Page 6 of 64

Author:  Karl [ Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Poor girl. Left alone by her tragical owner. Making her world to collapse.

But at least... she had something to rely her heart on.


Author:  copper [ Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

I see you added the new name into this update, though middle names aren't usually the same among brothers...

Nice update. Seems Max might be up to something.

Grapenut is just so adorable. And Fido and Sasha seem to be getting along well. When's the crash coming?

Author:  ChristopherJackal [ Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Oh geez I done fell behind again... managed to read it all though and yay everything is looking so far on the up and up! Bino had a tender moment with a cat and Grape and peanut took advantage... that's both awesome and kinda mean. Also I hope Maxwell isn't up to something... Grapenut is too good for that! I look forward to falling behind and catching up again! :lol:

Author:  valerio [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

copper Wrote:
I see you added the new name into this update, though middle names aren't usually the same among brothers...

Nice update. Seems Max might be up to something.

Grapenut is just so adorable. And Fido and Sasha seem to be getting along well. When's the crash coming?

In fact, that is a double surname, wrongly spelled Zechary-Foster, although both Martin and Joel prefer to use the last segment of that.
Max is *always* up to something. As for success...well, that doesn't necessarily come with his intentions :lol:
Grapenut is adorableness itself. I'll never be enough grateful to Sinder and Two-Twig for inspiring me into this series :D
And hey, Fido is a trusted, honorable doggie housemate, mon! :mrgreen:

Author:  copper [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

I am always suspicious of Fido. He is too good to be true. I think he has a dark side as well, Valerio.

Author:  valerio [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

copper Wrote:
I am always suspicious of Fido. He is too good to be true. I think he has a dark side as well, Valerio.

hmm...who knows? ;)

Author:  copper [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

I do. Something isn't right with him. Something is hidden deep in his psyche. I know it.

Author:  valerio [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

copper Wrote:
I do. Something isn't right with him. Something is hidden deep in his psyche. I know it.

Well, you know better than I that Fido had to work his tail through becoming the top dog, and that with a brother like Bino who never made things easy for him. Joey's a nice guy but his...tastes in relationships could make Fido the laughingstock of the K-9 unit, not to mention the tension of living an unapproved kind of relationship...
Plus, he keeps doing over his best to be Captain Doggy America.
In Italian, we'd call such a guy, 'Una Pentola a Pressione'.

Anyway, as you can guess, this matter I am gonna take care of, in this series ;)

Author:  valerio [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Foster Mansion garage, 21:00 hours

“Let’s see...” Martin Foster checked the pets sitting in his car. Alcor, in the passenger seat. Antares and Aldebaran in the back seat. Mizar sitting sitting on Antares’ lap, Sasha on Aldebaran’s. Fido as the third passenger in the special pet seat.
In the trunk, Max was waiting in the row of seats that awaited its final two passengers.
Martin checked his watch. “Strange. Peanut and Grape should have been here since this morning, knowing them. I don’t remember there being two more hardcore fans of the Pridelands series in Babylon Gardens.”
“Yush,” agreed Antares. “Peanut drew a number of nice crossovers between Spot (Superdog) and Pridelands.”
“Really?” said Sasha. “And how are they? He dedicated a strip of Spot to me and Fido, did you know that?”
The twins exchanged a puzzled look, then resumed. “He did a good job, as usual,” said Aldebaran. “But I still don’t get why he’s so fond of that Saso guy?”
“Saso as in Saso the Destroyer?” asked Max “The one who burned the village of Beyshan and sowed salt on their fields? That Saso?” The cat couldn’t believe his ears. “Nah, I just can’t see that sickeningly sweet mutt rooting for such a bad guy. Furthermore, Saso was turned in to the lion tribe of Mayka for bloody justice by his own tribe!”
“We put those strips in his blog,” Antares said. “Go checkie if you want.”
“All true,” said Aldebaran. “Actually, we haven’t even asked him why he likes that shady guy so much. In the comic, Spot saves him just before the execution and helps him contact the clan of his mother, Amara, to restrengthen their family bonds, regain possession of the title of First Hunter and then beat up the members of the Laughing Face, who were keeping the hostilities with the lions going on.”
“And Jeijan too comes out of this in shining colors… well, plumage aside,” added Antares. “That little birdie has some grit! By itself, the scene in which he stands up to the Dragon Council is worth the deviation from the books.”
Max was nothing short of impressed. “Who would have thought? Peanut, writer extraordinaire.” And there went another point in favor of the mutt. Max could get tickets for the movies, accompany Grape to the bookstore, but he had never actually created anything “Will you give me the URL to your blog?”
“Yup,” came the stereophonic reply.
Max then turned to Sasha. “And what about you, candyhead? I didn’t imagine you as a Pridelands fan.”
Sasha leaned over the huge dog’s shoulder. “There are the most romantic stories ever, in those books; they could melt a rock. I’ve always bought the hardcover edition with the illustrations by Melissa Benson: her Cape Dogs are... mmmmMMM” Meeting the author AND the artist for the event’s limited edition were reason enough to skin oneself alive...
Fido was the only one who wasn’t a fan. It was the first time he would be going to that event. Sabrina was, as usual the past several days, engaged in some of her secret activities, and had asked him the favor of getting her a signed copy. Spo had wanted to come at first, but after Fido had reminded him that 98% of the guests were supposed to be cats, the small mouse had decided that he needed to sleep for the night.
“But what are those two doing!?” Max grumbled. If he had a watch, he’d have tapped the glass into shattering. “At this rate we’ll be the last–”
“We’re here!” shouted Grape, running toward the garage together with Peanut. “Sorry sorry sorry! I woke up early this morning and kept him awake then he took a nap and then I did too and so–”
Martin patted her on the head. Relax, little Sandwich. We’re only ten minutes behind schedule. Got enough time all the same. Now hop on in, hup hup.”
Once they got to the trunk, despite there being a small pet ladder, Grape said to Peanut in a peremptory tone, “You know what to do, to be forgiven.”
In response, the dog saluted sharply, then put himself on all 4s, and allowed her to use him as a living ladder to get up on the car..
“You’re forgiven,” said Grape. Peanut climbed in and then Martin worked to strap the three pets to the seats. “Oh, hi there, Maxwell,” she said casually, as if she had only just noticed the presence of the black cat sitting just next to her.
Martin closed the door. Max gave her a pleading look. “Grape, c’MON! I’m really sorry for how I behaved. Ask me something, anything to be back in your graces!”
The lavender cat looked at him with a smirk. “Anything?”
Max nodded vigorously.
“You could pretend you’re not here, then.”
Max felt himself sinking. “Graaaape?”
“I’ll think of something, if you really care. But I warn you, you may not like it.”
Martin shut the door. “Okay, it’s off we go!”
“YAY!” came the collective voice.
“Antares and Aldebaran, as usual you get first choice for the music.”
Mizar and Alcor didn’t even grimace. They just took each a pair of earplugs from their collars and put them on. Peanut and Grape, who knew the giant twins’ music tastes, plugged their ears with their fingers. Fido got worried. Sasha was wagging. Max was curious, thinking Grape was exaggerating a bit…
Martin turned on the iPod, then the notes of Sabaton’s Primo Victoria filled the car to a biologically unbearable volume!
Gardens Grand Mall

As Martin had promised, he had fully caught up on the late startup... not that it would actually make a difference, he feared...
‘Crowded’ wasn’t enough to describe the GGM’s parking lot. They had never seen so many bumpers and tires concentrated beyond the limitations of Euclidean geometry. The parking lot was a constellation of headlights. The cats’ eyes reflecting the lights turned that place into a district of Midwich!
“Wow,” said Martin. “Once I cooked breakfasts on a grill close to a Sears, during a Black Friday. Not much different.”
“First time, huh?” Max asked with some sarcasm.
“Yeah. Usually I get them from Amazon.”
In a way, Grape was glad to see that Mr. Top Guy had messed up, even though there was little to be happy about. Yet she would’ve fought to kill, to get the very first copy signed ‘To Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich.’ She wasn’t this excited since she came here for the first time for the third volume of the series… Back then, Peanut was just the jolly-dopey housemate who had just discovered Pridelands. Since then, she had found an unexpected kindred soul in their common passion. Heh, perhaps it was right that night, that Grape had started feeling something for Peanut, because she hadn’t maimed him despite his attempts to spoil the book’s content during the whole trip back home. Her adorable, silly mutt; he had acted as if he had just discovered a hole filled with toys. Grape remembered she had to put up her ‘bad kitty’ face, or she would’ve started chatting with him, falling for him… and straight into the pets’ strictest social taboo–
The lavender cat’s fur almost exploded at the sound of Alcor’s alarmed roar. ”Third one on the left!” Usually Alcor sat in the passenger seat because he had the sharpest eye and the keenest sense of orientation. He was better than an electronic navigator. Martin turned according to the white cat’s indication, fast like a cheetah! “Got it!”
Unfortunately, Alcor was not the only one to have seen the empty slot.
“Forget it, bub!” Martin whispered. “That baby’s mine!” He floored the accelerator, making the Hummer roar like a T-Rex. At the same time he turned on all the lights at full power! The sun itself seemed to shine against the other vehicle, for a short moment, but it was enough. The other vehicle, a gray sedan the ‘Bismarck’ could’ve parked there without a sweat, but it halted with a loud screech. The largest vehicle parked easily with a single maneuver.
Martin turned off the engine, then hi-fived Alcor. The other pets cheered and whistled their approval.
“Majisimo, man!” said Max “You’re a tough cookie, I like it!”
The man opened the door automatically. “Yeah, y’know the saying, Maxie: Never put yourself between a man and his slot. Come on, folks, let’s go. You can disengage yourself.”

Martin had just finished closing the trunk, when someone addressed him in the rudest term possible. He turned in time to see a punch going straight for his face!
The blow stopped an inch from his face.
Antares was holding the man’s wrist in a death-grip. With a monstrous growl, the dog slammed the aggressor against the Humvee’s side, shaking the vehicle, then keeping the man nailed there without any effort! The adorable big puppy had just been replaced by a fierce warrior, and Grape, Peanut, Max and Sasha were appalled, if not frightened by this change... Aldebaran had approached his brother, ready to tear the human that dared to threaten his Dad into pieces!
“The Kings of the Mountain,” Martin said, calmly. “Ukrainian dog breed for military and counter-guerrilla ops. Antares, let him go, I think he understands.”
The dog obeyed, and even if he covered his fangs, still he was wired up and ready, exhaling deep and powerful breaths, his eyes no less fierce.
Martin went to the other man, who was busy staring at the beast that up to a minute before had seemed just a happy puppy... “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Martin Foster, and I sincerely apologize for my earlier behavior. Don’t worry about my boys, they were just defending me…” Then his eyes fell on a russet-striped cat waiting by the other man’s car. “Say, that your boy?” He waved to the feline. “Everything’s OK, young man! Come over here, this is supposed to be a nice evening for us all!”
“Foster?” asked the man. “The guy who built over the remains of Whiteman House? The same guy who’s rebuilding Babylon Gardens’ shelter?”
Martin nodded. “Yup! Excuse me, but no autographs for tonight. And call me Martin.”
In spite of himself, the other man found himself smiling. He felt as if he had just met a good friend. He shook hands with Martin. “Charmed. Name’s Kevin Marsh. I was just thinking of moving to the Gardens. Their bank gives out great loans, in spite of the crisis and it surely beats living in a condo. Anyway, I wanted to congratulate you, Martin. Whiteman house was...” he shuddered.
Martin’s face had turned gloomy. “I know. The land’s owners sold it to me at bargain price, provided I rebuilt everything from the very foundations. Worth every penny spent. Now, there’s a veritable pet gym instead of that Pet Fight Club arena.”
Martin nodded. He allowed himself back to his normal tone. “Pool included. We started our own pet fitness club. Why don’t you and your cat visit, one of these days? That’ll be my final move into convincing you into moving. You’ll love the Gardens.”
“You won’t have to work hard for that. It’s just that I still don’t like commuting much, there are extra expenses that I should take into account...”
“At the next meeting, I’m gonna propose instituting a dedicated bus line for the Gardens’ residents and their pets. A service that could help you renounce using a car. I can keep you updated on that… Also, you could talk with other people who want to move.”

The whole group had decided to walk to the store. After all, they didn’t want their humans to take a number and wait in line.
“Your Dad is either very stupid or very brave,” said Mizar to the russet tabby, who had in the meantime joined the group. “Usually, humans just need to take a look at those two lugs to get unmotivated from any bad intentions.”
The cat shrugged. “Heh, Kevin would take on Lucifer himself, when push comes to shoves. He could never stand bullies.”
“Heh, much like our dad,” said Alcor.
The tabby stuck his tongue at the Foster pets. “Hah! My daddy is better than yours! He’s a Marine. Special Operations Command!”
Antares and Aldebaran WOWed.
“Are they important people,” asked Sasha.
“The mamas of all of tough cookies,” said Antares. “Counter-Terrorism Special Ops, first line in the hottest battle zones. Like our militaries in the Special Forces Alfa.”
Aldebaran gave a slap at the cat’s back, almost throwing him on the concrete. “Vitayu, tovaryshu! Your human being deserves respect! Can you forgive us for mistreating him a little bit?”
The cat touched his chest to see if his lungs were still there. “You know, I don’t think anyone except his drill sergeant has ever managed to mistreat him, so I think he will give his respect to you. But it’s also true that I’ve been living with Kevin only for a short time.”
During that conversation, Grape hadn’t uttered a word. Seeing that cat, smelling his scent, clicked something in her memory, but it was something she just couldn’t grasp, like one of those rubber balls that bounce everywhere…
“Grape?” asked Max, “You okay?”
A few steps from the GGM bookstore, Grape stopped in front of the russet tabby. The rest of the group stopped in turn.
“Grape..?” said Peanut, suddenly concerned.
The lavender cat got closer to the feline male, sniffing him, examining him, knowing instinctively the truth, yet... No, it was not possible. How many chances there were to encounter this cat so soon after being reunited with her first housemate, Lucky?
“I know you,” she said.
Serendipity, Uncle Martin had called it. The man who helped her survive just enough to reach the shelter from which Peanut and his parents would rescue her. The man who had co-adopted her and Peanut and that, thanks to him bullying his way into a parking spot, had allowed her to meet another fragment of her troubled past.
A cat she dearly hoped had survived his own share of tragedies.
Grape was about to pronounce the name of that cat that still had not introduced himself... when someone else did it for her.

Author:  copper [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Another chance meeting!? And who stole Grape's thunder!? I think a mauling is coming.

Great update. Really like the conversation before Peanut and Grape arrived.

Author:  valerio [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Grand Gardens Mall

In a way, Grape should have expected it: of all the animals she knew in Babylon Gardens, the Husky named Fox was the most avid book reader (after Peanut, of course). Once, Peanut had carelessly said to him, Bino and Rex that he liked the Pridelands book series. Of course, Bino and Fox had scorned him for that, but Peanut had the distinct impression that Fox’s comments showed more than he wanted to admit in front of Bino
So, it wasn’t a surprise to find Fox in the midst of the presentation of the series’ fourth book. That the malamute, Lucky, his housemate and most recent adoption of Fox’s Dad, was present as well, came as no surprise.
Lucky was the first and important pet in Grape’s life. Princess Periwinkle was her name, then, she was a kitten, and Lucky was her big brother hero... Theirs was a good life, before their owners abandoned them because of the money.
To be reunited with Lucky, thanks to Uncle Martin, was the best thing that had happened to her, after accepting her love for Peanut.
And now Martin Foster had, again by sheer chance, found the last fragment of her past before the Sandwiches...
"Felix," she repeated the name of the russet tabby, after Lucky had done the same thing.
The world around them had stopped, at that moment. Sounds and smells had disappeared. Grape had first met Felix when her family was almost in its death throes with money. They had already moved into a trailer park.
Felix belonged to one the neighbors. Pets were rare presences, there. Residents had moved there because they couldn’t afford to keep one or hadn’t any at all. The parents of Princess Periwinkle and Lucky were considered very lucky to have two pets... For a while, at least.
Grape remembered well when she stole the meager remains of her parent’s meals to give them to Felix, who was often left out alone and cold... And Felix had proved a funny playmate, after a while...
"Princess..." Felix said, breaking the spell. The cat turned around. "Lucky… Is that really you?"
"Yay!" Cat and dog rushed to hug the tabby. "The Three Musketeers are back!" Lucky said, rubbing his fist in Felix’s headfur. "I can’t believe it, simply can’t believe it! Look at yourself, such a tiger you’ve become! I remember you were such a bonebag!”
"Look who’s talking, you papa bear! You could hardly stand up!" Felix kept on moving his head to and from his old friends. "So your name’s Grape, now, Princess? And that friend of yours," he pointed his thumb at the brown dog who was watching with enthusiasm at the unexpected reunion, “is Peanut, right?" He chuckled, and immediately swallowed when, icy like the North Pole, Grape said, "Yes. Peanut Butter. And he’s my boyfriend, by the way.”
The red cat’s eyes grew wide as saucers, then he dropped to his knees. His head turned to the sky, his voice full of anguish, he howled, "Take me[/u], Great Spirit of the Dark Lands, messenger of the lost souls! My sun has set, the King Cheetah is fallen and I can’t live anymore, [i]take me! "
Grape helped him stand up. "And shut up, silly, I already have my personal buffoon." She gave a friendly smile to Max, and then said, "Yeah, okay. Peace, bro. I had already forgiven you, I just wanted to let you stew in your broth, you rascal."
Max made a jumping somersault. He looked happy like a kitten. He was so happy that he even kissed Peanut on the cheek, shocking him into puffing his fur like a cat’s. "Have I already told you that I love you to no end, ma belle?"
"Until your next backstabbing?" she asked casually.
Max put his hands to his stomach, looking as if he had just been stabbed. "Ow! Ow, ow!" He stumbled and staggered, then leaned against Fido’s arm. "Fido, as the brother of my one and only friend in this cruel world, I pray thee, bury here my poor remains."
Sasha was all happy for this unexpected development. "It's so nice to know another friend of Grape! You’re coming to the Gardens, right?"
Felix sat down on the curb, flanked by Grape and Lucky. The rest of the group joined a moment later. "Not yet. Kevin is doing his math to see if it’s more convenient to move there or to another condo in the city. I’m the only pet cat in the building, and the neighbors tolerate me because they’re patriotic and respect Kevin. I really envy you two, you know?"
"But what happened to you?" asked Grape. "Last time we saw you, you used to walk almost five miles a day just to scavenge for stuff that calling a ‘meal’ would’ve been offensive. Your humans lived with a meager allowance, if that could be called life. And now here you are, in full shape and with such a Dad! You made it better than other cats I know."
Max cleared his throat.
"By the way," said the lavender female, "better introduce you to my pack of lunatics. Felix, these are Maxwell, Mizar, Alcor, Antares, Aldebaran, Fido and Sasha. You can rely on them.”
Felix greeted them. "The pleasure’s all mine, folks, but I guess you already know that Princess is the smartest of this bunch."
"You were called 'The Three Musketeers'?" asked Alcor.
Felix nodded. "As long as we worked together, our bellies were never empty. I found the target, Princess elaborated the plan, and Lucky put up with the muscles. We were unbeatable! All for one!” he shouted, and held out high his paw for the others two to do clasp it. They burst out laughing.
Once again, Peanut felt that familiar jealousy stab at his heart. Now it was as if Grape had found her true family, another piece of her heart she had given to another male... Then the young hound felt the paw grabbing his shoulder.
Fido was watching him. His expression was serious, and was shaking his head slightly.
Peanut remembered the conversation they had a few days before, when Grape and Lucky had been reunited, and her joy was so great...
'Trust' was the key of Fido’s speech. Peanut must trust his sweet cat, he couldn’t fear she’d leave him...
Peanut smiled weakly to Fido. Whatever bad thoughts could cross his mind, it was his life together with Grape that spoke the truth, in their gestures small and great... No matter how many special friends they both could have, the lives of the Sandwich pets were united in a way that nothing could separate.
Fido took his hand off Peanut’s shoulder, in time to hear Felix say, "In the end, even my 'parents' decided to keep the door closed, forever. One night, I came back after eating garbage leftovers. I knocked and called out, but they didn’t answer. I almost would have preferred to be beaten out of my home, instead, they left me there to beg, to cry in front of their door all night, asking them what wrong I had done to them. It rained, it was so cold, and they didn’t even leave me an old box for some shelter."
"Oh, Felix..." Grape stroked his head. "My Dad drove me in the car, far from the park, and before pushing me out, he told me that we were practically starving one day at a time. He told me that I would be better off away from home... Even though he said it to convince himself, I’m sure of it."
Lucky joined the petting. "I was given to a neighbor. Mom said that she and Dad would go to the city in search of a job, that they would return that night... And they never returned. That neighbor gave me some food and told me everybody was leaving, sooner or later, and nobody would take me with them. That's how I ended up a stray."
"Eventually," Grape said, “Lucky and I ended up in the same shelter, although in different times, and from there we came to live in Babylon Gardens."
Lucky drew Fox to him, crushing him in a bear hug. "He is my new best buddy! His dad is a cop!”
"Cool," said Felix. "Kevin is a lieutenant colonel. We met at his base. I was slipping from the kitchen holding the finest sausages that I had tasted for months, but the hunger confused me so I ended straight in the mess hall.” The cat laughed. "’Mess’, indeed! All those beefy boys trying to catch me, and no one that could lay a finger on me! The dishes were scattered all around, I could’ve given up the sausages and fed for days only with what was being wasted on the floor.
"In the end, Kevin got me. I was tired and starving, and in the end I hadn’t even the strength to unsheathe my claws. I expected that at least he’d kick me out... But that guy takes me to the hospital, and orders the doctor to give me a complete checkup and all the shots, just as if I were a member of the staff. Heh, I still remember the face of that quack. I was so dirty that he handled me like I was radioactive.
"After being vaccinated against everything, and cleaned up properly, Kevin brought me the meal of a real soldier. He said that if a mangy tabby was able to put at least fifty trained marines in check, then that tabby must become the base’s mascot. Since then, we became inseparable... Except when he goes on a mission. Sometimes he’s way for months, but every time he’s back we celebrate like no tomorrow. He’s a very nice guy."
Antares and Aldebaran sighed like two girls. "Aw," they said together, "Shchaslyvyy̆ kit."
"Does that language thing happen often?" asked the cat to the others.
"Only when they are very, very happy," said Mizar. "When we play with Dad, we need a translator. However, they said, 'lucky cat'.”
"Oh, you are so right, especially now that the Three Musketeers are back together! Now, nothing can go wrong!"
"Save for the event," said Alcor, turning to the Mall, a resigned expression in his eyes.
The animals were now alone in a parking lot populated only by cars. The mass of humans and felines was crowding the bookstore, now.
Grape sighed sadly. "We’ll never get though that in time..." Although there were copies enough for late fans, Miss Auburn wouldn’t be there all night long to sign them. She felt like crying.
Peanut hugged her to comfort her, and she said, “You’ll think I’m being silly, but I wanted our own signed copy. The one dedicated to us, our first own book…”
"And who told you it can’t be done?" asked Martin’s voice.
The pets stood up... and they nearly got a collective heart attack.
Martin Foster was accompanied by Kevin Marsh, who was carrying a box containing a volume for each of pet. And along with them came a woman dressed in an elegant black dress. An all too familiar woman.
"Tara Simmonds Auburn..." murmured Grape, in awe. The Pridelands author, in the flesh, out there, with them!
Martin winked at the lavender cat. "I thought it wasn’t a good idea to interrupt your reunion, you were so much better off talking here than inside a crowded commercial center.”
"Mr. Martin has been a great benefactor to the shelter," said Miss Auburn. "I couldn’t deny him this favor, nor to my number one fans. So,” She took a pen from her purse. Kevin handed her a book and on the first page she wrote, "'To Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly, with sincere wishes for many happy years together and many good books to read by the fireplace.'" She added her signature, and handed the volume to the cat. Grape’s grin threatened to break her face in two. Peanut’s wagging could compete with an industrial air conditioner.
The author finished dedicating and signing each copy. Then she shook hands with Martin. "I wish you full success with your projects. I won’t miss the opening of the new shelter." At those words, the animals squealed and jumped like so many cheerleaders.
"You won’t be disappointed, Miss Auburn. Good luck with your fans."
When she was gone, Sasha was the first to say, "We’re gonna be the envy of the whole neighborhood, Fidey! We absolutely must celebrate. Squuueeee!”
“Well, I think I have the right idea," said Max, then whispered something into Grape’s ear.
She sighed. "Maxie, you’re not planning one of your schemes, are you?"
"Of course not! Back then, it was a disaster, whereas now we can do something all together, and without any awkward moments. After all, now you know where your heart stands."
Grape turned to Peanut. She looked shy, paws crossed behind her back and flattened ears. "Um, love, would you like to do something for me?" Peanut’s alarms started ringing. She acted like that only when she was afraid to hurt him, like that night when she proposed the ‘fake date’ thing with Max, a date that had almost broke cat and dog apart...
Peanut swallowed, and glanced at Fido, who nodded his encouragement. "Ah, tell me, Grape."
"Well... Maxie thought it would be fun if we all went to 'Heathcliff' together for dinner. It’s 10, now, and we still have time to hang out together, talk more, have more fun…"
Peanut remembered very well the name of that restaurant for cats. It was there that Grape should’ve told ‘Maxie’ they weren’t an item, that she was interested in someone else, and that they could at best be just friends... But that date had become the prelude to a long period of agony for Peanut...
His instincts, his inability to manage stress, almost led Peanut to say ‘no’.
But he loved her, trusted her judgment.
And then, what kind of boyfriend would be he to deny her a nice evening with all of these friends?
Peanut gave her a kiss on Grape’s forehead. "Of course! Uncle Martin, do you have room for Felix, too?"
The man shrugged. "I guess Fido can hold him on his lap."
"Kevin," said the cat, "Can I go with Lucky and Princess for tonight? Pleeeease?"
The marine stroked his head. "All right, Rusty. Provided that Mr. Foster will bring you back home tomorrow morning, 0800 sharp, deal?"
"Consider it done, Sir." The two men shook hands. "It was nice to meet you, and I wish you’ll soon join our community. Felix is gonna be treated like royalty, believe me."
"I do, I’m counting on that. Good night guys." He saluted sharply.
The cat returned the salute. "Good night, Sir!"
Kevin laughed and walked to his car. Martin and his guests did the same.

Shortly after the 'Bismarck' had left the parking lot, Peanut’s excited yapping said, "You’ll never guess who Dreydo is, Grape!"

Author:  copper [ Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

So Peanut was right, huh?

Happy days for all. The meet the "author", but not the author. Too bad.

Heathcliff's is going to be packed with a crowd like that! :lol:

Author:  ChristopherJackal [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Oh my sounds like their going to have a party over at Heathcliff's! Sounds like fun already!
Also Grape is done going to give Peanut a heart attack with the stress all her old friends be causing! Love shall prevail! GO Grapenut GO!

Author:  Karl [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Three Musketeers? Then we will also see who will be D'Artagnane? ;)

Author:  valerio [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Babylon Gardens’ dogs were of a more sociable nature. Their regular meeting place was the Good Old Dogs Club, founded by Bino. Lesser and major items were discussed, organized, there were toys, food, games… It was a fun place for pack animals, and since Martin Foster had allowed the weekly meetings to be held at his park, it had also become a very popular club. Its members could stand Bino’s more-than-occasional rants, too.
Cats weren’t exactly asocial, but they preferred the mass meetings for the special occasions, like the New Year’s Yarn Ball. That was the collective moment of songs, dances, romantic engagements and resolutions for the new year...
But when a cat wanted to spend a good time with his/her peers, in couples or in groups, there was always ‘Heathcliff’s’.
Heathcliff’s was a restaurant converted from a vacant lot, surrounded by a wooden picket fence. The cats were allowed to use in exchange for gardening duties. The nearby junkyard provided for the crates, chairs, candle holders, candles, tableware, tablecloths, in short, everything you need to make atmosphere and give a touch of class for a date or dinner with friends. Even the garbage food was carefully selected.
Heathcliff’s was a cats place. One needed to book to bring in any other species.
At the sight of the unannounced giant Foster twins, the blue, purple-striped maitress gulped. “Uh, welcome to Heathcliff’s. Two?” Sometimes, you just better not argue. Those guys may be nice enough, but you don’t want to see them upset, nossir!
Antares and Aldebaran moved aside, to reveal the large group of cats and dogs.
“Hi, Allegra,” said Max, “Twelve, actually, including beefyboys here. Sorry for the very short notice.”
Allegra’s eyes lit up. “What with everyone at the Mall, tonight, as you can see there wasn’t exactly a crowd.” The restaurant was, in fact, empty. “The management is officially grateful, guys. Five minutes to set the tables, okay? You can wait there.” She indicated a corner at the right of the entrance. After the group had set there, Mizar sniffed the air. “Hm, surely we won’t be eating any worse here than at the old shelter. I like this place, it looks so... rustic. Good choice, Max.”
“Heh, thanks.” The black cat found himself blushing. How come all the best-looking females in the Gardens were engaged with dogs?! If only he hadn’t broken up with Sabrina… She must be the last straight cat, when it came to proper-species relationships. “And what about you, Felix? Do we need to call you Rusty like your Dad does?”
“Well,” the russet tabby answered, “Rusty is my mascot name, I just grew accustomed to it, but I won’t mind using the first names we were given, for the old times’ sake. What about you, Lucky, Princess? Musketeers forever?”
“All for one!” The malamute and the lavender cat answered as one. It was funny, Grape thought, that until not much ago, ‘Princess Periwinkle’ was a name she just wanted to forget, along with many bad things of her sad past. And now that very name was bringing back the good things of those days. She was back with her best friends ever, she had her beloved Peanut, all was well…
Allegra came to announce the table was ready. As she led her customers to their place, she said, “If you don’t mind me asking, how come you’re all here? I see that you have a copy of The Dragon and the Mask, but I thought you wanted it signed, and that takes a lot of time.”
Sasha, who was still grinning in an unsettling way, held out her copy as if it was a holy relic, and opened it, revealing the handwritten dedication on the first page. It read, To Sasha, May the Water Spirits watch over your happiness forever. Tara Simmonds Auburn. “And everyone has their own!” she said, in a happy squeaking tone, hopping.
Allegra was about to have a fit. The book was officially presented at midnight, and it would’ve taken forever to sign a limited number of copies. The restaurant staff was there only because their parents couldn’t accompany them, and because they had threatened their friends into getting a copy at the cost of cutting heads!
And these twelve guys had their own autographed copy with a dedication at barely 11pm!!!
Allegra was about to cry. “I don’t know how you did it, but you are my heroes. This evening, in your honor, the appetizers are on the house! Meat or fish? Or we could serve a mix of both, if you prefer.”
“Both will do just fine,” Max said. “You have your famous mineral water?”
“Fresh from the bank’s offices unused bottles. You’re twice lucky!”
The group sat down, Antares and Aldebaran first, at the end of the table, facing each other. Then, on Antares’ side sat Sasha, Fido, Fox, Mizar and Alcor. On Aldebaran’s side: Peanut, Grape, Felix, Lucky and Max.
“The good news is that I could spend some time in the Gardens, to see how it is behind the propaganda,” said Felix. “Kevin’s cousins live here, they got two cats. Perhaps you know them, their names are Tibbets and Enola.”
“I know them, yes,” Max said “Born and raised on an aircraft carrier, if I remember correctly.”
Felix nodded. “That’s them. Kevin always speaks well of them. He’ll soon be leaving for yet another mission, and who knows how long it’ll be before...” His voice broke. He was happy he had a real parent who took care of him, but it was so unfair they had to be separated for these prolonged periods, not to mention the possibility Felix could lose him…
Grape was about to say something to comfort him, when at that moment four cats came, each carrying a tray overflowing with leftovers... And they did indeed look and smell of the finest quality. Twelve stomachs grumbled.
Allegra served the water from glass bottles. “Bon appetit,” she said. “Anything else I could do for you?” This question was asked to Fox, who hadn’t stopped looking at the waitress.
“Uh? Wut?” The husky shook himself. “Ah, nothing, for now, ah, thank you. Allegra.” He wagged, pronouncing her name.
Grape and Peanut, Alcor and Mizar, exchanged a knowing look. “Follegra, Follegra,” chanted the black twins.
The poor dog reddened deeply, and it didn’t help that Max was grinning like the Cheshire Cat. “Stop it everyone! Please,” he added with a whine. “And what’s with this ‘Follegra’ word?”
Aldebaran indicated Peanut and Grape. “They are Grapenut!” Antares did the same with his housemates. “Malcor!”
“Always hated it,” said the white German Sheperd. “Makes us sound like some evil team.”
Fox ears were still red. “And you folks think that I and that… cat..?”
The big dogs stood up and served their friends, before taking the trays for themselves.
“Weren’t you in touch with the gal, when you were a pup?” asked Max, chewing on his fish.
Fox munched on a piece of roast. “C’mon, I barely remember her, and it was before Felicia…” He sighed. It still hurt so much. “We sort of became strangers.” He sighed again. “But you’re right: she is cute.”
Felix was shaking his head, but he actually looked amused. “This neighborhood is going to be so interesting.”
“But you, and I mean, every one of you,” Fox said with a threatening glare, “won’t say a thing to Bino about this. I am not interested in Allegra, but if he thought otherwise, I wouldn’t hear the end of it. And I’d hate to lose his friendship.”
“One day, man,” said Grape, “you’ll have to explain why you still hang out with him. I mean, you should be friends with Peanut, you two read more than everyone else in this place.”
Again that resigned sigh. “It’s… complicated, but for now let’s not talk about it, ok? And please, don’t say that word again.”
“Follegra, Follegra,” chanted the twins, waving their heads.
“I hate you.”
“I thought you two were accustomed to… less rustic foods,” Alcor said, making a grimace at the sight of his housemates engaged in drinking rather than eating their food.
“Of course we like what Dad gives us,” said Antares.
“But we grew up in our country eating the toughest foods,” Aldebaran continued.
“Our breed is made to withstand the harshest conditions.”
“We do reconnaissance, de-mining, and infiltrate enemy lines to clean up the fields from the guards.”
The twins swelled their chests with pride, while listing those qualities. Max said, “That would explain your... transformation at the parking lot, before.”
Both blushed. “We were to be discarded because they couldn’t keep us apart,” said Aldebaran.
“According to the book, every SFA soldier must have one and only one dog with him, because both form a single fighting unit. They are one, there is no room either for another human or another dog soldier,” Antares added, in their habit of completing each other’s sentences.
“It was us who formed a perfect fighting unit.”
“It wasn’t good.”
“Not at all.”
“They tried to separate us.”
“Without success.”
“We were to be discarded.”
“Then Dad came.”
Antares and Aldebaran giggled. The first said, “You should have seen him.”
“He spoke with such vehemence that the interpreter with him refused to translate certain words...”
“In the end he obtained permission to visit us to know us better.”
“He also learned a bit of Ukrainian.”
“Not that he needed it.” Both dogs sighed.
“Every time he came to visit, we all were so comfortable.”
“As if we had always lived with him.”
“He was very sweet.”
“He made us feel protected.”
“He still does.”
“So true!”
The twins went back to eating. The other felt their heads spinning, after following that intense vocal tennis match. “So, Princess,” Felix said with a mischievous grin, so similar to Max’s. “What are your plans to cause chaos and mischief hereabouts... And why are you looking at me like that, now?”
Am I a troublemakers magnet? The cat thought, then said, “Right now, you just put yourself on the Gardens’ top police dog black list.” She indicated Fido, sitting in front of her.
Felix facedesked. “Kill me.”
“Ah, don’t be a wuss,” said Fido. “She’s just teasing you.”
Felix raised his head. “Really..?”
Fido downed a mouthful of cod. “Rivalry between cats, dogs and other pets is physiological, it can’t be just smothered. We at the K9U make sure certain boundaries remain untouched, but mischief is allowed. Ask Max, he’s our local expert.”
Max stood up for a moment, then bowed deeply. “You do me too much honor, Captain Mutt.”
“And these ‘boundaries’ would be..?” Felix asked, suspiciously.
“Once I showed Fido a cartoon by a human author named Quino,” said Fox.
“In the cartoon there is this square full of people,” Fox went on. “They’re all nervous, frightened, no matter what they are doing. Everyone is watching this big sign the cops are hanging at the center of the square. And the sign reads ‘Guess what is forbidden’. Got it?”
“Oh.” Felix downed a mouthful of meat. “So, Princess,” he said. “How many other… funny couples like the present company are here at the Gardens?”
“Eighteen we know of. It was a surprise for me as well, to discover that this place is really open-minded, other than pet-friendly.”
“Call me a troglodyte, then, but that’s not my swing. No offense, Peanut, your ‘girlfriend’ should have most proper suitors... And why are you all laughing, now?”
All of the diners had burst out in a collective, roaring laughter. Peanut and Grape were holding each other, cheeks wet with tears.
Felix didn’t get it. Grape wiped her eyes and said, “Oh, poor thing. You’re SO gonna be tested, in your new house.”
Felix felt a bit worried now.
“Tibbets and Enola’s mates are canines,” said Max. “And yes, I too looked as stricken as you. Didn’t imagine I could look so funny as well.”
Again, Felix repeatedly slammed his head on the table. “Karma hates me.”

The group left the restaurant just as the other customers were pouring in. Because of the event, many pets too excited to go to sleep had been allowed to stay up late. At least, morning time promised to be very quiet.
Everyone was talking about the book. Grape thought that it had been barely mentioned by her group, and yet this had been one of her best hangouts ever. She promised herself she would repeat it.
Parting from her friend, Grape kissed Max’s cheek. “You were right. It has been a great night.”
Max sighed. “You can’t do without me, Princess,” he said, holding her paws. Despite his own promise to let her go, to accept he had lost her, his true feelings were still there. And he knew his aquamarine eyes were showing them.
Grape lowered her ears. Only Lucky and Felix can call me that, just like only I get to call you ‘Maxie’.” Then she smiled, “See you tomorrow?”
“Bet on it.” The black cat returned the kiss. “Good night!”
Sasha was really drowsy. Fido took her on his back and walked home. Fox said his farewells and left for his place.
The Foster pets, Peanut, and the Three Musketeers left for Overview Grove. Grape was keeping an arm on each shoulder of her old friends. “Remember when we helped that ol’ hound to find a mate? Bones?”
Lucky and Felix nodded. Grape chuckled. “Maxie needs to find a girlfriend. And Fox too.” She winked
“Musketeers to the rescue once again, then,” said Felix. “Don’t you dare start without me, you two, okay?”
“Can’t wait to have you around, tiger,” she said.
“Wow! When you said your Dad is rich, you meant it!” Felix said at the sight of Foster Mansion. “Do you think he’d adopt me too?”
“You’re not the first to ask” said Grape. “Come, I think Peanut would like a game of ‘Defenders of the Pridelands’. Right, mutt..? “She turned… and saw him sleeping soundly, all slumped against Aldebaran’s back.
“Too many emotions in one day, I suppose,” said Alcor, and yawned in turn.
The animals entered the property driveway. “Tomorrow, we’ll introduce you to the wolf cubs,” suggested Mizar
“Wolves!?” Felix found the energy to be once again amazed. “Wolves live in this neighborhood?”
“Oh, yes,” said Alcor. “And you still must meet the Milton ferrets, and then there’s this psychic Pomeranian, and...”

Episode 8

Author:  loomCAT [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Oh, poor Felix. The poor cat does not yet realize how bizarre this neighborhood can truly be.

Follegra? Oh, dear. ^^

And, for my last note, I don't think I've heard this Bones character mentioned before. I expect we'll be seeing him in the future?

Looking forward to Episode 9, sir!

Author:  valerio [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

loomCAT Wrote:
Oh, poor Felix. The poor cat does not yet realize how bizarre this neighborhood can truly be.

Follegra? Oh, dear. ^^

And, for my last note, I don't think I've heard this Bones character mentioned before. I expect we'll be seeing him in the future?

Looking forward to Episode 9, sir!

Yup! Tabby's in for some surprises!
Follegra (although in a different context and development) is being used under kind concession of ChristopherJackal. Thank you again, man! :D
Bones is a random mention, he won't be reappearing. To whomever was interested in Grape's past as described in this episode, please go check Zander's ficcie, 'Before the Comic'. He allowed me to use it for my humble production.

Author:  ChristopherJackal [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

:mrgreen: awww Fox being teased about Allegra was rather cute! Hooray for Follegra!

Also I'm rather excited to see Felix's reaction to how weird the neighborhood actually is. Not your average run of the mill neighborhood that's for sure! Should be fun!

Author:  valerio [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

ChristopherJackal Wrote:
:mrgreen: awww Fox being teased about Allegra was rather cute! Hooray for Follegra!

Also I'm rather excited to see Felix's reaction to how weird the neighborhood actually is. Not your average run of the mill neighborhood that's for sure! Should be fun!

And thank you for your kind permission, CJ! You are being of great inspiration! :D :D

Author:  huntersunday [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

I must say I love how you make the story equal for all characters its never focused to much on one main person you don't see your style a lot but your doing a great job keep it up cant wait to read the next one!

Author:  copper [ Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Great storyu so far. I loved the dinner conversation.

Antares and Aldebaron are doing that weird twin thing again....

Uh oh. I think Max and Fox are in for some trouble. The Three Musketeers are going to cause more harm than good.

Author:  valerio [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Episode 9 - The Cupid Strategy
Written by VALERIO (Later revised by OBBL)

Villa Foster. 7AM

The alarm sent delicate schoolbell chimes in the air. Prudently, its owner had placed the alarm inside a wall.
After about a minute, the pile of eight furs laying on the so-called ‘pack-sized bed’ came back to life. Muscles rippled layers of differently colors, from white to black, passing through brown, lavender, reddish…
Paws and legs started to emerge from the furry blob, followed by tails and eventually heads. The first head to emerge was Grape Jelly Sandwich’s.
‘Ruffled’ didn’t describe her well enough. She looked like she had fought a violent match against a towel. Somehow, she slipped out of the blob, and sat down on the bed’s edge. Still groggy, she used her tongue to bath her arm – ugh, she had collected more smells in a night’s sleep than in her whole life, not to mention the restaurant she had been in yesterday, and the parking lot dust... She turned to look at the pile that was still unraveling between moans, sighs, legs stretching out and popping vertebrae. She was surprised she hadn’t been squashed into fruit juice.
“Morning, sis,” Antares and Aldebaran yawned together.
“Morning Jellybelly,” yawned Peanut, or rather the hedgehog that vaguely resembled the dog that had just given out her secret pet name in front of everyone.
“Jellybelly?” asked the russet tabby, Felix, imitated by his and her friend, the malamute Lucky. They grinned like hyenas.
“Peanut,” grumbled Grape, “remember that you must die.” She leaned over Antares’ back and gave him a kiss on his truffle. “Lovingly.”
“It’s a nice pet name,” said the white German Shepherd, Mizar. Then she tickled the belly of a cat the same color that was rubbing against her. “Alcor,” she said at the golden-eyed cat, “You never gave me a pet name.”
“We’re named after two stars,” he said. “I don’t think it could be more romantic than that.”
The tourmaline-blue eyed female shook her head. “One day I’ll know if you’re being romantic or a lazy dodger...”
Grape left the bed and went out the room. She needed a glass of milk, a huge glass of whole, cold milk. Then she decided she’d take a bath. She smelled like she had spent the night at the zoo. A warm bath, with Peanut. *purr*
Grape’s tail started to swish in large strokes.

Entering the kitchen, Grape discovered there were other guests in the house. Guests intent in emptying the trash bin. “Hello,” she muttered, opening the fridge. She picked up a carton of milk. She drank straight from the carton, and the heck with manners. Hmm, yes that was milk *!*
Realization hit her like a freight train. Grape was wide awake. The carton fell from her paw, as she turned, snarling, back fur standing up, ears flattened. “Raccoons!”
The two ferals ignored her. Without even turning, the female said, “Hi, broom-cat.” She finished filling a reusable cotton bag. “Have a nice day,” said the male, as they left the room.
Grape was dumbfounded, to put it simply. “Huh?”
“Hi Silver! Morning, Zen,” Alcor said, before yawning.
“Morning, Alcor,” said Zen, the female. “Have a nice evening?”
“Even better.” The white cat took a stool. He went to the electric coffee maker, put a fresh pod in it and turned on the machine. “We also met an old friend of Grape, there, then we went to Heathcliff’s.”
“Cool,” said Silver. “That place has the best trash in town, after the stuff your human gives out… Too bad you all even eat the road kill, there’s so little garbage left for us.”
“Sorry about that. And no, I wouldn’t eat road kill. That’s something you’d do.”
“Because we ain’t snotty like you house pets. Say ‘Hi’ to your human for us, will ya?”
“Count on it, glutton.”
Grape was still having problems connecting with reality, as she looked at the two ferals going out. In fact, she wasn’t sure she wasn’t dreaming. “Did I really see what I just saw?” she asked, more to herself.
The aroma of fresh coffee started filling the air, replacing that of the raccoons. Alcor said, “Silver and Zen? So, what’s wrong with… Oh, right!” He snapped his fingers. “Sorry, it’s true that you didn’t know: Dad has given permission to the raccoons to come here for some leftovers, provided they move in the early morning, when the neighbors are asleep. He left several kinds of food in our park, with the same instructions. In fact, those two were late today.” He shrugged. “Anyway, don’t worry, they know they’re limited to the bin. Should they try something funny, Antares and Aldebaran can have them as breakfast.”
“And they say that Peanut and I are weird...” Grape took the carton she had dropped. “Sorry, where’s the floor cloth?”
“Nah, don’t worry.” Alcor went on all 4s and started lapping with enthusiasm at the spilled milk until the floor was perfectly clean. Alcor, stood up and rubbed his lips with his arm. “Old habits. We don’t cry over spilled milk, we eat it.”
“Weirder and weirder…” Grape had suffered only a few weeks alone on the road, and that had marked her. Whenever she saw food she wanted to eat it. An appetizer worked with her better than a rose bouquet… She had never imagined certain habits could have rooted so deeply in a pet. She felt really sorry for Alcor. “The coffee is for Uncle Martin?” Dumb question of the century, ladies and gentlepets! Anything, anyway, to distract herself from those thoughts!
The machine rang at that moment. Alcor took the jug and filled a cup almost to the brim. “Yup. The coup de grace, I call it. Come and see why.” The cat showed a wicked toothy green. “We should make our guests pay a ticket for this show.”

”GOOD MORNING!” Nuclear explosion.
“Thank you, dear...” 300° FAHRENHEIT!
Puff of hissing steam from the bathroom.
Shower. Music: The Twins’ ‘No. 4’.

Peanut, Lucky and Felix found Grape rolling in laughter in Martin’s bedroom.
While the cat was recovering, a phone rang inside the bathroom. Every animal ear pricked up as they heard the man say, “Good morning, Miss Sunman! What’s the news? Mm-hmm? Yes? Really!? Wonderful! When? I’ll be there soon. Thank you!”
The shower was turned off shortly after. A minute later a very naked man came out the bathroom.
Both Grape and Peanut blushed furiously, turning their heads.
“Sorry, little Sandwiches,” Martin said, putting on a pair of boxers. “Didn’t mean to embarrass you. Also, I thought you didn’t mind, since pets are already naked.”
“Well,” Peanut said, his ears burning, “Mom and Dad taught us that it’s ill-mannered, to look.”
Martin finished dressing. “Sorry again, boys.” He checked himself one last time in the mirror. Then he bent down to give a kiss on the heads of his pets.
“Good news, dad?” Mizar asked.
“You can say that again! A pair of newlyweds visited the shelter, yesterday. They held a pre-adoption interview for Siber and Taiga. Today someone is gonna find a new home.” Martin hummed a merry tune.
“YAY!” exclaimed Mizar and Alcor. “Can we come to say goodbye?” Both cats used to be good friends of the white dog and cat, back when they were strays waiting to be adopted.
Martin thought it over for a moment. “Why not? If we hurry, you’ll have all the time you need. But first, Felix, I’m gonna accompany you to–”
At that moment, the phone rang again. Martin swore and went to answer the cordless phone. “Foster...” Then his voice returned as jovial as ever. “Good morning to you too, Lieutenant!”
Felix jumped to pick up the phone so fast that he almost tore the man’s hand. “Hi, Kevin! Yes, I’m fine, Mr. Foster is gonna bring me home soon, and–”At that point, his face became a sad mask... Or, rather, resigned. As if what he was hearing was something he had expected, but he had hoped not to hear from the voice of his father. “I understand. Yes, I am sure they’ll give me a ride there... I love you, Dad. Ciao.” He passed the phone to Martin. “He leaves today. New orders. Asked if I could be accompanied to his cousins’ place.”
Lucky and Grape went to hug him. “We’ll take care of that, champ. Don’t worry, you’ll see that you’ll love your stay in the Gardens.” Of all the pets, there, they could understand what he was suffering. It must feel so terrible, to be left alone again, although temporarily.
Felix smiled as only a cat could do. “Hey, why the long faces? We are the Three Musketeers, remember? Kevin will be back, and in the meantime, we’ll have the time of our life. There’s still a broken heart to fix, right?” He lifted his paw in a hi-five. “All for one!” They said in chorus.
“Hey, rascals,” Martin said from the kitchen. A heavenly smell of eggs and sausages was already spreading from the kitchen. “Care for a breakfast?”
Peanut kissed Grape behind her neck. “I’m going home. I want to finish The Dragon and the Mask, so I will have a head start over you, nyah nyah nyah! I’ll tell Dad that you’re with your friends.”
Grape knew what was in store for her, unfortunately: in the neighborhood, only Fox could compete with Peanut and his ability to devour books. Once, they had held a reading match: finish The Lord of the Rings in one day. It ended in a tie, but for a week, both canines suffered the most intense nightmares. Many pets used to gather at their windows with popcorn and soda to listen.
Furthermore, Peanut loved to talk in shining details of each and every book he read. With the previous Pridelands, Grape had to use many, many earplugs.
However, this time, there was a thing he and she had agreed on, before going to the Mall... “Hey, mutt, already forgotten our deal?” She walked over to her boyfriend and ran a finger along his throat as he did when he wanted her to purr. “Tonight we get in our bed, and read it and comment on it together, hmm? This is our very first autographed book, not ‘mine’, or ‘yours’. It’s our special romantic thing, and you don’t want to ruin it, right?”
Peanut nodded slowly, in full BSOD mode. He swallowed. “Buh.”
Grape’s ruffled his head. “If you want to keep yourself busy, go do some more Spot comics. I bet your big fans can’t wait to see you at work.”
“YES!” The twins roared, eyes shining with excitement.
“Then everything goes on our blog!” Aldebaran said.
“It will be a hit, as usual,” said Antares.
The twins lifted Peanut over their heads and carried him to the kitchen. “Hi ho, Hi ho, it’s off to eat we go!”
”GRAAAAAPE!” Peanut felt like when the wolf cubs had treated him that way, but they wanted to play. Now he felt as if they were taking him to the cauldron!
The cat blew him a kiss “Tell them to give me the recipe, love.”
”It’s not funny!”
The Sanders family lived at 25 Laika Drive, at the other side of Babylon Gardens. Martin had apologized again for not being able to accompany the Musketeers, but he had to go pick up King before going to the shelter.
The Three Musketeers found themselves in front of a house like the many that made up the suburban community, identical in shape, customized to its owner’s tastes. 25 Laika drive had blue walls and warm brick-red roof. In the garden, there was a hammock hanging between two apple trees, a small table with four reclining chairs and a large yellow umbrella.
“I love your neighborhood,” said Felix. “Do you remember the old place?” He shuddered. The others did the same: ‘The old place’ was a trailer park crowded with dirty vehicles, a grease-stained square in the middle of nowhere. Even the grass looked yellowish and sick, at least that grass that survived to grow among the litter. There was always this smell of cheap alcohol, vomit and trash. The three pets could hardly imagine they had actually called that place ‘home’.
The front door opened, and out came two tabbies, a male and a female, both russet like Felix, but with white strips instead of Felix’s darker red.
“Hi, cuz!” said the male, and went to embrace his ‘relative’. “So, you’ll be our guest for a while, eh?” He let go of Felix and indicated the female. “She’s my biological sister, Enola. I am Tibbets. “
“Dad and Mom apologize for not being here to greet you, but they went to work,” said Enola.
“No problem,” scoffed Felix. “Where do they work?”
“Dad is the local Pizza Palace’s manager. Mom is foreman at the drugstore… Hey, hello to you, Lucky, Grape! How’s your boyfriend?”
Grape blushed slightly. “Always lively. And yours?”
“Lively as well,” Tibbets said, exploding fists with Grape. Noting Felix’s unease, she said, “Sorry about that, chief. It’s been a short while since mixed couple came out. Before that, we didn’t even know there were any at all. Enthusiasm gets the best of us, sometimes.”
Felix shrugged. “I guess it could be worse. I mean, mixed species couples, a bunch of crazy uber-rich ferrets owning the whole neighborhood, wolves living by the next door… What could surprise me now?”
Grape preferred not to tell him. Instead, she said, “Folks, I want to set a date for Maxwell. Do you know any cat that could kindle his interests?”
“Apart from the entire feline female population of the Gardens?” asked Enola. “If I weren’t engaged, I’d give a thought about that cute bit o’ charcoal. And since we have both time before Mom and Dad come back, and a lot of names to pick, why don’t get a root beer float as well?”
The Hummer H2 SUT ‘Bismarck’ parked at the temporary shelter’s lot. The air, usually filled with the chatters and the sounds of its guests’ activities, was eerily silent.
“A veritable suspense-filled silence,” said King, jumping down from the vehicle.
“It’s always like this,” said Alcor, walking to the entrance. There was a great sense of camaraderie among the guests, despite the previous management’s attempts to crush their spirit. The change in management tore down the cages, and the temporary shelter had become like one big camp. Now the animals could do everything together as a family, supporting each other as they never could before.
And when one of them crowned the dream of finding a human family, there came that silence made of silent prayers that everything would be fine, that the new family would be the right one.
To make sure that such prayers were answered, Martin himself had adopted a series of precautionary measures, such as random, periodical visits to the adopting family, not to mention other kind of controls that the law on privacy would’ve frowned upon. Martin just didn’t care, he was intent in making sure his guests found a true, new happy life. And if the new parents weren’t fit, they were to bring their pet back to Babylon Garden’s shelter, not to some pound.
The quartet had just crossed the gate, when Martin said, “Well, nobody wants to greet their old friends, at least?”
Several heads leaned from the pet houses, and big smiles bloomed on every face. ”Ghost! Angel!”
The crowd gathered to hug, pet and greet their heroes. The white cat and dog had been an example of how love could bloom in that horrid place that had been the old shelter. They also were the very first strays to be rescued by Martin, they were stars in their own right! None of the old inmates had forgotten them.
“So,” said Alcor, “Where are the rats about to jump ship, eh?”
The crowd divided in two to make room for a couple of cats. Two beautiful, white-furred sisters with a black strip running along their long back fur, with black-tipped snout and tail.
Siber and Taiga were the collateral victims of the housing crisis. Parents who thought they could live off debts found themselves unable to provide even for themselves. The abandonment toll had reached a peak.
Siber and Taiga had been living at the shelter for ten months. They were the eldest among the guests, and had a heart as big as the world. They had been taking care of the pups and kittens with equal measure of love. They were an institution unto themselves. They had never surrendered to despair, despite their age making them hardly suitable for adoption.
“Here they are, the lucky ladies,” said Alcor. “Come here, a complimentary hug is in order, you know.”
After the four animals had exchanged a long embrace, Taiga said, “We are delighted that you two could come.”
“Did you think we could miss your moment of glory?” The female German Shepherd was nearly crying.
“Dad will be watching over you like he does with us,” said Alcor, taking Siber’s paw. “But I’m sure you’ll be better off than us.”

Martin came into his office singing ‘New Days, New Ways’.
“Good morning, boss,” greeted him his secretary and shelter’s co-administrator. “And good morning to you too, King.” The woman took a bone-shaped biscuit from a plate on her desk and tossed it to the corgi. “Your favorite ones.”
King gladly accepted the offer: that brand of dog biscuits was just a notch below those for humans. The corgi then sat down at Martin’s desk, and began working on the crossword puzzle that Evelyn had left for him.
“Good morning to you, Miss Sunman. And a great day this is!” Martin sat at his desk, whistling the song again. He opened the file with the data of the future parents. “So, your impression on these Highman guys, Miss Sunman?”
“A fine couple, if I ever saw one, boss. Love at first sight, the moment they saw our girls. They got along just fine during the first chat, and I can say those two lovebirds looked like they wanted to adopt the entire shelter.”
Martin browsed the papers. The Highmans were young, but with good jobs, adequate income, apartment mortgage... Then Martin’s attention focused on the red pages. At first, Evelyn wasn’t exactly happy of a thorough investigation on the applicants for parenting, in spite of their privacy. But she, too, after years of working at the old shelter, seeing how bad things had degenerated, to the point that being given to bad humans was the best alternative to the always hungry crematorium, she had seen Martin’s point. If he could delay adoptions and keep his guests well fed and in good health, she’d turn a blind eye, as long as the new parents would be the right guys. And it was Martin who had the means to check…
Martin checked the red pages, those on the real income, any previous changes of residence, pending debts – anything that could trigger the alarm bell. Sure, it was impossible to predict the future, anything could happen overnight, and that was why the parents signed a clause requiring them to return the animals to the shelter in the event of proven non-compliance in taking care of them.
But, in this case, the red attachments didn’t add a shadow of doubt to the Highmans. Martin nodded, took them off the files and put them into a shredder. Confidential data was stored in a protected computer, no need to leave a paper trail.
Martin was running a risk with each adoption, this way, but it was that or risk seeing other innocents suffer. And THAT he wouldn’t have allowed, not on his watch! Money could buy a good lawyer to bend the system, but in case of wrong adoption, money couldn’t buy back a lost life…
Yup! said a malignant voice inside him. What’s up, doc? Afraid that Big Bad Papa will be hiding under any visitor’s skin? Or that Diego guy? What will it be, next time? Beating ‘em up within an inch of their worthless lives to make sure they behave better? C’mon, you know you want it, it’ll make you feel soooo good…
King’s paw against his hand brought him back to reality. Martin shuddered. His eyes went to Evelyn, but the woman was intent on a mound of papers. If she had seen him going haunted again, she mercifully had decided not to push it.
“Bad memories?” asked the corgi, staring into his eyes.
Martin wiped the cold sweat from his forehead. He nodded, then showed a pale smile to the dog. In addition to the law, in Babylon Gardens, outside of his family, there were only three (four, counting the mouse Spo) individuals who knew the man’s troubled past: King, Fox and Fido. Martin thought it was nice to be able to share this weight with someone, though he felt a bit guilty for that, too. It didn’t feel right to place that burden on the shoulder of these innocents… “I’ll be fine, King, thank you.” He then scratched him behind his ear, in a spot that made the corgi’s leg thump. King showed one of those very rare expressions of pure bliss.
Evelyn smiled. That was why she liked having King around. A pet always worked miracles with Mr. Foster when he seemed to be lost in some weird recess of his thoughts. Of course she was curious about why sometimes he looked like he wanted to strangle someone, but she also knew that this job pulled out his better side. No better therapy!
The sound of an incoming car made three heads turn
Martin smiled and sighed. “Well, looks like this is it.”

Author:  loomCAT [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Bwahaha! I loved the reprise of the Foster's morning routine. Even this abridged version got me to laugh.

There's a lot going in in this episode, it looks like. Between Felix, the adoption of Siber and Taiga, the "Three Musketeers" scheming, and the Grapenut antics, it's a wonder you'll be able to keep all the subplots straight!

Author:  valerio [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

loomCAT Wrote:
Bwahaha! I loved the reprise of the Foster's morning routine. Even this abridged version got me to laugh.

There's a lot going in in this episode, it looks like. Between Felix, the adoption of Siber and Taiga, the "Three Musketeers" scheming, and the Grapenut antics, it's a wonder you'll be able to keep all the subplots straight!

I would never try to fail my audience, rest assured ;) Many developements await, and all the ties will be properly solved. :D

Author:  valerio [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Peanut Butter Sandwich presents a special episode of:
THE ADVENTURES OF SPOT (Superdog) and DOC & SMITH (the Eyes of the Law!)

Page 1
Panel 1: a large gathering of animals (crowd) fills the press room of the Auditorium. The chatter fills the air
Panel 2: Spot (Superdog) arrives on the podium. The crowd applauds. (Cheers! Hurrah!). Spot is accompanied by his girlfriend, Stripe.
Panel 3: The audience is silent. Spot starts to speak (the spotlight is on him). “My dear friends. As you know, in recent weeks, there have been growing rumors that my dear friend, Stripe, could actually be a cat...”
Panel 4: “And now I can say that those rumors are true.” (The dog ladies go X_X. Spot holds Stripe’s paws. They look in each other’s eyes.) “Stripe is a cat and I love her very much. And I want the whole world to know.”

Page 2
Panel 1: Stripe speaks to the crowd. “I’m sorry that Spot (Superdog) had to carry on this lie about me being a dog, but I wanted to spare him a great embarrassment. I hope you’ll all understand.”
Panel 2: a dog (journalist) raises a paw “Doggie Report. Your plan was well thought out. But what will you do now?”
Panel 3: Spot says, “We want to get married...”
Panel 4: a light from above envelops Stripe! (ZAP!) Everybody present is dazzled!

Page 3
Panel 1: Spot and the crowd are petrified (shock!). Stripe has disappeared! “STRIPE!” Shouts Spot (anguish).
Panel 2: At a hypersupermegasonic speed, Spot flies from the auditorium and up, up, up to the very sky limit.
Panel 3: Spot flies in the sky, faster than when he distributed the presents from Santa, but there is no trace of Stripe. (Despair :( )
Panel 4: In the auditorium, standing in the back row, there are two familiar figures: a red striped tabby with a hat pulled down on his head (fedora) and a German shepherd with a holster attached to his shoulder. The cat is stroking his chin thoughtfully. “Dear Smith, it seems that things have just turned out interesting.”
Sanders House, 25 Laika Drive

“Too much the indoor type.”
“Too young.”
“Dog-lover, remember?”
Grape, sprawling belly up on the hammock, scratched her head. “I’m out of eligible candidates. What about you two?”
The white-striped russet tabbies, Tibbets and Enola, sipped what remained of their root beer floats from their glasses. “Same,” Tibbets said. Then he crumpled up the straw and started playing with it, staring at it as if it was the most interesting object in the world. “I remembered Maxwell being less picky. Yet you, Grape, didn’t let any of our proposals pass.”
The lavender cat toyed with an apple she had taken from the tree. “Of course I didn’t: I know Max. We must find a girlfriend who can make him feel alive, and at the same time bear his concept of ‘fun’. I don’t think he had ever seriously wooed anyone, before me.”
“Wrong,” said Enola. “There were two, to tell the truth, although only one really picked up his interest.”
Grape’s ears are pricked. Oh-HO! “And who were they?” she asked casually. With the corner of her eye, she saw that Lucky and Felix, sitting against the tree, looked just as interested. After all, the Three Musketeers were in this mission together...
“His first and ‘true’ love is named Selene,” said Enola. “Does that ring a bell?”
Indeed it did: There was one and only pet with that name, in the Gardens. A thick-furred Persian, perfectly white from head to toe, and jet black on her back, as if a painter had decided to divide her body into two perfect halves. A Persian with two steel-gray eyes and an equally iron will... “Doubleface?” asked Grape. “Maxie wooed Doubleface? Doubleface the unapproachable?”
Selene belonged to the circle of the richest and most pampered pets, including the Fosters, but she also was not a weakling, as the scars on several daring males proved... However, that nickname had caught on almost instantly, although anyone with at least a neuron working would never pronounce it. Not one who wanted to keep on living.
Tibbets nodded. “Don’t be surprised that you didn’t know: If Selene had let such a scandal out, her pedigree would’ve become toilet paper in a moment, and Max would’ve been butchered overnight.”
“Being downgraded to plebeian would be worse than death itself, to her,” Enola added.
Grape gave the two cats a puzzled look. “And you, how come you know? Their club is so exclusive that, in comparison, the Good Old Dogs club is a liberal den.” In fact, Selene’s Schrodinger Circle was composed exclusively of the neighborhood’s most precious cats. A bunch of the most snobbish and unapproachable creatures. The ‘plebeian’ cats hated them and lusted after them at the same time. A date with a member of the Schrodinger Circle was the highest point of honor.
And Maxwell made it to the crème de la crème? “Wow,” said Grape. This was admirable, she must concede that to the rascal.
“We knew,” Enola was saying, “because I know a Schrodie, who loves to gossip just like Jeijan. By the way, she made it clear that if I spilled the beans to anyone else, I would wake up one day without my tail.”
Grape shook her head. “Don’t you worry about that. Even if I told it around, who’d believe me... Heck, I don’t believe it.”
“And you’re thinking of getting ‘em back together,” Lucky said.
Felix yawned. “This smells like big time mess.”
“Yup,” said the malamute, nodding solemnly. “The Musketeers implicated in secret plans to bring havoc to the social hierarchy.”
“They’ll tear us to pieces.”
“They’ll scorn us forever.”
Grape held out her paw to her old friends, and they placed their own over hers. “So totally cool!” They said, all together.
“So what’s the plan, Princess,” asked the dog.
Grape grinned mischievously. “To begin with, we must learn more about this ex relationship, but first… Enola, Tibbets, you spoke about another girlfriend of Max, before?”
Tibbets nodded. “Yup. It was Sabrina.”
Grape’s heart skipped a couple of beats. Her tail had puffed up to double its size. “You’re kidding,” she said.
Enola shook her head. “Nope. It was short-lived, but it was her who consoled Max out of his depression for losing Selene. Then they became friends, and then something more.” She winked. “We don’t know why they broke up, but it seems she couldn’t stand his guts. Max is not an easy guy to deal with, you must know that by now. What’s sure is, no one knows who Sabrina started to date after Max, if she started dating someone at all, that is.”
Grape hoped her expression didn’t betray what she knew. De facto, she and Peanut were the only ones to know the truth. You’d be in for a surprise, folks!
A part of her was glad, and she felt less guilty for it, that it was over with the black cat. To test Sabrina to the breaking point must’ve been a feat even for that rascal’s standards!
Babylon Gardens Temporary Shelter for the Abandoned and the Ferals

“Welcome, Messrs. Highman,” Martin said, shaking hands with the young couple, standing at the gate.
Charles Highman’s grip was firm. “Mr. Foster.”
“Please, call me Martin. So the great day has come.” The shelter’s owner showed off his best smile.
Marcia sighed happily. “Oh yes! We are so excited!”
“Not like our ladies are. All medical examinations and vaccinations are in order. As you know, you are entitled to the first check-up and first boosters free, and one month of free food from Pets’r’Us.”
“I wanted to ask you, Mr. Foster: aren’t you afraid they might run away?” asked Marcia, seeing the animals were looking at them from inside the kennels, but with no door to close the facilities.
Martin shook his head. His smile faded a bit. “After what they suffered, that’s the least of their desires. They just want a family, or at least a place to stay in peace.”
“I said to your Miss Sunman that we admired the work you’re doing with the working site,” said Charles, changing topic. “You think big: Are you rebuilding a shelter, or putting up a residence?”
“Both, to be honest. The complex will host a series of pet-dedicated facilities: gym, school, hospital, mess hall, shed, heliport, internet point, real housing and not those sorry excuses for cages. Plus, the potential parents will be able to spend the night with their adoptees, to get to know them better, since the apartments can be arranged to host a human couple with two children.”
Charles was fazed and didn’t care to hide it. “Are you sure they will want to leave for a family?”
Martin smiled and nodded. “Believe me, Mr. Highman: nothing can compete with the desire to live with a family. But I must make sure that the animals who won’t find one will be able to spend the rest of their lives comfortably. And, comfortable, a cage is not… Ah, here we are.” They stopped at the entrance of the prefabricated housing that was the interview room. “Ready to become proud parents?”
The two newlyweds were beside themselves with joy. Martin opened the door for them, revealing the room where, sitting on a bench, Siber and Taiga already had their red collars on, the color chosen by their new parents during the first visit. Evelyn Sunman had spoken of love at first sight. And Martin felt the same way, seeing how the cats ran to hug their humans. He may had grown cynical and diffident, but he could tell the Highmans were not playing a role—
“Get away from those animals!” said a cold voice, followed by a canine snarl.
Martin spun around to see... “King? What the..?”
The corgi was staring at the Highmans as if they were demons from the deepest infernal circle. Keeping his blue eyes fixed on the humans, he said, “Martin, get them away from those cats. Now.”
Only once had Martin seen that dog so tense, his eyes burning with hatred, his fur standing on end, and his sharp fangs bared. On that occasion, King had recognized in Martin the elder brother of Joel Zechar-Foster, Fox’s kidnapper. King, who as far as everyone knew, was abducted himself, once.
King, under whose flesh and fur was hidden Joel. The man who knew all too well those two ‘nice’ persons… “You are from PETA,” he snarled. “Magda, William, how you doing, ol’ crooks?”
And it looked like those words had hit the mark, by the way the couple paled.
Peanut Butter Sandwich presents a special episode of:
THE ADVENTURES OF SPOT (Superdog) and DOC & SMITH (the Eyes of the Law!)

Page 4
Panel 1: ‘Professor Spot Dean of Creative Arts’. Professor Spot sits in a chair, stroking a picture of Stripe. He cries. “I miss you so much...”
Panel 2: ‘Knock Knock’ (door). Professor Spot is startled. “Maybe the kidnappers want to leave a ransom note!”
Panel 3: Professor Spot opens the door. On the threshold there are Doc and Smith themselves!
Panel 4: The cat, chewing his favorite Beef Jerky, says, “Hi... Spot (Superdog)!”

Page 5
Panel 1: Professor Spot stutters, “No, no, you’re wrong, I’m not Spot (Superdog)! I’m just a friend!”
Panel 2: Doc enters the room. “Yes, and you dated the same girl. Not very smart, for a hero of your reputation.”
Panel 3: Spot says, “I knew I couldn’t get away with it, with you two. Why are you here?”
Panel 4: Smith thumbs up and winks. “To help you find your girlfriend, what else!”

Page 6
Panel 1: ‘The secret lair of the Collarless Gang, in a secret location!’ The room is dark except for a cone of light (lamp) that illuminates the figure of Stripe, firmly tied to a chair
Panel 2: (Voiceover) “It’s been too long since last time we met, my dear Stripe.”
Panel 3: Stripe snorts. “And you have not lost your bad habits yet. Couldn’t you tie me less tightly, this time?”
Panel 4: (Voiceover) “My dear Stripe, what with the risks I took to take you away from that so-called hero, I can’t take any chances right now.”

Page 7
Panel 1: Stripe says, “Spot will save me and kick your butt into next Christmas, so what do you think you could do?”
Panel 2: A red eye glows ominously in the dark. “For starters, I want to ask for your paw, my dear.”
Panel 3: Stripe shrieks. “BARBARIAN! You want to cut my paws to show you have no respect for a lady?!”
Panel 4: The light turns on, revealing the figure of… THE CYBORG! (Du-Duuun!) “What are you thinking? I want to propose to you! What else could you ask a lover, after all, my beautiful cat?”
The Schrodinger circle reflected the status of its owners’ members.
Poe Plaza, where said pet owners lived, was the third most luxurious area after the Milton Residence and Foster Mansion. The houses were surrounded by gardens worth the cover of House & Garden Magazine. The interiors matched the exterior: The neighbors competed in spending money to come up with the most intriguing and elegant solutions, although respecting the architectural limits.
The animals were not to be outdone. Poe Plaza was known as ‘Cat Area’. Although there wasn’t a single square meter where pets couldn’t walk on, there was a tacit agreement among the local residents to keep cats, considered cleaner and more reliable than dogs.
“When does this museum close?” Felix asked, looking around. There was a smell of clean everywhere, including the concrete they were walking on. Fox would have made a disturbing comparison with the community of Stepford.
“Never, unfortunately,” said Grape. “They say that some human, here, wants to secede from the Gardens.”
The Three Musketeers were on their own. Tibbets and Enola preferred to avoid Poe Plaza. Enola in particular didn’t want to risk getting caught for spilling the beans...
“Where are we going?” Lucky asked, instinctively keeping his voice low. There was an unnatural silence. Even birds and insects seemed afraid to disturb peace, here.
“To the only local pet willing to talk with us... Ah, there he is.” Grape waved her arm in greeting. “Hey, Baron!”
Baron Jeoffroi Amarri de LaMotte IV. An eight-year old harlequin Great Dane, one of the few who could physically look at Antares and Aldebaran straight in the eyes. Alas, a dog who had also been raised in the purest cotton wool. Probably the toughest thing that Baron had ever done in his life had been wagging his tail (with discretion, for goodness sake!) for his masters. He was a splendid specimen, but Pap the puppy could have taken him down with little effort.
“Hi, Grape Jelly,” said the dog when he saw who was calling. He left his doghouse where he was resting, and went to greet her at the driveway’s gate. “Who are your friends?” With his neighbors he had to appear snobbish and aloof, but with the cat who loved to tease said neighbors he felt at ease.
Grape introduced them to him. “We came here to find out if certain rumors are true,” she said, reaching almost to touch the wrought iron gate.
Baron shivered. “Don’t touch it, please...” he whispered. Then, “And what would these rumors be about?”
“About Selene and a certain alley kitty.”
Baron’s eyes widened, threatening to pop out of their orbits. “You’re crazy!?” He hissed. “Lies, gossip, wives’ tales!”
Grape touched a bar of the gate with a finger. “Mmm-hmm, yeah?”
“Don’t touch it!” squeaked the poor dog. “Should Mom see just a hair on that thing…”
“Ohh, all this tension is making me nervous,” Grape went on, ignoring him, moving her finger up and down on the bar. “And you know that cats could let out a claw so easily when they become nervous.” And out came a claw, moving dangerously close to the metal.
“It’s all true!!” Baron whispered. “Truer than true! Now remove your finger, please!”
Grape put her paws behind her back, leaning forward to listen well. “I’m all ears.”
“That Maxwell courted her relentlessly for months. Every single night he came to sing a serenade, leave a dead rat underneath her window, and other very unpleasant things. Selene’s Mom protested several times with his Dad Jeff, but that diabolical cat never gave up.
“And you know what the craziest thing was? That pompous, arrogant cat was always waiting for him! Every night she waited at the window and wouldn’t leave until her loverboy left first. And finally, one day, when her parents were away, let him in! I saw it, I swear: After two hours, he leaves, happy as if he had won the lottery, moving about the garden as if he lived there. After then, and the whole next week, it’s her who leaves her place to date him outside the Plaza. Only Greta and I know, but now my life is in your paws. Greta is a gossip, but she never talked to the Circle’s members, oh, no, she values her life too much. Please, Grape, keep the secret, or I’ll be so dead that not even all of your nine lives would help me!”
Lucky and Felix saw Grape rubbing her chin in that familiar way that was always the prelude to a plan…
“Uncle Martin, what’s happening?” Siber asked. Until a second ago, she and her sister were about to have a family. And now they were watching the doors of a nightmare opening in front of them. Their stomach churned.
King, growling, kept watching Marcia Highman – no, the woman he had known in another life as Magda.
Martin had pushed Charles Highman, aka William, against the wall. The shelter’s owner looked ready to do much worse, but he was holding back not to frighten those poor creatures even more. “What’s happening, girls, is that according to King, these two ‘good guys’ are members of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals movement, otherwise known as PETA. Their concept of ‘ethical treatment’ involves kidnapping pets and ‘setting them free’ in the wild.” His voice was nothing short than a wolfish growl.
The two cats were still confused.
King explained it for the man. “These humans take an animal from a shelter, a family, often against his or her will, and abandon them in the street. According to them, pets should all be ferals!”
The room fell into a dead silence, for a moment. No one moved a finger. Then Taiga, staring at the man first, then at the woman who was about to adopt her, murmured, “You wanted to abandon us...”
“NO,” cried Charles, ashen-faced. “Girl, no, really, we’d never do this to you! Let us explain—”
Instead, the two cats seemed to sag. It was like watching a puppet whose wires had been suddenly cut. Without saying a word, Siber leaned to her sister, who took her under her arm, and slowly both walked out the room. They had such a nice place to stay, but Martin had spoken the truth, earlier. The cats looked as if they were walking to the scaffold. The corgi made a step toward the woman, who stepped back. He didn’t think he could hate someone with such a passion, especially because he used to do such things! He used to be a… monster like these two!
Martin, without losing sight of Charles, turned on his Bluetooth earpiece. “Miss Sunman? Please take care of Siber and Taiga. We met some… problems. Please make sure no one enters this room until I say so, got it? Thank you.” He hung up, then pointed at a bench. Sit down, both of you. Now.”
The couple obeyed. Martin remained where he was. He seemed calmer, now, but King knew it was only the eye of the storm. These idiots where in for a nasty one if they tried to lie to him.
Martin raised a finger. “One reason. Give me one, one single excellent reason for not calling first an ambulance and then the Police, if you take my meaning.”
Charles held his wife’s hand. “One excellent reason, Mr. Foster? Marcia and I, because now those are our names, both left PETA. We left that life for good behind our back, with the promise to amend for it. That’s why we came here. Because we knew you were the manager.”
Martin and King exchanged glances. They sounded sincere, but for now they decided to listen at their explanation all the same...

Author:  huntersunday [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Nice I cant wait to see how King explains how he knew those guys where from peta

Author:  ChristopherJackal [ Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

oh, high class for Maxwell! That sounds like it'll be fun! Also loved the Spot the Superdog comic, Peanut is awesome like that! :lol: and of course things can get interesting since King knew they were PETA members, well maybe... unless he somehow manages to pull off an excuse that he was kidnapped by them at one point. I'm excited to see how it pans out!

Author:  copper [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

I am waiting for King to tell SOMEONE the truth. Seriously, even in fanfics people shy away from it.

The Spot comics were amazing. Peanut loves to do crossovers, huh?

PETA strikes again... I wonder how that will turn out.

The three musketeers are in high society to set Max up, huh? This cannot end well...

Author:  valerio [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

copper Wrote:
I am waiting for King to tell SOMEONE the truth. Seriously, even in fanfics people shy away from it.

The Spot comics were amazing. Peanut loves to do crossovers, huh?

PETA strikes again... I wonder how that will turn out.

The three musketeers are in high society to set Max up, huh? This cannot end well...

I didn't! Truth shall be known, but in its own time, o devoted one. ;)
I'm still planning something featuring Doc & Smith only, it should be fun.
Depends on your concept of 'ending well'...

Author:  valerio [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics


Peanut Butter Sandwich presents a special episode of:
THE ADVENTURES OF SPOT (Superdog) and DOC & SMITH (The Eyes of The Law!)

Page 8
Panel 1: ‘Auditorium’. Spot follows Doc and Smith around the room. Spot says “How do you know where Stripe ended up? I looked for her faster than light.”
Panel 2: The magnificent trio has reached the stage. Smith opens one of his favorite Beef Jerky. “Ever been to a show with magicians, Superdog?”
Panel 3: (question dots) “Yes, once, why?”
Panel 4: Doc taps with a foot on the stage area next to the podium. “Smith, my dear friend, it’s time for your PE class.”

Page 9
Panel 1: The darkness is shaken by a sound: RRR-RIIPP!
Panel 2: The heads of Spot, Doc & Smith, appear around the hole in the pavement. “Brilliant,” says Spot.
Panel 3: “Yeah,” Doc says, “This used to be a theater auditorium. They left the old tunnels that allowed the magicians and their ‘buddies’ to disappear during the performances.”
Panel 4: The light was used to distract you and everyone else, while Stripe was taken from under your nose, instead of over your head. Now all that remains is to find out who’s behind all this.

Page 10
Panel 1: ‘The secret lair of the Collarless Gang, in a secret location’ “You want WHAT!?” Cries Stripe, still tied to the chair (ropes)
Panel 2: The Cyborg approaches Stripe. “I want to marry you, Stripe. I will make you my lady, the queen of the city.”
Panel 3: “That’s ridiculous! You are one of the BAD GUYS! And then you never even sent a bouquet of flowers for my birthday.”
Panel 4: “Then let me fix that, my pretty lady.” The Cyborg shows her a box containing a gold ring (100 carats). Stripe’s eyes widen like saucers.

‘Well,” Peanut said, “I’m done, for now.”
“Aw,” Antares and Aldebaran said, their face sincerely sorry.
“Come on, Peanut! Things have just become interesting!” Said Antares.
“Yeah,” Aldebaran added. “I want to know what Stripes will make of the Cyborg’s proposal!”
“What do you think? She’ll say no, of course!”
“But it’s a hundred-carat ring!”
“So what? Once, Spot carved a moon out of an asteroid, so he could date Stripe to a midnight picnic by the light of TWO moons. It is impossible to be more romantic!”
“Guys ...” Peanut placed himself between the two giant twins, who were already baring their fangs at each other. “The truth is that I never drew so much in a day. My paw hurts a bit. I’ll get carpal tunnel if I make another cartoon.”
The twins gave him a very humbled look. “Sorry for pressuring you into this,” they said in unison.
Peanut smiled and wagged. “Nah, don’t worry: In fact, having two devoted fans like you inspired me so much.”
In return, they hugged him. Peanut decided that the next time he’d just email them the next comics!
Poe Plaza 1, Babylon Gardens

The Good Old Dogs Club held meetings on a weekly schedule.
The Schrodinger Circle had their Tea Time. The resident pet cats never missed a reunion with their queen.
And Selene was beautiful. The front area of her body was a single, pure white coat, the back a perfect, spotless blackwash. She was snotty, true, but she was well-mannered, educated, knew how to entertain her guests with a good joke, knew her guests’ tastes and her snacks and drinks never failed them.
The backyard of Shenigan House was occupied by a quiet crowd, that despite the number could keep down their voices to the proper tone. The gestures themselves were reduced to a minimum. In fact, looking at them one could almost think they were garden statues. An apt analogy, for a moment, when Grape Jelly Sandwich’s cheerful voice broke over the chatter froze the cats in place, everyone staring as they heard the equivalent of the vilest profanity.
“Hi there, doubleface!”
With those words, the gauntlet was launched.
The cats’ reaction made Grape remember last year at the Gardens Grand Mall, when, during the presentation of the Pridelands third book, Max had staged the announcement of the death of a main character in front of a crowd of fans. He barely came out alive.
Fortunately, these pampered kitties knew how to behave... Or perhaps, it was the hard gazes from Lucky and Felix that held them in place.
“Grape Jelly Sandwich,” said Selene, coming at her, holding a plate with canapés each worth $10. The cut of her eyes betrayed a Siamese ancestor. Her collar displayed a line of gems. Her tag was a red rose petal. “What a nice surprise. Your humans ran out of leftovers?”
The trio walked into the garden. The Circle cats kept themselves at bay, most of them grimacing in disgust.
“Ah,” Grape said, contemplating the buffet. “That’s where they put them.”
Felix grinned. He so missed Princess Periwinkle and her nip & tuck tongue!
Selene looked at the trio with murderous eyes and an unnaturally friendly smile. “And what can’t I do for you, my dear?”
Grape reached for a canapé and stole it. Hmm, Selene and Uncle Martin must have the same supplier... “Well, actually this is not about me.” She leaned forward until her lips brushed Selene’s inner ear. “It’s about Max,” she whispered.
Selene was unmoved. Her dignity prevented her to give in to emotional outbursts like any plebeian pet. “Come inside. Alone. And you two,” She added with her best diplomatic tone to Lucky and Felix, “Try to mix with the others. Maybe you’ll learn something about manners. Maybe you’ll learn the importance of a regular bath, too…”
Felix offered his butt to Lucky, lifting his tail. “Do I smell?” The dog sniffed, then offered his own butt. When Felix was done, the malamute said, “Sure thing, these people smell like a greenhouse show. They don’t get a bath, I’m sure. They get watered.”
“So, you two are friends of cat Grape, eh?” boomed a voice behind them. A voice veined with a thick Russian accent. The voice of a BIG cat, with a fur pattern that could rival an ocelot’s. “Very happy to meet you! My name is Ivan!” His friendly pat on their backs almost slammed them to the ground! “But let’s get comfortable in a fairly quiet corner, yes?” He took them by their paws and dragged them with him as if they were weightless. “Grape is very hush-hush, sometimes one can’t tell even if she is female or male. So now you two tell everything about yourselves to Uncle Ivan, da?”

As soon as they entered Selene’s room, the persian went to the boudoir and from a drawer she produced two laminated plastic cards. They showed the Schrodinger Circle symbol, the names of Peanut and Grape, and Selene’s sign. She handed them to Grape. “The other is for Peanut,” she said.
“Ah, thanks... I guess,” said the lavender cat, staring at the cards with curiosity. Those were the keys to a very exclusive world, after all. “Why?”
Selene sat on her bed. “You have been co-adopted by Martin Foster, if I remember correctly, the richest human in the Gardens. This makes you the heirs of a fortune and the most exclusive household in the neighborhood: they are important requirements to enter the Circle. Too bad you’re not the proper breed, but I guess one can’t be born lucky. And don’t thank me, I’m just doing my duty as President.” Selene sighed. “So, you have a message from that adorable rascal? Yes, you can sit down. On the floor, though. “
Grape did so, legs crossed. “Not exactly. I just wanted to let you know that he’s available now.”
Selene rolled her eyes. “Honey, this I knew since you and that mutt came out together. Despite appearances, I don’t live in a bubble.”
“I mean, he never courted any other girl since then. I say he’s ripe for falling back in your arms. And my friends and I want to help.”
Selene’s eyes swished as if she was thinking of some delicacy. “I’ve always kept my arms wide open for him, honey. *Sigh!* Maxie, however, is too independent to go beyond a couple of hot dates. Did you actually think he was being serious all the way, with you?”
Grape thought about it. “Well, yes. That, or he’s a very good actor.”
The other cat shook her head. “No, he wasn’t acting. He can be very dedicated, very passionate and seductive... But his is the fire of a supernova, shining with great splendor for a while, then going out.”
Grape thought that she had never spoken, or even just thought, such a thing about Max... But it was also true that she had never really been in love with him, while Selene... lit up only at his name. “You never stopped thinking about him.”
Selene nodded. “Sometimes I find myself spending whole nights by the window, waiting to see him again, with the full Moon reflected on that rascal’s smile and those aquamarine eyes.” For the first time, she showed a sad expression to Grape. “But I can’t engage myself in a full relationship with a plebeian, my parents would never forgive me. I am purebred, honey, and that means I have certain… duties.” She blushed. “I can’t have a tomcat for a boyfriend, or next time every pet show will reject me and Max would end up in real trouble.” She shook his head. “We both have too much to lose, but sometimes I think I would only gain from this relationship, if you know what I mean.”
Grape nodded. She had spent a long time worrying over her feelings for Peanut, and all she had to fear, was to be scorned… Now, instead, she felt like she could stand in front of the world and tell it ‘move away!’
“I’m curious, Grape. Max is a fine cat, after all, why leave him for a dog?”
It was Grape’s turn, to blush. At least, that question had stopped being upsetting to her. “He’s... sweet. He understands me better than anyone else, he makes me feel protected, safe. Max, on the other hand, is capable of pushing you over your limits, but I want someone who can take life with the kindness and innocence only Peanut has. If you know what I mean.”
“Alas, I’m afraid not,” sighed Selene. “There’s way too much ‘peace’ in my life. That Maxie made me feel alive for the first time in my life... So, Grape, thank you for offering to help me get back together with him.”
Grape nodded. “Don’t mention it.” She winked. “After all, I want him off my back. I’m sure he still hopes I’ll run back to him.”
“So what’s the plan?”
Grape put her hand behind her head. “Er, I don’t know actually. The original idea was to convince you, but I see now that there was no need to.” She showed a mischievous smile. “And don’t tell me you’ve never thought of a plan, yourself.”

“I still don’t know who your ancestors are...” asked Felix.
Ivan laughed. “The great founder of my family was a cat named Remigius, scout for the Tenth Legion under the command of the Great Caesar during his campaign in Gaul. When he retired, he went to spend his last years in Egypt, where he met one of the cats of King Ptolemy, and his sons became the favorite of Cleopatra, and...”
Lucky listened absently. His attention was all for the buffet. The other guests would barely nibble their food, while he, with as much discretion as possible, would grab pawfuls of canapés to stuff in his mouth. Every time a cat looked at him, he stopped chewing and smiled like a hamster in the middle of his lunch. Like Grape and Felix, despite regaining weight and being back to a normal housepet life, he was still obsessed by the specter of hunger of his days as stray. And any free food was not to be turned down—
“OUT!” The scream exploded like a bomb, and again the party turned into a display of garden statues. A few moments later, Grape walked out Shenigan House with an amused expression. “But I thought that you liked the canned tuna, honest. It’s an acquired taste, after all—”
Selene looked like she wanted to skin the Sandwich cat. Her fury was something to behold and fear. “This is the last of your jests in this place, Miss! You’re a member of the Schrodinger Circle, now, and I expect you to respect the good manners! From next week you’ll be attending our reunions and learn something, or you’ll die trying! Off you go, now! And take a bath, for heaven’s sake!” For once, the other cats were happy to see her so upset. These plebeians really needed to learn their place! “And bring those fleabags with you, before they make my garden wither with their presence!”

“And to think she looked such a nice girl,” said Felix. “Just like a cobra before the attack. So, how did it go, Princess?”
Grape winked at her friends and stuck out her tongue. “In style. That girl is really a naughty kitty. Now we must take care of Maxie.”
Babylon Gardens Temporary Shelter for the Abandoned and the Ferals

“Evelyn..?” Taiga didn’t dare look up. “Do you think we’ll ever find a family?”
Cradling the cat in her arms like she was a baby, Evelyn Sunman said, “Of course you will. In fact, I bet this is just a silly misunderstanding. Mr. Foster is just a very, very careful person. He really cares for you all, and those PETA guys are horrible people. Once, they came to the Gardens just to kidnap a dog and ‘set him free’. And when his Dad got them, they even tried to kill him, you know? That’s why Mr. Foster is so angry, he’d never allow such things to happen to you dears.”
“But we don’t want to be ferals!” Siber said from her cot in the pet house. “Why would people do such a thing to us?!”
The woman didn’t know what to say, while stroking Taiga’s back fur. The poor cat was about to collapse after today’s stress. I’d so like to understand my kin, children…

Sitting at his desk, Martin Foster didn’t want to understand the people who sat before him. He wanted to break their necks, simple, and practical.
But his duties as this shelter’s owner wouldn’t allow him to indulge in these pleasant wishes. And despite the fact that these two people known as William and Marcia Highman had outright lied to him about their identities and their past, changing their names and background to the point that Martin’s best detective could be fooled, they also said they wanted to change their lives. He had a duty to listen. Before snapping their necks.
“Well, gentlemen. You say you’re not members of PETA anymore. Prove it.”
“William and Magda,” said Charles Highman, “Were our fictitious identity back then. We were 17 years old, minors. We used those identities to look for small jobs in any field that had to do with animals. Stores, beauty parlors, pet food shops, veterinary clinics…”
“We volunteered,” said Marcia. “No Unions involved. They barely checked our fake documents.”
“And this way you collected useful data for your superiors,” said Martin. Note to self: step up security measures on the volunteers.
Charles nodded. “Exactly. We never did anything illegal.”
“Apart from being accomplices in kidnapping.”
Marcia nodded. “Eventually we were caught. Eventually someone connected us to some disappearances. We didn’t want to end up in prison, so we pleaded a bargain. We confessed everything, every name we knew, and every location where they kept the pets that were to be ‘liberated’.”
Charles chuckled, but it was more the sound of a madman. “Six months in reformatory, during which we were assigned to a number of socially useful works. We were assigned to a shelter, and there we met a dog that our information had helped to ‘liberate’.” He shook his head. “The poor guy was a wreck, inside and out... The life of a stray dog had almost killed him and he had gone mad. Last we knew, he was sentenced for euthanasia, he couldn’t be adopted due to his conditions. He was a nice pet dog called Marcus, and wehad contributed to his death…”
Marcia was sinking her nails into her palms. “All those poor, innocent creatures...” She swallowed. “I’m Catholic, Mr. Foster. I know where I’ll end up for the evil I have done them. I have offended their dignity, my faith, and being misled is no excuse. We have free will, and we used it in the worst way...” She buried her head in her husband’s shoulders.
“When we became adults our criminal record was cleaned up,” said Charles. “That’s why it doesn’t show up in a background check, Mr. Foster. But I swear, that part of our life is over. We have got ourselves a new life, we found a good job, a good home... We did everything we could to provide a fine accommodation for our pets. That’s why we came to you. We know that you will keep an eye on us more effectively than the police would, and that you’ll take care of Siber and Taiga if things would turn out badly, for us. We’d ask for nothing better for them.”
Martin discovered himself nodding. Now that the anger was waning, he had to concede their arguments. They could have applied to any other structure, and get away safely with it if they wanted to keep on their twisted crusade. Instead, they came in the one place where the controls were so tight to promise every possible consequence under the law even in cases of malnutrition... “What do you say, King?”
The dog, standing on the sill, tried to remember. He had met those guys only once, and surely they weren’t kids back then. He had just joined PETA, so there was a discordant note in the story of those two... “I just remember a big fight. It happened all very quickly. I was in my nice and comfy cage, when I hear them grownup guys storming in. The boss had received them with a bestselling smile, complimenting them on their dedication to the cause and other rubbish. Then the door was closed and a minute later the fight broke out. Serious stuff, I mean. I was in another room together with a bunch of yapping curs. I couldn’t make out everything, but I could make out words that I could repeat only after washing my mouth with soap. And then they went away, slamming the door with a force that sent every mutt in the room into silence. Never seen ‘em again since then. But, again, they were grown-ups, not kids.”
Charles sighed. He remembered well that day, although he didn’t remember that particularly pretty small dog… But there were so many of them, after all. “They wanted to recruit us. Again, this time as full members. According to them, our confession was a stunt to promote some of their power struggles in favor of the most radical ones. And they wanted to promote us. Marcia and I told them what we thought of their proposal.” Charles brushed the knuckles of his right hand. “It was the first time I broke some teeth on another human being, and believe me, Mr. Foster, I enjoyed it very much.”
“We were threatened,” said Marcia. “We were promised that we would pay for our ‘treason’, if we turned to the police once more.”
“That’s why we want to put radio collars on Siber and Taiga,” said Charles. “Mr. Foster, we don’t want to insult your intelligence by asking forgiveness. But please give a chance to those two poor cats. They were so happy at the idea of finding a real home. Do it for them, please!”

Siber and Taiga had just fallen asleep, when Martin leaned into the pet house. “Anybody home?”
Four triangular ears quivered. The cats opened their eyes, and sat up on their elbow. They still had their eyes swollen from crying. “Hi,” they said only, in a meek and drowsy voice.
“Can I come in?” he asked. They nodded weakly.
He crawled into the pet-sized structure. He managed to lean his back to the wall between the cots. He stretched out his hands to caress the cats’ heads. “Can you forgive me?” And when they answered him with an expression of curiosity, he added, “For being the most stupid, impulsive and overprotective human. For almost ruining your new lives.”
Sleep, fatigue, sadness – suddenly, every trace of stress disappeared from faces and bodies of Siber and Taiga. “You mean..?” Said the first.
Martin nodded. “They’re good people. They told me everything about their past, their repentance, and I think that whatever crock they may have committed when they were young, they have put it behind their backs. They learned from their sins, got strong to the point of taking with them two beautiful creatures like you.” Martin gave them his warmest smile. “But the most important thing is that your instinct had not deceived you. You talked to them, you’ve played with them, and you knew deep inside that those were special people who will love you and protect you. And I, instead, conceded to my fears instead of your hearts. I was a bad uncle. Can you forgive me?”
The answer was a lick to both cheeks. The cats purred loudly for him. “You only wanted to protect us,” said Taiga. “It’s a beautiful thing.” They hugged him tight. “We hope you will be just as cautious with everyone else here, or we’ll come kick your butt.”

Half an hour later, the Highman’s car left the shelter. The cats kept waving at their friends from the back windows until the car had disappeared from sight.
“They’ll be all right, boss,” said Evelyn, wiping her eyes with her handkerchief. “It is worthwhile to live for moments like this. It never fails to make me feel that there’s still hope.”
Martin nodded. “Wise words, Miss Sunman. Wise words.”
“Your hands now.”
The man raised both palms.
“The backs, boss.”
He obeyed, as gentle as a lamb, preparing for what was coming.
*SMACK!* Merciless, the ruler Evelyn Sunman had used throughout her honored service as high school teacher found its target.
Martin rubbed his hands, whining like a dog himself. “Pain...”
“Given your speech to those poor creatures, it means that you understood your mistake, so this should suffice. This time.”
“I’m very sorry, Miss Sunman.” The other animals giggled, including King, who liked seeing his big brother put in place for once—
*SMACK* “YOWLP!” The Corgi almost took off from the rap he was given to his butt! “Why?” He howled, rubbing. The other animals burst out laughing.
“Because the boss trusts you, King,” she said, eyeing him with the same severity she had used with her unruly hooligan students. “Is it accurate to say that everything was going well before you decided to warn him against the Highmans?”
His butt was burning, but not as much as his cheeks. Meekly, King said, “Yes...”
Evelyn looked like the portrait of an Amazon, only with a ruler instead of a bow. “Then you too will start measuring your words, young man. Adoptions are not things to be taken lightly. Got it?”
“I’m sorry.”
“Don’t say it, King,” said Martin. “Miss Sunman, I am the one responsible for this mess. I asked him to be my eyes and ears for everything I could miss, after all.”
“I understand, boss. Thank you for your sincerity. Now the palms, please.”
“So much pain...”

Episode 9

Author:  loomCAT [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Well, glad the adoption turned out okay. ^^ Can we expect to see these characters later on in your stories?

Also: IVAN?! Wow, I never expected to hear of this character again in your fanfic!

I have to admit, I find it rather pleasant that the Housepets fandom is so willing to share ideas and OCs with others. I mean, between Ivan, the mentions of Follegra, plus the inspirations you took from Star-Crossed, this fanfic alone borrows so much from other writers! I don't read a lot of fanfiction (besides what I find on these forums), so I can't be for certain, but I don't really know many communities that do this.

Author:  valerio [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Well, this ficcie, first of all, as I repeatedly stated, IS an ideal sequel of 'Symphony in Periwinkle', which is a sequel to 'Star-Crossed', with 'Auld Lang Syne' as prequel to it all. Also, my own work was given a parallel series, 'Projectiles of Protection', by the talented Lightwolf21, who for now can't keep his project going.
As for the other borrowing, well, it's the ol' Marvel fan in me that loves to do these things. What I fear is that I misfire -I mean, I want to respect other fans' work, not shred it.

As for Siber and Taiga, for now I don't have plans for them, but who knows..? ;)

Author:  Blue Braixen [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Don't forget that "Message from the Guardian" takes place after Ballad of the New Day. :3 (Though that was more laziness on my part than a direct correlation. :lol: )

Author:  copper [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Great update. Miss Sunman is quite the character.

Ivan is back? Wow... didn't see that coming.

Antares and Aldebaron fighting was just hilarious! Peanut has some good fans.

So Grape and Peanut are in an exclusive club now? Oh no... I hope it doesn't change them.

And I thought Star crossed was before Auld Lang Syne...

Author:  valerio [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

copper Wrote:
Great update. Miss Sunman is quite the character.

Ivan is back? Wow... didn't see that coming.

Antares and Aldebaron fighting was just hilarious! Peanut has some good fans.

So Grape and Peanut are in an exclusive club now? Oh no... I hope it doesn't change them.

And I thought Star crossed was before Auld Lang Syne...

hehe, yup! I love the gal :D
Well, it's more probable that Peanut and Grape will change the club ;)
the events chronology is: ALS, SC, SIP, HTS, POP, and yes, Star-Crossed was written before Auld Lang Syne.

Author:  valerio [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Season I
Episode 10 - Siege and Sacrifice
Written by VALERIO (later revised by OBBL)

Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens, 4:30am

As the verse went, …when all through the house/Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Martin Foster and his pets slept deeply, waiting for the new day and its promises.
The twins Antares and Aldebaran were sleeping in their room. They had spent the night to post a maxi-update of The Adventures of Spot (Superdog), and to respond to comments and criticism. Before that, they had spent most of their energies in the excitement of watching the comic’s creator, Peanut Butter Sandwich, while he worked on the strips. And now they lay in their bed, hugging, showing a happy smile and talking in Ukrainian in their sleep.
Martin couldn’t be more peaceful in his slumber. Two of his guests had found a good family. He celebrated with a special dinner at home, and now he slept tightly hugging his cat, Alcor. In turn, the man was being held by Mizar. It was worth keeping the conditioner up, for once.
At 04:35, Martin Foster’s smile faded. His forehead wrinkled.
He opened his eyes.
He found he wasn’t the only one awake.
“Alcor..?” He muttered, then, showed a tired smile, “Hey, snowball,” he whispered to avoid waking up Mizar. “Can’t sleep, boy?”
The cat embracing him was staring at him two serious yellow eyes. No, not serious: hostile.
Martin stopped smiling. “Alcor..?” It was then that he fully perceived the cat’s smell.
The olfactory memory is the most powerful for many species, including humans. There were smells that Martin Foster thought he had forgotten; but these ones in particular crumbled the walls erected around his inner wounds.
The smell of diesel mixed with dirt in the shaggy fur, the smell of festering wounds that had to be reopened one by one with great patience, encrusted feces, rancid breath caused by food picked up from countless garbage bins…
Smells of a suffering stray.
A creature that Martin remembered. He hadn’t even noticed he had started crying. “Helias...”
Martin knew that he was fully conscious. He knew he wasn’t in his old family’s apartment, but in his own bedroom, in the house built over the ruins of the ominous Whiteman House, along with the cat and dog he had rescued from the old shelter-lager.
But the creature he was holding wasn’t Alcor.
It was Helias, the female, the first animal he had ever owned, a foundling that he and his brother Joel had taken care of with all the love in the world, saving her from starvation... Helias, who he later had abandoned together with his brother, because he was tired of living in the family under the abuses of their father…
“Helias.” Martin stroked the creature’s head; she was still staring at him with that grim look. He had given her hope, and eventually had abandoned her. It wouldn’t be long before Helias and the others kidnapped Joel for vengeance…
Martin was on a mission to help the strays and the ferals. He loved animals, wanted to do everything he could for them, but was also willing to atone for his sins to the very end. If there was damnation, he was destined to the Traitors’ Cocytus, eternal meal of the King of Darkness. Although an agnostic, Martin didn’t exclude the possibility of afterlife punishment. A part of him could not believe that the evil he had done didn’t deserve the proper retribution.
And sure enough, there she was. “Helias...” Silently reminding him that she still awaited justice. That forgiveness came through pain, not a good deed...
Then Martin noticed the other two presences in the room. “Honcho. Ringo...”
Joel had given them their names. Joel, who admired his big brother to the point where he tried to rescue the two strays living off leftovers in the block. Honcho and Ringo, two iron-colored greyhound twins, so handsome yet so angry with the world. They’d been a handful to take care of, and Martin and Joel only managed because it was that, with their own means, or the streets for the animals. Martin was sure that the choice of taking Antares and Aldebaran was influenced by his experience with Honcho and Ringo. Another couple of notches on his list of sins...
The greyhounds, standing beside the bed, were staring at Martin with the same grim determination displayed by Helias. Their chests weren’t moving with breath, their eyes didn’t blink once.
“I’m so sorry, boys...” Martin said, his face wet with tears. “If only I could do something, anything to go back in time and—”
Honcho raised his arm, pointed to the window.
Helias opened her mouth wide, displaying her fangs dripping with blood. She let out a long, horrifying howl of pure pain!
Martin snapped wide awake and sat up! Dripping with sweat, trembling, staring without seeing. He swallowed several times, he felt his throat dry like a desert. He felt his eyes swollen and hurting. He rubbed them. He didn’t realize Alcor was shaking him, saying something Martin couldn’t make out… until the twins ran into the room. “Did you hear that?!” Aldebaran asked. Both Alcor and Mizar were looking at the window facing the park.
Martin nodded, although that scream had come from his nightmare. “The security cameras,” he said.

The lamp posts lit up in rapid sequence, projecting powerful beams inside the perimeter. The park of Foster Mansion lit up like a stadium.
Martin and his pets walked into the garden. Antares proceeded with the human, Aldebaran closed the formation with Mizar and Alcor. The police and the veterinarian unit’s sirens were rapidly approaching. Babylon Gardens’ lights were coming up fast in the middle of the night.
The five residents of Foster Mansion could only see with their eyes what the cameras showed in all too grisly details. The animals instinctively bared their fangs and claw, sniffed the air, looking for hazards. Martin put his hand to his mouth, not because of the nausea, but because he needed to stay focused. That nightmare had taken its toll, and this sight threatened to be the death blow to his nerves...
“Mr. Foster..?” The voice of the policewoman reached him as if through a foggy veil. Martin turned and met the gaze of the afro-american officer, followed by a male Dalmatian.
“Sonny,” said Martin. “Officer Richards.”
The woman’s face was sad. Even if the victims were two ferals, she was sorry to see two dead animals. Especially reduced to those… conditions... The woman swallowed hard.
Martin said, “Silver and Zen. They came every night to visit, pick up their favorite trash, and…” Don’t cry, not now not now, not NOW! “Sorry.”
“Don’t. I’ll be needing the tapes. Sonny, any scent you can recognize?”
The group was standing nearby the edge of the grim perimeter outlined by the blood stains splattered around when the bodies were thrown there, like two pieces of butchered meat. Martin shook his head. “Whatever happened, it happened outside the photoelectric fence. The killers knew it.” He swallowed again. “I haven’t checked the tapes yet.”
Sonny was bent over a body, sniffing it, taking care not to contaminate the crime scene. When he stood up, he said, “Canids. Can’t say if they’re wolves, but if they are stray dogs then they must be something huge.” He glanced at Antares and Aldebaran. The two dogs returned a grim gaze; the puppies had given way to the dog soldiers trained in the Alfa Special Forces, Ukraine. Martin knew that underneath their stillness hid a bomb ready to play havoc with the perpetrator of such a cruelty...
“You always leave food for strays and ferals, right?” asked officer Patricia Richards, producing her notepad.
Martin nodded. “Within the photoelectric fence, always. This way, I keep track of the feral population’s census.” A little subtlety that the Miltons and the municipal administration had strongly approved. It had worked well, so far, but now... “They didn’t kill them to eat them,” said Martin.
The cop stopped writing for a moment. “I’m sorry..?”
The vet walked to the crowd of pets and humans that had gathered. The K-9 Unit and their human partners tried to keep a safe distance between the onlookers and the crime scene...

Peanut and Grape were in the first row, held by their parents. Most humans didn’t really want their pets to watch this scene, but they weren’t fast enough to wake and run after them. The animals almost didn’t dare to speak, while the humans talked among themselves.
“Last time I saw them, it was yesterday, and I wanted to hit them with a broom,” the cat said, holding to Peanut for dear comfort. “And I did once, remember?” She lowered her head. “They didn’t deserve… this. Do you think they forgave me?”
Peanut gently stroked the back of her head. “I’m sure they have. Shh, now. You’ll see, they’ll get who did this.”

Zachary Albert, the rabbit, wasn’t feeling any better. “The last time I saw them, they thanked me...” he sniffled. “They thanked me because their Opener of Ways told them to come here and get their food... And look what good it did.”
Tiger, his pitbull housemate, hugged him to comfort him. “Hey, it wasn’t your fault.” It was strange to see the normally ferocious dog so dedicated to ease the rabbit’s anguish. “No one knew this could happen.”
Zach sobbed against the dog’s chest. “It’s n-not fair! I should’ve been h-here to help them…”
Tiger thought that only his owner would be happy for these deaths. Two ferals less to play the worshipers in their garden…
But the other humans, however, didn’t look happy at all. They were visibly torn between sadness. And fear.
Municipal Veterinary Offices

“They didn’t kill them to eat them,” said the veterinarian, sitting at the desk in the small waiting room, inadvertently repeating the observation made by Martin Foster three hours earlier. The man filed a folder in front of the authorities who could gather in a hurry, given the hour: some members of Babylon Garden’s council, Mr. Steward, Officer Bill and the Chief of Police, accompanied by Fido Byron and his superior, Sergeant Ralph. The group was completed by the presence of Keene and Lana Milton who, despite being ferrets, were still the legitimate owners of the land where Babylon Gardens had been built.
The doctor looked very pale. No one had seen him so scared. “Gentlemen...” The man took a handkerchief and wiped the cold sweat off his forehead. He spoke as if he was afraid to be heard. “We have two killer whales in the Gardens.”
Someone cursed. Keene turned to Fido with a questioning expression.
It was Ralph who, grimly, said, “It’s the term used to distinguish the animals of a Pet Fight Club.”
“Are you absolutely sure, doctor?” asked a member of the council. God, they thought they had left that nightmare behind them.
The veterinarian opened the folder, showing the gruesome pictures. The ferrets’ fur stood on end. A horror-filled silence filled the room.
In a colorless voice, the veterinarian was saying, “Multiple limb fractures to prevent the victims from escaping. Selective removal of fur to cause further shock and debilitate the victims. Finally, removal of tissue to cause uncontrolled bleeding and shock. I spent the last two hours reassembling the pieces, gentlemen. Not one was missing. By the book: This is the work of two killer whales, no doubt about it.”
The humans exchanged frightened glances: the nightmare was back. And their pets had just become potential prey.
“Foster,” said Helen Shenigan, calmly, without the slightest doubt in her words. She kept her cool as she said, “It can’t be a coincidence: he reopens that accursed Whiteman House and the killers are back. We were all royally fooled, gentlemen. He has also reopened the arena.” The way she said it sounded very convincing, and a frightened crowd could fall for it. In fact, for a moment, that hypothesis was briefly considered by the majority of those present…
“Rubbish!” Fido barked, snapping that line of thought. “With due respect, sir,” he added to his human superior. “That man is doing wonders for the welfare of pets and strays, surely not… to…”
“Yeah,” said Keene, discreetly holding the paper bag in which he had just thrown up. “Try a better one! You’re just envious of his money!”
Then it was Bill, to say, calmly, “Forget it, folks. Just forget it.” Martin Foster had brought Lucky in his and Fox’s life. Fox was reborn since then. Not to mention his help to handle the case of the briberies and the mass grave of the pet funeral home… No, that Foster couldn’t be implied in a PFC.
Shenigan was about to argue. And before the situation degenerated, the police chief said, “Martin Foster is giving full and complete cooperation, gentlemen. His property, inside and outside the mansion, is swarming with cameras, and every recording since the housewarming party up to date has been made available. Same thing for the shelter: every movement is controlled more effectively than in a reality show. If I had to criticize something about that man, it is his being a control freak. To work with him, his employees must agree to be watched 24/7, himself included, without exception. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were even cameras in the shelter’s bathrooms. So far he used his car en route from home to office and back, with the recent exception of the Mall and Hartford House. Every car he owns has a GPS installed, just like in every piece of electronics he uses. GPS are installed in his pets’ collars as well. As icing on the cake, he instructed his lawyer to get us the phone records of every call he made and received and all Internet access. So far, I think I can rule out his involvement in any PFC, gentlemen. In fact, I wish there were more people so collaborative.”
Shenigan didn’t insist. The others thought that maybe those weird ferrets weren’t so wrong about the money issue, after all…
“Which brings us back to square one,” said the doctor. “Someone must have opened a Pet Fight Club in the city. It’s logical, I fear: After all, the shady business that revolved around the old shelter must have all moved to the municipal pound.”
“The Mayor and the Animal Control will take care of that,” said Shenigan. “Chief Norton, what do we do now?”
Horace Norton shook his head, those awful pictures still burning in his mind... “For now, I can only recommend a curfew. Pets can leave their homes only if carried aboard cars. Needless to say you should urge them to avoid being out in your gardens as well. Mr. Foster’s experience says that these monsters are smart, and surely strong enough to jump the picket fences of our community.”
“For now,” continued the doctor, “analyzing the bite marks, I can say that there are two of them, but there could be more.”
“Do not take any chances,” said Norton. “No bravados such as improvised hunting parties. Keene, Lana, you better keep your wolves indoors as well. If you have professional guards, they better be armed for a bear.”
“That’s uncool,” said Keene.
“Come on!” said Lana. “A couple of angry pets could stand up to a pack of wolves?”
The doctor answered for the policeman. “To begin with, the animals that fought in a PFC are the strongest, physically speaking. Dobermans, Great Danes, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, pit bulls… The rules of engagement are simple: the winner lives, the loser dies.”
“We know that already.”
“What you don’t know is how these creatures are reduced: you think that a feral can be wild? The warriors of a Pet Fight Club are brought to a reptilian level of aggressiveness. Their every emotion, every instinct, their every thought, everything is reduced to a simple command: kill.” His eyes pointed to the folder. “Your experience with the social rehabilitation program for the ferals proves that even a wild animal is capable of its own ethics. The Fighters no longer have any. The only thing they can do besides eating is to kill. If cornered, and it’s a huge ‘if’, they won’t fight to save themselves, but to be sure of winning the fight, or die trying. Paradoxically, this makes them unpredictable, and therefore even more dangerous: when roaming a territory, they don’t pursue a specific target, they will attack any animal or person unlucky enough to stand on their way. In the PFCs, they are closed in special cages that are open only to let them fight. Only two of them could cause serious injuries to your wolves. If those wolves are lucky.”
The ferrets hardly dared to breathe.
“Babylon Gardens is officially under siege, gentlemen,” said Horace Norton, standing up. “God help us all.”

Author:  loomCAT [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 4:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Holy...!!! O_O

I... don't know what to say to this. Just... wow. I can't believe you killed those characters off, even if they weren't that important.

Author:  ChristopherJackal [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

...... oh wow... that's incredibly depressing... way to go Valerio you made me sad now! And I was all excited about uptown girlfriend for Maxie and everything. This is really getting good though!

Author:  copper [ Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Well that was a violent update. I fear this is only the beginning though. Probably the spoilers I read accidentally.

A very interesting and actiony update, Valerio. I can't wait to see where this one goes.

Author:  valerio [ Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Valerio's translated fanfics

Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens. 9:00 am

Imagine rage.
Imagine an evil thought starting to stir in your consciousness, first as an annoying larva, such as those gnawing an apple from the inside.
Then the larva grows. You are unable to concentrate as well as you want. Continue to think of nonsense that is magnifying at the expense of your best intentions.
The larva grows, changes. Your idea of ‘civil confrontation’ is transformed into an irrational desire for revenge.
The larva is transformed completely. Now you’re obsessed with the idea of making whoever you happen to be talking to pay dearly, no matter if he or she has anything to do with your problems. Everyone is an enemy to be defeated, with words or violence.
Imagine that anger.
You are still far, very far from the state of a Pet Fighter. A Killer Whale.
Animals brutalized both physically and psychologically with the most sadistic systems. Strays and pets, whose will has not only been broken but completely eliminated. Creatures once bestowed with intelligence, now regressed to the most brutal state. Warriors for the sick fun of human beings in search of thrills and blood. Survivors of each fight, because defeat meant death, rewarded with the remains of the opponent. Prisoners whose meal consisted of other innocents of their own kind, so their hunger became one with the total lack of mercy.
Death was the only salvation for these creatures at the mercy of the most cruel fate. They could not be recovered, re-educated, because there was nothing in them that could be recovered. A painless end was an actual act of mercy.
The worst thing that could happen to the community created by Henry Milton and carried forward by his foundation was one Killer Whale wandering within its perimeter.
And there were two...
Martin Foster kept pounding his fists against the bag, in the gym installed in the basement of the old Whiteman House. The gym that was once that cursed family’s PFC arena.
He had demolished that place, rebuilt it from its very foundation to exorcise those ghosts... And now two of them had taken shape and had come back.
Of course, it must have been two specimens (hoping that they were only two!) Escaped from a PFC in the city... But Martin could not stop thinking that he was responsible for this...
Your coming, Martin Foster, has set in motion a mechanism which not even I knew existed. The words of that Pomeranian, Tarot, continued to echo in his mind. He hadn’t paid them much attention, after all the effects of this ‘mechanism’ had been positive so far... But he was also convinced that ‘every action has a reaction’.
Santa Claus arrived with a bag full of bad karma for you, dear children!
Martin threw a last punch against the bag, then fell against it, leaning on it as though hugging it. He was breathless, but he didn’t feel any better.
The man shifted his gaze to his pets, who had ceased their activities to give him worried glances. Martin tried to smile encouragingly, but he was powerless as anyone else in the Gardens. The Chief of Police, Horace Norton, had declared a total curfew until the end of the crisis. Nobody, human or pet could go out except by car and only in case of emergency. By day, it was up to the agents and the K-9 Units to search for the Killer Whales and watch over the safety of the community.
The Pet Fighters didn’t kill out of hunger. They killed because their new nature didn’t know any other imperative.
Martin turned on his headset. It was already the hundredth time he called the shelter, but if there was a good day to pay attention to his paranoia, this was it.
Babylon Gardens Temporary Shelter for the Abandoned and the Ferals

Evelyn knew who he was even before reading the number on the display. “Boss,” she said after picking up the cordless.
“I’m sorry to bother you again, Miss Sunman.”
“Don’t fret, boss.”
“Any news?”
The guests had locked themselves inside their pet houses, there was an unnatural silence. The electrical fence was up and running, and set on max. Martin hadn’t yet armed his staff, he had never thought there would be need to. Evelyne Sunman hoped those monsters couldn’t jump higher than the fence. Or it would be a massacre.
She had seen one of them, once; a pitbull/Rottweiler mix. He was firmly tied to the bed by straps with flexible steel core. His muscles were so strong that Dr. Stanwick needed three attempts before finding a syringe to sedate him. The dog had not thrashed, had not cursed. He remained there, motionless, staring at his executor with a total absence of any emotion, except his eyes. With his eyes, he was promising that he would kill them all if he had the slightest chance...
The beast had fought to the last. Even when the poison cocktail was injected into his body, it took almost ten minutes for its heart to stop. Stanwick had waited an hour before he checked it was dead, he was too scared. It was the one and only time that Evelyn was grateful that the old shelter had a crematorium...
“Miss Sunman?”
She jumped and almost dropped the phone. “Sorry, boss. No, nothing new: we still have enough food stacked to stay here for two months, Liam is resting after the night shift, the fence is electrified and the cameras work properly. They touch one, and the cavalry comes. I know I’m asking a lot of you, but try not to worry over us. Not too much.” She chuckled. “It’s you who is living in the middle of an open park. No offense meant.”
Martin nodded, and showed the first genuine smile of the day. “None taken. Well, you can rest assured about me as well, then. This house is a fortress, once doors and windows are closed. There are enough sensors outside to warn us if a bumblebee is trying to violate our grounds long before coming here. I’ll call back in an hour. Have a nice day.”
Evelyn giggled. “Always witty, boss.”
Sandwich House

“How long do we have to stay here?” Peanut asked, looking through the blinds.
Grape was trying to draw something, but she always ended up tracing shapeless lines. At the 25th time the dog repeated the question, her pastel broke against the paper.
“As long as we need to, Peanut,” she said, contemplating the broken brown pastel. She tossed in the trash bin, together with other now useless drawing tools. “This is serious. You saw it too.”
“But I’m getting bored!”
Grape stood up, and walked up to him. She gave him a kiss behind his ear. “But you’re alive. And then, of course you don’t mean that you’re getting bored in the company of Dad, Mom... Me?” She hugged him and purred. “Now, now, you’ll see that Fido and the others will solve this problem.”
Peanut looked down. “Do you think they can jump up here?”
Arbelt House

Zach was asking himself another thing, while watching the lawn below.
He was wondering if he could jump down there without breaking a bone.
The animals that had killed Silver and Zen were really, really, really bad. All the humans were really nervous, but pretended that things were not so tragic...
But nothing of that mattered to the rabbit, as he looked in the direction of the forest, and then again to the lawn.
He was worried for the cubs. The sons of Silver and Zen. He had met them, how long ago, a week? Hi, Mr. Opener!
And now they were all alone. Orphans. In the forest.
Perhaps the other animals are taking care of them. The rabbit must believe it. He must believe that his ‘followers’ would take care of those poor creatures, to make the Opener of Ways proud of them... Yes, it must be so!
“GAHK!” He almost jumped out of the window. “Oh, Marvin.”
The orange-furred cat thought he had really never seen that poor soul so nervous. “Penny for your thoughts?”
Zachary’s ears flattened down on his skull. He hated to lie to the cat who had always done his best to make him feel at ease since he came to live in that family. “I was thinking that with any luck, those things will choke on me. Heh. How’s Tiger doing?”
“He’s still asking Dad to go to the Milton Wolves’ house and help them defend Celestia and the cubs. At least, for once he’s not trying to raid the pantry.”
Costner House

“I should be out there,” said Bino. He was walking up and down the room, as if he wanted to dig a trench in the floor. “Even though I was expelled from the Academy, I did my training. I should be out there to do my part, instead of letting that glory sponge of my brother get all the credit for catching a bunch of overrated strays!”
Maxwell, sitting in his favorite chair, was reading a copy of War and Peace. Without taking his eyes off the book, he said, “Bino, with all due respect, you saw Fido’s face when he came to announce the curfew? I think he’d rather be on the Moon’s far side rather than out in the street.”
“One more reason to accompany him!” Bino slapped his chest. “I would show to everyone who is truly brave among us!”
Max sighed, shook his head and kept reading.
Parker House

“Do you think your network of informers could be of help?”
The female mouse sitting on the young dog’s shoulder asked, “What do you mean?”
“We need more information about these monsters. They hide from the humans, but surely the other mice and rats are keeping an eye on them. If I promise enough food, do you think they’ll share what they know?”
Squeak nodded. “Yes. And since the cats are all indoors, it will be easier for me to reach my informers.”
Fido’s and Bino’s younger brother immediately regretted his idea. “Squeak, my brave little one, be very careful.”
She winked. “Count on it! Also, I still have to tell you how my date with Spo went.”
Joey blinked. “HUH?! Did I hear it right?”
The mouse blushed. “I decided to try a social life again, no big deal my big, beloved friend” She kissed him on the cheek, then, using Joey’s fur as a handle, she let herself go down the dog’s back, down to the tail, and from there with a final leap worthy of Tarzan landed on the floor. “Hold your curious horses and stay here, I’ll be back soon. See ya!”
The monitor showed the sky darkening. The lights were all lit up in the Gardens.
Martin was rerunning the recording of the latest night for the second time. The monitor on the photoelectric perimeter showed a tranquil sight. Food and water were in place, waiting for his ‘regulars’ to come and feed.
And then there they were. The lifeless bodies appearing on the scene.
In the first run-through of the recording, Martin had counted ten seconds between the screams and the death of two innocents raccoons.
Lord, are they fast! A few seconds to attack and butcher them.
The vet had given Martin the dental records: Rottweiler, as they had feared. Rottweilers were shredders, quick to crush bones and cut into tissues.
And these two were the canine equivalent of two chainsaws.
Martin stroked his left arm, where Alcor, once, had deeply scratched him. It was the day before Martin rescued him from the old shelter. He remembered the pure terror in the cat’s eyes, who had believed that man would hurt him. He had acted out of instinct. Still, Alcor’s reaction was self-defense. He had been beaten so many times that any physical contact was a sign of imminent hurt.
These two dogs were driven by the reptilian part of their brain. There was no reason to appeal to. There was no methodology in their actions, only the pure and simple reaction to a living presence: kill. Attack without any regard to the number or the supposed strength of the enemy. Kill or die trying.
Martin examined the frozen image on the bodies of Silver and Zen.
And he saw what the others had missed! Bino would have called that a ‘Doc Moment’, in homage to his favorite TV show.
The man slowly opened his eyes. Those dogs were around, when Martin and his pets had rushed to the crime scene.
They could have attacked them. They were prey.
Instead, the dogs had done their dirty work and had left.
Strategy, not instinct.
It was not a trap.
It was a message.
‘We’re here’.
They had sent panic throughout Babylon Gardens. They knew what they were doing.
Martin Foster’s breathing quickened. “We assumed that it was Pet Fighters...” Of course, what other explanation could there be? Not even a wolf would knowingly commit such an atrocity.
Why the raccoons?
Why Silver and Zen?
Martin’s mind was running like an express train.
Let’s pretend that they are not the Pet Fighters.
How long had they wandered nearby the Gardens?
Enough to study the habits and customs of its residents.
The human ones or the pet ones?
Your coming, Martin Foster, has set in motion a mechanism which not even I knew existed.
“Okay, let’s play ‘I am an egoist’.” Martin tried to pronounce those words in jest, but they came out more like a croak. “Let’s pretend that I am their target.”
Whatever those dogs were doing back then, their attention was drawn to the works at the old Whiteman House. At a safe distance, they had studied, observed…
The first event worthy of note was the housewarming party. Fifteen hours to scan the field, select the targets…
Targets for what?
Martin had walked many times in the park, alone or together with his pets. Even if it wasn’t two Killer Whales, they had plenty of occasions to attack. Why didn’t they?
“Did they want to lure me out?”
No, it didn’t make se—
Martin’s mind lit up on the answer. And he shivered.
He wasn’t their only target.
It made sense!
They could kidnap Peanut, Grape, any visitor, but that would’ve triggered a full-scale hunt. Too risky.
They needed to attract the right prey with the right bait.
The raccoons.
Just think, Martin, think! Why the raccoons?
Who cares about a couple of raccoons that lived in the woods!?
“ Zachary.” Martin’s heart skipped a beat.
Martin remembered the strange scene at the party: When the rabbit led him to a crowd of worshipers who for some reason called him the ‘Opener of Ways’. It was then that Martin suggested the idea of the night visits for food, instead of scavenging in the streets.
Silver and Zen were in that adoring crowd
Together with their cubs.
“They want Zachary.”
Or rather, they wanted him to run straight into their arms. Martin didn’t know why they wanted the rabbit but he knew what the rabbit would do. And now that everyone was well sealed in their homes, no one would see him heading into the trap! Worse yet, few would have dared to go out and risk their lives to save him... “Oh Lord, let it not be too late!” Martin took his cell and pushed in the number of Jerry Arbelt. He was answered by the busy signal.
“NO!” Martin jumped up. Now, who was Jerry’s neighbor? “Jeff!” He almost broke the phone while inserting the new number. “C’mon, man, tell me that you’re-” Busy!
But of course, you idiot! All of Babylon Gardens is talking on the phone right now! What else would people prisoner in their own homes be doing? Martin took a deep breath. Calm down, calm down! You know there is someone who is always free!
Martin punched the number. Free, yes!
The phone rang twice, before the woman took it. There was only one person who knew that number. “Martin, hello.”
“Janet, thank goodness, are you at home?”
The woman had never heard the panic in the voice of her long time friend. Her cop instincts kicked in. Her voice was as professional as the days when she wore the uniform. “Yes.”
Sitting in the living room, intent on playing cards, Celia and Thomas Milton, Martin’s ‘permanent guests’ and former managers of the old animal shelter, observed the sudden change in mood of their ‘guardian’. They had never seen her like this. Even her mutt, the Doberman Sergeant Ivan Danko, had pricked up his ears and his eyes had widened.
“Abandon everything you’re doing, lock the Miltons in a room, take the car and together with Ivan run to Arbelt House! I’ll explain along the way. There is a pet in serious danger!”
Janet had worked for Babylon Garden’s police, and it was just to help a pet victim of abuses, that she and Danko had sacrificed their careers. She wouldn’t have questioned Martin’s orders even under torture. “On my way.” She hung up, then from the shoulder holster she produced her Beretta and aimed it at Thomas and Celia.
“Time to go to bed, gentlemen. I’ll count on three. One, two…”
Brother and sister were wise enough not to protest. They took off to Thomas’ bedroom. The door slammed shut a moment later.
Janet put away the gun and closed the special lock. It would take some C-4 to enter or leave the room, and its windows were barred. “Let’s go, Ivan.”
Comrade Joseph-Boris Trotsky rightly boasted of being a great leader. He was a charismatic and cultured guide for the mice discontent to be the bottom of the social chain in the Gardens. He knew how to guide them in the raids for pantries and restaurants, knew the best tricks to avoid the cats – whereas his brother Karl-Lenin Faust had the bad idea to raise the bar by going to directly challenge a cat, only to end up getting into her stomach instead of in a nice house.
Squeak had worked well for the revolution, and J.B wasn’t the ungrateful kind of mouse. Despite her going to live with a dog, just like that turncoat Spo had done, the mouse leader had promised her information whenever she needed it. At his discretion, of course.
“Pet Fight Club?” asked Joseph, then shook his head. “No, comrade. Such a place of torment has never appeared again since Whiteman House was closed. Humans have proven themselves exceptionally wise to end this macabre ritual.”
“Maybe in the city...” Squeak tried, but Joseph raised his hand to interrupt her.
“Rumors run copious from the city, and we in the Free Republic of the Mice collect them all, carefully. And I say that not even in the city such an abomination has been perpetrated. So I say, so I won’t deny.”
“Comrade Joseph-Boris Trotsky,” Squeak insisted, “surely you are aware of what is happening up here, right?”
J.B. nodded. “We know that. And whoever is terrorizing your capitalist community, causing us no little joy in front of your wonderful helplessness, a Pet Fighter is not, though they certainly have its blood. One of our spies visited the vet’s morgue. Such a good job may only be the result of an intensive training at the arena, or a natural aptitude.”
Squeak understood.
And maybe the picture was even worse than everyone had feared.
Janet’s car stopped in front of 14 JD Drive.
There were no patrol cars, everything looked tranquil. Maybe they were still in time, thank God
But her instinct told her no, and she had learned to listen to her instinct.
Janet pressed firmly on the horn. In the deserted street, it sounded like a bomb. Janet waited five seconds, then sounded the horn again. She stared at the house as if she wanted to teleport inside. “Come on, Jerry, at least lean out dang it!” She kept on playing the horn, hoping those two monsters weren’t lurking around, like Cujo on steroids…
Finally, the upstairs window opened. Jerry Arbelt leaned out. “For God’s sake! What’s happening?” He shouted in a tone reserved for when he wanted to scold Tiger for his eating habits.
Janet rolled down the window just enough to be heard. She showed the detective’s badge. “Mr. Arbelt? Private Detective Masterson! Martin Foster sent me, asking me to tell you to see if Zachary is in the house!”

In a moment, Jerry’s mind went to the night when the rabbit had run away from home. Immediately the man went for his son’s room without a question. Zach had run away because he couldn’t stand Tiger’s attitude toward him anymore. Now that the dog had softened a bit thanks to Mr. Foster, Jerry wondered what had gotten into that bunny this time... But Jerry was also very scared, because if Zach really had run away again, with a curfew in progress, it must be for a reason more important than his own life!
Don’t even think about it, Jerry!
The man reached Marvin and Zachary’s door. The cat was just leaning from the bathroom. He looked sick. “What’s up, Dad?”
Without answering, Jerry opened the door. “Zach!”
The room was empty.
The window was open.
Jerry almost fainted. How did Foster know..?
His attention was drawn to the yellow sticky note in plain sight on the desk.
Jerry went to pick it up. He was reliving the nightmare of that terrible night, only now it was much, much worse…
The note read, Dad, Marvin, Tiger, I’m sorry. Forgive me everyone. I’m not running away, I don’t want go get you scared. There are cubs, in the forest, who need me now. It’s my fault too that Silver and Zen are dead, and I can’t allow their children pay for my mistake. I know where they are, so I will not get lost on the way. I will be back as soon as possible, but please, don’t risk your lives to follow me. I do this of my own free will, I have a responsibility to these people. I won’t disappoint them too. I love you (yes, even Tiger!). Kisses, Zach.
Jerry let the note drop to the floor. His legs were shaking. “Marvin... when did you go to the bathroom?”
The poor cat, even without reading the note, had understood everything. “Zach offered me a snack, and after I ate it I had to go...”
“When?” repeated Jerry, on the verge of hysteria.
Martin saw the pieces fall into place while Janet informed him of what had happened. “I see. Janet, these are the new instructions...” He told her what to do, then, “And tell Jerry to stay where he is. I know what’s going to happen.”
If the report was correct, Zachary had a lead of twenty to thirty minutes. Rabbits were excellent runners, and Zach was also pushed by his own adrenaline and fear.
If he was retracing the steps of his first flight, he was heading north.
There was a place on his way. Ironically, the right place to take the raccoon cubs, if he wanted to keep them safe.
And if Martin was the target of these dogs...
The man called the shelter. “Miss Sunman? I think we have a problem.”
Evelyn was standing near the entrance. Her eyes were glassy, set in a whitened face. “I know, boss.” Her voice was barely a whisper. The animals were holed up in their kennels, just like the rest of the staff in their barracks. Together with Evelyn there was only the poor Liam, armed with a broom, desperately trying to control his bladder.
“You’re talking to him, right?” said the dog on the other side of the fence.
Evelyn thought of the creature that they had to suppress. The demon transplanted into the body of an innocent.
The demon who was now speaking through the guttural voice and the black eyes of an unnaturally large canine monster. A Rottweiler mix with a long-haired, black-striped ashen fur. “You are the human of Whiteman House, right?” He continued, staring at the phone. His voice was a rumble, a promise of storm. “I have a proposal for you, Foster human. Tell your friend to let me into your shelter, and I will spare my dinner.”
The dog crouched like some primitive animal, as if evolution had stepped back to the times of the four-leggers. He was crouching over the shape of Zachary Arbelt. The poor rabbit had lost the tip of his left ear, he was awake but clearly in shock. He didn’t seem to understand what was happening.
A paw of the monstrous dog was clasped around his throat. “All it takes is a single squeeze, then you’ll bury him, human. And after him I will bring you another, and another... until all of Babylon Gardens will be reduced to a mass graveyard for your precious pets. So, Foster human? Can you hear me? Because now this rabbit dies...”

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