A/N LordCornwalis here. It's collaboration time! Ronald reagan and I have decided to write a story together. All the fun you like from "Forgotten Ventures" and my own fic "In the Pale Starlight" wrapped up in one new AU. We won't go into too much detail here, but we both hope you enjoy the story as we think it's a fun new spin on Star vs. and it will be a completely new story featuring our favorite characters from the show. I wrote this first chapter ,and from here on out Ronald and I will be alternating. Enjoy!
The Once and Future Queen
Life's Tough, Get a Helmet
"Okay Marco, you've nailed riding on flat ground and the flow at the skatepark. Now it's time for the vert ramp." Jackie's face glowed with excitement as she gestured to the halfpipe that spread out before the trio of teens. "Now remember, it's very important when you drop in, you have to commit. Stomp your foot down and lean into it. You're going to be going pretty fast, but it's nothing you haven't done before… just more vertical, that's all."
Marco wiped his face, nodding nervously at her as he tightened the straps on his helmet. "Okay Jackie, I think I got it."
"Hey Marco, did you have an emergency room preference, or should I just go with what's closest?" asked Janna, smirking at the nervous teen.
"Janna!" Jackie shot her an annoyed look before turning back to a noticeably more nervous Marco.
"Don't listen to her Marco, you'll be fine. And if you have to bail, no biggie. You're wearing knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet," said Jackie, placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
Swallowing hard, he set the tail of his board on the coping of the ramp before stepping out onto it. He knew the drop was only ten feet, but from his precarious position on a thin strip of plywood with some wheels bolted onto it felt like a hundred. Scolding himself for the tenth time as to why he had ever agreed to let Jackie teach him how to skateboard, he could only blame himself for listening to her. "Come on Marco it'll be fun! Plus, this is California! Girls here love a guy who can shred on a board!" The memory of that conversation made him almost as queasy as the yawning abyss below his feet.
Blowing out a long breath, he stomped his lead foot down on the board and felt it tip into the void. His stomach went weightless as he leaned forward just like Jackie had instructed him. Hearing Jackie cheering wildly behind him, he grinned as gravity accelerated him like arocket down the vertical wall of the ramp.
"I did it!" he shouted, throwing his arms up in the air as the drop flattened out. Feeling himself shoot across the short space between the curved floor of the ramp he panicked as his momentum carried him vertically up the opposite side. Leaning back he felt himself falling as the board shot out from under him, rocketing high into the afternoon sky.
"Godspeed little guy." Janna saluted the errant skateboard, now tracking a ballistic trajectory through the sky as it arced over the fence of the skatepark to smash into the windshield of a parked car. "And that sound Jackie, is our cue to leave."
"See you tomorrow at school Marco!" Jackie called over her shoulder as the two girls hustled away from the scene of the accident.
"I'm fine, thanks for asking," he groaned to himself, slowly rolling over onto his stomach before pushing his aching body up to stand.
"Hey Kid!" an angry voice shouted.
"What now…" Looking up, Marco paled as a large angry man slammed open the gate to the skatepark before stalking up to him.
"You smashed my windshield you little punk. I should smash your goddamn teeth out," the man snarled, grabbing a fistful of Marco's red hoodie while cocking back a calloused fist.
"Whoa, whoa, no need to get violent here, man. Let me pay for the damage to your windshield. It was an accident and I apologize." Marco reached into his pocket to pull out a wad of cash, only for the man to bat it out of his hand.
"How about this you little shit? How about I beat your ass raw, and then take the money." The furious man pulled his fist back once more before throwing a powerful haymaker at him.
Years of martial arts training had honed Marco's reflexes and at the sight of the man's fist swinging forward, he sprang into action instantly. Grabbing the man's wrist, he pinned it to his chest and rotated, dragging him off balance. Blocking the awkward punch the man threw with a raised forearm, he lashed out with two quick strikes to the man's nose, dropping him to his knees instantly.
"Fuck, you broke my nose man!" he said through clenched fingers dripping with blood.
"Sorry dude. I didn't want to have to hurt you, but you attacked me. Now keep the money for the windshield and make sure to keep pressure on that nose, the bleeding will stop in a bit."
Quickly stepping away from the injured man, Marco slipped out of the skatepark and hurried down the street. Even if breaking that guy's nose was self-defense, it was probably better to be somewhere else right now. He hurried along, head down, for several blocks before the sound of screams and crashing made him stop and look up in a panic.
"Is that a horse?" a man next to him on the sidewalk asked, pointing down the street.
Turning to look, Marco was startled to see what he could only describe as an enormous candy pink unicorn charging down the sidewalk walk at him. Astride the giant animal was a girl about his age, dressed in an elegant powder blue ball gown. She had long blonde hair that fanned out behind her as she rode and as he looked closer, still too dumbstruck at the sight to move, he noticed she seemed to be wearing a small golden tiara and was waving some kind of glowing stick above her head as she cheered and yelled, urging the beast to go faster.
"Yeeee Haw! Gang way people!" she yelled.
Pedestrians were screaming and diving out of the way of the charging animal. Marco could only watch in horror as the unicorn almost ran down a mother pushing a stroller. However, at the last second the girl nudged the reins she held, and it slid to the left, knocking a car onto its side before bouncing back into the line of the sidewalk.
Seeing the unicorn and rider a moment away from hitting him, he pushed the man at his side into an open door and crouched down just as the giant animal leapt over his low form. "That thing must have jumped twenty feet" he thought, as it gracefully landed and continued its rampaging charge. Just as it turned the corner of the sidewalk, he noticed the blonde rider had turned her head and was staring at him. Even at this distance, her piercing blue eyes seemed to pin him in place as a small smile played on her lips.
"What the heck was that?" he said, shaking his head in disbelief.
Dusting himself off and racing around the corner, he only caught a flash of pink as the unicorn turned up an alley and disappeared entirely. Shaking his head, he turned the opposite direction and began the walk home. An assault and nearly being run down by a mythical creature were more than enough fun for him for one day. It was time to get home, slide into his favorite pair of ballerina slippers and call it a weekend.
Not even two blocks later, Marco found himself standing in the middle of the sidewalk, staring at the second most peculiar sight that day. A man, not much older than himself, maybe 19 or 20 by the looks of him, was standing in the middle of the sidewalk stopping passersby and asking them questions. Normally in Echo Creek this wasn't altogether unusual, however, this time the man's appearance was, to put it plainly, startling.
He was slightly taller than Marco and wore a dark blue velvet doublet studded with small gemstones and embroidered with silver thread. He seemed to have matching pants that tucked neatly into polished black leather boots. At his hip hung a longsword in a silver scabbard, and across his chest lay an elegantly worked silver chain containing several cut and polished sapphires. His hair was a pale blue, cut short and neatly styled, but it was his eyes that caught Marco's attention more than anything. They were the same piercing blue as that girl on that crazy pink unicorn, and that couldn't just be a coincidence. The man, noticing Marco's unblinking stare, quickly waved away a girl who was trying to catch his eye before hurrying over.
"Excuse me young man, could I have a moment of your time to answer some questions?" he asked.
Noticing the man's rather posh accent, Marco could only assume he was foreign as he nodded dumbly, still too shocked at the day's events to respond verbally.
"Excellent. Everyone here seems so friendly and they have been very helpful indeed. Am I to understand this is the village of Echo Creek? In the Earth Dimension?"
"Earth Dimension? You mean planet Earth? And yes this is Echo Creek. The City. I don't think villages have populations of over 50,000 people." Marco was feeling incredibly confused at the stranger's questions. A foreigner not knowing what the name of the town he was in was one thing, but to not know what planet he was on was another matter entirely. Tilting his head he asked the only question that sprung to mind, "Where… Are you from… Exactly?"
"Oh yes, how terribly rude of me, I didn't even introduce myself. My name is Viscount Reynard Butterfly, and I am from a place called Mewni."
"Well, my name is Marco Diaz and I'm from here. Also, Mewni? I've never heard of it. Is it in Europe?"
"I don't know what a 'Europe' is."
"It's a continent on Earth…" Marco was eyeing the man now, feeling a suspicious tingle running up his spine.
"Oh yeah, Europe. Of course. Yes Marco, Mewni is in Europe." Reynard gave an awkward chuckle and looked away, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Riiiigghhhtt," Marco said, narrowing his eyes at him. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about a crazy blonde girl riding a pink unicorn around town, would you? Normally, I wouldn't ask, but the two of you have the same eyes and she was dressed in an outfit that looked like something out of a renaissance fair, just like you. I don't think that's a coincidence."
"What have you done now Star…" Marco distinctly heard the older man mutter into his hand as he dragged his palm down his face in frustration. "Marco could I impose upon your generosity just a little while longer?"
"You want me to help you find this girl?"
"Yes… I, umm... do not know my way around this area well and perhaps with your help we could locate the prince-, err Star, much faster than if I set out on my own."
"Sure Reynard, I'll help you. That girl looked like she was causing some serious trouble and I think it's better that we find her before the police do."
Together the two set off down the sidewalk at a brisk walk, keeping an eye out for any sign of the rampaging girl. After a minute of walking in silence, however, Marco felt his curiosity beginning get the better of him. "Sooo, Reynard, tell me a bit about Mewni? Why do you guys dress like it's the 17th century and who is that crazy girl that almost killed me earlier on a mythical creature that shouldn't exist on Earth?"
Reynard was silent for a moment, as if deciding whether to answer the teen's questions. However, he seemed to come to the conclusion that Marco was worth a modicum of trust as he began to answer him as they walked. "Well to answer your last question first, that girl is named Star Butterfly and she is my cousin, as well as the heir to the throne of Mewni. She is also in very big trouble as I explicitly forbade her from following me here. But as usual she did whatever she wanted, regardless of my efforts to keep her safe. I mean for corn's sake, if Toffee had found out she was here unprotected he wouldn't hesitate to…" Reynard trailed off looking nervous at the look Marco was giving him. "I apologize for rambling Mr. Diaz; this is really rather personal, and I believe I may have said too much."
"It's fine Reynard, and call me Marco, I'm not old enough to be 'Mr. Diaz' yet. So you're related to royalty? That's cool, there aren't a whole lot of monarchies left on Earth."
"Uh, yes... On Earth. So to answer your earlier questions, Mewni is my homeland. It has been ruled by the Butterfly Dynasty for over 300 years. I am in the line of succession somewhere myself, though I am not 100 percent certain where. We are mostly a kingdom of farmers and we grow the best corn in the entire universe. I should know [,] I've tried at least 200 different varieties myself and nothing beats Mewni corn. It is a wondrous land full of creatures not found anywhere else. That 'Unicorn' you saw her riding is actually called a 'Warnicorn' and it is native to my home. Star loves to ride and tame them as a hobby even though I have reminded her countless times that they are dangerous beasts that should be handled with caution."
Marco opened his mouth to ask another question, but just then a series of screams and crashing sounds could be heard from around the corner. The two took off at a dead sprint, running for nearly a minute before they could cut over to the side street. Before them was scene of utter chaos. Several hydrants were broken off from their base shooting fountains of water high into the air, while people crawled out of their overturned vehicles in the street. A faint scream made him squint up at the sun where he could swear he saw a giant butterfly carrying a struggling person.
"Hey, did you see a blonde girl riding a giant pink horse come through this way!" Marco shouted over the din and confusion to a shell-shocked pedestrian standing on the corner.
"It was horrible… I though the one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse were upon us!" he shouted, before running off screaming.
"Well, I think that answers that question," Reynard said, chuckling before pressing on down the destroyed street. "By the looks of it, we're on the trail."
After 30 minutes of walking however, the trail seemed to have gone cold and the two found themselves standing on outskirts of the Britta's Tacos.
"Pegasus Feathers… What is that divine smell?" Reynard could feel himself salivating at the multitude of savory smells now wafting under his nose.
"That smell, Reynard, is Britta's Tacos." Marco answered, grinning ear to ear. "It may not look like much, but it's the best Mexican restaurant in Echo Creek. We've been walking for a while now, you wanna grab lunch? My treat."
"A Gentleman never turns down the hospitality of his host, Marco."
"Okay, well take a seat over there, and I'll be back with some food for us. You said Mewni grows a lot of corn, right?"
"Yes, it's our main food crop."
"I think I know just the thing. You'll love them."
Minutes later, Marco set down two trays at the covered metal table. "Reynard, allow me to present to you the humble Tamale. It's made mostly out of corn and has pork and tomatillo salsa. It's even wrapped in a corn husk. See?"
"How clever you Earthlings are!" Reynard slapped his hand over his mouth at that statement.
Marco's expression however, remained unchanged. "Look dude, it was obvious from the beginning you weren't from Europe. So maybe you want to tell me where you're really from? If you and that girl are aliens here to conquer the planet, I'm going to have to try to stop you."
The two stared at one another for a few moments, Marco tensing in his seat and preparing to strike the blue haired man before he could react, when Reynard tipped his head back and began to laugh heartily.
"HAHAHAHA, oh Marco that was hilarious." Reynard slapped the table with his palm as he continued to laugh. Wiping a tear from his eye, he leaned in close and Marco did the same. "Marco, you have treated me with respect and hospitality. You have also volunteered yourself to help me find my wayward cousin, and for that. I will tell you the truth. But I must ask you for your silence in the matter, if word got out about my true intentions here there could be very serious consequences." Marco only nodded to the man, before taking a bite of his burrito.
"I am indeed from a place called Mewni. However, Mewni is not in Europe. It is in another dimension, and I am here on a scouting mission for the Butterfly Royal Family. You see Marco, there is a terrible war going on in my homeland. Mewni is populated by people that look like you and I, known as mewmans. As well as a great variety of monsters who we have been at war with for over six years now. I am saddened to tell you the war does not go well for us. The monsters are led by an evil tyrant known as Toffee. A terrible creature who is nigh immortal, and who's cruelty towards Mewmans knows no bounds. He seeks to destroy the Butterfly family, for above all else he hates magic and those who practice it. If things continue the way they have been, the Butterfly Kingdom will fall, and all of us will be killed."
Marco shook his head at the revelation he was now hearing. It seemed too fantastical to be true, like something out of a fantasy novel or a D&D campaign he would play with his friends. But the serious tone in Reynard's voice and the grave look on his face told him the man was telling the truth. "Soo...you're what? Looking for a new home?"
"Something like that Marco. We need a place to regroup, a place where we can consolidate and recover our strength. But mainly we need a safe place for the Butterfly Royal Family to evacuate to. My Grandmother Etheria would never admit it, but Mewni is lost. We are falling back every day and it is only a matter of time before we're overrun. So far, from what I have seen, Earth appears perfect. Mewmans and humans appear identical to one another, and this place is stable with no major wars or monsters to threaten us."
Reynard paused to unwrap his tamale and cut a piece before popping into his mouth. Instantly, the look of grave worry on his face fell away to be replaced with one of pure joy. "This is so good, truly a masterpiece of cuisine," he said, moaning with pleasure at the taste of the corn-based dish in his mouth.
"I'm glad you like it. I figured something corn based wouldn't feel too foreign to your palate, and looks like I was right."
Marco took another bite of his burrito, using the time he had his mouth full to mull over his options. Reynard appeared to be on the level, at least his story didn't seem too outrageous considering what Marco had seen that day. And while there was always the option that this guy and his weird cousin were both insane, somewhere deep-down Marco knew he was telling the truth. So, he could excuse himself and walk home and forget all about today's odd encounter, or he could stop playing it safe and help this guy out however he could. Putting down the burrito, he made his decision as he looked his lunch companion in the eye.
"I want to help you out Reynard, anyway I can. Sensei Brantley has always stressed that a warrior of Tang Soo Do must always fight on the side of justice. And I would be a coward to walk away from someone in need."
Reynard beamed at him, "I knew you were a man of honor Marco Diaz of Earth, but a warrior as well? I had a feeling about you, perhaps something greater than mere chance brought you across my path today. Fate possibly? Only time may tell. Tell me, have you much experience in combat? Have you slain many foes?"
"Slain many foes?" Marco looked stricken, "Dude I'm just 14, and this is Earth. There really aren't many life or death struggles in Echo Creek. I'm just a dorky high school kid with his red belt, not some battle-hardened warrior. My life is actually pretty boring. Nothing ever happens in this town."
Reynard chuckled and put a hand on Marco's shoulder. "Marco, you may not have bested foes in the crucible of combat, but I can tell you possess the heart of a warrior. You helped me today, asking for nothing in return and have shown courage in the face of the unknown. Kindness, Bravery, and Charity are some of the key tenets of knightly virtue on Mewni and you have demonstrated them admirably."
Marco couldn't help but blush slightly at the praise. He had only known Reynard for an hour or so, but to be told he had the makings of a knight was something that tantalized his imagination and stirred his blood. Life was so boring in Echo Creek, the thought of something more, some real danger to test his skills was alluring, to say the least.
"Marco, tell me something. Do you ever feel… Unsatisfied? Like you were made for greater things than your mundane existence? I can offer you the chance to be more Marco. To be more than what you are now."
"What? What do you mean?" Marco gave him a confused look, but inside he felt his heartbeat quicken. He had no idea where Reynard was going with this, but even the hint of some kind of adventure made the hair on the back of his neck stand up.
"What I mean, Marco, is that Echo Creek may be in for some major changes soon. And when those changes come, will you be ready? If you could surround yourself with adventure, excitement, and even danger, would you?" said Reynard, his grave face making Marco sit up straight in his seat.
"I… I would," Marco said, his own face now mirroring the serious expression on Reynard's.
"Well, Marco, I have a feeling before long you will get your wish."
The two finished their lunch in near silence, with Reynard occasionally asking another question about Echo Creek or Earth and more about his own life. Marco got the distinct impression that Reynard was assessing him. His questions frequently strayed towards the personal, often asking Marco to recall times he had been in positions of leadership at school or in the dojo as well as questions about his martial arts training.
"You sure are awfully interested in me Reynard, what's with all the questions?"
"Let's just say I see potential in you Marco. I would like to ask you fo-" but Reynard never got to finish his sentence. At that moment, the pounding of hooves filled the courtyard as a giant pink warnicorn burst through the bushes and leapt over a scared couple. Instantly Reynard shot to his feet and began running after the laughing blonde as she hooted and swung her arm above her head, fireworks seeming to materialize out of nowhere. Marco's eyes went wide at the impossible sight and he could only stare as Reynard chased the girl through the courtyard of Britta's.
"Star Butterfly! You come back here this instant!" Reynard shouted.
Marco just stood there watching the most absurd chase of his life. He felt torn between the urge to chase after his new friend and the strange girl or to give in to the voice in his head telling him that he should "just head home." He was cautious by nature, always looking both ways before crossing the street, and taking precautions such as carrying around first aid supplies in a fanny pack whenever his family went on vacation. Janna had found that fact so amusing she had begun calling him "Safe Kid," a nickname that, much to Marco's frustration had caught on like wildfire.
"I'm gonna regret this…" he muttered before taking off at a run after the two bizarre figures.
Marco made sure to keep his distance as he followed Reynard. He didn't want to get explicitly caught up in the chase, but what he had told Marco that afternoon was so fantastical he couldn't help but try to see what was next. It's not like he didn't believe him, but the thought of extra dimensional visitors was almost so damn outrageous he needed more proof. It seemed the girl had slowed down on the rampaging animal just enough to keep several dozen feet in front of Reynard as he called for the girl to stop.
"Star Butterfly, if you do not stop this instant, I will tell Queen Moon about this!" Reynard shouted.
The girl merely looked back over her shoulder and laughed before calling back, "You wouldn't do that to your favorite cousin, Reynard!"
"You're rapidly losing that status Star! Don't make me take Rock with me instead of you next time I go out for Goblin Dogs!"
*THBPBPTHPT* the girl blew a huge raspberry as she slapped the pink beast's haunch to urge it to speed back up.
"Oh that is enough!"
Marco saw Reynard reach down to his belt and pull out a pair of what he could only describe as scissors before swiping in front of him as he ran. Instantly he disappeared into a swirling blue portal and Marco skidded to a stop in shock at the sight of his disappearance, his mouth hanging open. "What theeeee," he mouthed. Quickly, he hid in the entrance way of a business and continued to stare in amazement.
The sound of ripping fabric filled the air as an identical portal appeared in front of the charging warnicorn. Reynard quickly stepped out of it just in time to throw an arm around the neck of galloping beast, using its momentum to swing him up and onto its back right in front of the girl. He quickly took control of the warnicorn and brought it around, cantering to a gentle stop only ten feet from Marco's hiding place.
"Ow, ow, ow ow," Star said as Reynard grabbed her around the arm and pulled her down off the animal. Looking around quickly to see if they were alone, he scowled at the blonde girl who was wilting under his stern glare.
"Star Butterfly! What are you doing in this dimension when I explicitly told you to remain in the castle? No one from Mewni has been to Earth in over a hundred years. We had no idea what we'd find here and yet you snuck here anyways with no protection, rampaging around on a pink warnicorn like it was the village outside the castle. You terrified corn knows how many earthlings, caused some serious damage, and brought a lot of unneeded attention to us!"
"I'm sorryyyyy," she said, twisting a foot into the asphalt and not meeting Reynard's glare. "I just wanted to have a little fun. You know how my mom is. It's always 'Star don't do this, don't do that, that's not how a proper princess behaves Star.' I just wanted to have a good time for once without being surrounded by knights or trapped in the castle."
At her words, Marco saw the expression on Reynard's face soften and he bent down to tip up the blonde's chin so he could look in her eyes. "I know Star, but it's dangerous. You know as well as I do that we are losing this war. Toffee has spies everywhere and I would never forgive myself if something happened to you. You and your parents are the closest family I have left, and I need to know you're being serious about being safe. After all, you are the future Queen of Mewni."
Marco couldn't help but stare at the odd duo as they spoke. He felt his cheeks heating up slightly as he examined the blonde girl more closely. The girl was, for lack of a better term, stunningly pretty. She looked to be about his age, slightly shorter than him, with extremely long blonde hair that reached below her knees. Even when she wasn't looking at him, he still found his eyes drawn to her sky-blue eyes. They were captivating in a way he had never experienced before and quickened his heartbeat just thinking about those eyes gazing at him like they had been earlier. She also seemed to possess pink heart shaped marks on her cheeks, which Marco initially found odd, but now felt suited her the more he studied the teen girl. It seemed like the more he looked, the more he felt like he couldn't look away.
"Ugh, don't remind me Reynard," Star said, grimacing at the thought.
Reynard merely chuckled before pulling out his scissors. "Let's go home Star, I bet Queen Moon has half the palace guard looking for you."
"What about that cute boy in the red jacket you were talking to earlier?"
"Marco Diaz? I will come back tomorrow and say my farewells. He was very helpful during my time scouting this place, but right now I just want to get you back to the castle before Queen Moon has a fit."
Cutting another portal, the two stepped through closely followed by the pink warnicorn before it sealed itself shut with a small pop.
Marco didn't remember his walk back home that afternoon. His mind was too busy spinning from the information Reynard had told him. One minute he was a boring kid on Earth with no knowledge outside of the mundane, and the next, he was part of something so much larger. Other dimensions were real. Magic was real. Hell, even Unicorns existed. He should have been in a tailspin right now, panicking at the thought of so much more danger in his life, but he wasn't. Reynard's words seemed to lay over his shoulders like a cloak, stilling his naturally cautious mind and instead filling it with thoughts of excitement and adventure.
"I can offer you the chance to be more, Marco, to be more than what you are now."
To be more. More what exactly? Brave? Stronger? More popular? Reynard hadn't elaborated on what he had told him, but the more Marco thought about what he had said, the surer he was that he was ready for a change.
"I want to be more," he whispered to himself, clenching his fists hard.
"Mijo? Are you feeling okay?" The voice of his Father snapped him out of his reverie, and he looked up to see the concerned face of his father Raphael. He was standing in the living room, the front door wide open behind him, apparently so caught up in his own thoughts he didn't even realize he had walked right into his own home.
"Sorry Dad, just a lot on my mind right now. It's been an… interesting afternoon to say the least."
"Why don't you tell us about it honey?" The words of his mother Angie rang out from the kitchen as she stepped back from the open fridge.
And so Marco sat down with his parents and explained his weird afternoon. He left out any mention of Mewni, dimensional travel, and magic, but he did manage to tell them about the strangely dressed foreigners he had seen and all of the odd questions he had been asked about Echo Creek. He changed the animal the blonde girl had been riding on to a horse as well to keep any awkward questions to a minimum.
"So Mijo, this girl on the horse. Was she pretty?"
"Daaad, I didn't even get to meet her, I told you she was riding that crazy horse around town and her and Reynard left before we could say anything to each other. But yeah, she was really pretty." Marco could feel the heat rising in his cheeks at this admission to his Father.
"Marco, don't be embarrassed, your Father and I think it's a great thing that you have a new crush." His Mother was grinning and shooting his Father knowing looks.
"Mom, I already said we didn't meet, I just saw her a few times while she was riding that huge horse around the middle of town."
"And all we're saying honey is that we're glad you're putting yourself back out there. I know it took a lot for you to ask Jackie out. We're just happy you're ready to give love another chance."
"Oh for the love of… Mom, Jackie and I were never going to work out because she doesn't like guys. I only found out after I asked her out. And besides, we're great friends now. There's no pressure from me trying to go out with her."
"I didn't know that Mijo, why didn't you tell us this when we asked how asking her out went?"
Marco looked between the faces of his smiling parents before letting his gaze drop to the table. He had always had a very honest and open relationship with his parents. Where some teens might be secretive and introverted at home, Marco's parents always gave him his privacy and so he never felt any desire to be untruthful towards them
Not looking up he answered, "I… I didn't feel like it was my place to tell you then. Jackie hadn't come out yet and I wanted to respect her privacy. I'm sorry I lied at the time."
Feeling two hands on his shoulders, he looked up to see both his parents giving him warm smiles. His Dad even wiped a tear out of his eye before speaking.
"Oh Mijo, I am so proud of you. That was a very grown up thing to do."
"Honey, sometimes a lie to protect someone is the right thing to do. You should never feel bad for protecting Jackie like that," his mother added.
Standing and giving both of his parents a hug, Marco spent the remainder of his eventful Sunday afternoon up in his room. He tried to distract himself by playing video games and watching television. He even spent a fruitless hour in the backyard practicing his Tang Soo Do forms to take his mind off the events of earlier that day, but nothing seemed to work. Eventually giving in to his restless thoughts, he wasted the entire evening fruitlessly searching the internet for any mention of Mewni, or any reputable story about of interdimensional travel.
Deciding to call it a night after finding nothing online, he laid down in bed and pulled the covers up. Closing his eyes, he saw the image of a very pretty blonde girl with heart shaped cheek marks smiling at him. Her name was Star, he remembered, and she had thought he was cute. Smiling to himself as he rolled over, he could only hope he would meet that girl someday.
School on Monday was as mundane and dull as ever. He received another A+ in math from Ms. Skullnick, endured Janna's ribbing at his continued excellent grades, and spent an exciting lunch with Jackie and Janna recounting the crazy events of his Sunday after they abandoned him in the skate park.
"Wait, wait, so you're telling me that these two were from another dimension?" Jackie had asked, a look of confusion and disbelief on her face.
"Jackie, I've been studying the occult for the last 7 years, it was almost a certainty that there were other dimensions out there. Where else do you think demons and spirits live?" interrupted Janna to answer her question.
Jackie didn't respond. Instead she just took a bite of her fish stick and sank lower in her chair, clearly thinking hard.
"So Marco, you think you're gonna see tall, dark, and cyan again?" said Janna.
"I don't know actually. He said he was scouting out this dimension, but he sorta hinted that he may be back again."
"Well Marco, introduce him to us next time. I'd love to meet someone not from this dimension, they could help me with my occult studies."
"I'll be sure to pass your request on, Janna."
Yawning as he stepped off the bus outside his home, Marco was startled to see Reynard leaning up against the stop sign on the corner with a purple sack over his shoulder.
"Greetings, Marco Diaz of Earth," he said as he stood up and offered a hand for Marco to take.
Grinning awkwardly, Marco took the offered hand and shook it, "Hi Reynard, it's good to see you again. In truth, I didn't think you'd be back."
"We never got to finish our conversation yesterday Marco. Tell me, do you remember what I asked you?"
"You asked me if I wanted to be more than I am now…" He fixed the blue-haired man with an intense stare, "And I answered yes."
Pulling two wooden practice swords from the satchel, he grinned. "Excellent Marco. Come with me then, your training begins now."
"Uh, actually, if we could take this to the park? If my mom sees me sword fighting some stranger in the backyard, I'm going to have to answer more than a few uncomfortable questions."
"Of course, lead the way."
A short walk later found the two standing in the park with Reynard instructing Marco on the proper grip for a long sword as well as the four basic stances. They spent several hours working through the basics, and by the time they broke for dinner, Marco was sporting several dozen bruises under his hoodie and jeans. Collecting the wooden practice sword back from the teen, Reynard clapped him on the shoulder and grinned.
"For a first timer you did excellent. You should have seen my first time; I was so scared my father had to tie the sword in my hand with a rag so I wouldn't drop it in fear. You have the makings of a fine swordsman Marco, and that's not all I can train you in. How would you like to learn how to ride a warnicorn? Or to fight in armor? Or joust with a real lance?"
"Oh man, I am so in! This is going to be awesome!" Marco pumped a fist in the air and gave his blue haired friend a grin. "So tell me more about yourself, Reynard. Mewni sounds pretty awesome, but here you are offering to teach me all these amazing things, and I barely know anything about you outside of your name. What do you do for fun? What's life like being a noble? It's all so different I have a hundred questions."
Gesturing for Marco to walk with him, Reynard was silent for several moments as they ambled down the sidewalk towards Marco's house. "Well, I can tell you some things Marco. For one, being a noble has its moments. I have servants, retainers, and a small number of knights under my command which can be fun. It's quite nice getting to spar with people whenever you want. But mostly, being a noble is boredom. Continual,unrelenting, boredom. I am constantly being pulled into meetings with petitioners or attending court at the Butterfly Castle where my aunt is Queen. It's a lot of standing around in stuffy outfits and pretending we're better than everyone just because we were lucky enough to be born to nobility."
Laughing at this, Marco continued his line of questions. "What about your parents? Shouldn't they be the ones doing most of that stuff?"
Looking away, Reynard sighed. "My parents are dead, Marco, killed alongside my older brother when Toffee and his monster army sacked my family castle. Only I escaped with my Great Aunt Etheria and a small number of our household. So now, as the only remaining scion of our branch of the Butterfly family, the responsibility falls on my shoulders to 'acquit myself in a fashion worthy of my illustrious name' or something like that. Great Aunt Etheria is always blathering on about something or another. I can't be bothered to listen to every word, or I'd never have time for anything else."
"I'm so sorry about your family Reynard, I had no idea."
"How could you have known? It's not information I volunteer often," said Reynard, quickly changing the subject, a distinct bitter tone now staining his voice. "But hobbies, you asked. I enjoy warnicorn races, In fact I am the current reigning champion of the Butterfly Derby. I routinely like to enter tournaments, and most recently I won the melee and came third in joust!"
"Soooo cool…" Marco's eyes were huge as he listened to the heroic things his companion was describing as his mere hobbies.
"Oh and I spend a fair amount of time with my favorite cousin Star. She is always getting up to some kind of mischief, and I routinely get roped in as an accomplice."
"Star? Isn't that the crazy blonde girl who was rampaging around town yesterday?"
"The one and only. As I told you, she's the Crown Princess of the Butterfly Kingdom and she's about as far from a proper noble as you can get. She loves fun, and she always reminds me that I'm only 19 and I need to make sure I still have some fun myself. She's my favorite cousin by far. I'll introduce you some day."
Blushing at the thought of getting to meet the pretty girl who smiled at him, he merely nodded and said nothing. The two continued to walk in comfortable silence until they reached the walkway in front of Marco's house.
"Well Marco, this is where I leave you. You proved quite the adept student today. How does two days from now sound for our next meeting? We will continue your training with the sword." Reynard opened his purple satchel and extracted one of the wooden practice swords they used earlier and handed it to him. "Practice with this in the meantime, especially the four basic forms I taught you. They are the foundation of everything further I will teach you in the coming weeks."
"You're a good friend Reynard, thanks for teaching me all this stuff, it's really cool. Let's grab some food at Britta's next time as well."
Smiling, Reynard nodded to him, "Friend? Yes, I like that Marco. You are a friend to me as well and I would love to eat more of that delicious corn-based food."
Waving to Marco as he entered his house, he opened a portal back to Mewni. "Star is going to be fast friends with that one," he said, chuckling to himself before stepping through.