NaNoRenO Game Show: The 1st Challenge – A Challenging Test of Skill

Header for Dreamgazer's NaNoRenO 2016 Game Show.

PREVIOUSLY: The cast of War (X Playing Pieces) hosts a game show, inviting these 5 groups of people.  Who will be the reigning champion?  Let’s find out!

Onyx of the Vi from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome and VN game.
Onyx:
We will now proceed to the first challenge.

Ambrosia from free English visual novel, War (X Playing Pieces), in Queen Elsa cosplay.
Ambrosia:
Indeed!  Brave contestants, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to the most exciting competition of all.

[Wildfire’s snicker is half a snort.]

Wildfire of the Valkyrie from free English visual novel game and otome, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Elsa from Frozen.
Wildfire:
Of course she would think that.

Ambrosia from free English visual novel, War (X Playing Pieces), in Queen Elsa cosplay.
Ambrosia:
You will be facing off against each other in a fierce battle of the culinary arts!

[On that note, her palms come together.  Despite the serenity of her voice, the faint sparkle in her eyes and the motion of her hands, her fingertips fluttering once against each other, belie her excitement.  She really does think cooking is fun.]

Ambrosia of free English otome, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Elsa from Frozen.
Ambrosia:
Yes, you shall be vying for the judges’ taste buds by preparing three meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English VN and otome game.
Arsenik:
You’re welcome to prepare it any way you like.  We already have a room set up with everything you might need.  The cooking method you choose doesn’t matter just as long as it’s edible.

Wildfire of the Valkyrie from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome and VN.
Wildfire:
But if it’s a little burned, you can just give it to Arsenik.  He can handle it, right?

Smiling Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome and visual novel game.
Arsenik:
Ah, we haven’t discussed the judging criteria yet.

Night of the Vi from War (X Playing Pieces), OELVN and free English otome game.
Night:
You will choose three of us to serve.  Then, decide which of us will have the breakfast, lunch, and dinner that you prepared.  We will rate your meal based off our personal taste and how unified it is.  It will help to have a theme.

Wildfire of the Valkyrie from War (X Playing Pieces), free English visual novel and otome game.
Wildfre: So, you better not look to the nice ones for an easy win.  If what you cooked isn’t their thing or just tastes like trash, they can’t lie about it.

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Chase:
Sorry.

Wildfire of the Valkyrie from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome and VN.
Wildfire:
Did you want to kiss their butts that bad?

Ambrosia from free English visual novel, War (X Playing Pieces), in Queen Elsa cosplay.
Ambrosia:
Those are all the rules.  If you’re ready, then you may begin…now!

Night of the Vi from War (X Playing Pieces), OELVN and free English otome game.
Night:
Oh, by the way, keep in mind that you can’t choose Onyx as one of your judges for this competition.  He’ll just be watching over all of you to make sure you don’t cheat.

Wildfire of the Valkyrie from War (X Playing Pieces), free English visual novel and otome game.
Wildfire:
Or take too long. This isn’t a race, but if you’re taking the better part of the day, he’s calling time on you.  So, come on.  Hop to it!

Ambrosia of free English otome, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Elsa from Frozen.
Ambrosia:
Ah, and dear Sir Banality Man, since you’re braving this challenge on your own…you’re allowed to make one phone call, if you’d like.  Oh, do forgive me if I’ve said that wrong.  I’m not accustomed to the methods of communication in your world.

Wildfire of the Valkyrie from free English visual novel game and otome, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Elsa from Frozen.
Wildfire:
Stop flirting with the competition.

Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English VN and otome game.
Arsenik:
You make it sound like we’re the ones competing with them.

Ambrosia of free English otome, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Elsa from Frozen.
Ambrosia:
If I didn’t tell him about the choices available to him, then he would be at a disadvantage, Lady Wildfire.

Wildfire of the Valkyrie from War (X Playing Pieces), free English visual novel and otome game.
Wildfire:
If you ask me, I wouldn’t underestimate him.  Now, go!  Don’t just stare at us.

 Banality Man from KONOL Games' visual novel game.

Banality Man: Curses, they’ve discovered my archnemesis—the culinary arts! At least I’ve been given recourse to phone a friend.

[Pulls out phone]

Banality Man from KONOL Games' visual novel game.
Banality Man:
Hmm… I bet the judges could really go for a pizza. I think I’ll call my friend Beretta Mondatta and see if she can help!

[Dials]

Beretta Mondatta from the free English visual novel game.
Beretta Mondatta: Hey, what’s up?

Banality Man from KONOL Games' visual novel game.
Banality Man:
Beretta, you’re Italian. Make me a pizza!

Beretta Mondatta from the free English visual novel game.
Beretta Mondatta: Uh, first off, no. Second off, even if I wasn’t slightly offended by that, if you need a pizza, you definitely called the wrong person.

Banality Man from KONOL Games' visual novel game.
Banality Man:
Please? I’m on television. I think it might be The Great British Baking Show because everyone’s talking funny and asking me to cook, although I haven’t really been paying attention.

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Chase:
Huh?  British?

Wildfire of the Valkyrie from War (X Playing Pieces), free English visual novel and otome game.
Wildfire:
Beats me.  Maybe he meant to say ‘Brinish’?

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Chase:
Brinish? Oh, he’s talking about seawater?  Maybe he’ll make us something with seaweed.

Banality Man from KONOL Games' visual novel game.
Banality Man:
Is there anything you can cook?

Beretta Mondatta from the free English visual novel game.
Beretta Mondatta:
Well… I’m real great at toast. Like, maybe the best in the world. I can talk you through it if you need help.

Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English VN and otome game.
Arsenik: 
He’s speaking in reference to a particular region known as Britain.  However, I’m not all too certain how he arrived at that conclusion.  The only one with the hint of an accent is Imugi, and even then, it doesn’t sound very…British.

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Chase:
Don’t you mean brinish?

Banality Man from KONOL Games' visual novel game.
Banality Man:
Anything else? I need to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Beretta Mondatta from the free English visual novel game.
Beretta Mondatta:
Just trust the toast, bro. Toast for every meal.

Banality Man from KONOL Games' visual novel game.
Banality Man:
Got it! Sounds like a plan.

Wind of the Imugi from free English otome and visual novel game, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Dark Link.
Wind: 
Like you even know what a British person sounds like.

Smiling Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome and visual novel game.
Arsenik:
I conduct my research, Imugi. When you’re inviting guests over, you would do well to study their culture and customs beforehand.

Wind of the Imugi from free English otome and visual novel game, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Dark Link.
Wind:
Guests?  Sounds more like prey.

Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English VN and otome game.
Arsenik:
You would think that way.

Wind of the Imugi from free English otome and visual novel game, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Dark Link.
Wind:
Don’t act like you know me.

Princess Yanyu of Reflections on the River, a free English visual novel game by Stardust Soda for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Yanyu:
Our first challenge… is to cook?

Prince Shun of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Shun:
I did learn some basic skills pertaining to food preparation when I stayed at Zheng’s…

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Zheng:
Well, aren’t you two royal siblings glad that this ‘vile witch’ is here with you for this challenge?

[The royal siblings stood in silence, watching the ground as the youth gloated.]
Prince Shun of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Shun:
You must admit, without Zheng, the two of us would struggle to prepare one meal, let alone three for our judges.

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Princess Yanyu:
…If anything, I can still make better tea.

Zheng of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel for NaNoRenO 2016.
Zheng:
Yeah, tea-brewing alone isn’t going to cut it. We need to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Princess Yanyu of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO.
Princess Yanyu:
At least they were nice enough to give us all we need.

Prince Shun of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Shun:
Have you decided on what dishes will be prepared for the judges?

Princess Yanyu of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO.
Princess Yanyu:
We should prepare some Nantu delicacies, like Ascetic’s Temptation and Jiangcheng-style Roast Duck! That’ll surely make us the winners-

Zheng from free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016, Reflections on the River.
Zheng:
Whoa, dishes with proper names and everything? Look, I’m not a culinary expert, so we’ll have to keep it simple.

Princess Yanyu of Reflections on the River, a free English visual novel game by Stardust Soda for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Yanyu:
That’s true… It’s not like the dishes will be made for us by our royal attendants…

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Zheng:
Must be hard to be deprived of your foot servants for a day. How do people live like that?

Prince Shun from Reflections on the River, free English VN game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Shun:
There is no time for wishful thinking. I will defer to your decisions, Zheng.

Zheng from free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016, Reflections on the River.
Zheng:
We’ll start with congee and youtiao for breakfast, hmm, maybe radish cake and some fried rice for lunch and then dinner will be an all-out feast with steamed garoupa! I’ll even make a special dessert. Is that fancy enough for you?

Princess Yanyu of Reflections on the River, a free English visual novel game by Stardust Soda for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Yanyu:
It sounds like we’re feeding the sick…

Prince Shun of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Shun:
These dishes certainly will not upset the stomachs of those who are unfamiliar with our cuisine. It might even better reflect the daily life of a Nantu citizen. We can think of it as giving the judges a more authentic experience of our culture.

Princess Yanyu of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO.
Princess Yanyu:
If you put it that way, it does sound a little better!

Zheng of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel for NaNoRenO 2016.
Zheng:
 Yes, yes, what better than the authentic cuisine of Nantu’s poor.

[The youth seemed to shrug off the royals’ opinions on their suggested dishes easily, and busied themself with collecting all the necessary ingredients.]

Zheng of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel for NaNoRenO 2016.
Zheng:
You know, I also had to keep it simple since I had to take into account your cooking skills. …Or lack thereof.

[The last line was said with a smirk as Zheng arranged the ingredients and tools on their team’s work station with ease. The royal siblings stood to the side, as if waiting for instruction.]

Zheng from free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016, Reflections on the River.
Zheng:
Yanyu, I’ll entrust you with the preparation of the rice for all three meals. I’m sure you can handle that.

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Princess Yanyu:
Excuse me, even a princess knows at least how to prepare the staple food of her country.

[Princess Yanyu huffed a little in protest, but obediently set off to measure out rice and water.]

Zheng of Reflections on the River, free English visual novel for NaNoRenO 2016.
Zheng:
I’d hope so. We don’t really need another crunchy congee experience.

Prince Shun from NaNoRenO 2016
Prince Shun:
Yes, we can do without the memory of such an event at this crucial time. Thank you very much.

Zheng from free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016, Reflections on the River.
Zheng:
Anyway, Princeling, you can slice up the radish for the radish cake, the garnishes for the fish, and anything else that needs slicing.

Prince Shun of Reflections on the River, free OELVN game released for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Shun:
That sounds within my capabilities.

Zheng from free English visual novel game for NaNoRenO 2016, Reflections on the River.
Zheng:
It better, ‘cause I don’t know what else you’d be able to do if you couldn’t even handle that.

[The Prince took his insult easily with a light laugh, before getting to his assigned work.

Meanwhile, Princess Charming enters the room. The three princes trail behind her, looking a little lost.  Prince Snow turns to address Princess Charming with a hesitant look on his face.]

Prince Snow from Lads in Distress, free English visual novel game and otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Snow
: Do you need my help with this challenge, Charming? I suppose I can cook, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything special. I did spend most days eating at the tavern after work instead.

Prince Mer from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Mer’s Illusion
: I’m afraid I’m not much better at cooking. I never had much food to work with as a child, and when I lived at the palace, I was never allowed to cook myself.

[Princess Charming winks with a light laugh.]

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Don’t worry. I got this. This challenge is easy.

Neutral Prince Zel from free English otome and NaNoRenO 2016 visual novel game, Lads in Distress.
Prince Zel:
What do you have in mind, Charming?

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Just wait and see.

[Princess Charming stares at the table in front of her intently, a look of concentration on her face. The princes turn their gazes to the table, waiting in confusion.]

[Suddenly, the table is filled with delicate food, ranging from three-tiered chocolate cakes to plates of pancakes and steak. Prince Zel lets out an exclamation of surprise, his eyes sparkling as he practically drools at the buffet in front of him. Prince Snow recovers from his shock quickly, nodding in admiration. Prince Mer merely smiles, his composed demeanor in place as usual.]

Happy Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Ta da.

Neutral Prince Zel from free English otome and NaNoRenO 2016 visual novel game, Lads in Distress.
Prince Zel
: Heavens! This is amazing, Charming!

Prince Snow from Lads in Distress, free English visual novel game and otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Snow
: Impressive indeed. This should easily put us in the lead, I would imagine.

Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English VN and otome game.
Arsenik: It would be, if it was allowed.

[Arsenik stands at the doorway, an easy smile on his lips.  With Onyx overseeing one of the other teams, he had taken it upon himself to monitor the third group.  Unfolding his crossed arms, he moves to approach them.  When he’s at an arm’s length, he sweeps a hand against his chest and inclines his body forward in a slight bow.]

Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome game filled with bishies.
Arsenik: Your Highnesses…

[When he straightens to his full height, it’s easy to see that he’s a tall man, well over six feet – someone much accustomed to overshadowing others.  He looks kindly upon Charming, dipping his head ever so slightly in an effort to meet her gaze from his stature.]

Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English VN and otome game.
Arsenik:
The fault lies with me.  I should have been more specific.  You may avail yourself to any of the equipment within this room, but as exceptional as your power is, you aren’t allowed to use any extraordinary abilities that would put the others at a disadvantage.

[Princess Charming crosses her arms, frowning.]

Pouty Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Do none of the other teams have magic as well?

[There’s a moment’s worth of hesitation, one that’s barely noticeable.  You might choose to believe he’s thinking it over.]

Smiling Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome and visual novel game.
Arsenik:
If they do, none quite so lofty as yours.  For that reason, let’s not put the other teams on unequal footing.

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Princess Charming
: Very well. We understand. We won’t use any of this food for the challenge.

[Prince Zel’s gaze has not left the table of food this entire time, and at Princess Charming’s words, his head snaps up. He looks at Charming eagerly with pleading eyes.]

Hungry Zel from Lads in Distress, free VN game.
Prince Zel
: Does that mean I can eat this, Charming?

[Princess Charming’s pout turns into a reluctant, amused smile.]

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Oh, go ahead. No point letting all this food go to waste.

[Prince Zel cheers and immediately starts digging in, letting out moans of appreciation.]

Prince Snow from Lads in Distress, free English visual novel game and otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Snow
: In that case, I’ll help myself to a slice of cake as well.

[Princess Charming rolls her eyes as her companions all start hungrily consuming her hard work. She turns to eye Arsenik, who’s still standing nearby. She sighs before smiling in a friendly manner.]

Happy Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Would you like to try some of this food as well? Of course, we won’t ask for this to be judged. It’s just that it is impossible for the four of us to finish all the food on this table ourselves, so it would be our pleasure to share some with the hosts as a token of our gratitude for this opportunity to join the show.

[One brow raises before Arsenik’s lips break into another smile.]

Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome game filled with bishies.
Arsenik:
That’s very kind of you.  Or, perhaps, I should say sly?  To bribe a judge.

[He chuckles in clear indication of it being a mild jest.]

Smiling Arsenik of the Hulder from War (X Playing Pieces), free English otome and visual novel game.
Arsenik:
Very well.  It would be an honor, Your Highness.  However, I think it would be wise to limit my portion.  I don’t know how many meals I’ll have to judge.

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: That’s understandable. Well, help yourself to as much food as you want. If Zel fights you for a particular dish, tell him I said the hosts should get first pickIn any case, I suppose we should get back to actual cooking. My princes?

[She turns to her teammates, who are still too busy eating to respond to her. She lets out a sigh.]

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Princess Charming
: I suppose I’ll try to make good use of this time to perhaps learn more about the hosts. We do have to pick three as our judges after all… It would be an advantage if we can figure out their tastes in advance.

[Swiping a plate of some strange delicacy off the table, Princess Charming makes her way towards Night. She stops in front of him, holding out her plate as an offering as she bobs a quick curtsy.]

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Night, I believe? Greetings. I was just informed that food created with magic is not allowed for this challenge, so now I have a full table of food to share with everyone. I figured you might enjoy this particular dish — it seems interesting, just like you.

[She winks at him playfully with a flirtatious smile.]

Night of the Vi from War (X Playing Pieces), OELVN and free English otome game.
Night:
It would be my honor.

[His smile broadens faintly, an invitingly sensual smile in return for her flirtatious one.]

Night of the Vi from War (X Playing Pieces), OELVN and free English otome game.
Night:
Feed me then.

[Princess Charming tries not to let her surprise show. Standing up straighter, she gives him a charming smirk.]

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Open your mouth then.

[He obliges her, leaning his head down and meeting her eye.]

Night of the Vi from War (X Playing Pieces), OELVN and free English otome game.
Night:
Ah…

[Princess Charming lifts the fork to his mouth, gently feeding him a bite while staring into his eyes. As she slides the fork into his mouth, the warm weight of his hand alights on the side of her fingers, almost as if steadying them.

She breaks the eye contact, her eyes flitting to the side as though to regain her composure before returning to Night, a slight hint of a blush on her cheeks. She gives a teasing smile.]

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Princess Charming
: Well? How was the food? Did you enjoy it?

Night of the Vi from War (X Playing Pieces), OELVN and free English otome game.
Night:
It’s as interesting as you said it would be.

[His thumb strokes the back of her fingers once, with an absentmindedness that makes it seem entirely accidental, before he withdraws his hand from hers.

There’s a hint of satisfaction in Princess Charming’s smile as she winks at him.]

Winking Princess Charming from free English visual novel, Lads in Distress.
Princess Charming
: I knew you would enjoy this. It does seem to be the kind of food you would like. I’m glad I wasn’t wrong. Here, you can have the whole dish. Have as much as you want.

[He accepts the dish with a low chuckle.]

Night of the Vi from War (X Playing Pieces), OELVN and free English otome game.
Night:
All right.  Are you planning to make this when the time comes for judging?

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Princess Charming: Unfortunately, most likely no. We aren’t allowed to use my magic for the challenge, and it depends on what my companions can cook. Speaking of that, I suppose I should return to them and discuss our strategies for the challenge. Thank you, Night. It has been a pleasure.

[Princess Charming curtsies at him, a light smile playing on her lips. She turns and walks back to where her teammates are huddled.

Before she can reach them, Ambrosia intercepts her path.]

Ambrosia of free English otome, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Elsa from Frozen.
Ambrosia:
Ah, Your Highness?

[She pauses to give a respectful bow in greeting.]

Ambrosia from free English visual novel, War (X Playing Pieces), in Queen Elsa cosplay.
Ambrosia:
I do hope this will not sound presumptuous.  I know not of what you think of him but…

[She lowers her voice until it’s above a whisper.]

Ambrosia of free English otome, War (X Playing Pieces), cosplaying as Elsa from Frozen.
Ambrosia:
Please be careful around him.

[Princess Charming cocks her head to the side in confusion.]

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Princess Charming
: What do you mean? Who? Night?

[Ambrosia inclines her head in the barest of nods.]

Ambrosia from free English visual novel, War (X Playing Pieces), in Queen Elsa cosplay.
Ambrosia:
Yes.  He is not to be trusted.

[She makes another bow – this one, in parting.  She moves back, preparing to stand beside the perpetually glowering Wind again.

Princess Charming stares after her, her brows furrowed. After a moment, her expression clears, and she continues walking back to where her team awaits.]

Prince Snow from Lads in Distress, free English visual novel game and otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Snow
: What did she say to you, Charming?

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Nothing of importance. Well then. After that unexpected food break, we need to get back to work.

[Princess Charming shoots them a playful glare, at which they bow their heads in shame.]

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: So what should we do for the challenge, since I’m not allowed to use magic anymore?

[Silence ensues. After a few moments, Prince Zel coughs, causing the others to turn to look at him. His face flushes red before he speaks in such a quiet voice that his teammates have to lean in to hear.]

Neutral Prince Zel from free English otome and NaNoRenO 2016 visual novel game, Lads in Distress.
Prince Zel
: I can cook if you want me to. I have had a lot of practice over the years. There isn’t much else to do while in the tower, after all.

[Princess Charming’s face is lit up by a brilliant smile.]

Happy Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: You are a lifesaver, Zel. Thank you. Please. The kitchen is all yours.

[Prince Zel blushes at her words, ducking his head.]

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Prince Zel
: I – I will do my best, Charming!

[Prince Zel looks around the room, his confusion growing with every passing second as he takes in all the strange appliances and machinery. His frown melts into a relieved smile when his gaze falls onto the pots and pans near the fireplace in the corner.]

Neutral Prince Zel from free English otome and NaNoRenO 2016 visual novel game, Lads in Distress.
Prince Zel
: Yes, I can definitely work with this.

Prince Snow from Lads in Distress, free English visual novel game and otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Snow:
Wait a moment. Before we get started, we need to choose three judges, as well as come up with a theme.

Prince Mer from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Mer’s Illusion: Does anyone have any clue what kind of taste each host has in food?

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Well, I did talk to Night for a while. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too much useful information out of him, but I have an inkling that he would be into something more… exotic. Interesting. Preferably a dish one’s never heard of before. Zel? Would you happen to know how to cook anything like that?

[Prince Zel looks thoughtful for a moment, then nods hesitantly.]

Neutral Prince Zel from free English otome and NaNoRenO 2016 visual novel game, Lads in Distress.
Prince Zel
: Possibly. Though it really depends on our theme as well.

Prince Snow from Lads in Distress, free English visual novel game and otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Snow
: Zel, if you will be the one doing all the cooking, why don’t you choose a style for the food first?

[Prince Zel looks to Princess Charming for approval, and she nods.]

Neutral Prince Zel from free English otome and NaNoRenO 2016 visual novel game, Lads in Distress.
Prince Zel
: Ah… well… I suppose when I’m cooking, I tend to go for a food style that is more… comforting and warm. Perhaps with a feel of home.

[Prince Zel flushes again and averts his eyes, embarrassed by the personal revelation.]

Prince Snow from Lads in Distress, free English visual novel game and otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Snow
: Hmm… We can work with that. What about… Mother’s cooking?

[Princess Charming frowns while Prince Zel’s face lights up with a smile.]

Happy Prince Zel of Lads in Distress, free otome game.
Prince Zel
: Oh! I know what you mean. I haven’t exactly had experience with it myself, but I’ve read about it in books. I know what kind of feel you are going for. I can do that, I think.

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Well, I personally don’t really know what that means, because my mother never had time to cook for me herself, but if Zel likes this theme, then I suppose this is settled. Unless there are any objections?

[Prince Mer shakes his head with a soft smile.]

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Mer’s Illusion
: I think this is a wonderful idea. I have very fond memories of my mother’s cooking when I was a child before she passed away. Nothing really compares to my mother’s blueberry pie.

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: We will go with this theme then. However, how would this tie in with the exotic, strange dish we plan on preparing for Night?

Neutral Prince Zel from free English otome and NaNoRenO 2016 visual novel game, Lads in Distress.
Prince Zel
: Don’t mothers often experiment with strange food? I’ve heard children often complain about their mother’s new recipes that almost always ends up a disaster.

[Princess Charming eyes him in surprise and new appreciation.]

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Princess Charming
: That’s smart. Rather creative as well. I approve. I trust you have a kind of dish in mind?

[The tips of Prince Zel’s ears turn red at her compliment.]

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Prince Zel
: Y-yes. You can rely on me, Charming!

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: Perfect. Who should be the last two judges? Any ideas?

Prince Snow from Lads in Distress, free English visual novel game and otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Prince Snow
: I vote for Ambrosia. Perhaps Chase as well.

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: I think that sounds fair. I don’t have any particular preferences, honestly.

[Prince Mer simply shrugs while Prince Zel nods with a smile.]

Princess Charming from Lads in Distress, free English otome game for NaNoRenO 2016.
Princess Charming
: That’s the plan then. Zel, feel free to start cooking whenever you want.

Happy Prince Zel of Lads in Distress, free otome game.
Prince Zel
: Yes, Charming!

[Prince Zel immediately starts rummaging through the pots and pans, his concentration showing plain as day on his face as he tries to decide on what dishes to cook. He starts murmuring to himself as he looks for ingredients in the shelf nearby, counting off items on his mental checklist. Occasionally, while Prince Zel is cooking, he will hum a tune softly, eliciting a smile from Princess Charming. ]

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Paige: So… cooking. I can make some pretty run of the mill stuff, but I don’t think that’s going to impress anyone. What about you guys?

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Colt: This isn’t the best competition for me…

Smirking Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing.
Blake: The only person I’ve ever known who doesn’t know how to work a microwave.

Sad Colt from 2 Minutes for Roughing.
Colt: It was one time! I figured it would be faster than boiling the water on the stove. I was hungry!

Smirking Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing.
Blake: I thought that exploding microwave thing only happened in fiction.

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Paige: What about you, Jordan?

[Jordan shook his head.]

Jordan from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English VN for NaNoRenO 2016.
Jordan
: My mom does all the cooking at my house.

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Paige: Darn it, I guess we will just come up with some simple stuff and hope the taste is good enough to win them over.

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Blake: Yeah, whatever, don’t even bother to ask me.

[Paige spun towards Blake in shock. Blake almost backtracked when he saw how thrilled she was.]

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Paige: You can cook?! Why didn’t you say so from the beginning?

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Blake: I’m not a master chef or anything. Take a chill pill.

Jordan from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English VN for NaNoRenO 2016.
Jordan
: He’s lying. He’s really good at it.

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Colt: Seriously, the one thing you actually have some skill in and now you want to be humble?

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Blake
: Shut up, Colt.

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Paige
: Alright, we just need to figure out what to make then.

[Paige started going through the various refrigerators and cabinets to get some ideas. She froze when she opened one fridge door in particular.]

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Paige: Oh. My. —.

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Colt: What is it?

[Colt joined her and he had to cover his mouth to keep from openly drooling. The fridge had to contain every cheese known to exist.]

Shocked Colt from 2 Minutes for Roughing, VN game for NaNoRenO 2016.

Colt: This is what heaven must look like.

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Blake
: Oh dear —, you two have serious issues.

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Paige: Let’s do a cheese theme!

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Blake
: What– no! That’s not a theme! That’s an ingredient.

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Paige: Come on, please, Blake. Pretty, pretty please.

[She took his hand as she pleaded with him, and he averted his eyes, trying to hide his blush.]

Blushing Blak
Blake: F-Fine, just stop looking at me like that. And we can’t put a block of cheese on a plate. We need to figure out what to make.

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Colt: We should pick which judges to give each dish to and try to match their tastes.

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Paige: So what do we know? Ambrosia, she seems like she would enjoy something sweet and maybe colorful?

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Blake: And apparently it needs to include cheese for you addicts.

[Jordan held up his phone which has some cute mobile cooking game. There was a picture of some fruit crepes.]

Jordan from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English VN for NaNoRenO 2016.
Jordan
: Like this?

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Paige: Yeah, that would be perfect!

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Blake
: You want me to make crepes… You aren’t going to make this easy on me, are you?

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Paige: Well, how about I make lunch then? I’ll make my patented three cheese grilled cheese and fries.

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Colt: Or you could make that for us and force Blake to do all the work.

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Blake
: Haha, real funny. Paige, who are you making this sandwich for?

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Paige: Um… Chase?

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, English visual novel game for NaNo 2016.
Blake: Any particular reason?

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Paige: I don’t know, I really like the name Chase. It’s such a cool name.

[Blake responded with a roll of his eyes.]

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Blake: You can be so weird sometimes. What about dinner?

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Paige: How about… Arsenik?

Annoyed Colt from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome f
Colt: That guy seems like he has really sophisticated tastes. I feel like whatever we make would not only have to be delicious but also look like a masterpiece too.

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Blake
: I have a recipe in mind, but I’m not one for the presentation cBlack bar for the blog of Dreamgazer, English visual novel developer and studio.. Food is for eating not framing.

Jordan from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English VN for NaNoRenO 2016.
Jordan
: You just want it to look like this stuff, right?

[He pointed to the pictures on his phone again.]

Jordan from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English VN for NaNoRenO 2016.
Jordan
: I can do that.

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Colt: Oh yeah, Jordan is a graphic designer. That would be right up his alley!

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, English visual novel game for NaNo 2016.
Blake: Alright. Paige and I will make the food, Jordan can arrange it. And Colt…

[Colt stared at Blake expectantly.]

Smirking Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing.
Blake: You can go stand in the corner.

[Colt pouted as it seemed like a miniature rain cloud formed above his head.]

Annoyed Paige from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Paige: Blake, don’t be mean. I’m sure there’s something he can do.

Blake from 2 Minutes for Roughing, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Blake
: Fine, you can fetch the ingredients for me. Just don’t blow anything up on the way to the fridge.

[Colt muttered something beneath his breath but followed his directions.]

[The group of three huddles next to their prep counter.]

Bianca Hayes from Between the Lines, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Bianca
: Cooking… Ettore, how good are you at that, anyway?  You do know how to make more than just pasta, right?

Ettore from Between the Lines, free NaNo 2016 game and English otome
Ettore
: Of course. I own a few recipe books that I’ve learned from.  Dinner… I think I have a recipe in mind for that.

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Ettore: Something light and warm before you go to bed would be good, right? Like soup.

Happy Cecil from Between the Lines, free English VN for NaNoRenO 2016.
Cecil
: Ah, and I can bake some bread to go with it!

Bianca Hayes from Between the Lines, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Bianca
: Sounds good to me. Um, so that’s dinner taken care of…Oh, by the way, I think I can do a good breakfast.

Neutral Cecil from Between the Lines, English visual novel and dating sim for NaNoRenO 2016.
Cecil
: What are you thinking of?

Happy Bianca from Between the Lines, free English otome.
Bianca
: You’re supposed to eat heavily in the morning, so I was thinking something like a breakfast platter.

[As they’re chatting, the group makes their way to the pantry, gathering the ingredients they know they need. Cecil is carrying everything in a big basket, but surprisingly, he isn’t having a very hard time doing it.]

Smiling Ettore from Between the Lines, dating sim and English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Ettore
: You sound like you know your stuff, Bianca.

Bianca Hayes from Between the Lines, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Bianca
: …I like breakfast.

Sad Cecil from Between the Lines, free dating sim for NaNo 2016.
Cecil
: W-what about lunch, though? I’m sorry; I can’t really think of anything…

Ettore from Between the Lines, free NaNo 2016 game and English otome
Ettore
: I’m afraid I’m at a bit of a loss as well.

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Bianca
: How about something simple, like… uh, sandwiches, or something like that.

Ettore from Between the Lines, free NaNo 2016 game and English otome
Ettore
: Will sandwiches alone make for a filling lunch, though?

Bianca Hayes from Between the Lines, free English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Bianca:
Well, back in my world, we paired sandwiches with things like… potato wedges.

Happy Cecil from Between the Lines, free English VN for NaNoRenO 2016.
Cecil
: Ah, that sounds kinda nice…

[Bianca scans the shelves and finds a bag of potatoes. She shrugs, and puts them into the basket.]

Happy Cecil from Between the Lines, free English VN for NaNoRenO 2016.
Cecil
: Is there anything else we need?

Smiling Ettore from Between the Lines, dating sim and English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Ettore
: We have the orange juice for breakfast, right? Do you have anything else in mind for lunch and dinner?

Happy Bianca from Between the Lines, free English otome.
Bianca
: Hmm. Maybe lemon water…

Smiling Ettore from Between the Lines, dating sim and English otome for NaNoRenO 2016.
Ettore
: That sounds like it’d be quite refreshing.

[The three go back and forth for a little while, looking through the available ingredients, bouncing ideas for meals back and forth in a surprisingly light conversation. Remembering that they’re on a time limit, Ettore leads the two away from the pantry and to the kitchen. Bianca and Cecil tie their hair back – Cecil seems to struggle a little – and they begin.]


NEXT: The 1st Challenge – Let’s Cook, Chefs!!!

As of this moment, Lads in Distress is in the lead for who y’all think will win.  If you haven’t cast your vote yet, do it here!

And now, who will win over the judges’ stomaches?!  Find out next week or by following Dreamgazer on tumblr.

Best of luck to them all!

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2 thoughts on “NaNoRenO Game Show: The 1st Challenge – A Challenging Test of Skill

  1. Pingback: NaNoRenO Game Show: Start! (feat. many insanely fun visual novels) | Dreamgazer

  2. Pingback: The NaNoRenO Game Show: Allez cuisine – Start Cooking, Chefs!!! | Dreamgazer

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