a permanent arrangement. You will be able to return to your home during the weekends if we can stabilize everything. I am counting on you, dragon-slayers.

I let out a sigh as a thought popped into my head. But when will that be? How do we even start?

Vixia must have noticed how I was feeling because she put her hand on my shoulder, snapping me back to reality. I looked back at her.

“It’ll be okay,” she promised. “We’ll deal with these dragons as quickly as possible and then we can come back.”

“I hope you’re right,” I murmured, turning my attention back to the house as I slipped the key into my pocket. It was like many of the other houses in Tidalsong City, but I was specifically looking at the small garden at the front of the house that Vixia and I had planted together. I realized that we would have to restart it when everything was over.

“We should probably get going,” I said finally. “Otherwise, I may not want to leave.”

“Yeah,” Vixia agreed in a near whisper. So, we turned and left, carrying everything that we could bring in a few bags.

We arrived at the guildhall around noon that day after making several stops to get food and other supplies. It was a large building and, for a moment, I wondered if it was half the size of the palace. It had the same blue roofing as every other building, but the walls were adorned with stones. The windows and doors also had a particular amount of attention paid to them, their wooden frames covered in intricate carvings. There was also a wooden sign hanging over the entrance, which had the name of the guild scrawled across it in large letters. Vixia and I were admiring it all as we walked up to the front steps, which were also made from slabs of stone. We stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do next.

“Do we just . . . walk in?” Vixia asked. I shrugged my shoulders and approached the double doors. With a loud creak, I slowly pushed them open.

The building looked even more massive from the inside. The ceiling was incredibly high, much higher than anyone could reach without a ladder or a spell. The floor was covered in dark-colored wood and the walls were built from light stone, but these weren’t the first details that I noticed. The first thing that I noticed was the crowd of people sitting at tables scattered about the main room. The next was the bar, which stood right beside the stairs that led up to the second floor, where the dorms were. Metal sconces clung to the walls and a large chandelier illuminated the room and the faces of the guild members. They seemed to be having a great time, eating and joking with each other. Laughter and the sound of people chatting filled the room, that is, until they noticed our presence. After a moment, they all fell silent after they looked toward the door and their eyes pierced into us like daggers.

“What the hell are you doing here?” someone shouted. I looked over to see that it was the guild member that we had argued with the other day. He had stood up from his table and was walking toward us.

“Zelora, help us,” Vixia whispered to herself in an exasperated tone, closing her eyes. I gripped the handle of my bag a little tighter. He stopped a few feet away from us, then continued his tirade.

“What, you here to argue some more?” he shouted in an attempt to taunt us. “You can’t do shit here. Get lost before we boot you out!”

“Sparrow, hold your tongue!” a voice snapped. Everyone looked toward the wooden balcony that overlooked the dining area to see a woman with dark-colored hair and glasses glaring down at all of us. “That is no way to treat new members, especially ones appointed by the queen herself.”

“No way,” Sparrow said quietly, disbelief woven into his voice. He took a few steps back but didn’t return to his seat until the woman began to descend the stairs. She began walking toward us.

“Everyone, I’m sure you’ve heard of Ketsuna and Vixia Wynstar. Today is their first day with us at the guild. I expect you all to be on your best behavior.”

“Yes ma’am!” most of the guild members shouted, but immediately afterward they began to grumble and complain amongst themselves. The woman approached us and I realized that she was also wearing some sort of royal uniform rather than armor or adventuring gear.

“Hello there,” she began. “I’m Nesryn, the master of the royal dragon-slayer guild, the Ironscale Hunters. Pleased to meet you.”

“We’re pleased to meet you, too,” I replied, bowing my head slightly.

“I’ve heard a lot about you from her majesty.” A grin crossed Nesryn’s face. “You two should be quite helpful in our effort to get rid of those dragons.”

“I hope so.” Vixia was looking down at the floor. Nesryn gave us both a warm smile.

“Here, I’ll show you to your room. You two should spend the first day trying to get settled, after all. Follow me.”

Vixia and I were escorted to our room upstairs and I closed the door behind us with an exasperated sigh. My wife immediately began unpacking one of her bags, setting up a temporary altar in the corner farthest from the door. Thankfully, she packed just the bare essentials for her worship, so the altar was small and didn’t take up much space in the already cramped room. There was a large bed in the middle of the room that took up a large portion of space even though its headboard was pushed against the wall. A wooden chest rested on the floor at the foot of it and there was also a small closet and a table underneath the only window. Other than that the room was empty.

Good thing we packed fairly light.

I looked to Vixia again to find her sitting on the floor before her makeshift altar, her head bowed in prayer and her eyes closed. I watched quietly, taking in the peaceful expression on her face and how her ears perked up attentively as she listened to the goddess, Zelora, herself. Her long, silver hair draped over her shoulders and down her back and her tail was completely still on the floor. I continued to watch her until I heard someone knocking aggressively on the door behind me.

I felt my brows furrow together as I turned to open it, the knocking not ceasing until I did. When I did, Sparrow was standing there with his two other party mates, his hands on his hips like when we first met. I stepped out into the hall and quietly closed the door behind me, hoping to avoid disturbing Vixia.

“You have some nerve, requesting for the queen to let you join this guild,” Sparrow began. The two other men in his party stood silently behind him, nodding in agreement.

“You’ve got it all wrong.”

Before I could say anything else, he stepped in closer to me, trying to loom over me threateningly. Unfortunately for him, it takes a lot more than that to intimidate me, so I stood my ground and glared up at him. “Do I now?” he asked in a gruff voice.

“Yes, you do,” Nesryn interjected. We all looked over to see the guild master approaching us, annoyance practically written on her face. Sparrow, once again, stepped away from me. “I told you before that the queen requested for Ketsuna and Vixia to join the guild personally. Her majesty recognized their efforts and wanted them to join, not the other way around. Maybe if you actually pulled your weight around here, you would get that same recognition.”

I could almost see the gears turning in Sparrow’s head as the realization of what Nesryn said hit him. His eyes widened and he looked between the guild master and me.

“You should probably avoid harassing us, especially at this time of day,” I warned. “Vixia is praying right now, and if you interrupt her like this again, I will deal with you myself. She may be quiet and shy, but I’m not.” Sparrow and his team remained silent for a moment, glaring at me. Again, I stood firm. Sparrow let out a scoff and started to walk away. The two others followed and, after they left, Nesryn turned back to me.

“I’m sorry about all of that. Sparrow will be written up for all of this.”

“It’s all right,” I replied. “Not your fault that you have some hot-head guild members.” She smiled at me and let out a small laugh.

“Please try to get some rest. I’ll give you two your first assignment tomorrow.”

“I will, thank you,” I said with a nod and returned to my room.

How I Outline My Stories

Hello, everyone!

Recently, I was chatting with one of my writing friends and they asked me how I outline my stories. If you have watched my first reading stream or read my first Q&A post, you know that I outline my stories before I write them. My methods for outlining have changed over the years, but I think that the current one that I use has been the most beneficial when it comes to crafting long, organized stories that I can actually finish. So, today I wanted to share a quick step-by-step guide on how I outline my stories.

Keep in mind that this guide is specifically for fiction stories that are meant to entertain. I don’t delve deeply into the story’s message or morals while planning because they tend to appear as I write or I already have them in mind. Also, this is what works for me in my own experience, so a different method may work better for you.

Without further ado, let’s get into the first step!

Step 1: Write A Basic Summary

This is always the first thing that I do when I get a new story idea. When writing the summary, include a brief introduction of your main characters and what you want to happen at the beginning, middle, and end of the story. This summary doesn’t have to be super detailed; I would actually recommend that you keep it pretty vague in order to leave enough room for growth, unless you know exactly where your story is going already. Then, you will be ready to move onto step 2.

Step 2: Break Story Up Into “Chunks”

I started doing this recently and I have noticed that it helps me write longer stories, which is something that I struggled with in the past. In this step, break the story up into different sections. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have equal-length chunks, so each chunk can have a different number of chapters. My current project, The Rise of The Dragon Queen, is broken up into five different chunks of varying lengths and each one ends at a specific turning point, such as the main character being given options, learning something new, or gaining a new skill. After I have decided how to split the story, I write one-sentence summaries of each chunk to get a basic idea of what happens in each piece.

Step 3: List Needed Events For Each Chunk

After you have determined how to split up the story, start listing what events need to happen in each chunk. I usually do this right below the chunk summaries and it helps me determine where different details should go while working out the overall pacing of the story.

Step 4: Outline Each Chunk In Chapters and Scenes

Now, this is the part where I really dive into the details and it is probably the most time consuming part of this process. I use the previous notes, summaries, and event lists to plan out chapters and scenes. I do this separately for each chunk to avoid burning myself out and to help leave room for revisions as I continue to develop the story. For example, the picture below is the outline for the first chapter of The Rise of The Dragon Queen. (Ignore the green highlights, they are just used to mark what I have already written.) Each bullet point is a scene with a short paragraph summary of what happens in every scene.

If you are worried about the length of your chapters, just end them wherever it feels right. Also, you do not have to worry about describing each scene in complete sentences or anything, just take enough notes to where you will remember what you envisioned when you wrote them.

When you are done with this step, you should have a working, multi-part outline for your story!

Basically, that is how I outline my stories. I hope that this guide was helpful and if you liked it please consider giving it a like or telling me your thoughts in the comments. If you would like to learn more about The Rise of The Dragon Queen, more information can be found about it here. Also, please consider contributing to my Ko-Fi to help keep this site running.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day!

The Rise of The Dragon Queen-Chapter 1

A dragon’s scream tore through Tidalsong City as I tried to combat the panic welling up inside me. I could barely hear it over the pounding of my own heartbeat as I dashed across rooftops, brittle shingles shattering beneath my boots as I ran. I risked a glance over my shoulder, finding the dragon’s eyes fixed on me as it bared its fangs. The ground rumbled as its outspread wings leveled any buildings that were within reach and I turned my attention back to where I was heading. My eyes focused on the gap between the rooftop that I was on and the next one.

I can make it! My breath hitched in my throat as I jumped from one rooftop to the next, abandoning the vacant building behind me just as an enormous, ruby-scaled tail slammed into it, demolishing and crumbling it to pieces. My right foot hit the rooftop first, then my left. The feeling of the sole of my boot hitting the edge of the roofing forced a shooting pain up my leg and I teetered slightly. That was when I fell onto my side. My leg scraped against the roof’s shingles, ripping my pants and cutting my thigh, but that wasn’t the worst part. At that moment, the blade that was strapped to my back escaped its sheath and skidded across the roof, away from me. I lurched toward it as quickly as I could on my hands and knees, but it was too late. It tipped off the edge of the roof and plummeted, the worn metal clattering when it hit the ground below. I pushed myself back up and turned around to watch dreadfully as the beast approached me.

The whole dragon was covered in crimson scales, which reflected a ruby color in the sunlight, and jagged fangs emerged from its mouth as it let out another roar. Its eyes were entirely enveloped in a black that resembled ink, which made its glare appear to hold no soul. We had no idea how it had gotten to Tidalsong City, but then again, we didn’t know where it came from to begin with. My entire body was rendered paralyzed in its empty, yet terrifying, gaze. Everything seemed to stand still for that instant, except for the pounding of my heartbeat and the light breeze, which carried the smell of debris throughout the area. My mouth grew dry as I pulled a knife from my belt and held it out in front of me. I gripped it tightly, but I knew there was no way that it would save me.

“Vixia!” I screamed. Just as I called her name, a blur darted past me and scurried across the rooftop, sunlight reflecting off of the orb that topped her staff. She fearlessly leaped from the ledge and performed a flip midair as she unleashed some sort of spell, which surrounded her in light. The light then broke apart in dagger-like fragments. They shot away from her in a flurry, each ethereal blade sinking into the dragon’s skin. I caught a glimpse of her long, silver hair and her matching wolf ears as she fell. She kicked off of the monster’s stomach, sprung into a backflip, and disappeared from my sight as the dragon let out an ear-splitting cry and recoiled from the pain.

I stood again, suddenly finding my courage, and held my remaining weapon in my right hand. I rushed forward and surged from the roof’s edge, screaming both in fear and anger as I jabbed my weapon at the creature. The blade embedded itself between the dragon’s scales. I was falling to the ground when I heard Vixia’s voice screaming my name.

“Ketsuna!” Just before I hit the ground, I felt something else catch me. My feet and hands began to tingle and my entire body ached from the impact, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it would have been if I had hit the ground below. Without checking to see what broke my fall, I quickly got back up and saw Vixia standing right in front of the dragon. She held her staff in front of her with both hands and began shouting the lines of an incantation.

Trial by fire, burning with ease

Scorching flames of a thousand degrees

Goddess, I request that you ignite this in me

So mote it be!

I took a wild guess at what that meant. I turned and sprinted away as everything around Vixia and the dragon burst into flames. The flames wrapped around the two of them, swirling like a tornado, and exploded, the fire raising up high into the air within an instant. I heard the dragon’s scream again, but I couldn’t see anything through the fiery walls. When I was at the edge of the plaza, I turned back around to look.

The fire burned intensely for a moment, then was snuffed out just as quickly as it was lit. Vixia stood in the center of the plaza, but the dragon was nowhere to be seen. The ground was scorched, charred black by her flames. I stood there for a moment, breathing heavily as I tried to process what just happened. I was just beginning to piece my thoughts together when Vixia slouched her shoulders and her tail went limp. She lowered her head as she teetered for a second, then collapsed.


I rushed over to her as quickly as I could. When I got to her, her eyes were barely open, but she was still breathing. She was staring up at the sky, a look of exhaustion scrawled across her face. “Vixia, stay with me,” I pleaded.

“I’ll be fine,” she replied weakly, her eyes still fixed above us. “I just need a second. That spell was a bit much for me.” She cracked a small smile and I brushed her bangs away from her face.

“I’ll hold you until you can get up, okay?”

“Okay . . .” Her voice trailed off as I looked at the city around us.

All of the buildings surrounding the plaza were either completely demolished or severely damaged; even the poles for the streetlights had been bent or snapped like twigs, if they were even still there. Rubble littered the streets and the sky was clouded with ash. I took it all in as I processed what was going on.

This had become our new normal. For the past year, dragons had been appearing all over the kingdom of Zaledrid, from the winding forests to the major cities. There was a guild assigned by the queen to take care of them, but somehow Vixia and I usually managed to get to them first. This was the first time a dragon had attacked Tidalsong City, Zaledrid’s capital and our home.

Honestly, it was terrifying.

“I’m feeling better now,” Vixia said, snapping my attention back to her. I looked back down at my lap to see her smiling at me instead of staring at the sky. I smiled back.

“You sure?”

“Mhmm.” She nodded and sat up.

“Did you incinerate the dragon?”


“So, all of this ash is—”

“The dragon and anything that was within the casting radius,” she answered bluntly. She held out her hand and waited as some of the ashes drifted into her palm.

Well, guess I’m not getting my weapons back. The thought ran through my head, but then Vixia shifted my attention back to the situation.

“We’re going to get in a lot of trouble if we keep this up.”

“It’s not like the queen’s dragon hunters are doing much better,” I replied. Vixia tilted her head at me and shrugged. She let the ashes in her hand get swept away by the breeze and leaned back against my arm. Unfortunately, her back also pressed on my injured leg. “Ow!”

“What’s wrong?” She jolted upright and looked back at me, startled. I watched her gaze wander to the shredded side of my leg and my scuffed boot. She then changed her question to, “What happened there?”

“I lost my balance,” I answered simply. “I’m super lucky that you came in when you did. Perfect timing.”

She stood up and held out her hand, offering it to me. A sweet smile crossed her face.

“You know I wouldn’t leave you hanging like that.”

I nodded and took her hand, the joints in my knees and ankles popping as I rose. We both laughed at it and I stretched them a little. Instead of letting go of her hand when I was on my feet, I clutched it even tighter. I squeezed it three times briefly and she did the same to mine.

I love you.

“Ketsuna, let’s go home,” Vixia said quietly. I nodded and we began the short trek back to our house, hand-in-hand.

Steam shifted in the room behind me when I opened the bathroom door. The window over by the front door, which stood just down the hall to my left, showed me that night had already fallen and it was pitch-black outside. I noticed that the house was dimly lit because the only lights that were on were the bathroom lights and the one in the kitchen. I flicked off the lights in the bathroom when I caught the scent of Vixia’s cooking.

I stepped off of the bathroom tile and onto the hardwood that covered the hallway floor, closing the door behind me, and looked around the corner of the wall to see Vixia standing at the stove, her tail wagging back and forth. A smile crossed my face as I tried my best to dry my hair with my towel.

“You cooked?”

My wife turned and looked at me. At first, she gave me a look of surprise, but it quickly melted into a smile.

“Well, we both worked hard today. I figured you’d be pretty hungry after all of that.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

She turned away from me again and picked up a ladle that was nearby. She turned back to the pot on the stove and scooped up some of the stew she had made. She lifted it to her lips and took a quick taste, then began searching for the bowls in the cabinet.

“It’s ready.”

I walked up behind her as she reached for one of the bowls and wrapped my arms around her, hugging her from behind. She stopped for a second and I buried my face into the back of her shoulder.

“Thank you,” I said quietly. She looked at me from over her shoulder, but she probably couldn’t see much other than my hair and forehead because she was much taller than me. She smiled again.

“No problem. Go ahead and take a seat.”

I let go and did as she told me. I removed my towel from my shoulders and rested it on the back of my chair as she set a bowl down in front of me. I waited for her to sit down before I did anything.

“Thank you for the food,” she whispered in a tiny prayer. When she was done, we both picked up our spoons and began eating.

This was how our evenings usually were, but it wasn’t always this way. It was hard to believe that Vixia and I didn’t always have each other and, for a brief moment, I remembered what things were like when we first met. I let out a quiet sigh, which caught Vixia’s attention.

“Is it not good?” she asked.

“Huh?” I quickly realized that she was talking about the stew. “Oh no, it’s great. My mind was just going places again. I’m okay.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I promise.” We both went back to eating when a question popped into my mind.

“Hey, did you catch me earlier? Was that a spell?”

Vixia let out a giggle. I adored her laugh.

“Yeah, it’s a new spell that I’ve been working on with Zelora. It basically uses a small barrier to stop your fall. She told me that it would come in handy.” For context, Zelora was Vixia’s deity, the one that she prayed to in order to maintain her magic powers.

“Well, thank her for me, okay?” Vixia nodded as she took another bite of her stew.

We both finished our dinner and I took our bowls to wash them while Vixia went to her altar, which was set up in the living room, and prayed. She finished up as I put the bowls away and we both headed to bed.

The next morning, Vixia decided to come with me when I headed out to get a new dagger and sword. We lived at the edge of the city, so as soon as we stepped outside the door, we could hear the sound of numerous, indistinct voices and the footfalls of passing merchants being carried on the sea breeze. The same breeze rustled the leaves of the trees that surrounded our little home and tall weeds that had grown nearby, beyond our property. From the front porch, you could see the ocean stretched out on the horizon, just beyond the cliff where our home stood. I had picked out that house nearly five years prior to that day, not long after Vixia and I got married.

“We need to water the garden,” Vixia mentioned as we stepped onto the sidewalk. I looked back to see our plants wilting and nodded in agreement.

“We shouldn’t be gone for long. We’ll do it as soon as we get back. Let’s go.” And with that, we followed the cracked sidewalk deeper into the city.

Tidalsong City was sectioned into blocks by pewter streets and most of the buildings were white with cobalt-colored roofs, which was unique and exclusive to Tidalsong City alone. The crowds of people that flooded the streets during the busiest times of the day seemed just as vast and endless as the ocean that the city was known for. I could see the beach as we walked down the sidewalk. Its shore was made almost entirely of white sand and was spotted with people walking alongside the waves, most of them sailors. Further down there were massive docks with people dragging cargo toward the city. I was watching some struggle with a large crate when I was snapped back to reality by something slamming into my shoulder.

“Hey, watch it!”

I looked up to see a man who was slightly taller than Vixia glaring at me. His hair was dark brown with eyes to match and he was wearing a familiar set of armor, but I couldn’t figure out where it was from. He stood there with his hands on his hips, leering down at me.

“Sorry,” I began, noticing that there were two other men with him, standing behind him at either side. Vixia, who was standing beside me and had taken my hand, was eyeing them with a scowl on her face.

“Wait, I know you,” the man started again, an accusatory tone in his voice. “You two are those nosey dragon-slayers! You two caused a lot of trouble for us yesterday.” That was when I realized that their armor was from the queen’s dragon-slaying guild, the Ironscale Hunters.

“Couldn’t be that much trouble since we did your job for you,” I replied bluntly, “but fine.”

“What, so now a pointy-eared freak and a mangy mutt are going to tell us how to do our jobs?” Both the men with him tensed at the comment and I could tell that they were also getting heated. That didn’t stop me, though.

“Yeah, I guess so,” I replied. “If you did your jobs right, we wouldn’t have to step in. If you don’t like it, then hurry up and do it yourselves. It’s not our fault that you guys are slacking.” Vixia squeezed my hand. She hated confrontation but knew that I’d hold my ground.

“Now hold on just a—”

“Let’s go.” I squeezed Vixia’s hand three times and she nodded, doing the same back. We went on our way, stepping off the sidewalk to go around them. I could feel their glares like daggers on my back, but I ignored it. I got that a lot because of the way I looked, especially my ears, so I was used to it by then, but there was more to their anger than I realized.

The rest of our day wasn’t very significant; at least, not until dinnertime. Vixia and I made it back home a few hours after we left and we stopped for groceries along the way. We spent most of the day relaxing, especially since we hadn’t completely recovered from the fight the day prior. That evening, I changed the bandages on my leg and made dinner. Vixia and I were both sitting at the table, getting ready to eat when there was a knock at the door.

“I’ll go get it,” I volunteered, setting my fork down on my plate. “You stay and eat.” Vixia nodded quietly and shoveled some rice into her mouth. I turned and headed for our front door, which was just down the hall. When I opened it, I saw a man waiting on our doorstep in a blue and white uniform, holding a letter in his hands.

“Can I help you?” I asked.

“Is this the residence of Ketsuna and Vixia Wynstar?”

“Yes, this is. Who are you?”

“I am a messenger sent by her majesty, Queen Evelyn, to bring you this message.” He held out the envelope to me, which I took hesitantly. “Everything you need to know is inside of that. I will be taking my leave now.” He bowed, turned around, and left as quickly as he came. I looked at the envelope in my hand, raising an eyebrow at it as I closed the door.

“Who was that?” Vixia asked as I reentered the kitchen.

“Apparently it’s from the queen.” Vixia’s eyes widened and for a second I thought that she was going to choke on her food.

“Wait, are we in trouble?”

“I think she would have sent someone to arrest us if we were, not a letter.”

“Good point. What does it say?”

I opened the letter and began to read it to Vixia. She got up and came over to see it for herself as I read.

Dear Ketsuna and Vixia Wynstar,

I have heard much about you from my soldiers, guards, peers, and the numerous citizens of Zaledrid. On behalf of everyone, thank you. The people of this land have come to respect your combat skills and what you stand for after your recent victories against the dragons that have been plaguing our fair land. I have even found myself taking an interest as well. As of this time, I have one simple request.
I would like to meet you both at my palace tomorrow morning. We will discuss more then. I look forward to making your acquaintance.

With warm regards,
Queen Evelyn

“Huh, well her sentiment is much different from the dragon-slayers from her guild,” I pointed out.

“That’s what I was thinking.” I looked over at Vixia, who was now leaning over my shoulder. “What should we do?”

“Well, if the queen summons you, you show up.” Vixia sighed.

“I’ll wash the dishes since you cooked and then I’ll pray to Zelora for our protection tomorrow. Go get some rest, I’ll be in bed soon.” I left the letter on the table and did as Vixia instructed. Even when I was laying in bed, waiting for her, my mind began to wander.

What could the queen possibly want with us?

Ask Ashelynn: 150 Twitter Follower Q&A

Hello, everybody!

So, as you may know, I hit 150 followers on Twitter a while back and to celebrate, I decided to hold a Q&A. Honestly, I didn’t think that I would get very many questions, but I got enough to make this post and that’s all I needed. This post was also supposed to be a video, but it got delayed because my laptop broke, school kept me busy, and it seems like everything that could go wrong while I tried to edit the video went wrong. Everything is good now, though. Also, I am going to be answering most of these question from a perspective that is outside of my character lore because I am still trying to work out all the details.

Anyway, let’s get on with the questions!

Q: Were there any big moments for you where you decided, “Yeah, I’m a writer now?”

A: Yes, there actually was an enormous moment that made me realize that I wanted to write for a career, but it didn’t hit me that it was the moment until just recently. I always liked storytelling and I naturally turned to it, but that doesn’t even begin to cover it. I understand that the topic that I am going to talk about here can be pretty triggering, so if you don’t want to hear about suicide, then please skip ahead to the last paragraph before of this answer. After that point, it will be safe for you to read.

So, about seven years ago, I was in a really bad place mentally. I got picked on and made fun of a lot and the bullying was pretty relentless. I was diagnosed with major depression, generalized anxiety, and chronic insomnia and put on medication for them without proper therapy first. This is why I am a huge advocate for therapy that provides you with more tools than just medication. Like, I don’t think medication is horrible, but they didn’t even try to give me other outlets or teach me how to deal with my feelings first. Anyway, at one point, the bullying and the meds got to be too much and I decided to try to kill myself and when I was slipping in and out of consciousness I started thinking about everything.

At the time, I had already written a novel-length fanfic and I was in the process of uploading new chapters every week. I had some incredibly friendly and supportive readers, some of which I chatted with occasionally and I thought of them. Then I realized that I was kind of screwing them over because some of them were really invested in my story and they were never going to get the end of the story if I wasn’t around to upload it. When I thought about how I’d be letting them down, I got help. My writing and the people I met through it was one of the things that saved me and pulled me out of that dark time. I still get depressed from time to time and I’ve returned to therapy for months or years at a time since then, but I have never allowed myself to get back to that point because I want to be around to share my stories.

That was the large moment, but there was another small one afterwards. After I finished uploading all of the chapters to that fanfic, soooo many people got pissed at me for how I ended it. For context, one of the characters lost her memory after spending the whole fic getting it back, two of the characters died, and the last one was left all alone. Before anyone goes to roast me in the comments, give me a break, I was a much younger and less-experienced writer at the time. I was just kinda like, “Haha, wow, I made these people feel things. That’s kinda cool.” And so I just kept writing.

Q: What makes you go, “awwwwwww?”

A: Honestly, there are too many things for me to list. I think the things that make me say awww the most are cats, though. Especially my cats because they are dorks and sometimes they snuggle together and take care of each other, which is nice. It brings a smile to my face. (Actually, while I was typing the answer to this question, two of them were snuggling next to me. 10/10, very adorable.)

Q: Pantser or plotter?

A: Okay, so for anyone who doesn’t know what these words mean, a pantser is someone who writes stories and things without an outline or some sort of plan. I am a hardcore plotter because any time I have tried to write anything without a solid outline I can’t finish it. I may be able to write small drabbles without an outline, but not a full-length story. So, I’m a plotter.

Q: Who are some authors who inspire you? (Don’t have to be published, could be fanfic/other authors too)

A: I used to read fanfiction all the time and I think some of my writing style comes from a specific one. I actually made an account on just to let her know how much I enjoyed reading her story and I was very surprised when she responded to me. She was very humble and I admire that still. I also really looked up to James Patterson and I even took his Master Class a few years ago. I especially liked his Witch & Wizard series that he wrote with a few different authors (Cate Tiernan, Jill Dembowski, Ned Rust, Emily Raymond). He typically writes in different genres than me, but from the books that I have read, I really like his overall style and the pacing in his books. That’s one of the biggest lessons that I took from his Master Class, that and outlining.

Lately I’ve been trying to look more into fantasy, slice-of-life, and LGBTQ+ light novels since they are closer to what I write to find some authors that I click with, but I haven’t had much luck so far. If you have any that you would like to suggest, please leave them in the comments below. I may even do some reviews on them in the future.

Q: What is the true meaning of life to you?

A: Ah, well this is a loaded question and my answer to it will probably change a lot with time. At this point, I think life is all about finding what you like and cherishing it. You should really take the time to enjoy things while you can because you never know when your time will be up.

Q: You were reversed isekaied? How’s Earth?

A: It’s summer where I am at, so it seems like everything is on fire, but other than that Earth is great so far! I would actually like to see more of this world soon, if current events will allow it.

Alright, so that is all I had for this Q&A. If you liked this post, please give it a like and maybe a comment down below telling me what you think. Also, if you would like to ask me a question, feel free to drop it in a comment below or post a tweet with the hashtag #AskAshelynn. I would like to start collecting questions from time to time to answer in these sort of blog posts or in videos because I think they are fun and I personally like reading/watching Q&As from content creators that I enjoy.

Anyway, that’s it for today. Thank you for reading! またね~!

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021 Project Intro: The Rise of The Dragon Queen

Hello, everyone! As some of you may know, yesterday was the very first day of Camp NaNoWriMo and I am very happy to say that I am participating in it this year.

I decided that instead of coming up with a brand-new project, I would revive an old story idea that I had a while back and change it up. I am only focusing on writing the first seven chapters of it for this month and am planning on breaking it up into chunks since it will be a large project. Here’s some more information about the chunk that I am working on:

Short summary

Ketsuna and her wife Vixia are both highly efficient dragon slayers— which is exactly why the queen’s dragon defense guild hates them. But how will they manage when they are forced into joining the guild in exchange for Ketsuna’s ability to gain citizenship?

Main Characters

  • Ketsuna- A strong-willed elf from another land who knows her way around a sword. She may seem harsh and serious, but she does have a soft spot for cute things, including Vixia. When she is not protecting the kingdom from dragon attacks, she can often be found reading, exploring, or humming to herself while doing mundane tasks.
  • Vixia- A human-wolf hybrid that uses magic bestowed upon her by her deity. She is sweet and many underestimate her due to her kindness, but she is actually stronger than Ketsuna due to her prayers and offerings to her goddess. She enjoys nature walks, singing, and exploring during her free time.

I may add more details and characters as I work on this. When I am done writing and editing the chapters, I will be posting them for anyone to read on Wattpad and here on my site. If you would like to support this project, please consider checking out my Ko-Fi. It allows me to continue working on the things like this and will help me add new things to this story as I go, like illustrations and professional editing.

Anyway, thank you for reading. I hope you have a wonderful day!


Top 5 Methods For Finding Character Inspiration

Hello my fellow writers!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself googling “character inspiration” before. I obviously can’t see you through the screen, but I am guessing that quite a lot of you have. Truth is, finding inspiration for any project is usually difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, I am going to list five methods that you can use to find inspiration for characters.

Let’s jump right in.

1. Use your friends

I used to do this all of the time. In fact, most of my old stories have characters that are based on my friends. I find this method to be the easiest because it makes me feel more familiar with the characters even before I begin writing them. If a character is based off of a living, breathing person that I know already, then it is fairly easy for me to fill in extra details to make them jump off the page.

Side Note: As a personal rule, I never base an antagonist off of anyone I know in real life. Chances are it will cause issues if that person happens to read your work and I’m sure that is a path that nobody wants to go down.

2. Look at character tropes

I utilize this method more frequently now and it helps me a lot. We have all heard about the epic hero or the omnipotent elder, and these characters show up everywhere in fiction. Why not give a go at creating your own character based off of these tropes? Try to twist them in a new way to create some memorable characters!

Side Note: You can also base characters off of elemental tropes. What I mean by this is that a character based off fire would be energetic and volatile while a character based off of water would be cool and calm. Just an idea. You can also twist these to where they are the opposite of what you might expect (like a water-based character acting more aggressive, like a tsunami).

3. Make characters based on zodiac signs

I actually heard about this tip recently. I read somewhere that it is helpful to assign a birthdate to your characters so that you can find out what their zodiac sign is and make their personalities and actions reflect that sign’s typical traits. I have yet to figure out how well this works for me, but it seems like a great place to start. Also, in Japanese culture they tend to do something similar with blood types, so assign your character a blood type and check those traits out too!

4. Use a character generator

This one is really fun. The internet is full of generators that can create amazing concepts and names for you, so character creation generators are available as well! These generators can throw a physical description and personality traits together to help give you ideas for new characters.

5. Look at existing characters

There is nothing wrong with modeling your characters off of existing characters; just don’t just replicate the original character. Maybe you like a particular character’s sarcasm and immaturity. Make another character of your own that has those traits! It’s fairly simple. Just make sure to mold the character into something new, not just a copy-and-pasted version of the character you modeled them after.

So, there you have it! These are five places to look for character inspiration. If you enjoyed the article, please leave a like or comment to tell me how I did. Also, don’t forget to follow for new content or share this article with your writerly friends!

Thank you for reading and good luck in your writing endeavors!

5 Tips For Designing A VTuber Avatar

Hello, everyone! As some of you may know, I have been making some guides for people who want to become VTubers, but are hung-up on the character creation aspect. Today’s guide focuses specifically on crafting the visual components of your avatar.

While I was making my own avatar, I realized that creating a VTuber avatar is very similar to designing an original character, but I wanted to share my own tips for creating a character that is unique to you. For the purposes of this article, I will be using my own avatar as an example, but I recognize that it is nowhere near perfect. Anyway, let’s get into the tips.

Tip #1: Come Up With A Persona & Go From There

I have a whole guide on this here and I think that getting this out of the way first makes the whole process of creating an avatar run much smoother. Knowing what your character is like personality-wise can help you make decisions about what visual traits suit them best. Is your character a fiery gamer? You could give them spiky hair or make it a color that reflects that energy. Is your character more mature and calm? This can be shown by giving the character smaller eyes and using a mellow color palette. When making anime-styled characters, it is important to remember that their personality influences their physical appearance more often than not.

Tip #2: List Physical Traits That You Like From Other Characters

This isn’t limited to just other VTubers or even anime characters because you can draw inspiration from anywhere! Look at different outfits that you like or people that you look up to. It might be easiest to look at anime characters, especially if you intend to have an anime-styled avatar, but you are not confined to it.

When I was trying to design my avatar, I realized red eye-makeup was a trait that I really liked on anime characters. So, I added it to my list. I then looked at traits that I liked from other characters and began choosing other details that I would like to add. I even added freckles because I have them in real life and didn’t see many other avatars with them when I created mine. Take time to explore all of the possibilities.

(Older model) An example of Ashelynn’s freckles and eye make-up

Tip #3: Take Personality Quizzes For Certain Physical Traits

As I mentioned earlier, anime-styled characters tend to have physical traits that correlate with their personalities. If you understand your character’s personality, but aren’t sure how to reflect it in their appearance, try taking some personality quizzes online. Start with simple ones like “What is your anime hair color” and things like that. If your avatar is based on yourself rather than its own character, answer the questions the way that you normally would. If your avatar is being made for a character you want to act as, answer the questions as if you are that character.

Just remember that your results from these quizzes don’t have to determine how you create your avatar and are just a fun way to weigh your options.

Tip #4: Make Your Avatar’s Appearance Reflect Your Content

This may seem basic, but a lot of people forget it when they first try to design their avatar. Are you a gamer that is planning on streaming gameplay? Try giving your avatar some headphones or apparel from your favorite game. You could even make your character reflect your job in real life if you want to. In my case, my avatar is an elf because I enjoy writing fantasy stories and I thought that having a fantasy-related avatar would reflect my main content. I also gave her a semi-colon tattoo for suicide prevention awareness because it reflects a cause that I care deeply about while also keeping to the theme of writing. (The tattoo is also designed to look like a cat, but that is mostly because I love cats.)

(Old model) A picture showing Ashelynn’s elf ears and tattoo, which are mentioned above.

Try to be aware of your limitations, though. Different programs have different limits when it comes to making avatars, so try to keep that in mind. Making an avatar in VRoid Studio has different limits than one made for Live 2D.

Tip #5: Give Your Avatar Memorable Features

This is one of the most important parts. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen VTubers with very similar avatars to other VTubers. For example, there are at least a dozen VTubers out there that can be described as a “white-haired neko girl”. I’m not saying that you can’t be a white-haired neko girl, but try to give your avatar enough unique traits so that they become distinguishable from the others. This can be in the form of specific styles of makeup and hair, tattoos/markings, piercings, etc.

I did this with my old avatar by making her different from the other elf VTubers that you normally see online. For example, her hair is a different color from most of the ones that you would see on a simple Google search. Paired with her tattoo, clothing, and freckles, she stands out from the others and becomes more recognizable. Try to experiment with this! You may be surprised by what you come up with.

A picture of Ashelynn’s ombre hair, which is the part of her design that I get the most compliments on.

Bonus Tip #1: Make Pinterest Boards For Your Avatars

I used Pinterest every step of the way when designing my avatar and it has been a life-saver. You can make separate boards for each of your avatars and then use sections to sort images that show the kinds of eyes, outfits, and hairstyles you want to give your avatar. I honestly can’t recommend it enough. (No, I am not sponsored, I just really love using Pinterest.)

Bonus Tip #2: Make Sketched of Your Avatar Before You Make It

This is something that I do whenever I am planning any sort of redesign. Even if you aren’t very artistic, you should try this at least once. Since I use VRoid Studio and Unity for my models, I usually just take a picture of my model and sketch any clothes or details that I want on it in Autodesk Sketchbook. That way I can see what looks right or wrong before I spend hours making everything in VRoid Studio or adding 3D objects in Unity. Overall, sketching my designs beforehand has saved me a lot of time and also helps me envision what the final product will look like.

I hope these tips helped you with trying to design your VTuber avatar and thank you for reading this little article. If it did help, please let me know with a like or a comment below! Is your avatar going to be 3D or 2D? Tell me! I would love to hear from you guys!

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful day.