One year had passed after the events with Le Paradox and when Fox McCloud had finally located Sly Cooper. Now that Sly has returned things seemed to shift back into gear and go about as they usually did. Sly, Bentley and Murray kept stealing and Carmelita was always on their tails. And Fox was always there to watch over his beloved raccoon. But now the autumn season was in and everyone started to take a break from their usual jobs. Even the workaholic Carmelita took some time off to chill out. Fox had decided that he would use this chance to take Sly out on a romantic date so they could enjoy the calming presence of the colorful, falling leaves. However there was one little problem.
The adventurer pilot had no idea what he would do for their date. He considered asking Bentley or Murray for advice, but they would end up unintentionally telling Sly his plans. Fox then went to ask Panda King but got lost in the firework artist's proverbs and analogies. His next go to anthro was Dimitri but Fox couldn't understand the lounge lizard's hip talk. He tried speaking to Guru but when the koala tried to tap into his mind to explain it just made Fox uncomfortable. Fox even considered asking Falco, Slippy or ROB for advice but stopped himself short. After all he wasn't that desperate.
So that left only one other person. The no nonsense, hard working, honest cop Carmelita Montoya Fox. The space anthro called Carmelita and asked if she would be willing to assist, and she replied with a yes. After getting directions to the Latin vixen's apartment complex Fox went to the middle class side of Paris and rung the doorbell of apartment 501. It wasn't long before the door opened and revealed a casual looking Carmelita wearing grey sweatpants, pink bunny slippers and a white shirt.
“Hey there, Fox. Hope you didn't have a hard time finding your way here.” Carmelita said.
“No, but I almost didn't make it up here. Five older women kept stopping me to ask why I was visiting you.” Fox replied.
“Eh, don't worry about them. They're just a bunch of harmless gossips who feel the need to know about my personal life. They want to pass on their 'wisdom of love' so I can finally land a husband. They always complain about how the only men I let up here are my boss or subordinates.” Carmelita explained.
“Well that would explain why they asked what case were we busting today.” Fox said with a grin.
“Heh, yeah. It seems like I spend more time catching criminals than anything else. I used to be out so much I considered renting out my apartment. But anyway come on in.” Carmelita said and moved aside so that Fox could walk in.
When the adventurer pilot walked inside he took note of the humble, yet nicely decorated space that was Carmelita's apartment. It wasn't some luxurious penthouse but it was elegantly quaint. Its the kind of apartment that brought out a sense of comfort. The Latin vixen led Fox to a pair of chairs for a seat and gave him a cup of fresh coffee.
“I hope that I'm not taking you away from your vacation.” Fox said.
“Don't worry, you're not taking me away from anything I can't get back to later. So, you want advice on where you can take Sly for a date.” Carmelita said rather than asked.
“Yeah. I know that I want to do something special for him, but I don't quite know what I could do.” Fox said.
“Well, as I'm sure you've noticed Sly isn't really all that hard to impress even though he's got expensive tastes in what he steals. Don't plan anything too fancy or overly romantic. Sly doesn't like being put on a high pedestal.” Carmelita explained.
“Alright, well that narrows it down some. But I don't want to do anything too simple either. It has to be something in between...” Fox trailed off thoughtfully.
Carmelita gave a 'hmm' as she pondered on this, twirling her braid in thought. Her eyes wandered around the room until they landed on the newspaper on the coffee table. It seemed in that instant Carmelita got an idea and she picked up the paper, then flicked to the center of it. Fox looked at her questioningly and observed the cop's face as she grinned.
“I think I found a date for you and Ring Tail, Fox.” Carmelita said.
“What is it?” Fox asked.
Instead of answering Carmelita sat the paper down on the table, and turned it before Fox. The adventurer pilot leaned forward and read the featured article. In bold letters it read “Changing Leaves Festival in 2 Days! Please Attend!”.
“Its the Changing Leaves Festival, it happens every autumn in Paris. They have all sorts of activities like games, karaoke and bobbing for apples. They even have a rollercoaster there too.” Carmelita explained. Fox picked up the paper and looked it over with great interest.
“Carmelita, this is perfect! Sly would definitely enjoy this festival and its the right setting for what I have in mind.” The adventurer pilot said with a bright smile. Carmelita smiled back then stood up and went to a dresser by the TV and opened a drawer, looking for something.
“Yep. And as it so happens, I actually have two tickets for it. A neighbor gave them to me as thanks for busting a noisy poker game here, but I was just planning to have a quiet weekend. I'd hate to see these tickets go to waste so I think you should have them.” Carmelita explained as she took out the tickets and handed them to Fox.
“I can't begin to thank you enough. How can I repay you?” Fox asked and gratefully took the tickets. The cop seemed to consider this for a moment before answering.
“When you get downstairs tell those busy bodies below that you brought me a message explaining how my husband died in a car crash. Then they'll make me all those goodies they never share out of sympathy.” Carmelita said with a grin making Fox laugh.
“I don't think I want to be apart of such manipulation. How about I get you a pond of gourmet coffee from my home planet?” Fox asked. Carmelita hummed in thought before nodding.
“Deal.” Carmelita said and the two shook hands.
After sealing the deal with the cop Fox left the apartment complex and went to Sly's home/hideout. He knew that when Sly relaxes he tends to stay at home. Bentley and Murray agreed to stay out on 'errands' until Fox asked Sly out so that he'd feel less pressure. Fox walked up to the door and knocked firmly on it. He heard the soft thumping of footsteps coming to the door before they came to a stop.
“What's the password?” Sly asked.
In order to keep the hideout hidden Sly and the group had daily passwords. Each one was more different and unique than the last. Sometimes they were random words, other times they were based on certain things. It was also a way to tell apart Carmelita's little tip off street urchin kids from the Cooper Gang's tip off street urchin kids. Luckily Fox happened to know today's password.
“Autumn breeze.” Fox said.
After five seconds the space anthro heard the locks on the door unlatch and it opened up to reveal Sly wearing a comfortable green button up shirt. What Fox liked the most about this shirt was that it was short enough to show off Sly's mile long legs. At seeing his lover the raccoon smiled brightly.
“Fox, hi. I was just about to sit down for my favorite movie and some hot chocolate. Want to join me?” Sly asked.
“Of course, but I also came to ask you something.” Fox said as he let himself in and Sly closed the door.
“Oh really? And what was that?” Sly asked as he walked towards the couch to sit down.
“Well, I figured that since fall is in and its your vacation time that we should do something special. But I knew that you wouldn't want to do anything too fancy, and with a little help I was able to find something for us to enjoy.” Fox explained.
“What is it?” Sly asked with growing excitement. Fox smiled at the twinkle in those pretty amber eyes and brought out the tickets.
“Two tickets to the Changing Leaves Festival coming in two days.” Fox announced.
For a moment, Sly didn't respond. He only stared at him and Fox was worried that Sly didn't like the idea. But then after another moment the raccoon exclaimed joyfully and tackled Fox with a big kiss. It didn't take a genius to figure out that Sly was happy about the announcement. After a while of making out Fox left the safe house to return to his hotel. Soon after the space anthro's departure Bentley and Murray returned, happy to see Sly so eager for the date. The master thief always seemed to get a pep in his step whenever it involved Fox McCloud.
“This will definitely be a day to remember. I've always wanted to go to the Changing Leaves Festival, but we always have a heist when its about to start.” Sly said eagerly as he searched through his closet for the right outfit.
“We hope you have an awesome time, little buddy.” Murray said.
“Yeah. According to the statistics the Changing Leaves Festival is said to be 20% cooler than most celebrations that occur in Paris.” Bentley said.
“Now those are statistics I can get behind. Say, I forgot to ask, what are you guys going to do for your vacation?” Sly asked.
“I've been booked as a guest judge for the racing circuit competition happening in the USA.” Murray said with a proud smile.
“And I'll be going with him to provide a technological view on the race cars. I don't normally care for car racing but those machines are too beautiful to stay away from. Plus its a great chance to look under their hoods for inspiration to my engineering.” Bentley said.
“Sounds exciting, and right up your alley. I hope you guys have a great time.” Sly said with a smile.
“We will. But....” Murray trailed off, a frown now on his face.
“But what? What's the matter?” Sly asked.
“We don't want to leave without anyone to help you prepare for your date, and what's more leave the hideout unattended. We need a housekeeper here that we can trust to watch the place who can also provide you with fashion forward input.” Bentley explained.
“You got a point there....” Sly trailed off as he stroked his chin in thought, then stopped and grinned. “What if we got more than one housekeeper here? In particular, certain fellows of my species that we all know and trust.”
“Wait, are you talking about your ancestors?” Bentley asked.
“That's right. But not all of them, of course. Just Sir Galleth, Rioichi, Tennessee and Salim.” Sly explained.
“Hey, that's not a bad idea! They're just about the most trusted guys we have. Heck, maybe they could even have a vacation here with us.” Murray suggested.
“Well, I agree that Sly's ancestors are the most trusted people we could turn to...But aren't you concerned about the ripple effect that could happen by bringing in not one but four different ancestors from four different time periods? It could quite possibly cause irreversible damage in the space time continuum!” Bentley stated.
“True, but it didn't happen when I interacted with them and went to their time periods myself. Plus they know I exist in the future already.” Sly said.
“Yeah, Bentley. Shouldn't there be like, evil doppelgangers of us trying to take our places by now?” Murray asked. The turtle seemed to consider this before shrugging.
“Point taken. Alrighty then, lets juice this baby up and bring back the past.” Bentley said and the trio went to the Time Machine room.
It wasn't long before Tennessee, Rioichi, Galleth and Salim were all gathered up in the 21st century. When the Cooper Gang told them that they wanted them to keep watch of their home while they were gone the older generation of Coopers agreed. After Bentley and Murray left Sly brought his ancestors to his room for their opinion on his wardrobe for his date. While Sly was getting snacks the ancestors were conversing. And for Tennessee's part, complaining.
“I still don't see why the boy needs ta get all purdied up for some damn festival. Sides, I hate autumn. Them leaves fall off faster than an overworked farmer's hair line and are harder to get off the floor than a hammered cowpoke at the saloon.” Tennessee said as he lit up a cigarette.
“Honestly, Tennessee-kun, I wish you wouldn't speak so crudely.” Rioichi said with a shake of his head.
“And what's more, dear fellow, this festival day is very important to young Sly. He wishes to have our honest opinion and for saving our time periods and making the Cooper name mean something we owe him that much.” Galleth stated.
“And besides, he has food!” Salim added eagerly.
“Alright, alright. I guess we can sitter 'round here for a spell. Still, I wonder who it is that boy is tryin' ta look so special fer if it ain't Miss Carmelita.” Tennessee said just as Sly walked in with a tray filled with all sorts of goodies and drinks.
“Sorry it took so long. I hope you guys will enjoy this spread.” Sly said and sat down a tray with fruit stuffed crepes, cinnamon buns, kabobs with beef and various vegetables, sauteed shrimp, chocolate chip cookies and iced tea.
“Oh, I think that I will find this 'spread' most satisfactory.” Salim said with a smack of his lips and grabbed a cinnamon bun.
“It all looks very scrumptious, young one! I will thoroughly enjoy your fine looking gruel.” Galleth said and took one of the crepes.
“Arigatougozaimasu.” Rioichi said gratefully and took out a pair of chopsticks in his Gi and went for the shrimp.
“Not too bad for schmancy type food.” Tennessee said and took a kabob.
“Now that you're all fed I want your opinion on an outfit for the Changing Leaves Festival happening in two days.” Sly said.
“If this festival is in two days, why'd ya bring us in now?” Tennessee asked.
“Because I need the extra time to tell you all about the special person who's taking me to the festival.” Sly said, blushing a bit at the thought of Fox.
“Ah, yes. You did speak of this special person. The keeper of your heart's flame that burns with pure desire. Ah, young love.” Galleth said with a sigh.
“Yes. It is rare to find an honest romance that blossoms with the fair beauty of a sakura.” Rioichi said.
“That's something that I can drink to.” Salim said and downed his second helping of food with a glass of tea.
“So who's the lucky person? You said it wasn't Miss Carmelita, and I can't figure out who else it could be.” Tennessee said.
“Well, its actually the man who brought me back to my own time after I got lost in Ancient Egypt.” Sly said as he looked through his shirts.
"What ho? A man?" Galleth spoke up, sounding surprised.
Rioichi let out a hum but smiled nonetheless. "From my homeland, taking a man as a lover is not an uncommon thing," The Tanuki explained. "The samurai, for example, is well known for asking his apprentice their consent to be their significant other. It is considered a bond stronger than that of a samurai and his lord."
Salim just shrugged as he sipped his iced tea, relishing its sweet taste. "I personally don't see what the big fuss is about." He admitted.
Tennessee, on the other hand, wasn't so sure.
"Don't misunderstand, I don't see anythin' wrong with two guys or two gals being together," The Texan raccoon stated. "But we all met Miss Carmelita, and know what she's like. We still have yet to see what this fella Sly is bein' with like."
That got the rest of the ancestors thinking. Other than the gender, it was Fox's personality that they had yet to see. Just what is he like anyway? More importantly...
"So what is the name of thy savior?" Galleth asked.
“Fox McCloud. He's a very kind person, and really sweet. We've known each other for a long time and have been together since then. I was actually surprised he would be interested, considering the age difference.” Sly said, now looking through his shoes.
The words “age difference” was enough to perk their ears up, even Salim was sitting up a bit straighter as he placed his partially empty glass of tea upon the coaster.
"Sly...how much of an age difference are we talkin' about here?" Tennessee asked, trying to sound casual.
Surely, he meant at least one or two years right? ….Right?
"Not much of a difference. He's only thirty one. Oh damn, I just remembered I have to call the others and tell them we'll be on vacation. I'll be right back." Sly said and grabbed his cellphone then went to the other room.
This left enough time for the ancestors of the Cooper Clan to let that fact sink into their heads. 31... Sly was currently 24 in this era. Silence fell densely among them, and the only sound that they all could hear was the constant ticking of the clock. Soon, the silence broke. And Tennessee was the one to break it....in a thousand pieces.
"I OUGHTA SKIN THAT LIL RATTLESNAKE!" Tennessee bellowed, making the knick knacks on the shelf rattle. The shout was enough to make Salim to jump out of his seat as Rioichi and Galleth stared at him in surprise.
"Peace, friend! Peace!" Galleth soothed to him, hoping that their descendant didn't hear Tennessee's outburst.
"Oh there'll be peace, Gal! I'll make that coyote rest in peace! I'm gonna hunt him down like a vulture on dyin' cattle and show that bushwhacker that the little hand is on the two and that my fist is on his face!!" Tennessee stated and whipped out his gun Old Blue, storming to exit the room and hunt a certain vulpine.
"Becalm yourself, Tennessee-kun." Rioichi said as he got up and stopped his fellow Cooper.
"Ta hell with that, Rio! Don't tell me that there ain't a part of you that wants ta skin this cretin!" Tennessee shouted.
"We should remember that Sly-kun is twenty four." Rioichi said while placing an emphasis on Sly's age as he stared Tennessee in the eye. "Sly is an adult, and we each have seen him hold his own against adversaries that would do anything to destroy our clan."
"Aye, I agree with our shadowy comrade here." Galleth spoke up, dramatically as always.
“And besides, its not as if they would engage in anything obscene.” Salim said and as he reached for the bowl of mints on Sly's dresser he accidentally hit the remote control which turned on the TV, and it tuned in to a commercial about the Changing Leaves Festival.
"Hello, everyone! Paris Life Television is here to present you with a small briefing on the Changing Leaves Festival coming up in two days." The news woman, a cat, explained to the screen.
"Dear Lord! A poor maiden is trapped in that box!" Galleth exclaimed dramatically.
"Relax, Gal, it's just one of those new fangled tekkies that Bentley was talkin' about." Tennessee drawled out, twirling Old Blue a bit. Salim stared at the television in wonder.
“Do you think she can see us?" Salim asked, waving his hand over the screen.
“I do not believe so.” Rioichi said in uncertainty, cocking his head to the side in confusion.
“This year's festival will be twice as eventful as last year's. And to add to the the warm feelings the pleasant chill and colorful leaves bring, the festival has taken on a lover's theme!” The news woman announced.
“Lover's theme?” Tennessee asked in confusion.
“Much of the rides and activities will be made for people who have a significant other in their lives. From ice skating rinks, to dance halls and the ever classic Tunnel of Love. We also have a new ferris wheel that stops at the top for fifteen minutes, giving you lovers a chance to cuddle and coo. All that and more awaits you at the Changing Leaves Festival!” The femme feline exclaimed brightly.
And then the commercial went off. This left the ancestors in a new session of silence. But this time it was Sir Galleth who destroyed the quiet.
"SLY MUST NOT FALL INTO TEMPTATION!!!" Galleth bellowed.
"That's what I've been tryin to tell ya'll, ya walkin' tin can!" Tennessee shouted in exasperation.
"A flower must be preserved before being plucked." Rioichi spoke in a mysterious manner as he held up a kunai.
“In my country, a man would be tied down over a bed scorpions for such indecent behavior!” Salim stated angrily.
“First thing we gotta do is tell Sly that he ain't goin' no where with that rattlesnake. Then we find said rattlesnake and break his neck.” Tennessee said.
“Agreed! Forsooth, we shall smite this predatory suitor before his honey and lies take away our descendant's virtue!” Galleth exclaimed and unsheathed his blade, pointing it high in the air.
“But how will we properly explain this to Sly-kun? It seemed that he was very much set on attending the festival with this McCloud fellow.” Rioichi pointed.
“We'll just tell the boy the stone cold truth. And if he throws a fit we'll show him there are other cattle on the range. Preferably ones his age.” Tennessee said.
Suddenly, the sound of Sly's footsteps were heard coming down the hall to his room.
“What ho, I believe that is the young raccoon now.” Galleth said.
“Remember we're tellin' him the truth, the whole truth and nothin' but the truth.” Tennessee stated to his fellow Coopers who nodded in agreement. Sly walked into the room and smiled at his ancestors.
“Sorry about that, it took a little longer explaining it to Dimitri. Mostly because I couldn't understand what he was saying. Anywho, I want to start telling you guys about Fox.” Sly said as he went through his closet.
“Eh, actually Sly we wanted to talk about this Fox character too...” Tennessee started to say but Sly cut him off.
“He's a really amazing person. I didn't think I'd ever meet someone like him.” Sly said with a happy smile.
“That is nice, Sly-kun, but we must tell you...” Rioichi tried to say but was cut off as well.
“You know, we've been together for exactly five years. I can't believe how long its been because it seems like we've been together since yesterday. I guess romance makes time fly.” Sly said.
At the mention of the five years, the ancestors looked at each other in surprise. That's quite a long time to be together for a May/December romance. Well, it wasn't such a romance technically but still. And the way Sly spoke, he sure sounded very happy and not like he was being taken advantage of. However they had to act in Sly's best interests and forewarn him.
“Young Sly, please listen. We do not think that this McCloud fellow is...” Galleth tried to speak but his efforts were all in vain.
“I've never felt like this about anyone before, even with Carmelita. I think I can honestly see myself being with Fox for a long time.” The youngest raccoon said.
Again the ancestors exchanged a look of surprise. The way Sly spoke of Fox, it was so adamant. So passionate. So....No! They couldn't let Sly further delude himself like this!
“Sly, the way you think you feel for this Fox person...” Salim started but Sly interrupted him as well.
“I don't think, Salim, I know. For the first time in my whole life I can honestly say that I'm in love.” Sly said dreamily.
And that was the final nail in the coffin. Those three simple yet powerful words; I'm in love. Sly outright said that he was in love with Fox. And by the look in his eyes he was very serious. And no convincing would change his mind. After a grabbing his chosen outfit Sly turned to his ancestors.
“Sorry guys, I kept cutting you off. I couldn't stop gushing about Fox. So what were you going to say?” Sly asked. The ancestors looked at each other in concern, wondering if they should say anything now. Sly looked so happy and they didn't want to ruin it.
“Well, we were gonna say something about Fox...” Tennessee started. “What about him?” Sly asked.
“We were going to say....” Galleth tried to finish but couldn't.
“Yeah?” Sly urged.
“We were going...To say....” Rioichi struggled to say before Salim cut him off.
“Have a wonderful time with Mr. McCloud.” Salim said with a somewhat forced smile. Sly smiled at this and hugged his Arabian ancestor.
“Thank you, Salim. And I'm so glad that you all approve.” Sly said and hugged his other three ancestors.
“Oh yeah, 'course Son...We totally approve.” Tennessee said with an awkward chuckle.
“Well, I should probably see how this outfit looks for the date. So if you guys don't mind...” Sly trailed off hintingly.
“Ah yes, we shall give thee privacy to make your romantic preparations. Do enjoy yourself at the festival, young Sly.” Galleth said and walked out of the room along with the other ancestors.
Once Sly closed the door and the ancestors got into the living room Tennessee looked at his fellow Coopers with a glare.
“What in tarnation was that back there? I thought we were gonna tell the boy the truth, the whole truth, and nothin' BUT the truth!” Tennessee stated.
“Do not blame us! Sly has a way of being persuasive with his words, even when he isn't trying! It is the way of all Coopers, and it did not skip his generation.” Salim said.
“Aye, Sir Salim is quite right. What's more Sly's tender words describing his love for this Fox McCloud touched my soul ever so deeply. How can I, a man who lives on emotion, possibly tell him to go against his heart? How I ask thee, sir, how?” Galleth asked dramatically.
“What's more, you were not forth coming with the truth yourself, Tennessee-kun. You said that we all approved of Sly's relationship.” Rioichi pointed out. At this Tennessee tipped his hat low in a sign of expressing shame.
“Yeah, there's that too....Well, I guess its clear as a badger in hen house that Sly is head over boot spurs for this Fox fella. And he sounds like a reasonably okay person, but we still don't know him personally. And because of that, there's only one way we can make sure that he's worthy of being with our little Sly.” Tennessee explained.
“Test his durability by shooting him out of a catapult while strapped to a large rock?” Galleth asked immediately.
“Test his knowledge of the 1000 Tales of Scheherazade?” Salim asked afterwards.
“No, ya pair'a ninnies! We spy on 'em at that festival and make sure that this Fox fella ain't pushing ta fill up Sly's mineshaft with his shovel, if ya know what I mean.” Tennessee said.
“Actually...I do not believe I quite understand.” Rioichi admitted.
“Yes man, you talk all sorts of gobbledegook that one can barely keep up.” Galleth said. At this Tennessee face-palmed himself.
“Fer cryin' out loud...Look, the bottom line is that we watch Sly and this new fox and make sure that he don't try nothin' beyond holding hands!” Tennessee stated.
“Ah.” The other ancestors said simultaneously and exchanged understanding nods.
“Now that we got that settled, here's what we're gonna do...” Tennessee said and gathered up his fellow Coopers and started whispering their plan.
Two days passed by like a flash and found the ancestors casually sitting in the living room, idling with their canes as they waited for Sly to come out and get their opinion on his outfit for the festival. They tried to keep from feeling too anxious to get Sly out of the house so they could follow, but it was rather hard to do. Especially for Galleth. The Englishman raccoon was close to exclaiming their plans rather loudly more than one time, but was stopped at every turn by Rioichi shoving a sashimi in his mouth. Finally Sly stepped into the room decked out in his special outfit.
“Okay, how does this look?” Sly asked. The ancestors looked up at their descendant and took a good look at Sly.
The young Cooper dressed in a simple yet dapper fashion. He wore washed out blue jeans, a dark blue sweater, a white button up shirt underneath it, brown gloves and brown suede shoes. His hair was combed impeccably with his bangs brushed upward and parted. And his tail looked particularly soft and smooth from meticulous grooming.
“You look very attractive, Sly-kun. Like a once young stem that has grown into a fine bamboo stalk.” Rioichi said.
“Yes. Though it is not Arabian silk, it is still very exceptional.” Salim added.
“Thou dos look most stunning, Sly! You will no doubt be the Belle of the Ball. Er, well, I suppose I should say...Chap of the Festival instead.” Galleth said with an awkward laugh.
Sly chuckled then turned to Tennessee with a hopeful, expecting look. “What do you think, Tennessee?” Sly asked. The cowboy looked over Sly then gave a soft smile.
“Ya look like any cowpoke would be luckier than a seven legged rabbit to have you, Sly.” Tennessee said. The young raccoon smiled brightly at this and turned to the door when he heard a knock.
“Hey there, Diamond Rings. I'm here.” Called the voice of Fox McCloud behind the door.
While Sly swooned and smiled at hearing his lover say his nickname the ancestors made stern expressions. Diamond Rings. What a corny nickname, they thought. This McCloud person was clearly not original with sweet nothings. Sly opened the door to let in the vulpine and he walked inside. The ancestors took a good look at the man, first observing his face. He was fairly handsome in an old fashioned sort of way. And his style was an old fashioned one to match. He wore dark blue jeans, a black shirt, a dark brown leather jacket with two black stripes on the upper part of both sleeves and black coloring from the elbows to the wrists, a red ascot, black fingerless gloves, pale green sneakers and a matching beanie. The anthro's style had a serious contrast to Sly's but it was at least neat and not hoodlum like.
“Hello, Vulpecula. I'm sure you know my ancestors.” Sly said as he gestured to each Cooper on the couch.
“Yes, I know them very well. Sly told me all about his adventures with each of you. Its a pleasure to meet you in person.” Fox said, holding his hand out to Tennessee. The cowboy took this as a chance to personally test the older anthro's strength.
“Nice ta meet you too, McCloud. I'm Tennessee Kid Cooper.” The Texan raccoon said as he took Fox's hand in a strong grip. But he wasn't expecting the grip to be returned with as much force.
So, this McCloud fellow was clearly a fighter. And by the look in his eyes he was an experienced one, possibly trained both in life and by professionals. Tennessee mentally placed a green check by the words “Strength Test”.
“And I am Rioichi Cooper. It is an honor to meet you in person.” Rioichi said and bowed before the vulpine.
“A pleasure to meet you, Rioichi. Sly tells me that you're a great sushi chef. I'd love to try it some time.” Fox said with a polite smile.
“I would be humbly honored to share my craft.” Rioichi said.
“Well met, friend. I am Sir Galleth Cooper! Thespian extraordinaire and noble knight!” Galleth exclaimed as he struck a pose, making everyone look at him oddly.
“I see. You're definitely all that Sly told me and more.” Fox said with a chuckle.
“Why thank you, my good man.” Galleth said with a bright smile.
“And I am Salim Al Kupar. It is a pleasure to meet you.” Salim greeted.
“Nice to meet you, Salim. You must be glad to have finally retired.” The space anthro said.
“Oh yes, most glad indeed. No more will I have to deal with snakes and scorpions. Now I can enjoy a nice rest.” Salim said.
“Well we should probably go. The festival starts soon. And guys, if you start up any of the tech around here just call Bentley and he'll explain everything. There's plenty of food too. Don't let Salim it all.” Sly said.
“At least if eaten by me it would not be wasted.” The Arabian Cooper said defensively.
“Do not worry, Sly-kun. We shall watch your fortress with the utmost care.” Rioichi assured.
“Guess we should be off, Diamond Rings. It was nice meeting you all.” Fox said then took Sly's hand in his as the couple left the small house. Rioichi and the others looked out through the window and watched as Fox opened the side of the thing Bentley called a 'car' and let Sly in before getting in the other side and driving away.
“Alrighty, they're gone. Now's all we gotta do is give 'em a few minutes worth of a head start and tail 'em.” Tennessee said.
“But we cannot chase them atop of the rooftops. Sly will most surely notice us and sense our presence.” Rioichi pointed out.
“Indeed. We must think of an alternate method of transportation.” Galleth said.
“We could take the magic mist from my Genie's lamp.” Salim suggested.
“Please, that's no where near inconspicuous. We gotta do something subtle...And I think I know only one way.” Tennessee said in an ominous tone.
“What is it?” Rioichi asked.
“Just follow me, and you'll find out for yerselves.” Tennessee said cryptically as he snuck out of the safe house.
The other Coopers looked at each other in confusion before shrugging and following after Tennessee. The outlaw led them to what Sly called a 'parking lot'. Soon the Cooper ancestors stood before a car parked on the far end of the parking lot. It was a dark green hot rod, and one of the Cooper gangs spare get away vehicles.
“We're gonna borrow this dead metal horse right here and follow those two.” Tennessee said.
“What? Tennessee-kun, I think that the air from this time period has gotten to your mind.” Rioichi said.
“I hardily agree with our shadowy Cooper, my friend. None of us know how to 'drive' this horseless chariot!” Galleth stated, gesturing to the car.
“Indeed. And it seems very unsafe. It has no extra humps like a camel or protective tassels like a flying carpet.” Salim pointed out as he inspected the vehicle.
“Aw, don't be a bunch of sissies. This thang ain't no different than a locomotive. I'm sure we'll get the hang of it in no time.” Tennessee said.
“Perhaps, but in order to hang a monkey requires something with which to hang on. We do not even know how to gain access to this steel shoulder carriage.” The ninja master pointed out.
“Sure we do. Bentley told me where the keys were.” Tennessee said and took out the keys from his pocket.
“Why would Bentley tell you were the keys were?” Salim asked.
“Well, it wasn't exactly him telling me where the keys were so's we could use them specifically.” Tennessee admitted.
“Then what was it specifically?” Rioichi asked.
“It was more like somethin', somethin', 'Don't ever touch these keys'. Somethin', somethin', 'Stay away from 'em'. I don't know, its all one big blur. Anywho, let's get this locomotive in gear!” Tennessee exclaimed and unlocked the doors and the Cooper ancestors all piled in then closed themselves inside the car.
(WARNING: The things you're about to read with the Cooper ancestors after this part are one third funny, two thirds stupid and three thirds dangerous. For your safety as well as the safety of those around you, I would ask you all to NOT IMITATE any of what you're about to read. Especially so if you don't know to drive a car properly. Thank you. ^_^)
“Sir Tennessee, art thou certain you know what it is you're doing?” Galleth asked in concern.
“Course I do, Gal! Ya'll ain't got nothin' ta worry about. Now then, if I remember from what Bentley told me, all's I gotta do is insert this here key into this slot...” Tennessee trailed off as he inserted the key into the car's keyhole. “Then twist it like so...” The outlaw twisted the key until the engine turned on. “And finally, step right on this foot lever.” And with a hard stomp Tennessee stepped on the gas.
The car jerked forward fast and the ancestors all screamed as they swiftly approached a stone wall. Tennessee then harshly stepped on the brakes and made the car violently lurch forward as it came to a screeching halt. The Texan raccoon sighed in relief and turned to his fellow Coopers, who all looked like they saw the light and then some, with an awkward smile.
“See? I told ya'll there ain't nothin' ta worry about.” Tennessee said. None of the ancestors gave a reply until Rioichi noticed the seat belt.
“What is this device?” Rioichi asked.
“Bentley says that's a seat belt. Its supposed ta keep us safe. Though I don't get what's the point in it. I'm perfectly safe on my horse without gettin' strapped down.” Tennessee said.
“With all due respect, Tennessee, if you are the one driving I'd feel safer being strapped down.” Salim said and locked on the seat belt.
“Indeed. I have been shot out of catapults safer than what I just experienced.” Galleth said and followed Salim's lead.
“A ninja fears nothing...But that does not mean that he must ignore the common sense of safety precautions.” Rioichi said and strapped in as well.
“Fine. You all be a bunch of yella bellies and put on yer seat belts. I'm gonna be unchained and free so's I can feel the rush. Before ya know it I'll have this drivin' thing down pat like a bartender learnin' how ta make sarsaparillas on his first day.” Tennessee said and stepped on the gas again and used the wheel to swerve the car out of the parking lot. Though he was having fun, the other ancestors definitely were not.
Meanwhile, unknowing of the trouble following them, Sly and Fox were enjoying the scenic route on the way to the Changing Leaves Festival. Fox drove the car while Sly curled his tail around his, the soft limbs forming the shape of a heart. Suddenly Sly felt a cold chill run down his spine from his Thief Sense, making him wince in pain. Fox noticed this and looked at his lover in concern.
“Are you alright, Sly?” Fox asked.
“Yeah, I'm okay...I just have a strange feeling from my Thief Sense. Like something bad is happening on the road far behind us.” Sly said as he tried his best to describe what he felt.
“Really? I don't see anything happening.” Fox said as he looked in the review mirror. Sly looked back and, when he saw there wasn't anything happening after all, started to relax again.
“Yeah, you're right. My nerves must be playing tricks on me. I guess I needed this vacation more than I thought.” Sly said.
“I think so. And besides, you said your Thief Sense only kicks up like that when something happens that involves a Cooper. And you're not doing anything.” Fox pointed out.
“That's true. I guess I'm just imagining things. And the only other possibility is that my ancestors are the cause, but there's no way that's them.” Sly said.
But little did Sly know that it was indeed his ancestors that were the cause of his Thief Sense activating. And they were also the cause of something bad happening on the road. Or rather, somethings that are bad. With Tennessee at the wheel no proper driver was safe, having to swerve away from the speeding dark green hot rod to avoid an accident. Those who passed by the car either cursed at Tennessee or honked at him. And the outlaw returned their responses in kind.
“Ya'll can honk them damn blow horns all ya want! I was goin' this-away first!” Tennessee shouted to the other drivers, shaking his fist at them.
“The aura upon this stone road is stifling.” Rioichi said and looked up at the tree shaped air freshener and his nose twitched with disdain at the artificial scent. “And this ornament does not smell of pine wood as it reads.”
“The music coming from this grounded steel flying carpet is very odd. Who is this 'Sekksi' that this man is bringing back? She is no one I have ever heard of.” Salim said as he scratched his head beneath his turban in confusion.
“Don't waste yer time tryin' ta make sense of things, Sal! Right now we got ourselves a pair'a love birds ta catch up with!” Tennessee stated as he swerved to avoid a female driver that nearly rammed into him.
Galleth poked his head out of the open window and spoke out to the woman, “You know, it is proper etiquette to announce yourself when approaching young lady!”
“Screw you, old man!” The woman called back making Galleth's mouth drop in shock.
“How uncouth! Such vile words for a lady to speak! Clearly this generation has not been brushing up on proper manners.” Galleth proclaimed.
“The older generation can only teach its wisdom to the new generation. From there, it is up to the new generation to decide whether or not they will use that taught wisdom.” Rioichi spoke, and while to some it would make sense the other Coopers just stared at him oddly.
“Um....Yeah. Well anyways, ya'll let me know when we come up on the festival grounds.” Tennessee said. The raccoons looked out the window for any signs of the festival before Salim pointed something out.
“Wait, there's a sign over there that may be what we're looking for.” Salim said and Tennessee looked up to see a giant sign several feet away that read 'Changing Leaves Festival' in big orange letters.
“That's our mark! Let's get-a goin'!” Tennessee exclaimed.
“But there are other vehicles ahead of us, Tennessee-kun. It will be a while before we make it there.” Rioichi said.
“True, but I wasn't goin' that way. It looks like there's a nice little gap we can use ta take ourselves a shortcut.” The outlaw said, gesturing to line dividing the two lanes.
“Hm...I don't know, Sir Tennessee. I don't believe we're supposed to do such a thing.” Galleth said.
“Eh don't worry about it none. After all, Coopers live fer doin' stuff we ain't supposed to. Now hold on to yer tails, boys! Yeehaw!” Tennessee exclaimed and stomped on the gas then swerved out of the lane he was in and into the other. The Texan raccoon drove past a lot of cars to get towards the building of the festival and soon enough they made it.
“Look there, another of those 'parking lots' Bentley spoke of. I believe that we should place the chariot there before entering.” Galleth said.
“I agree. After all, no one else is driving inside with theirs.” Salim said.
“No problem, partner!” Tennessee stated and swerved into a parking spot then slammed on the brakes, again making the car violently lurch forward as it stopped. The other ancestors grunted and groaned from the force of the parking and placed hands on their fast beating hearts.
“Kami-sama, please let me live to have the joys of a family after this experience...” Rioichi pleaded.
“Yay verily that I survived.” Galleth said with a hard pant.
“I'm getting too old for this.” Salim said. While the Tanuki, Arabian raccoon and thespian were all less than thrilled about their ride Tennessee was rather excited.
“Ho-wee! That was more fun than barrel rolling on a saloon roof! I should drive more often when I come ta visit.” Tennessee said with a smile.
“I don't believe that would be the most wise course of action, Tennessee-kun.” Rioichi said.
“Indeed. The last thing the world needs to experience is your driving.” Galleth said.
“This comin' from the man who uses rocks and catapults as a way ta get around. But anywho, let's get on with our mission. We got a young Cooper and an old McCloud ta spy on.” Tennessee said as he and the rest of the ancestors got out of the car.
The group of four sneaked towards the entrance of the festival, not wanting to alert anyone of their presence. After all if Sly discovered they were here then he would never forgive them. When they got close enough Salim peeked out and saw a burly looking man taking small slips of paper from people coming in to the festival.
“It would seem that those slips of paper are a way to gain access to the festival.” Salim said in a whisper.
“Hm...We have little time to acquire these slips of paper for ourselves if we wish to pursue Sly and Fox.” Rioichi said.
“I say yer right in that remark, Rio...” Tennessee said as he looked around for another means to get into the festival unnoticed. Then he saw strong looking cable holding up the sign above them and grinned. “But I think I found another way in. Lookie up there at that cable. It leads all the way into the festival.”
“Ah, yes. We could leap up and stealthily walk across the cable and over the head of that poorly armored guard.” Galleth said.
“Oi, walking on cables. I hate walking on cables. Why don't you all go that way and I'll get a slip of paper to get inside?” Salim asked.
“Not happenin', Salim. We're all in this together, and we're goin' in the same way.” Tennessee stated.
“Very well then. I'll get a slip of paper to get inside and you all go that way.” The Arabian raccoon said.
“Ah, that's a much better arrangement indeed. Let us be off, my comrades!” Galleth exclaimed and the three other Coopers leaped up to the cable.
“Ha, ha, I can't believe that worked.” Salim said joyfully and clapped his hands but his moment was ended when Rioichi grabbed him with his cane and pulled him up.
“A valiant attempt at ninja deception, Salim-sama. But it was not quite good enough.” Rioichi said as he sat Salim on the cable.
“Aww...Well you can't blame a raccoon for trying.” Salim said as he started walking across the cable with his fellow raccoons.
Meanwhile, for a certain Inspector Fox her weekend wasn't going as planned. Carmelita was minding her own business and enjoying a hot bubble bath when, just as she got out, her business cellphone rang. She answered it and the local police commissioner informed her of calls coming in left and right reporting several near fatal car crashes. Wasting no time and cursing her luck Carmelita got dressed and rushed down to Le Police Headquarters. The minute she got in she was bombarded with phones ringing non stop, possibly more potential victims calling in, and officers running around like scattering roaches with piles of paperwork in hand. Carmelita immediately went up to her office to look over the reports placed on her desk concerning the recent vehicle mayhem. With every report she read it all came down to the same thing, a dark green car was reported driving at a dangerously high speed and swerving in a crazy manner. Counting the driver the car had three to four occupants in it. And though dangerously close any and all crashes weren't fatal and luckily just minor fender benders. But that still doesn't change that this is the most outrageous case of hell on wheels driving that Inspector Carmelita Montoya Fox has ever heard of.
“Is it a blue moon or something? I've never heard of someone going so crazy on the road since the big Metropolitan Bank heist car chase.” Carmelita said to herself as she went through reports, then a knock came at her office door. “Come in.” At the reply a canine officer came inside.
“Inspector Fox, a witness just came in and gave a statement. Seems she has information about the driver and his friends in the car.” The officer said.
“Perfect, I want to nail the ass of that driver to the wall. Any description?” The Latin vixen asked.
“From what the witness said they're four male raccoons, each one dressed up in clothes from different time periods, and they speak rather odd. Probably a bunch of cosplayers from out of town that don't know how to drive.” The canine officer said with a shrug, but he failed to notice the look of shocking realization that started to form on the inspector's face.
“....Raccoons?” Carmelita asked slowly.
“Yeah. The witness said that each one had a different color of fur and different accents.” Explained the officer.
“What did the accents sound like?” Carmelita asked. The canine officer took out the witness' testimony report and scanned through it.
“Let's see...According to witness testimony we got one with an old ye English accent, the second sounded Arabic, the third was Japanese and the fourth was something like out of a bad Spaghetti Western flick.” The officer listed off as he read over the report.
That nailed it for Carmelita. Old ye English, Arabic, Japanese and bad spaghetti Western flick accents...Those could only be the accents of Sly's ancestors! And now they were here in the 21st century driving! Carmelita could feel the color drain from her fur and was sure that she looked like an Arctic Fox right now. The canine officer noticed this and regarded Carmelita's face with worry.
“Inspector, are you okay? You look like you saw the Ghost of Christmas Past.” The officer pointed out. Carmelita shook her head to break out of her shock and grabbed her pistol, car keys and badge.
“Funny you should mention past. Tell the Commissioner I'm going to handle this case personally. Text me the last known headed destination of the drivers!” Carmelita ordered her subordinate as she ran out of her office.
She didn't know if Sly had anything to do with this or not, but one thing Carmelita was certain of was this; Cooper ass will be kicked before this day is over!
Back at the festival, the Cooper ancestors were walking through the festival trying to look for Sly and Fox. They kept to themselves as they walked, not wanting to freak out people by their mannerisms or risk getting confused for Sly and having a civilian call the police. But as they walked through the festival the raccoons could hear people talking about them when they passed by. But it wasn't in an offensive way.
“Hey, are those guys cosplayers?” One patron asked a friend.
“Cos-players?” Rioichi questioned in confusion.
“Dude, those are so authentic! I wonder if they're role-players.” Said another passing patron.
“What ho!? It would seem that this generation has recognized my thespian talents.” Galleth said as he struck a pose.
“Please, amigo. If they recognize you it ain't 'cause of yer acting, its 'cause they know a dramatic loon when they see one.” Tennessee said with a chuckle. Just before Galleth could get in a barb Salim suddenly stopped and pointed.
“I see them!” Salim exclaimed and the rest of the Coopers looked to see a sight that would have been cute any other time, but at this moment it infuriated them.
Sitting on a nearby bench was Sly and Fox. The were were sharing a stick of taffy together and as they slowly chewed on it their lips were getting closer and closer. It seemed like they were about to kiss. But the traditionalist Rioichi would not stand for it.
“In my country, sharing the first kiss is forbidden until marriage.” The Tanuki stated and brandished a stiletto knife before throwing it to sever the chewy candy as soon as Sly and Fox were about to kiss. “Like soft snow settling upon fire.”
But once again, the ninja master's wise words were lost on his fellow Coopers.
“...Gal, what do ya make of that?” Tennessee asked.
“Honestly, I do not know.” The Englishman raccoon said.
“Watashi wa orokamono ni kakoma rete imasu.” Rioichi spoke in his native Japanese with a role of his eyes, which translated to 'I'm surrounded by fools'. Though he didn't understand exactly what the Tanuki said Tennessee somehow knew it was an insult and got right in Rioichi's face.
“I don't know what you just said, ninja boy, but I got a feelin' its the kinda talk that would even get a lady a busted lip down in Texas!” The outlaw stated with a glare.
“From the Land of the Rising Sun, even the most beautiful flower has its thorns. I should know...I was almost killed by a kunoichi.” Rioichi said then glared at Tennessee. “And I would respectfully request that you get out of my personal space.”
"Oh yeah? Well how's about I 'respectfully' add Old Blue to yer personal space?” Tennessee asked, reaching for his gun. In response Rioichi reached for his sword. But luckily Salim managed to stop the potential fight and got between the two, shoving them apart.
“My distinguished Coopers, we must stop fighting each other as if we are the enemy.” Salim said.
“Indeed, Sir Salim is right. We must focus on the task at hand and keep an eye on Sly and Fox.” Galleth said, gesturing over to the bench where the couple sat. Or rather where they were sitting, for the bench is now completely empty.
“THEY'RE GONE!” Tennessee was the first to point out.
“As much as I would like to applaud their stealth, it still doesn't deter from the fact that the Kitsune will reveal his true form by the leaves in the wind.” Rioichi explained.
“Enough with these riddles, man! And focus! We never know if this Fox is a serpent with honey laced venom from his fangs!” Galleth exclaimed dramatically.
All Rioichi could do at that was face-palm himself while Tennessee and Salim shook their heads.
At the same time, Carmelita was at the scene where most of the accidents had occurred. She was helping make sure that none of the victims were too hurt and was taking their statements. Suddenly her cellphone rang and she immediately answered it.
“Inspector Fox.” Carmelita said.
“Inspector, we just got information from a recent call on where that hot rod was headed to.” The officer on the other line said.
“I'm all ears, Officer.” Carmelita said.
“It was headed to the Changing Leaves Festival. The person who called it in was someone who had to stop to keep from hitting the car as it swerved in front of them. Do you think these people are looney bin escapees planning a freaky crime spree or something?” The officer asked.
“I don't think so, Officer. I can't say I have a hunch as to what exactly is going on, but I have a feeling I know the cause of it. I'll keep you posted.” Carmelita said and hung up her phone then jumped into her red sports car and drove off to the Changing Leaves Festival.
As Carmelita drove, she began to try and piece together what the connection could possibly be between Sly's ancestors and the festival. Suddenly a memory in the back of Carmelita's mind appeared as she remembered something from two days ago. She had given Fox tickets to the very same festival! Perhaps Sly brought his ancestors to this era to tell them about it, for whatever reason. While she couldn't figure out the reason the cop had a pretty good idea why the Cooper ancestors would go hell on wheels just to get to the festival. This was a classic with a twist case of overprotective relatives. Now Carmelita had to prevent another crime from happening on top of the vehicular endangerment. And that was the possible crime of murder that may befall Fox McCloud.
Back at the festival, Sly and Fox were going about their business. They were having all sorts of fun from playing target shooting games and ringing the bell. Sly had used his cane rather than the hammer to ring the bell and actually managed to it hard enough to dent the ringer. He won a gold crescent moon shaped charm pendant and gave it to Fox, and the vulpine couldn't stop smiling. The two held hands as they walked through the festival together but one thing kept bugging Sly.
“I still don't know where that blade came from that cut our taffy in half.” The master thief said.
“Perhaps one of the knife throwers let one slip.” Fox suggested.
“Maybe. One of them did look a bit nervous handling them. But anyway, let's head down to the Tunnel of Love for our first ride.” Sly said.
“Oh? Want to get me alone in the dark already, Cooper?” The space anthro asked with a grin making Sly chuckle as he held onto his arm.
“That, and I figured it would be a good idea to work our way up before we hit the rollercoaster.” Sly said.
Unbeknownst to the couple however, the ancestors were trying to eavesdrop on their conversation to find out where they were going.
“I can't hear what they're sayin'. Can you, Gal?” Tennessee asked.
“Mine ears are not as keen as they used to be.” The thespian said.
“They are going to the Tunnel of Love.” Said Rioichi.
“Not now with those fancy...” Tennessee stopped when he turned to look at Rioichi and saw him in a funny costume that looked like a blue winged horse with a rainbow colored mane and some weird mark on both flanks. “What are you wearing?”
“A true ninja must be in disguise in order to gather information.” Rioichi replied.
“Surely though a true ninja could find a better disguise than a blue winged horse with a rainbow colored mane.” Salim said.
“It was the first one I could find. Then I had to hastily flee from people with flashing boxes that called themselves...bro-knees.” The Tanuki explained.
“Bro-knees? What sort of people call themselves such a name? Is it some sort of knighthood?” Galleth asked.
“Whatever! We gotta get to that Mushy Tunnel and make sure that snake keeps his paws to himself!” Tennessee stated and, once Rioichi ditched his costume, the group of four immediately followed after the couple.
Sly and Fox were unaware of what was happening as they got onto one of the wooden boats with red colored painted hearts plastered on the sides, front and back. The boats were then released and the couple set off on their dim lit, romantic water ride. The worker in charge of the ride turned his back for a moment and didn't see the other four raccoons getting into another boat that was one boat behind Sly and Fox. As they sat in the boat the ancestors looked over their new surroundings.
“Hoo-wee. This place is darker than a than a graveyard at the stroke of midnight.” Tennessee said.
“Indeed. Very fitting for a warrior trained to use the darkness.” Rioichi commented.
“I just hope that there are no water snakes.” Salim said a bit fearfully.
“Shh...I does believe that I hear the voices of our descendant and his suitor up ahead.” Galleth said.
The other ancestors listened out for Sly and Fox's voice and sure enough they managed to catch onto a conversation between the two. Using his Thief Sense Tennessee’s eyes were able to 'zoom' in on the couple and he could see them snuggled up real close to each other.
“You know, Sly, this is probably one of our favorite dates for me.” Fox said.
“Oh really? And why's that?” Sly asked.
“Because I get to enjoy my favorite season with my favorite master thief.” The space anthro answered as he curled his tail around Sly's over the back of boat. Sly smiled at this and held his lover's hand.
“Glad to hear I'm your favorite master thief, because you are my favorite fly boy.” Sly said sweetly.
The two lovers gazed deeply into one another's eyes, then closed them as they slowly leaned in for a kiss. From the boat with the ancestors Tennessee slowly pulled out his gun. He wasn't going to really shoot either of them, just a little warning shot to spook them and also to see how Mr. McCloud responds to a quickly changed situation.
“Old Blue, don't fail me now.” Tennessee said as he cocked back his gun and started to pull the trigger, but stopped when Rioichi grabbed his shoulder.
“Matte.” The ninja master said.
“What now, Rio!?” The Texan raccoon asked in an annoyed tone.
“It would seem that this tunnel is about to make something of a downward incline.” Rioichi said and pointed up ahead. The other raccoons looked and saw that up ahead the river becomes a waterfall.
“Why can't they have good ol' fashioned hayrides anymore?” Tennessee asked in a scared tone.
In a flash the boats spiraled downwards at a fast pace once they reached the waterfall. The Cooper ancestors were screaming in terror as they went down the long waterfall. Sly and Fox, however, shouted for joy as the boat went down and the water splashed them. Just as quickly as they went down the boats got onto a steady river and pulled up to the other side of the tunnel, thus ending the ride. The worker at the other end looked at the couple and smiled at seeing their happy expressions.
“Well, you two sure looked like you had fun.” The squirrel anthro lady said.
“We certainly did. Where do you want to go next Sly?” Fox asked.
“Let's go to the haunted house. I want to see if they got any good scares there.” Sly said and lead his boyfriend to the house of horrors attraction. The next boat pulled in, the one with the ancestors, and the squirrel anthro turned to address the other riders.
“Did you all have....Ahh!” The young woman screamed in shock once she got a good look at the group of four. They were all soaking wet and looked like water drowned rats with ringed tails.
“The river wrecks with chaos and darkness.” Rioichi said as he crawled off the boat and onto shore.
“Ugh...let me off this boat!” Tennessee gripped and scrambled to get back to shore then took off his boats and poured out the water that got in them.
“I never knew how strong the currents are in this time.” Salim said as he took off his turban and wringed out the water. As Galleth crawled out of the boat he noticed the young woman and gave a polite bow.
“Greetings, fair maiden! I wonder if you could be so kind as to point out where you might have seen a young raccoon and an older fox go off to?” Galleth asked.
The woman was too stunned to reply and merely pointed down towards the direction of the haunted house.
“Much obliged, ma'am.” Tennessee said as he tipped his hat to the woman and the group of four went off in hot pursuit once again, leaving the stunned squirrel anthro in their wake.
“...I must be putting too many macadamia nuts in my guava smoothies. Makes me see things.” The young woman said as she put up her break sign and left to call in a worker to replace her.
At the front of the festival entrance, Carmelita had just arrived to speak with the witness who reported seeing Rioichi, Salim, Galleth and Tennessee. The man said that he saw them drive to the festival's parking lot, then sneak into the festival without a ticket by climbing on top of a cable and literally going over the ticket master's head. Carmelita thanked the civilian for his time and rushed into the festival. She meant what she said before, Cooper ass will be kicked before this day is over!
Meanwhile, Sly and Fox were walking through the haunted house with the master thief holding onto Fox' arm. It had less to do with Sly being legitimately scared and more to do with being an excuse to have Fox wrap his arms around him. Besides after seeing voodoo bayou ghosts, spirit servants of an evil wolf priestess and mantis Jiangshis spooky parlor tricks hardly startle Sly.
“Ah!” Sly exclaimed in false shock when the holographic image of a ghostly green ghoul floated over his head and he grabbed onto Fox for comfort.
“I don't know why you bother acting scared of this stuff when you're not, other than to make me laugh anyway.” Fox said as he wrapped his arms around Sly's slender waist.
“How else can I get a big, strong soldier's arms around me to protect me from those scary ghosts and demons?” Sly asked coyly.
“Heh, heh. You don't need these things to make me put my arms around you. I'll do it any time you ask. But I'll still protect you from those scary ghosts and demons, Diamond Rings.” Fox said as he held Sly closer. The raccoon gave a content coo and nuzzled his lover's strong chest.
“Thank you, Vulpecula. You're so brave and sweet. Come on, let's get through this house of horrors and go for some cotton candy.” Sly said and the two walked ahead to the exit of the haunted house.
As for our older generations of Cooper Tennessee, Galleth and Salim were a bit more on edge while Rioichi remained calm and stoic. The spooky sound effects put Galleth on high alert, the ghostly projections made Salim jump at every turn and the fake insects that would drop from the ceiling gave Tennessee a heart attack that resulted in him whipping out his gun more than once. But Rioichi was able to stay calm and keep the group together.
“This dark castle is a most dreadful place indeed. Almost reminds me of this bleak castle I broke into once upon a time.” Galleth said as he kept his sword up and out, ready to smite any beast that crossed his path.
“And these spirits remind me of an evil Jinn that once terrorized me after I accidentally ate his sandwich. I hope these are not his brothers seeking vengeance.” Salim said fearfully as he grabbed hold of Tennessee's arm, looking around to keep watch of any ghosts, but was shrugged off by the outlaw.
“Don't be grabbin' on ta me, Salim! I'm already jumpy what with these damn creepy crawlies scattering around like baby chicks.” Tennessee said as a quake of fear when up his spine, not liking the insects and arachnids around here one bit.
“Do not be afraid, my fellow Tanukis. Fear is but a state of mind which we put ourselves in. We must pull ourselves out in order to face the true obstacles before us.” Rioichi said.
“I didn't understand a whole lot of what ya just said, Rio, but I got 'pull ourselves out' and I plan ta pull outta here before I see anymore of them bugs!” Tennessee stated.
“I suppose I should be grateful that you understood that much...” Rioichi muttered. Suddenly a large fake, plush spider was dropped from the ceiling on a string. Tennessee screeched in horror and whipped out his gun to shot the thing.
“Holly mother-a gold!” Tennessee exclaimed in horror as he took a bead on the stuffed creature, but then Rioichi got in the way.
“No, my Western Cooper! This does not call for violence!” Rioichi exclaimed.
“Rioichi, ya'll gotta move it or lose it. I'm sending that thang straight ta hell either way.” Tennessee said. Rioichi groaned and cut the string the plush spider was attached to with his sword then showed it to Tennessee, who shrieked rather girlishly and leaped into Salim's arms.
“Do you not have the common sense with which to notice the obvious? This is but a fake, non-living imitation of a spider.” Rioichi explained, demonstrating this fact by shaking the spider and showing that it was unmoving.
“Really....?” Tennessee asked in surprised and slowly moved his gun to poke the fake arachnid. When it didn't move the outlaw sighed in relief and chuckled awkwardly. “Heheh, well uh...I guess ya'll was right, Rio. Looks like I got all scared fer nothin'.”
“Thou need not fear, Sir Tennessee! For I, Sir Galleth Cooper, am here to protect us. And nothing frightens this noble knight.” Galleth stated as he raised his sword. Suddenly a fake three headed dragon popped out from the floor and roared viciously, making the knight squeal in terror. "Egad! A fire breathing three headed dragon!” The Englishman raccoon exclaimed and leaped into Tennessee's arms which caused a strain on Salim.
“Hey now, one scaredy thief is enough to hold. I am not the young man I used to be and can't perform great physical feats like holding up two people.” Salim stated.
Suddenly the group heard maniacal laughing and the raccoons turned to see two green, ghostly figures with chains on their wrists and beady orange eyes and matching lips. Salim's purple fur suddenly matched the color of his mustache and he leaped nimbly into Rioichi's arms. Though the ninja master was ready enough to catch them, he still didn't like the weight of three anthros twice his weight in his arms.
“Gah! Anata orokamono, anata wa amarini mo omoidesu!” Rioichi stated, which translated as 'You fools, you're too heavy!', as he struggled to keep his balance with the new weight.
“Quit talkin' fancy, Rio, and start runnin'! I've had enough of this damned old spooky place!” Tennessee stated.
“I highly agree with Sir Tennessee! This place is the stuff of legendary tales of fear and I don't wish to be apart of it any longer.” Galleth said.
“I want to live to eat my next meal.” Salim said with a pitiful sob.
“Enough! The three of you are displaying pathetic cowardice for no reason! I will tell you all for the absolute last time, there is nothing to be afraid of.” Rioichi told the three in his arms with the sternest of looks. However the three didn't say anything, in fact, they seemed to be sticking together like rice upon a fillet of salmon as they are staring at him with wide eyes. Rioichi stared at them in confusion. "What are you three looking at?"
Tennessee didn't answer, only pointing at something behind him. Blinking once, Rioichi turned around to see what is behind him. Or rather who. Standing before them was an anthro, probably a black cat or something, that looked feminine and adorned in only a plain white dress. What stood out to him was the way her hair was covering her face. He could have sworn that his heart was beating faster and faster as the mysterious girl walked towards them in a rather disturbing stiff and rigid manner. When she got close to them she lifted up her head. The closest thing that Rioichi could describe was horrifying as he looked into her eyes, which are blacker than the abyss. He didn't know if it was him that screamed, but he knows that what he has read on this...creature was the most horrifying thing that he had ever heard. And it echoed throughout the haunted house.
One of the patrons looked up in confusion at the sound and his date looked up as well.
"What was that?" The man asked and his lady friend shrugged.
"I don't know. Must have been one of the sound effects." The woman said. Suddenly a gush of wind flew past them and they saw a glance of four people running past them.
"Wow. People seem to run faster every year at the haunted house." The man said.
When the ancestors got far enough away they sat down on a bench, trying to calm their fast beating hearts and make sense of the terror they just experienced. Rioichi tried to calm his breathing and regained his focus, he could feel his entire being shaking as his palms were starting to feel clammy. Ninja are never alarmed but in this case Rioichi made an exception.
"What...in tarnation was that!?" Tennessee gasped out. "I have seen ugly women in my time but that...that one's enough to give me nightmares."
"I have never seen such a foul creature." Galleth spoke out in a shaky tone. "She looked as though she was risen out of Hell itself!"
Salim on the other hand seemed to be in prayer, speaking to Allah in his native tongue. Probably asking for forgiveness.
"Onryo..." Rioichi finally spoke up. "That...is an Onryo.”
"...Uh, is that a fancy Japanese dish?" Tennessee asked.
"No, it's a vengeful spirit. It is capable to do harm among the world of the living, in order to exact vengeance it hadn't received when alive. From natural disasters to sickness..." Rioichi covered his face with his hand as if to calm himself. "But most of the time, these kind of spirits were so filled with hatred that even innocent fell prey to them." He tried to calm his breathing as he continued. "I thought that they were a myth until now."
"And people in this century pay to enter the domain of these things? This world has gone to pot!" Galleth proclaimed.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but that scared me enough to make me lose my appetite." Salim said.
"I say we cancel this whole thing, and head back to the safe house!" Tennessee stated.
"But Sir Tennessee, what of Sly and that Fox fellow?" Galleth asked.
"Forget them! I've had enough of this damn festival and this century fer one day. And there ain't nothin' that's gonna happen ta make me change my mind and move my feet anywhere but outta here and into the car." Tennessee stated.
"Not even the sight of Fox and Sly making butterfly kissing gestures while eating a pink, cottony cloud on a stick together?" Salim asked rather specifically.
Tennessee did a double take at Salim's question before turning to see where he was pointing and his body went rigid. There, not five feet away, were Sly and Fox standing over by one of the stands and eating the pink cottony cloud on a stick together. Sly took a rather larger bite and ended up with some of the substance on his lips. Fox chuckled and licked the substance off Sly's lips making the raccoon smile. The two leaned in again and shared a very passionate looking kiss as their tails curled over one another. Tennessee just stood there blankly staring at the couple. Galleth, Salim and Rioichi each stared at him with concern and one of them waved a hand over his face but the Texan raccoon didn't respond.
"Tennessee-kun?" Rioichi spoke up in question.
"Sir Tennessee of Shoot First, Ask Questions Later, art thou well?" Galleth asked.
"I think he's broken." Salim said.
After a good long minute, Tennessee took a drag of his cigarette and blew out a stream of smoke...before putting out said cigarette in the palm his own hand.
"...I'm gonna place a hole between that fox's eyes." The outlaw stated dangerously as he whipped out his gun and marched over to the couple.
Sly felt his Thief Sense kick in again, and this time it was alerting him of approaching danger. He separated from his kiss with Fox to look at where the danger was coming from and when he turned to his left he was shocked to see his ancestor Tennessee Kid Cooper marching towards them.
“Tennessee?” Sly asked in surprise. Fox looked in the same direction as Sly and was just as surprised to see Tennessee as well as the other ancestors right behind him.
“Tennessee? What are you and the others doing here?” The adventurer pilot asked. His initial answer was a gun that looked about fifteen inches long pointed in his face before the anthro holding the gun actually spoke.
“We're here ta make sure ya'll don't try any kinky moves on Sly, and as I've just seen that was a kinky move if ever there was one. Now I'm the last person ta ever listen to the old law 'you do not touch', but when it comes ta family I stand by that law more than anythin'. And back in Texas a sleazy old man like you layin' his hands on a young boy gets you a bullet between the eyes.” Tennessee stated as he cocked his gun back.
Just before Sly could push Fox out of the way or the other ancestors could stop the outlaw a new voice stopped Tennessee from pulling the trigger.
“Freeze, the whole bunch of you!” Shouted a female voice that the Coopers and space anthro knew very well. The men turned to see that Inspector Carmelita Fox had her own weapon raised right at them.
“Carmelita, hey. I take it you're not here to enjoy the festival.” Sly said.
“No I'm not, Ring Tail. I came here because there have been reports of a dark green hot rod with four cosplaying raccoons in it causing all sorts of near accidents on the road. Then they had allegedly snuck into the festival. And by the looks of it the intent was to murder a festival patron. So if you know what's good for you, Kid, drop the gun and reach for the sky or else you'll be barbecued raccoon!” Carmelita ordered.
Sly and Fox looked back and forth between the cop and the ancestors. This looked like an old fashioned cop vs criminal stand down from out of the movies. It seemed like the rest of the patrons thought so too because they started gathering around. Some even still had their concession stand snacks in hand. The tense silence was then broken by Tennessee's laugh.
"Aw, Miss Carmelita, you can't be serious about that.” Tennessee said.
“Oh believe me, Tennessee, she's very serious.” Sly stated.
“You should listen to him. He's been on the receiving end of this shock pistol more than once. And I'm not leaving this festival until I have one or more Coopers in handcuffs.” Carmelita stated. Galleth raised his hands up as a sign of peace and started walking towards the Latin vixen.
“But come now, Lady Carmelita, after all we've been through surely we can find some middle....” Galleth's sentence was cut off when Carmelita shot her pistol and burned the feather atop the thespian's helmet to a crisp, making it crumble into ashes. “....ground.”
Everyone watching gasped in surprise at what just happened while Sly and Fox held onto each other closely and stepped back. They didn't want to get caught in the crosshairs of this impending fight. Tennessee, Rioichi, Galleth and Salim meanwhile where all standing still from shock. Then Tennessee spoke up again.
“Well, I guess there's only one other option a man has when faced off with a woman and a gun.” The outlaw said and took a deep breath, then sprinted off into a run. “TURN AROUND AND RUN LIKE THE DEVIL'S NIPPIN' AT YER HEELS!” Tennessee exclaimed fearfully and soon Salim and Galleth joined him in his run. Rioichi however remained where he stood. In fact he faced Carmelita down and took a fighting stance.
“A ninja master does not run away from battle, even if the opponent is a kunoichi. And I will fight in the name of the Land of the Rising S---un!” The last part of Rioichi's sentence broke apart when the other ancestors came back and pulled him along.
“Enough with your fortune seer sayings! This is the time to run!” Salim exclaimed as he and the other ancestors dragged Rioichi along.
“Baka! Watashi wa kono insutansu o yukō!” Rioichi ordered, which translated as 'Idiots! Let me go this instance', as he was being carried off.
“Come back here, you cowards!” Carmelita ordered as she chased after the ancestors while shooting her pistol.
The festival patrons and even some of the workers then followed after the anthros. It was like being treated to a live action movie and they weren't about to miss it. Sly and Fox though were left stunned at the sight of what was going on. This was definitely a surprise they weren't expecting to occur on their date. They could only hope that the viral videos sure to come from this wouldn't cause harmful ripples in time. Sly must remember to ask Bentley about this when he gets back to the safe house.
“Do you think we should help them?” Fox asked. The master thief hummed in thought as he honestly considered this before answering.
“We should. Can't have my ancestors dying from a shock bullet and essentially killing me.” Sly said and turned back to the sight of Carmelita chasing his ancestors and the crowd chasing all five anthros. Then his face broke out in a grin. “But for now, let them suffer. Perfect way to teach them a lesson and get them back for most likely wrecking my car.”
“Ha, ha! You sure are a devious little thing Sly. That's something this 'sleazy old man' can appreciate.” Fox said, fondling Sly's rear end and tail. The raccoon gave a little giggle and playfully pulled on his ear.
“And this 'young boy' appreciates you. Now, I want to continue with our date. So hurry up and take me on a rollercoaster.” Sly said and took Fox's hand in his then the couple walked in the direction of the rollercoaster, sharing their cotton candy along the way.
After enjoying the rollercoaster and sharing a hot dog milkshake combo together Sly and Fox decided to save the ancestors. Carmelita had managed to blast them in the tail three times each when they intervened. Sly promised the cop that he could never let his ancestors drive again or bring them to the present unless he really had to. He even offered a bit of his quick stash to pay for any damages. Normally Carmelita wouldn't take a bribe like that but to avoid the mountain of paperwork and salvage her vacation time, she agreed this once. After giving a glare to the ancestors Carmelita left to tell her cover story to the Commissioner. Sly and Fox meanwhile went back to the safe house to send Tennessee, Rioichi, Galleth and Salim back to their times. The ancestors apologized, though with Tennessee it took a bit of forcing out, for following the couple and almost ruining their date. Sly and Fox forgave the older Coopers and then sent them back to their time periods.
“You know, Tennessee was right about one thing.” The space anthro pointed out.
“Yeah? What was that?” Sly asked. Fox smirked widely and wrapped his tail around Sly's and pulled him into his arms, holding him tightly.
“I was planning to pull some kinky moves on you, young boy, but I was saving them for after we left the festival.” Fox said.
“You really are a sleazy old man.” Sly said with a seductive smirk and the two shared a passionate kiss followed by a passionate love making session.