Disclaimer: Deliveryman knocks on abandoned looking studio door. "Hey anyone here?! Sorry this package sort of got stuck in the system." Knocks again and 'Mad Grinch Productions' sign Falls off "Opps. Well, Hello? I mean we're only a little late delivering this!" Looks at package with stickers slapped on all over -'Fragile' -'Rush Delivery' -'Handle with Care!' -'Don't you Dare Steal this coffee! This Means YOU!'… "Um… it's only like a year late. Hello? You guys still want it?" deliveryman knocks once more and the door sways inward on a broken hinge to a scene of a deserted looking production area, random equipment in disrepair scattered everywhere… "Um, Hello?" a gust of wind pushes the door open further, rattling around the abandoned facility. "Huh… guess they went under…" Deliveryman starts to turn but there's an odd sound, a sniffing sound. He turns back to the empty facility once more. "Hello? Anyone?" Silence… then that same odd sniffing sound from somewhere else inside, then a groan (a light someone deep inside flickers ominously like some horror zombie apocalypse movie) more groans and moans echo around the space and the flickering light shows something reach up past a desk… something like a desiccated hand -reach- grasping -clawing
"Cooooooofffeeeeeeeeeee…" moans a grating inhuman voice, then more voices join it, first just whispers, then louder, and louder, "Cooooofffee" "Cooffee!" "COFFEE!"
Deliveryman screams, dropping the package and runs away.
Mad Grinch Productions statement: We assume no liability for anything done by Zombies-
Chapter 10 – Sportsmanly Fighting
Vizzini gasped and panted as he continued his way up the almost nonexistent goat trail along the rocky hillside.
Maybe… maybe wearing his fancy court apparel out on this job hadn't been the best of his none-the-less always bright ideas. Though it would have been a shame to leave such a nice and expensive set of clothes that were perfectly suited to his status as a distinguished business mammal back in the inn where he'd rented a room before this job. No, taking the clothes with him (along with all his other belongings, tucked here and there into the pockets he'd sewn inside the fancy puffy jacket) was in all likelihood a good idea; leaving them there would simply have been asking for someone to steal them! Not that he'd exactly 'paid' for the clothes to begin with…
...or his bill for the room before leaving…
...or the wine and food that'd found their ways into his pockets on the way out of the inn's kitchen while avoiding the brute of a bear that owned the inn… (both in the literal and figurative sense…)
Bahh! Not that it mattered. Thieves and scoundrels all in that little podunk town! They deserved everything they got. Mammals didn't call it 'Thief's village' for nothing!
Now if these clothes were just a little less warm and his jacket just a little less heavy and this hill not so blasted high! Vizzini snarled to himself as he panted and looked forward to see if he'd finally made it to the top.
Fezzik, small little brute of a fox that he was, with princess still slung over his shoulder and glaring back at him was chugging along like this was an easy little jaunt and was about to round a rock outcropping at the hilltop.
"Fezzik… *Wheeze*… Fezzik!" Vizzini shouted after taking a moment to breath. "Slow down you overweight lout! *wheeze* I told you to follow me, *wheeze* that means *wheeze* you're supposed to be Behind Me!... *Wheeze*…"
The princess, gagged as she was after all her annoying shouting as they left the castle ruins, rolled her eyes at him in obvious contempt even as the fennec fox stopped and waited for Vizzini, who, huffing and puffing, finally caught up with them in the little boulder strewn meadow at the top of the hill.
"Well, we can't all get royal treatment *wheeze* and be carried around your highness *wheeze…* " Vizzini sneered back at Butterfluff as she lay slung on Fezzik's shoulder.
"mmhmhmhm, mMhhhh mmMmhmh Mmhmm!" Buttercup responded through the gag, narrowing her eyes at the weasel.
"What was that your highness, I couldn't hear you." Vizzini snickered mockingly to his prisoner.
One of Fezzik's larger ears swiveled a bit as the bound bunny let out another series of muffled noises.
"She says to come closer and she'll show you some real Royal treatment," Fezzik said as his large ear twitched, listening to the bunny's short tirade. Then he smirked, as the bunny added something else to the end of her muffled threat.
"Also, the princess says that your short ears must be as bad as your crooked whiskers."
Heat flushed Vizzini's face as his (remaining) crooked whiskers twitched violently, and he spluttered angrily…
"Why you impudent little worthless rabbit!-"
"mhmhmhh, mhh mmmhh, mh Mmhmt," Butterfluffy cut in with another eye roll.
"Bunny, not rabbit, you Dolt," Fezzik said, then pointed his thumb at Butterfluff at Vizzini's outraged look, half at what had been said and half at being interrupted mid rant, turned on him. "That's just what she said." The fennec fox shrugged innocently.
"I Don't care what she said!" Vizzini screeched, "Bunny, Rabbit, it's the same stupid thing!-" he shouted red faced, marching up to them, sticking his finger right in front of Butterfluff's nose. "Especially when you're going to be a dead bunny-rabbit once we make it past the next hill and into Gilder Territory!"
Princess Butterfluff, rather than looking terrified or even cowed, smiled through the gag at the weasel leaning in to shout right into her face. One of her long ears cocked back like a pulled bowstring and-
"AGGGHHH!" Vizzini cried out clutching at his freshly squashed whiskers and stinging muzzle. That stupid rabbit had ear slapped him! Ear Slapped him! "Why You! You..." The impudence! Nobody slapped him! Well… that white vixen who worked at the docks had when he'd drunkenly tried flirting with her back at the inn, (seriously, who knew foxes where so touchy about their tails!? All he'd done was give it a pat), but to be slapped with an Ear?!
Vizzini, slightly off balance and still clutching his muzzle, squinted up at bunny about to lay into her for the shear inconceivable indignity of such an action... and was just in time to see, not one but two long ears cocking back-
Ellaine paused as muffled snickering broke out from the bed where her grandkits sat. Ella had both paws over her mouth trying to stifle the noise while Ridley looked somewhere between sympathetic and amused.
"Really, he should have seen that coming from, like, a mile away!" the young fox kit muttered to himself while rolling his eyes in obvious exasperation. His sister, for her part, nearly fell over as she redoubled her efforts to stifle her snickering.
"Oh? Is that so?" Ellaine asked in an innocently grandmotherly tone as Ella tried, and failed, to regain her composure and nearly rolled off the bed.
Ridley just rolled his eyes at his sister's antics this time.
"Ya, that's like Ella's favorite thing to do when mom and dad aren't looking."
"Do *Snicker* not!"
"Do to!" Ridley smirked, poking at his still laughing sister as she held both paws over her muzzle.
"Do Not! *Snicker*" Ella's ear snapped over, slapping Ridley's paw away even as she continued to snicker and snort.
"See! See! Dooooo To!"
"Hey *Snicker* you poked me *snicker* first!" Ella retorted.
"Kits, settle down." Ellaine said, still using her grandmother voice and hiding her amusement at their antics in hopes of forestalling what she was sure was about to become a sibling poke/slap war.
There was another snicker from one and a replying eye roll from the other before Ridley looked back over at his grandmother while his sister's snickering fit started to subside.
"Really, I thought that was kinda of an obvious thing to beware of about bunnies," Ridley said, "Vizzini completely walked right into that."
"Well… you do know bunnies better than a lot of other mammals," Ellaine replied to her half-fox grandkit with a somewhat entertained grin, looking at his slightly longer than normal fox ears, "Not everyone might be aware of that you should watch out for bunny ears."
"Ya, and knowing still doesn't always help," Ella added, sitting up and having to stifle only a remaining snicker or two, "Mom still gets dad almost every time he tries to sneak up on her and grab her tail!" She burst back out into another set of snickering giggles and this time Ridley joined in with a few snickers of his own too.
"Ohhh?" Ellaine said dragging out the word and letting her eyebrows raised in a shocked manner, "Your father has been doing exactly what now?" she finished, summoning all the affronted grandmother sternness to her voice she could and sniffed. "I thought I taught my son better manners than that!"
Both kits immediately stopped snickering, looking at each other with identical 'opps' expressions.
"I mean, it's not like… like…" Ridley started, trying to backpedal.
"Dad isn't… I mean he's just playing around!" Ella quickly added as Ridley's explanation stumbled.
"Ya… ya!" Ridley pitched back in. "That's just mom and dad teasing each other, it's not like mom actually gets angry when dad does that either!"
"Ya, otherwise Mom wouldn't try to hide her smile or pull those ear smacks and dad definitely wouldn't be grinning so much afterwards," Ella said defensively waving her paws.
"Un-huh" Ridley said, nodding vigorously. "Dad definitely wouldn't be grinning so much if Mom really ear smacked him… or when she chases him afterwards," he added almost as an afterthought.
Ellaine, just raised her eyebrows a bit further, forcing an even more affronted and indignant look of grandmotherly shock on her face as she put a paw over her heart.
"Judith does what now?" she let out a little gasp as if it were too much for her old ears, "Karma save me! And I thought they both were better mannered than that! Tail grabbing! Chasing! What must they have been teaching you two!" Ellaine let her voice go all high and scandalized as the two siblings looked wide eyed at each other as if they'd just inadvertently tattled on their friends.
Ellaine almost lost it and broke down laughing right there and then, what with her grandkits concerned looks of 'Uh-oh! What do we do now?!' on top of the all too easy to believe thoughts of her son trying to sneak up, in a no doubt overly-dramatic and none too subtle manner, to pinch Judy's tail before fleeing with his irate wife right on his tail.
She almost lost it; but managed, just barely, to hold her own laughter down as she continued her own little overly-prim grandmother drama and continued, indignation and sternness mixing with parental promise of punishment.
"Dear me! To think that they would do such things! I will have to have a conversation with Judith and Nicholas when they get back, oh yes I will! And what will Bonnie think when I tell her what our kits have been up to?! She'll be heartbroken with disappointment!" She added in an almost tearfully heartbroken voice as if it was the end of the world even as Ella and Ridley had a silent conversation of frantic gestures and mouthed words back and forth as if trying to figure out how to forestall getting their parents (and themselves) into even more hot water.
"Uh… grandma…" Ridley hesitantly interrupted her as she started to wipe away a pretend tear, "You were reading us a story, right?" he pointed toward the seemingly forgotten book in her lap, with a desperate look of hope as if changing the conversation might save them and make her forget everything. "We'd really like to hear the rest of that story before we have to go to bed." He added in a nearly desperate voice and Ella nodded frantically next to him.
Ellaine turned her amused laugher into a pretend sniff over her supposed disappointment in their parent's behavior before grinning ever so slightly to herself and picked up the book.
Vizzini stumbled backwards, face stinging
Then, even as his paw clutched at his stinging muzzle and freshly re-smashed whiskers on that side, Vizzini tripped over one of the large stones littering ground and tumbled backwards down the hill.
There was a stifled snicker from the fennec fox as the weasel floundered, clutching at his muzzle as he tried to stop his tumble. Butterfluff turned her head, discreetly looking at the distracted fox, her body tensing and ears angling back.
Fezzik's snickering abruptly stopped and he glared warningly at her.
"I like you bunny, but try that on me and I'll bite that ear off!" Fezzik rumbled dangerously, his tone seeming to be a mix of respect and threat as he scowled, his lip lifting to show his sharp canine teeth in an almost smile.
Butterfluff and the fox eyed each other for a moment, before her ear returned to a half cocked position and his smile became a little less toothy.
The small truce was interrupted as Vizzini's cursing became louder as the weasel climbed back up the hill once again.
"That! That! That impertinent insolent little *Wheeze*…"
The weasel stopped mid rant for a second to put his paws on his knees and gasp for air, before straightening back up, red faced and stepping toward her with his paw out and shaking… only to immediately step back as he realized he'd almost stepped within range of her ears again.
"No, don't think you'll catch me off guard like that again!" he shouted pulling out his dagger and waving it threateningly as he inched forward. "Try that trick again and I'll- I'll- HEY!" He waved the dagger even more threateningly right in front of her face as the bunny only stared past him with a shocked expression.
"Pay attention to me when I'm threatening you, you… you stupid bunny!" Vizzini' screeched, face passing tomato-red and heading for rutabaga purple.
"Umm… boss…" Fezzik started to say.
"Don't-interrupt-me-when-I'm-ranting,*wheeze*-you-over-grown-" Vizzini's eyes seeming to almost pop out of his head as he waved the knife around, and Butterfluff involuntarily flinched back as the tip crossed right in front of her nose, even as her attention stayed locked on some spot past the weasel.
"Boss!" Fezzik said over the tantrum weasel and pointed down the path they'd just come up.
With a sigh, the brutish fox reached out, carefully grabbed the ranting, knife waving, weasel by the collar of his puffy coat and lifted, turning him around.
"Boss!" and he pointed down toward the spot that Butterfluff, still slung over his shoulder, was intently staring at.
"-underwiskered…" Vizzini's voice trailed off as he blinked, though his mouth continued to flap for a few seconds before it seemed to catch on that his brain was no longer sending it stuff to say.
The weasel squinted, then reached up and rubbed his eyes before squinting again as if there must have been something wrong with them before. But no, even after rubbing them he could still see the far off shape of some black clothed mammal, that was certainly not his apparently-less-skilled-than-advertised-spaniard-swordsmammal cresting the previous hill and following the nearly non-existent trail towards them.
"In-freaking-conceivable!" he finally blurted out and both the fox and the bunny rolled their eyes.
There was a long moment of silence as Vizzini apparently bent his mind around the latest not-so-inconceivable inconceivable thing to happen to his perfect plan in the last day before once again snapping to a decision.
"Give her to me! Then catch up with us quickly" He shouted turning to his last remaining minion (ehem, 'associate' he reminded himself to call them… at least out loud), then stopped before he could step toward the bunny that had already started cocking back her ear again, even as his minion started to ask a confused question.
"WAIT!" he said rather shrilly, taking a step back before reaching into his coat looking for more rope… only to find that he'd already used up all he had taken from his 'borrowed' boat.
Swearing colorfully under his breath, he pointed to his… 'associate'.
"If she so much as twitches that ear, or for that matter twitches so much as a muscle…" he trailed off threateningly, and Fezzik closed his mouth before sighing and nodding.
Vizzini carefully approached the bunny, knife first, as Fezzik glared warning at her slung over his shoulder as she was. Butterfluff glared back but made no move this time as the weasel, in starts and stops edged around her and sawed through the ropes binding her feet.
Working quickly, and with quite a few nervous glances back at his prisoner still glaring back and forth with the fox, Vizzini re-tied a shorter section of rope from one of her feet to the other with a small gap to hobble her, then taking another section of the rope grabbed her ears.
There was a muffled yelp from Butterfluff at this indignity, but he ignored it, tying her ears down to her back, then tied the last bit of rope to the her bound paws behind her back, keeping the other end in his hands like a leash.
"Okay, lets try this again, and no freaking funny business you over zealous bunny-rabbit!" Vizzini sneered angrily at her, giving her a poke with his knife to emphasize his point.
"Now give her to me, and catch up with us as soon as you can," Vizzini snarled, waving his knife frantically somewhere to the side before returning it to the bunny's back as Fezzik lowered her to the ground.
As soon as her paws touched the ground, Vizzini thought he saw the damned whisker-murdering princesses eyes flicker toward him, as if judging her chances, so he gave a tug on the rope tied to her and poked her in the back again with the knife.
"Un-un, none of that now!" he growled before starting to force around the bend in the trail just as Fezzik spoke up.
"So, what now?" the oversized Fennec fox said, rolling his now unburdened shoulder, and looking toward the prisoner he'd been carrying a moment before.
Vizzini stopped, cheeks reddening furiously again and started to take the knife off the bunny to gesticulate with it again before he stopped, thinking better of that idea. Instead he'd gave a sort of angry headbob toward the direction they'd just come from.
"Finish him! Finish Him! Your Way!" he snarled angrily, turning back to force the bunny another step around the hilltop.
"Oh good, my way. Thank you Vizzini." The fox said rolling his eyes, before adding sarcastically, "And which way is my way?"
The weasel, too angry or panicked, seemed to miss the sarcasm and turned around, making a quick gesture at one of the rocks sitting around the boulder filled field, before immediately returning the knife to the bunnies back.
"Well, you're always talking about that stupid baseball game of yours…" Vizzini started off slowly as if speaking to some sort of particularly dumb child, his voice rising in volume and speed as he continued until he was nearly shouting. "So pick up one of those rocks and get behind that boulder. In a few minutes the mammal in black will come running around the bend. The minute his head is in view, HIT IT WITH THE ROCK!"
And with that final snarl, Vizzini turned back and marched his hobbled prisoner out of view.
The fennec fox stood there for a moment scowling before crossing his arms.
"Hitting the batter isn't very sportsmanlike," he muttered, before scowling even more. "And I prefer to bat over pitching anyway."
His scowl grew even more as he reached down a picked up a fist sized rock and bouncing it in his paw, looked at the boulder Vizzini had frantically head bobbed at mid rant. He gave another disparaging snort, scowl still growing and noted how that boulder stood upwind of the little goat trail and instead went to stand behind a less obvious boulder on the other side, scowl still deepening and muttering about sportsmanship and mammals that didn't respect the sport.
The black masked fox crested the next hill in almost causal, yet mile-devouring loupe, before stopping for a moment to put his nose forward again and check the scent trail he'd been following. It took him less than a moment find the scent of his prey, the scent that he would not, could not forget. With a nod of his head to himself he continued on…
Only to stop suddenly at the sound of a grunt; he snapped his head to the side, instantly on alert and ready to face the threat… but only had a moment for his eyes to go wide as he saw the grey blur of a rock hurtling straight for him.
His muscles started to tense to jump out of the way. His paw already traveling to the hilt of his sword. But even as he started to move, the world seeming to slow around him in his adrenaline fueled sight, he knew he'd be too late as that whistling blur of rock closed toward his still widening eyes… closed on him… and then with an almost agonizing slowness that must have lasted less than even a fraction of a second, right as he started to reflexively cringe, awaiting, anticipating, the impact of that speeding rock on his oh so prized muzzle… the rock seemed to curve ever so deceptively to the side and shot by his face with a crack like a cannonball, to hit and break apart on the boulder behind him.
The masked fox's sword blurred out of its scabbard as he spun, aborting his too late dodge, even as the broken bits of rock shards pelted across his back and faced the mammal, the… fox? That took a step out from behind the boulder that had hidden him, already bouncing another round, fist sized rock in his paw.
"You know, I did that on purpose," the odd, little, yet not so little fox said, bouncing the rock in his paw again even as the black clothed mammal shifting into a defensive posture, hesitating from attacking as he quickly took stock of his new opponent. The smaller than standard fox stature, the long fennec fox ears on a disproportionately larger than normal fennec fox frame, the seemingly slow but powerfully precise way the other mammal moved, more like the movements of some mountainous bear squashed down into some fennec fox's body, and last but certainly not least, the near effortless way his paw caught and gripped the rock in his paw.
"I didn't have to miss," the little large fennec fox smirked, his grip on the rock with one finger knuckled back, shifting to hold it with two fingers and thumb.
"I believe you," the masked fox replied with a slight swallow, eyes carefully watching the rock in the other's paw even as he judged the distances between them. He gave a slight appreciative nod toward that paw, smiling even though his whole body remained tensed to spring.
"Very nice curve ball you had there," he gave a half-hearted smirk, "I'd hate to see your fast pitch."
The fennec fox smirked toothily.
"Well thank you, it's nice to meet another fan of the sport."
The masked fox shifted his footing slightly even as he nodded back. He was still hesitant, his sword up defensively as he judged the distance between them again and came to the same disheartening conclusion.
"So what now?" he asked, tense smirk still plaster across his muzzle as his tail shifted nervously behind him. "You pitch your rock and I bat with my sword, and if I make it to the first boulder I'm safe?" The masked fox gave a hustlers grin, not one of his best under the circumstances, but fairly good even then and continued with a friendly shrug, "I mean, it's not like you'd intentionally try to brain me with that ball of yours, why that would clearly be against the rules and I don't even have a batting helmet! Would be a shame to the sport."
The fennec fox nodded amiably, toothy grin still in place as he patted the ball between his paws like a pitcher warming up.
"Well, we face each other as god intended," the fennec fox said, his smile seeming to grow even more. "Sportsmanlike. No Tricks, No weapons. Skill against skill alone."
The masked fox blinked, seeming slightly taken aback.
"What," he gestured with his sword. "You mean, you'll put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we'll try to kill each other with naught but claws and teeth like civilized mammals?"
The fennec give another one of his wide mouthed smiles.
"I could kill you now," he said, angling his body back into a pitchers stance threateningly as the masked mammal brought up his sword. "You want to see if that little blade of yours can stand up to my fastball?"
The masked fox gave a sour glance between the quite hefty looking stone in the fennec's paw and his battered, beaten, and chipped blade, before slowly lowering it down to the ground as he gave the slightly smaller, though certainly stouter fox, a questioning glance.
"Frankly, don't you think the odds of paw to paw fighting are slightly in my favor?" he asked as the other lowered his rock. "I mean I wouldn't want to be unsportsmammaly."
The fennec fox just smirked and shrugged before taking off his shirt, rolling one shoulder then the other… One very, very well-muscled shoulder, then the other just as heavily muscled shoulder.
He looked at the rock still in his paw and squeezed for a moment, knuckles whitening before there was a loud Crack! And then he flipped the rock behind him, where it hit the ground… in two pieces.
The masked fox swallowed slightly watching as the fennec fox cracked those knuckles and the muscles under his arms bulged like some overly muscled, spinach eating sailor goat.
"It's not my fault if the Biggest always think they're the Strongest." The fennec then cracked his neck to one side then the other and gave another toothy smile. "I don't even exercise."
The masked fox grunted, hustler smile still valiantly attempting to stay in place, though clearly not doing a great job as he put his paws up in a boxing stance and the fennec crouched slightly in a wrestlers pose.
"Sportsman like?" the masked fox asked, unhappy smile still in place.
"Sportsman like." the fennec replied
"No clawing or biting of the tail or ears?"
The masked fox nodded, then shot forward paw swinging.
The smaller fox just stood there, then right before the blow landed moved his head to the side letting fly past. The larger fox took a quick step back, watching for a counter… then when nothing happened he grunted and shot forward swinging for the smaller mammals side.
The fennec took one step forward planting his foot, letting the inside of the larger foxes arm hit his side instead of the clawed paw. This time the grunt the larger fox gave was involuntary as the impact felt more like that of hitting a tree, rather than a mammal, and didn't so much as budge the smaller fox from his crouched stance. Then to his horror the little fox's arm shot forward over his outstretched one and grabbed it like a vice locking it in place against the little mammals side.
He twisted it, trying to yank his arm back, but to no avail, then giving up on his trapped limb the masked fox snapped his other paw forward striking two quick blows to the other mammals chest and stomach. Not that that seemed to do much more than sting his fisted paw, given the serene expression of his opponent. So in growing desperation he swung, aiming to claw the little mammals side to get him to release his arm… only the smaller mammal had shifted his free arm back and when the masked mammal's claws dug into the fennec's forearm instead of his side, the fennec smiled and returned the favor grabbing the taller fox's forearm in turn, digging his own claws in.
The black clothed mammal grimaced, shifting his weight forward to try and knock the smaller mammal down as he struggled with him, one arm trapped against his opponents side the other locked in a mutual arm grasp that seemed to favor neither of them. But the smaller fennec fox just crouched slightly more, one foot bracing behind him against the larger mammals shove. The masked mammal grunted, shoving forward again, throwing all his weight and height advantage into it, trying to topple his smaller foe. But the wily brute of a slightly smaller fox seemed about as immovable as a boulder planted in the ground as he kept his posture lower denying the other mammal the leverage he needed .
The masked tried one last time with a almighty grunt of effort that succeeded in doing absolutely nothing, then deciding that trying to topple the dwarfish brute of a fox was a pointless cause, shifted sideways to try and simply pick him up and toss him… only to find out somewhere along the way that ground had become the sky and the sky had become the ground, and it hurt a hell of a lot as he slammed backfirst into it.
He let out a low groan as he looked back up over his head at where the damned strong little bastard was casually turning around to face him after somehow turning things around and making him the flipp-e instead of the flipper.
The masked fox scowled rolling to his feet and facing the little trollish fox that seemed content to just stand there and wait for him.
"Look, are you just fiddling around with me or what?" he asked annoyed.
The little fox looked almost wounded by the insulation and shrugged before starting to move toward him in a low ponderous gate.
"I just want you to feel you're doing well," he said, throwing a wide haymaker punch, that the masked fox dodged easily, though it backed him up to a low boulder. "I hate for people to die embarrassed." The fennec added, body and hips twisting as his fisted paw shot forward toward the masked fox like a small, short jackhammer.
The larger fox, wary of his foe now, and rightly so, gave an almost silent yelp at the punch, and not able to dodge backwards, jumped up onto the boulder and then over the smaller fox as that piledriving fist cracked against boulder.
The masked fox rolled, came back up to his feet as the small fox gave his fist one shake, the rock seeming to only slightly stung his paw as he turned to face off again.
"You're a quick one," the fennec fox said, smiling as he started that slow ponderous gait toward him again like a boulder just starting to roll down a hill.
One step, two, three, Swing.
"And a good thing too," the masked fox grunted, dodging again, in no way wanting to find out if his body would do any better of a job than the rock of stopping that punch.
"So why do you wear a mask? Were you burned by acid, or something like that?" The large little fennec took another few steps forward, closing on him again, still holding a conversation, even as he threw another powerful fisted blow, seeming far more comfortable with those piledriver punches than with using his claws, for which the masked fox was more than grateful for.
Maybe he was afraid of chipping his claws with those damned strong blows of his, the masked mammal mused as a blow that grazed his side caused him to grimace and wonder just how badly that might bruise later.
"Oh no, It's just that they're terribly comfortable," he replied, his mouth working on auto-pilot as he concentrated on not getting pulverized. "I think everyone will be wearing them in the future," he added flippantly as he dodged another mighty blow to the side, throwing everything he had into a sucker punch to the fennec's kidney. The little fox actually grunted this time and the masked mammal smiled to himself as he darted out of the strong little bastard's reach again… only to yelp as something grab hold of his tail like a steel shackle.
"Hey!" he yelped, " I thought we said-"
"Not clawing or biting it!" the Fennec said right over him as he twisted, one paw gripping the larger fox's much longer tail, heaving tremendously on it like it was a dammed rope.
The masked fox's yelp cut off with a strangled gasp as he was flipped bodily over the fennec's shoulder and back into the ground.
He looked up and only had time to whimper as the smaller fox turned once again and the ground switched places with the sky before his muzzle became reacquainted with it.
The masked fox let out a pained groan.
"Yep, being quick won't help once I got a'hold of ya," the little troglodyte of a mammal replied, turning to throw him by his tail once more.
Seeing this, and desperate to avoid another repeat, the masked mammal scrambled, twisting around on himself to reach where the little fennec already had his tail over his shoulder ready to toss him again. Not quite able to reach his tail from that awkward position the masked fox grabbed his foes other shoulder with one arm, twisting up enough that he was able to snap his muzzle forward and sink his teeth into that over muscled forearm squeezing the hell out of his tail.
The fennec for once gave a pained grunt of his own and as the masked fox felt the little fox's grip loosen he reached forward and yanked his tail out of the little rule-lawyering bastard's paws.
Unfortunately, just as he reclaimed his tail the little fennec's other fist came up toward the masked fox's face and the world seemed to pop for a second with all sorts of bright colors before it came back into focus as he awkwardly fell backwards off the other fox's shoulder, still bent back on himself, one paw still holding his own tail… only to yelp once more as he was brought up short from fully face planting into the ground as his tail, looped over one shoulder of the little brute and held in his own paw over his other caught under the fennec's muzzle.
The fennec gave another grunt as his muzzle was forced up and the masked fox, in a burst of inspiration that had him nearly crying for his oh-so-already-and-about-to-be-abused-beautiful-tail, hurriedly reached back up with his other paw to grab it and pull it tight around the smaller fox's throat.
There was another grunt a slight wheeze as the masked fox did everything he could to pull his tail down tight in a very impromptu choke hold while dangling off the fennec's back and scraping against the ground.
The fennec's two strong paws reached up to grab the fluffy stranglehold on his neck, but the masked fox with the smallest of whimpers, yanked, pulling the fennec's head back and the paws reaching up, already encumbered slightly by the fennec's overly pronounced musculature missed.
The was a half strangled growl as the paws cam down and tried to reach behind him to grab hold but the masked fox, curled upwards, whimpering, and hung by his tail wrapped around the others neck like an oversized backpack just out of reach of those too damned strong for there size paws.
"You know…" the fennec gasped out between a partially strangled breath as he turned in place, still trying to grab hold of the fox on his back. "I Just figured out why you are giving me… so much trouble."
The fennec stopped turning in place and backed up suddenly slamming his back, and consequently the other fox curled up and dangling by his fluffy tail on his back, into a boulder.
"Why… Offft… is that, you think?" the masked fox managed to grunt out.
"Well…" the fennec replied, his voice starting to show some strain as the fluffy tail seemed to ratchet down another notch around his throat. "I haven't fought just one mammal for so long…" he took a second to take in as much of a breath as he could while looking from side to side. "I've been specializing in groups…" He stopped swiveling his head, having spotted his target. "Battling gangs for local charities… that kind of thing," he finished and stumbling a few steps to the side, smashed his back into another boulder.
"And -Offfft…" There was a groan from the fennec's back before the masked fox wheezed back, "why should that make such a… OFfffft…" the fennec slammed back against the rock again even harder.
"-difference?" the masked fox finished, his voice out of breath and an octave higher.
"Well…" the fennec fox, gasping for air now, used the distraction to reach up and get his paws on the fluffy tail around his windpipe before the other could yank his head back out of reach again.
"you see…" he tried to yank the tail away from his throat, but the other fox stubbornly held on, pulling back hard, whimpering as they played tug of war with the appendage.
"you use different moves…" the fennec gasped out still tugging on the tail causing the other fox to whimper… but his vision was starting to go black at the edges, and his arms felt so heavy.
"when you're fighting half a dozen mammals…" he wheezed, concentrating on the words, trying to use them to focus and keep the blackness from encroaching as he mustered his energy and slammed back against the rock once more.
There was another groan from his back and the fluff choking his throat loosened for a second… but only a second. His paws responded too slowly- he'd only gotten the barest breath in-
He concentrated hard- what had he been saying?
"than when you only have to be…" he wheezed, tugging at the fluff- tugging- his knee hit something, was that the ground? He couldn't seem get a good grip on that choking fluff- could pull it away…
His sight was narrowing down to just a pinprick of light. His thoughts felt fuzzy and incomplete. But he concentrated, concentrated hard as that light seemed to get further away… he just needed on good strong tug-
"worried about one." He wheezed out the last of his air, tugging with everything he had left as the light in front of him disappeared… tugging but he couldn't feel his arms, in fact the last thing he felt was something hard cushioned by something fluffy hitting the side of his face before he felt nothing more at all.
The masked fox groaned to himself as the freakishly strong fennec fox finally toppled forward to the ground, sending one last bit of pain up his tail as it was squashed between the fennec's cheek and the rocky ground.
He let go of his improvised fluffy garrote, rolling off the back of the smaller mammal and to the side before carefully… carefully, extracting his abused tail with one last whimper.
He spent a moment getting his breath back… then another couple going over his prized tail looking for damage and straightening his fur back out.
He sighed with relief when it seemed like there was nothing broken and he'd be stuck with only bruises.
Groaning, he sat up before looking at the large, unresponsive fennec fox beside him. He reached over and with a grunt rolled the mammal over onto his back, finding that moving the mammal was far easier when he wasn't planting himself in the ground like a mule that had decided to go only that far and not a inch further.
Leaning over he placed one ear on the fennec's chest and waited… before letting out a snort as he heard the clear heartbeat.
"I don't envy you the headache you'll have when you awake," the masked fox said standing to his feet, "But in the meantime," the fox said with one last look back at the fennec laid out on the ground as he sniffed the air and caught once again the scent of his prey.
"Rest well… and dream of large vixens, because you ain't ever getting near this beauty of a tail again." He snapped his prized possession disdainfully before turning and began to jog down the path after the trail of his prey once more, mumbling to himself as he went.
"Only one mammal on this good earth gets to touch my tail besides me…"