Character appearances, just for clarification. The story starts after the sentence in bold font.
Ice: A ten foot tall giant with black hair and blue eyes. The hair forms a fringe over his eyes.
Crystal: She has curly black hair and bright black eyes. Crystal's about five feet eight inches tall.
Shadow Storm: Ice's pet dire wolf (absolutely non-human) with black fur and eyes. He is very fat with stick legs.
Megami: A brown-skinned girl with purple-pink hair and green eyes. She wears the pink healer's uniform.
Blezzo: A redheaded catboy with red eyes who wears a burgundy trenchcoat and burgundy trousers.
Patrick: He wears a black trenchcoat with green trimmings, otherwise, he looks like other alpha pirates. Pat has black punk hair and black eyes.
Emily Christina: Emily's a flapper-esque showgirl with yellow-brown hair and blue eyes. She normally powders her skin so that the paleness is not so obvious.
There was a showgirl...
A girl with black hair was humming to herself as she preened in the backroom. It was a sunny evening, the kind that made one a bit calmer after the hard task of defending Battleon in the day. As she walked around the room looking at all the colorful costumes, she was interrupted by somebody banging on the door while yelling his head off, "Crystal Lion! Help!"
"Stop that!" Crystal said sternly.
"Help! It's me, Ice! Shadow Storm's dead!" the voice yelled again. The door opened and a black-haired giant looked in. His bright blue eyes were wide with dismay.
"Dead!? What do you mean he's died?" Crystal asked, looking anxious.
"He's drowned!" yelled Ice. "He's jumped into the river to kill himself!"
"Shadow!? Why did he do that?" Crystal asked worriedly.
"He couldn't stand what's happened to almost all the women on Lore, including you. He said he wanted to drown himself because everyone's falling into corruption. Pete fished him out from the south but he's turned to stone." Ice blabbered at length, then a big black thing floated through the backroom's door.
"Oh! Poor boy." Crystal patted the frozen head. "Can't you thaw him out?"
"Shadow's last words to me were to revive him when you dress like a Lion and act like one once again. He really disliked your choice of becoming a showgirl just like everyone else. I thought you knew they had fairly loose morals compared to us animal folk. And if I were to thaw him, he'd just drown himself again, and again until you do as he says."
"Being a dancer's what I've always wanted, Ice." the black-haired showgirl muttered and stretched herself. Ice couldn't answer, he thought Crystal was looking for fame and fortune, how could she do that as a showgirl? Unless showgirls could also train as warriors on the side. Ice watched as she put on a pair of silver-colored platform shoes and stood up. She looked like a jester in a swimsuit decorated with holly and little jingling bells.
"Isn't it tough dancing in those heels, Lion?"
"Not when you've practiced for several months now." answered the Lion.
"I won't fall, don't worry. Come over to Yulgar's inn tonight, it's my first proper debut as a showgirl." Crystal looked disturbed at the news of Shadow freezing.
"Well, okay, Crystal, it's just that I don't really like where you're heading into this showbiz."
"You worry too much. It's just like any other line of work," Crystal replied and continued preparing for the show. There was another knock on the door. "Who's there?" both Ice and Crystal asked aloud.
"Me, Pat." said a young man's voice and the door opened. A black-haired, sickly-skinned, black-eyed young man wearing a black trenchcoat with shirt and pants stepped in. He stopped and stared, dumbfounded by what Crystal wore. "Erh, jester showgirl." he said. Ice didn't know what tone Pat said it in.
"Nice?" was what Crystal asked immediately.
"So weird!" Pat grinned. "It's more jester. You're being funny tonight."
"Is he performing anything?" Ice asked.
"He'll run up on stage during our performance and cancan with us."
"Who's we?" Ice was persistent.
"Me and Emily." was her reply. Ice was dumb with shock.
"Excuse me, Lion," Ice hastily remarked and left the backroom for the cool winter evening outside. He could hear his friend talking to Pat in the room.
Ice walked along the footpaths in Battleon muttering, "Something's wrong with Crystal's head, and all the other ladies' heads. Why on Lore does she think it's okay to wear a swimsuity-licious uniform?"
He passed by Valencia, who was shouting, "Get your rare seasonal stuff! Once gone, they'll never be sold again!"
The giant stopped and looked at her. Valencia had purple hair, green eyes, and the most modest costume currently in Lore for now. She was wearing a blouse and scarlet tight pants.
"I guess I'd better train myself in Oishii's place." Ice took out his map and teleported to the fruity-tutti house.
Oishii was still crying as Ice appeared in front of her. "Help! My recipe's ruined!" she bawled at him. Someone else ran up to speak to her, so Ice dashed into the pumpkin house. The Dire ran into several fruits with legs, they jumped up at him. In disgust, he kicked them and cast an ice curse to freeze them. The frozen fruits were dealt with quickly. Ice was very engrossed in his practice until he almost forgot about Crystal's show.
"Shoot! I forgot to go back for the show!" Ice exclaimed and took out his map. He teleported into Yulgar's basement and dashed up the stairs.
As he reached the lounge, Ice saw a makeshift stage in the middle of the room. There were tables around the stage, and they were nearly filled. Ice saw Megami sitting by herself at one of the tables close to the stage, so he joined her.
"What's the matter, Ice?" asked the pink hunting dog. She was reading a comic.
"I feel sick with Crystal, fancy wanting to be a saloon girl. What Pat makes of it I don't think I want to know."
"Aw, he's fine with it. Crystal's been a showgirl for a long time, Ice, have you forgotten?"
As Meg said it, Ice felt a dreadful misgiving in his heart. He thought to himself, "If she's been a showgirl for a long time, Shadow wouldn't have befriended her at all. But he froze himself when he knew everything was corrupted. Crystal's fallen under a spell, along with all the other women in Lore."
Meg watched as a redhead ran up to the stage and yelled, "Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Adventure Quest heroes show! I'm your host, Blezzo."
"Say meow!" laughed Pat.
"Pat, I'll expect you to say meow too, if I do meow." Blezzo stuck out his tongue.
"Meeeeeow!" Pat and several other youths mimicked cats.
"And tonight, we have the Lion of Vegas to put on a show!" meowed Blezzo. "Along with the beagle-mimi girl Emily Christina. Give a hand to these fellas!" the redhead grinned at Pat and stepped back.
Ice was sitting at a table and pulled a scarf over his ears. "I can't believe Crystal would do something like this." he grumbled to Meg.
"Even if you voted nay against the dumb suits we must wear now, we're still in the modesty minority. Get with the times, Ice." the pink hunting dog replied. "The inn's warm, so you don't have to fret over Crystal's cold."
Ice continued to grumble. He hated being warm, he loved winter best, being an ice giant.
"We all know who the Lion of Vegas is." snorted a guy with brown hair in his eyes. He looked a bit younger than Ice.
"Shut up, Kyle," Blezzo poked his head out and hissed at him. "Can't we have a little drama here? Oh yes, it's showtime! Come on out."
Two scantily-clad girls stepped out onto the makeshift stage in the lounge. One of them had brown hair and wore pirate-esque lingerie with angels' wings, while the black-haired showgirl was decked in holly and bells. They turned to face the audience. Ice groaned in disgust, he still couldn't believe that it was Crystal up there.
Blezzo dashed to a gramophone and started it. The old machine played a song that sounded like a jungle beat and a capital city beat mixed up together. For the life of him, Ice couldn't figure out the song, but the showgirls seemed to dance perfectly in time with it. Halfway into the dance, Crystal stamped her platform shoes on the floor and the song changed into the beat of a Spanish flamenco.
"Viva Las Vegas!" Crystal and Emily declared at the end of their dance. They bowed as nearly everyone screamed "Encore! Encore!"
"Wake up, Icy," Meg shook the giant's arm. "You've missed the show."
"Don't want to see it," he muttered crossly.
"Spoilsport much, Ice?" Meg giggled at him. Ice snorted and walked out of the inn, leaving a confused pink girl behind with the performers. The giant went for a walk in GreenGuard forest to enjoy the night.
"I'm not sure why it happened, but the Crystal I know would've laughed at the idea of being a swimsuity showgirl. Everything has become different, degrading to women. I must find out who's responsible for this mess. And I need no hands to do it!" Ice swore to himself as he looked at the moon sailing up in the black sky. "I must do it myself, and by my ancestral Dires, I'll succeed!"