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HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread 
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Game Master
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Post HOUSEPETS! THE SERIES Official Thread
To the benefit of the new readers: I started this ficcie in regard to an interesting chain of events, starting from THIS strip:

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At the time, the talented SINDER decided to write a spin-off of what could have happened if things had gotten...another way. Thus was born the great tale of STAR-CROSSED

...which, actually, has a prequel, AULD LANG SYNE, set a little before the Yarn Ball arc

After that beautiful piece, another talented artist and writer, TWO_TWIG, added...a sequel to "Star-Crossed", thus causing the first case of shared fanficverse to be born in this forum: SYMPHONY IN PERIWINKLE

it was after the events in that ficcie that I decided to join the bandwagon and here I am... And, in the meantime, my work got its own spinoff... the saga of KEITH GREYFIELD and his wolf LIGHT, here
by courtesy of Lightwolf21,

*whew* this should more or less cover it. other nice and good authors here have tied their work with mine, just as i had permission to use their characters as guests in my ficcie, but for now I wanted to give a first overview about the main continuity.

And HEREyou can find the official cast page!

While HERE you can find the official table of contents, so you know where you're venturing.

Season I
Season II
Season III
Season IV

...And if you can't have enough of it, HERE you can find the TVTROPES page the good fan KITCH created for me! Thank you Kitch!!

And, dulcis in fundo, STU provided me with a logo of the series:

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Oh, and all the fanart and pieces made for me can be found here in my gallery on Furaffinity

Good reading!

PS - ifyouwanttogetintouchwithmeyoucanfindmeon Facebook

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Last edited by valerio on Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:28 am, edited 18 times in total.



Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:40 am
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Game Master
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
HOUSEPETS
The Ballad of the New Days

written by Valerio
re-written in English by LightWolf
using Google Translator and my sub-par understanding of grammar and storytelling
Supervision by Valerio
Partly re-written by Valerio, using GT and his sub-par understanding of grammar.
Edited thanks to kind suggestion of Obbi!
Cleaned-up version courtesy by Obbl! My many thanks to him
Illustrated by STU

1.
The Sandwich Home, Babylon Gardens. 06:35 hours

“GRAAAAAAPE!”
This can’t be, thought the cat, lying in her bed, drifting between sleep’s sweet tendrils and a way too noisy reality. It must be a nightmare. At that ungodly hour, even he usually slept like a rock – no, like the whole cliff of Dover!
“GRAAAAAAPE!”
It wasn’t a nightmare. The lavender-furred feline turned over in a last ditch effort to ignore the long howling of her partner, burying her face in the pillow. Perhaps, holding her breath, she could simulate a believable coma ... No, he would immediately try to revive her with mouth-to-mouth.
Thinking about that, she felt her cheeks starting to pleasantly burn. Yet, the breath of that lug was frightening, early in the morning. Note to self: Give him Fisherman’s, on his next birthday.
“Grape!” the dog said, this time at a lower volume, realizing he’d been overdoing it.
He was a young specimen, with a soft-toned bronze fur, his curved ears and fuzzier tail of a darker brown. His belly and the throat were of a softer, cinnamon shade, and his eyes were of a pale blue. A blue that Grape always compared to two shards of the sky itself.
It had taken her way too long, to finally admit that Peanut Butter Sandwich was a handsome dog. He was a scamp, hyperactive, playful, spontaneous to the point of being self-destructive... But those were also the qualities that had caused her to fall in love with him. For Grape it hadn’t happened right away, no. She had been decidedly wary of displaying her own affection to him, considering, on the other hand, that he had fallen for her the moment he discovered that his beloved friend Grape Jelly was a female (but how could you not notice when we are always naked?!?). This had often caused her to think, with a guilty conscience, about how much hurt she had caused to Peanut.
But things were complicated, indeed. (Dog + Cat) + Love = Social H-Bomb!
But to Peanut it didn’t seem to matter, and that, in its funny way, made Grape happy. Thanks to his carefree attitude, his devotion, and that inextinguishable joie de vivre, Peanut was capable of dissolving, like a warm sun, the chilly winter of Grape’s fears.
Too bad that their clandestine affair – to the extent that the 98.96% of the pets of Babylon Gardens did not know about it – also gave Peanut Butter an extra degree of confidence when they were on their own, as if it was needed, a confidence that right now was about to cause a hospitalization for serious physical trauma.
Grape sighed into the pillow, causing half a raspberry. “I really love you too, Peanut.” Why, o why couldn’t he wait at least another hour for their morning cuddles? After all, Dad and Mom already knew everything! At least, at home they were safe. The real risk was that their parents would try to take a photo of them in their intimacy. Once, Grape felt like dying, when she and Peanut noticed at the last moment that the two humans were there, on the sill, trying to be discreet, while their faces were showing a knowing smile. After that, she had kept Peanut at bay for a week. New rules: only behind closed doors, and no holding hands in public, or doing anything else the…other couples would do.
*Sigh* Peanut was unable to restrain his joy. Pretending to be ‘just friends’ with Grape in front of everyone was a torture, especially considering they wouldn’t spend all their time locked up in the house. Grape, the night owl of the two, had tried to set up some nocturnal dates, but Peanut, poor Peanut, would fall asleep as soon as they’d sit down on the grass, and once he had almost gotten a bad cold. It wasn’t easy at all to accept that, when he wanted to snuggle, he had the right to wake her from her nap ... Grape Jelly Sandwich, mischievous little liar! Okay, not SO difficult: after all, whenever she wanted, it was enough to yawn, stretch and he was ready to make a pillow of himself at the cost of breaking his back. And it was nice to fall asleep against him, feeling the reassuring beating of his heart, basking in his body’s warmth ...
“No! I mean, yes, I love you too! But there’s something you have to see, come on! Getupgetupgetup!”
Grape raised her head from the pillow. Now that she was awake, she noticed that the dog’s eyes were as wide as two plates with excitement, his ears straight as they could be, the tips eternally bent forward. He was wagging his tail so hard that he could take off at any moment, like that cartoon dog, Muttley. He was biting his lower lip to hold back the flood of words that threatened to explode any minute. Yep, he definitely wanted to describe everything to her in shining detail. Perhaps it was best to get up and be done with it.
“Coming, coming, all right, you lug, just give me a minute ...” Grape stretched by the book, starting from her fingertips, unsheathing a set of remarkable claws for a cat, her body arching like a violet white-bellied wave, until the movement reached her long, bushy tail. Grape closed it all with a yawn worthy of a tiger.
That had two desired effects: bringing her to the world better than any coffee could do, and put Peanut to a silence.
The poor dog now looked like some marble statue. His pupils were reduced to two pinheads. His tail was straight as a broomstick. His mouth was twisted in a curious expression. “Buh ...” Peanut said.
Grape gave him a kiss on his cheek. “Well, what’s this thing you really really wanted to show me?”
“Gah! Yes, that! C’mon, Mom and Dad are waiting for us. They told me to wake you up, y’know?”
Now that was something intriguing. To the two pets’ parents, Sunday morning was, by definition, a sacred day – not in the religious sense, but for the unparalleled opportunity to stay late in bed. Therefore, even Peanut was exceptionally cautious in moving about the house at that hour. Unlike today. Grape should have known better.

Earl Sandwich and Jill. Mechanic and nurse. Husband and wife. Proud parents. And already dressed up. “Good Morning, Grape,” Earl said.
“Hello Again, Peanut,” said Jill, while making coffee. “Breakfast?”
Usually, Peanut had either dry food or a bowl with milk and Doggy-Os. Grape would start her day with canned food. This time, however, there were sandwiches waiting on the pets’ own table, and a cup of milk. Ham and cheese sandwich for Peanut, tuna and eggs for Grape. “I thought that today you would want a faster breakfast,” said Jill, serving coffee to her husband. The kitchen was filling up with the smell of fried eggs and bacon.
Jill stooped to caress the head of Peanut. “You go on first, okay?”
Peanut nodded frantically. He took the sandwich and wolfed it down in two bites, as if he used to be a stray whose past was haunted by the specter of hunger. Peanut then drank the milk in one gulp, and swallowed loudly. “Come on, now?” He Said to Grape, who still had to finish the first bite.
“What’s with the emergency, Dad?” asked the cat, taking another bite. “We have to go to Uncle Reuben’s and nobody told me?” She tried to sound casual in pronouncing those words, but if they had said ‘yes’ she would have taken off out from her own fur to be the first to enter the car. In fact, it was during those memorable days at the farm owned by Dad’s brother, that finally she and Peanut ... Dontblushdontblushdontblush! [Events occurred as depicted in the epic tale “Star-Crossed”, by Sinder!]
And it did not help that Peanut, while frantically wagging his tail again, was threatening to show a fiery brick-red face.
Earl saved her in the end. “The new neighbors just moved in.”
Grape finished her sandwich, and drank her milk. “Is that all? I mean, besides moving into the old Haunted House, what’s so important to wake up at this hour?” And she yawned again. Moreover, considering all the work they had put into that place, it seemed they had just rebuilt it instead of ‘moving in’.
“Go check it out,” Earl said, taking the newspaper. “We’ll be with you two within half an hour.”
“Dac!” Peanut took Grape by her arm and dragged her away. “Come on, Jellybelly!”
The Sandwiches giggled discreetly.
Peanut!” but what had gotten into her, when on that winter morning, she had virtually allowed him to give her a pet name!?
She had looked him in those beautiful sky-blue eyes, that’s what happened. There were only two people in the world that could open her heart like that, and in a way it was a shame she couldn’t woo them both, but only Peanut knew how to make her happy. A nickname was not this great tragedy, as long as it wasn’t repeated it in public. “And let go of my arm, I can still walk, you know?”
“Sorry.” The dog let go of her and they left the house almost at a trot.

The ‘Haunted House’.
It stood at the end of the same street The Sandwich Household stood. Once, when many of the pets that inhabit Babylon Gardens today were yet to be born, when old Milton – the founder of that pet-friendly community – was still alive, something happened in that house. There lived a Whiteman family, and their pets.
Then something happened. Something that humans would not talk about. The only one who knew everything about that mystery was old Milton, who was now pushing up daisies in the nearby cemetery. Him, and the eccentric six ferrets, his…rummy heirs, who either did not seem to know anything themselves they just did not care – muuuch more plausible option, knowing the bunch.
All the same, Whiteman House used to be the typical place where to spend the night to tell horror stories by the light of some flashlights, among musty smells and creaking floors. There was no puppy coming out from the Haunted House who wouldn’t feel a grownup! It was a sad day when the property was bought. It was an even sadder day when the workers started working on it. Perhaps humans could more or less endure the noise of that frantic racket, but the sensitive ears of animals, especially cats, were most definitely affected by it!
At least, the hurried frenzy resulted in a shorter duration of the works. And Grape, now that silence had returned to Babylon Gardens, saw, or rather, realized for the first time, how much the former Whiteman House had been transformed, freed from all hoists and tarpaulins. “Wow.”
It was by far the largest property in the neighborhood: a house divided into a large two-story main building flanked by two large wings with panoramic windows. The roof was surmounted by a black dome which contrasted with the ivory-white wood of the rest of the building.
The garden was English-style, simply perfect. The wrought iron gate opened onto a gravel pathway surrounded by thick roses as yellow as gold. The mailbox showed on each side a stylized, black cat and dog, facing and holding in their paws a sign that read ‘Foster’.
There was a man standing on a ladder; he was hanging on the gate’s arch a large white banner on which was written ‘Housewarming Party – All pets (and owners) are welcome – 9 to midnight’
“Was I right, eh?” said Peanut.
Hearing them speak, the man, wearing a checked shirt with rolled sleeves, black jeans and brown boots, turned and showed Grape Peanut and a bright and warm smile. “Well, well, look who’s here!” He went down the ladder and quickly approached the two pets. He held out his hands. “You must be the little Sandwiches, right? Your parents have spoken so well of you.”
Peanut took his hand and shook. Grape imitated him soon after. That human reminded her of someone...
“My name’s Martin Foster,” the man went on.
“Pleased to meet you, sir–” said Peanut, only to be promptly cut off by another of those contagious smiles.
“Please. Call me Martin.”
That’s why he was so familiar to Grape! Peanut was a fan of the TV show Scrubs, and she liked it too. In one episode there was this patient who was able to warm the heart of that gruff doctor with that same smile and the same simple sentence pronounced as if he was your oldest childhood friend, ‘Call me Joe’.
This Martin Foster could be that guy’s brother. “Listen up,” he said, stroking both their heads. “I’m really, really busy right now. Your parents will be here shortly to help. If you would like to help us...”
“Sure thing!” Peanut exclaimed, always ready to help those who asked him. If there was someone who would grow up to be like Fido, Grape was sure beyond doubt…
“Why not?” added the cat.
Martin rubbed his hands. “Wonderful! I have so much stuff in the kitchen waiting to be brought to the tables outside. Don’t worry, my juggernauts will do the hard work. The others will join you, you all will be done in no time.” He turned his head towards the garden and cupped his hand around his mouth. He called out, “Boys! Break! Come and greet the neighbors! Come in, you two.” The man led Peanut and Grape through the pathway. The fine gravel was crunching nicely under the feet of the two animals. It would need a serious refurbishing, she thought with a hint of amusement, if the whole neighborhood was actually invited. The Roses gave off a delicious aroma; it would be a shame if those were going to be ruined as well *Oof!*
“Peanut, what the–,” she complained, having just collided with the back of the dog that had stopped abruptly. And why had the sun suddenly gone... “Oh.”
Grape had a flashback of her first meeting with a cat – no, a BIG cat – a friend of Max, called Ivan. [Symphony in Periwinkle, no. 4] She was nothing short of terrified by the sudden appearance of the creature who, as nice as a cat could be, could well eat other cats for breakfast.
“You’re big,” Peanut said, admiringly, his head lifted.
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‘Big’ was a euphemism. These two dogs were more like mountains! In the first place, they were tall. They easily reached their owner’s chest. Boris and Yeltsin, the dogs who so far reigned as the neighborhood’s ‘giants’, could easily be a snack for these two guys. Male twins, identical to the last hair of their jet-black coat, with a tinge of red on the chest and throat, but mixed in the black, as if a red dim light was shining in the gloom of their chests. Their race was indescribable, as if a particularly gifted artist had harmonized the body of a Doberman with the robustness and the muzzle of a wolf, and adding a layer of Alsatian’s black fur. Their eyes were in sharp contrast with those menacing figures, two hazelnut pools filled with joy, with their expression reflecting such state. In fact, leaning forward and holding out two shovels of paws, they said in unison. “Pleased to meet ya!”
“Peanut Butter, Grape Jelly,” said Martin, putting a hand on both giants, “these are Antares and Aldebaran.”
Hearing their names, Peanut, while letting his hands to be devoured by those black paws, immediately focused his attention on their collars. “Oh!” His gaze lightened up at the sight of the tags. He touched the red metal object hanging from Antares’s collar. “Red supergiant star of the Scorpius constellation,” he said enthusiastically. Then, touching the Aldebaran’s orange tag, “Giant orange star of the Taurus constellation!”
“Well, well, well,” said the twins in that stereophonic way of them, exchanging a look of admiration. Their voice was sonorous, powerful as might be expected, but with a very musical, tenor quality. “We have a studious puppy here,” Antares said. “We like studious puppies, right brother?” Aldebaran said.
“I like stars a lot,” Peanut said. Grape hoped he did not start began to make one of his tirades about how he wanted to be an astronomer, they were already wasting enough time of these people...
Another flash of memory. The stars, yeah. Bright in the sky above Uncle Reuben’s farm, bright and beautiful witnesses of their first kiss, and those that followed, their first promises of love... And after that, Peanut explaining with dedication all the constellations while pointing at them one by one...
The cat derailed from memory boulevard as she heard the voice of Martin saying, “And what are you two doing, shy guys? Come on, they’re not going to eat you.”
Grape hoped they were not like these two monsters. Already she was sure she would never nap peacefully, knowing that Peanut could play with them...
Two figures advanced from behind the dog twins. This time, when Grape’s jaw fell, it definitely wasn’t out of fear.
It wasn’t like her to swoon – except that if she’d ever met the actor who played Petir in the Pridelands movie, she was sure she would need an artificial lung, and one of the tigers at the zoo was well worth a visit...
This pet was not a tiger nor a lion, but had to be the Prince of all pet cats! His coat was medium, white –simply perfect white, otherworldly, as if the sunlight itself had been used to paint his body. He had a strong body, his every movement spoke of strength AND grace. His ears were two perfect triangles, but not too large. HIs whiskers perfectly parallel thin lines. And his eyes were a yellow that only a star could possess.
Grape vaguely thought that if he had known this spirit incarnate first–
*Hrumph* “Grape?” said Peanut, after clearing his throat. She came back to her senses. And he saw that alongside the cat there was a dog, a female, to be precise. A German shepherd who, just like the cat, was of a pure white as the snow. Her eyes were blue as the most rare tourmaline. The only other note of color she showed was a perfect black diamond on her forehead.
“These two,” Martin said, indicating first the female and then the cat, “are Mizar and Alcor”.
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“Binary Stars,” said Peanut. “Ursa Major Constellation,” as their tags proved, shaped like white stars, hanging from their black collars.
“Pleased,” said Mizar, holding out her paw. Grape shook it. At least, this lass did not seem absent-minded like Sasha... or worse, like Daisy. She hoped too that she wasn’t... strange, like Tarot.
“My pleasure,” Grape said, turning then to Alcor with a most sincere smile. “Very pleased.”
Martin said, “A short visit to the house, boys, then bring them with you to the kitchen to help with the supplies, okay?”
“No prob,” said Alcor.
“And you two,” said the man, pushing the two mountain-dogs by their shoulders, “Hop Hop, we have so much to do!”
“Awww, Dad!” Protested the twins in chorus. It was hard to imagine they were so submissive. If they decided to hold their grounds, only a SUV could move them. Aldebaran then turned his head back. “Alcor, let them see our site!”
“And ask for an autograph,” added Antares. “Please!”
The albino couple walked Peanut and Grape to the house. “Methinks it will be a short tour. Cheer up, better oblige those two lugs, or I won’t hear the end of it until the next generation.”
“Alcor...” Mizar warned him.
“You know them too. They can be stubborn as charging rhinos when they want to.”
The dog sighed, resigned.

The interior of Villa Foster was no less beautiful than its exterior. Simple, the proper furniture like a symphony of warm antique-style wood against the slate running in panels along the walls. Lamps and lamp-holders on the walls were black wrought iron. Everything smelled new and the air was fresh. The windows projected light blades.
Alcor and Mizar led their guests to the right wing of the villa. “There are the juggernauts’ rooms. Ours lie in the opposite wing, in case you wanted to see them, later. There is a third wing, the recreation hall, and from there to the rear end. We call it the ‘cool room’. That’s where Dad keeps all the videogames, DVDs, board games, card games... Well, he actually keeps that stuff in a part of the cellar he converted to a storage room, the cool room is for playing.”Alcor showed a smile full of teeth that gleamed as his fur. “We look forward to have many guests with that.”
Grape thought she would melt. Peanut said, “I’m sure Joey and his friends would even pay to come here. They love D&D a lot, do you have it?”
“Every single edition and expansion. Daddy’s manic with the things he likes, he’ll buy whole series without discarding anything. Here we are.”
The twins’ room spoke of two things: it was tidy, and was full of books. The panoramic window lit the shelves filled with novels, essays, comics, and a large desk with two big laptops. A large wrought iron bed and a thick mattress, placed near the window, completed the furnishings.
“Well,” Grape said, scrolling through the library. She saw a lot of stuff that Max would read, included, hmm, the complete Pridelands series... She sighed. Max, you silly alley cat, the only one who was able to get so close to her... only to waste his opportunities. And if part of her was relieved not to have to make excuses to close their affair, she was all the same sorry to have deceived him into a relationship in first place.
And only because she was too proud to admit even to herself what she already knew: that she was in love with Peanut...
“GRAAAAAPE” She almost had a heart attack. What was that dog, a heck of a telepath, to be able to derail her from those thoughts with such accuracy? She must speak to him about that, she thought, as she approached the desk where Peanut was bent as if he wanted to enter the laptop screen itself. “So, what’s so important now?” And then she saw it.
If Grape had a certain fear to publicly express her innermost feelings, Peanut lived a strange paradox: he liked to draw his own comic, The Adventures of Spot (Superdog), but he also was incredibly shy about other people’s opinions on his artistic work. It was not un common for him to occasionally for rethink about his artistic career, prey to that absolutely misplaced fear, whereas if she had not kept him on a tight leash, he would have climbed on the nearest roof and start orate to the whole world his love for her and to heck with the reactions of other pets.
Grape had miraculously managed to get Peanut to publish online, with the help of Dad, on a free website, the chronology of his strips, for read-only. Without an inbox for reviews or anything similar.
It was a surprise, that someone had made a blog out of that. Right on the Spot! A blog of Antares and Aldebaran to the greatest canine hero of Peanut Butter Sandwich! Meticulously displayed was the entire chronological archive, with a comments section ... and an area dedicated to fan-art.
If Santa Claus had come to personally pay a visit to Peanut bringing all his favorite toys in his sack, he could not have made a happier puppy out of that silly dog. “See, see? There is also a space on how the Orphanite works! I tried to explain it, but I never had the time because in the meantime I was thinking of another comic and I wanted to put it down, and *hrmpff! *” he stopped, when a purple paw closed down on his nose.
“I think I understand, sillyboy,” Grape said, then turned to the two albinos. “I must say, those two behemoths are full of surprises. Do they own those Pridelands books, or did you lend them?”
“It’s their stuff.” said Mizar. “We have our own copies. Dad made sure that we do not compete for our stuff. And now, onward, there are less than two hours to the party and we still have so much work to do.”
Peanut reluctantly agreed to leave the computer. Within twenty-four hours, he would open a Facebook account, guaranteed! Then his attention returned to focus on the interior of Villa Foster. “Your Dad must have a lot of money, huh.”
“He won a lottery,” said Alcor. “From penniless schoolboy to future manager of the shelter.”
“Excuse me ..?” Said Grape.
“Didn’t you know?” Mizar seemed genuinely surprised. “With the help of the Milton ferrets, he took over the shelter’s management, then he privatized it. He’ll start working with it by tomorrow.”
“We were shown some of his projects,” said Alcor. “He wants to make big changes, all for the better. With some luck, within a month, the lager we stayed in will become but a bad memory.”
“You were there?” Grape said, stiffening instinctively. The memories that surfaced in her mind were still imprinted with the burning fire of pain and bitterness. Becoming abandoned, the long wandering with no other purpose than merely survival, that terrible hunger, and–
“Grape..?” The worried voice of Peanut and his hands on her shoulders had been an interruption, this time more than welcome – indeed, Grape wanted so much to throw herself in his arms, but again, she was held back by that nagging, hateful little voice that told her not to make a bad impression… The cat let out the breath held for nearly a minute in a slow exhalation. “I’m fine, Peanut, I’m... fine. Forgive me.”
She had entered the kitchen without even noticing. Mizar began to put several snacks on a silver tray. “We know how you feel, you should not apologize. If it were not for Alcor, I think...” It was the female dog’s turn to shudder. “Dad swore he’d do his part so that such things won’t happen again. He gives us all what we want not to spoil us, but because he doesn’t want us to miss anything. He asks us only to think over what we want. He really dislikes waste.”
“I never imagined that those two mutts liked reading books so much. They don’t strike me as the kind of guys who would go beyond comics. No offense meant, Peanut.”
Alcor snickered. “They are full of surprises, aren’t they? And even if for me they will remain two lugs for the rest of their lives, they are more protective than a whole pack of wolves. Believe me, sweety, I’d pay a grand sum to get a ticket to see them angry... from many miles away.”
“I believe it.”
The four animals stood in silence for some time, while they were filling tray after tray with food. Grape remembered when she had been to the Yarn Ball, two years ago. The neighborhood cats had made a real effort to gather as much food as possible for an event that lasted throughout a night of dancing, singing and fun. None of that stuff could remotely compare to the quality and abundance of food in this kitchen as big as one of those hotel’s. “Is it all for us pets?”
Also for them,” said Mizar. “Apart from chocolates and other foods that are good only for humans, Dad’s idea is that everyone should enjoy the same kind of food. He really hates the separation imposed by social conventions.”
Reminds me of someone, thought Grape, glancing at Peanut, intent on helping Alcor in the preparation of a pyramid made of sandwiches.
“How did you two end up together in the shelter?” Peanut suddenly asked. Of course, he had tried to casually ask it, but his curiosity was like a neon sign flashing in his eyes.
“Peanut!” snapped Grape.
“Don’t worry,” said Alcor. He, however, did not seem troubled by those memories. Great actor, pictured Grape. Certain experiences left a mark very difficult to disguise…
“First of all, we weren’t together. Not before ending up in that place. And, in a way, it was like ending up in a hotel.”
“We were born and raised on the road,” said Mizar. Having finished with her tray, she picked it up and headed for the exit. “Are you three ready?”
Grape took hers. Peanut and Alcor both took an end of a single, bigger tray. As they walked towards the garden, the German Shepherd continued. “We never even knew what a ‘house-family’ was. We lived with our biological parents long enough to wean… And after that, we had to do everything by ourselves.”
Grape, when her name was still Princess Periwinkle, had spent, how long? A couple of weeks, perhaps three, in that wide-awake nightmare.
That someone could live like that through their entire life... How could they not go ballistic at the mere memories?
Perhaps – no, maybe nothing! – interpreting her look, Alcor said, “Dad is... special. It took an eternity and all the patience that a human could muster to get me out of my shell and convince me to live with him. Sometimes...” he sighed. “But I think he’ll be very glad to explain everything himself, as soon as he has a free hour or so.”
Once in the garden, they placed the trays on the tables as shown by Martin. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Sandwich had arrived and were talking in front of a barbecue set coming straight from a science-fiction novel.
---
As a boy, Earl Sandwich had known only one model of barbecue, “George’s Kettle.” As with the family car on which he had mastered over such a long time, lacking the toys and more sophisticated pastimes of his contemporary neighbors, Earl had learned to master that model that, indeed, easily withstood the test of time. And even if Mr. Sandwich wasn’t fond of technological bells and whistles, well, there were some things to which he could turn a blind eye.
Like, with Martin’s monster. To call it a ‘Barbecue set’ was a severe understatement. It simply had everything! Two plasma screen TVs, three refrigerators, beer dispensers, room for charcoal and firewood, two gas cylinders, and at least six different cooking settings, from infrared to charcoal...
Earl was moved. “VulcanMaster-2000. Sometimes I’ve thought of selling a kidney to get one.”
“Cool, huh?” Martin patted his creature. “It should do for today, but I’ll need some help with it. There will be many trips to make, with a ton of Texas’ best beef waiting to be run on this baby! I think I have covered more or less all of the basic types of sauces, so...”
“I’m sure Bill and the wolves will be the first to volunteer,” Earl nodded.
Martin raised an eyebrow. “Wolves..?”
Earl never took his eyes off that culinary marvel of technology. “The wolves who work as bodyguards for the Milton ferrets. They are fine creatures, and I believe that people will mistake them for docile dogs, after comparing them with your beasts. As for Bill – you know, the policeman who inspected your place...” Martin did indeed remember. A good man, Officer Bill, precise and meticulous, and also very fond of his dog, Fox, of whom he had showed a picture after being done with the inspection. “...Well, he thinks that nobody can cook a very rare steak the way they do.”
Martin nodded. “I’ll consider them recruited, then.”
“Out of curiosity,” said Jill. “Where are Aldebaran and Anters from? I’ve never seen a breed like that, before.”
“Ah, that’s a new breed, the Hirs’kyy̆ Korol’ Ukrainian for ‘King of the Mountain’. It has not been recognized here in the U.S. yet, and you don’t want to know the bureaucratic inferno I had to go through to get all visas and papers done right, but in the end it was very well worth it. When I saw a picture of a litter online, it was love at first sight. This breed is used mainly for rescue and military operations. Most of the breeders,” Martin’s voice darkened for a moment, “select only the most aggressive traits. Antares and Aldebaran were to be… discarded.” The way in which that word was pronounced made clear what he meant. Earl sympathized with him; it was unforgivably barbarian that 21st century people still thought about the life of an animal as some expendable object. “They sold them to me below cost, but I would have paid any price for them.” Then he went back to that shining, contagious expression of his. “It was the way I came into contact with them that led me to consider how to manage the shelter. You’ll see. It will be my masterpiece.”
“How did it happen with Alcor and Mizar, instead?” asked Jill.
“Oh, that! Heh, it was a real adventure!” Martin laughed.
---
“I had been in my cage for over a month, when they brought in Alcor. Some witty attendant got the idea that two white animals would be more likely to keep each other company.” Mizar continued.
“The first week he refused to engage in any conversation, and I must say that many of his answers to my questions helped me learn more profanities than any lady, even a tramp, should know.”
The four returned to the kitchen to fill other trays. Alcor said, “I was... different. I had the streets in my blood, knew no other world, and being in that cell was pure torture. I tried to fight with the humans, in the attempt to be kicked out of there one way or another. And if it meant the end... of the...” the cat moved with mechanical gestures, his eyes glazed over, but he was noticeably tense. He could have clawed you, hard, if only you happened to brush his tail. Thankfully Peanut understood this and didn’t even speak.
Then, Alcor seemed to regain control. “It wasn’t the words of Mizar that opened a breach in me: it was her whimpers. You see, I used to spend most of the nights awake, looking at the sky. At night, almost all the animals calmed down a bit, and I had some time to really be alone with my thoughts.
“Until that moment, I had not taken notice of the cries that Mizar made in her sleep. But on that particular night, I just happened to notice. And I understood. She had always done her best to keep up my morale, to keep me company in that pit where everyone was alone with their pain, and I had behaved like a jerk just because she was a dog.
“At night, she was alone with her own nightmares; I heard her tossing and whimpering, and in that moment I thought that she had no one to cheer her up. So, I called her name, and she woke up at once.”
“We talked all night,” continued Mizar, cutting into a cake made of different sandwich layers. “In the morning, our throats had run dry, and it took almost two bowls of water to quench our thirst. But we felt much better. Above all, we were bound.” She gave a loving look at the cat, a glance with a meaning that was quite clear to Grape and Peanut.
Alcor gave voice to their thoughts. “We fell in love. At some point, all that nonsense about the species differences held no importance. Our real torment had become the walls that prevented us even from seeing each other. I would have dug a path to her even if it meant breaking my claws, but if I did, I feared that I would be taken away, and that thought was worse than death itself. So I learned to behave with the humans.”
“He would get distressed every time a human came to visit me for a possible adoption. I think he was holding his breath throughout the whole visit. And every time I returned to my cage, because females are less popular than the males, he was so relieved.”
Alcor blushed for the first time that day; he opened a new pack of sandwiches. “My obsession was her happiness. I stopped caring for my own wellbeing, I only wanted her to be happy. But at the same time, every time I imagined a life without her, I felt as if a cruel hand took away a piece of my soul, returning me to the wild feral that I used to be.
“When Martin arrived, I knew by his look that he wanted to adopt me. That benevolent expression seemed the most hateful I could imagine; it meant the risk of being separated from her. I tried all my dirtiest tricks on him, all my nastiness, but he persisted. He never gave up, even when...” Alcor broke his work to stare at his paw, flexing his claws. He sighed.
Mizar resumed for him. “It was I, who convinced him to stop. I too suffered immensely at the idea of losing him, but if he could have a better life, that’s all that mattered. So when Martin... Dad, returned for the last time, Alcor accepted. Poor thing, until then, had never spoken in such a sad voice.” Her eyes grew moist. “And despite everything, he was so foolish such as to risk that very last chance.”
“I told him that I would come live with him… provided he took her too. And Dad, with that look as if I’d asked what a beautiful summer day it was, he said ‘Sure! Whatever makes you happy!’”
Peanut’s eyes were glittering, and his expression was a teenager girl’s at her first romantic movie. “Awww!”
Grape was puzzled. “So, you have no problem at all to openly show your, uh...”
“It’s called re-la-tion-ship,” Mizar gently scolded her, and ‘beeped’ at her nose with her finger. “Just like yours with Peanut.”
Grape wanted very much to be elsewhere.
Alcor finished with his tray. “I don’t know about you guys, but life dealt us a rigged deck. We paid our debt to the street, and we discovered the most wonderful thing in the last place we could think of. We made a promise, not only to love each other, but to stay together, forever, not to be separated by anything or anyone, whatever the cost.” Alcor turned to Mizar with an intense look of his sun-gold eyes. His tone was serious as ever. “They can mock us, throw sticks and stones at us, they may exclude from their activities... But there is one thing they will never have from us: we shall not apologize for what we feel for each other. If anything, those who mock us should apologize to us for being so pathetic as to live in such strict accord to their ‘social conventions’.”
Peanut looked at Alcor as if the cat had turned into Spot. That big puppy had just found his hero. Then he regained his composure... or rather, he started tapping his index claws, his ears and eyes lowered. “How did you figure it out? About us?” The poor thing was obsessed with the thought of overdoing it and revealing it all in front of someone. He would really try to please Grape’s requests in this matter.
“You exchanged an unmistakable look, the moment we talked about our bond...” said Mizar. And to Grape, “Yes, you too. You know what they say, right? It takes one to know one.”
“Well,” said Grape, taking another full tray, “I’m happy for you lovebirds, but around here you’ll find that you won’t get far playing the outcasts. You still don’t know it, but the Good Old Dogs’ Club, which is the de facto reference to almost all the neighborhood dogs, and also runs all of the events of the notable fleabags…”
“Grape!” Peanut whimpered.
“...Is run by this crazy dog named Bino who fancies himself Der Fuehrer. And, for some reason known only to the canine gods, he’s a leader the other dogs actually follow. Even without proof, if just a rumor about me and Peanut got out, we would spend the rest of our days looking behind our shoulders for Bino’s gang, and I dare not even imagine what the other cats would think. And as much as I like pestering those dogs from time to time, I fear, no, in fact, I’m sure that their retaliation against Peanut would be enough to make me regret even thinking about falling in love with him!” She stopped before reaching the garden.
She didn’t abruptly turn so as to avoid dropping the tray she was carrying, but the familiar anger that her voice permeated with when it was under so much stress said enough about her feelings in that moment. Grape took a deep breath. Not in front of Mom and Dad!
“And I don’t want him to run any risks, especially not because of me. He… is special to me, do you understand? I would go crazy, if something happened to him, and then things would go to downhill real fast. Hence, you two pretty stars, leave Peanut and I out of your challenge to social norms. Are we clear on that?”
After that no one said anything until they were done.

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Last edited by valerio on Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:00 am, edited 25 times in total.



Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:40 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
A beautifully crafted piece you have there Valerio :)

When I tried google for the translations, it didn't make too much sense. Now I know what I didn't get :P I wish you luck on your work. :) I enjoyed every bit of it :)


Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:23 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
then we'll go on, don't worry. :mrgreen:

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Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:36 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
valerio wrote:
then we'll go on, don't worry. :mrgreen:


Well no pressure :) I'll wait as long as I'm still kickin' for your fic. :) I want to enjoy it to the fullest so don't hold back on the original just to translate the older ones.

I wish the best of luck to you and LightWolf on this one. :)


Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:41 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Translate. More. Now.

ive read a lot of your using google translate. but i didn't get it, so i'm waiting for these :3

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Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:38 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Whew, let me tell you Valerio, you do not make it easy for a guy to have to catch up on all of your fic ;) what with it being so tremendously long, but I did it, and well worth it too :D Heehhee, now I have the pleasure of reading it all over again in English!

Ahem, now if you'll excuse me, I have to go finish updating my rather sparse fic :?

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Last edited by Two_Twig on Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:26 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
oh dear, what has been done?
All right, I'll give it some time myself as well, between a chapter and the other. But I still can't catch up myself :mrgreen: for now

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Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:28 pm
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Original story and characters by Valerio, Housepets owned by Rick Griffin, etc.
Translations thanks to Google Translate, reverso.net, and freetranslation.com
Interpretations of translations by Lightwolf with some explanations from Valerio.

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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.



Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:55 pm
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Finally!!! This is really good! I only wish I could have been able to edit the story up, after I had it translated. But Lightwolf has done a great job. Looking forward to the rest of it, properly edited. So I can make better scence of it.

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Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:38 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
as soon as I'm done with current episode, I'll edit Lightwolf's work to make it easier to read. Promise! :ugeek:

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Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:18 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
lightwolf21 wrote:
"It's called 're-the-uncle-ne'(unknown, it might be broken up so translators don’t understand it),"

Um... I believe re-la-zio-ne is just relazione
She's being tongue-in-cheek by breaking word up to pronounce each syllable (Japanese anime is famous for this)

But I'm really liking this (did not want to go through the hassle of trying to figure out the Italian) :D

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Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:22 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
yup.
Re-lation-ship should do

EDIT - Added edited piece by Lightwolf to main body.
Thank your for reading :mrgreen:

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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Thanks again Valerio for a wonderful story. I'd like to get caught up, but I think I'll translate up to that point. On one hand I hope the story lasts for many chapters to come, but on the other; I'd probably end up translating them all :shock:
Anyway here is the end of chapter 1 of BoND.

----------

EDIT - added to chapter above.

----------

Thanks for reading everyone. I'll get to work on chapter 2 of BoND shortly. Please give us your feedback on the English versions i.e. possible interpretations, something I might have missed, spelling, punctuation. I don't want anything to be lost in the translation, but I want it to be easily read as well.

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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Quote:
Thanks again Valerio for a wonderful story. I'd like to get caught up, but I think I'll translate up to that point. On one hand I hope the story lasts for many chapters to come, but on the other; I'd probably end up translating them all :/
Anyway here is the end of chapter 1 of BoND.

C'mon, what harm could do working on 15...16...17 episodes?
It's a milkrun!

EDIT: Added last segment to part 1 after editing. Good job as always! ;)

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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
I lightened my strictness with the English language so I'm hoping it won't take as long per section.
Hopefully it'll still be easy enough to read.
Here's the translation for first section of chapter 2 of BoND by Valerio.
Characters belong to their respective owners/creators.

----------

EDIT - Section checked and posted by Valerio below

----------

I'll be taking tomorrow off from translating and have a happy 4th of July, everyone. Ciao. :D

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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
HOUSEPETS!
The Ballad of the New Days

written by Valerio
re-written in English by LightWolf
using Google Translator and my sub-par understanding of grammar and storytelling
Supervision by Valerio
cleaned-up version courtesy by Obbl.

2.
Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens, Sunday, 07:40 hours

“Aren’t they getting tired?” Earl asked, while preparing the various sections of the barbecue, helped by some sports commentaries transmitted through the radio inserted in the ponderous system from kitchen.
Antares and Aldebaran kept on transporting charcoal sacks, moving furniture, and chatting as if they had an inexhaustible lung reserve. Earl had an instinctive revulsion at the thought of laboring animals, unless it was absolutely necessary. For him, the concept of ‘family member’ was applied with the greatest possible dignity, and he was happy to see that Martin felt the same way. Or maybe not..?
“Actually,” Martin said, “this is their alternate workout, instead of the morning gym. For once, they can do something different from their usual routine.”
“Gym..?” said Mr. Sandwich, lifting an eyebrow.
“Yup. With all due respect, Chief, they don’t keep that shape simply by walking. Every morning, they do a two hour session that could break a Marine’s back. And after that, they still have enough energy left for everything else that a normal dog does to have fun. Don’t forget, this is a military dog breed we’re talking about.”
“True,” Earl remembered. Then he smiled. “They sure made friends with Peanut and Grape quickly.”
Martin Foster snickered. “They are my living lie detectors. If they think that someone is a good person, human or not, I can blindly trust their judgment.” Again, suddenly, his face darkened for a moment. In those moments, it was as if someone else took his place... “Earl, about Grape...”
“Yes?”
Martin seemed to think it over, then returned to his usual jovial self. “Ahh, just a thought. Sorry, but with all the things I have on my mind, the memories begin to overlap. At this rate, in a year I’ll be ready to be admitted to the nursing home where your wife works. And, speaking of that...” He turned on the microphone of his Bluetooth earpiece. “Jill, beautiful mistress of the hearth, when will the salads be ready?”
---
Jill was working like a surgeon on a series of bowls filled with vegetables, surrounded by different utensils and seasonings that she hadn’t even known existed. The potatoes and other vegetables were heating in an enormous microwave oven. Rice was coking in a couple of big pots. “Sooner than you think. Thank you for buying those prepared bags, at least I only have to open and mix.”
Although not an avid adventurer into the kitchen, Jill had to admit that, right then, she felt like the cook for a five star hotel! With this stuff, one could feed a regiment… or two very hungry, gigantic dogs. Her head swam with the idea of the quantity of money such creatures required merely for feeding. They surely didn’t look like they were fed on kibble. Grape had once talked about her previous family, how the growing economic problems had led to her abandonment... and God knows what fate that poor dog Lucky, with whom she lived, had succumbed to. Hmph, ‘lucky’ dog indeed!
Jill started working on another salad... when the idea flashed so quickly that she started, as if an electric shock had passed through her body. It was her turn to activate the microphone. “Martin?”
---
The man in question was working on the stage equipped with drums, two guitars, microphones, violin, and a piano keyboard – some of them only fit for animals. There seemed to be enough stage lights to bring in the new year. “I listen and obey, my queen.”
“Aren’t you ever serious?” she giggled.
He double-checked the equipment connections. “Only when I have to pay taxes. So what’s on your mind?”
“Do you hire staff?”
“Here at the mansion? Well, I have a cleaning service, a gardener, all in all I think I have everything covered...”
“At the shelter.”
“Clarify.”
“Mr–”
“My dear, please, let’s stick to first names, or I’ll start to think I’m my own grandfather.”
“Sorry. I remember you saying that you intended to reorganize the management policy, right?”
“Correct. So, yes, I will replace part of the staff with people who care about animals, those that don’t see it as a job. Truth be told, I am only sorry not to have a firing squad to fire those people.” Jill did not see him become grim again. Then his good side reemerged. “Would you like to recommend someone?”
“I could work for you.”
“Qualifications?”
“Don’t you think I’ve done a good job as Mom of Peanut and Grape?”
“Antares and Aldebaran say yes. As do Mizar and Alcor. You have the experience, on paper... But in the end, ah, it’s a very stressful job. Even though the conditions will be very different from the current shelter’s, you will find yourself comforting sad, hostile, confused, injured creatures...” Martin bit his lip. “It is a lot, for someone who already has a family to deal with; however, if you still think you can, it’s okay with me, but I’ll arrange a year-long contract with you. Renewal will be automatic unless otherwise specified, what do you say?”
“Okay by me.”
“Hm.” Martin found a plug for missing the spotlight, aha! “So you decide, without even knowing what you’ll earn? You are a woman of courage, I like it. How much do you make, at Kruger House?”
“It’s called Springwood Health—”
“Exactly. So, how much?”
She told him. He raised an eyebrow. “You’ll get double your current salary plus overtime and dental plan. Medical care for you and your pets and insurance will be included in the package.” He said with calmness as if he was reading a name in the telephone book.
She replied with silence.
“Jill..?”
SSSQUEEEEE !!!!
He nearly went deaf. “I take that as a yes?”
“When do I start?”
“When I’ve dealt with the current mess, say a month. That should give you plenty of time to prepare your resignation at Kruger House.”
“I said–”
“It’s address is 1428, right?”
“Yes, but–”
“Exactly. Now, please, stop jumping, you’ll have enough time to wear yourself out today. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to talk to your husband.”
Martin hung up, and descended from the stage. “Earl!”
Several fires were lit on the Vulcan-Master. Aromatic plumes of smoke rose into the sky. Already a small group of curious animals was gathering outside the property. Martin looked at his watch, everything was on schedule.
“Tell me,” said the chef, already armed with an apron and chef hat. On the apron, it said ‘Pet the Cook’
“How would you like to make some extra money with the workshop?”
Earl had run his shop ever since he’d arrived in Babylon Gardens, and he always had customers, but what with the crisis, everyone was trying to do more maintenance at home. And especially since cars were being used less and less, damage and wear were reduced. “Do I have to think about it before answering?”
“I need a reliable mechanic for the shelter’s fleet. They’ll need constant maintenance.”
“How many cars are we talking?”
“Oh, twenty or so, for now. Pick-ups, sedans, executives, vans for the animals...”
By then, Earl was stunned with joy. He almost burned his hand on a hot-plate without noticing.
God did exist!
Martin turned to one of his animals, a female German shepherd white as snow, with blue eyes like tourmaline and a perfect black diamond in the middle of her forehead. “Mizar?”
She, still setting a huge table with plastic cutlery, stopped singing and said, “Yes, Dad?”
“Have you or Alcor seen the little Sandwiches?”
“Oh, Grape said she was tired and wanted to take a nap before the party. Peanut went after her.” She was going to make a comment about how that poor fellow was mad about her, before remembering they were being watched by those pets nearby. One wrong word and the party would become the ground for World War III!
---
A condition very close to exploding at the Sandwich home. Peanut just managed to avoid being crushed by the door that Grape had violently shut behind herself.
“Grape! Come on, what’s the matter? What did I do!?”
The cat proceeded with heavy footsteps along the corridor, then threw herself on the sofa, miraculously resisting the temptation to thrash it with her sharp claws. Count to ten, Grape Jelly, count to one hundred, a thousand...
“Not you!” She said at the end, shaking her pillow. “Stop thinking of yourself, for once! Okay!?”
He closed his jaw so quickly that they heard the sound of teeth snapping like a gunshot. And there it was, that mortified look that Peanut Butter produced when he felt guilty of something.
*Sigh*, he was such a caring creature... But right now, she needed to be understood.
Grape collapsed on the sofa, still clutching the pillow. “Peanut, how can I explain it? Every day, I only need to see Joey wink at me – Joey, of all pets!? – to feel as if a choir of angels was dancing on our graves! We know Sabrina and Fido wouldn’t say anything, even under torture, because they have to protect their own relationship... But that chatty mouse, what about Spo, that little dynamo that has taken root on Fido’s head, that mouse with a megaphone instead of vocal cords? Spo, who gets even more uncontrollable than you when he’s excited? Tarot, at least she’s a discreet dog.
“But, Peanut, I don’t... I can’t. We are so transparent that two, or rather four pets who, less than an hour ago, we didn’t even know, can see right through us!” Her shoulders went limp.
Peanut sat down beside her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She leaned her head against his chest. Hmm, his heartbeat was so relaxing... “I wish I didn’t come home with my stomach in a knot, I don’t want to be afraid for you, I... I...” She curled up even more in Peanut’s arms. “I’m so tired...” And, indeed, she fell asleep almost immediately.
Peanut knew he had a serious problem, in situations like these.
He didn’t understand her.
He had never been abandoned, his life was beautiful from day one, Dad and Mom had never disappointed him. Grape had come into his life, initially as the new family cat, a male cat. A friend to play with, and Peanut, who was lonely, had personally asked Mom and Dad to take the poor lavender kitty all huddled in a cage, weeping and trembling. That cat had given him such a look..! But Peanut knew, somehow he saw the sweetness in the heart of his future little brother. He had seen so many poor animals at the shelter, but only that purple cat had stuck with him.
The first two weeks were a constant conflict with Grape. He was nervous, and seemed to prefer reacting with maximum force to any interference, then he finally decided to recognize Peanut as a friend. They had celebrated their great friendship with their first session of ‘playing pretend’ with silly hats drawn on paper bags.
Precious memories. Peanut felt his heart warm with joy and even, yes, a bit of embarrassment, for not understanding when Grape had said, that ‘he’ was a girl, and that only came up because of the commotion caused by his drawing of a dog with a cat’s tail.
The spark was struck then, an unstoppable avalanche, which had been reflected in his comics with the creation of the character of Stripe (who despite all appearances is NOT a cat!). A growing feeling that Peanut managed more or less to keep in check. He slept with her watching TV, playing, doing everything but saying those three fatal words. Often, he would spend the afternoon on a chair or a sofa to watch over her napping, wishing so much to caress her...
Ok, one time he had given the miserable excuse for an “Ode on a Catnap”. The belly raspberries were the craziest and most intimate gesture that he had ever dared to give Grape while she was sleeping. He managed to get away minus several tufts of fur, but oh it was so worth it!
Then, there was the vacation to visit Uncle Reuben, the turning point. The attraction Peanut felt toward cats had skyrocketed out of control when he met the quite uninhibited barn cats who, despite acting playful, had tried to seduce him! His brain had crashed, but when he recovered, he realized he wanted Grape Jelly. It was not the infatuation of the early days; this time it was cooked, roasted and served. If he did not do something before returning home, he would regret it forever.
Initially, however, it seemed Grape was keen to spend her time with that alley cat Max. Peanut had felt his world collapse around him. He had hesitated, waited without saying anything, and felt her slipping away!
That night, he had sat on the roof of the barn where they were sleeping, to watch the star-filled sky and... do what… forget her? It was over, even before it began? Stay away from that herd of frisky felines?
He didn’t know. If he had met Alcor then, the cat of Mr. ‘Call me Martin’ Foster, he would have had an explanation for that terrible pain burning inside his chest. He would have understood that he suffered because he couldn’t live without her… that, for how much he wanted Grape to be happy, it was still so painful to have her close at home and yet as distant as if she were living on another planet!
Then something had happened. At first he didn’t know what. Grape explained later, but it was thanks to Uncle Reuben’s scheming cats that she had been pushed towards him, coming to that furious argument that would lead them to their first kiss, their first oath...
And to all the problems that would follow. Every time things seemed to adjust, even after the painfully long farce of ‘fake-dates-to-cover-the-truth’, in one way or another Grape’s fears resurfaced. If Peanut was the shy type, in some respects, Grape was supposed to be the stronger one of them, the tough kitty. And yet he was coming to realize that she was the one who couldn’t handle this.
Grape was suffering, and he did not understand why! Mom and Dad were happy, those friends who knew the secret would keep it tight. Why did she keep thinking that the world was against them? If the animals of the neighborhood knew, why would they try to hurt them? Mizar and Alcor were ready to take on the world... of course, they had those two super canines to watch their backs..! Cheaters! Peanut gently stroked the cat’s face. She purred, and curled up further against him. The dog smiled at a sudden thought: her, coming to disturb his sleep by shouting his name for the most trivial of reasons...
They couldn’t go on like this, it wasn’t right. At this rate, within a short time she would go crazy, and they’d have to break up, this time forever, if only to allow her to rebuild a more ‘normal’ life...
Peanut shook his head furiously, trying not to shake his body. NEVER!
Their ‘normal’ life had to be together! If they succumbed to fear once and for all, it was like denying their very selves, as if Alcor could deny his love for Mizar! As if Fido could abandon Sabrina to pursue his own career!
Never.
Peanut lowered his head to sniff Grape’s. The cat always smelled good, like a balm for his sensitive nose... Yet there was a time when she was a miserable, homeless stray, abandoned by those she most trusted. She must have smelled of dirt, mud and sadness. She feared so much to return to those days of loss…
A dreadful vision filled Peanut’s thoughts: cats attacking her, dogs joining forces with ferocity against her, Mom and Dad, unwilling to take any more of her whining, leaving her in the streets...
Peanut swallowed. Squinting so hard he could feel his eyes pulsate painfully. He gnashed his teeth as if he were facing some monstrous enemy.
And, in a way, it was just like that. He felt Grape’s fears as his own. He felt it, and keeping it under control was a titanic effort.
And she had to live with it every day. Relying on her dog, her friend, her confidant, her companion through whom she could release some of that fear.
But he didn’t realize it. Lost in his oasis of happiness, he had failed to make her feel truly protected. It was always her, Grape Jelly, who watched over Peanut Butter and their relationship.
And she was losing the battle.
Peanut Butter understood. “Grape...” he licked behind her ear, as she liked, to stimulate another round of purrs and a smile.
Finally, for the first time, he understood.
And he knew what to do.
It was only a matter of making sure the plan he was developing worked.
---
At first glance, she appeared to be a normal golden-furred Pomeranian with a thick collar of fur that fell in a large tuft on her chest and a curved bushy, soft tail.
Except that no known Pomeranian cast an eerie, glowing light from her eyes, a light that transformed her gaze into an emerald beacon.
“It worked,” said the female dog known as Tarot. “The spirits are happy.” That being said, the green lights went out, replaced with two eyes of a delicate straw color.
The spirits were satisfied, but the black cat sitting next to the Tarot was not. Sabrina had too many worries since Peanut told her that he and Grape had known for some time about her relationship with Fido.
At first, she had actually gone into a panic – which was unpleasant for her since she had learned to control her emotions. Except love, Sabrina… she thought with a touch of bitter amusement. The great strength that could work miracles was also her greatest weakness, since she was the Elder of the Ancient Order and Tarot’s teacher in the use of the mystic arts.
However, Peanut had kept it secret. He had kept his word, and the wrong ears hadn’t heard a thing. He was supposed to be the weak link in the chain, yet he had proven himself very loyal. Loyalty was strength... one the other hand, Grape’s bitterness for her own secrecy could lead her to say something at the wrong time, sooner or later.
Was it possible that the spirits knew? That they stood there, gazing at the tragedy, waiting for Tarot to plead with them for that little help, for that little push into the gates of the memories of Peanut Butter Sandwich..?
“I haven’t touched his memories,” Tarot said, interrupting her thoughts. The two girls shared a constant telepathic link. At times, that bond was reduced to only empathy at greater distances, at others, being just able to see discrete thoughts, like how one might quickly browse a newspaper looking for interesting tidbits, other times able to fully share everything. Right now it was the second case. “It would be wrong to interfere directly with his thoughts. A... violation that not even these circumstances justify.”
Sabrina allowed herself a smile. Her voice was a delicate note, nice to hear, full of ancient wisdom. “Finally, I’m hearing you talk like you should, my friend. So you obeyed them without disregarding your principles… and your feelings?”
Tarot nodded. Although no longer in a relationship with Peanut, she was, in fact, fond of him. She had entered his life because Grape’s decision to start going on ‘fake-dates’ with Max was creating a dangerous divide between her fate and Peanut’s. An attempt to directly influence Grape wasn’t feasible because the cat was not yet open enough – in mind and spirit – to believe in the supernatural. Her helplessness in the face of the trauma in her life had pushed her to form a pragmatic and harsh vision of the world. Material control was the source of success, at the cost of gaining that control through violence.
Peanut was her natural counterpart: the ability to surrender himself to the whim of the tides, and knowing how to gather the most favorable waves to his benefit and those around him.
Peanut had played an important role in the Milton Wolves’ integration into Babylon Gardens’ society…
He’d given Joey a further reason to believe in himself, a reason which was in turn given back to Peanut.
Other small things, seemingly trivial things, that over time had helped build new social chains...
And Grape...
Was Tarot jealous of Grape? Of course not. Tarot had to ensure that those two pets remained inextricably linked, but had already ventured too far the first time in launching an important warning… and had failed. The ancient entity named ‘Pete’ was free, and the sinister prophecy was still marching toward its grim conclusion.
For as things were, they would depend on not interfering with the memories of Peanut Butter. "I temporarily 'switched off' his happiness," said Tarot calmly to Sabrina.
Sabrina raised an eyebrow, intrigued.
"Peanut had to be free to reach its own conclusion of his thoughts. He already knew what to do, and how to save Grape and their relationship. But it was the fire of his feelings that was blinding him. And so, just for a moment, I smothered the fire, without turning it off so Peanut understood where he was mistaken.
"... He has a very sensible person. He can empathize with the suffering of other people, usually managing it through his innate happiness, but this time, with Grape, it was just too much to handle, he needed my help."
"A dangerous game," said Sabrina. Any attempt to talk things through with Tarot had always proved futile. That dog was like the proverbial still water that could erode bridges, that was why the cat had chosen her as a student. But, at times her attitude was almost unbearable ...
"A sad game," sighed Tarot, standing up. Time to make a good roots tea ... "It was like giving a kick to his innocent heart, shaking with such a shock to allow the voice of reason to pass through. He held his voice, but his spirit cried so hard for his beloved, that i twill take time for me to recover from that.
"For this reason, too, I don’t want commitments, Sabrina: I could not manage a similar emotional charge, not with this burden that I already carry, by my own will. Peanut is a good friend ... and I want him to remain as such."
In fact, Sabrina thought, Tarot could be young, relatively inexperienced ... But she was not helpless. And the cat herself had not a great pulpit from which to preach. At times, she would find herlsef cursing the decision to stay with the Order, when her heart was already with Fido. "Tarot?"
"Hmm?" Tarot replied from the kitchen. A clanking noise announced the placement of the teapot on the stove.
"What do the spirits say?"
"Still nothing. They have many orders, but remain elusive."
Sabrina sighed. The spirits: sometimes, one wanted so much to do without them, although they couldn’t do without you. The task of people like her and Tarot was to maintain a balance between the two planes, to prevent undue interference.
But, sometimes, there came these rare individuals, who were like natural magnets for the aethereal inhabitants of the otherworld. Around them, the spirits accumulated a vast power, for better or for worse. These mortal figures became puppets and at the same time had the potential to separate the current of fate itself.
Peanut and Grape were such two figures. The spirits had laid their eyes on them, discreetly at first, but now with increasing insistence. Once, they had driven Tarot to a move she would have deemed unthinkable up to that moment: to actively ensure that Peanut risked his life to meet a very depressed Grape, to help their love to bloom once again, warm, in the middle of the bleak, cold winter [Symphony in Periwinkle, no.5]. The Pomeranian had dismissed that event with nothing more than a shrug -after all, she had agreed because she wanted to help the dog and the cat. But had she realized the magnitude of the event? Inappropriate comparison as it may seem, but it was as if humans had used their artificial sun to break down a sandcastle ...
And now there was this new variant: Foster Mansion. The human Martin had entered into a territory full of negative energies, then reshaped it, and ... some spirits were displeased. They were known to be very territorial…
Sabrina was massaging her temples with one hand, when Tarot came in with a silver tray, two steaming cups, and a sugar bowl. Tarot sat at a table of ebony, into which was carved a Oujia board. She took two lumps from the container, put them in a cup, stirred and handed the cup to Sabrina, who accepted willingly. It was a pity, however, that Peanut was still reluctant to drink the refreshing drink.
As Tarot was about to drink her tea, Sabrina gave her a mischievous look. “Oh, so you are not such a good girl, then.” Normally, Tarot was careful not to put anything other than her hands and the wooden arrow onto the divination table. Those, both human and not, who played with such esoteric tools bought in some minor shop, were fortunate to have never really been in contact with the otherworld. Tarot had never forgotten her first time: it was a rite of passage as nothing else. It was then that the innocent puppy had left the room for the ‘strange girl’ everyone knew, today.
In retrospect, Tarot was… glad that it happened when her mind was still fresh, a wheat field on which to draw complex theories of circles. The spirit world was not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it was... complex. And every new arrival was greeted by the entities as a playmate. It was up to correct teaching and strict discipline, to help her distinguish the light from the darkness, the road from the precipice. She could not have sustained that first contact, if she had been a grown-up, if she had known what she would have lost. Sabrina, she sighed to herself, knowing that the glow of her emotions still reached the consciousness of her teacher and dearest friend, why do you want me back in a world that no longer belongs to me?
---
Peanut set Grape in her bed, making sure that her head was placed comfortably against the pillow. She curled up, and sank deeper into sleep – yet, her internal clock would wake her up in time for the party. At least, she would feel better. Sometimes a good catnap relieved her of her stress almost as well as he could with his own methods.
Peanut blushed. He bent down and gave her one last kiss on the cheek. “I love you, kitten,” he whispered. “I’ll be right back.”

Leaving the house, Peanut softly closed the door. Then, a few steps along the path, he returned to being the familiar canine dynamo and bolted like lightning toward Foster Mansion. Please let me make it in time please let me be make it in time, I don’t ask for much O Great Santa – “Huff!” If karma was still worth something, this time it was Peanut to collide with someone, and roll on the ground along with said someone.
He barely noticed the several dogs and cats who were giggling in a mocking tone. He noticed instead who was talking from under him. His voice sounded as if he was about to exhale his last breath.
“Peanut… this is very embarrassing... ...and I can’t breathe...” gasped... Joey! The younger brother of Fido and Bino, and the runt of the litter, with brown fur and a circle around his left eye.
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The freak of the neighborhood, who everyone left – relatively – in peace only because he was the brother of Fido. The one who had an affair with a little mouse named Squeak. The one who had earned the standing label of ‘alien’.
Lately, he had become a great friend and confidant of Peanut, from the moment he had confessed his relationship with Grape [Symphony No. 1 in Periwinkle]. At first, Peanut was terrified that Joey – Joey of all dogs! – might mock him, but the younger dog had proved not only very understanding, but had even hinted that he had already known about it for a long time, demonstrating keen observation of what was happening around him, despite his reputation of being scatterbrained.
Moreover, Joey had shown, in his own way, a certain wisdom. Peanut, then, was going through a very difficult period in his relationship with his cat, and desperately needed comfort. Yes, he owed much to Joey.
Blushing, Peanut stammered an apology to the poor dog, stood, and then helped him to his feet. “Everything okay?”
“I guess so.” Joey brushed himself off. Peanut felt slightly guilty at the docking looks the others were turning to Joey. It was no secret that he and the younger dog had become friends, and this alone had garnered the Sandwich dog more than a little ridicule from the Good Ol’ Dogs’ Club – i.e. three-fourths of the dogs of Babylon Gardens.
For Joey, on the other hand, as far as he was concerned the laughter could have come from another planet. Peanut envied his naturalness... “So, what’s the hurry? There’s still time before the party begins.”
Peanut remembered what he had to do! He grabbed Joey pulled him along like a doll. “Follow me!” And went at full speed up the driveway of Foster Mansion.
---
The preparations were proceeding briskly. There were now many, human neighbors who were doing their part. Earl Sandwich continued to work at the barbecue together with Officer Bill (and his ever-present sunglasses), and the three Milton wolves, Miles, his wife Lucretia, and his brother Daryl. All three wore a large green apron with the words, ‘Stalk the Cook’ on Miles’, ‘Sniff the Cook’ on Lucretia’s and ‘Cook the Cook’ on Daryl’s.
Peanut greeted all three wolves as he passed them as if the devil was on his heels, with poor Joey hardly touching the ground and looking very puzzled. “HelloMilesLucretiaDarylhaveyouseenMr.Martinthanks” asked Peanut in a rush, and three steel forks aimed in unison toward the stage.
Peanut stopped in front of the stage. Panting like a machinegun. “Mr. Martin?” he managed to say, doubled over, his hands resting on his thighs.
“Present and ready,” said the host, jumping down from the stage. “Whoo! Aren’t you the breathless, little Sandwich. Are you in such a hurry to eat something? And who is this rascal with you?” He gave Joey a pat on the head.
“Joey, Martin, Martin, Joey.” Peanut managed to catch his breath. Someone on the stage was trying an electric guitar, but from his angle he couldn’t see who it… Focus, Peanut Butter, focus! No more fear! He tapped his knuckles on his temples “I need a huge favor. Pleeeeease” he said to the man in a small imploring voice, clasping his hands in prayer.
Martin sat on the grass. “Wow, you don’t have to make such a scene, young man. You are a dog, not some worshipper. So, what do you need from me?”
Peanut looked around quickly, then back to the stage, and almost whispered, “There’s a concert tonight, right?”
Martin nodded. “To conclude the event, actually. You want the band to play something in particular?”
“Well...” Don’t worry, Peanut, don’t be scared! This is for Grape! “Actually, yes.” He leaned up to whisper something directly into the man’s ear. And judging from how much he said, he wasn’t just suggesting the title of a song. “Hmm, it can be done. It ‘s a good choice, and I have just the accompaniment I need.” He looked towards the wolves. Then gave Peanut a pat on the back and scratched him between his shoulders. “No prob. There will be a couple of pieces, first, to warm the atmosphere, and to let everyone vent a bit. Then they’ll start yours, with a long opening so you can do your part. But…” he paused and showed him an admonishing finger, with a serious look on his face, “…this will depend entirely on you, okay? Believe me, I understand that this is a very important moment, and just because of that–,” the dog’s nodding interrupted him.
“I know, Mist… Martin... And thank you. Could you only make sure that..?”
Martin winked, giving him a pat. “The boys will take care of it. OK?”
---
“Ok, it’s official, you’re crazy,” said Joey, when they found themselves inside the house, away from prying eyes and ears. “Even more than me. Did I really hear what I think I heard? And don’t make that face, when you’re nervous you whisper like an express train.”
Peanut sat on the first steps of the staircase to the upper story. The dark wood was pleasantly warm. Joey sat nearby him and placed a hand on his shoulder. His voice had an admiring tone, now. “And you’re also incredibly brave. I can only wish you good luck.”
Peanut gave him a grateful smile. “If only the others would understand...” he sighed.
“They will. I wouldn’t expect it to be immediately, however.”
“I’d be happy enough if they wouldn’t lynch us...” an unpleasant knot attacked Peanut’s stomach. How was he capable of so quickly making a decision, he was just as quick to regret it. He almost made his head disappear between his shoulders. “God, Joey, what if it all goes wrong just like Grape fears? And if *yowlp!*” He yelped when the his friend’s claws dug into his neck. “Why!?
“You were going into Scooby-Doo mode again, that’s why!” It was rare to see Joey so serious, he seemed to have... transfigured. Peanut really noticed for the first time how this puppy really looked like his brothers. It was a memory he would not soon forget.
“Peanut, I think you’re about to make Babylon Gardens’ history. You know this, and that is what’s terrifying you, not the possibility of a looking bad. If things go poorly, no one will try this again for a long time, and the social net will become ever tighter.
“But, Peanut, that is not what must concern you. You’re not saving the world; you are saving yourself and Grape. Concentrate on this, and you’ll see that everything will be all right…” Joey snickered bitterly. “At least, you don’t have to worry that your girlfriend could be eaten.”
At the mention of Squeak, Peanut remembered something. More precisely, when Joey told him about why the little mouse was in love with him. Squeak no longer wanted to date... guys her size, regardless of species, not after her beau had been devoured when they were under the mistletoe... Therefore, it was a contradiction that she felt safe with a dog, that for as young as he was, could crush her if not paying attention and in many painful ways.
Peanut now understood what Squeak found in him. “You know, Joey?”
“Hmm?”
“You’re a wonderful person.” So saying, Peanut hugged him, his eyes bright. “Always a fearfully disturbed individual, but you’re a wonderful person. I am proud to be your friend!”
*Cough!* “Thanks, I guess. Just, please, have mercy on my lungs. Save these affections for Grape,” he added, when Peanut let him go. Then Joey stood and gave him a thumbs-up. “Go for it, champ! There are many of us rooting for you,” and ran out.
Peanut absently wondered who were these ‘many’ that the strange dog had mentioned... Then he shrugged: now only the party was important...
Dang! He had forgotten to tell him about Martin’s stock of anime. Oh well, Joey would probably discover that soon anyway...

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Last edited by valerio on Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:08 pm, edited 16 times in total.



Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:11 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
lightwolf, I must say you are growing rapidly very good at this. Bravissimo! :D :D :D

And a happy 4th of Jily to you and to the gang here!

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Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:12 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
I must say that I love this (and I'm enjoying my feeble attempts to read the Italian side by side with this :lol: )
There are a few things here and there that are grammatically off English-wise, and I'm feeling my OCD creep into this.
I would love to run through this and produce a "cleaned up" English version. Can I pm you some questions about word choice?

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Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:28 pm
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
sure you can!
Fire at will!

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Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:29 pm
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
I'll probably get in trouble for using Rick's art. I did put a disclaimer on the image. This is a gift for Valerio, for a great story series. :D
He said they had the structure of a doberman I don't know if the tails were included in that, so tails are too short to show?


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Heh. Look at that... I started an actual Housepets! fan-fic.
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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:44 pm, edited 7 times in total.

Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:42 pm
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
chapters 1 and 2 have been completed by courtesy of lightwolf. Enjoy!

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Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:24 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
3.
Sandwich House, Babylon Gardens, Sunday at 08:40

“Good morning,” Peanut said, showing off his best smile, ears raised, within his limit of possibility, and tail wagging cheerfully.
Grape rubbed her eyes. “Gmghd mrnghn,” she mumbled. Instead of her usual stretch, the violet cat accepted the tawny dog’s embrace and repeatedly rubbed against his chest and throat. In return, he gently caressed her side and behind the ear. Hmm, he was such a natural for cuddling, and to think she’d wasted all this time avoiding him… Happy thoughts, Grape Jelly!
Grape sighed, and got out of bed stretching her arms one last time. “We still have time?”
Peanut glanced at the clock on the wall. “We still have fifteen minutes...” His smile became more malicious, and he repeatedly raised his eyebrows like Wile E. Coyote.
She pushed him away playfully. “I know you, wise guy: we’ll be done in the evening. Remember when you almost made us skip the documentary on the Savannah?” As a devout fanatic of the Pridelands books and movies, Grape did not miss a single program related to the series, from the interviews to the specials and documentaries. And Peanut, caught in the mania since that time they went to the bookstore for the release of the series’ last chapter (of which the yet latest chapter was soon to be released!), was no less fanatical. In fact, it was him who kept track and advised her on many things she would have otherwise missed.
And you never let him read any of your fan fictions, said the bad voice. It was like a malevolent scale – the moment Grape would feel happy, a weight descended on that scale to compensate...
Peanut pulled her by the arm. “Come on, there’s only ten minutes to the party! I want to be among the first!” He stuck out his tongue with an amused grimace. “By the way, you didn’t seem to mind cuddling, then.”
Grape sighed, saying to herself he was right, after all. Then why is the very idea of smiling to him in public turning your bowels into smelly jelly, honey?
Her expression fell like a sheet of wallpaper ripped off hard. She shook her head. What was with her, today? She was used to being cautious about public effusions, but it seemed the paranoia had shifted into high gear, today.
She joined the dog in heading towards the door. She was with Peanut, and he made her happy. They were going to a party attended by all of Babylon Gardens, the stars were to be Mr. ‘call me Martin’ Foster’s animals, and there would be as much of the best food that a former stray could ever want! So, shut up, you silly bad conscience!
Peanut opened the door, and his smile sort of staggered. “Max..?!”
A flashback crossed both the minds of Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly: the memory of a rainy night, a night that, against every expectation, had taken an unexpected turn when Max had appeared on the doorstep of the Sandwich household, looking all sad, asking to spend the night there inside from the rain because his Dad had locked him out; a night that ended with Grape’s idea to devote herself to the false dating to hide their relationship.
But it was just a bad memory. This was not a rainy night, and Max, a handsome black cat with a belly tinged with gray, and two intense aquamarine eyes, was showing his trademark ‘Cheshire Cat’ smile. He was wearing his neck collar for big occasions. “I thought it would be unfair to get there first, for this joyful event.”
“Hello Max,” Grape simply said, giving him a kiss on the cheek. The agreement after their last ‘chat’, was clear: good friends, yes, but the merchandise is not to be touched.
Foster Mansion was a few footsteps away, right at the end of Overview Grove. Animals and humans already had formed a dense crowd. Talking in a normal voice was almost impossible.
“Snazzy today, aren’t you?” Grape asked her ex-wooer.
Max fixed his collar. “Apart from the fact that Mom would have made me regret not putting it on, I must look my best. And with this baby on, my appeal-o-meter skyrockets. Now that I am free, I will have to give numbers to manage the line of aspiring suitors!” Grape snickered. Max pouted. “If you want to keep breaking my heart, Miss, then…” Grape put her paw in front of his mouth, gesturing with the other. “Oh, it isn’t that, believe me. It’s… You haven’t seen the Foster pets yet?”
Max raised an eyebrow. “No. With all the preparations under way it would be easier to sneak into the secret Good Ol’ Dogs snowball event.”
Peanut remembered that event well – a pure, almost primitive demonstration of canine joy on a field thickly covered in snow, with the sole purpose of surrendering to the mere physicality of the game with an impressive number of participants in a cacophony of barks, whining, howls and every other repertoire of the vocal and gestural catalogue of canines. It wasn’t surprising, that such an event was the antithesis of the relatively more sophisticated Yarn Ball, organized by the neighborhood cats in the courtyard of the local Pizza Palace. The dogs of B.G. used the struggle on the snow to vent the tensions accumulated before, during and after the Holidays. The cats would wouldn’t have attempted it, not out of wickedness, but because no sane person or pet would stand in the way of an oncoming avalanche.
Peanut, indeed, hadn’t attended that year. The circumstances had first pushed him to confess his feelings for Grape to Sabrina, in addition to telling her that Grape and he knew about her and Fido. Then fate had literally pushed him into the arms of a very depressed Grape who was coming from a quarrel with Max. Finally together, alone, in the silence of a winter morning, they could talk again uninterrupted about their relationship, their feelings, to restore and strengthen the bond that had weakened so much in previous months…
“Well, are you in for a surprise, handsome,” said the cat. “And don’t worry, you won’t be the only one.”
“Did you…” Max shifted his gaze to Peanut. “Have you met them? First? And what kind of guys are they?” If a cat had been able to wag its tail out of curiosity…
“Oh, words do not make them justice,” replied Peanut, as if reciting poetry.
Unfortunately, the crowd was too dense. The animals had to overlap to see near the gate that marked the entrance to the pathway to Foster Mansion. Then the gate opened and –
Plop!
Ploploploploploploploploploploploploplop!
Max looked around, positively amazed. The entire female pet population of Babylon Gardens had collapsed to earth as a single animal, their faces contorted in a rictus of pure bliss.
“Good day to everybody!” Martin Foster said, rubbing his hands together. “You all know who I am; therefore I won’t waste time introducing myself. Rather, it’s my kids, I’d like you meet before we begin the celebrations. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you Antares, Aldebaran, Mizar and Alcor, my beloved, my protected, my family.
Max had stopped hearing the words from the human before he even was finished speaking. “Crickey!” he croaked, suddenly feeling like the most wretched of strays, and he wasn’t the only one, judging from the expressions of the other males – dogs, cats, or otherwise. The Foster pets were simply gorgeous. They were a category apart, and there was a certainty there would be a marked increase in the sales of Valentines, next year.
A short applause greeted the presentation of the furry quartet, and Martin consulted the clock. “It’s time! Welcome, and have fun everybody!” He snapped his fingers, and from the park on which the villa lay came the notes of a classic disco piece of the 70s.

Yahoo! This is your celebration
Yahoo! This is your celebration
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let’s Celebrate)
Celebrate good times, come on! (Let’s celebrate)...


“The band is already on stage?” asked one of the guests, after shaking the hand of the house’s owner.
Martin shook his head. “Nah, the Project ReFur Band will play the closing concert. You will be surprised,” and he winked. “Welcome, hello, good morning... Hey, hello there little Sandwiches! I insist you make yourself at home today, Hakuna Matata and all that stuff. Hello, neighbor...”
Max walked before the colossal twins Antares and Aldebaran. They might look docile and lively with those intelligent, brown eyes of theirs. But Max used to be an experienced fighter back when he was a stray, and he recognized two storms ready to explode if given the chance. And, wisely, decided to limit his greeting to a friendly, toothy smile. “Ah, hello?”
They responded with two monstrous traps a whole grizzly could have fallen into, and Max felt as if he was about to faint. “Hello to you too,” they said in unison, with the tone of two oversized puppies.
“Don’t worry,” said the white cat, reaching out his hand while Mizar greeted the familiar Black Labrador, for whom the universal greeting was enough, “Hi, I’m Daisy!” followed by that radiant smile. “They don’t bite... usually, and for now they’ve had more than enough to eat.”
Max nodded weakly. He also realized he’d underestimated this dandy dude. He appeared as if he could be out of an illustration book, but he had a firm grip, and his body was made of much more toned muscles than those you would expect from a normal house cat. And though he didn’t have visible scars on his body, his eyes were those of a warrior. Max had a feeling if this cat had known Grape in the past; he would have won her heart in no time... “Oh, pleased to meet ya, Alcor. I’m Max, See you later?”
“Sure!” Then Alcor went to greet an enormous cat who more closely resembled an ocelot on steroids: Ivan. Instead of reciprocating the handshake, Ivan lifted him from the ground in a bear hug. “Ivan is very pleased to know you Snowball!” Both Grape and Max felt reassured by seeing the usually composed ‘snowball’ send forth a stammering squeak. Judging by his expression, it seemed he would actually need a good massage, later…

“Nice place,” said Max, leaving the pathway to enter the actual park. In his mind, he was already seeing the place as the home for the next Yarn Ball. It was just… perfect, it was hard to believe that picture-perfect lawn was once a jungle of weeds grown around the dull gray ruins where they used to go to tell campfire horror tales. The “Haunted House.”
“Enjoying the view…” a voice, said from behind the trio. An unpleasantly familiar voice. “…because here the Good Ol’ Dogs’ Club will be holding its regular meetings. No cats allowed.”
“Hello to you too, Bino,” said Max walking toward the group composed by Fido’s younger brother, the grey-and-silver furred Fox, and Rex the big bulldog.
Max looked around, puzzled. “Hmm, interesting, isn’t it, since I don’t see any signs reading ‘No cats allowed’ here abouts.”
“Be funny as you wish, fleabag, but Mr. Foster-”
“Call him Martin,” mocked Grape.
“-Has promised to allow us the use of his property for our weekly gatherings every Sunday, barbecue included.” Bino folded his arms to his chest pompously. “If I feel like it, I will take a vote to leave you the leftovers, so don’t take advantage of my generosity.”
“Speaking of Martin, you forgot to tell Max that he was asking you to look for him so he could talk about his annual ball,” Mizar said in that moment. Fox and Rex looked at her with two large hearts for eyes their tongues drooping to the ground. The white female German shepherd approached Bino and tickled the bridge of his nose with a claw. “*Tee-hee* you’re such a naughty boy, Biney.”
“Guhbuh,” gasped the poor fellow with dot-sized pupils. In his own way, Peanut understood what Bino was going through.
Max instead brightened up. “Does this mean that he..?” he didn’t dare hope. The reason for which the annual dance was held at the Pizza Palace’s courtyard – and believe it, asphalt and concrete in winter was almost worse than ice – was because it was the only place in Babylon Gardens with enough room to entertain all of the local cats. Although the other animals were welcome, technically speaking, should the dogs also join the ball, the courtyard would have exploded.
This park was a perfect replacement! There was enough room for everybody, and there was hope they needn’t scavenge here and there for passable snacks...
Mizar nodded, giving him a nice smile and tail-wagging, “If you hurry, you’ll find him at the main buffet. He’s waiting for you to discuss the details. And don’t worry about interrupting him; he always gives priority to pets.”
Max darted away so quickly that only his shadow on the lawn was left behind.
Bino snorted. “Couldn’t you have waited for me to roast him a little longer? Sometimes, that smile of his makes me want to take an eraser and remove it.”
Mizar stared at him curiously. “You live with him; he’s your friend, isn’t he? Why do you act like that over an annual ball?”
In response, Bino flashed her those green eyes that were better suited on a cobra rather than a dog. “Just why don’t you mind your own business!?” He snapped, then walked away, followed by Rex and Fox. “Sorry for that,” said the husky passing by her.
Mizar shrugged and turned to Grape. “Der Fuehrer, huh?” She said, referring to him as Grape described him the first time Bino was mentioned. “I see. Oh, well. Come on, let’s have some fun rather than staying here all alone. Hop, hop!” She grabbed her neighbors by the arms and took them with her. Grape was grateful, very grateful that this female had not made mention of her and Peanut, not even jokingly. So you can trust these four stooges, Grape!
---
They found Max talking to Martin, who seemed to care little about the people with whom he was speaking a moment before. They arrived just in time to see the two shaking hands. Max’s whiskers were trembling with excitement and his entire tail was acting like a metronome. Easy to imagine how the conversation went. Indeed, a moment later, Max ran to hug Grape, lifting her off the ground. “He said yes! All night long, all the music we want, all the food we want, and fireworks at will! It will be amazing! I love that human!” Saying so, he improvised a few dance steps with her in celebration.
Grape was happy to see that Peanut was sporting a smug as well as sincere smile. To Max, when he put her down, she said, “I’m really happy for you Maxie. For all of you… although I imagine there won’t be any catnip, right?”
He sighed. “The way Mr. Foster put it, if I insisted on it, we’d end up dancing behind the landfill.” He shrugged. “Oh, well, we’ll survive without it. Fester, maybe, won’t.” Fester was the supplier of the forbidden… grass. Supplier and monopolist. The Yarn Ball was a big business day for him every year, but this time he was destined to remain stinted..!
The last time Grape had nipped, it was exactly at the Yarn Ball where she had come to know Max better. One cigarette, and she’d gotten revved up like a Ferrari. And it took the nip’s aroma to push her for the first time to go confess her true feelings for Peanut… But it was when she was finally ready for the big speech, that Morpheus had taken her into his arms. Then, it would have been months before finding the courage again – and thankfully not with that crap clouding her mind!

Martin turned back to his furless guests. “Where were we? Ah yes, the shelter. First, the name.” He drew an imaginary arc with his arm, “The Lucky Charm Garden. A little tacky, maybe, but I wanted to give you a first idea: no more squalid names such as ‘shelter home’ or anything related to a pound. You’ll see, it won’t even be recognizable–” He stopped in midsentence at the sound of a scuffle, unfortunately unmistakably canine! Martin swore and ran toward the source of the racket. Just what he needed, not even an hour and already someone was dying to lose some fur! And with all the animals, the risk that the brawl could extend to the others was magnified! And should that happen, this would be the last collective party for a long time to come...
Martin heaved a sigh of relief to himself, at the sight of Aldebaran and Antares each holding back a enraged dog. Bino he recognized, and another, an orange pitbull with possessed eyes, was that... Oh yeah, Tiger.
“Let me go, you oversized mutt!” Tiger was barking, hair straight, his fangs bared in a murderous snarl. He even seemed to want to unsheathe his claws like a cat. “When I’m finished with him–”
“Finished!? Hah!” Bino seemed to be having the time of his life. In fact, Aldebaran should have covered his mouth rather than just holding him. “You can’t even start anything! If someone stepped on your tail, you would just spend the time cursing, you son of cat!”
It was like lighting dynamite with a short fuse. The pitbull actually succeeded in making Antares sweat! If Tiger had been able to tear off those arms to bite Bino, he would have. Bino realized this, and lost some of his boldness. This time he’d truly overdone it…
“Enough,” said Martin, putting himself between the two contenders, and then squatted down… “Enough. With. This.” He reached out and grabbed each dog’s ear... and gave them a terrible pinch, just where it hurt most! The other pets started upon hearing the yelps of pain from the two dogs.
The two suffered, but they stopped fighting, for now. Committed to throwing each other dirty looks as they tended their ears, Tiger and Bino listened to what Martin Foster said, with what seemed like an angry tone, something that they never would have imagined he could show, “Boys, this is my territory, my rules and my responsibilities. Now, Tiger, you come inside with me, where you will give me your story of what happened. Then Bino will give me his, are we clear?”
“Mr. Foster–” Jerry Arbelt, Tiger’s owner, tried to say.
Without rising from the ground, Martin lifted a hand for him to keep silent. “I said… my rules. No one shall toss out any animal from here unless I say so. I did not put together this party to make it a bouncer competition. Are we clear on that?” then he stood up. Everyone present was silent, fascinated by that radical change of mood.
Earl Sandwich was one of those witnesses. One part of him was pleased to learn that this young man harbored some other emotion besides his unconditional devotion to animals, the other found the speed with which this new aspect appeared was, well... alarming.
“Jerry,” Martin said, then turning to a man with a goatee and a not-so-shaven beard, “Jake, one more thing. Whatever happens, even if I come out of my house with a dozen stitches in my arm, there will be no punishment for these two dogs, got it? Not even a slap on the wrist. Consider it a personal favor.”
The owners of Bino and Tiger looked at each other perplexed, and not only them. Their thoughts had gone for a moment to the possible damage lawsuit that anyone else, other than Martin, would have gladly brought down on them. Did this guy act like that because of the moneyloads he had, or was he some kind of masochist?
“If you’re ok with it, boss,” said Jerry.
Martin nodded. “I’m good. Tiger, please, would you follow me into the house?”
Little by little, the participants returned to what they were doing, gossiping, dancing, well… partying.
Every once in a while someone cast a worried glance toward Foster Mansion…
“Oh, this can’t be good,” said a nervous orange cat wearing a blue collar with a medallion showing a large stylized ‘M’. He seemed resigned to the idea that Tiger would be punished. “Why does he keep falling for Bino’s teasing?”
Max waved a five-dollar bill before his friend’s face. “Instead, I bet it’ll go well.”
Marvin the cat, Tiger’s housemate, raised an eyebrow. “If by ‘well’ you mean that he’ll no longer set foot here around, yes.”
“No, by ‘well’ I mean he’ll come out of this with shining colors.” Max said taking out two other bills.
“I didn’t think you believed in miracles,” Marvin said, adding the money from his allowance, “But I hope you’re right.” And he was sincere. Tiger was regularly degraded because of his feline name, and having Marvin as his best, if not only, friend, did not help things in a neighborhood where dogs made a real fuss over the ‘species barrier’ thing. Tiger had become ultra paranoid and extremely aggressive, and calling him a ‘son of cat’ was like pointing a gun at oneself. If it hadn’t been for those two gargantuan twins, blood would have flown today...
Max looked at Grape. “I always hope for miracles,” he commented, winking at the lavender cat.
How could I survive one mock after another, and not merely because of a weird name, but for being in love with a dog? Grape sighed.
---
“Please have a seat.”
After, literally, years of psychological harassment by other animals, and the consequent punishments imposed by Jerry for his reaction to said abuses, Tiger had learned to put on a tough mask. If others, Marvin excluded, didn’t want to make him happy, he wouldn’t bother to make others happy with those silly smiles like some compliant puppy.
So why did he feel so mortified, as he sat in that lounge chair? Tiger looked around. There were three other chairs, and all five lay in a circle. A large clock, dark wood like almost all the furniture, ticked away pleasantly. There was a brick fireplace, a large library done in briar root, a glass table on which were placed a bookmarked Stephen King novel and some kind of remote next to the book. Only there didn’t seem to be any device that would require a remote control, in the room...
“Cable radio,” said Martin, making him wince. The man had taken a large volume from the highest shelf of the library. “This is our reading room, and the only media allowed here is a good classical music channel. The recreation room, however, allows one to experiment with any kind of music.”
Tiger listened. The acoustic insulation was really good, he had to strive to perceive the high-volume broadcast from the recreation room. What was that... Mazinger Z? Whatever it was, it was delivered in a nonsense language, and it was still almost overshadowed by the excited barking, unmistakably recognizable as Joey and his four strange friends. It had to be Japanese animation; only those guys were so ecstatic about that stuff.
Martin sat in the chair in front of Tiger. “I promised those kids a couple of meetings a week, Tuesday and Thursday. While Wednesday night is for Ryan – Fido’s owner, you know – and his D&D fellas. I hope to engage them in some session of MTG, someday–”
“What was it you had to say to me?” broke in Tiger, who in the meantime had had time to flesh out his boldness.
Martin showed him that smile, and Tiger blushed slightly, ashamed of being rude. “I don’t have anything to say to you.” He slapped a thick volume in black leather with a decorated gold edge. “I am a strong supporter of the new technologies, and I think that the Internet is a great thing. But when it comes to saying things as they are, nothing has the dignity, solemnity and seriousness as a noble encyclopedia” He repeated the slapping gesture. The light from the window illuminated the volume.
Tiger snorted. “I’ve already searched the internet for all I need to know about a tiger. It’s a stupid cat... just a little bigger. And I don’t like being called a cat, and Dad doesn’t understand, and all those stupid dogs that expect me to catch yarns, and...” He couldn’t believe it, he was cracking. He felt those stupid tears piling up like he used to do when he was a puppy, when he didn’t understand why his name was so funny and everyone treated him as if he was a weirdo...
The sound of fabric tearing brought his attention back to where he was... and he found he’d gripped the armrests in such a way as to rip the covering. If he had not kept firmly in control, he would have wet himself out of fear. Now he was in trouble…
Martin took him gently by his shoulders. “Tiger? Hey, boy, look at me. Tiger.” His voice was calm, almost hypnotic. His face was an inch from the canine muzzle, and he pointed at his eyes like John Travolta in that movie... “It’s all right, okey-dokey? It’s okay. Nothing is going to happen to you. Come on; take a deep breath and... theeeere, good. Better?”
Actually, Tiger was feeling better. A bit. His ears were flattened onto his skull and he did not dare make eye contact with Martin. “I’m sorry for the chair, I didn’t...”
“I know you didn’t mean to do it, and I budgeted for damages like this when I bought and furnished this place. Did you think I wasn’t planning on spending more money after this party? Or didn’t you notice that there aren’t any vases in this house?” Actually, now that he’d pointed it out... “Mizar and Alcor look may look like good, perfect kids, but when they begin their wrestling... well, they take off. During said sessions, they pass more time jumping and bouncing like those magic rubber balls than staying on the ground. And the other two, well, I’m afraid that someday the seismic waves they produce will drop the vases from our neighbors’ tables.” He chuckled, and Tiger with him. How long had it been since a human made him feel this good?
“Remember, you can come here anytime if something bothers you. I have a gym, so you can vent a bit in a constructive way, and put on a physique more appropriate for a creature with a tough name like yours.”
Tiger did not like, among many other things, to be reminded of the fat that he had inevitably put on. Since he couldn’t beat up anyone, unless he wanted to spend another month in the garage, he ended up venting frustration with food. Pizza and cookies were the lion’s share of his diet by now, and the regular walkies he had couldn’t prevent the calories from gaining victory after victory. Dad put him on a diet, but it didn’t seem to do much good, and dry diet food sucked... “You have a gym?”
Martin nodded. “Aldebaran and Antares use it to keep themselves in shape. I like to do some sessions with them when I can, but I can barely survive their pace. I’m sure they will be happy to have you aboard. Indeed, with a little luck you could soon be running your own super exclusive fitness club, in da face of those jealous lazy dogs! “
That was an idea that Tiger did not mind at all. He had to see the place, but first it was time to give voice to the tenant of his bad conscience. “Ah... you,” he gulped. “You said I have a tough name?”
Martin sat back down. He put the volume in his lap, and gave it another slap. “It’s your turn to get up and find out why. Believe me, handsome, you’ll never have to be ashamed of your name again.”

A small cluster of animals was waiting at the entrance. Swarms of assumptions rained down from mouth to mouth, along with uneducated small jokes against Tiger, and black humor about the human who was trying to console him. “The poor thing,” someone said, “just arrived and already going to be sent to the hospital…” or “perhaps, in one day, he’ll manage to go through an entire year’s provisions…”
Marvin just wanted to kick them all into silence them. For once, even Zachary, the gray rabbit who lived with him and Tiger, felt solidarity with the dog that, in turn, tormented him nine times out of ten because of his paranoia about losing those last favors he enjoyed to the ‘newcomer’...
The mahogany door opened. Everyone shut up, in a small sea of stunned expressions and pinhole-eyes.
Tiger emerged from the porch.
Tiger was... smiling. Not a ferocious smile, not threatening, or seasoned by any hostility. No, Tiger was happy. A grin of renewed confidence stretched his muzzle. His pace reflected his renewed inner confidence. He passed by animals like Caesar paraded before the peoples he’d defeated, his chest all puffed out.
It was something so new that even Bino, who had reason to fear a bloody retaliation for the words he had spoken before, looked at Tiger approaching him without running away. Then, Tiger took him by his shoulders, making him jump, ears straight up... and planted a kiss on his cheek!
“I am Tiger,” he said without letting Bino go, staring straight into his eyes. “I am Tiger, the terror of the jungle, the king of the Panzer tank divisions, the hero of Mompracem, and you are… a yapping cur with a funny name.” He concluded by giving a light pat on the cheek he’d just kissed, and let him go. “I am Tiger, I am tough, and I love that human,” he said one last time, heading for a group of females who only at that moment seemed to have noticed his existence.
Marvin paid Max the thirty dollars, adding thirty more. Goodbye hard-earned money, but man was that moment worth it! “Tell me that you didn’t arrange that with Mr. Martin.”
Things had gone even beyond the most optimistic forecasts. Max himself pocketed the money without even enjoying it as he usually did. “Frick, that guy is awesome. I wonder if he’s still adopting.”
Image

Among the spectators of that absurd metamorphosis, there was Fido, who repeatedly had to rub my eyes and ears. Then looked at Martin as if he came from another planet. “Sir, you... you...”
“Call me Martin.”
“Martin, what did you do?” He wouldn’t be surprised if the man had said that it had something to do with some very strong drugs.
Martin shrugged. “The miracle of good ol’ correct information, my boy. Tiger didn’t need a lecture, or a biscuit. He needed to know what his name implies, beside etymology.”
“Do you have something just as cool, for mice?” Said a voice so tiny that it seemed Fido had played a ventriloquist game on him.
“Did you say something, my boy?” asked the man.
Fido sighed and pointed to the tuft of fur on his head. From there, came a small gray figure no taller than 8 inches. “Martin,” said Fido, “this is Spo.”
Spo extended a paw to the human. “Honored.”
“Oh, I guess I am too.” Martin held out his pinky. “You have a nice name.”
“Thanks, boss! My younger brother is called Spp. Mom hopes to baptize at least one ESPN.”
Martin snorted a laugh through his nose. At Fido, he said, “Your little friend is cool. Have you eaten anything, Spo?”
In response, came an over-sized rumble from the belly of the mouse.
“I brought some cereal for him,” said Fido, “but he doesn’t seem to be hungry.”
“Don’t tell me!” snapped Spo. With his tiny arms, he tried to embrace all the tables about which humans and animals swarmed like polite locusts. “Can’t you see? It’s as if Dracula had to choose the mummy when he had the over-fat lady already under his fangs! Is there no one who has a little pity for the only mouse at this ‘party’?”
“Spo,” said Fido, patiently, “you know as well as I, for how much this is a pet-friendly place, feral mice are not exactly the guests of honor at the buffet.”
“Awful prejudice,” said Martin, “but there is a remedy for everything. Come on inside, Hop hop,” and pushed Fido and his ‘cargo’ toward the entrance.

Once in the kitchen, where several people and pets were replenishing the supply of salads, seasoning, drinks and whatever else was going down the maelstrom of mouths outside, Martin quickly greeted them all, and then went to a doll-sized cupboard placed by the side of the regular one. A perfect, black-lacquered replica. “When I added this, I thought there were other owners of mice in the neighborhood. In Japan, what with the little room they have, it’s the fashion among students. In New York, instead, the upper class finds pet rats to be the latest fashion.” He got a pair of tweezers hanging in the cupboard and used them to extract a tiny bowl already provided with a spoon. Then, in the same way, he took a tiny bag readable only with a magnifying glass. “Ah, just what the doctor ordered for us… I mean for you, Spo.” He used the tweezers to open the bag and pour the contents into the bowl. Then he went to the sink, and used a drop of water to moisten the powder and rapidly stirred the contents with the doll-spoon. Finally, he served the dish to Spo. “Here. It’s not a sandwich, but the guy who sold it to me told me that mice go crazy for this. If you don’t like it, I promise that I’ll let you take a dip in a tray full of food, what do you say?”
“Hmm, why not?” Spo took the dish. At first he was tempted to cheat on the guy, but having this dish between his paws was really heartwarming, in a way he rarely experienced.
He’d never had a tiny bowl all for himself. Yes, it was stupid, it was just an object where one placed the food, but it was his own first tiny bowl...
The mouse cleared his throat before he’d give up once and for all to his feelings. However, that mushlike stuff didn’t smell bad... He quickly swallowed a spoonful... and his taste buds went into overload! “OhmygodohmygodIloveitmorethanlifeitself! It is exquisite! “He finished what was left in three very generous spoonfuls, then handed the empty bowl to Martin.
“Spo...” Fido admonished him.
“Relax, boy,” said Martin, repeating Fido’s action. “What kind of party is it, if one cannot enjoy oneself? Help yourself, I have provided enough for your big appetite.”
“Mr. Martin..?” said a shy voice from the entrance.
The man turned. “Oh, Zach, right?” There were not many rabbits in Babylon, either. And those few used to keep themselves aloof, even from each other.
Zachary nodded. “C…can I, uh, speak to you a second?”
“Sure! Fido, you’ve seen how it’s done. Keep refueling your little friend until he asks to do himself. Excuse me. “And he walked toward the rabbit.
Watching him leave, Spo exhaled a happy sigh, his eyes dreamy. “I love that human.”
“He has that effect, it seems.”
“Hmm, you sound uncertain. Has the king of B.G.’s police dogs sensed something fishy?” Suddenly, the adrenaline started to run rampant in the mouse’s veins. That was the most dangerous moment, when he was likely to go motormouth, with a volume that didn’t seem physically possible for those little lungs.
And there were too many prying ears in the kitchen, though so far no one seemed to have noticed that rambling speech. Fido shook his head slightly to unseat Spo against his ear and silence him, then went out. “Hey, I want some more mush of the Gods! Where are we going? I see, it’s time for a baddies hunt? The jackets are already inside the ring, eh? Kevin is dying to tackle someone today...”
Normally, Spo was not the subject of much attention, so Fido went down the aisles at a brisk pace but without running so as to not attract attention himself. If someone had asked him where he was going, he would tell the truth: That he was going to the bathroom.

As soon as he entered, the Garden’s most famous hound started checking the room, bending and sniffing the stalls, to make sure not another soul was inside. Then he walked toward the corner farthest from the door and leaned against the wall. He took Spo from his head and, holding him in his palm, said, “I do not know what it is, exactly. It’s not the classic doubt from ‘everything is too perfect to be true’. That Martin is a really dedicated person, and heaven knows that we need more people like him the world... But...” Fido bit his lip. Sometimes, the words were so difficult to find...
“He’s compensating,” said a pensive Spo suddenly. That was the right word.
“Can you repeat that?” said Fido.
The dog saw the mouse was focusing hard, while usually, when he had an inspiration, he started going all Woody Woodpecker. This was going to be an unprecedented day... “You know, all those times when I speak nonsense at the wrong time and you get so angry? And then I stay quiet for the whole day because you have many other things on your mind? Well, that guy reminds me of myself when I do the same thing: only he does good deeds. He’s doing his damnedest, not to make a successful party, but because he is asking for forgiveness for something. What do you say?”
Fido was genuinely astounded... and a bit embarrassed to discover that his little friend was capable of so much attention. He made a mental note to keep him handy for the interrogations... “I say, well, you’re right.” If it was true, that human didn’t just have a skeleton in the closet, but an entire mammoth in the garage.
But he was so young! He was 35 years, according to the registry office. What could he have already done that was so terrible it required so many means to unload his shame? Trying to imagine it sent a shiver down Fido’s spine. Some boys could be very bad, after all…

"Hey there, Bino!"
Mizar’s cheerful voice had, finally, the effect of shaking the the Good Old Dogs Club’s President out of the trance that had befallen him. Of all the things that could cause somebody to lose their mind, in that day already full of surprises, to see Tiger reborn as a new, self-confident dog had…amazed him, to say the least.
Amazed, and scared. Tiger's tantrums were usually harmless, very loud...and a lot of fun. The neurotic Pitbull was his favorite target when he wanted to have a few cheap laughs and a bit of adrenaline. And if things threatened to go wrong, Marvin was the one who held Tiger back. Marvin. A cat. Which was good for more laughs.
And now this! A few sweet words from that meddling human, and Tiger could call Bino ‘a cur with a funny name’.
Tiger!
Sasha had tried to appease Bino’s holy wrath, but he hadn’t even paid notice to her. He had no time for the fuss, he was potting his revenge, the heck! Or maybe he could blow off steam at the expense of that freak of Peanut, yes, that cat-lover...! Grape and he could even be pretending to play with their sweethearts Tarot and Max, but Bino had seen him once, that stupid dog, thinking he was alone, while he was playing ' she loves me, loves me not' with a daisy…and then sighing Grape’s name in the way only a lover does.
Bino had to hold himself back from throwing up, while promising himself to wait for the right occasion to ridicule him in front of everyone...
"Hey, Bino?" Again the voice of Mizar.
Again, Bino was shaken from his megalomaniacal thoughts. "Hello, Miz. I'm sorry...I was reflecting."
The white female German Shepherd approached him. "I could see it. You were muttering something about Peanut insistently, at some point."
Bino blushed. "Hm, it's nothing important." No use to involve these strangers, for now. However, she was just a very nice young lady! She made Sasha look ugly too, and the male canines in the neighborhood were unanimous in their assessments. Of course, only Peanut seemed immune to the Mizar's charms...!
Mizar stood behind him, and began to massage his shoulders, with gentle movements that sent him into raptures. "I think so, anyway. Would you like to talk about it?"
"Hmmrr, it's nothing, Peanut is just a silly cat-lover. Club’s matters. I’ll fix it."
"I say that we will fix it," said a threatening male voice.
Bino opened his eyes which had closed in the ecstasy of that massage. And he found himself staring at Antares and Aldebaran. The BIG dogs of Mr. 'Call me Martin' Foster.
The speaker, however, was the fourth pet member of Martin's family: Alcor, the cat, white as Mizar, and whose golden eyes stared with an intense hatred for Bino. "You won't do anything, Bino, now or ever. You will leave Peanut and Grape in peace. Do I make myself clear?"
Bino didn’t understand. He tried to move towards insolent cat, but he was held tightby the shoulders, in the iron grip of Mizar! For being a female, she was as strong as Rex!
Alcor said, "Just for your information Mizar and I are good friends of Peanut and Grape. When you insult them, you insult us. When you think of making it difficult for them, we feel involved. Also because they are our good friends.” He approached Bino, who was about to say something, and laid a claw on his nose. His mellifluous voice was a whisper. "Ssshh, Biney. This is not a debate, this is not a talk show, you just have to listen, and understand if you care for your hide. Mizar and I were strays once, and we survived things that would scare a wolf. You and your tame little gang scare us like a bunch of stuffed toys.
"I repeat, lay a finger on Peanut and Grape, and we will do the same with you. Dad has enough money to buy all the lawyers he wants and you do end up at the shelter. And that's a very, very ugly place, believe me...but even if these arguments are not enough for you… Guys?” He added, without turning.
Antares reached for a branch of one of the thick and gnarled oaks. Bino saw the dog's muscles flex, and the branch leaning a bit, then the branch broke at its base! The sound echoed like a gunshot!
"That was your neck," Antares said, pointing with a finger under the veneer. He held the branch as if it were a toy, but it must have weighed a ton!
Antares then handed the branch to his brother. Aldebaran said, "This is your head." The rest was very fast, a movement of that monstrous mouth whose teeth seemed to be flashing in the light. Bino did not believe that a dog could use his gaping mouth like that! Then the teeth were closed on that branch. And they cut it in an explosion of splinters and wood pulp!
Aldebaran chewed for a few seconds, then spat the chips onto Bino.
"I hope we have explained it well enough," said Alcor. He slapped Bino on the wrist. He smiled showing all of his teeth, and the others did the same. "Pass it on."
Mizar let him go, and Bino fell to his knees. He watched the quartet leave in silence.
Now he had only to decide whether any plan he had in mind for Peanut and Grape was worth his life...

“I don’t know… how, uh, to ask you,” said Zach. The poor rabbit was not frightened, but really embarrassed. His ears were lowered back so much that he could have used them to scratch his heels. “You see, it’s a long story, but for some reason a bunch of wild animals from the nearby forest thinks I’m some kind of herald of a vague golden age for all animals. And, well...” while speaking, Zach led the man around the building and from there to the garden’s most distant area. Martin, truth be told, was not understanding anything the nervous rabbit was saying. But he finally had an idea when he saw the pack of creatures who sat obediently in front of the fence network.
At the sight of Zach, they exploded in a single chorus, “All Hail the Opener of Ways!”
Martin was baffled; Zach covered his eyes with his hand. “I can’t stand it.”
Martin studied the motley crowd: two raccoons with their kits sitting on their shoulders, two deer, small birds, a lynx... “Do you mind telling me that story?” He said to Zach, without taking his eyes off the group. He had never seen such adoring expressions...
An idea struck him. “No, wait, even better! “
“Huh?”
Martin bent down to whisper densely in Zach’s ear. The rabbit, at first puzzled, opened his eyes wide. Then he turned an imploring look towards the human. “But this will not help me! They’ll keep thinking that I am their great chief or something! “
Martin shrugged. “I say it would be appropriate to take advantage of this slice of your power. If they give so much credit to you, use it to the common good. I take it they come to visit you at home as they are doing now, right?”
Zach nodded sadly. Dad was ready to call animal control to get rid of those ‘visits’ that inevitably ruined the garden. Not to mention the raccoons had become more daring in their trash quests, and the humans were getting very annoyed of that... And he felt responsible, but no matter how many times he tried to convince them, the fanatics just wouldn’t let it go! “Martin, are you sure that this is going to fix things, even a little?”
The man placed his hands on his shoulders. “Let’s find out right now. Come on, chief.”
Zach stood before the adoring crowd, and cleared his throat. All those eyes fixed on him were really making him nervous... “Listen, my… friends”
“We listen to the Opener of Ways!”
Zach pointed to Martin, who stood a few paces behind him. “This human, uh, is a good friend of mine, and wants to share his possessions with the needy. He told me he has food and medicine to help the creatures of the forest through winter’s harshest moments. When you need to eat and can find nothing in the snow, the human Martin Foster will make sure you have something to eat. No need to rummage in the other humans’ trash, because you shall have his abundant garbage at least once a week. And if you will have patience, tonight’s leftovers will be plenty indeed! So, if you would kindly come back after midnight, your hunger will be sated!” He had never tried to make a speech with the tones of a prophet, and he felt a little ridiculous–
The crowd looked at him with renewed respect. Had they not been so unnaturally disciplined it’s guaranteed that they would have bounced like those animals in Disney’s ‘Fantasia’, complete with tutu.
“The Opener of Ways is generous and noble are his disciples! We salute and thank the Opener of Ways,” and that said, the forest animals left.
Zach had a disturbing vision of the same animals trampling him into a hamburger. “You do swear you will have all those leftovers that I just promised, right? They say that Cuba is beautiful, this time of year.”
Martin gave him a pat between the ears. “You just help me put it into the bags, okay?”
Zach sighed. “But don’t you think that what just happened may be a teensy-weensy crazy?”
Martin looked at him. For the first time, Zach too saw him suddenly become dark. The rabbit swallowed, thinking that Tiger, angry, appeared less threatening... “There are worse things, Zachary.” And then the sun returned on his face. “C’mon! I have to go into the kitchen and instruct the others about the garbage. I’ll show you the pantry, you need to take the bags and fill them, hop hop! “
But no sooner had he turned the corner, *THOOMP!* A sort of ground-to-ground missile plowed into Martin, dragging him for a few yards along the lawn, digging a ditch in the grass, and once again plunging the party into a frozen silence.
“I’m fine!” The man raised his hand, his voice muffled by the big Doberman lying on top of him. “I just have to recover the motor functions of my lower limbs, but I’m fine, and my wristwatch is still running! There’s nothing to see!”
KEVIN!” cried Fido, immediately rushing out of the house. Defining him as ‘outraged’ would be an understatement. Fido considered his devotion to humans part of his own nature, and as example for the police dogs of Babylon Gardens to follow, he’d feel responsible for their actions and behavior as any good alpha would.
Kevin was a good dog, no doubt. But he had this uncontrollable urge to tackle dogs or humans, whether it was to greet them, or stop them on a chase.
Ignoring Fido, a rare thing for Kevin to do, the Doberman was standing on all fours over Martin, panting like a half-ton happy puppy. “AldebaranandAntarestoldmethatyoualwaysplaytacklewiththem!”
“Not only is it true,” replied the man. His voice was a crescendo of emotion, the best imitation of Jim Carrey in the Attack of the Claw sketch. “But perhaps you can also say that, in the end, I always win because... I’m the king of tickling!” And so saying, his fingers combed the dog’s body in the most sensitive spaces, triggering a series of laughs and contortions. In short, they formed yet another group of spectators enjoying the view. Even Kevin’s owner had decided to let him have his way…

In a discreet corner, from behind an apple tree, two grim eyes stared at the scene.
“If I were to say there was a time I’d seen you so gloomy,” said the silver husky called Fox, “it was when Bino blew that catnip bomb in your face at the Club’s last Christmas party. What’s wrong?”
The dog that Fox was addressing was a corgi, with black and tan fur on his back, white on his belly and throat, and a huge pair of triangular ears which were now pointing towards Martin like radar dishes.
And in his blue eyes there shone a rarely seen rage. His hands twitched and opened up, trembling. There was no doubt that if he had had that human in his hands, he would’ve done some very, very unpleasant things to him…
Fox squatted next to his short friend. King had a difficult past, and a jerk of a master. He was fine, as you might say from the point of view of nutrition and vaccinations, but he also had a constant, desperate need for affection. Like Tiger, he looked at the other animals with deep suspicion. Fox could say he was indeed the best, if not only, true friend King ever had. Then there was Sasha, but that was another story.
Usually, when he was with Fox, King found peace and felt sociable. And the Husky had made it his mission to keep an eye on this surly creature. Therefore, seeing him regressing to such unadulterated hate was really worrying Fox. “King..?”
What King said in reply, froze Fox’s veins. “Do you remember Joel?”
On an instinct, Fox almost bared his own teeth, but didn’t want to contribute to the sudden tension already surrounding the corgi. If he remembered that... that..?
Once, already one too many times, Fox was kidnapped. PETA had kidnapped him to turn him from being a comfortable and happy domestic dog, into a feral, a stray that was supposed to fight for his life for a morsel of food taken from the filthiest wastes. As the dog of police officer Bill, Fox had heard many of those stories, as well as a living one in his own fur. It had been enough, and it was a memory that he did not want to relive.
Then there was the second kidnapping, last year. Joel, and a fat guy of whom he couldn’t remember the name, had taken him at the public park, to inflict on him the same torture that only PETA brainless maniacs could call ‘liberation’. And when, by their own clumsiness, they were about to be arrested, the fat guy almost killed him. Some ‘animal-lover’, pff!
Joel was the more ‘reluctant accomplice’ of the two. In the end, he had made little, if no, resistance, and had willingly testified against the mastermind of that ridiculous ‘plan’. Fox didn’t believe that that was out of the goodness of his heart, but at least the human had done his duty... Before escaping the prison, God knew how. Fox had not forgotten that he owed the human a couple of ‘favors’ as soon as he could lay his hands on him. As a dog, he didn’t hate people, but there were some who were well-deserving of an exception... “Yes, I remember Joel.”
King, continued to look at Martin with a deep hatred, and said only, “That guy is his brother.”

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Last edited by valerio on Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:02 am, edited 23 times in total.



Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:00 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
lightwolf21 wrote:
I'll probably get in trouble for using Rick's art. I did put a disclaimer on the image. This is a gift for Valerio, for a great story series. :D
He said they had the structure of a doberman I don't know if the tails were included in that, so tails are too short to show?


YAYZ! Exactly as I had envisioned them!
And yes, their tails are stubby like a doberman's so one needs the right angle to see it, like for K-9 agent, Kevin
Thank you so much again!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
EDIT - Last Section of Chapter 3 added above.

---------- Also,

http://tinyurl.com/27dpcfw
The art style of this image, and Housepets characters are owned by Rick Griffin. Characters owned by Valerio...MAX!

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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:55 am, edited 6 times in total.



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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
The re-fur project band, lol. :lol:

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Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:39 pm
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
fenning wrote:
The re-fur project band, lol. :lol:


you're the first to get it, heh! You win a cookie! :mrgreen:

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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
HOORAY FOR COOKIES!!!

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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Part 3 complete, a big thank you to lightwolf and a BIGGER thank you to him for the image linked in his latest post, a tribute to Rick-sama's and mine characters Mizar and Alcor! :mrgreen:
Superyay! :D :D :D

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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
valerio wrote:
Part 3 complete, a big thank you to lightwolf and a BIGGER thank you to him for the image linked in his latest post, a tribute to Rick-sama's and mine characters Mizar and Alcor! :mrgreen:
Superyay! :D :D :D


I'm really glad you liked it, I was worried about Alcor. His face, tail, and arms were done completely from scratch. It was the first time I'd done those without some sort of reference (read: copied) from the comics.
Anyway, I know it isn't exactly as you asked (i.e. the four of them just walking together) but I decided to add a little of what I thought would be a little heartwarming and comical at the same time.
I'm looking forward to drawing the next one, even though I have no clue what it'll be. It'll probably be drawn in hard-mode, though. On the next one, I also need to draw the line widths better; they're inconsistent.

Anyway, I think I did well on my midterm. I haven't been able to work on this because of that.

The story here gets quite angsty and awesome. Very dark secrets from the past are revealed. Sorry for the cliffhanger. I'll update again later as soon as I can.

P.S. I need to update my avatar, he seems so far away. EDIT - I will draw another one, when I get some free-time. estimated 2013.

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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.



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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
4.
Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens, Sunday, 14:00

The reading room’s clock chimed twice with a Big Ben-like tune, and then the pendulum went on ticking towards the next hour.
From the window, Martin Foster watched the garden full of pets and owners intent on chatting, playing games, mock tussles, and eating. It warmed his heart. Their voices were like a balm to his spirit, their happiness made him happy. If there was a moment that he wanted to engrave in his memory, he thought, his eyes glistening with emotion, it was this.
If only the past didn’t have that accursed vice to put on him..!
Martin sighed and shifted his gaze to his guests: three dogs. Not that he normally would have minded that. In fact, he had put plenty of chairs in that room just to share some literary quality time together with his beloved, furry protégées.
The dogs that faced him with suspicion, grimness and open hostility, were respectively Fido, the ‘top dog’ of the K-9 corps, ‘mack truck laude’ police academy graduate, then Fox, a husky, ‘son’ of District Officer Bill, who would gladly break an oak in two for his protégé, and King. He was a corgi, and despite the fact he was the shortest of the neighborhood dogs, that little… handicap wasn’t likely to be a problem, by the way he was staring at his host.
“Martin Robinson,” Fido said, calmly, “Elder brother of Joel Zechariah Robinson” He paused, as if expecting a denial. Fido did not need his blue jacket in order to appear so solemn in person. It was no wonder why he was so worshiped...
Martin took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. At least, the party was going on well, so he didn’t need an excuse to stay indoors for a while. Indeed, everyone would understand if the landlord had wanted to take a nap, as many of the cats were doing upstairs in the guest rooms.
Would they understand what he was going to say to the dogs? Fido was cautious, careful not to let emotions show through. He was not the kind of dog who would make judgments, not without solid evidence. Fox seemed… disappointed.
But the hatred King was showing was what hurt Martin the most. He didn’t want to see that look ever again...
“My name is Martin J. Robinson.” There, he’d said it. “I took the last name of our mother some years ago. I am Joel’s older brother, I’m a filthy hypocrite, and I’m responsible for the prolonged abuse and escape, if not death, of our cat Helias and dogs Honcho and Ringo.” He took another deep breath.
“Our parents were, for a lack of better words, vermin. Our father jumped from job to job, more attached to his bar buddies than to his family. And our mother, in her free time, whenever she had some, watched television. At least she didn’t drink, but that accursed screen... With it, the rest of the world ceased to exist for her.
“They were bad parents as the moments went. Hmph, for some reason, when he came back drunk, he was happy, promised that things would go well, gave hugs... Heck, he even managed to be kind to the animals. When he was drunk, he’d remember to buy just enough food for our pets so as not to starve them, even though the poor things would still spend their nights rummaging through the waste in the streets.
“But when he was sober… when he remembered what a loser he was...” Martin gritted his teeth. He didn’t look the least like the jovial host they had known so far. Instead, he resembled very much Joel, or rather his venomous appearance which Fido had unfortunately seen. “Me and Joel realized it was better to stay away, and so did the animals. When he would scream our names, we knew it was time for the belt, or the boots depending on how he felt.
“Staying away was easy, and we usually waited for him to leave for the bar to recharge his spirits, as I mentioned. But when he did not have enough money to pay for alcohol, well, in the end we had to return home. Mom in front of the TV, us in front of the belt.
“At eighteen, I was at the legal age for leaving, and I did. Poor Joel couldn’t. It was up to him, now, to defend Helias, Honcho and Ringo, and no one was there to defend him. I won’t ask for comprehension for this, I just succumbed to my desire for a more normal life, far from that absurd environment, away from the pain, and far away, “growled Martin. He was snorting through his nose like a bull.
Fido remembered the resentment in the eyes of Joel when he was arrested for the kidnapping of Fox, and that was nothing compared to what was stirring in Martin’s eyes. “I worked like crazy to integrate scholarships, living in squalid small hotels, but they cost less than renting a slum. I had no phone, no internet, nothing but a transistor radio. I couldn’t keep ‘out of the system’ like John Connor, but I was determined to make sure my parents wouldn’t see me again, as I never would see them.
“Was I sorry? No. Every day of my new life was a day well-lived. I slept well, worked hard knowing that I wouldn’t have to look over my shoulders every time I came back home. The memories of those problems at home were becoming more and more distant.” Martin took the cable radio remote. He looked at it as if it were a strange object. “A… memory…” He began to tighten his grip, first softly, then with increasing violence, until the hard plastic broke in his hand with a dry sound, extruding the bowels of circuitry mixed with Martin’s blood. His face was a gaping grimace of self contempt, the tears in eyes barely held back.
“I was practically the man of house. I had promised Joel that I would stand with him. The animals looked up to the two of us for comfort, even before the comfort of food. I had one stupid, simple responsibility, and I screwed it up because I’d had enough!” Startling the dogs, he suddenly threw the remains of the remote above the chair one which King sat, watching them fly into fragments. Fortunately, he had asked that the room have the best soundproofing. With all the potential prying ears walking within the house…
Martin took a handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped his wounded hand. He seemed calmer now. “I continued to spend my ‘beautiful’ life, never completing my studies, overwhelmed by debts and the vice of the lottery. A dollar a month, that’s all I would spend. It made no sense to throw out a lot of money for a game of pure luck, so I told myself. I scrounged the newspaper from the workplace, from customers who would have otherwise thrown it away.
“It was there that I read about Joel’s second arrest... about his confession. That tabloid newspaper was particularly generous with details, and many, I should say, distorted on purpose to make him look like a crazy maniac eager to join a cult at the first chance he could get.
“I knew that it wasn’t true. I knew he wasn’t... that he isn’t a bad guy. He would never hurt an animal, just like me. But, what could I do? From where I was, I might as well have been on the moon. I had no car, even a ticket to Babylon Gardens was a luxury, and even if I had called the lowest law firm for such a ‘triviality’ as the kidnapping of animals, they would have told me to leave it to the county’s tribunal to find a lawyer. Obviously I hadn’t a dime for bail, no properties… In the end, my desire for independence at all costs had become the greatest obstacle in trying to help my brother.”
Martin looked at King. The dog seemed... surprised, as if he hadn’t been expecting to hear those words. King had claimed to have been kidnapped by Joel, once, and it was in that occasion that he had heard about how Joel’s jerk brother had abandoned him…
Martin tried to relax in his chair. “I started to hear again the cries of pain from our animals, in my nightmares. I still see their accusatory eyes, and Joel huddled in a corner. Why, they would all ask me, and I had no answer. One thing, however, I could do: I decided to call Joel’s lawyer. The newspaper said that Dad had died a long time ago from liver cirrhosis. Mom had been carried off by a stroke. I could only pray that the others had found a safe haven.
“The lawyer told me he really enjoyed my call, and my offer to testify for my brother, but the negotiation was already in progress, so to be imprisoned with a lighter sentence rather than going to trial.”
King, who had his hands clasped in his lap, clenched his fist.
It was a lie! The lawyer had told him that the settlement was only a hypothesis on which he was working, nothing more! Martin was lying again... or was he?
Martin joined hands and tapped his index fingers together. “...In short, Lesters clearly told me that my presence at trial would not have changed anything. In fact, perhaps it would have made things worse. I understood only that he was in a great hurry to close the deal, and it would not have been surprising for a lawyer with a mountain of cases to treat each one as an item at the supermarket checkout line.
“Then I won the Powerball. Just a day after that call, my one-dollar bill turned out to be the lucky winner.” Martin chuckled, a bitter sound on the verge of hysteria. “Hooray. The first thing I did was call Lesters. To heck with anonymity, to heck with caution... Someone had decided that Joel and I should have a chance...”
King felt his heart sink. ‘Joel and I,’ he said. ‘Joel and I’, not ‘Me and Joel’!
“I spent the night calling Lesters, I was ready to sing those damned numbers on the phone if necessary, but no one answered. For the first time since I ran away from home, I did not sleep a single second. I was, heh, too happy. Already, I saw myself with him, in a beautiful place, surrounded by animals, all our problems behind us... And so, when I finally managed to talk to that lawyer, I didn’t understand what he was saying. He was agitated, and I kept interrupting him and telling him to get my brother on, I could get him out of there, and...” again the tears threatened to flow out. Martin again choked back a sob and exhaled deeply. “He had escaped. Just that morning, prior to the hearing of the plea agreement, he had disappeared into thin air. A moment before, he was in his cell, waiting for a change of clothes from his lawyer, and then *poof*.” He snapped his fingers.
If a dog could have lost the color of his fur, King would have become as white as Martin’s dog and cat.
Pete, you dirty stinker, you filthy sack of...
One can believe in coincidences, but not this time! No, not when a Griffin gifted with magic powers of teleportation, transformation, alteration of reality and almost certainly omniscience, was involved.
Now, how could King tell everyone here that he was Joel? How could he explain to them that he hadn’t disappeared into thin air, but that accursed monster had changed a hateful human being into a bundle of fur that everyone wanted to hug, and then brought him here to Babylon Gardens, where he ended up making friends with the same Fox he’d tried kidnapping?!?
“King..?” said Fox, seeing him falter, panting.
The corgi’s gaze was lost in the void. He saw the actors of that crazy drama without really seeing them.
In the end, Martin didn’t want to abandon him. One day, one miserable day, and they could have met again, and lived together in this house with his four animals. One more day... With all that money he could have bought his acquittal.
And Pete had intervened. I have been watching you, Joel, and you have been a very naughty boy. You must learn a lesson by living like those whom you have tormented, Joel.
He didn’t notice he was crying. Nonononono...
All lies! Pete had taken him away for the sake of extending his agony, to show him how well his big brother was doing, while he was rotting in this furry shell without legal rights!
And King swung his head. He was so quick that one could actually hear the neck vertebrae crack. Simultaneously, his jaws opened to their full width. There was no reason in what he was doing. There was only dark and pure hatred, a feeling almost liberating in its intensity. Even Fox lived a happy life, he had someone who loved him… While King had but the prospect of being taken for a fool, if he told them the truth, assuming that Pete hadn’t put some language spell that would cause him to get flustered if he tried.
King was going to bite Fox, give him some of the pain he felt and to heck with everything else. If that was the idea of a joke according to the griffin come from who knows where and who knows when, it was only right that poor King could have his own little laugh, right?
“Wrong,” said a voice beside him.
King was trying to close his teeth against Fox’s hand, only to find that a cane was preventing him from doing so. Theoretically, his jaw had the strength to break this staff, but what else could he expect from its owner?
King shut his mouth slowly, after the cane had moved it away from the intended target.
The room had fallen into stillness... well, that is to say that the pendulum had stopped in the middle of its swing. The others had turned into statues with incredulous expressions, comically fixed on King. Only two people could move in that temporal stasis. The other was an old man, tall, with a drooping, bushy gray mustache, a stylish (albeit dated) beige suit, and a bowler hat pulled low over his eyes. “King, King...” Pete scolded. The metamorphic entity donned that aspect to blend in with the humans of Babylon Gardens. “You really do think some nasty things about me, I am shocked.”
Only his last shred of rationality prevented King from wasting his energy fighting against this being. “Should I think otherwise, demon?” he growled. The ‘so-cute-corgi’ had in turn given way to a ferocious assassin. If Fox had seen him in this state, he would have fled in a real hurry.
Did he care?
“Of course you care, my boy. You didn’t make friends with him because of your guilt pangs, unlike your big brother…”
DO NOT EVER MENTION HIM!
“...You have done so because he wanted to make friends with you, breaking through to the good feelings in you that I’m trying to bring back to light; those same feelings that led you since Christmas to putting together a fully-equipped doghouse for Sasha, so she wouldn’t suffer the cold when her master locks her out again. And coincidentally, was the house just a gift for Valentine’s Day, hmm? I wonder if there is more to it than that.”
The question came so suddenly and out of place that King stood there as if he’d been slapped. His first response, totally disconnected from the thoughts swirling in his mind, was, “I... I love her. But what does that have..?!” He added, finding control. “You dirty... so, you know already what I think of her, eh? Well, I’m not giving you the satisfaction of hearing me rant like a hysterical puppy, you jerk. And I don’t care what you do to me, but don’t you dare harm Martin in the least, am I clear? Or you’ll have to kill me first, and for some reason I don’t think that is your ultimate purpose for me.”
Pete shook his head. He took off his bowler hat, and now his head was that of a griffin with blue feathers, golden beak and eyes. *Sigh* “You don’t seem in the spirit for a civil conversation, huh?”
“What are you, kidding?” King went limp in his chair. He wanted Fox’s squeaky bone. “Can I ask you something, before you bring me back to this surreal prison that has become my life? No, make it two.”
“If you think you’ll believe my answers, sure.”
King rubbed his temples. “First, why did you prevent me from biting Fox?”
“Because it wouldn’t have done anyone any good. The second question?”
King could not have imagined a more ‘complete’ answer to the first. And in this, he might expect that Pete had been sincere. “Second, why involve Martin? Wasn’t it enough for you to bring me here, to this neighborhood?”
The mystical griffin showed an inscrutable expression. In fact, he was studying very closely the figure of Martin Foster/Robinson, as if... as if he was a piece out of place in his puzzle!
“It was not my idea,” Pete said, his voice flat, putting on the bowler, returning fully human. “Relax, I won’t touch him,” he added, but was he actually speaking to King or someone else?
An invisible current touched the back of the corgi, making his very soul shudder.
Pete turned back to ‘his’ dog. “You better be very persuasive in your apologies, my boy.” He snapped his fingers and disappeared.
Time returned to its regular flow. Fox pulled his hand away from a bite that would never come. He was definitely bewildered. He looked at King as if the corgi had suddenly placed a note on his chest that said ‘My name is King, how can I kill you?’ Fido seemed ready to tackle him, and Martin... Martin did not seem to understand how a dog could regress to such ferociousness.
Martin, who had always taught Joel to cultivate empathy with all animals large and small. Taught him that not all of them were ‘Disney friendly’ nor blood-thirsty creatures. Animals were… complex, it was necessary to understand them as with humans.
Martin had brought home Helias, their first pet, during a really stormy night. The poor cat could hardly stand on her feet and was deaf in one ear. He spent every night, including Saturdays and Sundays, close to her. Joel was too small to approach, but his big brother was to him the greatest of heroes while doing all that was humanly possible to help the cat recover. And there was great celebration at home, when she had left her bed by herself. Back then their Dad had a regular job and had not yet fallen into alcoholism. Sure, they could not afford a pet, and that was why Martin had started doing odd jobs, leaving Joel responsible for watching over the pets while he was away at a fast food restaurant, a bar or whatever else…
Then, over time, things had really gone downhill…
Fox shook his head, and looked at his intact hand. He was absolutely sure that... No, he must have imagined it, perhaps King just wanted to toss one of his glass-shattering scowls and he had mistaken that for an act of biting. “Hey, King, I’m sorry if...”
King stood up, jumped on the arm of his chair, and jumped in Fox’s lap. Then he hugged his best friend. “I’m sorry. I… don’t know what’s gotten into me, really,” he whimpered, trembling.
“Shh shh shh... Now, now, it’s all right.”
A human hand placed itself on King’s head.
“I’m so sorry for what’s happened, and I’m also to blame,” said Martin, then he squatted down. Gently rubbed a knuckle at the base of the Corgi’s inner ear, helping him relax. “If there’s anything I can do, ask me.”
“There is one thing.”
“Yes..?”
“Can you tell me what you would do if… if you ever met Joel again?”
The man nodded. “Apologize, first of all. I’d just want him to know, wherever he is, that just being allowed another chance after the mess I’ve created so many years ago would be enough. I wish he’d turn himself in so that I could bail him out no matter the amount, and then we’d live here with the boys and start all over again, together, just like old times.” He wiped the tears, which this time he didn’t stop. “I don’t know what happened to the others, that’s another reason I decided to run this shelter. I do realize they must be gone, but I want to know if they had children, perhaps find them, should this be the case…” he sighed, and stood up. “So much to do and so little time.”
“You’re doing this because you feel guilty?” King asked point-blank.
King!” Fox snapped.
“To clear your conscience?” continued the corgi, ignoring him.
Martin shook his head, then stared at the dog’s eyes and without hesitation said, “I am guilty. And remembering this gives me the strength to carry out these projects. If I wanted to clear my conscience, I would take a single family house, any animal and the bare necessities in terms of food and care. I give my boys the best because they must have it. And should something happen to me, they will inherit this place, not some unknown and greedy distant relative. I do my best with this money because I have the chance do to so. Fate has given me a second chance, and no matter what, I’m going to exploit it to the max.” Now his tone was angry, but not at others... Then it suddenly subsided, as he leaned against the chair. “I’m so sorry, guys, I don’t want it to seem like I think of it as just a chore or a duty, in fact...”
Fido hugged him. Humans loved some cuddling when they were under stress, and Fido knew this human really needed it, now! “We know, Martin. Now you’re just upset, don’t worry. It’s all right.”
The man returned the embrace, sinking his fingers into the silk-like hair of the dog, playing with the tufts on his back, his face buried against his neck. “Thank you, Fido. Thank you.”
“Thank you,” replied the hound, without letting him go, even reinforcing the embrace. “You’re making miracles, for all of us. And I’m sure your brother would be proud of you, if he knew. I’m sure you’ll find each other, one day.”
King joined the embrace. “I’m sure, too... You know, he wasn’t so bad for someone of the PETA.”
Eventually, they let go of the human. Martin enjoyed a little of the heat and smell left by the two dogs. “Can I ask you a favor?”
“Shoot,” said Fox, a bit jealous of that moment of sharing he had just witnessed.
“No one here must know. Please. You understand that if you spread word of my relationship with Joel before I’ve helped him out of his troubles, the project of the shelter dies before it’s even born. And I don’t want those innocent animals…”
The three dogs put their paws on his legs. “Nobody will know anything,” said Fido, with the same solemn gaze as the others, who nodded. “I’ll tell my friends to keep an ear out for any news related to your brother.”
Martin familiar smile was back. “Thank you, again.”
“Aren’t you worried that my dad will discover everything anyway?” said Fox. “Well, you just used a different last name, your documents are not forged... right?”
Martin shrugged. “I expect that the police already know everything about me. That’s why I came in this neighborhood in great style and I made things clear since the first meeting, with an intensive advertising campaign preceding me, courtesy of the little Miltons. I needed to placate the voice of the law first, and I did it. Take Bill: when he showed me the picture of Fox, he told me, without being explicit, that there would have been heck to pay if I ever tried to play smart. But he respects the law and won’t post leaflets saying I’m Joel’s accomplice, not when I act the complete opposite. I have the benefit of the doubt, and I intend to exploit it for good. Starting with this little party... speaking of...” he slapped his thighs and stood up. “Time to stop playing the conspirators, or they’ll sic the 7th cavalry on us. Come on, hop hop!” He went to the door and opened it, letting the dogs out first.
Fido, instead of going out to the garden, went to the kitchen, where he had left Spo to stuff himself with the mice food he seemed to love so much. A respectable burp came in that moment from said kitchen.

“King!” shouted the female dog at the sight of the corgi coming out of the house. She had delicate ivory fur, with legs and arms as brown as her ears and muzzle, and pretty candy-like pink eyes. Sasha jumped at him like a domesticated velociraptor, and hugged him in a python-like embrace. “YAY! You were in there so long, talking to Martini!”
The logic of Sasha’s choice of nicknames for all creatures, human or not, continued to evade King. But ‘Martini’ sounded funny anyway, and he returned the embrace of that barmy girl. Although technically she was Bino’s girlfriend, it was also technically true that he’d neglected her two times out of three. For one thing, he hadn’t even given her a Valentine…
King thought about Pete’s question. Yes, he loved Sasha, but... in which way? In short, he had given her that doghouse as a Valentine’s gift, surely not by chance…
But Sasha was a dog.
And what was he?
“Aww, Kingy Kong is feeling down?” Sasha rubbed her pink truffle against his, then blew on his nose. “Bye-bye sadness. Better?”
King blushed slightly and wagged his stump of a tail of which his species was provided. “Better.” And what the heck, Fox was a nice guy, but only Sasha could give him those special, carefree moments. Bino was really no good, not dedicating her enough time, while lost in his dreams of glory and rivalry with his brother... “You’re having fun?”
“Now, yes! Hop up!” Without too much effort, Sasha grabbed King like a doll and put him on her shoulders, then started running through the meadow at full speed, among the general hilarity. “WHEEEEE!” She was not ‘flirting’: the only male whom Sasha was swooning over was Fido, but that was common to all of the neighborhood’s lady dogs! For the rest, she just wanted the others to be happy around her. And who was he to say no? If he were her Dad, and not the vermin of her current owner, he would treat her like a queen.
Like Martin treated his pets.
Yes, he must find a way to help him, even despite his current limits. So much for Pete or anyone else who stood in his way! I am proud of you, my brother. So very proud! Forgive me for thinking ill of you all this time...
---
Martin entered the infirmary. First things first, heal the wound, what he didn’t want was an infection or something.
He opened the medicine cabinet. Incredible, how much bureaucracy there was just to have some specialized medicine stocked! Surely they wouldn’t expect him to not keep some anti-fever drug for animals? And de-wormers, and anti-inflammatories, and bandages, and ...
Martin took what he needed to take care of his wound, then leaned over the polished steel sink. He removed the improvised bandage and threw it in the trash bin. He rinsed his hands, clenching his teeth the moment the running water contacted the stinging wound. It was a bit deeper than he had estimated, but nothing that the proper patches couldn’t hold together.
He sighed as he rinsed his wound with the disinfectant. Darn you, Joel, turn yourself up! Another reason he entered Babylon in full regalia was to make sure that the media carried out the news, even if only a short article on the Internet. Something Joel could find, something to help him understand his run could end there...
Martin placed the plasters and on them a few rounds of strong gauze. His titans were impetuous, but not stupid, they would have avoided destroying that hand. As for the rest of his body...
Smiling, the man put the cotton wool, plasters, gauze and disinfectant back into the cabinet. He had collected many bruises during their wake-up sessions, but he also knew all too well, that it was really boring to live alone, without any other company than the occasional mouse more concerned with crumbs from the night before than some conversation...
Martin turned on the water and rinsed his face. There remained only one issue to resolve.
Grape Jelly Sandwich.
Could that beautiful lavender cat be..?
Maybe yes, maybe no. Of course, knowing the truth was not a matter of life or death. Just in case, he had already done something to ensure some extra security to the Sandwich family. In this sense, he was glad that Jill herself had asked him to work for him, thus offering him the pretext for offering a job to her husband as well.
It was enough to see the owner of Sasha, for example, a good man and everything, but then the crisis had hit hard, and beer had become his mistress.
Memo: Protect Sasha. And for her, Martin would willingly resort to the most foul legal tricks money could buy… if Roger didn’t accept rehab seriously, and find a real job again... Thinking paranoid again, old man. Martin shut off the tap. He took a towel and wiped his face. Imagine if he doesn’t accept the job– “Oh. Hello, cutie,” he said to the image in the mirror: a golden-haired Pomeranian with deep yellow eyes. A golden eye of Ra was hanging from her thickly-furred neck. The dog of Mrs. Florence. “Tell me, Tarot, how can I help you?” He turned.
Image
The room was empty.
Martin went back to look in the mirror. And there she was, beautiful as the sun, standing just a few feet from him, and that expression which betrayed the solemn maturity of an adult despite her young age. Without turning his head, Martin turned his eyes.
Nothing. Not even a shadow under the energy-saving light bulbs that were casting an even glow.
The man rubbed his eyes with two fingers, holding himself up against the sink with the other hand. "Okay, I had a complete check-up for insurance purposes. I know I don’t suffer from cancer, sclerosis, epilepsy, personality disorders or any other mental illness caused by trauma or congenital. Therefore, logic suggests two things," he went on, addressing the apparition." One, that all of a sudden I got really sick. Not impossible, but what stupid karma.
"Two, you're real. I’d bet on the latter, if only because if I had a hallucination I’d want to see Helias or my brother… someone I know, not a dog that isn’t even mine."
Not to mention the cameras. What with all those drugs in there, if he had not put any possible security measure, the judge would have sent the DEA to his home. In the worst case, the records would show a nice developing case of madness...
The projection of Tarot in the mirror nodded. She seemed satisfied, a happy expression in her closed eyes. When she opened them, they were instead two pools of emerald green hypnotic light. Her voice had an echoing quality that gave him chills.
"This is about Grape and Peanut," said the apparition. A nonexistent wind ruffled her fur slightly. "Your coming, Martin Foster, has set in motion a mechanism the existence of which I wasn’t even aware."
Martin knitted his brows. Why did all ghostly apparitions have to speak like the Sphinx...
Tarot shook her head slightly. "Your mind and your heart are open. Would you accept a request of mine without corrupting it with doubt?"
"Depends. I have no faith in a specific entity or number of entities, but I think if they exist, they operate on a plane so far above humans, so different, that just a skimming could lead to unimaginable consequences. I had my religion teacher really upset with these ideas of mine.” Fortunately, his parents put their faith in Guinness and Jeopardy, and ignored the protests of the priest about their blasphemous boy. “It’s as if we wanted to touch the sun. It doesn’t matter that it gives us life, if we made contact with it, it would consume us.” He was also firmly convinced that those entities had also driven him to Alcor. The uniqueness of Babylon Gardens had naturally driven him to choose it as a residence. But, as the works for the new house were progressing, what were the chances for him to meet that white cat who looked so like Helias, a living memento toward her memory? What were the chances that that lavender cat lived just in Babylon Gardens..?
"Don’t you find it… strange, the idea of a psychic dog?" asked the apparition.
Martin chuckled. "As I said, I never denied the existence of otherworldly forces, regardless of never having perceived them. And what would be absurd with a psychic dog? Would it be stranger than a psychic, big hairless monkey?"
Tarot watched him carefully. She nodded slowly. "You are a very… interesting person, Martin Foster. For this I have a simple favor to ask."
He wanted to touch the mirror, but decided to reconsider. "Shoot."
"It is about tonight's concert."

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Last edited by valerio on Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:08 am, edited 11 times in total.



Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:33 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Chapter 4 is complete...now for a family photo. Already put in fanart topic, Valerio. Argh, I just noticed Mizar's tail got blackened somehow. Valerio's never gonna let me live this down. I'll have to fix it later.
Edit - Mizar's tail color fixed.
From left to right: Martin Foster, Aldebaran, Alcor, Mizar, Antares.


Attachments:
Martin Foster and Co. smaller size.jpg
Martin Foster and Co. smaller size.jpg [ 56.91 KiB | Viewed 35880 times ]

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Heh. Look at that... I started an actual Housepets! fan-fic.
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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:06 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Chapter 4 is edited and complete!
Enjoy, folks!

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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
valerio wrote:
Chapter 4 is edited and complete!
Enjoy, folks!


EDIT - Seriously though, if you have anything to say about my artwork, please PM me. I'm still a budding artist and have a long way to go to improve. :D Comments welcome.

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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
5.
Foster Mansion, Babylon Gardens, Sunday, 19:30

“Peanut, can I talk to you?”
“GAH!” Peanut Butter Sandwich nearly jumped out of his fur. He had spent the last hour or so, fixed in a trance, estranged from the rest of the world, the big stage now covered by a green awning. Mr. ‘Call me Martin’ Foster’s party had, up to this point, lived up to all expectations. Too bad that the pool had been covered, but it wasn’t that hot, and a pile of wet fur running around the garden and park property would have been, well... Ew!
But as the big hand approached 9 o’clock, Peanut had forgotten the party, had forgotten everything else except the concert.
His throat felt dry as a desert. His heart must have gone into palpitations more times than was biologically possible. He was trembling so much, it was a miracle he could stand at all
So when this voice took him by surprise from behind, it was almost the kiss of death. Turning around, he put his hand to his chest, making sure that the heart was still there. “Hey, oh, hello... Max” He swallowed. Had that black alley tomcat already sensed something, or worse, did he know everything, and was now preparing to torment him and spoil everything? Peanut couldn’t have endured it if Grape had suffered for his idea...
“Would you mind following me?” The black cat walked toward the stage, and there, pulled back a flap of the tent, then disappearing from view.
A big question mark seemed to ignite over Peanut’s head, but the dog still followed his former love contender. That tomcat could have a ton of aces up his sleeve, who knew what he had in mind...
Once past the curtains, he found himself in near-total darkness. “Max?”
A pair of hands took him by the shoulders, startling him, then led him gently to the ground, in a point illuminated by a thin blade of light.
“Perhaps it is better to sit, huh?” said the black cat, trying to sound reassuring.
“Uhh, yes?” When Peanut had settled himself, Max took him by the hand. On second thought, the scene looked a bit embarrassing, with the dog blushing and the cat showing a perhaps too confident smile. Max looked like a ghostly figure, partly illuminated by the sunset’s last light, and his eyes like aquamarine pearls, shining with their own light.
“Peanut, everything is alright, okay? I just wanted you to know it,” Max said, patting him affectionately on the arm.
“Oh, thanks. I think? What are you talking about, Max?”
“About tonight, you silly.”
Peanut put his hand behind his head. He would have burst into a false laugh, if that wouldn’t have attracted the attention of the others. When he was feeling so nervous, being under the scrutiny of dozens of eyes, he’d feel like going tilt like a pinball set. And he didn’t want to go tilt, didn’t want to ruin the perfect evening he had planned. And if he didn’t do it tonight, he wouldn’t do it ever again, and this–
“About you and Grape.”
TILT! Peanut obeyed the blind desire to run away, but found himself held firmly by the shoulders. He had forgotten that Max was a strong puss, strengthened by his stray life on the street, as the bite mark on his right ear proved.
The poor dog was panting like mad, as he met the feline eyes. “Max it’s not that me and–”
“Shut up, stupid,” he interrupted, this time with a more marked seriousness in his voice. The darkness advanced, and the figure speaking seemed even more ghost-like. “Come on, dog, do you really think I didn’t notice? I started seriously wooing Grape two years ago, starting at the Yarn Ball. I made all the right moves, I did my best to keep her happy, and was about to hit first base, did you know?”
Peanut shook his head. After all, if the cat didn’t want him to know about it, he wouldn’t have pried into her private life.
“Then she tells me she still couldn’t, tells me she had to think it over, that there was this friend... of whom she was very fond, that she had to be sure of her own feelings for him, and so on. So she tells me to wait, to bear with her, and so I wait...” Maxwell chuckled. “And you know what I don’t see? Her going out with anyone. Every time I brought it up, even just as a joke, when I asked how things were going with this mysterious handsome suitor, she became all red and stammered excuses. At one point, she even pretended that there was nothing between him and her, but you could see a mile away that her ‘special friend’ was very special to her, and at the same time she didn’t want to hurt me. But I persisted, because to me Grape is special, she’s smart, beautiful, strong... everything a real cat could ask for.” Although he could not see it, Peanut was sure he felt the warmth that radiated from Max cheeks. “But she wasn’t seeing anyone, apart from you. Not even a mouse, like that weird Joey does.”
Peanut held back a tirade in defense of that exceptional young dog that he himself had considered half crazy until a short time ago and was now his intimate confidant.
“Say, Peanut, do you think cats are stupid? That is a proclivity of you mutts.”
“Max...”
“I’ll admit it, you were smart to hide your relationship from the public at large...”
Peanut felt his tail wagging around! Ha! And Grape was scared that he couldn’t do his part!
“...But you couldn’t deceive me. Grape was genuinely sorry to break up with me, but I could see that she was also feeling relieved. She had made her decision, and I’m sure it was for the best, despite the circumstances. And despite our bickering, you’re a very smart dog. If I had to blindly trust someone beside that exalted Fido guy, you would be it.”
“Really? No, I mean–”
A hand patted him on the leg. “I know what you mean. And of course, tonight will be the big night, huh?”
Peanut blushed heavily. “Uh, yeah.”
Max sighed. “I do not know whether to call it an irony of fate, karma, or circle of life: I tried to win her at a winter ball, and you’re about to win her at a summer dance.” His hand went from Peanut’s leg up to rest on his shoulder. “Therefore, however strange I may find this… thing you two have going together, for what it’s worth, you have my blessing. Only one thing, though... “
“Yes?” *Erk!* The dog was brusquely pulled forward. He found himself staring at a threatening expression filled with so many teeth that Peanut was sure it belonged to an angry tiger. Those teeth were actually glistening.
“Make her suffer, and I’ll make sure you know torments as you’ve never even dreamed of! Am I clear on this, mutt?”
Peanut frantically nodded, not daring to speak. He had seen Grape that furious, once, but then, it was because she was scared and afraid of the idea of losing her sweet dog forever. Max’s wrath had more coldness in it... It was showing the true colors of the old street fighter. And that was worse than Grape’s fury.
Max’s hand let him go suddenly. A rustle of grass, announced that he was standing up. “I’m putting my reputation on the line for this, especially with Bino. And I hate to be under the thumb of that arrogant fleabag. But it’s worth it, for the happiness of Grape. I’ll say it again: don’t screw this up.” This time, his toothy smile became more friendly. “Just a friend’s advice, of course. Oh, and one more teensy-weensy thing?”
Peanut also rose. “Hm-m?”
“The opening dance. Will you grant it to this gentlecat?”
“Okay.” Peanut rubbed his neck, making sure that his collar had not been broken.
“Great! See you later then!”

Peanut emerged from the tent. Woah, it was hot under there. The cool breeze of evening, full of the smells of grass, animals and food welcomed him like a caress.
He felt incredibly relieved now. Max was his main concern and that concern was gone. He almost wanted to make his move with Grape immediately, but no. He shook his head – no sir, everything had to be perfect, everything at the right time. This wasn’t to be just a memorable evening; tonight Grape Jelly would walk proud out of it, head held high. No more fear!
He whistled, stamping his foot to the rhythm of the songs he’d chosen, as he was playing them in his head.
---
The black cat looked in the mirror for the umpteenth time. She gave a stroke of the brush to her flank, just as the reflection of a figure of some half-breed dog, with sad eyes, was passing behind her.
Sabrina turned. With her in the room, to which the door was tightly closed, it could only be the pomeranian named Tarot, intent in turn to brush her head and her thick neck fur. “This place is teeming with–” said the cat, knowing that Tarot knew already, of course. After all, hadn’t she guided her into contact with the Otherworld, as her teacher in the arcane ways?
“You know it is so,” said Tarot. From her position at the table, she saw in the mirror an image of a mother cat nursing a litter of puppies. If she ever saw the torment in the eyes of a mother cat... “Have you forgotten already what this place is?”
Both Tarot and Sabrina ignored those mute requests for help. They had to, not because they were insensitive, but because they were all too frequently in contact with the spirit world. Both had learned quickly that helping the spirits in pain was like acting as the powerless superhero in a city dominated by crime. For every one who was saved, a thousand more were ready to ask for a piece of you. The satisfaction, the fulfillment that could be derived from a single correct action was soon replaced by the anguish for all that remained to be done, and, worse, that one couldn’t do.
Tarot had suffered much, because of this, just like those who had preceded her in that role. But she soon had learned that many of the problems of the souls in pain were not meant to be solved directly by mortals. These, or rather those rare individuals like Peanut and Grape, had only to set in motion those events to close off unresolved issues.
For this, Tarot was there now, with a reluctant Sabrina. “I’m doing this for you, too, my dear,” she said to her feline teacher.
“I hope I will thank you for this, one day. What you want to do tonight is...” she shivered. She laid the brush on the bed, and turned to the dog. “It’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to mutiny. Many spirits are not going to like this.”
Tarot laid down her brush. Another dog appeared in the mirror; he caressed her, and he barked without producing a sound. “You cannot please everyone: your first lesson, right?
“I just know that after tonight, the road will be opened by Peanut and Grape. Today will end with happiness and strength for many lives, including yours and Fido’s.”
Sabrina felt ashamed. “Do you always have to put us in the middle? Is it not becoming something of an excuse?”
Tarot wagged a finger, as she opened the door. “Is it not an excuse, to keep using your fears of being found to smother your passions? But do not worry, this is not your evening. We are only asked to do our part, that brave dog will handle the rest.”
"Shirt," said Martin Foster, standing before the mirror. He stood bare-chested, wearing a pair of brand-new blue jeans, shiny, with a silver buckle that framed a tribal wolf head decorated with a couple of feathers. His freshly-polished boots smelled of the wax used to make them shinier than military boots.
The white cat standing in front of the chest of drawers took a perfectly folded starched blue and white checkered garment. He handed it to his master. "Shirt!"
The man took it and wore it with quick and tried gestures. "Tie."
"Tie," said the cat Alcor, handing an immaculate package containing an average-length, soft grey garment. Within seconds, Martin wore it by the book.
"It looks like you’re going to a wedding, not a concert," Alcor chuckled.
"Heavens forbid. If I wanted to go to a sad party, I’d book a funeral."
"Gruesome. But when are Mizar and I going to have our ceremony ... "
"Why? Animals are not like us, who get married because their partner reminds them of a parent, only to remember, later, that they hated that parent." Martin leaned over to hug tight his cat and sighed into his neck. "I'm so lucky to have a great pair as you two. That’s too why I’ll give my best, tonight, for the little Sandwiches. I won’t forgive myself if we screw this one."
Alcor avoided making jokes about the fact that his human felt that he needed to be forgiven for so many things. He wanted him to understand that he could be a good man even without driving himself crazy to prove it.
Martin stood up. "C’mon, the excited crowds are waiting just for us. Instruments all ready?"
"Check and double-check."
"Amplifiers?"
"Lawyer on the phone and on a war footing."
"Then let's go." Martin opened the door and found in the corridor the figure of a man sitting on a chair near a table. The owner of Foster Mansion knew him, despite his memory was becoming blurred what with all the humans and animals wandering throughout his property. More than once he’d needed an aspirin.
But the man in the chair, that was another story: Martin had kept his eyes on him. Roger, the owner of Sasha. Former building worker, supported himself with welfare checks, most of which he spent on beer and snacks, and the bare necessary on food and minimal care for his female dog, Sasha.
A picture all too familiar to Martin, who felt a distinct surge of hatred against that loser on the road to alcoholism and that voices of half of the neighborhood were saying he was using that sweetest girl as a doormat ... In a sense, to Martin it was as if his father had decided to give him a surprise visit from beyond.
It would have been easy to tell-off Roger, threatening to drown him in lawsuits that he couldn’t afford; Sasha would be removed from that environment before something irreversible happened ... But Martin knew all too well that hasty decisions were the best bricks on the road to perdition. And then, there was still time for to place them. For now ... "Roger," said Martin, walking toward him with held-out hand. The other shook. His breath smelled of several drinks, but he was still sober. Martin had the dubious privilege of experiencing the many states of drunkenness throughout his life, thanks to his father.
"Martin, you wanted to see me?"
"Yes. Alcor, you go ahead. So, Roger,” he said just as the cat disappeared from view. "I have a favor to ask, and a proposal to make."
"A favor? The Richest Man in Babylon Gardens since the old Milton is asking me a favor? Look, at most I can sell you my soul, I don’t have much else."
"Nothing like that. Could Sasha sleep here tonight, or whenever she requested it? You know, sleepovers with pillows, ice cream and lots of TV and stuff-"
"Yes, yes, is that all?" said George with a bored wave of his hand. "You know you don’t owe me explanations, take it easy, chief. And the proposal you mentioned?" Most likely, that ‘favor’ would be forgotten within a couple of day, you could see where his mind was...at the supermarket, in front of the drink displays.
Martin Foster drew a breath. Ok, here goes... "You know in a month I officially start the new management of the shelter. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be meeting with the consultants for the renovations. I'm talking about a complete 360°, done quickly and well, like this place. I need qualified people, and you're qualified, Roger.” He put his hand on the other’s shoulder. “Good pay and full compliance with union rules to the last paragraph, and there will be a lot of work. Give me some nice overtime and you can set yourself for some time, while I develop some other gig for the furry residents of the Gardens. What do you say?”
Roger's eyes lit up. "I say ... Dude, what planet did you come from?"
"Do I take that as a yes?"
Roger held out his hand as if he just gave a karate chop. "I'm all yours! You could not choose better, I'll rebuild that lager from its foundations with my hands... What's this?” He said, puzzled about the business card that Martin had left him in the hand. Curiosity became suspicion, when he saw the unmistakable symbol of Alcoholics Anonymous. "Is this some kind of joke?"
"It's your passport to the job, Roger. I will do everything according to law and the law does not allow me to give this job to an alcoholic, unless he can prove to be rehabilitated. And these people is the best you can get, instead of some quack who only wants your money. Can I ask you something? "
"Shoot." Roger was staring at the ticket as if it were a snake about to bite him.
"Do you care for Sasha?"
The man blinked his eyes several times. "Sasha? What’s with her? "
"You see, I love animals. I am going to rebuild a shelter to give the abandoned a dignified life to live, if possible, and I would not like to see that sweet creature walk through my doors ... or worse." Here a flash of rage must have shown in his brown eyes, because Roger, who was ready for a ‘mind-your-own-business’ tirade, seemed suddenly to deflate.
Sasha’s owner sat down again. He was pale. "I love her like my life, chief, believe me. Really. God, I think that a wife couldn’t be more devoted than that hairball, while at times, I…I…”
Martin sighed. "Believe me, I know. Life’s given you a good kick in the teeth, it’s a difficult moment, but what I really would like to know is if you're ready to get back on track for good. For you two. You both deserve better than a can of Guinness and senseless outbursts. "
Roger nodded weakly. He looked at the card. "If I start this program ..?"
"I’ll sign your contract on the spot. Coffee included in the package, you will have a lot to do. But remember: although technically there is privacy and all that stuff there, I’ll be following your progress like a shadow. Got it?
Roger stood up. He put the ticket in his pocket and held out his hand. "You will not regret it."
"For Sasha?"
"For Sasha. You are awesom, mister. "
Martin chuckled. "Can’t be helped, being God ain’t easy. Now excuse me, there is a concert that awaits us. "
"What did you say the band’s name was?"
"Project ReFur. Cool stuff. The first part will be only for the animals, then us apes can join in."
---
20:57 hours

Nearly twelve hours since the start of the grand housewarming party. Music was set to accompany the last three hours.
The excitement still reigned supreme, despite a day that had been anything but boring. For a long time to come, many would remember the many events, large and small, that occurred on that property, not the least of which was the transformation of the paranoid and insecure dog, Tiger, into a tiger by all means.
But something else was about to be remembered for good...
The curtain rose to reveal the stage. Martin was at microphone, front and center, holding a wooden acoustic guitar. A cone of shadow enveloped the musicians, whose familiar silhouettes, however, were immediately recognized and greeted with a salvo of applause.
”Welcome, beloved guests, to this conclusive event!” The man’s voice rang out loud and clear through the speakers. The lights were reduced to a minimum. ”As the band is getting ready, please be kind enough to thank those who are ready to warm you up!” Another round of applause, accompanied by excited barking and meowing. ”Meaning my humble self, and the two maestros of your most memorable moonlit evenings in so many dances: Fiddler and Keys!
The lights fully lit up the two cats that traditionally accompanied the soundtrack of the Yarn Ball and other feline celebrations in Babylon Gardens. The white Fiddler, holding her namesake violin and, and the black Keys, standing with his trusty black-lacquered keyboard, bowed a few times in perfect sync, with great solemnity.
Martin pointed to a male German Shepherd at the drums. ”And with the help of the percussion, courtesy of the stalwart Sergeant Ralph, we invite you to this inauguration of our concert! Come on, and one and two and…” Martin pinched the guitar, Fiddler placed the bow on the violin strings, and Keys followed while Ralph gently touched the cymbals. Starting slow, then at an increasing pace until the drums became a short burst to which followed the now frantic violin in the song Rock On.
The cats seemed to explode with all their pent-up inner energies. The dogs became frantic as puppies.
Max found himself in front of Grape, and attacked her with the frenetic pace without her having anything to object. Peanut found himself involved in a sort of square dance with Joey and Ivan.
The voice of Martin produced a beautiful warm and hoarse tone for the occasion.

When you’re rockin ‘to the sound / Of the old star-rock’n’roll
And you’re rockin ‘to the rhythm of body and soul ...


Grape felt as if she was really dancing right up to the sky. Max seemed to be unleashed as never before, there was a wild light in his eyes, as if he was in a race to set the pace for all the dancers. From time to time, the lavender-furred cat would look at Peanut, who in turn was ecstatic to release all of his tension by wildly dancing along with the wolf cubs, who in turn were struggling to keep up with him. The dog’s enthusiasm was so contagious that the cat multiplied her efforts to keep pace with Max. Theoretically, that was supposed to be a sort of square dance, but Martin was not joking when he said that it was also supposed to warm up everyone. The only rhythm the pets of Babylon Gardens were obeying was that of their joie de vivre. Grape and Peanut didn’t feel the slightest bit out of place among them...
Then the music ended. It was a surprise, although the pace had been well managed to reach a conclusion far from abrupt, with a pinch of guitar and keyboards, and the violin producing a last series of languid lines, closed by the battery.
Martin again spoke into the microphone. ”Not bad as appetizer, ain’t it?” And when a collective roar united the Gardens’ various species in their approval, the man again indicated to each member of the supporting band. They each gave a final bow and left the stage. There were choirs of protests, whistles and raspberries to that decision.
Then the protests fell silent, as clouds of artificial smoke filled the stage, obscuring the whole thing.
They heard the footsteps of the band as they took their place. Martin, now without the guitar, was a figure almost indistinct in the smoke. ”The time has come,” he said a deep voice, full of mystery. The speakers gave an almost mystical echo his words. ”We welcome you to a land of magic, dreams, music…” behind him, the first notes of the attack started playing. An electric organ dispensed harmonies along with an electric guitar and drums played as a powerful heartbeat, yet all still very muffled, to allow time for Martin to finish the presentation. ”... Where your senses will be assaulted, where your conscience will be attacked, where your heart will be put to the test on the path to your deepest feelings. This is the night of courage, here... in Avantasia!”
And the light EXPLODED. There was no other word to describe it. The smoke dissipated in the wind, the stage was a triumph of color, while the music broke the night like a living thing, making those presents’ blood boil with raw enthusiasm. The first refrain became an avalanche, assaulting the senses as Martin had promised.
All eyes were on the band, with Alcor standing behind a powerful Yamaha keyboard, Antares grinding notes on his bass along with Mizar on her electric guitar – and to that sweet vision, the neighborhood’s boys went into ecstasy at the very least – and Aldebaran was pounding the drums with a combination of power and grace

Watching from their field, the humans were nothing short of stunned. One of them, who was holding a Coke, had dropped it from their hand, while another unknowingly crushed his pretzels.
Judging by the opening and the ‘supporting band’ of a little ago, you would have thought it was going to be just a ‘lively’ evening concert played with some glorified toy instruments... But epic metal, perfectly played in a professional way, that wasn’t expected at all!
Earl’s beard almost grayed considerably. Behind him, Bill, suddenly became sober. “Dude, that is officially out of this universe. If he were a woman, I’d marry him.”

But among the canine and feline public, there were two eyes that were staring at two of the artists, who almost disappeared in the game of lights, standing still as they were: Tarot and Sabrina. The Pomeranian was standing solemnly in front of Martin’s microphone, watching the audience like a figurehead. Her eyes were so… green..? Green as the ball of light that shone between her paws, and surrounding her face in a surreal light.
But Fido’s attention was actually more focused towards Sabrina. The cat, alongside Martin, had gathered as if in prayer, hands clasped tightly on her chest. The concentrated look on her face looked almost ethereal, tail raised in a question mark. She remained as motionless as Tarot as Martin started singing,

Open my eyes and see my wounded bleeding hands
Feeling the pain too hard to stand, to stand
Caught in the ‘here and now’
While they are on the way
Hiding imagination, leading us astray


Grape shot a look at Peanut. She felt sure that those words were addressed to her, seeing him she was positive it was the same for him. The other spectators were captivated as music lovers could be, but Grape knew that this song was for the two of them...
In fact, Martin practically watched them, as he continued,

Use your mind!
You will leave the flesh dimensions behind
Sanity can be the toll
Leading to the core of your soul


Then the chorus started. The crowd roared in unison, while on stage Sabrina suddenly raised up her arms as if to release the energies obtained by the prayer. An emerald light wind blew her fur as if it were a black fire, her tail moved like a dark dragon, giving the cat the appearance of a true messenger of some ancient divinity. Her voice erupted, as powerful as ever, vocals harmonious and fierce along with the band.

We are the power inside, we bring you fantasy
We are the kingdom of light and dreams, gnosis and life: Avantasia!
We are the power inside, we bring you fantasy
We are the kingdom of light and dreams, gnosis and life: Avantasia!


Image

The ball of light in the hands of Tarot became a small sun. It then exploded, and its fragments were transformed into comet trails, touching all the participating animals, making their bodies shine.
For the first time since she had met Tarot, Grape believed in magic. She believed every word that ‘strange’ Pomeranian had ever spoken. She thought now more than ever that Peanut was not just her ‘boyfriend’, but a thread itself of the same fabric of her fate.
And she saw those very same thoughts in the eyes of Peanut Butter.
To others, it was a spectacular concert.
For the two of them, it was a night of magic.

Walking along the icy gallery of pain
Tell me now: What can keep the flame alive?
Lack of imagination raising up the tower
Where they hold our souls to take away the power


Could The words describe the mood of Grape?
For all that time, she had thought of Peanut – Her Peanut – as a sweet and generous dog, never really seeing beyond what was in his wonderful heart. Never seeing the inner strength that could make his cat shine.
She had been mistreated by life, albeit briefly, and her flame had been smothered. Peanut had done everything possible to turn it on again, and now she was using it to burn the foundations of her tower of misery.

Tarot watched the two creatures. It was almost done, she thought, pleased. Their souls were shining, their mutual awareness was reaching its peak...
Sabrina sang, and her voice wove the spells that gave Tarot the force to call the benign spirits to herself. The musicians gave their best, they would put their very heart and soul into it. Fate had brought Martin Foster, a man open to the ways of the otherworld, to at once weave his path with that of Grape, then to grant her the chance to weld her relationship with Peanut, with the complicity and the magic of music that sprang from the soul itself.
For the first time since she had begun to explore the otherworld, Tarot had the strength, no, the determination to actively command the spirits, so that they would protect Peanut and Grape from the wicked presences surrounding the Foster’s property.
This is not your night, o lost souls, commanded the dog, more focused than ever. This is not your time. Let the lights of the living shine, their thoughts untainted by your grudge!

“I don’t know what kind of ‘magic’ the babes are doing, but I just feel like I’m on fire..!” Grinned Antares, his fingers seemingly moving of their own will on the strings of his instrument.
“You said it, brother!” Aldebaran seemed determined to smash in the battery. “Hard at it?”
“Once more with feeling, brother!”
and they joined in the repetition of the chorus, while their collars took on a shine like small stars.

We are the power inside, we bring you fantasy
We are the kingdom of light and dreams, gnosis and life: Avantasia!
We are the power inside, we bring you fantasy
We are the kingdom of light and dreams, gnosis and life: Avantasia!


Five times they repeated, in the general ecstasy, before the ethereal lights gathered in a single star which then disappeared in a last, powerful glow that filled the sky above Babylon Gardens. The animals were beside themselves. They had found they’d danced closely, embraced, rejoiced without restriction of species. And though only now they were realizing it, that didn’t change anything. They were all happy.

From a corner among the trees, protected by shadows, the little man in beige and bowler hat known as ‘Pete’ admired the exhibition, satisfied.
Yes, he had to admit it. The two lady whelps deserved respect, for this evening. A truce would not hurt anyone...

The musicians bowed several times, with the animals crowded around the stage.
Sabrina and Tarot left the scene, again with great disappointment from the spectators. “Let our beautiful ladies rest,” Martin was panting with a larger than usual smile on his face. After this evening, if Tarot had asked him again, he would have done her any other favors! “It’s their first time on a stage like this, after all. In a minute, we will have fresh and cool choir singers to give you a little toast for romance!” He winked at Peanut, and then talked to the band with the volume off.
Peanut felt his heart in his throat. It was actually going to happen! Just a minute, just a minute more, he thought frantically, while, walking up on stage, welcomed by a salvo of applause, came the three Milton Wolves. Miles’ brother, Daryl, wearing his ever-present baseball cap, yellow as his eyes.
Peanut hardly noticed the voice of Tarot. “Are you ready?”
He nodded frantically, remembering a moment later to turn toward her. “Tarot, I... thank you!” And not knowing what else to say, he embraced her with full force. “Thankyouthankyouthankyou...” he was about to cry, due to all the emotions that were piling up in him.
Tarot broke the embrace. “We all thank you, brave creature. It was an honor to know you and be your friend.” She stroked his cheek. “Now go. Sorry if I don’t stay, but I need rest... The spirits can be so stubborn sometimes...” she chuckled, and then walked away.

“Sabrina...” Grape said, approaching the cat. The angel of black fire had disappeared, and the usual calm and reserved kitty had returned. “You were...”
“Grape,” she interrupted her. “I will accept your praise to me that I was fantastic only if you now do your part.” It was hard to tell if she was pleased or annoyed. Certainly, whatever she did tonight was an exceptional effort, and Grape could see it in her eyes.
Grape felt guilty, because right now Fido couldn’t run to Sabrina to comfort her. Not for a few hours yet, while she was about to do something that for those two friends was still unthinkable...
Peanut came to Grape. He gently took her hand, and she didn’t resist, allowing herself to be driven toward the stage among two wings of a crowd looking curiously at them, while the chorus of wolves in the background started singing Call of the Wild...

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Last edited by valerio on Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:51 am, edited 9 times in total.



Sat Aug 07, 2010 3:32 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Here's the final translated section of chapter 5. Once again, thanks for the story, Valerio.

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EDIT - Section added above

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That's the end of chapter 5 of BoND. Starting on final chapter next week.

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Heh. Look at that... I started an actual Housepets! fan-fic.
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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:17 pm
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
Public Utility Message: Chapter 5 is officially complete, with my thanks to lightwolf for his help :D

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Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:47 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
This is how I like fanfics, long, cant wait for the next update...and why do I get the feeling that Peanut is going to prepose to Grape?

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Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:23 am
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
NickCrotser wrote:
This is how I like fanfics, long, cant wait for the next update...and why do I get the feeling that Peanut is going to prepose to Grape?


i appreciate your appreciation :mrgreen:
hmm, interesting feeling you got there... Stay tuned, my good reader... ;)

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Sun Aug 15, 2010 1:37 pm
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Post Re: Valerio's translated fanfics
First section of chapter 6 is on the next page.

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EDIT - As usual, Valerio is on the ball, and gets it posted quickly :D

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Heh. Look at that... I started an actual Housepets! fan-fic.
viewtopic.php?p=131370#p131370
Also:
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Last edited by lightwolf21 on Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.



Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:01 am
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