"What time is it?" Without waiting for a response, Blake looked at the clock on her scroll and sighed. "l should go now…"
"Sure I can't come with you?" Yang offered, sensing Blake's unwillingness to leave. "I'll be the hot human to your feisty Faunus?"
When Blake relaxed into a smile, Yang labeled the comment a success. Anything was a success if it made Blake happy, even if it was only for a few seconds. That's why Yang spent most of her day doing and saying stupid things - to make Blake happy.
"I'm sure they'd love that," Blake replied, shaking her head at the idea. "But it shouldn't take long. I'll meet you here in an hour?"
"Sure, no problem!" Even though Yang hated letting go of Blake's hand, she didn't mind the temporary time apart. Blake had an important meeting...thing...that her dad was dragging her too. Something about being introduced to...some important leader guy…
It was really hard for Yang to listen when her heart pounded with fear - which was what it did every second Blake's dad was around. The end result? She had no idea what Blake was being dragged off to see, do, or hear.
"I'll hang around here," Yang added, waving a hand towards the spectacular park they'd spent the last hour walking through. "You know, talk to the locals - get a feel for things."
Whatever reticence Blake felt seemed to ease, and she put on one of those smiles Yang loved to see.
"Ok..." Blake finally agreed, giving Yang one last heart-melting smile. "Stay out of trouble."
Yang laughed at the words of wisdom.
"Me? What kind of trouble could I possibly get into?" When Blake raised a brow, Yang waved her hands. "Alright, alright. I could get in a lot of trouble, but I'll be on my best behavior!"
Satisfied with the response, Blake leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss to Yang's lips.
"Thank you," Blake whispered, knowing full well what she was doing to Yang's heart from their proximity. But she pulled back and walked away - throwing one last glance over her shoulder before crossing the street and heading into the building across from the park.
A sigh of longing slipped past Yang's lips, and it was several minutes before she realized she was grinning like an idiot. Not that it was a bad thing to grin like an idiot - she did it all the time when Blake was involved. Shaking her head, Yang decided to kill time by walking further into the park to explore the areas they hadn't seen yet.
So far, she loved the parks in Menagerie. They weren't your typical parks with flat paths, trees, and open spaces. They were more like...wildlife adventure parks - complete with the most intense jungle gyms she'd ever seen.
It was a workout, that was for sure. Different areas had different themes - some filled with boulders to climb, some filled with knee-high grass that looked like a pasture, and some thickly-wooded areas with trees that were way too tall.
And there were Faunus everywhere - climbing the trees, scaling the boulders, or using the sandy paths. Everyone was having a good time, which meant the vibe was really good. It was good in Menagerie, in general.
If Blake decided this was where she wanted to live, Yang wouldn't have an issue with that. Not that she assumed that Blake wanted her to stick around or anything! But...things were really good between them. Maybe it was presumptuous to think that far into the future, but she couldn't help it. She saw Blake in her future. And she couldn't see Blake without seeing, you know, a place to live.
Whistling several different tunes to herself (an entire AchieveMen album, actually), Yang spent a fair amount of time just walking, thinking, and people watching. She reached the far end of the park before making her way slowly back the way she'd come, but when she neared the starting point, she noticed something...interesting.
Basically everything in Menagerie was interesting, but this was even more interesting. Of course she had to check it out, so her feet led her off the rocky path and towards a group of Faunus standing near the side of a giant boulder.
The boulder itself was enough to warrant inspection - it was really big. But it was the Faunus who stole the show. It looked like they were holding some type of competition to climb one side of the rock. It was quite the event, too! Off to one side, spectators cheered and groaned while competitors tried to climb with their bare hands. Some made good progress; others failed spectacularly.
For every Faunus attempting the climb, there was an official watching. At least, she guessed they were officials from their big yellow hats, clipboards, and stopwatches.
Sooo...she had a few minutes to spare...and she liked competitions, especially ones that dealt with strength. Walking over to the event, she joined the crowd of spectators and caught the attention of a zebra Faunus wearing one of the big yellow hats.
"Excuse me," she asked, throwing on a polite smile when he turned her way. "What's going on?"
"It's a feat of strength!" he explained with a toothy grin. "These young men are proving their capability in front of their loved ones. If they succeed, they receive a reward beyond their wildest dreams!"
Feat of strength? A reward beyond her wildest dreams?
"Uh, can I try?" When Yang pointed towards the boulder - which was more like a sheer rock wall from this close - the man looked at her in surprise.
"Do you have a partner?"
"Oh, uh, yeah I do." Glancing over her shoulder towards the building Blake was currently sitting in, Yang turned back with a smile. "She'll be here soon. Do I have to wait for her?"
"Technically not," the man replied, his lips pursed in thought. "If you're ok with her not being here, then you're free to try! We just need your information first."
With a smile, he handed her a clipboard with a single form on it - a basic contest entry deal. Her name, her partner's name, race, age, gender, and then sign the bottom.
Thankfully, they were letting her participate without a partner physically present! Although she did want to prove her strength to Blake...but they'd probably let her do it again when Blake got here. That made this a practice run.
"Here you go!" she said, signing the bottom of the page and handing it back to the man. After taking a few seconds to make sure everything was filled out, he waved her towards the boulder.
"Then may your endeavor begin!" he said, picking a spot with no current contestants and fondly patting the rock beside him. "You have ten seconds to reach the top once you touch the rock."
Yang giggled at the rhyme, but her residing official was all-business now that his stopwatch was in his hand.
Hearing a loud round of cheers, she looked up and saw a bear Faunus raising both arms in triumph from atop the boulder before hurrying down and rushing over to give his sweetheart a big kiss.
"Awww so cute!" Smiling at the affection, Yang turned back to the boulder and swung her arms back and forth in preparation.
Ten seconds, massive rock wall, basically zero handholds to be found. This was awesome. Menagerie was the best.
"There's no other rules, right?" she asked. "I just need to get to the top in ten seconds?"
"That's correct. How you get there is your journey, and your journey alone."
Yang wanted to tell him that he sounded like a weird inspirational poster, but decided against possibly insulting him. Instead, she looked up at her destination.
The biggest issue was that the rock had very few grooves to use as handholds. But...that wasn't an issue for her. She'd just make her own handholds.
Jumping as high as she could, she used her left hand and punched a hole into the side of the rock. Latching on, she quickly put her right hand in the newly-created handhold and strained her muscles to launch her even further off the ground - again using her left hand to latch onto the smooth rock.
From the ground, the rock looked super tall. In actuality, it took only four massive bursts of strength to make it to the top.
Hearing cheers, she raised her arms above her head in success and laughed. That was only like five seconds of exertion, but it was a lot of fun! She could probably make it in only three lunges, but she'd played it safe so she didn't embarrass herself in front of strangers. Next time though!
Spotting Blake just about the enter the park, Yang jumped down from the boulder and landed in a crouch that cushioned her fall. Her favorite zebra official was the first one to congratulate her.
"Well done!" he said, giving her hand a hearty shake. "I'm sure your partner will be very pleased with that display of strength!"
"She tends to be." Grinning, Yang caught Blake's eye and waved her over before turning back to the man. "So...about that prize?"
"Right, of course. Is your partner here yet?"
"She's right over there." When Yang pointed over the man's shoulder, he spun around to look at Blake.
"Wonderful! I'll be right back."
The man hurried away, and Yang grinned as Blake walked over to her. Did she say walked over? More like sprinted over to her.
"Yang, what are you doing?"
"Just did a feat of strength!" Yang replied, flexing her arms. "Climbed up that boulder in like five seconds, now I get a prize! I hope it's a vacation or something."
Normally, Blake laughed at Yang's jokes, but she didn't laugh this time. Instead, her eyes swept around the boulder-climbing competition before landing back on Yang.
"Please tell me you didn't sign up."
"Uh..." Yang wasn't sure why Blake looked concerned, but her excitement was quickly depleting. "I mean...I kinda had to? They wouldn't let me try otherwise…"
"Who did you put as your partner?" Blake asked, sounding far too worried about what that obvious answer might be.
"You! Of course." Laughing at Blake's concern, Yang shook her head. "Who else would I put down?"
Stunned by the response, Blake's mouth fell open - but the zebra Faunus returned before she could say anything.
"Congratulations, you two!" he said, shaking Blake's hand before pressing the clipboard into her hands. "l just need your signature to finalize the certificate."
"Oh, awesome!" Yang grinned while Blake read the form. "Like a gift certificate? Where to?"
It seemed like a simple question, but the man looked at Yang in confusion. Meanwhile, Blake bit her lip, then signed the form and pressed it back into his hands.
"Excuse us," she said, pushing Yang away from the crowd of people.
"Wait - where are we going?" Yang asked, stumbling to the side until she got her legs straightened out and followed Blake a short distance away. "We need to get our gift certificate!"
Shaking her head, Blake gave Yang a serious look.
"Yang, this is a marriage ceremony."
She heard Blake wrong, because there's no way she said -
"A marriage ceremony."
Ok, so that's what Blake said, but clearly she was just pulling a prank. So Yang laughed.
"Good one, Blake," she said, still chuckling. "Why would climbing a boulder be involved in getting married?"
"It's to prove the strength of your love," Blake answered, her face serious enough that Yang began to doubt that it was a joke.
"Wait, are you serious?"
"Yes. There's a group of Faunus that subscribe to...unconventional marriage practices. But they're still legal marriages. You signed a consent to marriage - then you completed the marriage task."
It sounded like Blake knew what she was talking about. Of course she knew what she was talking about. She knew much more about Faunus than Yang did. Which meant…
"Holy...crap," Yang said, her eyes widening while she started to panic. "Well can't we like...undo it or something?"
"You can, but I don't think you want to do that."
"Because it's painful and permanently scarring."
Yang cringed at the response.
"Why wouldn't they put that warning in big, bold letters then?" she whined, throwing her arms in the air. "'FYI - this is a marriage, and totally undoable!'"
"Excuse me -"
Turning to the side, Yang found her friendly zebra official from earlier - who was still friendly but a little less forthcoming that she would've hoped.
"I have your marriage certificate here," he said, extending the piece of paper to them. When Yang numbly accepted it, he gave them both a big smile. "Congratulations to both of you!"
With that, he hurried back to the competition - which was apparently less of a competition and more of a life-altering event.
"Now he uses the word…" Yang grumbled before looking down at the piece of paper in her hand and thinking about something rather important. "Oh god...your dad's gonna kill me."
Thinking about that statement for a little too long, Blake's eyes glinted in humor.
"What he doesn't know won't hurt him," Blake replied with a sly smile to go along with those eyes.
"l like that idea," Yang quickly said, nodding vigorously. "Because what he does know will hurt me."
"Guess it's our secret then."
Breathing a small sigh of relief, Yang thought that was one less problem to worry about. But the biggest one was...standing right in front of her.
"How are you so cool about this?" Yang asked. "I mean, I know you're always super cool about everything - but you're not flipping out at all. We just got freaking married!"
When Yang waved the certificate in the air, Blake's eyes flicked to it before catching Yang's gaze once more.
"Does it really change anything?"
Yang's heart swelled with love from the simple question and the open affection in Blake's eyes.
"No," she answered with a smile, knowing that the answer was true. Married or not, this didn't change how she felt about Blake. In fact, Blake's response to the situation kind of made Yang love her even more…
Looking at the piece of paper in her hands, Yang smiled - until her eyes caught on something important.
"Wait. This says the marriage isn't valid until both parties sign." Holding up the page, Yang pointed to the last sentence. "Did you see this? If you hadn't signed, it wouldn't be valid!"
Looking at the certificate, Blake narrowed her eyes in thought before turning away.
"Must've missed that," she said, smiling as she offered her hand to Yang. "Want to go celebrate?"
When Blake gave her one of those looks, Yang's heart beat faster.
"l hope you're thinking what I think you're thinking," she said, taking Blake's hand as they left the park together.
"I'm thinking...what do most newlyweds do on their wedding night?"
Stopping in her tracks, Yang pulled Blake back to her and quickly scooped her feet out from under her. Laughing in surprise, Blake still allowed Yang to hold her bridal style - those amber eyes looking up at her in amusement.
"Pretty sure this is one of the things," Yang said, before leaning down to place a kiss on Blake's lips. Pulling away, Yang smiled while Blake pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
"And that's another," Blake whispered.
"Now about that last part…" Without setting Blake down, Yang set off at a quick trot for the hotel they'd been staying at ever since arriving in Menagerie.
"Yang, it's like ten blocks from here -"
"And I just completed a feat of strength for you!" Yang replied, hugging Blake closer while jogging across the street. "Pretty sure I can handle one more!"
When Blake laughed, Yang smiled. Maybe she'd just done something stupid, but Blake was happy - so it was a success.