Hey everyone! "I'm back and I'm flappin' free!" (kudos if you know where that quote is from! ;D) For anyone who has been wondering, NO I am NOT dead, simply distracted, as the ending AN will tell you. Just a quick tip here:
'Darotu' is pronounced 'Duh – row- two'
'Aritoka' is pronounced 'Air – ih - tow – kuh'.
'Tophete' is pronounced 'Toff – eat'
'Alduro' is pronounced '`Al – der – oh'
So, come one and all and enjoy the show! An Ice Age fairytale for the ages! (Please leave positive reviews!)
Diego's Cinderella Story
In the Ice Age, life was tough. For some, you were likely to die before full maturation. Or very soon after. So for the creatures that had a better chance of dying from age, the first thing in their mind as a brand new adult was to find a mate, which would inevitably lead to one or a whole group of little ones. However, one of
these luckier creatures, a saber in particular, had no desire for a mate for a lengthy amount of time after coming into adulthood. When he did, however, it was due to his natural instincts being awakened by seeing his own friend in such a position. Or perhaps it was at that point that he fully matured; no one really knows.
His story however, is one of adventure, daring courage, love, and as Sid would say 'magic', so for his sake we'll say that as well. Now, there was born a female saber, with fur as soft as a cloud, and as bright and orange as...an orange. There was really nothing else the same shade as her fur. Her body was thin and lithe, but her muscles were strong and sturdy. And she had the most beautiful curves a girl could wish for. But one thing marred her beauty, made her a monster instead of a princess by 'that' much. To the horror of those she knew, this saber had bright, violet eyes.
It was her only blemish, the one thing she hid shamefully from her kind. To do so, her kind mother had tediously weaved her a little crown out of twigs and hung a translucent green veil from it. She made multiple crown-veils as her daughter grew, hiding the girl's entire face throughout her life. Also making it appear as though her eyes were green. She longed to live life without her veil, to be free from the stares in wide eyed horror. But she soon discovered that in order to live like she dreamed, she would need to find the one person who truly loved her for who she was to be forever by her side. To find that male, however, was a difficult task.
And now we finally return to that male in question. Diego was one of the most handsome males for a long, and that means a long way around. But he never saw it in himself, and was even more put down by the fact that other guys looked down upon him and insulted his ways of living in a herd. So while he had enormous stores of pride, his self-esteem was one of the lowest you could ever see. He had a deep longing though; for company of his own kind that did not throw rude words back at him after every sentence he spoke. In fact, he was slowly warming up to the idea that finding a mate would perhaps be his greatest adventure of all. But simply going out and looking amongst all the pretty females wouldn't reward him with the perfect girl.
Most likely it wouldn't land him with any girl at all, if Sid's numerous examples were any indication. So he figured he would just wait and see. After all, ambushing was his thing. He realized that girls were a whole new level of prey, craftier, and would need some encouragement. So he ventured into saber territory for the first time in a good few years. At first he felt skittish and nervous among his own kind after staying away for so long. This was the point at which the other men began to tease him, saying he had grown soft living with herbivores.
Diego tried not to care, tried to block the pain out. Some girls seemed to take an interest in him, but very few. Nonetheless, he continued to stay and hang around, hoping to draw in a friendly conversation. He returned home dismal every night, but his long days of being away from home brought some reward. His herd always greeted him happily, eager to know what he had been engaging in. He smiled in the light of Peaches' great joy to see him, Manny and Sid's curiosity, and Ellie's concern. Even Crash and Eddie wanted to know why he had been gone.
Now, the girl with the violet eyes was also growing just as tired and weary as Diego in the long run of finding true love. Her mother and father saw how unhappy their daughter was, and finally decided that help from them was needed.
Diego sighed as he watched the sabers around him, chatting, sleeping, some anxious to go hunt down their noon meal. But as his eyes roved the landscape, they landed on a peculiar mark on a tree. Standing, he joined the throng that was now gathering. As he slowly made his way closer and closer, he noticed the other male sabers walking off with heads held high and confidant smiles on their faces. Once he finally reached the great, wide oak, he realized it was a carved invitation. Any pure male that wished to attend a gathering at the home of Marissa and Darotu could come and try their luck at winning the affection of their young daughter. This sparked Diego's curiosity; was this the girl he had been waiting for?
Was he the one who could win her love? "Ha! Diego you fool! Not a single saber considers you a friend, why would a probably very important, most likely beautiful girl be interested in you?" he thought. With a heavy sigh he shook his head and turned to go home. He was stopped before he could even leave the saber social grounds.
"Hey Diego! You planning on going to that big gathering?" a voice asked. Diego turned to see one of his many antagonizers, Hirper, smiling smugly at him. He frowned, but was given no chance to reply. " Cause if you are, I just wanted to let you know that if you planned on staring at Marissa and Darotu's daughter, you'll have to settle for staring at me too. " Diego rolled his eyes and turned away, walking back to his own territory. The other sabers' laughter as he trudged along didn't help.
He returned home more dismal than ever, and decided to simply lay by the herd's pond and mull over things. He doubted he could draw the attention of the daughter, but thought that perhaps if he did try, he could draw the interest of other girls. They liked brave guys right? Besides, the other males would perhaps then have a little respect for him, showing such backbone as to appear at a social gathering such as that one despite the obvious dislike he received. "Hey buddy, whatchya' doin'?" Sid startled Diego nearly out of his fur. He jumped and whipped around to see the sloth standing behind him with an innocent smile.
He growled lowly. "Can't you go scare Manny out of his fur instead? He could use it." he retorted. Sid shrugged and sat down next to him.
"So, is somethin' botherin' you?" he asked. Diego sighed and returned his eyes to the pool. He opened his mouth to tell Sid to jump into a raging river, but paused. Sid had kept his secret about his aqua phobia, hadn't he? He could keep this one too, right? He turned back to Sid, who appeared to be waiting for an answer.
"Uh, Diego, you should close that before some insect fly's in." he said, positioning his hand to close his friend's maw. Diego closed it himself, shook his head, and gave Sid a serious look.
"Sid...if I tell you what's on my mind, you must swear to me that you will tell no one what I am about to tell you." Sid nodded eagerly, giving one of his signature, idiotic smiles. Diego breathed in, then let out a deep sigh.
"You know how I go and watch the other sabers?"
"Well...these two sabers have invited any pure male to this, big, social gathering that they're planning, to try to find their daughter a mate." Sid gasped eagerly.
"Oooh!" he squealed. "I just know you'll have fun! You can make friends and meet some other girl's if you fail-"
"Sid, you really expect me to go to this thing?" Sid blinked.
" Well of course! You want to make some friends of your own kind, don't you?" Diego shrugged.
"After my experience...not really."
"Surely you'd like to acquaint yourself with some pretty girls? Find a girlfriend?" Diego bit his tongue. Hard. He spat out the blood onto the ground before replying. Sid had just unknowingly stumbled on his entire plan from the beginning of this whole 'social endeavor'.
"Sid, I..." His shoulders slumped. "I.." He sighed.
"...Well, if you're going to try your luck with this girl, you've got to open up a little." Diego stared at him in surprise.
"You become very easy to interpret after a while. Now, what I need to know is why you're reluctant to go, so I can help you." Diego snorted.
"I'm just not...welcome among their ranks." Sid was silent for a moment.
"Since when did you get so interpretive?"
"Since you left us to sit and stare all day at other sabers and listen to their criticizations."
"You followed me?"
"...Sometimes. Diego, just admit that you are socially inept." Diego opened his mouth to tell Sid off, but closed it and sighed.
"Fine. I didn't exactly grow up as a social butterfly, okay?"
"Aw, you'll get it, don't worry! It's not hard. I'll teach you."
"You'll teach me how to be social?"
"Of course! No one else in this herd can do it properly." Diego sighed. He hated to admit it, but Sid was probably right. Ellie would have probably done a good job too, but he couldn't let her know about this. Because if she knew, so would Manny. So he gave in.
"Fine. What's the first step to becoming social?" he asked.
"Well, you have to be open first of all."
"Diego, we both know you're lying."
"As I was saying, don't be too shy to walk up and say 'Hey I'm Diego! What's your name?'"
"I think everyone there knows my name by now, Sid."
"I bet the girl you're aiming for won't." Diego sighed.
"And you can't let the other lot of guys get to ya'."
"They're all lieing and they just want girls to think they look better than you. Which, believe my buddy, they got nothin' on ya'."
"Who do you hang around with all day, Manny and Peaches?"
"Sometimes." Diego sighed, and waited as Sid stared at him for a while. "You know...Diego, have you ever...ah, what would the manly term be for it?" The saber raised an eyebrow. "You know, gussied up? Made yourself look 'sharp'?" Sid asked. Diego wrinkled his nose.
"Never had any interest for it."
"Well, maybe you oughta' start."
"Sid, I don't do stuff like this, therefore I have no reason to ever want to-"
"Well you're gonna' start on the night of that gathering, so quit complaining."
"Why are you making such a big deal out of this anyway? I thought you said those guys had 'nothin' on me'." Sid shrugged.
"Well, I learned in my teen years that if you want to go to some big social gathering and you want to avoid bullying-"
"Sid," Diego practically whined. "They're not-"
"Then sometimes it helps if you just make yourself unrecognizable." Diego blinked.
"You mean cover myself with so much stuff they can't recognize me?"
"Sounds kinda' childish."
"And I suppose you have a better idea?" Diego growled lowly.
"Fine. What does your 'plan' consist of?"
" Ugh, finally." Diego breathed a sigh of relief. Sid had been 'working' on him for the past hour, and it unnerved Diego to sit there like a girl having her mother gussy her up for an outing. Especially since Sid was the one 'dressing him up'. The sloth admired his handiwork.
"Yes, that perfectly disguises you and doesn't detract from your looks. In fact, I think it enhances you!" Diego rolled his eyes.
"What did you do, anyway?" he asked, lifting a paw to touch his sideburns. They felt peculiarly loose, and he didn't like it. Sid instantly grabbed his paw and put it on the ground.
"Don't, it's not cemented in yet!" he said. This scared Diego.
"What do you mean cemented?" he sputtered. He pushed the sloth aside and dashed to the watering hole. He pierced his ears with his own shriek. His once curved sideburns, which had been naturally arranged in bundles, now hung loose like human hair. That enough made Diego truly fear plants if Sid could concoct such a potion and cause this kind of outcome after using it on him. But even worse; the sloth had put fruit and berry juice in his hair! Practically adorned it with two streaks on each side; red and blue.
He nearly screamed a second time in pure terror, but settled with, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY HEAD?"
Sid tried to calm him down. "Diego, you're fine!" he said. "Didn't you tell me that this gathering was tonight?"
"Yes, but, but!" Diego sputtered. "I look...I look..." Sid laid a hand on his shoulder, and the saber looked at him, unable to describe his disbelief. Sid smiled.
"You look like a guy who plans on going out and having the wildest party of his life."
"Of course! My sisters and I did this kinda' stuff all the time growing up! It's a party fad." Sid replied. Diego looked back down at himself. He took a single toe, with a retracted claw, and stroked his modified 'hair-do'.
"You had sisters?"
"Yeah. Two older ones; they were...the nicest to me out of the whole family. I learned how to do a lot of things like their hair and dying fur because I wanted to show them love and gratitude. They loved going out with friends and stuff like that, and they took me with 'em sometimes." Diego put his paw on the ground and looked away shamefully.
"I didn't have any siblings."
"Oh. Only child, huh?" Diego shrugged.
"My mother died when I was a year old. She had been sick for three months and...My father found another mate. She had two sons of her own; their father had been killed in a human attack."
"I'm so sorry." Diego somehow reveled in the warmth that emanated from the caring hand on his neck. He shuffled closer to the sloth.
"Neither of my step brothers liked me...I was always the one who took the blame, had to do all the work, everything while they and my step mother relaxed every day. My father was away for most of my teen years. I had no defense from them."
"Surely you fought back."
"No. If I harmed any of them...my father would have put me to shame and abandoned me. To die inexperienced in the wild, alone."
"But..couldn't he see?"
"What he and the other three were doing to you! Did they not let you do anything fun at all?" Diego shrugged.
"I was never allowed out anywhere...and my brothers never spoke of their activities around me...so I never thought I was missing out on anything." He glanced back at himself in the pond. "Are you sure this doesn't make me look like a kid?" he asked. Sid waved a hand.
"No no, you look awesome!" he assured. He smiled. "Diego, you're gonna' have the best time in your life, trust me." Diego gave a small smile.
"Alright, I'm trusting you. I'll try this little party thing." Sid grinned and gave him a thumbs up.
"Now go have fun!" he encouraged. Diego smirked and turned to leave.
"Bye Sid. Thank you."
Diego arrived at the gathering feeling nervous. He noticed that the most peculiar theme was going on; all of the girls were wearing green veils, so it was nearly impossible to tell which one was the real daughter. He scanned through the crowd, before noticing one girl sitting off to the side, looking lonely. He didn't recognize anything about her, but he figured she was simply new to the area. So, with a goal destination in mind, he descended into the throng of socializing sabers. They all immediately noticed him, but only peered at him from the corners of their eyes and whispered to each other. Diego's ear caught one couple's conversation; "Who is he?"
"I don't know, but he threatens the chances of me getting the daughter." Diego smiled smugly on the inside. Sid was the best sloth a saber could have. He approached the forlorn girl as the loud chatter resumed. He gently laid a paw on her shoulder, causing her to whip around in surprise.
"Easy. I don't bite." He smirked, taking a seat next to her. "Some party huh?" She blinked, then smiled, although Diego could hardly tell through her translucent veil.
"Yeah, the girl's parents must really want to get her a good mate. They've gone to spectacular measures." she said, looking around. Diego glanced around at all of the hanging decorations, the colors everywhere, and the ordervs placed at various locations around the clearing. He looked back at the girl.
"So, name's Diego." he said. "Mind if I have yours?" She giggled.
"Galaxy...what a beautiful name."
"Thank you. My mother loved to watch the stars. She often took me out at night to show me the constellations." Diego nodded.
"...My mother had a large litter, but I was the only one who survived. They named my eldest brother Tophete; he died a few hours old. The rest of my siblings followed soon after. I was the youngest, so I had to take my father's position when he died. They named me Diego because they new I would have to take the place of Tophete." Galaxy laid a paw on his arm, a pitying look in her vague eyes.
"I'm so sorry." she whispered, staring at him. "Being an only child can be hard."
"Is that meant to imply you are one?"
"Your parents are a lot better than mine. My mother died when I was little, and my dad got me an awful stepmother." She grinned. "I don't think I've seen you around these parts before. Did you just move here?" She froze for a moment, then smiled.
"Oh no I live here, I just don't get out much." she admitted quietly. Diego shrugged.
"Oh neither do I, what a coincidence."
"So you live in this area too?"
"Uh, no, actually. I live in the valley on the other side of the wall." Diego replied, inclining his head in the direction of his home.
"Really? Wow! How did you know about all this then?" she asked, indicating the clearing with a sweep of her paw.
"I visit the social grounds here."
"Do you enjoy it?" Diego paused before answering. They had been having a pretty truthful conversation, as far as his end went.
"Not really. I'm not much of a conversation starter and, I'm not exactly popular."
"Why? You seem to be a good talker to me."
"Well, this is my...first actual attempt at this sort of thing."
"Well, you should attempt talking more often."
"I can't believe your unpopular. There's no reason not to like you." Diego frowned.
"Well, I happen to live with a...sloth."
"What's his name?" Diego blinked in surprise.
"Sid. Sid the sloth." Galaxy giggled.
"Is he your only friend?" she asked. Diego suddenly felt totally comfortable in the situation. The warmth of friendliness replaced his cold nervousness, and he smiled. The conversation climbed uphill so fast, he completely lost track of the time, and he didn't even care when he finally had to leave after midnight.
"Well, I must admit, I've never enjoyed myself as much as I did tonight." Diego said as he was leaving. All of the men had gone, and the women had to all stay until every male was gone so as not to reveal which one was the daughter. Galaxy smiled.
"I had fun too." she replied. "Diego?"
"All the girls were supposed to inform the men that this continues tomorrow night." She seemed to blush for a moment. "Will you come tomorrow night?" Diego smiled. On impulse, he took one of her paws in both of his.
"Same time." he said, then turned and vanished into the dark forest. Once at a safe distance away, he burst into a sprint. When he finally reached the home cave, his heart was elated and his mind swam with images of Galaxy. He smiled and gave a happy sigh, wishing he could have stayed longer. He happily made his way to the pond, and found Sid still there, asleep sitting up. He chuckled and tapped the sloth's shoulder, waking him up. Sid looked up at him and smiled.
"How was it buddy?" he asked sleepily. Diego placed his paw on the sloth's shoulder.
"Fun." he replied. "You should go to bed. I can wash up." Sid nodded, gave a yawn, and staggered sleepily to the herd's cave. Diego glanced down at himself once more. "But is all this why?" he wondered, stroking his hair. "Would she have thought differently if I came as I am?"
He sighed, and laid down by the pond. He washed his hair out, returning it to normal. "Seriously, how did he do that?" he wondered, then decided to sleep the rest of the night at the pond.
The next night, as Diego sat waiting while Sid modified him, his personal thoughts suddenly demanded to be opinionated by someone else. After a minute of forceful lip pursing, Diego finally sighed. "Somethin' wrong buddy?" Sid asked.
"Sid...I really...appreciate what you're doing." he said as the sloth continued his work.
"No problem buddy!"
"I just wonder...do you think she appeals to me so much only because of...how I appear to her?" There, he had said it. Sid paused, then continued.
"You think she likes you for your looks?" Diego slumped slightly.
"Just pay attention to what she pays attention to. I think, if she stares at your little hair-do all the time, even goes to touching it and talking about it all the time, then I would say she only cares about that. But if she makes a lot of eye contact, talks about your actions, who you are, then I would say that's what she's interested in."
"You really think so?"
"I don't know much, according to the rest of you, but yes, I do know that. And I'm willing to offer you any other advice-"
"Don't get used to knowing my feelings, Sid."
The second night was even more enjoyed than the first. Diego had no problem picking up a conversation with Galaxy, and he felt closer to her with ever word exchanged between them. "So...you think any real relationships are gonna' come out of this party?" Diego asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Well...I just don't think I could find out which one of you is the real daughter. Although...I don't really care if I don't..." He suddenly stopped, staring at her. He couldn't help but admit to himself that, although he couldn't see her face, she was the most beautiful of the females. "But anyway, do you think any couples will come out of that mass?" he finally asked, nodding his head towards the mass of other sabers that were socializing. Galaxy looked at the other partygoers, then back at him. She stared into his eyes for a long while.
"I think...just maybe." she replied, then smiled. "So, are you enjoying the party?" she asked. Diego smiled, casting aside her strange behavior.
"Definitely. I've never had such a good time." She had been holding a rapt attention to his stories of his childhood. He had strangely found himself maneuvering closer and closer to her, wanting place his own paw over hers. She appeared to have no prejudice for who he was, or who his friends were. In fact, it was only now that she shifted her gaze from his own eyes, and reached out a paw to stroke his hair-do.
"I've never seen a saber with such human style. How on earth did you-" she suddenly removed her paw and looked away. "I...I'm sorry. That was...rude of me." she said quietly. Diego slowly cupped one paw around her chin, and turned her face back to his own.
"You wanna' know?" She nodded mutely. "My friend Sid did it. He had two older sisters, and he learned how to do stuff like that for them." Galaxy blinked.
"It's true." They stared at each other for a while.
"Who are you Diego?" Galaxy asked. Diego took one foreleg and wrapped it around Galaxy's shoulders, pulling her close. Then he carefully held her head against his chest, and bent his mouth down, whispering to her.
"I'm an adventurer, a traveler across valleys of our world and down below to dinosaur lands. I'm the friend of loyal herbivores who treat just about everyone they meet like family. I'm part of a strange but loving family that will continue to the end of time...and..." Diego paused for a moment. "I'm a man deeply in love. And no one knows of my special life, although one girl I have trusted with the names of my special family. " It was well past midnight, and Diego knew Sid would be asleep at the pond.
He didn't want the sloth staying there any longer than last time. Although the party was still going strong, since the males had all decided to stay longer this round, and Galaxy was in his embrace, even though, in his own little world all was well, Diego left. He gently brushed his lips over Galaxy's forehead, then released her slowly, sliding his paws down to hers, holding them for a minute. Then he let go gently, stood, and raced off into the dark. He began the long run home, but was surprised to hear a pleading cry follow after him. "Diego wait! Please!"
Curious, Diego turned and shot up a tree. He situated himself in a low branch, and waited. He watched Galaxy as she burst in, looking around wildly...despairingly. Tears dribbled down her face as her eyes searched the dark. "Please Diego...I need you." Diego's ears perked up. "I don't want my parents to end up choosing a mate for me because I...I was invited to a party, hoping to find love, but didn't. Please, I'm begging you.
"I know you like I know no other saber. I have feelings for you that I do no other saber." She said all this in between sobs. "The party...tomorrow is the last third of it. I'm so tired from these late nights." She feebly slid down onto her belly. "But I wouldn't trade them for anything.
"I...I do love you Diego. If you don't love me back...I couldn't bear to even settle for the back-up my parents are planning on. That's why I accepted invitation to this. So I could try and find a mate I loved. That I wanted." Diego's heart felt as though it had exploded the moment the words 'I do love you Diego' reached his ears. "Please...if you love me back...promise me you will come tomorrow night.
"That I will have some hope that I will not be mated to that awful jerk my blind parents chose." Diego in that moment felt sorry for poor Galaxy. He even felt a little guilty that he had loved her so much, and pulled her into such a deep love she sobbed at the thought of being forced to accepting the role of someone else's woman. As she appeared to begin falling asleep, Diego silently climbed down and held her upper half in an affectionate embrace. Her eyes fluttered. "Promise me..."
"I promise." Diego whispered. "I won't let you down. I...love...you." Diego tenderly laid Galaxy across his back, and carried her back to the clearing. Finding the hosts, he beckoned them to the edge of the party's light and laid Galaxy before them. "She said she was feeling tired from the late nights, so I brought her back and let her fall asleep. You uh...might want to have her parents take her home."
The two hosts glanced at each other, then smiled at him. The hostess took Galaxy into her embrace. "Thank you for bringing her back. What is your name?" the host asked, studying him.
"Diego." The host gave a nod, then smiled.
"Have a good night."
Diego arrived at the pond later than last time, and found Sid curled up on the ground. He gently shook him awake. "Come on Sid, get up and go home." he said. Sid blinked sleepily and looked up at him. He smiled. He squinted at the saber for a moment, then leapt to his feet, eyes wide, nose against the saber's.
"No way!" he nearly shouted. "I can't believe you finally did it!"
"Did what?" Diego asked, slightly intimidated. Sid sighed dreamily and leaned against his long-time friend.
"You fell into love! True love of the purest kind..." he looked up and poked the saber's nose. "and boy you fall hard! Head over paws and over and over and over again!" He squinted at the saber for a moment, then leaned away, threw his head back, and gave a laugh. "Your still tumbling!" Diego scowled and crossed his forelegs, looking away.
"No I have-" Sid slapped a hand over his mouth instantly.
"That's like saying 'things can't get any worse'! You'll only jinx yourself and it'll turn out the girl's in the bushes somewhere and she'll hear you falsely deny it!" Diego, for an instant believing the sloth, looked past him into the trees. Not spotting Galaxy, he glared at Sid and removed his hand.
"Yeah well with your bad luck, it'll turn out Crash and Eddie are hiding in the bushes and will torture me." Sid cast the comment aside.
"So, is there another party tomorrow?"
"Perfect! I think if you don't make your decision then, you should date her until you decide." Diego's eyes widened.
"Uh, um, well I don't know if I'm quite ready for that-" Sid grasped the saber's chin and stared into his eyes keenly. Diego pulled away after a moment.
"Wouldya' quit that?" Sid smiled.
"You're ready Diego. You've just got to admit it."
"Sid, I've only known her for two nights."
"I can see it in you." Diego sighed. "So, you are going tomorrow night?" Diego looked up at the stars; their many colors, the swirling galaxies.
"Galaxy..." he thought. He looked back at Sid. "...Yes."
It was the third and final night of the party. Diego sauntered in quite comfortably, making sure no one got a good look at his face. He sidled up next to Galaxy, who smiled and shuffled closer herself. He smiled and gently took her paw in his own. "So...this has been some party, huh?" Galaxy nodded.
"That was the first thing you said to me."
"After 'I don't bite.'"
"Yes, that's true."
"So could you tell me about this 'back-up' your parents picked out for you?" Galaxy's face fell for a moment, and she looked away. "I'm uh...sorry. You don't...have to." Galaxy sighed.
"It's alright. You're someone I trust, Diego." Diego smiled.
"I'm glad of that." Galaxy gave a small smile back. "So why did your parents choose this guy?"
"I'm not totally sure. When I met him, he was quite muscled, a bit larger than you...but everything about him was darker, including motives, and his name was Alduro. The moment my parents left us a lone for a second, he reached to grab for me. I leaned out of his reach, but he chased after me. I was so scared, I had never been treated like that by another saber. I attacked him, trying to get him back, but he wouldn't stop. When my parents finally returned, he acted normal. When he finally left, he gave me this, evil smirk, and winked at me.
"Then my mother reluctantly shooed him off." She slowly leaned her head against Diego's shoulder. "I don't know where he is now, but I'm..." she glanced up at Diego, then raised her head and whispered in his ear. "I'm scared. Of him. Of being alone." Diego gently took her other paw in his.
"That sounds like an awful predicament. I'm glad my parents never tried to choose my life partner." He smiled at her. "Then again, until now I've never had an interest in it." Galaxy blushed.
"So...could you tell me more about these adventures of yours?" Diego smiled.
"I'd love to." Diego took great pleasure in quietly whispering the stories of his endeavors to Galaxy, chuckling with her as the other sabers wouldn't glance at them and no doubt wonder what secrets they were sharing. He stayed and talked with her for hours, not a care how much time was passing. "Hey, do you wanna'...go for a walk? It's gettin' kinda hot with all the lit torches and crowds." he asked after a while. Galaxy glanced away for a moment. Diego laid his paw on hers. "Just a walk. I promise." he confirmed, smiling after softly. She gave a timid smile back.
"Alright." she agreed. Diego smiled and led her out of the clearing. They walked a wide circuit of the party clearing, chatting and enjoying companionable silence at random intervals. "You're so different Diego...I just like being with you."
"You're worthy company too." the male replied. The two finally left their circular path and made their way to a nearby lake. Galaxy began look nervous as they sat down at the water's edge. "It's alright Galaxy. The water won't hurt you." Diego soothed. She gave him an uncertain look. Diego gently took her paw and dipped it in the still, clear water, the disturbance sending out numerous tiny ripples.
Galaxy gave a small gasp and squeezed her eyes shut, as though anticipating a great deal of pain. She opened here eyes after a substantial amount of time of her paw not being mutilated in any way. Diego chuckled.
"What were you expecting?"
"Um...something horrible?" Diego chuckled a second time and released the female's paw, then stirred the water with his own paw, causing a great deal of ripples.
"So...you really aren't afraid of water?"
"Nope." Galaxy tentatively dipped her paw into the water again, and splashed a little. She giggled.
"Huh. Not actually that bad."
"Could you...could you take your veil off? Please?" A startled look flickered vaguely across the hazy face. She looked down.
"Why would you...want to see my face?"
"Because..." Diego gently turned the feminine head towards himself. "I'm sure it's just as beautiful, if not more than, as the rest of you, inside and out." Galaxy stared at him for a while. Diego had come to know the female by her fur color and body shape. But he wanted to be able to recognize her face. He wanted to know what the last bit of her beautiful form looked like. The female let out a shuddering sigh, then turned away.
"Diego...you won't like it. But...I'll do it...for you alone." She turned back to him and slowly lifted the crown off of her head. She set it on the ground, and sat before Diego with her eyes closed. With the veil no longer concealing her face, Diego's eyes hungrily drank in her features; the shape of her perfect, pink lips, the curves of her triangular nose, her thin white eyebrows, and her smooth, oval shaped eyes that tapered out elegantly at their corners. He exhaled slowly, reveling in her beauty. Her sabers especially were thin, but very strong and sharp.
"Galaxy...you are the most beautiful of all the girls...inside and out. None of them can compare to your natural looks. Please...can you open those...lovely eyes of yours?" Galaxy took in a deep, wavering breath, and let it out before replying.
"For you alone." she whispered. Diego eagerly watched, anticipating a pair of lovely jade orbs, as that was the shade of green females were prone to have. He never expected to be lucky enough to find the true daughter, but Galaxy was better than the daughter. Of course, that theory of his was instantly put to rest as she revealed the color of her wide irises. He could feel his own eyes bulging in wonder and his jaw go ever so slightly slack as he stared into the loveliest...most beautiful...absolutely astonishing...(the list goes on for a while, so we shall stop here) pair of violet eyes. Finally coming back to consciousness, he sat up straight and blinked for a moment. Galaxy stared up at him fearfully.
He slowly reached up and cupped her chin with one paw, looking deeply into those eyes. And then, his lips made contact very gently but firmly with hers, and his eyes closed. He felt his entire world tie together in harmony in that instant, everything was perfect, he loved Galaxy to such a degree. He wrapped his other foreleg around her as the seconds passed by, wishing he could never stop. But finally, he felt it was time to give his love some space. He slowly pulled his mouth away, leaned his head back, and slowly repositioned his paws so that they held Galaxy's. The female stayed still for a moment, eyes closed, until she finally drew in a long overdue gasp, and looked up at him with those beautiful, beautiful violet eyes.
"Why?" she whispered.
"Because...I'm a monster."
"No you're not. You're...beautiful."
"How can you say that?"
"It's true, Galaxy. You're not a monster just because you look different." She stared at him for a long time, then gasped. He tilted his head at her. "What?"
"Y-your eyes. They...they were green...then brown..and now green again." Diego nodded.
"You stared too long."
"What?" Diego sighed and looked at the ground sheepishly.
"I wasn't born with green eyes, just like you. Mine are naturally brown, but it only shows if you stare intensely at them in full moonlight or sunlight."
"How is that possible?" Diego chuckled nervously.
"Ah, you wouldn't believe me." Galaxy brought her face close to his once more.
"I'll believe the guy who kissed me for having violet eyes."
"When I was a few days old...my dad took me to a specialist on eye colors. He gave me an herb that put me to sleep, and then painted my irises with this special paint that was flexible when dry."
"It was a very thin layer though, that's why the brown can still show through." Galaxy laid her head against Diego's chest, letting out a sigh. Diego froze for a moment, then wrapped her in a loving embrace. He pressed his chin against her head, and she nuzzled his neck.
"Do you think any couples are gonna' come out if the party as a whole?" Diego smiled and licked in between Galaxy's eyes up towards her forehead.
"I think I know of one that's very possible." Galaxy giggled. Diego would have posed the question then and there, if he hadn't spotted the pair of subtle, dark green eyes peering at him through the foliage. "Galaxy?"
"Hm?" Diego was almost entranced from her nuzzles.
"Do you know how to get into the valley I live in?"
"My father does."
"Tell him that I invited you to my place for a little chit chat, tomorrow, at sunset." The female looked up at him with the calmest expression he had ever seen on her face.
"Sure." Boldly, Diego kissed her a second time, then raced off into the darkness. The one thing he absolutely did not want to happen was a fight over Galaxy. He wasn't sure he would win against her parents' suitor, and if he tried and failed, he knew she would be mistreated greatly. He loved her far too much to give her up. He silently vowed as he sprinted that he would fight only if this Alduro insisted on it.
Galaxy smiled softly as Diego left, until a rustling of the foliage behind her caused her muscles to tense. "Dearest Galaxy. I hope that cretin did you no lasting damage." Galaxy cringed at the message she perceived.
"No." she replied coldly, stiffening visibly. "He did nothing of the sort to me."
"Good," came the rumbling purr of a reply. Galaxy whipped around sharply and came face to face with Alduro. His smirk sent shivers up his spine. "I wouldn't want a used female that I would have to call my own." With that he closed his eyes and leaned forward to kiss her. She shuffled away quickly, her brain working at the same speed.
"Well none of that will matter. I believe I've found a taker." Alduro wrinkled his nose.
"Who-besides myself-could possibly tolerate eyes like yours in a relationship?" The question made Galaxy's blood hot like fire.
"Another man, who embraces my eyes, loves them, loves me." she shot back. Alduro quirked an eyebrow.
"Is that so? Well, just tell me the name of this pretender and I'll stop his chances of breaking your precious heart."
"You'd do yourself a lotta' good to just walk away from me now, Alduro." she spat. The male growled lowly and slashed her cheek. Galaxy cringed, but otherwise did not waver. "That didn't do anything for you either." She turned and quickly stalked back to the party, snatching her crown as she went. Before she entered the circle of light, she carefully arranged her crown and veil, then joined the partygoers, only revealing the injury to her parents once everyone had left.
"Who did this to you?" her father insisted as her mother licked her injured cheek.
"It was...Alduro." she whispered.
"Impossible!" Darotu insisted. "He would never do such a thing!"
"Then you don't know him, father."
"Settle down, Galaxy." Marissa soothed, stroking her daughter. "It was very dark I'm sure. Are you certain it was Alduro."
"Yes." Galaxy replied confidently. Marissa sighed.
"I believe her Darotu." The male sighed.
"Alright. But who does want our daughter?"
"Diego does, can't you tell?"
"I was just being cautious."
"He told me to tell you that he had invited me to have a little chat time with him tomorrow, at his home. At sunset." Galaxy said.
"Where does he live?"
"In the valley next door." Darotu nodded.
"Very well. I'll take you there." Galaxy smiled gleefully. She hugged him tightly.
"Thanks dad." Darotu smiled softly and hugged his daughter back.
Diego waited eagerly at the entrance to the valley. It was neatly sunset, and he could hardly contain his excitement. He desperately wanted to see Galaxy, to hold her close, to kiss her again. He shifted once more, and then the attack descended.
Galaxy entered the valley in an excited mood. It was almost sunset, and Diego would most likely be waiting somewhere around the entrance for her. She looked around for him eagerly, still wearing her veil. She began to frown worriedly when she couldn't spot him. Galaxy searched deeper into the valley, her father accompanying her. Suddenly, a low, smooth voice said, in a seductive tone, "Why hello Galaxy." The female gasped and whipped around to see Alduro leaning on a tree, smiling smugly at her.
Her father stepped in front of her protectively and growled. Alduro chuckled and sauntered over to the pair. "Did you really expect that social outcast of a rogue to fall in love with you?" he asked, smiling cruelly. Galaxy looked away from him.
"He...he told me my eyes were beautiful. He kissed me because of my eyes...he loved me..."
"He was in it just for the kissing. He told so. He admitted he wasn't in love and asked me to perform my duty of being your parents' choice." Darotu snarled.
"As of last night you are no longer our choice."
"Then who else would you have?" Alduro asked. "Diego's already broken her heart, and you don't trust anyone else." A raspy voice was suddenly heard from behind the tree.
"Thieving...lieing...coward..." Alduro stiffened visibly. Galaxy pushed past him and made her way to the other side of the tree. She gasped at the sight before her. An orange and white saber lay in a small ditch behind the tree, covered in bleeding gashes, and had a black eye. "Oh." she murmured, laying a paw on the saber's head gently.
"Could this be my Diego? What has Alduro done to my beloved?" she thought in horror. "Diego?" she whispered. The saber opened emerald green eyes and looked at her. A small, joyful smile graced his bloodstained lips.
"Galaxy!" he rasped. The female cupped his face with her paw.
"Oh Diego, are you okay? What happened?" she asked. Diego grasped her paw in his.
"It doesn't matter. You're...here now. I'll be...fine." he assured. Galaxy smiled and bent to kiss him, but felt a strong paw wrap around her neck and was forcefully jerked away. She cried out in pain as the paw gripped her tightly, as though trying to choke her. Her eyes suddenly met Alder's furious ones. She gasped for air, terrified.
"You are mine!" he snarled. Galaxy clawed weakly at his paw.
"Let my daughter go!" Darotu snarled, preparing to lunge. Alduro turned to him, tightening his grip on Galaxy's throat.
"Watch it old man! One more step and I'll snap her trachea like a twig." he threatened. Darotu's eyes widened and he froze, at a loss. Alduro smiled. "Now, I think the answer to this predicament is obvious-"
"It sure is." Galaxy suddenly felt Alduro's paw release her, and once her strength had returned, she slashed his face. The male fell back, stunned. Or so Galaxy thought. She suddenly realized that his throat had been slit. He lay wide eyed on the ground, mouth open, the corner of his lips beginning to tinge red. His face was adorned with three bleeding gashes.
Galaxy looked up to see Diego standing in a wide stance, panting heavily. She stepped over and gently nuzzled him, smiling joyfully, a tear trailing down her cheek. She felt Diego nuzzling her back. "Are you alright?" he asked softly, gently pressing the back of his paw to her throat. She looked up at him in puzzlement.
"What do you mean? You're the one who was nearly mauled to death!" she replied. Diego smiled and put a claw to her lips.
"Sh. You shouldn't talk after being choked." Galaxy chuckled slightly. Diego sat down and wrapped a foreleg around her shoulders, pressing his paw to the back of her head. Galaxy gratefully laid her face in his chest, smiling. Darotu made his way over to the two, and laid a paw on Diego's shoulder. Diego turned slightly to look at him.
"You have mine and Marissa's blessing." he whispered. Diego smiled and nodded. Darotu smirked and left the two alone. Diego bent his head down and gently licked Galaxy, trying to ease the tension that caused her to shiver. She slowly relaxed.
"Galaxy?" Diego whispered.
"Yes?" she purred.
"Will you please, please be my mate?" he whispered in her ear, then proceeded to lick her tenderly. After a while, she looked up at him with half lidded eyes.
"Yes." she whispered. Then Diego pulled her into a passionate kiss, holding her chest against his, gently stroking her face. Galaxy stroked his sideburns happily.
And so that ends the tale of our beloved couple. Who strived to find the true love they both so sought, and overcame the many obstacles in their way. At least, things were calm for a time. Until little Aritoka was born...
AN: So what did you guys think? Sorry it's been forever since I've updated, I've had a number of distractions. Including a certain Lion King series by ThatPersonYouMightKnow. Their stories are AWESOME! So...keep an eye out for my next spurt of creativity!
(P.S. This was inspired by the unit we did in Literature at the end of the year called '900 Cinderella's'. I never knew there were that many!)